Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Saturday Picture Show, August 27, 2016

I love Lucy's hometown of Celeron, New York, because their first attempt at memorializing the great Lucille Ball turned out looking more like a deranged Andy Griffith (right.)  But they asked for another chance, and another sculptor did a great job (left).
Yes, people in remote African villages still balance things on their heads like this, and I can't even carry a mug of tea upstairs without spilling something.  
More than a million people gathered in Istanbul for an event led by President Erdo─čan, following last month's failed military insurrection.  I don't care for big crowds, and this must have been the biggest since the Adele concerts last summer.

Hello, all your Pokemon trainers!  Here's a rare sighting of ComeoninIwannagrillya!
This kind of contest didn't just start last week, you know...
He's rare and he's back in the ocean!  Rather than steam this blue lobster, caught off Cape Cod, the fisherman tossed him back into the briny deep.  If he had been netted in New Jersey, he would be dinner tonight.
A little philosophy for a Saturday morning.  Happy doesn't start with an "H," it starts with "U."
More philosophy for you...this Galapagos Island resident lived to be 100 years of age, because he took his time doing things!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Jan, Jan, Jan!

Any discussion of "The Brady Bunch" that I get into must contain my firm declaration that I am a Jan Man from day one.  I found Marcia Marcia Marcia annoying annoying annoying, and Cindy was just too young, but I dug Jan for wearing glasses (which she hated) and having freckles (ditto) and for worrying so much about not having a boyfriend that she invented a beau named George Glass. And when she figured she couldn't beat Marcia in the blonde hair department, she went out and put on a marvelous black wig that made her look like a tiny lounge singer.

So, I went for Jan, and Alice, too (although I know I could never come between her and Sam The Butcher) and that's the deal.

Speaking of deals, did you see that Eve Plumb, the actress who played Jan, bought a house with that TV money when she was 11 years old?  A little place on Escondido Beach in Los Angeles, and she plunked down $55,300 for it in 1969, and sold it this summer for $3,900,000...a tidy profit of $3,844,700.  

It's a flat-roofed beachfront bungalow, 850 square feet, and the new owners are planning to install a moon roof and other amenities for beach parties to which they really ought to invite Ms Plumb.

In other news about investment opportunities we all passed by, just imagine if you had spent $2,368 for a brand new Mustang in 1964, and kept that Ford on'd be drinking the best beer and buying the thickest steaks tonight.  

A dime for the first Superman comic...$956,000.

Where were we when all the great ideas were hatched?

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Instead of being sorry later, how about just being nice now?

"Be careful of the words you say; keep them short and sweet.  You never know from day to day which ones you'll have to eat."
This year's winner of the I Wish I Hadn't Said That Award goes to the young lady who also just won the coveted tiara that goes with being Miss Teen USA.  Her name is Karlie Hay and she learned a lesson at age 18 that a lot of people still have yet to apprehend:  The Internet is forever.  

Take it to the bank: whatever you write or paste on these electronic walls will be around when Karlie Hay's great-grandchildren are taking driver education.  

So it was with chagrin that Ms Hay and the people around her found out, just minutes after her triumphant walk down the runway, that in 2013 and 2014, she was twittering tweets using the unacceptable-in-any-setting "N" word.  Hay, born in December 1997, was 15 and 16 in those years, certainly old enough to know better, yes. 

You know, there is a whole profession dedicated to scrubbing off the tarnished images of people who should know better than to call each vile names.  I can see that one such practitioner had a hand in crafting this response that Ms Hay put out:  

"A few years ago, I used language that is inexcusable, and I sincerely apologize for my actions. At the time, due to a number of personal struggles, I was in a place that is not representative of who I am now. Through hard work, education, maturity and thanks in large part to the sisterhood that I have come to know through pageants, I am proud to say that I am today a better person. I am honored to hold this title and I will use the Miss Teen USA platform to promote messages of confidence, inclusion and perseverance."  
Apology tour underway.
It's just my opinion, but these pageants for women of any age are just outdated and kind of sad.  The Miss Teen USA people proudly promoted this year's extravaganza as being more relevant because they ditched the swimsuit competition and only had female judges. This still leaves the impression that beauty and the ability to be dolled up are the only worthwhile criteria for judging a young lady. 

