Wednesday, August 31, 2011

This Date in History - August 31


How can we say "happy birthday" to Hideo Nomo in Japanese?

12:  ROMAN EMPEROR CALIGULA IS BORN.

And so is venereal disease.

161:  ROMAN EMPEROR COMMODUS IS BORN.

And so is the toilet bowl.

1056:  BYZANTINE EMPRESS THEODORA BECOMES ILL, DYING SUDDENLY A FEW DAYS LATER WITHOUT CHILDREN TO SUCCEED THE THRONE, THUS ENDING THE MACEDONIAN DYNASTY.

A shame that a whole empire had to die because Theodora was too lazy to join "Byzantine Match.com."

1314:  KING HAKON V MAGNUSSON MOVES THE CAPITAL OF NORWAY FROM BERGEN TO OSLO.

Otherwise, it might have been Charlie McCarthy and Edgar Oslo.

1422:  KING HENRY V OF ENGLAND DIES OF DYSENTERY WHILE IN FRANCE.

You can catch a lot of unsanitary shit in Paris.

1422:  HENRY VI BECOMES KING OF ENGLAND AT THE AGE OF 9 MONTHS.

And you thought the leaders of our country were childish?

1654:  PHYSICIAN OLE WORM IS BORN.

The name alone warrants mention here.  That would be "Dr. Worm" to you.

1803:  LEWIS AND CLARK START THEIR EXPEDITION TO THE WEST BY LEAVING PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA AT 11 IN THE MORNING.

Lewis wanted an earlier start, but Clark insisted on the big breakfast special at Denny's.

1864:  DURING THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR, UNION FORCES LED BY GENERAL WILLIAM T. SHERMAN LAUNCH AN ASSAULT ON ATLANTA, GEORGIA.

Had this not happened, "Gone With The Wind" would have been a two-hour movie.

1888:  MARY ANN NICHOLS IS MURDERED.  SHE IS THE FIRST OF JACK THE RIPPER'S CONFIRMED VICTIMS.

Unfortunately, somebody had to be first.

1897:  THOMAS EDISON PATENTS THE KINETOSCOPE, THE FIRST MOVIE PROJECTOR.

After movies like "Thor" and "Transformers,"  I'm not sure we should congratulate him.

1903:  TV AND RADIO PERSONALITY ARTHUR GODFREY IS BORN.

Rat bastard.

1918: LYRICIST ALAN JAY LERNER IS BORN.

The rain in Spain falls mainly on the, well, plain.

 1920:  THE FIRST RADIO NEWS PROGRAM IS IS BROADCAST BY 8MK IN DETROIT, MICHIGAN.

Before this, I guess no news was, well, no news.

1924:  COMIC BUDDY HACKETT IS BORN.

The guy was a stitch, even though you couldn't understand a word he said.

1939:  NAZI GERMANY MOUNTS A STAGED ATTACK ON THE GLEIWITZ RADIO STATION, CREATING AN EXCUSE TO ATTACK POLAND THE FOLLOWING DAY, THUS STARTING WORLD WAR II IN EUROPE.

Just like WMCA-AM in the sixties, Hitler was playing "Name It and Claim It."  If you're from New York, you get that joke.  If not, I'm sure one of the next gags will appeal to you.

1945:  THE LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA IS FOUNDED BY ROBERT MENZIES.

Just proving that not all the kooks live in California.

1948:  ACTOR ROBERT MITCHUN IS ARRESTED IN A HOLLYWOOD DRUG RAID.

This is years before he was on TV and apparently addicted to beef.

1957:  THE FEDERATION OF MALAYA (NOW MALAYSIA) GAINS A INDEPENDENCE FROM THE UNITED KINGDOM.

And England suffers a malaise.

1968:  PITCHER HIDEO NOMO IS BORN.

HIs greatest feat ever: pitching a no-hitter in Colorado during a rain storm.

1969:  BOXER ROCKY MARCIANO DIES.

Somebody up there really likes him now.

1973:  DIRECTOR JOHN FORD DIES.

Note to all: Watch his film "The Searchers" at least once in your life.

1979:  DANCER SALLY RAND DIES.

Sorry.  Not a fan.

1991:  KYRGYZSTAN DECLARES ITS INDEPENDENCE FROM THE SOVIET UNION.

Too bad you can't use names of countries in Scrabble.

1997:  DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES, AND HER COMPANION DODI AL-FAYED DIE IN A CAR CRASH IN PARIS.

Ta ta.  Meanwhile, what kind of guy's name is "Dodi?"

Dinner last night:  Turkey burger at the Dodger Stadium Press Box.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

If I Tweeted - August 2011



I don't.  But, if I did this month, you might have read...

#LenSpeaks  Morgan Freeman said that, if he had the chance, he would vote for Obama 1,000 times.  If Morgan Freeman moved to Chicago, he probably could.

#LenSpeaks  Osama bin Laden is officially dead.  Which means that he is also eligible to vote in Chicago.

#LenSpeaks  Most of the people in flash mobs can't read flash cards.

#LenSpeaks  Michelle Bachmann saluted Elvis Presley's birthday except it was the anniversary of his death.  Umm, hammer, nail, lid, Presidential aspirations.

#LenSpeaks  Obama is going to announce his jobs program in September.  And the first item on the agenda is how he keeps his.

#LenSpeaks  Earthquake near DC!!!  That's one way to get Washington moving.  Too bad everybody was on vacation.

#LenSpeaks  They looked and the earthquake caused no structural damage to Citizens Bank Park.  Too bad.

#LenSpeaks  It's fun to watch my East Coast friends freak out because the earth is moving.  Didn't Carole King give you enough warning?

#LenSpeaks  I guess it could be worse.  I mean, Tony LaRussa could be the President.

#LenSpeaks  Congresswoman/hack Maxine Waters says the Tea Party can go to Hell.  Since she represents South Central LA, one might argue she is already there.

#LenSpeaks  Is it too late for this suggestion?  Bigmouth Maxine to star in "The Help 2."

#LenSpeaks  Jerry Lewis got bounced from his own telethon.  I guess he really is walking alone.

#LenSpeaks  No, wait!  Jerry Lewis has been reinstated.  There are handicapped kids after all.

#LenSpeaks  New show idea:  "The Real Housewives of Tripoli."

#LenSpeaks  Which is nothing more than the Marines' song.  "From the hall of Montezuma to the whores of Tripoli."

