Archive for the ‘Pop culture’ Category

Judge Judy: the early days

May 14, 2015

Today’s Zippy, featuring Judge Judy and her hectoring courtroom speech style:

Judge Judy is something of a preoccupation in Zippy, often in combination with Donald Trump (for instance, #2 on 3/17/14, #1 on 5/26/14), sometimes with other pop culture icons (JJ, Howie Mandel, and Dr. Phil on 8/17/13).


Morning tune

May 12, 2015

Yesterday morning it wasn’t a name, exactly; it was a theme song, from the tv sitcom Three’s Company, that was stuck in my head. And remained stuck, as a dreadful earworm, all day long.

Here it is, if you’re willing to expose yourself to it:

Now to the show and its star, John Ritter.


Hatch NM

May 10, 2015

Today’s Zippy takes us to Hatch NM, which is famous for two things: green chiles and giant fiberglass figures:


The two are packaged together in this remarkable artifact:



Youthful enthusiasms

April 24, 2015

(About music rather than language.)

In the May Harper’s, an entertaining piece on “New Music” by Terry Castle — a literary scholar (specializing in the history of the novel) at Stanford, and sometime writer on popular culture. The Harper’s piece is about old music become new, focusing on Robin Williamson, once of the Incredible String Band.

Terry begins with a confession:

Is there anything more shaming than doting on the electrified English folk-rock of the late Sixties and early Seventies? It’s taken me, I confess, a dreadfully long time to come to terms with it — to acknowledge that I adore, nay, have always adored, the whole tambourinetapping, raggle-taggle mob of them: Pentangle, Fairport Convention, Sandy Denny, John Renbourn, Shirley Collins, Bert Jansch, Martin Carthy, Steeleye Span, Maddy Prior, Richard and Linda Thompson, Lindisfarne. I still venerate Jethro Tull and its leader, the psychedelic flutist Ian Anderson, unforgettable for his dandified overcoat, harelike skittishness, and giant comic aureole of red beard and frizzy hair. It’s like admitting you’d rather go to the local Renaissance Faire than hear Mahler’s Lieder at Wigmore Hall.

One is cruelly dated by one’s doting. The British fad for switched-on folk reached its apogee somewhere between 1968, when the Incredible String Band released its sitar-laced masterwork, The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter, and 1978, the year that the lissome but likely inebriated Sandy Denny, former lead singer of Fairport Convention, died of blunt head trauma after falling down a flight of stairs. Yes, one capered and twirled through it all. Alas, one is now fairly eldritch oneself — positively rime-covered.

I shared Terry’s enthusiasms then — and now as well. And I’m a dozen years older than she is. Rime-covered, indeed.


Ambling though television

April 11, 2015

(Mostly about American tv shows and movies, and actors in them, rather than language. An adventure in pop culture.)

My posting “The hotel con” ended with the tv show Hotel, with Connie Sellecca as one of its three principal players. She leads us to The Greatest American Hero, whose three principal players were William Katt, Robert Culp, and Sellecca. Katt leads us to the Perry Mason series, whose two principal players were Raymond Burr and Barbara Hale. Culp leads us to I Spy, whose two principal players were Bill Cosby and Culp. And Burr takes us on to Ironside (and homosexuality in Hollywood). Other tv shows and some movies appear on this tour (which focuses on tv shows I’ve especially enjoyed), as do other reliable and interesting actors.


Movies and tv: Troy McClure, Troy Donahue, Robert Conrad

April 1, 2015

(Minimal linguistic content — but some homoerotic shirtlessness, if that’s your thing)

Two comments on my Doug McClure posting: from Chuk Craig (“I always liked his cousin Troy”) and Christopher Walker (on whipping scenes: #3 in my posting is a whipping scene from The King’s Pirate). So the whipping theme led of course to Robert Conrad in The Wild Wild West and his scenes of shirtless bondage.


Two more morning names

February 11, 2015

Morning names from recent days: drugs and food.


Three morning names

February 3, 2015

I occasionally post about my “morning names” — names that I wake up with stuck in my head, for no reason I can fathom. Today’s morning name was Jensen Ackles, an actor I’ve already written about on this blog (on 8/21/13). But: on Saturday, the social psychologist Bibb Latané; on Sunday, the actor Pat Buttram (noted for cowboy and hayseed roles); and yesterday, the hayseed performer Judy Canova.

The last two will lead me to reflect on farm folk as comic characters, and the last to the 1937 movie Artists and Models, with its mixture of “high” and “low” characters.


Zippy’s in Kansas anymore

January 28, 2015

In today’s Zippy, our Pinhead takes a road trip to Kansas:


Hutchinson, Goodland, Cawker City, Lawrence, Wichita.


What would you do?

January 25, 2015

Today’s Mother Goose and Grimm:


Without a piece of cultural background, this is just a silly story about a polar bear opening a bar in the Klondike. If you have that background, it’s a bit of language play turning on the ambiguity of Klondike bar.



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