Monday, September 28, 2009

Archival Revival

I've caught a small cold, and thought I might like to write about it. Then I remembered that last March I had a much, much, worse cold, which I wrote about at the time. Rather than try to--excuse me--PKTHGKLTG!--top myself, which may not be possible or even desirable, I've decided to rerun the earlier post. Read it, if you dare.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Following Update (Again!)

Welcome to the blog, Hill. Hope you like the altitude.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Following Update

Wow, another follower! Welcome, Lemmy Caution. You've reached safety.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

He Likes Her! He Likes Her!

Stopped by The Looking-Glass Cafe, where I saw my old friend Marty Volare hunched over the bar writing something on a piece of paper, which couldn't have been easy as the beer dribbling down from his mouth caused the ink to run.

"Hiya, Marty!," I said as I walked into the place. "Whatcha' writing?"

Even though we've known each other for years, Marty looked at me quite shyly, and then cast his eyes down, muttering, "Oh, just a love letter."

"A love letter? To who?"

"Sally Field."

"You like Sally Field, huh?"

"Ever since I was a little boy plopped in front of the TV set with my tray of marshmallow pinwheel cookies and a big cup of Tang, the drink the astronauts drank, on the side."

"Can I read it?"

A frightened look appeared on Marty's face, and he clutched the letter close to his chest, not a good idea as his shirt was covered with Cheez-It crumbs.

"Aw, c'mon, Marty, you've known me for years!"

Marty shyly, reluctantly, handed over his letter. It wasn't easy to read, what with all the dribbled beer and smashed Cheez-It crumbs, but read it I did, and, man, it was one of the most beautiful things I've ever read, Shakespeare and the King James Version of The Bible included. Before he sends his letter off to Sally, Marty has graciously allowed me to share it with all of you. Read it, and see if you don't get a lump in your throat.

My Dearest Darling Sally Field,

I have carried a torch for you ever since I was seven years old and the local UHF station played Gidget and The Flying Nun back to back. I first fell in love with you in that little yellow bikini, and then fell in love all over again in that white nun's habit. It might have been better for my psycho-biological development had it been the other way around, but, no matter, whether you were frolicking on the beaches of Southern California, or soaring through the skies above Puerto Rico, so, too, did my heart. Later you appeared in the TV movie, Sybil, and I fell in love with all thirteen of your personalities, though the Mike personality and the Sid personality didn't help my psycho-biological development much either. Not too long after that you appeared in Smokey and the Bandit. Oh, Sally, how I longed to be the Burt Reynolds who would rescue you from the evil clutches of Jackie Gleason, who was even meaner than when he played Ralph Kramden. No matter. He would not send you "to the moon" as long as I was there to protect you. Then there was Norma Rae. Inspired by your performance, I tried to organize a union in my place of employment. Unfortunately, I was working in my grandmother's collectibles shop at the time, and she told my parents on me. Finally, Places in the Heart, for which you won your second Academy Award. Of course, Sally, your place was in my heart all along.

Recently, I was distressed to learn that you suffer from osteoporosis. Oh, Sally, how I want to take those brittle bones of yours in my arms and make them all better. Fortunately, you've discovered Boniva, and, watching those commercials, I was thrilled to see that you're now healthy enough to go to the farmer's market and buy some ripe tomatoes (by the way, I like ketchup.) Still, I was a bit puzzled. Isn't osteoporosis a disease older women get? So I looked up your age on the Internet, and was surprised to see that you're now 63!

Sally, I swear to you from the bottom of my love-stricken heart, you don't look a day over 40.

I, on the other hand, am only 45, yet strangers always mistake me for being a couple of decades older.

Oh, Sally, don't you see? We were made for each other!!!

Lovingly yours,

Martin Dangerfield Volare


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Follicle Correctness

This morning I looked in the mirror and noticed that the right side of my head is graying faster than the left side.

If only my head were an election cycle.

Friday, September 18, 2009

In Memoriam: Henry Gibson 1935-2009

Comic actor. Rowen and Martin's Laugh-In. Nashville. The Long Goodbye. The Blues Brothers.

"Did you ever stop to figure
Why the thumbnail is so hard?
Well, it hasn't any choice
With all that skin to guard.
It may look fat and pudgy
But it's heart is good and true.
It's prettier than a toenail
And easier to chew."

Following Update

Clicked on my blog, and saw I had another follower, for a grand total of three. Welcome to Shadow of a Doubt, LimesNow. I promise it won't be a lemon.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Corrections and Retractions

In every article I've read about Larry Gelbart since I first became aware of his name as a teenager, it always said he wrote for Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows. In every TV interview I've seen with Larry Gelbert (excepting brief clips) he talked about writing for Your Show of Shows. Furthermore, I've seen TV interviews with people like Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner, who remember Larry Gelbart writing for Your Show of Shows. So it was with complete confidence that when I posted "In Memoriam: Larry Gelbart 1928-2009" a couple of days ago, I included Your Show of Shows among his many credits.

