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Coming Soon on CBS

Here about the one about the Czech “educational” show that sends a family “back in time” to that country’s Nazi occupation? It’s not a joke it’s reality television. How long till America follows suit? Not long at all according to these exclusive leaked emails!

From: Leslie Moonves

To: Nina Tassler

Date: June 7, 2015

Nina Baby,

Did you catch the NY Times piece re this new Czech reality show, Holiday in the Protectorate? A family is sent “back in time” to a rural village in 1939 – milk the cows, outdoor plumbing that kind of “educational television” shtick, but the kicker is it’s under Nazi occupation. Gestapo kicking in the door. Neighbors are informers. Rationing. What would you do to survive? Prize money.

Anything down the pike for a US version? Ideas?

From: Nina Tassler

To: Mark Burnett

Date: June 7, 2015

Mark Hon,

Forwarding you LM’s memo. Is there a chance of getting Bruce on the phone? I know he’s stuck in Mexico doing 10 to 12, but I heard the two of you are working on something contemporary for the Latin American market. Thoughts?

(To read the rest click here.)

Floors I Have Made

It started, as things often do, with the bathroom. Ours was and still is circa 1957. We had the bright yellow tiles that were the legacy of every apartment in our complex. After years of thinking, “Someday I will renovate,” I realized that day was unlikely to ever come. But I decided I had to do something, so I put up some textured paintable “tin ceiling tile” wallpaper, with textured paintable “stucco” wallpaper on the ceiling, and I used colors that would make the yellow look intentional.

But what about the floor? It had gray, small, plain, concrete tiles. Neutral, but dull. They weren’t going anyplace, so whatever I was going to do would have to go above them, and I wanted something even a novice DIYer could handle. I didn’t think that vinyl planks, even colorful ones, would be an improvement. So I went for more wallpaper.

The internet showed me that I was not insane. Wallpaper floors are a thing. You just have to coat them with enough polyurethane. Think of your hardwood floors. What happens to untreated wood when it gets wet? What happens to your polished floor when it gets wet? You aren’t walking on wood. You are walking on hardened liquid plastic.

I decided on a floral pattern with colors close the ones I’d used. I did not prep the floor in any way beyond a thorough cleaning. I used the “professional” standard wallpaper paste and Vermont Natural water-based polyurethane – a green product manufactured from whey.

How’s it holding up?   Continue reading Floors I Have Made

But What can I Get for a Kidney?

Republican cream puff Sue Lowden who’s running against Harry Reid in Nevada has suggested that a simple solution to the health care crisis.  No need for socialized “Obamacare.”  Let’s go back to the “olden days” when you could bring your doctor a chicken or paint his house.

She really said this.

I’m so thrilled that the Republicans are finally offering real ideas instead of simply going negative.  What brilliance this woman has!  Only someone from the true heartland of America, a place known for openness to new ideas about revenue streams like gambling and prostitution could look backwards to the future and come up with something like this.

The only problem is that I live in an urban area where most people don’t keep livestock (except for ritualistic purposes).  So without a chicken, is my medical goose cooked?  She also suggests housepainting, but that could take out my back which would just lead to more need for medical care.

I suppose if I were going in for surgery, I could simply allow the doctor to take out any extra parts — like say a kidney or slice of liver for exchange.  Women under 35 could offer their eggs which go for a lot on the open market and could probably cover a healthy family for a year. I suppose if we’re going to look for models in  the “olden days” — the days before credit cards, bankruptcy and insurance, we could go back to the ultimate barter item — oneself.   Yes, if faced with a serious illness and no other option, one could opt for indentured servitude and/or giving away one’s first born.  (If you can’t afford to pay the doctor, you probably shouldn’t be raising a child anyway.)

You Can’t Do This with a Kindle — A Tale of Love and Books

Back in the early 1990’s, I met Craig at the Samaritans — a suicide hotline. He was a trainer and I was a volunteer.

Sometimes on Friday nights, a group of us Sams would go bowling at University Lanes in Greenwich Village which is still there but it’s now the very retro-trendy, Bowl- Mor.  Back then it was a normal bowling alley and could have been anywhere. Then we’d go to the Old Town Tavern, the one that used to be featured in the opening credits of David Letterman’ s show back when it was on NBC.

I liked Craig, and thought that maybe he kind of liked me, but he never asked me out. Then he was going to go on vacation, and I was determined that when he came back I would make my move and finally suggest that we — just the two of us — do something together.

Only when he came back it was too late. Something was now going on between him and another Sam-gal recently separated with whom he’d had a longstanding friendship.

Suicide hotlines — hotbeds of romance and intrigue. Who knew? (Years later I worked at the Crisis Clinic in Seattle,which brought more people together than E-Harmony.)

I let it go. I became good friends with both Craig and his girlfriend.

Two years later I finished grad school and  got my first social work job in Burlington, Vermont. I wanted to start fresh and was getting rid of most of the stuff in my little apartment in pre-gentrified Williamsburg. (You want to know details don’t you? Bedford between North 11th and North 12th, $250 a month when I moved in, and the neighbors thought I was being ripped off. Probably now ten times what I was paying then.)

The place was crammed with books. I would regularly shop at Strand Books where it was easy to find everything in the 5 for $2 or 48 cent each bins, so there were just too many to move. I decided to have an ongoing book sale. These were the days before Craigslist and Facebook, so I just told my friends and they told their friends and people would call me and come over and leave with boxes of books for which I might get $5 or $10.

Craig was one of those people. Because he was a good friend, I allowed him to take some of my favorites, books I was pleased he’d chosen and wanted him to read.  But I confess it was hard to let some of them go. His take included: Gissing’s New Grub Street, Peter S. Beagle’s supernatural tale A Fine and Private Place, a Flannery O’Connor collection as well as one of Grace Paley’s, a couple of novels by Anita Brookner, La Batarde by Valerie Leduc (which I never actually read but was supposed to have for a class), A Recent Martyr by Valerie Martin, Up the Junction by Nell Dunn, and several more.

Cut to about sixteen, seventeen years later. Coming on Christmas 2003. Craig is between girlfriends and I haven’t had a date in years.

We are at a Pisticci’s, an Italian place up in Morningside Heights where, having returned to New York in 2001, I now live.

Craig starts talking about his dating issues. I interrupt and say, “Have you ever thought about dating me?”

It wasn’t spontaneous. I’d been thinking about broaching the subject for weeks, months, possibly years.

There’s a stunned silence that feels very, very long and finally he admits that it had crossed his mind.

In 2007, I finally told him that I really, really wanted to quit my job and while I believed I could afford to be unemployed for a bit and would find something, I couldn’t afford it paying my full monthly apartment maintenance and COBRA (health benefits). He agreed we should marry. We ran off to Niagara Falls to do the deed. It was another month to unpaper-train and properly housebreak his dog (Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks). And then he finally moved in.

We bought a few things together — night tables and dressers from Ikea. He gave all his furniture away and some of his many books were donated to a local church. He still brought box loads to what is now our apartment. These included — Gissing’s New Grub Street, a Flannery O’Connor collection, Peter S. Beagle’s A Fine and Private Place, Grace Paley’s Little Disturbances of Man, a couple of novels by Anita Brookner, La Batarde by Valerie Leduc, A Recent Martyr by Valerie Martin and Up the Junction by Nell Dunn which I’m just starting to re-read.