Thursday, May 28, 2015

More Things They Won't Say About Me

  • He often stood atop tall buildings in a cape and looked down upon the city he guarded.
  • He considered Kid Rock his role model.
  • He can't wait to see the upcoming reboots of "Full House" and "Coach."
  • He was the first person described as "on fleek."
  • He loved nothing more than watching people sing Journey songs in karaoke bars.
  • He once owned the world's largest collection of IBM Selectric font balls.
  • He would have made a great lumberjack.
  • He secretly yearned to own a John Deere dealership.
  • He once took the Hippocratic Oath despite having no medical training whatsoever.
  • He loved the smell of fresh asphalt in the morning.
From the earlier lists:
  • He always referred to animals as "varmints."
  • He had an extensive collection of tuxedoes and wore them often.
  • He enjoyed "Parks" but was so-so on "Recreation."
  • His favorite sound was the noisy modem handshake of the dial-up AOL days.
  • His favorite vacation destination was the Mall Of America.
  • He loved to boogie oogie oogie till he just couldn't oogie any more.
  • He spent up to 10 hours every day doing Hot Yoga.
  • He longed to have John Travolta paw his face during an awards show.
  • His favorite snack was a bowl of lentils.
  • He was once horribly addicted to Sorbitol artificial sweetener.
  • He loved cold weather and couldn't wait for winter.
  • He enjoyed his years as a featured dancer in "Riverdance."
  • He loved websites with video/audio that started as soon as a page loaded.
  • He was known in the industry as "The Eighth Wayans Brother."
  • He loved making jars of preserves and home-brewing beer for friends.
  • His handwriting got better as he got older.
  • He had just two sports passions: cricket and curling.
  • He longed for more of the brilliant comedy of Mr. Pauly Shore.
  • He preferred the taste of lentils above all other foods.
  • He was the world's foremost expert on monster trucks.
  • He referred to friends as "peeps."
  • He often spoke of the pompatus of love.
  • He wished more foods included cilantro in their ingredients.
  • He regularly turned heads with his impeccable fashion choices.
  • He regretted not listening to more bagpipe music.
  • He was this close to being inducted into the roller derby hall of fame.
  • He enjoyed spending his free time on plumbing and auto repairs.
  • He was jealous of Boxcar Willie being named America's Favorite Hobo.
  • He would have been a masterful interior designer.
  • He lived to surf.
  • He enjoyed being surrounded by large crowds of drunken people.
  • He loved every second of every "Sharknado" movie.
  • He was one of the world's greatest soccer enthusiasts.
  • He was an early adopter of many Microsoft hardware products, particularly The Zune.
  • He never missed a moment of the Monday 8am physics lab in his freshman year of college.
  • He couldn't get enough of debates about how to achieve peace in the Middle East.
  • He enjoyed working on actuarial tables in his free time.
  • He once got stuck on a roller coaster that stopped in the middle of a ride.
  • He yearned to spend more time in the deep south.
  • He once considered a career as a clergyman.

This Should Make My Daughter's Head Explode

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

MYMNK: "Let It Ride"

The newest addition to my Movies You Might Not Know list is "Let It Ride," a 1989 comedy starring Richard Dreyfuss as a gambler who gets inside information on a horse and decides to act on it. The tip comes via David Johannsen, a fellow gambler and cabbie, who records two men in the backseat talking about how they've had their jockey hold a horse back in its last few races to make it seem like a loser. Having run up the odds, they plan to put a big bet down the next day and have him run all-out.

Dreyfuss and Johannsen head to the track, but only the former bets on the horse, which does beat the others to the finish line. After he collects his modest winnings, Dreyfuss goes to the paddock to thank the owners, surreptitiously. They're wary until he hands over the cassette that is the only record of their taxi conversation. Then they accept his appreciation by showing him some of their own -- they recommend another horse he might want to bet on and give him tickets to sit in the jockey club, instead of the grandstand with his fellow losers.

That's where he encounters a different class of race track customer, with bigger bankrolls and drinks served by tuxedoed waiters -- a more upscale group of losers. One of them is Allen Garfield (a character actor you've seen in over a hundred movies) and his girlfriend, Jennifer Tilly, in the most form-fitting red dress you've ever seen and won't be able to take your eyes off.

"Let It Ride" was directed by Joe Pytka, his first and only big-screen live-action effort after several years as one of the top TV commercial directors in the world (his only other movie was "Space Jam" with Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny). To support Dreyfuss, in full blustery mode from start to finish, he brought in Teri Garr as Dreyfuss' long-suffering wife, plus Michelle Phillips, Cynthia Nixon, and Robbie Coltrane -- who steals every scene he's in as the track's ticket clerk who at first despises Dreyfuss than befriends him as the day goes along.

"Let It Ride" is very knowledgeable about the low-lifes who populate horse tracks, every one of whom is sure they're an expert on which animal will win the next race. It's also pretty damned funny.

See my full Movies You Might Now Know list here.

If Only We Were More Like Scotland

The USA is not only less religiously progressive than Ireland, which became the twentieth nation to make same-sex marriage legal -- and the first to do it by referendum, with 62% of the vote -- but also Scotland, which has banned the teaching of creationism in science classes. While the former might eventually happen here, the latter never will, unfortunately.

Weekend In Ogunquit

I'm just back from a long weekend in Ogunquit, a small beach town in southeastern Maine, where we celebrated my daughter's 21st birthday. I started writing a column about the place, then realized I'd already done it -- on August 20, 2001 -- and everything I said then still applies:

Now that I’m back from summer vacation, I have an important message for all American men: Put Your Shirt On!

