Thursday, December 31, 2015

Beakers of Colorful Liquids

Hi! Dr. Theresa and Ace and I watched POINT BLANK last night. Early in Lee Marvin's tour of vengeance he visits the apartment of his wife, and it's all silver and gray and white and reminded me of Jerry Lewis, especially the monochromatic "Spider Woman" sequence in THE LADIES MAN, this frame of which I've shown you before:
Lee Marvin smashes all his wife's perfumes and potions in the bathroom sink like so:
and you think of the floor in the transformation scene from Lewis's THE NUTTY PROFESSOR, with its smashed beakers of colorful liquids.
There was at least one scene that would have benefited had Jerry Lewis starred in the movie instead of Lee Marvin. See, Lee Marvin walks into a kitchen to discover that Angie Dickinson has mischievously turned on all the sleek modern appliances: a dangerously smoking toaster, a mixer, a blender, etc. Boy, Jerry could have gone wild with that! Lee Marvin just walks around turning stuff off. It's like what McNeil said about how much better 2001 would have been had Jerry played an astronaut with a pesky ant in his moon boot. Oh yeah! I almost forgot that Lewis's favorite sidekick Kathleen Freeman is in POINT BLANK, weirdly just hanging around in a single scene with nothing to do. Is her otherwise inexplicable presence a hint, a clue? I doubt it! But I choose to believe it. As Tertullian said, "Certum est, quia impossibile."

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

White Apples

I keep seeing this commercial where some bald mannequins are having a feast of white apples and this dude comes in and his phone is so powerful it allows him to jump on the table and kick over some bowls of white apples and this one mannequin turns into a real live person because she is so taken with the dude's apple kicking abilities. I bet poet Donald Hall is thrilled by all the free publicity his poem "White Apples" - about a visitation from his dead father - is getting thanks to this timely bit of drama about a guy whose phone is so cool it allows him to jump on a table and kick the apples.

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Hamilton Consolation

Well, Mom and Dad have had a truly terrible ordeal trying to get back home to Alabama from Los Angeles. In fact, they are still stuck in the Houston airport and will be until late tonight. Last night their flight was diverted to Dallas, where they had to sit on the runway for several hours before getting off the plane and spending the night there... not part of the plan! "But guess who I met on the flight?" Mom asked. "George Hamilton!" I asked what she said to him. "'Gosh it's nice to see you in person,'" Mom said. She said they talked back and forth for a while and I asked what about and Mom said she really doesn't remember, everybody was so exhausted. Here once again is the photograph that my friend Ward McCarthy and I got of George Hamilton by screaming at him from a van many years ago ("click" here for more details).


Well, the movie CONEHEADS was on and I saw Dan Aykroyd stuff a whole pack's worth of cigarettes into his mouth and light them with a blowtorch. As you know, it is too late for me to add anything to my cigarette lighter book, and I don't regret it, and I'm not sorry Dan Aykroyd's not in there lighting a whole pack of cigarettes with a blowtorch, but Harpo Marx is in there lighting a cigar with a blowtorch and I do know that had I seen CONEHEADS while I was still working on the book, Dan Aykroyd would have been in the same paragraph with Harpo, both of them lighting up smokes with a blowtorch.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Owl Hoots at Midnight

I forgot to tell you - no I didn't, I just didn't feel like it, until now. I still don't feel like it. But I'm gonna tell you. Look! I'm only legally obligated to mention one owl per book I read. If the book has another owl in it, I can keep it to myself if I feel like it. So I don't really want to tell you that the spy lingo in this Norman Mailer novel includes the hilarious code phrase "The owl hoots at midnight." (See also.) Actually, it's fake spy lingo that the spies are using to fool other spies into thinking it's real spy lingo... but that still counts as spy lingo by my reckoning. I've been sitting on this for days now. See why I didn't want to tell you? It's so difficult to explain and the resultant satisfaction for any of us is negligible.

