The stars at night are big and bright...

The stars at night are big and bright...
The stars at night are big and bright...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Celebrity Deathwatch: Harvey Korman

The comic great Harvey Korman has passed away.


Harvey Korman, who died today at age 81, appeared in a number of big-name movies, from "Blazing Saddles" to "High Anxiety" (not to mention his voiceover work as The Great Gazoo, or his role in the infamous "Star Wars Holiday Special"). But to a large contingent of fans, he will be remembered as much for how he made himself laugh as for how he made us laugh.

"The Carol Burnett Show" was a highlight of my childhood TV watching. I stillremember taking a clunky old tape recorder and pushing it up to the TV to record the show so I could listen to my favorite sketches over and over. (Yes, young folks, this was before we had VCRs and TiVo.) Burnett was the leader, but Korman, Tim Conway and Burnett lookalike Vicki Lawrence were a rock-steady supporting cast.

"Carol Burnett" never went for the low blow, the tasteless joke. The comedians were adults, and came across as such. The infamous "Gone With the Wind" parody and the occasional sketch where a harried homeowner faced down a houseful of product mascots (flushing the Ty-D-Bowl Man, for one) were a precursor to the snarky parodies "Saturday Night Live" would become famous for.

Korman will be remembered for many individual roles -- Eunice's husband Ed on the Mama's Family skits included. He could play a rural American or a snooty British prince with the same ease. He had an imposing stature and voice, but within seconds, his face and body could relax into a comedic doughiness. It's said that "Brady Bunch"
star Robert Reed regularly complained about how ludicrous that comedy's plots were and tried to get creator Sherwood Schwartz to change them. You got the feeling Korman would never think himself above a joke...if it was funny, if it made people laugh, he could pull it off.

But when I think of him on the show, the first thing I think of is his inimitable partnership with fellow cast member Tim Conway. There's a famed sketch where Conway plays a novice dentist and Korman his poor patient. Conway tries to follow instructions from a book as he tends to Korman, and ends up numbing his own hand and leg with novocaine.

This leads to classic Conway slapstick as he tries to perform dental work with an unresponsive hand. Korman begins the skit as the classic straight man, but very quickly starts to give in to Conway's mugging. He tries covering his laughter with his hand at first, but slowly he starts to shake and giggle. He manages to grab back his serious mien a few times, but by the end, he's just about sinking out of the dental chair into a puddle of laughter on the floor. I suppose today we might view the onscreen crackup as unprofessional, but it never even occurred to me to view it that way then. It was just a tribute to the show that even those who'd presumably read the lines a dozen times and rehearsed the scenes over and over could still be driven to uncontrollable laughter by them.

That's how Korman, Conway, Lawrence and Burnett always came off... they were professionals, but they weren't on any kind of "Actors' Studio" pedestal. They reminded you of your friends, or your parents' friends, or your funny uncle and aunt... who lived to laugh and were determined to get you cracking up right along with them.

It was comedy you could watch with the kids and with the grandparents, but it never felt dumbed down in order to reach such a broad audience. Korman's death reminds me how much I miss that kind of comedy. He, too, will be missed.

It should be noted that Harvey battled a serious medical condition ( an abdominal aortic aneurysm that ruptured four months ago) and staffers at UCLA Medical Center had begun to refer to him as "Ironman". In real life as in art Harvey was a powerful man.
Personally, he was always an idol of mine. From his days as The Great Gazoo on The Flintstones to his work on Carol Burnett and his roles on film, Harvey was always sure to make you bellylaugh. Mel Brooks was quoted as saying "A world without Harvey Korman—it's a more serious world". I'd prefer to think Heaven just got a whole lot funnier.
Rest in peace Harvey, you will be missed. But your humor will continue to entertain us forever. Now go do that Voodoo that you do so welllllll!

Fat Press Secretary Kicks Back

I gotta buy this book!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Dear Taxpayer

According to the IRS, I'm entitled to an economic stimulus payment. It's been a long time since I got money back from the IRS. I'm nearly giddy.

