Friday, December 31, 2010

And the Top Ten Things I'm NOT Going to Do to Wrap Up 2010...

 Calvin and Hobbes © Bill Watterson

1. Well, for one thing, I'm not going to write some corny, predictable, "traditional"  Top Ten list, so...


That is...

I mean...


Ahhh, screw it. Here's a band I saw in 1998 or so:

Thanks for your time, fellow babies. And Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I Wish I'D Written That... or "Thirty Years Ago Today"

Thirty years ago today, singer/songwriter Tim Hardin died of a heroin overdose. He had turned thirty-nine just six days earlier.

Outside of his own career as a performer, Hardin wrote the Top 40 hits "If I Were a Carpenter" and "Reason to Believe."

To me, Hardin is most notable for "Reason to Believe," a song I originally heard as performed by Rod Stewart. I own Hardin's version, of course, but I vastly prefer Rod Stewart's... so I've embedded Stewart's cover version below. Give it a listen, won't you?

That song contains what I, for my own reasons, consider to be the most effective line ever written: "Someone like you makes it hard to live without somebody else." And when I say "most effective line," I do not mean to suggest that "Reason to Believe" is the greatest song ever written, or even one of my own absolute favorite songs.

It's the line itself, and virtually every varying interpretation I've given it personally over the last forty years or so as I've applied it to certain women I've known and usually loved. Out of all the songs, novels, stories, poems, et cetera which I've ever encountered that contained one or more "great" lines, that line is my favorite. Ever.

I certainly don't expect you to agree, necessarily, but frankly... I don't care. It's my favorite. That's all. Just sayin'.

And let's face it, fellow babies... This is my blog.

Thanks for your time.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

"The Anti-Claus" and "Happy Krimble"

I'm not Santy Claus!
You can call me Anti-Claus!
Don't bunch up your panties, 'cause...
I'm not him!

Going quite insane, here.
Love to cause you pain, dear!
What's for breakfast? Reindeer!
(I'm not him.)

I see you when you're sleeping,
I know when you're awake,
I see you when you're naked,
So give that tail a shake!

Lumps of coal to all o'you.
Anti-Claus will follow you,
Eat you up, and swallow you!
I'm not "him!"

I'm hardly a subversive!
Don't call me "rat" or "snake!"
My badge reads "TSA" now.
There's far too much at stake!

Ask for toys, you'll get a slap.
Don't give me that "giving" crap,
And put yo' Mama on my lap!
I'm not him!

Sorry, fellow babies... I decided to begin today's post with a reaction to those adults -- I'm much nicer to the children, actually! -- who keep telling this white-haired, white-bearded "Silver Fox" that he looks like Santa Claus!


Now that all of that is out of my system, here's the rest of my much more sedate Christmas post!

I'm the one on the right. On the right, I said!

For last year's Christmas post, I embedded about... oh... 47 YouTube videos featuring several of my most-loved Christmas songs. If you really want to get into the Christmas spirit, click here.

As for the rest of you...

The following video features what is arguably the worst rendition of one of my all-time favorite straight tunes, "O Holy Night," and the story behind it. It was recorded 20 years ago as a joke, by Nashville composer/arranger Steve Mauldin, who explained "At the end of the session, we were letting off some steam and I sang this version never intending for anyone to hear it except a few close friends. My wife hates it and will not be in a room when it is playing, my dad thought I should not have sang that way on this song. I didn't sing bad to this song, I sang to the last song of the project. Had the last song been White Christmas, I would have sang to White Christmas. But I did not mean for the world to hear it, I was just having some studio fun once we had everything for the album recorded on the 2" tape, like we studio musicians do."

(Skip to 5:42 if you want to hear this hilarious take on the Christmas classic, without all the background info!)

Some of you may think that's a bit irreverent, considering the subject matter, but I firmly believe that any God who could create both the human race and the duck-billed platypus in the same week has to have a sense of humor. Otherwise, both Mr. Mauldin's microphone and my computer would have been struck by lightning!

So, with that out of the way, fellow babies, I want to wish a sincere "Merry Christmas" to any and all of you who celebrate the holiday, and that includes Christians and non-Christians -- I know at least one atheist who loves this season -- as well as all Jews, Muslims, Pagans, etc. who treat this time of year with reverence due to their own beliefs, or tolerance for others' beliefs.

