Monday, January 26, 2004

Please explain to me the phenomenon of Roseanne Barr. And please explain this: You're John Goodman and you've got a sly little movie career going. And yet you commit yourself to a series. Or, more to the point, you commit yourself to working with--and even doing love scenes with--a more dreadful harridan than ever came shrieking and raging through the doors of Wal-Mart on the day after Thanksgiving.


Now I realize why I find Howard Dean offputting. He's a doctor. I'm a-scared of doctors. I'm afraid they're going to give me a shot.


John Kerry shot a few quail when he was in Iowa. It was sort of like when Clinton executed that retarded man.


Strange, though, that when people like ordinary Iowans voice their deepest concerns, those concerns tend to be things like job losses, jobs moving overseas, etc. But then they vote for the same old thing--free traders like Kerry.


Despite the hours and hours of training on the campaign trail, the skill set of flipping and serving pancakes is rarely used by the president of the United States. Kerry seems least at home in the pancake apron. Kerry in an apron looks as if Cristo decided to put one of his celebrated wraps around one of the Easter Island totems.


"A Face in the Crowd" runs periodically on TCM. I've for the most part put 1950s Elia Kazan-Budd Schulberg message movies behind me. My thought: the statute of limitations on Lee J. Cobb's RICO violations has long expired.


This might be the least-seductive teaser link I’ve ever come upon: See Jim Carrey's outrageous award arrival!


Other than what’s been said in the headlines, I know nothing about the Kobe Bryant case. I know none of the facts. I know nothing of what the pundits are saying. But I do know that in America money and celebrity will conquer all, and I do know that, rightly or wrongly, this man will never be found guilty in a court of law.


Other than what’s been said in the headlines, I know nothing about the Michael Jackson case. I know none of the facts. I know nothing of what the pundits are saying. But I do know that in America money and celebrity will conquer all, and I do know that, rightly or wrongly, this man will never be found guilty in a court of law.


Is there anything more dreadful in the world than Bob Dylan's work on his first three or four albums? To this day, there are people who still turn to this callow twenty year old for words of wisdom.
Dylan: "Hey, Mr. Baseball Man. What ya gonna do 'bout Willie Mays?"
Response: I'm gonna pitch him high and inside.
Dylan: "Taaaaake the rag away from your face. Now ain't the time for your tears."
Response: I wasn't crying. I'm chopping shallots for a stew.


Regarding “Twelve Angry Men,” one can only wonder how much smoother the proceedings would have gone had there been an air conditioner in that deliberating room.


Why do left-leaning women refuse to use capital letters in their e-mail messages? Does it have something to do with conserving resources?


The idea that the New York Times is tantamount in its politics to the Daily Worker is preposterous. If anybody in this country knows what they are doing, it's the advertising community. Look at some of the ads there, and at some of the fashion and design pictures. Folks are spending millions of dollars to festoon their homes with the kind of Naugahyde-covered "kitsch" that I grew up in.

Advertisers know what they're doing. That is, they know who you are. If you find yourself watching "Sanford and Son" or "MASH" at two in the afternoon, the commercials have got you pegged: truck-driving schools, easy-credit ripoffs, antidepressant medications.


Dennis Miller has two words for people concerned about his credentials as host of a quasi-news show: lighten up. I have twelve words for Miller: Say something funny for a change and maybe I will lighten up.


If there is one thing that Sorkin's entire “West Wing” White House staff has in common, it is this: each of them is damn good at what he or she does. An odd idea of entertainment, isn't it? Set before us a group of make-believe folk and then pound into us the idea that they are dang good at what they do. What do I care? They're pretend. Meanwhile, back to real life, Sorkin himself, high as a kite on prescription drugs, is swerving all over Mulholland Drive, barely missing that dude in the Tom Petty song who is trying to write that Valley Girl's name in the sky.


Saw a "retro" commercial on TV Land recently. It was one of those Reese's chocolate-peanut butter collisions. The two unfortunate victims of this particular collision were an as-yet-unknown Robbie Benson and an as-yet-unknown Donnie Most. What are the odds of that? The message of the spot remains as relevant today as it was thirty years ago. If you must eat chocolate and/or peanut butter while walking, please do not round any sharp corners. At least not without the aid of a periscope.


