Our 38th president passed away died on Tuesday, so in a span of 3 days we've lost the hardest working man in show business and the only US President who was never elected as Prez or VP. In 1976 I was 18 years old so that election was the first one I voted in. I liked Ford and I voted for him -- the last time I ever voted Republican for president. I even invited Jerry and Betty Ford to my high school graduation. They didn't come -- probably afraid (as I was) that I wasn't really going to graduate -- but they sent a lovely signed card, which might have sparked my interest in autograph collecting. (I can't remember now if my first autograph was Gerald Ford or Johnny Rodriguez.) I have two Gerald Ford autographs in my collection:
Oh no, what have they done to my sweet Betty Cooper? That was the subject heading and it went from a discussion of comic book beauties to -- well, you'll see.
ZAN: Did you not read the post? They made her more contemporary to showcase their "timelessness" and "adaptablility".
ME: I read the post. The Statue of Liberty is timeless. Does that mean we should give her a facelift to make her look more like Britney Spears?
ZAN: Betty and Veronica were already sluts. I admit into evidence:
(And here he linked to a drawing of Betty, Veronica and Archie at the beach. They are enjoying the sunshine and the summer and none of them is wearing anything above the waist.)
ME: Wearing a monokini does not make one a slut.
ZAN: I think that might be part of the definition of slut.
ME: I think you might be a tad provincial. Do you think every woman on the beach in Italy and other European countries is a slut?
ZAN : If the shoe fits. . .
ME: What shoe? Generally, if you're topless at the beach you're barefoot too.
ZAN: You're generalizing.
ME: Good one, Mister Irony. But seriously, that picture does not look like two sluts and a dude. It looks like Betty and Veronica and Archie having good wholesome American fun at the tops-optional beach. And anticipating your question: Yes, I would tell my daughters the same thing -- if you've been dating the same boy for 50 years it's okay for him to see you topless.
ZAN: So he's been two timing them for 50 years and that's ok?
ME: He's not two-timing anybody. He's just taking his time making up his mind. So yeah, if you've been dating the same guy for fifty years -- even if it's non-exclusive -- he can see you topless.
ZAN: I can forward that to Cricket and Leah?... and mom?
ME: You can but you don’t have to, I’m putting this whole conversation up on Green Genius tonight. I would do it now but this computer at work gets all wonky when I try to blog.
ZAN: I can't wait. And btw, wonky isn't a word regardless of what google says
but I guess that just means Dictionary.com is a dumb slut now that the walking dictionary is back on the job.
(And this is a reference to Zan once upon a time (when Kim and I could not find the Scrabble dictionary) calling himself the Walking Dictionary until he swore that "Gramps" was not a word -- which he still swears to this day despite the fact that it's in every dictionary ever made.)
ZAN: Dictionary dot com couldn't define themselves out of a wet paper bag. I guess I need to take the reigns again and assume my previous role.
ME: Absolutely. And as reluctant as I am to quibble with the WD himself, I think you mean "reins".
I was looking through my Microsoft Word files and realized with a start that some of the letters in there are almost 11 years old.
Here's a couple from 1996 to the Post and Courier, one of my favorite penpals of the time. Evidently I didn't think much of their TV critic or their book critics.
The Post and Courier really needs a TV critic. Yes, I know you have Frank Wooten, but his columns are so full of his right-wing political opinions and constant tiresome slams at Hootie and the Blowfish, he must fancy himself an editorialist or a music critic. One thing he definitely is not, as evidenced by Friday's spiteful and muddleheaded hatchet job on vegetarians, is a biblical scholar. He misquotes Genesis 1.28. It does not say that man shall have "dominion over the beasts of the field". And he totally ignores the next verse, Genesis 1.29, where God states: "Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat." His characterization of vegetarians as "kooks" is just another example of Wooten using his column as a place to grind his own personal axes. And bringing Adolf Hitler into it is reprehensible. Hitler was a vegetarain, but so were Albert Schweitzer, Mahatma Gandhi and St. Francis of Assisi. What does that prove? It proves that the Post and Courier needs a TV critic.
