Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Hawaiian Cable Guy (raw footage)

I guess I could call this raw footage. And while I usually try to put more care and effort into my YouTube videos, sometimes I get so fed up with all the unedited dreck that gets literally millions of views that I want to just throw it up there, which is what I did here.

Our TVs didn't work in Maui - well, who cares, except that our phone didn't either! - so we told the main desk, and they sent up the Cable Guy, an all-purpose maintenance man whom I later saw supervising the trimming of the hedges around the condo. I couldn't get a shot of him (this isn't him in the thumbnail) because that wouldn't be fair, and he'd hate it and think he was being "surveilled", which he wasn't. But he said so many cool things, and in such a unique voice, I had to try to capture some of the audio. So I wore a wire.

We liked this guy a lot, but because he had to come back several times (our door lock failed and had to be replaced; the phone, a push-button with a cord, STILL didn't work; the ancient old-style TV in our bedroom had to be carried out like a dead body), he sort of fell out of love with us. We felt kind of bad about this, but not enough to NOT post this. It's long and lumpy and about as bad as 90% of what I see on YouTube, only I don't make any money from it.

May I say, before I hang up, that I think YouTube has been ruined by gamers and beauty experts and blah, blah, blah,when it used to be quirky and interesting and fun. But that's over now. Why do human beings always ruin everything that's good? It's choked with commercial stuff that "comes at you", most of it really obnoxious. With few exceptions, my videos get 2 or 3 views, or sometimes no views at all. I make them for myself, to keep them in an accessible place, and so that I can make playlists, which is fun. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the saga of the Hawaiian Cable Guy, taken by hidden camera. 

William Shatner: 'The horse is a free spirit'

Monday, January 15, 2018

Dark times in the farmyard

I almost want to apologize for this. Almost. But not quite. I have a love for old recordings that borders on the obsessive, so much so that I wrote a whole novel around it (Bus People! You can read the whole thing here. Just click on the pink link.)

But never mind that. Now that I have YouTube, I don't have to wait for these bizarre old things to come on the radio or appear on a recording. NO! Here they are, millions of them, thick with dust and outmoded thinking, things you never wanted to hear but are going to hear anyway. 

The first two are - strange - novelty recordings, I guess, with a lot of barnyard stuff on them. But partway through the Farmyard Medley is a shock so unexpected that it literally registered in my gut. You'll know when you get to it.

That leads to the third recording. It's the same song I heard on an old record - so old it had grooves on only one side, and was about 1/2" thick - which I listened to with my friend Nancy, one day in the musty attic when it was raining too hard to do anything else. We found a trove of ancient records that probably hadn't been played since the 1920s, and some of them were far older than that. Cornfield Medley is shocking because of the language, and in particular the casual use of one of the worst words that exists, but the version we heard was even uglier because it involved a "Massa" ordering his slaves around.

Old and horrible, but how far have we come? Things are dark, these days, and the only way around it is to keep going. We're still fighting battles around ugly words, even uglier racism, the ruthlessness of it, the way it diminishes humanity. Back then, it was simply called entertainment.

(Never mind what's on this one. I don't know myself. But there IS a connection to Bus People, in that nobody is quite sure who this is.)

Why Shatner is sheer poetry


Though I have always loved Le Chat (originally known as William Schattner), I find I'm becoming more of a fan all the time. I can't watch that awful Old Man's Adventure Hour thing that he's in, because it's too raucous (I'd have preferred a saner, more Michael Palin-esque travel and adventure show, which would still be fun no matter what), but I have seen bits of it, and though he's at least 15 years older than the other 3 guys (whoever they are - who cares??), he looks a good 15 years younger.

He's going to be 87 in a few months. Eighty-seven. Let that sink in. One critic described him as "eerily ageless", and this seems to support my long-held theory that he made a deal with the devil long ago. He's like that Star Trek character who was a whole lot of famous guys like Brahms and Galileo while on earth, and who faced the bizarre dilemma of not being able to die.

When you see him in his early stuff, you seldom see the histrionics that made Captain Kirk such a hit (and which saved the show from the dullness of the first Kirk, Jeffrey Hunter, who nearly sank the whole series before it even launched).  One of the two Twilight Zones he was in had him making a deal with a devilish machine which would answer all his questions about the future - about HIS future - if he put a penny in the slot. He quickly became obsessed with it,  craving knowledge of his fate and equally dreading it. THAT Shatner was incredibly good-looking, what they used to call a matinee idol, brooding, sizzling with barely-disguised panic (not to mention knock-the-camera-dead beauty). In other words, a lot of stuff was going on at the same time. Watch this man - he is far more subtle than you think.

