Happy Medium


In Woody Allen's wonderful movie "Manhattan" the characters played by Diane Keaton and Michael Murphy create what they call the "Academy of the Overrated" beautifully capturing every pretentious a-hole you've ever known. I can be a pretentious a-hole. I've gotten to the point where I accept that quality in myself. Which kind of makes me an a-hole. At the end of the movie, Woody's character creates a list of "things that make life worth living". I can also be prone to this kind of sunny optimism. On Friday, when I kept going on about a great latte I had at Balzac's in the Distillery the Robeau laughed at me because I get so excited about things. "You love things that are great" he said. And yes, yes I do. Good things ARE fantastic.

Today, I'm not feeling super excited about anything. I'm not feeling the need to indulge my inner a-hole either. So, in a quest for the happy medium I am creating the "Better than they need to be Academy".

The inaugural members of the "Better than they need to be Academy" are as follows:

Jesse L. Martin is the first member of the Academy for the simple reason that his touching, subtle acting on that cookie cutter, institution of a show that is Law & Order has made us rewind to revel in his magnificent characterizations time and time again. Usually we yell out "he's so good...he's so much better than he needs to be". If the Academy ever starts giving away a lifetime achievement award, it will be named in his honour. He's a wonderful actor. With beautiful eyes. He's better than he needs to be.

Rocky Balboa would have made lots of money even if it was a crappy sell out movie. The thing is, it wasn't a crappy sell out movie. For my money it had all the charm of the first one. And it didn't have to. It was better than it needs to be.

Ikea could coast on selling cheap bookshelves to college students and make all kinds of money. But they don't. They create wonderful, stylish furniture for us, the masses. We'd buy whatever they sell because it's cheap, right? Well, they're doing more than they have to by making it cutting edge design. Bravo, Ikea. Thanks for all the cool stuff. You? You're better than you need to be.

Grey Fox Merlot is rocking my world. For less than $10 a bottle? Is it any wonder I can't stop talking about it on my blog. Kudos Grey Fox Merlot. You should suck. And you don't. You Sir, are better than you need to be.

Feel free to offer nominations of your own. People and things that are better than they need to be deserve recognition. Let's lay it on them.


  1. Ok I nominate the following:
    Yellow Tail Riesling. Could suck and for the price should suck, but OMG is it Delicious.
    Yobaby Yogurt. As you know I do not like diet food. Give me the real thing or I will starve, so when someone said this yogurt tastes like custard or icecream I did not for a second belive them. It does. I ate all 6 containers in less than 24 hours.
    Amanda Peet (and the whole cast of Studio 60) She could coast, but she doesnt. She is actually good.
    Can't think of anymore but clearly we think alike!

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  3. Tracey,
    You are NOT pretentious. You're smart and accomplished, but NOT pretentious.

    Jesse Martin is a beautiful, beautiful man

  4. I nominate trumpeter/composer Terence Blanchard, specifically for his film scores. Most of the soundtracks I've liked, it's been because they evoke memories of a movie I've liked. His are amazing albums just on their own, when all that's required is that they enhance the film. So he's better than he needs to be.

  5. Cece, our tastes are so similar. Isn't Studio 60 the best?

    Trish, you're so sweet : )

    James, welcome! You have no way of knowing this but my admiration for Terence borders on an obsession. On my way to work this morning on my ipod? His album, "Bounce". On my computer right now, as I read your comment? "The Malcolm X Jazz Suite". I LOVE TB. If anyone has the opportunity to see him live, run, don't walk. I've seen him in Toronto several times and last April in New Orleans. The man blows my mind more all the time. Good call, James. Good call!

  6. One more thing! One more thing! Want to share my entry about the last time I saw Terence:


    I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Aaron Parks last week and when I told him how special I thought this night was he told me it was extra special because it was Lionel Loueke's last night with the band and they were all really stepping up. Brings a whole new level to what I witnessed that night. Just wanted to share.

  7. I couldn't agree more with you about Ikea. If there were one in St. Louis I'd be there all the time.

    Get on the ball, Ikea! St. Louis loves you!!

  8. Hmmm...I like the whole idea of this post, because I think people don't get enough recognition for putting out more effort than they really have to. I feel that way about my old fave Chinese restaurant in Tampa. For 6 bucks you could get a huge dinner with appetizer, and it didn't suck and the staff was polite. You can't get that for 6 bucks. They could have sucked and still stayed in business, but they were willing to be better, even for 6 bucks. Rock on! I want to be that person today.

  9. Super Target and (the now dead) Arrested Development

  10. IKEA is the best furniture store ever. I think most of my furniture is provided by IKEA. Yay!

  11. Thanks for your comments everyone!


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