This blog is officially "retired," but my other blog,
"The Lair of the Silver Fox," is still open for business!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Too Cool Not to Share! (Besides, It's Almost Halloween)

(Run-On Sentence Alert!)

Yes, I know I said today's post would be about the song "Wildflower" by Skylark, but the following picture -- and the link to the article explaining it in full -- is just too cool not to share (as I said in my title), plus it's almost Halloween (as I also said in my title) and that makes today's post incredibly timely, and besides, I've found that whenever I post two different posts on the same day, a lot of you don't read the older of the two posts -- for whatever damned reason! -- and I don't want you missing this one, because, well, if I did, I wouldn't be posting it in the first place, now would I?

No. I would not.

(So, sometime relatively soon I will be posting the anecdote about "Wildflower" by Skylark. And after reading it, I hope you'll feel it was worth the wait.)

Now pay attention. (Okay, sorry. "Now pay attention, please.")

Can you guess who the person in the following photo is?

No, silly, not who the character is. That's obviously Frankenstein's Monster. But do you know who the actor is?


Give up?

It's James Dean.

No, not the sausage guy. That's Jimmy Dean. This is James Dean, the "Rebel Without a Cause" James Dean.

And a brief story behind the photo can be found here. In fact, it's so brief that I could really just tell you myself, but the Frankensteinia blog is an absolute delight for fans of the famous Doctor Frankenstein's Creation, and I really don't want you to miss your chance to see it! Enjoy.

And again... Sometime very soon, the "Wildflower" story!

Thanks for your time.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Setting the Mood (or "The BEST... " Part Two)

Things were finally getting back to normal around here -- well, "normal" as defined by what's normal for me and "David'Z RantZ," that is -- or at least, they were before the events of the past ten days or so kept me from posting much.

My post of October 15th, "The BEST o'the BEST o'the BEST... SIR!!!" generated a handful of seemingly-negative comments by intelligent readers who got the f**king joke. Telling me that my "facts" were "wrong," etc.

In other words, they gave me what I asked for, all in good fun.

Jusssst like the good old days.

There were a couple of points brought up by my friend John, and by Blogger-blogger Ishat's Fire which I wanted to address, however, in the interests of... well... in the interests of beating the subject of musical "bests" to death with a stick, I suppose!

John asked me "So besides Sinatra and Cat Stevens, don't you have those categories for the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s?" and I replied, "Nope. Not here, anyway. As I said, 'I'm... arbitrarily limiting the scope of my "nominations" and "winning candidates" to pop/rock artists & music from roughly 1960-1980.' "

If pressed, however, I suppose that somewhere toward the end of the 1970s and throughout the 1980s, I'd probably nominate Marvin Gaye -- who was around years before that -- if I had to name a single artist. (Those who want to name someone like Barry White, or anybody else, for that matter, can feel free to do so... elsewhere.) Songs like "Let's Get It On" and "Sexual Healing" were great mood-setters.

Since the 1980s, I guess the seductive music isn't as important any more.

We have Roofies now. [ducks]

Seriously, it's tough when a list is so subjective.

(But Cat Stevens' music really did work for the immediate post-hippie era young ladies. At least, in my home town. )

As for whether or not "Cherish" and "Wildflower" "actually work[ed] for rompty pompty," as Ishat's Fire asked me, that question prompts a couple of stories.

During the 1960s, I was too young for canoodling (although I started noticing girls when I was in kindergarten), but I was told (during the late 1970s and early 1980s) by two or maybe three guys who were roughly the age of my older sister that they'd always considered their chances of "getting lucky" to be increased if the band or DJ played "Cherish" (by the Association) while the guy danced with his date.

Several years later, I met Eric Gulliksen, former bass player for the group Orpheus ("Can't Find the Time," "Brown Arms in Houston"). Eric was supplementing his income as an oldies DJ. I asked him about "Cherish," but for some reason I confused "Cherish" with another slow, romantic hit of the Association's, "Never My Love!"

"Eric, is it true that guys in the sixties would have the band play 'Never My Love' by the Association if they wanted to make sure they scored with their date?"

