What have I been doing?
non sequitur of the day

Craig Ferguson/9-11/blather

This is part of an ongoing conversation I've been having with my best online mate. Later, I'll talk about the camping trip, share some pictures, and start the process of putting every blog entry I've ever done, backdated, into this one. That will be a long-term project, but I feel good about it.

Me: Craig Ferguson is this year's top entry for a holodeck weekend. Discuss.

Chickengrrl: His monologue is truly a thing of beauty, a work of art. My only complaint (and granted, it is beyond minor) is that it's an eensy bit too long. I think I've gotten overused to Letterman's too-short one, so Ferg's seems extra long by comparison. I think somewhere in between (but closer to the length of Craig's) is more right.

The man, he is a genius. Maybe not my free pass, but a genius. ;-)

Me: I could listen to him talk for an hour. I am not very interested in the guests, unless they can really hold their own.

Chickengrrl: Yes - I think his one flaw as a host is that he's not a very good interviewer. Yet. I think he's improving, but he sort of turns everything around to talk about himself, or he obsesses about something silly (like Toni Collette saying she was menstruating). But he's better than a lot of people in that sort of position. And I think part of the problem with his guests is that he's on so late, he tends to get quasi-lame ones a lot of the time.

Chickengrrl: OK, I've found another minor flaw, and I hate to be critical of the little darling, but he does the "gay" thing way too much. Honestly, it's starting to get old.

Me: I'd probably have to agree with that. I wonder why it's so?

Chickengrrl: Please tell me you were watching last night, and saw Craig kiss Steve Carell on the mouth. I don't know what led up to it, as I was actually on the phone with P before then, but it was awesome.

Me: I didn't see it last night, but I saw it the first time it was on. It was awesome. (For those who don't watch Craig, and are now wondering at the possible hypocrisy of this conversation, let me point out that the "gay thing" we're tired of is frequent allusions to his sexuality being in question. Since it isn't, that can get old. However, watching him kiss Carell was another thing entirely, even though I have no credible way of explaining it. He's funny when he just does the gay thing, instead of talking about it, maybe.)

Chickengrrl: And tonight's is the awesomest awesome that ever awesomed. In honor of the 9/11 anniversary, his guests tonight were Aaron Brown, who was on CNN for 15 hours straight on 9/11 - and this just a couple of months after he started there, it sounds like - and Ralph Geidel, a retired NYC firefighter from Oregon who lost a brother in the North Tower on 9/11 and who worked for a year doing recovery at Ground Zero. While Aaron has officially become one of my new crushes - he makes me wish I'd been able to tear myself away from NBC that day, but I didn't know him then and I needed the familiar avuncularity of Tom Brokaw to soothe me, although it seems Mr. Brown has a special brand of palliative himself - but this firefighter guy is amazing. Not only did he help with the recovery and retrieval of hundreds of bodies, he got throat cancer for his efforts. I hope they rerun this soon so you can see it, or your DVR caught it. Any paltry complaints I've ever had about Craig's interviewing style have been permanently put to rest. He does know how to interview, and quite well. I just wish he would stop interrupting his guests to be funny, but still at least he's no Leno - not even close. He did a great job tonight. I'm so sorry I slept through his monologue, so I look forward to catching it in reruns He pointed out at the end of the show, too, that he had no politicians on. Good on him.

I'm having horrible deja vu today. I can only imagine what people for whom 9/11 actually hit close to home are going through.

Me: We watched it last night. It was the Emmy entry, wasn't it?

He really is a good interviewer. When he's "on," he interrupts more than usual, but I find he does that much less often than most other talk show hosts.

Anyway, I love him for this. Here is the monologue; as soon as I saw that he was wearing a tie, I knew something was up. It's not his usual sharp brilliance, instead, it's just a guy, talking about something he still can't get a grasp on. Very poignant.

We were talking about how we still feel funny when planes fly close overhead. For weeks after the attack, we had surveillance aircraft overhead every hour, day and night, sometimes many of them. The skyline north of Sandy Hook and to the east was brown for weeks, New York smelled bad for months. Every time we got on a train, we wondered if those were next. Sometimes we were told they could be.

I'd cross the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge and look down the river to the bay, across which you can see the bridge to Staten Island. And beyond that the buildings of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the air towers at JFK and LaGuardia. Since moving to New Jersey, it had always been exciting to look over and see those tall landmarks on the horizon. So after this happened, I'd look over, to see the brown air where the buildings used to be. And it was startling when I realized that it wasn't brown anymore, sometime in the winter. But for well over a year, it still just felt like there was a hole in the landscape. And after that, I'd realize now and then I was beginning to get used to the changed shape of it, that the Empire State Building was the landmark, that Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia, and it made me mad, so I'd force my eyes to put the shape of the towers back in.