Thursday, July 13, 2006

Bill Kurtis Would Never Let 'em Hurt Us

Hi all,

I am starting to wonder if my blog may, for the majority of viewers, be somewhat akin to that occasional serious car accident folks encounter while en route to their preferred destination. Unavoidable obstacle / annoying delay becomes morbid curiosity / rubberneck entertainment. That sort of thing, only less interesting.

I wonder, because lately I've been following the same routine myself. I cruise through blogs to see what grabs me, but usually become enthralled with the first obscure, banal, bizarre offering that I stumble across, rather than continue to search for more palatable, socially redeeming fare.

My theory? Eroding taste due to mental fatigue results in accidental readers staying on my blog long enough to become asphyxiated by the content and trapped by the resulting carbon monoxide. An Internet Roach Motel, if you will. And I'm glad to have you, you sweet sticky things.

Now as some of you may have noticed by my profile, my television viewing habits are somewhat offbeat, even geeky perhaps. And, because this blog panders shamelessly to my narcissism, I know that I must torment you with specifics as to WHY these shows have me in their kung-fu grip.

Fortunately, since I like to keep my posts to a reasonable length, and need to ration out my limited and rapidly diminishing number of brain droppings through long-term installments, today's post will focus on my preoccupation with "true crime" shows.

Needless to say, I am a die-hard (note the clever use of the word "die") aficionado of "Psychic Detectives", "City Confidential", "Unsolved Mysteries", "Forensic Files" and "Body of Evidence" (starring Dayle Hinman! ... I MUST do a future post about HER! File cabinets AND legs! Her show could be a "mobius strip" of just that opening/closing file cabs/legs segment ... and I'd still be hooked! Bureaucracy and sex: mutually exclusive NO LONGER! CSI, meet Caligula.).

And there are many others as well.

In fact, I just watched a NEW one on Monday night, but - lucky you - the name escapes me. I do know that this genre must be popular, since new variations seem to pop up like weeds every half-season or so.

The steady proliferation of these programs has me pondering the possibility of a sinister future where new crimes are orchestrated for no other motive than to keep these shows in fresh material and acceptable ratings.

I would have to say that my favorites are "American Justice" and "Cold Case Files". Why? Because both shows have a secret weapon: Bill Kurtis!

Having originally grown up in the Midwest (in the same city that you recently visited, BB ;-), I have listened to Mr. Kurtis since childhood, as he was (and I'm assuming - still is) based out of Chicago. His deep, soothing voice, and mastery of timing and inflection are hypnotic, and they never fail to suck me instantly into the story line.

Unfortunately, the story lines are graphic retellings of true crimes, almost always murder related, and as such they inevitably go into grisly detail. In the wrong hands, these accounts would likely be horrific and perhaps cause nightmares. In fact, as a child, I could NEVER read a true crime book or view a movie of this type WITHOUT having great difficulty going to sleep for the next few nights. I had to avoid them.

But with Bill Kurtis at the helm, I am carefully guided though stormy seas of human tragedy and depravity feeling safe, secure and ... entertained. This goes against human nature, I think. Subject matter of this nature SHOULD have a disturbing, disconcerting effect.

Yet here I am, time and again, working, eating and blogging with an audio/visual landscape of mayhem and murder lurking in the background, serving as a soundtrack for my life. And creepier still, American Justice and (especially) Cold Case Files ("CCF") are my lullabies, my preferred method of nodding off to sleep.

Bill Kurtis' deep, smooth voice is pure, aural NyQuil. And as icing on the cake, a warm and soothing 3-tone bass triplet (possibly played on a harp) announces every new scene on "CCF". It's relaxing ... peaceful. And it doesn't matter what Bill is describing. It could be hideous, gory, blow-by-blow carnage. It doesn't matter, as I am calmly serenaded to sleep.

It has to be a case of shorted wiring at the subconscious level.

I am reminded of a Saturday Night Live faux home security commercial, where the "product" is a collection of mannequins in burglar garb, holding weapons. One is brandishing an ax, another is jabbing with a knife; all are in threatening poses. They are arranged at foots of beds. One bed contains the kids, comfortably tucked in and blissful. The other has mom, in her room serenely drifting off to sleep. The selling feature is that any actual burglars that may be peeping in are tipped off that THIS house is already taken.

