"Going to an American hospital, for a veteran, shouldn't require more courage than storming the beach at Normandy."
Observations by and for the vaguely disenchanted.
Risking the wrath of the whatever
from high atop the thing.
"Going to an American hospital, for a veteran, shouldn't require more courage than storming the beach at Normandy."
As long as there's a man alive on the face of the earth, this day will
always be remembered the world over.
(YouTube video: NBC's "wrap-up" of the march on Washington.)
(YouTube video: Peter, Paul and Mary perform prior to Dr. King's speech..)
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 something.
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 mighty stream.
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 their character.
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.
(YouTube video: Bunny Dash)
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 cheese-and-phenobarbital treat.
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".
From the Wikipedia article on the show:
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 AP Stylebook.
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.
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.
And, the regular cast includes a dog:
Categories: Amy Acker, CBS, Computers, Dogs, Edward Snowden, Enrico Colantoni, George Orwell, Google, Internet, James Clapper, Jay O. Sanders, Jim Caviezel, Kevin Chapman, Michael Emerson, NSA, Paige Turco, Peggy Noonan, Person of Interest, PRISM, Ron Wyden, Science Fiction, Signs of the Apocalypse, Taraji P. Henson, Technology, Terrorism, The Machine, TV, Video, YouTube
(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".
(The Daily Show: The controversial conclusion to the George Zimmerman murder trial suggests it's time for Florida to change the state motto.)
Gary Kildall could have become a household name and, possibly, the richest man in the world.
In 1980, IBM approached Bill Gates at Microsoft to license a BASIC interpreter for their soon-to-be-released Personal Computer (PC). They mentioned they also needed an operating system, and Gates referred them to Digital Research, Gary Kildall's company.
For various reasons, things didn't work out, and IBM went back to Microsoft. You know the rest.
There are various accounts of what actually happened, and the Wikipedia article on Kildall offers what appears to be a neutral report.
I used DR-DOS. I used GEM. And I wish more people remembered Kildall's contributions.
(YouTube video: Remembering Gary Kildall)
The Family Research Council is either adorably oblivious,
or their PR outfit is just plain evil.
Variations on a theme:
When this man smiles, a fairy dies:
Speaking of smiles:
(YouTube video: formerly captive ducks see water for the first time).
(YouTube video: Dean Cain on Jimmy Kimmel: Live!))
The always charming Dean Cain learns that they somehow made Man of Steel without him. Cain spent more time on screen in the iconic costume than any other actor. Hard to believe, but Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman premiered nearly 20 years ago, in September, 1993.
Baritone Frank Sinatra (December 12, 1915 – May 14, 1998) was indisputably the 20th century's greatest singer of popular song. Though influenced by Bing Crosby's crooning, and by learning from trombonist Tommy Dorsey's breath control and blues singer Billie Holiday's rhythmic swing, Frank Sinatra mainstreamed the concept of singing colloquially, treating lyrics as personal statements and handling melodies with the ease of a jazz improviser. His best work is standards- Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, and the Gershwins- but Sinatra, despite his 1957 denunciation of rock & roll as degenerate, recorded songs by the likes of Stevie Wonder, George Harrison, Jimmy Webb, and Billy Joel. Not only did his freely interpretive approach pave the way for the idiosyncrasies of rock singing, but with his character- a mix of tough-guy cool and romantic vulnerability- he became the first true pop idol, a superstar who through his music established a persona audiences found compelling and true. (Click for full article.)
Alcohol may be man's worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy.
Being an 18-karat manic-depressive and having lived a life of violent emotional contradictions, I have an overacute capacity for sadness as well as elation.
Cock your hat- angles are attitudes.
Fear is the enemy of logic. There is no more debilitating, crushing, self-defeating, sickening thing in the world- to an individual or to a nation.
For years I've nursed a secret desire to spend the Fourth of July in a double hammock with a swingin' redheaded broad... but I could never find me a double hammock.
Hell hath no fury like a hustler with a literary agent.
How can a free people make decisions without facts? If the press reports world news as they report about me, we're in trouble.
Hunger is inexcusable in a world where grain rots in silos and butter turns rancid while being held for favorable commodity indices.
I believe that God knows what each of us wants and needs. It's not necessary for us to make it to church on Sunday to reach Him. You can find Him anyplace. And if that sounds heretical, my source is pretty good: Matthew, Five to Seven, The Sermon on the Mount.
I like intelligent women. When you go out, it shouldn't be a staring contest.
If you possess something but you can't give it away, then you don't possess it... it possesses you.
I'm gonna live 'til I die.
I'm not one of those complicated, mixed-up cats. I'm not looking for the secret to life... I just go on from day to day, taking what comes.
I'm not unmindful of a man's seeming need for faith; I'm for anything that gets you through the night, be it prayer, tranquilizers, or a bottle of Jack Daniel's. But to me religion is a deeply personal thing in which man and God go it alone together, without the witch doctor in the middle.
I'm supposed to have a Ph.D on the subject of women. But the truth is I've flunked more often than not. I'm very fond of women; I admire them. But, like all men, I don't understand them.
I've always had a theory that whenever guys and gals start swinging, they begin to lose interest in conquering the world.
People often remark that I'm pretty lucky. Luck is only important in so far as getting the chance to sell yourself at the right moment. After that, you've got to have talent and know how to use it.
Put your sunglasses on, because you ain't going home 'til the morning comes.
Stop worrying about communism; just get rid of the conditions that nurture it.
What I do with my life is of my own doing. I live it the best way I can.
Whatever else has been said about me personally is unimportant. When I sing, I believe. I'm honest.
When lip service to some mysterious deity permits bestiality on Wednesday and absolution on Sunday, cash me out.
You can be the most artistically perfect performer in the world, but an audience is like a broad- if you're indifferent, endsville.
You gotta love livin', baby, 'cause dyin' is a pain in the ass.
(YouTube video: "Fly Me to the Moon")
(Today is also the birthday of Gustave Flaubert)
The first Canadian commander of the International Space Station, Chris Hadfield, is scheduled to return to earth this evening with U.S. astronaut Tom Marshburn and Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko.
Hadfield's been in orbit for 148 days, and during that time he's not only done whatever it this they do on the ISS, he's maintained constant contact with the people of this strange little blue ball via Twitter and other media. But he obviously saved the best for last.
(YouTube video: "A Space Oddity," from the ISS.
Godspeed, guys. May you have a safe and uneventful landing.
And eat your heart out, William Shatner.
Possibly the funniest Trek-related commercial ever made. Definitely the one with the most Spocks. Congratulations to Leonard Nimoy for achieving a Shatner-esque level of self-aware self-parody, and Quinto for being such a good sport. (Quinto, by the way, is from the Pittsburgh suburb of Green Tree and is a graduate of Central Catholic and CMU.)
(YouTube video: Zachary Quinto vs. Leonard Nimoy: "The Challenge")
Speaking of self-aware self-parody, Nimoy outdid himself with this oldie but goodie:
(YouTube video: Bruno Mars - The Lazy Song [official alternate version])
Jonathan Harshman Winters III (November 11, 1925 – April 11, 2013)
When the otherwise forgettable The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh arrived here in 1979, my father was working the "extra list" at Teamsters Local #249. One afternoon they received a call from Lorimar Productions, and my dad- who had been told by a friendly union steward to make certain he was there that day- found himself with a lucrative temporary gig as Jonathan Winters' chauffeur.