And the biceps. Don't get me started.

I've seen him do Shakespeare convincingly, because that's what he started off doing. He can make those antiquated phrases sound like something he just thought up. It's called acting. The man is everywhere still, doing this and that, making appearances and doing one-man shows. Since he can't stand for 2 straight hours (and who can?), he uses a rolling office-chair as a prop that he can do all sorts of business with. It seems so natural that no one notices it's a "device", something to allow him short pit-stops. His energy is so hyper that I doubt if I could keep up with him, but I know there is a thoughtful, even tender side to him. 

And there are the horses. The horses! But that is for another post.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Ghost birds of Maui

We remember these graceful birds (which at first we thought were herons) from other trips to Maui. They're cattle egrets, semi-tame birds which hang around condo developments waiting for the maintenance person to trim hedges and stir up the best-tasting bugs. I was sad to hear that islanders dislike these birds, which were imported to eat some sort of specific pest, with the usual results (eating all the wrong things: nobody handed them the menu when they arrived). But I think they're lovely, graceful ghosts. They can come and eat in my back yard any time.

Dr. Phil's spazz attack

Black snowflakes

Friday, January 12, 2018

How to describe a toothache

The only time in my life I ever had a severe toothache, the pain was so bad I wanted to die and was already planning my suicide. This was an unrelenting agony which was ruthlessly, relentlessly eating all the nerves in my face. Day and night it continued. I barely slept, and those rare times I did, awakening brought the pitiless, demonic force roaring back. My dentist was "away", with no date for coming back, so I had to have an emergency root canal (at a time when I barely knew what a root canal WAS), all done in one very long session with a dentist I didn't know. When you're in that kind of pain, your deliverer becomes a shining figure, and I think I fell in love as the novocaine took effect. During this very long session, I had to pee so badly I thought I was going to burst, but my mouth was so frozen and full of rubber dams and clamps and cold metal implements that I could only gesticulate wildly: FIRST LETTER! P???

I survived it, but I remember that only several belts of whiskey would even take the edge off it. I no longer indulge in whiskey, and I hated it even then. But it made me realize why dentists in the Westerns used to give cowboys a bottle for anaesthesia. The followup to this was almost as awful as the toothache, for I developed facial neuralgia from having my jaw cranked wide open for five hours. 

The following are just a few words I found to describe dental pain. Click on each word for a definition:

severe, bad, violent, terrible, acute, painful, dull,excruciating, dreadful, slight, chronic, awful, neuralgic,sudden, nagging, worst, maxillary, rheumatic, constant,mild, spontaneous, real, persistent, horrible, intense,simple, ordinary, agonizing, unbearable, unconscious,nervous, frightful, sharp, non, perpetual, mental,intermittent, prolonged, eternal, grievous, horrid, frequent,inflammatory, hunger, occasional, neuritic, mandibular,spiritual, comic, continuous, incessant, agonising, fearful,permanent, irish, beastly, intolerable, miserable, incipient,genuine, appalling, terrific, impromptu, menstrual,diplomatic, giant, royal, odontogenous, continual,continued, nasty, unprovoked, wretched, mysterious,called, unendurable, incurable, unremitting, inveterate

How W. C. Fields got away with this scene in his infamous short The Dentist is anyone's guess. In fact, the Hays office vetoed its release, but like a stag reel it still did the rounds and survives to this day. The myth is that Fields didn't do sexual comedy, but it's plain that he did. His morals weren't exactly pure. He had Carlotta Monti stashed away, for God's sake, and refused to marry her even after fifteen years of service, and when he died she was completely left out of his will. Didn't get a penny. It was sort of like she didn't exist. That's not funny, but it was common behaviour back then to pretend there was no mistress. I even saw her briefly a few nights ago in a Fields movie called Never Give a Sucker an Even Break. Was she paid for this cameo, a tiny taste of an acting career she longed for and never had? Well, what do you think?