Accordion Support

I told Dr. Theresa I was ashamed of myself for dragging out my accordion and forcing people to endure its wheezing as Christmas drew to a close. "It's your house!" Dr. Theresa asserted boldly.

Friday, December 25, 2015


Christmas. Listening to a Johnny Rivers LP. Dr. Theresa making figgy pudding. A gigantic spider descends swiftly on a thread from the ceiling, straight down for the uncovered sugar bowl, providing Christmas drama. Report from Los Angeles, where my parents are visiting my brother and the grandkids: Mom says that Dad saw Larry King in a bagel shop and hugged him on Christmas morning. "I was overcome," Dad explained. I switched the record to an old compilation called "Jingle Bell Jazz" that always got on my nerves. Who can explain my complex behavior? It has rained all day. The yard is flooded. Sixty-three degrees fahrenheit. Yesterday afternoon the thawing goose was still frozen in the middle and I was unable to extract the giblets. Now some jazz flute dude is going to town on "We Three Kings." Reading Norman Mailer for Christmas. Just got out of a flashback that lasted almost 800 pages, and I can remember little of what is going on in the novel's "present." (By ominous coincidence I come to a passage about Allen Dulles falling fatally ill on Christmas Eve.) While in the shower, I recall that I dreamed about M. Emmett Walsh. He threatened someone with a pistol, then ate it and said, "It's no secret this gun was made of chocolate." Figgy pudding has come out of the oven and looks and smells spectacular. I fear that my goose could never measure up! Christmas tweeting with Hogan. She says Christmas spiders are good luck. I play an LP she gave me a long time ago, Paul Williams's "Here Comes Inspiration." His version of "Rainy Days and Mondays" (a song he wrote) sounds especially appropriate today. I see a cocktail fork that I bought from Bob Hope's estate among the drying dishes. Dr. Theresa says she used it to test the consistency of the figgy pudding. Am I upset? Far from it! Wassail is simmering. Megan Abbott suggested wassail. She was somewhat upset that I found a wassail recipe with bourbon in it. "Surely Bob Cratchit didn't have bourbon?" she objected. We switched from LPs to Bing Crosby on iPod, because it's hard to flip over records while you're cooking a goose. Chris Offutt and Melissa Ginsburg came over. Chris soon tired of Bing. He asked me to play some Frank Sinatra. Chris stood with his head respectfully bowed for several minutes, listening to Frank do a live version of "I Could Have Danced All Night." Then he compared the rhyme scheme of "Come Fly With Me" to Bob Dylan, which got us listening to Bob Dylan. Chris dramatically acted out Dylan's entire song "Isis," thrillingly grabbing me by the shoulders during some verses. He also carved the goose (as seen above).

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Another Twist

In case you thought I was kidding about Norman Mailer hating the Twist, here we find the narrator's father associating it with the death of his dear friend Dashiell Hammett (!): "The radio was playing this dreadful new song, 'Let's Do the Twist,' just as I opened the paper to receive such news."

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Hey remember almost exactly two years ago when Ace Atkins gave us a frog that sits on a toilet and nods its head through the magic of solar energy? And remember how it almost never works? And the last time it worked was on a cloudy day in April of 2014 when its mysterious tapping began to drive me mad? Today is very overcast and the frog just started tapping its head on the back of its little toilet again. Of course, I know the source of the sound now, so that part didn't drive me crazy. But now it has stopped tapping its head and its head is just moving a little bit, almost imperceptibly, so that if you stare at it for long enough, as I have been doing, you slowly lose your mind.

VHS Tape

I can't find any good Christmas presents for anybody. Today I walked all the way down the secondhand shop next to Big Bad Breakfast and I stood there staring at a VHS tape of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN still in the shrink wrap and I said, "Christmas, you have defeated me."