Tolerance. Whatta concept, eh?

In the words of The Beatles, "Happy Krimble" (or "Crimble," as reports vary)... and thanks for your time.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Steve Landesberg, 1936-2010, and Fred Foy, 1920-2010, R.I.P.

1. Actor/comedian Steve Landesberg passed away recently at the age of 74. You may have read that he was 65, born in 1945. Not according to his daughter: “He got kind of a late start in show business, so he tried to straddle the generations." Landesberg was probably best known for his portrayal of Detective Arthur Dietrich on TV's Barney Miller. Dietrich's character echoed Landesberg's own laid-back stand-up persona. A very funny guy, whose loss is more than a little disturbing for someone who logged so many hours watching that particular show... like myself.

2. Fred Foy, radio and TV announcer. Mr. Foy was not the first man to announce The Lone Ranger on radio or television, but his rendition of the show's opening for both is probably the best-known of each. (Among his numerous other credits, he was also the announcer of The Dick Cavett Show on ABC during the 1970s.) The Lone Ranger character, as I've stated before, was one of my idols and role models during the early, early days of my childhood. And something about Mr. Foy's delivery made "those thrilling days of yesteryear" quite... well... thrilling, indeed.

On my 29th birthday in 1985, I actually met Clayton Moore, the best-known actor to play the Lone Ranger. But I wish I'd known that Mr. Foy had lived a little more than an hour away from me for the last 20 years or so. I probably would have looked him up.

Speaking of Clayton Moore, by the way, here's a great anecdote:

And one more thing, fellow babies... It's "Hi-Yo, Silver," not "Hi-Ho, Silver!" Just sayin'. 

Thanks for your ti--  But WAIT, there's MORE!!!

THIS JUST IN!!! And it's not a joke!

According to The Telegraph, a British newspaper which I follow online, "The CIA has set up a task force... to assess what damage has been done by the mass release of thousands of diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks."

The WikiLeaks Task Force will be known by the acronym WTF! And all I can say to that is... well... "WTF?!?"

Don't believe me? Go here!

And thanks for your time.

Friday, December 17, 2010

That Was a Quick Year... (for "Sepia Saturday")

 My mom, dressed up for one of my
Aunt Josie's musical pageants.

This Sunday, December 19th, marks the one-year anniversary of my mom's passing.

Good thing for her that I don't hold a grudge. eh? She really torpedoed Christmas.

One of my all-time favorite photos of my mom,
from our 2002 trip to Cancun.

 A rarely-seen shot of my dad and mom on their wedding day.

"Pigeon-Toed," another one of my favorites.

Thanks for your time.

It's NOT About the Mushrooms... (A Clarification)

Okay, after reading a couple of comments and a couple of private emails reacting to my last post, I think I've confused some of you. My illustration -- well, Andy Warhol's, actually -- of a can of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup was meant to serve as a friendly warning to my readers that I may not be blogging often in the immediate future. I stated that I have a very hectic personal schedule, and also mentioned that I've been sick lately.

But the soup image and the sickness are totally unrelated. I have been eating lots of soup as I've tried to fight off this latest ailment, but it has not been cream of mushroom soup. It's been mostly chicken soup. And spicy soups. And spicy chicken soups. If I'd had more energy, I would have made some from my own private recipe, under the assumption that that would indeed have cured me! (Someday, remind me to tell you about my own homemade chicken soup.)

But not cream of mushroom.

Why the cream of mushroom image, then?

The Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup "signal" belongs to writer Mark Evanier, author of two highly-recommended websites, POVonline and NewsFromME. (I visit his blog almost every day, at least once.) It's basically a "long-standing internet tradition" that Mr. Evanier himself began! To quote from Mark: [A] can of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup is a universal symbol. It says, clear as day: "The proprietor of this website is swamped with pressing deadlines for the next few days so don't feel abandoned or otherwise neglected if he doesn't post much for a while, or if he's been rude as rude can be about not answering your wonderful, informative e-mail. He will get to both this weblog and his e-mailbox as soon as is humanly possible." Take no umbrage, lose no faith in mankind.

I use (and always credit) Mark's idea whenever I foresee gaps in my own blogging schedule for any reason(s), not just writing deadlines. I'm just trying to spread the word, so in addition to his eight million or so readers, I personally can increase the world's awareness of his "tradition" by, like, forty-seven more people.

