Monday, April 30, 2007

The Leader of the Free World

George Bush may well be known for being the Oil president in the same way that Ronald Reagan was known as the Teflon president. With Reagan, it meant nothing stuck to him. With Bush, it means he can't get enough Mazola. Or something.

Here are a few moments of Dubya slipping out of trouble. The first was brought to my attention by Deputy Dog (whose blog is well worth your time) and it shows our leader successfully negotiating the corridors of power.

Then, of course, his famous press conference in China, where he decided to make like Pac-Man and slide out the side door.

Finally, thanks to my friend John in LA for introducing me to this song by Todd Snider, "You Got Away With It (A Tale of Two Fraternity Brothers)."

Tune in tomorrow for a very special MeTube announcement...

Sunday, April 29, 2007

James and Red Molly

Richard Thompson is in danger of having people think his first name is "Underrated." He's an ace songwriter, an expressive vocalist, and one of the greatest guitarists - but good luck hearing him on the radio. Too dark, too much pain, never went out with a former Mouseketeer - nope, all he's got going for him is talent.

Nearly 20 years after he began his solo career, Thompson reached a new peak when his song "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" appeared on his album Rumour and Sigh. Fair lady and good thief fall in love, but tragedy intervenes... It's an old story, but a good one, and rarely has it been better told.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Mitch All Together

One of the ways I use to get to sleep is to listen to a spoken word CD really quietly. I lie still so I can hear it, and my focusing on it keeps my mind from wandering all over the place. Beats counting sheep.

For the past three weeks the sandman and I have been listening to the late Mitch Hedberg. I love his stuff. If Steven Wright did more drugs, he'd be Mitch Hedberg. Then again, he might be dead too.

But what I like best about Hedberg is his delivery. It combines fast and laid-back in a rhythm that's just as funny as the joke itself. Once you get a sense of it, try saying some Steven Wright jokes in a Mitch Hedberg way.

Here he is on Letterman, very nervous but totally in control, much like toothpaste with tartar. Pick up both of his CDs if you have trouble sleeping or laughing. You will be satisfied.

Friday, April 27, 2007

I would like, if I may, to ask what's up

Whether you're young...

...or young at heart... get awfully tiresome after a while.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Who cried when Old Yeller died?

Bill Murray asks that question in Stripes. Me, I've always been a cat person through and through, so when O.Y. passed on, my tears stayed in their ducts and refused to be jerked. Still, you've got to love that peppy theme song. And you've got to love this rousing lip-synch of it. (Nice headgear, by the way.)

One more quick bit. You can see the punchline coming from a hemisphere away, but it still made me laugh out loud.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

WKRP the way it should be

As you may know if you've been following my blog for a while, I'm a big fan of WKRP in Cincinnati, and I was so happy to learn it was coming out on DVD. Music rights were an issue, but they said they'd gotten many of the rights to what was on the original broadcast, and the show's creator, Hugh Wilson, had seen the lightly edited episodes and given his approval.

Then it came out that the episodes weren't lightly edited. Most of the song rights couldn't be (or flat out weren't) acquired, so most of the music is generic rock, and some scenes are taken out altogether.

I think I'll still buy the set - there's some great writing and acting that shouldn't be forgotten - but it's such a disappointment to not get to see the shows the way they were, particularly in the bits where music played an important part.

Such as this moment, where Johnny Fever's playing "Dogs" by Pink Floyd...

...and this one, where Les prepares for a date with Jennifer to the tune of Foreigner's "Hot Blooded."

NOTE: I've gone through the archives and added labels to all my entries, whether the links are live or not. This is a first pass - if it works for you, let me know; if you think a category should be given that isn't, let me know that too.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A tribute to CJ Ramone

When Dee Dee Ramone departed from the Ramones's ranks in 1989, he was replaced by CJ, who was a good fifteen years younger than the others and brought a much-needed personal energy that kept the band going for a few more years. Hell, if he hadn't, I never would've gotten to see the Ramones live, so for that alone I'm grateful for what he did. Now, here's another reason to sing his praises.