What shall I do with this windfall? New plasma TV? New gaming computer? Maybe down payment on a new fuel efficient car?

Hell, no.

I'm sticking it in my savings account (maybe a CD) and try to make a few sheckles on it before I hand it back next April. Momma did'nt raise no fool.

Skuzzy Trips Over Power Cord, Again...

As previously noted I am a frequenter of the HTC forums. OK, I'm an addict. A few weeks ago they moved to a new server and in the middle of the process lost power.

Bad juju...

So now the dang thing keeps crashing and I'm left staring at an page not found error. Personally, I'd be happy if they wiped the dang thing clean and started over from scratch. True, I'd lose my 12,000+ post count but Que SerĂ¡ SerĂ¡. Now trust me there would be some people that would have a full blown panic attack if they did this(Ripsnort), but you have to look for the greater good, right?

So c'mon Skuzzy, I'm starting to get the DT's.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Turn out the lights, the party's over...

From The Startlegram:

Bridgeport-based PreBuy Electric has been behind on payments for wholesale electricity and other items owed to the grid operator, according to officials. Fearing that the company has stopped operating, the grid operator has switched more than 8,000 of its customers statewide to so-called providers of last resort, which are regulated electric companies that provide continuing service in such cases.

A spokesman for the Texas Public Utility Commission said that because PreBuy customers pay in advance, it's also possible that many people may end up paying twice for their electricity.

The providers vary by region and charge different rates, although the prices typically exceed those charged by most competitive retail electric providers...

Wow, talk about bend over and grab your ankles! You're a PreBuy customer because you can't pay your bill to begin with. So you pay in advance and they walk with your money. Now, they are going to hook you up to the most expensive provider there is!

Anyone want to guess what's going to happen next?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Living Piece of History Comes To Town

I learned tonight that one of the original Tuskegee Airmen will be giving a lecture tomorrow at Bridgeport High School.


These guys are living legends. Not only were they excellent fighter pilots, they were forced to face the many hardships of racism while doing it.

I can't find any info on which pilot it will be giving the lecture, but I'm going to try and make it in to hear him. This should be very interesting.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

And God Said, "HA!"

As previously noted, I'm a NASCAR nut. It's one of the few sports I pay any attention to. But, unfortunately my work schedule conflicts with watching most of the races live. I normally get to see all the pre-race hoopla, the opening ceremonies and about 3 laps before I have to leave for work. Once in a blue moon I get Sunday off and can sit back and enjoy a race.

Guess what? There is a blue moon this Sunday. My normal relief manager's husband is having back surgery and my boss has to juggle the schedule. I lose having 2 days off together and my days off are changed, but one of them is changed to Sunday.

Huzzah! This is NASCAR's All-Star weekend! They do a bunch of fan friendly stuff including a non-points race where the drivers actually get back to old school style racing. They run for money, not points. People wind up in the wall "Loren Wallace style" when it comes down to the finish. There have been death threats because of this race in years past. This is the good stuff!

The race is Saturday night.


Not OSHA Approved

Bobcat Loads Itself onto Truck - Watch more free videos

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Movie Of The Week: Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo

This is one of the great World War 2 propaganda films. Directed by the great Mervyn Leroy it was just what America needed to hear in the uncertain days of the war. America had been hit hard in the Pacific and needed a victory.

Enter Spencer Tracy as aviation legend Jimmy Doolittle and his daring plan to launch a sneak carrier based bomber attack on the heart of Japan. This movie tells the true story of one crew in the raid, altho they are a composite of the raid it's self.

Van Johnson turns in one of his finest performances as Lt. Ted Lawson, skipper of "The Ruptured Duck" a B25 Mitchell bomber designed for land based runways. A young newlywed and father to be. He leads his young inexperienced crew thru the riggors of launching a B25 in 1/8 of the runway it was designed, the attack on Tokyo it's self and the harrowing aftermath of a crash landing.

