Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I have for the better part of the two decades been an avid fan of the syndicated television show Charles in Charge. As far as sitcoms go it is remembered fondly among people my own age but more for nostalgia and is often ignored in discussions of the best sitcoms. It is not taken seriously, however it has many hilarious moments even in the episodes with tired sitcom plots you have seen in countless other shows from the 80s. The show also has what may be my favorite TV joke of all time. There is an episode where Charles, while trying to write a research paper on mental illness, is mistakenly admitted and kept in a mental hospital. His best friend Buddy (newly released himself) runs back to Charles' residence where dives over the table containing a telephone, frantically grasping at the phone book. He begins flipping through the yellow pages with a furious urgency and shouts;
"Quick, what's the number for 911?"
This is a landmark joke.

It works on two levels: The first is the observational fact that we refer so often to the emergency number it is thought of more as a description then a number. You could almost see how in a panicked mood you might momentarily forget the fact that 911 is in fact a phone number. The second level the audiences familiarity with Buddy Lembeck as an idiot. It is funny to see Buddy, (who once, while cooking scooped up a fistful of Crisco and ate it) make a mistake like that and so the audience is rewarded twice on one joke.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

For a bulky part of a century, I have been an avid follower of comic strips - all comic strips; this is a statement made with approximately the same amount amount of pride with which on would say, "I've been shooting cocaine into my arm for the past twenty-five years." I flatly do not know why I do as I do. For I do not enjoy the strips. I read them solemnly and sourly, and there is no delight in me because of them. That is, I had no delight and no enjoyment and no love until Barnaby came. I think, and I am trying to talk calmly, that Barnaby and his friends and oppressors are the most important additions American arts and letters in Lord knows how many years.
- Dorothy Parker (excerpted from "A mash note to Crockett Johnson" 1943)

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Summer Mix

1. Mr. Control - Jody Harris
2. Golden Loom - Bob Dylan
3. Make Me Better - Fabolous
4. Broken Broken Broken Heart - Jeffrey Lewis
5. Honey, You're So Mean - Jill Kroesen
6. Follow You Like Smoke - Elizabeth Cook
7. Leave the City - Magnolia Electric, Co.
8. Nine Pound Hammer - The Stanley Brothers
9. Love Letters - Ketty Lester
10. Here Comes My Ship - Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby
11. Mister Control - Jody Harris

Click here to download the mix.