As for why that's the image he chose... ask Mark. Not me.

So, again. There are several reasons why I don't plan to blog much at all for the next few days. Not just because I'm sick.

Th-th-th-that's all (for now), folks!

Thanks for your time.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Magic Mushroom

©Andy Warhol

The illustration is in accordance with an internet tradition begun by Mark Evanier, the author of two highly-recommended websites, POVonline and NewsFromME.

My pre-holiday schedule is heavy and somewhat erratic, and for the past two weeks I've been fighting a cold, or flu, or bubonic plague... some damned thing. Hence the Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup can, pictured above.

Hm. Maybe if I ate the soup, it would help?

Anyway, fellow babies... See ya when I see ya.

Thanks for your time.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

David'Z RantZ: No Joke.

Land of Equality? I don't freakin' think so.

Donna D'Errico, former Baywatch actress and Playboy Playmate of the Month for September 1995,  was recently subjected to a "random" full-body security scan by TSA agents, as told herehere, and elsewhere. She wasn't even given the option of one of their new & "improved," intrusive "pat-downs" before being scanned by one of those controversial new electronic devices.

"Random?" Yeah, right. If Osama bin Laden himself had been behind her in line, he probably would have made it onto the plane safely. Talk about an abuse of power!

It would be perfectly "in character" for me to make all sorts of sleazy jokes here, but I won't.

Ms. D'Errico, as mentioned above, has appeared in Playboy. She's appeared fully nude or scantily-clad more times than I can count. In fact, I had to search a bit to obtain a G-rated photo of her for inclusion in this post!

Next time, guys, head on over to eBay or your local flea market and just pick up a cheap copy of a magazine or two instead of deciding to abuse your authority, okay? Heck, that way, in the privacy of your own homes, you can really enjoy yourselves.


Thanks for your time.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tale of the Tea (Epilogue): Hot Pursuit

(Special note. Blogger's been messing with me lately, fellow babies. If you see any huge gaps in the text, that's where a photo is supposed to be! Right-click on the center of the space to (hopefully) open the photo in a new tab or window!)

I was both sad and disgusted that I was forced to miss my chance to attend Mr. Toast's Second Annual Christmas Tea! When I left Boston's Logan Airport, I was wondering if there was any chance I could still get there. Perhaps some of Mr. Toast's other guests could supply me with transportation, if I could only contact them via the internet!

I picked a lock and ducked into a large, cluttered warehouse, filled with all sorts of interesting artifacts. I realized that my suitcase, containing not one, but two swords, had been left stupidly behind at the airport when I'd made my hasty exit! Luckily, my high-tech miniaturized laptop was clutched in my hand. I could check my blog for messages!

Before I could open the laptop, however, I realized that I was not alone in the warehouse.

Flanked by two ominous-looking uniformed men stood a man I had glimpsed earlier, at Logan Airport. I had wondered if he was one of the many TSA agents who had been watching me then.

He rudely dismissed his two attendants. "Get out of here, both of you!" he commanded. "This isn't some penny ante terrorist. This is Zorro. He's a man of honor, and deserves to be brought in by the one man who can take him." He paused, dramatically. "Me."

I slowly inched my way closer to him, until I could finally make his face out clearly. "Hey!" I cried, sounding more like a movie buff named David M. Lynch than el Zorro, "You're Kurt Russell! I love your stuff! I've seen you in everything from Tombstone to The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes!"

He seemed a bit taken aback by my outburst. "Kurt Russell? Uhhh... No, sorry, that's not me! My name is Snake Plissken! And I've been hired by the TSA as a special operative to bring you for questioning after you disrupted things at the airport all day today."

He regained  his composure, and shrugged off his leather jacket, producing a rather huge gun out of nowhere as he did so. He pointed it at me.

"Just come along peacefully. Or I'll shoot."

I was unarmed! I taunted him, to bide my time. "That's a very big gun you have there, Mr. Russell... I mean, Mr. Plissken! Perhaps you are... compensating... for something?"

His one good eye narrowed. "Just come along peacefully," he repeated grimly.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a beautiful young woman -- Of course it was a beautiful young woman! To be Zorro is to always be surrounded by beautiful women! -- who was clutching my suitcase. If she could only get it to me...!

