Saturday, April 14, 2007

It's unfortunate when a man is better remembered for jokes about himself than for his work

But nevertheless, as I read this brief news item...
Legendary crooner Don Ho, known for his raspberry-tinted sunglasses and catchy signature tune 'Tiny Bubbles,' has died, his publicist said Saturday, April 14, 2007. He was 76

...all I can think about is how, back when I was making my only fitfully funny attempts at being a stand-up comedian, there used to be a guy at the Holy City Zoo that would go onstage in a brightly colored Hawaiian shirt and say something like,

"Many people ask me: Did you sleep with Don Ho to get that shirt? And I say, no. I slept with Don Ho because he's a fine entertainer who's brought happiness to millions of people."

I was amused to see Patton Oswalt & Brian Posehn remembering the same fella in the Comedians of Comedy documentary movie.

In this sense, Mr. Ho, you will never be forgotten.

And now, an unsolicited commercial endorsement

This stuff is amazing. Considering my previous favorite Ben & Jerry's flavor was their vanilla fudge caramel swirl, and this formula just adds waffle cone bits (and, of course, truthiness), that wasn't hard to guess.

I may just have to stock up on some the very next chance I get (it's also amazingly hard to find), to hold out against the coming communist hoarde.

Another day, another scandal

Paul Wolfowitz is a famous incompetent, a failure as a human being and an architect of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Despite all this (or indeed most likely because of it), he was made president of the World Bank a couple of years ago.

As Echidine Of The Snakes pointed out at the time, this was a perfect example of how President Bush's mind works.
Logic would require this. Find the person without any experience or training in the field, make sure that she is totally opposed to the values of the institution, and then nominate her to run it anyway. Tralalah!

But, I know what you're saying. You're saying, if only he'd engineered a promotion and a massive pay hike for someone who turned out to be his girlfriend.

Well, guess what.
World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz must decide whether he still has the credibility to head the institution, following controversy over his handling of a promotion for his girlfriend, a top German official said on Saturday.

"For me the most important thing is that the moral authority and the financial stability of the World Bank must not be harmed," German development minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul told Reuters.

I have two thoughts in response: One is that Ms. Wieczorek-Zeul obviously doesn't know that our government and president stopped worrying about credibility years ago! In fact, the only right-wing figure with a shred of credibility left is Stephen Colbert.

And it's come to this. We're being lectured on moral authority by the Germans (Don't mention the war. Either of them). Gosh that president Bush sure runs a good, Christian administration doesn't he?

Friday, April 13, 2007

In No Sense Nonsense.

There is a part of me, and it's not buried all that terribly deep, that wants to get up every single day and act exactly like this.

Dig the like-a-looks for the Queen, what looks like now (but obviously wouldn't have been then) Courtney Love, John Cleese and...
Well, hello Adam, where you been?
I said a'stand aside 'cause I'm feelin' mean,
I've had a gutful of you and I'm feelin' bad
'Cause you're an ugly old bore and ain't I glad...

Of course she won't wear fur. Fur is natural and everything about this woman is a fake

Continuing a couple of recently reappearing themes of this blog: How even if you take off all your clothes, it doesn't necessarily mean I think you're hot, and the un-subtle linking of unhealthy foods and sex.

There is a Playboy model named "Holly Madison." I'm sure this is her real name and the fact that it makes her sound like a snack cake is just a meaningless coincidence. Ms. Madison is the latest to pose for that 'I'd Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur' campaign PETA's into.

I don't think everyone who supports PETA is necessarily nuts. Though as I've said before they're not exactly known for their well-thought-out and convincing arguments. And as I've also said before-going naked-all for it.

But it's just...well, have you ever seen a more fake-looking woman in your life?

Like the fellow once said, ain't that a kick in the head

Okay. Back in August, a would-be director sits outside of a movie theater in New York trying to talk pedestrians into buying his latest movie. He sees a group of seven women walking together (at 2 a.m.) and, finding at least some of them attractive, starts hitting on them.

Via Feministing:
If you take it from the Times, 28-year-old Dwayne Buckle merely said, “Hey, how’re you doing?” to one of the women, and then was attacked by the group and stabbed in the stomach with a steak knife.

But unlike the Times, which only talked to Buckle, the NY Daily News interviewed police and others who were at the scene. Turns out it the fight probably wasn't caused by a violent response to a "harmless" catcall, but by an anti-gay comment and threat. (The women were reportedly lesbians.)