I’m making a more conscientious effort to get my life in order, if only to discourage the Nation of Islam from deciding to become my manager.


Not long ago REM was on The Tonight Show. Michael Stipe said to Leno, "Aren't you going to ask me about these numbers on my pants?" The numbers that were painted up the side of one leg of his trousers, he announced, represented "all the people in Florida whose votes weren't counted." Where you been, Stipe? That was three years ago. Were all your other pants in the hamper? Did you have to dig deep in the closet for the ol' Florida Miscount pants? What goes around comes around: Stipe, my friend, hang on to those old Joe Kennedy-Rigged 1960 West Virginia Vote pants. I hear they're coming back in style.


As a child, I was frightened by songs in minor keys, such as "Sixteen Tons" and "Nature Boy." I suppose "Sixteen Tons" was lyrically scary. I used to think, Boy, this must be a mean old world, what with Tennessee Ernie Ford going around punching people for no good reason. And he seemed like such a nice man on that TV show of his, the one that had perhaps the homeyest set in all of TV land. Remember that? He performed his numbers in front of those plaid curtains that you used to see at International House of Pancakes.


Wouldn't it be ironic if after all these years we found out that penguins were actually freezing their asses off?


To those who are still fighting the anti-censorship fight – who have photos of Tipper Gore and the Rev. James Dobson on your dart boards – take a moment to turn on the television or to canvas the CDs in a music store. You’ll promptly discover that your war is won, so relax and enjoy the spoils.


If keeping a family together and out of trouble are considered criteria for being successful, then we must consider former President George Bush and his boys to be colossal failures.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

There are a lot of bad movie makers who receive acclaim (Spike Lee, Ronnie Howard, Rob Reiner, Joel Schumacher, to name a few), but the absolute worst has to be Oliver Stone. ABC recently aired his movie about football, called something like "Punt, Pass & Kick." I happened upon it while exercising my remote control, and my thumb gave pause. I thought, "Hmm, a gridiron flick. Sports movies always stink – hey, is that Al Pacino?"

Two minutes later, I thought, "This stinks of Stone."

In my sophomore year of high school I took an honors English course taught by a nun (let's call her Sister Sara) who had a thing for symbolism. In our classroom discussions of The Great Gatsby and A Separate Peace and The Learning Tree, she'd focus on symbolism and nothing else. As a fledgling fiction writer, I let this nonsense penetrate too deeply into my head, and for many years henceforth I agonized over symbolic names for my characters (Nancy Puretann, Barton Impechuis, Mark Airoganz, Fabian Wyze). I now realize the time would've been better spent laboring over plot lines or characterization . . . or else by turning off the typewriter and looking at back issues of Honkers in the basement.

Like Sister Sara, Stone has always had a stiffy for symbolism. For one, this awful movie features a funky black quarterback named Willie Beaman. Stone wants you to catch on to this clever device here – he wants you to pronounce the name “Will he be a man?” Because that’s a key plot point here. Will this immature, Wayans-brother-looking hotshot ever accept responsibility and become a man? (Of course he will; there are no unknown outcomes in a Stone movie.)

Get ready to place your cigarette between your lips so that your hands will be free to applaud: Stone compares football players to gladiators. I wish I would have thought of that . . . when I was four. In what could pass for self-parody, he intercuts the football action with footage of gladiators.

What makes this thing most unwatchable is its relentless tone of urgency and intensity. From cut to cut, these cut-out characters shout at each other and recite platitudes. You wish for some peace and quiet. You wish for the chance to smile. But you never get levity from this director. The very last time Oliver Stone cracked a grin was in June of 1953, when his gramps gave him a titty-twister.

Certainly some critics claim the movie is authentic, if only because it employs lots of Stonesque slow motion, a thumpety-thump soundtrack, gritty sound effects, sweaty torsos, and foul language. But anyone with the slightest feel for the subject matter would not have used these team nicknames: the Rhinos, the Emperors, the Americans. If you had a garage band with your junior-high buddies in 1960, you might’ve had those names on your short list. But not if you were starting a professional football franchise.

