Sometimes I think about how I got involved in politics. I didn't think
myself as a potential politician when I got out of college. I went to
in neighborhoods, working with Catholic churches in poor neighborhoods in
Chicago, trying to figure out how people could get a little bit of help.
And I was skeptical about politics and politicians, just like a lot of
Americans are skeptical about politics and politicians are right now.
Because my working assumption was when push comes to shove, all too often
folks in elected office, they're looking for themselves and not looking
out for the folks who put them there; that there are too many compromises;
that the special interests have too much power; they just got too much
clout; there's too much big money washing around.
And I decided finally to get involved because I realized if I wasn't
willing to step up and be true to the things I believe in, then the system
Gilligan - Will Ferrell
The Skipper - Chevy Chase
Mr. Howell - Steve Martin
Mrs. Howell - Angela Lansbury
Ginger - RuPaul
Mary-Anne - Michelle Trachtenberg (from "Mercy")
The Professor - Stephen Colbert
Got a better idea? Send me an e-mail!
(Er, but put "Gilligan's
Island" in the subject line...) :)
I'd also been thinking Steve Martin for the Skipper -- or maybe Vincent
In an act that should qualify him for the brilliant editors hall of fame,
Dan Walsh discovered that if all traces of Jim Davis's lazy,
lasagna-scarfing cat were expunged from his own comic strip, Garfield
became a funnier, much darker series, about a desperately lonely,
self-loathing man's existential despair.
Walsh started posting his
strips at garfieldminusgarfield.net.
And in an act that definitely
qualifies him for the good sport hall of fame, Davis not only didn't sue
him but approved of the project...
If Samuel Beckett had been a strip cartoonist, he might've produced
something like this.
Losing the gig was another blow to Lennie, though far from the biggest.
Larger problems persisted in his life and a few years later, he decided he
needed to change that life. He sold his jade green Rolls Royce and his
mansion in Hancock Park and spent the rest of his life in peace and love
with a newly-started family in Chile. That's right: Chile. He used to
phone me at least once a week to chat and tell jokes, and he was obviously
very happy there. He passed away in 2006.
Ironically, Hanna-Barbera replaced him with Don Messick, who was
also doing the voice of Scooby Doo.
"Farrah Fawcett was the perfect practitioner of that most prized of
American feminine arts: that of semi-wholesomeness... She had an utterly
American sense of openness and fun, with a
smile that suggested that life was fundamentally good and full of promise,
that anything could happen (and that a few really fun things certainly
Arts and Letters Daily linked to an
essay by an editor at Forbes about how Farrah's famous '70s poster
affected a young boy's school in India. ("That one poster did more for
America's image abroad -- and for a sturdy Amerophilia -- than all the
U.S. embassies and State Department initiatives of the time put
Mr. Spock says it again in the new Star Trek movie. But MTV has
William Shatner's dialogue would've been. To convince his younger
self that a friendship would bloom between Spock and Kirk, Leonard Nimoy
a recording from the future that Captain Kirk made before his death in
Star Trek VII.
"...I want to tell you how much you've meant to me — and how amazing
it was that we had all these adventures together."
It was to be played as a voiceover during the final scenes as young Kirk
assumes his first command of the starship Enterprise.
When O'Reilly listed the Chicago Sun-Times in his "Hall of Shame,"
composed a scathingly funny defense.
I understand you believe one of the Sun-Times misdemeanors was
your syndicated column. My editor informs me that "very few" readers
complained about the disappearance of your column, adding, "many more
complained about Nancy."
I know I did.
That was the famous Ernie
Bushmiller comic strip in which Sluggo explained that "wow" was "mom"
Ebert says O'Reilly "turns red and starts screaming when anyone disagrees
with him," then offers a perspective from his Chicago childhood.
"My grade-school teacher, wise Sister Nathan, would have called
in your parents and recommended counseling with Father Hogben."
Speaking of Nancy, cartoonist Ernie Bushmiller also drew a line of
strips about her Aunt Fritzi.And some readers say they even see sexy subtexts in the
Nancy comic itself...
...as for me, betwixt lazying around and pie, I hadn't no choice, and
wouldn't know which to take..."
The book opens with Huck and Jim having
"Plenty to eat and nothing to do," but Tom urging them to head west.
