Pushing Daisies, Christian Slater, MadTV Cancelled. Kath & Kim Still on the Air!

So last night the countdown started for Slater’s new show My Own Worst Enemy. It’s only going to get one season. Now a few weeks ago I wrote about how much I liked the show and conversely did NOT like another NBC show, Kath and Kim. I predicted K & K would not be back year, but so far that show has not been cancelled. In fact, that show as actually racked up all kinds of guest stars. They’re lining up to do the show! I also found out it’s an Australian import/remake, and that explains a LOT about why it makes no sense to me. I mean I loved Mad Max but I’m not the biggest fan of Yahoo Serious. But; ready to have your mind blown? NBC has ordered more episodes of the show despite the fact that this American version HAS been cancelled in Austria. Go f–king figure.

Last year around this time I also wrote about how I thought it was probably about time MadTV got killed, and so the news of that has also come to pass. It’s nearing the end of its run, but I think they’ve had about 14 years and that’s a big deal-but that seems to be the FOX does business; if they don’t kill off a show that’s great way too early it’ll stay on forever. But I don’t know? I’m taking a kind of perverse pleasure in the news about MadTV. I had a reaction like “ha! It got cancelled!” And an ironic twist I also got left by another woman, no not the one who left me that I mentioned repeated around this blog, AND not the one from out of town who left me-and we hadn’t even met face to face! No this was an entirely new women that didn’t want my company-and I get the feeling she was sitting around saying “ha! He got cancelled!”

But MadTV has made, I think, a significant contribution to the world of sketch comedy. Many, many memorable characters and lots of laughs. Not to mention the number of people who’ve gone through their doors to bigger and better things. A great job. Speaking of comedy, Amy Poehlor is supposed to be getting her own show. She’s the lady from Upright Citizens Brigade, who got on Saturday Night Live and become the Weekend Update person. Now she’s got a show that includes Quincy Jones daughter (She’s was “Jim’s” girlfriend for a minute on the Office. More trivia? Quincy also produced MadTV. More? OK, Amy is married to the guy that played JOB on the great cancelled FOX show Arrested Development).

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But let’s get back to the bad news. Pushing up Daisies has been cancelled. I know! It’s one of the few good shows and they’re killing it. People are not happy, so why are they doing it? It makes no sense right? Brian Fuller, who gave us the great Dead Like Me, is the creator of the show and he was on the first season of Heroes, so he’ll be going back to that show. And that’s good news. But the bad news is they just fired great comic book writer Jeph Loeb. By why are they killing good hour long shows. It’s the money. Hour long shows are expensive to make and if they only generate the audience and income of a half hour show they get killed. I’ve had to take a sort of philosophical approach to loosing good TV. In England they run shows for a much shorter period of time and a lot of the shows I love from there are only one or two seasons, so I learned to just accept this. The good news is that with digital format we can relive shows we liked a lot easier.

David Rosenthal’s Beef Stew

Hey look at me I’m John Chow! Well, ghetto style. So today it’s all about beef stew. Recently it got cold in Chicago. Do I need to follow that statement with anything? I mean, don’t we have a strong enough rep that “cold” as defined in this town really has no equal in any location that doesn’t also have penguins, Inuit, and polar bears (actually we do have “polar bears”). Last year I was buying my stew from Manny’s down on Jefferson and Roosevelt.

So OK, beef stew. I love it. Really I do. And as a man, I don’t know, it seems kinda like a “manly” thing to be able to make. But then again, I guess with all the chef shows out now cooking has been shown to be competitive (and therefore manly). At any rate I also like and make all time pancakes, so I’ll both eat and cook whatever I want. However this is the first and possibly only time I’m actually engaging in recipe trading. Although it’s not really a recipe and I’m not really trading. I don’t know what the hell I’m saying-here’s how I make beef stew!

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Basically I just get a bunch of stuff. Seriously I don’t have exact elements of each item. I look at how much pot space I have and then try to visualize how many ingredients would be too much and then get as much stuff as I can. In this case I bought a new cheap 13 quart pot, and that’s about the size of a milk crate (a little smaller) I already had a nice size pot. Because that’s what you need, 1 big 2 handle pot, 1 biggish 1 or 2 handle pot, and 1 skillet, 1 long and STRONG utensil like a big spoon (I didn’t have one so had a minor layer of burned stuff at the bottom of the pot when I was done).

In terms of food I got a bag of potatoes, about 4 tomatoes, a bag of celery, a bag of carrots, a pack of stew beef (although next time I might get 2), 2 bell peppers, about 3 or 4 onions (ended up not using one) and one pack of “stew mix.” Basically as I’m compiling stuff I’m thinking about how much of each thing I’d like in the final mix. And it had been a while since I had cooked this but its actually a pretty quick cooking once the cutting of the vegetables is done. I also cut down the meat chunks a little too.

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In terms of the cooking it pretty much goes like this; I cook the hard stuff longer, the meat on its own, and everything else altogether. I try to keep the water to a minimum to get the best flavor from everything. So the way that works is the potatoes and carrots go into the big pot with as much water as they need about half an hour before everything else. The beef gets fried up using only salt and pepper. Depending on how soft you like your beef determines when you’ll add it to the final mix. But when I feel the carrots and potatoes are soft enough I add everything else. I’ll actually use some of the cooking water to dilute the pack of “stew mix.” If you try to add that pack of dust to the big pot of stuff it will end up in little brown lumps, but if you gradually pour it into a pot of very little water you get a nice soup that you can add to the big pot and it will evenly disperse.