#LenSpeaks  I was very unimpressed with the new cast for "Dancing with the Stars" until I realized it was a list of Republican Presidential candidates.

#LenSpeaks  "The Help" is not playing at my local theater on Thursdays.

#LenSpeaks  Was that an earthquake in Washington DC or simply a Harry Reid bowel movement?

#LenSpeaks  When the earthquake hit in NY, I saw way too many tweets about Carole King and the earth moving under her feet.  Oh, wait, I just mentioned that myself.

#LenSpeaks  I had to take a state-mandated sexual harassment course.  Now I'm an expert so now I need to find an assistant to try it out on.

#LenSpeaks  A hurricane blew through the Northeast.  Time to buy Home Depot stock.

#LenSpeaks  The difference with Hurricane Irene is that the people in charge in those cities were smart enough to prepare ahead of time.  And, then, there was New Orleans...

#LenSpeaks  After Hurricane Katrina, Best Buys in New Orleans had their best month ever.

#LenSpeaks  Rhetorical question: how do the Amish know if their power is out?

#LenSpeaks  As it turned out, the storm was hyped way too much.  Just a lot of rain, a lot of wind, and, now after people cleaned out super market shelves, an awful lot of white bread that nobody will eat.

#LenSpeaks  Experts predict that the bird flu is coming back.  That means that those who really do tweet should stop.

Dinner last night:  Antipasto salad.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday Morning Video Laugh - August 29, 2011

The sheer genius of Frank Nelson.  YYYYYeesssssssssssss!


Dinner last night:  Beef with broccoli from PF Chang's.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Sunday Memory Drawer - Expressions


Sometimes, there are no words.  Oh, sure, there are plenty of them in the dictionary shown above.  But, over the time of our lives, there are words connected together in ways unimaginable.  Phrases we grow up with that might not make any sense to somebody outside your world...or family.

I found myself caught with one such verbal conumdrum recently.  I was talking to a friend in New York.  It was the Friday before a summer weekend and, knowing that she owned a beachside condo in New Jersey, I asked her the same question I would ask her every week.

"Are you going down below this weekend?"

I'd done this for months.  Finally, she posed the question to me.

"Why do you always say 'going down below'?  I've never heard the expression before."

To me, it was obvious.  It's a phrase I always heard my father use.  When you went to New Jersey, you were "going down below."  Technically, he was right.  If Mount Vernon, New York is your focal point,  New Jersey on the map is below.

It's the same reason why my dad said we went "up" to White Plains, "over" to Connecticut, and "out" to Long Island.  If we were headed anyplace north of White Plains, we were "going up the line."  What line?  I don't know.  But, my father used the expression nonetheless.

These were so ingrained in me that I still use the expressions to this day.   Yes, I have become my parents.

There were other oddball expressions that were uttered fairly regularly.  For instance, when somebody in the family passed away, my dad's next question would be...

"Where are they going to be stretched out?"

Translation: what funeral parlor was handling the arrangements?

If somebody dropped dead suddenly...

"He got carried out feet first."

If things in the house got heated for whatever reason, my father would throw up his hands.

"I'll go lie down at Suchy's right now."

Translation: he might as well drop dead himself and head down to the funeral parlor that got all my family's business.

If I had a lot to say as I was relating some convoluted tale from school, my dad would get exasperated.

"Make a short story."

If the car in front of us was a little slow when the traffic light moved from the color red...

"That's the only shade of green they got this week."

And, of course, there was the quintessential insult that Dad would throw at any moron who happened to get in his path.

"Shit for brains." 

The milder version of this?

"You ain't got the brains that God gave geese."

All of the above still creep into my vocabulary to this day, as my father's legacy continues.

But, he did not hold the monopoly of bizarr-o phraseology.  Nope, I had other resources that got tapped as well.    Grandma, for instance.

Her pet phrase when things drove her crazy was...

"Hal Year-zus."

I never knew what that was.  Hal?  What did he have to do with anything going wrong in our house?  I knew who Hal Reniff was.  He pitched for the New York Yankees.  But, Hal Year-zus?

It took years before I realized that Hal Year-zus was a plea to Jesus in German.  Oh.  About a year ago, I uttered the same words as if I had a tic.  The person I was with at the time stared at me.  Who the hell is Hal Year-zus?

When Grandma was watching TV and listening to somebody butcher a song, it was always the same gripe.

"If I couldn't do any better than that, I wouldn't try."

I use that to this day.

If I was particularly messy, I would be called a "schlobberhans."    Girls who were equally as unkempt would be called "lopchooks."  The definition of either word?  It beats me.

And, of course, there was the ultimate Grandma retort.  And you got it if you simply asked her how she was feeling.

"With my fingers."

My mother didn't get into this silliness much, but I do remember a couple of  times where she and several of my aunts got themselves so enamored of a joke that they beat it to a pulp.    The script never varied.  They simply alternated the exchange.

"Are you Drew Pearson?"

"No, I still have a full bladder."

Neil Simon it wasn't.  But, trust me.  This little gag had them rolling on the floor at family holiday dinners. 

And then there was the time that they all fell in love with one word.

"Jedrool."

There was not a single sentence uttered that didn't include that stupid word.  As a noun.  As a verb.  As an adjective.

"Such a jedrool."

"Did you jedrool?"

"He looked so jedrool."

I once asked the question.  What the heck is a jedrool?  Back at me was another one of the pet phrases from my youth.

"You ask too many questions.  Don't be such a jedrool."

Dinner last night:  Hollywood Bowl sausage with sauerkraut.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Classic Movie Trailer of the Month - August 2011

I just saw this again at an Academy event two years ago.  Yes, they don't make them like this anymore.  Trailers...or the movies themselves.

Dinner last night:  The pre-game buffet at the Dodger Stadium Club.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Dog Days of Awkward

Take your child on an amusement park ride and suddenly she's starring in "The Exorcist Part 4."

Cooking instructions:  Take one child.  Wrap in tin foil.  Bake at 350 degrees till crisp.
The annual meeting of the Clint Howard Fan Club.
What happens when Mom fogets to fill those Christmas stockings.
"Here, use this."
Johnny's favorite piece of the birthday cake is the breast.
What happens when you don't pay attention to the cooking instructions I listed above.
"Here comes Grandma.  And, er, there goes Grandma."

