Friday, 31 March 2023

Arts & Life


There are thousands of poems about caring for the old, but I have never before seen one like this, in which a caregiver wades with an elderly person out into deep water, literally and figuratively. It’s by Marie Thurmer, a poet now living in Nebraska.

A Grandfather

We waded in the shallows,
holding his hands, then just
fingertips, as his feet
slowly lifted off the bottom.
The land did not stop
at the waterline, but simply
became unreachable.
His worn face bobbed above
the waves, breath in an O
as our words, fistfuls
of shimmering minnows,
scattered, lost on their way
to him. The tide carried
him out, then back a bit,
a gradual letting go into dark
waters, and we, still
in the ebb, could almost
mistake that O
for the response we wanted—
on the ins, I’ll remember you,
on the outs, goodbye.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation ( ), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright 2012 by Marie Thurmer, and reprinted by permission of the poet. Introduction copyright 2013 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. They do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

COBB, Calif. – CobbMtnArtists is looking for artisans to show their work at the 10th annual Holiday In the Pines Art and Crafts Faire.

The craft faire will be held Saturday, Nov. 9, and Sunday, Nov. 10, in an historic, restored craftsman-style building at Mariah Meadows Resort and Spa on Highway 175 in Loch Lomond.

A variety of space sizes are available, including tables, reasonably priced. The juried show will have a central cashier.

The due date for application is Oct. 7.

For application and more information, contact Gregg Lindsley, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 707-490-7168.

Depending on how TV audience preferences are measured, the NBC network still appears to continue to flounder in last place among the four major TV networks. What, if anything, will change this dynamic?

Sometimes you just have to admit to having a problem.

Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment, hoping for a more optimistic outcome, came up with an explanation for having a less than stellar report card.

Speaking to a gathering of the nation’s TV critics this summer, Greenblatt claimed that NBC is the “only broadcast network flat from the previous season,” leaping to the conclusion that “flat is the new up.”

If the ratings of NBC remain flat, and the ratings of CBS, ABC and FOX somehow continue to drop a few percentage points over the next few years, then maybe NBC comes out on top, but at what price?

Meanwhile, Greenblatt also asserted that Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon have pulled ahead of their competition in late night. This, of course, must be comforting news to Jay Leno who is being forced out of “The Tonight Show.”

BC’s top executive proved more informative when he said his network needs “to be in the event business,” focusing on live events that people want to watch in the moment rather than on DVR.

The notion of being aggressive on miniseries events led to the announcement that there would be a four-hour special on Hillary Clinton, starring Diane Lane, and a remake of “Rosemary’s Baby,” which Greenblatt made clear were not related events.

Since Clinton is expected to run for president again in 2016, controversy swirled around the network bumping up against equal time rules for other presidential candidates.

I remember when networks fretted about screening Ronald Reagan’s “Bedtime for Bonzo” during election season and having to grant equal time. In this case, it would have been Reagan asking for the equal time.

As for Clinton, in what is expected to be a more favorable airing of her career, Greenblatt noted that the former secretary of state would probably not announce her candidacy for two more years, likely well after the network runs its piece.

For all its trials and tribulations, NBC does have some interesting stuff coming to the fall season. After all, this is a network that has popular shows like “Parks & Recreation” and “Revolution,” to pick two disparate genres.

So why not succeed with new shows of a similar nature?

One new comedy to get a big boost right out of the gate should be Michael J. Fox’s eponymous new series. The truest words spoken by Robert Greenblatt were to observe the public’s “universal love” for Fox that almost guarantees a huge initial turnout for his show.

In a case of art imitating life, “The Michael J. Fox Show” has Fox starring as Mike Henry, a beloved news anchor who put his career on hold to spend more time with his family and focus on his health after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

Now five years later, with the kids growing up, Mike has become restless and it just might be time for him to get back to work. Coincidentally, Michael J. Fox now returns to network TV after more than a decade’s absence.

In any case, “The Michael J. Fox Show,” with Betsy Brandt in the role of wife, looks to be the rather standard sitcom fare where the husband tries to juggle home, family and career. But who can resist Michael J. Fox?

A more derivative new sitcom might be “Sean Saves the World,” where Sean Hayes stars as a divorced gay father caring for a teenage daughter, while juggling a demanding job, offbeat employees and a pushy mom (Linda Lavin).

Indeed, “Sean Saves the World” has nothing to do with Sean Hayes trying to untangle the current mess of Syria and Middle East conflicts. No, it’s Hayes doing his trademark comedy and putting on a show to make some forget “The New Normal.”

Success breeds imitation, and with the popularity of ABC’s “Modern Family,” it’s little surprise that NBC’s “Welcome to the Family” is an offbeat family comedy with an air of familiarity.

Mike O’Malley and Mary McCormack star as a couple with mediocre student daughter Molly (Ella Rae Peck) who managed to graduate high school and has been accepted to college.

Across town, Molly’s secret boyfriend is a Latino honors student on his way to Stanford. The news breaks that the teens are expecting a child, resulting in two very different families being thrown together.