Appearing on a Canadian video show, he's asked to read a fan's letter requesting a New Kids on the Block video. He handles that part with aplomb, but then... well, let's just say he forgot that the show was live.


Monday, April 23, 2007

Mary Worth Your While

I've just recently been introduced to the Comics Curmudgeon, and I'm so distressed that I'd never heard about it before. He basically reads bad newspaper comics so we don't have to, making happy snark about Apartment 3-D, Mark Trail (one of my faves), Pluggers, and the like. I'm determined to read the entire archives. It's that good.

And it steered me toward today's clips, both of them about America's favorite Metamucil-swiggin' busybody, Mary Worth.

First up; a reenactment of some MW strips, in noiry black and white, with poses and angles perfectly replicating the strip itself. I don't know that it would choose this for its own soundtrack, but that just makes it all the better.

Second, a far-too-short clip of Mary trying to evade her would-be paramour Aldo Kelrast (an anagram for "stalker," don't you know) and providing further proof, as if any was needed, that everything is funnier when it's sped up a little and scored to "Yakety Sax."

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Kevin Spacey makes an impression

This is a clip from Inside the Actor's Studio, when James Lipton challenged Kevin Spacey to show his ability at mimicry. Not only does Spacey rise to the challenge by sounding just like the people in question, he's often recognizable as those people before he even opens his mouth. I've got to say, though, that the person who seems to be enjoying Kevin Spacey's talent the most is Kevin Spacey.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Mike smash

My friend Mike Daisey was performing a monologue in Cambridge this week when an organized group of seven-dozen-plus up and walked out on him. One of them got onstage and poured water on the notes Mike had for the show, ruining them.

Affronted doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt when I read about this in Mike’s blog. Having your trust betrayed, in front of a paying audience, is a violation of both mind and soul. I’ve seen the show, and I can’t figure what they were protesting – it seems their action was calculated to humiliate. There’s no good that can come of that. None. The fact that he can take the high road and refuse to hate is a strong testimony to his inner core. I don’t know how he found the courage to continue the show, but if anyone can do it, he can.

I know Mike reads this (he’s posted a few YouTube clips on his blog shortly after they appeared on mine), so Mike, as that Barry Manifold fella says, this one’s for you, wherever you are. May the lyrics continue to resonate.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Let me hear your body talk

Say, kids, there's way more ways to make music than by singing, whistling, and hand-in-armpitting!

Meet Cecil Dill, manualist!

In another YouTube clip, he performs "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" and explains he keeps his hands limber by milking ten cows a day. But that clip didn't have the same frozen-skull monologue this one did.

And then there's Joseph Pujol, a.k.a. Le Petomane. Here's a man who became the toast of Moulin Rouge for his... oh, how can I put this?... fartistry. He even had a short film made about him, and here's the trailer for it.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Best People's Court ending ever

I have nothing further to add.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Yo, Adrian! Pizza delivery!

Yes, the rumors are true: Sylvester Stallone appeared in a porn film early in his career. In his defense, he needed the two hundred bucks.

Once he hit the jackpot with Rocky, the makers of The Party at Kitty & Stud's repackaged it, retitled it The Italian Stallion, and made this trailer, which revealed that the director was almost as good an actor as the people she was filming.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

You Fool!

I'm old enough that I remember watching episodes of Hollywood Squares, hosted by Peter Marshall and featuring Paul Lynde in the center square. Some damn funny lines, and a host who wasn't afraid to look like an idjit.

But I have to say, the modern day version would go down in history as worth the while if only for this moment.

The contestants were tied at four, and whoever got Gilbert Gottfried's square would win the game. But try as they might, they couldn't get it. And Gilbert let them know they couldn't get it. And it just keeps getting funnier...

