Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Lamb of God, or Dog Park Antics!

OK. I had a wild weekend at Mr M's. You don't need to know about it. It just involves the fact that I have Sciatica and Mr M gave me some drugs to combat it.

OK. That's over.

The day after all the pain, I knew I had to come back home and do Paw Duty and get ready for the week, which entailed big hulking bags of trash and all, but like I said, that wasn't a factor in this story.

But I knew when I left Mr M's for home and Paw Duty, first I had to take Milo to the dog park.

Milo loves the dog park. And I do, too, I love watching him run around and trying to make friends, and when he doesn't make friends, Mr M says it's my fault because I've turned Milo into a sissy and no dogs want to play with him.

And I'm prepared for that, I tell you!

But today!

Today, Milo and I (but not Mr M, the poo-pooer) went to the dog park to play. But I wasn't quite prepared for what transpired.

For, my dear blogees and readers, Milo became a sheep.

It's true!

I'm not sure about how it happened, or the metaphysics of it, but my dear, sweet boy became a sheep.

And here's the story.

I let Milo off his leash immediately, and he ran and romped and scrambled around trees and benches. He met people and got petted and was a decidedly happy doggie. And I was happy watching him. There were at least three other doggies his size he enjoyed communing with.

And then!

Then about 3 minutes into his foray into the dog park, he became a sheep. And like I said, I know not how it happened.

See, there was this other dog. A dog only an inch higher than Milo, but a dog who was black and slim-coated and who had a shepherd's face.

And in that 3 minutes, for some strange reason, that dog decided that Milo (fluffy though he is) was a sheep and that Milo was his sheep!

I'll give you the punch-line first. Milo was totally oblivious to him (well, except for the fact that Mr Shepherd didn't want to play with him, but Milo's used to that), and just loped along doing his thing. He ran around trees and hiked. He found little doggies to sniff on. He roamed and found his way to the water bucket and the "Poo Drop Off" station.

All the while, this little shepherd dog had drawn a bead on him. He tracked Milo. He followed, with his eyes, every move Milo made.

If Milo loped to trees or dogs, this dog followed him, watching intently, shifting this way and that, and hanging a few steps behind.

If Milo decided to take off and run, this shepherd dog chased him, right on his hip, guiding him whichever way he thought he should go.

At one point, Milo decided (obliviously, of course) to go to the shepherd's owner and say "Hi." When this happened, the shepherd nipped Milo's nose as if to say, "No! You don't do that!"

Milo was totally that dog's sheep. (or bitch, decide.) It was only still so sweet because Milo had no idea what what was going on.

But the people did, and for 45 minutes at the dog park, Milo and that shepherd were stars. Everyone was getting it. I pulled out the Flip camera at one point, but realized it was now too late to catch all the good antics.

When Milo finally wound down and I decided to take him home, we left, and found out that the shepherd was also leaving - and he was parked in the van beside ours!

I told his owners to hang on, that if their doggie realized this, he'd grab the wheel and follow Milo home.

But he didn't. Milo panted a lot, then fell asleep and we made it back home.

But it was a magnificent doggie park day.

That's what I long for on dog park days, you know.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Whatever It Takes!

Ahhh, the wonderful Degrassi theme song. "Whatever it takes, I know I can make it through."

And boy, what they have had to make it through in the past years.

It's no secret (though I'd certainly like it to be) that I'm a great fan of Degrassi. You don't know Degrassi? It's the Canadian TV show about kids at a middle school, it used to be 'Degrassi Jr High' (back in the early 90s), then it simply became Degrassi, It became that because, after the final show of the original series, the original Degrassi Jr High burned down. That was supposed to be the end of Degrassi Jr High.

Or not.

Well, with a gap in the middle. And that's OK. In the early days, we had Stephanie and Lucy and the twins, and Kathleen, whose boyfriend abused her, and Joey Jeremiah and Snake and Wheels, who formed a group called the Zit Remedy, who had an almost-hit, "Everybody Wants Something." ("Everybody wants something, they'll never give up, never give up! " It was almost New Wave Gold.)

