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“Meredith, I want to tell you something. Last night, as I was thinking about the categories that might be used to stump me, one of the first ones I considered was ‘Classical Music.’”

Meredith Vieira smirked and nodded.

“Now, I have worked professionally as a DJ, so I own a considerable amount of music, but I don’t get to use much Classical in my line of work.”

Meredith gave a concerned look.

“However, there was a film soundtrack that I do own, for a fantastic motion picture starring Gary Oldman. It was called “Immortal Beloved.” It was the story of the life of Ludwig van Beethoven. And the very first track on that album is Beethoven’s 5th Symphony… in C Minor. Final answer.”

Well, no. Let's rewind.Collapse )

LJ Idol - Week [13] - The End of Humanity

Humanity will end. And we just might live to see it.

Well, maybe that’s not phrased correctly. Maybe humanity has already ended. The elements that have, for so long, been the definition of that word, have eroded, evaporated, been excised.

The two most important planks that have been diminished in this way are so basic and so obvious, we have to wonder how we allowed it to happen. And yes, we are partners in our own demise when it comes to this. The first element is communication.

The simple act of expressing one's thoughts...Collapse )

LJ Idol - Week [12] - A Monkey's Odyssey

Ringling Logo
I had been through an endless parade of schools: a pre-k, a different kindergarten, three different first grades (as my parents arranged their divorce), the same school from second to fourth, a year of terror, verbal and physical abuse in fifth, a settled three years for junior high, an all boys school in ninth grade before moving to the high school I would graduate from in tenth, and then on to college, the first time I ever spent four years at the same institution.

Always being the “New Kid” taught me an important lesson: using humor can get people to like you quickly, assuming you were actually funny and assuming they didn’t hate you on sight. By the time I was eleven, my role was defined: comedian. Unfortunately, humor didn’t make for lasting relationships of any kind, either friendships or romances. Or, perhaps it might have, had I stayed in any one place long enough.

Though most of the schools I attended were small...Collapse )

LJ Idol - Week [10] - Not The Cheap Seats*

One of my favorite quotes from the infinitely quotable, brilliant philosopher/comedian George Carlin is the following:

“When you’re born into this world, you’re given a ticket to the Freak Show. If you’re born in America, you get a front row seat.”

To me, that quote makes three distinctive statements. The first, obviously, is that Americans get to observe a lot of ridiculousness: behaviors that are rooted in privilege, in wealth, in nonsense that could only be done if you don’t have to worry about having potable water to drink, proper food to eat, clean air to breathe, ground to walk on that doesn’t contain land mines. These are your classic #FirstWorldProblems. And wow! The nonsensical stuff happening is simply staggering, though, admittedly, we’re the ones frequently involved, which leads to the second statement.

As front row ticket holders...Collapse )
On the day in question, Mr. Tronald Dump had just fired the entire staff of the Dump Building Headquarters without warning. Security ushered the now former staff members towards the exits.

Dump himself had confiscated a box one of the middle aged middle managers was trying to take along. The box was now on his enormous desk.

“Office supplies,” Dump muttered, pulling out a legal pad from the cardboard cube. “What else?”

Dump dumped the contents out. A mug that said World’s Best Daddy on one side with a picture of a smiling girl about age six on the other. Some crayon drawings and more photos of the little girl, all of which went right in the trash. And a brass lamp. It resembled the sort of ancient lamp that people in ancient times used to provide light.

He picked it up and examined it...Collapse )
The 4th and final entrant in the CBS Sweepstakes to take over for Craig Ferguson's Late Late Show is


@aishatyler on twitter

As previously stated, all 4 of these people already are a part of the CBS family, and Aisha doubly so: she is the current host of The CW's "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" and one of the hosts of the CBS daily gabfest: "The Talk."

What some people may not know or remember is that Aisha is the only one of the 4 who has already had her own late night talk show! She came in and hosted E!'s Talk Soup for a long run.

Additionally, when Craig Kilborn departed the LLS for wherever he wound up going, Aisha was one of the many people given a shot at hosting for one night, back about ten years ago. So, she's been talking for quite some time!

Aisha has been involved with a lot of varied productions - from a serious arc on Day 4 of "24" to voice over work for her wild comedy cartoon "Archer" to being "The Black Girl on 'Friends,'" it's all in a day's work for Ms. Tyler.

