Something vaguely Bard-like, in honor of spring

April 8, 2009

Cometh I bearing cocke and cumme…

Avail me not of it, Ignacio. ‘Tis no more the flowers of that bud in want of it, now that good Cecila is off to nunnery.

Cecilia’s memory burns but the fire is containeth and the ladle fit for any hand…

So call you then for her sister, Beatrice?

Indeed, as she buddeth on the spring, tis evident…

Ah but the bulls all laden in finery puff and huff the dust on their heels thus in the heat of the season. Thou ist not lonely in the pursuit, though lone of solitary bursting heart, tis the way of the chase … bullish sputum all round sows seeds of the land.

Aye, seems the path to Beatrice is laden full of’t.

Containeth not that which burns hotly as thy passion, goodly Ignacio.

Aye, for certain, dip’t of’t it must be soon or tis what you say is true, and mine heart and balles be fit of bursting.

I fear thy must contain’t sirrah, for Beatrice returneth not til on the morrow, and barring that may not be seen but for a full fortnight. She does not rise and fall like the sun; she is liketh more the hurricano in her manner. Thus, harken on the morrow and thereafter if need be. And keepeth thy temper even and true, and engageth not in duels with raging bulls of same-said fire.

I will, wise John. Till that breeze bloweth, I shall be but a sheet to’t.

As it must be, goodly Christian.

——-

(c. 2009, E)

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Succulent ’70s Salaciousness: A Tribute to “The Gong Show”

August 13, 2008


Let us now pay homage to one of the funniest, most raucous, transgressive and subversive shows in TV history, “The Gong Show,” hosted by its shambling, shuffling, shaggy dog producer, the enigmatic Chuck Barris. There were, and are, people who don’t “get” this show—thinking it the pre-Jerry Springer version of the end of civilization—but never since has the tube been so wonderfully chaotic and, yes, off-the-cuff witty and surreal. The reactions of the panel to the infamy being perpetrated on stage were priceless, as was Barris’ stoner demeanor and saliva-soaked, ungrammatical ad libs – often punctuated by his awkward hand claps that the audience would humorously mimic. Barris often modeled an arsenal of bad hats, perched precariously over his forehead and covering his eyes, for maximum goofy visual effect. Although some people claim this is an early version of American Idol because part of the fun is watching the bad acts get razzed, that comparison misses the point. A bad act on the Gong Show was just as likely to win the prize as a good one. In fact, some talented people were gonged off the stage while some truly awful acts evaded the boot. The score an act received on The Gong Show was virtually meaningless. Top prize was $516.32 (yes, that’s right), and the winners were pretty much guaranteed continued obscurity, so nobody was taking this seriously. A guest panelist with an absurdist, wicked sense of humor might score a dreadful act a 10, while the celebrity sitting in the next chair might score it a 0 or a 2. Some real talents did appear on the show, Steve Martin, for instance. It was one big unrehearsed spontaneous party, quite unlike the slick and super-controlled production of American Idol. The infamous moment we feature here, highlighting an “act” from 1978, now simply known as “The Popsicle Twins,” allegedly led to the show’s cancellation (though in fact, the show lasted until 1980; what happened was that the western time zones didn’t see this part of the show after outraged callers on the east coast caused NBC to panic and pull the bit). Two young girls, looking way too young (they were too young, 15 and 17), fellate upon some sweet icy goodness as audience and panel members shout, “Yeah, do it! Do it!” and “all right! all right! allright!”- all contributing nicely to the delinquency of minors. Barris allegedly threw this act into the mix as a way to trick the censors, figuring if he put something this blatantly sexual onstage that the censors would cut it out and ignore some of the other presumably less offensive performances. It didn’t work—this baby went out gloriously over the national airwaves, and the rest, including The Gong Show, is history. Incredibly still, this act was not gonged, Jaye P. Morgan and Jamie Farr having absented themselves from the vicinity. One is perplexed, though, at the gall of Phyllis Diller, who at the time was hawking big girthy cucumbers on TV commercials for the now-defunct Paramount Pickle Co., of Louisville, Ky., finding no hypocrisy in scoring these phallic Lolitas with a zed. Morgan, once a ’50s torch singer who earned a somewhat lascivious reputation as the show’s humorous muse (she was the original “Girl Gone Wild,” fond of baring her breasts to the audience during commercial breaks or writing obscene notes on cards that the censors would blot out with a white bar), caps it all off with an honest observation: “Do you know that that’s the way I started?” Anyway, like her, this is something you ladies might learn from. Enjoy.

The Popsicle Twins @ YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUkzIx382mM

(NOTE: I originally posted the direct, embedded Youtube link to this video, but knowing how hamhanded WordPress is about censorship and how skittish it is about Youtube material, I’ve decided to post a link to Youtube instead where you can watch the video. This state of affairs sucks, but WordPress really seems to have no sense of humor, etc.)

Wikipedia’s entry the Gong Show does a pretty good job of separating the myth from the reality.

AS a bonus enjoy this interlude from series regular Gene Gene the Dancing Machine, whose visits occasioned unrestrained festiveness for all. Tell me what other TV show has allowed this kind of sheer joyousness to erupt?

P.S.: I understand that this show has been revived a couple of times, most recently by Comedy Central and hosted by Dave Attell. From what I’ve read, it sounds as bad as all attempts to bring back comedy intensive games shows, eg., Whoopie Goldberg’s arid revisitation of The Hollywood Squares. No thanks.


R.I.P. George Carlin: A True Giant

June 23, 2008

George Carlin is with the worms. Not with God. He knew that was bullshit, and said so.

Unlike Tim Russert, whose eulogies ate up inordinate amounts of bandwidth, newsprint and talking head time this past week, Carlin was a real giant, a true innovator. Perhaps it’s petty to play a game of “dueling dead guys” or “my dead guy is better than your dead guy,” but, unlike Russert, who, when all is said and done never really spoke truth to power, Carlin did. The fact that Fox News hounds eulogized Russert as vociferously and lovingly as anyone else tells me that. Faux News fans cringe at the likes of Carlin, aetheist, critic of religion, and the Bush and Nixon regimes, and general thorn in the side of those with fascistic tendencies.

There will be a lot said about Carlin, I should hope, in the coming days, particularly by other, more articulate and insightful bloggers.

I’ll only note that I always considered it ballsy that PBS hired Carlin to be Mr. Conductor on the pre-school kids’ show, “Thomas the Tank Engine,” considering what a controversial figure he was. That was a great ‘fuck you’ to the Jesse Helms’ and the like of the world who staged political assaults on public TV.

I’ve known Carlin’s work since the ’70s and own all of this records and CDs. He was one of the funniest men who ever lived. Too bad he won’t be around anymore to blast the purveyors of bullshit.

-EG