Was irritated by the column, can’t stand the music I wrote for my online TV show, the show blows chunks, and so on. Why do I get in those moods where I’m enthusiastic about what I do? Stop being unreasonably confident! Hack!

Just the usual end-of-the-week triple-PM deadlines speaking there. That, plus the absence of summer. Rain today in excelsis deo and more for the next five days. It’s a cruel year around here. Cruel.

Things I did not know, but learned by googling:

While listening to a “Cruisin’ 1968” album  I heard the DJ note that Merrilee Rush, who sang “Angel of the Morning,” was “quite a looker.” Google image search  lead to the wikipage, which lead to the page for the fellow who wrote the song. Thing learned:

The man who wrote “Wild Thing” for the Troggs is Angelina Jolie’s uncle.

I mentioned the Cruisin’ series years ago; the producers wanted to recreate driving around on a Saturday night listening to the radio, so the disks included the show themes, commercials, and general patter from some of the best personalities of the era. 1957 was my favorite, thanks to Joe Niagara. Here’s an on-air ad for Gilette. The man had almost Shatneresque punctuation:


I got those discs around the time (G)Nat was born. In between then and now, Niagara died: four years ago last Wednesday. As he said in his show intro: he put down a wailin’ pound of sound.

The Cruisin’ series, incidentally was released in 1970 – which meant 13 years between the original broadcast and the record’s debut, and 38 years between now and then. The distance between now and then seems half the distance between ’57 and ’70. It’s not just my own subjective perspective – not entirely, anyway. I think we can recognize 1970 easier than 1970 could recognize 1958. If you showed a kid a movie about 1995, they’d laugh at the hair and the big primitive computers with slow modems, but the culture would be recognizable. There was a reason people in the early 70s romanticized the 50s, but at the risk of making the usual fool of myself with platitudes and banal generalizations, I’ll leave it there.

Outside today we were chatting with a guy from the first floor; he wore a shirt that had a picture of a leering cartoon wolf, and the words WOLFIE’S DINER. I thought it was Tex Avery’s character, but it was actually a Disney shirt. They borrowed the lascivious aspect from Tex Avery’s Red-Riding-Hood-ogling Wolf and grafted it on their Wolf from the Three Little Pigs shorts. This led to a discussion about Walter Lanz, and the fellow made a few assertions I couldn’t quite believe. Checked his wikipedia page. Learned that he worked on an animated version  . . . of this.

And here’s some.

Here’s some more. Givney appears, but does not flip.


Things you learn: what passes for Art at the Royal Academy these days. In the old repressed days when people would dash bleach in their eyes if they saw a painting of a woman’s ankles, art was merely a means to enforce the ideological hegemony of the ruling class. Thank God that’s over with, and we can get down to the serious, life-enriching business of putting up giant paintings of a woman having sex with a zebra.

Things you might not have suspected: The DFL should have known Al Franken said some naughty things. I think they were unaware of his writings and utterances because like many people, they haven't paid attention to anything he did since he appeared on SNL. They can quote two lines - 'It's the Al Franken Decade," and "I'm good enough and smart enough and goldang it people like me" and everyone grins, even though neither line is actually funny. But he called Rush Limbaugh a big fat idiot, and piercing wit like that will buy you lots of good will.

In Minneapolis / St. Paul mag’s website, my friend Adam Platt - an eminently smart and reasosable fellowwith whom I enjoy vivacious conversations over steaks at Mortons once a year (it's part of my deal with the magazine - a stipend for the monthly matchbook feature, and an annual expense-account meatfest) blogs about Al Franken's recent troubles with DFL poobahs who frown on his "edgy" writings.

"But it’s silly hypocrisy of the highest order, pandering to who-knows-what constituency really, for the DFL to smack Franken when they knew exactly what they were getting in him. A liberal should have a liberal sensibility, no?

I’m not sure whether Franken’s “controversial” writings are liberal; they’re just puerile and juvenile and giggity-giggity, and Adam seems to be defining liberalism down by equating Al’s hardy-har riffs on robot sex and the disinclination of his wife to perform particular acts with a particular political philosophy. Jokey libertine humor is an unmistakable sign of a progressive disposition? Tell that to the coordinators of the mandatory corporate diversity training sessions. It's evidence of the Inevitable Drift: you start by hacking away at the Cotton Mathers and the rest of the prudes who can't take anything with a Rabelasian whiff, and eventually you're defending sophomoric drivel because you don't want anyone to suspect you've joined the Anti-Sex League. Well, it may be a bit raw, but what really worries me are the people who find it questionable for the wrong reasons. (Note: I'm not characterizing Adam's position here, but rather describing the thoughts of my old useful friend, Handy McStrawman.)

Disclosure: this website has been in Playboy. I have no problem with Playboy. I won’t vote for Franken because I don’t vote for millionaires who want to raise my taxes, and because he was a miserable jerk when I tried to make conversation while we were standing in line for hot dogs at the Democratic convention in ’96.  I noted that we had the same agent, whaddya know, and I thanked him for selling lots of books and making it possible for our agent to carry low-sellers like me. He looked at me as though I’d shat on his shoe and turned around without saying a word. Helluva guy.

What was the phrase? The personal is the political? Well, there you go.

Things you learn: do-it-yourself fan films are much better than you might think. In my day, kids wrote comic books to tell stories the real comic books didn’t. Nowadays, they make movies. Your HOLY COW moment should come about two and a half minutes in. It’s old, and I’m sure people who spend half the day on YouTube have seen it, but if not, here you go.

See you at buzz.mn for the first year anniversary edition. Have a grand weekend!