Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Welcome to Our Year of Repressive Desublimation

It's almost time for 2010, which, as you know, we have declared to be "The Year of Repressive Desublimation." Let's start things off early, with a little something from "I'm Learning to Share!" - the "blog" that's always way ahead of me. Here's a "post" about John Stanley, for example, whom we just mentioned the other day. This one is about a comic book called KOOKIE. As ILtS puts it, "It was one of many examples of the then-prevalent trend of co-opting the Beat movement into the mainsteam via wacky beatnik characters." Sounds like repressive desublimation to me! On the other hand, the beatniks are pictured - spoiler alert! - strolling to someone's house, which is burning down, to roast marshmallows in the white-hot embers. Now, as you may recall, the New York Times says that repressive desublimation "reroutes unruly and rebellious instinctual energies into politically harmless sybaritic indulgence, escapist entertainment and spiritual delusion." But it seems to me that KOOKIE may be a harrowing pathological critique rather than a defanging through slyly superficial appropriation - if anything, it makes me afraid of beatniks. They don't seem "harmless"! They want to roast marshmallows over my home's smoldering remains!

Thought Experiment

I have been imagining everyone I know, including myself, wearing a Goober or Jughead hat, and WE ALL LOOK GREAT! Now you try it. Your results will be the same.

I Really Mean It This Time

I was goofing around on "I'm Learning to Share!" "web" site, which is all I plan to do for the rest of my life, when I came across a great picture of a monkey. I will show it to you in a minute. But I have to say, I really mean it: it is time to stop adding illustrations to my computer or it will certainly blow up, if my understanding of computers is correct. Enjoy the monkey. It will be your last. And it comes equipped with a fitting motto for the "blog," a little something to think about with the holiday upon us. So in the coming year, I promise there will be no more new illustrations, only old ones chosen strictly at random from the already existent files. Now get off my back! And happy new year.

I'm a Sad Piker

I got my Jughead hat information from a "web" site called "I'm Learning to Share!" (Exclamation point theirs for a change.) Folks, this "web" site makes me sick - with envy, that is! Everything I have "blogged" about, this person has "blogged" about, and better. Yes, "I'm Learning to Share" even goes down cultural paths I never dared imagine. Take the "post" called "Not enough people are talking about Judy Canova." Judy Canova! Judy Canova? It has everything you might want to know about Judy Canova, including a "link" to a record of hers called "Bananas Ain't Got No Bonies" (!) and a photograph of her with Captain Marvel (pictured). I hate to admit I had no idea who Judy Canova was. Her name was vaguely familiar. And she has a kind of Martha Raye thing going on. But don't take it from me. I use the Judy Canova "post" merely as a jumping off point. Dig down for yourself and see what you find. Everything, probably.

Goober In a Void

I am sure that like me you tossed and turned all night, thinking about the man who gave George "Goober" Lindsey a comic book - yes, a comic book that called the very meaning of Goober's life into question! If you will recall, it contained a character named Goober, who wore a hat like Goober's, yet this comic book predated Mr. Lindsey's characterization, and Mr. Lindsey knew nothing of it. I imagine that Goober's world fell out from under him as he gazed on the doppelgänger that made a mockery of everything tangible in this dismal existence. (The man writes in his "mailing list thread," with a touch of conspiratorial paranoia, "this could hardly be a coincidence," but I disagree! I fear it was a cruel cosmic joke.) Goober probably had a lot of troubling thoughts when he saw that comic book, thoughts like, "My life has been a lie!" Like, "Strip me of my nickname and trademark hat, and what am I?" Like, "At the end of the day, who am I, really? For the love of God, WHO AM I?" That's what Goober probably thought. Then I imagine he couldn't stop sobbing. "Double Trouble" indeed!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The "Internet" Never Stops!

I don't understand what this "web" site is exactly, but on it I find a note about that comic book about a kid named Goober who wears a hat like Goober's but apparently has nothing to do with the Goober we all know and love. Says some guy, "Double Trouble with Goober was a short-lived comic book from the early 1950s. It was about a little boy who got into mischief, and it was obviously inspired by Dennis the Menace... A number of years ago I gave one of these comic books to George Lindsey, and he said he'd never heard of it."

I Love You, "Internet"

Hey! Thanks to the "internet" I found an extensive history of the Jughead/Goober hat!

Pendarvis Predicts! 2010 Edition

Look for those hats that Goober and Jughead wear to come back into style. (Below: Is this the same Goober? He's wearing the same hat! I'm confused. Happily so!)

The Good Wife

I like that TV program THE GOOD WIFE and I don't care who knows it. Usually a guest star or supporting character has a problem, which the good wife fixes. But sometimes people forget that the good wife has problems of her own!

Monday, December 28, 2009


More news from the rat front. Caroline reports that her niece received a pet rat named Tallulah for Christmas. Tallulah rides around in the "faux fur hood" of the niece's coat. It just goes to prove what I always say: People love rats.

"Blog" "Clogging" "Classic"

Thinking about Caroline and the time she saw a rat skillfully bounce off a hubcap, I was led back to an old "classic" from the early days of the "blog" - this rumination on "clogging."

