Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Get OFF It, Already!!!


One more reason I love superheroes...
but that's not what today's post is about!

Cute little baby? Perhaps... But it's HITLER!

 Studious looking young man? Maybe... But it's HITLER!

 Dedicated young soldier? Could be... But it's HITLER!

Yup. HITLER!

Only HITLER was HITLER.

Yes, there have been some other people in history who started wars, and/or did a lot of terrible things to hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people. (Or, rather, caused them to be done... but we're splitting hairs, here.)

But only HITLER was HITLER.

Barack Obama isn't HITLER. George W. Bush wasn't HITLER.

The policeman who wrote you a ticket for running that stop sign wasn't HITLER, either.

I'm not HITLER. You're not HITLER. All God's chillen ain't HITLER!

Just HITLER was HITLER.

And simply because someone disagrees with you, that doesn't make him (or her) f**king HITLER!

So stop it!

You know what I'm talking about. Or do you?

This is (purportedly) HITLER, too... and if so, it's
one of my favorite photos of the ol' bastard!

(And don't worry, fellow babies... Nobody's compared me to HITLER. Not that I know of, anyway!)

Thanks for your time.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

And This Was on the Newsstands?



Thinking back to April of 2005, I have to admit, I was rather shocked to see the above magazine on the newsstands. I mean, I'm certainly no prude, but Couldn't they have come up with a better title for their magazine? thought I. It bothered me for some time... until February of 2008, as a matter of fact, when I saw this:


Oops. That's much better.

Silly me.

Umm... Thanks for your time.

Update, July 23, 2915. The first cover was an inadvertent hoax! Read more here!


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Worthy of Note



I only post birthday greetings when they occur to me, whether said "greeting" is to a celebrity (living or dead), or a friend and/or fellow blogger. And if you've ever gotten one, it's probably the only one you'll ever get. Just sayin'.

Having said that...

Today (the 21st) I'd like to send out my best b'day wishes to one of the dearest friends I've ever made on the internet, the woman responsible for the My Five Men blog, a site with an eclectic mix of topics -- serious, humorous, and informative -- depending on her whims.

(Yeah, Betsy, I'm talkin' 'bout you!)

I'm not going to post an actual photo of her (although obtaining one would be remarkably easy, especially for the ol' Fox), nor am I going to list the many reasons why I think she's so remarkable, to save her just a tiny bit of embarrassment ...

But if she thinks I'd let her birthday go by without even a mention, she's nuts!

(And by the way, if you follow her blog with any regularity, you can probably guess what the two photos which I have included have to do with her, and her blog.)

Happy birthday, doll.


Aw, heck... I was going to end there, but I'll take the liberty of adding something else... and since the owners of "Happy Birthday to You" are very litigious when someone uses their lyrics & melody without financially compensating them, I will instead present Betsy with "The Happy Birthday Conga!" (Everybody join in, now!)

Happy, happy, BIRTH-day!
Happy, happy, BIRTH-day!
Happy, happy, BIRTH-day!
Happy, happy, BIRTH-day!
Happy, happy, BIRTH-day!
Happy, happy, BIRTH-day!
Happy, happy, BIRTH-day!
[repeat and fade]

And now, to the rest of you... Thanks for your time, and indulgence.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Shamelessly Sucking Up to the Lady Bloggers


I've noticed during the last two or three years that a lot of the lady Blogger-bloggers like to share recipes with their readers. Ordinarily -- but not always -- my own reaction to those posts is somewhere in the realm of "Oh. Nice... I suppose."

However, in a true spirit of camaraderie, as well as to find out just how influential my blog really is, I am giving you the following "simplified" recipe for Peoples Temple Flavor Aid!


Preparation:

Mix two hundred .15 oz. packets of grape-flavored Flavor Aid (not Kool-Aid) with one hundred gallons of water. Prepare according to instructions on package. Add liberal & large doses of Valium (diazepam), chloral hydrate, potassium cyanide, potassium chloride, and Phenergan (promethazine). Mix thoroughly.