Twain records the boys' first friendly encounter with "Injuns" -- and then
a not-so-friendly encounter which leaves them trapped in the
wilderness far beyond the mid-continent boundary of the United States
Tom and Huck "journey homeward and meet new characters," says
white man Cedric
who lives with the Indians, and attend Indian celebrations. They are
also able to play one final, avenging trick on the duke and the king,
bringing the story full cycle."
I just found a wonderful 9-minute video clip of jazz singer Blossom Dearie
an audience with some wicked piano playing and her sweet, hipster voice.
Blossom Dearie died Sunday at the age of 82. But she'll always be
remembered as the voice of the little girl in the Schoolhouse Rock
cartoons who sang about
adjectives, and skated in a figure eight.
I'm no hipster, but even I'm awed by the 1991 album
released by My Bloody Valentine.
(Rolling Stone called it one of the greatest albums of all
time, and it took over two years to record -- in 19 different studios.)
I found out tonight that the band released a video for the
album's final track, "Soon."
sound is said to have launched the musical genre known as "shoegazing" --
and the video captures it perfectly.
"Someone had to be the first," my girlfriend said.
44 years ago, Sammy Davis Jr. appeared in a Broadway musical called
"Golden Boy," and sang the song "Yes, I Can."
Yesterday someone uploaded
the song to the internet.
"On this, the eve of perhaps one of the most important elections of
lifetime, I would like to post this wonderfully uplifting song...
I'm urging you to go out and defend your candidate, whether you be a
Democrat or a Republican, as long as your voice is heard and you use your
right to vote."
A Destiny-land reader writes:
I won tickets to that play in 1965 when I was a senior in high school.
I bought the album and have every song memorized.
Now, 43 years later, when I would
drive to Democratic headquarters to start my day of phoning, going
door-to-door, etc., I'd sing: "Yes, I Can." The golden boy image
and that song just resonated the whole time.
A few years before his death, 59-year-old Dashiell Hammett wrote a
short story called
"Tulip." A no-good drifter visits a writer, offering to tell his life
story as juicy material for a mystery.
Hammett's writer character isn't interested.
"[W]here in the name of God do you get the notion that writers go around
hunting for things to write about? Organizing material is the problem, not
getting it. Most of the writers I know have far too many things on tap;
they're snowed under with stuff they'll never get around to."
I wondered if Hammett secretly wrote himself into the story. And I really
enjoyed this exchange between the drifter and the writer.
"Pop, do you want me to tell you why it is you always start to sulk as
soon as anybody says anything about your writing?"
Henry Mancini wrote a gazillion soundtracks for movies (and TV shows).
But at the age of 70, just a few months before he died,
Mancini also did a
surprising and funny bit
as one of the troubled callers to Dr. Frasier Crane's radio show on
Frasier. (According to Wikipedia...)
The joke was he played a caller so boring that Frasier and Roz can't
goofing around silently while he rambles on about his problem...
So... yeah, toward the end Vincent Price goes nuts and starts killing
goes nuts in a comedic way spouting actor-y Shakespeare lines while
discovering vitality in being a man, but I chose to see it as somewhat
more sinister. He just cracks and finds out that he enjoys killing. It's
He also says stuff like "this is man's work, women are for
To promote the 1954 movie
Howard Hughes flew 200 journalists
and movie stars to a Florida
lake, then gave the journalists
scuba gear so they
could watch the movie
25 feet below the lake's surface.
I just received an email with some glamorous memories. Jayne Mansfield
was there in a bathing suit, and "When she went into the water...it became
55 years later, William Ray (the PR director) wanted to reminisce -- and
to tell me the complicated arrangement he'd worked out with RKO pictures.
Nearly 500 years ago, Little "Bo Peep" was told of her sheep to
"Leave them alone, and they'll come home, and bring their tails behind
But there are actually five verses
to the poem, which explain
what happened next (and why the syntax was so garbled in the first verse).
Then up she took
her little crook,
Determined for to find them;
She found them indeed,
but it made her heart bleed,
For they'd left all their tails behind 'em!
It happened one day,
as Bo-peep did stray
Unto a meadow hard by--
There she espied
their tails, side by side,
All hung on a tree to dry.
