I Want My Mommy

Hey, kids, I'm wrapping up the ol' year being sick. Golly, it's swell!

Well, most everything is swelling. Complete strangers cup things and ask me to cough, but that's nothing new.

Kerry from Spokane, WA, guesses I weigh 188 pounds.

Thanks for noticing. Next time, Kerry, warm mittens.

I'll be back blogging with more confessions, just as soon as my fingertips quit squirting blood and my eyeballs stop that painful shards of glass scraping the orbs for more French onion dip with chives feeling.

Another day or two, plus a day for swallowing, and I should be back. I haven't swallowed since Tuesday, need to catch up. Man, that's brutal pain, that harsh swallow and deep ear hurt. I cry like a little girl, but that's nothing new, thanks to that darn Holly Hobbie.

That's a story for another lozenge.


Christmas Memory, 1974

After the frenzy of our family's Christmas Day celebration, I navigated the trusty Volkswagen bug over to the Phipps Plaza Theatre in Atlanta for my third viewing of Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein," which had been in original release all of 11 days at that time. I was ravenous for this film, one I watched and championed as often as possible.

The wild spoof is nothing short of perfection, enhanced by its beautiful black-and-white production values, considered a bold, artsy choice during Hollywood's early all-color era. Brooks, concerned over the public's acceptance of his radical effort, had even gone so far as to voice the coming attractions trailer, wherein he proclaims: "In black-and-white! No offense."

The look of this film is a finely-crafted companion piece to director James Whale's Universal horror classics ("Frankenstein," 1931, "Bride of Frankenstein," 1935), which firmly established the visual concepts we accept as the monster's bizarro world.

Mel delivered an impressive commercial and artistic one-two punch in 1974. "Young Frankenstein" was exhibited close on the heels of "Blazing Saddles." The western farce had trotted to movie screens months earlier, following sneak previews in drive-in theatres across America, where patrons arriving on horseback were admitted free.

"Young Frankenstein" never appeared inside my stocking or under the tree, but the comedy is one of my most memorable, cherished Christmas gifts -- and it keeps on giving, you little zipper-neck.


Merry Jerry

I'm feeling all Christmassy, so let's check the incoming holiday greetings....

Oo, here's one from Universal Studios!


Wishing you a Happy Holiday!

Spend the Holidays with Jerry, Steve and the rest of the team!

Monday, December 18th - "VIEWERS VS. SPRINGER GUESTS III"

Tuesday, December 19th - "RETURN OF THE DRUNK MOM!"

Wednesday, December 20th - "JERRY CHRISTMAS!"

Thursday, December 21st - "HOLIDAY HELL #357!"

Friday, December 22nd - "UNCLE STASH SHOT SANTA CLAUS!"

Monday , December 25th - "ROUGH LOVE!"

Tuesday, December 26th - "GUESS WHAT…I'M REALLY A MAN!"

Wednesday, December 27th - "CELLMATES, STRIPPERS & NACHO!"

Thursday, December 28th - "ROAST BEEF & A BOOTLEGGER!"

Friday, December 29th - "A GAY FAMILY AFFAIR!"

You know, nothing says "Holy Day" like rough love, Clausicide, and shemales.

Obviously, being the "Springer Show," Three Wise Men will not appear.

That's just as well, because, as the unfortunately named Longfellow put it, "They laid their offerings at his feet."

...In what would become a very special episode, "GOLDIE, FRANK INCEST, AND MURRAY!"


What Do You Get for the Person Who Has Everything?

'Tippi' Hedren Quote Marks

Let me test drive them babies....

'Mike' Durrett

Oh, I've got to have those!


Make a Little Boy Happy on Christmas Morn

I have updated, spellchecked, published, notarized, and genuflected my eagerly anticipated Humor Boy's Wish List, just in time for fruitcake.

Let me make one thing clear. I don't need no stinkin' fruitcake. I was only being seasonal and suck-upingly polite. Gifts are at stake here, people.

You can see the Top 10 wants with capsule descriptions over on About.com -- or simply cut to the chase and buy my gifts at the handy Amazon.com shopping links I've posted here to make your life easier. Do I have to operate the mouse clicker for you, too? Move it!

Not only will I receive a wonderful goody from you, but I'll get my sales commission as an Amazon affiliate, too. It's a win-win gimme!

