Saturday, March 11, 2006

Hi Evryone... We'll my son finished in 4th place at the NYSHS Wrestling touney. He won his first 2 matches, and then lost to the eventual stat champion in the semi-finals. It's a pretty good showing for his first trip. Most kids are so in awe that they forget why they're there. It's tough to go from wrestling in front fo a few hundred prople to almost 7,000 in one session. He's already training for next year. We're all very proud of him.
I just accepted an offer from Lockheed Martin, and will be starting employment there on March 20th, as an administrative support specialist in the Data and Assets Department. Most of my duties will encompass working with the Navy on helicopter and fighter jet projects. I'm looking forward to this new challenge.
How's everything in the "valley"?? Haven't been back there for some time now... Any new "news"?? Later!!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Nearly a year ago, I posted an entry in this weblog about a new NBC show called The Office. For those of us from Wyoming Valley, the show holds special significance, because it's set in Scranton, PA. It's based on a show that was popular in the UK of the same name. I've just had a chance to see some of the episodes from the UK series which is available on DVD and it is pretty funny. It only ran for 2 seasons, 6 episodes each, in 2001 and 2002. The subject matter and language is a bit too racy for the U.S., and if it ever did air in the U.S., I expect it would have to be shown on a network like HBO. I was visiting Ireland a few years ago and found out that they broadcast the Sopranos, uncensored over the air, just one week after it's shown on HBO in the U.S.! It was my cousin's favorite show. He was wondering if I might have been a part of a crime family myself, being a native born Yank and all, but I explained that people of Irish heritage cannot apply for positions in those organizations.

I was a little concerned that The Office wouldn't take off, but now I can see that they are in season 2 with 22 episodes expected to air and another 22 already planned for season 3. So the show has some legs. It even has a very active blog dedicated to it.

One of the things it's missing is a laugh track, that canned laughter added to a show just so you know exactly the right time to laugh. It's what made Alan Alda's incessant wisecracks funny on the TV show M.A.S.H. Making a sitcom without a laugh track is risky, because a lot of us are slow witted, and without a prompt to laugh periodically at attempts at humor, we might otherwise mistake a comedy for a documentary.

The U.K. version of the show is set in the town of Slough, England, known for its economic and environmental downfalls. Director Ricky Gervais claims to have chosen Scranton as the U.S. setting due to its "inferior inactive city atmosphere and the unprovocative work surroundings." Many of the Scranton scenes in the opening credits were filmed by one of the shows actors, John Krasinski, and a few friends out of a sunroof of a Jeep. It's a shame the show isn't filmed on location in Scranton, like they do with the Sopranos in New Jersey. If they did, I'd expect a lot more local color, like some scenes from the inside of a genuine Valley Bar, but alas, I don't think that you can shine enough light into one of those to catch anything on film. They are usually decorated take on the appearance of the inside of a coal mine.

Another show that I'm really enjoying lately is sort of a religious documentary called 'My Name is Earl'. Normally, I don't like shows with a lot of religious overtones, but I consider this one to have a somewhat neutral spiritual message borrowed from Carson Daily, who invented a concept called Karma. Someone told me the other day that it was actually John Lennon who first discovered it, but I can't speak to that. Karma is the simple concept that if you do good things, then good things will happen to you, and if you do bad things, then bad things will happen. I tend to agree with that message... It just might explain the difficulties the folks on the Sopranos are experiencing all the time.