I was only able to stomach about twenty minutes of “Punt, Pass & Kick,” but I could probably tell you everything that happened, perhaps even down to line-by-line dialogue, if you haven’t already figured it out. With Stone, there are no surprises.

Saturday, August 30, 2003

I’m not as big a fan of “The Three Stooges” as men are made out to be, but I feel compelled to do what little I can to right a terrible wrong. Curly is certainly the world’s favorite Stooge, but I happen to think Shemp is superior to his brother. Curly is more of a one-trick pony: he does everything loudly and largely. Shemp, on the other hand, can play big and he can play small. Plus, there’s much more to his face – more to empathize with. When Curly takes a carpenter’s saw to the skull, you know it is fake. When Shemp takes the blade, your thoughts and prayers go out to his family. In short, Curly is sometimes amusing, but he cannot pack Shemp’s lunch. And if he could, that lunch would consist of a coat of brown paint slathered between two slices of white bread.


One of Schwarzenegger’s first campaign speeches went like this, almost verbatim: “Don't do drugs. Stay in school. Stay away from gangs. Exercise your mind and your body. Don't smoke. Do your math homework [pronounced moth homeworks]. Learn your computer.” Aside from the computer part, didn't James Monroe run for president on this same platform?


The right wing, alas, doesn't have a monopoly on that testosterone-edged way of speaking on cable "discussion" shows. Nor does it have a monopoly on idiocy. Case in point, Bill Press, CNN's resident liberal. On August 22, Mr. Press put up on the screen a graphic excerpt from President Bush's remarks on the recent forest fire, which, at one point, he called "a holocaust." Press turned to the panel and said, "Isn't this the most outrageous thing he's ever said? To compare a forest fire to the Holocaust?"

There were the usual thirty or forty people on the panel. So you'd think one of them would've made the correction that the president was referring to a lower-case holocaust (it was even lowercase on the screen), meaning "a large fire," and not the capitalized Holocaust, which takes its name from the word for a large fire. Instead, we got this screamed reply from one of the president's defenders: “Bill, maybe you'd feel a little different if you lost a loved one in that forest fire!"

Press tried to be the voice of reason. It was a heroic effort to contain his rage. His face went crimson. His lips began to bubble like oatmeal at the surface when it starts to boil. "On the one hand, a forest fire," he said, with slow deliberateness. "On the other hand, six million Jews."

Congratulations, Mr. Press. You're even dumber than the president. Quite a feat.

Alfred Hitchcock's work dealt with quite elemental fears. One of these fears was that of knowing the truth, a truth that would take just a few minutes to explain, and having that truth overridden by an idea simplified into falsehood. Is it any wonder, then, that when I went to bed I had a nightmare in which Bill Press was trying to throw me off of Mount Rushmore?


File this under Come On, Seger, You Can Do Better Than That:
"On those Hollywood nights,
In those Hollywood Hills,
She was lookin' so right
In her diamonds and frills."


Anyone who expresses disappointment in "Gigli" is at the same time making the remarkable confession that he or she entrusted hopes in it in the first place.


Back when Woody Allen was cool and Bob Hope was the very paragon of uncool, nobody could get it through their heads that W. Allen was profoundly influenced by Bob Hope, no matter how many times W. Allen said that he was.

He was more than influenced by him. Very often in his movies he is doing a Bob Hope imitation--the Bob Hope of the 40s and 50s movies, that is. The character that Allen does, particularly in his early comedies, is less aptly characterized as "neurotic" or "New York intellectual" than as "Bob Hope." The cowardly guy who fancies himself more appealing to women than he is. The imitation is as detailed as this: Watch the way Bob Hope sort of wrings his hands when he goes into the mode I call "Considering the Advantages That Will Redound to Self as a Result of an Underhanded Act, in Semi-Soliloquy." Woody Allen goes into the same mode very often, and does the same hand wringing.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

 May I say something for the record? Julia Roberts is a woman completely devoid of charm. And you know what really bugs me about her? She plays nothing but "noble" characters. I think that's the most ungenerous sort of storytelling: Set up a character who is completely noble and is maybe taking on the Powers That Be (rich white guys). Meanwhile, charge the poor schmoe in the audience $8.50 admission, $3 for a Coca-Cola, $4 for popcorn, and $2.50 for a box of Mike 'n' Ikes.

