Published Tuesday, December 16, 2014 @ 11:30 PM EST
Craig Ferguson ends his ten-year run on CBS' Late Late Show this Friday. His segments with
Robin Williams were always tremendous. In this clip from November 2011, Williams drops by
unannounced to sit in on the nightly e-mail segment. Their off-the-wall conversation gets
a well-deserved standing ovation at the end of the segment.
The Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles celebrated Craig's tenure with a great interview
conducted by Academy Award-winning screenwriter, comic and actor Jim Rash.
Richard William "Wil" Wheaton III (b. July 29, 1972) is an American
actor, blogger and writer, known for his portrayals of Wesley Crusher on
the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, Gordie
Lachance in the film Stand by Me, Joey Trotta in Toy Soldiers,
and for his recurring role as a fictionalized version of himself on the
CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory. (Click
here for full Wikipedia article)
Don’t let the fear of not pleasing someone stop you from being creative.
Either you have a sense of humor about (being a former child star), or
you're in rehab. There's not a lot of gray area.
If the world were a bar, America would currently be the angry drunk
waving around a loaded gun. Yeah, the other people in the bar may be
afraid of him, but they sure as hell don't respect him.
No matter what I do with my life, or how successful I am, I will always
be a socially awkward penguin inside.
Some days, you're just going to be Sideshow Bob, and the world is going
to be a dozen rakes.
When you say a 'former child star,' you may as well say 'failed child
When I was a little boy, I was called a nerd all the time because I
didn't like sports, I loved to read, I liked math and science, I thought
school was really cool, and... it hurt. A lot. Because it's never ok
when a person makes fun of you for something like you didn't choose...
we don't choose to be nerds. We can't help it that we like these things,
and we shouldn't apologize for liking these things.
I wish that I could tell you that there is a really easy way to just...
not care. But the truth is it hurts. But here's the thing that you might
be able to understand- as a matter of fact, I'm confident you'll be able
to understand this, because you asked this question.
When a person makes fun of you, when a person is cruel to you... it has
nothing to do with you. It's not about what you said, it's not about
what you did, it's not about what you love. It's about them feeling bad
about themselves. They feel sad. They don't get positive attention from
their parents. They don't feel as smart as you. They don't understand
the things that you understand.
Maybe one of their parents is really pushing them to be a cheerleader,
or a baseball player, or an engineer, or something that they just don't
want to do. So they take that out on you, because they can't go and be
mean to the person who's actually hurting them.
So, when a person's cruel to you like that- I know that this is hard-
but honestly, the kind and best reaction is to pity them. And don't let
them make you feel bad because you love a thing. Maybe find out what
they love, and talk about it- how they love it. I bet you'll find out
that a person who loves tetherball loves tetherball exactly the same way
you love Doctor Who. But you just love different things.
And I will tell you this: it absolutely gets better as you get older. I
know it's really hard when you're in school and you're surrounded by the
same 400 people a day that pick on you and make you feel bad about
yourself. But there's fifty thousand people here this weekend who went
through the exact same thing- and we're all doing really well.
Don't you ever let persons make you feel bad because you love something
they decided is only for nerds. You're loving a thing that's for you. -Wil
Wheaton, responding to a question from a young girl at the
2013 Denver Comic Con.
Anna Marie Quindlen (b July 8, 1952) is an American author, journalist,
and opinion columnist whose New York Times column, Public and Private,
won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1992. She began her journalism
career in 1974 as a reporter for the New York Post. Between 1977 and
1994 she held several posts at The New York Times. (Click
for full Wikipedia article.)
A finished person is a boring person.
Acts of bravery don't always take place on battlefields. They can take
place in your heart, when you have the courage to honor your character,
your intellect, your inclinations, and yes, your soul by listening to
its clean, clear voice of direction instead of following the muddied
messages of a timid world.
And sometimes you do everything right and something bad just happens.
It's as simple, and as scary, as that.
But never fear, gentlemen; castration was really not the point of
feminism, and we women are too busy eviscerating one another to take you
Catastrophe is numerical. Loss is singular, one beloved at a time.
Control is a nice concept, little more.
[Dr. Seuss] is remembered for the murder of Dick and Jane, which was a
mercy killing of the highest order.
For the young the days go fast and the years go slow; for the old the
days go slow and the years go fast.
Guilt is what separates humans from animals.
Have you ever noticed that what passes as a terrific man would only be
an adequate woman?
Here is one of the worst things about having someone you love die: It
happens again every single morning.
I conveniently forgot to remember that people only have two hands, or,
as another parent once said of having a third child, it's time for a
zone defense instead of man-to-man.
I have a cat, the pet that ranks just above a throw pillow in terms of
I know from experience that those least capable of truly assessing any
marriage are the children who come out of it. We style them as we need
them, to excuse our faults, to insulate ourselves from our own
expendability or indispensability.
I would be the most content if my children grew up to be the kind of
people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough
If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world
but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.