Since Gelbart's passing, however, most of the obituaries listed Sid Caesar's successor show Caesar's Hour, not Your Show of Shows, as the program for which he actually wrote. Unsure myself, I listed both. Then yesterday, while skimming through The Huffington Post, I noticed a link to Larry Gelbart's final interview, for Vanity Fair, in which he states, unequivocally, that he never wrote for Your Show of Shows.

So that's my correction. Larry Gelbart wrote for Caesar's Hour, not Your Shows of Shows. As both shows aired before I was born, they're not even the reason I felt the need to honor him in the first place. I honor him for the first four seasons of MASH, and the screenplays for Oh, God!, Tootsie , and a few other things. I'd also like to honor him for the book to the stage musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, but I only know it as a movie. According to IMDb, it was written by someone else, although I have a difficult time believing that that someone else didn't use Gelbart's lines!

Next thing you know, someone will try and tell me Woody Allen didn't write for Your Show of Shows either.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Recommended Reading

A while back I mocked Plain Dealer columnist Connie Schultz for suggesting the news--hard facts--be copyrighted. Well, today I sing her praises. No, I haven't changed my mind about the copyright; I still think that's nuts. This is about a more weighty matter. In the current health care crisis, people need a scapegoat.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

In Memoriam: Larry Gelbart 1928-2009

Writer. Wrote gags for Bob Hope in the 1940s. Your Show of Shows. Ceasar's Hour. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Mash (TV version). Oh, God. Tootsie.

"One doesn't have a sense of humor. It has you."

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Shadow of a Redoubt

This blog has been pretty political of late. The past two weeks, anyway. For about a month and a half prior to that, however, it was pretty apolitical. Oh, I had a few "Recommended Reading" links to political web sites, but mostly it was dirty jokes, rock and roll, coincidences, and the voices you hear waiting for the light to turn green. Go back farther than that, though, and things start getting political all over again. You may be wondering if I plan it that way. Nope. This blog is whatever's on my mind at any given time. Sometimes I'm musing about kings, other times, cabbages.

It might be better if this blog was apolitical all of the time. Why alienate half the potential audience? I'm sorry but I just can't do it. What you're reading is my take on the human condition, and I can't ignore the presidents, chancellors, prime ministers, premiers, monarchs, potentates, dictators, mullahs, and county sheriffs that preside over said condition. It would be like writing about Las Vegas without the gambling, Cleveland without the ethnic groups, Jerusalem without the religions, Rome without the naked statues, Brooklyn without the "dese" and "dose", California without the wildfires, and Indochina without the Nike factories.

So I'm writing about politics. But what's my ultimate goal? To change hearts and minds? That's what people assume you're trying to do when you get political. Really, when you give any kind of an opinion, no matter how innocuous. Tell somebody that you think Mary Ann was hotter than Ginger, a "fact" that can't be proven one way or the other, and you're nevertheless likely to face resistance. "Mary Ann?! If she's so hot how come she's not the movie star?! Answer me that, huh? Huh?!" (Ah, but she once was. Ever see the one where the coconut falls on Mary Ann's head and she thinks she's Ginger? Sex-x-xy!)

I'll admit it would be nice to change some body's mind. If by reading one of my posts Sarah Palin could be transformed into a moose-petting, Mother Jones-reading, public option supporting, hippie chick progressive, I might consider even moving to Wasilla. But I really don't think my powers of persuasion are all that powerful.

It's not that I think minds and hearts can never be changed. If you have some sort of multi-billion dollar media blitz, either like that which led to the war in Iraq, or which convinced millions of Americans to watch the season premier of Jon and Kate plus 8 , when just a week earlier they hadn't even heard of Jon or Kate or the 8, then, yeah, people can be swayed. I just don't think I can sway those people. At least not completely. Best I can hope for is to plant a doubt in their minds. A shadow of a doubt.

OK, so if I'm not going to change any body's mind, what other possible reason do I have to give my two cents? Easy. To keep my own mind from being changed.

This blog is where I resist the multi-billion dollar media blitz, the trillion dollar PR push, the quadrillion dollar ad campaign (unless they want to use the AdSense box to the left, in which case I get a cut.)

This blog is my chance to show my resolve, to speak my mind, to be true to myself, and to be firm in my beliefs.

It's also where I can be stubborn, unyielding, obstinate, hardheaded, bullheaded, pigheaded, and just plain mulish. What's that you say? Those are negative personality traits? Why, of course they are! That's why I don't want anybody else with those same traits telling me what to think!

This blog is where I stand up to the status quo, the party line, the conventional wisdom, the received wisdom, the accepted wisdom, the societal norm, the social strictures, the cultural mores, and the p's and q's (which I don't mind at all.) On this blog I refuse to toe any line except the one I myself draw in the sand.

This blog is my outpost, my stronghold, my fortress.

I just hope it's not my Alamo.