Random musings on a writer's life & times, with occasional input from acquaintances


Thursday, January 16, 2003

Original Names of Selected Entertainers

Says a heading on page 375
of The World Almanac. My copy,
tattered and two years out of date,
remains a trove of interesting
information on selected entertainers.
Reading at midnight while waiting
for my drug to engage, I am startled
to learn Leonard Slye and Frances Smith
starred with Trigger in all those cowboy
movies from my childhood Saturday
afternoons. And Doris von Kappelhoff
sang "Que Sera, Sera" in "The Man Who
Knew Too Much," who was played
by James Stewart, who did not star
in "Beau Brumell." That was Stewart
Granger. Ah, yes. Revelations roll.
Frederick Austerlitz tossed on a top hat
to dance cheek to cheek with Virginia
McMath. Bernard Schwartz wiggled about
in a dress (and falsies) yet won
the heart (and other body parts)
of Norma Jean Baker. Alexandra Zuck
and Sally Mahoney both did
Gidget -- that was a stitch, wasn't it?
Of course, one can understand why
some of these folks changed names.
Harold Lipshitz detecting Barney Miller
and Pierre LaCock questioning
Tinseltown squares just wouldn't ring right.
At first, I thought maybe name
change was a thing of show-biz past.
It's been decades since that fan
told Archibald Leach "I wish I was Cary
Grant" and Archie answered: "So do I."
Nowadays we run into a Leonardo
DiCaprio here, a Gwyneth Paltrow there.
This might mean new acceptance
of ethnicity or oddity in luminary labels.
But my almanac tells me it's not so hard
to figure out how to pronounce G.I. Jane's
first name any moore if you realize
her whole handle was once Demetria Guynes,
and reality seldom bites at Winona Horowitz
as she rydes our innocent age. So it goes
for stars, from Frances Gumm and Joe Yule Jr.
to Susan Tomaling and Thomas Mapother IV.

--By David Jordan

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

“Are you grumpy?”

How’s a guy supposed to respond adequately to that question? He could say “Hell, no!” but that in itself would be grumpy. He could just murmur a mild “No,” but then he would be forced to live up to the statement, whether he felt like it or not. He could say “Hell, yes!” and admit to being a curmudgeon. He could murmur a mild “Yes,” but that would sound pathetic.

It’s a no-win question. “Are you still cheating on your taxes?” “Are you grumpy?” It’s all bad.

Which is why my wife needs to quit asking me if I’m grumpy. Hey, when I’m grumpy, there is no need to ask questions. I wear a little (well, not so little) black cloud over my head like Joe Blftspk of old-time cartoon fame. It accompanies me everywhere I go.

Cookie Jean is trying to manipulate me with that question. It’s part of her Mood Police work, as she sees it. She hopes if she inquires whether I’m grumpy, I’ll start acting happy to prove I’m not in a bad mood. This is manipulation of the meanest sort.

I say, let grumps grump, when need be. How many people can we tolerate in this world saying “Have a nice day,” wearing happy-face buttons or slapping “practice random acts of kindness” stickers on car bumpers? When I feel grumpy, I’m balancing the human equation. Let me do my bit for humanity.

Monday, January 13, 2003

Time to answer my fan mail.
Dear Dave,

How much money did the Society for Indigent Daves raise with its year-end appeal for donations?

Betty Lou
Hope, Arkansas

Sixty-five cents. It came from my sister-in-law Peggy in the form of an unredeemed Safeway bottle-deposit receipt.


Yo, Peoria Dave!

Did Buford A. Chase get a response to his proposal for a Texas Death Match between President Bush and Saddam Hussein at Caesar’s Palace? It could mean big tourist bucks to my gas station/massage parlor on the road to Las Vegas.

Tony “Big Tuna” Acardi
Elko, Nevada

Dubya has appointed a blue-ribbon commission of Henry Kissinger, Jimmy Carter and Jennifer Aniston to assess the feasibility of Buford’s proposal.


Hi Dave,

You have mentioned sisters-in-law named Peggy, Patsy and Janet. How many sisters-in-law do you have?

Hamtramck, Michigan

Well, Bernadette, it depends. Peggy, Patsy, Janet and Betsy are my wife’s sisters. Her brother, Bob, has a wife, whose name is Yvette. Is your brother-in-law’s wife your sister-in-law? If she is, I have five. I’ll have to ask my lawyer.


Jordan, you meathead!

The Trailblazers are playing winning basketball these days. Aren’t you sorry you said mean things about them?

A Portland hoops fan

I don’t CARE if the Jailblazers win. I also don’t care if the Oregon State Penitentiary field hockey team wins.


Say, Dave,

How come T-Model Tommy Goodloe signs his messages with phrases like “hasta banana” and “chow”?

Minnetonka, Minnesota

Tommy is multi-linguini.


Hello David,

Does your “happy light” work?

Toksook Bay, Alaska

You read the swill I write, Polly. What do YOU think?


My Dear Dave,

I agree that Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn and other show business celebrities need to bathe more often. On the flip side, who do you see as the cleanest star?

Bullhead City, Arizona

Peewee Herman.


Dave, my man,

What’s your best score playing Kaboom? Or would you rather not say?

Needles, California

Lenny, are you implying I might be embarrassed to admit I play the suicide bomber game? Hey, my middle name is Politically Incorrect! (Actually, my middle name is something else, compared to which Politically Incorrect would be an improvement.) My top Kaboom score is 7 killed and 1 injured. I play almost every day, and I never quit until I have killed at least 5 with one blast.


Dear Mr. Jordan,

Like you, I struggle to finish reading books. Can you name three books you started but abandoned in 2002?

Louise LaFarge
Lake Placid, New York

Gee, Louise, there are so many to chose from! Let’s go with: Jonathan Franzen’s “The Corrections” (bored me), Alice Sebold’s “The Lovely Bones” (murdered girl bothered me) and David Masiel’s “2182 KHZ” (opening description of “the shitpile” grossed me out).


Hey, Dave!

What’s your favorite Strong Bad episode?

Ten Sleep, Wyoming

Tough call, Rod. I’m gonna recommend “Lures & Jigs.” Strong Bad and I take the same approach to the manly sport of fishing.


My dearest David,

I enjoyed reading the poem about your wife’s theory of finite weight. Does Cookie Jean have any other theories about dieting and weight loss?

Elaine E. Gregious
Weehawken, New Jersey

Yes, she does, Elaine. Most concern dieting loopholes. For instance:

1) Food eaten off someone else’s plate does not count.

2) Free samples eaten off store counters do not count.

3) Items eaten in a car do not count.

4) Anything eaten while standing up does not count.


Greetings, Dave --

I think I saw Ray Cutter on the street near the Bread and Ink Cafe in Portland the other day. Is he big like Garrison Keillor?

Sonja S.
Boring, Oregon

Slice and Dice is tall, but not as tall or beefy as Keillor. More like a severely malnourished John Cusack.


Well, gotta sign off and go feed the heifers in the north forty. Write if you find work.

Hugs & kisses,
David (Peoria Dave) Jordan

Sunday, January 12, 2003


The penalty for success is to be bored by the people who used to snub you.
--Nancy Astor (1879 - 1964)

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