It's only before realities set in that we can treasure our delusions.
Maybe crazy is just the word we use for feelings that will not be
New York City has finally hired women to pick up the garbage, which
makes sense to me, since, as I've discovered, a good bit of being a
woman consists of picking up garbage.
One of the useful things about age is realizing conventional wisdom is
often simply inertia with a candy coating of conformity.
Our lives, so settled, so specific, are built on happenstance.
People who wish to salute the free and independent side of their
evolutionary character acquire cats. People who wish to pay homage to
their servile and salivating roots own dogs.
The life of a good dog is like the life of a good person, only shorter
and more compressed.
The voices of conformity speak so loudly. Don't listen to them. No one
does the right thing out of fear.
There's something undeniable about the posture of a person trying not to
acknowledge your existance.
This is how I learn most of what I know about my children and their
friends: by sitting in the driver's seat and keeping quiet.
We're part of a mixed marriage: he's male, I'm female.
What I expect from my male friends is that they are polite and clean.
What I expect from my female friends is unconditional love, the ability
to finish my sentences for me when I am sobbing, a complete and total
willingness to pour their hearts out to me, and the ability to tell me
why the meat thermometer isn't supposed to touch the bone.
What is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect
and beginning the work of becoming yourself.
When you really want to say no, say no. You can't do everything- or at
least not well.
You can tell a really wonderful quote by the fact that it's attributed
to a whole raft of wits.
You cannot be really first-rate at your work if your work is all you are.
Your children make it impossible to regret your past. They're its finest
fruits. Sometimes the only ones.
Bob Dylan (b. Robert Allen Zimmerman, May 24, 1941) is an American
musician, singer-songwriter, artist, and writer. He has been an
influential figure in popular music and culture for more than five
decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s, when he
was an informal chronicler and a seemingly reluctant figurehead of
social unrest. A number of Dylan's early songs, such as "Blowin' in the
Wind" and "The Times They Are a-Changin'," became anthems for the US
civil rights and anti-war movements. Leaving behind his initial base in
the culture of the folk music revival, Dylan's six-minute single "Like a
Rolling Stone" radically altered the parameters of popular music in
here for full Wikipedia article)
A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at
night, and in between he does what he wants to do.
All this talk about equality. The only thing people really have in
common is that they are all going to die.
And don't criticize what you can't understand.
Behind every beautiful thing, there's some kind of pain.
Chaos is a friend of mine.
Colleges are like old-age homes, except for the fact that more people
die in colleges.
Come senators, congressmen Please heed the call Don't stand in the
doorway Don't block up the hall For he that gets hurt Will be
he who has stalled There's a battle outside and it is ragin' It'll
soon shake your windows and rattle your walls For the times they are
Don't matter how much money you got, there's only two kinds of people:
there's saved people and there's lost people.
Everything passes. Everything changes. Just do what you think you should
I believe strongly in everyone's right to defend themselves by every
I have no message for anyone. My songs are only me talking to myself.
I once loved a woman, a child I am told I gave her my heart but she
wanted my soul. But don't think twice, it's all right.
I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of
responsibility that comes with his freedom.
Just because you like my stuff doesn't mean I owe you anything.
Money doesn't talk, it swears.
Morality has nothing in common with politics.
People dissect my songs like rabbits but they all miss the point.
People today are still living off the table scraps of the sixties. They
are still being passed around- the music and the ideas.
Sometimes it's not enough to know what things mean. Sometimes you have
to know what things don't mean.
The cost of liberty is high, and young people should understand that
before they start spending their life with all those gadgets.
The first way to answer the questions in the song ('Blowin' in the
Wind') is by asking them. But lots of people first have to find the wind.
To live outside the law, you must be honest.
We may not be able to defeat these swine, but we don't have to join them.
You can't be wise and in love at the same time.
You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.
How many roads must a man walk down Before you call him a man? Yes,
'n' how many seas must a white dove sail Before she sleeps in the
sand? Yes, 'n' how many times must the cannonballs fly Before
they're forever banned? The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind The
answer is blowin' in the wind
How many years can a mountain exist Before it's washed to the sea? Yes,
'n' how many years can some people exist Before they're allowed to be
free? Yes, 'n' how many times can a man turn his head Pretending
he just doesn't see? The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind The
answer is blowin' in the wind
How many times must a man look up Before he can see the sky? Yes,
'n' how many ears must one man have Before he can hear people cry? Yes,
'n' how many deaths will it take till he knows That too many people
have died? The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind The
answer is blowin' in the wind
Craig Ferguson (b. May 17, 1962) is a Scottish-born American television
host, stand-up comedian, writer, actor, director, author, producer and
voice artist. He is the host of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,
an Emmy Award-nominated, Peabody Award-winning late- night talk show
that has aired on CBS since January, 2005. Ferguson will leave the show
in December, 2014. (Click here for full
It's hard to stay up It's been a long, long day And you got the
sandman at the door But hang on, leave the TV on And let's do it
anyway It's okay! You can always sleep through work tomorrow, OK? Hey
hey! Tomorrow's just your future yesterday.
