It's..... The happiest blog on earth


It's the longest song ever recorded by Weird Al Yankovic. He'd wanted to compose a song "that's just going to annoy people for 12 minutes," Yankovic is quoted as saying (on the epic song's page on Wikipedia).

The name of the song? "Albuquerque." And there's actually a 12-minute animated movie version of it.

The strangest thing is it's actually not a bad song, with a certain amount of punk-rock-ish cred. And after slogging through all 12 minutes, it arrives at its semi-affirming finale:
"...if one day you happen to wake up and find yourself in an existential quandary... at least you can take a small bit of comfort in knowing that somewhere out there in this crazy ol' mixed-up universe of ours, there's still a little place...

Called Al - buquerque!
Al - buquerque!
Albuquerque! Albuquerque! Albuquerque! Albuquerque....!

2:26 PM

Tuesday, August 4

It's probably the most famous passage ever written by this great American writer. But have we all been misquoting it for the last 91 years after a typist misread his original manuscript?

I'm talking about Thomas Wolfe, and his stirring opening paragraphs for Look Homeward, Angel.

". . . a stone, a leaf, an unfound door; of a stone, a leaf, a door. And of all the forgotten faces.

Naked and alone we came into exile. In her dark womb we did not know our mother's face; from the prison of her flesh have we come into the unspeakable and incommunicable prison of this earth.

Which of us has known his brother? Which of us has looked into his father's heart? Which of us has not remained forever prison-pent? Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone?

O waste of loss, in the hot mazes, lost, among bright stars on this most weary, unbright cinder, lost! Remembering speechlessly we seek the great forgotten language, the lost lane-end into heaven, a stone, a leaf, an unfound door. Where? When?

O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again."

Is there a secret clue hidden in a photo in a recent book which published Wolfe's original manuscript?

Click here to discover the rest of the story

4:30 PM

Friday, December 21

I love the image they've come up with for re-releases of the classic Route 66 TV series. Amazon Prime is now showing all episodes for free -- and last night I saw one that I'd never seen before.

Its title? "Shoulder the Sky, My Lad."

And towards the end, Buz Murdoch gives another incredible speech...

10:41 AM

Thursday, November 24

In his first novel, Look Homeward Angel, 29-year-old Thomas Wolfe remembered a turn-of-the-century Thanksgiving from his boyhood in Asheville, North Carolina. In his nostalgic fictionalized memoir, Wolfe calls himself young Eugene -- the toddler son of a couple named Eliza and a wildly prodigal stone-cutter named Gant.

Seated before a roast or a fowl, Gant began a heavy clangor on his steel and carving knife, distributing thereafter Gargantuan portions to each plate. Eugene feasted from a high chair by his father's side, filled his distending belly until it was drum-tight, and was permitted to stop eating by his watchful sire only when his stomach was impregnable to the heavy prod of Gant's big finger.

"There's a soft place there," he would roar, and he would cover the scoured plate of his infant son with another heavy slab of beef. That their machinery withstood this hammer-handed treatment was a tribute to their vitality and Eliza's cookery.

Click for more memories from Thomas Wolfe's Thanksgiving

10:45 AM

Sunday, January 3

Elvis Presley's song from 50 years ago still gives me goosebumps...

It's called "Harum Holiday," but it's really about wanderlust -- that urge to get out of town and see the wide world. And amazingly, in this movie Elvis ends up going to Iraq!

Click here to read about Elvis's adventures in Iraq in "Harum Scarum"

Saturday, November 14

Route 66 -- the TV show, the highway, the legend, and the dream. Everyone knows I'm fascinated with "life on the road", and today I learned something wonderful.

That the theme to the Route 66 TV show has lyrics!

Click here for the lyrics (and the story behind them)

Saturday, January 24

I love The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. And I'm fascinated by this song from its soundtrack. Its title is "Step Out," but the lyrics are a little darker. I could've sworn they were singing "House on fire. Leave it all behind you..."

So I launched a quest to learn what the real lyrics are...

Click here for the haunting lyrics to "Step Out"

Friday, June 8

I discovered there's a "last episode" of Route 66. Tod gets married -- his bride is played by Barbara Eden -- but in the last scene, her scheming relatives immediately have him murdered in order to claim his inheritance. The episode actually ends with them throwing his body off a high bridge, while his bride weeps.

