"On ‘SNL,’ birds, women’s hoops

At the end of another crappy episode of Saturday Night Live, I looked over at the wife.

“Man, that show sucked,” I said. “How many sucky shows does that make this season?”

“All of them,” she said.

Once the wittiest, most inventive show on television, Saturday Night Live is now one of the worst, with bad actors, bad hosts and poorly written scripts. With this Saturday’s season finale closing out the show’s 32nd season, perhaps it’s time to consider putting SNL out of its misery.

At this point, canceling SNL would be a humane act of euthanasia. With its best cast members long gone and its writing staff replaced by chimps, it would be an act of mercy to get rid of the show.

Last week’s episode, with Molly Shannon hosting, was the lowest point in a very lackluster season. The sketches were underdeveloped and unfunny, Shannon was supremely irritating and the best moment was a rerun of a commercial parody from earlier in the year.

Watching SNL these days is like rooting for the Chicago Cubs. You do it out of loyalty and habit but with no expectation of having that loyalty rewarded with victory. You do it because you’ve always done it.

The show has gone through many peaks and valleys since its 1975 debut. There was the John Belushi era, the Eddie Murphy years, the Chris Farley years and the current era, which has no name because there are no stars on the show anymore.

In its prime, the show was so good that one was inclined to forgive it for unleashing Dana Carvey, Adam Sandler and Will Ferrell onto the entertainment scene. No longer.

Maya Rudolph is the only likable actor on the show these days and even her considerable charm can’t save a series that, at long last, has run out of ideas and energy. Killing the show now might be the only way to preserve its legacy.

When not even Scarlett Johansson in a tight red dress or Peyton Manning cursing at a group of children can save your show, it’s definitely time to pack it in.

Another show that has overstayed its welcome is the Jay Leno-hosted Tonight Show. Leno was funny for about 15 minutes back in the 1980s, but as a talk show host, not only is he no Johnny Carson or David Letterman, he’s not even as good as Conan O’Brien. Leno is bland and inoffensive and perfect for putting one to sleep.

Rest in peace, Saturday Night Live. We forgive you for your sins. Just go away quietly and take Leno with you. Thanks for the memories.


Quite unexpectedly, I’ve acquired a new set of friends in the last few months. By simply installing a cheap bird feeder and suet brick outside my patio window, my circle of acquaintances has grown much larger.

There’s my best friend, the male cardinal, whose proud feathers and understated chirp always bring a smile to my face. There’s his decidedly less glamorous wife, who follows behind him dutifully and eats the seeds he lets drop onto the floor.

While drinking my morning coffee, I watch my new friends with delight. There’s an oriole that stops by occasionally, all manner of sparrows and finches and even a blue jay. There’s the crows, uninvited and unwanted, but who make quick raids upon the cache of food before taking off.

Even my cats watch them respectfully and with fascination, deciding not to attack. The birds have grown so comfortable with my patio that they feed within pouncing range of the cats, trusting that they won’t be hurt.

Indiana has many charms, but surely its assortment of native birds must be one of its greatest treasures. I’m glad I invested the $5 it took to make a whole new set of friends.


The Indiana Fever open the WNBA season this weekend at Conseco Fieldhouse, with brand new uniforms, new players and a pretty good chance at winning the championship. In other words, they’re the opposite of the Indiana Pacers. The passion, determination and love of the game are much higher in the WNBA these days than in its male counterpart league. It’s astonishing to me that the women’s league isn’t more popular than it is. For drama, exciting finishes and sheer value for the entertainment buck, there’s nothing better in pro sports.

If you’ve never been to a WNBA game, you owe it to yourself to check one out. You’ll get hooked on the excitement. You can thank me later. 



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