Tell the clock on the wall Forget the wakeup call Cause the
night's not nearly through Wipe the sleep from your eyes Give
yourself a surprise Let your worries wait another day And if you
stay too late at at the bar At least you made it out this far So
make up your mind and say Let's do it anyway! It's okay! You
can always sleep through work tomorrow, okay? Hey hey! Tomorrow's
just your future yesterday.
Life's too short to worry about The things that you can live without And
I regret to say The morning light is hours away The world can be
such a fright But it belongs to us tonight What's the point of
going to bed? You look so lovely when your eyes are red!
Tomorrow's just your future yesterday.
The world can be such a fright But it belongs to us tonight What's
the point of going to bed? You look so lovely when your eyes are red!
It's hard to stay up It's been a long, long day And you got the
sandman at the door But hang on, leave the TV on And let's do it
anyway It's okay! You can always sleep through work tomorrow, OK? Hey
hey! Tomorrow's just your future yesterday. Tomorrow's just your
A junkie will steal your purse, and then help you look for it.
Being guilty tends to engender feelings of guilt.
Change is the nature of God's mind, and resistance to it is the source
of great pain.
Confession is a sacred rite enhanced by allegory, exaggeration, and lies.
Disagreement, vehement disagreement, is healthy. Debate is impossible
without it. Evil does not question itself. Even the incorruptible are
corruptible if they cannot accept the possibility of being mistaken.
Failure is not disgrace. It's just a pitch that you missed, and you'd
better get ready for the next one. The next one might be the shot heard
round the world. My son and I are Americans, we prepare for glory by
failing until we don't.
I think when you become a parent you go from being a star in the movie
of your own life to the supporting player in the movie of someone else's.
I'm always a bit shy around evil people.
If you really don't want gay people to get married, you shouldn't ban
gay marriage, you ban gay divorce.
It's a great day for America, everybody!
It's easier to feel a little more spiritual with a couple of bucks in
Love at first sight is not rare, in fact it is extremely common, it
happens to some people a few times a year. The feeling of 'what if' when
meeting the eyes of a stranger can be love unrecognized.
Maybe fear is God's way of saying, 'Pay attention, this could be fun.'
Other than the laws of physics, rules have never really worked out for
The devil is not abroad at night in the form of a cat or a wolf or any
other animal. He lives eternally in the hearts of men.
Time is only linear for engineers and referees.
To most Americans, soccer is like warm hockey.
Tomorrow's just your future yesterday.
White Americans have a very unusual sense of history. They make it up as
they go along, constantly revising to suit their tastes in a manner that
would make Stalin blush. Very few of them saw any irony in the fact that
during a recent nasty Balkans conflict, when Uncle Sam intervened to
stop the Serbs from ethnically cleansing the Bosnians, the military
action was performed using Apache helicopter gunships. Helicopters named
after a people that had been ethnically cleansed in the United States
less than one hundred years previously. Sixteen lane highways across the
sacred burial grounds. Yee-hah.
You die alone in your house, and your cat will eat you.
We were living in Philadelphia in the summer of 1985, and the television
was on as background noise. A "Miami Vice" rerun was airing. I'd caught
a few minutes of the series earlier in the year and, frankly, it wasn't
on my must-see list. Anyway, I was working on something when I heard a
car engine gunned, followed by a hard cut to Tommy Shaw's driving "Girls
I looked up to see a tracking shot of speeding convertible. After a few
seconds, it became obvious the tracking vehicle was a helicopter,
perfectly matching the speed of the auto. I slowly became aware that
there weren't any edits... this was one long honking aerial shot.
It runs for a total of 79 seconds, an eternity in a filmed television
series. I couldn't find many details. The episode, "Glades," was the
ninth in the series' first season. It originally aired on November 30,
1984; I apparently caught the rerun on June 21, 1985. The show was
directed Stan Lathan (who would later go on to direct 122 episodes of
"The Steve Harvey Show"), and the director of photography was Duke
Callahan, who was also the D.P. on the motion picture Conan The
Barbarian. The helicopter pilot and cameraman were uncredited.
The segment starts on the west side of Miami and continues along the
Tamiami Highway. My guess is the director told the stars to drive
themselves to the location that day, and he told the DP to grab a
camera, get a helicopter, and get him some filler because the episode
timed out short.
Or, it could have been a deliberate attempt to create a shot so
impressive an old fart like me would remember it nearly 30 years later
when he accidentally encountered it on the web.
video: Jimmy Fallon, Idina Menzel and The Roots perform "Let It Go" on
The song as it appears in the film was undoubtedly assembled from
multiple takes and enhanced electronically- a necessity when you're
planning to exhibit it in huge IMAX venues with several thousands watts
of audio amplification.
video: Idina Menzel performs "Let It Go" in "Frozen.")