It turns out that's just part one of a two-part episode...

Click here for the rest of the story, Linc's farewell speech, and how one actor remembers the show 45 years later

Wednesday, February 22

I was walking around a beach town when I suddenly remembered the movie "Summer of '42." (A teenaged boy in a summer resort town has a crush on a woman whose husband is serving in the war...) Remembering the movie, I felt like I had to know: was the movie really based on a true story?

It turns out the answer is yes, according to Wikipedia. And there's two more big surprises...

Click here for the rest of the story

Saturday, January 21

My girlfriend likes The Monkees. So for her birthday, I'd made her a "mix tape" of 26 of their best love songs. And "As We Go Along" was my favorite. (It was co-written by Carole King!)

You can listen to the song below while watching a pretty video...

Click the link below for the lyrics.

And if you're a hard-core Monkees fan, I'll also tell you which 26 love songs I picked!

7:25 PM

Monday, January 2

Wednesday, November 23

This is getting interesting!

It looks like on Black Friday, there's going to be a three-way price war between the Kindle, the Nook, and the iPad!

8:05 PM

Monday, November 21

I wrote my first ebook!!!

It's a fun (and funny) short "Thanksgiving mystery" about four turkeys awaiting the farmer's axe -- one of which has a plan for escaping!

There's 12 cartoon-ish illustrations -- and the whole thing is written entirely in rhyme!

"For Thanksgiving, try this game / Find the guilty turkey's name!"

9:03 PM

Saturday, October 22

Okay, here's something I never, ever thought I'd hear. Lounge act "Richard Cheese" does a snazzy, jazzy cover version of...

The SpongeBob SquarePants theme.

11:30 AM

Monday, September 26

I absolutely loved the opening "season premiere" song on Community.

Click this link for lyrics and trivia.

11:03 AM

Friday, July 15

I've become obsessed with the great music that Ben Folds wrote for "Over the Hedge." William Shatner was on his (new!) version of "Rocking the Suburbs" - and there's a gentle ballad called "Still" that's really beautiful.

I love the sweet (and satirical) '60s euphoria he sneaks into songs like "(I've Always Got My) Family of Me" and even a cover of The Clash's "Lost in the Supermarket" . The melody itself is almost a commentary on middle-class suburban life.

The perfect example is my favorite song from the movie, "Heist".

3:28 PM

Saturday, July 9

Ever since I was a teenager watching Three's Company, I've been tantalized by this line from the opening credits.

"Based on the British series A Man About the House."

Today I realized I could finally just watch the original British version of Three's Company online!

"A fellow movin' in with two birds...? I'm not having it!"

Click here for video of the British "Three's Company

The opening credits are absolutely terrible.

Saturday, June 11

Yes, it's the cast of "The Office" re-creating George Seurat's painting, "Sunday in the Park".

Click here for a larger image, the back story, and a side-by-side comparison with the original painting.

9:25 AM

Sunday, April 10

Here's an inspiring story. A part-time cameraman for the news (and commercials) at a local TV station in Texas was hired in the 1970s to start filming NCAA football games. Eventually he was filming NFL games and even part of the Olympics in Mexico City. But Steve Rash had a dream. And he spent the next five years raising money to make it come true.

Click the image for the rest of the story...

9:47 AM

Friday, March 11

It's finally happened!

Charlie Sheen's Two and Half Men co-star Jon Cryer has finally broken his silence and commented on what Sheen has been saying...

Also: What Charlie Sheen says about his upcoming Kindle e-book

Later Cryer told David Letterman seriously that "It's as much a mystery to me as to everyone, I think."

11:08 PM

Thursday, February 10

Edgar Allan Poe described walking to a tomb in a brilliant but forgotten poem called "Ulalume". ("Perhaps befitting the gothic poet, Ulalume has a secret history," writes Moe Zilla). After his death, Poe's literary executor deleted the last stanza -- though the poem's even spookier without it.

And somehow, YouTube has a video of the poem being recited by Nico of The Velvet Underground.

7:38 PM

Sunday, November 28

This is one of the most beautiful advertisements I've ever seen...

And yes, that is Animal House...

