Wednesday, September 30, 2009


It was the decade when...

We got lost in LOST.

What the fuck LOST? I mean, really!

First, I have to give the show credit. It got me. Right away. It took one episode, maybe two. I was addicted. TV Crack. I had to know. I was willing to invest years of my life and countless hours of my time to answer one simple question: WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?

For a while, I really thought the show knew what it was doing. It was all going somewhere. The endgame was always in play, the writers were just taking their sweet time to get there. It was going to be beautiful! A show where content and meaning converge in a elegant symbiosis of thematic focus and narrative inevitability. Lost. All about being Lost. On an island yes, but not just. Not even most of all. They were all lost souls on the island; the journey was one of self-discovery. What a metaphor! That's some literary-level shit. It even had characters named after enlightenment philosophers. I Kant believe it. So smart for Network TV. I though the show's last episode was probably already in a drawer waiting to filmed before the pilot even aired! I was in good hands.

But then I started to get suspicious. Not in the first season. That was a work of art. I'll give it that. Not even in the second season. It was some point in season three. Some moment when I looked around and thought. "Oh my! I have no idea what's going on." None. I mean, I don't even remember what it is I don't know. But that wasn't what scared me. Maybe I'm just dense. No, it was the fear that no one had any idea what was going on. Not me, not the characters, not Matthew Fox, not the writers, not even J.J. Abrams; but who can blame him, it's hard to think clearly with all that money laying about.

The bottom? The Nadir? The moment I forever realized that LOST's writers were as clueless as the audience watching the show? Not the stupid CGI smoke monster. Not Sayid's sighting of the the four-toed statue. Not even the ludicrous conjuring of "Jacob" in a wood cabin borrowed from the set of 3:10 To Yuma. No. The moment that LOST forever lost my respect was when Jack went to Thailand and got a cursed tattoo. A CURSED MAGIC TATTOO FROM A SKANKY THAI TATTOO ARTIST! Really JJ? I know you are busy with your film career. I know that you probably aren't working on your hit TV Series day-to-day. But a magic tattoo? Suddenly I longed for the days of network television when the only mystery was "Who shot JR?"

I actually know what's going on. I got an advance copy of next season's final episode. (I had to break into ABC's lockdown, radioactive, secret Burbank satellite office, shimmy through a ventilation shaft, and dangle, Tom Cruise-style, from a dense nanocarbon rope over J.J. Abrams desk where I hacked into his computer - his password is $tar Trek - and downloaded the PDF onto a UBS port I had hidden in my rectum.) After 55 minutes of exhausting exposition (LOST is one of the few shows that save the exposition for the final act) in which the rococo metaphysics of the island were extrapolated in exhaustingly viscous dialogue scenes, loose ends between the characters were tied up with all the logical cohesion of a Frank Zappa album. Then we cut to a flashback. Back to Oceanic Flight 815. A tracking shot tunnels through the cabin as we see all the characters who, over the course of the past six years we have come to know and love. After a close up on a misty-eyed Matthew Fox (he is always misty-eyed isn't he) the camera backs up to reveal, sitting behind him....ASHTON KUTCHNER!

Yes, we've all been punk'd.

You AUGHT to remember.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

#94-TV Dramas that suck years out of your life.

It was the decade when...

Television dramas demanded you give up your entire social life.

Remember the good old days? The days when you could turn on prime-time television at 9:00 or 10:00 PM and catch an arresting hour-long drama mid-season and feel throughly entertained? Oh sure, maybe you didn't know all the character's names on ER or what exactly was going on between Harry Hamlin and Susan Dey on LA LAW but, you could pretty much tune in any night and enjoy a well-constructed program. Other shows required even less dedication; The Twilight Zone, Quantum Leap or Law & Order (in any of its many incarnations) could be watched in whatever sequence one wished-you always knew Jerry Orbach's mordant one-liners would be the same. The model made sense; after all, television viewing was a casual activity - prone to whims of channel surfing and audience distraction (not to mention toliet breaks). Dramas that forced a deep commitment of time and mental energy on the viewer simply selected themselves out of candidacy for Neilsen glory.

Not any more.

