Category Archives: Stuff I Like

Not Shallow: The Podcast

Not Shallow: The Podcast is on its way!

That’s right, there is a podcast in the works – the first episode will be unveiled this week.

It’s everything you didn’t know you wanted, all that your ears have ever needed.

Dogs everywhere are excited. Not that it has anything to do with dogs, per se, it’s just that dogs are, in general, very excitable. Which is nice.

Library Lovers Unite!

Unlike health care, no one ever complains about socialism when it comes to the library. Everybody loves the library. Where else can you hang out all day long without having to buy a vanilla latte and a chocolate-covered graham cracker?

Medieval girl loves free stuff!And it’s all free! All of it: whatever you want to take, take it, check it out! Yeah, you gotta bring it back, but by then your big idea to do the exercises in Shape-Up Shortcuts is played out anyway and you want to get that book that might supposedly explain wtf was up with that movie The Room.

My History At the Library

I progressed from picture books and story hour to checking out enormous stacks of books. Sixteen books at once was pretty much my speed. When we weren’t at the library my sister and I often set up our own library at home and took turns being “patron” and “librarian,” using a flashlight to check out books.

I became obsessed with books about whales. Then I became obsessed with a particular biography of Hitler, which I checked out seven times, probably baffled that it wasn’t fiction. From there the world cracked open: Anne Frank, Judy Blume, books of dirty cartoons, the mafia, the Impressionists, children who solved mysteries…

The library was a safe place and a refuge. I made my first phone call to a boy at the public library (first call that was not a prank), calling up some guy I thought was hot, although now I really only remember that he had brown hair, and asking him to homecoming even though I’d never had a date to anywhere, not even a study date at the library. He had a friend over and they both got on the line, making fun of me for calling, crushing me.

I so didn’t get how things worked in a small-to-medium-sized city in Wisconsin in the late 80’s.

Most likely I retreated to the aisle where the dirty cartoon books were. Half of the cartoons I didn’t get, a quarter of them were ripped out of the book by some pervert and the other ones were not funny. But that didn’t stop me from looking.

By junior high I had long-since ditched the children’s section and even most of the teen fare, preferring to spend my time in the adult fiction aisles. My mom had to give permission for me to go into the adult section. I guess maybe they were worried that I’d stumble upon The Clan of the Cave Bear or something.

In college I spent a lot of time hiding at the library. I wouldn’t do much studying. Mostly I dragged the enormous reference books that listed other colleges into a study carrel and tried to plot my escape. Or I looked at listings for international cooking schools.

Once, I persuaded a boyfriend to help  me steal a book I thought was important – The Decade of Women: A Ms. Book, edited by Gloria Steinem. I guess my Women’s Studies classes inspired a life of crime instead of fighting for social justice.

We had getaway bikes and everything, which we jumped on just as the alarm went off and pedaled for our lives. Then I did something stupid and cut pictures out of the book for the purpose of a womyn-centered collage.

I still have the book, holes and all. It’s sitting on my shelf:

Photo of books including Decade of Women a Ms Book

I would never steal from the library now. That is literally one of the dumbest things a person could do – steal from the library, where all the information is free. All you have to do is slide your card and you’ve got five vegan cookbooks and a novel about a family that fights all the time. Just bring them back in a reasonable amount of time, like after you’ve renewed them 4 times and kept them two weeks past the due date…

But no one asks you where the hell it is. They don’t call you up and say, “Are you ever bringing that book about the Gabors back? Huh? Are you? You are not even reading it.” But the cover is rad…

photo of the Gabor sisters

Today, I’m a Friend of the Hennepin County Library (my neighborhood library is Washburn in south Minneapolis. Represent!) which means that I pay a membership fee in the hope that they can put that money to use buying more stuff for us all to feast our eyes on. Or whatever they need to do with it – clean the bathrooms? I don’t care!

Today HCL is participating in Give To the Max Day, a 24-hour fundraiser for Minnesota nonprofits. I don’t know about you, but I want the library to have millions of dollars for books and programs – who knows, if we all give a little bit maybe more Minneapolis libraries can be open on Sundays. Education is what’s going to change the world. Plus, People magazine for free, yo.

Want to learn more about HCL and Give to the Max? Please go here and DONATE. Because where else am I going to spend three hours on a winter afternoon reading about the Great Peshtigo Fire of 1871?