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

People Alone in a Room

I don't suppose any of you will ever forget late 2013, when I read in that Norman Mailer biography that Norman Mailer thought the Twist was "evil." Well, some of that leaked into his CIA novel, I tell you. Now, you should never, ever confuse the narrator with the author, but I'm reading this part where the narrator is at a party on the eve of Kennedy's election and everyone is doing the Twist: "I thought it was strange in the extreme that the dancers did not hold each other but stood apart and rotated their hips like people alone in a room leering into a mirror." Ha ha, Norman Mailer really hated the Twist! (See also, the time Lyndon Johnson was doing the Twist and fell on somebody.)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Santa's Face

I'm cooking a goose for Christmas. Believe it or not we don't really have any goose-cooking supplies around here. So I went out today. First I stopped by The End of All Music to see Bill Boyle, whom you can usually find behind the counter on a Sunday. I saw that the new arrivals bin was stocked with interesting things and Bill said that many of them were the abandoned records of a mutual friend (should I reveal his name? It's probably nobody's beeswax!) who's moving out of town. Speaking of none of your beeswax, I had an email from my old pal Abby Greenbaum, full of juicy music biz gossip about big-name country stars. But I can't tell you any of it! I can only give you some of the last part of the email: "The next day I hung out at Santa's Pub and, in honor of Christmas, did tarot readings for my roadie friends. Have you ever been to Santa's Pub? It is a triple wide trailer in South Nashville that is also a bar. Beers cost $2, and Santa's face is painted on the outside." But back to the goose! I was grousing to Bill that I really shouldn't buy any LPs because I had to spend my money on goose supplies, and Bill insisted on buying my stack of records for me. (Pictured above, one of them.) How often do you walk into a place and the guy working there buys your stuff for you? Talk about Christmas cheer! Speaking of which, I couldn't find any cooking twine at the grocery store so this guy who works there walked back behind the mysterious doors of the meat department and came back with a length of cooking twine for me. "Just stick that in your pocket," he said. Dang! I forgot to tell you that after I saw Bill I stopped for a bite to eat at Big Bad Breakfast, where, to my alarm, the Food Network had set up and was shooting something. I sat at the counter, not too far from an intensely glowing young couple they were interviewing. ("Random customers, I don't think they're from here," my server told me.) The Food Network had forced these clean-cut sweethearts to order a Pylon apiece. Now, these trim and fresh-faced matinee idols looked as if they'd barely be able to finish half a Pylon between them. Have I told you about the Pylon? It's named for the Faulkner novel, natch. It's a waffle with lots of stuff on top. Slaw and chopped-up hot dogs and chili and oyster crackers and hot peppers and I can't remember what all. Mustard, for instance. The Pylon cures your hangover. Now, this rosy-cheeked ingenue and her all-American beau have never had a hangover in their tender lives, I avow. But they cautiously approached their Pylons in the spirit of good sportsmanship. The funny part was that the interviewer would ask them things like, "Why do you think this place is named 'Big Bad Breakfast'?" "I don't know," was their reasonable answer. (It is named for Larry Brown's book BIG BAD LOVE, but how are they supposed to know that?) "What do you think is the origin of the Pylon?" asked the interviewer. "I don't know," the young woman said.

Ross From Friends

I'm kicking myself for not "live-blogging" this movie starring Ross from FRIENDS that came on late last night. I bet you're pretty sorry too! The capsule description said the movie was about a "brokenhearted writer" so you can imagine my excitement. There's no more appealing character than a precious, precious writer man with so many God-given talents who is all sad about something and sitting around doing some soul searching while people assure him of his worth. So I watched it for seven minutes and Bonnie Hunt was in it. She brightens up anything! And then I just couldn't believe it: Ross from FRIENDS was a wisecracking sportscaster! JASON LEE was the brokenhearted writer! I bet Ross was supposed to be the brokenhearted writer and then he was like, "Why don't we mix this up a little, Pete?" (I'm imagining someone named Pete, like an agent or the director or somebody.) Because Ross from FRIENDS has "brokenhearted writer" practically stamped on his forehead. Just look at him. And Jason Lee has "wisecracking sportscaster" likewise embossed. But anyway I went to bed. I really let you down.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Old Spinning Wheel Dude