At the end of the shoot, the locals working on the production received an official "Fish That Saved Pittsburgh" belt buckle, which I still have.
They also received an unpleasant surprise years later, when they learned Lorimar had never paid payroll taxes to the Feds, which caused my father and others much grief when they applied for Social Security benefits.
The situation resulted in my Dad's monthly stipend being a few bucks less than it should have been. But he didn't complain. "I spent three weeks driving around with Jonathan Winters," he recalled with a smile. "That was worth it."
"More influential than successful, Mr. Winters circled the comic heavens
tracing his own strange orbit, an object of wonder and admiration to his
- William Grimes, The New York Times
15 of the funniest people on earth died yesterday - and they all lived
inside of Jonathan Winters.
(from Entertainment Weekly)
Bill Cosby was once asked whom he would choose if he had $50 in his pocket to buy a ticket to see only one stand-up comedian, live, in their prime. The comic legend barely took a breath before answering, "Jonathan Winters will make every last one of us stand there in awe."
Winters, who died [April 11] at the age of 87, was a master of voices, mimicry, and right-field spontaneity. "What I do is verbal paintings," he told National Public Radio in 2011. "I paint a picture. Hopefully you'll see the characters and what they're doing and what they're saying."
For decades after he became famous for his comedy albums, he was a coveted late-night guest because no one- not the audience, not hosts like Jack Paar and Johnny Carson, likely not Winters himself- knew what he was going to do. An evening with Winters on the sofa was can't-miss television, and a generation of comics that followed him- like Robin Williams and Jim Carrey- marveled and were inspired by his daring, try-anything antics.
Winters often joked about the mental hospital, playing slightly disturbed characters who belonged to or claimed to have escaped from the asylum. He was drawing from personal experience. At the height of his early fame, he had committed himself to a mental hospital and went on to live with what he diagnosed as bipolar disorder. "I need that pain- whatever it is- to call upon it from time to time, no matter how bad it was," he told NPR.
So there was a bit of the tortured genius to him, but his comedy was rarely dark. It was manic and sly. Cosby compared Winters' talent to jazz master John Coltrane, a improvisational artist who could inflate whole stories and characters off a single verbal cue. He was unstoppable, unpredictable, and inimitable.
(YouTube videos: Jonathan Winters on The Jack Paar Show)
Jonathan Winters quotes:
God is in my head, but the devil is in my pants.
I couldn't wait for success so I went ahead without it.
If God had really intended man to fly, He’d make it easier to get to the airport.
If your ship doesn't come in, swim out to it!
Improvisation is about taking chances, and I was ready to take chances.
Nothing is impossible. Some things are just less likely than others.
Now the freaks are on television, the freaks are in the movies. And it's no longer the sideshow, it's the whole show. The colorful circus and the clowns and the elephants, for all intents and purposes, are gone, and we're dealing only with the freaks.
When you wear so many hats in society, you never know who you are. That's the beauty of it. Because once you find out who you are, you're screwed.
You come into this world, not knowing who you are, and sometimes, if you live long enough, you go out not knowing who you are.
Remember when technology was fun?
The future ain't what is used to be...
(YouTube video: the official trailer for Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, which premiered 45 years ago, on April 2, 1968.)
A linear projection into the future of any science or technology is like
a form of propaganda- often persuasive, almost always wrong.
All scientifically possible technology and social change predicted in
science fiction will come to pass, but none of it will work properly.
All technology should be assumed guilty until proven innocent.
-David Ross Brower
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
-Arthur C. Clarke
Cheese in an aerosol can is the greatest advance in technology since
Each fall at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, football fans
cheer for their favorite irrational number: “Cosine, secant, tangent,
sine, three point one four one five nine!”
Engineers are always honest in matters of technology and human
relationships. That's why it's a good idea to keep engineers away from
ustomers, romantic interests, and other people who can't handle the
(From Engineers Explained)
Even though today's technology provides us with mountains of data, it is
useless without judgment.
-Felix G. Rohatyn
Everyone has a right to a university degree in America, even if it's in
For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality
of life, please press three.
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public
relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.
-Richard P. Feynman
Humanity is acquiring all the right technology for all the wrong reasons.
I may be just an empty flesh terminal relying on technology for all y
ideas, memories and relationships, but I am confident that all of that,
everything that makes me a unique human being, is still out there,
somewhere, safe in the theoretical storage space owned by giant
If the Catholic church couldn't stop Galileo, then governments won't be
able to stop things now.
(re: regulation of information technology.)
-Carlo de Benedetti
If we had a reliable way to label our toys good and bad, it would be
easy to regulate technology wisely. But we can rarely see far enough
ahead to know which road leads to damnation. Whoever concerns himself
with big technology, either to push it forward or to stop it, is
gambling in human lives.
If we had had the right technology back then, you would have seen Eva
Braun on the Donahue show and Adolf Hitler on Meet the Press.
In the old days, writers used to sit in front of a typewriter and stare
out of the window. Nowadays, because of the marvels of convergent
technology, the thing you type on and the window you stare out of are
now the same thing.
[Information Technology] people are so hypnotized by the technology hey
don't look for real results.
Levitt's First Law of Information Technology:
If it's free, adopt it.
[N]either technology nor efficiency can acquire more time for you,
because time is not a thing you have lost. It is not a thing you ever
Once a new technology rolls over you, if you're not part of the
steamroller, you're part of the road.
One can prove or refute anything at all with words. Soon people will
perfect language technology to such an extent that they'll be proving
with mathematical precision that twice two is seven.
Screams erupted at a nearby hotel, where Microsoft founder Bill Gates
was addressing an education and technology conference.
(Associated Press report of a Seattle earthquake)
Technology [is] the knack of so arranging the world that we need not
Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand
what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not
Technology is really civilization, let's face it.
-Arthur C. Clarke
Technology makes it possible for people to gain control over everything,
except over technology.
Technology today is the campfire around which we tell our stories.
There's this attraction to light and to this kind of power, which is
both warm and destructive.
The Bible, it seems certain, was the work of sand-strewn men and women
who thought the earth was flat and for whom a wheelbarrow would have
been a breathtaking example of emerging technology.
The human race has today the means for annihilating itself-either in a
fit of complete lunacy, i.e., in a big war, by a brief fit of
destruction, or by careless handling of atomic technology, through a
slow process of poisoning and of deterioration in its genetic structure.
The real problem of humanity is the following: we have paleolithic
emotions; medieval institutions; and god-like technology. And it is
terrifically dangerous, and it is now approaching a point of crisis
There is an evil tendency underlying all our technology- the tendency to
do what is reasonable even when it isn't any good.
We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that
We have lots of information technology. We just don't have any
(New Yorker cartoon caption)
-Sydney J. Harris
We've arranged a civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly
depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that
almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription
for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later
this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in
While modern technology has given people powerful new communication
tools, it apparently can do nothing to alter the fact that many people
have nothing useful to say.
I imagine our Shelties all would have Scottish accents if they could speak, and Lucy, the oldest, would sound just like Deborah Kerr in the original Casino Royale.
They should just create a "Best Quentin Tarantino Film" category and be done with it.
How can you not like an Oscars show with two Captain Kirks?
I wish Spielberg had won best director. How great would it have been for him to talk too long and to have the Jaws music start..