Xciting Xmas Gift Guide… Er… No… Something Better

I was going to come out with Part IV of my Xciting Xmas Gift Guide but today I decided no, I will not. It’s every human for themselves when it comes to gift decisions and procurement at this stage of the game – there are so many gift guides, sales, promotions, stores, etc., that surely people can manage to find something.

When in doubt, make a donation in someone’s name to the Human Fund. Done and done.

So let’s talk about Family Feud instead.

Richard Dawson hosting the game show Family Feud.

The other night I was cycling through my limited TV channel options (no cable) and I saw Steve Harvey hosting Family Feud. They finally got around to a black host! He seems to do an OK job for a game show host, although he’s not off the Danger List yet because of his book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy and Commitment, which reduces women and men to easy cliches who all want, think, need the same things. Actually, I might make my book club read this.

The Family Feud moment I caught was Steve complaining about his wife scolding him for peeing on the toilet seat (clearly, in complaining about this, she was not thinking like a man). She admonished him with this rhyme:

“If you sprinkle while you tinkle, be a sweetie and lift the seatie.”

High hilarity, that. I think I saw that  on a dusty cross-stitch at a thrift store the other day.

But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. How many hosts has this show had? It seems like 20 but the actual answer is six. Let’s start at the beginning of the Family Feud timeline with the host I grew up with (and will forever judge all other hosts against): Richard Dawson.

The King: Richard Dawson, 1975-1985 & 1994-1995

Richard Dawson was the coolest host of Family Feud ever.Richard Dawson is a Brit with a melodious voice and the wearer of sweet haircuts that rivals those of early 00’s George Clooney. You may, if you are old(ish) or just really into TV, recall that he was on Hogan’s Heroes, Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In and a year of The New Dick Van Dyke Show.

Question: Could someone with the last name Van Dyke make it in showbiz today?

Why was Dawson the best host of the Feud? Because he always seemed tipsy, jonesing for a smoke and completely uninterested in who actually won the game, preferring instead to concentrate on his real hobby: kissing the female contestants. When I was a girl watching Family Feud, I tried to imagine what Richard would smell like when he came in for the smooch – cigarettes, expensive cologne and maybe a bit like pastrami on rye.

Here is a round-up of the best things about him:

1. He ran away from home to join the Merchant Marine.
2. His early stage name was Dickie Dawson.
3. His first marriage was to a British sex symbol, back when people still said things like “sex symbol.”
4. In 1967, Dawson released a psychedelic 45 record – just two songs – and then never released any more music.
5. At one point he was on a show called Masquerade Party that also featured Nipsey Russell. Do you know Nipsey? He’s rad.
6. His love of kissing the ladies on Family Feud earned him the nickname The Kissing Bandit. I don’t believe any lawsuits were ever filed against him. It was a simpler, less litigious, time.
7. “On Dawson’s first show (on Feud) upon his return (1994)  he received a 25-second standing ovation when he walked on set.” Seriously. They timed that shit.

Dark Legacy: Ray Combs, 1988-1994

Ray Combs was the second host of Family Feud.Combs was a comedian who quit his job as a furniture salesperson in Ohio to move to Hollywood with his family and make it. He found work doing audience warm-ups for shows like The Golden Girls and Amen. He appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and got roles on sitcoms… he was a hard worker. Finally, he got the regular gig hosting the Family Feud reboot. However, by 1993 the rating for the show were on such a slide that the network decided to bring Dawson back in order to save the show and Combs was fired.

Can I just share with you this awesome anecdote about this?

“The taping of his final episode aired in first-run syndication on May 27, 1994. During the “Fast Money” bonus round, the five answers given by the second contestant each netted zero points. Ray joked, “You know, I’ve done this show for six years and this [is] the first time I had a person that actually got no points and I think it’s a damn fine way to go out. Thought I was a loser until you walked up here. You made me look like a man.” Then, instead of mingling with the two competing families at the end of the show, Combs walked off the set immediately after his sign-off.”

Here’s where it takes a dark turn: Combs never really recovered after the Feud. He had a car accident that messed up his spine, he had some comedy clubs that failed, he got divorced and he lost his house in Ohio. He became suicidal, was admitted to a psych ward for 72-hour observation but managed to kill himself by hanging himself in his closet with bed sheets.