The old Degrassi also had Spike, an adorable new-wave girl with a mohawk who loved the Pogues and got into some real trouble and had a baby out of wedlock. That was the serious storyline in that day (excepting Claude and Caitlin and the fact that he committed suicide for her and there was a big PSA about it), during the big run of the original Degrassi.

I used to watch the old Degrassi when I was a thirty-something, laying in bed on the weekends, and although I knew I was too old to care about it, I still cared. I couldn't help it. It was a good show, with good characters I wanted to follow. And the old Degrassi ended in that last episode, with their whole school burning down. Wow.

The old Degrassi died.

And then!

Several years ago, Teen Nick started showing a new Degrassi! And the premise was golden!

Spike's out-of-wedlock child from all those years ago was now a student at Degrassi! She was named Emma, and had a whole lot of new classmates to go to school with, and it was all as it was before. Right?


I loved it. I was even older then, so I should have liked it even less, but that makes no difference, because I'm a fool and I like all that stuff. And you know what? This show was good! And I thought it was cool featuring Emma's new schoolmates.

But! It also featured Snake, who was now a teacher at Degrassi, and Joey Jeremiah, who was now used car salesman who had a kid at the school, and even Caitlin, who was now a famous news reporter. And even Spike, who ended up marrying Snake!

And new students, like Ashley and Craig (the cool guys and musician couple), and Liberty and JT and Toby (nerds), and Spinner (bully) and Paige (cool girl). There was a whole new show for me to love.

I was in heaven.

And so I've followed it ever since. Sincerely.

Wow. What's happened in those new years I've been following? There's no way I can explain it all. But....

Now, I'm telling you, for this time the new version Degrassi has been going on, I've been watching it for all of them.

I've seen, all these years, nerds JT and Liberty have a baby they gave it up for adoption, then JT being murdered in a fight by a rival school. I've seen cool girl Paige flunk out in college (where did she end up? we don't know!), and Craig, the cool musician, having a bit of Canadian fame, only to become a drug addict. I've seen Jimmy, the basketball star, get shot and be confined to a wheelchair. (Odd, that, Jimmy was Aubrey Graham, who later became known to the world as the rapper Drake. And he suddenly forgot his Degrassi roots.)

I've seen kids come and go. (Which is fantastic, that a show lets kids graduate and leave the show.) And right now we have none of the original New Degrassi Kids, but kids like Holly J and Anya and Sev and Fiona the alcoholic and that couple whose name I can't remember who had a baby and now are sparring.

And I just keep watching on.


However - this latest version of Degrassi has been shown on Teen Nick every night of the week this summer, advertised as "Once It's Over - The Season Is Over." Huh? So the show's not over, only the season is. Right? I'll still get to watch later on?

I'm very afraid it doesn't matter.

This latest Degrassi summer blitz has been, well, something approaching abysmal. We've got Luke, who was brought in last season on a whim and is now a major storyline, a jock who got involved with a bad girl and got the crap beat out of him by a gang. Now he's loopy and participates in a Fight Club. We've got the normally fantastically sassy Holly J suddenly finding out she's adopted and needing a kidney and looking for her birth mother. We've got people with strange mental disabilities, gambling addictions, having flings with teachers - well, yeah.

We've gotten everything you see everywhere else anyway. Even on reality TV, where that's supposedly really their lives.

We've even gotten Anya saying, "You know, I was a twin," when it is nowhere in her history that she even has brothers or sisters! Continuity, please?

I'm getting pretty fed up with Degrassi. And I'm getting pretty mad at them.

This was my sweet show about kids in a Canadian town and their sad existences going to school. Now it's so over the top. The end of this season of Degrassi comes at the end of this week, and I don't know where in the hell they can go from here.

All I can hope is some more kids show up and I get interested in them.

Oh, what am I talking about? I'll find a way to get interested in them. Good or bad, I'm a Degrassi addict.

Whatever it takes, I know I can make it through! (Well, they can. I'm not sure I can.)

Monday, August 01, 2011

Happy Birthday, Change Your Name

Back when I was a kid, when one became 30, one was officially old. Funny how growing closer to, then passing, that milestone makes a person see how absolutely ridiculous the thought was.

I'm sure many of you have read it on the old interwebs. Today MTV turned 30. And you know, in the case of MTV I think 30 may well officially be old.

Well, it's a load of old claptrap, anyway.