The Pope's tweets come from an Apple device, which is kind of funny when you think about it...
Since I'm not a fan, I was a bit apprehensive about Seth McFarland hosting the Oscars. His performance reminded me of Calvin Trillin's suggested state motto for New Jersey: "Not as bad as you might have expected."
"Why Seth MacFarlane's Oscars were mean spirited and misogynistic, coming up next after our
review of the worst dressed women."
Totally unrelated: It turns out Person of Interest is more of a documentary...
While everyone's preoccupied with Asteroid 2012 DA14, the cosmos lets loose with a Deep Impact-ish fireball over Russia that blew out windows and provoked general mayhem.
The one that gets us, folks, is the one we won't see coming...
The Beatles made their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964. The show was watched by 73 million people.
Trivia: The Beatles' performances and recordings of "Till There Was You," the love ballad from the Broadway musical "The Music Man," earned writer Meredith Willson more money than all of the show's royalties combined. The Fab Four wanted something in their repertoire that would appeal to parents and critics. Sir Paul McCartney now owns the publishing and performance rights to Meredith Willson’s music catalog.
This might be what finally motivates me to get a Blu-Ray player. The third season of Star Trek: The Next Generation was when the show finally jelled. Most of my favorite episodes come from that year: "Who Watches the Watchers?"; "Déjà Q"; "Yesterday's Enterprise"; "The Offspring"; "The Most Toys"; and the terrific cliffhanger, "The Best of Both Worlds".
(YouTube video: Star Trek: Next Generation - Season Three Blu-Ray trailer from CBS Home Entertainment. Turn off the lights, be sure you're in hi-def, go to full screen and crank up the sound.)
Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" was the first film shot in Paramount Pictures' proprietary VistaVision widescreen process. Twentieth Century Fox's previously introduced Cinemascope used anamorphic lenses to squeeze a wider image onto the film; the process was reversed during projection. When you see a film clip where everyone looks extremely tall and skinny, you're seeing a widescreen anamorphic print being projected in error by a normal lens.
The problem with all this image squeezing and unsqueezing was the effect on image quality. Distortion was introduced which couldn't be completely eliminated during projection. Color motion picture film in the 1950s was also rather grainy, and the fuzziness could be detected when the image was projected on the larger, wider screens.
Instead of using lenses to squeeze a wider image on the negative, VistaVision cameras moved the film horizontally past the lens, exposing the equivalent of two standard 35mm frames. This doubled the width of image without the introduction of anamorphic distortion and graininess. Think landscape vs portrait photo printing on your computer, and you'll get the idea.
Very few VistaVistion projectors were built, and they were used only at special previews and premieres. Since twice as much film was used to record the image, it had to move through the projector twice as fast, at a somewhat terrifying three feet per second. For regular exhibition at the local neighborhood movie house, the VistaVision negatives were printed down to standard vertical 35mm reels, while keeping the widescreen aspect ratio. A VistaVision print could be projected with a regular lens, which meant theater owners didn't have to buy special equipment or deal with switching lenses when the second movie on a double feature was shot in non-widescreen format.
Technology marched on; higher quality film stocks were created as well as better anamorphic lenses. VistaVistion's bulky cameras and high film costs doomed the format. After being used on about three dozen or so films, VistaVision disappeared for the most part in the early 1960s.
Jump cut to the mid-1970s. John Dykstra was looking for cheap motion picture cameras suitable for shooting special effects. Effects shots require multiple exposures and multiple printing steps, each resulting in increased film grain and loss of detail. The old VistaVision cameras, with double the negative size of a standard 35mm frame, were ideal-- and were dirt cheap, since no one had used them for 15 years. Even better, the lens mounts on the old cameras and printers could be modified to use readily available, high-quality Nikkor lenses from 35mm Nikon still cameras. (I vaguely recall an ad by Nikkor on the back cover of Popular Photography magazine boasting how their lenses made Star Wars possible, but the issue's long gone and I can't find the ad online anywhere.)
Dykstra bought the old equipment, added motion control hardware and software, and the VistaVision cameras that shot Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye in White Christmas and Charleton Heston in The Ten Commandments (a 1956 Paramount release) became the Dykstraflex system that made Star Wars' groundbreaking effects possible. The old VistaVision equipment carried Industrial Light and Magic's multiple award-winning efforts until the replacement of optical-based special effects with computer generated imagery.
WKRP in Cincinnati: "Turkeys Away" (Season 1, Episode 7, aired 10/30/1978)
Mr. Carlson is beginning to feel useless at the new formatted rock station so he decides to create a big Thanksgiving Day promotion. His idea? Get a helicopter, with a banner attached to it saying "Happy Thanksgiving From WKRP", and drop live turkeys from the helicopter. What could go wrong?
(YouTube video: "The turkeys are hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement!")
See the full episode on Hulu.
Two legendary talk show hosts with entirely different personalities and approaches; yet the prosaic King and the cosmopolitan Cavett both killed on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson earlier this year.
(YouTube video: Larry King inhabits the body of Geoff the Robot. Hilarity ensues.)
(YouTube video: Including such delights as a joke based on an obscure reference to Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.)
I think America might just have spent all day obsessing over loss of
Twinkies. This is why we're not getting a greatest generation book.
What if the Mayan calendar ends in 5105, and we've just been holding it
Hostess will sell the rights to all their snack cakes, and Twinkies will once again pour off the production line of a different company. I wouldn't be surprised if several years' worth of Twinkies aren't already stockpiled in a warehouse somewhere. I mean, It's not like they're going to go stale or anything...
A blonde walks into a bar and asks the bartender for a double entendre. So he gives it to her.
This new thesaurus isn't just terrible, it's also terrible.
Viagra can cause sight loss. So, you can go blind either way.
(YouTube video: The Big Bang Theory Flash Mob!)
James Bond beat Abraham Lincoln at the box office. Boy, it's really been
a lousy week for Republicans, hasn't it?
No hurry- take all the time you have.
-The Covert Comic
Isn't the Twinkie too big to fail? Where's the bailout, Obama?
-The Beachwood Reporter
If you were born in or after April 1985, you have never experienced a colder than average month. If you've lived in Pittsburgh during that period, you've experienced the highest and lowest temperatures on record as well as the greatest 24-hour rain and snowfall totals. So if grandma or grandpa start to tell you how bad the weather was when they were growing up, tell them to stick a sock in it.
It's also interesting to note that in April 1985 Coca-Cola changed its formula and released New Coke.
Post hoc, ergo propter hoc?
Categories: Aaron Karo, Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama, Climate change, Coca Cola, Covert Comic, David Letterman, Drugs, James Bond, Mayans, Miscellany, Observations, The Beachwood Reporter, The Big Bang Theory, Twinkies, Video, YouTube
There are really only two small sections of the Unites States Constitution that I've memorized. There's the last part of Article VI:
"...no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public trust under the United States."
The emphasis is mine, and identifies the only place in the entire document where the word "ever" appears. This is handy when dealing with those who refuse to acknowledge the founders' intent to keep religion and government separate. I mean, what part of "ever" don't you understand?
And I also know the Preamble.
Boy, do I know the Preamble.
I recited it for a Veterans Day program in Homestead's Frick Park in 1962. I remember it was cold, and I was wearing my Cub Scout uniform. And I didn't make any mistakes, because I had been studying it, living with it, for an entire month.