Putting the "Why?" in Wyoming

Anonymous "Blog" Buddy Informant J2 has come through with a response to our recent request for stories about the very few states of the United States not yet mentioned on the "blog." Warning! It is a grim story (hence the plaintive "Why?" in the title of this "post")! While such a tale is not entirely alien to the "blog," it is rare, given our routinely - some might say "desperately" - cheery frame of mind. Okay! You have been warned. And now, a "tale of Wyoming," as she calls it, courtesy of Informant J2: "I was participating in a family vacation to Yellowstone. My dad ran over an osprey. Actually, the osprey flew into the windshield of our moving vehicle. The bird's wingspan spread across the length of the windshield, its body pausing there a moment before tumbling over the top of the car and out of sight. It was nighttime and very dark; neither party saw it coming. After we stopped screaming, my mother said it was lucky the osprey didn't crack the windshield. The next day we went to some type of nature house where they had on display an estimated tally of all the wildlife killed by park visitors so far that year. I think the ospreys were around 20, so it's not like we were the only ones to ever do this. Also, ospreys have been evaluated as 'Least Concern' by the IUCN Red List, so its not even an endangered animal. Not that that makes it any better, but you learn to repeat these things to yourself post-osprey execution." Six states to go! Informant J2 has done her part. The rest of you get cracking.

"Chick" Hedrick

So far, McNeil's favorite old-time Atlanta nightclub ad boasts that the Copa Caprice has been "redecorated with flameproof asbestos draperies." It's one of Danny Demetry's Air Conditioned Fun Spots! Be sure to ask for manager "Chick" Hedrick. Quotation marks theirs for a change.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Speaking of old-time Atlanta nightclubs brought to you by "Atlanta Time Machine," take a gander at this detail from a 1953 newspaper ad!

I Hope You Like Supplemental Commentary!

I forgot! In my recent supplemental commentary on this year's "blog" advent calendar, I should have mentioned #16 (the song "Ooey Gooey") and #20 (in which you are exhorted to PUT A GREEN LIGHT AT YOUR HOUSE). Both of those come from "web" sites that were (and remain) rich with "blog" advent calendar potential, and now that the "blog" advent calendar has come to its conclusion (for now), you are free to explore them for yourself. Let me get you started. The former comes from the same "web" site as the Porter Wagoner story recently brought to our attention by Kelly Hogan. It's called Atlanta Time Machine. On it, you can find tons of ads for Atlanta nightclubs of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, a scale model of the White House in Atlanta, interesting and exotic 45s of Atlantan provenance (that's where "Ooey Gooey" came from), and much, much more. Next, the guy who wants you to put a green light at your house, one in a long line whose beliefs and practices the "blog" neither understands nor endorses. He can also explain what's inside your body and where your secret twin lives. For starters.

The Candy Bar That Makes Idaho Famous

I have just noticed that with our mention of the Idaho Spud candy bar (as you can see from the wrapper in the previously "linked" photo, it is "The Candy Bar That Makes Idaho Famous" and is "manufactured by Idaho Candy Co."), all but seven states in the United States of America have been mentioned on the "blog." Do you have a story about one of the seven not yet mentioned? Then why not send it to me? Maybe one day I will have mentioned all 50 states on the "blog," and it will be thanks to good people like you. (As you can see, my New Year's resolution is to go back to the old "random picture rule" of "blog" illustration and never mention it again.)


There was so much I wanted to say about our various "blog" advent calendar pages for this year, but I could say nothing, because to comment on the "blog" advent calendar is to ruin the surprise of it, and the surprise is the whole point. But now that it's all out in the open, I will try to think back on some of the fascinating elaborations I wished to make, identifying each calendar page by its assigned number like so: 6. I love that woman's name, Violet Tweedale. If you were making up a fictional character who had written a book called GHOSTS I HAVE SEEN, her name would be Violet Tweedale. 8. I went through several versions of "Mr. Sandman" before settling on this one. I will "post" the runner-up below. One thing I've noticed about youtube: if you are an amateur singer having fun, watch out! Other amateur singers, or self-appointed experts on amateur singing, love to make derogatory ("constructive") comments about you on the youtube. The innocent young ladies below were chided, "You sing this WAY TOO FAST! You take the charm out of the song." But they got off really easy compared to Sunday school children's choirs singing Christmas carols. One reason I didn't include any children's choirs this year is that you would not believe the amount of trash talk that goes on about out-of-tune children's choirs on youtube. There is hardly anything I enjoy more than a good, sincere out-of-tune Christmas carol, heartily sung, but no one on the youtube agrees with me, and their bitter commentary prevented me from "linking" to many a heartfelt outburst of slightly damaged melody, lest you think I shared the corroded outlook of youtube's jaded sentinels of pitch. 9. My favorite part of the Hawaiian Punch FAQ is "Punchy has been revamped with contemporary fashion and music to appeal to modern consumers. He still has the punch! ... The long-time spokesman for Hawaiian Punch was given a more contemporary look that appeals to teens." 11. Oh brother! What can I say? This one came from a real treasure trove. This guy's "photostream" of old wrappers is the best thing on the "internet." It was hard to choose just one for the advent calendar. Here was a runner-up: The Idaho Spud candy bar. Another close contender was the seasonally appropriate and somehow creepy Santa Pop wrapper pictured above. I also found Phil's beef jerky thanks to this same amazing archive of food packaging. Why not spend hours enjoying it? I did! 12. I've always wanted to draw your attention to the great LITTLE LULU comic books of John Stanley. But somehow I restrained myself because they appear - spoiler alert! - in the climactic scene of my "forthcoming" (?) detective novel SHUT UP, UGLY (don't most detective novels end with Little Lulu references? I think that's standard), and I didn't want to dilute the thrills you would get finding that out for yourself when you read the book. But I turned that manuscript in over a year and a half ago (I have already had to change a Heath Ledger reference to a Joaquin Phoenix reference to a Zac Efron reference), and the book was supposed to come out last August, and was even reviewed a couple of times, but my publisher has been having problems that no one will explain to me, so who knows if and when the book will ever appear? Not me! So I finally gave up and mentioned LITTLE LULU precipitously, because otherwise you might never hear of John Stanley and learn to appreciate him in the proper way. You're welcome!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009