Everyone loves the saucy obituaries of Margalit Fox! And I am no exception. How oft have I championed her work. Twice, that's how oft. But my old brain got to thinking today after I hyperbolically emailed Megan Abbott that the New York Times is "SO BORING!" and she semi-ironically countered with a Margalit Fox obit of an old spinning wheel dude. I suddenly recalled tweeting this back in January:
but I couldn't remember why. As you can see, it deserved and received no faves or retweets. What set me off? Why did I think, apparently, that Margalit Fox was going mad with power, ha ha, mad with obituary writing power, I suppose? Or did something remind me of when Larry King's tweets became too self-aware and I had to block him? An investigation was called for! The NYT published two Fox obits on the date in question, and I suspect it's this opening paragraph that put me over the edge:
In her spinning wheel obit, Fox refers to the deceased as "a Burl Ives of a man." Can someone be a Burl Ives of a man? I mean, other than Burl Ives? Shouldn't the object of comparison be something other than an actual man? Isn't that like calling a Chrysler "the Cadillac of cars" or something? Now I'm just complaining for the sake of complaining. Maybe I'm in a bad mood. I'm sorry, Margalit Fox! Don't write anything bad about me when I'm dead. PS This photo of Mitzi Gaynor in today's paper is what started the whole discussion.

Worlds Collide

Look! My brother-in-law just sent me this recent photo of our old neighborhood pizza parlor from way back when we lived in Atlanta. (I mean, he still lives there but you know what I mean.) The new mural on the window is a representation of my current job. As I recall, they had a huge painting of the Marvel character Warlock inside. That's how you know it's an authentic pizza joint. It's no secret that pizza makers traditionally love the philosophical alien superhero Warlock. My memory may be playing tricks on me but this is exactly what the painting looked like, I think:

Our Young Nation

The other night I was flipping around and saw that I had missed the first five minutes of ANOTHER STAKEOUT, which came out in 1993, just like STRIKING DISTANCE and THE NIGHT WE NEVER MET. And I thought, "So what! I missed the first five minutes! I could still 'live-blog' this! It's the Richard Dreyfuss/Rosie O'Donnell team-up our young nation was yearning for!" (See also.) So anyway, Albert from TWIN PEAKS seemed to be a sly hitman in a sewage truck. That's as far as I got.

Friday, December 18, 2015


Here's a pic I "grabbed" off the computer screen during today's ADVENTURE TIME meeting. As you can see, Kent Osborne is wielding a light saber. He was counting the minutes until the end of the meeting so he could get on his bicycle and pedal all the way to Hollywood from Burbank to see the new STAR WARS movie. I know Ace Atkins has already seen it. I think he went to Memphis for the occasion. And that reminded me of a fun interview I did with Ace ("click" here to read it) all the way back in June of 2014, when Ace said, "I'm super excited about the new STAR WARS movie" and I replied, "Mmph. Wha... I don’t even..." and, somewhat more coherently, "I was excited when I saw the FIRST Star Wars movie. I was in the theater and the first shot of that giant ship going over just blew my poor young mind." And Ace said, "I think J.J. Abrams is going to do an excellent job. He did everything right. First of all, he hired Lawrence Kasdan to write the screenplay." And I repeated, "Mmph." In short, I was 14 when the first STAR WARS came out, and it thrilled me immeasurably, but by the time of the second one I felt I was "too old" for it. But I still have nothing against it! I fondly recall the franchise. I don't want to be like the dozens of people on my twitter feed who seem really proud of themselves for not caring about STAR WARS. Why do I follow so many people on twitter who are so very excited to measure exactly how much they are not caring about STAR WARS? And who cares what you don't care about? And if you don't care about it, why are you tweeting about it so much? That seems like caring. (Also pictured, Ashly Burch and Adam Muto.)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