He laughed. "Right band, wrong song. The song they always asked for was 'Cherish!' "

"I meant to say that one," I replied lamely... but I doubt he believed me.

So there you have it, Ishat (and everybody else). "Cherish" was indeed considered the go-to song for getting lucky circa 1966. Of course, in 1966, "getting lucky" more likely than not meant that the guy would get his hand inside the girl's blouse before taking her home, and not much else... but I digress.

(By the way, it occurs to me that Orpheus' "Can't Find the Time" would've been just as good at obtaining the desired result as "Cherish.")

As for Skylark's "Wildflower" -- and I obligingly embedded a YouTube video of the song in "The BEST o'the BEST o'the BEST... SIR!!!" for those unfamiliar with it -- I have a much more personal story.

In fact...

It's the kind of anecdote which I should almost put on my new blog ("The Lair of the Silver Fox") instead of "David'Z RantZ," but even I'm not sleazy enough to do that to you...

This time.

I am, however, sleazy enough to continue this "Setting the Mood" series until my next post, since I haven't been posting much lately, so I wanted to give you something tonight!

So... See you Thursday with what they call "the rest of the story!"

Thanks for your time.

[ducks again]

Saturday, October 25, 2008

"Security? SECURITY?!?"


Thanks for your time.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

More "RIPs" Than A Bean-Eating Contest!

That's a really frivolous title for such a serious subject... but I had to collect a bunch of recent celebrity death notices into one post. It's been a few days since all of these people died, and I wanted to mention them.

1. Neal Hefti, 1922-2008, R.I.P.

Hefti's biggest claim to fame was being the composer of the Batman TV show theme. Everybody in the world seems to know it, especially the one person who always horns in on an otherwise serious conversation about comic books, by singing that theme.

2. Mr. Blackwell, 1922-2008, R.I.P.

Author of the annual "Worst Dressed Women" list since its inception in 1960. He used to list the ten worst-dressed & best-dressed women on television for a few years running in TV Guide, but these articles always seemed to confuse the characters with the actresses that portrayed them. (I don't have any of those lists handy for reference; trust me.) For example, he'd look at the "Roseanne Conner" character on Roseanne, and write about how Roseanne Barr -- or Roseanne Arnold, or Roseanne, or whatever the hell she was calling herself that month -- dressed like such a frump! I always expected to read a diatribe against the Happy Days cast where he complained that their styles were decades out of date!

(Here's a little side-rant, if you will: I'm sick of actors and actresses -- and don't f**king correct me, I hate it when people refer to an actress as an actor -- who complain that the viewing public can't tell the actor/actress from the character he/she portrays. If they were really that concerned, maybe they'd stop using their real first names as the first names of their characters (usually in sitcoms)?

Lucille Ball was "Lucy" in every damned sitcom she did.

After being "Rob" and "Laura" on The Dick Van Dyke Show, Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore usually played characters named "Dick" and "Mary" respectively.

Sometimes the actors shared their entire name with their character, a device which worked best when the sitcoms delivered a Bizarro version of the actor's real life [The Jack Benny Show, Seinfeld, not so much The Jeff Foxworthy Show... ].

Sometimes I suppose it gave a sense of solidarity between the new show and the comedian's stand-up routine [Roseanne's "Roseanne Conner," as mentioned above, Ray Romano's "Ray Barone," Tim Allen's "Tim Taylor," and... Oh, hell, you come up with some!]

And didja know that Sally was one of the working titles for a sitcom that became Reba... once Reba McEntire was hired for the starring role?)

A final observation on Mr. Blackwell: I've mentioned here and there that one reason I do these notices is that, for me, it nails down the actual death date of a celebrity. Mr. Blackwell happens to be one of those whose supposed death I'd heard about years ago. But now it's on my blog, so it must be true, right?

Hey. Hey!

Stop laughing.

3. Levi Stubbs, 1936-2008, R.I.P.

Singer for the Four Tops. Damnit! Not much to say. Not a great year for soul artists, overall.

4. And last, but most assuredly not least...

Miss Edie Adams, 1927-2008, R.I.P.

(Sorry for not posting this one until over a week after I'd read of her death!)