"Blog" Advent Calendar for Dec. 25, 2009

You know what time it is. Time for the culmination of the "blog" advent calendar, when every year it unfurls in its glory or something. "Click" here if you need a refresher course on how that works. Or just take this walk down memory lane with me right now. Our story so far: 1. The musical question, "Isn't it groovy in a daydream?" 2. The bubble organ. 3. Extraordinary experiences of Tesla. 4. Benjamin Franklin gives you some advice. 5. Kitten paintings. 6. A whole book! GHOSTS I HAVE SEEN by Violet Tweedale. 7. A robot that sweats! 8. "Mr. Sandman" in a moving car. 9. The Hawaiian Punch FAQ. 10. Joan Sawyer's new dance creation "The Aeroplane Waltz." 11. Win a real live pony (or a horse if you prefer). 12. About Little Lulu. 13. Instructions for making a bed of nails. 14. A couple of kids perform the "Safety Dance." 15. A woman dances in 1898. 16. "Ooey Gooey." 17. Squirrel plays harmonica. 18. Elevator shoes. 19. The Billy Strayhorn composition "Lotus Blossom." 20. PUT A GREEN LIGHT AT YOUR HOUSE. 21. A "hippie band" - in miniature bottle form, that is! 22. The bugle calls you need to know before you can earn your bugling merit badge. 23. A survey for tree farmers from Tree Farmer magazine. 24. Moon Woman "lays eggs, and sits on them, hatching giants" (!). And now, what will your 25th and ultimate surprise be? Will it be a match for last year's monumental William Blake archives? Probably not! Maybe it will go in the other direction, something small and subtle. Who knows? As always, there is but one way to find out!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Barbecue I Forgot

Hey, remember when Kent and I worked on that movie that never got made? Well, because of that I had to join the WGA, and because of THAT I now get home screeners of big-time Hollywood movies every year. One of them this year was UP IN THE AIR. Theresa and I were just watching it. One character wanted a barbecue recommendation in Atlanta and another character said, "Fat Matt's." Well, Theresa and I looked at one another all of a sudden with wide eyes, because it was a weirdly accurate movie reference! Most movie references are not accurate, weirdly or otherwise. In fact, I have never before seen an accurate reference to anything in a movie. But Fat Matt's is actually a good suggestion. Barry B. and I used to eat there for lunch all the time in our kids' show days. Mostly for lunch we would skip the barbecue and go for the fried chicken at their annex next door, Fat Matt's Chicken Shack. Another good barbecue place was Daddy D'z. Caroline and I would eat lunch there and walk around the adjacent cemetery. Some things, I miss!

"Blog" Advent Calendar for Dec. 24, 2009

Discovering your daily surprise is a fun holiday activity for one and all!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Maybe playing English horns on an escalator! Ha ha ha! My whimsy is delicious! Wheeeeeeee!


Speaking of youtube, remember the guys playing their bassoons in an elevator? I wonder where they are today!

Waiting for Stang

Came the message from McNeil: "I'm going to look up everything I can on 'Broadside', the short-lived sitcom mentioned in Stang's obit." Minutes later - minutes! - McNeil had provided a place where you can listen to the BROADSIDE theme song AND a means to watch an excruciatingly long clip from the pilot episode. O "internet," your bounty is indeed endless. Remember when Andy Hopkins promised us - and delivered - the longest two minutes and twenty-two seconds of our lives? Thanks to McNeil's clip, I have just endured the longest six minutes and thirty-one seconds of mine. Why not enjoy another youtube clip instead? How about this one? It's short! I watched all six-and-a-half minutes of the other one because I was waiting for Arnold Stang to show up. He never did. If you do want to watch the end of the BROADSIDE pilot for some reason (and you don't), do it now, because the scary thing about youtube clips is that you never know when "the man" is going to take them away from you for something called "terms of use violations." McNeil favors clips like this one, which you would think "the man" has forgotten about. Is it still there? I don't know! Because "the man" never forgets! I don't suppose I will be too upset if "the man" reclaims BROADSIDE. Perhaps it seemed so tedious to me because I was keeping my eyes peeled for a Stang who never arrived. I thought at first that McNeil's Stang research had yielded no Stang. Finally I realized that he was doing BROADSIDE research, not Stang research. I didn't feel any better about anything.

