So way back in January — the day Significant Other had his hip surgery — Mary Tyler Moore died. I posted about it and said I would comment more soon. Not sure eight months constitutes “soon” but here I am. I am a fan of both The Dick van Dyke Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, though the former was completely before my time and the latter, though I was alive during its run, was not something I appreciated till I began to watch it in reruns in the ’80s, ’90s and beyond. If I had to choose one of the two series to watch, it would be a tough call, but I would choose the Minneapolis-based sitcom. She died a few days after the pussy-hat marches and one of the best memes I saw was a photo of Mary Richards in the WJM newsroom juxtaposed to one of the marchers (a woman who was wearing a vagina hat). The caption said something like, “Feminism, then and now: where did we go wrong?” Pretty much sums up my feelings on the matter.
The reason for the title line of this post is that I firmly believe I could win any “Mary Tyler War” – i.e., any trivia contest concerning the sitcom. Or at least place. In fact, I was reading this book about the series, and while it is quite thorough and interesting, there were a couple of mistakes that struck me right off the bat. Example 1) The book asserts that Mary Richards asks her boss for equal pay but settles for less that that. This is false. In the episode in question, Mary discovers that the man who had the job before her earned more and she confronts Lou Grant about it. He talks his way out of it…almost. At the end of the episode she insists on receiving equal pay with her predecessor and Grant agrees to her demands. 2) This second mistake isn’t about MTM but about another show – Room 222. The book calls it an “hour-long drama.” Huh? ‘Twas a half-hour sitcom, though one that dealt with ‘heavy’ issues, like hippies and race and war and such.
So Mary was a goddess and a friend to the animals and in tribute, I post here one of my favourite episodes of MTM. I can’t really pick one favourite because they change, depending on my mood. Yes, Chuckles Bites the Dust was funny, but so many others were funnier, in my view. I loved Lou Douses and Old Flame, for example, and this one, which you should watch to the end so as not to miss Lou’s great speech on the meaning of life.
I cannot let this day go by without posting something. I’ll start with the still relevant Against Rationalization by the much-missed Christopher Hitchens. Oh, how we could benefit from his wisdom now!
And I’ll add this wonderful Brendan Behan quote, a toast (of course – he was an Irishman, after all):
To America, my new found land: the man that hates you hates the human race.
Finally, some thoughts that have been percolating: I notice that 16 years after that awful day, so many seem to have forgotten its significance. This morning, there was more hurricane coverage than anything else, which, I suppose is understandable, but still, our short memory-span is disturbing. Many difficult and terrible decisions had to be made in the weeks and months after the attacks and now, so many are still blaming the U.S. rather than the Islamist fascists responsible. The hijackers should never be romanticized as freedom fighters – the last thing any of them wanted was the expansion of freedom.
Many of the obituaries of Jerry Lewis have mentioned his popularity in France, but none of those that I have read have talked about Italy. Regular readers of this site know I spend a lot of time in Italy and I can assure you he was/is held in as high regard there as in France. In Italy, they call him Il Picchiatello (the ‘crazy one’ or ‘nutty one’). I’m a huge Lewis fan, for the record — I love Cinderfella, in particular, and I think his philanthropy shouldn’t be dismissed or mocked, as it sometimes is. But I do find some of the European over-intellectualizing of his career — and of cinema, in general — a bit rich. Here is an example from Italian TV. If you speak Italian, enjoy. If you don’t, well, enjoy the sound of the gorgeous language, and stand in awe at the low production values of Italian TV.
Very happy to report that my portrait of Patches (now, “Richard”) was selected to be put on display in the front window of Toronto’s Arts Market during the first two weeks of August to help promote volunteering (and specifically, volunteering for Annex Cat Rescue). Richard was an outdoor cat for years – nearly 14 – and now has found a home in which to live out his retirement. He is an FIV+ cat and considered ‘semi-feral,’ making me all the more delighted that from here on in he will know only love and comfort.
It seems to me there is enough to analyse and criticize and investigate and report about President Trump and his administration without resorting to truly absurd stretches, such as this one.Despacito is a gorgeous song, and it is successful now for that reason. To suggest some deep relevance based on current affairs strikes me as a desperate attempt to tie virtually everything to Trump. Why not ask about the success of Eres Tu (an even more beautiful song, in my view) and its connection to President Richard Nixon, or even La Bamba and the importance of the Eisenhower administration in bringing about its popularity?
Seriously, media? Pull it together…and listen to this lovely song from my childhood, while enjoying the lead singer’s cute gapped teeth and her geeky, hairy bandmates. Clip is from the 1973 Eurovision song contest (it came second and it was cheated!):