It makes more sense when you read the Wikipedia
entry. "Bo Peep" was a customs house on the south coast of
"Little Bo Peep herself refers to the customs men, the sheep are the
smugglers and the tails are the contraband (probably barrels of rum and/or
She didn't know where to find them, but was told to leave them alone and
they'll come home, dragging their "tails" behind them.
And the final verse makes more sense as a description of a
dutiful British customs man assessing the abandoned booty.
She heaved a sigh and
wiped her eye,
And over the hillocks she raced;
And tried what she could,
as a shepherdess should,
That each tail should be properly placed.
After 10 years, and the last episode of Friends, Matt LeBlanc gave a
his future for the first episode of the short-lived spin-off series
time to move on," Joey
tells his sister Gina. "Change can be good."
"Oh, it's easy for you to say," Gina says. (She's angry that her son is
moving in with Joey). And the writers gave Joey a good response.
"No it's not! No...
Look, nobody understands wanting things to stay the same
like I do.
I was happy in New York, okay? And I tried really hard to keep things
from changing. But everyone else got married, and had kids, and moved on.
They all changed.
So I'm giving change a shot. And it has been hard. But just hoping things
stay the same? It doesn't work."
"Are you smarter than used to be?" Joey's sister asks sweetly.
"Nah, I don't know where that came from..." Joey replies.
Mr. Rogers drove the same old Chevy Impala for years -- until one day the car
was stolen. After filing a police report, every newspaper and media outlet in
the area picked up the story, according to a
story on CNN.
Amazingly, within 48 hours the car was left in the exact spot where it
taken from, with an apology on the dashboard.
It read, "If we'd known it
yours, we never would have taken it."
"Elvis used to have parties at his house and — I've told this story
times — but they weren't really parties, because there was no chips or
Elvis and his boys watching TV, and him making funny comments, and everybody
laughing at them.
Is that a party? Not really. But that's Hollywood."
"Fast Times at Ridgemont High" also became a TV series in 1986.
22 years later, someone has magically obtained over two minutes of video
footage from the series. (Jeff Spicoli was played by Dean Cameron instead of Sean Penn --
but they kept the same actors for teachers Mr. Hand and Mr. Varga.)
The word usually used to describe this series is "short-lived"
It was the only time a fictitious rock group had the #1 song of the
But The Archies got nearly all their voices from a man named Ron
was Archie, Jughead, and Reggie — and according to Wikipedia, he even
in a falsetto voice as Betty for the song "Jingle, Jangle."
"In 1969, Ron [also] recorded an album under the group name
Cufflinks... Providing both lead and background vocals through overdubbing,
Dante hit the U.S. Top Ten with the single "Tracy",
at the same time that The Archies' "Sugar, Sugar" was at the top spot on the
same chart. Dante was anonymous on both tracks..."
"We recorded maybe thirty or forty songs in a three or four week period, and
'Sugar Sugar' was just another song," Ron remembers.
In fact, he recorded over 100 songs for the Archies' show and five albums.
But over 40 of
those songs were never released on CD.
"[T]here is a chance that I will
hands on the masters someday and release them on my own label," he vows in
In 1971 Archie's cartoon band even issued a pretentious "Summer Prayer for
"The Archies are sometimes jokingly compared to the seminal 60s rock band
The Doors, as the Doors also had no bass player." — Wikipedia
The Archies burned through three
different female vocalists.
Dante's voice also sang the "Coke is..." counterpart on the famous "I'd
to teach the world to sing" commercial.
Jeane, I am so sorry. I know you swore to me that you'd never serve
another term in prison for prostitution, or anything else. You almost lost
your eyesight the first time. I'm sure you asked your lawyers if there was
any hope for your sentencing, and I guess it must have looked bleak.
I know how pissed you were. This was an act of revenge, and I know who
you're determined to haunt....
I feel like I committed the perfect crime. For 100 days Helium.com
promised their members up to $3 for every 400-word article they wrote. So
I cranked out nearly300quickarticles, and now they owe me about $900.
William F. Buckley
about Graceland. Buckley actually had kind words for young Elvis
but he still bemoaned...
...the spiritual inclination of the American people, who do not require
the memory being venerated should have been a martyr or a prophet. Just
someone truly singular and mythogenic, who contributed to his own legend
his suicidal ending as a victim of the drugs he inveighed against with the
strange, disquieting, appealing innocence that marked his entire life.
