Turntable Talk – “Out of the Blue”

Welcome to another edition of Turntable Talk, hosted by Dave at A Sound Day. He has really been coming up with some neat topics for this series. This time around, he is calling it “Out of the Blue.” Dave described it this way: “Basically, great debuts that probably took you by surprise.  Now, I’m not talking to old debut records by artists you love that you eventually went back to and found , but rather albums or even singles that you found more or less when they came out that you really loved… a surprise great that came out of the blue. So tell us about  a record like that, and if you want, if your interest in the artist was kept alive or if they were a one-off flash in the pan.

I didn’t have to go any further in his email to know exactly what I’d be writing about. I remember this song like it was yesterday. It was 2004 and I was working at 94.5 The Moose in Saginaw.

As the station’s music director, I received new music daily. Every single song was trying to get a spot on the station’s play list. Each week I would listen to the new songs and then meet with my program director to discuss what song or songs we might consider adding. Often times, it was a difficult decision. Other times, you just went with the new song from a country superstar.

Every year in January or February the Country Radio Seminar would happen in Nashville. Radio people from all across the country would get together to hear new music, network, and attend panels about various radio and records stuff.

I remember going to one of the evening events hosted by one of the record labels that year. I recall them playing some of their new songs from new artists. The one song that had everyone talking that year was Redneck Woman. I can still remember the first time I heard it. I was blown away. It was like NOTHING that was on the radio at that time.

The song was by a new artist named Gretchen Wilson. She was a 30 year old single mother who was working as a bartender to earn a living while she sang and wrote songs. She was rough around the edges and didn’t necessarily have the “looks” of a female country singer. That, of course, didn’t matter because the listener was hooked as soon as she started belting out the lyrics.

The song was the lead single from Gretchen’s album “Here for the Party.” She had written the song with John Rich, who used to be in the group Lonestar and went on to success with Big & Rich. The Album “Here for the Party” earned her several Grammy-Award nominations, including for Best New Artist, Best Country Album, as well as “Redneck Woman” for Best Country Song and Best Female Country Vocal Performance. She took home the award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.

I remember coming back from the Country Radio Seminar that year anxiously awaiting the single to hit my desk. There was no doubt in my mind that it would be the hit of the summer and would be a number one record!

It was a fun, fresh song that was constantly being requested by listeners. It spent five weeks at the top of the Hot Country Singles chart. That in itself was a huge accomplishment, but it also became the first number-one hit on that chart for a female solo act since Martina McBride’s “Blessed” two years earlier.

Thanks to the success of Redneck Woman, the album shot to platinum certification (for sales of a million copies) within just over a month after its May 11, 2004 release. By November 4 of that year, sales amounted to three million. And by late 2006, total sales had climbed to five million.

She continued to collaborate with John Rich and the toured together. I was lucky enough to have the chance to see her perform and her energy on stage was powerful. The audience was just as pumped as she was! They screamed with joy and sang along at the top of their lungs when she performed Redneck Woman!

I don’t believe she was a “flash in the pan,” because she certainly had other hit songs. At the same time, you don’t hear much from her today on the radio. One song which I felt should have got more attention was her simple ballad “I Don’t Feel Like Loving You Today.” Her vocal is the exact opposite of Redneck Woman and I think it is just an amazing song.

I’ve been away from country radio for some time now, and I know that most of what plays on the format today is what they call “bro country” or “country rap.” I don’t really feel the connection to the artists today like I did back then. It was a very different format at the time, and Redneck Woman was a country song that was loved by listeners of all formats.

The song was one that has forever stuck with me. I remember hearing it the first time. I remember playing it the first time. I remember seeing her play it live for the first time. So when someone asks me if I like the song, I respond with a big “Hell, yeah!”