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The only other part of my process is making a pack of jiffy cornbread. One egg and milk. The milk you’ll need is so small that it’s easy to overdue it. So the way I do it is I add a little milk, mix, scrape out a place for the egg, add the egg, mix it in to the whole thing, then add more milk until it’s a nice batter. Cooks REALLY fast.

So what about the fire? Well, yes there was a fire I’ll admit it. I had some paper towels too close to the stove’s cooking eye and my beautiful stew aroma was replaced by burned paper and smoke. Anyway, here are some final stages of cooking-had to switch to the camera phone; long story…

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It’s Quits. Jason Bentley Shuts Down Metropolis on KCRW

I wanted to send my favorite DJ, Jason Bentley, an email which was essentially this post. But he’s pretty much never going to get the email with the amount of mail he gets. SOOOO, on the blog it goes. And for this post I have to explain a bunch of stuff that he already knows. So let’s start with the basics. JB is a DJ on KCRW. How’s that for a bunch of initials! His 7:30 PM to 10 PM show has specialized in “electronic dance music” on the Santa Monica College “school station.” That’s one of way describing his/our type of music. And that’s one of describing that so-called school station. He is my favorite DJ, not just because of the music, but his delivery. In fact I like other things too, like his passion for music and the lack of interruptions he allows on his show.

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I heard the news a few days ago, and not to bring up a sad event, but it hit me like another KCRW tragedy. It’s a far more serious event, but the death of Warren Kolodny. When I first moved to LA in the mid-90’s I quickly discovered KCRW and KXLU. And then, as now, I pretty much listen to the KXLU during the day and KCRW on nights and the weekend. KXLU does basic college rock for most of the day and middle of the night (and I hear it’s where JB got is LA start after his move from Boston). Whereas KCRW used to have some interesting evening shows, then sort of didn’t, and now have some late evening shows that are JB clones-but I’ll get to that in a second.

So I got to LA and found Bentley doing his Metropolis show and at the time he had some demo tapes form a group called Underworld, and having grown up in Chicago when House music was invented, I was pretty well versed in dance music. Also having spent 10 years living in Manhattan prior to moving to LA I was pretty well versed in hip hop, and club music-not to mention my youth in punk and metal. BUT, no matter how much guitar music I thrived on, I had never given up on beat-centric music. So Jason’s show caught my ear RIGHT AWAY. As did another show, by a man named Warren Kolodny. At the time Warren was doing a show with music that I’ve heard described as “cocktail” music or “space age bachelor pad” or “exotica.” Anyway I took to his show right his show too, so those were my main shows. And then one day I heard Warren was dead. Apparently it was a suicide. Kinda shocking and I think it might have been the first time that a radio show had left me rather than the other way around. And for such a heavy reason.

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The ironic thing about Jason is that I recently discovered a training series he’s hosted on Lynda.com’s website about musical inspiration. And at first I laughed in disbelief. But then I realized how perfect it is for him to be doing that. He IS an inspiring guy, and it doesn’t really need to be pointed out how inspiring music is. In fact the reason I listen to the radio almost round the clock is because I do creative work the music inspires me to NO END. I write specific things based on the music I’m hearing-and Jason’s music choices have not just shaped my work but the COUNTRY’S musical taste. That’s right. Did you know he did the musical selection for the Matrix? All that cool music when Neo is flying through the air over Orpheus’ head in the kung fu scene, or that cool as music when they start shooting up the mezzanine-that’s Jason! And every time you hear some cool iPod commercial or car commercial or tons of other things-it’s all inspired by Jason’s show. The show is in LA and they DO make all that stuff IN LA. Clearly I’m not the only person listening to the radio when I create.

So when Metropolis first started it really was a lone voice in the night. I mean I knew where to get electronic music or where to find stations on the internet that were broadcasting it, but that type of music wasn’t really “out there” for the general public. And tonight on his show he said he’s been doing it for 16 years and yeah, that’s a long time. I mean really it is. So, despite my sense of personal loss, I can’t fault the guy for moving on. He’s going to do the Morning Becomes Eclectic show AND become the Musical Director for the station. And I think it’s really the MD position that’s prompting the move, not the format change in his show. He’s been an enlisted man long enough, time to become an officer. And electronic music is safe. I mean the war is over. That music is no longer on the outskirts of society. It’s infused and integrated, hell some people would even say it came and went. But I wouldn’t say that-the Basement Jaxx will STILL blow you away and Sam Taylor Wood’s new I’m in Love with a German Film Star will be a minor classic. But as I mentioned earlier, KCRW now has half a dozen Bentley-lite clones that do dance music in the late evening. None of them are as good as JB, but you can still hear that kind of music. But still, The End of an Era. There is some good news though; did you know that JB does a Saturday night show on KROQ called After Hours? Well he does, and one can assume that since it’s the same format as Metropolis it’ll be a pretty strong show since it’s only the once a week [hold that thought-it’s a few days later and JB just announced he’s quitting After Hours too after the Nov 30th show].

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