Perhaps, in my way, I am doing the same.

30 comments:

Paula said...

Asphyxiated and trapped. You old sweet talker you!

leelee said...

"Yet here I am, time and again, working, eating and blogging with an audio/visual landscape of mayhem and murder lurking in the background, serving as a soundtrack for my life. And creepier still, American Justice and (especially) Cold Case Files ("CCF") are my lullabies, my preferred method of nodding off to sleep."

^^^^This kind of scares me^^^^

blackbird said...

I have never seen a single one of those shows.

And this?
Is fascinating in its own right.

Party Girl said...

Bill Kurtis, he does have a nice way about his voice.

I also always like the narrator of, "Unsolved Mysteries." haven't watched that one in years.

The guy behind, "City Confidential" I like the graveliness (sure it's a word.) of his voice mixed with the sarcasm.

Blogs. Yeah. They have to catch me with the opening credits, or, yeah...what were we talking about?

puerileuwaite said...

Oh, leelee. Tell me you're NOT serious!

But just in case you are, I'm glad that you said something.

Puleeese!

You ought to know by now that I strive for an off-kilter slant with my posts and comments. And I am always trying to throw an unexpected curve - hopefully funny.

I do my best to hammer and sometimes mangle words and phases into awkward contexts.

Allow me to go off on a tangent, which I will attempt to tie into my point: I saw something - neat and boring at the same time - on a lady's blog the other day. Her first post was entitled "Mission Statement". It clearly mapped out what her blog would be. That was interesting, but only for one minute.

But that's not my style. I want my blog to have an element of chaos to it. To be an unfamiliar road, where the twists and turns are unmapped (how's that for lame use of metaphor?) and unexpected. At least until my writing style itself becomes stale and predictable.

This may cause me to lose readers - but hopefully gain new ones as well, along the way. But I have to fight the urge to pander to any given audience with my topics, lest I become unacceptably boring.

I am not a fan of these shows in THAT way. That WOULD be disgusting, and cause for alarm. And if - heaven forbid - I were truly that morose, I would've targeted my blog to a much different audience. The Goths!

Admittedly though, I was a tad concerned with how this post would come across. Dark COMEDY can be risky.

I was even going to take a playful swipe your way, by mentioning that the majority of the cases are from Florida!

Anyhoo I thought the absurdity, and my own recognition of how bizarre it seems to be watching these shows to fall asleep, could be highlighted and spun humerously.

I'm a "swing for the fences - or - strikeout" kinda guy!

I hope you were "pullin' my leg". And if you were, congrats! You nailed me!

puerileuwaite said...

BB, I wondered about that when I was writing this post.

How many people outside of the U.S. would have seen these shows, and know what the heck I'm talking about?

Quid pro quo. I would enjoy reading descriptions of wacky shows from Tuvalu in your future posts.

puerileuwaite said...

Party Girl, I'm glad you concur. Finally! Validation that I'm not a total nut (or that there are now 2 of us, confirmed).

In fact, I was speculating that - with the right backing music - he could be the caucasian Barry White. Barry Black, for sake of irony. We could get down and funky to Bill Kurtis!

The late Robert Stack of Unsolved Mysteries was another favorite. It was always a kick to imitate his voice in different scenarios. How would he attempt to ask a girl out on a date ... that sort of thing. How would HE get down and funky?

The City Confidential guy (one of them, because there have been two)was entertaining because he sounded just like Vincent Price. So I would watch, hoping to hear an evil laugh (bwahahahahaha!) come out of him. Never did :-(

Darn ... now I lost my train of thought ...

puerileuwaite said...

PJ, I almost missed you. Okay, I admit it, so my prose IS unconventional. This may shed some light on my early dismissal from that phone sex gig.

leelee said...

Oh puerileuwaite...thou dost protest too much..but OF COURSE I was kidding..I was and am, regularly and wholly entertained by your writings. I do enjoy them and look forward to see where you will go next. Always unexpected and always well done.

