Friday, May 31, 2019

So long Mr. Redbone

Leon Redbone died yesterday. Although he went through most of his performing life avoiding revealing who he was behind his characteristic Panama hat, suit, tie and dark glasses, (including his age), it was revealed after he died of "complications of dementia," that he was actually 69 years old. His real name was Dickran Gobalian. He was born in Cyprus, the son of an Armenian orphan.

But Leon Redbone was Leon Redbone. He appeared out of nowhere in the early 1970s and made a couple of appearances on Saturday Night Live.

As with Andy Kaufman, we loved him because he was certifiably weird. He sang old songs that most of us had never heard before (other than a few Hank Williams covers).

The really weird thing is that I swear I saw him in concert in Boise around 1975. I have this image of him sitting on the stage playing with only a spotlight on him. Some people came in late to the concert and Leon pulled a flashlight out of his suit pocket and guided the people to their seats.

But now, forty-some years later, I wonder if I didn't just see him do that on television and now imagine I saw him in concert.

I worry that I'm experiencing my own struggle with dementia.

But I digress.

Regardless, I am sad that Leon has “crossed the delta for that beautiful shore” as a family spokesperson put it. And I am sad that it took his death to remind how much I appreciated his quirky music. Rest in peace Leon.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Still "not" Laugh In

The critics were kind to the Netflix tribute to Rowan and Martin's Laugh In, Still Laugh In. But to me it was no laughing matter.

Laugh In was on television between 1968 and 1973.  So I watched it from the time I was ten until I was a Sophomore in high school. It was kind of the Internet meme of my era bringing us catch phrases like, "Sock it to me," "You bet your sweet bippi," "Very interesting," "Fickly finger of fate," and "Here come da judge."

It was hosted by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin.  And that was the first weird thing about the Netflix's tribute. It was hosted, for no apparent reason, by Neal Patrick Harris and Tiffany Haddish. I at least recognized Neal Patrick Harris. But I have no idea who Tiffany Haddish is. The other weird thing about the tribute is that it never really mentioned Dan Rowan and Dick Martin (both are dead and couldn't make an appearance).

In fact none of the male stars of  Laugh In made it to the reunion. And again, it is because most of them are dead (though Artie Johnson is still alive but at age 90, probably wasn't up to making an appearance). (Bloggers note: Artie Johnson has since died) Three of the female stars of the show, Ruth Busby, Lily Tomlin and JoAn Worley did make it. Goldy Hawn, who's career was launched by the show, didn't make it.

Maybe it is because the tribute brought in a slew of today's stars that I'm not familiar with that made it seem totally convoluted to me. Or maybe it was intermixing them with clips from the original show that made it seem too surreal. It was like a collision of generations. Because I'm willing to bet any millennial that watched the show (if any did) wouldn't recognize the stars who made cameos on the original like Kirk Douglas, Sammy Davis Jr., John Wayne, Orson Welles or even Richard Nixon.

What's even sadder to me is that in many of the write ups of the show they made it clear that it is the type of show that could be reprised today because there were so many restrictions on the topics that could be mentioned on television today.

So much for progress. It was Laugh In's ability to laugh at the taboos of the past that made it successful.

Maybe it's time everybody lightened up and laughed again.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Blog posts from the edge

I'm still baffled by Bloggers stats page. It still shows me getting fairly high traffic from Russian porn sites. I still imagine it is some sort of hacker slight of hand that tricks people into going to the porn sites, but I'm not sure how it shows up as the jumping off place to get to my blog.

I suppose I shouldn't think too much about it. Despite the stats showing that I've had a couple of hundred visits, they also only show two views of my most recent posts. And I imagine one if not both of those are me.

Metrics seems to rule our worlds these days. Its all about hits, likes, follows, thumbs up, comments, shares and views. It is the same at work in the digital marketing world. The irony is, I don't think people really like things they click on social media. It just helps break up the monotony as we scroll mindlessly through our news stream.

I have 173 "friends" on Facebook. Honestly, they are mostly just acquaintances.  Some like my posts. A few even comment now and then. But other than the ones I work with, I rarely see any of them in the real world.

Twitter is even worse. I have 925 followers. And I probably only really know maybe three of them in real life. Instagram is about the same. But as with my blog, I don't really like people who know me to follow me. For some reason, it stifles my creativity. Because it is easier to be judged by strangers than by people who actually have met you.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Twittering your life away

I kind of got sucked back into Twitter looking for the latest dead celebrity. It reminded me why I stopped looking at Twitter. It is just depressing.

I am just sick of politics. The thing on Twitter now is the back and forth about whether the House Democrats are going to start impeachment proceedings against that buffoon that is in the White House.