"Ghost Whisperer," "CSI," "Hawaii Five-O," is there a CBS show that Ms. Tyler hasn't hit up yet? Of course, I think she might have an inside track to getting the Late Late job if she wants it: she sits right next to Julie Chen every day on "The Talk," and Chen is, of course, the wife of Les Moonves, Chairman of the CBS Network. If anyone can get a meeting for a shot at hosting the gig, Aisha is the one.

As I stated previously, Women and Persons of Color have had a very difficult time finding a place in late night television. With Aisha Tyler, you get a twofer! Where she may not have been the right person to take over for Kilborn when he left, she is definitely seasoned and ready to handle the job now. Certainly after being part of the round table of "The Talk," where with that many hosts, it's difficult to get in a question or a joke, she manages to stand out, and always keeps it fresh and fun. Imagine if she gets a chance to do that on her own!

If you want star power, Aisha is the only one of the 4 that is currently in the Top 1000 on IMDb (but the other three are all in the Top 5000, so there's plenty of star power to go around). And she is the only one of the four to be a Celebrity Jeopardy! Champion! I don't know if that makes her more qualified to host, but it's a pretty impressive achievement.

With her vast talents, her experience with interviewing, her intelligence and her comedy chops, Aisha Tyler is a formidable contender for the job of Late Late Show host!
Forget the search... we already have someone who replaced Craig Ferguson as the host of "The Late Late Show." His name is:


On twitter, he's @DrewFromTV

And it's absolutely true. Carey has already taken over the LLS. On April Fool's Day of this year, The current host of "The Late Late Show," the very outgoing (and, of course, outgoing) Craig Ferguson (and his on camera staff), swapped jobs with the current host of "The Price Is Right," Drew Carey (and HIS on camera staff) for a very entertaining couple of hours of teevee.

Unfortunately, Drew's full episode...Collapse )
Back in the days of Vaudeville, the best acts were the ones that were most versatile. The people who could do "One Man Shows" were always headliners, top billing, favorites of the audience and commanded a lot of attention and a lot of scratch.

And really, that's still at least a little bit true. If you look at who audiences clamor over - People like Neil Patrick Harris, Hugh Jackman, Maya Rudolph (who is bringing the Variety show format back to television, two weeks from tonight on NBC), these aren't just actors or comedians or musicians or dancers or raconteurs. They are performers that can do it all!

And that brings us to:


@waynebrady for the twitter followers

As I stated, the four people...Collapse )
I wanted to seriously examine the four people who are basically CBS "Artists in Residence" that would be a great fit for the role of Craig Ferguson's replacement as host of "The Late Late Show." And seeing as how


was the only one of the four who favorited the tweet I made listing off my top choices, she gets first dibs!

Subtle plug for her twitter... she's got more than a million followers, of course.

Now, let's be brutally honest...Collapse )
Back in late 2009 and early 2010, when I was looking at all of the Late Night Talk Show Hosts, the one I ranked lowest was Jimmy Fallon and the one I ranked highest was Craig Ferguson. Here we are, a third of the way through 2014 and Fallon is ruling late night in a way that hasn't been seen since Johnny was swinging an imaginary golf club, and Craig Ferguson is going to call it quits next year. I guess I really had no vision of the future!

But let's face it. Ferguson is a multi-talented fellow who I think will do ok without needing to host a talk show. His skills can and and will be put to better use in all of the areas that he will likely go. He has already done voice over work for film with the "How to Train Your Dragon" series. He's written several books, memoirs about his life and observations about his adopted country. He's making personal appearances, doing stand up comedy. In short, Ferguson, unlike his Craig predecessor, Mr. Kilborn, has a plan for what to do with his future and has the wherewithal to make it happen.

So, I guess this means...Collapse )

LJ Idol - Week [7] - "No True Scotsman"*

Nobody else could celebrate like Jim
Or pour a shot or sing and raise his voice
To tell the truth, we all quite envied him.
Rum was fine, but Scotch was his first choice.
Underwear would drop at Jim’s sweet gaze
Everyone was charmed and that’s no doubt!
Sometimes the men would take up all his days
Come night, the ladies made him scream and shout.
One quiet Sunday evening at the bar
There were no customers for Jim to serve.
Self-serving as he was, got in his car
Made sure to drive safe, then he reached the curve.
And now we celebrate Jim as we cry,
No true Scotsman ever says goodbye.

