Monday, December 22, 2008

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Time to tie up the random loose ends before 2009 comes in.

American talk show hosts should be required to take notes on The Graham Norton Show. He's a small-time show with a niche audience (although I'll bet his show with Barry broke all kinds of ratings records) and he's more entertaining the Leno, Letterman, and the rest who think they're hot shit in a champagne glass because they can listen to themselves yap for 30 minutes of a 60 minute program. Graham actually took the time to talk about his career and have some fun with the audience at the same time. From now on it will be impossible to watch US talk shows knowing Barry is going to be shoved into the last 5 minutes and credits like a side show.

Add my voice to the throng who wants to see the UK footage from December released on DVD or maybe an iTunes download. Those of us who aren't ready when British Airways is are dying to see the alternate set lists and have some more loosened up fun than even Vegas seems to allow. Come on, you weren't going to release the footage that ended up in First & Farewell either, right? Same thing!

I'm still in afterglow from October. I know Barry doesn't "tour" anymore, he just sets up concerts in various cities and travels around to play them. ;-) But I can think of quite a few people in the deep South who wouldn't mind a bit if he dragged his happy ass back down here some time in 2009. Lots of openings in Philips Arena starting in the spring. No snow (not usually, anyway) and if you hit the right time of year the humidity isn't bad at all. More later....
More than those shows were the friends I didn't know I wanted or needed. You know who you are and you refreshed my spirit in a depth that I thought was long gone.

Last two weeks I was living under a rock while my other half pulled 80-hour weeks to finish a work deadline. So when I return to the land of the cyberliving, this is in my mailbox:

It doesn't take much to make someone's (read: my) day and this did it. Thanks Stiletto. :-)

My daughter is going to make out like a bandit Christmas morning. To tell you the truth there's not going to be much under the tree for me this year - but that's more than OK. Most of my "Christmas" was in October in Vegas and that did more for my morale than any amount of jewlery or furs in a fancy wrapped box. Besides I just got another present confirmed today. This time last year a lot of thoughts were running around my head that became the foundation of this blog, although they weren't entered until February. Take a look back to that month's posts (or you'll remember if you've been reading for any length of time) and you'll see why I don't care what's under the tree:

From what the doctor can tell, she was conceived the day before I left for my vacation-with-Barry-and-friends-in-Las Vegas trip. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

So Barry - WHEN you find your way back to the ATL for another arena show during one of your Hilton breaks, timing is going to be everything. Summer is bad for me - July is going to be busy and 7/14 is going to be especially exciting. Besides, the humidity combined with the heat are sheer hell. So how about spring or fall? Philips Arena has open weekends in early May. September 12 and 19 are good. October 17 and 24 are open. So there are plenty of options here before next year's holidays set in.

Unless something major comes up it's going to be family time for YBA until 2009. So Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukkah, and Happy New Year to everyone who stops by.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Cranberry Christmas: The Expert's Review

Update for 2009: Cranberry Christmas is back on ABC Family. December 1, 7:30 PM EST and December 7, 11:30 AM EST. Check your local listings for channel numbers.

The real authority on animated features in my house is my 3-year-old, the TLF. Her vocabulary is pretty limited so there's a few cues you have to watch for to see how much she enjoys something.

After dinner, she is planted in front of the TV screen for the usual cartoons airing this time of year. I already had the DVR set for Cranberry Christmas while I picked up the kitchen. All of a sudden I hear this shriek from the TV room: "BARWY!!!" We didn't realize that Barry was narrating as well as performing the two songs featured in the cartoon. TLF recognized him within a couple of words.

This cartoon got two-thumbs up from TLF. She didn't move the entire show (not even to ask to see the Christmas tree) and got pissed off when her father or I blocked her view. There is no greater compliment from an innocent child than undivided attention for 30 minutes. So in our house Cranberry Christmas hit its mark.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Barry & Graham & Daily Motion

Update May 23, 2009
Damn. Daily Motion took down the videos. Sorry, gang. It was cool while it lasted.

For those of us outside the UK, keep checking your satellite or cable searches on BBC America. This episode gets rerun quite frequently.
Our friends in the UK have this video on the BBC's website, but it's only viewable in that country.

Keep looking!

I was right!
For those of us in the US who can't wait til 12/13. Enjoy!!
Plus, a top-20 debut and a grammy nomination. Someone already has a full stocking this Christmas. Congrats, Barry.
(Updated 12/10/2008 - extra footage just found its way onto Daily Motion and is included below. Since Graham Norton is an hour-long show on BBC America, we may get the whole thing undedited. YAY!!)

Barry Manilow - Graham Norton Part 1 (4/12/08)
Uploaded by Saklas

Barry Manilow Graham Norton Part 2 (4/12/08)
Uploaded by Saklas

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Barry on Graham

In advance of the posting of The Graham Norton Show episode that Barry taped yesterday (or today, depending on your time zone!) I checked out the BBC Two website. The site posts individual episodes soon after they air.

If you are outside the UK, forget it. Due to some contract negotiations, the server checks the IP location and blocks access to the content if you're from elsewhere.

Fear not, Yanks. BBC America is airing the fun on 12/13 so hang in there! Or maybe we'll get lucky and find it on DailyMotion.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word

Ever notice that in spite of all of the "Joy" and "Peace" and assorted warm fuzzy shit all over creation in December that people are less kind this time of year?? Rabid shoppers in a Wal-Mart trampled an employee to death on Black Friday and then continued shopping for Christmas presents.

No matter how much you try to remove yourself from the frenzy, you are affected by it. So many obligations, including travel, relatives that work your last nerve, children who don't know how to adapt to the changing environment and the patience of a gnat, plus the budget-busting presents is enough to wear anyone raw.

No one is perfect. Everyone has a black-cloud-over-the-head-but-I-have-to-put-on-a-nice-face-anyway kind of day. Everyone has THAT ONE BUTTON that always gets pushed. Everyone has that last straw that breaks the camel's back. Everybody snaps and let's someone have it once in a while. I'm having quite a few of those days myself for reasons I may go into in the next few weeks. Even Benedict XVI and the Dalai Lama lose it once in a while.

But here's the thing: a simple apology makes any bad situation better than before. The longer you put off that apology for losing your cool, the worse the bad karma will fester. The quicker and more sincere it is, the better the outcome. A lot of people are afraid to apologize for an error in judgement because they think the reaction will be worse than without it. Not so. That's a lesson I learned the hard way in my own life. The fear of being pummelled after an apology is always overblown.

So if you want peace on earth, like the hymn says, "let it begin with me". You don't have to be perfect. You just have to do the right thing when you're NOT perfect.

In short: if you fuck up, then fess up. It's good for the soul. Especially yours.