"He called us [homophobic slur] and he said he was going to f- us all," one of the women said hours later as cops led the seven suspects out of the 6th Precinct stationhouse.
"He spit on us and threw a cigarette," another woman said.

Now, it seems apparent to me that this is a case both of a wannabe trying to get some publicity, and a boy not liking to tell people that he was beaten up by a bunch of girls.

But yesterday the New York Post ran an update item, as the trial of some of the women has just started. Buried nine paragraphs into the item is the information that

He then spat on them, threw a cigarette at them, and even grabbed one of them by the throat - which, like much of the melee, was caught on an IFC video security camera.

Emphasis in that quote mine. But then I suppose the Post had to run that fact nine paragraphs into the story, because earlier space was taken up with this headline:


And 'graphs like this:

"The girls started coming out of nowhere," Dwayne Buckle told a Manhattan jury yesterday, describing the bizarre beat-down he suffered last summer, allegedly at the hands of a seething sapphic septet from Newark, N.J.

Emphasis again mine.

"Seething sapphic septet."
"Seething sapphic septet."

I should think of five more lesbian characters to write so I could say I have a "seething sapphic septet."

(Annabel: He'll have to settle for a dynamic duo)

(Keitha: I knew you were gonna say that)

(Annabel: The dyke-namic duo?)

(Keitha: I'm outta here...)

(Colley: Annie, didn't I warn you about her and puns?)

Whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad.

I went to see my therapist this morning. On the way there, I found myself behind a car which was...well, you know how sometimes you see another car and you can't figure out what the fuck the driver thinks s/he's doing? This was like that.

The driver kept signaling that they were going to change lanes when there was no room in the lane next to them to merge. Then seemed confused about in which direction s/he wanted the car to move, signalling one way, then the other.

None of this was overly distressing to me, as I had time to spare. I was just idly wondering what in the name of fuck was wrong with this guy or gal. As one does. Then I happened to glance down at the license plate frame of the car.

At the top: Tennessee.
At the bottom: Knox.

I laughed for at least the next 10 blocks.

Then when I got into my therapy session, I was talking about something that happens whenever I start a new piece of fiction writing. Usually it's the result of a couple or more ideas that have been flitting around my head for a while, until something, usually quite random, happens to coalesce them.

I was describing what that process feels like by imitating the sound of a lamp flickering and sputtering into life for a few seconds, and then coming on with a "ping!"

Without a word of a lie, as I said the word "Ping!"...a lamp in my therapist's office flicked on spontaneously.

I am a god.

Babylon and on...

This is another one of those one-hit wonders of which I'm so fond. But for once it's not by a band from the '80s. I don't know how that happened.

This is Babylon Zoo, with "Spaceman" (1995). Judging by two or three of the comments I found while I was looking for this clip, I seem to be one of the few people who likes this version of the record from beginning, middle to end.

This is just great. I'm going to get it on with a hotass twin, but then I'm going to get a corkscrew through the hand and a cleaver to the face

Isn't that always the way?

And as if that's not bad enough, I'm played by Crispin Glover.

What Friday the 13th Character Are You?

However, at least he doesn't sing in this one.

(I'd appreciate it if everyone who sees this would take this quiz and enter their results in their blogs-where applicable-or the comments.)

Quiz found via Friday The 13th: The Website.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

And our store of great character actors is another man poorer

...with the death of Roscoe Lee Browne . Excerpting from that Yahoo! News obituary:

Actor Roscoe Lee Browne, whose rich voice and dignified bearing brought him an Emmy Award and a Tony nomination, has died. He was 81.

Browne's career included classic theater to TV cartoons. He also was a poet and a former world-class athlete.

His deep, cultured voice was heard narrating the 1995 hit movie "Babe." On screen, his character often was smart, cynical and well-educated, whether a congressman, a judge or a butler.

In movies, he was a spy in the 1969 Alfred Hitchcock feature "Topaz" and a camp cook in 1972's "The Cowboys," which starred John Wayne.

"Some critics complained that I spoke too well to be believable" in the cook's role, Browne told The Washington Post in 1972. "When a critic makes that remark, I think, if I had said, 'Yassuh, boss' to John Wayne, then the critic would have taken a shine to me."

