Archive for July, 2006

… & Eat It, Too

I'm in a hectic moment of transition this morning, having just returned to the Bay Area from an exhilarating three weeks in Utah at the Sundance Theatre Lab (where I worked on my upcoming stage monologue, Citizen Josh) and now heading off on a weeklong family camping trip (even though, like Woody Allen, I am usually at two with nature). So please forgive the perfunctoriness of this blog entry -- but I have a wife and son who are quite anxious to begin tent-pitching and mountain-hiking! (My personal focus is to remember to bring the Peet's coffee.)

Tonight's episode (at 7:30; repeated on Friday night at 10:30) is a rebroadcast of the last interview we taped in our first season -- with the vivacious Ruth Reichl, former New York Times restaurant critic, current editor of Gourmet magazine, and author (most recently) of the memoir-with-recipes Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise.

It is a measure of my devotion to public broadcasting (and of the persuasive powers of my series producer, Lori Halloran) that during this taping I drastically broke my modified low-carb diet to consume not only a chocolate cake (made with Peet's!) from Ruth's recipe but also an obscene (yet delicious) number of cookies home-baked by my sister-in-law Nancy Sato. Oh, the sacrifices we make for television! ...

7 comments July 31st, 2006

Is Earthlink Going to Hell in a (Virtual) Handbasket?

Hey, has anyone else out there been having weird trouble with Earthlink lately? I've been a happy DSL customer of theirs for years, but a couple of months ago I signed up for their new plan in which you can bundle DSL with your home-phone service. Since then:

  • My home phone stopped working for a couple of weeks -- couldn't call out, couldn't receive calls.
  • My most recent bill from Earthlink overcharged me by almost $100.
  • And today, within the past couple of hours, all of my email disappeared. Yes, the over 250 messages in my "IN" box -- including, I believe, one from Earthlink explaining how they were going to refund the amount they'd overcharged me -- are now ... gone.

Every time I've contacted Earthlink -- a process greatly complicated by the fact that I am at a mountain resort in Utah with very limited phone service -- they've been polite as all get-out. But holy camolie (spelling?)!!! ...

Is Earthlink trying to tell me, in a clever, indirect way, that my life has become too bound up with the Internet? If so, I'd like to say: Message received (which is more than I can say for my emails)! But then please don't also overbill me for the services I am not getting!

* sigh *

And now, back to my regularly scheduled programming for today at the magical and wonderful (and mostly low-tech) Sundance Theatre Lab, as I continue developing a monologue about how disengaged many of us feel as citizens. (No connection here, is there?) ...

3 comments July 25th, 2006

The Mother of All Episodes …

... might be today's rebroadcast, in which I interview mom-daughter-relationship expert Deborah Tannen and child psychiatrist Daniel Siegel. I'm in my third week in Utah working hard on my next stage monologue, so please excuse my need to run off right now without further elaboration -- I swear I'm not just being childish!

6 comments July 24th, 2006

No (Great) Teacher Left Behind

You'd think that being married to a public-school teacher, and being also the son and stepson of public-school teachers, and moreover being the father of a public-school student, I'd be somewhat obsessed with improving the lives of our public-school teachers -- and, most important, their students. And you'd be right -- way right. But I confess that until I read Teachers Have It Easy: The Big Sacrifices and Small Salaries of America’s Teachers, I didn't really have a clue as to how this daunting task might be accomplished.

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		<p class= 8 comments July 17th, 2006

Off the Deep End

As we re-broadcast my interview with underwater explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau (tonight at 7:30; repeated on Friday night at 10:30), I find myself far from the ocean -- up, in fact, in the mountains of Utah. I just arrived this morning at the Sundance Theatre Lab, where for three weeks my theatrical collaborator, David Dower, and I will work together on my next monologue. The new piece will be about democracy, so I think three weeks of development should just about handle it, don't you?

Just kidding ...

Actually, I'm terrified -- as I always am, when beginning a project. But I must say that, as I continue to read some amazing books about democracy (especially the American version), I'm getting more and more excited about connecting with our country's founding political principles -- about trying to become a more active citizen.

Isn't there a Jackson Browne lyric that goes something like, "How long have I been sleeping? ..." I keep thinking of that phrase as I feel myself rising out of an extended period of personal political passivity (a period that seems to have coincided with my having watched lots of sports on TV, by the way).

At this moment, however, I think I'm going to dive into a nice cold bottle of water, in my continuing effort to stave off altitude sickness (which may account for my excessive alliteration in that last sentence). ...

July 10th, 2006

How Deep Need Can Lead to Increased Language Complexity

At our big family gathering near Boston last week, one of my nieces -- around four years old -- had this conversation with another of my little nieces (almost two):

Older Niece (excitedly): "Can I feed you?"

Younger Niece (firmly): "No."

A beat, while Older Niece absorbs this rebuff. (All day she's been looking forward to feeding her little cousin, whom she seems to regard as the most amazing, feature-packed doll in the world.) Then:

Older Niece (tentatively): "Can I feed you?"

Younger Niece: "No!"

A long pause, as Older Niece stares plaintively at her tiny relative. Finally:

Older Niece (passionately): "I want you to want me to feed you!"

2 comments July 10th, 2006


I'm wandering a lot this month (right now we're in Boston for a family reunion), so it seems appropriate that the episode we're running this week is a compendium of some of our "Wandering Josh" segments from the past season. Produced by Paul Sullivan, these in-the-field pieces took me -- and our fabulous crew -- to a bunch of cool places around the Bay Area. I met some amazing people, along with a surprising number of rodents. Also, I tried to dunk a baskeball from off of a trampoline and fell on my butt. (At the Oakland Airport a few days ago, as we waited in the early-morning security line, a guy tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Hey -- nice trampoline work, Kornbluth!" I'm pretty sure he was being facetious.)

One bonus feature of watching this week's show is observing my utterly futile attempt -- via my in-studio segues -- to find any semblance of a pattern in this grouping of segments. Though on the bright side, fans of John Cage may find themselves delighting in the randomness of it all. ...

2 comments July 5th, 2006

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