Thursday, December 01, 2005

Dave v. Oprah

Ever since the 'Uma-Oprah' comment at the Acdemy Awards ten years or so ago, they've been intertwined in TV history.

For the last few years, she's famously refused to come on his show, no matter how he's begged. It's become a running joke, and among the most talked about celebrity feuds in memory.

The feud is over. Oprah, as I write this, is talking to David Letterman!!!

I'm wondering: is anyone watching Leno?

The irony is that at one point in time, when Letterman came to Chicago, Winfrey went to L.A. and guested on Leno. Now, Winfrey's on Letterman, and Leno's got...Ebert & Roeper. Well, they are from Chicago, even if Roeper is a gadfly and a tool.

We now go live to the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York:

Dave opens with an uncharacteristically short, Oprah-centric monologue. As the crowd cheers his entrance, he attempts to quiet the audience: "Shh. You'll scare Oprah."

The Top 10 list is centered around tonights famous guest: 10 Messages on Oprah's answering machine:
  1. Oprah, This is Nick. Have you seen Jessica?
  2. He thinks you're coming. This is going to be the best Punk'd yet!
  3. Regis here. Letterman's all hands during the commercial breaks.
  4. Julia Roberts here. Letterman's all hands during the commercial breaks.
  5. This is Dubya. If you need a pardon...
  6. Paul Shaeffer here. Letterman's had a lot of work done since you've last seen him.
  7. Martha Stewart here. I left a pair of box cutters in the guest chair if you need them.

A couple more Oprah-related (self-deprecating) jokes, and out she comes, to huge applause.

Oprah just gave Dave a double-autographed photo of her and Uma Thurman. According to Oprah, the Uma-Oprah reference on the Academy Awards a few years ago wasn't "a problem" to her: "I thought it was funny." Dave's reply? "Not for me."

Now she's talking about old Marcus Welby episodes about amensia, in reference to a time when she broke her glasses and went to the hospital. Oprah feigned amnesia, claiming she was hit on the head and couldn't remember what happened. Mom, of course, wasn't fooled. With usual motherly aplomb, she asked the doctor to leave, then began the interrogation. Oprah caved.

And now, a word from our sponsors....

Dave's now asking Oprah about the Tom Cruise Incident. Oprah seemed a little surprised, calling Tom an interesting guy. Dave followed up by asking if she was sick of anyone comeing on her show, to which she said "I pretty much get to do what I want". (Yep, she does.)

Dave follows this by asking Oprah about her start - "you knew what you's gotten to be more than just a television show; it's a goal, a pursuit, a mission..."

This leads to Oprah's rehashing the story of Christmas when she was 12, when her mother told her "Santa's not coming". Oprah wondered, "you have to pay Santa?" "Yes," replied her mother, "and I don't have money, so he's not coming." The day was saved by three nuns, who came over, bearing gifts. This incident inspired her to give back, so she's going to Africa to do the same for poor children there after she leaves New York.

Another sponsor break

(Note: on Eric & Kathy [mornings, WTMX 101.9FM] the producer of Dave's show indicated that Oprah would get the bulk of the time on the show. She's been on for about 20 minutes so far.)

The topic, after the first break? How a station in Baltimore wanted to change her name to 'Susie'. Dave, fawning and trying hard to suck up to Oprah, compliments her on the name Oprah, saying it's "beautiful, and she shouldn't have changed it."

They move on to Oprah's work in Africa. "I think of my take on it in dire shape?" Dave asks. "I think there are enough people on the planet who could change Africa...but we sit back and have another cappucino," replies Oprah. Oprah, taken aback, says "I can't believe you're being this serious. Do you want to really know?" Dave says yes, and Oprah outlines her plan for a girls academy in Africa. She's heading there to interview principles and build the school - she believes 'education is freedom' (to audience applause). After another comment about how serious Dave is being, it's time for a commercial break. We're up to 25 minutes now. Bonnie Raitt won't get much time at this rate.

Commercial, in which Craig Ferguson quips while sitting next to Dennis Quaid, "Tonight on the Late Late Show, Oprah Winfrey."