This Is Fine

I walked through the town square this morning, just behind a man who was skipping down the street. Not the sidewalk, the street. When a car would narrowly miss grazing him he'd point at it like "Hey, I see you," and then his arms would do some graceful flapping... bird motions, like, good ones, like ballet. Meanwhile, he continued to skip. I vaguely recall reading somewhere, maybe years ago, that skipping is good exercise. But I have never before seen a grown man skipping down the street while flapping his arms gracefully like a bird. I could see that his hair was beginning to gray beneath his cap. He was wearing a green velour jacket and bright red headphones and blue pants like Homer Simpson's. And he was skipping down the street in defiance of oncoming traffic while gently and gracefully flapping his arms like maybe he thought he was a seagull.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

I Didn't Do That Thing I Do

Hey remember when I "live-blogged" the movie STRIKING DISTANCE (1993) and then I "live-blogged" another movie from 1993? Don't worry, I'm not going to do that again! First of all, MIXED NUTS is from 1994. Also, my heart's just not in it anymore. I perked up when I saw it coming on. Not with delight. I saw it at the theater when it came out, which is something you say a lot as you get older and older, and nobody cares, but you keep saying it: "I saw this in the theater when it came out!" It starts with Steve Martin riding a bicycle. He has brown hair. Does that spell trouble? Sometimes Steve Martin has brown hair in movies. I can't nail down what it portends, exactly, unlike Dr. Theresa and her observation about Burt Reynolds's vanishing moustache. But I can say that I prefer prematurely white-haired Steve Martin. So as Steve Martin was bicycling around, I said, "I am NOT going to 'live-blog' this." The cast list is crazy, as befitting a movie called MIXED NUTS. But I only really got electrified when I saw Jon Stewart's name pop up. "Weird! I AM going to 'live-blog' this!" I briefly lied to myself. But then I got bored again. A pregnant Juliette Lewis chases a guy dressed like Santa into the street. He tumbles into a couple of roller skaters who are carrying a Christmas tree between them. Whilst succumbing to a deadly lethargy I recognized one of the skaters as Parker Posey. Then Garry Shandling showed up in his second unbilled role as a sleazeball in a movie I thought about "live-blogging"! "It's an omen!" I shouted into the abyss of my being. "I guess I better 'live-blog' this after all... no, I'm going to bed."

Monday, December 14, 2015

Literary Matters

Welcome once again to "Literary Matters." Oh, they're fine. 1. Norman Mailer's narrator is still in Uruguay! He was just "overcome at the solemnity of a cigarette lighter brought to a tip of tobacco." He compares it to a religious gesticulation. I'm not exactly sorry I finished writing my cigarette lighter book a while back and so can't include that line, but I do know just where it would have been squeezed in, so I am going to put it on my very slowly growing list of things I'm sorry it was too late to put in my cigarette lighter book. 2. I noticed the adverb "meltingly" in the New York Times today. I thought, that's a funny old adverb. And it seems to me that I see it in the New York Times all the time. So I searched their archives. (See also.) They've used it under 800 times since 1851, I guess, so that's not a whole lot. I was wrong. In decades past, the New York Times liked to call things "meltingly feminine" - mostly clothes, but also typewriters. "Like the new cars, typewriters are now two-toned. The new Royal FP's have gone meltingly feminine - in a silver gray combined with colors like pink, blue, green and a creamy beige." 3. Lee Durkee has alerted me to the existence of a book called THE MESSENGERS: OWLS, SYNCHRONICITY AND THE UFO ABDUCTEE. Although I have never read it and I suppose I never will, I feel pretty safe in putting THE MESSENGERS: OWLS, SYNCHRONICITY AND THE UFO ABDUCTEE on my big, long list of books with owls in them.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Lucky Pork

I learn from a sentence tossed offhandedly into a New York Times article today that Lucky Charms brand breakfast cereal has pork in it. ("Her children loved Lucky Charms cereal until Ms. Macksoud learned that its marshmallows contained gelatin made partly from pork.")

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Why, Joey?