Usually starring a large cast working in a ensemble mode that would make the Group Theatre green with envy, television dramas are now epic, multi-year, exceedingly dense and ornate behemoths of labyrinthine plotting and Tolstoy-esque depth. No doubt a result less of changing artistic sentiment than consumer gadgetry advancement, the proliferation of DVDs and (especially) DVRs, has made viewers free to watch their favorite television series on their own time. Never missing an episode (once a near impossible task when live viewing was the only option) has become as easy as clicking the big red button on your universal remote. Suddenly it behooved producers to ensnare viewers in complex stories and mysterious, breath-baiting cliffhangers that last, not just till you're back from commercial, but over the course of many seasons. It's all a ploy of course. They're playing us like a fiddle, teasing us along, season after season, like a moth to a flame, over-complicating the scripts to not only lead the horse to water, but ladel it down his throat. Here are the biggest offenders but, there are many more:

The Sopranos: It sounded like a bad spin-off of Analyze This. And yet The Sopranos became, over the course of it's six seasons, one of the best dramas ever produced on television. The story of mafia don Tony Soprano and his various Jersey wiseguys ended up more kitchen-sink drama (albiet the kind with a body count) than an accurate picture of contemporary mob life. Not that it lacked for suspense and plotting; the various backstabbings and grabs for power wouldn't be out of place on I Claudius (though ones ears might perk to hear Derek Jacobi calling a Patrick Stewart a "low-life cunt"). Still it was the emotionally familair storylines that hit home, like Tony dealing with his obstinate and aging mother; a relationship so realistically portrayed that it had to resonate with anyone who has seen an older loved one fall prey to the inevitable onslaught on senility. The Sopranos was so good at combining the mundane drama of 21st century family life with the anything but mundane criminal debauchery inherent to the subject matter that missing a episode became an impossibility. Watching the story unfold was like reading a great, (albeit very, very long) novel. HBO's second original hour long drama (after OZ) became a standard bearer for television in the the new millenium; expectations (and time commitments) were altered forever.

24-You can't say they didn't warn you. It's called 24. They tell you, up front, "Hey Bozo-you start this show and we are taking a day away from your life. It's gone. Sayonara! We have 24 hours to fill and, you know what, you're gonna watch every minute of them." At least they only addict you one season at a time. But, oh how one needs their fix when hooked! Now an iconic hero of the terrorist age, Jack Bauer, (played by a frowning and perenially hoarse Kiefer Sutherland) with his renegade, Guantanimo Bay-like tactics, is a 21st Century touchstone and a nexus for debate. But Bauer would probably shrug and say, it's all in a days work. Gimmicky? Sure. Reactionary? Probably. Repugnant? Maybe. Addictive? Definitely.

Other dramas that ruined my ability to do anything productive with my time: The Wire, Dexter, Heroes

AND, for the biggest offender of all...check back tomorrow.

You AUGHT to remember...

Monday, September 28, 2009


It was the decade when...

men found a faux for a friend.

In another instance of a once edgy and shocking fashion trend being appropriated and pussy-fied for the masses, the Aughts brought us the devolution of that once glorious bouffant donned by punk rockers and bellicose Native Canadians everywhere: the mohawk. Or, as it's mainstream, watered down after-birth came to be known: the fauxhawk. Once the most extreme of all hairstyles, standing as high and narrow as a Chinese fan and occasionally manipulated into sharp crown like points that resembled an inquisitional torture device, with the mowhawk, standing out was the raison d'etre. Nothing about Travis Bickle was pret-a-porter. Mowhawks pushed the envelope so far that mass-appeal reamained, not a distant dream, but a terrible fear, to be resisted at every turn. Until now.

Blame David Beckham, England's best smelling athlete; he sported the worlds most famous fauxhawk in 2005, the style's peak of popularity. Thanks to Mr. Posh Spice and other celebrities from across the pond, fauxhawks, like mowhawks before them, carried a vaguely Anglo-fied air - a plus for trends ever since the days when Carnaby street was synonymous with fashion.

The New York Times probably put the final nail in the punk counter-culture's proverbial coffin when it wrote a 2005 article blaming the fauxhawk for turning the mowhawk "cute." Of course, having adorable Maddox Jolie, super-baby celebrity and adopted progeny of Angelina Jolie, sporting the look didn't help.

And what does the faux-hawk actually look like? Well, no longer a threatening, warrior-like strip of a hair surrounded by bald, exposed, naked flesh, (Celtic warriors believed the strip of hair represented an extension of the spinal cord. HARD CORE!) the fauxhawk's tonsorial elan is more akin to what it would look like if a barber was trying to cover up the fact that his client's head came to a point.

Though its popularity has waned somewhat, this unfortunate coiffure has not yet gone the way of the George Clooney Caesar Cut. The fauxhawk may be here to stay. We are all pinheads now.

You AUGHT to remember.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

#96-Rachael Ray

It was the decade when...