 I guess if anyone needs an advocate, it’s the Devil.

 LBJ had perhaps the longest face of any president. If that man's face were a few inches longer, it could have qualified as a stretch of road in the Adopt-A-Highway program. The Jaycees could've come out on Sundays and picked up litter from the sides of his face.

 If there is anything to Hinduism, I'm sure the platitudinous Larry King will return to earth as a platypus.

 Spencer Tracy's advice for actors was "remember your lines and don't bump into the furniture." James Dean, on the other hand, would reach down deep into his soul in order to come up with truths. And yet in real life more people behave like Spencer Tracy than like James Dean. For the most part, we do not bump into furniture. And very few of us put ourselves through those Method contortions. Tell James Dean that it's dinnertime and all of a sudden he looks like an El Greco painting.

 I've got news for Emiril's audience: You can't get drunk on wine used in cooking. You just can't. I've tried it.

 How did the movie “JFK,” one so full of lies about real people, get made? The big lie on which the whole thing is based: Kennedy wanted to "change things," to get us out of Vietnam, to do stuff on civil rights, so the Powers That Be killed him.

Question: Since when is the president not one of the Powers That Be?

The most incredible part of that movie: the way African-Americans are used as mise-en-scene. Any note of mourning for the slain president is accompanied by shots of black people. The implication (well, "implication" implies much more subtlety than Stone is capable of) is that this fallen leader was their champion. He was shot so that his vice president, George Wallace, would take office.

Wait a minute. George Wallace wasn't vice president. If LBJ wanted JFK killed because he was going to sign all this civil-rights legislation, why did he go ahead and push through all that legislation anyway? Seems an awful lot of bother over nothing: orchestrating this conspiracy that involved the CIA, the FBI, the Pentagon, the Secret Service, the Dallas Police Force, Bell Helicopter, and Woody Harrelson's dad.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

 Do you get the feeling that you might have met George W. at a party in 1979? He was the obligatory older guy. (Thirty-five or so at the time.) He had a bottle opener hanging from his belt. He was the "Official Bottle Opener." He was wearing very short tennis shorts, flip-flops, and a T-shirt that said, CUERVO GOLD. EAT THE WORM. His hair was parted in the middle and combed over his ears, a la Willie Aames. Someone had put on the Doobie Brothers' "Minute by Minute" album. He took it upon himself to take it off and put on Nugent's "Intensities in Ten Cities." A girl in the corner went, "Hey, we were listening to that!" He apologized effusively. Ten minutes later they were in the backyard smoking something he called "Salvadoran Red." She said, "Oh man, I think I'm too high. Where did you get this?" He said, "There are definite advantages when your daddy's head of the CIA."

 A&E Network’s “City Confidential” is inappropriately named, since nine out of ten episodes take place in villages, hamlets, or shires.

 Never revisit the cool stuff of your childhood. AMC has been showing "The Poseidon Adventure." What an unappealing passenger list. Shelly Winters, Jack Albertson, Red Buttons, Ernest Borgnine, and Carol Linley and her backup musicians, most of whom look like the Oakland A's of that era. The ship rolls over, everybody goes flying ass over teacup, Rollie Fingers and Sal Bando are killed, but Red Buttons still won't take off that damn party hat. Why does he refuse to mark the gravity of the situation? Gene Hackman plays a most unorthodox minister. Hackman's a trooper, but you can see him barely containing a howl at some of the lines they gave him. "Don't look to me to find God. God is everywhere!" If God is everywhere, he sure was slumming in this movie

 I'm going to start using the term "download" for "eat," as in, "I downloaded a Dilly Bar."