Sometimes I wish I subscribed to your right-wing, reactionary rag just so I could angrily cancel my subscription every time you insulted my intelligence -- which is daily. Lately your book reviews have gotten as muddle-headed as your editorial page. Alan Kovski dismisses Harlan Ellison as a "gusher of cuss words" and his writing in "Edgeworks:Volume One" as dated because it was written in the 1980's and many of his "ideological foes have faded from the limelight." (Although it appears to me that Jerry Falwell and Phyliss Schlafly and others of that evil ilk are still very much with us.) Is Mark Twain dated? Is Ernest Hemingway? After all, World War Two and the days of riverboats on the Mississippi are over. Does Kovski know that Ellison's book "The Glass Teat" is still required reading in many college media classes even though it ostensibly concerns itself with television of the late 60s and early 70s? Ellison's writing is timeless, as evidenced by his many Hugo and Nebula Awards (for science fiction writing) his Edgar Awards (from the Mystery Writers of America) and Writers Guild of America Awards (for television script writing), as evidenced by the Edgeworks project which is reprinting virtually every word of his 40-some odd books. That you give some narrow-minded Philistine space to call one of the greatest writers of this century a "gusher of cuss words" makes me mad. Cancel my * never mind.
This is my new column for Country Standard Time Magazine.
TIME IS NOT ON MY SIDE
I should know better by now.
In fact, I do know better.
I know they’re lying when they try to lure me in, promising it’ll be different this time. I’m completely onto their game.
But somehow or other I fall for it again.
No, I’m not talking about Sarah Evans inviting my wife and me over for another “quiet, wholesome” evening at home. I’m talking about those damn lists that media people love to make, especially at this time of year. The latest one to roil my blood pressure is Time Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest and most influential records ever made. (If your systolic and diastolic are a little low, you can jump start them at http://www.time.com/time/2006/100albums/)
Even before I look at any of the specific albums, I can see Time has gotten off on the wrong foot with me. They’ve broken down the albums by decade and there’s only four from the 1950’s, and nothing earlier than Frank Sinatra’s “In The Wee Small Hours” from 1954. So what about Jimmie Rogers, the father of country music, and the Carter Family, the first family of country music? What about Louis Armstrong, who was more influential than R.E.M. (who are on this list twice) and AC/DC and Metallica – unless by “influential” you mean “influencing crappy garage bands who will never know more than a couple of chords.”
Well, all right, let’s take short-sightedness and rock-centricity as a given, and look at what is here.
Among the usual suspects, “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and “Led Zeppelin IV”, that make briefly think this is actually a list of the most overrated albums ever, I see there ain’t much country music – one from the 2000s, two from the 90’s, none from the 80’s, 2 from the 70’s, 2 from the 60’s (although one of them is by Ray Charles, not primarily considered a country artist – and that’s the kind of thing that gives me an insight into how these lists are compiled; they probably get close to the end, and somebody realizes there’s nothing by Ray Charles and somebody else notes they could use another country album from the 60’s and voila, two birds meet their demise with one LP (“Modern Sounds in Country Music”).
No Merle Haggard, no George Jones.
Let me repeat that for you. No Haggard. No Jones. On a list of the greatest and most influential albums of the century!
So somehow country music, which has become arguably the dominant musical genre of modern times, and inarguably was one of the building blocks of rock and roll, did all this without the Hag or the Possum or the Singing Brakemen – despite the fact that you’d be hard-pressed to find any country singer worth his cheese grits who wouldn’t list one or more of these people as influences.
How is that even freaking possible?
All right, all right, I’m going to take a deep breath, try to relax. I know these lists are not meant to be definitive, they’re just to fill pages or bandwidth during the holiday season. At best all they’re meant to do is get readers thinking.