Frankly, her Oscar performance wasn't her best... having John Travolta
mangle her name didn't help. Think about it- you're following Bette
Midler, you're the last musical performer of the night, singing what
everyone expects to win the Oscar for Best Song, the live
orchestra is in a recording studio over a mile away, and "Let It Go"
(which its authors say was specifically written to be "Idina's Badass
Song") is the Power Ballad from Hell, ranging from F3 to
Go ahead... follow along...
video: Let It Go arranged by Larry Moore)
Anyway, it was nice to see her actually enjoying herself with Fallon and
Published Thursday, February 13, 2014 @ 12:00 AM EST
Isaac Sidney "Sid" Caesar (September 8, 1922 – February
12, 2014) (Richard Drew/Associated Press)
Sid Caesar, a comedic force of nature who became one of television's
first stars in the early 1950s and influenced generations of comedians
and comedy writers, died on Wednesday. He was 91.
Mr. Caesar largely faded from the public eye in his middle years as he
struggled with crippling self-doubt and addiction to alcohol and pills.
But from 1950 to 1954, he and his co-stars on the live 90-minute
comedy-variety extravaganza 'Your Show of Shows' dominated the Saturday
night viewing habits of millions of Americans. In New York, a group of
Broadway theater owners tried to persuade NBC to switch the show to the
middle of the week because, they said, it was ruining their Saturday
Albert Einstein was a Caesar fan. Alfred Hitchcock called Mr. Caesar the
funniest performer since Charlie Chaplin.
Television comedy in its early days was dominated by boisterous veterans
of vaudeville and radio who specialized in broad slapstick and snappy
one-liners. Mr. Caesar introduced a different kind of humor to the small
screen, at once more intimate and more absurd, based less on jokes or
pratfalls than on characters and situations. It left an indelible mark
on American comedy.
'If you want to find the urtexts of 'The Producers' and 'Blazing
Saddles,' of 'Sleeper' and 'Annie Hall,' of 'All in the Family' and
'M*A*S*H' and 'Saturday Night Live,' ” Frank Rich wrote in The New York
Times when he was its chief theater critic, 'check out the old
kinescopes of Sid Caesar.'
A list of Mr. Caesar's writers over the years reads like a comedy
all-star team. Woody Allen and Mel Brooks did some of their earliest
writing for him. So did the most successful playwright in the history of
the American stage, Neil Simon. Carl Reiner created one landmark sitcom,
'The Dick Van Dyke Show;' Larry Gelbart was the principal creative force
behind another, 'M*A*S*H.' Mel Tolkin wrote numerous scripts for 'All in
the Family.' The authors of the two longest-running Broadway musicals of
the 1960s, Joseph Stein ('Fiddler on the Roof') and Michael Stewart
('Hello, Dolly!'), were Caesar alumni as well. (Click
here for the full New York Times obituary.)
Comedy has to be based on truth. You take the truth and you put a little
curlicue at the end.
If I don't believe it, I don't care.
In between goals is a thing called life, that has to be lived and
New Year's Eve we got five dollars for the evening- but that was from
eight to unconscious.
The best thing about humor is that it shows people they're not alone.
The guy who invented the first wheel was an idiot. The guy who invented
the other three, he was a genius.
The remote control changed our lives... The remote control took over the
timing of the world. That's why you have road rage. You have people who
have no patience, because you got immediate gratification. You got
click, click, click, click. If it doesn't explode within three seconds,
click click, click.
The trouble with telling a good story is that it invariably reminds the
other fellow of a dull one.
When I did comedy I made fun of myself.If there was a buffoon, I played
the buffoon. And people looked at me and said, 'Gee, that's like Uncle
David', or 'That's like a friend of mine'. And they related through
that. I didn't make fun of them. I made fun of me.
You gotta come down to go up.
You have to be prepared for luck. You have to work with luck.
YouTube video: Mel Brooks on working for Sid Caesar
YouTube video: Sid Caesar reminisces with Barry Mitchell. ABC
World News Now
YouTube video: Sid Caesar Interview Part 1 of 6 emmytvlegends.org
YouTube video: Sid Caesar Interview Part 2 of 6 emmytvlegends.org
YouTube video: Sid Caesar Interview Part 3 of 6 emmytvlegends.org
YouTube video: Sid Caesar Interview Part 4 of 6 emmytvlegends.org
YouTube video: Sid Caesar Interview Part 5 of 6 emmytvlegends.org
> YouTube video: Sid Caesar Interview Part 6 of 6 emmytvlegends.org
Published Wednesday, January 08, 2014 @ 6:17 AM EST
Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 - August 16, 1977) was an American
singer, musician, and actor. One of the most significant cultural icons
of the 20th century, he is often referred to as "The King of Rock and
Roll", or simply, "The King". Presley is one of the most celebrated
musicians of 20th century. Commercially successful in many genres,
including pop, blues and gospel, he is the best-selling solo artist in
the history of recorded music. He was nominated for 14 Grammys and won
three, receiving the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36. He has
been inducted into multiple music halls of fame. (Click
here for full Wikipedia article)
Ambition is a dream with a V8 engine.