 Sometimes I think seriously about going up and kissing the television when there are close-ups of pretty girls. Recently CNN showed a very comely reporter, and I came pretty close to smooching the screen, but I was afraid they’d suddenly break away to Jeff Greenfield.

 If Bobby Knight hadn't found a place in the world of sports, he'd be one of those town bullies who are eventually slain by a vigilante mob.

 I can no longer watch “Cool Hand Luke.” In the last couple years I've become very squeamish about the sight of bare male torsos. "Sweaty Chest Luke," they should have called it. Or "Damp Dugs Kennedy." During the filming, how much of George Kennedy's perspiration, soaking down as groundwater, entered the Mississippi River system? I'm sure it didn't raise the water levels on the levees of New Orleans more than a fraction of an inch. But it had to be gallons. Let's say they were on location for six weeks. Think of all those wellspring beads around the shoulder and sternum areas. Think of all those rivulets meeting the mainsteam and making a big ox-bow bend around the man-breasts. Think of all that sweat rushing from an upper roll of fat to a lower in a spectacular roaring falls, and finally gushing as a mighty cataract down the cleavage of his butt.

 I recently saw a production of "King Lear." People generally think the Fool is a hoot, but I never could stand him. I'd like to punch him. Every production of Shakespeare has a wrinkle. What was the wrinkle in this one? Cordelia was deaf, and "signed" her dialogue. Also: the stage was littered with old tires and oil drums. Never did figure that out. It seemed to be taking place behind a Sinclair station. Lear's "kingdom," I guess, extended from the full-service pumps to a Fanta machine. Other wrinkles? The Fool did some of his doggerel in the "rap" style so popular with young people today. And in every production of Shakespeare I've ever seen, the suggestive lines are accompanied by pelvic thrusts.

Monday, July 14, 2003

 President Bush said of OBL, "He can run, but he can't hide." It turns out that he can indeed hide. But, what with his kidney condition, his doctor probably advises him against running.

 It is always a terrible thing when people use violence to make a statement. It is doubly terrible when the statement is a silly one. Sirhan Sirhan's statement, as I recall, was, "I did it for my country." Sirhan, a Palestinian, was one of only a handful of people on this planet who had no country.

 Everyone who makes a case against censorship falls back on this line: "If you don't like it . . . hey, turn it off." This is presented as a truism, but it is not true at all. Have you ever tried to turn off the televisions blaring CNN in an airport? And while it is true that I can turn off Craig Kilborn's show, I cannot turn off his influence on the "funny guy" in the next cube.

 Most unnecessary remake of the year: Counting Crows' version of Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi." It even includes the line "Mr. Farmer, Farmer, put away your DDT." MEMO. FROM: Mr. Farmer, Farmer. TO: Counting Crows. "We did. Around 1973. Thanx."

 I'm not a Buddhist, but I can give you a good idea of the state of nirvana--that transcendent state beyond earthly toil, karma, and samsara. I refer you to the scanning shots of the audience on "Austin City Limits."

 From the What Am I Missing Here, Gang? file: If Saddam did have the WMDs, why didn't he use them? Did he, with Kennedy-like coolness, decide that he would hold them in reserve for a really, really big invasion? By my calculations, we spent some $90 billion to topple a statue. I grant you: that thing was an eyesore.

 John Ford's "The Searchers" has probably gotten too much credit among the
film-school crowd for being "dark." It's only dark for a few moments. For the rest of the time, it's just John Wayne shooting Indians.

 Randy Newman’s “When Karl Marx Was a Boy” is the best-crafted comic song since Lorenz Hart passed away.

Friday, July 11, 2003

 Because any number of murderous Arabs are out to get me, I went ahead and bought lard the other day.

 The Crocodile Hunter clearly loves crocodiles, but by all accounts his love goes unrequited.

 If I ever have occasion to write a headline about "Batman," I just might include the word "holy" in it.

 When young professionals on TV shows are eating take-out food around a conference table, the fare is always Chinese. I suppose chopsticks signify a certain David-E-Kelley-styled sophistication.

