12/6/2010

item 1 >>> Gary Trudeau’s comic strip Doonesbury has brought me much pleasure over the years. In fact, it was a mainstay of my college and early adult life. 2010 is it’s 40th Anniversary, the first daily strip appearing Oct. 26. 1970. And I still enjoy it today. Sure, the Bush bashing got to be a bit much, to the point now where if I see it’s a “White House” strip, or there are “icons” present indicating a prominent politician, I just skip it. Still, some of the recent story-lines have been first-rate…Alex at MIT, Uncle Duke’s son Earl, the female soldier, too many really to mention. I especially like when Trudeau draws animals, as in the bedbug sequence. He ought to spinoff a “Funny Animal” strip, or maybe a strip-within-a-strip. And of course the over-the-top Red Rascal is a hoot. But the final panel this Sunday prompted me to do some further research, the reference to Afghanistan’s “dancing boys,” or bacha bazi. Since this is, theoretically, a family blog, I won’t go into detail, but do some reading up on this and I think you might be somewhat taken aback, to put it mildly. But there’s a more serious lesson here…

item 2 >>> …and that is how ill-served we are by Political Correctness, despite the joy its laughable excesses brings. I’m talking about the sexual preferences of Afghani men, especially the Pashtuns. Unless you’ve been over there, you probably haven’t the foggiest notion what I’m talking about. But look into it, and you’ll find yourself wondering: why haven’t I heard about this? Yes, troops who go over are told what to expect…the surprising effeminacy of the menfolk, the “inappropriate behavior” they’re likely to encounter, in short the “local customs”…quaint term, that. But that’s PC doing its dirty work…celebrating the parts of a culture that jibe with our own, and acting as if the rest doesn’t exist. I used to joke, every time I go to a Multicultural Food Festival, I always ask where’s the dog-meat booth, and always leave disappointed. Flying kites and polo with a goat carcass are amusing National Geographic anecdotes, but what’s wrong with knowing how these people really live their lives? Well, when you discover how they really do, you start to understand why the PC crowd is in denial mode big-time. The best they can say, when pressed, is that it’s “troubling.” Well, not to the Afghanis. Check it out. Nuff said on that.

item 4 >>> …and not for nothing, but the Lincoln Journal was the first newspaper to move Doonesbury to its editorial page, September, 1973. That’s Nebraska, friends.

item 5 >>> Only one Massachusetts governor has gone on to become President, altho several have tried…can you name him? Answer tomorrow.

item 6 >>> Permit me to quote from that wonderful Woody Allen movie Radio Days: And then there were my father and mother…two people who could find an argument in any subject. Wait a minute! Are you telling me you think the Atlantic is a greater ocean than the Pacific? No, have it your way. The Pacific is greater. I mean, how many people fight over oceans? Well, it’s finally come true…I bought a bag of “plantain chips” (not as good as I had hoped) made with, as it said on the bag, “Pacific Sea Salt.” Well sure, everybody knows that Atlantic Sea Salt is crap…oh, yeah?…sez who?…sez me!…oh, yeah?…

item 7 >>> Yesterday I said that Paul Revere and the Raiders is the greatest rock group of all time. I know you think I’m crazy, just because they weren’t as “serious” perhaps as some others, doing all that dopey schtick on those Dick Clark-produced shows. Folks, it’s show biz! It’s entertainment! It’s all a commercial for Rice Krispies! Mark Lindsey is one of the most underrated singers in rock history. Have you been step step step step step step steppin’ out on me?…What, and the Monkees are #2? I didn’t say that. But they’re up there, like it or not…

item 8 >>> The first actor to play James Bond? Barry Nelson, a 1954 episode of the dramatic anthology series Climax. It was an adaptation of “Casino Royale,” Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel, broadcast live no less. In it, Bond was an American agent, Leiter was British, and the villain Le Chiffre was played by Peter Lorre. Love to see that? Buy the DVD of the original 1967 film Casino Royale…it’s included as a bonus. Plus you get all that great Burt Bacharach music…and you get to join the “Casino Royale Fun Movement” to boot.

item 9 >>> And speaking of Burt Bacharach music, the Casino Royale theme is one of my favorite Tijuana Brass tracks, altho it doesn’t have the typical TjB sound. The reason circulated at the time was true, but only partly. The 1967 spy spoof…”send-up” as they called it back then…was filmed in England. Word was that Burt Bacharach had recorded the theme, along with his other soundtrack music, but wasn’t satisfied with it, so he sent it across the Atlantic to his pal Herb Alpert, to see if he could spruce it up. Herb added his unique trumpet sound, and they had a hit on their hands. This is why there is some trumpet work on the record that sounds decidedly unlike the Tijuana Brass…that was recorded first, over in England, before Herb got to it. But what we didn’t know until much, much later was the problem with the original recording in the first place…

item 10 >>> …and that was, it originally had words to it…well, in the finished product, it still does, lyrics sung in a mock Twenties style by Mike Redway. But the original intent was to have the movie open with a vocal theme, sung by none other than Johnny Rivers, banking no doubt on the success of “Secret Agent Man.” The song was to be called “Have No Fear, Bond Is Here.” In a 2001 interview, Rivers said: “I turned it down. It was terrible.” But guess what? A brief snippet of the song has turned up with Johnny Rivers actually singing the lyrics! This was a promotional 45 designed to be played in the lobby of movie theaters where Casino Royale was a coming attraction. During most of it, you hear Mike Redway’s warbling version, in between the narration. But near the end, it switches to what for all the world sounds like Johnny Rivers. I could be wrong, but for now, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Wicked Ballsy

In the Beach Boys song “Hey Little Honda,” also recorded by the Hondells, you hear the line; “It climbs the hills like a mattress cuz my Honda’s built really light.” A mattress? What the hey? OK, what they’re saying is “like a Matchless,” which was a brand of British motorcycle. Oddly, they went out of business a couple of years after the song came out.

shameless plugamajigs..

Podcasts at http://stolfpod.podbean.com and   http://thewholething.podbean.com

Daily blogs at http://stolf.wordpress.com and  https://deepfriedhoodsiecups.wordpress.com

More bloggage at http://travelingcyst.blogspot.com and  http://www.examiner.com/retro-pop-culture-in-watertown/mark-john-astolfi

Resume and audio samples at http://home.rr.com/mastolfi

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