I don't know anything about Ms Hay besides all this commotion, but the fact that she used such language at any age is revolting. For all I know, she spends weekends visiting the aged and infirm, collects food for the needy, works as a volunteer firefighter, plays rec league softball and maintains a stellar grade point average to stay on the Honor Society.

Oh wait.  That's a couple of other young women I know.  You won't see them sashaying around with sashes and tiaras on television.  They're too busy being beautiful, doing beautiful things in the real world.  And using respectful language all the while.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

"For all sad words of tongue and pen, The saddest are these, 'It might have been'." - John Greenleaf Whittier

Thinking about the lives lost in the flooding here in Maryland and the balloon crash in Texas, I got to thinking about others who went home too soon.  Hank Williams comes to mind, and Buddy Holly as well.  What else would they have brought to our music, had their lives not been cut short?  

And thinking of Buddy Holly makes me think of Bobby Fuller, another Texan who brought a little Lone Star State to the 60s garage rock sound. (Before record production became so dependent on studio electronic tricks, groups rehearsed and recorded out back in the garage, and that's where that raw sound comes from.) Bobby came out of El Paso and got to Los Angeles and a deal with Del-Fi Records on the strength of his cover of "I Fought The Law (And The Law Won.)"*

Fuller's career in the national spotlight was just taking off in 1966. "I Fought The Law" was a top-10 record after its release in February, and the follow up "Love's Made A Fool Of You"** came out in May.  

Image result for bobby fullerBut on July 18, 1966, Bobby was found dead in his car outside his apartment in Los Angeles.  There was an 1/3-full gasoline can and a gas-soaked rag in the car, and his death was attributed to hemorrhaging caused by the gas vapors and the July heat, and by the inhalation of the vapors. The police report has checks next to "accidental" and "suicide," but also question marks written next to both. 

The investigation is thought by many to have been sloppy and rushed, possibly because the chief of the LAPD, William Parker, had died suddenly two days before and the department was focused on his funeral arrangements and replacing him. 

Cause-of-death theories floated included possible Manson Family involvement, suicide (Fuller was said to be concerned about the direction of his career) and a mob hit. 

We may never know who killed Bobby Fuller, and we certainly can only speculate about what sort of music he might have made, but listen to those two hits of his! Spectacular pop, basic rock, the sound that bands still want.  Bobby had it and we can listen to what he recorded as we wonder what else he might have recorded.
*This gets complicated.  Buddy Holly, in his time, released records as "Buddy Holly" and as "The Crickets," although they were the same people.  After Buddy died in that plane crash in 1959, Sonny Curtis joined The Crickets as songwriter and guitarist (but not singer) in Buddy's place, and Sonny wrote "IFTL(ATLW)".  

**Buddy Holly and writing partner Bob Montgomery wrote this in 1954.  It's thought of as a "Buddy Holly song," but Buddy did not sing on The Crickets' version, which came out after the crash.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Bad Bad Leroy

Well, this didn't turn out so well for anyone.

Dateline: Leroy, Alabama, where Nathaniel Johnson was rightly tired of people breaking into his mobile home.  So he set a trap. He parked his car over by a neighbor's house and hung around in the dark, waiting.

Around midnight, he heard someone knocking on the door of his trailer.  Of course, the person got no answer and then proceeded around to the back door, which he entered by breaking in.

Washington County Sheriff Richard Stringer says Johnson met Cleveland Jones Gully, 31, the suspected burglar, at the door and chased him outside.

The sheriff said Gully is known in the area for breaking into houses, and that he either fell or jumped off the back steps of the mobile home.

Yes.  Let's say he "fell."  

Johnson picked Gully up long enough to wrap his mouth up in duct tape.  Then he led Gully to a tree and placed him there for safe keeping while he went to call 911. To make sure he would be there when the law arrived, Stringer said Johnson wrapped Gully to the tree with insulated electrical tape and clothesline.

Johnson then to his neighbor's house and called police.

"(Gully) was still alive at that point, and there was no indication that he was dying," Stringer said.

Crime Scene, Leroy AL
But ten minutes later, sheriff's deputies rolled up on the scene and Gully was no longer among the living. The sheriff said Gully didn't have any visible injuries, just some cuts around his body from the wire. There will be an autopsy to find out what happened.  

The police say that other neighbors said that Johnson, who was not armed, did not intend for Gully to die, but he did want to bring the break-ins to an end.

I imagine this will go a long way in that regard.  The sheriff, meanwhile, will present the case to a grand jury "to see what they say about it."