The movie is designed to hug at your heartstrings and it does so in spades. Surprisingly, there is little of the bloodshed you would expect from films like these. There are no shots of Jap pilots with blood flowing from them as they crash into the sea. There are clips of the actual mission it's self. For the most part the film is detached from the horror of battle. It does give you a painful look at the horrors of war and it's lasting results.

The film is filled with Hollywood greatness. Robert Mitchum, Robert Walker, Don DeFore, Louis Jean Heydt, and John Dehner all have supporting roles. It won the Oscar for Special Effects and was nominated for Best Cinematography.

A film you owe it to yourself to watch, even if you've seen it 100 times.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Cruisin' Tunes

I did a little running around today in Lil' Suzi and went to Bowie. I had to exchange the Castrol GTX 10w40 I bought last week for 5w30. I read on one of the minitruck forums that Suzuki's don't like 40 weight.

On the cruise up I listened to Russ Martin after figuring out my antenna extended farther that I had it... What a dumbass! After pulling it out another section it picked up all the Dallas stations I was having trouble with.

I went into WalMart and did the "Customer Service" thing. The line was short, which is exactly why I go to the Bowie Wallyworld. I told them I just wanted to exchange and went about my shopping. I found the 5w30 and picked up a few other goodies including a new CD, an old favorite of mine AC/DC's Highway To Hell. You have to realise that including this one, I own a grand total of 4 CD's. (Didn't somebody used to be a DJ???)

I made my way back to the Customer Service counter and made the exchange, or so I thought. My gallon of oil would not scan. Long story short, I f'ed up. I didn't buy the oil there. After further review I was pretty sure I bought it at O' Reilly's. Man, I'm batting .1000 today...

So I drag my disgusted self to O' Reilly's and swapped the oil. I decided to pop in the new CD for the ride back and that turned out to be a very good idea. Me and this CD go way back. I mean WAY back, before CD's existed. Back to the golden age of albums and cassettes. Back to the days of riding in the back of Dave Neiderman's Ford van commuting to work in Seattle from The U District, where a group of us Coasties rented a house, to the Todd Shipyards where our ship USCSG Boutwell (WHEC-719) was in drydock for what seemed like forever.

That was a great summer. Listening to KISW and discovering a whole new world of rock and roll. KZEW was the big Dallas station when I was in high school, and it was a great radio station. But, when I moved to Seattle I found a whole new edge of rock on KISW and KZOK. I had never heard of some of these groups before, J. Geil's Band, Pat Travers and... AC/DC.

That last one really did something to me. I had never heard music with such a driving beat and energy before. It reached inside me and made my soul shake. Bon Scott had a voice that could not be copied. The lyrics told stories that I could feel inside me. It made me want to... ROCK!

Anyway, we would listen to that tape everyday to and from work, plus a few times later that night partying. It was our theme music. If we were awake AC/DC was playing.

It's been years since I listened to music radio consistently. Mostly because music radio just bores the hell outta me anymore. I've migrated over to talk because it's infinitely more interesting and funny. After buying the HD radio for Lil' Suzi I've tuned in to some music, but it hasn't changed much. Thus the decision to buy a new CD.

The second I popped in Highway To Hell I immediately flashed back to 1970's Seattle. My sour mood vanished and I felt 18 again. That was a great ride home, but I need to add more speakers. Now I remember why I have the hearing damage that I do.

Bon Scott lives!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Hitchcock Lives

From the AP :

TREASURE ISLAND, Fla. (AP) — A swimmer is recovering after a pelican apparently diving for fish slammed into her face off Florida.

Debbie Shoemaker of Toledo, Ohio, was in the water Thursday near St. Petersburg when the pelican's beak opened a gash in her face. She needed 20 stitches. The bird died.
The chief of the St. Petersburg Fire Department says he never heard of a diving pelican colliding with anyone.

An expert surmises the bird was diving for fish and hit Shoemaker by accident.
The 50-year-old woman returned home Friday.

And you hated it when they only crapped on you...

I Got A Bigggg Mouth!