The one and only Groucho Marx once introduced Edie Adams by saying,"There are some things Edie won't do, but nothing she can't do."


Edie really could "do it all." She was an actress and a singer -- who won the Tony award for playing Daisy Mae in Li'l Abner -- as well as one hell of a dancer. She was also a skilled comedienne, and deservedly well-known for doing an uncanny impression of Marilyn Monroe.

She was the spokesperson for Muriel Cigars for many years. She popularized the slogan ""Why don't you pick one up and smoke it sometime?" -- often misquoted as "Why don't you pick me up and smoke me sometime?" but folks, she was not the cigar! -- and based her delivery on Mae West's "Why don't you come up and see me sometime?" Coincidentally, Miss Adams played Mae West in a TV-movie about Ernie Kovacs.

Regrettably, my primary interest in such a talented lady -- indeed, even the reason I own her fascinating autobiography -- was that she was the wife of early televion genius Ernie Kovacs. Kovacs was to TV what Will Eisner was to comics; Ernie worked around the medium's technological drawbacks and dazzled us with TV's unique technological advantages!

Kovacs also brought us the Nairobi Trio, a recurring skit which had the audacity to "hide" Miss Adams from us in a gorilla costume!

Thanks for your time.

Yes, Edie Adams did sing!
And not too shabbily, I might add!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

In My Mailbox

The past few days have not been fun. I've had severe back pain which has kept me housebound. How severe? Monday was my mother's ninety-first birthday, and all she got from me on that day was a couple of phone calls. I couldn't get out to see her. (She and I rescheduled her official birthday get-together, just so you know.)

That's one of the main reasons I've been lax as far as contributing any new posts to David'Z RantZ. I've been saving my computer time for shorter tasks, like answering email... although I did manage to throw something up -- you should pardon the expression -- on my joke website, The New David'Z RantZ.

Well, I was feeling somewhat better today -- but not very much -- so I forced myself out of the house to do some essential errands, like food for my cat, and a post office run.

Not much in my p.o. box... My final cable bill -- I just decided to go cold turkey on TV! -- and one of those cards that senators and representatives send out so you'll vote for them...

Whoa! This one's a little different! (I've obscured the name of the congressman.)

Clicking on image will enlarge it, like, 47 times.
You don't wanna do it. Really.

This necessitated a quick flip to the other side...

Clicking on image will enlarge it, like, 47 times.
You don't wanna do it. Really.

Wow. Not "Vote for Me," but "Don't Vote for Him!" Who's this poor bastard's opponent? I wondered.

So I checked out the small print:

Ahhh, the benefits of anonymity! So handy when mounting an attack. Well, someone's spending an awful lot of money to defeat Representative So-and-So.

At least when McCain and Obama attack each other, they have the stones to say that they approved the message.

(UPDATE: As was oh-so-correctly pointed out by reader "Shrek," they more likely do it because they're required to, by law. Oh, well.)

Now I don't know what to do. I'm not sure I'd want to vote for Representative So-and-So, after reading all of this, but I don't want to vote for his sleazy opponent(s), either.

Several years ago, I read about some small town which included "none of the above" at the end of each list of candidates for any office. Theoretically, if you didn't like any of the choices, you'd vote for "none of the above." If the improbable (but possible) happened, and "none of the above" actually won, that office's duties would be performed by those who would ordinarily assist the office-holder in his or her duties. If there weren't any designated assistants, they'd feel comfortable letting nobody do the job, I suppose, figuring that if the job were truly important, someone of a decent caliber to fill it would have stepped up to the plate.

Not a perfect system, certainly, but let's say that they didn't take it to such an extreme. How about this: If "none of the above" wins, the second-place winner will get the job? How'd you like to serve a term saying, "Well, I was actually the second choice for this position. The first choice was... um... nobody."

See, folks, this is why I don't get political.

I'll try to post something more "real" very soon.

Thanks for your time.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The BEST o'the BEST o'the BEST... SIR!!!

How to create controversy in one easy lesson: Present your own opinions as incontrovertible facts.

If I were to list each of the following items as "My Favorite [So-and-So]," this would be a nice, innocuous little collection of my musical favorites.

But no.

