20 April 2007

Friday Abe Vigoda Blogging

Yesterday the Akron Beacon Journal was able to help put one of its readers discover a little-known film starring The Artist Formerly Known as Fish:

I am trying to find the name of a movie on DVD. I recall two actors in it, Lee Majors and Abe Vigoda. 1980s or '90s. A mix of action, comic, drama. Where to find it?

Sounds like Keaton's Cop, a 1988 production with Majors, Vigoda and Don Rickles, among others. It was released on VHS, and I have seen used copies for sale for as little as 97 cents on www.amazon.com. (Also a copy purporting to be unused, for $3.) I did not find a DVD. But, if you have an old laserdisc player, eBay has some laserdisc copies for sale.

13 April 2007

Friday Abe Vigoda Blogging

Not only is the Artist Formerly Known as Fish the greatest living actor in America, he is the patriarch of an artistic clan.

His granddaughter Valerie is in a band and is currently in rehearsals for a musical she helped compose. You can read all the deatils here.

26 March 2007

Monkey Takes a Bite Out of Crime

Don't kidnap monkeys
Don't steal them away
'Cuz monkey crime does not pay!

A bunch of animals made a monkey out of a thief when they scratched and bit him as he stole a primate from a zoo, a court heard yesterday.

The creatures were said to have gone wild as a gang, including Marlon Brown, broke into an enclosure to steal Bolivian squirrel monkey Spongebob.

Brown bled from his wounds, allowing police to identify him through his DNA.

14 March 2007

"Casey Jones you better watch your speed..."

Happy Birthday wishes go out to the toughest railroad engineer who ever lived---Casey Jones, born on this date in 1863.

Despite being one of the most accomplished and reliable engineers of his day, Jones is best known for the famous crash in which he refused to jump from the train like a captain going down with his ship. Jones saved a lot of lives that day, even though he was severely wounded.

His story was immortalized in folk songs...and no matter what the Grateful Dead tell you, he was NOT "high on cocaine."

Here is the entry for Casey Jones from the American National Biography:

Jones, Casey (14 Mar. 1863-30 Apr. 1900), railroad engineer and folk hero, was born John Luther Jones in southwest Missouri, the son of Frank Jones, a schoolteacher, and Ann Nolen Jones. He was the oldest of five children. In 1876 the family moved to Cayce, Kentucky, the town that would be the origin of his nickname and where he was first exposed to railroading. Jones married Jane Brady on 25 November 1886; they had three children.

Jones's initial railroad experience was as a "cub" (beginner) telegraph operator with the M & O Railroad at Columbus, Kentucky, in 1878 when he was only fifteen. A few months later he began working as a brakeman on the line between Columbus and Jackson, Tennessee. In order to achieve his long-range goal of becoming an engineer, Jones transferred again, this time becoming a fireman on the M & O line between Jackson, Tennessee, and Mobile, Alabama.

In March 1888 Jones moved to the Illinois Central as fireman on the Water Valley and Jackson (Tennessee) Districts of the Mississippi Division. Records of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen's lodge in Water Valley, Mississippi, show that Jones joined on 21 July 1890. He was promoted to engineer in February 1891, and his name first appears on the register book of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers lodge at Water Valley on 10 March 1891. Jones maintained memberships in both labor organizations.

In the summer of 1893, the Chicago World's Fair was attracting huge crowds. When a call went out for engineers, Jones spent that summer in suburban service in Chicago. It was here that he first saw the 638, the Illinois Central freight engine on display at the fair. At the closing of the fair, the 638 was to be sent to the Mississippi Division. Jones asked for and received permission to run the engine back to Water Valley. It was the beginning of a long association.

Over the years Jones had his share of extra passenger runs, and he liked the work and the pay. Passenger runs offered a much shorter working day, better pay, and considerable prestige, all of which appealed to the young engineer. His first opportunity at a regular passenger job came in February 1900 when W. W. "Bill" Hatfield transferred from Memphis, Tennessee, back to a run out of Water Valley, Mississippi. Jones applied for Hatfield's old job, even though it meant moving his family to Memphis and leaving the 638.

The new position was a test of Jones's ability as an engineer. The Illinois Central had been regularly shortening the running time of its passenger trains between Chicago and New Orleans. The new schedules posed an increasingly daunting challenge for the engineer. On the night of 29 April 1900, Jones and his fireman, Sim Webb, left Memphis one hour and thirty-five minutes late because the train had not come in on time. When he stopped for water at Grenada, Mississippi, Jones had already made up fifty minutes. By the time he reached Goodman, Mississippi, he was only five minutes late.

