I signed up for an account on a website today, because nothing inevitably complicates your frickin’ life more than signing up for a fargin’ account, guaranteeing a stream of emails that washes into your inbox with the regularity of a tide in a town where medical waste is dumped directly into the sea. I mean, Holland America, I get it, you have SHIPS that go places but let me just speak for many when I say “it’s not really an impulse purchase.” Oh, for some, perhaps, but if they’re inclined to just pack up and fly off they’re probably checking for bargains on their own.

Anyway, I signed up for an account for the machine that rents movies at the grocery store. Yes. You can have accounts. Why would I want one? You can reserve movies. Here’s where someone says “oh, DVDs, what are those?” Ha ha! I love it when people think it’s clever to profess ignorance about a technology that was in widespread common use a few years ago. I mean, there’s no excuse for saying “What is this telegraph you speak of?” I think you have a shot of feigning ignorance about the Roman practice of writing on wax tablets with a metal stylus, but that’s about it. I entered my account information, chose a password that OF COURSE is different from every other password in my life and requires a separate program to keep them all managed, and deselected the options for getting an email newsletter and getting tailored recommendations by mail. I don’t care if the email has a coupon for free videos for life. I’ll never read it. I don’t even want to be bothered deselecting the Gobdulled thing, let alone having to click the trash icon. Side note: why Miley Cyrus isn’t being described as “trash icon” is beyond me.

So I try to reserve Iron Man 3 to guarantee some disappointment on Saturday night over all the quippery and archness and such, and before I have the chance to tailor my reservation BANG, it’s made. I try to cancel. Can’t. Call customer service; get the rote “no one can answer your call” message the phone company provides. Write an email explaining that I made a mistake, and a “Cancel” button would be nice.

Well! I get an email back promptly from the guy who runs the company, apologizing for the answering machine - small independent business. There’s no cancellation button, because people would squat on the rental for a day then cancel at the last minute. He did, however, void my reservation. No charge.

This I appreciated, and I replied to say I would continue to patronize his kiosk. Then, in mid-letter, I realized the other reason I signed up: you got points for renting, and could redeem them for free rentals. And I realized the other thing on the site that really grinds my rind:


So in the middle of a thanks-for-your-prompt-help letter I'm reminded how much this aggravated me - I mean, I have to log in 238 times to reach ZERO CREDITS.




This was a source of great delight when I was in high school.

Who’s the hapless guy trying to get the big prize without being gonged?

It’s the host. Yes, before Chuck Barris there was another guy. In the very first episode. John Barbour. Not the right fit, in retrospect; Barris brought that squinty manic improv style some might call "brashly amateuristic" that helped define the program. I don't say that as a good thing.

One of the judges:

Here he is contemplating how exactly his life ended up here, right here, doing this:

Jack Cassidy, the epitome of smooooth:

His frequent professional persona was that of an urbane, super-confident egotist with a dramatic flair, much in the manner of Broadway actor Frank Fay. Cassidy perfected this character to such an extent that he was cast as the legendary John Barrymore in the feature film W.C. Fields and Me.

The role of the vain, shallow, buffoon-like newsman Ted Baxter on TV's The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970–1977) was said to be written with Cassidy in mind.

It would have been a completely different show, and not as good; Cassidy wasn't a guy you wanted to play dumb. He would later show up as Ted’s brother. Perfect casting. He died shortly after this Gong Show appearance, having lit his apartment on fire when he fell asleep, smoking.

True to the show’s concept, some acts were good; some were bad. A proto Pat Benatar screeched her way through an uncomfortable song . . .

. . . and there was just pure Gong bait.

So is this a redeemable element of the 70s? No. It was drivel, for the most part, and while it was quite different from the regular stale prefab game shows, a spiritual twin to the spirit behind SNL that said "hey, television stinks, let's upend the model" it was a mess at best - and worst, an invitation to sneer at the deluded.

Let’s move along to another show, just as dismal in retrospect: Match Game. Watching an episode recently, looking for more 70s hairstyles and clothing for this very feature, reminded me why as a kid I tuned in:

I’m going on TV, Robert! Give me the full Farrah!

The Sensible School Administrator Feather-Do:

I’m so impossibly pleased with myself and vaguely British!

Oh I’m simply marvelous! I will be noticed. I will be!

Then there’s the uncomfortable reminder that unlike today, when 12-year old dress like 20 somethings, 20 somethings dressed liked 12 year olds:

She’d get carded trying to buy Fresca.

You’ve heard the phrase about domestic comity, when Mama ain’t happy, no one’s happy? No one’s happy:

Those eyebrows seem scientifically designed for maximum judgmentalism.

The dishwasher-runoff-tint with a skunk-streak was big for a while:

Lest you think our Hollywood Stars had a better sense of style: Ladies and gentlemen, Fanny Flagg.

Work blog around 12:30 and Tumblr as well. See you around.





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