See, that's the thing. Almost every article I've read today about the once-gigantic network's b-day has said the same thing. MTV is no longer MTV. And it's not, or at least the MTV we late baby boomers fell in love with.

I'm sitting here looking at MTV on my cable-TV info roll. For the next 18 hours, we have MTV-generated reality shows, a block of repeats of a 10-year old sitcom, and one show that - hey! - almost resembles something having to do with music! A look back at performances at old Video Music Awards shows.

And that's the thing. For a network that calls itself Music Television, and whose stock in trade used to be video music clips, MTV really has nothing whatsoever to do with music anymore. In fact, that they still put on the Video Music Awards is absolutely ludicrous - they don't show videos!

I am one lucky gal. I was there at the beginning. I mean, how my little town, B'field, got in on the ground floor of MTV's birth, I've no idea. Maybe it was cheap enough in the beginning that our cable company thought, "Oh, what the hell..."

I was 21. I saw it, and I loved it. It wasn't polished, to be sure, but neither was I. Unslick video clips, unslick sets where semi-slick VJs introduced those videos and told us a little about the people doing them.

And in fact, for any of you around in the early days - they didn't even broadcast for a whole hour at a time! Twice an hour, the network would go to a break, where standard stock footage of rockets firing would show while generic rock music played.

But for those 40 minutes an hour of music - well, for a girl like me, it was heaven. I saw stuff I'd never seen before. I was discovering people I never knew existed, and was buying records like crazy. (Hey - anyone remember Ph.D - "I Won't Let You Down?" A most obscure song that would have never seen the light of day if not for the old MTV.)

The Go-Gos. Captain Sensible. Devo. The Pretenders. Nick Lowe. Ian Dury. A whole new world was opened to this small-town gal.

Eventually, there became updates once an hour, "MTV News," where we'd hear about our favorite bands. Then, as it caught on, bands would start visiting the set for interviews and silly fun. Silly fun because they figured no one was watching anyway!

Then came more bands to discover. And albums to buy. And bands to see on MTV in the studio. Within two or three years, MTV became a lifeline for folks in small towns like me, with no cool radio stations.

Then - people started discovering MTV. It became the Big New Thing saturating the market. And although I'd watch a good five years more, that's kind of where MTV ended for me.

Michael Jackson made "Thriller." Madonna came along and modeled her career after the music video. Artists thought of their video before they thought of their song. And MTV started to sound just like radio. Which, for me, though I still watched, was the end.

Then, MTV decided to explore. They started making their own shows. "House of Style," and probably what ended it all for them, "The Real World." They saw they could cheaply produce their own shows that people would still watch. OK, we'll still give you your music, but, hey, look at this.

More shows came along, and less music, and then MTV basically died. There were no more blocks of videos, or VJs introducing them, or "Music News." It was, well, it was what we know now as MTV.

So now instead of obscure bands people like me would never hear of, we get to see "16 and Pregnant," "True Life," "Jackass," "Real World/Road Rules 156," "Awkward," and the show that is surely a sign of the Apocalypse, "Jersey Shore."

MTV is not MTV anymore.

But here's another thing.

If they would go back to the original idea, to playing videos all day long, would I care?

The whole thing about MTV not playing Michael Jackson's video turned into a big "they're racist" movement, and I don't know if it was or not, but I almost wish Michael had never made it on the air. Because by playing Michael Jackson's videos, that meant MTV had to play everything else that came out, no matter what the genre.

And so, the big topic - all those people celebrating MTV's birthday but saying, "Give us back our old MTV!"

What if they did that? I mean, if MTV played videos today, what would we have? Rap/HipHop, Country-Pop, TeenDreamShit, Emo bands.... Would I watch? Of course not. None of that means a whit to me. And to be honest, MTV, there's nothing more you can help us discover. There was no internet when you were around in the beginning, we can find any music we want now.

So - what to do? To be honest, here's my suggestion. Just keep MTV what it is now, let it make all the money its officers can hold. But don't call it MTV. It's not MTV. There's no music in it at all.

How about PCTV (PopCultureTV)? CRTV (CrapRealityTV)? STV (ShitTV)?

You decide, MTV.

Just change your name, and leave us old fans with our memories.