As Jones headed south, the stage was being set for his tragic wreck. A freight train with a broken air hose was sidetracked at Vaughan, Mississippi, and several of its cars were out on the main line. When Jones saw the cars, he slowed the engine to about 30 miles per hour. His fireman, Sim Webb, jumped to safety. Seconds later, Jones's engine, the 382, crashed into the caboose and several of the cars and finally stopped. Jones was mortally wounded in the throat by a bolt or piece of splintered wood.

Like the names of many other railroad engineers who lost their lives during this period, Casey Jones's name might have faded into obscurity were it not for Wallace Saunders, a laborer at the railroad shop in Canton, Mississippi, who made up a song about the accident. An Illinois Central engineer, William Leighton, heard it and mentioned it to his brothers, vaudeville performers Frank and Bert Leighton. The Leighton brothers sang a version of "Casey Jones" in various theaters around the country. By the time the song spread across the country, America had a new folk hero.

Why Jones did not jump is a question that has been discussed by railroad enthusiasts for many years. Railroad historian Bruce Gurner's explanation is as good as any. "You have to understand that Casey loved his job, his engine and the railroad," Gurner notes. "If there was one chance in a million he could do something, he wanted to be there to do it."

09 March 2007

Smoked Monkey Soup

Monkeys are cool
They can't be beat
Monkeys are pretty good to eat!

CARACAS, Venezuela: The termites, monkeys and spiders used in chef Nelson Mendez's gastronomic creations are enough to make even the most adventurous gourmand squeamish.

But Mendez hopes that, given a chance, his dishes inspired by the isolated Yanomami tribe of Venezuela's southern rain forests can please discriminating palates and gain a following in the country's culinary circles....

During a demonstration at the fair, an audience of amateur cooks and students gasped as Mendez unveiled a smoked monkey used to make soup and his assistants handed out cookies made with "Bachaco," large ants with an enduring, spicy aftertaste.

Friday Abe Vigoda Blogging

Steve Justice takes us all into the topsy-turvy nightmare world in which Abe Vidoga had never been born!

02 March 2007

Friday Abe Vigoda Blogging

Look up in the sky.

Way, waaaay up in the sky.
Up to the Eagle Nebula in fact.
According to Bad Astronomy, some people claim to see the face of Jesus in this cloud of interstellar dust. But we know the real truth about what the universe is trying to tell us...

There is another face in there, by the way, worth noting. If you look near the same place some people see Jesus, and flip the image around... hey! It's veteran character actor Abe Vigoda!

01 March 2007

"High motivation"

Monkey can cough
Monkeys can choke
Scientists are teaching monkeys to smoke!

Nicotine use is highly addictive in primates, say researchers who conducted
an unusual study of squirrel monkeys....

It found that squirrel monkeys who could give themselves nicotine by pressing a lever initially used it very little - but over time developed a "high motivation" for
using it.

23 February 2007

Friday Abe Vigoda Blogging

The box set of the second season of Diagnosis Murder hits store shelves this coming June.

The show is a formula spin-off of Murder, She Wrote and frankly, it's not very good. But there is one episode that gets saved from mediocrity by the formidable acting chops of The Artist Formerly Known as Fish!

21 February 2007

Monkey See, Monkey New

Monkeys are smiling
Monkeys are happy
The newest monkey is Lophocebus ugandae!
Uganda may soon have a new species of monkey according to a report published in Kampala's New Vision newspaper. Dr. Colin Groves of the Australian National University told New Vision that the local population of the gray-cheeked mangabey (Lophocebus albigena) will soon be designated as a unique species, the Ugandan gray-cheeked mangabey (Lophocebus ugandae).

20 February 2007

Smart and Ambitious Women Scare the Right Wingers Shitless

Oliver hits the nail square on the head:

The people who have built their entire lives on trying to tear down Hillary Clinton are the saddest, most pathetic bunch of social and political operatives and smear merchants in American history. They are, they were, and will always be.

16 February 2007

Friday Abe Vigoda Blogging

Tomorrow is the day, the grand and glorious day, when people around the world will come together to celebrate the birthday of The Artist Formerly Known as Fish, Mr. Abe Vigoda.

Yup, the Bard of Barney Miller was born on 17 February 1921. Fortunately, Mr. Vigoda is alive and well to enjoy the festivities.