Though comparisons may be drawn to “Silence of the Lambs,” the one-hour drama “The Blacklist” has a different take on a criminal mastermind playing head games with an FBI profiler fresh out of Quantico.

James Spader’s Raymond “Red” Reddington, an ex-government agent, had been one of the FBI’s most-wanted fugitives until he surrendered on the condition that he would work only with Liz Keen (Megan Boone), a rookie FBI profiler.

Show producer John Eisendrath told critics that Spader’s character is “not a psychopath,” but rather someone who is “much more of an enigma.” The thrust of the series hinges on Red’s true intentions on why he wants to hunt down a major terrorist and other assorted bad guys.

If you’ve seen the movie “Secretary,” you know that Spader has the talent to play a twisted character. He’s the right fit for “The Blacklist,” a series that looks likely to generate some buzz.

If you remember Raymond Burr as the wheelchair-bound detective in “Ironside,” you may be too old for the new “Ironside,” where Blair Underwood plays the same part, albeit with a contemporary sensibility and in a new setting.

During the TV press tour conference, Underwood explained that the new “Ironside” is a “crime drama wrapped in a character study,” and everything is re-imagined, including “new texture, new storytelling,” with different expectations.

In the gritty world of NYPD, the titular character of “Ironside” is fearless, tough and intense. Blair Underwood fills the bill for a hard-nosed detective, though no one would have ever accused Burr of being a softie.

Waiting in the wings for a debut in late October is “Dracula,” with Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (“The Tudors”) ready to give the dashing count the full ladies’ man treatment during Victorian England.

Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.

In the broadcast world, CBS Television, often equated with an expensive jewelry store (the Tiffany network, that is), has thrived in recent years with police procedurals and shows skewing to an older demographic.

Interestingly, four of the five new series for the fall season are comedies, one of which seems so similar in tone and character development to “2 Broke Girls” that it immediately follows that returning series on Monday nights.

During the recent TV press tour, in the absence of Nina Tassler, president of CBS Entertainment, the nation’s critics were treated to an exchange with Leslie Moonves, the head honcho of the entire CBS corporate universe who’s prone to pithy retorts and concise observations.

When not pointing out that CBS had the highest rated show on television last year, Moonves took the ratings war to another level by criticizing the remarks of the top NBC executive who told critics that “flat is the new up” in ratings.

Pointedly, Moonves disagreed, claiming every network has their own point of view about ratings and professing that CBS is “confident we’re going to be up this year. We were up last year.”

Which network is up or down at any given time has about as much relevance as the daily fluctuations of the stock market. Like a blue chip investment, networks are around for the long haul.

And yet in a gambling move, CBS may be rolling the dice on its new comedy lineup, with potential for an upside reward. The show that will follow “2 Broke Girls” is “Mom,” which, as already noted, seems somewhat derivative.

We’re not quite sure if the titular character in “Mom” is Anna Faris’ Christy, the dysfunctional mother of two children, or her own mother, Bonnie (Allison Janney), who struggles with her own demons while trying to impose her mark as the family matriarch.

As a single mother, Christy is sleeping with her boss (Nate Corddry) to get a top job at an upscale restaurant, for which she is unqualified, as witnessed by her tearful meltdowns while trying to take someone’s dinner order.

Along comes Christy’s estranged mother Bonnie, who’s still kicking around a few vices but shows great interest in reconnecting with her daughter and the grandkids. “Mom” could have a short run, if for no other reason than Anna Faris’ appeal could be limited by her broad comic strokes.

“The Millers,” not to be confused with Jennifer Aniston’s film “We’re the Millers,” has an interesting premise of the dysfunctional family dynamic, with an appealing cast to flesh out the characters.

Will Arnett’s Nathan Miller, a recently divorced local roving news reporter, was looking forward to the singles’ life until his parents’ marital problems derail his plans. After announcing his breakup, parents Tom and Carol (Beau Bridges and Margo Martindale) are inspired to follow suit.

Actually, it’s Nathan’s father’s idea to leave his wife of 43 years, so Nathan’s interfering mom moves in with him, while the absent-minded Tom imposes upon Nathan’s sister, her husband and their daughter. “The Millers” is just one more comedy with meddlesome parents.

After watching “The Crazy Ones,” starring Robin Williams as an advertising man teamed up with Sarah Michelle Gellar as his daughter and partner in the firm, you might say the dysfunctional family is an unshakable theme for the new comedy shows.

Williams’ Simon Roberts is an advertising genius whose unorthodox methods and unpredictable behavior would ordinarily cause alarm. But he’s the head of a powerful agency, now working with his daughter Sydney (Gellar) by his side.

Sydney is the opposite of her old man; she’s focused, organized and eager to make a name for herself. But circumstances make her the responsible partner in the family firm, as she tries to reign in her father’s excesses.

Not surprisingly and true to form, Robin Williams typically sucks the oxygen out of the room whenever he appears in “The Crazy Ones,” which, of course, is most of the time. After all, Williams’ brand of humor is the take-no-prisoners variety. We’ll have to see if this works in the long run.

