My new downstairs neighbor has evidently just purchased himself a new stereo, and judging from the booming bass notes currently jabbing their way through our floor and funkily fisting us, he appears eager to inform everyone within a 12 mile radius of this uninteresting fact.  This would be more aggravating if he were blaring, say…I don’t know.  I don’t know what loud bands are currently in vogue.  Wow, I have no idea.  I was going to say Slipknot.  I believe Slipknot have not been anywhere near anything approaching a limelight since 1997.  Is loud music still being recorded?  Korn, anyone?  No?  Anyway, in the past hour or so he has treated us to deafening broadcasts of “A Horse With No Name”, “Time After Time”, and “Say You Say Me”.  I don’t know whether to laugh or relocate.  Guy knows how to party.   Right now I find his otherwise benign presence just aggravating enough that I sense that I may soon be mentally thanking him for acting as the impetus to leave the arguable comforts/inarguable thrift of this unremarkable little apartment for at least somewhat greener pastures, perhaps a modest-sized house in a quiet town that smells less like boiled dinner, and that we can afford without having to sell all of our beloved electronics or fellate retired millworkers for pocket change.  I love this cheap little dump, but like the man said, we need a place for our stuff.  At any rate, our new neighbor’s only real missives thus far are smoking smellily outside of our window, blaring the soft hits of the 70’s 80’s and today, and having loud, incomprehensible conversations with friends and passerby, which are kind of fun to eavesdrop on but surprisingly difficult to follow along with.  It doesn’t help that the neighbors he replaced were kind enough to rarely be home, so his constant vocal and olfactory presence suffers mightily by comparison.

As is often the case, I have nothing pressing to share with anyone; just felt like it had been awhile.  It’s extremely hot in this neck of the woods of late, which renders yours truly even more listless than normal.  Now that it no longer heralds a three-month period of blissful if sweltering inactivity, I have very little use for summer and look forward to the three quadrants of the year that don’t find me sprawled in front of an inadequate fan, sun-stunned and sopping with unearned perspiration.  Is there anywhere that’s autumn all the time?  I get as sick of people complaining about the weather as the next guy, so that’s more than enough of this nonsense, but I’m hotter than a hoot n’poot is all I’m trying to get across.  Thank the good Lawd for pink lemonade.  I am busily funneling it into every pore and orifice in the hopes of eventually being able to subsist entirely on fruity sweat.  I’m tired of having to exchange money for flavorful drinks.  It’s time to live off the fat of the land, or, failing that, it’s time to suckle an off-putting amalgam of artificial citrus and dissolved chlorides out of my forearm.

Anything else I can bitch fruitlessly and entertainmentlessly about?  I think that’s all I got.  Shoot, I got a new John Prine DVD to watch, a fresh paycheck trembling in my bank account just itching to be blown on what my father would call “riotous living”, and a nearly full 2-liter bottle of pink lemonade to deplete, not to mention a darling spouse on the couch opposite who allows me the luxury of championing all that is boring and frivilous in the world and a relatively new pair of sweat shorts that can proudly lay claim to being the finest summertime pajamas it has ever been my pleasure to clad my genitals and buttocks with.  I got it made in the shade, were there in fact shade.  I got it made in the ceaseless stultifying radiation.  I got it beat in the heat; how’s that, then?  I can’t carp too much, or oughtn’t.

If you like vodka and you don’t mind and perhaps welcome a quick-to-judge cashier thinking you’re Liberace in a pink tutu and a George Michael tee-shirt with a penis in your ass, you should try Smirnoff Passion Fruit flavored vodka, or perhaps a more expensive and well-made variation thereof put out by a more reputable company if you’re one of them uppity money-havers.  I for one was surprised, as I have long turned to the Smirnoff line of vodkas on the numerous occasions where I have not wanted or been able to cough up for Ketel One but can’t bring myself to stoop (literally) to Popov or Five O’Clock or any number of brands of substandard, medicinally delicious swill, but I’ve never been one to cry “Merciful heavens, this Smirnoff is at once ambrosial and thirst-quenching!  Pour all of it into my mouth at once!”  Smirnoff is decent bee-minus hooch; will neither rock your world nor ruin your evening; the Mary Higgins Clark of vodka.  Wanting to drink a few nights ago but not wanting the usual, I opted for the unknown and risked a foofy fifth of Smirnoff Passion Fruit vodka, came home and half-and-halfed it with my old friend pink lemonade, and was more than pleased at the agreeable fusion.  If you like pink lemonade and unmanly tipsiness, you’ll find the above concoction to be time and money well spent.  I’m finding that to be the case this very minute, as a fatter of mact!  Hic!  Working on a second-rate Foster Brooks routine; how ya likin’ it so far?


– Who he is.

– He gave up drinking in 1964 to win a ten-dollar bet.

– He did not become famous until the age of 57, living (well, dead actually) proof that one needn’t hurry anything.