*This piece was written for LJ Idol using the prompt: "No True Scotsman"

LJ Idol - Week [5] - Distractions*

A relatively long distance away, in a galaxy not very much like this one, the Great Head and fellow leaders in charge of a particular world, were not happy. It seemed that more and more people were replicating themselves: “breeding” if you want to be gauche about it. The fear was that these beings, dangerously outnumbering their leaders, might become unhappy and do something… unpleasant.

Now, there was enough food to feed...Collapse )
Let’s talk about America’s History
It’s full of lies and that’s no myst’ry
Thinkin’ ‘bout people yearning to breathe free
Who cast a whole race into slavery.
King George the Third was a greedy fool
But all his people were greedy too
‘Cause they thieved the land of the natives then
Made treaties which they broke again!
Through all of this there was one thing:
America despised the King.

When the slaves were freed...Collapse )

Letterman's Replacement?

The biggest entertainment news story of the week was David Letterman's announced retirement which will occur some time in 2015. And nearly everyone wanted to speculate about who would inherit the CBS 11:37pm spot once Dave departs.

There is a laundry list of regulars that might be up for the job. There are some prerequisites that should be met. Certainly having an audience would help. So, if you're already popular, maybe that would be a good thing. Could Brad Pitt host? Well, there is a laundry list of skills in talk show hosting. Those include improv, stand-up comedy, funny monologues, crazy characters, sketches, slapstick, anecdotes, parody. -- List stolen blatantly from Liam Neeson's brilliantly hilarious performance on "Life's Too Short"

So we can narrow the field down to someone with a comedy pedigree.

It helps to know the mechanics...Collapse )

The Americgun Way

You might have heard, yesterday, another troubled member of our society, down in Fort Hood, Texas decided to shoot the place up and managed to hit sixteen people, killing four, including himself.

I'm finally coming to terms with what should have been an obvious truth. There is going to be no gun control legislation in the United States. EVER. People are perfectly fine with the occasional massacre by someone who has some personal or mental problems and decides to take it out on a bunch of random people with some sort of rifle, pistol, assault weapon. Mostly, Congress is fine with it. But the population at large seems pretty okay with it as well. That's likely because it's not happening where most people happen to be. Littleton, CO. Newtown, CT. Have you been to Fort Hood? Neither have I, especially since the previous mass shooting there in 2009.

Of course, I live in a place where people are getting shot on a fairly regular basis, just usually not massacre style. So, I'm still pretty concerned.

There's such a zest, an almost religious fervor...Collapse )

LJ Idol - Week [3] - "In Another Castle"

Jailee took a moment to scan her surroundings, eyes darting back and forth. Then, when she was certain all was secure, she relaxed and took a breath. No video cams were permitted in anyone’s dorm rooms, thanks to the “throwback” rule that reinstituted the law, disallowing security from physically viewing the interior of someone’s private space.

Jailee caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror on the far wall and nearly jumped. The reddish hair with manufactured tresses of white, grafted on in layers with a laser (for super cheap!), flowing like a waterfall down her shoulders, the dark brown undereye makeup offsetting the green of her irises, the black lower and white upper lip and just a tinge of orange blush on the cheeks of her pale blue skin made her think she was looking at a different person, much older than twenty. She liked her new look!

But the crimson blazer, the white fitted butterfly collar shirt and pleated navy skirt, inched up a bit too high, was her standard fashion statement. She slipped off her silver-studded black combat boots and stood in her knee-stockings.

At the start of first semester...Collapse )

Trivial Pursuits

Every Saturday morning, one of our local newscasts, NBC Today in New York does something a little bit extra. They give us a special fun trivia game!

Kaitlin Monte is the host of the game within the news program, which basically comes at the end of the hour, typically about forty five minutes into the proceedings. A USO entertainer, Former Miss America contestant (2nd Runner Up in 2011!) and anti-bullying advocate, Kaitlin could be considered the yang to Pat Kiernan's yin as far as NYC news related trivia hosts are concerned.

Now, the thing about this trivia game...Collapse )

LJ Idol - Week [1] - "Jayus"

I really had a lot to consider when it came to this particular starting point for this year’s therealljidol. The word, listed in quotes in the title, is from, we’re told, Indonesian, and means “a joke so poorly told and so unfunny that one cannot help but laugh.”

Now, with me coming from a comedy background, I found this topic a particularly difficult one. When you’re used to telling a joke well, or writing a joke for someone else to tell well, the adversity, the dread, the ambivalence that occurs when you try to intentionally screw it up is enormous!