Redneck Woman – Lyrics

Well, I ain’t never been the Barbie doll type
No, I can’t swig that sweet Champagne, I’d rather drink beer all night
In a tavern or in a honky tonk or on a four-wheel drive tailgate

I’ve got posters on my wall of Skynyrd, Kid and Strait
Some people look down on me, but I don’t give a rip
I’ll stand barefooted in my own front yard with a baby on my hip

‘Cause I’m a redneck woman
I ain’t no high class broad
I’m just a product of my raising
I say, “hey ya’ll” and “yee-haw”
And I keep my Christmas lights on
On my front porch all year long

And I know all the words to every Charlie Daniels song
So here’s to all my sisters
Out there keeping it country
Let me get a big “hell yeah”
From the redneck girls like me
Hell yeah (Hell yeah)

Victoria’s Secret, well their stuff’s real nice
Oh, but I can buy the same damn thing on a Wal-Mart shelf half price
And still look sexy
Just as sexy as those models on TV

No, I don’t need no designer tag
To make my man want me
You might think I’m trashy, a little too hardcore
But in my neck of the woods I’m just the girl next door

I’m a redneck woman
I ain’t no high class broad
I’m just a product of my raising
I say, “hey y’all” and “yee-haw”
And I keep my Christmas lights on
On my front porch all year long

And I know all the words to every Tanya Tucker song
So here’s to all my sisters
Out there keeping it country
Let me get a big “hell yeah”
From the redneck girls like me
Hell yeah (Hell yeah)

I’m a redneck woman
I ain’t no high class broad
I’m just a product of my raising
And I say, “hey y’all” and “yee-haw”
And I keep my Christmas lights on
On my front porch all year long

And I know all the words to every ol’ Bocephus song
So here’s to all my sisters out there keeping it country
Let me get a big “hell yeah”
From the redneck girls like me (Hell yeah)

Hell yeah (Hell yeah)
Hell yeah (Hell yeah)
I said hell yeah

Working weekend

Friday morning when I got home from work, I had more work to do. I had to help Sam set up for a yard sale.

Downstairs we had storage bins full of Ella’s clothes and more with the stuff Andrew has grown out of. We also had toys that weren’t being played with that we wanted to sell. Then there were big things like a stroller (which was replaced by a double stroller), a bassinet, walkers, and bouncy seats. Yes, the yard was was like 99.8% baby things.

Because I had to work Friday night, I went to bed after helping set up. Our neighbor’s daughter came over and helped with keeping the kids occupied while Sam managed the sale. It was a pretty hot day, and I woke up about 3:30. Sam was ready to wrap up for the day, so I helped drag everything back up to the side of the house (only to have to drag it all back out Saturday morning).

In the end, we sold a few things, but still have the majority of the stuff. Now we’ll driving those things to the resale shop to see what they want. I’m guessing what they don’t take will be donated to one of the churches or missions who help mom’s in need of baby stuff.

Saturday after we packed everything back up, we decided we were too tired to cook. So we ordered out. Sam wanted Mexican from our favorite place. I’m glad I had a lot of my Weight Watchers points left, because I think my meal took them all!

I suppose I could have just ordered a few tacos, but they have these chimichangas that are amazing. I’ve been within my points all week and one little splurge should not really hurt me. They were delicious!!

Today, I was extra careful, and took a nice long walk around the neighborhood to be sure to work off that meal. It was nice to get out and walk. Circumstances didn’t allow me to walk every day like I had hoped. Weigh in is Tuesday morning. Fingers crossed for a loss of a few pounds.

A Blog I’ve Been Avoiding

After much thought, I have decided to sit and write about something that is really hurting me. I am writing this for the sole purpose of talking about it in hopes that it will calm my inner soul to “get it out.” Please bear with me.

Today is my second son’s birthday. He is 15 today. He lives with his mother (my ex). I’m supposed to see him three weekends a month. I’m not sure exactly when it all started happening, but at some point those visits were based on whether or not he wanted to come over.

A few days before I was texting him to ask if he was coming over. He would answer on occasion, but not always. His mother told me a few months ago that she assumed I wasn’t asking him to come over. She suggested a text conversation that included my son, her and me. Since then, I have texted and asked him if he was coming over and wouldn’t get a response from either one of them.

The last time he was over was early May. When we got Covid, I texted to say that it might be a week or two before he should come over. After getting clearance to go back to work, I texted and said, “Cleared to go back to work. Hope to see you this weekend.” A few days later I texted to see if he was planning to come over. This text he responded to. “No Thanks.”