I'll be heading to the big Abe Vigoda Birthday Bash at Madison Square Garden. How will YOU celebrate Abe Vigoda's birthday?

14 February 2007

Bush Regime to Veterans: Fuck Off and Die

How does the Bush regime "support the troops? By cutting veterans benefits, of course!

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration plans to cut funding for veterans' health care two years from now — even as badly wounded troops returning from Iraq could overwhelm the system.

After an increase sought for next year, the Bush budget would turn current trends on their head. Even though the cost of providing medical care to veterans has been growing rapidly — by more than 10 percent in many years — White House budget documents assume consecutive cutbacks in 2009 and 2010 and a freeze thereafter.

Of course, these cuts begin after these fucking thugs leave the White House, leaving future presidents and vets to hold the bag.

These people are evil and they must be stopped.

12 February 2007

"Intelligent Design" is Neither

Happy Birthday wishes go out to biologist and scientist Charles Darwin, born on this date in 1809. In these days of modern times when Darwin's work is being attacked by the creationist whackjobs in the White House, it's good to pause and consider the true marvel of Darwin's achievements.

Daily Kos has an elegant appreciation of Charles Darwin that everybody should read:

As a boy, Charles Darwin considered becoming a parson or a doctor. But a love of science soon consumed him and his course was set to become a naturalist. At age 22, unfulfilled and restless with youth, he took advantage of an offer to sail the exotic south Pacific on a ship called the H.M.S. Beagle....

Even as a skeptic, I cannot imagine greater testimony to the brilliance of a Creator than a myriad of dazzling, complex processes unfolding over vast oceans of space and time in exquisite order, spanning the entire cosmos. If I were a Pastor, I'd encourage my congregation to rejoice in the diversity of God's marvelous creatures and be thankful for the amazingly elaborate biochemical mechanisms those ancestral benefactors endowed us with. They would never again have to fear that science would undermine their faith. Indeed, if anything, the grandeur of the natural world would only serve to strengthen it.

Monkey-nappers demand ransom for Seymore’s return

Monkeys have hopes
Monkeys have dreams
Monkeys are victims of kidnapping schemes!

Greg Giles opened his Grease Monkey auto lubrication franchise in Durango just more than a month ago.

The company's huge inflatable monkey was stolen from Giles' business Friday night or Saturday morning.

"I'm a new member of the community here, and I love it, but I can honestly say I never expected anything like this," Giles said.

The case exceeded routine mischief when Giles found a ransom note in a cutout-letter style where his 20-foot monkey, Seymore, used to sit on the roof at his business on River Road, south of Home Depot. The note instructed Giles to deliver $1,500 to the Durango Harley-Davidson dealership at 750 South Camino del Rio, and implied the police would be of no help. The note is now evidence and the exact wording is being withheld while the investigation continues.

09 February 2007

You're welcome...

William Donohue is full of hate:

The gay community has yet to apologize to straight people for all the damage that they have done.

In a related story, the African American community has yet to apologize to white people for slavery.

Thanks to Atrios

Media Repeats Pelosi Smears

The mainstream media is a lapdog to the vast right-wing smear machine, but so many wingnuts scream like stuck pigs that the press has a "liberal bias." This claim is, of course, total bullshit.

Does this sound like a "liberal bias" to you?

CNN let its resident xenophobe Lou Dobbs repeat, yet again, the lie that Nancy Pelosi had asked for a 757 - not true - and just for the heck of it. Nancy Pelosi is "in denial," CNN's correspondent reported. Yeah, no bias there. There was also no bias when the correspondent showed video of 3 republicans attacking Pelosi, but no Democrats defending her.

Thanks to AMERICAblog

Friday Abe Vigoda Blogging

The Bard of Barney Miller is down with the kids and their hot new music of today. That's why he's lent his name to the coolest tropical/new wave/punk band in Los Angeles.

Ladies and Gentlemen, get down with your bad self to the groovy sounds of...Abe Vigoda!

Monkeys on the Run

Monkeys can bite
Monkeys can scratch
Monkeys are really hard to catch!

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 8: It’s tough catching monkeys, as the catch at the end of Day I of an endeavour to remove simians from the Puri Jagannath temple proved.

A dozen Mankadia tribals from Mayurbhanj, employed to carry out the mission, could catch only eight monkeys on Wednesday.

After the rituals were completed last night, the tribals started their three-hour operation to lay traps for the simians. But the tribals, apparently more adept at catching moneys in forests than temples, were disappointed with their catch. The operation would be carried out only at night.