The problem is, it's all this hopeful blathering that the man will be kicked out of office. And impeachment or not, I don't think it's going to happen. If it did, it would probably take as long to get him out of office as he has left in office. And it would just fuel the fire with the whack job's supporters that the liberals are usurping the will of the people.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see the man booted out of office. But the whack job Vice President isn't much better and he'd just pardon Trump anyway and he'd get off scott free after gutting the White House.

It is an embarrassing time to be an American.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Oh my GOT!

And so the Game of Thrones is over (until they make a movie).  None of my predictions about who would sit on the Iron Throne were realized.  Though Jon Snow does make Daenerys his ex-girlfriend but with a dagger instead of a "It's not you, it's me" text. And the last dragon melts the Iron Throne anyway so no one will actually sit on it.

Bran Stark ends up king of the six kingdoms (there were seven, but his sister doesn't want to play anymore so she pulls Winterfell out of the mix). Jon Snow is banished to the other side of the wall and Arya sails off into the sunset and presumably an HBO movie sequel when everyone runs out of money from the residuals.

I guess I'm okay with it all. I was late to the Game anyway. I started binge watching it after it had been out for five seasons. So it's not like I invested seven years in it like some people. There's not really a final scenario that would have pleased everyone anyway. Though Daenerys did go off the deep end rather abruptly in the end and killing her with a dagger while kissing her and professing your love to her does seem a bit harsh.

Twitter is all a buzz about the finale. There is probably more mourning going on for Daenerys than there was for Doris Day, Tim Conway and Grumpy Cat (I'm really going to miss those memes).

I really hope they don't come out with a movie or sequel. That would just unravel all of those nice loose ends they tied up to finish the thing off.

Though I wish Tyrion had become the king. I think the writers were pretty short-sighted when they passed him over.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The power of three or not dead yet

I checked Twitter (since so far no one has taken me up on the challenge to create OBITTER)  just now to see if the curtain closed on anymore celebrities. So far, no one else has checked out. But since these things seem to happen in three's, I think it is just a matter of time.

Twitter, BTW, is just chock full of the typical political churn about abortion and women's rights, how much of a twit Senator Lindsey Graham is and some breaking news about the Spice Girl's double-decker bus being available to rent.

I'm not sure why celebrities seem to die in groups of three. One could conjecture that they don't like being upstaged and want to steal one more headline from their peers when they see one of them giving up the ghost. Though Tim Conway was reported to have dementia when he passed, so he probably wasn't aware of the day that Doris Day died.

The day that Doris Day died. No disrespect for the dead, but that would have made a great headline. And if Doris Day had married Morris Day and hyphenated her last name, she would have been Doris Day-Day. Then she could have had a renewed singing career as a rapper.

But I digress.

I realize that joking about celebrities popping off in three's may be offensive to some, but that is one of the few perks to writing a blog that no one reads. I don't get a lot of complaints. In fact no one has commented on any of my blog posts since April 18, 2018. And if someone does complain, what's the worse that could happen? Are they going to stop reading my blog? Puleeze....I don't get paid to write it. I don't have sponsors. What do I care if some one who randomly found my blog doing a Google search for how to write the perfect blog post gets offended and threatens never to read my posts again.

Don't let the browser hit you on the way out.

Still no third dead celebrity yet.

Check back tomorrow.

Blogger's note:

Twitter reported that Internet sensation Grumpy Cat has died. She was seven years old.  So the trinity of celebrity deaths is complete. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019


It dawned on me yesterday when I learned of Doris Day's death through social media that Twitter is one of the main places I check these days to find out who died. Actually to find out what celebrity died. No one seems to Tweet when some ordinary person dies.

So I wonder why no one has created a social media app that just has posts about who died. I was thinking, "OBITTER" would be a good name. A Google search does show the urban dictionary definition of Obitter as someone who "starts the day twittering the obituaries finding comfort knowing that people of lesser age are being consumed by the reaper."

The definition kind of captures the spirit of what I'm proposing, but I was thinking more of a literal app where people post actual obits and information about dead celebrities. I would be a way to cut through all of the other crap on Twitter that you don't want to see or read.

Speaking of Doris Day, I was actually surprised that she was still alive. Not too many Hollywood stars live to be 97-years old. And I just saw that Tim Conway died at age 85. Apparently he was holding out until Doris Day died. But we would have found all of this out sooner if there was a OBITTER app

There is a Dead People Server where you can look up whether a celebrity is dead or alive. It's a bit clunky and reminds me of list pages on the Internet in the 1990s, but it has lots of celebrities listed. Since it seems to be maintained by one person by hand, it isn't all that up-to-date. It still shows Glenn Campbell as being alive (he died in 2017). And Doris Day is still listed as alive. So I wouldn't rely on the Dead People Server to let you know the latest on who is dead or alive.

All the more reason for some bored developer to create OBITTER. I think people would be dying to use it.