"Blog" Advent Calendar for Dec. 23, 2009

Your daily surprise.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"Blog"trospective 8: Stang, Arnold

With the recent passing of Arnold Stang, perhaps an addition to our series of "blog"trospectives, accounting for every time that Mr. Stang has been mentioned on the "blog," will serve as some small tribute. Stang, Arnold - absolute best information on---as epitome of a "kindly old gentleman"---as unlikely point of reference---as voice of Popeye's pal Shorty---as voice of Super Pac-Man---birthday of---"blog's" repeated use of same picture of begins to weary Dr. "M."---book club potentially named for---BROADSIDE (TV show)---Brown, Dan spots surname of at Super Bowl---Callas, Charlie joins ranks of---CANNIBAL GIRLS and---cocktails renamed in honor of---THE COLOR OF STANG---connection with causes rise in McNeil's awe of Phil---could make you a nice Denver omelet---crazy person resembles---death of---difficulty of introducing slang word named after---FBIL researches slang usages of surname of---hanging out with Fess Parker and Peter Lorre---head of tacked to Phil's wall---HELLO DOWN THERE (film)---HERCULES IN NEW YORK (film)---hot dogs of---illustrating a "post" about wild turkeys---imagined in a velvet suit---improper usage of slang word named after---in the membrane---interviewed by a young Mr. Ward for school newspaper---invention of slang word named after---IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD (film)---ka-stang (variation on slang term)---Lewis, Jerry does not mention---MAD MEN and---THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM (film)---Miller, Roger mentions---Miller, Roger mentions (time code correction)---Mount Stangmore---Netherlands "web" site bearing name of---not in a video clip---not to be confused with a mustang---nowhere in the index of THE CITY IN HISTORY by Lewis Mumford---"One Year Ago" in history of---once again, he's in HELLO DOWN THERE---Oppenheim, Phil and---persistence of as object of contemplation---Phil takes picture of from television screen---Phil's mother dated---photograph of favored---physiognomy of---possibly endorses Truman for president through the medium of song---prediction of use of slang based on surname of on THE WIRE---Preminger, Otto harasses---Robinson, Edward G., on same "web" site as---SECOND FIDDLE TO A STEEL GUITAR (film)---slang word named after popularized in California---slang word named after rises to number three spot in "urban dictionary"---song I like to pretend is about---sorghum and---"Soulstang"---Sparrow (character played by)---"Stang Me Up"---Stangsgiving (holiday)---Stevens, Wilkins, Newdow and---Sturm Und Stang Book Club---Sunshine Kids and---surname of appears in CSI: NEW YORK---surname of appears in sandwich "blog"trospective---surname of on real estate sign---Swedish word similar to surname of---Verdell introduces slang word named after to "urban dictionary"---Verdell reminds everyone about slang word named after---Winchell, Walter threatens to supersede position of on "blog"---winery of Fess Parker and---your daily. Don't forget to check out the seven others in our famous series of "blog"trospectives: TOM FRANKLIN---PHIL OPPENHEIM---MOVIES---THE MOON---SANDWICHES---THE UNITED STATES---THE BEACH BOYS.

"Blog" Advent Calendar for Dec. 22, 2009

Only a few more days left.

Stang Day Plans

Tonight, Kelly Hogan is making sidecars for all her friends and renaming them "Stangs." How will YOU celebrate the life of Arnold Stang?

Goodbye, Arnold Stang

I am sad to say that "Blog" Icon Arnold Stang has passed away. His wife, to whom he was married for 60 years, is still around, and is quoted a number of times in the obituary. In a parenthetical statement, the New York Times tells us that Wally Cox was a "skilled goldsmith" and made the wedding rings for the couple. Who knew? I hope you will read the article. It covers a lot of his great performances we have talked about on the "blog," so maybe it will encourage you to rent an Arnold Stang movie. I hope so! Go back and read the great Stang profiles on the WFMU "blog" too. Do it for Arnold Stang! We love you, Arnold Stang!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Resurgence of the Velvet Inventory

Remember how we used to count everybody we saw wearing a velvet suit or velvet jacket? It's not over! Not as long as there is velvet to be inventoried. The NBIL has just spotted Smokey Robinson on TV in a green velvet jacket. "It matched his eyes," the NBIL observed. Mr. Robinson now joins Charlton Heston and Katt Williams in our subcategory of people who seem to prefer their velvet on the green side. What the heck, it's the holidays. I'm going to forget the "random picture rule" and find a new one for you of somebody wearing a velvet suit or something.

"Blog" Advent Calendar for Dec. 21, 2009

Simply "click" for today's revelation.