The last new comedy is not about a dysfunctional family, unless you turn the concept on its head. “We Are Men” is about four single guys living in a short-term apartment complex who find camaraderie over their many missteps in love and relationships.

Though previously married several times, Tony Shalhoub’s Frank Russo still fancies himself a ladies’ man. Jerry O’Connell’s Stuart Weber, a Speedo-wearing doctor, is hiding his assets (umm, the financial kind) until his second divorce is settled.

Kal Penn’s Gil Bartis was caught having the world’s worst affair. Meanwhile, the newcomer to the group is Chris Smith’s Carter, who moved in after being ditched at the altar mid-ceremony. Unwisely, Carter ends up taking advice from the other losers in the marriage department.

“We Are Men” seems like a throwback to the 1970s in communities like Marina del Rey, in the Los Angeles area near the ocean, where swingers congregated in hot tubs and pool-side barbeques in apartment complexes catering to the singles lifestyle. Let’s see if nostalgia holds sway.

The most promising show on the CBS fall schedule is a high-octane suspense drama, which is puzzling in the sense that it feels like it should be an event movie rather than a season-long series.

“Hostages” may create almost as much dilemma for script development as it does for the family held in peril.

A chilling political conspiracy is at the center of “Hostages,” when Dylan McDermott’s rogue FBI Agent Duncan Carlisle, along with a team of accomplices, takes Toni Collette’s Dr. Ellen Sanders, a prominent surgeon, and her family hostage.

Dr. Sanders is scheduled to operate on the president of the United States the following day. Carlisle and his team are determined that the commander-in-chief not survive surgery if the doctor is persuaded to use an untraceable medicine that will make the death look like an inevitable result of a tricky operation.

Shortly after taking the family hostage, the captors take off their masks. Of course, this causes panic because the bad guys never anticipate leaving potential witnesses behind.

And yet, Carlisle has done his homework and knows the secrets of the Sanders family members, which he intends to use to manipulate his captives into submission.

Knowing that hostages can’t normally be held for a long period, the viewer is likely to be drawn into the moral complexity of the choices facing both victims and villains alike.

“Hostages” is definitely worth a look, maybe one that could be lasting for the season.

On a side note, CBS chief Moonves announced that “Under the Dome” would return next summer, with Stephen King writing the first episode of the 13 episode arc.

Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.

LUCERNE, Calif. – The Lucerne Alpine Senior Center is hosting “Open Mic Lucerne” on Saturday, Sept. 21.

The event will take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the center, 3985 Country Club Drive.

This monthly event is every third Saturday of the month.

Bands are already signing up for September. They will be performing with house band FOGG.

More sign-ups can be on site at 5 p.m. Saturday night or you can call 707-245-4612 or 707-274-8779.

There is so much talent in Lake County, which has been demonstrated in past months.

This is a great venue to show off your talent. Music, comedy, mime, any other activity that is family-oriented will be appreciated.

Come be an audience member and join the fun. Room is available for dancing and relaxing. Last month the performances were great. There is no charge for attendance.

For those wishing to have dinner, an inexpensive meal is available with cost according to age. This is a child friendly event so bring the family.

All proceeds from the meal benefit the Lucerne Alpine Senior Center, a nonprofit that serves the senior populations on the Northshore with lunches on site and Meals on Wheels.

For more information call Lucerne Alpine Senior Center at 707-274-8779.

LOWER LAKE, Calif. – Lake Community Pride Foundation presents “An Evening With A Singer Song Writer's Circle” on Saturday, Sept. 14.

The concert will take place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Lower Lake High School Little Theater, 9430 Lake St.

The show will offer four of Lake County's finest singer-songwriters – Michael Barrish, Sarah Tichava, Scott Somers and Brown Bear -- who will share their stories and their songs in an informal theater setting.

Barrish has been writing for 35 years. He has two CDs out and has won the West Coast Best Performer award at San Luis Obispo.

Tichava had her first guitar at age 15 and at 17 was singing professionally in a female folk foursome in Little Rock, Arkansas. She currently plays locally throughout Lake County as a member of the trio, "Three Deep."

Somers has been playing his guitar and writing songs since the mid-1960s. Over the course of the years his abilities have improved in being able to tackle the challenges of songwriting. Somers has experience in writing song solo or combined with other songwriters and has enjoyed the process.

Finally the last songwriter will be Brown Bear.

If you're interested in music and better understanding the fine art of songwriting, this is an evening you won't want to miss. Come on down and listen to their various stories and the music they create.

Tickets are $10 and doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

For more information please visit or call 707-701-3838.

Upcoming Calendar

04.01.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
04.01.2023 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Lake County Spring Dance Festival
04.01.2023 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Lake County Spring Dance Festival
04.03.2023 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Courting The Muse~Mixed Media Art Class
04.06.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
Middletown Art Center
04.06.2023 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Character Design~Art Class for Teens
04.08.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
04.08.2023 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Ladies of the Lake Quilt Guild
Easter Sunday
04.09.2023 1:15 pm - 2:00 pm
Lakeport Rotary Club Easter Egg Hunt

Mini Calendar



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