Serves approximately 909.

Thanks for your time... if you're still out there...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Roll with the Changes -- NOT a "Theme Thursday" Post, About "Theme Thursday!"


THEME THURSDAY
PREVENTING BLOGGER BURNOUT SINCE 2008

So. The format of Theme Thursday is changing!

In the old days, it was pretty simple. Every Sunday -- or, on rare occasions, Monday -- the Powers-That-Be at "TT" would post the theme for the following Thursday. Bloggers would sign up, and post their theme-related entries on Thursday. Or sometimes Wednesday. Or sometimes Tuesday. Or sometimes, even Friday. Whatever. Then, anybody who wanted to would visit -- and hopefully, comment on -- as many of the participating sites' posts as he or she wished to, on Thursday. Or sometimes Friday. Or sometimes, even Saturday.

But now, that scenario is changing, as explained here.

Henceforth, the theme for the week will be listed on Thursday. Those who wish to play along will have up to a week to write their posts. They can post it that very day. Or on Friday... or on Saturday... et cetera, et cetera, et cetera... up to and including Wednesday. Theoretically, this means that instead of calling in sick to work and spending an entire Thursday reading and commenting on other people's blogs, you'll have a whole week to visit everyone's Theme Thursday entries.

Then, on the following Thursday, a new theme will post.

It could work wonderfully.

On the other hand, it could go something like this:

Thursday: "Okay, the topic is PHLEGM. What the hell am I going to write about phlegm? Let's see, twelve people have already posted! *sigh* I'll go read theirs."

Friday: "Where did I leave off yesterday? Nineteen total as of today... Did I read #11? Name's not familiar. But... #12's is?"

Saturday: "Up to thirty-eight today. Did I read the first twenty already, or just the first nineteen? Maybe I should make a checklist somewhere..."

Sunday: "Finally posted mine! They're only at forty, including mine. That's only two more since yesterday! Where the hell does everybody go on weekends?!?"

Monday: "Thirty-eight?!? How the hell did that happen? And did I read the first thirty-two, or the first thirty-four? Where the hell's my checklist?!?"

Tuesday: "I have to work all day, and then I have a date. To hell with the internet."

Wednesday: "One hundred and forty-seven?!? For cryin' out loud, I have to work tonight!"

Thursday: "New theme, PROCTOLOGY? Oh, great. I'll still be spending the next two or three days catching up on last week's theme entries! Who the hell has time to write one?"

On the other hand, it could go swimmingly...

Seriously, despite my own piddling little reservations about this new format, I wish everyone involved the best of luck. I first encountered a lot of my current Blogger-blogger buddies, male and female, through the odd kinship brought about by Theme Thursday. And if one can be grateful to a blog, rather than the person(s) responsible for it, I truly am.

But enough sappy, sentimental crap. Nobody ever laughs at that.

Thanks for your time.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Wolfie




It was none other than Charles Schulz who "turned me on" to classical music, when I was about eight years old. No, really. In the Peanuts comic strip, the character of Schroeder was always more interested in "that stupid Beethoven" than he was in... well... whatever it was that Lucy had in mind for him. Don't forget, this was the same girl who ran her own "psychiatrist booth." I'm sure she had all sorts of sick little fantasies, along with her interest in... umm... pianists. (Insert your own pun here.)


The unrequited love affair between Lucy and Schroeder began in 1953!

I, on the other hand, having been interested in girls from birth, or thereabouts -- Rumor has it that my very first instance of flirting was with a nurse in the delivery room on the afternoon of November 16th! -- wondered what was so great about the classical music (and musicians) with which Schroeder was so enthralled that he preferred it (and them) to Lucy.

Surprisingly, although my mother was an accomplished organist, and many members of her family had been amateur or professional musicians (including her cousin Polly, a moderately famous opera singer), I never asked her about classical music. So she was a bit surprised one day during the mid-1960s when I pulled three LPs from a cheapo rack of Pickwick albums in a department store. Pickwick was a so-called "drugstore records" label that sold for a much lower price than the average LP, which -- IIRC -- went for about seven or eight dollars.

