Thursday, January 8, 2009

Stealin' when I shoulda been bloggin'

Was that my first Uriah Heep reference on here?!?  Haven’t had much time to write this week with home remodeling projects taking up my time.  Now that the bathroom is completed, I’m knee-deep in redoing my living room, which thankfully isn’t as complicated (or as expensive) as the lavoratory was, just more time-consuming because of its vast size. If all goes well, it should be done by mid-February or so, just in time to do the kitchen.

That means it’s time for my annual appeal:  Those of you who have yet to unplug and/or take down your outdoor Christmas decorations need to do so immediately!  We’re well into January now…

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’ve struggled with my political identity over the past couple years. I’m hardly a conservative, although I do have a handful of (mostly social) conservative attitudes (my distaste for tattoos on women, for instance), but then again, although I tend to lean to the left, I don’t exactly embrace the whole "bleeding heart" liberal scene either (the trendy and farcically fashionable "going green" fad, for instance).  However, thanks to comedian Dana Carvey, I’ve found what I think is a pretty accurate description of my political slant in a term that he coined about his own political convictions—I now officially consider myself a "radical moderate".  Now I can at least define what team I play for…

Somehow, I just can’t wrap my brain around the thought of "Senator" Al Franken, who (for the moment, anyway) has been declared the winner this week in Minnesota’s contested Senate race.  Why it took over two months in this modern day and age to recount the votes is beyond me, but I loved how the newspaper here referred to him as "former comedian" Al Franken—I wasn’t aware that he ever was one!  I remember watching "Saturday Night Live" when I was in junior high school, and even then, Franken always came across as an unfunny snarky smart-ass to me, and after re-watching the old SNLs on DVD as an adult, my opinion of him hasn’t changed very much.  I think Franken’s strength on SNL may have lain more as a writer instead of as a performer, but I’m still having trouble taking him seriously as a politician.  For those who accuse me of being a radical left-winger (this means YOU, John!), I’d like to point out here that I’m picking on a liberal…

Speaking of SNL, I’m in the midst of reading an interesting oral history of the show called Live From New York by Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller.  It features great behind-the-scenes stories as told by practically everyone who was ever involved with the show, apart from those who are no longer with us (John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Chris Farley and Phil Hartman) as well as Eddie Murphy, who apparently wants to pretend he was never on the show.  One of the funniest stories involves the rather infamous 1979 episode with TV legend Milton Berle hosting.  SNL writer Alan Zweibel had previously worked with Berle and wrote a lot of jokes for him, many of which alluded to Berle’s notorious well-endowed-ness.  Zweibel picks up the story in the SNL dressing room on the night Uncle Miltie hosted:

"He’s sitting on a couch behind a coffee table and he’s wearing a very short bathrobe, the kind that comes down to about mid-thigh.  And somehow, I say to him, ‘You know, it’s so weird that I’m here talking to you, because for years I was writing jokes about your dick…I feel like there’s some violation or something here.’  He says to me, ‘You mean you never saw it?’  I said, ‘Uh, no, I don’t believe I did.’  Then he said, ‘Well, would you like to?’  And before I had a chance to say, ‘Not really’…he parts his bathrobe and he just takes out this—this anaconda.  He lays it on the table and I’m looking into this thing, right?  I’m looking into the head of Milton Berle’s dick.  It was enormous.  It was like a pepperoni.  And he goes, ‘What do you think of the boy?’  And I go, ‘Oh, it’s really, really nice.’  At which point Gilda opens the door to the dressing room…"

That episode of the show was not a particularly good one, and Berle was rather uncooperative during rehearsals and such.  I’ve read more than one account that said Milton Berle was a very unpleasant person to deal with (check out his bio on Find A, for instance), so I think it’s safe to say that Uncle Miltie had/was one big prick!

So nice of them OPECkers to jack the gas prices up about 30 cents a gallon over the last couple weeks because of the whole Gaza Strip mess, never mind that the conflict doesn’t have a freakin’ thing to do with oil.  As for the Israelis and Hamas, and the Palestinians and Lebanon and all the rest of that bunch over there, I don’t care who’s right and who’s wrong and who’s justified in attacking who, whatever—just fucking settle this shit already!  Enough is enough.

While channel-surfing the other morning, I stumbled across Ann Coulter on the "Today Show", and sure enough there was that Adam’s apple bobbing up and down like a dead salmon in choppy waters—I swear this skank is a transsexual!  I also still say that for someone who claims to be a conservative, it seems disingenuous that her skirts are often short enough to be belts.  Must be time for another one of Ann’s bilge-infested right-wing books to come out if she’s making the rounds on the talk show circuit again…

Joe Pesci probably couldn’t explain it either, but I guess we’ll never know how good the Utah football team really is, even though they finished their season undefeated, yet were denied an opportunity to play for the national championship in favor of two one-loss teams tonight, Florida and Oklahoma.  I understand the whole strength-of-schedule BCS ranking stuff and all that, but what’s the point of being in Division IA if your team does the best it could possibly do in the regular season, yet has no shot at the national title under any circumstances?

"Oprah’s angry about her weight."  Then lay off the bon-bons, sweetheart!  B.F.D….

If there’s a fireplace in any given set on a TV show (esp. soap operas) or in a movie, there’s a 99.7% chance that there will be an unattended roaring fire blazing away in it that requires absolutely no stoking whatsoever to maintain the flames at a consistent level.  Makes no difference whether it’s the middle of summer (like in Bridges of Madison County) or if the story is set on a warm sunny day in Southern California, there’ll be a nice toasty fire to roast marshmallows over and/or ward off all that potential frostbite.

While I’m on the subject of fire, thanks to the dearth of decent programming on cable TV today, I’ve been mining more and more old-school TV on DVD recently and rediscovered an old Saturday night staple at our house in my youth, NBC’s firehouse action drama "Emergency!", starring Randolph Mantooth, Kevin Tighe, Robert Fuller, Bobby Troup and Julie London (that great British actress).  The various accidents and rescues that they staged on that show were surprisingly realistic for the early ‘70s, but ain’t it amazing how nearly every time Fireman Gage (Mantooth) or DeSoto (Tighe) phoned in a trauma case to Rampart Hospital, either Dr. Brackett (Fuller), Dr. Early (Troup) or nurse Dixie McCall (London)—or any combination of the three—would always be conveniently standing right there by the phone to respond?  And Brackett’s instructions were always the same:  "Start an I.V. with D5W and transport as soon as possible…"  Station 51 must have had one helluva district to serve, as one minute they’d be rescuing someone in Watts, next they’d be up in the Hollywood hills somewhere, and after that they’d be at Santa Monica Pier.  I now know from personal experience that it’s humanly impossible to get around L.A. that fast!

I’d forgotten that there was a burgeoning romance early on in the show between Dr. Brackett and nurse McCall, which was kinda weird in a way because Julie London and Bobby Troup were married in real life.  Unfortunately, during its five-year run, "Emergency!" failed to develop new and interesting characters along the way, so we were basically stuck with the same five people throughout and the show got stale rather quickly.  Still, I have fond memories of re-enacting scenes from the show on the playground with the other kids at school, playing a junior paramedic!