There’s always something to howl about

Wheeere’s Johnny?

   I happened upon an HGTV re-run the other morning while waiting, impatiently, for the French press water to boil. I stood before the ubiquitous 42 inches of plasma in our kitchen (itself, a residential multi-plex food prep/family room, laptop wireless docking station, and occasional espresso/dessert/wine/tapas bar for ourselves and the ever present house guest, or two, or six…) and recalled a simpler domestic time, back in….

The Day

   In the 1960s, the Petro family kitchen was barely big enough for two grouchy adults, three kids, and an AM radio. Our infrequent household guests were offered Maxwell House and served spaghetti and meatballs on big clunky plates. We had one army green rotary telephone attached to the wall, used mostly for sending and receiving bad news. When it rang, everyone’s heart dropped.

   Our dearly beloved Emerson TV/HiFi cabinet was reminiscent of a thick mahogany coffin. It had its own dedicated wall, in it’s own dark paneled viewing room beneath one of my mother’s oil paintings. The setting was proper, solemn, and predominately prime time. Back then, ‘wireless’ meant, well…it meant there was simply never any wire when you needed some. It was more of a bad thing than a good thing. You know what I mean. 

Reality Bites

   I steeped the morning nectar and settled in to watch an older segment of  House Hunters. At once I was cyber-sucked back to a virtual real estate WTF of a housing market long since past; a pseudo-realistic scenario starring three perfectly staged, non-foreclosed, dream homes, a deer-in-headlights couple with one in the oven, and a Stepford wife Realtor named Roxanne.   I laid back, clicker loose in hand, and unwillingly suspended my post-housing bubble disbelief.  I gazed on as my iPhone pinged an endless wave of inedible Spam (the even worse kind).

   Roxanne, the star of this particular episode, was strikingly unfamiliar. What is with all the famous nobodies on the tube today? If you’re a casual, part-time channel surfer, as I am, then it’s even more confounding.

Where’s Johnny?

   Back in the Day you had your Lawrence Welk, your Walter Cronkite and your Johnny Carson. Three totally different dudes on three separate channels. There was no confusing any of those guys with each other. And for the record, there always was, and ever will be, only one Johnny. (Sorry, Sirs Depp, Knox, Knoxville, Winter and Walker.)  Only God knows how many Roxannes there are.

   And nobody judged anybody on their dancing ability, either.  In those days you were either a dancer or you weren’t.  And  what does dancing have to do with anything anyway?  You had your  Ted Mack Amateur Hour and that was enough.   All the talent in America; dancers, singers and jugglers, could easily fit into one 60 minute segment per week, including commercials. And real commercials, too. Commercials about liquor, tobacco, and Corvairs. Commercials about shit that could kill you. There were none of these new age mother and daughter vignettes walking along a beach, holding hands, discussing their less than fresh moments with each other at sunrise.  There was no such sharing back in the Day.  You had your Ozzie and you had your Harriet.  He drank Cutty. She used Kotex.  End of story.

   Now compare it all to today: Heidi, Spencer, Speidi,  Kate, plus Eight, that Octo-mom lady, JLo, LiLo,  ShiLo, Brangelina, TomKat… Im telling you, It’s a big multi-media mess. Throw  in all the Jennifers, Jessicas, and Kristen/Kristins and it’s downright confusing. Which one is married to Ben Affleck again? And what happened to him anyway? From what I’ve gathered from my weekly cocktail dose of  TMZ and Entertainment Tonight, there are at least fifty nobodies more famous than him these days, including his baby brother, whoever he is. My guess is big Ben is wandering around with all those misguided Vanessa avatars from the 1990s. He’ll no doubt be back soon.  Dancing.

   And it doesn’t help that I always get the names wrong.  I seem to have inherited this middle aged trait from my father who went to his grave thinking our current President was some guy named Bako Moreno (and he was a Democrat).  My pop was a man who epitomized the Day. He never cared for ‘any of that RoeBuck’s scented coffee.’ Sanka was good enough for him. He was a man of very few channels.  Good solid channels with simple numbers like 2, 3, and 5. None of that artsy fartsy upper band HD nonsense.

They Tried to Make Me Go….

   And then there’s rehab. I basically made the decision to quit drinking on my own, for free, sometime during the previous century so this is another present day televised phenomenon I don’t quite get. Now Charlie Sheen, hookers, and jail time? For some reason,  I get that.  But moving on…..

   Anyway, back to House Hunters and all those other real estate shows on the upper band cable channels that were the rage five years ago.  It all seems passé now.   Nothing is more painful than watching a pre-meltdown episode from the glory years of this early housing Millennium. No negotiation, no short sales,  just yakety-yaking nobody Realtors showcasing pre-bubble properties and making fake ass, full price offers. I watched the Roxy Realtor dissolve into a commercial break with un-smart flip-phone in hand, and in the 60 seconds it took the ghost of Billy Mays to totally piss me off with that orange crap he’s always hawking, she was magically back with a signed and fully accepted contract from an invisible seller.  Voila!  Another lockboxed, no haggle deal on the books. (BTW, good luck with that B of A.) 

Behind the Green Door

   It’s  painful to watch, I’m telling you.  Almost as visually painful as The Early 1970s Porn Network on Channel 669,  or so they tell me.  And if  a time stamped imprint of a bearded Billy Mays between money shots isn’t enough of a buzz kill, all that other unruly Nixon era hair surely is.  Anyway,  I know it when I see it….you know what I mean.




5 Comments so far

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Real Estate Feeds, Tom Hunter, Mark Risley, Real Estate Ninja, My REALTY and others. My REALTY said: Wheeere’s Johnny?:    I happened upon an HGTV re-run the other morning while waiting impatiently for the French … […]

  2. Chris Johnson November 18th, 2010 11:48 am

    BTW Good luck with that, BOA = brilliant

  3. Al Lorenz November 18th, 2010 11:58 am

    Thanks Geno, a very fun read. It replayed some old film reels for me. Do they really have more than 13 channels now?

  4. Brian Brady November 18th, 2010 12:09 pm

    ‘any of that RoeBuck’s scented coffee.’

    I wasn’t lucky enough to meet the man but I sure do miss him, Geno

  5. Meg Hurtado November 18th, 2010 4:19 pm

    Just want to say that I really enjoyed this post. Great writing, great points (a little depressing, but great).