Block Street “improvements”: Straight out of Cloud Cuckoo Land? | Street Jazz

Block Street “improvements”: Straight out of Cloud Cuckoo Land?

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Driving around town with a friend from out of town last Saturday, his first response upon turning onto Block Street from Dickson was, ‘What the hell is this?”

Though those close to the City may be singing the praises of the changes brought to Block Street, it is evident from the letters pages in the daily paper and comments form those who have had to drive on the damn thing that they think the City of Fayetteville has somehow bought a pig in a poke.

Of course, way too much money has been spent now for anyone in officialdom to say, Boy, this sure sucks!”

That’s okay, though.

Lots of other folks are saying it.

Aristophanes' famous play "The Birds” makes reference to Cloud Cuckoo Land, the fictional city in the clouds (and a parody on Plato’s writings) which is about the only place “improvements” like this might begin to make sense.

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Quote of the Day

" I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of war, corporations have been enthroned, and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all the wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the republic is destroyed. I feel, at this moment, more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war. God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless." Lincoln in a letter to Col. William F. Elkins on November 21, 1864 :

*****

Once again, TV execs let magic slip through their fingers

Making its debut on Fox in 2004, Wonderfalls was unceremoniously yanked off the air after only four episodes. Which is pretty good, I suppose, compared to what we might see in the future. Many of us can foresee a time when incompetent TV executives might yank a show off the air after the first commercial break.

Part of the problem was that the network simply didn't know how to promote this quirky little series, in which various stuffed, plastic and brass animals give advice to young slacker Jaye Tyler (Caroline Dhavernas), a recent college graduate (degree in philosophy) who seems unable to find a direction for her life, and finds herself working in a tacky gift store in a Niagra Falls tourist trap located in Wonderfalls, New York.

Her immediate supervisor is the sort of suck-up that we have all learned to recognize and despise over the years, and it doesn't help matters when, out-of-the-blue, strange creatures begin to give her advice.

It really doesn't help that the advice they give is so seldom straight-forward, which often results in the comic plot twists that each episode delivers. The advice is usually meant to guide her to helping a perfect stranger, who may or may not appreciate the help they are suddenly receiving.

But Jaye isn't alone in her adventure, which is also a sort of spiritual quest for self-knowledge. Along the way is her best friend (Tracie Thoms - Cold Case), who helps her, even though she may not always believe the source of her inspiration, and her family - who try to be supportive, in a sort of non-understanding way.

Her family include Lee Pace (Pushing Daisies) as her brother who is studying religion, and her sister, played by the brilliant Katie Finneran, an attorney who is struggling with being a lesbian.

When asked if she was uncomfortable playing a lesbian, Finneran told an interviewer that she'd rather be thought of as a lesbian than an attorney.

Jaye is also provided with a love interest (Tyron Leitso), who is constantly frustrated because of her failure to realize that she is able to commit to a relationship. Of course, the fact that he is still technically married to a bride he left on their wedding night doesn't help matters.

The writing is sharp and funny, and while the series was pulled off the air after four episodes, the entire run of thirteen episodes is offered here. And not only that, but a sense of closure is provided, in that at least the relationship issue between Jaye and her erstwhile boyfriend is settled.

Forget about buying Wonderfalls for anyone else; this is one you need to buy for yourself.

Trivia note: Tim Minear co-produced the cult favorite SF series Firefly - also canceled during its first season. Yes, once again by Fox.

rsdrake@nwark.com

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