Don't let your head get too big, it'll break your neck.
Don't criticize what you don't understand, son. You never walked in that
I believe the key to happiness is: someone to love, something to do, and
something to look forward to.
I don't feel I'll live a long life. That's why I have to get what I can
from every day.
I don't know anything about music. In my line, you don't have to.
I have no use for bodyguards, but I have a very special use for two
highly trained certified public accountants.
I was training to be an electrician. I suppose I got wired the wrong way
round somewhere along the line.
I'd never do anything vulgar before an audience. My mother wouldn't
Music should be something that makes you gotta move, inside or outside.
My voice is ordinary. If I stand still while I'm singing, I might as
well go back to driving a truck.
Rhythm is something you either have or don't have, but when you have it
you have it all over.
Singers come and go, but if you're a good actor, you can last a long
Talent is being able to sell what you're feeling.
The image is one thing and the human being is another. It's very hard to
live up to an image.
The Lord can give, and the Lord can take away. I might be herding sheep
The only thing worse than watchin' a bad movie is bein' in one.
There is nothing more notable in Socrates than that he found time, when
he was an old man, to learn music and dancing, and thought it time well
Those movies sure got me into a rut.
Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain't
When things go wrong, don't go with them.
When you're a celebrity, people treat you nicer. The bad part is, they
also tell you what they think you want to hear, which ain't always the
You only pass through this life once; you don't come back for an encore.
Elvis Presley is the greatest cultural force in the twentieth century.
He introduced the beat to everything, music, language, clothes, it's a
whole new social revolution- the 60s comes from it. -Leonard
We're the Axis of Elvis. -John Lileks
America is Elvis Presley- the most beautiful, talented, rebellious
nation in the history of Earth. And now, you're in your Vegas years.
You've squeezed yourself into a white jumpsuit, you're wheezing your way
through 'Love Me Tender' and you might be about to pass away bloated on
the toilet. But you're still the King. -John Oliver
He was a unique artist… an original in an area of imitators. -Mick
A lot of people have accused Elvis of stealing the black man's music,
when in fact almost every black solo entertainer copied his stage
mannerisms from Elvis. -Jackie Wilson
On a scale of one to ten, I would rate him eleven. -Sammy Davis,
Festivus, a well-celebrated parody, has become a secular holiday
celebrated on December 23 which serves as an alternative to
participating in the pressures and commercialism of the Christmas
holiday season. Originally a family tradition of scriptwriter Dan
O'Keefe working on the American sitcom Seinfeld, the holiday
entered popular culture after it was made the focus of a 1997 episode of
the program. The holiday's celebration, as it was shown on Seinfeld,
includes a Festivus dinner, an unadorned aluminum "Festivus pole,"
practices such as the "Airing of Grievances" and "Feats of Strength,"
and the labeling of easily explainable events as "Festivus miracles."
(YouTube video: "Seinfeld")
"The tradition of Festivus
begins... with the airing of grievances!"
So we're dealing with the "free speech" stuff again.
The First Amendment says:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of
speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to
assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The First Amendment guarantees that the government can't control your
It doesn't guarantee you freedom from the consequences of your
The government won't punish you for posting on Facebook that your wife's
new Christmas dress makes her ass look fat.
It doesn't have to.
"I'll tell you who I feel sorry for, folks... A&E. With this
controversy, they may have just lost Duck Dynasty's massive black and
gay audience." -Stephen Colbert
Published Wednesday, December 18, 2013 @ 6:45 AM EST
Hector Hugh Munro (December 18, 1870 - November 13, 1916), better known
by the pen name Saki, and also frequently as H.H. Munro, was a British
writer whose witty, mischievous and sometimes macabre stories satirized
Edwardian society and culture. He is considered a master of the short
story and often compared to O. Henry and Dorothy Parker. Influenced by
Oscar Wilde, Lewis Carroll, and Kipling, his work influenced A.A. Milne,
Noël Coward, and P.G. Wodehouse. (Click
here for full Wikipedia article)
Saki was one of the authors presented by my high school English teacher,
Ira Handelsman. He had a wonderful method of insuring his students were
familiar with the material: he read the stories, aloud, to the class. I
vividly recall his presentation of Sredni Vashtar, which, at
least in my memory, was as riveting as this performance by Tom Baker:
Ira did not have an English accent, but he had precise diction and a
voice perhaps best described in contemporary terms as serious NPR
announcer-ish. Even the densest of jocks in the class fell silent as the
story continued. At its conclusion, Ira received, if not applause,
several grunts of approval.
Thus began my appreciation of H.H. Munro.
And my dislike of ferrets.
A little inaccuracy sometimes saves a ton of explanation.