After the break, Dave thanked Oprah for coming on, and said "I guess we'll pencil you in for another 16 years." "No, it was time, I was across the street, and we were practically neighbors."

With that, Dave offered to escort her to the theatre, which she accepted. And thus, the most anticpated meeting on TV in the last ten years came to an end.

Poor Bonnie Raitt. She barely gets enough time to do one song as her reward for forever being half of an answer to a trivia question (the other half being Tony Danza. The question? Name the other guests when Oprah Winfrey settled her long-standing feud with David Letterman.

Oddly enough, the Oprah love-fest continues on the other side of the country, as Craig Ferguson's entire opening monologue is also dedicated to Oprah. She may be on ABC, but today CBS loves Oprah.

photo by Dima Gavrysh for AP. Used without direct permission, but with credit.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I'm signed up for the California Bar. No, I'm not. Yes, I am...

Right before I left for SoCal, I got a letter from the State Bar of California, indicating that 1) I hadn't paid the proper fee (I paid the 'general' fee of $464, not the 'attorney' fee of $674), and 2) I should call the eligibility department.

When I called the eligibility department, they informed me that they hadn't gotten my certificate of good standing. You're right, I said, because when I'd applied, I hadn't yet been admitted, and you can't get a certificate of good standing unless you've been admitted.

"Listen," I attempted to explain, "I'm in California right now. I'll be back in Chicago next week. Can I send them to you then?"

"No. By then your registration will be terminated for being incomplete."
"So when do they need to be in?"
"Well, yesterday. You had 10 days from the day you submitted."
"But that was the day I was admitted. There wouldn't have been any way I could have gotten such a letter. I wasn't entered on the roll of attorneys for a week. I just checked. They only put me on there on Friday."
"Well, that's the rule. 10 days. And you need to get that letter here ASAP."

I hung up the phone and began to wonder how the heck I was going to get this letter. First stop: the ARDC website. They register & discipline attorneys, so they'd be the logical place to go, right? Wrong. One phone call later, I'm getting the phone for the Clerk of the Supreme Court. Soon, I've got someone on the line, telling me that they'd be happy to send the certificate. All I needed to do was send a letter requesting the certificate, and enclose the fee - one dollar (so Blues Brother-ish). Once they got the letter and the fee, they'd happily send the certificate - in a couple of weeks. That wasn't going to help me, I said, I need it sooner. My only choice was to send the request FedEx, and enclose a pre-addressed FedEx label.

So I told Joanie that we needed to go to Kinko's before we did anything. Ten minutes later, and my package was on its way. Problem solved.

Except it wasn't.

On Monday, I got three letters from the State Bar of California: one was a receipt for the additional funds, the authorization for which I'd sent out a while I was in California. the other two were letters. One, dated November 22nd (the day after the conversation above) said they still needed my certificate of good standing. The other, dated November 23rd, application was being terminated. Because the registration was incomplete. Because the certificate hadn't arrived.

In a panic, I called the State Bar. No certificate had been received, even today, Monday. I sifted through the pile of numbers in my cell phone, and found the Clerk's number.

"Yes, well, I was on vacation last week, and although we did get your request, no one did antyhing with it, " she explained.

Deep breath. Remain calm...

The woman at the State Bar of California had told me that there was still a chance to save tehe application, provided we got the certificate and the $50 late fee in by close of business on Wednesday.

"...but," the Clerk continued, "I see your letter here. I sent that one out this morning."

Partial relief. If it gets there tomorrow, I'm OK.

The next morning brought no news. Nothing would be opened until 11 a.m. PST - 2 p.m. in Chicago. Call back then, she said. I called at 3. No answer - away from her desk, probably still at lunch. Finally, at almost 5, good news: they'd gotten the certificate. Now all I needed to do was send a letter authorizing an additional $50 on my credit card.

I sent the fax first thing Wednesday, with a request to call me if I left something off. I got no such call.

So I guess I really am taking the California Bar Exam in February. Wish me luck.