Click here for the full story

Wednesday, October 13

There's a great speech about the economy towards the end of The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo.
"You have to distinguish between two things - the Swedish economy and the Swedish stock market. The Swedish economy is the sum of all the goods and services that are produced in this country every day. There are telephones from Ericsson, cars from Volvo, chickens from Scan, and shipments from Kiruna to Skovde. That's the Swedish economy, and it's just as strong or weak today as it was a week ago...

"The Stock Exchange is something very different. There is no economy and no production of goods and services. There are only fantasies in which people from one hour to the next decide that this or that company is worth so many billions, more or less. It doesn't have a thing to do with the Swedish economy."

"So you're saying that it doesn't matter if the Stock Exchange drops like a rock?"

"No, it doesn't matter at all...

7:44 PM

And click here for Stieg Larsson versus the biography pirates

More info on VoIP telecom fraud

Monday, September 6

Fonzie literally "jumped the shark" — on water skis — in a 1977 episode of Happy Days. Three decades later, the writer of that episode insists "I still don't believe that the series 'jumped the shark' when Fonzie jumped the shark."

"It aired Sept. 20, 1977, and was a huge hit, ranking No. 3 for the week with a 50-plus share (unheard of today) and an audience of more than 30 million viewers...

If this was really the beginning of a downward spiral, why did the show stay on the air for six more seasons and shoot an additional 164 episodes? Why did we rank among the Top 25 in five of those six seasons?"

It's fun to get his perspective, and he remembers that at the time, no one expected this episode would become infamous.

"...what I definitely remember is that no one protested vehemently; not one of us said, "Fonzie, jump a shark? Are you out of your mind?"

Click here to watch a video of the scene, read some funny responses from viewers,
and to see more screenshots of Fonzie jumping the shark!

Tuesday, August 3

Paul Simon remembers walking into a restaurant, where he's introduced to Joe DiMaggio, and "we immediately fell into conversation about the only subject we had in common."

"What I don't understand," DiMaggio said, "is why you ask where I've gone. I just did a Mr. Coffee commercial, I'm a spokesman for the Bowery Savings Bank and I haven't gone anywhere!"

I've always wondered about that. But it turns out Paul Simon finally explained his lyrics about Joe DiMaggio from the song "Mrs. Robinson" - in a 1999 article he wrote the day Joe DiMaggio died.

I said that I didn't mean the lines literally, that I thought of him as an American hero and that genuine heroes were in short supply. He accepted the explanation and thanked me. We shook hands and said good night.

Now, in the shadow of his passing, I find myself wondering about that explanation. Yes, he was a cultural icon, a hero if you will, but not of my generation. He belonged to my father's youth: he was a World War II guy whose career began in the days of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig and ended with the arrival of the youthful Mickey Mantle...

Click here for the rest of the story...

Sunday, August 1

Jonah Hex comic book character vs Josh Brolin - with Megan Fox

Jonah Hex was the movie adaptation of a classic western comic book. But it's more fun to read the reviews...

"Trust me, it doesn't matter that Josh Brolin's face is made up with a garish scar. Megan Fox is a hot hooker in a corset. Sometimes, she gets handcuffed to stuff.

Their first mistake was in not naming the film 'Megan Fox Handcuffed in a Corset.'"

And Box Office Magazine was especially critical of the soundtrack.

"The painful music was co-written by Mastodon, which might be a heavy metal band or, given the score's obnoxiousness, an actual mastodon."

But on the bright side, he also writes that "there are lots of death-signifying crows, so the movie should have the ornithologist demo locked up."

12:01 AM

Saturday, July 3

Things I didn't know about Bing Crosby...

A 2001 biography of Crosby by Village Voice jazz critic Gary Giddins says that Louis Armstrong's influence on Crosby "extended to his love of marijuana." Bing smoked it during his early career when it was legal and "surprised interviewers" in the 1960s and 70s by advocating its decriminalization, as did Armstrong.

Crosby even recommended that his son smoke pot instead of drinking alcohol, if Wikipedia is to be believed. They quote his son as saying that "There were other times when marijuana was mentioned and he'd get a smile on his face...."

The song Ho-Hum from The Road to Morocco now takes on a whole new meaning!