(Hey, did you Americans ever notice, whenever we're faced with a word that we've never seen before and are unsure how to pronounce, we're always told "Sound it out?" Well, if we tried that with a lot of the classical composers -- such as Mozart, Chopin, Beethoven, Wagner, Bach, and Schubert -- we'd be wrong in most cases!)

Anyway, the three LPs I chose were Beethoven's Seventh Symphony (still my favorite symphony of his -- in fact, I've been known to whistle entire movements from it at various jobs over the years -- rather than the fifth or the ninth, which many prefer), his Piano Sonata No. 29, and the third album featured two compositions, Schubert's Eighth Symphony and Mozart's Fortieth Symphony. (The last LP featured a portrait of Franz Schubert on its cover, and for quite some time, that was the image I thought of whenever I thought of Mozart!)

I'd never heard of Mozart before, but I had heard -- somewhere -- of Schubert's so-called "unfinished" symphony. I had a mental impression of all of the musicians on the record playing until some point, at which they'd all just stop.

(Hey, I was about eight, okay?)

From its very first notes, Mozart's music grabbed me. And while there's quite a bit of his music which I have yet to hear -- the gent was quite prolific during his thirty-five years on this planet -- he's been one of my favorite composers ever since.

(In the early 1980s, I worked as a waiter in a local restaurant. We usually had one of several stations playing. Whenever someone wanted to know the artist of a particular song that was on the air, they'd ask me... and I'd always be right. One day, someone had switched the dial to a classical station, and as a joke, I was asked "Okay, who does this one?" when a piece of music was playing. I admitted that I'd never heard the selection, adding "but it sure sounds like Mozart!" Amazingly -- or perhaps, not so amazingly, if I do say so myself -- I was correct. Heh.)

Here's my favorite Mozart anecdote, by the way, from Anecdotage.com:

A young man once asked Mozart for advice on composing a symphony. Mozart replied that, as he was still young, he might begin by composing ballads. "But you wrote symphonies when you were only ten years old," the boy objected. "Yes," Mozart retorted. "But I didn't have to ask for advice."


(Another quick digression: Did you ever notice this peculiar difference between pop music and classical music? If a pop song is playing, and someone asks "Who is this?" the answer is always the name(s) of the singer(s)... or instrumentalist(s), if it's an instrumental number. If the same question is asked during a classical piece, the answer is usually given as the name of the composer. Which is why asking "Who is this?" when listening to Rod Stewart's version of "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You" brings "Rod Stewart" as the answer; if it were a classical work, the answer would be "Van Morrison." And if you listen to "I'm a Believer" by the Monkees and ask that question, no one says, "Neil Diamond.")

My actual impetus for writing this post was this recent article from The New York Times, which talked about how there are well over a hundred theories on how Mozart actually died! (I didn't quote a number from the article itself, since it seems a bit undecided about said figure.) Mozart's fictionalized biography, Amadeus, shows one theory, although it almost as quickly discounts it!

When Amadeus was filmed in 1984, I didn't see it right away. For one thing, I was more than a bit thrown by their choice of the actor who played Mozart... Tom Hulce. ("Tom Hulce? 'Pinto' from National Lampoon's Animal House?!?" thought I. He won me over when I saw the flick, of course!) Eventually, I rented it on videotape... and here's my favorite scene from the movie. It's a bit long -- not that that should bother my readers too much -- but it's positively brilliant!


So, to conclude these vaguely-related notes, fellow babies, I'll tell you just one more thing: All these years later, I can't recall which animated Peanuts TV special this happened on, but a few years after my love of classical music had been established, there was a scene in one of the Peanuts cartoons where Schroeder played a purposely childish-sounding, one-note-at-a-time rendition of the very beginning of the first movement of Mozart's Fortieth Symphony!

It's terrific when things come together like that, innit?

Thanks for your time.

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