I'm no expert on Alabama law, but I imagine the concept of "tough noogies" is also in effect down there.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Once and for all, it isn't funny

High school guidance counselors will be busy this fall, advising students about careers and how to get into them.  For instance, someone seeking a job in the field of automotive repair would do well to attend one of the fine technical schools around the area. Those who wish to become attorneys are guided into good colleges with pre-law courses, or pre-med.  What's the difference?

But these people are missing out on the sure-bet career of what's left of the 20-teens and beyond...the burgeoning field of Celebrity Apology Coaching!  Public Relations people are needed from Rio to Reno, from Stanford to Stamford, from Hollywood (MD) to Hollywood (CA).

Getting ready to do
yet another hilarious skit
We've said enough about childish 32-year old Lyin' Ryan Lochte, the swimmer who dove a little too deeply into the shallow end of truth.  His handlers surely have had their hands full, getting him to dye his hair back to a color normally seen on humans, and coaching him to apologize in an authentic manner.

And now, some poor PR plugger will have to work on the case of Blake Shelton, the "country" singer who advises neophyte singers on "The Voice" about how to sing and all.  Good thing he doesn't give them advice about how to send tweets.

Ol' Blake has sent out some doozies over the years and now that the inane remarks that come out of his brain have come to light, why, he's just about trippin' over his cowboy boots to apologize. I will not sully my blog by showing you verbatim what he wrote. In case you need an emetic, you may click on the link above and see the racist, sexist, homophobic waste product of his words.

But you'll notice, those of you who wish to work in this field, that you have to approach these apologies at an angle. Blake's angle is that he is a comedian!

"Everyone knows comedy has been a major part of my career and it's always been out there for anyone to see," he tweeted. "That said anyone that knows me also knows I have no tolerance for hate of any kind or form. Can my humor at times be inappropriate and immature? Yes. Hateful? Never. That said I deeply apologize to anybody who may have been offended."

Oh, and that's the other thing.  "I apologize to anyone WHO MIGHT HAVE BEEN offended."  So, next time you feel a little churly, just walk up to someone and smack them a good wallop. And then, say, "I'm sorry IF you were offended."

Yes, Blake, jokes about gay people and people who speak foreign languages are so funny.  

The real joke is that he now claims to be a comedian, that this sort of thing was done as an attempt at humor.  What a sad, sad world he must inhabit, to think that sort of thing is funny...or what any adult would laugh at in 2016.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunday Rerun: 500 words, due tomorrow

So, what would you do if your boss came in one morning right after Labor Day and told you to write a composition about "How I Spent My Summer Vacation"?

I always wish that someone would do that for adults.  Facebook is fun for sharing vacation pictures, but it can be dangerous to announce to all of your online friends that you are leaving the house unoccupied for the next two weeks while you and the whole family, including Uncle Ambrose, head down I-95 to see South of the Border, including Pedro's Nutte House, with its oddly phallic decorations.  Especially if you mention that the key is under the mat or duct-taped to the third rock from the sunflower in your garden.

But when you get back, post up those pictures.  We love to see where you've been.  A lot of people like to go to places they have never been and explore on their summer weeks off.  They think nothing of loading up the Family Truckster with sleeping bags, a couple of extra pairs of jeans and a shirt or two, some rudimentary toilet supplies, canned food, bottled water, bottled gin, and heading out to Montana or New Mexico.

Others among us go to the same beach or lake with the same people, wearing the same Speedo, and staying in the same room with a 40-watt bulb and a sliver of soap in the bathroom, which you get to share with your own family and that of Cousin Ozzie, with his illbred offspring.

That's why they call it a vacation - you vacate the office or your workspace for a while so you can come back refreshed and renewed, vowing more desperately than ever to find your ticket out of there.  That first day back, as you plow through the 1,395 emails that have clogged your inbox just as your recent dinners have clogged your carotid artery, you take a solemn oath that by next summer, you will have that dream job as drummer for Journey or personal hairstylist to Prince William.  And as you dream and plot, you click on a phishing email and the entire office network drops dead and you have to wait for the summer intern from InfoServices to come and declogulate your "machine," as he likes to call it.  This takes two hours, which would be much better spent roaming down the corridors of your building, demonstrating your tan and passing out macaroons and salt water taffy that you brought back.

I think I just figured out why corporate America doesn't ask anyone to write those compositions.