...we realized that cooking took no effort, skill, or time.

Hello Everyone,this is Rachael Ray and welcome to Thirty Minute Meals.That's right.In just thirty minutes I'll cook a three course meal from scratch,ready to serve and eat.Today on the menu is cream of mushroom "stoup,"that's a cross between a soup and and stew but it's a lot more fun when you call it a"stoup."We also have authentic piping hot Pepperoni Pizza and Chocolate Chip ice cream.Ok,let's get started with the stoup,my cross between a soup and a stew,cause it's really more than a soup but not quite a stew so I call it a stoup.Did I say that already?Sometimes I repeat myself.This is a very hearty and thick stoup,more of an entréetizer-that's what you get when you have an entree size appetizer,but I think it's cuter to call it an entreetizer.I love thinking of these things.I love being cute.OK,so let's go to the pantry here and grab ourselves some salt and pepper and some EVOO,that's short for extra virgin olive oil.Start to heat your pot and add,I don't know,like a splash of EVOO,that's short for extra virgin olive oil to save time,and let that start to simmer,like this.Oh,I love the smell of EVOO,aka extra virgin olive oil but I think it saves time just to say"hey,grab some EVOO"instead of"hey,grab some extra virgin olive oil,"it just mmmm...smells like Italy,not that Italy smells that nice really.Last time I was in Naples all I could smell were the mangy dogs.I don't know why I am telling you this but I have to keep talking while this EVOO,good old extra virgin olive oil...only get the extra virgin kind by the way,simmers in the pan.I can't just you know,let it simmer in silence.So OK,now that it smells so good in here let's get really cooking.We are making Cream of Mushroom Stoup so for the next step we are going to add a can of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup to the pot.That's right.You are watching a cooking show where the host actually encourages you to use pre-made canned food.It's ok though.No worries.We are all about convenience here on 30 Minute Meals.In fact that is why people love me.I'm just like you.I mean, seriously.I'm just like you.I don't know what I am doing here.I don't know how to cook.I can't believe I actually pretend like I am a chef every single day.Why am I telling you this?Oh yes,JUST KEEP TALKING.And smiling.I have to keep smiling too.No matter what.Smile and talk.Smile and talk.And I got on Oprah doing this.OPRAH!She loves me.Well,that smells delicious,but this is a stoup remember,not just a soup,so we need a little more EVOO,that's my little acronym to save time instead of saying Extra Virgin Olive Oil every time.Also maybe,oh,a pinch or so of salt.Whatever works for you,you know.According to taste.I mean,I actually recommend that you ignore my recipe.You'll fare better on your own.But a pinch of salt works for me.I think.I've never actually made this before but I ran out of recipes.I hear this one is tasty though.I cry at night.No one knows that.You really think I'm this perky all the time?I'm dead inside.If I stop talking,I'll burst into tears.Why do all the gay men love me?Why do I love them?OH GOD!SMILE!I'm glad this show is only a half hour.When I talk for an hour straight it usually ends up costing me 250 bucks.Man,it smells good in here.Thank God for Campbell's,otherwise cooking stoup might actually require skill and effort.That's no fun.So our stoup is almost done.Let's do the pizza last and just work on the ice cream now.We'll just walk over here to the freezer and grab a bag of Chocolate Chips and some Breyers Vanilla Ice Cream.I like to put the ice cream in a bowl and then take the chips and pour them on the ice cream,like so.Then I just like to finish it up with a shot of delicious Extra Virgin Olive Oil or as I like to call it for short,EVOO.So,that's what I call my ten second chocolate chip ice cream.I'm getting my own talk show.Can you believe it?Really!Me.Talking.On my own talk show.And to think on the playground the kids used to say my voice sounded like a brillo pad.They used to ask me if I swallowed thumbtacks as a baby.And now I talk for a living.TALK TALK TALK.I love TALKING.Look at the time.We are almost done here.

The Doorbell Rings

Oh,my gravy!Finally!Oh,about that doorbell.I forgot to mention that you should order a pizza to be delivered before you start cooking.I just like to serve it as it is-warm and sliced-but for a extra bit of pizzaz I like to pour a lot of EVOO-which is now in the Oxford English Dictionary as the official abbreviation of Extra Virgin Olive Oil-on the pizza.So delicious.And there you have a 30 minute meal made and ready to eat in just 30 minutes.See you next time on 30 Minute Meals.YUM-O!

You AUGHT to remember.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


It was the decade when...