On this vacation, I saw far too many guys walking around shirtless. That’s not a problem at the beach or the pool, but there’s no reason for anyone over the age of 12 to be walking around town topless. I don’t care how hot the day is, I don’t want to walk into the supermarket to pick up a gallon of milk and be confronted with the sight of some guy letting his chest hair and pot belly hang out.

This doesn’t mean that young in-shape guys are exempt, either. Trust me, no one wants to see you showing off how you spent your summer tattoo allowance to proclaim your torso-laden devotion to the reptile gods. If we let you do it, we have to let everyone do it, and before long we’re back to half-naked middle-aged guys with droopy man-breasts gassing up at the Sunoco. So slap a tee on that bod, you Red Hot Chili Pepper wannabe!

Speaking of shirts, I’m going to extend this ban to those t-shirts with the huge armpit holes. For some reason, these seem to have particular appeal to the hairier members of my gender. Here’s a rule of thumb: if you’re so hirsute that, when naked, you look like you’re still wearing a sweater, then pull on something with sleeves when you’re out and about. Spare us the display of your personal underarm rainforest.

We spent several days in a coastal Maine town, where there are only three things to do: eat, shop, or go to the beach. When I say “go to the beach,” I don’t mean swimming. The ocean water is far too cold for normal people -- about 55 degrees on the hottest day of August.

At that temperature, there are parts of the male anatomy that retract completely. Forget shrinkage, this is more like regression. The only humans who can endure extended exposure to water that cold are: children, who have no natural body thermostat and will remain in the Atlantic until they turn six shades of purple; and Canadians, who flock south for the summer to discover the miracle of water that isn’t being Zamboni-ed. We watched dozens of Quebecois (Quebecians? Quebecers?) frolic in the waves like drunken polar bears.

Fortunately, the frigid temperatures do have an upside: they help keep the sharks away. You’ll notice that all the shark bite stories of late have come from Florida (whose name is an Indian word meaning “giant mutant mosquitoes that will suck your blood through your socks”), mostly in the Daytona area. Gotta wonder how those shark stories are going to affect Spring Break next year. Will Murray Hamilton ever allow the beaches to be closed? Will MTV still go? This could be the ultimate reality series -- don’t be the first one eaten off the island!

There hasn’t been one report of a shark attack off the coast of Maine. The closest they’ve come was in late July when one guy got his index finger stuck in a lobster claw, but a liberal application of drawn butter solved that problem quickly. Once we retrieved the kids from the shark-less arctic water, we mostly sat on the beach, watching them dig holes in the sand. For parents, the greatest thing about this childhood activity is that it has no logical end. Thus, it keeps them busy for hours, for no matter how many friends they have buried in the sand or how many castles with moats they have designed, there’s always another hole to dig.

At one point, my daughter asked me the same question I once asked my father, “Dad, could I really dig all the way to China?” I started to give her a geographic and geological explanation of why that was impossible, but I stopped and gave her the same answer I got from my father, just as generations of other kids have gotten from theirs: “Sure, go ahead and try!” I couldn’t help but wonder if, on some beach in China, there’s some Dad telling his kid to try and dig a hole all the way to America.

While the kids were digging, the adults were doing what we do best on a trip -- discussing where we would eat our next meal. My family is particularly good at this. Since we don’t like to cook and clean up all that much at home, we look at vacation as an opportunity to do even more eating without performing any chores. Thus, the near-constant discussion of where to go for the next meal. We have even talked about where to have dinner while walking to the place we’re about to have lunch!

On the way to and from each meal, we would have to stroll past the various tourist-trap boutiques that keep the village economy going. If you’ve ever been to one of these towns, you know what I’m talking about. Every other store carries a full supply of the same two dozen hats and shirts with the town’s name printed on it. Or you can have a keychain made out of a shell. Or a lobster-shaped stuffed toy (not to be confused with stuffed lobster, which will cost you about thirty bucks in any local restaurant).

Then there are the stores with signs saying “Summer Sale.” These are businesses that stay afloat thanks solely to the influx of vacationers from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and they’re trying to con us into thinking they have discounted some of their merchandise just for us. As if they raise their prices back to normal once winter returns. What they really mean is, “It’s Summer, And We Have Lots Of Crap For Sale.”

The store owners could do us all a favor by offering a summertime special. Give a small discount to any man who comes in, buys a shirt, and puts it on!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Worth A Link

  • Bill Scheft, who wrote monologue jokes for David Letterman for a quarter-century, explains the behind-the-scenes of how the day of the final show went.
  • I don't care how much it might help my vision -- I'm not sticking this in my eye.
  • The story behind Bob Seger's rock classic "Night Moves."

Sunday, May 24, 2015

She Was Funny First

I'm bothered by headlines referring to Anne Meara as Ben Stiller's mother rather than half of a classic comedy team with husband Jerry Stiller.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Showbiz Show 5/22/15

On this week's edition of the showbiz segment I do each Friday on my KTRS show with Colin Jeffrey we review "Tomorrowland" (George Clooney and Britt Robertson) and "Good Kill" (Ethan Hawke and January Jones). We also discuss Maggie Gyllenhaal not getting a movie job because, at 37, she's been deemed not young enough to play the romantic interest for a 55-year-old guy. I also have some final thoughts on David Letterman's finale. Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Harris Challenge 5/22/15

This week's Harris Challenge -- the most fun you can have with your radio on -- includes categories "Late Night Hosts Not Named Letterman," "Where In The World," and "George Clooney Movies." Listen and play along, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Want more Harris Challenges? Click here.

Knuckleheads In The News® 5/22/15

On this edition of Knuckleheads In The News® I have stories about a bride who shouldn't have trashed the dress, a glass of skin milk, and an unsophisticated purse-snatcher. Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Want more Knuckleheads In The News®Click here.