I learned the Preamble from Margaret McGeever, the principal of my elementary school. And when Margaret McGeever taught you something, you not only memorized it, mastered it, and could recite it on command, you assimilated it into your very DNA structure. It left a virtual, indelible mark on your psyche, not unlike the actual physical hand print of hers that I still have on my left shoulder, a result of The Bell Telephone Movie Incident In The Auditorium.
Miss McGeever not only principaled, she taught drama. She emphasized that the Preamble was not a jumble of words to be hurriedly recited in a dull monotone. It had to be read correctly, with a combination of zeal, reverence and perfect enunciation. "This is the very foundation of who we are," she rumbled in her high-pitched yet gravelly voice. "Just fifty-two words that define who we are."
And I learned them. Really learned them. I spent a half hour every day finding the words in the huge dictionary in her office and transferring their definitions to sheets of blue-ruled white bond paper, the good stuff we used when taking our penmanship tests.
It took me more than a week. She looked through the sheets. She stacked them, placed her folded hands on the neat pile, then gazed at me over the top of her glasses.
I froze. It was not the look of satisfaction I had expected.
Her brow was furrowed. Actually, it was always furrowed; the woman had the forehead of a Shar Pei. But the creases were even deeper, and her voice was sharp.
"Mister Barkes," she intoned. "Your work is not acceptable. You have forgotten one very important word: Preamble. You've managed to omit the title of the work."
I looked at the copy of the Constitution I held in my pudgy, shaking hands. I didn't see the word "preamble" anywhere.
"You won't see the word 'preamble' anywhere," Miss McGeever said, which was simultaneously comforting and terrifying. "I don't see your name written anywhere on your body, but I know who are, and if I were to write about you, I would certainly put your name at the beginning."
"Preamble," she said. "An introduction. From the Latin 'pre', meaning 'before', and 'ambulare', to walk. Literally, to walk before, or to lead. 'Ambulare' is interesting. So many English words are derived from Latin. What English words come from 'ambulare'?"
"Ambulance?" I asked. She nodded. "Amble?" She nodded again.
I was blank. "Do you know what they call baby strollers in England?,"
"Prams?" I replied. "Right. Pram is English slang for perambulator. 'Per' from the Latin through or for, and 'ambulator' from..."
"Ambulare!" This was fun.
Miss McGeever spent the next half hour listing Latin antecedents ("ante-", before; "cedere", to go) for English words. I was sorry when the end of day bell sounded.
"I'll tell Miss Sullivan she has a prospective Latin student," she said, smiling. Miss Sullivan taught first year Latin in ninth grade at the junior high school.
Then the smile disappeared. The stack of Preamble words reappeared. "Review them. We'll have a verbal quiz on Monday."
Wait. Where was I?
Wow. I hate when I have one of those Billy Pilgrim unstuck in time moments.
Right. The Constitution.
There are a lot of people who say the Constitution has but one purpose: to restrict the federal government and limit its power. Anything not explicitly covered within its original 4,543 words and subsequent amendments should not even be considered.
I think they're missing the big picture. Miss McGeever explained it quite well. I remember her florid cursive writing on the blackboard:
Who are "We"? The people of the United States of America.
What do we want? We want to:
1. Form a more perfect Union. (The Articles of Confederation just weren't working.)
2. Establish justice.
3. Insure domestic tranquility.
4. Provide for the common defense.
6. Promote the general Welfare.
7. Secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity. (We're serious about this.)
How are we going to do this?
We do ordain (from the Latin ordinare, to arrange or order) and establish (from the Latin stabilire, to make stable) this Constitution (from the Latin constituo, to confirm, arrange, decide) of the United (L. unus, one, a union) States (L. status, fixed, set) of America.(Mod.L. Americanus, after Amerigo Vespucci).
Sometimes I think this guy must have been one of Miss McGeever's students. And after this past election, I know how he feels:
Failure to write a concession speech is what sealed Mitt Romney's fate:
(YouTube video: "Election Night" episode, The West Wing)
Sam Seaborn: You wrote a concession?
Toby Ziegler: Of course I wrote a concession. You want to tempt the wrath of the whatever from high atop the thing?
Sam Seaborn: No.
Toby Ziegler: Then go outside, turn around three times and spit. What the hell's the matter with you?
Pittsburgh generally only gets remnants of hurricanes, but sometimes they do wreak havoc. The heavy rains and flooding from Agnes in 1972 and Ivan in 2004 come to mind. And we've been nailed by large cyclonic storms, like 1993's "Storm of the Century." But I don't think we've ever had to deal with a hybrid beast like this one, especially one with high winds over a sustained period of a day more.
As a public service, here's something to take your mind off the coming apocalypse: one of the dumbest- and funniest- movies ever made. Absurdist humor at its best.
Bob: I didn't know you smoked.
Nick: Just after sex, Bob. I'm trying to give it up.
Bob: Well, at least you don't smoke that much.
Nick: About a pack a day.
Bob: That'll kill ya!
Nick: Bob, it won't kill ya. But it will make you very sore.
(YouTube video: "Real Men" (1987) with John Ritter and Jim Belushi)
(YouTube video: President Obama answers Jay Leno's question, "What's this thing with Trump and you?" )
It's the fiftieth anniversary of the release of Allan Sherman's first record album, My Son, The Folk Singer, which broke sales records and hit number one on the 1962 Billboard pop album chart.
I was eight when I first heard Allan Sherman.
I memorized all of the songs on all his albums.
That should explain a great deal.
Sherman is best known for his hit single Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah. My favorite Sherman pieces aren't even complete songs, but medleys comprised of two or four lines, or a single verse, concatenated, recorded before a live audience, and positioned as the last track on the record.
Herewith are Shticks and Stones from My Son, The Folk Singer, and Shticks of One and a Half a Dozen of the Other from My Son, The Celebrity.
For those of you not familiar with early 60s culture, you may need to click the links which following to appreciate the references to Levittown, David Susskind, Geritol, Billy Sol, and Metrecal.. As for the Medicare reference, the songs were recorded prior to the program's creation in 1965.
Also note my cats were fascinated by the pigeon in the second video. Turn down the sound, put it on an endless loop, and watch the ensuring hilarity.
John William “Johnny” Carson (October 23, 1925 - January 23, 2005) was an American television host and comedian, known for 30 years as host of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962–1992). Carson received six Emmy Awards, the Governor Award, and a 1985 Peabody Award. He was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1987. Johnny Carson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992 and received a Kennedy Center Honor in 1993. Although his show was already successful by the end of the 1960s, during the 1970s Carson became an American icon and remained so until his retirement in 1992. Click for full article.
(A portion of David Letterman's 2005 tribute show for Johnny Carson.)
Visit our Johnny Carson page.
One of Carson's funniest routines was Carnac the Magnificent, an alleged psychic who would hold to his head a sealed envelope, divine and announce the answer, then open the envelope and read the question. He adapted the bit from routines previously performed by Steve Allen and Ernie Kovacs, but Carson perfected the format.
Herewith are some of the more memorable Carnac gags. For the complete list, go to the source at www.nightscribe.com, But be certain to watch the video at the end...
A: Peter Pan.
Q: What do you use to fry a peter?
A: Mount Baldy.
Q: How do you play piggyback with Telly Savales?