Women spent hundreds of dollars to look like burlap sacks.

The Poncho. Preferred couture of Banditos everywhere. These simple, heavy garments were designed by Peruvian peasants to withstand inclement weather as they harvest their, well...whatever they harvest in Peru. In the 60's, they were an accessory of the counter-culture; there was something organic and handmade and anti-fashion about them, a combination that suited the hippie naturalist-meets-anti-establishment aesthetic to a tee. The fad seemed destined to have the same half-life as suede tasseled vests.

But something went horribly, horribly wrong.

Emerging out of nowhere and spreading like a malibu brush fire, in 2004 the poncho dominated womens fashion. They were everywhere. Young women, old women, girls, celebrities. No one could get enough, or spend enough. These were not the the heavy, carapace-like shields that the Inca's wore. These were cheaply made, third-world child-labor intensive, mass produced frocks that looked as if they were knitted with yarn purchased from Michaels. A kitten's dream come true really. The absence of cultural authenticity bothered no one. (If you are shopping for a poncho at Old Navy, ethnic bona fides are probably not on the front of your mind.) So pervasive was the trend that the legitimate media couldn't turn away. The New York Times wrote about them (in the "circuits" section? Is it just me or are ponchos a decidedly "analog" accessory?) So did Slate. Even Martha Stewart got in the act with "Poncho Day;" the Domestic Diva and her entire studio audience were all draped like so much knitted bedding. An ocean of fabric, it looked like she had brought in the the AIDS Quilt. (Whether her guest David Spade joined in the poncho fun I do not recall.) In fact, the trend either reached it's zenith or jumped the shark (probably both) when Martha was released from prison sporting a Poncho knitted by a fellow inmate; in-between operating license-plate machinery and badly-lit frottage sessions it seems one can find time in ladies prison for more "Home-Ec" varieties of activity. After Martha's big out-of-the-clink press conference, incessant Emails poured in demanding a replica. You can buy it here.

By the way, in case you forgot, ponchos are fugly. Bulky, itchy, stupid, and fugly. A poncho, let me remind you, is just a table cloth with a hole to stick your head through. Take a blanket, cut a whole in the middle. Stick your head in. Poncho. Don't like your window treatment? Rip that shit down, take some scissors to it and...voila. Poncho. The hide of a recently killed moose? You get the idea. Doesn't take too much skill to construct a poncho. They aren't exactly dispensing poncho challenges on Project Runway.

In reality, the advertising slogan should have been: Ponchos, when muumuus are just too complicated.

A star shines its brightest before it goes dark. This season's must-have item is next year's wouldn't-be-caught-dead-in-it look to avoid. By the time the title character donned a poncho on Ugly Betty's premiere episode, the fashion trend a la moment circa 2004 had become so passe that its inclusion in a wardrobe could only signal a punchline. Personally, sometime in 2005, I think girls started to look around, breathe a collective sigh and say, "OK, this is REALLY stupid. I just spent $300 on a bunch of yarn." At least I hope that's what happened. It gives me hope.

But maybe people just wanted "The Snuggie" instead. A poncho with arms. Now that's genius.

You AUGHT to remember.

Friday, September 25, 2009


It was the decade when...

Our Friends Became Friendsters...

Aw, poor Friendster. You were there, before everyone else, giving the people of the world their very first friend request, and the first pangs of guilt when you ignored your old elementary school classmate who you barely remembered until you realized that you used to call him the dandruff troll and he somehow found you and asked you to be his "Friendster." Ah, I remember when I actually felt bad about that.

You were so friendly friendster! You had a nice appealing layout and design. Clean and readable. Not like that other, ugly social networking rip-off that stole all your thunder but ended up a Hobbesian waste-land of stoner bands and skanks named after alcoholic beverages. And, oh I how I loved your testimonials! I spent hours reading my friends mini-essays on how great I am. It's like attending your own funeral, but you're not dead.

Ah, Friendster. And what a great name: FRIEND-STER. It's warm and fuzzy. Like what a child might call their Teddy Bear or pet snake. "My Friendster." You could say to your pals who hadn't yet learned the joys of social networking, "Be my Friendster?" It rolled off the tongue. That is top-shelf netspeak if ever I heard it.