And isn't that the true meaning of Christmas?

I know there are more than 10 items displayed to the right, but I don't subscribe to you Earthlings' conventions.

A couple of the products, the Bob and Ray CDs and the Laurel and Hardy biography, are holdovers from my previous Wish List. No one purchased them for me.


Can you imagine such a thing?

I have.

And it is hell.

Evil incarnate. It shares a bunk with Howie Mandel's soul patch.

Sometimes the available gift items may not display properly on this page due to a snafu with the computers at Amazon. You might see generic Amazon ads at those moments, rather than the individual products on my Wish List. Try reloading this page to see my actual desires or simply make out a check to "CASH" and send it to me with shipping and handling included, of course. I'll reload the page and buy one of the items, saving you the trouble, kind sir and/or madam. It's the least I can do.

Belated presents will be accepted, but don't linger. I become pouty.

If you don't see anything you'd like to buy me, I could always use a gift certificate to Bed, Bath & Beyoncé.


Special Delivery

For some reason, the email is bouncing back tonight. Our neighbors have invited us into their home tomorrow for dessert and since Sally reads this blog, I'll R.S.V.P here.

Mmmmmmm, pie.

Hi Jim and Sally,

We just got home and discovered your email. Yes, we would be happy to visit Saturday night. Please let us know if we can bring anything.

See you at 7. Oh, Donna has laryngitis, but maybe she will be better tomorrow. If not, my ventriloquist friend Mark might come with us.

Mike and Donna


Hell Dere

I read an article on Marty ("Hello Dere") Allen and Steve Rossi, a comedy team that enjoyed considerable success in the 1950s and '60s. They're fine and working separately these days, reports "The Las Vegas Sun."

"At 84, comedian Marty Allen and his wife, Karon Kate Blackwell, are cruising through life.... 'We just signed a deal with the Royal Caribbean (Cruise Line) to be its headline attraction.' ... She sings, plays the piano and is straight man in the comedy act.... 'We're like Mike Nichols and Elaine May or Burns and Allen -- the act is dynamic.' And clean...."

"'This is a pilot for A&E,' Steve Rossi said in welcoming guests one night to his latest entertainment venture, a comedy revue at the Slanted Clam Tavern.... 'We're calling the revue "Laughs Vegas,"' said Rossi, 74 and still finding ways to entertain fans.... Rossi says, he will be at the Clam at 9 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month, hosting and doing his act ... [with] a cast that also includes Gary Collins, Mary Ann Mobley, Ronnie Schell and Ruta Lee.... 'I do most of the singing and comedy in the show,' Rossi said."

As it so happens, I says, I'm booked every other Arbor Day at the Slanted Clam, Deer Tick, Wisconsin at 8:52 p.m. I play straight man in the pageant we're calling "Wheezes Deer Tick." It features my riveting, one-hand show, the hard-fisted "Thumbelina, Lady in My Cuff."

Dino, Desi, and Billy impersonators (Seth, Bingo, and Lumpy, The Artist Formerly Known as Splurt and Soon Known as Inebriated, Broke, and Splayed) open for me.

I shellac my hair, then Sharpie pen brows and lashes onto my horrid cosmetic surgery to look like Wayne Newton after a turkey baste. My left thumb gets a pre-show soak in the Gin Fizz nearest the complimentary E. coli pretzel sticks, if nobody's paying attention. I do most of the singing and men's room caulk touch-ups.

At the supper show, The Big Catty Grooming Brush of Sigfried and Roy takes questions from the audience (i.e., Bingo and Lumpy and a bottomless pitcher of turpentine sangria) during my costume change into The Disturbingly Leaky Wolverine Piñata (Ann B. Davis Stuffed With Sour Tamales, Asbestos Caramel Toffee Turtles, and Lilt No-Drip Foam Home Permanent Piñata, when available).

I'm one of the few acts to work clean, although Thumbelina often reeks of beer nuts.


Heart-to-Heart Talk

Twenty-five years of marriage. Actual conversation:

Donna (rummaging through papers): "I had another blood pressure reading around here, but I can't find it."

Mike (produces a note): "Here. You wanna borrow some of mine?"