Hogan Responds

In response to yesterday's irresistible "clip," here's an equally great one specially selected by Kelly Hogan:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Barry B.'s Movie Korner

The intervals between new editions of McNeil's Movie Korner seem to be getting longer and longer. While we're waiting, here's a review hot off the wire from Barry B.: "I just watched Tommy. Have you seen that in a while? It's really a very strange movie. Everybody really overacts or underacts. They're all pretty great but it's just bizarre. Roger Daltry looks all wooden and glassy eyed (even when he's supposed to be normal). Eric Clapton looks like he's about to go to sleep. Oliver Reed is all sleazy looking and great but his singing is pretty awful. Keith Moon is really funny and out of control. Nothing he's ever doing seems to sync up to whatever music is playing. I think he should have been in Monty Python. The editing is pretty weird and choppy. At one point some violence is breaking out between a couple of motorcycle gangs and Tommy hang glides down and everybody starts flapping their arms like chickens, then some rockabilly looking guys are playing slot machines and Tommy hang glides down and they start dancing real crazy."

Couldn't Wait

I was saving this for tomorrow's advent calendar entry, but why wait?

LiterJerry Matters

Everyone who has read our regular feature on the subject knows how horrible "Literary Matters" are, and how I occasionally attempt to soften and disguise their horrible nature by calling them "LiterJerry Matters" and making sure that most of them in a particular "post" are about the more palatable subject of Jerry Lewis and his relationship to literature. Today's "LiterJerry Matters" are even more palatable than usual, and there are just three of them, so relax. 1) First, I was wrong the other day when I stated flat out that Leslie Caron's autobiography contains no references to Jerry Lewis! I went back to Square Books and checked, just as I promised, and there are a couple in Chapter 20. Ms. Caron testifies that Jerry "had the whole town laughing" for the five days that FUNNY BONES shot in Blackpool, England. She also refers to the "teddy bear ingenuity" (whatever that is!) of Oliver Platt. 2) I thoroughly enjoyed Chris Fujiwara's new book JERRY LEWIS, which is from the University of Illinois Press "Contemporary Film Directors" series. I have been afraid to tell you how much I enjoyed it because I received a free advance copy from the publisher, and now the government demands to be informed of such things! I am scared of the government! But I understand their point. I never receive free copies of books from publishers. This was a real novelty to me. Well, I take that back. For some reason (maybe just because I live in Oxford, MS) I recently received, out of nowhere, a free copy of a book called WILLIAM FAULKNER AND THE SOUTHERN LANDSCAPE. I never cracked it open, so I can't tell you if it's any good. But it's a hardcover, so I put it on the shelf to make visitors think I'm smart. So those are the two free books I have ever received from publishers. Okay, government? Back to Fujiwara: the second part of the book is comprised of a masterful interview with Jerry Lewis, the best I have ever read, in that Fujiwara gets him to open up on the subject of technique, something he often seems unwilling to discuss in depth. In the first part of the book, Fujiwara brilliantly analyzes (among other subjects) the way Lewis plays with concepts of space and time in the cinematic frame. (He even uses a term - "Lewisian space" - we have used on the "blog," though to very different ends; all I'm really talking about is colorful couch pillows, while Fujiwara writes incisively about the way "Lewis's compartmentalized sets facilitate the discovery of inner narratives and secret worlds.") And here is one of my favorite parts: "Fairly long stretches of THE FAMILY JEWELS and HARDLY WORKING and, perhaps, nearly all of ONE MORE TIME are also lacking in humor. One of my premises is that Lewis's work creates an impure, shifting context within which such a lack need not be accounted a flaw." Somehow I find it touching! He is saving Jerry from people who don't find Jerry funny! "So what?" Fujiwara seems to say. I am simplifying. 3) Ace Atkins! I just read WICKED CITY by Ace Atkins. It is set in Alabama! And it is one of those books you can't stop reading at night even when you should be sleeping. It is one of those books that make you feel sad when you notice that the pages are running out, though at the same time you are racing through them like a fiend, desperate (and terrified) to discover what happens next! I see Ace around town all the time, and we often chat about our favorite subjects, which include FANTASY ISLAND, Shields and Yarnell, MAD MEN, Claudia Cardinale (pictured), and Megan Abbott. But why haven't I read his books before? Well, I have read one now and I am very glad. I don't have to tell the government about this, because I paid for Ace's book with my own money, and so what if he and I are friends? If I didn't love the book, I just wouldn't mention it. Okay, goodbye! These were possibly the least painful literary matters ever. But don't get your hopes up! Literary matters will probably remain on the whole just as unbearable as ever.

"Blog" Advent Calendar for Dec. 20, 2009

If you have forgotten what a "blog" advent calendar is, "clicking" here might help. If you know what it is and are ready to go for today, "click" here instead.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Phil to QT Kitchens: "Drop Dead!"

You know, we haven't had a good oatmeal "post" in a long time. But thanks to oatmeal lover Phil Oppenheim, we are back in business. It isn't the return of our erstwhile regular feature "Oatmeal Tips," because it isn't a tip, but it's a step in the right direction. Phil sent the following photo attachment with the email subject line "QT is dead to me":

"Blog" Advent Calendar for Dec. 19, 2009

What will it be?

Friday, December 18, 2009

McNeil Takes the Universe In Stride

McNeil is not very upset about the physical makeup of the universe as recently described in the New York Times. In fact, he seems okay with it. On the subject of my concerns he had this advice, and I quote: "It's the universe you're stuck with! Like it or lump it!" As you may recall, the New York Times leaves one percent of the universe unaccounted for. When I asked McNeil what that part was made of, he replied, "Gravel."