On my birthday, I received a call from my oldest son, but never heard a word from my second oldest. I sent him a text on the first weekend of June asking if he was planning on coming over and got no response this time.

My oldest son has a Facebook messenger group that includes his friends, his friends parents, his brother, and my ex and I. They are always communicating on this thing. Lately, each family has been hosting a get together every weekend. One family has a pond in their back yard that they can all swim in. My sons were there the second weekend of June, so again, no visit.

Father’s Day weekend there was a fair in town and they were discussing going there. I believe they went Friday and Sunday, but had talked about going Saturday, too. My oldest son stated that he worked on Saturday and so they planned on just Friday and Sunday – Sunday, of course, being Father’s Day.

With the group discussing the fair, my ex chimed in and said that the 4 of them (her, my sons, and her boyfriend) should go to the fair in the morning. Then she suggested they “Chill before we do the Father’s Day dinner.” Because of this, I didn’t text my son to see if he was coming, because they obviously had plans.

I had to wonder, though, shouldn’t the “Father’s Day dinner” be with their father?! Apparently not.

On Sunday, my oldest son called me to wish me Happy Father’s Day. He asked what my plans for the day were. I told him that I didn’t know what I was going to do. I said I might head to the store, but other than that, I’d be home. Deep down, I expected him to ask if he could stop over, but he didn’t. It was ok, I knew he had plans.

I never heard from my other son.

I didn’t text this week to see if he was coming. I knew his birthday fell on Saturday and that his mom probably had something planned for him. There is certainly no way, he’d want to be with me. So I dropped a birthday card in the mail earlier in the week. I am sure that it has already arrived. I’m not surprised that I haven’t gotten a “Thank you” yet.

I cannot describe how much it hurts to be shunned by your child. I have reached out so many times, without getting a response. I understand that the divorce wasn’t easy for him. Hell, it wasn’t easy for any of us. But in the end, it was the thing that had to happen. When he uses phrases that his mom has used in conversation with me, like “your other family” and such, I know where they came from.

I saw a quote as I debated whether or not to write this blog:

“I wish I could give you my pain just for one moment. Not to hurt you, but rather so you can finally understand how much you hurt me.”

He is a teenager. He’s got a lot of things going on. He has depression. He has had a very rough year in school. There are a whole lot of feelings he is sorting through. I will hope and pray that one day – when he is ready – we can once again have a relationship and move past all of this stuff. That’s all I can do. It really is up to him.

The hurt is real for me. He is my son. I love him. I will never NOT be his dad, despite what others may be telling him. I will be here for him. In the meantime, I will continue to reach out.

It is also is important not to let these things interfere with or disrupt my life with my wife and other children. They need the best of me. I need to provide for them, too. I have to be a good father and husband to them, as well – and I will.

So there it is. It’s out. I hope that writing down at least some of my thoughts will help me. Thanks for listening/reading.

We now return to your regularly entertaining blog….

Snap! Crackle! Annoying!

For the past couple days, I have had this “crunching” or “crackling” sound in my left ear. It is driving me crazy. It isn’t constant, but it is there when I am eating, or when I move my jaw. It sounds like I have water in my ear or something.

Naturally, everyone I have told is telling me it is a bug in my ear, to try to gross me out. I’m sure that if it were a bug, it would be more of a constant thing.

I didn’t what most people do after a couple days of this – I Googled it. The first thing that came up was something from WebMD:

Crackling in your ear is an annoying sound that may remind you of a fresh bowl of a certain puffed rice cereal. It can be a symptom of normal seasonal allergies. It may also be a sign of something more serious. Here are the most common reasons you might notice crackling noises.

Earwax. The simplest reason for crackling noises in your ears is earwax. Too much earwax buildup in your ear canal may make “crackling” noises as you move your jaw. This may happen naturally. It can also be caused by using cotton swabs to clean your ear.

That’s as far as I got, because it really sounds exactly like what is going on. I do use Q-tips to clean out my ears and the noise is very prominent when I move my jaw. I suppose I need to figure out how to clean it out without using a Q-tip.