100 Things About Me #90

Better Latte Than Never

My first movie star hero was Robby, the Robot, in "The Invisible Boy" (1957).

From that indelible toddler moment, there has been only one quest motivating my life.

I must be pals with Robby.

I know that's silly.

I'll settle for any 7' 6", walking, talking, espresso machine.

100 Things: #1 | Previous | Next


Unhappy Cheat

I had been looking forward to the "Happy Feet" movie for an entire year, ever since I saw the cute penguin dance solo in an IMAX 3-D coming attractions preview.

I liked the full-length film on the whole, yet I came away from the large screen experience disappointed and cheated.

First, IMAX abandoned its promised plan to release "Happy Feet" in 3-D this fall.

Second, when we attended the Regal Mall of Georgia IMAX Theatre, the immaculate IMAX presentation implied was nowhere to be seen. The gigantic picture was too dim (snow is white, not beige) and the entire film was shown wildly out of focus, from top to bottom and start to finish. My wife noted the inept projection, too.

We were downhearted and displeased with the theatre's unacceptable quality control and the once-glorious IMAX brand, which we have now dubbed "IMIN."

Our third strike involved Savion Glover. He was the stunt dancer doubling Mumble, the lead penguin. Since "Happy Feet" is animated, a process called "motion capture" was employed, using multiple sensors attached to the body of the performer, which tracked and recorded his physical actions and attributes for computers to transfer into the detailed cartoons.

I've had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Glover on the stage, so I recognized the penguin's distinctive body language immediately. In person, Savion tap-dances into a frenzy beyond the point where heavy perspiration can be seen flinging everywhere around him.

Not once during "Happy Feet" did the penguin fling an icicle. Not once! That would've been way cool.

Then, again, maybe he did.

The theatre could have bungled that, too, causing the icicles to evaporate.


100 Things About Me #89

You Would Even Say It Glows
As a member of the sixth grade chorus, I was strongly pressured to appear in the Christmas concert before the school's students and parents. I knew in my heart the show could be a career-making moment for me. I was committed to giving my all to my art -- until the costume was mentioned.

The director insisted I be dressed as a singing elf in the zany "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" production number. I was embarrassed then and I'm embarrassed now.

I'm telling you this because bootleg photos have been uploaded to the Internet. Who would've thought yuletide images of a young lad would be of interest to anyone, yet there they were at hunkypixies.org.

Gee. There's nothing quite like that special holiday humiliation feeling!

Epilogue: My toes were straightened in 1978.

100 Things: #1 | Previous | Next

More About the Elf Photos


Christmas Past and Presents

I'll be visiting a new store for my holiday shopping, Restoration Hardware.

I'm giving cordless screw guns from the 17th century.


Footlights Footnotes

We've received the tickets for our next play, "Twelve Angry Men," starring Richard Thomas and George Wendt as the other eleven.

We saw several excellent Broadway productions this year via their national tours. I liked "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," "The Light in the Piazza," "Wicked," "Hairspray," and, for the third time, "Chicago." My kind of tunes, "Chicago" is.

I tend to favor musicals because I have fascinating rhythm. I pace sex with a metronome and a slacker Jack in the Box.

Have to, ever since the incident with the dyspeptic musical conductor and his glow-in-the-dork baton.


My favorite musical is "Oklahoma!" Great songs, happily romantic, and I have a corn as high as an elephant's eye.


Which James Bond Am I?

Your results:
You are Daniel Craig

The sixth actor to play Bond in the movies promises to be a more realistic, down to earth and not so perfect James Bond, while still being a sexy womanizer.

Daniel Craig?

Here I was being "realistic," thinking I'm Jimmy Bond (Woody Allen, "Casino Royale," 1967). We dress alike (pajamas with snappy brown shoes) and, let me put on my glasses, you're not supposed to hit a guy wearing glasses.

Yes, I am "down to earth." It's the extra 50 pounds of Goo Goo Cluster goo. I can hardly pick up my feet off the planet.

I admit I'm "not so perfect," but I compensate with the abundance of factory-seconds dimples.

Me, a "sexy womanizer?" This could cost me a fortune in tux ties and Tic Tacs.

Click here to take the "Which James Bond Am I?" quiz.


Even More Shameless Movie Tie-Ins

"Before the Shark there was the Whale."