I really sat for a few hours and considered the possibilities. I first started a story about a mom and some kids, but I didn't like the direction it was going. Then, I thought perhaps I could just write a laundry list of names:

George W. Bush

Donald Trump

Sarah Palin

You get the idea. Easy to get accolades for that! And I could have filled several entries with that list of names and stories about them. But would that have been fair? Fish in a barrel.

The Three Stooges are noted for this kind of behavior. So is Monsanto. It’s ironic that there is this Keystone Pipeline on the horizon, because it recalls the Keystone Kops. I had to think some more.

I kept coming back (couldn't escape is more accurate) to the nonsense that I was seeing in the news, and in history, and on twitter. Finally, it hit me, like George Zimmerman signing autographs at a gun show.

I have frequently stated that my favorite ancient Chinese quote is:

“We cannot choose what happens to us, but we can choose our reaction to it.”

And that’s what we’re dealing with in the world. We are looking at a system, a society, a mechanism that is functioning to the benefit of those running it. We are born into the system. We have to learn the system and learn to maneuver through the system. And those at the top of the system are always working to make sure they remain on top.

But the rest of us want to be healthy and happy too! We want the opportunity to have some sort of control over our lives. And we want to enjoy what we have, whatever we have, for as long as we have it.

And to me, that’s the essence of what Jayus is about. Life itself can be seen as a badly told joke. Think about it. Random stuff happens, all the time. People are killed because of human error, or human anger or a single celled organism that is too complex for us to understand. People become famous for no reason whatsoever, or for a reason that really is rooted in infamy.

We can do everything right: get great grades in school, get a college degree, work really hard and still not succeed because of factors out of our control. Or because of how someone else views us. Or because someone doesn't want to view us.

But, Life is seen through the prism of our own personal experiences, and through the knowledge we have acquired about how the mechanism works. It's our choice: We can choose to run and hide, to feel helpless and afraid. Or we can laugh, and sing, and roller skate and prove that we can live our lives, our way, in the face of every last bit of adversity placed on our path.

At the very least, we have to make sure we aren’t making something bad into something worse, because the reaction informs us. If we get angry, then we physiologically change. Our blood pressure increases. Our tear ducts respond. We might want to get violent. And that affects US, not the person or event that caused that reaction. How we choose to react can potentially shorten our own life spans and bring more misery to ourselves.

And that’s where we have to be disciplined. And humorous! We need to remember Jayus because, a lot of the time, there’s a whole lot of nonsense being spouted by a whole lot of nonsensical people, all over the world. It’s up to us to make sure they know, in the clearest way possible, what we think of them.

Laugh Real Loud!

LJ Idol - Week [0] - An Introduction

It's been a while since I've felt the need to introduce myself HERE, since I've been on LiveJournal for almost thirteen years! My name is Dean and I am known as penpusher here, and on twitter, which are the two social media sites I use most frequently.

I am a penpusher because I am a left-handed writer... I push the pen across the page. I was kind of built to be a writer: Only child, intently observant, obsessed with facts, and not a lot of friends growing up, so left to my own, quiet devices when I wasn't being protected/observed by my mom and grandmother. Perfect dynamics for writing. And I did write, short stories and plays were my favorites, but I would toss out the occasional poem too.

Eventually, I started keeping diaries. I made the mistake of using Appointment Books which had narrow columns to write in per day, and I used a soft graphite mechanical pencil which now makes some of those entries next to impossible to decipher! I have been trying to transpose some of my paper journal entries to this LJ, just so I can preserve them!

But to give you the backstory on me, I was born in New Brunswick, NJ, at the start of ragweed season, in late August. When I was two, and then again at age seven. I was moved to New York City and have grown up here. I have a habit of attending strange schools. Bucknell University not withstanding, I am a graduate of:

Macy's Sales Manager Training Program
Connecticut School of Broadcasting
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College
New York Film Academy (I showed the first completed film in its history!)
New York Bartending School (by request)

And all of the grade schools I attended, (pre K through 12th grade) eleven more of those over the years. As you might guess, I'm used to being "The New Guy" because of all of the new schools I've attended. And this is a new experience for me, never having done an LJ Idol before. Might as well give it a go!

I'm looking forward to reading entries from other LJers that I haven't encountered before, and I hope you consider adding me on to your friendslist, if you like what you read from me.
I am, for the very, very first time, signing up for therealljidol, which seems to also be...

The Very Very Last incarnation of therealljidol!

Good luck to us all.

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