Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Coupla things: Weird Al Yankovic - Wiki Vandalized - January 1946 Reader's Digest - Cinquain for Mailman Ken

An article in the Times about Weird Al Yankovic led me to watch his amazing video on YouTube, a parody of Lady Gaga.

As a courtesy, Al always shares his parodies with the original person. Michael Jackson loved his parody, called "Eat It," insteada "Beat It."

And Kurt Cobain and the rest of Nirvana laffed hysterically over his  parody on "Teen Spirit," called "Smells Like Nirvana."

No one can understand what the lyrics mean.

Can 17 million laughers be wrong? Here's Weird Al's parody on Lady Gaga.

My question about this video - and perhaps yours too - is how did he strap down his crown jewels?

The Wiki entry on Weird Al is extremely long. I wanted to hear how he was raised and found this tragic entry about his parents:

On April 9, 2004, Yankovic's parents were found dead in their Fallbrook, California, home, apparently the victims of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning from their fireplace that had been recently lit. The flue was closed, which trapped the carbon monoxide gas inside the house, suffocating them.

Was trying to locate the Yearbook I did when I was Uncle Howie's secretary at Willow Grove Day Camp. Couldn't find it but did locate some amazing forgotten treasures, including....

During WW2, my dad was stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC, and he had this 15-cent copy of Reader's Digest.

It's packed with fascinating stories, including the first one "Epic of the Arctic," condensed from the now-defunct True magazine. In 1881, Officer Greely of the Army brought his ill-fated crew of 23 men to study the weather at Ellesmere Island, 600 miles from the Pole.  Many of them froze to death.

 I turned to the Digest's famous condensed book section. Though I didn't have a chance to read "The Anatomy of Peace," I looked up the author on Wikipedia.

Sure enough, the late Emery Reeves was listed.

However, there was an error on the dates of his birth and death. I wrote Wikipedia who wanted me to fix it myself- c'mon! - and I got this note from them:

Dear Ruth Deming,

The article has been restored to a previous version to remove the vandalism. If you're still seeing the issue, please try to purge your browser's cache: , or the server's cache: .

Thank you very much for bringing this to our attention.

Yours sincerely,
Kosten Frosch

 When I was in sixth grade, the smartest boy in the class, Steve Green, found an error in the World Book. Steve, where are you now?

Founded by Dewitt Wallace and his wife, Lila, the first issue was published in 1922, the same year my mom was born.

Read about WHY Wallace founded the mag.

The Wallaces were staunch Republicans and anti-communists. I should hope so! He donated lots of money to Richard Nixon, who also wrote articles, but no poems, for the Digest. 

Listed on the above inside cover is Suggested Reading.

Ever heard of any of these books?

The Black Rose by Thomas B Costain. Historical fiction. Actually my dad had a few books by Costain. 

 Cass Timberlane by Nobelist Sinclair Lewis. I love his writing but never read it. I'll put it on my booklist and read it when I'm 105. Lewis predicted when he won the Nobel Prize he'd never write a great book again. He was right.

The White Tower by James Ramsay Ullman. Five men and a woman against an unconquered mountain. Hint: the woman was not RZD.Made into a film. Am sure it's not on Netflix.

So Well Remembered by James Hilton. The British writer Hilton, who died at 54 from liver cancer, has written loads of novels including Lost Horizon and Goodbye Mr Chips. Made into wonderful movies.

Three O'Clock Dinner by Josephine Pinckney.  

A Lion in the Streets by Adria L Langley about "the rise and fall of an American Fuhrer." Hmm, sounds a bit like Huey Long. Guess what! It is based on Huey Long. 

The Digest used the term Fuhrer b/c WW Two had just ended and I was all of one month old. Born with two fine kidneys.

The Peacock Sheds His Tail by - who? - oh, Alice Tisdale Hobart. 
Alice led a very exciting life.


Yesterday when I was running after the Mailman to give him a $50 check from the CitiCards scavengers, he was his usual sarcastic complaining self.

I told him I'd write him a poem.

Don't write me a poem, he said.

I wrote it on New Directions stationery, saying "As promised, here's a poem about you."

I did one of my Cinquins I learned from poetess Lynn Levin.


These legs
ache for rest.
To sit on the front porch
sip my beer, wave to my neighbors,
and smile.


  1. Your mailman is a lucky guy, but just doesn't know it!

    Going to check out this latest of Weird Al's and no, I did not know about the tragedy of his parents. So sad!

    I do know Sinclair Lewis, however. My father had the whole set of his works, which I now have somewhere. I don't have room for all of the books so they are packed away. My Dad took great pleasure in buying those "complete works of" bound sets of various authors and treasured them. If they were handy, I might read some again (read most as a kid) but I would be tripping over the clutter, which is bad enough here as it is.

  2. yes, people do love those bound sets. glad you still have them.... somewhere. my dad had reader's digest condensed books. all i remember is reading the great OLD YELLER! as always, thanks for checking in, iris!!!