I continue to watch these FRIENDS reruns late at night. Why? I'm a mystery even to myself, so deep, so unfathomable. One thing I have noticed often enough to call it a trend is how rude the character Joey is to waiters. He's been rude to waiters in three or four episodes I've seen lately. What's Joey got to be so high and mighty about?

Monday, December 07, 2015

I Guess We'll Never Know

This is the second Norman Mailer book I've read with Bob Hope in it. Is Norman Mailer the novelist who mentions Bob Hope most often? I guess we'll never know.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

These Potato Chips Aren't Hot

Late last night when I couldn't sleep I had to leave the room for a moment so I paused the TV. Paused the TV! Such a thing was unthinkable not so very long ago, as I have often remarked to an empty room. I paused the TV because I wanted to find out who killed Jay Mohr on a rerun of LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT. It struck me that there was something immoral about my action! Amoral? Problematic. Decadent. And not because I vaguely recalled (accurately) who killed Jay Mohr from the first time I saw it. No, because I couldn't figure out whether my ability to pause the TV was giving me a "choice" or removing one. So during the after-hours LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT reruns there were commercials for things called Xeljanz and Rummikub. The former is a drug and the latter is a boardgame. I realized that "Rummikub" sounded funny only because I hadn't heard it before. That's on me, not on the blameless pastime of Rummikub! But Xeljanz sounded terrible because a focus group probably came up with it. Like, "Raise your hand if you think a medicine that starts with x and ends with z sounds 'real' enough to purchase." I thought about which letter in Xeljanz was the worst, and I decided on 'n.' Ha ha, I like to pretend someone is reading this. The n is close enough to an m that one thinks of Xeljamz, which sounds like a compilation CD of ungodly music, maybe. [It would be corporate slang for "excellent jams"! - ed.] There was also a commercial for a boardgame called Googly Eyes, which nicely ties together Rummikub and Xeljanz, because Googly Eyes requires its players to don vision-distorting eyewear. Now I ask you! Does that sound healthy or safe? Oh, I'm sure it's fine. I recalled that Dr. Theresa had opened a bag of sriracha-flavored "Kettle Brand Potato Chips." I had inquired, earlier in the evening, how they were and Dr. Theresa said, "The bag says 'HOT!' but they're not hot." And she was right. I tasted one and it reminded me of ketchup-flavored potato chips from days gone by. "Ha ha, what dunces we were in the 1970s, eating ketchup-flavored potato chips," I reckoned. And that reminded me of something called "Andy Capp's Hot Fries," which were not hot, and not fries - were, in fact, tough little girders composed of, perhaps, densely compacted corn dust or corn waste - and which had as their mascot the unpleasant Sunday comics character Andy Capp, now long forgotten. So I thought I'd scoot to the "internet" to discover the inevitable nostalgic "chat rooms" dedicated to such grisly and obsolete products. And that is how I found out that both of these things - Lay's Ketchup Flavored Potato Chips and Andy Capp's Hot Fries - are still in production to this very day. (See also.) Thank you for attending to this blistering jeremiad on the subject of contemporary society. I trust your eyebrows were in no way singed by the force of the dynamic fury I unleashed. (Full disclosure: I suddenly recall that as a lad, upon discovering the ketchup-flavored potato chips, I marveled openly at the brilliance of the inventor. And we do love ketchup on our french-fried potatoes, do we not?)

Sherman Oatmeal, This Good Fellow

Have arrived at the supposedly unreadable "Uruguay section" of this Norman Mailer CIA novel. I am reading it because to do otherwise hardly seems sporting AND you know how every book has an owl in it, right? That's my theory. So I was thinking, "I can't skip the Uruguay section. It might be the section with an owl in it!" And I swear to you, just as I was thinking such a thing, I came to this, early in the Uruguay section of this Norman Mailer CIA novel: "Sherman Oatmeal, my private name for this good fellow, is another owl-eyed Ph.D. from Oklahoma." So not only does it have an owl in it, it has oatmeal in it.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

The Ten Greatest Moments of 2015

10. This cat staring at this statue head. 9. The pitcher that didn't get fixed. 8. I forced a guy to make his first chicken Alfredo pizza. 7. Lawrence Welk's sexy daughter-in-law. 6. Burt Reynolds tattoo. 5. Mice sleeping under the snow. 4. Elaine Stritch in a western. 3. The dog that could hop on its hind legs with rhythmic precision. 2. Just now, while typing up this list, I dropped an olive pit on the floor and had to crawl around on my hands and knees to find it. 1. And now I just dropped a piece of cantaloupe and caught it between my knees before it hit the floor!