Wow. Sorry for the downer. I’m going to take a short break.

The Caustic Clown: Louie Anderson, 1999-2002

Louie Anderson hosted Family Feud for several years.We all know Louie. Well, we do here in Minnesota because he’s from Minneapolis and we cling to our few celebrities here pretty tightly. See, we’re funny! We’re talented! Home to Louie Anderson and don’t forget those Coen Bros.

Louie is a stand-up comedian who had some runs at shows of his own – an animated series for Fox and then The Louie Show for CBS, which aired 6 times. But kudos to Louie for portraying someone from Duluth on national TV.

What stands out about Louie’s tenure on the Feud is contentiousness. First, he beat out Dolly Parton for the position and I think we as a nation would have benefited from a Dolly Parton-hosted Family Feud, so thanks, Louie, for robbing us of this opportunity. Next, he asked Richard Dawson to come on the show for the first episode and kind of, lay hands on him, or crown him as the new king  but Dawson refused.

Well-played, Dawson.

Finally, Louie got the boot and was replaced by Home Improvement star Richard Karn (yeah, that other guy from Home Improvement). On his way out, Louie said the show would not last, could not possibly go on without him, for more than a season. It did, and of course it would, because that’s life, Louie. Everyone is replaceable.

That Guy From Home Improvement: Richard Karn, 2002-2006

Richard Karn hosting Family Feud.Maybe the coolest thing about Richard Karn is that he found out about the casting call for Home Improvement while at traffic school for a ticket he received. This seems to be right up there with sitting at the soda fountain at the drug store and being discovered by an agent. We do like our Hollywood Lore, after all.

He was a guest star on the pilot episode of the show and then became a regular.

And that about sums up the coolness factor of Richard Karn. After he was replaced on Feud, he went on to host a game show called Bingo America.

I think our examination of Karn is complete.

J. Peterman 4-Evah: John O’Hurley, 2006-2010

John O'Hurley hosting Family Feud.No matter what crappy show John O’Hurley might show up on for the rest of his professional life, he gets a pass because he played J. Peterman on Seinfeld. For example, he could host Bingo America and be known as The Beloved Host of Bingo America. In fact, I can do better than that and give you a real-life example – he was on Dancing With the Stars but that shit rolls right off him, like hurling turds at a Teflon wall.

But what really gives this guy cred is his love of dogs. Dude loves dogs and hosts The National Dog Show on Thanksgiving every year.

Also, in 2001 he financed the relaunch of the real J. Peterman Company and became part owner. How much does that kick ass? Go take a look at their clothing  here and pick up something for that upcoming safari.

Pretender To the Throne: Steve Harvey, 2010-present

Steve Harvey hosting Family Feud.I tried to like Steve Harvey at one point in my life, specifically after seeing the movie The Original Kings of Comedy. He’s a stand-up comedian and he can command a stage, which is really what the Feud needs. It needs to be led, damn it!  But after reading the following, I can’t throw  my full weight behind Steve, although I’d rather wish him luck as the host of Family Feud than, say, U.S. Senator or even a science teacher.

From Wikipedia:

On March 27, 2009, Harvey appeared on an episode of  The Tyra Show with Tyra Banks to promote his book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. During the course of the interview, Harvey advised that women should not date atheists, saying: ‘You sitting up there talking to a dude and he tells you he’s an atheist, you need to pack it up and go home. You talking to a person who don’t believe in God . . . what’s his moral barometer? Where’s it at? It’s nowhere.’

Later that year, on May 30, Harvey appeared on an episode of Larry King Live guest hosted by Joy Behar.  During that interview, Harvey reiterated his assertion that women should not date atheists, who he claimed have “no moral barometer.”  Harvey stated that he refuses to speak to anyone claiming to be an atheist, who he said are “idiot(s)”. Harvey went on to suggest that modern astrophysics and evolutionary biology are without merit.”

This is the kind of jack-assery that Richard Dawson would never have engaged in. Instead, he would have had a belt of whiskey, a smoke and asked the show’s producer if there were any foxes on the show that day.

Long Live The Family Feud King.

Richard Dawson, the best host Family Feud ever had.