In the meantime, I will keeping crackling and crunching…

Skinny Motivation

My last blog post was the my 666th post. Not sure I’m keen on that number, so here is a quickie blog. It’s more for me, than you.

189 pounds. That is what I was in the following picture:

I have a lot of weight to lose to get to that weight again. I’m probably a little lighter than that, because that ridiculous beeper/pager I am wearing is probably 3-4 pounds!!

I’m giving myself a little wiggle room. I’d be happy with 199 pounds. That is how much I weighed in this picture:

My brother captioned this picture – “Keith hideous tie” LOL

It’s weird because I think I look thinner in this picture, but I actually weigh a bit more than in the outdoors picture.

At any rate – I post these as a motivation to get back to that point! I can do it!

Sadly, there’s nothing I can do about my hair – that’s gone for good.

One Photograph – Your Memories

I have a blog that I want to write, but can’t really bring myself to do it emotionally. I’m still trying to sort through the feelings and the best way to write about it. So, today, I have opted to go to the Daily Writing Prompts to find my blog topic.

Today’s Prompt:

“One Photograph – Glance through some old pictures. Write about the one that brings back fond memories.”

As a Nostalgic Italian, almost every picture causes me to reflect on it and remember the moment. The one that jumped out at me today was from when I was about 6 years old.

My Brother and I in front of Grandpa’s truck.

The photo above was taken in Ohio. It was taken on our trip to King’s Island. My folks, my brother and me all packed up my grandpa’s camper and went down for a family trip to King’s Island and Sea World.

The first thing that stands out in the picture is the shirts that my brother and I are wearing. It must have been Summer of 1976. Americans were celebrating the country’s 200th birthday that year. I am guessing that elementary schools throughout the country all ordered the same shirts only with their school’s name on them. I say this because while we were on this trip, there was a family that were wearing the same shirts sitting and eating at a table. I remember getting up and walking around in front of them until the mom said, “Hey! Nice shirt!”

I don’t recall how many days we were there, but at least one day was rainy. Other photo’s from the trip show my brother and me in jackets and the King’s Island “bucket” hats.

While we walked around, they had many of the cartoon characters walking around the park. The gang from the Banana Splits were out and we got a picture with one of them. I believe my brother hates this picture, but I thought it was funny.

I remember riding a lot of the kiddie rides there. One ride had you sitting in a boat and we went through this tunnel with all kinds of characters in it. The photo is long gone, but I remember asking my dad to take a picture of these two skeletons dancing. One had on a top hat. It was one of my favorite pictures, but it was lost in a move probably.

Going back to the weather, I remember this trip scaring the heck out of me. After we went back to the camper, it began to rain hard and then a strong thunderstorm came through. Along with it, came tornado warnings. The four of us were all inside my grandpa’s camper and I was scared to death. I was terrified of tornadoes (thanks to my grandma) and I thought one was going to come through and pick us up in the camper! It was crazy. That wind was tossing us back and forth and it was the worst storm I had ever lived through.

It’s funny how one picture can bring back so many memories. This was the only time I’ve ever been to King’s Island. A buddy was just there last weekend and posted pictures on his Facebook page. As I looked at the other photos from MY trip, I have to believe that Fred Flintstone is no longer there and the Banana Splits have probably been replaced with Sponge Bob or some newer character.

It may just be time for me to take the family there for a trip! Now, if I can only get someone to make me that shirt in a bigger size….

Summer Kick Off

Sunny Days …

Summer has come and it is bringing on the heat!! One Michigan TV station may have slightly over exaggerated on the “First Day of Summer” temperature …

Well, it was sunny and it was hot – but not THAT hot!!

We reached the 90’s today and those hot temps hit early. No neighborhood walk today – it was just too hot. Instead, we set up a bunch of water stuff for the kids. We had the kiddie pool, the water table, and the splash pad. Both kids loved it. Ella is all about getting right in and getting wet!

Andrew is still a bit shy. He likes to splash in the water table, but is not quite sure about the splash pad.

