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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

I'm Confused

   The news gets stupider, social media gets newsier.  I'm having a hard time telling which is which anymore.
In the news
   A tractor-trailer gets stuck under a bridge.
On Social Media
In the News
  Defendant's counsel demands arrest report - even though the arresting officer was a police dog.
On Social Media
I'm pretty sure this is just fiction.
But How About These?
That Woman Can Make Anything Delicious
That Must Be Part One
Endevor For Ultamate Bestness!
I'm Pretty Sure I've Seen That One.
Bunny Foo Foo, The Reality Show
False Hope Is International
   It may seem like an odd complaint from a guy who writes a blog called Just Plain Stupid, but the whole world seems to be one big Dumb Area.
   Pardon me - the universe.  How could I know?  I'm a stay at planet type of guy.
   Unlike this guy - who used to be smart, but now he sells booze.
   Well, there are a few good ideas out there.
   Who knows - maybe another species will take over thinking for us humans.
   And we can find our inner goofy.
   Just as long as we keep reality at bay.
   Or is it reality holding us at bay?

  Well, at least I can count on Morgan Freeman...
   Cause when I look at reality - I get confused.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Guest Stars By Stanley McFarland

   I get only one channel clearly where I live.  It's the rerun channel.  I'm living in the world of Perry Mason, Andy Griffith, Gilligan, Jed Clampett and Little Joe Cartwright.  It's a predictable little place.  There's only so much that Perry, Andy, Gilligan, Jed, and Little Joe can do that they haven't done scores of times before.  That's why Guest stars are so important.  Guest stars bring a new look, an new voice, or a new act to a show that otherwise would be routine.
   Here are a few of my favorites.
The Look
Jack Elam
I don't know if Elam ever would have made it in movies and television if he'd been able to look straight ahead.  He was good at looking mean, and looking dumb - so good that that he appeared in over 70 movies and 40 TV shows.  I wonder if he saw himself the way we saw him.
Royal Dano
   Dano had little more range than Elam as an actor, but worked nearly as much.  His weather-beaten face said Old West far better than any dialog might.  He also made a good crazy man or preacher.  How a fella from New York City became a western staple is a mystery.  All I know is that when he was on the screen, I couldn't look away.
Julie Newmar
   Speaking of not being able to look away, Julie Newmar taught every boy of my generation about the joys of...  Well, Batman became less about Biff, Boom, Bam, KaPow, in the episodes with Catwoman.  She did other guest shots on other programs, playing other characters, but they slip my mind.
The Voice
Sterling Holloway
   History may best remember him as the frequent voice of Winnie the Pooh, or the Cheshire Car in Disney's Alice in Wonderland, but I've always enjoyed his other work more.  His impossibly lanky frame, and voice that sounded like a tin can playing a violin defined quirky by the standards of the fifties and early sixties.
Mel Blanc
   Blanc was first and foremost a voice actor - perhaps the greatest ever, creating Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, as well as Barney Rubble and hundreds of other characters in animation.  He also showed up in live-action TV at times.  I admit that my fascination was seeing a real face attached to that incredible voice.
Edward Everett Horton
   My favorite voice in entertainment history, Horton created the roll Roaring Chicken in the first season of F Troop.  After a contract dispute he adapted the role to Chief Screaming Chicken for Batman.  I will always remember him as the narrator for Rocky and Bullwinkle's brilliant Fractured Fairy Tales.
The Act
Cleavon Little
   I'll never understand why Little's career fizzled after his brilliant Sheriff Bart in Blazing Saddles, but at least we got him in guest roles through the seventies and eighties.
Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs
   Maybe I'm cheating by lumping two in one entry, but with Flatt and Scruggs, you couldn't have one without the other.  They had less acting talent combined than one of Lester's guitar picks, but who cares!  I loved to hear them play!
The Darlin's
   I might as well cheat big time by lumping 6 in one entry.  While it's true that Denver Pyle made numerous solo guest appearances, he was never as entertaining as when he was accompanied by Charlene and the boys.  Flatt and Scruggs and the Darlin's comprised my entire exposure to Blue Grass music until the Coen Brothers further enlightened me many years later.  And speaking of the Darlin's, you can't forget...
Howard Morris
   It's hard to figure that Ernest T. Bass only made 5 appearances on the Andy Griffith show.  He stands out to me as the most unforgettable guest portrayal in television history.  Morris was an accomplished Shakespearean actor that played many more serious roles.  Do you remember any of them?  Neither do I.
The Total Package
Abe Vigoda
   Vigoda brought the distinctive look, voice and act to scores of TV shows until his death in...  Well, actually he's still alive as I write this.  Of course it's hard to tell with Vigoda.  People Magazine said he was dead in 1982.  Letterman once had him blow on a mirror to prove he was alive.  Vigoda and Betty White are the only two actors I'm aware of that have been continuously active in television since its beginning in the late forties.
Walter Brennan
   People forget that Brennan won three best supporting actor Oscars for his work in movies.  In spite of that he was never above doing TV guest shots.  His bright eyes, craggy face, sauntering limp, and energetic banter brought vim to any script.  He even sang - badly - and somehow made us love it.
Ed Wynn
   For my money, the greatest total package in the history of television, Wynn began the TV portion of his career by creating the first Emmy-award winning variety show - The Ed Wynn Show.  Already elderly, Wynn tired of the weekly grind and shifted gears to guest shots including serious drama.  The Vaudevillian proved so adept that he won an Oscar for his role in The Diary of Anne Frank.  I will always remember him as the Mad Hatter, and the incredible Uncle Albert in the I Love To Laugh scene from Mary Poppins, but his TV guest work was also impressive.  He even made Hoss Cartwright fly.