On television, he had several memorable guest roles. He was a snobbish black lawyer trapped in an elevator with bigot Archie Bunker in an episode of the 1970s TV comedy "All in the Family" and the butler Saunders in the comedy "Soap." He won an Emmy in 1986 for a guest role as Professor Foster on "The Cosby Show."

As luck would have it, I happened to catch an episode of "The Cosby Show" on Nick at Nite recently with Browne in it. I'm not sure if it was the one for which he won an award, as he made a couple of appearances. At any rate he was extremely funny.

The obit doesn't single this out, but another memorable guest part came on an episode in the first season of "Barney Miller," in which Browne played a philisophical and cheerful escape artist. I don't know why they didn't mention it, really, as he won an Emmy for that role as well and deservedly-he was phenomenal.

I also remember that he was in the audience when Laurence Fishburne apeared on 'Inside the Actor's Studio,' which is actually one of the best episodes of that entire series. Browne doesn't speak in it, but Fishburne makes clear what a dear friend and mentor the older actor had been to him. It's genuinely moving when Fishburne thanks him from the stage.

In 1992, Browne returned to Broadway in "Two Trains Running," one of August Wilson's acclaimed series of plays on the black experience. It won the Tony for best play and brought Browne a Tony nomination for best featured (supporting) actor.

The New York Times said he portrayed "the wry perspective of one who believes that human folly knows few bounds and certainly no racial bounds. The performance is wise and slyly life-affirming."

That actually sounds to me like a good description of Browne's attitude in most of his roles. I don't pretend to have seen them all, but he often seemed to me like a man who knew the value of silliness, because it was stupid to pretend that you'd figured everything out. He had a sly smile and, as his friend of four decades Sidney Poitier said,
"He was one of the most remarkable presences on stage, on film, on television,"

I'll miss him.

I don't want to hear any more of this nonsensical talk about my being obsessed with Halle Berry

But if I were, by god, this would be a damn good reason.

PS: For my money, this is much hotter than that Rose McGowan/Rosario Dawson naked Rolling Stone cover.

I guess this means the price of my autographed copy of Hocus Pocus just went up

There will be a lot of eulogizing of Kurt Vonnegut in the next days. Almost all of it by people who knew him and/or his work better than I. But I wanted to post this quote Mark Evanier found.
I've quoted this before but someone once asked Kurt Vonnegut to explain the meaning of life. He said...

Well, I have a son who writes very well. He just wrote one book; it's called The Eden Express. It's my son Mark, who is a pediatrician and who went crazy and recovered to graduate from Harvard Medical School. But anyway, he says, and I've quoted him in a couple of my books, "We're here to help each other get through this thing, whatever it is."

Otherwise, let me have a go at a brief appreciation from a slightly different angle. One of the things I always liked about Vonnegut, besides the books which I enjoyed, was that he was never an aesthete.

He once said that he wished he'd written Cheers, he appeared as himself (and as one of the best jokes) in a Rodney Dangerfield movie, and he wrote the foreword to a Bob & Ray retrospective.

You gotta respect a man like that.

ETA: I should've said-I also always liked his term Foma for "harmless lies."

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I've been tagged


Q. What is your salad dressing of choice?
A. None. Don't care much for salad, though I do like Cool Ranch Doritos.

Q. What is your favorite fast food restaurant?
A. Burger King.

Q. What is your favorite sit-down restaurant?
A. Sad to say I haven't been to enough of 'em to have a fave.

Q. On average, what size tip do you leave at a restaurant?
A. Probably about 10%. Not because I'm cheap, it's just about the only math I can do quickly in my head...

Q. What food could you eat every day for two weeks and not get sick off of?
A. Special K.

Q. What is your favorite type of gum?
A. Dentene.


Q. What is your wallpaper on your computer?
A. Sigh. You know, I always knew some day somebody was gonna ask me that. I change the wallpaper on my computer quite whimsically, but tonight I have to look you right in the eye and say without blinking...'s a semi-nude picture from Debbie Gibson's Playboy shoot.

I regret nothing.

Q. How many televisions are in your house?
A. 1


Q. What’s your best feature?
A. Wit, enthusiasm, inteligence and of course, modesty.

Q. Have you ever had anything removed from your body?
A. foreskin...

Q. Which of your five senses do you think is keenest?
A. Hearing.

Q. When was the last time you had a cavity?
A. I probably have some now.

Q. What is the heaviest item you lifted last?
A. My shiny new 27-inch TV

Q. Have you ever been knocked unconscious?
A. No.


Q. If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die?
A. Yes.

Q. Is love for real?
A. Yes, but contrary to what the Beatles said, it is not all we need.

Q. If you could change your first name, what would you change it to?
A. I don't suppose that I would change it.

Q. What color do you think looks best on you?
A. Green. I wore a green shirt to college one day and two different girls both commented on how good I looked. This is the kind of thing that stays with you.

