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for August 20, 2003


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Fear Itself
by Your Diva, Robin Pastorio-Newman

As her weeks of recovery from aforementioned surgery draw to a close, Your Darling, Your Diva, Your One True Love anticipates more active weekends. Fortunately, the end of summer parties and shows are right around the corner. Woohoo! For the moment, we content ourselves with some television-based observations. One thinks one sees the same commercials over and over, memorizes the themes, the dialogues, the quirky gestures of Aunt Karen who can't cook but -- boy oh boy -- can she defrost that Stouffer's frozen food! Yep, commercials become a problem when they thwart ordinary thought. By Rumplestiltskin rules, guessing what jingle plays on the mental jukebox stops the music and we resort to Ad Actor Concentration, so visitors have been treated to segue-free outbursts like, "That's the voice of Peter Thomas. He narrates a forensics shows on Discovery," and "This guy with the rollover minutes is the same guy doing the mental drag race." In a nervous effort to ferret out who was what was whom in her own brain, Your Passionpuss wrote down every brand name that crossed her path over a space of five days. Yes, she was bored, and the very bored worry.
 
Eshewing car brands and dealerships, movies and ads for other TV shows, the list is still gigantic. Possibly some trained eye can determine what shows and channels figured into this compendium, but the variety and number might surprise anyone. See for yourself. After midnight, commercials get weirder and less professional looking. Also, notice the number of advertisers working at cross purposes, like credit card companies fighting those debt consolidation miracle workers, and fast food powerhouses showing up next to diet giants. Hmm.
 
Notably, during the Discovery Channel's highly touted Shark Week, ads for the Ocean Conservancy ran next to promos for TNT's shark shocker Red Water, leaving the viewer to wonder if Discovery planned to replace fear with facts, and more fear, and some after that. Shark Week opened with Anatomy of a Shark Bite, a documentary featuring footage of shark bites as viewed by the bite victims. Your Sunflower is no shrinking violet, watching as she does no-gloss programs about surgery, scary current events and - for Heaven's sake - high-risk decorating, but nothing on television has ever made her sit up and declare herself nauseated like the sight of a teenage girl plunging to the bottom of the food chain with a simple step off the side of a boat. A shark expert loses his calf to a bull shark while the station cheerily asks: Are You A Shark Smartypants? Um...you couldn't PAY ME ENOUGH to win that contest. Is the prize a WOODEN LEG?
 
Freddy and Jason duke it out in the cinemas and the home audience learns each of us is made of meat. A friend observes, "People like to be frightened. The blood pumps. We feel glad to be alive." Listen, real life is pretty damn scary. A serial rapist is loose in New Brunswick, where last week Rutgers's new president was mugged. A few nights ago, Your Apple Blossom was home alone when an unseen person tried a key in her front door lock twice in fifteen minutes. The elderly woman next door has a leaky stove, which means three times in three weeks, we knocked on the door to see if she was alive, and could she please make sure we weren't going to blow up? Possibly this kind of security-sucking excitement is not what our friend means. Possibly blood-pumping, excitement requires more personal involvement than TV and the Neighborhood Watch offer. One wonders what to do, whatever to do? In a moment of "What could go wrong?" Your Night-Blooming Jasmine went out for a ride with a repo man.
 
This is not for everyone.
 
Repossession agents spend a lot of time tracking down the collateral, which is to say cars, trucks, boats, mobile homes and specialty equipment, and that time can be very boring. Less dull and more interesting is trying to figure out where people hide things and why. However, there was nothing boring about holding on for dear life during a car chase through the narrow one-way streets, main drags and back alleys of a small city while the repo man calmly chatted on the cell phone with Repo Central Command. Your Morning Glory thought - if you could call the flashing mental images inspired by witless terror "thinking" - she was going to end up crushed in a pile of flaming wreckage and when she didn't end up fileted and en flambe, she decided she wanted nothing more than to return to her natural environment: basement bars, live shows and the seemingly tame possibility of ordinary barroom brawls. So that's where we're going. Thank you, Altrok readers, for patience and kind words while Your Hyacinth recovered on the couch. Now it's time we got back out on the floor, where we belong.
 

©2003 Robin Pastorio-Newman

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.

 







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ALTROK recommends music once a week; here's our most recent choices. Most links will take you to a place where you can buy the music; if there's no link, and you own a record company, consider releasing it yourself...

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