And stalking people! I almost forgot about stalking people. You made it so easy. I didn't even have to be your friend or in your city or attend your college to read all about you! After all, I should be able to internet-stalk total strangers who I have never met and would otherwise have no contact with, shouldn't I? Best of all, I can see if you've read my profile. I like to see who has read about me. I deserve to be read about. You know Friendster, that's what you taught me most of all....I AM REALLY INTERESTING AND WORTH READING ABOUT! And just to think, before you, I didn't think the rest of the world cared about my favorite ice-cream flavor. Or what bands I listen too. Or what books I read. Or what TV shows I watch. Or....well, you get the idea. But, you proved me wrong Friendster. I am worth writing and reading about. After all, it's all right there in black and white. I mean, who is going to take the time to write such a charming and witty profile about someone if it's not worth reading, right? And pictures!! Suddenly I had to pick out a "Profile Picture." Oh my God! I could look at pictures of me all day! How am I going to pick just ONE? Friendster, you made me so busy sometimes, but I still love you.

So...where did you go? Asia it seems. Why the fuck do you want all those Asian people to be Friendsters? What was wrong with us good ol' Americans? Is this a globalization thing? Have you been reading Thomas Friedman? And why did everyone here leave you? No "Dear John-ster" letter. Nothing. Just packed up and gone. I didn't want to. You have to know that Friendster. My profile is still there. Dormant. Quiet. But there. All the old friendly chatter, the profile updates, the picture's all gone. It's a ghost town of a social networking site. The architecture is still standing but, it's all dusty and dead and covered in cobwebs. No teary good-byes or cathartic demolitions, just abandonment. No closure. Like when a network abruptly cancels a Television series before they can write a good final episode (Pushing Daises I'm looking at you!). You deserved a big final hurrah Friendster! But, I guess it's often the imitator that triumphs over the original. Just ask The Backstreet Boys.

So here's to you Friendster! You changed the world forever and brought social networking to the masses. So, three cheers for...ohmigod! I totally forgot to update my Facebook status today! Gotta go.

You AUGHT To Remember.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

#99-ASS-Flu (Avian, Sars, Swine)

It was the decade when...

Pandemics of Biblical Proportion spread uncontrollably throughout America reaking havoc and tragedy in their wake.
Oh, wait...they didn't.

This is a red alert. This is not a drill. This is not a test. We are not fucking around. A new disease is about to hit America. It will be nothing like this country has ever seen. It's a good thing we have 24 hours to fill on this news network so that we can cover this story NON-STOP. Let's cut to our reporter who is standing outside the hospital where the first known American patient is being treated. Chad?

Thanks Ted. I am standing here outside United Memorial Hospital where the first known case in America of the Avian-Sars-Swine Flu Virus, or ASS-Flu, is being treated. We really know very little about this outbreak, but citizens in the area are already taking precautions. You see people with masks, wearing gloves, avoiding inclosed spaces, retreating to nuclear fallout bunkers. It is a small state of panic in this usually sleepy bedroom community. We have a graphic here showing the possible spread of the disease in 48 hours should it go uncontained. As you can see 90% of America would be covered in just 48 hours. Of course, the CDC does point out that this is just a possible projection and relies on the majority of the country eating raw Emu droppings. Still, the image is shocking.

Chad, what do we know about this patient?

Well, Ted she is a caucasian female, 95 year old, with a previous history of pneumonia and chronic emphysema but otherwise was a pillar of health...wait a second....wait a second...I am getting word right now that the patient has, in fact, died. The hospital is announcing that she is the first American mortality from the ASS-Flu. This is really shocking. Truly Ted. If this 95 year-old with chronic emphysema can succumb to ASS-Flu. Why couldn't anyone?

Thanks Chad. One thing is for sure, this isn't like last time ladies and gentlemen, or the time before that, or even the time before that. This time we all have cause to be concerned. And we'll be here on PNN, the Perpetual News Network, all night long keeping you informed on the latest developments with this new ASS outbreak. PNN, your first stop for health. [Cut to: Fast Food Commerical]

You AUGHT To Remember.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

# 100-Vitamin Water

It was the decade when...

...we realized that water sucked and needed Vitamins.

Do you like water? H20? Have you always had the nagging suspicion that water was, oh, a little DULL? Do you feel embarrassed at the gym to just fill your bottle with the crap from the tap? Is Gatorade too butch for you? If you have had any of these thoughts...fear not. The 21st Century has solved your conundrum! Now we have water....with sugar, I mean, with vitamins! Who said you needed to eat your greens? Take your daily supplement? Not when there is Sugar Wa..., I mean, Vitamin Water! For only, oh, 3000X the price of tap water you too can feel that unique sense of self-satisfaction that comes from spending an inordinate amount of money on something that all the yuppies at the squash court are drinking. We're not even carbonated. Fuck Carbonation. We Rock. And you need lots of sugar, I mean, vitamins. We know that reading a snarky but self-congratulatory mini-essay on the side of the bottle only adds to your sense of self worth. It not everyone after all who buys drinks that have BOTTLES worth reading. And with brands named after hip-hop stars, who wouldn't feel cool drinking our Sugar, I mean, Vitamin Water? So, forget Evian, toss your Gatorade to the side, and drink the drink that costs, I mean, makes you feel, like a million bucks...Sugar, I mean, Vitamin Water!