"Blog" Advent Calendar for Dec. 18, 2009

Here is today's selection.

Hot News From Chicago

Welcome to "Hot News From Chicago," which has just become our newest regular feature. Of course you recall the last time we received hot news from Chicago from our friend Judge. Well, folks, now she has more hot news from Chicago, via some graffiti she saw. She knows you probably can't read it. It says I DRANK 4 BEERS UP HERE. And that's the hot news from Chicago. See you next time there's more "Hot News From Chicago"!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Index Debacle

I was in Square Books indulging in my new pastime of checking the indexes of celebrity autobiographies I don't intend to buy for references to Jerry Lewis. So, Leslie Caron has a new book out, it seems, and I remembered that she was in FUNNY BONES with Mr. Lewis. But her book doesn't have an index! It seemed to be chronological, however, so I flipped to the 1980s. The chapter about the 1980s had some ominous title I can't recall, something like "The Eighties - Bad Times Indeed" (I'm paraphrasing, but that's close), and I was like, "Uh-oh! Watch your back, Jerry!" But flip and flip as I did through the chapter - indeed, through the book - I could not find a single reference to Jerry. If only there had been an index! Indexes are great. Who doesn't enjoy a good index? (Our randomly selected illustration features neither Jerry Lewis nor Leslie Caron. I wish I didn't have to tell you, but times have come to this.) PS: FUNNY BONES came out in 1995! What is wrong with my brain? I think I checked the 90s, too, but don't worry! I will go back tomorrow and make sure! I care about you! So much!

4% Atoms!

Did you know the universe is only 4% atoms, and the rest is some freaky stuff you don't want to know about? I read it in the New York Times! Now I'm worried. This is not how things were explained to me as a child. They told me EVERYTHING was made of atoms! That's what they said! EVERYTHING! And that freaked me out, too, a little, but I wrapped my mind around it. And now this! Did you know that four percent is less than five percent? And FIVE PERCENT IS LIKE NOTHING! Like, if you had five percent of something, you'd say, "Where's the rest of it?" You'd be like, "This is a rip-off!" And that's five percent! But we're talking about four percent! I knew there was a reason I felt like this all the time! So, what's the rest of the universe? Well, I guess 25% is "dark matter" and 70% is "dark energy" and I don't like the sound of that one bit! I'm also very upset that one percent is left over, and who knows what THAT is? The New York Times doesn't say! They just kind of gloss over the MISSING ONE PERCENT OF THE UNIVERSE! I also get nervous when I read newspaper articles describing, and I quote, "the first faint hints of a ghostly sea of subatomic particles" discovered at the bottom of an ABANDONED IRON MINE IN MINNESOTA! It's too much like the beginning of a horror movie. I hope you don't mind, but I told McNeil about this first, because he worries about these things.

Milky Concordance

Informant J2 agrees that Brown Family Dairy Farm milk is the best ever. "And I met the cows," she adds. I'm jealous! I would like to find the cow who made the milk I drank and shake that cow's hand.


I had a great glass of milk the other day! I am not a milk drinker. But I was at the Honey Bee Bakery (recently written up in BON APPETIT magazine) here in Oxford, MS, ordering up one of their homemade Pop Tarts, when I saw milk from the local Brown Family Dairy on the menu. I remembered a great article that John T. Edge wrote for the Oxford American, all about the Brown Family Dairy (as in the son of Larry Brown!), so I thought I would throw caution to the wind and drink a glass of milk. It came in a little bottle! And when I opened the bottle, the milk wouldn't pour! Because the cream had risen to the top! So I had to (under Theresa's instruction) put the wrong end of my spoon into the small neck of the bottle and stir the cream around (the bottle was too full to shake up vigorously enough to suit me). Well, I want to tell you people, this milk gives milk a good name. I thought about that glass of milk all day! In related news, my aunt sent us a bunch of pecans from Alabama, and Theresa has made a pecan pie, so I went out and bought a half gallon of Brown Family milk. It looks like I may become a milk drinker at this late stage of life, all thanks to the Brown Family Dairy. What's that? You don't care? Then stop reading "blogs"! If you don't stop now, I will also tell you that Shannon - who both owns the Honey Bee and makes the things you eat there - was "the fireball dancer's roommate" described in a previous "post." And hey, if you drink some Brown Family milk, please be sure to return the bottle. They recycle the bottles, but people haven't been returning them. That puts them in a bind! If you want your good milk, you better return your bottle so there will be something to put it in! Otherwise, everything will be your fault. PS I can't find a "web" site for the Brown Family Dairy, or maybe I'm stupid, or maybe now I love them even more, which I realize makes me an unconscionable old crank, which is why the Lord made "blogs."