6:13 AM

Monday, June 21

Happy first day of summer!

Jan and Dean share some surfer zen - chanting "Summer means fun." (Over and over again...) I thought it was a shame that the complete lyrics to their bouncy summer surfer koan appeared nowhere on the web.

But they do now!!!

Click here for the complete lyrics to Jan and Dean's "Summer Means Fun".

Bonus link:
how to build a swamp cooler.

Wednesday, June 16

So CBS aired a special promising "TV's Greatest Surprises" (as determined by a Nielsen Entertainment survey).

Fortunately, here's a list of their top 30 of TV's Greatest Surprises - so you don't have to spend all night actually watching them! (Towards the end, it just seemed like one surprisingly grisly death scene after another.)

Though they scoured through 60 years of television, if you believe their list, only four of TV's most surprising moments happened prior to the 1980s.

Click here to see which of TV's Greatest Surprises happened before 1980!

Tuesday, June 1

Add this to the list of things I didn't know about IHOP.

The first International House of Pancakes opened up in California, however due to concerns the heavy tectonic forces prevelent in California would topple the original a-framed building it was relocated to Idaho.

This relocation process spanned the course of a year as piece by piece the original building was deconstructed and placed on flat bed trucks to be shipped across the United States.

Click here for more stories about other famous first fast food restaurants.

2:58 AM

Sunday, May 9

That was a strange re-run to show on Mother's Day.

An episode of "My Name is Earl" where Earl has to make things right with his friend Ralph -- for sleeping with his Mom!

"She wasn't young, but she was conscious..."

Is there something about Mother's Day that brings out the bad taste in everybody?

See also: Lou Cabron's 7 Worst Mother's Day Gifts. :)

11:55 PM

I've moved my older posts into the archive.

But the three most popular blurbs from the last year are going to stay on this page - below!

10:02 PM


The Oompah Loompahs were even scarier in the original book.

In Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, they sing their stern judgments with extensive and gleeful details about the fates of the bad children.

For example, Augustus Gloop.

A hundred knives go slice, slice, slice;
We add some sugar, cream, and spice;
We boil him for a minute more,
Until we're absolutely sure....

For Tim Burton's movie, Danny Elfman changed that lyric to "We boil it for a minute more..."

Elfman sang, produced, and wrote music for all the songs. But Dahl's lyrics were apparently so vicious, that Elfman had to trim out most of them.

As an example, here's Roald Dahl's original lyrics for the Augustus Gloop song. Italics show the only lines that Danny Elfman kept.

Augustus Gloop! Augustus Gloop!
The great big greedy nincompoop!

How long could we allow this beast
To gorge and guzzle, feed and feast
On everything he wanted to?
Great Scott! It simply wouldn't do!

However long this pig might live,
We're positive he'd never give
Even the smallest bit of fun
Or happiness to anyone.

So what we do in cases such
As this, we use the gentle touch,
And carefully we take the brat
And turn him into something that

Will give great pleasure to us all --
A doll, for instance, or a ball,
Or marbles or a rocking horse.
But this revolting boy, of course,

Was so unutterably vile,
So greedy, foul, and infantile

He left a most disgusting taste
Inside our mouths, and so in haste

We chose a thing that, come what may,
Would take the nasty taste away.

'Come on!' we cried, 'The time is ripe
To send him shooting up the pipe!

He has to go! It has to be!'
And very soon, he's going to see
Inside the room to which he's gone
Some funny things are going on.

But don't, dear children, be alarmed;
Augustus Gloop will not be harmed,
Although, of course, we must admit
He will be altered quite a bit.

He'll be quite changed from what he's been,
When he goes through the fudge machine:

Slowly, wheels go round and round,
and cogs begin to grind and pound;

A hundred knives go slice, slice, slice;
We add some sugar, cream, and spice;

We boil [it] for a minute more,
Until we're absolutely sure

That all the greed and all the gall
Is boiled away for once and all.

Then out he comes! And now! By grace!
A miracle has taken place!

This boy, who only just before
Was loathed by men from shore to shore,

This greedy brute, this louse's ear,
Is loved by people everywhere!
For who could hate or bear a grudge
Against a luscious bit of fudge?"

