Nostalgia, DVDs, old movies, television, OTR, fandom, good news and bad, picks, pans, cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.
Contact me at theyoungfamily (at) earthlink (dot) net . . . . . . . . . .
» Thursday, February 24, 2022
Yesterday Once More
Once upon a time there was a brilliant television series named Remember WENN. It ran for four seasons, fifty-six episodes, and was supposed to run for a fifth, if shorter season, when it was abruptly canceled by AMC, who didn't even have the decency to tell the show's creator, Rupert Holmes, up front that his series was canceled. They waited until he was on the road with a play and then announced the cancellation, and it was the fans—one of whom was me—who broke the news to him.
Remember WENN took place at radio station WENN in Pittsburgh, PA, from September 1939 to December 1941, and, had it continued, would have followed the cast into World War II. It was literate, used clever wordplay evocative of the radio comedies of the same era, never devolved into the boob jokes and sniggery sex comedy that was common in network comedies at the time. The series was filmed in Astoria in New York City, and the cast was more familiar to stage audiences than television fans, except for character actor John Bedford Lloyd, although several of the actors made appearances on that other New York-filmed series, Law & Order.
Since the series aired on AMC, there were really no ratings for it, but the series was the darling of several reviewers, and it garnered pretty much mostly good reviews everywhere. In the fourth season especially, several celebrity guest stars, like Daniel Benzali, Jason Alexander, and Greg Germann were added to the mix. Alas, the new regime, which wanted a "younger, hipper" image than AMC's old movie classics, wanted the series out, too. (They replaced it with a series about the movies, The Lot, which was, frankly, a mess.)
The other thing Remember WENN garnered was a large crowd of loyal fans. Since the series was set in the 1940s and about old time radio, you might have thought the fans would be older. Surprisingly, though some of them were, a large number were young. The founder of the WENN chat group was twelve years old. Many of the fans were in junior- and high school, a number of others were college-age and watched the series in their dorm rooms. The rest of us ranged from 30s through 50s (I was 41 at the time the series premiered), and our oldest fan was also the father of the series' creator, Leonard Goldstein, Rupert Holmes' dad, who was a fixture on the chat for several years.
AMC for years tried to disavow the series. They proclaimed Mad Men as their very first "original series." For years they ignored fans' pleas for a DVD set. But today AMC now has a streaming service which they need to fill with programming, so, besides all their new original programming (most of which seems to be four million iterations of their zombie show, The Walking Dead) they needed fill time. And so, Remember WENN has been revived on AMC+.
In the meantime an outfit called "Stars in the House," a video podcast hosted by Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley to benefit the theaters shuttered by the coronavirus pandemic, put together a Remember WENN reunion on February 23. It was broadcast via YouTube with a chat function enabled on the side.
Well, to our absolute delight, not only did most of the cast manage to show up "live" (only Hugh O'Gorman and C.J. Byrnes couldn't make it, and they sent recorded messages), including Melinda Mullins, who now lives in France and logged in at two in the morning, but creator Rupert Holmes was there as well, and the cast was able to spring a surprise that some of the fans knew about as well: a birthday greeting, as Rupert's 75th birthday was the next day, February 24. This was sheer pleasure; you hear so many stories about how some television cast members don't get along (apparently Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic of Castle hated each other), but the WENN cast apparently adored each other and they were delighted to reunite. At one point John Bedford Lloyd asked if Teressa (Rupert's super-special assistant) could collect everyone's e-mail addresses so that the cast could communicate with each other. It was two hours of wonderful memories and laughter.
The really special thing was that of the crowd on chat, over half of the people were either original members of the original WENN chat group (myself, Rodney, Alena, Biz, Brett, Katie, Julia, John, Mallory—who was thirteen when she joined the group!—and more), plus a bunch more of the later denizens like Rita, Erin, Meggan, etc. So while we were watching and listening to the cast have their reunion, we were having a reunion at the same time. These were people we talked to for years, even after the series ended; we were still having chat ten years after the show was canceled, albeit less often, but still up until midnight, one o'clock on Saturday nights. Heck, I put chat programs on my later phones and tables so I could do chat as well as attend conventions. We were like one big family and on February 23 it was the biggest, bonniest family reunion ever.
There was even a happy ending to this story: Biz created a WENN chat room on Discord, which appears to be a kind of chat room that's open all the time, and now we have a place to meet again.
If you were a Remember WENN fan, you may enjoy this replay of the reunion, and you can see all of us having fun on the chat as well.