Monday, April 16, 2007


I went to my third and final L concert Sunday night, featuring Leo Kottke. He's one I've wanted to see live for a bit; the last time the opportunity came, I was too poor, but I couldn't let that stop me this time. His between-song patter was as fun as his playing, which was on the mellow side but no less intricate.

Here he is as a young buck, performing "Vaseline Machine Gun" from his first album, 6 & 12 String Guitar.

If I was a guitar, I would be thrilled to have someone play me like this. If I was a guy in a relationship... not so much.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Personality Minus

The best personal ad I ever read quoted the Rupert Holmes song "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)." Misquoted, actually - instead of "If you like making love at midnight on the dunes of the cape," they said, "in the dew suffocate."

Anyway, if you wonder why ol' Rupert didn't make much more of a splash, wonder no more. This guy was about as dynamic as a dirty mop. I'm surprised this audience gets as worked up as it does.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Dirty Monkeys

When I was a teen, my siblings and I passed an old copy of The Sensuous Man back and forth behind our parents' backs. A sex manual from '71 or so, it gave tips not only for the bedroom, but for dates and meeting places. It suggested taking your date to the zoo, singling out the monkey house. "Monkeys do scandalous things in public," it added.

That they do, Sensuous Man. That they do.

The first three of these are without sound; the fourth wouldn't be the same without it. All of them are quite brief and thoroughly inappropriate.

Friday, April 13, 2007


Kurt Vonnegut's passing didn't hit me as hard as it could have - I've only read (and enjoyed) one of his books - but it was still enough to make me say an involuntary "Ohhhh" when I read about it in the news. He was one of those who was always around and seemed like he'd always be around, and we were all the better for that.

Most of the Vonnegut clips on YouTube are a little too longish and dry. But I think I found just the thing.

This is Tommy Emmanuel, Australian guitarist, doing an instrumental rendition of the Billy Joel song "And So It Goes," which was the refrain whenever anyone died in Slaughterhouse Five. The lyrics aren't about death, but about lost love - which accounts for their not being in this post.

On a personal note, I'd like to send this out to Zach in DCish, whose father passed on earlier this week. My thoughts are with you, friend.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

My my my my Mitchell

Joe Don Baker's had a decent career in the movies. He appeared in Cool Hand Luke, Cape Fear, Fletch, Mars Attacks!, and two Bond movies. His signature role may well be Buford Pusser, the heroic sheriff in Walking Tall.

But to fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000, he will forever be... Mitchell.

The trailer almost makes the film look dynamic, doesn't it? Well, here are Joel and the 'bots in fine form, mocking a chase scene that's so slow you can practically see a white Ford Bronco lapping them.

And I'd certainly be remiss if I didn't include these twelve seconds, when Joel spots just about the last thing you'd ever want to see on Mitchell's nightstand.

For more MST3K Mitchell (one of their best), click here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

'70s Oscar Winners Sell Out *snort*

It's really a kick finding some of the ads that were made by some of our greatest actors before they found fame and fortune. They're so earnest.

Here's Dustin Hoffman doing his best to convince us to buy a Volkswagen.

And here's Robert DeNiro with a 1970 Ambassador, in an ad that could safely be called "ethnic."

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Mike and Elaine

There's a saying about the weather in New England - if you don't like it, just wait a few minutes. YouTube's like that; if they don't have a clip, just have patience, it'll be along.

That's been the case for me in my search for Mike Nichols and Elaine May videos. They came from the original Second City lineup in the '50s, and their sharpness and wit in their improvisations was absolutely unmatched. Periodically I'd look for something of theirs; when I couldn't find it, I'd remind myself: patience.

Now there's a fresh batch of some of their best on YouTube; this is my favorite, but I recommend checking the others if you have the time.

A mother reduces her rocket scientist son to an infantile state in six and a half minutes. This sketch was born when Nichols's own mother actually used the opening line that May uses here. Barely dated after almost fifty years (even the phones are cordless), this has a wicked incisiveness you just can't find anymore.