Reminds me of what my own grandmother would say when she caught me doing this.
"Are you digging for gold?"
The acorn really fell far from the family tree.
Dinner last night:  Filet mignon at the Palm in downtown LA.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hardly Dis-en-Franchise-d

I guess I might be the last guy you'd expect to be a fan of Showtime's new series "The Franchise."  After all, it's all about the San Francisco Giants and their ongoing 2011 season.  What the hell am I watching this for?  Normally, this would be something akin to repeatedly hitting myself in the forehead with a meat tenderizer.

But, I'm sort of a fan.  Go figure.

Perhaps what intrigues me most about this series is its innate ability to capture the daily grind of a major league baseball team.  For most fans, the life of their favorite baseball team begins with the first pitch at 710PM.  But, indeed, there is so much more that goes on.  For a night game, I am guessing the manager arrives at noon.  There is a routine and a surprising monotony to the world of major league baseball.  Yet, a fascinating slice of life.

"The Franchise" captures all of it as it profiles the San Francisco Giants from Opening Day 2011 to whenever their season will end.  Admittedly, I've enjoyed the later episodes more because they coincide with the Giants' second-half swoon and fall from first place in the National League West.  But, the human drama from the clubhouse and the players' home life is a rare look into arenas we rarely see.   Baseball players, managers, and coaches are real people.  Can you imagine?

Of course, I'd quibble with Showtime's original concept.  If they want to follow a baseball team through an entire season, the easy route is to do so with last year's World Champions.  That's a safe bet for an exciting plot line.  I'd counter that it might have been much more interesting to track perhaps a team not expected to go anywhere.  The Pittsburgh Pirates, for instance, who actually would have provided a fascinating tale the first half of 2011.  But, when it comes to creative film making, you can always count on producers to take the more predictable direction.

The tone of "The Franchise" also goes awry from time to time.  The producers, who just might be longtime Giants season ticket holders, are so in love with the team that there is a tendency to glorify their heroes.  I mean, just look at the promo ad above.  Baseball players transformed into comic book characters or perhaps even Greek gods.  Add to this a rather over-the-top narration that might be better suited for a History Channel documentary on the D-Day invasion of Normandy and you wind up with an aura that certainly contradicts the daily consistency that is being captured.

Another glaring misstep is the producers' reliance on showing us the antics of Giants closer (and touring company Tevye) Brian Wilson.  He's the bearded idiot who is just so madcap with his annoying battle cry, "got heem."  Personally, the less anyone sees of Brian Wilson, the better.  Some might see an eccentric character.  I see somebody who might be just a little bit clinically insane.  At the very least, he has some serious psychological disorders that need treatment.  After all, one episode spotlighted on Wilson's youth and the fact that his father died when he was 16.  That would be enough to push a normal person to the brink. 

At a minimum, Wilson is a complete jerk.  But, deep down, there is something really wrong going on with his mind.  Focusing on him just might be the show's downfall.  Somebody should talk to Bravo about that Beverly Hills housewife husband who hung himself.

Those complaints aside, "The Franchise" is still fascinating enough to get my DVR going every week.  And, as the San Francisco Giants continue to go further south in the month of August, I may just be giddy with delight as I watch the very last episode of the season.

Dinner last night:  Meat loaf and corn succotash.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

This Date in History - August 24

If you want to know why I'm showing a picture today of Durwood Kirby, you will have to read on.

49 BC:  JULIUS CAESAR'S GENERAL GAIUS SCRIBONIUS CURIO IS DEFEATED IN THE SECOND BATTLE OF THE BAGRADAS RIVER BY THE NUMIDIANS UNDER PUBLIUS ATTIUS VARUS AND KING JUBA OF NUMIDA.

I look at that sentence and now I totally realize why I got a C+ in World History during the tenth grade.

79:  MOUNT VESUVIUS ERUPTS, BURYING CITIES AROUND IT IN VOLCANIC ASH.

Can you imagine the FEMA payouts that would come out of this mess?

410:  THE VISIGOTHS UNDER ALARIC BEGIN TO PILLAGE ROME.

Why?  Because they could.

1200:  KING JOHN OF ENGLAND, SIGNEE OF THE FIRST MAGNA CARTA, MARRIES ISABELLA OF ANGOULEME IN BORDEAUX CATHEDRAL.

And I had to work really, really hard to get that C+.

1215:  POPE INNOCENT III DECLARES MAGNA CARTA INVALID.

I'd love to see the headline if this Pope ever got convicted of a crime.  "Innocent Guilty."

1349:  SIX THOUSAND JEWS ARE KILLED IN MAINZ AFTER BEING BLAMED FOR THE BUBONIC PLAGUE.

Probably because George Bush wasn't around to take the fall.

1391:  JEWS ARE MASSACRED IN PALMA DE MALLORCA.

I see a pattern forming.

1456:  THE PRINTING OF THE GUTENBERG BIBLE IS COMPLETED.

Most people were waiting for the paperback.

1572:  ON THE ORDERS OF KING CHARLES IX OF FRANCE, A MASSACRE OF HUGUENOTS (FRENCH PROTESTANTS) BEGINS.

And a sigh of relief from all Jews in France.

1682:  WILLIAM PENN RECEIVES THE AREA THAT IS NOW THE STATE OF DELAWARE AND ADDS IT TO HIS COLONY OF PENNSYLVANIA.

I did get a B+ in American History during the eleventh grade, but I still didn't know anything about this.

1690:  CALCUTTA, INDIA IS FOUNDED.

Let the outsourcing begin!

1814:  BRITISH TROOPS INVADE WASHINGTON, DC AND BURN DOWN THE WHITE HOUSE AND SEVERAL OTHER BUILDINGS.

Can this happen again?  Fingers crossed...

1831:  CHARLES DARWIN IS ASKED TO TRAVEL ON HMS BEAGLE.

A very, very slow news day.

1891:  THOMAS EDISON PATENTS THE MOTION PICTURE CAMERA.

So let's blame him for the latest edition of Transformers.

1909:  WORKERS START POURING CONCRETE FOR THE PANANA CANAL.

The very first "shovel ready" project.

1912:  ALASKA BECOMES A UNITED STATES TERRITORY.

And people were impressed because, allegedly, you could see Russia from there.

1912:  TV PERSONALITY DURWOOD KIRBY IS BORN.

Smile, you're on Candid Camera.  I mention him only because I know one reader is laughing hysterically at this uber-inside joke.  The rest of you can simply continue on.

1917:  TV PERSONALITY DENNIS JAMES IS BORN.

In an odd connection, his name immediately conjures up images of people afflicted with cerebral palsy. 