And if that's not enough Remember WENN for you, Rodney Walker, who used to be known for his in-depth "Walk Throughs" of the episodes, has done a bravura "Walk Through" of the reunion:
Outside my window... ...cloudy. It's going to be warm (70s) and raining for the next three days. And of course on the day we have to be out (Thursday) it's going to be almost 80°F! Ugh. Let's go back to winter again. I don't want to think about spring coming; my allergy is already bad enough with the things (magnolia, violets, etc.) already blooming.
I am thinking... ...I haven't done one of these in ages. Been preoccupied with James and writing.
I am thankful... ...that James' back seems to be getting better. He fell at the doctor's office when he was there to get the stitches taken out of his foot where he had his toe amputated in January (yeah, it's been that long) and he fractured the T-6, T-7, and T-8 bones of his spine. He's finally not taking pain pills at night anymore. If only the blisters on that foot would quit! Still trying to dry them out with betadyne.
In the kitchen... ...I made chicken apple sausage from Trader Joe's today; we had it with some leftover mushroom rice. I cannot wait till James retires and I will not have to cook anymore. I always have to stop in the middle of doing something interesting to muck around in the kitchen.
I am wearing... ...a dark blue Owly t-shirt and plaid blue and white pants.
I am creating... ...been writing again.
I am going... ...with James to the doctor on Thursday. I'm hoping he likes the state of the foot since he still has the blisters.
I am wondering... ...if there will ever be a time where I can resign myself to enjoying summer, because each one is an ordeal. Maybe when I'm very old and cold all the time I can enjoy it, but all I can look forward to these days is the misery of being hot and sick from the heat. My hot flashes were lessening, and then, oddly, after James went into the hospital they started up again, and those only make it worse.
I am reading... ...Stamped from the Beginning, by Ibram X. Kendi. Many things I did already know, many additional things I did not. Interesting how racism goes back to classism and also to economics.
I am hoping... ...this stupid rain will go away so I will get rid of this headache I've had for two days. We have two more miserable days of heat in the 70s—including Thursday when it will be almost 80 and gross—and maybe after that it will go away.
I am looking forward to... ...the Remember WENN cast reunion on line tomorrow. So excited!!! It will be aired on YouTube and features most of the cast and series creator Rupert Holmes as well as Donna Murphy and Betty Buckley.
I am learning... ...more about curing blisters than any human should have to learn.
Around the house... ...I've dawdled on working on this so much that it's now way past 2 p.m. when I started it, and have watched five episodes of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, including "Untethered" which puts me in a fetal position every time they strap Goren down to that table.
I am pondering... ...a way to be rich so I can go live down on the South Island of New Zealand from April to September and then never, ever, ever, ever have to live through another summer again.
A favorite quote for today...
"Whenever you are fed up with life, start writing: ink is the great cure for all human ills."
One of my favorite things... ...well, what I was watching today: Law & Order: Criminal Intent. The Goren and Eames episodes, of course.
A few plans for the rest of the week: The usual crappy grocery shopping. I'm sorry, I hate grocery shopping, especially when it's hot, because we have to go to three different stores to get everything we need and then we have to rush because we need to get the groceries home before the milk spoils and the yogurt thaws and the meat spoils. Then once we get it home we have to drag most of it upstairs unless it's going into the pantry downstairs.
A peek into my day... Well, how about a photo of Goren and Eames (impeccably played by Vincent D'Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe).
Well, James' foot is slowly healing. However...it's been a weird trip there.
First, I unwrapped it on Groundhog Day to do the twice-weekly sterilizing and rewrapping, and on either side of the stitches were big fat blisters! Really strange because otherwise the foot looks great (except for the betadyne stains); even the minor swelling, which he has had ever since he got the infection last December, has gone away. (And heck, maybe this was a sign all along that the bone infection was lurking under the surface all year even though his white count didn't increase nor did his blood test show any kind of infection, even when he was in the hospital to have the pus in the toe treated.) I can only conclude this is the result of his not wearing the compression socks.
Thankfully, the thigh portion of his left leg was still relatively blister free (one broke out right before our doctor visit, but it's not even a half inch in diameter, so it's one of his smaller blisters) and isn't the holy mess the leg was last year after his hospital stay. I treat that every other night with the leg cream recommended by the dermatologist.