Yeah, sure.

I'm still annoyed by that 30-year-old ad campaign comparing dissimilar "Moby Dick" to "Jaws."

Coming soon:

Before the Savior there was Ben, Hurt.

Before the Saw II there was the Sauté.

Before the Shark there was the Whale.


More Shameless Movie Tie-Ins

In the 1970s, an advertising campaign was developed which unjustly positioned the film "Moby Dick" as a companion piece to "Jaws." The posters screamed: "Before the Shark there was the Whale."

It must've worked, though. The Hollywood parasites are back.

Before the Saw II there was the Two for the Seesaw.

Before the Casino Royale there was the Casino Royale before there was the Casino Royale.

Danny, Before the Foyer there was the Flyer.


Deep Leap

While researching "Moby Dick" for a previous entry, I discovered this shameless reissue promotion involving the all-but-forgotten 1956 film.

After the huge success of Steven Spielberg's "Jaws" in 1975, the whale tale was brought back from the bottom of the cinema to cash in on the phenomenon.

"Before the Shark there was the Whale," spouts the ad copy, but the two stories are essentially unrelated in construction and tone.

What's next?

Before the Feet there was the Gilmore.

Before the Cars there was the Carson.

Before the Borat there was the Borax.


100 Things About Me #88

Beam Me Up, Moby
In the comments section of "100 Things About Me #87," reader Paros Shepherd asks about my rather fast transition from playing with a toy slide projector to a career as a movie projectionist.

"Do you know what attracted you to projection in those early years?"

I've always been attracted to show business, but there was no cable in the womb, so I popped out and waited for Sinatra tickets.

My favorite form of entertainment is the movies. Inside a theatre, I feel an ever-present excitement. I'm sure the tiny me was taken by the screen bigness, the colors, the action, and the elaborate storytelling.

Plus, theatres were where they kept the Jujubes.

My parents never told me the title of the first film I attended. My bio proudly states it was "Rover Dangerfield," because that makes me 35 years younger.

My earliest distinct theatre memory stretches back to age four. The film was "Moby Dick" (1956) with Gregory Peck confronting the notorious white beast. I recall sitting alongside the folks, taking in the wondrous new world of sticky auditorium floors and seat gums.

Dad was into the fishy tale, shaking Natural "Fleur De Sel" Sea Salt with Fennel from Noirmoutier Island into his bag of Oyster Crackers, while his other hand clasped Green Olive Spread Tapenade in case there was Dick on a Stick.

Mom held his hip waders and harpoon.

I do remember images of the whale, but my focus was elsewhere. I have a vivid recollection of turning away from the giant screen to peer through the chairs at the powerful, flickering light beam which splayed out of the projector behind me. I was mesmerized by that spectacle. It was an omen.

Jump ahead 20 years, Gregory Peck was in "The Omen."

Jump ahead 40 years, I was sitting in my projection room at work. It's spare time. With my back to the screen, I flipped over the page of a book to Chapter Two, "Moby Dick."

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But Not That

Flushed Aw, eww.I am a man, so my job description requires I be brave.

I have traveled, gone everywhere.

I have seen much ado.

I know the horrors that men leave behind.

Therefore and nevertheless, I shan't be able to bring myself to walk through a door marked "Flushed Aw."


Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah, Blah

Morty the Cat's love for the "Greg the Bunny" show has revived mine, too.

I enjoy the program's celebrated character actor / vampire, Count Blah, who comes from the Bela Lugosi School of Performing Arts, meaning he frequently throws an extra "blah" into his patter. Here's a quotation:

Greg: Wow. Count Blah, can I just say that you scared the piss out of me. And I mean that from the heart, sir.

Blah: Please. You may call me Blah, blah.

Greg: Okay. Blah Blah.

Blah: No. Just Blah ... blah.

Greg: Just ... Blah Blah.

Blah: Blah! My boy, it is simple. Just Blah ... blah.

Greg: Just Blah ... Blah.

Blah: Look, don't turn this into a frickin' Abbott and Costello routine, okay? Just call me Blah, and leave it at that.


I think my favorite Count Blah bit is a sight gag we see when he visits his wife's grave. (How in the world a vampire's spouse died in the first place was not explained.)

Her tombstone:



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