This past week’s routine was thrown out of whack by a hours-long wait in the emergency room. No worries. A bit of concern with my niece that would’ve been taken care of at the pediatrician or even urgent care had it happened during the day.
But everything’s perfectly all right now. She’s fine. We’re fine. We’re all fine here now, thank you. How are you?
— If you missed the last Overzealous Recycling, you can read it here —
At some point during the third hour (of a total four; my sister was there for six hours), while my phone’s battery was sinking toward 10% charged, I began thinking about an obscure, nearly 25-year-old Saturday Night Live skit called “WR.”
Do you remember that one? George Clooney was hosting the show during his ER fame, so a parody of the medical drama was a natural (maybe lazy) idea. This was Season 20 — Feb. 25, 1995 — if you’re a diehard SNL fan and completist.
Unfortunately — and normally, this might be the thing to vex me the most in a particular week — there doesn’t appear to be an embed of the skit. But it is available on NBC’s Saturday Night Live website (though not the NBC app, as the site claims):
George Clooney with a full head of brown hair! And look at who was in the SNL cast back then: Michael McKean, Chris Elliott, Janeane Garofalo, Mark McKinney, David Spade, Chris Farley and Adam Sandler. Not a classic group (some might disagree with Spade, Farley and Sandler), but a lot of talent there which made their comedy names elsewhere.
It’s not a bad parody of ER; the spoofs of each character are pretty good, and the soap opera between Doug Ross and Carol is about right. But the real bite of the sketch is highlighting the part of ER visits which the series (and other medical dramas) never showed: the waiting.
How did people do this before smartphones? There were no TVs in the waiting room and the only magazines that weren’t hospital literature were Rachael Ray Every Day. (At least I found a nice recipe for chicken sliders.) Thanks to the New York Times crossword puzzle app for helping me get through part of that wait.
** The influence of The Twilight Zone on Jordan Peele’s Us has been noted by several critics, and Peele has been pretty open about his inspiration. (Peele’s Twilight Zone reboot premieres next week on CBS All Access, by the way. Good timing there.) More particular to Us is the Season 1 episode “Mirror Image,” one of five Brian Tallerico recommends watching after seeing the movie. [RogerEbert.com]
** It’s probably way too early to attach Oscars love to Lupita Nyong’o for her performance in Us. (And she’s already won an Academy Award in 2014.) But I’d like to see the five others that could beat her out for a nomination. Will she ever get a role that allows her to show off her rap skills? [New York Times]
** Michigan’s NCAA Tournament loss to Texas Tech Thursday night was disappointing, but the Wolverines’ flaws were badly exposed against a stellar defense. I feel especially humbled because I gloated over Tennessee’s loss earlier in the evening.
Coach John Beilein did an exceptional job with this year’s team, though, which cements his status as the best basketball coach in Michigan history. Remember how bad the program was before he was hired? [Detroit Free Press]
Grocery Store Playlist
The soundtrack to my last grocery store visit may have been the most interesting yet. It began in the ’80s, progressed to a song you’d definitely expect to hear in a grocery store (anything by Peter Cetera), turned on something unexpected (“I Want Candy”), then took a hard turn into the ’70s. And the ’90s played me out the door.
I wish I’d been in the candy aisle when “I Want Candy” was playing. Or even in the checkout with all of those impulse buy candy bars. Missed opportunity there. (I was in frozen vegetables.) But how often do you hear a transition from Peter Cetera to Bow Wow Wow?
Still — not the best playlist I’ve heard while grocery shopping. (Especially since starting to keep track of which songs I hear.)
** I refer to myself as a “coffeeciando” on my Instagram profile. Mostly, I just liked the term. But after reading this piece, I don’t think I’m even close. Yes, I try many different types of coffee. And I do get excited about trying new roasts. But tasting notes? Cupping? Pairings? I don’t do any of that. I never really thought I was a coffee geek. But now I know it. [New Yorker]
** I knew Asheville was a good music city before I moved here. Smashing Pumpkins doing a nine-show residency at The Orange Peel in 2007 got my attention when I started looking into what the town had to offer. (The residency was part of their If All Goes Wrong documentary that I’ll need to seek out.) But the current music scene is rich enough and earning enough of a reputation that Rolling Stone wrote up a feature on it. [Rolling Stone]
I’ve always been impressed by the acts that play here, and was aware of Echo Mountain Studios and the Moog factory being here. However, as with many things about Asheville, I probably haven’t made an effort to enjoy everything there is to offer. Gotta get out more!
The Influential Spider-Man
Pop culture has long cleared this hurdle (probably 20 years ago), but it never gets old to see comic books’ influence on current media and culture. An illustration in the Washington Post‘s 2019 baseball preview inspired by the iconic image from The Amazing Spider-Man No. 50 — “Spider-Man No More” — is the latest example.
Somehow, I doubt Bryce Harper sees himself as Peter Parker, though.
** Moving to a place for happiness sounds nice, but is often bullshit, right? Hell, Eric Weiner’s book, The Geography of Happiness, says Asheville is a happy place and I’ve had my share of misery — mental, emotional, and physical — here. My sister’s husband once bought everybody in the family a bottle of wine from Sardinia after he read that residents were far happier and healthier. But how about moving to Finland? Culture, coffee, tranquility, and lots of saunas. [Afar]
** I’ve fallen a couple of episodes behind on DC Universe’s Doom Patrol series (I blame college basketball), but one of the delights of the show is how fully it embraces the weirdness that made the comic book a cult hit. Writer Grant Morrison created some truly weird shit, but his characters — such as Crazy Jane, with 64 different personalities, each with her own superpower — and storylines were distinctive because of that. [DC Universe]
** I never learned how to drive a stick shift, and probably never will since my life as a driver has gone 30-plus years. I used to get stuck with designated driver duty frequently because of it. And I always figured I could never drive like an action hero. But would all of us be more engaged drivers and less distracted — or complacent, from comfort — if we had to drive with a manual transmission and use the clutch? [New York Times]
** It often bothers me when I see the mess that people leave behind at movie theaters. It’s gross: Popcorn all over the floor, trays with unfinished food under seats, cups left in cup holders. All of it left there because people figure someone is going to clean it up. In the short-term, theater employees have to clean that up. But who’s doing the deeper cleaning? In a lot of cases, it’s underpaid janitors. [Variety]
Here in Asheville, we have AMC, Regal and Cinemark theaters. I wonder if they’re using these employment practices? Probably, if it’s a corporate policy to use contractors, rather than directly hiring janitors.
** For really tall people, the presumption is that they play basketball. But what if they don’t want to? Or what if they’re actually not very good at it? Playing in the NBA certainly isn’t a guarantee, even if you’re seven feet tall or more. Is a normal, healthy life possible? [The Ringer]