Monday, April 09, 2007

When guns were fun

Back in the day, it used to be okay to show people firing weaponry in commercials. Here Billy "Danger Will Robinson" Mumy takes dead aim at his father, who's barely protected by the daily newspaper. (Take heart, Dad - he could've wished you into the cornfield.)

And this man knows how to handle his wife's slovenly housekeeping and shabby appearance - threaten her with firearms and Geritol, in that order.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Don't watch this if you're epileptic

Someone with mad editing skillz and an awful lot of time on his hands put together a clip with the opening title cards to hundreds of movies. By the time you recognize one, you're seeing the third one after it.

It's not complete, obviously, but it's awfully entertaining.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Putting the logical in technological

I've never really gotten into Star Trek. My feeling is that you either geek out toward Star Wars or Star Trek, and I've chosen the road more traveled by. I have a general enough sense of it, and I can tell you what pon farr is, but it's just not my scene.

Likewise, I've never gotten into techno music. I tend to like music I can hum. Plus, to me there's an anger to it that's just never rubbed me right.

But what happens when they get their chocolate in their peanut butter? This.

The sepia's a great touch, and the editing does great work as well. Plus it's amusing to see the captain and first officer acting on their slashy desires. "Spoooooock!"

Friday, April 06, 2007

Sesame Stevie

Stevie Wonder did a fantastic version of "Superstition" on Sesame Street. I remember seeing this on TV at the time and marveling at the kid who's rocking it out on the fire escape. Appreciation for Stevie's genius came later. This goes on for a while, but I'm guessing you'll be in no hurry for it to end.

Incidentally, look at the size of his hands.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Short Attention Span Theatre 2

Just when you thought it was safe to blink...

Here are six clips that will take you less than a minute to watch altogether.

We have a quick insult from Groucho in A Night at the Opera...

...the highlight of Alex Karras's acting career, from Blazing Saddles... of the great GI Joe PSA parodies...

...a talking thumb... Out of the Past Robert Mitchum being transfigured...

...and a grateful postman.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Suspicious Minds Times Two

I was just in a disagreement with someone about the importance of cover songs, and it sent me to the web to find some favorites to back up my point. Here's one of them, a cover of one of Elvis Presley's absolute greatest hits, "Suspicious Minds." Watching this, it's almost incomprehensible why the Fine Young Cannibals didn't make it beyond Next Big Thing status. Roland Gift is absolutely magnetic.

From the sublime to the ridiculous - here's an absolute train wreck of a karaoke version. Between the roaring grunts and the awkward backup performers, it's very difficult to look away. But I don't think I'll have the stomach to watch it too many times...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Naughty Disney

There have been a few moments in Disney movies where someone's managed to sneak in a moment that could be interpreted in a, shall we say, non-rated G fashion. Disney's policy is to explain it away as something else and chide the public for their overactive imagination.

For instance, they claimed here that Aladdin was simply saying, "Scat, good tiger, take off and go."

And for this Little Mermaid moment, they insisted that that's the priest's knee we're looking at.

But when this moment from The Rescuers was made public, they had to (1) admit there's really no other interpretation, and (2) scrub the frames from future releases. Notice the duck in the bottom right corner of the window.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Action Jackson - he utilizes assonance!

I'm a regular contributor to the Agony Booth website, where inferior movies are given very thorough recappings in detached ironic voices. (I'm not a recapper - I just participate in the forums.) This is where I learned of these clips.

Albert, the capo di tutti capi at The Agony Booth, found a posting complaining of the lack of Action Jackson on YouTube. It gives some very solid examples of the movie's greatness, and, at the end, a great suggestion for search keywords.

So Albert obliged by posting this part of the film, where Mr. Jackson catches up to a speeding taxi on foot and punches in its windshield. It shot the movie to the front of my Bad Movie Rental queue.

Unfortunately, his membership was canceled and the clip vanished, so here it is with the never-fail touch of comic gold applied, viz. speeding it up a little and dubbing in "Yakety Sax."