Friday, December 04, 2015

Normal Levels

Well, I was happy to read in the New York Times today that there is a five-and-a-half-hour filmed opera about the life of Norman Mailer and also this five-and-a-half-hour filmed opera is about poop. I'll never see it because where would I ever see that? It's not coming to the movie theater up the road anytime soon. And also it sounds gross, I don't want to see that. Or do I? Probably not. But I'm happy it's there. You know Norman Mailer was very concerned with pooping. There are some... digestive concerns in this Norman Mailer CIA novel, but nowhere near the normal level of poop in a Norman Mailer novel. Of course, I'm only on page 378. That's just a third of the way through! Okay, goodbye, I love you, I'm sorry I said poop so much.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Watching My Friends Eat My Friends

So I was emailing back and forth with Megan Abbott the other day about that smirky little New York Times review of Miley Cyrus and somehow the silent-movie child actor Baby Peggy came up... well, not somehow... obviously there's a connection between child stars... and we were talking about how they get renamed and stuck with identities they didn't ask for... and that brought up Gig Young, who was not a child star, but named by the studio (if I am recalling correctly) after a role he played in a movie, which is weird. And he came to a terrible end, as you probably know, and I was saying to Megan that I didn't want to "click" on things about tragic child stars or tragic stars in general, which she took as an expression of fear of Baby Peggy specifically, as I did not express myself very clearly... though see this terrifying frame of a terrifying gif Megan sent me of Baby Peggy. (Baby Peggy is still here with us on this mortal plane, by the way - that's my fancy way of saying she's alive! - and not a terrifying sort of person. Nothing terribly tragic there. Well, she was treated terribly as a kid, I think, like most child stars, worked like a mule and plundered for her fortune, but she devoted herself later on to... ah... I'm too tired to talk about Baby Peggy. Look her up yourself.) So Megan and I were emailing about Baby Peggy again today (!) and I was trying to remember why Megan thought I had a deep-seated fear of Baby Peggy, so I searched my email archives and discovered that Megan FIRST emailed me about Baby Peggy EXACTLY THREE YEARS AGO TODAY. This is the kind of coincidence McNeil loves. Oh, so during the whole Miley Cyrus back-and-forth, my twitter friend Jen Vafidis alerted me to the actual song about Miley's deceased fish, which the New York Times reviewer so dismissively mentioned. Was that part of the review dismissive? Ah, I'm too tired to check. But yes. So I watched the video of Miley Cyrus in a unicorn costume singing about her dead fish and it was just great. I know I'm late to this video of Miley Cyrus in a unicorn costume singing about her dead fish. But I'd still like to endorse it. I would say if you don't like it you can probably just go to hell. I emailed it to Megan and she emailed back with praise for the lyric "watching my friends eat my friends," which is just what I was about to email to HER! Another coincidence. It's a good line, right? Like James M. Cain. I think if Jonathan Richman had written this very song, everybody would be all, "Wow, cool." Well, maybe everybody IS all, "Wow, cool." I don't know what goes on. I may even be overestimating the universal love that I imagine Jonathan Richman (rightly) receiving. Maybe I should talk about some Jonathan Richman song and say that if Miley Cyrus wrote it, everybody would be like, "Wow, cool." Maybe I live in backwards land with all the other old men. Megan also made a shrewd point about why Miley Cyrus is able to identify so intensely with a fish that has to live its life in a tank.