Paid for by The Coca-Cola Corporation.

You AUGHT To Remember.

Goodbye to Aught that...

It Was The Decade When...

It may be an arbitrary distinction, but every ten years pop culture decides to hit the reset button. Along with the concept of the "generation" (the "boomer", "the Greatest Generation," "Gen-X"), the decade has become the fundamental construct we Americans use to organize our collective social memory. The proliferation of the "I Love The..." programs on basic cable is a testimony to this enduring social trend. Contemplating 20th Century history without reference to -- or understanding of -- the decades is akin to navigating vast waters with no constellations above to guide your journey. You're adrift.

Each 20th century decade was a mini-epoch, conjuring up in the imagination an entire mise-en-scene of music, culture, personalities and anxieties. Whether or not these impressions comport with reality, I'll leave to the historians. Though when one talks about "the roaring twenties" it's hard to shake the image of an overflowing speakeasy serving bathtub gin while flat-chested flapper girls with Louise Brooks lips dance the Charleston to the latest tin pan alley rags. In reality, this decadent fantasyland was contained within a few blocks of major urban centers, but, such is the way with the historical memory. And no, in the 1950's, not every family lived in a newly developed Levittown, with a Buick in the garage, and 2.5 children. In the real world, many still lived in cities and some people weren't even white. (Shocking, I know.) But the Ozzie and Harriet cliche is now an integral part of how we represent mid-century American life to ourselves. Impression is all. Just as we selectively, though not consciously, choose what to remember from the sordid and complicated panoply of experiences that make up our individual lives, (Ten years later, everyone remembers their 21st birthday, but they may not remember their 22nd. Of course that might have something to do with just how much fun your 21st was!) so too do we separate the curd from the whey in our collective culture. So why the decade and not the quarter-century? The digit change inherent with calendar progression is a superficial but not wholly trivial reason. The real truth, however, lies in the light-speed shifts that zeitgeist transformation can now undertake. Once upon a time, centuries divided eras of change; the 20th Century pushed even ten year demarcations to their breaking point, so drastic were the upheavals in social reality that modernity hath wrought. Ten years time was more than enough to alter the course of history, leaving America and the world a different place than it had been just ten years before.

Though we see so much of the past through the prism of the "decade," the present often resists attempts to be adequately contextualized. As Orwell wrote, "To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle."

So, with a new decade about to crack wide open on us, I felt it apropos to get a jumpstart on the inevitable nostalgia kick and spend the last hundred days of this decade looking back to see how far we've come and figuring out just what in the first ten years of the new millennium will be emblazoned on the national memory.

Of course, the immediate problem that this decade poses is what to call it. "The zeroes" seem a tad negative. The "O's" (pronounced "owes") are likewise uninspired; the more accurate "Double-O's" are simply out-of-the-question in a post-Bond world. "The Two-Thousands" has caught on the most of all, a regrettable development given that the phrase doesn't exactly trip off the tongue, nor does it specify why any year from 2000-2999 shouldn't be included under this banner. I personally cast my vote for "the Aughts" (as demonstrated by this very blog's title). I like this for its historical resonance (people used to call 1901 "Aught One," for example.), its specificity (this is undoubtably the only context in which anyone is going to say "Aught Seven") and the fact that it's in The Music Man (Harold Hill graduated "Gary Conservatory, Gold Medal Class of Aught Five.") As in most things, Musical Theatre should always be our guide. There has been some campaigning to call these past ten years the "naughties" but labeling a whole decade with a rather lame pun can't be the best of ideas. I suppose we'll eventually do as they did in the last century and mention our current era as simply the "turn of the century" --though I doubt I'll ever be able to shake the image, sepia toned and redolent of camphor, of men in bowler hats and women in bloomers, listening to their victrola and complaining about "the vapors."

"Time is the longest distance between two places" wrote Mr. Tennessee Williams. If so, we have traveled a long, long distance in these past ten years. Recent history, it seems, was a long time ago.

You AUGHT to remember.