So, I was worried about what the doctor was going to say on Friday the 4th at James' next followup appointment, and I didn't sleep well, and then we got to the doctor's office and the nurse took James' blood pressure and it was too low all three times. Well, I've been worried about this happening. When he was in the hospital, his blood pressure was way up in the 160s, and they not only doubled his beta-blocker (the carvedelol), but they pulled him off lisonopril and put him on both hydralazine (three times a day!) and amlodipine. Nobody seemed to be sure if the high numbers were due to the infection or from the combination of two antibiotics. I asked the doctor smack up front when he was released what to do if his blood pressure started to fall, and she gave us the numbers to watch for. Well, the moment he came home his blood pressure started to fall (surprise!) and when he came off the antibiotics it dropped like a rock. First I pulled him off the amlodipine. Then I took him off his afternoon dose of hydralazine. And it seems to have finally stabilized. We'll see this Friday. It was okay at his Urgent Care followup this morning.
(I am still flummoxed why they told us that the lisonopril was bad for his kidneys. Because the person who prescribed it was his kidney doctor! Also glad when he finished the antibiotics, because the combination of the two completely fucked up his blood sugar and gave him diarrhea as well.)
Anyway, to get back to February fourth... James does as he always does at Kaiser; the exam rooms are not large enough for his power chair, so he parks it outside the door and limps to the examination table.
Except when he stood up on Friday, his left pants leg caught in the top of one of the "outrigger" wheels on the power chair. He dropped like a felled tree on his left side and had the wind knocked out of him. Ironically, unlike the other three times he's fallen, he didn't hit his head, or even scrape his elbow. It did hurt him, but he didn't think it was that bad. However, since he really has limited mobility, he could not get to his feet on his own—it's always taken two strong firefighters unless he can buttscoot to the top of the stairs and then get up that way—so they had to use this lift gadget they have to get him off the floor. Only then did he finally get the stitches removed, and nobody suggested he go downstairs and get an x-ray. The doctor did prescribe a limited amount of hydrocodone for any pain, and we picked that up and we got home and he took one and leaded against a heating pad and figured it would help. It got later. We ate something. We watched Steve Canyon to take his mind off the pain.
The pain was getting worse.
So, heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it was off to Urgent Care we go. At least they let me sit inside, on the opposite side of the doors from the Urgent Care area, even though we apparently hit Urgent Care on a dead night and no more than two people were ever in there at the same time. Still wouldn't let me go back with him. So I sat there with my laptop and worked on a story (I had made a major blunder referencing a past event, so I pretty much had to "rip up" over two pages of story; however the rewrite actually did improve the tale). At midnight they were going to throw me out to the cold (or inside Butch, which was just as cold, since his heater doesn't work), but luckily, after a CT scan and scads of bloodwork, they released him just after midnight. He had compression fractures in his T6 and T7 bones in his spine, and a stress fracture in the T8 spinal bone. All this from falling on his left side and there wasn't a bruise on him!
(As they released him from Urgent Care, the nurse asked, "Did Podiatry file an incident report?" Hell if we know! If they did, they didn't ask us to read or sign anything.)
He was in pretty bad pain for the first couple of days; anything that caused him to bed over, like putting on or taking off underwear and pants, literally leave him seeing stars. Basically he had to take two hydrocodone tablets (and he hasn't ever needed two hydrocodone in his life) and a muscle relaxant before bed, and then hydrocodone in the morning, and another muscle relaxant in the afternoon, and, of course being on "hard drugs," he can't work. So he had to call in sick abruptly (and now IBM is whining about having someone "dependable" on weekend duty—he's done this for three years now, and this is the first time he's been "undependable"; otherwise he's worked their damn Sundays and only taken a few of them off with prior approval). So he's been on total rest all week and the days have kinda blurred together. When I get frustrated I duck into a story and that really helps; it's much more pleasant living inside my head.
In other news:
Did the taxes and we owe a lot, but that's okay because I have been saving money monthly from every social security payment in my savings account, earmarked to pay taxes with, rather than having the IRS hold my money interest-free. I'll up the withholding on my pension this year, though, because I got penalized $23 for not having enough money taken out for taxes! You really can't win with the Feds.
Wellstar is still sending us "shame on you" letters because Kaiser hasn't paid them. Dude, I pay Kaiser $500 a month and then the Feds pay them at least another $1300 a month to take care of this shit for me. You can "shame me" all you like; go talk to Kaiser. I'm done.
Both Vincent D'Onofrio and Jonny Harris liked one of my tweets (two different ones). I celebrated by ordering the former's book. (Actually, now that I think about it, I celebrate nearly everything by ordering a book...)