A: A, B, C, D, E, F, G.
Q: What were some of the earlier forms of Preparation H?
A: Clean air, a virgin and a gas station open on Sunday.
Q: Name three things you won't find in Los Angeles.
A: Black and white and twenty feet tall.
Q: Describe Sister Mary Kong.
A: An unmarried woman.
Q: What was Elizabeth Taylor between 3 and 5 pm on June 1, 1952?
Q: What do call the clone of a guy named Cy?
A: ”Hi diddly dee.“
Q: How do you say "Good morning" to your diddly dee?
A: The Orient express.
Q: What is a drink made with soy sauce and prune juice?
Q: What does an alligator get on welfare?
A: Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.
Q: What's the best thing to do if you swallow a hand grenade?
A: Until he gets caught.
Q: How long does a United States Congressman serve?
Q: What do you say when calling your quat?
Q: On a cold morning, what forms on de-grass?
A: Gunga din.
Q: What do you hear when you put an amplifier in your gunga?
Q: What do you use to keep your ig from falling off?
A: Shoo be doo be doo.
Q: What do you look for when you're tracking a shoo be doo be?
A: Trapper John.
Q: What do you call an outhouse built on quicksand?
Q: What does a masseuse do to your dub-dub?
A: Zeppo Marx.
Q: What do you get when something gets caught in your Zeppo?
Q: What's the smart thing to do if a Dallas Cowgirl touches you?
A: The big ten.
Q: Describe the five finalists in the Miss Universe contest.
A: All the President's Men.
Q: Who won't be let out to see the picture?
Q: Name a focal that goes both ways.
Q: What comes after Timbuk one?
Q: How does a stupid person spell “backgammon?”
A: Jello and “Charlie's Angels.”
Q: What looks delicious, quivers all over and can't talk?
A: The Loch Ness Monster.
Q: Who will they find sooner than Jimmy Hoffa?
A: The diamond lane.
Q: What does Zsa Zsa Gabor call the center of a church?
A: A nine foot base with two feet of powder.
Q: Describe Mick Jagger's nose.
A: Putting on the dog.
Q: What do you call dressing up as a tree?
A: "Yes man."
Q: What should you answer to everything George Foreman says?
A: You asked for it.
Q: How do you get it?
A: Big Ben, Joe Namath and the candidates' campaign promises.
Q: Name a clock, a jock and a crock.
Q: What's in Jimmy Dean's sausages?
(The best of Carnac.)
(Mo Rocca on CBS' Sunday Morning, explaining how the Electoral College works, and a way to fix it without amending the U.S. Constitution.)
(YouTube video in which The President of The United States offers hope to those suffering from "Romnesia")
Quotes of the day- Arthur Miller:
Arthur Asher Miller (October 17, 1915 – February 10, 2005) was an American playwright and essayist. He was a prominent figure in American theatre, writing dramas that include plays such as All My Sons (1947), Death of a Salesman (1949), The Crucible (1953), and A View from the Bridge (one-act, 1955; revised two-act, 1956).
Miller was often in the public eye, particularly during the late 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s, a period during which he testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee, received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Prince of Asturias Award, and was married to Marilyn Monroe. (Click for full article)
A character is defined by the kinds of challenges he cannot walk away from. And by those he has walked away from that cause him remorse.
A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself.
A suicide kills two people... that's what it's for.
An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted.
Don't be seduced into thinking that that which does not make a profit is without value.
Few of us can surrender our belief that society must somehow make sense. The thought that The State has lost its mind and is punishing so many innocent people is intolerable. And so the evidence has to be internally denied.
He's liked, but he's not well liked.
I believe in work. If somebody doesn't create something, however small it may be, he gets sick. An awful lot of people feel that they're treading water- that if they vanished in smoke, it wouldn't mean anything at all in this world. And that's a despairing and destructive feeling. It'll kill you.
I figure I've done what I could do, more or less, and now I'm going back to being a chemical; all we are is a lot of talking nitrogen, you know...
I love her too, but our neuroses just don't match.
If a person measures his spiritual fulfillment in terms of cosmic visions, surpassing peace of mind, or ecstasy, then he is not likely to know much spiritual fulfillment. If, however, he measures it in terms of enjoying a sunrise, being warmed by a child's smile, or being able to help someone have a better day, then he is likely to know much spiritual fulfillment.
If I have to be alone I want to be by myself.
Immortality is like trying to carve your initials in a block of ice in the middle of July.
It is time, I think, that we who are without kings, took up this bright thread of our history and followed it to the only place it can possibly lead in our time- the heart and spirit of the average man.
Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.
The apple cannot be stuck back on the Tree of Knowledge; once we begin to see, we are doomed and challenged to seek the strength to see more, not less.
The best work that anybody ever writes is the work that is on the verge of embarrassing him, always.
The enemy is within, and within stays within, and we can’t get out of within.
The structure of a play is always the story of how the birds came home to roost.
The wedding of Christianity or Judaism with nationalism is lethal.
The world is an oyster but you don't crack it open on a mattress.
There might be a dragon with five legs in my house, but no one has ever seen it.
Until an hour before the Devil fell, God thought him beautiful in Heaven.
When any creativity becomes useful, it is sucked into the vortex of commercialism, and when a thing becomes commercial, it becomes the enemy of man.
When the guns roar, the arts die.
Where choice begins, Paradise ends, innocence ends, for what is Paradise but the absence of any need to choose this action?
Why is betrayal the only truth that sticks?
Without alienation, there can be no politics.
Work a lifetime to pay off a house- You finally own it and there's nobody to live in it.
You can quicker get back a million dollars that was stolen than a word that you gave away.
You can't eat the orange and throw the peel away- a man is not a piece of fruit.
You specialize in something until one day you find it is specializing in you.
Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. (December 31, 1943 – October 12, 1997), known professionally as John Denver, was an American singer/songwriter, activist, and humanitarian. After traveling and living in numerous locations while growing up in his military family, Denver began his music career in folk music groups in the late 1960s. His greatest commercial success was as a solo singer. Throughout his life, Denver recorded and released approximately 300 songs, about 200 of which he composed. He performed primarily with an acoustic guitar and sang about his joy in nature, his enthusiasm for music, and relationship trials. Denver's music appeared on a variety of charts, including country and western, the Billboard Hot 100, and adult contemporary, in all earning him 12 gold and 4 platinum albums with his signature songs "Take Me Home, Country Roads", "Annie's Song", "Rocky Mountain High", and "Sunshine on My Shoulders".
Denver further starred in films and several notable television specials in the 1970s and 1980s. In the following decades, he continued to record, but also focused on calling attention to environmental issues, lent his vocal support to space exploration, and testified in front of Congress to protest censorship in music. He was known for his love of the state of Colorado, which he sang about numerous times. He lived in Aspen, Colorado, for much of his life, and influenced the governor to name him Poet Laureate of the state in 1974. The Colorado state legislature also adopted "Rocky Mountain High" as one of its state songs in 2007. Denver was an avid pilot, and died while flying his personal aircraft at the age of 53. Denver was one of the most popular acoustic artists of the 1970s. (Click for full article.)