Thinking quickly, I rapidly removed my cape and threw it over Kurt's... I mean, Snake Plissken's face! While he struggled to remove it, the fair lady threw the suitcase to me.

By the time Snake was unencumbered by my cape, and had pointed his huuuge gun at me once again, I was holding both of my swords at the ready.

His face twisted into the closest approximation of a smile that I supposed it could have. I had two good eyes, and two weapons. He had only one good eye, and only one weapon, huuuuge though it was.

He was effectively "outnumbered." He stood mutely as the lady took his huuuuuge gun from him.

"I suggest you leave this building, fair maiden," said I, "in case this situation is not yet resolved!" She did so, taking Snake's huuuuuuge weapon with her.

"Oh, it's resolved, all right," he said, donning his leather jacket and turning away from me. "No shame in being bested by one such as you, Zorro."

He began walking away, then turned back to me and lit a match.

His one good eye stared into my own two eyes. "Maybe you've noticed how much flammable old junk is in here? I'll just bet that one carelessly-discarded match could set this whole place ablaze in seconds! And if it does, I'm also betting that only one of us two makes it out of here... alive."

With that said... Snake dropped the match.

Well! To make a long story short, he was right. The warehouse went up in flames in no time at all, and only one of us emerged... as far as I know. (And it seems that I left my cape on the floor of the burning warehouse.)

It only took a few moments before I found the fair maiden, and thanked her appropriately for having come to my aid!

And now? Well, now I'm waiting at an undisclosed location for the arrival of the exquisite young lady! I have removed as much of my costume as I can and still modestly show you a photograph. I already need a shave, I see. And I have decided to leave the dark dye in my hair until I return home.

I dearly regret having missed Mr. Toast's gala affair, but at least I shall have an affair... that is, a compensation... or two, for my troubles.

There's always next year... *sigh*

And it is with only the slightest discomfort that I realize that these internet events always seem to cost me a cape!

Adios, amigos! (Which is more or less today's equivalent of "Thanks for your time.") 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tale of the Tea (Part Three): The Punchline?

(Special note. Blogger's messing with me. If you see any huge gaps in the text, that's where a photo is supposed to be! Right-click on the center of the space to (hopefully) open the photo in a new tab or window!)

Okay. Now I'm angry.

Here it is, almost 1:30 p.m. EST, and instead of being in the midst of the festivities at the long-awaited Mr. Toast's Second Annual Christmas Tea at Torosay Castle on the Isle of Mull, I'm still cooling my heels at Logan Airport in Boston, Massachusetts!

I'm typing (and posting) very quickly, so I won't have time to answer -- or even read -- any comments left for me! My apologies.

Briefly, I finally got through to the Foxster... or should I say, the actor who was playing the role of the "Foxster" until the real Skip Simpson and I reluctantly cancelled the Pleasantview series on the Simpson/Lynch Studios blog (as shown here)!

"Sorry, Mr. Lynch, but I thought you were kidding when you asked us to fire up the SnL One to give you a trans-Atlantic flight!"

"Kidding? Kidding?!?" I exploded.

"Well... sure! I mean, it's not like you and Mr. Simpson had us on retainer, or anything, you know?"

"But... but..."

"Hey, gotta go, dude. I've got an audition for a role on the Ocean Haven soap opera in twenty minutes. Have a nice day."

Great, I thought, now what?

I made a hasty exit from the airport terminal, and decided I'd get to the Isle of Mull somehow!

Of course, I admit that not much came to mind, at first...

But I knew I had to get away from Logan Airport as soon as possible. The TSA agents had been checking me out for hours. I can't say that I blame them, considering that I was (and am) dressed in my complete Zorro costume.

Not only that, but there was one fellow in particular who looked quite threatening. And I'm not even sure he was a TSA agent!

Needless to say, I hope he doesn't follow me out here!

Thanks for your time.


Tale of the Tea (Part Two): Still Waiting...

(Special note. Blogger's messing with me. If you see any huge gaps in the text, that's where a photo is supposed to be! Right-click on the center of the space to (hopefully) open the photo in a new tab or window!)

Well! 7:30 came and went, and no sign of, nor word from, the crew of the SnL One! I've repeatedly tried calling the Foxster, as well. No answer.

