Category Archives: Barney Miller


There’s a character called Little Critter that I read to Lydia. He said, “Sometimes I remember, and sometimes I forget.”

So when I reviewed my 2007 albums, I forgot Nellie McKay’s Obligatory Visitors. I got it so early in the year, relatively, it slipped my mind. It’s much shorter than her previous two epics, and while I liked it in parts – a wonderfully vulgar 23 seconds of “Livin”, e.g. – I prefer her singing to that of the bloke who she had crooning with her.

I forgot to give my football playoff picks; trust me, I was 3-1 the first weekend (I thought Washington would beat Seattle). The second weekend, it’s more who I hope would win: Green Bay did (this has much to do with my dislike of The View’s Elizabeth Hasselbeck, who’s married to the Seattle QB, Matt); and my others won as well, except for Jacksonville, who lost to New England. (But doesn’t everyone?) So my rooting interests for the rest of the season are set: Giants, San Diego, Green Bay, in that order.

I was glad that Goose Gossage got into the baseball’s Hall of Fame, but I’m still looking for some love for Jim Rice, Lee Smith, and Andre Dawson.

On my list of TV themes, I didn’t forget Barney Miller, M&R. It was on Greg’s cusp list and on mine. Interestingly, that first season, not only was the show less good, in spite of the fine Barbara Barrie as Barney’s wife, the theme was fairly lackadaisical.
The later theme, like the second Magnum theme, was MUCH better:

The Mary Tyler Moore Show theme didn’t quite make it either, mostly because love may be all around, but Mary Richards’ love life mostly stunk. I think I preferred the “you just might make it” of the first season, which I can’t find, to “you’re gonna make it” of later seasons.

I did find this:

Oh, a question: did the That Girl theme ever have lyrics? I know it didn’t normally, but I swear I heard them at least once.

I forgot to mention that it was my friend Dan who gave me the comics-related question which I posed on Saturday that YOU can STILL answer.
I don’t want him, or especially his wife Lynne, who I’ve known even longer, ticked with me.

I was going to use this piece from a United Methodist website on one of my grumpy days, but I forgot:
Lawsuit prompts new music and video copyright developments for churches
Dean McIntyre, of the General Board of Discipleship, is warning churches of new developments in legal cases regarding the use of copyrighted music and video in worship. In an article posted on GBOD’s worship website, McIntyre writes, “In a new attempt to stop illegal copying — which may have an impact on churches — the music industry is now making a stronger claim of copyright protection not previously claimed.”

He concludes that, “If the courts continue to uphold the new music industry claim, the implication for churches is clear: it is illegal to legally purchase copyrighted music or movies, to copy and store that music or movie, even a clip, on your own computer or disk, and then use the copy in worship. Churches that want to replay copyrighted CDs or videos in worship can legally do so only by using the original purchased copy.”


Roger Answers Your Questions, Scott and Gordini

The blogger Scott, husband of Marcia and father of Nigel, one of those people who still cares about the NHL, was kind enough to ask:

1. What do you think are the chances of us seeing another “Subway Series” this October?

You must have me mistaken with someone who has any idea. I had the St. Louis Cardinals losing every round they played (and won) last year.

That said, highly unlikely. In fact, much to my surprise, I think the Yankees have a better chance of getting there than the Mets, much to my disappointment. I’m rooting for the wild card to come out of the NL West (and for the Mets to win their division) because I think THEY think they can’t beat the Phillies in a second round matchup, whereas the Yankees could beat Boston, if they get past the first round. Though the Yanks have had a difficult time with the Angels this season, so if the Angels beat the Red Sox, the Yankees may be in trouble. Incidentally, yesterday was the centennial of the birth of original Angels’ owner, Gene Autry.

(When you asked a few days ago, the Mets were up by 2 games. Now they’re tied with a game to go, with no guarantee that they’ll even get IN the playoffs.)

2. What do you consider your favorite TV Drama of all-time?

Quite possibly St. Elsewhere, although Hill Street Blues and Homicide are up there. My favorite show as a kid, though was the Defenders, a lawyer show with E.G. Marshall and a pre-Brady Bunch Robert Reed. I was also fond of East Side/West Side with George C. Scott. There was an anthology show called The Bold Ones, and The Senator segment with Hal Holbrook was great, got Emmy love, but it lasted but a season. Was Twilight Zone a drama? That gets its own special mention.

3. What do you consider your favorite TV sit-com of all-time?

The Dick van Dyke Show. The perfect balance of home life and work life. Great physical comedy by DVD. MTM’s capri pants. And Richard Deacon from Binghamton, NY. Lasted five years – not too short, not long enough to wear out its welcome, which I’m afraid M*A*S*H, arguably a better show in its prime, did for me.

Though I must give some consideration to the Mary Tyler Moore Show, with a magnificent evolving cast, also did home and work well, as did, now that I think of it, the Bob Newhart Show, the one where he plays the shrink.

A comedy that evolved into a good show was Barney Miller, which scrapped any real pretense of a home life after the first season (Barbara Barrie played Barney’s wife), and found its voice.

4. What scares you the most about Lydia growing up?

I suppose I’m dreading that inevitable teenage period when she thinks I’m an irrelevant, archaic druid. But I have to say that the great thing about having no idea what you’re doing as a parent – in that most of my preconceived notions about fatherhood could be tossed into the Dumpster – is that I don’t think too much about her Growing Up; I’m trying to take care of her Now.

I am reminded, again, about racism and racialism. I had never heard the latter term until I watched some Nelson Mandela speech right after he was released from prison. Some people use the terms interchangeably, but I feel a distinction. To me, racism is blatant inequity under the law or in society; e.g., the Jena 6 charged more harshly for their crimes than the white students who had assaulted black kids. Whereas, racialism is more the “damn fool” things people say and do, such as Bill O’Reilly.
I just started reading Anti-Racist Parent. By “just”, I mean yesterday; interesting stuff.

Back to TV: Lydia decided just this week that she wanted to put on her right sock, then her right shoe, left sock and left shoe. This reminded me of a conversation that Mike Stivic had with Archie Bunker (a sock, sock, shoe, shoe guy) on All in the Family; that was a good show, too.
Meanwhile, blogger Gordon, newly re-minted Chicagoan, podcaster, and most importantly, March Piscean, writes: “OK, well, here’s a question that I think you can answer: do you ever have a moment where you think ‘I’m so full of hot gas?'”

Immediately, I started writing this rambling epic indicating how there are several areas where I have no opinions at all, that the opinions I do have are often based on reason and experience, and that I don’t love the sound of my own voice as much as many do. I noted how, in keeping with a conversation he and I had privately, that I read other viewpoints; in fact, I spent some time this week listening to some of the speeches on the White Nationalist News Network, which I found by clicking Next Blog.

I addressed how an old girlfriend accused me of Male Answer Syndrome, which I rejected, not because it wasn’t possibly true, but because the thing I was answering (about alpacas being more pleasant than llamas) I actually DID know from research in my job. (And not so incidentally, claims that I have MAS has dropped SIGNIFICANTLY since I appeared on that game show. And there was other stuff about my good listening and observing skills.

But, sure, OK, don’t we all feel like we’re fakin’ it sometimes? Don’t at least many of us feel as though we’re about 11 and are pretending to wear grown-up clothes periodically?

So, Gordon, I could have just said “Yes.” But somehow, I thought you wanted a little more than that.
Oh, and another one of my favorite reads, Tom the Dog, who has been on one more game show than I have, says nice things about me. Right back at you.