Or do I? We'll let the you the unbiased viewer decide. (Man, this could get ugly!)

So... during my search for info on my Suzuki I run across a guy that is translating japanese factory service manuals to english. The first time this has ever happened and there are a lot of people looking for them. (In Japan, they do not sell manuals to the public, only factory authorized service centers.) He is selling the brand new manuals direct to the public for $16 plus shipping.

Sweet, huh?

Enter the ugly side of capitolism...

Thru the minitruck forums I hear of a guy reselling the manuals on eBay for.. now get this.. $125 plus shipping! Jeezus H. Christ! You have to be kidding me!! Not a bad return on your investment there, pal.

Me, being the ever vigilant overseerer of all that is right and decent, the protector of truth, justice and the American way, call this sorry fracker out on his blatant (and quite successful) attempt at ripping-off an unsuspecting public. Becky Oliver, eat your heart out...

I find out there are 2 people currently on eBay doing this and email both of them appealing to their conscience and what is morally right and wrong... being polite about it, ya know... I mean I didn't call them the inbred cocksuckers that they obviously are or anything. Really, I didn't!

I may have asked them how they were able to sleep at night doing what they were, but that's as far as I went. Honest Injun.

Here's the response I got from our friend in Arkansas:

On :

You sent me a harrasing email then post. You know this is a lover's spat. I
can't belive I ever registerd to respond to you. Even like it your business
amymore. (You dumped me last month). I told you I paid $50.00 I had no idea they
were ever 16.00 and on Lulu they are 24.95. Get your facts straight. I've got
the books on a best offer. If I put 50.00 then they offer 25.00. Honey please
come home and lets talk about this.. I miss you... Oh by the way RPM is my

Ooh, that stings!

Now, am I wrong in spreading the word about somebody trying to rip-off unsuspecting consumers or should I mind my own fracking business and let these guys make a living? Supply and demand. That seems to be OK with us as far as gas is concerned...

The polls are open.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Bitch Who Cried Wolf

For those who have'nt been following the story here's a quick rundown...

Bored mother of 3 starts an affair with a single dad of 1. Husband busts Wife making out in car with Single Dad in front of their house. She cries rape, Hubby opens fire Single Dad is now Dead Single Dad.

Grand Jury refuses to indict Hubby and instead indicts Mom.

The verdict? Guilty.

The sentence? A measley 5 years.

Five years? That's all? Why is it that women convicted of serious crimes like this (see: Rebecca Simpson) wind up with such powder puff sentences?

I'm not much on reality TV, but I'm a sucker for Deadliest Catch. Having spent my share of time on the Aleutian Chain Gang in the US Coast Guard, I can really identify with these guys. It is a hard, exhausting job in the ugliest conditions you'll ever face. You're putting your life at risk just being there.
The new season is underway on DiscoveryHD.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Extended Warranty? I Don't Need No Stinking Extended Warranty!

The Appliance Gods mock my existence. After getting all hopped up on goofballs I decided to do a little upgrading to my laundry room and replaced the cheap foil and spring dryer hose for a heavier expandable metal one. The heavier one should solve some problems I've been having.

The procedure was quick and relatively painless. No animals were harmed in the filming of this episode.

So armed with my new heavy duty setup, I loaded up the dryer and put a new load in the washer. About 30 minutes later I go back to check on the clothes and the room is filled with smoke! Holy crap! The smell is like burning rubber or plastic. My first thoughts are that I have somehow run the new exhaust against something that is smoldering. I do a thorough inspection and can find nothing that looks suspect.

My next thought was the dryer belt. I take the dryer apart... nothing. So I fire everything up again and can't get it to smoke again. I know something is wrong somewhere, but can't figure it out. As I stand there running all the possible causes thru my head it suddenly dawns on me that my washing machine is running exceptionally smooth. I mean REALLY smooth. Turns out I had been barking up the wrong tree. The smell was the washer transmission burning up.

I paid a full $37.50 for that washer 4 years ago. This is an outrage!

Compliments of Bob Saget