1932:  AMELIA EARHART BECOMES THE FIRST WOMAN TO FLY ACROSS THE UNITED STATES NON-STOP.

And, since she was a greedy little bugger, she couldn't stop there.   I bet she learned her lesson.

1944:  DURING WORLD WAR II, ALLIED TROOPS BEGIN THE ATTACK ON PARIS.

Croissants for everybody!!!

1947:  ACTRESS ANNE ARCHER IS BORN.

I mention this only because I always thought she was a fox.

I'm just sayin'.

1950:  EDITH SAMPSON BECOMES THE FIRST BLACK US DELEGATE TO THE UNITED STATES.

Well, they've just cracked baseball.  Why not???

1960:  BASEBALL STAR CAL RIPKEN JR. IS BORN.

Unlike his baseball stats, his consecutive days alive streak is still intact.

1967:  LED BY ABBIE HOFFMAN, A GROUP OF HIPPIES TEMPORARILY DISRUPT TRADING AT THE NYSE BY THROWING DOLLAR BILLS FROM THE VIEWING GALLERY.

Peace and love?  Phooey.

1981:  MARK DAVID CHAPMAN IS SENTENCED TO 20 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR MURDERING JOHN LENNON.

Does this mean he's eligible to be on next season's "Dancing with the Stars?"

1989:  CINCINNATI REDS MANAGER PETE ROSE IS BANNED FROM BASEBALL FOR GAMBLING BY COMMISSIONER A. BARTLETT GIAMATTI.

Will Rose ever get in the Hall of Fame?  What are the Vegas odds, please?

1995:  MICROSOFT RELEASES ITS WINDOWS 95 OPERATING SYSTEM.

Just like Amelia Earhart, if only they had stopped right there.

1998:  ACTOR E.G. MARSHALL DIES.

Well, we know that E.G. didn't stand for "ever green."

2004:  PSYCHIATRIST ELISABETH KUBLER-ROSS DIES.

She was an expert on the grieving process.  I hope her family was paying attention.

Dinner last night:  Beef, chicken, and shrimp combo dish at Benihana of Tokyo.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

All I Want is an Ink Cartridge


It should have been, oh, so simple.

I was printing a script on the new Dell printer I got when I purchased a new computer several months ago.  To be honest, I hadn't really used the printer much so you could imagine my surprise when the toner cut out about ten pages into Act One.

Ink cartridges are normally the bane of the existence of any computer users, especially writers.   The refills are so overpriced by the wonderful outsourced folks at Dell.  With my last printer, I thought I had found a great resource.  Instead of ordering from your computer maker, you could simply take the empty cartridge down to the photo shop at Walgreen's.  They'd load you back up and you were good to go.  Ten bucks.

So, when my script started showing a lot more white space on Saturday, I just unloaded the empty cartridge and marched down to Walgreen's for the needed ink replenishment.  Except...

"Sorry, sir.  Dell changed something and we can't refill cartridges anymore."

Damn.  What the hell had happened?  Who's the snitch that turned my good friends at Walgreen's in?  I start to imagine the sting operation that had occurred at my drug store.  Some poor kid trying to develop photos and suddenly being held at gunpoint by some Dell "swat-like" patrol who flew in at midnight from New Delhi.

More likely, Dell had simply figured out how to make more money.  I had no recourse but to order some overpriced ink cartridges from them.  I walked home dejected.  Not only was this going to cost me more money, but...

I was going to have to call...

GASP.

Dell Customer Service.  Cue the ominous organ crescendo.

I tried unsuccessfully their on-line store, but couldn't figure out exactly what I needed for my computer.  Plus I wanted to find out why my relatively new ink  cartridge had run out before I even got to our first act break.  Yes, I needed to speak to a Dell representative.

Cue even more ominous organ crescendo.

You wait for what seems to be an eternity for the Dell automated operator to click in.  After running through the menu, I hit whatever symbol was designated for Customer Service.

Another eternity.  I now know that my phone line is being diverted to a far-off land.  Hmmm.  Which country half a globe away will I get?

"Hello, this is Zooey.  How may I provide you with excellent customer service today?"

I listened intently for gale force winds or pelting rain.  No monsoon?  Okay, it must be a calm day for Zooey in India.

I had done my homework.  I knew exactly what I needed to order.  But, first, Zooey, I'm a trifle curious.  Can you explain to me why my relatively new ink cartridge didn't make it past Page 10?

"The ink cartridge that comes with the printer is only a starter cartridge.  There is not much toner in it.  Thank you very much."

Well, the way I wrote that, Zooey sounds a lot more coherent than she really was.  That statement alone took five minutes for me to decipher.  I countered that this was a less-than-decent business practice and akin to a car dealership only giving you enough gas to drive your new vehicle home from the lot. 

Zooey didn't understand my analogy.  Of course not.  I'm talking automobiles and she probably lives in a town powered by donkey carts.  I needed to move on for the sake of my sanity.

Easier said than done.

I gave Zooey the exact model number of the cartridge and told her that I wanted to order enough cartridges so that I never spoke to her again.

But, first...

"I need to look up your Dell customer profile, thank you very much."

The spelling of my last name required another five minutes of my life.

"Can you confirm your address for me, thank you very much?"

Five minutes more.

"Let me read back your address, thank you very much."

Naturally, she got it wrong the first two times.  I needed to explain to her the apparently very American concept of an apartment number.

Of course, upon my quite specific recitation of the exact model number of the exact ink cartridge I needed, Zooey was not trusting.

"Let me look up your printer model so I can learn the type of ink cartridge that best fits your needs, thank you very much."

What the hell did I just give you?  Matt Kemp's on-base percentage?

Five minutes more.  Why the delay, Zooey?

"I am so sorry for your inconvenience.  Thank you very much.  Our computer system just went down."

You're a fucking computer company!  How do you not keep your computer system running?  And is this indicative of the new desktop I just bought from you three months ago???

Two minutes more.

"We are back up, sir.  Thank you very much."

I'm sorry, Zooey.  I was away from the phone for a moment.  Basting my Thanksgiving turkey.

"Sir, I can now begin to process your order for a new ink cartridge.  How many do you want, thank you very much?"

Three.

"We have a special today for our Dell preferred customers.  Two black ink cartridges..."

Three.

"We also have a special today for our Dell preferred customers.  Five black ink cartridges plus five color cartridges."

Three.  Black only, please.

"Sir, I acknowledge your request for three black ink cartridges, thank you very much."