"Why I Hate My Pillow" (Amazon review)

(Below is one of the best reviews I've ever seen, of any product, in any medium. I just had to dedicate a whole post to it. My Pillow ads are the most irritating things on the face of the planet, especially that inane little jingle that sounds like it should have been on the Jack Benny radio program in 1940. Even more surprising is the fact that nobody seems to like My Pillow. But this negative review was the best negative review I have ever seen, so I quote it here in its entirety.)

As Seen on TV My Pillow Maximum comfort and support (2)
by As Seen On TV

Price:$119.99+ Free shipping

Top rated

1.0 out of 5 stars Hated this pillow.
By Kindle Customer on December 15, 2017
Verified Purchase

REVIEW. Hated this pillow. Just like all loose filled pillows, I woke up with a large dent and my head on the actress.

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CONSUMER REPORT.  I was somewhat taken aback, especially in light of the fact that the ads for this thing run about fifty times a day on KVOS (the oldies TV station), to learn from my hero James White (the Freakin' Review guy) that My Pillow, the corporation, found itself in serious legal hot water last year. 

Though this seems standard with As Seen on TV products, they made all sorts of outlandish claims that this pillow could do everything but cure cancer. These fell under the heading of "unsubstantiated claims". They also perpetrated some minor fraud on the public by not making good on their two-for-one deals. I found an alarming number of one-star reviews on Amazon, mostly of the "this-is-a-terrible-pillow" variety, but this one was one of the most delicious things I've ever read. This might actually HELP a product's sales if it actually happened. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

My gecko encounter on Maui

This might just be my favorite of the hundred or so videos I took on Maui in December. This gecko was so majestic, and so huge, that he might not even have been a gecko. He might have been an anole, a similar-looking creature which grows to twice the size. I'm trying to figure out if this one had sticky pads on its toes. What do you think? It might be an anole, after all, but he looked like velvet, and regarded me with what seemed like intelligent eyes. OK, I know that's fanciful, but he was just adorable, and stayed for a long time (again, most un-gecko-like: most of them are seen only for a split-second as they dart back into a crack in the wall). The creature had a tail so long it wouldn't even fit in the frame, and was always partially hidden behind something. I'm still trying to figure out the size of it - at least a foot long nose-to-tail, perhaps longer. Geckos run four, six inches or so. As a kid I loved loved LOVED reptiles and amphibians, had a chameleon (actually, an anole), a fire newt, and a whole collection of frogs, toads and turtles, not to mention a snake or two. I longed for a salamander, but never found one. This gecko would have sent me into rhapsodies of joy. I just had to wait for it, I guess, though waiting more than 50 years for something can be tiring.

When my cat is sad

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Do your ears hang low?

Or does any other part of your body? There's an infomercial for that. I've had a run of them lately - and they're great material for gifs, such as these (below) demonstrating what happens when you use these fabulous whatever-they-ares - earring lifters or whatever. MagicBax! They're just a special backing for pierced earrings that holds the earring more firmly in place, but as far as I'm concerned, such products already exist, and you can get them at Dollarama or Dollar Tree for a buck or so.

These look very uncomfortable to me, as they're a sort of bulky metal thing. But oh, the women using them look ecstatic! One of the major existential problems of their lives (how to hold their earrings on) has been solved forever.

I'm reminded, for some reason, of the old Playtex bra commercials, demonstrating the power of the bra "to lift and separate". Digging a little deeper into this strange topic, I find dozens or maybe even hundreds of videos of "how to wear pierced earrings without piercing your ears". The one I just looked at, just too absurd to re-post, had an attractive-looking young woman literally wrapping flesh-colored adhesive tape around her earlobes - like those thick fabric bandages you used to see - and sticking the earring through it. It was - I can't speak. She said, "Oh, girls, this is FABULOUS! If you brush your hair over it, it's even better!" My God.

The injured look was never my thing, but maybe it would be OK if seen from far away, like on the catwalk or competing in a pageant or something. Not likely to happen to me any time soon.

I have a ton of earrings collected and given to me over decades, and the rare time I try to wear them, I can't find my left earlobe at all - it seems to have shrunk, for some reason - and the hole in it is even harder to locate. If I do manage to get a backing over the post, it won't come off. Once my husband had to take pliers and wire cutters to remove one that had somehow got bent out of shape.

Someone once told me the sure-fire way to remove an earring backing from a stubborn wire was to coat the post in lube.

I could make a joke here, but I guess I won't.