I'm presenting the following list as "The Best Of... " Not only am I courting controversy by doing that, but I'm also taking an additional chance of pissing people off by arbitrarily limiting the scope of my "nominations" and "winning candidates" to pop/rock artists & music from roughly 1960-1980. Why? Just to be an ornery jerk, cuz I can.

This method may cause division among the ranks of the RantzerooZ. "That's not the best [So-and-So]!" you may say (even if you don't leave a comment stating your position). Well... tough. It is now. I wrote it; that makes it real. This method may cause people to argue with me (or each other). This method may cause people to insult me (or each other). It could even start a Third World War... or not.

Well... Probably not, where that last one is concerned.

Anyway, here's my (pop & rock'n'roll) list of "bests" and "mosts" -- which I purposely did not number, since it's not that kind of list -- and let the buffalo chips fall where they may.
  • Best Singer: Janis Joplin and Roy Orbison (Let's call that a tie; I don't want to split this into a male/female thing.)
  • Best Lead Vocalist for a Rock Band: Freddy Mercury of Queen and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin (tie)
  • Best Lead Vocalist for a Rock Band Who Can Actually Act in a Movie or a TV Program Without Embarrassing Himself: Roger Daltrey of The Who
  • Best Lead Vocalist for a Rock Band Who Can't Shut the F**k Up During the Guitar Lead to Save His Life: Paul Rodgers of Free and Bad Company, etc.
  • Best Guitarist: (Ohhh, no you don't! Even mine aren't that big!)
  • Group with the Best Catalog of Albums to Bring with You to a Deserted Island: The Beatles
  • Group with the Best Catalog of Albums to Bring with You to a Deserted Island (Substance Abuse Division) : The Doors (Honorable Mention: Pink Floyd)
  • Best Carnival Barker in Terms of Extending the Hype Forever: Ray Manzarek of The Doors
  • Artist I Most Wish Would Shut Up and Retire, Already: Elton John
  • Best "Done-You-Wrong Song in Captivity"* : "Can't You See" by The Marshall Tucker Band
  • Most Incredibly Talented & Promising Artist Whose Career Lasted Long Enough for Him to Totally F**k It Up: Michael Jackson
  • Best Album Cover (not the Best Album. The Best Album Cover): "Weekend Warriors" by Ted Nugent

  • Most Influential Debut Album of the Early 1960s (U.S. version) : "Meet the Beatles" by... Oh, you guessed that one?**
  • Most Influential Debut Album of the Late 1960s: "Led Zeppelin"*** by Led Zeppelin
  • Best British Invasion Group That Actually Sounded British: Herman's Hermits
  • Best British Invasion Group That Tried to Sound Like Americans: everybody else
  • Best Songwriter with an Overly Recognizable Style****: Jim Steinman
  • Best LP Almost Nobody But Me Seems to Know About: "Songs for Beginners" by Graham Nash
  • Best LP Almost Nobody But Me Seems to Know About That Also Inflenced My Own Personal Singing Style: "Wheatfield Soul" by The Guess Who
  • Best Damned Song I Ever Wrote: "The Life You Never Find" (Runner-Up: "Don't Let Me Love You on the Rebound")
  • Best Song to Have the Band***** or the DJ Play When You're Dancing with a Woman You Want to Boink That Evening (1960s): Cherish by The Association
  • Best Song to Have the Band***** or the DJ Play When You're Dancing with a Woman You Want to Boink That Evening (1970s): "Wildflower" by Skylark

  • Best Artist to Play When at Home with a Woman You Want to Boink That Evening (1960s): Frank Sinatra
  • Best Artist to Play When at Home with a Woman You Want to Boink That Evening (1970s): Cat Stevens (WARNING! This is no longer the case!)
  • Song That Hits You Harder Every Damned Time You Hear It, As You Get Older: "Same Auld Lang Syne" by Dan Fogelberg
  • Best Line Ever (not the Best Song, and not the Best Line from a Song. The! Best! Line! Ever! In anything! From anywhere!) : "Someone like you makes it hard to live without somebody else," from "Reason to Believe," written by Tim Hardin

See? Instant controversy! And up until this early morning revelation, I thought the only way I could do that was by talking about Sarah Palin.