Ten minutes more as Zooey needed to make sure they were in stock.  She also needed to confirm my status as a Dell Preferred Customer as well as my participation in good standing as a member of the human race.  It took me less time to buy my Yonkers apartment in 1993.

At last, we were moving towards a conclusion.  It had been almost an hour.  Either Dell has a particularly long script for their customer service or Zooey is incredibly lonely.

"Sir, may I interest you in any other Dell products today, thank you very much?"

No.

"May I ask if you are planning to upgrade your desktop any time soon, thank you very much?"

I told you countless times that my computer was purchased three months ago.  Why the heck would I need an upgrade, thank you very much?

"Sir, we are having a sale on laptops."

No.

"High definition television monitors..."

No.

"The latest in virus protection..."

No.  Let me know, Zooey, when you get to firearms because you may have a taker.  So I can blow my brains out on this call.

The thank yous alone took five minutes.  Apparently, Indians have a very hard time saying "goodbye."  Meanwhile, their menfolk simply get set on fire on a flower-laden raft and then sent down the river.  If only it would be so easy for me...

Another quarter-hour was devoted to the recitation of the expected delivery date as well as the order number, the tracking number, and what might have been Zooey's ATM PIN number.

"Have I provided excellent service to you today, sir, thank you very much?"

If excellence is measured in hours, I guess you have.

When the phone call finally ended, I needed to ice the crick on my neck.  I had spent more time talking to Zooey than I have with some relatives in the past ten years.  But, there was a silver lining.  I will soon be the proud owner of three black ink cartridges.

Provided she got the order right.  Thank you very much.

Dinner last night:  Salisbury steak at the Cheesecake Factory.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday Morning Video Laugh - August 22, 2011

Dean Martin, Paul Lynde, and plenty of subtext....

Dinner last night: Italian sub from Jersey Mike's.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Sunday Memory Drawer - Paul Lynde Not One But Twice

From the very first time I was exposed to Paul Lynde (and that certainly sounds wrong), I was a fan.    During my marathon week at the Loews Mount Vernon movie theater when I saw "Bye Bye Birdie" not one, not twice, but five times, there were two people who impressed me most in that movie.  Ann-Margret for all reasons that are extremely obvious.  And Paul Lynde for reasons that I can't explain.

I lived, breathed, and probably everything else-d that movie for the next year.  The soundtrack album was played over and over and over in my room.  The record cover alone had an ignoble history all its own.  I mean, look at it.   You don't really want to know, do you?
But, along with the "things" I was doing and thinking to this album cover, the other thing I was doing with the soundtrack was singing along.  To all the songs except "How Lovely to Be a Woman" and "One Boy."  Even then, I knew the difference.  And my favorite songs to chime in on were Paul Lynde's.  "Kids" and "Hymn to a Sunday Night."

I can only imagine what my family thought.

"E----ddd  Sulli-van!  E----dd Sulli-van!  We're gonna be on E----dd Sulli-van!"

The intonation was perfect.  And so was my imitation of Paul Lynde.

If I knew then what I know now.  Hell, if only my parents knew then what they would eventually know later...

I became a bit of a Paul Lynde geek.  As soon as the TV Guide showed up in our house, I would devour it to find TV shows he was guesting on that week.

Bewitched.

F Troop.

The Munsters.

The Mothers In-Law.

Dean Martin Presents the Golddiggers.  Yes, there was such a show. 

And, of course, as soon as he landed as the center square on the Hollywood Squares, I couldn't wait for 11:30 every summer morning.  Who doesn't remember questions like this?


A friend from school tells me that I once answered a question in class with a Paul Lynde imitation.  I vehemently deny that this happened and attributed it to a bizarre uban legend.   In retrospect?  I'll admit today that it is highly possible.

Once I grew up a bit, my Paul Lynde fandom subsided a bit.  When I got to college, it was absolutely mandatory that it be reduced to minimal levels.  After all, you don't impress the opposite sex by walking up to them at a mixer and whining "how are ya."  I had moved on.

Or, so I thought...

Regular readers here have already heard tales of my days working at Fordham University's WFUV.  In my early days there, I needed to find a niche.  I didn't have the booming voice of an announcer or news anchor.  I didn't possess the verbal quickness to do play-by-play sports.  And I had yet to dream up my own radio situation comedy called "Diploma City."

Nope, I was still a little lost and looking for something to do that was uniquely Len.  I had an idea I pitched to the station news director.  I could do regular reports on television.  Yep, a radio guy reporting on TV.  Looking back, I really was probably the forerunner for "Entertainment Tonight."  I had the idea before they did.  And, for my sophomore year at WFUV, I was Mary Hart.  Well, sort of.

One of the things I did regularly as WFUV's ace "boob tube" correspondent was phone interviews with TV celebrities.  Back in those days, it was a lot easier to get a hold of these folks and book them to a chat that would be recorded.  I have previously written here about the wonderful time I spent conversing with Tony Randall, but there were others.  Art Fleming, the original host of "Jeopardy."  Karen Valentine, be still my heart.  Bob "Captain Kangaroo" Keeshan.  Alan Alda.  Ted Knight. 

Access to these people was amazingly easy.  You called their publicist and asked politely.  Usually, the rep would set up a time and give you a phone number, usually their dressing room or sometimes their home.  I remember the sounds of hammers and nails when I interviewed Karen Valentine.  Her then-husband was doing a kitchen renovation in the background.  Alan Alda was munching on potato chips and his wife asked for the car keys in the middle of our talk.

It was all so simple.

And, then one day, I read a small item in the New York Daily News.  A new feature-length cartoon was opening in New York.  And one of its voices was in town to promote it.

Paul Lynde.

Gulp.

Damn whatever classes I had that week.  I was bound and determined to book my former idol for a one-on-one.  I was a kid with a single focus.

Tracking Paul down, however, was not easy.  After many attempts, I finally got a hold of the movie publicist. 

"Mr. Lynde is very busy.  But I will see if I can squeeze you in."

More silence as I waited.  I called again.

"It's not looking good, young man.  Mr. Lynde is very, very busy."

Crap.

More silence as I waited some more.

"I've left a message at the Plaza Hotel where he's staying.  But I can tell you he is completely booked.  Sorry."

Sorry?  For what?  You just gave me a great idea.

The Plaza Hotel.  For a nano-second, I thought about camping out in the lobby and simply wait for him to swagger through the lobby.  But, in this case, I opted to be a little more professional.  I would try to call him myself.  In those days, the "do not disturb" feature had not found its way to very many hotel switchboards.