Q. Have you ever swallowed a non-food item by mistake?
A. Joke answer: No. Never by mistake. Real answer: No.

Q. Have you ever saved someone’s life?
A. No, but I have told people not to watch the 6th & 7th seasons of Buffy. That's got to be worth something.

Q. Has someone ever saved yours?
A. Not in the literal sense, but a number of songwriters could be said to have.


Q. Would you walk naked for a half mile down a public street for $100,000?
A. Yes.

Q. Would you kiss a member of the same sex for $100?
A. Yes, but I craftily note that the question doesn't say where or for how long.

Q. Would you allow one of your little fingers to be cut off for $200,000?
A. No.

Q. Would you never blog again for $50,000?
A. Probably not, but I'd sure be willing to take a vacation...

Q. Would you pose nude in a magazine for $250,000?
A. Yes. I don't know who would buy it, though.

Q. Would you drink an entire bottle of hot sauce for $1,000?
A. Probably not only because I don't know if I physically could, for any amount of money.

Q. Would you, without fear of punishment, take a human life for $1,000,000?
A. No, I don't think I would.

Q. Would you give up watching television for a year for $25,000?
A. I might, given that everything would be saved on DVD and waiting for me anyway.

Q. Give up MySpace forever for $30,000?
A. Easily. I only have a MySpace account because I needed one to comment on Kelly's old page, and she has anotther blog elsewhere now, so...


Q: What is in your left pocket?
A. Some lint, probably. I don't keep much in my pockets.

Q: Is Napoleon Dynamite actually a good movie?
A. Haven’t seen it.

Q: Do you have hardwood or carpet in your house?
A. Carpet. Though it's not a house, it's an apartment.

Q: Do you sit or stand in the shower?
A. Stand in the place where you are...

Q: Could you live with roommates?
A. I've often been happier with roommates.

Q: How many pairs of flip-flops do you own?
A. None.

Q: Last time you had a run-in with the cops?
A. Doesn't really count as a run-in, but the other day I was freaked out when I passed four cops in something like a five-minute drive.

Q: What do you want to be when you grow up?
A. The writer-director of the award winning film, My Girlfriend's Boyfriend.


Q: Friend you talked to?
A. Corey Klemow, who I called to give a small but cool piece of news.

Q: Last person you called?
A. See above.


Q: First place you went this morning?
A. To feed my cats.

Q: What can you not wait to do?
A. Get to the library again. I'm Jonesin'.

Q: What’s the last movie you saw?
A. Sigh. Friday the 13th, Part 2, on OnDemand. You happy?

Q: Are you a friendly person?
A. I don't think so.

I was tagged by Dave, who wrote,
OK, so who do I tag? I guess Ben, since he’s always doing these things

I'll tag JeopardyGirl, Sherman, and Tom.

ETA: All have responded, here's Sherman, Jennifer, and Tom's is in the comments. Thanks for playin, y'all. Now if only more people would line up to see how they're going to be slaughtered...

Will I be blind for all I see?

This is Rock & Hyde, one of the semi-obscure gems in my collection of '80s bands. The song was a Canadian hit (they're Canadian), not so much in America, though it did get at least some radio play. I know this because that's how I discovered them. It's off their 1987 LP titled Under The Volcano, which some happychap once wrote was:
...rare and brilliant, full of rich material vigorously performed and skillfully produced. {If] they had recorded another album the next year, I would almost certainly have snatched it up.

However, that is not what happened -- Hyde went solo and Rock became a producer of hit records for such acts as Mötley Crüe, among others.

That is all. Please enjoy.

My new definition of political irony

I used to say that my perfect definition of political irony was the fact that Richard Nixon died while Bill Clinton was president, and so protocol directed that the current president should euologize the former.

One of the reasons, as I understand it, that Bill Clinton got into politics in the first place was in reaction to the...let's be generous and say "mistakes" that brought Nixon down and in reaction to his conservative policies.