It was written by a med student (who later became
a doctor), who'd been friends with Jan Berry.
[T]he "union man" would knock
on the door precisely as the second hand would hit the "twelve,"
marking the end of the third hour. If the session didn't end at that
second, it was "overtime pay" for the musicians--which was about
triple the ordinary rates...
There are six minutes left until the
three-hour deadline is up. Jan rushes out into the room and passes out
the sheet music to "Little Old Lady." Take One . . . No good. Take Two
is finished as the "union man" starts knocking on the door...
spends the Summer of '64 climbing all the way to Number Three on the
Billboard pop charts.
A sequel to the famous Star Trek episode about tribbles was written
in 1973 by its original author as part of the often-overlooked Saturday
morning cartoon, Star
Trek: The Animated Series.
Apparently Cyrano Jones escaped from his
duty using a stolen tribble-eating predator developed by the Klingons.
Now the Enterprise is, again, on a grain transport mission at the exact
moment when the Klingons attack the space trader's ship. Inevitably
beamed aboard -- along with his tribbles.
watched the episode tonight, and then discovered that it also has a bunch
of fan pages on the web. Ultimately Mr. Spock has the
dialogue, after the Klingons have disabled the Enterprise's phasers and
A noiseless patient spider,
I mark'd where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark'd how to explore the vacant, vast surrounding,
It launched forth filament, filament, filament, out of
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.
And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detatched, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres
to connect them.
Till the bridge you will need be form'd, till the ductile
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my
You already know he's kind of a lech if you're reading Marvel comics'
The Irredeemable Ant-Man.
("The world's most unlikeable super hero.")
Young security guard Eric O'Grady stole the Ant-Man suit, and is living on
And being young, irresponsible, and able-to-shrink-down-to-ant-size,
he's been using his powers to peep on the ladies while they're
In Ant-Man #7, he stows away in a blonde woman's purse. (And yes,
were tampons in the
background.) He realizes she's a super hero, but then decides maybe her
apartment will be as cool as Batman's. "I bet this broad's got all kinds
of cool stuff back at her lair.
I could probably make off with a dinosaur, or a giant penny."
And then, it happens.
Hm. My 'Ant-Senses' are telling me that sounds unmistakably
not unlike a shower running. I must go immediately -- to investigate.
It's followed by eight small panels of Eric O'Grady, sitting motionless
on Ms. Marvel's shower head and smiling.
"You'd think this would get old after a while, but you know
-- it really doesn't."
I've always felt like an outsider. Every Thanksgiving, every Christmas,
was me, sitting at someone else's table. It was that vibe like when
you're over at somebody's house and they're whispering in the kitchen,
"Why is he here?"
I came into life so hard that when I see other adults who say they need or
want their parents, it seems corny to me. When there's nobody to hug you
when you cry, eventually you stop crying. I think that's how I ended up
getting called "Ice."
In the early 1970s, four American ex-patriates in Paris had formed a band
Harvest. But their one hit single was released
after the band
It reached #13 on the U.S. charts in 1972, and stayed on the charts longer
than any other song that year (except one). The band re-united for their
first -- and
last -- American tour. (Their opening act was a young stand-up comic
Jay Leno.) Then they broke up again. (Though some members of the band
later toured with the Beach Boys.)
"A day after the recall of millions of Chinese-made toys
because of the lead content of their paint, critics are trashing Bratz:
The Movie...because of
the lead content of its story."
See, this is why
enjoy reading "Studio Briefing" at IMDB.com.
Ty Burr in the Boston Globe describes it
this way: "It's pure marketing chum for tweeners: a proudly shallow,
purposefully bland ode to girly-girl narcissism. I could actually feel my
brain stem shrivel up as I watched it."
Amy Biancolli in the Houston
Chronicle begins her review this way: "O.M.G. ! This movie is SO BAD!
can't believe I just spent an hour and a half of my life, like, watching
it, when I could have been totally trying on hairbands instead!"
Michael Phillips in the Chicago Tribune dismisses it as "the most
horrifying film of 2007."
Finally, since we're talking about it, here's my own "artist's conception"
origins of the sexiest Nancy panel ever. (Google Images just put it on
their fourth page of results for the phrase "bondage drawing.")