A woman who takes her husband about with her everywhere is like a cat
that goes on playing with a mouse long after she's killed it.
Addresses are given to us to conceal our whereabouts.
All decent people live beyond their incomes; those who aren't
respectable live beyond other people's; a few gifted individuals manage
to do both.
Children are given to us to discourage our better emotions.
Confront a child, a puppy, and a kitten with a sudden danger; the child
will turn instinctively for assistance, the puppy will grovel in abject
submission, the kitten will brace its tiny body for a frantic resistance.
Every reformation must have its victims. You can't expect the fatted
calf to share the enthusiasm of the angels over the prodigal's return.
He is one of those persons who would be enormously improved by death.
His socks compelled one's attention without losing one's respect.
I always say beauty is only sin deep.
I hate babies. They're so human.
I hate posterity- it's so fond of having the last word.
I love Americans, but not when they try to talk French. What a blessing
it is that they never try to talk English.
I think she must have been very strictly brought up, she's so
desperately anxious to do the wrong thing correctly.
I'm living so far beyond my income that we may almost be said to be
In baiting a mouse trap with cheese, always leave room for the mouse.
Never be a pioneer. It's the Early Christian that gets the fattest lion.
People talk vaguely about the innocence of a little child, but they take
mighty good care not to let it out of their sight for twenty minutes.
People vote their resentment, not their appreciation. The average man
does not vote for anything but against something.
Poverty keeps together more homes than it breaks up.
The fashion just now is a Roman Catholic frame of mind with an Agnostic
conscience: you get the mediaeval picturesqueness of the one with the
modern conveniences of the other.
The young have aspirations that never come to pass, the old have
reminiscences of what never happened.
There is no outlet for demonstrating your feelings towards people whom
you simply loathe. That is really the crying need of our modern
Think how many blameless lives are brightened by the blazing
indiscretions of other people.
To be among people who are smothered in furs when one hasn't any oneself
makes one want to break most of the Commandments.
To have reached thirty is to have failed in life.
Women and elephants never forget an injury.
You can't expect a boy to be vicious till he's been to a good school.
Published Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 5:57 AM EDT
As long as there's a man alive on the face of the earth, this day will
always be remembered the world over. -Dick Gregory
(YouTube video: NBC's "wrap-up" of the march on Washington.)
(YouTube video: Peter, Paul and Mary perform prior to Dr. King's
On August 28, 1963, I was a few weeks short of nine years old and
spending most of my time at the Ninth Avenue Playground across from the
Homestead Police Station. It was the Wednesday before Labor Day, the end
of summer vacation and the beginning of the fourth grade. I was on my
way back out to the playground when my grandmother stopped me. She
called me into the living room and told me to sit down and watch the
television. Lots of people were in Washington, DC talking about
As a nine year old desperately trying to wring enjoyment out of the last
week of his summer vacation, the last thing I wanted to do was watch a
bunch of adults I didn't know give boring speeches about things that
didn't matter to me. But She Who Must Be Obeyed wouldn't take no for an
answer; she wasn't even swayed by the knowledge that the reason for my
urgent trip to the playground was to retrieve a pot holder I had made
for her before the lunch break.
She had been originally attracted to the newscast when she heard Mahalia
Jackson singing. My grandmother claimed to be a Baptist (although I'd
never seen her in a church in my life), and loved to listen to black
gospel singers. I remember her sitting on her chair with her soiled
apron, clutching a dishcloth and watching the screen intently.
You listen to this," she told me. "This is important."
I plopped down on the floor and watched as a black guy I didn't
recognize approached the microphone. He was standing in front of the
Lincoln Memorial, and there were more people there than I had ever seen
in my life.
Then he spoke.
I am happy to join with you today, in what will go down in history as
the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we
stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came
as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been
seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous
daybreak to end the long night of captivity.
But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro
is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is
still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of
discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely
island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.
One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners
of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we
have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition.
In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When
the architects of our Republic wrote the magnificent words of the
Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a
promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was
a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of
life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note
insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this
sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which
has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that
the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are
insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So
we have come to cash this check- a check that will give us upon demand
the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to
this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This
is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the
tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark
and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice.
Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's
children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of
racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment
and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering
summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is
an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty three is
not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to
blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the
nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor
tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship
rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations
of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the
warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of
gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let
us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup
of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and
discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into
physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights
of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy
which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of
all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their
presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up
with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.
We cannot walk alone.
And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We
cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil
rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long
as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in
the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be
satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto
to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in
Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing
for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be
satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials
and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of
you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered
by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police
brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to
work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back
to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities,
knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not
wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and
frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply
rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the
true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident:
that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of
former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit
down together at a table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert
state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be
transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where
they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips
are presently dripping with the words of interposition and
nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black
boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys
and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill
and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and
the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord
shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South.