Monday, May 13, 2019

GOT Snow?

If you are a Game of Throne fan, then you know that this is the last season and everyone is trying to predict who will ultimately end up on the Iron Throne. If you aren't a GOT fan, then it "sucks to be you," (as my son likes to say).

At the beginning of the season I assumed Daenerys Targaryen and her dragons would sit on the throne. After all, she had good intentions and is a strong female role model. Then we found out that Jon Snow is actually Aegon Targaryen and the true heir to the Iron Throne. Since he is in love with Daenerys and doesn't really like being in charge, he says he doesn't care and professes his love and loyalty to his queen.

Then Arya Stark destroys the army of the dead by killing the Ice King and makes you wonder if she should be on the throne.

And of course Daenerys goes bat shit crazy in episode five and pretty much destroys King's Landing with her last remaining dragon. So you can bet that Jon Snow is thinking of making her is crazy ex girlfriend and reluctantly accepting the throne (which is pretty much toast at this point).

So who will take what's left of the Iron Throne (now literally a hot seat)?

I'm hoping Jon Snow, but it will likely be Arya.

Or not.

You heard it first here at Dizgraceland.

Friday, May 10, 2019

How to write the perfect blog post

  1. Study the Craft. No one no matter how talented they are is just born a great writer. ... 
  2. Set Goals & Be Consistent. ... 
  3. Just Write. ... 
  4. Keep It Simple. ... 
  5. Write… then Rewrite, Rewrite, Rewrite. ... 
  6. Get A Second Opinion. ... 
  7. Stay Passionate.
--List found when search for "how to write the perfect blog post."
Why was I searching for "how to write the perfect blog post," you ask? Because I saw that headline in some e-mail I deleted from the umpteen junk e-mails I receive on any given day. And after it was gone, I decided it would be interesting to see how you do write the perfect blog post. So I'm glad Google led me to a list to follow to write the perfect blog post (though I don't understand why the writer used so many ellipses...).
An ellipsis (plural: ellipses) is a punctuation mark consisting of three dots. Use an ellipsis when omitting a word, phrase, line, paragraph, or more from a quoted passage. Ellipses save space or remove material that is less relevant. 

1. Study the Craft. No one no matter how talented they are is just born a great writer. ... 
True. You can't become a writer unless you actually write. And you can't become a great writer unless you actually write great. And that, my friend, requires talent. No one can teach you how to be talented. But none of it means squat unless somebody wants to read your great or not so great writing.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

A funny thing happened on the way to the blog

I've admitted that I have come to the realization that I'm not as funny as I thought I was. Now I think that one of the symptoms of aging (besides shrinking, having to pee a lot, and growing hair on your ears) is losing your sense of humor (in addition to losing your hearing).

Oh, I still think some things are funny, but I find myself suppressing the one liners that used to pop up uncontrollably in most situations. I used to think that meant I was witty. Now I see that it makes me annoying.

I am not sure when I developed a sense of humor in the first place. I remember humoring my father when he would tell very bad jokes, even for dad jokes. But I laughed to preserve his feelings.

I don't think I was funny in grade school. But junior high was when I started to see the humor in things. I took a creative writing course in 8th grade and wrote humorous essays. I also began mumbling funny observations in classes that could only be heard by people next to me.

This did backfire once in my 9th grade accelerated math class. The teacher was a high strung mathematical prodigy. He came over to me one day when I was cracking up the person next to me and told me to shut my big fat mouth.

This was obviously before it was considered inappropriate for teachers to scream at students in the classroom.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Mile-post 1300

This is my 1300th blog post. My first post was August 4, 2004. If I had written every day since then, I would be writing my 5439th post.

I feel like such a slacker.

Still, 1300 blog posts is something. I don't know too many bloggers who have lasted 15 years. Of course, I don't know any bloggers any more. All the ones I did know quit after a year or two.

Sticking to a blog isn't easy. I can honestly say that, if I was being paid to blog, I probably wouldn't have lasted as long as I have. Getting paid would mean I would be under pressure to produce quality content on a regular basis. And I likely wouldn't be able to write about anything I wanted anytime I wanted. There is a lot to be said for not having any readers to disappoint.

And I have said a lot in 1300 posts, generally in 1000 words or less.

It would be a lot to expect to have had someone follow my blog and have read every post from day one. If they did, however, I imagine they could have begun formulating a psychological profile of me and begun to recognize my up and down moods based on my topics.

I tend to write about being invisible, my lack of readers and my tendency towards self-delusion when I'm feeling in a funk and lacking in self-confidence.

I write about the past when I'm feeling maudlin. And I write about things I think are funny when I'm feeling manically witty.

I think 90 percent of my posts have been in the first category (which explains my lack of readers).

Regardless, I write. So I think I can legitimately call myself a writer.

Even if no one else does.