So that he had to stand up at the man's funeral and speak words of glowing oratory...yeah, that's a pretty fine chunk of irony right there.

Now I have a better one. As most of us know, John McCain could be called a genuine hero of the Vietnam war. So one might expect, or at least hope, that he would be as skeptical as anybody if not more so, about future "wars of choice."


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Hey, Sherman, I think you might like these guys

The rest of you are welcome to look too, of course. The band is Foreign Islands, this is their web site, and this is my review of their debut mini-album.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Random Flickr-Blogging: IMG_5900 BONUS

"It's not...that easy being green (thank you...thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen);
Having to spend each day...the color of the leaves (yes, it's a hard, hard day).
When I think it could be nicer being red (...though I ain't no commie), or yellow (and I ain't no chicken) or gold...
or something much more that.

(Y'know folks, why are there so many songs about rainbows?)

It's not easy being green.
It seems you blend in with so many other ord'nary things (Of course some people can't blend in, like my good friend Godzilla, who flew all the way in from Tokyo to be here with me tonight. 'Zilla? Where are ya, buddy? Stand up so the people can see you...)
And people tend to pass you over (I know that feeling every year at Grammy time. Ha! But I kid...)'cause you're
not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water (Speaking of the water, let's give it up for this wonderful wait staff. They're working hard for you. Give em a round of applause)
or stars in the sky (Yes, there are more stars here at Charlie's Electric Classic Music Club than you'll find up in the sky)

But green's the color of Spring.
And green can be cool and friendly-like (oh, the people here are so friendly).
And green can be big like an ocean, or important like a mountain (and speaking of mountains, folks, opening here next week, the wonderful Latoya Jackson! Ha! No, but I kid...),
or tall like a tree (a moment of silence, please, for our dear friend Milton Berle).

When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder...why, but why wonder why?
Wonder (and remember tonight's performance is brought to you in part by the good people at the Wonder Bread company), I am green and it'll do fine, it's beautiful (you're all beautiful, ladies and gentlemen)!
And I think it's what I...want to be (thank you very much and God love ya-)."

The lounge lizard in his natural habitat.

("Piggybacking," which seem appropriate for a Muppets-related gag, on Tom.)

This is the least-subtle linking of unhealthy food and sex I've ever seen

At least since that Burger King ad in which the female and male models dressed as meat, condiments and buns slid on top of each other and whimpered as they landed.

Or maybe since the Snickers ad* in which after he gets turned down by his date, the guy's candy bar turns into a beautiful, hand-held woman who does nothing but praise him and tell him how wonderful he is.

I need to make out my shopping list is what I'm saying.

Image stolen outright from George.

* Of course, the Snickers ads have been nothing since they stopped running that one in which the wonder bar gives the angry consumer the energy to fly cross-country and beat hell out of the annoying (but handsome and masterful) telemarketer. Clio-Awards calliber, that was.**

**Please ignore this, folks, it's an inside joke.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Random Flickr-blogging 5900

Peter Cottontail has been in an institution since he was just a young rabbit who stole his sister's eggs.

Now he's escaped and is heading back home to terrorise the quiet community which still remembers him...and his blood, blood orange rage.

Hippity. Hoppity. Easter's on its way.

John Carpenter's Easter:

The Night HE Came Home!


Let There Be Reign

Johnny Hart, the creator of the comic strips The Wizard of Id and B.C. has died. He was 76. Mark Evanier has a brief obit for him, with which I largely agree. Like Mark, I had about a baker's dozen of the Wizard of ID paperbacks (such as the one seen below) when I was growing up.

That strip, produced in collaboration with cartoonist Brant Parker, had some lines which are still rattling round my head almost some 40-odd years after they were written. Though B.C. was never really my thing, with one or two exceptions.

But also like Mark, I was irritated by Hart's later move into syndicated comic strip evangelism, in a way that I never was when Charles Schulz referenced Scripture in Peanuts. This is most likely because Schulz never became rigid, or humorless. He knew his Bible and it naturally informed what he had to say through his characters, but Schulz's attitude seems summed up by the strip in which Snoopy thought:

"I'm writing a book of philosophy. I have the perfect title: Has it ever occured to you that you might be wrong?"

Hart's Christianity, by all appearances, was of the "My way is the one and only true way" variety. But as with Bob Clark, at a time like this, a man deserves to remembered at his best, and I have many fond memories of Hart's work.

He gave me a lot of smiles.