With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a
stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling
discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With
this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to
struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom
together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing
with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of
thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride,
from every mountainside, let freedom ring."
And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let
freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom
ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the
heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From
every mountainside, let freedom ring.
When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and
every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed
up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews
and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and
sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at
last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!
Even as a nine year old, I knew I had witnessed something special. Years
later, it occurred to me that the first political speech to which I had
ever paid attention turned out to be what most agree was the finest
example of public oratory delivered in the 20th century. In fifty years,
I've never heard anything that remotely approaches its perfect
composition and delivery.
I looked over my shoulder and saw something that really disturbed me...
my grandmother was crying.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
The unschooled old woman, born in the hills of West Virginia, shook her
head. "Nothing, Kevie," she said. "You just remember what that man just
said. You do what that man said, and everything will be all right."
It's been 50 years, and things still aren't "all right."
Perhaps my grandchildren will finally realize the dreams proposed
on that hot August day.
America's democracy is still unfinished. The effort to create a more
perfect union is a never ending one.
We must remember that. Thankfully, many do. And their efforts, like the
situations they strive to correct, will never end.
It's probably because 15-year-old Lucy's vision, hearing, and sense of
smell aren't what they used to be, but I like to think she doesn't mind
sharing the yard with the bunny that lives in the tallgrass stand. After
the rabbit ran away, Lucy took no notice; she just continued her twice
daily inspection of the back yard and reported in that everything was
fine, and that it was time for me to carry her upstairs to watch
television on the couch, and to wait for her 9 pm
In light of the Edward Snowden/NSA scandal, CBS' science fiction series Person
of Interest now more closely resembles a reality show:
While not quite as memorable as "Space... the final frontier," the
series' opening voice over provides a pretty good summary of the premise:
"You are being watched. The government has a secret system: a machine
that spies on you every hour of every day. I designed the machine to
detect acts of terror, but it sees everything... violent crimes
involving ordinary people. The government considers these people
'irrelevant'. We don't. Hunted by the authorities, we work in secret.
You'll never find us, but victim or perpetrator, if your number's up...
we'll find you".
John Reese (Jim Caviezel), a former Green Beret and CIA field officer,
is living as a derelict in New York City after the death of the woman he
loves, and is presumed dead. He is approached by Harold Finch (Michael
Emerson), a reclusive billionaire computer genius who is living under an
assumed identity. Finch explains that after September 11, 2001, he built
a computer system for the government that uses information gleaned from
omnipresent surveillance to predict future terrorist attacks. However,
Finch discovered that the computer was predicting ordinary crimes as
well. The government is not interested in these results, but Finch is
determined to stop the predicted crimes. He hires Reese to conduct
surveillance and intervene as needed, using his repertoire of skills
gained in the military and the CIA. Through a back door built into the
system, Finch receives the Social Security number of someone who will be
involved in an imminent crime, at which point he contacts Reese. Without
knowing what the crime will be, when it will occur, or even if the
person they were alerted to is a victim or perpetrator, Reese and Finch
must try to stop the crime from occurring.
They are helped by NYPD Detectives Lionel Fusco (Kevin Chapman), a
corrupt officer whom Reese coerces into helping them, and Joss Carter
(Taraji P. Henson), who in early episodes investigates Reese for his
vigilante activities. Although Reese arranges for Carter and Fusco to be
partners in the NYPD early in the first season, neither learns that the
other is also working with Finch and Reese until season two.
Periodically, the team also enlists the aid of Zoe Morgan (Paige Turco),
a professional "fixer" who applies her skills to particularly difficult
tasks. The series features several subplots. One significant story arc
involves "HR", an organization of corrupt NYPD officers in league with
budding mob boss Carl Elias (Enrico Colantoni); in the course of this
arc Fusco is forced to go undercover. Another important storyline
revolves around Root (Amy Acker), a psychopathic female hacker who is
determined to gain access to the Machine; she asserts the device is
actually God, and that she has been summoned by "her."
Ah, The Machine...
The Machine is a mass surveillance computer system programmed to monitor
and analyze data from surveillance cameras, electronic communications,
and audio input throughout the world. From this data, the Machine
accurately predicts violent acts. Under control of the U.S. Government,
its stated purpose is the identification of terrorist and their planned
assaults. However, the Machine detects future violent acts of all kinds,
not just terrorism. Unknown to Finch, his partner, Nathan Ingram,
installed a routine called "Contingency" prior to delivering the system
to the government. The covert software causes the machine to also act on
non-terrorist crime. Finch is appalled that Ingram has the data sent
directly to him. After Finch fails to prevent Ingram's
computer-predicted murder, he further modifies the system so that
"irrelevant" non-terrorism data is transmitted to him in the form of
social security numbers, via coded messages over a public telephone.
