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Rickie Lee:

The letter

The Box Tops. Look at the young Alex Chilton, wasn’t he a cutie?

On the road again

Canned Heat:


I’m not one of those people who “loves” New York, mostly because the fast pace makes me so tense. The minute I’m through the Holland Tunnel, I feel as if I’m driving through a live version of Death Race 2000. And the parking? Oy. I like the idea of New York more than I do the reality. But oh God, do I love musical theater, and that love has forced me to make periodic treks to the anxiety capital of the world.

“Company” is the first Broadway show I ever saw, and it’s a great one. When I went back home and raved about it to people, they smiled condescendingly and said, “Well, it’s the first one you’ve ever seen, what do you have to compare it to?” It was infuriating. I was only 15, but goddamnit, I knew a work of art when I saw one. And it was about the baffling complexities of modern marriage, not about dancing leprechauns or singing nuns.

I was the one who got to smile condescendingly when the show was nominated for 12 Tonys and walked off with six of them. It was a turning point in the history of the American musical, and all of a sudden, people were paying much closer attention to Stephen Sondheim.

The theater geeks and queens I hung out with in high school also loved the show, and of course we’d break out into the songs everywhere we went. (We all loved Elaine Stritch’s scenery-chewing rendition of “The Ladies Who Lunch.”)

When I auditioned for a cabaret series at Penn’s Annenberg School, I performed “Another Hundred People.” (“How old did you say you were?” the director asked me. I got the gig.)

The day of my own wedding, I was singing “I’m Not Getting Married” to myself. (It should have been a clue.)

No matter how many shows I’ve seen since then, it remains my favorite. That’s why I’d kill to see this production next week. But it’s in New York, I’d never get a ticket even if I could afford it, and it would make me tense figuring out how to get there.

But I’ll still get a kick out of the thought that Stephen Colbert, another Gleek, just like me — is performing in “Company.” Perfect.

The phone is ringing

This is the Wonder Pets theme song, and it’s cool as shit. Republicans hate the show — it emphasizes altruism and teamwork!

Betting pool

Come on, what are the odds on Obama “folding like a lawn chair” on the budget, as David Stockman just said on CNN?

Cutting the cord

Not there yet but I’m closer all the time:

The cord-cutting boogeyman has reared his head again, this time in a pair of reports that say, yes, it’s still a problem-and maybe a growing one-for the pay TV industry.

A survey from Consumer Reports says 7 percent of pay-TV subscribers are considering cutting the cord. Bear in mind that, once again, the key word, “considering,” plays a prominent role. The report, due out in the May issue of CR, says 16 percent of respondents stream movies from Netflix, and 90 percent are still connected to a pay-TV provider.

That same reports also rates triple-play bundles, where Verizon’s FiOS TV and AT&T’s U-verse services walked away with the best rankings receiving 78 and 76 points respectively out of 100.

The bottom of the heap? Time Warner Cable (68), Comcast (65) and Charter (62).

One of the big reasons pay-TV operators cite to downplay over-the-top delivery as a threat to their business is that “when a problem happens with picture quality or delivery, consumers want someone to call, and that’s not going to be their ISP. When there’s a problem with their cable, they just call and we fix it.”

Uh-huh. Let me tell you a little story…

I recently has a little problem with my cable/telephone/Internet provider (hint: it’s one of those bottom three listed above). At one point a couple of weeks ago, one of the folks I was interviewing for a story told me my voice had begun to resemble Darth Vader’s. It was about the same time that my Internet began to move at 14.4 dial-up speeds and my VOD offerings went belly up.

So I called my help line, and ended up in Eastern European call center Hell for almost 10 days. Really. Almost a dozen phone calls, holds, promises of return calls and a half dozen, “Let’s reset your modems…”

Finally, a call to the corporate office got a second technician to the house, I got my Internet, telephone and cable back up. But, just to be clear, it took 11 phone calls and HOURS of waiting and explaining. That’s a customer service issue that makes cutting the cord a little more appealing.

By the way, I functioned for a week with my network tethered to my iPhone… and I watched the $20 bills flowing toward Verizon. Sigh.

Read more: Dish, Blockbuster, Netflix and cord cutting on the way to NAB – FierceOnlineVideo
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It’s all connected

High food prices, energy crisis, climate change. Some people refuse to connect the GIANT dots.


Another tsunami warning in Japan. Those poor, nerve-wracked people.

The good old days

Hmm. Forty-six percent of Mississippi Republicans thinks interracial marriage should be illegal.

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