Perhaps love is like a resting place
A shelter from the storm
It exists to give you comfort
It is there to keep you warm
And in those times of trouble
When you are most alone
The memory of love will bring you home
Perhaps love is like a window
Perhaps an open door
It invites you to come closer
It wants to show you more
And even if you lose yourself
And don't know what to do
The memory of love will see you through
Oh, love to some is like a cloud
To some as strong as steel
For some a way of living
For some a way to feel
And some say love is holding on
And some say letting go
And some say love is everything
And some say they don't know
Perhaps love is like the ocean
Full of conflict, full of change
Like a fire when it's cold outside
Or thunder when it rains
If I should live forever
And all my dreams come true
My memories of love will be of you.
And some say love is holding on
And some say letting go
And some say love is everything
And some say they don't know
Perhaps love is like the ocean
Full of conflict, full of change
Like a fire when it's cold outside
Or thunder when it rains
If I should live forever
And all my dreams come true
My memories of love will be of you.
Fox News is upset that empty-headed puppets are trying to brainwash and
indoctrinate Americans... Perhaps you could sue them. The charge could
be copyright infringement.
Quotes of the day- Neil deGrasse Tyson:
Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson (b. October 5, 1958) is the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History and Visiting Research Scientist and Lecturer at Princeton University. Click for full bio.
(YouTube video: Neil deGrasse Tyson debunks the 2012 Mayan calendar apocalypse.)
As your area of knowledge increases, so does your perimeter of ignorance.
Curious that we spend more time congratulating people who have succeeded than encouraging people who have not.
Dinosaurs are extinct today because they lacked opposable thumbs and the brainpower to build a space program.
I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And along the way, lessen the suffering of others. You'd be surprised how far that gets you.
I simply go with what works. And what works is the healthy skepticism embodied in the scientific method. Believe me, if the Bible had ever been shown to be a rich source of scientific answers and enlightenment, we would be mining it daily for cosmic discovery.
I would request that my body in death be buried not cremated, so that the energy content contained within it gets returned to the earth, so that flora and fauna can dine upon it, just as I have dined upon flora and fauna during my lifetime.
If aliens did visit us, I'd be embarrassed to tell them we still dig fossil fuels from the ground as a source of energy.
If all that you see, do, measure and discover is the will of a deity, then ideas can never be proven wrong, you have no predictive power, and you are at a loss to understand the principles behind most of the fundamental interconnections of nature.
If pizza sizes were given in area not diameter, you'd see instantly that a seven inch is less than half the size of a ten inch pie
If scientists invented the legal system, eyewitness testimony would be inadmissible evidence.
In modern times, if the sole measure of what's out there flows from your five senses then a precarious life awaits you.
My view is that if your philosophy is not unsettled daily then you are blind to all the universe has to offer.
Not only are we in the universe, the universe is in us. I don't know of any deeper spiritual feeling than what that brings upon me.
Not only do we live among the stars, the stars live within us.
People cited violation of the First Amendment when a New Jersey schoolteacher asserted that evolution and the Big Bang are not scientific and that Noah's ark carried dinosaurs. This case is not about the need to separate church and state; it's about the need to separate ignorant, scientifically illiterate people from the ranks of teachers.
Science is a philosophy of discovery. Intelligent design is a philosophy of ignorance.
Scientific inquiry shouldn't stop just because a reasonable explanation has apparently been found.
Seventy percent of Earth's surface is water and over 99 percent is uninhabited, so you would expect nearly all impactors to hit either the ocean or desolate regions on Earth's surface. So why do movie meteors have such good aim?
So what is true for life itself is no less true for the universe: knowing where you came from is no less important than knowing where you are going.
The atoms of our bodies are traceable to stars that manufactured them in their cores and exploded these enriched ingredients across our galaxy, billions of years ago. For this reason, we are biologically connected to every other living thing in the world. We are chemically connected to all molecules on Earth. And we are atomically connected to all atoms in the universe. We are not figuratively, but literally stardust.
The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.
The more I learn about the universe, the less convinced I am that there's any sort of benevolent force that has anything to do with it, at all.
The remarkable feature of physical laws is that they apply everywhere, whether or not you choose to believe in them. After the laws of physics, everything else is opinion.
There is no shame in not knowing. The problem arises when irrational thought and attendant behavior fill the vacuum left by ignorance.
We fail in even the simplest of all scientific observations- nobody looks up anymore.
We spend the first year of children's lives teaching them how to walk and talk, and the rest of their lives telling them to shut up and sit down.
When scientifically investigating the natural world, the only thing worse than a blind believer is a seeing denier.
Whenever people have used religious documents to make accurate predictions about our base knowledge of the physical world, they have been famously wrong.
Within one linear centimeter of your lower colon there lives and works more bacteria (about 100 billion) than all humans who have ever been born. Yet many people continue to assert that it is we who are in charge of the world.
You don't take a dead cat to the vet. I mean you might, but why?
When I think of Charlton Heston (October 4, 1923 – April 5, 2008), I can't help but recall his performance in the 1974 disaster epic, Earthquake.
At the end of the film, Heston's character; his soon-to-be ex-wife, portrayed with delicious villany by Ava Gardner; and his stunningly attractive mistress, played by Geneviève Bujold; are trying to escape from a sewer being rapidly flooded by a deluge from the earthquake-shattered Mulholland Dam.
Geneviève Bujold's character has already climbed to safety. On her way up the ladder, the totally unsympathetic Ava Gardner falls into the raging torrent and is swept away.
In probably the best display of stereotype self-awareness ever committed to film, Charlton Heston first looks up the ladder, to safety and the braless Bujold, who is reaching out to him.
He then looks over his shoulder to see the rushing water carrying away the überbitch Gardner.
Watch Heston's face. This is a man in torment, a man struggling with the most important and painful choice he will ever make.
He doesn't utter a word, but his decision and internal dialogue is nonetheless writ large upon his handsome face:
"Oh, God damn it. I'm Charlton Heston."
And he hurls himself into the rapids, where he, Gardner, and countless extras are washed into oblivion.
I remember seeing this in its original release at the Warner Theater in Pittsburgh (remember "Sensurround"?). The cries of disbelief and despair when Heston made the plunge rose easily above the loud subsonic rumbling.
"Chuck! You're an idiot!"
No, he wasn't.
He made the only choice available to him.
He was, after all, Charlton Heston.
(YouTube video of Charlton Heston being all Charlton Heston-y in "Earthquake.")
(YouTube video: "Lydia the Tattooed Lady,")
Yesterday was Groucho's birthday, and every other year or so I post this clip of him singing Lydia, the Tattooed Lady from the classic Marx Brothers film At The Circus.
I was just about to re-post the video when I remembered an e-mail I had received from a reader the last time I published it. A 21-year-old college student asked if Lydia was a "gibberish" song, because many of the lyrics made no sense to him.
Lyricist E.Y. "Yip" Harburg was at the top of his form when he wrote Lydia. It's fiendishly clever, invoking historical and contemporary references, and he effortlessly blends them with oblique asides describing Lydia's impressive physical characteristics. The result was an instant classic.
I watched the video again, and then it dawned on me... if my young reader had failed to pay attention during his history, literature, and geography classes, he just wouldn't get it.
So, if you've listened to Lydia and found yourself not only tapping your toes but scratching your head, here are the lyrics. With footnotes.
There will be a quiz later, so please pay attention.
Lydia The Tattooed Lady
(music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by E.Y. Harburg,
the guys who also did "Over the Rainbow.")
