The Blues

I was saddened by the news of the death of the brilliant Steven Bochco, co-creator of the best cop shows ever put on TV, Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue.

Hill Street Blues came out when I was still living in Johannesburg, and as US shows couldn’t be shown on South African TV because apartheid, my friendly local video store owner managed to get copies made in the US and smuggled into South Africa, where he transposed the episodes from NTSC into the PAL system.  He recommended the pilot show to me, and I was hooked in the first five minutes. I’d never seen anything like that show before — and I suspect not many had, even in America. I grew to love the characters and watched their antics fondly each week, waiting for the call from Jim to tell me he’d finished transposing the latest episode; he knew I loved the show and as my apartment was literally across the road from his store, I’d stop over on my way back from work, grab the VHS cassette from him and watch the thing twice before returning it to him the next morning.

I had a major crush on Assistant D.A. Joyce Davenport (Veronica Hamel), and loved the way that she and Captain Frank Furillo (Daniel J. Travanti) had this antagonistic professional relationship at the precinct while having a love affair in secret. I even loved Furillo’s awful ex-wife Fay (Barbara Bosson) and how she always caused trouble for him when she came storming into the station. And I could go on and on: the relationship between cowboy cop Renko and Black cop Washington, the grumpy Belker always getting interrupted at critical moments by phone calls from his mother, the silky psychopath SWAT commander Howard Hunter (James B. Sikking) and so on and so on. And like many, I mourned the real-life death of desk sergeant Phil Esterhaus (Michael Conrad), whose post-briefing “Let’s be careful out there” so often went unheeded, and so often with tragic consequences. I think the show went a little downhill after his passing.

You will understand how much I loved this show that I can still recall so many of the plot details now, some thirty years later.

Much less so was NYPD Blue, which was a grittier, more New York kind of show (as opposed to the still-rough-but-somehow-gentler Chicago South Side of HSB). Still, there were parallels: I had a huge crush on NYPD’s Assistant D.A. Sylvia Costas (Sharon Lawrence) — yes, two ADAs in two shows, go figure — but whereas HSB was mostly drama, NYPDB, made in a more permissive decade, threw in a healthy dose of sex between the characters, with actual nudity. That aside, though, whereas Hill Street Blues had been a truly ensemble show, NYPD Blue belonged lock, stock and barrel to the brilliant Dennis Franz as Det. Andy Sipowicz, whose loud, profane and irritable persona was all New York — still more remarkable when you consider that Franz was the archetypal Chicago cop. (His one-man stage show about cops in Chicago had the accolade of being the favorite stage show of actual Chicago cops, who nightly formed much of his theater audience.) There were other characters on NYPDB — good if not excellent ones — but Franz owned the place.

Anyway, as Readers other than of my own vintage won’t know what the hell I’m talking about here, I’m going to resort to pictures, first of ADA Joyce Davenport and then her New York counterpart, ADA Sylvia Costas.

Finally, here’s a totally-gratuitous pic of NYPDB‘s Det. Diane Russell (Kim Delaney), so everyone can see what I’ve been talking about:

R.I.P. Mr. Bochco, and thank you for the Blues.

“Sit, Ubu.”

Failing

I see that the promoters of the U.S. F1 Grand Prix are going to have one-time Train Smash Woman Britney Spears and someone named Bruno Mars perform at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) over the race weekend this year. This, to encourage people to come to a place which features, as one canny commenter put it, a 56-lap parade lap.

Here’s why I, a Formula 1 devotee, won’t be going back to the US GP anytime soon.

  • Parking — It’s a nightmare. If you don’t mind paying $150 for a parking spot next to the track, then you’re good to go. However, if you balk at paying that fee on top of a $200-plus ticket price, then you’ll be parking in a muddy field over a mile away and walking along a country road to and from the race. It’s total bullshit. There should be large covered parking garages (which we Murkins do better than anyone else, btw) all around the circuit so that race fans can at least get to their cars quickly, even if they then have to endure the
  • Traffic jams — Access to COTA is along a series of tiny, two-lane back-country roads which cannot handle even half the traffic of the event. If the race starts at 1pm, you need to get to within three miles of the track at least three hours beforehand. Last year, Doc Russia, Trevor and I got there two hours beforehand, parked the Doom Wagon (Doc’s ride — don’t ask) and walked about a mile and a half alongside a road full of cars carrying people who were trying to get closer before themelves parking. Some people had given up and were trying to turn around — making the situation even worse — and the only saving grace of the whole thing was that it wasn’t raining (which it often does in Austin in November, by the way, sometimes in torrents). All this hassle, as I mentioned above, at the most excruciating
  • Cost — It seems ironic that only the F1 team owners and drivers can really afford to go to the US GP. Attending the GP could cost, all in, over $1,000 — way too much for the average fan to afford — and to be perfectly honest, when it would cost me only a few hundred dollars more to attend any of the better-managed F1 races in Europe, I can see why the promoters have an uphill battle, especially when the FIA governing body of Formula 1 charges excessive fees to the track owners so that FIA can pay the large amounts of money to the teams to cover development and playboy millionaire-driver costs. Unlike in Yurp, we Murkins have a lot of choices when it comes to motorsports — Indycar and NASCAR come to mind, both of which are better spectacles than F1 anyway, because they are less
  • Boring — It says a lot that a NASCAR race on an oval track can be more exciting to watch than the F1 Grand Prix. In my opinion there are several ways that F1 could improve the sport and make it more exciting for spectators,  but I’ll talk about that some other time. So I’d rather not watch the F1 races in situ, but instead spend my Saturdays and Sundays
  • Online — The annual cost for the F1 live-streaming TV coverage of all the races is about one-tenth the cost of attending a single Grand Prix: no expensive hotel rooms, no driving three hours just to get to Austin, no traffic jams, no long walks over muddy fields and along congested roads, no exorbitant tickets costs, etc. Rather, I’ll sit in my comfortable recliner with some kind of beverage in hand and a bowl of snacks, and watch the entire race, not just the piece of track I can see from my seat. I hope it rains.