"Blog" Advent Calendar for Dec. 17, 2009

Today's advent calendar surprise ("click" here to reveal it) comes to us courtesy of Kelly Hogan, but it came to HER courtesy of Kathleen Judge. So much courtesy!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Reasonable Vacation

Kelly Hogan must have a lot of time on her hands these days! She sent a great "link" for you. I will quote the writer of the "link," who explains it very clearly: "In Aug. 2004, the Mrs. and I headed up to Nashville for a little fun and relaxation and while there we decided to do a little exploring to see if we could find the location used by Porter Wagoner for the brilliantly twisted cover photo of his 1966 RCA album The Cold Hard Facts of Life. Having been fascinated with the album cover for well over a decade, this seemed to me like a reasonable way to spend a little vacation time." To read the entire story, keep clicking "NEXT PORTER WAGONER PAGE" at the bottom of each page. The final page is somewhat bawdy, and really a coda, so if you dislike bawdiness, you can skip it without losing any of the story. I am tempted to use a new, non-random illustration (the likes of which I am trying to ban from the "blog" for environmental reasons), especially one of the "brilliantly twisted cover photo" in question, but why not be surprised and delighted when you "click" instead? Hey, look, it turned out to be an album cover anyway. Goodbye.

"Blog" Advent Calendar for Dec. 15, 2009

Every day a new surprise.

Monday, December 14, 2009

"Blog" Advent Calendar for Dec. 14, 2009

Presenting your daily surprise, courtesy of the third annual "blog" advent calendar.

How Hogan Got Her Stang Back

In this exciting true story, Kelly Hogan borrowed a copy of THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM from the library but it "fell under some laundry" and she forgot she had it. Then she got a note from library saying that the DVD was due back the next day. She found it and watched it, and was "bummed that there were no who-played-who credits at the end of the movie, as I wanted particularly to see who played Sparrow." Readers, she discovered that the man was none other than Arnold Stang, and thus enlightened, she "clicked" on a "Google Image" result to find out more about said Arnold Stang. Hold onto your hats, because that image led her here, to this very "blog"! Yes, my friends, the "blog" is becoming the world's great repository of Stang. Hogan, as she concluded in her message, had indeed been "Stanged."

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Kate Hudson Is Eugene

Hey, my late friend Eugene played the American journalist in the Fellini film 8 1/2, and I saw in the newspaper today that Kate Hudson is playing a journalist in the musical remake "9" which is coming out soon for some reason. And Kate Hudson is from the United States of America, right? So I think she is playing Eugene in the movie. Somebody tell me how to feel. Rather than the usual random illustration, I will give you an appropriate picture by "Blog" Buddy Kent Osborne, from his comic book THE DAY IS TODAY.

"Blog" Advent Calendar for Dec. 13, 2009

Today's surprise.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Barber's Little Joke

One of my undergrads turned in - as a supplement to her final paper - a couple of pages photocopied from the New York Herald of 1913. The headline pertinent to the class was "St. Louis Woman With Perfect Foot Wears a No. 2 1-2 Shoe" (don't ask) but what really got my attention was a brief, unrelated story printed in its entirety in the corner of that same page. I will type it up for you now. Please enjoy, bearing in mind that I have never learned to do "paragraph breaks" on the "blog," which accounts for any confusion you may experience: "FACES DEATH IN HANDS OF BARBER - Customer Causes the Arrest of Razor Wielder Thought To Be Insane or Affected by Drugs. - CHICAGO, Ill., Monday.- John Holm, a newspaper man, had one of the closest shaves of his life to-day. He was shaved by Perry E. Hall, a barber, who constantly discussed the ease with which he might cut Holm's throat. Holm, believing the man either insane or affected by drugs, jested with him until the shaving process was ended and then caused his arrest. 'It's a fine day,' Hall remarked as he lathered Holm. 'Yes,' answered Holm. 'And it's a fine edge I have on my razor to-day,' Hall said. He rested the razor on Holm's neck, and then remarked:- 'I could cut your throat without any trouble.' When the shave was finished Holm got a policeman. The barber will be in court to-morrow." The end. Now, do you think it's possible that the barber was making a joke and the newspaperman didn't have a sense of humor? That's it for the barber. But my student included a page from a few days later in 1913, the pertinent story being "With Tiny Feet in No. 1 AA Shoes New York Woman Defies St. Louis." Once again, my real interest lies elsewhere. The headline in the adjoining column screams "CHURCH TO TEACH HYGIENE OF SEX." But best of all is a story I wish I could read, though the bottom of the photocopy leaves off with just the headline and subhead... on second thought, maybe that's enough: ATHENS "RUBE" GIVES UP CONTEST WITH CITY WITS - Casey, Giant Farmer, Calls All Bets Off When He Is Placed on His Head and His Last Coins Are Shaken from His Pockets." The New York Herald from 1913 is my new favorite newspaper!

"Blog" Advent Calendar for Dec. 12, 2009

Every day something new from your humble advent calendar, because that's what an advent calendar is.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dragon P. I.

I just found a private investigator's business card on the sidewalk! His logo is a dragon!!!!! I was on my way to meet Tom Franklin, and I showed him the card, so he can testify in court if necessary that it is a real thing FOR REAL.

Don't Blame the Poor Aviatrix

There's a commercial that drives me insane and not in a good way. It has this image in it. But every time I try to write a "post" meticulously inventorying everything that is so very wrong about this horrible commercial (as I have quite a few times over the past few weeks), the insanity comes rushing to the foreground and I sound too obviously bitter, irritable and, yes, insane. It's not the aviatrix's fault! She is only doing her job. I suppose to balance things out I should talk about the commercial I like, wherein a cup of coffee and a coat hanger look sad and then a chair and an airplane look happy.