Over the course of each episode, the viewer periodically sees events as
a Machine-generated on-screen display of data about a character or
characters: identification, activities, records, and more may be
displayed. The viewer also sees a Machine-generated perspective as it
monitors New York. Commercial flights are outlined by green triangles,
red concentric circles indicate no-fly zones around tall buildings, and
dashed boxes mark individual people. The Machine classifies the people
it watches by color-coding the boxes: white for no threat or an
irrelevant threat; red for perceived threats to the Machine,
red-and-white for individuals predicted to be violent; and yellow for
people who know about the machine, including Finch, Reese, Ingram,
Corwin and Root. The white-boxed "irrelevant threat" targets include the
Persons of Interest that Reese and Finch assist.
As the series progressed, a wider governmental conspiracy emerged. Known
as "The Program", it revolves around the development and utilization of
the Machine. Apparently led by a mysterious figure known only as
"Control", an unnamed official (Jay O. Sanders) from the Office of
Special Counsel begins eliminating key personnel who are aware of the
Machine's existence by deploying teams of Intelligence Support Activity
(ISA) operatives who believe they are acting to eliminate perceived
terrorist threats on the recommendation of a department known as
"Research". The members of the elimination teams are classified by the
Machine using a blue box.
Person's producers have hinted the third season of the hit
series, which moves to a new day and slot (Tuesdays at 10 pm, premiering
on September 24) will attempt to be more, er, science fiction-y. Like
all television shows, Person does have some reality-bending
elements, but the suspension of disbelief level required is remarkably
low. The bad guys are still lousy shots, and the key characters make
miraculous recoveries from concussions, lethal injections and various
forms of physical trauma, often before the show's end credits roll. But
hey, it's episodic broadcast television, right?
Where the show excels is in production values and technical accuracy.
While Mr. Finch's technology boasts features which are a couple software
releases in the future, the indulgences can be forgiven. The show's
cellular phone networks, computers, and other devices work at blinding
speed. But when you have to shoehorn a rich narrative into 40 minutes of
actual episode time, you really don't want to watch systems execute
communication protocol negotiations in real time; trust me.
Particularly impressive is the effort the show puts into elements that
have perhaps a second or two of screen time. Thanks to high definition
and digital video recording, I've been able to freeze frame some of the
monitor shots- and it's obvious these guys have some real-world Unix and
TCP/IP knowledge. A one-second blip of a phony newspaper article reveals
someone actually wrote a faux news story and, apparently, follows The
Other one-hour drama series spend eight days or less to film an episode. Person
of Interest spends nine and a half, with more camera coverage,
extensive location shooting, and substantial post-production work.
They spend money on this show, and it's all up on the screen. The
episodes have a decided theatrical motion picture feel.
So... when planning your television viewing for the upcoming season,
give Person a shot. Like certain other Warner Brothers shows, the
studio hasn't made it available for free, on-demand viewing- you have to
buy the DVDs or download the show from iTunes. Update: During the
third season, the show became available on the CBS website.
Just type CBS Person of Interest into Google and you'll find hundreds of
useful fan sites and video clips from key episodes.
One caveat- the series is produced by J.J. Abrams of Lost fame,
which means there's a chance that at some point the whole thing could
take a sharp turn into stupidity. But, based on the first two seasons,
it's worth the risk.
(YouTube video: ComiCon trailer for "COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey," a
13-part docu-series debuting in 2014 on FOX.)
The original 13-part Cosmos: A Personal Voyage first aired in
1980 on the Public Broadcasting System, and was hosted by Carl Sagan.
The show has been considered highly significant since its broadcast;
Dave Itzkoff of The New York Times described it as "a watershed moment
for science-themed television programming". The show has been watched by
at least 400 million people across 60 different countries.
Following Sagan's death in 1996, his widow Ann Druyan, the co-creator of
the original Cosmos series along with Steven Soter, a producer from the
series, and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, sought to create a new
version of the series, aimed to appeal to as wide an audience as
possible and not just to those interested in the sciences. They had
struggled for years with reluctant television networks that failed to
see the broad appeal of the show.
Seth MacFarlane had met Druyan through Tyson at the 2008 kickoff event
for the Science and Entertainment Exchange, a new LA office of the
National Academy of Sciences, designed to connect Hollywood writers and
directors with scientists. A year later, at a 2009 lunch in NYC with
Tyson, MacFarlane learned of their interest to recreate Cosmos. He was
influenced by Cosmos as a child, believing that Cosmos served to
"[bridge] the gap between the academic community and the general
public". MacFarlane had considered that the reduction of effort for
space travel in recent decades to be part of "our culture of lethargy".
MacFarlane, who has several animated shows on the Fox Network, was able
to bring Druyan to meet the heads of Fox programming, Peter Rice and
Kevin Reilly, and helped to get the greenlighting of the show.
MacFarlane admits that he is "the least essential person in this
equation" and the effort is a departure from work he's done before, but
considers this to be "very comfortable territory for [himself]
personally". He and Druyan have become close friends, and Druyan stated
that she believed that Sagan and MacFarlane would have been "kindred
spirits" with their respective "protean talents".