I gave my future phone call a long and hard think.  I rehearsed my quick thirty-second request for an interview.  No fuss, little muss.  I'd get to the point and expect a fast "yes" or "no."  That wasn't the tricky part.

How would I know when he would be in his hotel room?  I thought about my youth and how I would comb through each week's TV Guide to see when Paul was on the tube that week.  Hmmmm?

If this guy is as big a ham as I think he is, he's going to be in his room if he's set to guest on some show that week.  Sure enough, he was.  This meant I would be calling his room at 9PM but a determined reporter has to do what he has to do.

No sooner than fifteen seconds after the conclusion of the TV show, I hit the digits on the phone. 

"Mr. Paul Lynde's room, please."

The switchboard operator didn't flinch in connecting me.  The phone rang once.  Twice.  A third time.

Well, this idea was all wet, I thought. 

And then...

The voice was unmistakable.

"Heelllllllllllllo."

Bingo.

I ran through my thirty-second request in less than twenty.  I probably sounded like a raving lunatic to the renowned center square.  But, like the switchboard operator, Paul Lynde didn't flinch either.

"I'd be happy to do.  Call me here on Saturday at 1PM."

And that was it.  I had score some face/phone time with Paul Lynde.

My interview preparations were nothing short of David Frost's legendary session with President Richard Nixon.  When I looked down at the questions I had composed, I realized that I had gone into triple figures.  I needed to pare this down some.  Perhaps I shouldn't ask about his favorite brand of ketchup.   And I didn't really need to know the pre-sets on his car radio, did I?

Saturday at 1PM took forever to get there.  And, in some respects, it all happened too fast.  

I also began to wonder if Lynde had completely blown me off.  Maybe he wouldn't be there in his hotel room at 1PM.  I began to doubt the whole connection had ever happened.  I fully expected to have the telephone operator tell me "Mr. Lynde has checked out."

But, he hadn't.  I called promptly and he answered almost as quickly.  Nerves became an issue as I stumbled on the first question.  But, once I got my bearings, I moved the interview along and completed it in an efficient half-hour.  There were moments of pause when I could tell that the comic was taking on his cigarette.  This was even more noticeable when he begged off for a bit so he could have a coughing fit. 

Overall, Paul was very polite, respectful, and compliant.  As I look back, most of my queries were the softball-like questions that Larry King used to ask on CNN.  But, for me, this was sheer heaven.  Years after laughing hysterically with my grandmother as we listened to his latest Hollywood Squares zinger, I was actually an adult.  Talking to Paul Lynde like a professional.

A few years later, Lynde did a nightclub act that toured the country.  One of the stops was the Westbury Music Fair.  Of course, I was a ticket buyer.

Back in those days, it was not uncommon for stars to do an autograph signing in the lobby after such a show.  We queued up as did most of the patrons that night.  As we approached the table, I got a good look at Paul Lynde.

Dressed in a brightly colored caftan.  Frilly slippers.  And laughing like a school girl.

After all those times playing the "Bye Bye Birdie" cast album.  After all those years of fandom.  After that amazing phone interview. 

I finally got it.  A-ha.

Dinner last night:  Hollywood Bowl hot dog.







Saturday, August 20, 2011

Classic TV Theme of the Month - August 2011

My grandmother's favorite TV western.  And hold onto for the mention of a very special guest star.


Dinner last night: Mediterranean vegetable pasta at BJs. 


Friday, August 19, 2011

Your Weekend Movie Guide for August 2011

Let's take a moment for a cap tip to the Pelham Picture House in Pelham, New York.  The only single screen movie house in Westchester.  A nifty little place that opened in the 30s and has hung in there amidst all the awful multiplex complexes.  They're restoring the place right now and it's good news whenever they work hard to keep a classic theater alive.

Of course, it's tough to keep any moviehouse going when Hollywood releases one dud after another.  This weekend is no different.  If you choose to don your Hazmat suit and venture out to the cinema, this is what you need to know.  You've seen the drill before.  I'll sift through the movie pages of the Los Angeles Times and give you the honest-to-God truth about the garbage that's out there right now.

Crazy, Stupid, Love:  Why see the movie?  They've just summed up the entire plot in three words.

The Help:  I hear this doesn't play on Thursdays.  Nor does it do windows.  Another one of those "touchy feely" movies on race relations where all the Blacks are saints and all the White folks are despicable.  A great place to hide when the local flash mob gathers outside the theater.

The Change-Up:  Ryan Reynolds, Jason Bateman, and, if you're looking for the best change-up ever, Jim Bouton.

Glee The 3D Concert Movie:  Uncle!

Final Destination 5:  They've made five of these things already, so the final destination is hardly final. 

Rise of the Planet of the Apes:  I hear this is a decent version of the old franchise and these chimps are probably more civilized than your local flash mob.  See my comments on The Help above.

Cowboys and Aliens:  The sequel will be Cowboys and Illegal Aliens and filmed down on the border between Texas and Mexico.

30 Minutes or Less:  This is either a movie about kids blowing up shit or Rachael Ray making a quick meal of spaghetti and meatballs.

The Smurfs in 3D:  As opposed to the suspected terrorists living upstairs in 4G.

Captain America - The First Avenger:  Been there, hated that.

Cars 2:  Pixar actually made a movie I didn't want to see. 

Spy Kids - All The Time in the World in 4D:  4D???  Crap, I've ignored an entire dimension. 

One Day:  Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess in a story that tracks the relationship between a man and a woman over the course of 20 years.  So, why isn't the title "Two Decades?"  Sometimes, Hollywood can be so confusing.

Fright Night:  A teenager suspects that his new neighbor is a vampire.  Colin Farrell stars, which means the new neighbor also probably needs a haircut as well.

Conan The Barbarian: He's back, but this time, he's not played by America's favorite governor/philandering husband/nanny impregnator.  For a moment, I thought this was another documentary about the late night host as told from the perspective of his personal assistant.

The Hedgehog:  Some self-conscious junk from the idiots of France.  A girl is determined to kill herself on her 12th birthday.  Most kids would just be happy to get a clown who makes balloon animals.

Griff the Invisible:  Griff, office worker by day, superhero by night, has his world turned upside down when he meets Melody, a beautiful young scientist who shares his passion for the impossible.   The box office take may be just as invisible.

