Pavilion Digest: February 2009

A plethora of perplexing pavilion posts. The Pavilion Annex thread, the Pavilion Discussion thread, and monthly digests of all messages from the Pavilion.

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Pavilion Digest: February 2009

Postby admin » Sat Jan 31, 2009 11:02 pm

The following posts contain Art Deco Dining Pavilion messages for the month of February 2009.

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Chuck Messer
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Postby Chuck Messer » Sat Jan 31, 2009 11:02 pm

Name: Chuck Messer
Source: unca20090314.htm
Foghorn Leghorn voice: It's a joke, son! A funny! A kneeslapper!"

Gwyneth M905
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Speaking of jokes...

Postby Gwyneth M905 » Sun Feb 01, 2009 12:57 am

Name: Gwyneth M905
Source: unca20090314.htm
Does anyone here know the source joke for the phrase "Wham, Bam, thank you Ma'am?"

I remember my Great-Uncle telling it to me as one of his Army jokes when I was a youngster (he landed at Normandy Beach and survived & I learned to cuss and shoot from him) but I've forgotten it. I seem to remember that it involved an iron statue.

Many thanks, in advance,

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Postby Charlie » Sun Feb 01, 2009 6:30 am

Name: Charlie
Source: unca20090314.htm
Major thanks to both David & Rod for responding to my request!!

Harlan, in all seriousness, this quote of yours, "dishonesty by omission is as great a manifestation of mendacity as lying", needs to go in Bartlett's. It's terrific.

In case anyone missed it, the post office has issued stamps of Edgar Allan Poe. You can get a sheet of 20 with a mini bio.

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Three lightning bolts

Postby Josh Olson » Sun Feb 01, 2009 7:36 am

Name: Josh Olson
Source: unca20090314.htm
I have been lucky enough to have been struck by lightning three times in my life. Ive had plenty of moments of revelation, made plenty of artistic discoveries along the way, but three times Ive been knocked out by that bolt of recognition and awe and gut-wrenching beauty. The first was when my ninth grade English teacher turned me on to Harlan Ellison. The second was the first time I listened to Bruce Springsteens third album, Born To Run. And the third, many, many years later, was when I discovered Bill Hicks.

Harlans work made me want to write, and taught me that the best writing is always personal, even when the subject matter is a man with a bomb in his stomach on the run from invading space monsters, thoroughly alienated by his own species. He taught me about contained rage, and conviction, and there was an integrity that shone through his work that was clearly not a facade, not a put on, and it grabbed me by the throat during my most formative years, and here I stand now, for better or worse, the cantankerous asshole that I am.

Springsteens work taught me about the beauty of the telling detail, and the humanity we all share. The essential nature of what he was doing clicked with me years before I could put it into words - he was taking on the task of writing about what it is to be American. Bruce is the master of making the personal universal. His trick of putting the most downbeat lyric in his most upbeat sounding songs often led to debacles like the great Born In The USA confusion of 1984. In spite of the crystal clarity of the lyrics, the jughead morons on the right embraced the song as a jingoistic anthem. Eventually the king of the jughead morons, Ronald Reagan, wrapped himself in that particular flag before Bruce eviscerated him from the stage and told him to listen to the fucking lyrics, you jughead moron. But its that tension between the sound and the words that makes so much of his work great, for the simplest of reasons - like all of us, it is vast, and contains multitudes. Happiness is informed by sadness, despair only hurts if you remember triumph. Pete Yorn covered Dancing In The Dark a few years ago, and turned it into a dirge, missing the point entirely. The lyrics already do that, schmuck. Its the tension between the lyrics and the music that make it a song.

And then, Bill. I came to him late, and never got to see him live. But there was a man, standing on stage, putting my angriest heart into words and making it sound fluent and brilliant and funny. He could describe Americas foreign policy in terms of Jack Palance in Shane, and not only would the bit be hilarious, but it was a genuinely insightful piece of political criticism. He said the shit every other comedian in the world was afraid to say, which is one of the reasons youd be hard pressed to find a working comedian today who doesnt pray at his altar (Although Id be amazed if Dane Cook even knows who he is, but hes only a comedian in the most technical sense, and Ill bet you anything he puts Actor on his tax returns, which is just as dishonest as Comedian would be.) They love him, and they fear him, because, like Harlan and Bruce, he raised the bar so high that if you aspire to do what he does, youre going to pay the price.