Speaking of Foster Brooks and others of his era and ilk, we’ve been deriving a considerable amount of enjoyment these days watching episodes of “The Dean Martin Show”, which my wife was smart enough to purchase directly from Guthy-Renker in commemoration of our 2nd anniversary.  Low-rent comedy has fast, through no conscious planning or intent on our part, become a staple of our anniversary rituals.  For our first anniversary we went to see “Step Brothers” in the theater; for our second we got “Cops and Robbersons” from our local library and viewed it at home.  Wow, seeing that in print makes it seem a lot sadder.  Anyway!  Now we have ten DVDs chockablock with slapdash skits, woozily crooned numbers fresh from the mothballs, and more harmlessly rambunctious yuksters from a bygone era than you can shake a stick at.  Such timeworn icons as Jimmy Stewart, Bob Newhart, Dom Deluise, Lucille Ball, Orson Welles, Victor Borge, Ruth Buzzi…the list goes on and on.  Furthermore, it would seem that every couple of months we’ll get a new one in the mail, which we can keep or send back or more likely misplace or forget we have it and buy it whether we like it or not, just like the good old days of BMG and Columbia House.  It’s a throwback from several angles, that much is certain.  As is to be expected and hoped for, there’s plenty of Rat Pack action on display.  Just watch these natty professionals swing on this snappy tune!

Ring a ding dang barnacle doodilybop jubblycats!  That’s how you do it!  I love this clip and these guys.  Snappin’ away in their suits, with the good-natured ribbing and spot-on harmonies most of us couldn’t find with a floodlight but they can belt out in their sleep.  I know you’re always hearing about how cool Frank and Dean and those guys were, but dammit!  Look at them!  So relaxed, effortless, funny, eager to entertain but not letting you see them sweat.

Here’s another one I like from the Dean Martin Show with Jimmy Stewart showcasing his cache of piss-poor impersonations:

Well, now that you got me posting videos here, let’s end it on a horribly depressing note with this clip of Jimmy S. reading a poem about his late dog, Beau, on the “Tonight Show” with good ol’ Johnny Carson.  It’s something you may have seen on a clip show or talk show retrospective of some sort on the Biography channel or whatever, but it’s worth revisiting.  Stewart’s poetry is as aw-shucks simplistic as you would imagine, with subject matter and a rhyme scheme that wouldn’t be out of place in a third grade classroom, but it’s remarkable how the air in the room changes as the poem progresses.  At the outset, it’s clear that the audience believes it’s being treated to a humorous little poem a la Shel Silverstein or Ogden Nash, but right around the 2:12 mark things start to get heavy.  An old man reading a poem about his dog…why yes, I’ve cried at this…

You’re unlikely to encounter this sort of thing on television anymore without the effect being marred by pretension or irony.  Say what you will about the Internet, but it’s keeping a lot of the good stuff alive.

Fare thee well.


10 Responses to “CRAPPIN’ ONE OUT”

  1. i’m delighted that you posted the beau poem… i had a rough experience with that last fall when ben and i got old episodes of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson from netflix. we were building a jigsaw puzzle one evening, this playing in the background, and suddenly the poem did that turn and i burst into tears. does his voice have to waver like that?!?! and be so matter of fact? man, that’s got to be one of the finest moments in television.

  2. Yeah, I cry every single damn time I watch it, and in fact got teary-eyed in the car even thinking about it. I can barely look at the freeze frame of his face on the stationary YouTube screen with the play button on it. It’s handy to have access to this clip if you want to experience the refreshment of the post-cry sensations but you’re not sad about anything. I also get upset that he refers to himself as “the old one” and at the part where he says they’re “early to bedders” at their house….must stop…can’t cry at work….must stop…

  3. If I remember correctly from looking at brochures when I was 17, it’s always Autumn at college campuses. Plus, everything’s made of brick, and it’s always that time in the afternoon when a golden sunlight hits everything and everyone just perfectly. You can grow a beard and no one will think anything of it.

  4. I wholeheartedly love laidback 50s and 60s comedy. So much comedy today seems forced and screamy, and these guys were just so effortlessly funny and clever. I’m sad that my son will most likely grow up thinking of Victor Borge as some old guy with a piano, in the event that he thinks of him at all.

  5. “Is there anywhere that’s autumn all the time?”
    No, indeed there is not. Believe me; I have searched. And tried to live there. This veritable paradise does not exist except in the minds and hearts of all those who sweat continuously from June ’til September. Let us pause and weep into our handkerchiefs as we ponder this.

  6. That is a very fine poem! I’m proud of him – he really toyed with me.

  7. Indeed, it’s really a folksy form of rape.

  8. Furthermore, I didn’t get into it in the course of the blog, but Johnny Carson is the man. Those old Carson DVDs Jenny mentions in the first comment are well worth ones time. What a classy, funny, odd man. I love the quick facial reaction he flashes the viewer after the poem; it’s barely a second but it’s the perfect response to what’s just been seen and heard, and he even gives Jimmy a very genuine and reassuring, even loving, pat on the back. That’s thanks for banking a big TV moment, but it’s also a friend comforting a friend. Johnny famously didn’t get too close to people – all part of his mystique, if he can be said to have one – but his combination of decency, poise, and timing is still unequalled in his medium.

  9. ballzoutdixie Says:

    Youtube Carson humiliating Uri Geller if you haven’t already. They should have stopped all those retarded late night shows when he retired (yes, even Letterman), nobodies got the good like Carson – agreed!

  10. Another thing that really struck me when watching those old Carson shows was how filthy and ribald everyone was then – not all in your face and obvious, but like that uncle who always brought you weird shit from flea markets and then later when you were out of the room – but not out of earshot! – told risque, good-natured dirty jokes to your parents… or whatever your cool uncle did, I guess. Anyway – what Bill said earlier, only imperceptibly different.

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