Cafe:  When tragedy strikes the community surrounding a cafe in West Philadelphia, the cafe's regulars come to realize how intertwined their lives truly are.   Tragedy in Philadelphia generally means that the local cheesesteak place has run out of caramelized onions.

Horrible Bosses:  Been there, sort of enjoyed it.  There are worse ways to beat the heat.

Sarah's Key:  In modern-day Paris, a journalist (Kristen Scott Thomas) finds her life becoming entwined with a young girl whose family was torn apart during the notorious Vel' d'Hiv Roundup in 1942.   There are easier ways to take a nap.

Friends with Benefits:  Given the economy, it's hard to find anybody with benefits these days.

The Devil's Double:  A chilling vision of the House of Saddam Hussein comes to life through the eyes of the man who was forced to become the double of Hussein's sadistic son.   Terrorism meets the Parent Trap.

Mozart's Sister:  The early life of Maria Anna 'Nannerl' Mozart (Marie FĂ©ret), five years older than Wolfgang (David Moreau) and a musical prodigy in her own right.   And the French word for "yawn" is "bailler."

Born and Bred:  Born and Bred is a feature-length documentary film chronicling the lives of a new generation of young boxers fighting for their place in the American boxing capital of Los Angeles.   And the Spanish word for "yawn" is "bostezo."

Battle for Brooklyn:  A documentary that chronicles the neighborhood response to the polarizing Atlantic Yards development project.  One of those flicks that sounds like it could be entertaining and educational at the same time.  On my list.

Amigo:  A fictional account of events during the Philippine-American War.  John Sayles directed and this means it's dull and pretentious.  Not on my list.

Darwin:  A documentary feature about an isolated community at the end of a weathered road in Death Valley, California. Propelled from society by tragic turns, the people of Darwin (population 35) must now find ways to coexist in a place without a government, a church, jobs, or children.  Once again, the most interesting movies out there are documentaries that take you to a place you would never visit on your own.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2:  Sorry, gang, still not on board.  I actually Netflixed the first film in a valient effort to catch up with everybody.  I fell asleep halfway through.

Midnight in Paris:  Hanging around longer than Woody Allen outside a private high school for girls.

The Whistleblower:  Rachel Weisz in a drama based on the experiences of Kathryn Bolkovac, a Nebraska cop who served as a peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia and outed the U.N. for covering up a sex scandal.   Post-war Bosnia?  Who gives a shit?  Sex scandal?  Hmmmmm.....

The Guard:  An unorthodox Irish policeman with a confrontational personality is teamed up with an uptight FBI agent to investigate an international drug-smuggling ring.   Brendon Gleeson and Don Cheadle star.  Can there once be a movie without an Irish guy being either a cop or a bartender?

Gun Hill Road:  An ex-con returns home to the Bronx after three year in prison to discover his wife estranged and his teenage son exploring a sexual transformation that will put the fragile bonds of their family to the test.   I'm digging the title because I know Gun Hill Road well.  Of course, the damn thing was probably shot in Vancouver.

Transformers - Dark of the Moon:  Still hanging around.  Are the garbage men on strike?

Dinner last night:  Steak and broccoli.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Moron of the Month - August 2011

This is not to say that this month's celebrated Moron is a faceless entity.  Actually, the person that is sparking my August tirade is definitely real.  Just nobody I know personally or can illustrate with a photo.  And, indeed, she represents to me a whole group of morons that we need to cite for their stupidity.

The weekend where the uber-heated debt ceiling debate was finally resolved in Washington, DC, I got a haircut.  As I sat at one of my wonderful hair stylist's workstations, she and her assistants were heralding the arrival of her next appointment. who allegedly loves to talk current events.  I didn't get her name, but, for the purposes of this blog, let's call her Miss Frosted Tips.  She was there to get some work done on her hair which would make her look only ten years older than she really is as opposed to the usual fifteen year differential. 

Nevertheless, the folks at the salon always anxiously await the next scheduled peroxidization of Miss Frosted Tips because she's always amusing and opinionated.  She has a lot to say about the world and wants everybody to hear it.  And you can't possibly have a viewpoint other than ours because she is eternally correct. 

In swooped this bitch and she started yapping as soon as her ass plopped down into the chair.  Oh, boy, oh, boy, this debt ceiling debate had her all riled up.  Those damn Tea Party people.  Racists.  Klu Klux Klansmen.  Idiots. 

On and on and on she went, sucking the air out of the city of West Hollywood.  A wide-eyed, screaming Liberal and she was proud of it.  I pretended to nap with my eyes closed, but my ears were wide, wide open.  As she regurgitated one Democratic talking point after another, she sounded as wrong-headed as somebody on the far right.  I listened closely and could have easily countered every single statement she made.  Her opinions were that convoluted. 

But I didn't.  Because I knew that, whenever it comes to a debate on today's issues, Miss Frosted Tips can never be beat. 

At one point, she was asked how she knew all this "information." 

"Oh, well, I try to keep myself educated on all the issues."

Uh-huh.  How?

"The New York Times."

Umm, not the newspaper it used to be and clearly biased.

"MSNBC."

Umm, the network created by NBC for the liberal viewpoint and now is known as being more wide-eyed slanted than the conservative Fox News Network.

"I love Bill Maher and Jon Stewart."

Okay, they are comedians, first and foremost.  Maher is a schmuck who has vacillated uneasily between libertarianism and liberalism and usually lands on the exact spot where he can get the most laughs.  Jon Stewart?  I hear from lots of folks in the know that he's not that bright and, let's face it, his real name is already a sham---Jonathan Stuart Liebowitz.  Next?

"And, of course, the Los Angeles Times."

Miss Frosted Tips is now officially insane.

The Los Angeles Times as a news source.  The newspaper that chose not to include in any of its stories about the Dodger Stadium parking lot beating that the alleged perpetrators were Mexican. 

I'll go one better with a very recent piece of evidence.   You may have heard about all the flash mob frenzy going through major metropolitan cities.  You see photos of these acts of sheer violence and you see nothing but Black kids involved.  That's a fact.  And, just last week, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, a Black man, imposed a curfew on the city in an attempt to stop the flash mobs in his city.  In his statement, he was very specific.  These incidents were caused by Black youth in the urban sections of town.

The very next day, in the Los Angeles Times, there was a story about Nutter and the Philadelphia flash mobs.  Nowhere in the article was the very specific mention of Nutter's comment.  For all we were led to believe, these flash mobs could have been a by-product of a concert by the kids in "Glee."  Shameful journalism and, unfortunately, repeated over and over.

