Saturday, August 26, 2017

Ever feel like you're always stuck in second gear?

Whenever people talked about their favorite TV shows, occasionally, I am unable to join the conversation.  Who has missed seeing a series, or two?  Well, I missed one of the biggest ones. 

So it was not until 2015, that I finally saw the TV show Friends.  I mean, I saw bits a pieces, and even caught an episode here and there, but for the most part, I never really sat down and watched the show.

So two years ago, what did I do over my summer break?  I spent it with a few friends...well, all six of them to be exact.  Monica, Chandler, Phoebe, Ross and Rachel.  Rachel, oh Rachel!

​I watched Friends, the entire series...all 236 episodes.  Remember that show from several decades know, pre-Netflix, iPhones, texting, know, the dark days of technology.

​Back in those days, I never saw this huge TV hit.  I was busy producing my own TV show and was not available to watch another TV show on Thursday nights.  At the time, I already had a bunch of VHS tapes that were waiting for me at home, so I was not going to start another collection of tapes.

Recently, when I told people that I never watched Friends, they would just stop whatever they were doing and just stare at me.  They seemed very surprised.

One friend who credits this series as her inspiration for getting into the TV business said of Friends; "honestly it was perfect"  After watching it, I agree.

Ever since I talked about this on Lossano and Friends!, I have noticed that there is a renew interest with Friends.  A couple of articles (Hello Giggles and Huffington Post) even caught other people standing in for a couple of Friends characters...

​Rachel Paige, from Hello Giggles, explained why we are finding these now, which apparently has little to do with me.
"When Friends was filmed back in the ’90s, television was done mostly in 4:3 aspect ratio, which is more square. Nowadays, television is filmed in 16:9, which is considered widescreen. Transferring Friends to Netflix meant that the square friends suddenly became longer on the sides, which meant that we can now see things we’ve never seen before." 
Well, I too have found a few of my own tidbits from watching Friends...

Remember the scene when Rachel was heading out to the airport to finally tell Ross how she felt about him before he got married, again...As she pulls her luggage, you can see the end of the wall and tape marks on the floor.

To be fair, I did watch this scene a few million times (I had my own Rachel/Ross moment).

Monica Geller-Bing had an obsessive-compulsive nature when it came to cleaning and things needing to be in a certain place...So that is why my OCD drove me nuts when Monica's OCD didn't bother her that Chandler's collar was standing up in this scene.

Or the book that I have...I was almost cast as the little kid (Danny Torrance) in The Shining...except that I didn't watch Scooby-Doo at the time. (This was one of their concerns, that I wouldn't react well to the scary aspects of the screenplay) This is the initial form letter, along with the book that has been in my home, since that not-so-big-break-moment.

...and fast-forward, back to the episode of Friends, The One Where Rachel Finds A Book In The Freezer And Then Reads It.  (I think that was the episode's name).  Clearly, this moment is more of a personal connection, which I am sure many people can have their own common kinship with Friends...I just can not do the proper research to include everyone's own moment.

Overall, this show was worth watching and I would recommend it...Is it too late to review Friends?  

Even after of couple of years binging the whole series, it has remained as a fond summer, when I just hung out with some new/old friends.

Tony Lossano, Broadcast Producer (TV & Radio, Chicago), amateur bicyclist, a fantastic dog walker, and has never been married to Alyssa Milano.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

One Hundred and Thirty One Years of Sears!

I said last year that Sears/Kmart will go out of business in 2017.  I am not hoping that they, or any other business disappear this year...but what have they done to stay relevant?

According to Wikipedia: "Sears, Roebuck & Co., also known simply as Sears, is an American department store chain founded by Richard Warren Sears and Alvah Curtis Roebuck in 1886."

Look at the bright side, 131 years.  THAT was a good run.  Perhaps in a few years from now, some other company, feeling retro, will bring back the name through a licensing agreement.

OK, maybe Sears is not done for YET, but this video clip may demonstrate where they currently stand...

Sears has had an impressive history.  In Chicago alone, they had TWO, count them TWO Sears Towers!

Original Sears Tower (Corporate home: 1906-1974)         Sears Tower (Corporate home: 1974-1988)
They have sold and moved out of both towers.

Over the years, Sears has been the parent to many other major national brands.

In 1931, Sears launched Allstate Insurance Company, (named after their "automobile tire" brand), and was eventually spun-off in 1993.

In 1984, along with IBM, Sears was behind the first consumer online service; Prodigy.  By 1996, after initially investing around $1 billion, both companies sold their interests for $200 million.

Sears also launched Discover credit card in 1985, which they sold in 1993.

So they were not able to retain those, but they still had other valuable longtime brands including; Kenmore, DieHard and Craftsman.

Tribune headline (1-5-2017):
Sears sells Craftsman brand to Stanley's Black & Decker for about $900 million

Well, if that is not the first nail in the coffin.  (Craftsman: Powerful. Durable. Sold.)