We played outside for about and hour and then headed inside for lunch. We had hoped to do a picnic lunch out in the yard, but the splash pad made the ground a bit too wet. It was probably best to go inside, as it was really getting hot.

I’m really looking forward to the rest of summer!

Weigh In …

Today was weigh in day. I’m posting so I hold myself accountable. As I mentioned in a previous blog, I went off the wagon on Father’s Day and grabbed some ice cream with Ella. I was careful and counted the points for it.

As I stepped on the scale today, I was down four pounds. Total weight loss is 13 pounds. I will continue to focus and drop weight. I have to get healthy. I will take advantage of the weather and get out and walk when I can. Those walks seem to help!

Ordering Tacos…

One funny story and I will wrap for the day. Yesterday we made tacos for dinner. I asked Ella what she wanted on her taco. She told me she wanted “meat, lettuce, and cheese.” As I was making it for her, she tapped me on my back and handed me a package of fruit snacks and said, “Daddy, put gummies on my taco?”

Who am I to judge taco toppings …

Yes, she had her “gummies” on her taco.

Almost Gave Me a Heart Attack

Monday morning, I sat on the couch after getting the kids some breakfast. I pulled my phone out of my pocket and saw that I had missed a call. There was a voice mail message so I listened to it.

“Hello. This message is for Keith. This is ______, from Dr. _______’s office. If you could please call us back as soon as you get this message at (phone number). It’s concerning your test results. Thank you.”

Here is where my almost heart attack happened. The doctor’s office who called was my urologist. He’s the one who performed my vasectomy. I started to freak out a bit because after I had dropped off my “specimen” I was told I would have results in about a week as to whether or not the vasectomy was a success.

10 days after the drop off, I hadn’t heard anything, so I called the office. The called me back the day after and told me that everything was a success. So just what where they calling to tell me?!?!

I’m not going to lie, the fact that the office was calling and it was “concerning your test results” had my heart racing. Sam heard the message, too, and she was a bit freaked out too.

Office: (Ring) “Dr. _____’s office, this is ______.”

Me: Hello, I am returning your call. They said it was about my results.

Office: Oh, yes. Did you get your results?

Me: Well, I thought I had. Someone called me about 10 days after I dropped things off and told me that everything looked good. Things still look good, right?

Office: Oh, yes. Dr. ______’s assistant is no longer with the office and we weren’t sure who she called with results and who she didn’t call. We’re just making sure everyone that was supposed to get a call, does get one.

Me: Oh thank goodness. I was starting to wonder if I was given the wrong results.

Office: Oh, no. You are fine. Sorry to worry you.

Whew!!!

TV Show Draft – Round 9 Pick – Arrested Development

My ninth pick in the Hanspostcard TV Show Draft is a show that consistently made me laugh out loud – Arrested Development. I know going into this blog that it was a show that not everyone “gets.” I recall going to work raving about the show and how much I laughed at it. I encouraged others to watch it. Some got it and most didn’t.

In almost everything you read about the show, it is referred to as “a cult classic.” To a degree, I guess that may be true. I remember how giddy I got when a couple people in my sleep program also were big fans of the show. We were constantly quoting it in class as many stared at us like we were freaks. Maybe we were.

Before continuing, let me say that I chose this show based on the 3 seasons that aired on Fox. I am aware that years later, two more seasons were produced by Netflix (where you can see the entire 5 seasons). As a fan of the show, I watched the two additional seasons, and while there were some funny moments, and while I loved seeing the return of the cast/characters, it lacked so much of what the first three seasons had. That being said, let’s move on …

Ask me the question, “Just why is Arrested Development so good?” or “What makes the show so funny?” and I cannot give you an answer. In preparing to write this, I did a Google search of those questions. There were many Reddit forums and fan sites that come up with personal opinions about it, but none of them really has a solid answer. After all, “comedy is subjective.”

The Origins of the Show

In 2002, Actor/Director Ron Howard had the idea to create a TV comedy that would involve using handheld cameras and shoot sort of like reality TV. It was to have a look of a documentary, yet be a comedy. NBC’s The Office was shot this way and often referred to as a “mock-umentary.”