He was every bit as committed and passionate and angry as Ellison and Springsteen, and his work hit me with the same force. I must have re-run Revelations three times immediately after it first ran on HBO. I couldnt believe what I was seeing. He was fierce, and angry, and razor-sharp, and on top of all that, a master performer.

It was clear the first time I saw him that his set was fluid. It had the pace and flow of an impromptu conversation, changing to fit the crowd and the venue. And I was right, because as I later discovered, you can listen to ten different performances from the same tour, and hear ten different routines. Yes, much of the material is the same, but the order changes, the emphasis changes, the segues change... The recent Chris Rock special made much of the fact that Rocks routine is word for word, exactly the same every night. Thats impressive. But for me, a guy who could have the material in his pocket and play it out differently every night, depending on his mood, the crowds mood, whim... THAT was impressive. And inspirational. And he could wing it, too. Theres a video you can probably find on Youtube of Bill cutting loose on a heckler that is insanely funny and painfully revelatory, and entirely impromptu.

One thing all three of these artists share, clearly, is an overwhelming desire to connect with an audience, and, at the same time, an absolute inability to cater to that audience. Youre coming with me, is the message at the heart of all of them. I dont need to tell you folks about Harlan. And Ive always admired that Springsteen would follow up his biggest hit album up until then with a chilling, spare acoustic set of songs he recorded in his bedroom on an eight track. A few years ago, after his biggest hit in more than a decade, he popped out a collection of folk covers, because its what made him smile at the moment. Its a happy turn of events, and well deserved, that over the years, Springsteen has become Americas poet.

And Hicks.... I once met a guy who wrote for Leno. Hicks came up, and I was waxing rhapsodic, and this guy asked if Id ever seen him live. No, I said, sadly.

Dont be too quick to lionize him, the guy told me. What you dont see in those specials is that some nights, half the crowd gets up and walks out.

And this schmuck, this toady, this obsequious waiter thought that was a BAD thing. Because to him, a comedians job is to pat you on the head and make you feel good. But Hicks challenged, Hicks attacked, Hicks forced you to look at ugly truths. Ive had the pleasure to meet people who knew him, and they confirmed what I knew already, what I could tell from the mans voice - if he did a set and NOBODY walked out, he worried his set wasnt strong enough.

A perfect example of this ran the other night on Letterman. After all these years, it was great to finally see this famous set, even if Dave wasnt entirely up front about why he originally pulled it (The truth is that one of the sponsors was a pro-life group, and Bills routine contained some pretty hilarious attacks on the pro-life movement. Dave said he was insecure about the material at the time. No, he caved to sponsors. Its that simple.)

There he was, pale, tired, and - unknown to anyone there but himself, dying on his feet. His timing wasnt what it had been, and he stammered a couple times. The ferocity wasnt there the way it used to be, but what can you expect? He was in pain, had months to live, and worst, he knew it. But the material was still there, man. And when you talk about artists who confront their audiences, you have to talk about the Bill Hicks Heather Has Two Mommies bit.

You know, I consider myself a fairly open-minded person, but have you heard about these new grade-school books! Ones called Heather Has Two Mommies. The other one is Daddys New Roommate. I gotta draw the line here and say this is absolutely disgusting. Grotesque.

Ive got several recordings of this bit, and he did it on Letterman. And the reaction is always the same - some asshole ALWAYS applauds. Frighteningly, on Letterman, it was more than some asshole. It was a LOT of assholes. Hicks smiles, seeming to bask in the love of homophobic douchebags. And then he kills them:

Im talking, of course, about Daddys New Roommate. Heather Has Two Mommies, on the other hand, is quite fetching. You know, they kiss in Chapter 4! Oooh! Go, mommies, go!

And then the other part of the audience, the folks who DIDNT laugh at the set up, who either had a moment of horror, or else trusted that the kill stroke was coming, burst into laughter, and the jackholes who dig the set up sit silently, their asses thoroughly kicked by the man on the stage.