I do understand that you are wanting to keep us, your loyal readers entertained and tickled by your style and wit. I often do not write in mine because I fear extreme boredom from anyone who bothers to check it out. Really, who cares what I did today or where I am going on my summer vacation. So in my case I try to find interesting factoids and postings to fill my page, with a snippet or 2 of personal experience. Ok.. blah, blah, blah I am going on about me, when this is SO about you..

Bottom line, If I were you I wouldn't change a thing..love your blog!

I will remain a loyal reader...no matter how creepy you get ;-)

~leelee~

leelee said...

PS: Oh and I don't watch those TV shows either (mostly because I abhor commercials so I have no patience) but I LOVE reading crime mysteries...I devour them. I think they are probably like those TV shows. Waiting in a pile in our spare room I have books by:

Patricia Cornwell
Michael Connelly
Tami Hoag
Robert Tannenbaum
Lawrence Sanders
Stuart woods
etc...

Yes typical, airport/drugstore fodder, but I just love them.

puerileuwaite said...

Whew! Okay, leelee, I feel better now. You had me goin', though.

Your use of carets around "This kind of scares me" scared ME. I've never been so intimidated by a symbol in my life (except maybe for Prince's)! Damn you carets! Damn you all to hell!

And by the way, while I'm baring my soul (and that's all that's bare right now ... honest), let it be known that I ALWAYS act guilty. Accuse me of being in on the JFK plot, and I'll fail a polygraph. Then someone with a seedy background will come along and shoot me.

Just so you know.

Thank you so much for the clarification, and for your misguided (but humbly appreciated) loyalty. I'm going to let the folks chained up in my basement know that it was a big mistake on my part (they've been edgy about it ... they don't like it when I'm upset). KIDDING!

Good books, BTW. I'm usually more of a non- or classic- fiction book guy. Why the stack? Have you thought of the buy one / read it / buy another one purchase method?
Just curious.

leelee said...

Like shoes..I love to browse and purchase them...I love the way a new book smells..not necessarily the way a shoe smells however. I also love knowing that as soon as I finish, there is another one waiting in the wings

For the most part though a got a huge supply from a neighbor who moved and had a stack..he said..hey leelee, want these??? I said...ARE YOU KIDDING???????? LEMME' AT 'EM! There must have been 20!!

I'm reading Dan Brown's Angels & Demons though right now..recently read Decpetion Point and have been having a good time with those. After A & D I plan on reading Grapes Of Wrath, which believe it or not, I never read and I am feeling very Americana right now.

Again, I ramble...

puerileuwaite said...

I enjoy your ramblings, leelee. I'll take them anyway I can get 'em.

Let me know what you think of Angels and Demons. I haven't read it myself, but want to find out if it's worth the effort.

The Grapes of Wrath: good choice. I may even have a hard bound copy of this classic. Want to know why I'd rather read the book (besides the fact that one should always read the book)? The movie has Henry Fonda in it (NOT a Henry Fonda fan), and it was too sappy, even by my low standards. The book HAS to be better (the book should always be better).

leelee said...

I read The DaVinci Code perhaps a year ago and I enjoyed it so much, but never thought to read any other of his works. Then while perusing the table of bargain books at BJ's (isn't THAT fun??!!) I saw Deception Point and really got into the Science of it..what with all Nasa and Arctic Ice Shelves...I was enthralled.

Then against my better judgement, knowing full well I had a stack at home.. I passed a rack of books at the market and said WTH..let me try this Angels & Demons. Oh it's good,MORE science stuff mixed in with the Catholic Church. It's delish!

PS: Love the word ...crappe

puerileuwaite said...

I'm a book store junkie as well. So because of this illnes I have to stay out of them as much as possible.

I will be on the lookout for Deception Point & Angels and Demons, though.

GirlGoyle said...

I watch and take notes...so many unsolved mysteries all put together have got to add up to the perfect crim. hehehehehe!

puerileuwaite said...

I've always wondered if these shows do reveal too much detail in how they were able to nab the bad guys/gals.

That's just like you, GG. I choose to use the info for good, while you choose to go the evil route.

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