Hey, I was plinking around on the "internet" (from yesterday's "link" to the Hideout to the fact that Kelly Hogan is playing there tonight to the Bloodshot Records homepage, just "clicking" on "links"!) and I discovered that there are still some CDs for sale that Barry B. and I made back when we had that kids' show on TV in the days of yore. Please note, government: I don't get any money from those CDs, nor am I in league with the good people at Bloodshot Records about selling junk on the "internet." I just want people to be happy!

"Blog" Advent Calendar for Dec. 11, 2009

Every day a new surprise.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


What Phil actually wrote was the much subtler and funnier "Yeah? And your dirt." The "blog" regrets the error.

Both Points of View Are Valid

I know it confuses everyone that sometimes I use completely random pictures to illustrate these "posts" and sometimes I don't. It has also occurred to me that I am facing an uncaring void.

Ha Ha Ha! Wheeeeee!

I sent Phil an email titled "Your Jerky." It had a picture of some beef jerky named after him. He wrote back, "Oh, yeah? Your dirt!" Phil included a retaliatory photo. We were having some fun! We do carry on so with our hilarity and all. Hey, my dirt is inorganic, it says.


Chicago people: Don't forget the annual Hideout Christmas panto! I had nothing to do with it this year, so it should be great. It's on the 17th and 18th. "Click" the "clicker" for details.

I Couldn't Wait to Tell You

Hey, Larry King ran into Brad Pitt today! You can read all about it on twitter. I was going to save this for tomorrow's advent calendar page, but I didn't. Because it's too important!

"Blog" Advent Calendar for Dec. 10, 2009

What will it be?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Dan Brown UFO News Flash

"Blog" Buddy Dan Brown, whom you may remember from the time he ate Jack In the Box with Elliott Gould, sends news of a UFO over Norway: Look.

McNeil Did It

Look, McNeil made an iconic photograph with his camera phone:

"Blog" Advent Calendar for Dec. 9, 2009

If you can't remember how the "blog" advent calendar works, "click" here. If you just want to dive right in and reveal today's mysterious surprise, "click" here. It might be anything on the whole "internet"!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Monday, December 07, 2009

Sunday, December 06, 2009

"Blog" Advent Calendar for Dec. 6, 2009

Welcome to your "blog" advent calendar. No telling what today's exciting surprise will be!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Occasionally Beautiful Music

Hey! I just got my copy of the new Oxford American music issue, and what to my wondering eyes should appear but the fact that I have now made Bob Hope references in every single one of my columns for the Oxford American, that's right, all two of them. What does Bob Hope have to do with "the South" you might ask? I HAVE NO IDEA! And come to think of it, I have mentioned him in the Oxford American before I began my tenure as columnist. If I have my way, the Oxford American will stop focusing on "the South" and start focusing on the more pressing matter of Bob Hope. All Bob Hope all the time! The thing that excites me most about the issue is that "Blog" Buddy Kelly Hogan finally gets her due! There is an article about Kelly by Mark Winegardner and a recording by her on the one of the included CDs. The article includes a great quotation by Andy Hopkins: "It's more glorious to witness people with a crappy van and falling-apart instruments make occasionally beautiful music." Pardon my French!

"Blog" Advent Calendar for Dec. 5, 2009

Every day you just have no idea what might be the next thing on the "blog" advent calendar.

Friday, December 04, 2009

The World's Icy Bottom

"The Sounds and Visions of the World's Icy Bottom" is a headline from the arts section of today's New York Times. Why does it make me laugh every time I read it? Maybe because I'm an idiot!

"Blog" Advent Calendar for Dec. 4, 2009

Today's advent calendar treat is something that Michael Kupperman brought to the world's attention through twitter. If you would like to enjoy your surprise, "click" here.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

"Blog" Advent Calendar for Dec. 3, 2009

You know what the "blog" advent calendar is and how to use it. "Click" here.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Dreams of Nuts

Reports the NBIL: "Last night I dreamed that I picked up a copy of the Oxford American music edition and was extremely pleased to find that, in addition to the customary CD, there was a pack of 25 assorted music related bumper stickers and a tin of mixed nuts the size of a snare drum included with the magazine." Analysts of the "blog," of whom there are none, will note that this is the second time (in recorded history, anyway) that the NBIL has dreamt of nuts. (Note: as a contributor to the new music issue, I should let you know that it comes with no bumper stickers or nuts... but it DOES come with two CDs.)

"Blog" Advent Calendar for Dec. 2, 2009

Each new day brings another entry in the third annual "blog" advent calendar. Simply "click" on the "link" to "open" the "door" and "reveal" today's "surprise."

UFO Report

Finally! Some UFO news hits the New York Times again. I am sure you will agree it is about time. According to the story, an upcoming ballot proposal in Denver, Colorado, will take a decisive step toward creating an "Extraterrestrial Commission" to facilitate healthy relationships between earthlings and outer space people. The sponsor of the proposed legislation saw "a mysterious green ball of light above Denver the night Michael Jackson died," reports the New York Times. (Note: I am not suggesting that Yanni is an extraterrestrial. He just happens to be the subject of today's "random picture.")