Thanks for your time.

* And I wish I could properly credit the AM radio DJ who uttered that memorable phrase, over 30 years ago!
** Of course, their odds of "winning" this category were doubled, since in the USA, The Beatles actually had two debut albums, on different labels!
*** And no, it's not "Led Zeppelin I," or "Led Zeppelin One," or anything else but "Led Zeppelin!"
**** During 1983, three different songs entered the pop charts in relatively short succession: Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart," Air Supply's "Making Love out of Nothing at All," and Barry Manilow's "Read 'Em and Weep." Upon hearing each of these three songs for the first time, my response was along the lines of "Hey, I'll bet Jim Steinman wrote that!" I was right in all three cases. Best known as the songwriter behind Meat Loaf's "Bat Out of Hell" albums, Steinman's style was and is unmistakeable.*****And just for the record, I mean "the band," and not "The Band." S'awright? S'awright!

Monday, October 13, 2008

It's Up!

Yep. It's up.

And at my age, it's quite an accomplishment for me to get another one up so soon after the last one, don'tcha know.

I can't wait for all of you to see it! And rest assured, I'll keep it up until long after everybody has had a look at it.

I'm referring to the very first post on my brand new blog, The Lair of the Silver Fox, of course.

Why, what were you thinking?





[blushes] Thanks for your time.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


(Gotta love Blogger! I'm writing this BRAND NEW POST on October 1st, and scheduling it for October 9th, after subjecting you all to a couple of recycled posts from the old DiaryLand David'Z RantZ. By the way, I predict that while I've been "gone," my recycled posts, as usual, will have gotten next-to-no comments. How'd I do?

By the way, I still don't understand why my readers avoid commenting on my DiaryLand "reprints." Although I -- in the early days of my Blogger David'Z RantZ -- invited everyone reading my posts to visit the old site and read that stuff, too, even I am not so egotistical as to believe that you all actually did that. So why treat the recycled shit stuff like something you'd seen before? I'm bettin' that ya hadn't! I mean, only, like six of you have been reading my RantZ for all these years.


But I digress... )

Anyway... back to business.

It's not, as they say, "set in cement" yet, but I'm pretty sure -- and let's face it, who would know better than I? -- that the first official entry for my new blog, The Lair of the Silver Fox, will be on Monday, October 13th.

Remember: Feedback is very important to me, even on items which saw publication long ago. So, comments will be encouraged... but moderated. Constructive criticism -- positive or negative -- will be welcomed with open arms, figuratively speaking. Clever, irreverent, smart-alecky quips won't offend me at all. However... Idiotic, insulting, personal attacks will not be tolerated. This is my sandbox. And for what this gig pays, I have neither the time nor the inclination to put up with that nonsense... nor do my regular readers, frankly.

Anyway... Unless and until you see an announcement to the contrary, that is indeed the date of the official "launch" of the webpage.

Bring a housewarming gift.

Thanks for your time.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Putting Things in Perspective

(The following post originally appeared on my DiaryLand page on January 7, 2005. Beyond that, it's fairly self-explanatory. I pre-scheduled it last Wednesday to post today. Gotta love that Blogger feature! This is so cool. I haven't really been around "here" for days!)

I guess we all need a wake-up call once in a while.

In my last RantZ entry, immediately before Christmas, I dipped a little more deeply than usual into my personal "well," as it were, and more than implied that things in my personal life have pretty much depressed me for the past several months. There have been a few oases of nice occurrences, but I pretty much had the attitude of "sucks to be me." And this attitude uncharacteristically invaded my RantZ pages.

(Um. There's no actual apology forthcoming for that little anomaly, in case you're wondering. Each time you visit this page, you do so at your own risk, after all. "Enter freely and of your own free will," and all that.)

So, there I was, wallowing in my own little puddles of disappointment and hard times, although acknowledging somewhere in the back of my mind that there were & are people whose lives were progressing much, much more dismally than mine. But, as I often say to anyone who'll listen, "My broken finger hurts me more than your broken leg hurts... me." In other words, it's all relative, so my problems affect me more than your problems do, because they're... well... my problems. And no amount of sympathizing, empathizing, or any other kind of 'pathizing (No, it's not a word; don't bother looking it up!) with anyone else is gonna change that.

