Bob Newhart VS. The Thing

Monday, July 22nd, 2024 10:50 pm.

So, Bob Newhart died the other day, and it might have hit me hardest out of all these celebrity deaths that have happened lately.

And there have been a BUNCH!

Off the top of my head, Richard Simmons, Shannen Doherty, Dr. Ruth, the dad from Doogie Houser, the Kid from ALF and the list never will endI , but people really need to stop dying.

Bob Newhart hit me especially hard because, not only did I grow up with the show, Newhart, but I became a huge fan of The Bob Newhart Show on Nick at Nite. (Which Newhart would also later be on) which, of course, wrapped around into a (spoiler alert) dream of Bob Hartley. (His character on his previous show, The Bob Newhart Show.)

Bob became famous for his comedy albums that involved him playing what has been described as a stuttering deadpan answerer to weird phone calls, which made him one of the funniest straightmen in comedy. I mean, how can you be funny while also being the straightman, when sometimes, the “funny” guy can’t even be heard?  He did it and that is some genius right there.

But everybody says stuff like that about Bob Newhart, so, as per usual, I’ll talk about my own personal experiences.

I remember Larry, Darryl and Darryl from Newhart, as a very young, youngling, but didn’t understand why I thought that show was funny. It just was. When I got a bit older and watched The Bob Newhart Show on Nick at Nite, that is when I truly became a Bob Newhart fan.

And it wasn’t even the show, itself. Nick at Nite commercials used to be almost as funny as the shows. Like they had one commercial that consisted of a montage of characters on The Bob Newhart Show, saying “Hi, Bob.” (It happens A LOT.   Saturday Night Live even made a sketch about the drinking game you can play with “Hi, Bob,” when Bob hosted.) and there was a commercial where Bob was played by a hamster. (Must be seen to be truly misunderstood. It was amazing.)

Even if you don’t get Bob Newhart’s humor, it is still worth watching The Bob Newhart Show for the supporting characters. In Newhart’s comedy records, you get to hear his side of a phone call, but on the show, he played a psychologist, so he had his wacky patients in his office. My personal favorite was Mr. Carlin, played by the also deceased (and Cleveland native!) Jack Riley. (“Hey, Hartley.”)

The ONE issue I have with the entirety of The Bob Newhart Show, is that I remember watching this episode where he was talking to a patient who said he felt like James Arness, The Thing! And Bob said something like ” No, I think James Arness was IN The Thing, I don’t think he WAS the Thing.”

And that would be a funny Bob Newhart routine, but the truth is, James Arness, the famed cowboy actor, most known for Gunsmoke, DID, in fact, play the Thing in 1953. I would say only a true sci-fi/horror geek who has wasted his life would know crap like that, but The THING from 1953 is a movie everyone should see. (“KEEP WATCHING THE SKIES!”)  It’s based on a short story called “Who Goes There?”  by John W. Campbell, and the John Carpenter version from 1982, with Kurt Russell, is also essential.

Now, if I’m misremembering this episode, that’s fair. I’ve suffered a lot of head damage in mosh pits. But if you can find the episode of The Bob Newhart Show, where he talks about The Thing, please send me a link to it because I don’t wanna look through every episode until I find it.

And, Bob, I would appreciate if you could send me send me your number from the afterlife. so I can call you and complain about this Thing flub. At the very least, you could make a funny comedy record out of the call, in the Great Beyond!

 

The best movie ever made about a college professor turning into a caveman after smoking the blood of a prehistoric fish.

Tuesday, July 16th, 2024 1:01 pm.

I’m sure there are some others  I’m forgetting,  but the immortal MONSTER ON THE CAMPUS from 1958 is the first college professor/fish blood smoking/Neanderthal movie that immediately springs to my mind whenever I think of that genre.

When I was a kid there were these things called video stores.  And things called malls. I’m not sure if either of those things exist anymore because I stopped leaving my secret lair when COVID happened. (Just kidding, but I probably stopped going to the mall when I started buying stuff off Amazon.)

Anyway, no visit to the mall could be complete without a visit to HMV.

I just assumed  HMV  stood for “Hey! More VHS Tapes!” but  actually, the company started in London in 1921 and it stands for His Masters Voice, like the classic picture of the cute pup dog listening to the Victrola.

For me HMV just meant a place I could and could waste money on cheesy movies and punk rock CDS.( CDS are those things that existed after vinyl records and cassette tapes but before vinyl came back but CDS are retro now too and so are cassette tapes. It’s complicated. I’m pretty sure anything not streaming is considered retro now.)

 

I got all of my Dead Kennedys  CDs at HMV.  Monster on the Campus was one of my classic HMV purchases. It’s right up there with Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2, The Astro Zombies and the Mask.  (Not to be confused with the Jim Carrey  movie , The Mask. I mean the weird Canadian 3D movie called The Mask from the 60s with the tape hosted by Elvira that came with 3D glasses, which, yes, is just as awesome as it sounds.)