He met with some people at Imagine Entertainment to discuss the idea and Mitch Hurwitz mentioned the fact that there were a lot of corporate accounting scandals that were in the news (like Enron and Adelphia), and the story of a family that went from rags to riches might work. Howard liked the idea and had Hurwitz begin writing the series. After creating the story’s characters and plot line, he had a pilot script done in January of 2003 and the first episode was shot just two months later. Howard acted as the show’s narrator and in the opening credits welcomes viewers to the “story of a wealthy family who lost everything, and the one son who had no choice but to keep them all together. It’s Arrested Development”.

The show is about a family – albeit a VERY dysfunctional family. I think that is what makes this whole show work. Watching each of these characters, with their own insecurities and idiosyncrasies, interacting with each other allows for comedy to flourish. (It also will cause you to see members of your own family as members of this one!) Add to brilliantly funny “cut-aways,” narrator comments, and strong comedy writing and you have a show that will make your sides hurt from laughing.

In a nutshell, the show follows the formally wealthy Bluth family as Micheal (Justin Bateman), the only responsible Bluth, tries to keep them and their company from going completely bust while desperately attempting to set a good example for his teenage son (Micheal Cera). The family includes imprisoned father George (Jeffrey Tambor), hypercritical matriarch Lucille (Jessica Walter), failed magician Gob (Will Arnett), spoiled sister Lindsay (Portia de Rossi), and man-child Buster (Tony Hale). 

Wikipedia describes the show this way:

The plot of Arrested Development revolves around the members of the Bluth family, a formerly wealthy family who continue to lead extravagant lifestyles despite their changed circumstances. At the center of the show is Michael Bluth, the show’s straight man, who strives to do the right thing and keep his family together, despite their materialism, selfishness, and manipulative natures. Michael is a widowed single father. His teenage son, George Michael, has the same qualities of decency but feels a constant pressure to live up to his father’s expectations and is often reluctant to follow his father’s plans. He battles with a crush he has on cousin Maeby, which developed from a kiss she gave him as part of a prank.

Michael’s father, George Bluth Sr., is the patriarch of the family and a corrupt real estate developer who is arrested in the first episode. George goes to considerable lengths to manipulate and control his family in spite of his imprisonment, and makes numerous efforts to evade justice. His wife, and Michael’s mother, Lucille Bluth, is ruthlessly manipulative, materialistic, and hypercritical of every member of her family, and constantly drinks alcohol. Her grip is tightest on her youngest son, Byron “Buster” Bluth, an over-educated (yet still under-educated) mama’s boy who has dependency issues and is prone to panic attacks.

Michael’s older brother is George Oscar Bluth II, known by the acronym “Gob” (pronounces like “Job” in the Bible).  An unsuccessful professional magician whose business and personal schemes usually fail or become tiresome and are quickly abandoned, Gob is competitive with Michael over women and bullies Buster. Michael’s twin sister Linday is spoiled and materialistic, continually seeking the center of attention and leaping on various social causes for the sake of vanity. She is married to Tobias Funke (David Cross), a discredited psychiatrist-turned-aspiring actor. Tobias is a self-diagnosed “never-nude” (a disorder comparable to gymnophobia) whose language and behavior have heavily homosexual overtones to which he seems oblivious and which are the center of much tongue-in-cheek comedy throughout the series. Their daughter is Mae “Maeby” Funke (Alia Shawkat), a rebellious teen with an opportunistic streak, who seeks to defy her parents for the sake of attention, and otherwise pursues boys and power, and furthers her complicated relationship with George Michael.

The supporting cast and characters are just as strong and developed as the main ones. Those include Jeffrey Tambor as George Sr.’ identical twin Oscar, Liza Minnelli as Lucille Austero (or Lucille 2), Carl Weathers appears as himself (and is hilarious), and Henry Winkler as the family’s attorney Barry Zuckerkorn. Other guest stars include Ed Begley Junior, Ben Stiller, Christine Taylor, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Charlize Theron.