But to be fair, 34 years ago, I remember a kid on the playground talking about Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. He'd read the book - "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" - and through the entire movie he'd waited to hear the Oompah Loompahs sing...
"Augustus Gloop, Augustus Gloop, The great big greedy nincompoop!"
But they didn't.

I wonder if he'd even remember that conversation. But I did. Saturday, watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. When the Oompah Loompahs finally sang...

"Augustus Gloop, Augustus Gloop, The great big greedy nincompoop!"

8:41 PM


Japanese "anime" comic books - artsy drawings, sometimes with adult themes - are a target for small-town censors in this naturalistic drama about a comic book store owner.

Surprisingly, it's appearing in installments in the newspaper comic strip Funky Winkerbean.

It starts innocently enough - a mother goes to the comic book store. She's startled by what she sees, and warns "Don't worry. I'll be back."

And then the story escalates.

"Great! Eight previously solicited titles have had pushbacks in their publication dates... Can this day possibly get any worse?"

"You're under arrest."

"That was a rhetorical question."
Poignantly, the kids at the store don't understand. The owner of the store is escorted to the police car.

Out on bail, he's shown sadly bagging comic books...

3:39 PM


Last night Jon Stewart's The Daily Show did a segment about bloggers.

The highlight was its interview with Stephen Colbert...

JON: With more on the role of blogger's in today's media, I'm joined by Daily Show senior media correspondent, Stephen Colbert.

STEPHEN: Jon, before we begin, I'd like to get something off my chest, before I get 'outed' by the bloggers.

My real name isn't Stephen Colbert. It's Ted Hitler. No relation. Well, distant relation, two generations back. Directly. I'm Adolf Hitler's grandson. Anyways, it's out there. It's no longer news.

JON: Uh, uh, wow. First of all, thank you for your honesty, Stephen...

STEPHEN: It's Ted. It's Ted Hitler.

JON: Ted, you're sort of 'old media,' you're an old media reporter. What are your thoughts on, in your mind, the role of these new media figures?

STEPHEN: Jon, the vast majority of bloggers out there are responsible correspondents doing fine work in niche reporting fields like Gilmore Girl fan fiction, or cute things their cats do or photoshopped images of the Gilmore Girls as cats. That's great. Where I draw the line is with these "attack bloggers," just someone with a computer who gathers, collates and publishes accurate information that is then read by the general public. They have no credibility. All they have is facts. Spare me...

JON: But, Stephen, I mean, to be perfectly...

STEPHEN: Okay, I put myself through school as a Colombian drug mule. I put heroin in condoms and I smuggled them into the country in my colon. Okay? Fine. Post away,

JON: Um -- getting back to the story, Stephen, the medium of the internet may be new but what bloggers do, as you just described it, is really in many respects what journalists do.

STEPHEN: 'What journalists do', Jon? As a journalist, I think I know what I do. I'm not sitting at home in front of my computer. I'm out there busting my hump every day at the White House, transcribing their press releases, repeating their talking points. That's how you earn your nickname from President Bush. And when he stands at the podium, points at me and says 'You, Chowderneck - question?' Everyone knows its me. Ted Hitler.

JON: But as long -- as long as the blogs fact-check, as long as these bloggers check their facts, why would you even object to this kind of political coverage?

STEPHEN: Because it's not political coverage, Jon. They're reporting on the reporters. The first rule of journalism is 'Don't talk about journalism'. Or maybe that's Fight Club, but my point is this. These guys need to learn: you don't report on reporters. Nobody likes a snitch! If they've got to report on something, why don't they take some of that youthful moxie of theirs and investigate this administration. Somebody ought to! You would not believe the things they're getting away with!

JON: But Stephen...

STEPHEN: Fine, Jon. Three years ago I killed a panda. Ling-Ling! Or the other one. I can't tell them apart. In my own defense, in my own defense Jon, it was dark, I was drunk, and it was delicious. Sorry to ruin your scoop,

JON: Now Stephen, like it or not, these bloggers have already gained a certain legitimacy.

STEPHEN: Yes, Jon, and therein lies our only hope. For with legitimacy, the bloggers will gain a seat at the table, and with that comes access, status, money, power. And if we've learned anything about the mainstream media, that breeds complacency.

Or, whatever.

4:35 PM