Watching Hicks the other night, seeing that familiar face, hearing that familiar voice, watching him fight those old battles that are still raging today, I laughed my ass off, and I cried, both for our loss, and for the fact that I dont see new voices on the horizon that have the integrity I see in Hicks, I see in Springsteen, I see in Harlan. I hope its just cos Im turning into that crotchety old bastard who cant accept that my generation wasnt the greatest, and that my fixations and passions arent the most important.

Theres an integrity to those three thats unassailable, and it strikes me that of all the things they have in common - from their ability to get to the ugly truth, and their common interest in the strange beatings of the human heart, and their capacity for passionate rage - its the shared integrity that connected with me. Because in each of them, theres a realization that what they do is both a job with responsibilities, and a calling, with even more. You cant fake it. You cant phone it in. This story about the horny kid with the talking dog, this song about the guy getting laid in the pink Cadillac, this joke about whacking off to hotel porn - they all matter, and theyre all about something much larger. Then you sit through twaddle like Crash, or Amistad, or Defiance - profound, meaningful and important work - and you realize that it isnt subject matter that lends credibility. All that matters is the integrity of the voice, and when we lose one, we lose too much.

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Just Sayin'

Postby Adam-Troy » Sun Feb 01, 2009 8:28 am

Name: Adam-Troy Castro
Source: unca20090314.htm
Josh: that was one hell of a piece of writing, my man. Bravo. A-TC

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Postby David Loftus » Sun Feb 01, 2009 8:30 am

Name: David Loftus
Source: unca20090314.htm
Wonderful set piece, Josh. We're privileged to see this sort of thing on a board.

The comments about Springsteen's songs whose lyrics are at odds with their musical style or mood remind me of one of the things I love about Steely Dan: their wonderful brand of happy-sounding, danceable arrangements of really nasty, bitter, cynical lyrics. I've seen a lot of kids groove to the Dan who would, I suspect, be horrified if they listened a little more closely to the text.

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Postby paul » Sun Feb 01, 2009 9:00 am

Name: Paul
Source: unca20090314.htm

Thank you, Josh.

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Postby Moderator » Sun Feb 01, 2009 9:11 am

Name: Steve Barber
Source: unca20090314.htm

Excellent piece Josh, as David and Adam-Troy have noted. As Harlan has undoubtedly mentioned, you're cut from the same observational cloth as he.

(He may have used other, less appreciative terms, but that's a different story.)

I';; admit to being almost completely unfamiliar with Hicks, and will soon rectify the omission. Life's too short not to appreciate the masters.

*Ahem* To riff off an old Benny Hill routine:

Man Singing to Himself at a Bar: "Forty-eight today..dum, dum...forty-eight today."

Other Man Down the Bar Hears This and Sends Him A Pint

Man Singing to Himself (Now Singing More Quietly Under His Breath): "Forty-nine today...dum, dum...forty-nine today..."

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Postby FrankChurch » Sun Feb 01, 2009 9:55 am

Name: Frank Church
Source: unca20090314.htm
Harlan, I had a feeling that you were kidding, but I wanted to make sure, just to see what you would say. I do have a wicked sense of humour, as you have noticed, but I am a bit too sensitive. Goes from years of being picked on in High school. Learning from books later was a sane healer, cause I sure as heckfire hated school. I may have to rethink our education system.


I was shocked about your comments regarding Gaza, but glad you understand now where I am coming from. I may be ignorant about certain things, but I have really studied up on the Israeli/Palestinian terror. The stuff will curl your toenails. Not that you need that problem.

I didn't see 60 Minutes, but am glad to see the mainstream media do a solid on an issue that is usually presented very one-sided--this was my main gripe.

This is the one subject where reasonable people become fanatics. I have nothing against the Israelis, but they have to wake up to what their country is doing. They risk their own destruction, which is something they only lie about wanting to prevent.

You look at the Israeli media and the picture is much less slanted than here. Haaratz has done amazing reporting.

Most of this obviously comes from guilt about the Holocaust, which makes complete sense. But crimes are crimes, if we do them, if Iran does them, if Hamas does them, or if Israel does them. My main focus is the fact that the crimes have been lopsided on Israels side. Hamas has some bad charactors. You stop them by giving Palestinians their state. My only point.