One Reddit user said:

I’ve never found another sitcom on TV that assumed its viewers had concentration spans and didn’t need to be spoon fed things. The producers were more than happy to let a brilliant joke sail past half the audience rather than overexpose it so everyone watching understood. They were not only happy to include subtle references to episodes that occurred a year or two before they were happy to throw in references to things that were going to happen later in the season. And all without a laugh track or excessive mugging to the camera to tell us when to laugh.

Of course being subtle and extremely clever on its own isn’t enough to make a good sitcom. Arrested Development also benefited from brilliant stories, very clever writing and perfect performances from the entire cast.

The countless in-jokes, references to other jokes and jokes that reference jokes that are referencing the in-jokes. The show is so layered that there are literally hundreds of clever idiosyncrasies within each episode. Like someone said earlier, the viewer feels rewarded when they get a joke that refers to an earlier episode.

One of the things I still love about the show is that it gets better with each viewing! I can watch an episode again and find jokes I had missed before. It is constantly offering a “pay off.” It is different from say Friends or Fraiser, in that every time you watch an episode again, you find a comedy “nugget.”

There are many fantastic running gags on the show. Rolling Stone wrote a very nice article on them. You can find that here:

https://www.rollingstone.com/tv/tv-lists/arrested-development-the-funniest-running-jokes-48542/the-banana-stand-46247/

There is also a great Watch Mojo Top 10 list:

Visual gags and word play were often a source of laughs on the show. I remember one gag that really pushed the envelope and left me laughing and wondering how they got away with it at the same time:

One of the silliest gags on the show is the Bluth Family Chicken Dance, which is mentioned in the video above. It is not something they all do in unison, let me be clear on that. Each member of the Bluth family has their own – very unique way – of dancing like a chicken. This is often used when insinuating that another family member is chicken or scared of doing something. I’m including this video, because in the one above, some of the “set up” to the full family dance was omitted.

In the middle of the third season, it was clear that viewership was down and the show was probably going to be cancelled. As a matter of fact, Fox pulled the show from the November sweeps that year AND cut down the order for 22 episodes to just 13 (something which became a joke throughout that third season.)

In 2004, the show was nominated for 7 Emmy awards and won five of them.  It won for Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series, Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series, Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. It was praised by critics for being one of the funniest shows on TV, but the ratings never really lived up to that hype.

I was excited to write about this show, but now that I am reaching the end, I feel that I have in no way, shape, or form done it justice. I just don’t know how to do that. It is a show that makes me laugh out loud, yet I cannot fully explain why. It is a show that you will either love or hate – based on what you find funny.

Remember at the beginning of this blog I asked: “Just why is Arrested Development so good?” or “What makes the show so funny?”

In an interview with The Guardian, Justin Bateman may have the answer! He explained the key to what makes Arrested Development so hilarious is how seriously the characters take their ridiculous lives. He states that the sitcom is actually more like a drama for its ensemble of characters. The comedy, he feels, comes from the fact that the Bluth family has no idea how funny they really are.

“This is not funny to anybody inside the show. This is a drama to them. Almost like an animal documentary, where you’re watching these freaks, and how they gather their food, and how they make their house. And let’s make sure we all whisper because we don’t want these folks to know how much we’re laughing at them.” – Justin Bateman

Thank you, Bluth Family, for all the laughs!

My Father’s Day Weekend

Father’s Day began for me on Saturday morning. We celebrated Saturday because Sam had to work on Sunday.

When I returned home from work, my kids were already up and waiting. Sam had texted me that Ella was anxious for me to come home to get my present. Ella was excited because she had seen something in the store and wanted to get it for me weeks ago. Same ordered it online so it would be here for Father’s Day.

Ella and Andrew got to play with markers (which only happens on special occasions) and decorate the gift bag my gifts would be in. She was so happy to hand me the bag.

She waited for me to reach into the bag and could hardly contain herself. When I pulled out her gift to me, she shrieked with excitement! It was really the perfect gift.

We watch Bluey together all the time. It is probably my favorite cartoon that she watches. Bandit, the dad on the show, is what ALL dad’s should be! He’s awesome. This book is just wonderful. We read it before bed last night. I don’t know who was happier about this book – Ella or me!