Ah, this meeting brings back memories. Childhood days... Lemonade! Romance! My life was wrapped around the circus... Her name was Lydia. I met her at the World's Fair in 1900 (marked down from 1940). Ah, Lydia...
She was the most glorious creature under the sun...
Rolled into one...
Lydia, oh Lydia, say, have you met Lydia?
Lydia The Tattooed Lady
She has eyes that folks adore so,
And a torso even more so.
Lydia, oh Lydia, that encyclopedia.(4)
Oh Lydia The Queen of Tattoo.
On her back is The Battle of Waterloo,(5).
Beside it The Wreck of the Hesperus(6) too.
And proudly above waves the red, white, and blue(7).
You can learn a lot from Lydia!
When her robe is unfurled she will show you the world,
If you step up and tell her where.
For a dime you can see Kankakee(8) or Paree(9),
Or Washington Crossing The Delaware.(10)
Oh Lydia, oh Lydia, say, have you met Lydia?
Oh Lydia The Tattooed Lady.
When her muscles start relaxin',
Up the hill comes Andrew Jackson.(11)
Lydia, oh Lydia, that encyclopedia.
Oh Lydia the queen of them all.
For two bits(12) she will do a mazurka(13) in jazz,
With a view of Niagara(14) that nobody has.
And on a clear day you can see Alcatraz.(15)
You can learn a lot from Lydia!
Come along and see Buffalo Bill(16) with his lasso.
Just a little classic by Mendel Picasso.(17)
Here is Captain Spaulding(18) exploring the Amazon(19).
Here's Godiva,(20) but with her pajamas on.
Here is Grover Whalen,(21) unveilin' the Trylon.(22),
Over on the West Coast we have Treasure Island.(23)
Here's Najinsky(24) a-doin' the rhumba.(25)
Here's her social security numba.
Oh Lydia, oh Lydia, that encyclopedia
Oh Lydia the champ of them all.
She once swept an Admiral clear off his feet.
The ships on her hips made his heart skip a beat.
And now the old boy's in command of the fleet,
For he went and married Lydia!
I said Lydia...
He said Lydia...
I said Lydia...
We said Lydia...
(1) Thaïs, a stunningly beautiful and rich fourth century courtesan who lived in Roman-controlled Alexandria, Egypt. She eventually saw the error of her ways, converted to Christianity, gave her money to the church, spent three years immured in a convent cell as extreme penance, and died 15 days after her release.
(2) Jeanne Bécu, a.k.a. Madame du Barry (August 19, 1743 - December 8, 1793), the stunningly beautiful and, alas, final Maîtresse-en-titre (chief mistress) of King Louis XV. She was convicted of treason for helping people flee the French Revolution and was beheaded on the guillotine.
(3) Greta Garbo, born Greta Lovisa Gustafsson, (September 18, 1905 – April 15, 1990), the stunningly beautiful Swedish film actress and international star. She made fewer than 30 films during her 1920-1941 career, retired at the age of 36, and spent her remaining years shunning publicity.
(4)A book or set of books containing articles on various topics, usually in alphabetical arrangement, covering all branches of knowledge or, less commonly, all aspects of one subject.
(5)The military engagement in which an imperial French army under the command of Emperor Napoleon was defeated by the armies of the Seventh Coalition on June 18, 1815.
(6)The Wreck of the Hesperus is a narrative poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow describing... well, bottom line, we're talking about a tattoo of a wrecked, ice-covered ship on a reef with a dead little girl tied to a broken, floating mast.
(7)The colors of the U.S. flag, a reference to the flag itself, or a reference to the country.
(8)Kankakee, Illinois, a city about 60 miles south southwest of Chicago.
(9)Paree (Paris), France's capital and largest city.
(10)German-American artist Emanuel Gottlieb's 1851 oil-on-canvas painting depicting, with numerous inaccuracies and anachronisms, then-General George Washington standing in a boat, leading his troops in the Christmas 1776 sneak attack against Hessian mercenaries stationed in Trenton, New Jersey.
(11)Andrew "Old Hickory" Jackson (March 15, 1767 –
June 8, 1845), the seventh President of the United States, serving two
terms from 1829 to 1837. He's best known as the guy on the $20 bill and
the first President someone tried to assassinate. Prior to entering
politics, he was a noted military leader whose exploits included leading
his troops up a steep hill near Tohopeka, Alabama on the March 27, 1814
Battle of Horseshoe Bend during the War of 1812. (The War of 1812 lasted
The reader is encouraged to learn more about Jackson. His presidency makes the current situation in Washington look like a 60s' hippie love-in. Old Hickory was ill-tempered, unforgiving, and the target of vicious personal attacks. During the 1828 election, his opponents called him a jackass. Political cartoonist Thomas Nast later used the jackass to characterize members of Jackson's then newly-formed Democratic party, a symbol that remains to this day. Jackson had been involved in numerous duels and had so many bullets lodged in various body parts that it was said he "rattled like a bag of marbles."
(12)25 cents. The etymology is left as an exercise for the reader.
(13)An upbeat Polish folk dance.
(14)Niagara Falls, the three cataracts located on the border of New York state and the province of Ontario, Canada.
(15)The island in San Francisco Bay. Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary operated there from 1933 to 1963.
(16)William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody (February 26, 1846 – January 10, 1917), whose eponymous wild west shows toured the U.S. and Europe.
(17)Either badly-punctuated references to geneticist Gregor Mendel and artist Pablo Picasso, or lyricist Harburg coupling the last name of a world famous artist to a funny-sounding Jewish first name. You know, like Shlomo Warhol. Come to think of it, Shlomo Picasso is funnier.
(18)The character Groucho portrayed in the stage play and film Animal Crackers.
(19)The river in South America, not the website.
(20)In 1028, Lady Godiva repeatedly asked her husband Leofric (the Earl of Mercia) to not pass along to the impoverished citizens of Coventry the taxes levied on him by the King of England, Edward the Confessor. ("Trickle down" had a different meaning then.) Leo told Lady G that if she'd ride naked through the town market on a horse, he'd nix the tax hike. The next day she did just that. Leofric kept his promise and eliminated all taxes in Coventry except for those related to boarding horses. The bits about her covering her, uh, bits, with her long flowing hair- and the story that Tom the Tailor was struck blind when he took a peek as she passed by his shop (the origin of "Peeping Tom")- are later embellishments.
(21)President of the New York World Fair Corporation.
(22)One of two large structures located at the center of the 1939 World's Fair in New York.
(23)A man-made island in San Francisco Bay between San Francisco and Oakland.
(24)Vaslav Nijinsky (March 12, 1889 or 1890 – April 8, 1950), considered by many to be the greatest male dancer of the early 20th century.
(25)A style of ballroom dancing based on the Cuban bolero-son. Not to be confused with the terminal emulation software. Or the autonomous robot vacuum cleaner.
Late Night with David Letterman observed the 30th anniversary of the iconic disco tune It's Raining Men yesterday with a big end-of-show production number featuring surviving Weather Girl Martha Wash; Paul Shaffer on keyboards; an augmented CBS orchestra; six(!) backup singers; three female dancers; and three male acrobats suspended from ceiling-mounted silk streamers.
No wonder it's Homer Simpson's favorite song.
Why Letterman, you may ask? The song was co-written by Shaffer, the late night host's sidekick/bandleader, and was featured early in the run of Letterman's late night show on NBC- episode 174, which aired on January 12, 1983.