 

Charlene Tilton Week: Day 6

Just when you think that maybe you’re getting tired of Charlene, something like this comes up:

charlene made in usa

Charlene Fun Fact O’ The Day: Charlene was married to country singer Johnny Lee from 1982 to 1984. I thought I’d never heard of Johnny Lee, so I went out on a search. And it turns out I sure as shit do know who Johnny Lee is! This song used to play on the radio when my dad drove my sister and me to Wednesday night CCD class in his pick-up. For those of you who aren’t Catholic, that’s a class where public school kids are indoctrinated into the Catholic faith, in the evenings, after being at school all day. You can imagine how excited we were to go!

Anyway, watch this and see if you, too, remember Johnny Lee:

Johnny had love with Charlene for two years and they had a daughter, but then he was adrift again, looking for love in all the wrong places.

Ranking The Hits of Duran Duran

DD DecadeOn a recent afternoon I pulled out my copy of Duran Duran’s Decade, their collection of mega-hits from the 80s. I don’t think DD gets its due when it comes to discussing the hit makers of the 80s – some even described them as a “throw-away pop group.” Shudder. What other band so perfectly exemplifies the 80s use of heavy synth, nonsense lyrics and sex appeal? NOT Def Leppard, that’s for sure. If I were to order the songs on this disc into my perfect DD Queue Of Good Times, it would go like this:

1. Rio – my favorite DD song, hands down. I recently put it on a playlist that I will listen to while I fly to NYC. “Dancing on the sand” is such an 80s, Eurotrash thing to do. I love it. I wish I could say it was one of my hobbies on Facebook. I also hope that at some point in my life someone comes up to me and says, “I’ve seen you on the beach and I’ve seen you on TV.” The best DD beats. If you played “Rio” in a club today, people would still get out there and dance it up. Of course, they also still get out there for “YMCA.” There’s no accounting for taste.

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Promote Gentlemanry

GGFundraiser blog

If you’re a regular reader of Not Shallow, then you may have read an earlier post about the webcomic Gentleman’s Gentleman, which is drawn by my husband, Keith Pille. He’s currently raising funds on kickstarter.com for a print edition of G.G., with an entire “rewards” system set up for backers (my only complaint, really, is that I feel a gian SloPoke should be a reward for the $20 level, just like in grade school when you sold magazine subscriptions). He just started fundraising last week and he’s already about 30% there, which is tremendous, I think.

Even without the hoopla of physical rewards, backing G.G. is pretty great just because you’re supporting a specific endeavor of someone who works a day job and then spends a hell of a lot of time drawing cartoons because he loves it and believes in it. Every time I start to feel lazy about Not Shallow, he’s at his drawing board, cooking up another comic and I think, “Damn you! Damn you and your DIY ambition to hell!” But I’m not really mad. I’m inspired.

I’m asking anyone out there who gives a damn about comics, cartoons, etc. to consider backing this project for $10 or $20. Today we all got the news that Harvey Pekar died and I saw that someone tweeted, “In honor of Harvey Pekar, spend some time today drawing comics that are yours and don’t belong to a big corporation.”

I feel the same way about writing. Spend some time today writing (or painting or crafting or cooking) just because you can and because you love it!

If you’ve never been to kickstarter.com before, you’ll find many other worthy projects there as well. If comics aren’t your thing, at least take a look at all the other projects people want to do. If you would rather fund a short film about a school for clowns or a photography exhibit about dog noses, that’s your prerogative, just like Bobby Brown sez.

Funny WebComic Shiz: Gentleman’s Gentleman

Gent 2Another Fun & Exciting Summer item: the webcomic Gentleman’s Gentleman. The most recent lesson is about drinking games. The aim of Gentleman’s Gentleman is simple: to bring the light of gentlemanly manners to an uncouth, faintly scuzzy world. You may recall my post about the rules of being a gentleman’s gentleman… oh, you don’t? Well, you can read it here.

Yes, the artist/cartoonist is my ball and chain, Keith Pille. Ball and chain! Ha ha ha! I just made that up.

My top Gentleman’s Gentlemen (this week):

1. Tim Gunn
2. Dominic Dunn
3. George Clooney
4. Tony Bennett
5. Paul Newman

Check out the comic, bookmark it, learn the lessons, LIVE IT!