Well, usually not.

Anybody seen the news lately?

The death toll from the earthquake and subsequent tsunamis which assaulted Southeast Asia is still increasing. I won't go into great detail about this enormous tragedy, figuring that you know everything you want to know about it if you follow the news at all, and there's certainly nothing new that I can add in terms of overall information. But as I watched the estimated deaths increase by thousands every bulletin, it sort of made my own troubles -- some medical issues, a few late payments, a handful of skipped meals, an emotional disappointment or two (or even three) and some more things I won't mention here (or anywhere else, for that matter) -- pale by comparison. Estimates leaped by roughly twenty thousand at a time!

In fact, they still haven't halted the tally. The latest article (about an hour ago) I read had estimated 145,000 deaths. It's truly mind-boggling. And saddening.

Even more than having your defroster crack your car's windshield the day before you go for your inspection sticker.

(And no, I'm not making fun of them, I'm making fun of me. I can do that.)

Like I said, putting things in perspective...

(Hmm. Another unfunny one. Gotta pull out of this dive... )

Thanks for your time.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

My Own Personal Hang-Up, Part One

The following was originally published on the DiaryLand "David'Z RantZ" page on November 5, 2003. (It was pre-scheduled on Wednesday to post at noon on Sunday.)

According to Boston's WHDH-TV, a woman -- I'm showing a rare bit of sensitivity and not bandying her name about in this particular venue -- was killed in an early morning motor vehicle accident on November 1st.

She was studying to be an EMT. And she was only 20. To me, that's hardly a "woman," it's more like a "girl," and I don't mean "girl" in any demeaning, sexist way; rather, I mean that anyone that age, whether male or female, should have had many more years left in which to live her life.

At the time of her fatal accident, the young woman was talking on her cell phone. Her last words, amazingly, seem to have been "I'm about to get into an accident." The friend to whom she was speaking then heard a crash.

I don't quite understand this. The young woman evidently had enough warning to foresee the accident, plus tell her friend, but didn't have time to avoid the crash itself? (That's like one of the more absurd conventions of comic books, where a character can speak an entire sentence while throwing a swift punch.) Maybe she could have saved herself if she'd had both hands on the steering wheel, and if she'd had her full attention focused on driving her vehicle. In other words, maybe she'd still be alive if she'd only bothered to put down -- hell, to simply drop -- the damned cell phone!

Admittedly, I wasn't present for this accident, so I naturally cannot say with 100% certainty that her using the cell phone while she was driving caused her accident, but it definitely was a contributing factor!

(Truth is, indeed, stranger than fiction. I very recently published a story in which something eerily similar happened, but my fictional account did not include the macabre twist contained in the next paragraph.)

Ironically, the young woman's car plowed into -- of all things -- a Cingular Wireless cell phone store! Ordinarily, I could make at least one or two tasteless jokes about that, but this time, I won't. I don't find the situation to be funny at all.

And if you think I'm over-reacting -- and it gets worse -- here's why: Four or five years ago, I nearly lost a "work buddy" to a similar accident. My friend Christine's vehicle was struck by a woman who was: 1) making an illegal U-turn 2) on a notoriously dangerous local highway 3) while using a cell phone.

What an idiot.

Most of my so-called "rantZ" consist of my tongue-in-cheek, self-righteous ventings on various unimportant subjects. Sometimes, I hope, I manage to be amusing. I have admittedly shied away from really serious subjects so far, and will in the future, too. (For the most part, anyway.) Why? Well, at this early stage of my DiaryLand sojourn, most -- if not all -- of my "readers" are friends of mine whom I've directed to this site. And they already know how I feel about the things I consider to be really important.

But if even one stranger reads this blog and says, "Wow, those things really can be dangerous" and pulls his or her car off to the side of the road before using one of those infernal little devices... As corny as it sounds, it will have been well worth my "dropping character" for the length of this entry.

Of course, anybody with a lick of common sense should know that already, without my self-righteously calling it to their attention...