Andrew got some help from mommy with his gift. As I have mentioned, I’m an older dad. One of the reasons I started this blog was to write my memories and such so that in the event something happens, the memories are here. Sam took it a step further for Andrews’s gift to me.

I’m not sure who came up with the idea for books like this, but they are great. I had originally gotten one of these for my mom to fill out before she passed. She was just too sick and too tired to ever really do it. I wish she’d been able to do that.

At any rate, there are a lot of thought provoking questions in this book and Sam thought I could take it with me to work and fill it in when I was on breaks and such. I love the idea!

After nap time, the family drove up the road to look for some new pajamas for Ella. She’s starting to not fit in her current ones. We went to the Carter’s store and looked around. She was forever handing Sam and I things for Andrew or herself that she found on a rack somewhere. The funniest thing of the trip was a foreshadowing of Ella in her teen and adult years. She kept asking for shoes and even began to make a pile of ones she wanted!

Just the beginning …..

After our shopping trip we came home and made dinner. I didn’t want Sam to have to take me out anywhere, so we made chicken on the grill. We also made corn on the cob and other sides. It was the perfect way to wrap up the day.

I was out grilling the chicken and I was using a brush to put BBQ sauce on a few of the pieces of chicken.

As I am doing this, Ella is standing there watching me. She see’s me dipping the brush into the BBQ sauce and putting it on the chicken. She then says, “Daddy! You’re painting!” Priceless!

Sam kept telling Ella to say, “Happy Father’s Day” to me and it kept coming out “Happy Mother’s Day” which just made me laugh even more.

On Sunday, or “Father’s Day in real life,” as Bluey might say, we had a wonderful breakfast. I made everyone eggs, sausage, and fruit. Ella stated that it was “Deeee-lish-ous!”

We called my dad to wish him Happy Father’s Day. My oldest son called me to wish me the same. Sadly, I never heard from my second oldest son. That’s a whole blog in itself and I will spare you those details for now.

After Andrew’s nap, I decided to take the kids to the Barnes and Noble. I wasn’t sure that there was anything I wanted for myself, but I though we could pick up some new books for them.

While we were walking Ella and I were just talking. Andrew was in the stroller and Ella was walking next to me. I don’t remember what we were saying, but a woman stopped me and said that she wished she had videoed the exchange we were having. She said she was very impressed with how we were interacting. She reminded me of a teacher or something. Ella then said hello, grabbed a puzzle with dogs on the box and showed the lady.

The lady, without skipping a beat, got down on the ground and they counted dogs together, asked about the colors of the dogs, and talked about what “doggies say.” It was so cool to see. She thanked Ella for showing her and Ella put the puzzle back. The lady was so impressed with how polite Ella was. Proud parent moment.

After we got home, we had lunch. Sam took Andrew into our room when it was his nap time. Sam suggested that since one of the local ice cream places had free cones for dads on Father’s day, we should go. We wound up going somewhere a bit closer, but it still worked out because dads got a free scoop of ice cream there, too!

Ice cream is not exactly on Weight Watchers, but I had some anyway and ate carefully the rest of the day. Ella asked for “white ice cream with sprinkles” and that is what she got!

Dad may or may not have had to help her on occasion because it was melting faster than she could eat it!

She talked to everyone who came to the ice cream place! She recommended getting banana ice cream to many, even though she was eating vanilla. She was a real hoot. The owner came out and asked how her ice cream was and she said it was the “best ice cream ever!”

After the ice cream, dad decided to walk the neighborhood. Sunday, she didn’t want to ride in the stroller. So we walked together. The workout was a bit less intense than I had hoped.

About half way through the walk she tripped and skinned her knee pretty bad. So I wound up picking her up and finishing the walk with her on my shoulders. That brought the heart rate up a bit and I probably burned off about half of the ice cream calories!

When Sam left for work, it was just me and the kids. We were playing on the “nugget” and having a blast. Andrew was climbing up like nobody’s business. Once he was on the top, he would start to walk off it. Most of the time, I was there to catch him. There were a couple times where he’d do this little stuntman fall. He is fearless!

Thank you to my wife and my kids for making the weekend such a special one for me!