And here’s the real takeaway from my gripe: once there’s no reason for me to attend said event, it really doesn’t matter whether there’s a US Grand Prix at all — on TV, the coverage is pretty much confined to the track anyway. (For that matter, I’d rather watch the Spa or Monza races on TV anyway because the tracks are more interesting than the Scalextric layout of COTA.)

Incidentally, I am fully aware of the irony of COTA hiring Britney Spears to perform after their Grand Prix:

 …while F1 has banned grid girls.

Let it also be said that I wouldn’t attend a Britney concert as a gift. I have enough problems with my hearing without subjecting my ears to her breathy dog-whistle voice. And as I have no idea who or what “Bruno Mars” is, it’s a safe assumption that I won’t be watching that either.

Sayonara, Austin Grand Prix. I’d like to say it was fun while it lasted; but overall, it wasn’t. I’m a huge fan of F1 — just not the way you stage it. Too bad, really.

And They’re Off !

So after the Class of Cheltenham comes the Ass of Aintree (a.k.a. the Great Train Smash Women Pageant):

Okay, okay… there were a couple of sorta-decent specimens there too, although one has to look hard to find them:

  

 

  (girl needs a suntan, badly)

Best line of the day: “According to racecourse bosses, there’s no strict dress code for the festival as there is for Royal Ascot”, and accordingly the Train Smash Women are just overwhelming (in every sense of the word):

    

  

…and it’s only Day ONE !!!!

About Time, Too

I’ve always enjoyed Taki Theodoracopulos’s pet online project, Taki’s Magazine.  I especially love the old Greek bastard’s own wicked articles, with all the name-dropping and gossip flavoring. Almost without exception too, the writers have been a type after my own heart: intelligent, educated, fearless and completely irreverent, they’re willing to tackle even the most fearsome of sacred cows.

Much less so were the morons who commented on the articles. Almost without exception, they were a bunch of ignorant assholes for whom no dire situation or event was not at least partially caused by the Jooos (especially, as Taki puts it, “(((the Rothschilds)))”) who are seated at the heart of the Great Jewish / Bilderberg / Katahdin /  Illuminati Conspiracy (or some bullshit like that).

So Taki finally got sick of all those commentators’ illiterate and malicious doggerel, and took out the Comments section. Now, if you want to make a comment, you have to send Taki’s Mag an email with your comment, and they’ll publish them later in the week IF they feel the comment is worthy. I suspect that only about 0.05% of the emails will ever see the light of day: good.

At last, I can wholeheartedly endorse Taki’s Magazine because it’s excellent. Even David Cole and Pat Buchanan don’t get up my nose that much anymore (mostly because I only read those of their posts which cover topics I’m interested in). Even if I don’t agree with the rest of the Taki’s Mag articles — or even just parts thereof — I read them anyway, because regardless of my opinion, they’re pretty compelling reading.

Hell, Joe Bob Briggs alone makes visiting the website a fine experience; but to be honest, you could say that about almost all the writers. And that’s something I cannot say about any other online (or even Dead Tree) publication.

Enjoy.

Dialing Back The Pussification, One Race At A Time

Via Longtime Friend Knob, I see that the F1 grid girls will be on display at Monaco this year:

When Liberty Media announced it would be replacing grid girls with grid kids the owners of Formula 1 were applauded for tackling a dated and sexist tradition.
But not everyone was pleased with Liberty’s decision. Many F1 fans believe the grid girls are a big part of the sport – and the organisers of one of F1’s biggest races seem to agree with this viewpoint.
According to the report the Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM) has reached an agreement with Liberty Media for the grid girls to be at the “glitzy and glamorous” race.
In an interview with newspaper Monaco-Matin, ACM president Michel Boeri said: “The relationship is good with Liberty Media, because they understand that Monaco is not Spa or Monza.”

Actually, the real response should have been that Formula 1 isn’t the faculty lounge at Wellesley College, but I’ll take victory where I can, no matter how small.

On a related note:  I won’t be going to Monaco this year to watch the race with Knob because he won’t be in the country — some crap about he’ll be busy selling some property development off in South Africa at the end of May, like he has his priorities right (not) — so as far as Yer Humble Narrator is concerned, the glitz and glamour of the Monaco GP will have to wait till another year.

Ugh.


For newcomers to this here corner of the Internet, my earlier thoughts on Liberty Media’s stupidity can be found here. And here’s a small sample of what we’ll be missing in all the other F1 races in 2018:

 

I think those pussywhipped fools at Liberty Media need to get a swift kick in the balls… if they have any, that is.

Bad Hair Dames

And lo, in the years of the 1930s there was inflicted upon women the hairstyle known as “curly bangs”; yea and even the most beauteous of them were made hideous by this fashion:

 

And only in the 1940s did the ones known as “hair-stylists” get a clue and start to make amends:


Dramatis personae, from top:

Greta Garbo
Barbara Stanwyck
Greer Garson
Ginger Rogers

Veronica Lake
Lauren Bacall
Ann Miller
Dolores Moran