I thought that by now, I'd be over the Atlantic, on my way to Mr. Toast's Second Annual Christmas Tea at Torosay Castle on the Isle of Mull.

But no.

Instead, I'm sitting here in my full Zorro regalia, trying (unsuccessfully) to look inconspicuous while being eyed by various TSA agents. I'm trying to use my high-tech miniature laptop as covertly as possible. And as quickly as possible. Hell, I don't even have time to read anyone's comments on my posts, if said comments are even arriving. (So please don't take it personally if it seems like I'm ignoring you!)

Oops! Better go now! I'll post again at or about 1:30 p.m., Eastern Standard Time.

And thanks for your time.

Tale of the Tea (Part One): Preparations

(Special note. Blogger's messing with me. If you see any huge gaps in the text, that's where a photo is supposed to be! Right-click on the center of the space to (hopefully) open the photo in a new tab or window!)

Due to prior commitments, I missed Mr. Toast's Christmas Tea last year, so I made sure nothing would keep me from attending this year! It's going to be held in Torosay Castle on the Isle of Mull! Sounds exciting!

As far as my attire goes, I'm opting for my traditional Zorro outfit! It's always brought me luck in the past, to say the very least. I've already shaved my beard, trimmed my mustache, and dyed my silver hair black, of course!

I've decided to go "stag," for a couple of reasons. First of all, I couldn't decide between the two beauties clamoring to go with me. The first, of course, was the lovely Sofia Vergara...

And the second was my more recent acquaintance, Scarlett Johansson.

I mean, really. Could you decide?

Another reason for my making the journey alone  is that I have it on very good authority that quite a few lovely ladies will be attending, also without dates. Here's only one of the lovelies about whom I've been notified by my sources.

(And you should just see that beautiful little doll from the front!)

Trans-Atlantic transportation was going to be a problem, I initially supposed, but then I thought of the SnL One, the private jet co-owned by my younger and more successful "alter ego" on the Simpson/Lynch Studios blog, the Foxster!

Thanks to him, I should be picked up by Luke Tian and the Skipster in two or three hours. The Skipster's former fiancée, Gretchen Von Grüber, will be my flight attendant.

They won't be attending the actual event this time around, alas, but this should give the real me, and not the Foxster, a chance to strut my stuff!

I'm headed to Logan Airport in Boston, Massachusetts, about 50 miles from home. My flight on the SnL One should be leaving at around 7:30 a.m.  I'll post again at 11 a.m., Eastern Standard Time, blogging very briefly from the SnL One while en route.

I can't wait!

Thanks for your time.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Another Darned Birthday -- A "Sepia Saturday" Post

It's been a while since I've written a Sepia Saturday post -- or any other post, for that matter -- but I wanted to take this opportunity to send a birthday greeting to my sister Kathy, who today (December 4th) turns... well... let's just say she's older than I am, and leave it at that?

Since she's my older sister, I've (obviously) known her all my life. In those fifty-plus years, she's given me occasional bits of advice and guidance. When she was dating as a teen, that usually amounted to "If you ever pull a stunt like [fill in the blank] with one of your girlfriends when you get older, like [name of Kathy's current boyfriend] did with me, I'll kill you!"

In our younger years, she also told me the occasional white lie. "No, this isn't dog food! You can eat it. Go ahead."

She also helped form my early interests in rock'n'roll music, and I could link to several examples of that from my past blogs as "proof," but that would double the size of this post, so I won't. You're welcome.

Our immediate family of four -- that's two parents, two offspring -- was never a huggy, kissy, demonstrative family that said "I love you" much at all, if ever, but we all knew that the love was there if we needed it. And over the last half a century, since our lifestyles & morals (mine being the sleazier ones) have varied widely at points, there were times that we still loved each other, although we might not have particularly liked one another. At that moment, I stress.

Probably the best result from my mother's trials and tribulations during the last year of her life was that Kathy and I saw eye-to-eye on everything concerning our mom, and we finally... finally... learned to put our own unimportant issues aside. My mother passed away almost a year ago, and Kathy and I haven't back-slid yet! We're better friends right now than we've ever been.

The biggest problem with this little online tribute is that Kathy doesn't have a computer, and thus, has no internet access.

Hey! Good thing I have a printer! I'll print out this page and give it to her tonight, along with her present.

Hell, it's cheaper than buying her a card, innit?

Thanks for your time.
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