Weren’t We All Immigrants, Once?

One of the best scenes in Blazing Saddles is when the railroad workers negotiate with Rock Ridge to help build the “false front” town that will fool Hedley Lamarr’s evil army. The racially mixed workers want to be repaid with land in town, and at first the townspeople object to including various ethnic groups. Eventually they agree to accept the Chinese and African Americans, but “we don’t want the Irish.”  However, when Sheriff Bart insists, the group’s leader finally says, “Oh, prairie sh*t, everyone!” and a happy ending ensues. Read More Weren’t We All Immigrants, Once?

Music Hath Charms To Soothe The Defeated Political Party

While I have the utmost respect for this site’s bipartisanship, readers know my views skew quite left. However, I like to think that humor and music have bipartisan appeal — I grew up in Orange County (the red state in the middle of California… cue rim shot), and even my most rabidly right wing classmates will tell me they enjoy my videos, even if they know I’m totally wrong about everything. Read More Music Hath Charms To Soothe The Defeated Political Party

Bipartisan Nostalgia

In this hyper-partisan era, many writers wax nostalgic for a time politics were more civil, when Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan could work together despite their differences, when people disagreed politely.  That’s the great thing about nostalgia — you only have to remember the good parts (like how I love 1930s clothes and music but wouldn’t want to restore that era’s sexism, racism, or economic inequity). Likewise, there was plenty of political ugliness in the past. Despite this, I do think the op-ed pieces have a point, in that these days we have lost even the superficial veneer of civilized disagreement. Read More Bipartisan Nostalgia

The Sound Of Marriage Equality

Whatever you thought of the live Sound of Music starring Carrie Underwood, it was still commendable for a number of reasons, including exposing country fans to musical theatre, and showing people who’d only seen the movie the numbers and scenes that were cut from it. Not that Julie Andrews wasn’t adorable, but in the movie, the Captain dumps Baroness Schraeder just because of one dance with his employee, which is sort of creepy.  In the actual musical, Schraeder turns out to be a Nazi appeaser, and possibly a sympathizer, which is a slightly better reason. Read More The Sound Of Marriage Equality

Musical Peaceniks, 21st Century Style

Even those of you not old enough to remember the 1960s have heard of the various counter-culture movements — anti-war demonstrations, hippies at Woodstock, never-trust-anyone-over-30, and so on. I was in elementary school, so I wasn’t old enough for any of the really wild stuff. My counter-culture activities were confined to teaching myself the guitar chords for “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?” and macrame-ing myself a belt for my bell-bottoms.   Read More Musical Peaceniks, 21st Century Style

There’s Crazy, And Then There’s Kansas Crazy

As a native Californian who is most familiar with the east and west coasts, and as a huge fan of The Wizard Of Oz, Kansas has always symbolized middle America, the calm antithesis to New York energy or Californian trendiness. I’m old enough to remember when the movie was only shown on TV once a year, and when I was young enough to stay home to watch it, we only had a black and white television. So imagine my surprise when I saw it as part of a finals week movie marathon in college; when Dorothy emerged from the sepia-toned house to a fabulously colored Oz, at first I thought I’d picked up a contact high from all the pot smoke, but I digress. Read More There’s Crazy, And Then There’s Kansas Crazy

Election Polling: I’m Not Getting Older – My Hard Drive Is Just Too Full!

Those of us old enough to remember rotary phones, black & white TV, and cars without seatbelts are now at an age when a forgotten name or misplaced car keys can make us worry about age-related memory loss. My response is always to joke about my hard drive being full— it’s not age, it’s data overload. Read More Election Polling: I’m Not Getting Older – My Hard Drive Is Just Too Full!