Originally written in 1979 by Shaffer and Paul Jabara, the song was rejected by Diana Ross, Donna Summer, Cher, and Barbra Streisand. Martha Wash and the late Izora Armstead, originally performing as "Two Tons O' Fun," became "The Weather Girls" and released "Men" in October, 1982.
An international hit, it sold 6 million copies worldwide. While it reached #1 on the US disco chart, it only climbed to #46 on the Billboard Hot 100. In April 2001, Geri Halliwell released a cover version that was used in the film Bridget Jones' Diary. It was a big hit in the UK and Europe, but received little airplay in the US.
Used for decades in dozens of films and television episodes, "Men"'s most recent reincarnation is in the Broadway production of the stage musical Priscilla Queen of the Desert- The Musical. It was performed by the show's cast, plus Wash and Shaffer, at the 2011 Tony Awards.
The clip from last night is at the bottom of this post.
My all-time favorite version remains this one. The quality leaves a bit to be desired and the audio is slightly out of sync for the first minute or so, but it's, well, two tons o' fun. Watch the audience, especially when Martha heads into their midst and intimidates those in the aisle seats with her powerful gospel soprano. As Letterman commented later in the show, "They ripped the roof off the joint."
(YouTube video: The Weather Girls perform live on NBC's "Late Night with David Letterman" in January, 1983.)
(YouTube video: Martha Wash and Paul Shaffer lead a lavish (for late night TV) 30th anniversary performance on CBS' "The Late Show with David Letterman".)
Star Trek: The Next Generation (ST:TNG) premiered 25 years ago today, the week of September 28, 1987, to an eager audience of 27 million viewers. With seven seasons and 178 episodes, ST:TNG surpassed the original series' 79 episodes and three year (1966-1969) run on NBC. ST:TNG's two-hour finale, "All Good Things...", aired the week of May 23, 1994. Both series were created by Gene Roddenberry. ST:TNG is set in the 24th century, 80 years after than the original series.
TNG was broadcast in first-run syndication. Like the original series, it remains popular in syndicated reruns. Three additional Star Trek spin-offs followed The Next Generation: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993–1999), Star Trek: Voyager (1995–2001), and Star Trek: Enterprise (2001–2005). There are also 22 half-hour episodes of Star Trek: The Animated Series which originally aired on Saturday mornings on NBC in 1973-74.
In its seventh season, Star Trek: The Next Generation became the first syndicated television show to be nominated for the Emmy Award for Best Dramatic Series. The show received numerous recognitions, including Emmy Awards, Hugo Awards, and a Peabody Award. Click for the full Wikipedia article.
"Relics," TNG's 130th episode (the fourth episode of the sixth season), features James Doohan as Montgomery Scott, the legendary chief engineer of the original series. Technobabbled into the 24th century, this is no mere cameo appearance. Scotty appears to be an antique out of time but -of course- he ends up saving another starship named Enterprise. And kudos to LeVar Burton (Geordi LaForge) for holding his own in the presence of an iconic scenery chewer.
Jon Stewart and The Daily Show again display why they've won ten consecutive Emmy Awards.
Stewart draws disturbing comparisons between Charlie Gordon in Flowers For Algernon and Mitt's accelerating, inexorable descent into madness...
(YouTube video: Martin Short sings "It's Raining Mitt")
When campaigning in the Deep South
He pretends to like eating grits
Rick Santorum's gone post-mortem 'cause
It's gonna start raining Mitt
It's raining Mitt
Everyone needs a hit- of Mitt
There's a future in sight
Where all our trees are the right height
It's raining Mitt
What a wager
I'll make you a ten
Thousand dollar bet
So white, rich and fit
It's stormin' for a moment Mitt
Mitt Romney says you're to blame
For too much federal spending
Though your healthcare plans look the same
I don't know economics
But when Mitt mentions income tax
Then I guess he must know something
Since his wife drives two Cadillacs
(She drives two Cadillacs!)
It's raining Mitt
I ain't lyin'
It's raining Mitt
It's raining Mitt
Let's show the kind of Mitt that we are
And tie the dog to the roof of our car
It's raining Mitt...
Good God it's raining mitt, yeah...
"...For there are even more on the government dole than even his 49% accounts for. Like those welfare queens at ExxonMobil, AT&T, GE, et al... 250 corporations that from 2008 to 2010 got nearly a quarter trillion in tax subsidies. Although to be fair, at least ExxonMobil and AT&T give us back cheap gas and reliable cell phone service..."
"If they have success, they built it. If they failed, the government ruined it for them. If they get a break, they deserve it. If you get a break, it'a a handout and an entitlement.
It's a baffling, willfully blind cognitive dissonance...
(Watch the top of the video- you can skip the ad after a few seconds...)
Quotes of the day- Robert Benchley:
Robert Charles Benchley (September 15, 1889 – November 21, 1945) was an American humorist best known for his work as a newspaper columnist and film actor. From his beginnings at the Harvard Lampoon while attending Harvard University, through his many years writing essays and articles for Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, and his acclaimed short films, Benchley's style of humor brought him respect and success during his life, from New York City and his peers at the Algonquin Round Table to contemporaries in the burgeoning film industry.
Benchley is best remembered for his contributions to The New Yorker, where his essays, whether topical or absurdist, influenced many modern humorists. He also made a name for himself in Hollywood, when his short film How to Sleep was a popular success and won Best Short Subject at the 1935 Academy Awards, and his many memorable appearances in films such as Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent and a dramatic turn in Nice Girl. His legacy includes written work and numerous short film appearances. (Click for full Wikipedia article)
A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down.
Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn't the work he is supposed to be doing.
Anything can happen, but it usually doesn't.
Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing.
Even nowadays a man can't step up and kill a woman without feeling just a bit unchivalrous.
Except for an occasional heart attack, I feel as young as I ever did.
I am more the inspirational type of speller. I work on hunches rather than mere facts, and the result is sometimes open to criticism by purists.
I am the oldest living white man, especially at seven in the morning.
I take it for granted that I am growing older, although, except for a slight arteriosclerosis and an inability to hear, I would never know it.
I think that if I had it all to do over again (and it looks now as if it wouldn't be a bad idea), I would go in more for manual labor.
In America there are two classes of travel- first class, and with children. Traveling with children corresponds roughly to traveling third class in Bulgaria.
It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous.
Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory.
Opera is when a guy gets stabbed in the back and, instead of bleeding, he sings.
Tell us your phobias and we will tell you what you are afraid of.
The free-lance writer is a man who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps.
The only cure for a real hangover is death.
The surest way to make a monkey out of a man is to quote him.
There are no lengths to which humorless people will not go to analyze Humor.
There may be said to be two classes of people in the world: those who constantly divide the people of the world into two classes, and those who do not.
Why don't you slip out of those wet clothes and into a dry martini?
Most of the arguments to which I am party fall somewhat short of being impressive, owing to the fact that neither I nor my opponent knows what we are talking about.
After an author has been dead for some time, it becomes increasingly difficult for his publishers to get a new book out of him each year.
(YouTube video: Robert Benchley profile on AMC's "Hollywood Moments")
(YouTube video: Peter, Paul and Mary perform "Blowin' in the Wind" at the August 28, 1983 March on Washington.)