 How can you spot an amateur writer? Me, I simply look in the mirror. But for the rest of you, if a piece of writing has any of these elements, you can be sure you're dealing with an amateur:
*the phrase "count 'em," as in "she ate five -- count 'em, five -- bagels at the seminar."
*the terms "cha-ching" and "puh-leeeze" and "honcho."
*a paragraph that begins "Thing is" or "Okay, so" or “Here’s the deal.”
*the cliche "It's deja vu all over again."
*a definition cited verbatim from Webster's dictionary.
*a reference to having swamp land in Florida for sale.
*any variation of "if you build it, they will come."

 I enjoy the black-and-white Ronnie Howard, but I can do without him in color.

 When talk-show hosts heave a sigh and then say "UNNNN-believable," it's usually in reference to something that's quite credible.

 Dear Advertising Copywriters: Please give the cops-and-donuts routine a rest. Thanx.

 I don't claim to know much about the female orgasm, other than I'm sure it's very hard to sketch.

 Just how many more of my hard-earned tax dollars are going to be spent on rescuing mountain climbers?

 If you continue to assert that "Blazing Saddles" was a work of comedic brilliance, I encourage you to watch it sober.

 The first time I bought beer legally, I was so nervous I got into the wrong car in the parking lot. So you can imagine how I fared on my honeymoon.

 There must be a reason white folks with hyperactive social consciences refer to Nat King Cole as “Nat Cole.”

 Martin Short is one of the three or four most talented comedic artists in show business, but he’ll never match the popularity of lesser talents like Eddie Murphy or Robin Williams. Murphy and Williams and most of the other big names rely on safe comedic stereotypes that their audiences will instantly identify, while Short’s creations are wonderfully original and often grotesque.

Monday, June 30, 2003

 If you ever hear me speak the phrase "my bad," then at least one of life’s enduring mysteries will be settled - the mystery of whether demons can possess us.

 If I were Dennis Rodman, I'd find it exhausting just to look in the mirror.

 If J-Lo were interesting, imagine how much attention she'd get.

Wrong again, again. In 1990, I declared that rap music had a shelf life of another six months. Rap has survived this long for two reasons. First, anyone with a pencil and a larynx can write and perform a rap. Second, dumb white kids who want black kids to think they’re cool continue to buy the stuff.

 If you stop to think about how many seasons "Bewitched" ran, it just might spook you out.

 Not long ago a grown man I know pretty well - a man with a college education - made a rather curious remark. He said, "I’d rather run into a mugger than a cop in a dark alley."

 Acting is an over-rated talent. If you plucked ten people from the street and trained them for a week, six or seven could deliver an adequate performance on the stage or screen.

 When I played little-league baseball, I used to worry myself sick about kissing bandits.

 Congratulations to Mike Myers, who is a very lucky man. He parlayed what should have been a mildly entertaining five-minute SNL skit into the lucrative Austin Powers industry.

 I cannot think of a single family in the history of our nation that has brought more grief to the American middle-class than the Bush family.

 I once tried to build a novel around one simile: "He was as slippery as a bar of soap in the bathtub."

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

 If Arnold Schwarzenegger's mouth was transplanted into my head, I'm pretty sure food would no longer taste as good.

 Has anyone else noticed the proliferation of women's bare underarms in television ads?

 What's the most dismal channel on the tube? MTV.

 Only once have I experienced a "runner's high." It occurred the last time I ran, at the precise moment when I decided this would be the last time I'd ever run.

 Too often critics praise not what they really like, but what they think will make them look cool.

 Who says the economy's bad? Jay Mohr seems to be making a living.

 What is the least interesting topic that gets the most play in the media? Diversity.

 Bill Murray to Tom Hanks to Michael Keaton to Craig Kilborn to the guy in the cubicle next to mine. What would Charles Darwin say?

 What is it that compels young women to shout “whooo hoo!” when they expose their breasts in public?

 If Jesus Christ and Drew Barrymore guested on the same episode of Charlie Rose, which of the two would be treated with more gravitas?

 Men on the religious right who believe homosexuality is a lifestyle choice have apparently never had a prostate exam.

 The next logical step in talk radio? A program in which the host, guests, and callers do nothing but growl.