I'm serious. Cell phones -- or, more properly, I should say the way people use and abuse cell phones -- can literally kill you. Don't use them while you're driving!

Someday, I'll have a whole new rant where I deal with the subject differently, in a way which will hopefully make you smile, or even laugh. But not today.

Sorry to be such a downer.

Thanks for your time.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Maverick? (A NON-Political Statement)

Now, these are the original, "real" Mavericks:

"We've heard of Lucas McCain, but John McCain?
Nope, we ain't never heard o'him."

Just sayin'.

Thanks for your time.

P.S. ~~ This post was written approximately twelve hours before it was posted.

"This here's Lucas McCain, and
I done approved me this here post!"

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Short Shorts

The following is a combined, edited version of two "Short Shorts" entries from my old DiaryLand blog, dated February 23 & June 21, 2004. Please keep that in mind when you read the references to the "new" program, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and to a radio commercial for a Saint Patrick's Day sale.

My surviving DiaryLand entries are fairly depleted. I'm no longer going to provide a link when I use the term "old blog." And due to various things going on behind the scenes right now, I may just schedule two or three more old posts, spaced out every two or three days, while I disappear for a bit. So even if I'm not "around" for a while, as it were, you'll still get to read some of my old shit classic material.

1) Did anyone -- other than me -- think that you were watching one of those "joke" ads, the type that Saturday Night Live likes to run (or used to... I haven't watched a new episode of SNL since Phil Hartman was on the show) the first time you saw a promo piece for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition?

2) "It" finally began (for me, anyway), earlier this evening. Tonight, I heard the first radio ad of the year for a Saint Patrick's Day sale that some car dealership was touting, complete with a high-pitched, sing-songy, obviously bogus Irish brogue. (I'm waiting for local, low-budgeted TV ads -- mostly for furniture stores -- to follow.) The ad exhibited one sole bit of restraint by leaving out the term "top o'the morning to ye," but they might just as well have included it. Changing times & enlightened attitudes -- bolstered by their personified successors, the Politically Correct Police -- have successfully eradicated the "Irish cop" stereotype, as well as the "Irish drunk" stereotype (although somewhat less successfully), but these dismally-failed dialecticians are still allowed to work their dubious magic on their listeners. I wonder if "they" could get away with resurrecting the main characters of the old Amos and Andy show -- complete with their minstrel show delivery -- at whatever time of the year seemed appropriate to these hawkers, for example, Kwanzaa, or Martin Luther King Day?

3) On the subject of "acceptable racism" -- if such a thing is possible -- I remember an episode of Oprah (Hey, my then-girlfriend used to watch it... No, really!) in early 1990 when Oprah declared that the male-bashing '80s were over, and she and her show were going to clean up their collective act.

So how come it's still okay for society in general -- and not just the female members of said society -- to make all the anti-male comments I keep hearing?

I'm not talking about jokes, here. We have to make allowances for almost all kinds of humor. A lot of jokes demean someone, and that's not necessarily harmful if the joke targets someone or something in particular rather than a religion, nationality, ethnic group, etc.

No, I'm talking about comments that assume that all men are the same. Recently, in reaction to a specific comment of mine which I won't take the time to tell you about (You're welcome.), a female friend of mine made a crack about "literal-minded men." Not "literal-minded David," mind you. No. "Literal-minded men."

Being a man (and please note, I am just a man, not the representative of a stamped-out, identically-designed robotic gender), I was mildly offended.

I realize that there are some fundamentally-different characteristics of men and women that make each group act somewhat differently than the other. (And I mean "characteristics" in an emotional sense; we're not just talking about simple plumbing, here.) But please don't say "Yeah, men are from Mars, women are from Venus," 'cause I'll slap you. If you're old enough to remember Real Men Don't Eat Quiche, my take on that was similar: Some "real men" do eat quiche. Some "real men" don't. All it boils down to is whether or not the man in question likes quiche! Anything else is a moronic generalization.

If you think I'm over-reacting here (which, admittedly, is what 90% of these RantZ are about, so lighten up), try this little test: Whenever you find yourself about to make a statement about "MEN," mentally reconstruct that statement, substituting the name of any other ethnic group for "men."