I'd prefer one state, where they could all live, but Israel would never go for that. They want a Jewish state, which I am against, just as I am against America being a Christian state.

Fanatics like Dershowitz just give me the finger. Fuck em.

Harlan's a peach.


Josh, a man has a bomb in his belly? Try a nuclear tums ya mook.

Frank 'the other white meat' Church

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Postby BrianSiano » Sun Feb 01, 2009 12:34 pm

Name: Brian Siano
Source: unca20090314.htm
My first exposure to Hicks was probably after he'd died. I caught a broadcast of "Revelations" late one night, probably after _Saturday Night Live_. I came in about five minutes late, and stayed with it because, well, the guy was spending at least as much time _talking_ as he was in spinning out jokes. That catches my attention, because it's something you'd have seen George Carlin or Richard Pryor or Lily Tomlin doing. Sometimes that's a good sign: not everyone works at the level Carlin or Pryor did as standups, and they don't broadcast Tomlin's style of character-based comedy late at night.

The set was wonderful, but what nailed it for me was a bit of psychedelic humor Hicks threw up at the end. There was the bit about the news broadcast about the positive acid trip. A hack comic'd work up some jumble-mouthed hey-wow-groovy stuff, like slapping on a Hindu accent to joke about convenience store clerks.

But it was pretty clear that Hicks was mining his own acid experiences for the stuff, and that told me that this was a guy who was _trying_ to operate at the level of Carlin or Pryor. And his closing comments, the whole "it's just a ride" closer, settled that for me. This wasn't someone cranking out material to pull chuckles, angling for a chance to get on Carson and then find long-term employment in Vegas.

The comic-as-truth-teller stuff is used too often for my tastes. Nobody made me laugh harder than Sam Kinison-- but I sure as hell don't take his routines as a serious commentary on anything. It only fits comedians whose work has that element of conversation, that he or she's really working at understanding stuff and reporting the results back to the rest of us. It fits for Lenny Bruce, for Carlin, and for Pryor, and I think Hicks would have cleared his way into their company if he hadn't died so damn young.


This is what the Internets is for:

Postby Steve » Sun Feb 01, 2009 1:09 pm

Name: Steve
Source: unca20090314.htm
Gwyneth -

A happy bunny is bouncing through the forest, screwing every bunny he found in record time and saying "wham bam thank you ma'am" as he bounced off to find a new conquest. Then the bunny came to a garden with an iron statue of a bunny. He tried to do his thing, but staggered away saying "wham bam GODDAMN, ma'am"

Last time I'll ever use "Internets". Sadly funny then, just not funny anymore, Thank the Lord.


Forgot to ask

Postby Steve » Sun Feb 01, 2009 1:14 pm

Name: Steve
Source: unca20090314.htm
Gwyneth -

Why are you asking about "wham, bam ..." at 2:00am Sunday morning?

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Postby Jan » Sun Feb 01, 2009 1:55 pm

Name: Jan
Source: unca20090314.htm
WATCHMEN, opening next month, will be a 160 minute film. The Times did a whole article on it already. ... .html?_r=1

"To this day, he said, Warner Brothers still wants Mr. Miller and him to create a sequel to 300 even though that film ends with the sacrifice of its hero and his army. The attitude toward comic books, they show their hand a little bit, Mr. Snyder said."

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Postby robochrist » Sun Feb 01, 2009 2:35 pm

Name: Rob
Source: unca20090314.htm
Re: the long-runnin' tit-fer-tat here over the Israeli/Hamas debacle, the over-riding "tif" has been the matter of arguing strictly and biasedly in behalf of one side or the other. Both sides have made many fronts a difficult question.

The examination has to be even-handed. If one side ceases attacks, and makes some effort at resolving the matter by other means, and THEN gets missiles randomly fired at their civilians again, it's very difficult to when the opposition refuses to take some accountability for the deaths of their own people.

Having said that, I didn't see the 60 Minutes piece mentioned, but I will follow up on that. I dare not offer further comment until I do so.

**Rick Keeney: WOULD I have it ANY other way? You Tube it shall be!

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