In the late 70's, my mom went to Sears, (as ALL moms did back then), and she saw a sale on denim suits for little boys for only $2 EACH suit.  That would be almost $4 in today's economy.  So, she bought one in every size.  This explains why in most of my school pictures, I am seen wearing the same suit, regardless of how much I grew.

Sears said that it would close 108 Kmart stores and 42 Sears stores.  #ThanksTrump!

According to my memory, the last thing they did well, was when they ran a campaign to attract females back with their "Softer side of Sears" commercials in the 80/90's.

They had come a LONG way from their earlier days, as seen here in their 1909 Sears catalog:

Sears may not be dead yet, but I do not see how they are going to survive much longer.

Perhaps Sears will be the next Montgomery Ward.

Tony Lossano, Broadcast Producer (TV & Radio, Chicago), amateur bicyclist, a fantastic dog walker, and has never been married to Alyssa Milano.

Friday, December 30, 2016

At the end of 2016

2016 has been a rough year.  From Zika, the presidential election, celebrity deaths, to Syria.  This, and so many other moments have been tolling on most everyone's daily grind.

Many people have been creating and sharing memes representing what 2016 represents to them.  They call it "Me at the beginning of 2016 and me at the end of 2016"
This is just a coping mechanism using humor to deal with this year's continuous stream of disappointments.  Let's deal with the celebrity deaths.  These are real people with real friends and family, who are personally affected...but they also entered OUR lives and affect how we feel as well.

2016 seems like a year where more celebrities have died, than usual.  Well, calculating this may be difficult, depending on your definition of "famous" or "celebrity" deaths.  There is a natural increase of possibilities, as there is an increase in outlets that can produce such talents, (TV, streaming, theatrical, sports, reality, billionaire con-artists, etc.), the internet fact-checking resource, tried to clarify if 2016 was the Deadliest Year for Celebrities.  They surveyed several news outlets, which lead to this graph:

It appears that 2016 came close with winning that title, but like the election, there is no clear mandate.  Looking for patterns, is what humans do.  Sometimes we see things that make absolutely no sense.  Like celebrities dying in groups of three!?!

Forget the notion that celebrities die in 3's.  Anyone who tells you that, just simply can not count past 3.  One of the only times you can count like that was when Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper died in a plane crash together, BUT you have to minus the death of the pilot, then you could say that celebrities die in 3's.

It still felt like celebrities died in 2016, on an ongoing regular basis.  (I am worried that there will still be more after this is published)

We made it so close to the end of 2016, when Star Wars' badass-princess, Carrie Fisher, looked like she was going to die, after flying back from London, and was put into a hospital.  She survived and was in stable-condition!

...or so we had hoped.  Sadly, she did not, and then her mother, the legendary Debbie Reynolds tweeted this out:
...and less than 24 hours later, Carrie's brother and Debbie's son told Variety:

"I miss her so much, I want to be with Carrie."
-Debbie Reynolds to her son, Todd Fisher

Debbie Reynolds had passed away, from a broken heart.

2016 had taken away so many famous stars...

Here is a short list of just some of the famous people, (and their age), who left us in 2016.

 Pat Harrington Jr.

David Bowie

Alan Rickman

Glen Frey

 Abe Vigoda

Bob Elliot

Antonin Scalia


 George Kennedy

 Nancy Reagan

 Frank Sinatra Jr.

Joe Garagiola
 Garry Shandling

 Patty Duke

Merle Haggard
Doris Roberts

 Alan Young

Muhammad Ali
Garry Marshall
Kenny Baker
Fyvush Finkel
Gene Wilder
Arnold Palmer
Janet Reno

Robert Vaughn

Gwen Ifill

Florence Henderson

Fidel Castro

Ron Glass

Grant Tinker

John Glenn

Alan Thicke

Zsa Zsa Gabor

George Michael

Carrie Fisher

Debbie Reynolds

and so many more, including even ALF aka Michu Meszaros, the actor who played "ALF" (76).

Has there actually been a surge of deaths compared to past years?  I believe discovering news via Facebook/Twitter, where we go to escape the troubles from the day, may just catch us more off guard.

The surprising results of the 2016 rigged election also helped pave the way for an anxiety tollway.

2016 is ALMOST over...however, 2017 will not magically be better, and come to think of it, I suspect that it may be worst.  Unless you stop thinking that events can be reset with just a new calendar.

The concept of time was created by man, to help give the illusion that everything does not just happen all at once.  

Slate wanted to know where 2016 ranked as "The Worst Year, Ever!" or something like that, and one historian suggested that 72,000 B.C. was the worst.  That was when a Sumatran volcano erupted with the force of 1.5 million atomic bombs.  So, maybe 2016 comes in 2nd?

But like with climate change, this is not going to get any better with time..  Unless we start doing something about there enough bubble wrap in the world to protect everyone from the future.

Tony Lossano, Broadcast Producer (TV & Radio, Chicago), amateur bicyclist, a fantastic dog walker, and has never been married to Alyssa Milano.