I was never a fan of Friends. Besides scattered scenes, I might have watched only one full episode. Except for Rachel, I could not warm to the characters. And, I could not relate to their lives or laugh at the “jokes”.
I did, on the other hand, become a fan of another buddy series: How I Met Your Mother. I liked the characters, but moreover enjoyed the nutty aspects of their lives. Of course, most was far-fetched, but still believable. Most of the humor appealed to me, even if I am surely not in the target audience. I particularly liked how they included digs at Canada, even if it is such as easy target. Unlike some stupid critics, I found the “the mother” to be totally likeable and believable. She played a difficult role very well. The end, (which just made it to this side of the Atlantic) although sad, worked. The entire series was a hit. I will miss the crew and their crazy lives, but will be happy to enjoy re-runs and episodes I missed.
I could never get into Friends. Other than Rachel, I did not like the characters and found the dialogue mostly unfunny. On the contrary, I enjoy How I Met Your Mother. At times silly (which provides some of the appeal), there are moments of laugh-out-loud humor. I like the unusual mix of characters, and particularly enjoy the digs at Canada. Including a Canadian character was a stroke of genius.
I am amazed at how long they can stretch waiting for the denouement (which has yet to cross the Atlantic). And, I feel sorry for the two young actors that play the children, forced to sit in front a a camera for years and pretending to be interested using only facial expressions.
I have read that many are disappointed with the actress chosen to be the “mother”. I will have to wait and see if I agree.
People ask me why I do not join Facebook. The below article probably explains it better than I could.
And this, from the New York Times:
“Without the free content created by its 850 million users, Facebook would surely not be on the verge of an I.P.O.”
I could never warm to Friends; I may be one of the few on this planet. The only character I liked was Rachel, merely because I found Jennifer to be cute and (occasionally) funny. Feelings about the other characters ranged from disinterest to dislike.
In contrast, I enjoy watching How I Met Your Mother. I am probably not in the target group that producers and the network hope to reach (besides, I record the program and fast-forward through the ads), but I am entertained. It is well-written and humorous. I particularly like that they include a Canadian, who is always an easy target.
My wife brought something valuable into the relationship: friends. But, not only good friends, but ones with a wine estate that has been in their families for centuries. They own some of the best sites along the Rhine, an area first cultivated by the Romans to supply soldiers with their 5 liter per diem. They have passed on most daily work to their children, but it remains a family operation.
Today, we spent another pleasant day in their company and enjoyed a few of their fine wines. It is one of our favorite journeys. Fortunately, it is not a long drive to reach the Rhine. We could even take a boat down the Main, but have never tried. That might come when gasoline runs out or becomes prohibitively expensive. We will still want to make the journey.
They export their wines to many countries, which makes them available at better outlets and restaurants. If you notice the name, you could do worse than to order a bottle. It goes without saying that many of their wines have won prizes, which is an achievement in a field with so much competition and one which depends upon finicky palettes.
Earlier, I offered a view of Verbier, Switzerland. Today, I want to switch to the other side of the planet and a different set of mountains.
Another friend sent this photo from Aspen, Colorado. Obviously, this is not the town or section with rich-people palaces, but rather down the valley towards Carbondale. It shows that you can get away from the glitz and posing.
Nb. As you may have noticed, my friends live in more interesting locales than me.
I do not do social networking. (I do not consider blogging to be social networking: it’s ranting, airing, and joshing.) I have yet to discover a reason to bare myself to anyone wishing to know everything about me, my whereabouts, and my activities. If I did and if Silicon Valley geniuses could find a way to allow insects-that-bite to join, I would have more “friends” than Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga combined.
In my life, I have been able to attract more people than I wished to have anything to do with, but my appeal to biting insects in Florida bursts all bounds. My only conclusion is that it is the fate (flavor?) of introverts to attract so many such “friends”, because my extroverted wife has been virtually ignored. Or, perhaps, residents of Florida swamps find the attraction or taste of Germans to be unappealing.
Thinking about my new popularity led me to think about the fairly fluid definition of the word friend. Recently, it has become an even more elastic word than it ever was. I recalled conversions I had with Russians during my many dealings with that country. During Soviet times, the word had two meanings: someone you knew and someone you trusted. In a society where children were urged to tattle on their own parents, only one definition of friend meant anything: it was someone you trusted with your life. People had few friends…unlike the denizens of Planet Facebook.
Sorry, but I must submit you to some bad poetry (if you bother to continue reading...)
I am not the friendliest person (it has something to do with being introverted and choosy about people with which I associate). Thinking about the friends I have and those that I have known, I composed the below dodgy poem a few years ago. I recall learning about the rules of poetry in school, but have forgotten everything. Some of the lines rhyme...sort of. It's the message that is important. Believe it or not, this was written before anyone had thought of Facebook or social media. Perhaps, the sentiments are more apt than ever...
Some friends you keep forever;
Some friends you keep for a day;
Some friends are there when you need them;
Some friends just look the other way.
Some are friends when they need you;
Some are friends for no reason at all;
Some are friends ‘cause you fit together;
Some are friends at you beck and call.
Some friends may simply come and go;
But, a true friend is pleasant to have around
Some friends are not there when you need them;
But, a true friend will never let you down.
Here we go again with another saying: Variety is the spice of life.
I disagree with this on. Variety is life, not merely some exotic spice
One is constantly confronted with lists of "favorites" or some demand to reveal one's favorite this or that. What is your favorite color, city, restaurant, vegetable, etc.?
Dumb question (unless you're a magazine editor out of ideas). Why have a favorite anything? (Naturally, this does not apply to one's wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend!). If one would be forced to eat only one variety of fruit, vegetable, meat, dish, or cuisine, it would soon become loathsome. And, there is no perfect place to live, no perfect city to visit, no perfect hotel, or no perfect vacation spot. There is no "best" restaurant. Each has its benefits and drawbacks. Each fruit has a perfect natural season, regardless of what science has done to manipulate growth. Strawberries look great at Christmas, but lack the flavor of those picked from a field in June. Blueberries taste somewhat like the ones I used to pick in the woods, but only somewhat. And, I like fruit salad, which disallows having one favorite at that moment. Blue is a nice color, but some shades are less appealing. Often, if not always, context, setting, or mood determine appeal.
Strangely, "favorite" works with something as uber-eclectic as the Internet. Having a button for Favorites on Safari makes sense, perhaps because each one is so different and because it can be changed, as habits, practices, and tastes evolve.
This leads to the subject of "friend". Who is your favorite? This question could cause a whole bunch of trouble, especially with females of the species (It's not necessary to repeat what Kipling wrote!). One can get into a discussion about what is a true friend, as opposed to a counterfeit one. This has always been a topic, even before being exacerbated by social media websites. A friend can be someone with whom you spend most waking moments, but are not married to, all the way to someone with whom one played in the sandbox years ago. Why have a favorite? One can collect as many as one wants and use them accordingly. What are friends for, if not to exploit for one's own benefit?
Like a favorite of anything...have as many as you like, and...keep changing your mind. After all, variety--not a single favorite--is life. Case closed.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.