 Mere mortals die, but when her time comes, Tina Brown will just descend into hell.

 Want to get the attention of a children’s book publisher? Name your book Daddy and Derek Finish Each Others’ Sentences.

 What must appear on national television before our voyeuristic appetites will be sated? I’m pretty sure it’s James Earl Jones giving a sad clown a bikini wax.

 Why is the song that’s thumping and throbbing from a nearby car never a song I like?

 When scriptwriters want to demonstrate that a character is smart, that character will either make reference to, or tote around, One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel-Garcia Marquez.

 I miss the word “vegetables.”

From Larry King’s boyhood journals: Gang, if I’m old enough to learn long division, I’m old enough to vote . . . Don’t know if I’d be excited or scared to meet a cannibal . . . Why ain’t kickball an Olympic sport? . . . A friend tells me the real Bazooka Joe don’t even like bubble gum . . . If Pirate Burgers are on the lunch menu, you’ll find me first in line.

 Why do I care nothing about the opinions of anyone younger than twenty-five? Because I was once younger than twenty-five.

 If you sink the winning basket and then blabber to reporters that your gramma in heaven was right there with you, then logic dictates she’s with you later that night in your hotel room when you get it on with some chick who looks like Tina Yothers.

 What’s the distinction between an idiot and a complete idiot? Howard Stern is an idiot. Anyone appearing on his program is a complete idiot.

 What’s the expiration date on Ben Stein’s free pass?

 Those who pierce their genitalia deserve it.

 Why has Jimmy Carter for so long avoided brokering a peace between drivers of Chevy and Ford trucks?

 From the Department of Why Bother: “President Bush has condemned the bombing as an act of cowardice.”

 When and why did “utilize” supplant “use?”

 If ESPN had never been founded, professional and collegiate sports would be considerably less distasteful today.

 How disappointing is this? You settle in with the remote control and finally land upon a black-and-white movie that appears to be an undiscovered film noir gem. Then, suddenly, you hear “Heeeyyy Abbott!”

 Who is the last person I would hire to babysit my young sons? Unquestionably, it’s Ted Nugent.

What gets lost in the multitude of controversies surrounding Spike Lee is this fact: his movies stink.

Wrong again. I figured "South Park" would last about two-thirds of an episode. Wish I had been right.

A lot of marketers urge me to "seize the day." But exactly how does one go about seizing the day? Does one get down on all fours and chase pigs through a sty, as Verlaines and Rimbaud apparently did?

The only way to watch Saturday Night Live is by videotape so that you can fast-forward through the monologue, the celebrity walk-ons, the musical guests, and the inevitable skits about boy bands and rappers.

When is someone who is dead no longer considered "late?" Would it be "the late Erroll Flynn?" The "late William Jennings Bryan?" The "late Goliath?"

We lie more about the success of our vacations than we do on our tax forms.

By the time I keystroke the period at the end of this sentence, Kelly and Justin will be passe.

Which memoir are you the least likely to read? Sayles on Sayles? Or Fighting Back, by Larry Holmes. Or The Second Coming of Steven Jobs?

Women have the WE Network, Oxygen, Lifetime, Lifetime Movies, Lifetime for Women, the Soap Network, and TLC (which during the day is all about women). Men, in contrast, get a tiresome thing called "The MAN Show."

Who might I kiss? Just about any woman except Whoopi Goldberg.

For the longest time I was under the impression that Judy Woodruff was capable. I guess that's because she once worked at PBS.

Recently on Emeril's program, the studio audience went ape-turd over minced garlic, but it greeted crushed tomatoes with just a polite smattering of applause.

Phrases that have always rankled me: cutting a check; burning a CD; dressing out; it is what it is; walk the walk and talk the talk; stupid is as stupid does.

A memo to the late Freddie Prinze and anyone else who's terribly concerned about "The Man." If indeed The Man is Jack Albertson, then why all the anxiety?

What enduring song has the absolute worst lyrics? "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."

Darrell Hammond is a very talented impersonator, so it strikes me as unfortunate that his weakest impression -- his rendering of Bill Clinton -- seems to be his signature work.

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