  • "Latinos never ask for directions."
  • "Asians never do the dishes."
  • "Jews can't stop playing with the TV remote."
  • "African-Americans never change the toilet paper roll."
  • "Native Americans always leave the toilet seat up."
  • "All Italians are such babies whenever they get sick!"
  • "Arabs never do the laundry."
  • "Polish people never empty an ashtray."
  • "A Frenchman only buys you flowers when he's done something he feels guilty about."

These statements suddenly sound pretty freakin' stupid, don't they? And bigoted, perhaps? Just a bit? (Except for the one about Frenchmen; I think that one's true.)

4) Whenever anybody talks about Q-Tips, there's always that disclaimer about how you should never insert anything in your ear. I realize this is mainly geared to those morons who'd slam the sumbitch in there like they were staking a vampire, but whenever I hear that warning, I always think:

"If you can't stick them in your ear, what the f**k good are they?"

5) Why do some people have those strange little dashboard compasses in their cars? Whenever I give directions to someone, it's always something like "go straight for two blocks, take a left, then go about two miles until you see a KMart on your right..." I never say "proceed in a Northeasterly direction -- at roughly 45 degrees -- for one mile, then veer South Southwest..."

Well, maybe I would if I were talking to a f**king bird...

6) Trebliet. Just sayin'.

7) Ever notice that in the movies, there's often some establishing flashback sequence before the storyline proper begins? Then, the main story itself begins, along with a title that says (for example) "ten years later," or "twenty years later."

How often have two incredibly significant and related occurrences in your life happened at such convenient intervals? Just once, I want to see a film where two such events take place, say, seventeen years apart.

I'm just saying I want to see one; I'm not definitively stating that one like that does not exist. It's just that I haven't seen it yet.

And I'm not holding my breath, Hollywood.

8) Speaking of Hollywood, you want to know what I hate about Computer-Generated Images? They're getting to be so effective, they can almost replace natural talent and beauty. For example, I am incredibly impressed by the physical skills that people like Jackie Chan and Jet Li possess. However, through the benefits of CGI, someone like myself could act in a film wherein I could not only equal, but surpass their accomplishments. It doesn't seem fair, somehow. And yes, I fully realize that movies are all about make-believe anyway. Put me in a film where I'm locked in a room with my mortal enemies (as played by Chan, Li, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Steven Seagal) in a fight to the death, and if the script says that I'll be the only one to emerge alive... well, that's what'll happen.

However, I'm not referring to "the movies" vs. "reality" as much as I am the viewers' perception of what is and isn't real or fake. If I were to run up a wall, for instance, it'd obviously be through the graces of CGI. Jackie Chan, however, can really do it. But nowadays, many people will look at him, too, and smugly say "CGI." And that's what I mean when I say that there's something inherently unfair about the whole thing.

People have been conditioned to look for the false, the deceptive, the "smoke and mirrors." No one seems to have faith in much any more. Don't believe me? Here's a test: The next time you're watching television in a room with at least one other person, wait until a program or commercial comes on which prominently features a young woman with eyes lovely enough to comment upon, and then say something to the effect of "Wow, she's got pretty eyes."

I almost guarantee that at least one person will assume the actress is wearing colored contacts, and say so.

9) I'm one of those people who knows a lot about a little, and a little about a lot. Therefore, friends and acquaintances often come to me to answer trivia questions, or even to settle arguments. Generally, if I don't know the answer to something (and there's a lot I admittedly don't know), I have a pretty good idea where I can find the answer (which is even easier since the invention of the internet).

A question I've been asked more than once is whether Morton Downey, Jr. (former talk show host, now deceased) was related to Robert Downey, Jr. (one helluva good actor!). I guess it's a logical question because their names are so similar.

I can't resist having a bit of fun with anyone who asks me that. "Yes," I reply. "They're brothers."

Why is that "fun," you ask? Okay, you think about it, and get back to me. (Here's a clue: If they really were brothers, what would have been their father's name?)

And finally...

10) Thought for the Day: "The only thing that cannot be successfully put off until a later time is procrastination." -- David M. Lynch

Thanks for your... Nahhhh, I'll tell you later.

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