This is what Miss Frosted Tips uses to form her opinions.

Her inane comments stayed with me long after I left the salon.  How terrible that this woman was spewing off one ridiculous notion after another based on her "journalistic" sources.  I thought one more time about a phenomenon that I have witnessed in this country for the past two decades.

The long and systematic death of journalism.

Where does one go for news that is not opinion?  How many young people based their choice in the last election on something that the snarky Jon Stewart said on last night's "Daily Show?"  How many folks listened to Keith Olbermann or perhaps his equivalent on the conservative side and considered it gospel?  How can anyone in 2011 form their own intelligent viewpoint about anything?

I listen to talk shows and have to filter out the garbage from the truth.  But I supplement my daily education not with the latest one-liner from Bill Maher, but with another snapshot from a history book.  I've always been a fan of Presidential history since 1900.  Because of that, I can diffuse and correct all the political talking points I hear around.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt's economic programs pulled the country out of the Depression.  Er, not so much.

John F. Kennedy was extremely liberal.  Er, not so much.

Richard Nixon was a complete fraud.  Er, not so much.

Ronald Reagan was the most successful President of the 20th Century.  Er, not so much.

On and on and on.

If you want to understand what's happening right now, look at how it was framed in the past. 

From time to time, I also reread the United States Constitution.  Still a spectacular document that is being ignored more and more and more.

Yet, the one part of that embraced by assholes like Miss Frosted Tips is still alive and well on the parchment it was first inscribed on.

The freedom of speech.  Who knew that, with morons like Miss Frosted Tips, this would be such a double-edged sword???

Dinner last night:  Pulled pork sandwich.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

This Date in History - August 17

Happy birthday to Monty Wooley, the guy who, in the 1940s, got any role that required the presence of a beard.

986:  A BYZANTINE ARMY IS DESTROY IN THE PASS OF TRAJAN'S GATE BY THE BULGARIANS UNDER THE COMITOPULI SAMUEL AND ARON.

This is the first evidence I've seen in these blog pieces where the Bulgarians are acting up.  Who knew??

1657:  BRITISH ADMIRAL ROBERT BLAKE DIES.

Just to be clear, this is not the guy who killed his wife.

1786:  FRONTIERSMAN DAVY CROCKETT IS BORN.

And, boy oh boy, did Disney make a fortune on those freakin' hats.

1807:  ROBERT FULTON'S FIRST AMERICAN STEAMBOAT LEAVES NEW YORK CITY FOR ALBANY ON THE HUDSON RIVER.

Somebody missed the 2:35PM out of Grand Central.

1862:  THE DAKOTA WAR OF 1862 BEGINS IN MINNESOTA AS LAKOTA WARRIORS ATTACK WHITE SETTLEMENTS ALONG THE MINNESOTA RIVER.

Somebody needed to run this factoid through Spellcheck.  Or perhaps we do have two states named North and South Lakota.

1862:  DURING THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR, MAJOR GENERAL J.E.B. STUART IS ASSIGNED COMMAND OF ALL THE CAVALRY OF THE CONFEDERATE ARMY. 

Is it J.E.B. or just plain Jeb?  Because, on the Beverly Hillbillies, I don't think it was J.E.D. Clampett.

1863:  DURING THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR, UNION BATTERIES AND SHIPS BOMBARD CONFEDERATE-HELD FORT SUMTER. 

Sorry, J.E.B. or Jeb.

1864:  DURING THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR, CONFEDERATE FORCES DEFEAT UNION TROOPS NEAR GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA.

Nice recovery, J.E.B. or Jeb.

1880:  VIOLINIST OLE BULL DIES.

No bull.

1883:  THE FIRST PUBLIC PERFORMANCE OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC'S NATIONAL ANTHEM, HIMNO NACIONAL.

Later on, when suffragettes got involved, it was Herno Nacional.

1888:  ACTOR MONTY WOOLEY IS BORN.

The man who came to dinner. 

1907:  PIKES PLACE MARKET, THE LONGEST CONTINUOUSLY-RUNNING PUBLIC FARMERS MARKET IN THE US, OPENED IN SEATTLE.

Years before people discovered Trader Joe's.

1908:  FANTASMAGORIE, THE FIRST ANIMATED CARTOON, REALIZED BY EMILE COHL, IS SHOWN IN PARIS.

The x-rated version was called Orgasmagorie.

1918:  BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTIONARY LEADER MOISEI URITSKY IS ASSASSINATED.

Which means...

1918:  BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTIONARY LEADER MOISEI URITSKY DIES.

Surprised?

1920:  ACTRESS MAUREEN O'HARA IS BORN.

The quintessential redhead.  And I think, for the most part, it was real.

1929:  PILOT FRANCIS GARY POWERS IS BORN.

I spy..........

1943:  ACTOR ROBERT DE NIRO IS BORN.

You talkin' to me?

1945:  THE INDONESIAN DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.

So this is the day they shoot off cherry bombs?

1953:  THE FIRST MEETING OF NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS IS HELD IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA.

Where else could it be?  Sheboygan?

1969:  CATEGORY 5 HURRICANE CAMILLE HITS THE MISSISSIPPI COAST, KILLING 248 PEOPLE AND CAUSING $1.5 BILLION IN DAMAGE.

Damn you, George W. Bush.  A year out of Yale and you're already causing problems in this region.

1979:  ACTRESS VIVIAN VANCE DIES.

Ethel!!!!!!!!!!!

1982:  THE FIRST COMPACT DISCS ARE RELEASED TO THE PUBLIC IN GERMANY.

And I bet that it was tough to remove the cellophane even then.

1983:  LYRICIST IRA GERSHWIN DIES.

Outlived his brother by almost forty years.

1987:  NAZI DEPUTY RUDOLF HESS DIES.

I used to love those toy trucks at Christmas time.

1990:  ENTERTAINER PEARL BAILEY DIES.

One of my grandmother's favorites.  Mine, too.

1998:  US PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON ADMITS THAT HE HAD AN IMPROPER PHYSICAL RELATIONSHIP WITH WHITE HOUSE INTERN MONICA LEWINSKY.

I bet Hillary still circles this date on her calendar.

2008:  SWIMMER MICHAEL PHELPS BECOMES THE FIRST PERSON TO WIN EIGHT GOLD MEDALS IN ONE OLYMPIC GAMES.

Take that, Mark Spitz.

Dinner last night:  Roast chicken and sweet potatoes.