Let's finish the post with a bit from Andy and the Darlin's.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Slushy - The Story That Refuses To Be Told

   Sometimes you think you have a great idea (or at least a not-too-terrible idea) for a story; you get to work on it and the characters just laugh in your face.  Such is the case with the following story.

Slushy the Frosty/White Witch Love Child
by Headley Hauser
Slushy waved his magic carrot. Ice appeared on Mister and Missus Badger’s muzzles. Magically, Slushy was a one trick pony – he had no encore.
“I wish you wouldn’t do that, Slushy,” said Missus Badger after melting the icicles with a sip of hot chocolate.
“I wish I could do more,” said Slushy.
“Do you mean like creating delightful treats for all the little children?”
“No, like making it always winter, but never Christmas.”
“Slushy!” said Missus Badger. Mister Badger was still struggling with his icicles. He had more whiskers and hot chocolate was not an option due to his lactose intolerance.
“What?” asked Slushy with an exaggerated shrug. “My mom was one of the greatest mages in history. Is it so wrong for me to want to be more like her?”
“Both of your parents were magical,” said Mister Badger, now free of most of his icicles except a few that threatened to poke Slushy in the eye. Mister Badger was not a great respecter of persona space.
“Sure,” said Slushy, “Dad was magical, as long as he stole property for magicians, but what could he do? He could dance, sing, play, and apparently impregnate an occasional sorceress. Mom was the bad ass in the family. I’d rather be like her. For one thing, she was never out of a job. Ever since Frozen came out, Hollywood’s been up to its arm pits in dancing snow guys.”
“But Frosty’s magic was just as powerful in its own way,” insisted Missus Badger. “He brought out the joy of Christmas for children everywhere.”
“So,” said Slushy, “you think I should use him as a wonderful role model?”
“Yes!” said Mister Badger aggressively, and so close to Slushy’s face that it was obvious he’d been into the holiday brandy.
“Let’s think about this role model,” said Slushy. “He was a chain-smoking pipe enthusiast who clearly had some snow tackle, cause he used it to knock up Mom, but he danced around with a bunch of small children in nothing but a top hat, a pair of boots, and a scarf. Maybe Mom was bit on the evil side, but she wasn’t a deviant.”
“Your mother denied Christmas to a whole generation of talking animals,” sputtered Mister Badger, inadvertently flinging the last ice sickle into Missus Badger’s cocoa. “I didn’t have Christmas until after Missus Badger and I had our first litter, and her father and that lion fellow forced me to marry her.”
“Mister Badger!” said Missus Badger, visibly blushing beneath her fur.
“Say,” said Slushy, “I just thought of something. How did they meet?”
“What?” snorted Mister Badger. “Missus Badger’s father was always trailing along after that lion fellow.”
“No,” said Slushy, “how did my parents meet?”
“You don’t know, Dear?” said Missus Badger.
“Well,” said Mister Badger, “I’d think it was obvious. Frosty and the White Witch both like the cold. If you’re really curious, we’ll just ask Frosty when he appears next Christmas.”
“That’s my point,” said Slushy. “Dad only appears at Christmas. Mom’s spell made it always winter, but never Christmas.”

 “Oh my!” exclaimed Missus Badger.

So... What now?  Any ideas?

All Disney movies should be in Japanese!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Gloves VS Mittens

   Somebody once told me that a great test of character is to see if people wear gloves or mittens.  It's a style vs comfort issue.  The dexterity argument is over-rated.  There's not much you can do in gloves that you can't do in mittens, except have cold hands.
   Unless you're talking examination gloves - and that leads to some unpleasant associations, so we'll leave those out of this.
   My mother wanted all her little Hausers in mittens because she wanted us to be warm.  Cool was not an issue for Mom.  For some reason she thought cuteness was a reasonable substitute for cool.
   I won't dwell on that, either.
   Not long ago, I had a discussion with a co-worker about celebrities - whether they were gloves or mitten people - or, as mitten people put it, image-obsessed or genuine characters.


 Our guesses (we didn't google,) weren't too far off, though she insisted that Johnny Depp was a mitten person.
  Finger-less gloves was all I could find for him.  We were also both certain that George Clooney was a glove guy.
   A surprising number of pictures on a google search show that Clooney is neither a glove nor mitten person.  He likes to put his hands in his pockets.
   But let's go to the people we got right.
  Kim Kardashian is a committed glove wearer.  She's not so committed to wearing other clothing, but glove?  She's all for it.
   Diane Keaton is also a big glove-lover.  Unfortunately, the gloves only conceal her hands - not her lack of talent.
  We both guessed Susan Sarandon as a glove wearer, and I guess we were right.  But they don't seem to add to her cool factor - what are those, lunch-lady gloves?
   Tom Cruise wears gloves sometimes, but they look weird.  It's not like anything else about Tom is weird.
   And, or course, the easiest guess was O.J.  But there's something about those gloves that just doesn't fit.
   I know I've seen Al Roker in gloves, but I figure that was the official Today Show wardrobe.  Al doesn't seem to be obsessed with image.  Not only are these mittens, but they're Canadian.  That's a pretty bold statement.
   Of it would be if Oprah wasn't wearing the same mittens.  Maybe Al gave them to her.  After all, Oprah doesn't have much money.
   Anne Hathaway seems to be a fearless type.  I applaud her choice of hand-ware - especially as it's really hard to make a good clapping noise when you're wearing thick wool on your hands.
   Is there any more genuine celebrity than Santa?  If you can drive a reindeer-powered sleigh faster than the down of a thistle, then why does anyone really need gloves?
   Of course, not all hand-ware consists of mittens or gloves.
   But there's something about this that creeps me out.

John Oliver and his mittens of disapproval for Jack Warner and FIFA.