It was great perusing HMV at the mall, because you could get a cool VHS tape or CD,  then go downstairs and eat at Charleys Cheeseteak or Panda Express, and then you go home and either listen to, or watch, your awesome purchase.

VHS is cool again, so that must mean I’m super cool, because I have so many. Not as many as people who are seriously making an effort at amassing a collection but…enough to be considered a not well person.

Speaking of being not well,  as a kid, and until this day, Jack Arnold has been one of my favorite directors. He made such monster classics as The Creature From the Black Lagoon , It Came From Outer Space the Mole People, Tarantula, etc. but out of all the monster movies he did the one he seemed to regret most was Monster on the Campus.

It really should be held in as high esteem as his other classics

Here is a brief synopsis of the film: Dr. Donald Blake (Yes, like Thor. Stan Lee might have seen this movie, or it might be a coincidence, we will never know.) played by Arthur Franz, is a college professor who makes a series of decisions SO stupid that even I was impressed. Like I actively TRY to become a radioactive caveman on a regular basis but this guy does it by accident multiple times.

First, he scratches his hand on (I think radioactive) a Coelocantch,  then he fishes his hand around the fish.   This, of course, turns him into a caveman.

Then, a dragonfly slurps some blood from the irradiated fish and  it turns into a huge-ass dragonfly and scares Troy Donahue (YOU might not know who Troy Donahue is but my Mom remembers him.)

If you think Monster on the Campus is somehow a bad movie, I defer you to the Neanderthal Man, wherein the main character has a huge expressionless coconut for a head and somehow manages to not be the lamest thing in the movie.

No, that award goes to the infamous sabertooth tiger attack scene wherein  they splice stock footage of a real tiger walking around, and a stuffed tiger on top of a car, to simulate an attack. Must be seen to be believed.

I would recommend everyone watch the Neanderthal Man just so they can say, “Wow! Monster on the Campus is good compared to that!”

But this article isn’t just about mutant cavemen or smoking prehistoric fish. It’s about mall culture. Green Day was once called a “Mall Punk” band (Truth is, the mall was one of the few places you could find punk in the 90s. Not just bands that got mainstream like Green Day, Rancid, the Offspring etc. but bands like Screeching Weasel, The Dead Kennedys etc.)

Anyway, the point is, be careful when smoking prehistoric fish.

 

 

Have you ever been in a big metal tube that makes Atari noises for a really long time?

Sunday, July 7th, 2024 9:57 am.

The other day, my best friend and his wife took their kids to Cedar Point.  You wanna know what I was doing? I was at Cleveland Clinic, getting my annual heart physical.  I’m not sure if I’d wanna have a biological kid, because, if I did, he might have to go through what I did the other day.

As long as the lines for the rides can be at Cedar Point, it’s nothing compared to the wait for the “rides” at Cleveland Clinic.  (I was never even allowed to ride the rollercoasters at Cedar Point, because they might rip apart my delicate innerworkings. At one point, I had a pig valve, and at one point, I had something which technically made me a cyborg. I would still go to Cedar Point, though, for the boat ride, with the animatronic river pirates shooting at you, and the foam lizards you could buy that you could walk on a leash like a dog, and Berenstain Bears Land, etc.)

I won’t torture you by explaining what I had to go through the other day.

Just kidding! I am going to explain, in painful detail, what I went through the other day!

But first, here’s some background information:  I was born with Truncus Arteriosus. That might sound like the Elephant Man disease, or that I have an elephant trunk used as a replacement artery  (that trunk thing isn’t that far off, but I don’t think they ever used one.) but really, what Truncus Arteriosus is  …well, I still don’t know, but I get a checkup for it every year, so it’s constantly explained to me, but I also have severe ADHD, so I only ever half listen to what they are saying, at best.

This year I had a big appointment.  Four big tests:

TEST 1: I had an EKG, which is easily the easiest test for heart stuff. The test takes less than five minutes and consists of just having some sticker things put on your chest. The guy who did it did an excellent job, but he has a really meek voice. So, when he called my name, you could barely hear it.  I had to walk through like three waiting rooms of people to say, “DID SOMEONE SAY NICK MOOSE!?”   But that was kind of fun because I love yelling my ridiculous name at people.

The real horror starts with Test 2, so, let’s sack it up and delve into that one.

TEST 2:: I would have saved this one for the end because it’s the most torturous test of the day, but I’m trying to talk about  these in order.

Yeah, this one was the MRI. This one was scary.  I’m not claustrophobic, but if you are in a big metal tube for over an hour with what sounds like EGREGIOUSLY  loud Atari noises blaring in your ears, you might start to freak out. It sure happened to me.

I thought I could handle it, I have done these before, but this time I wasn’t sure I could make it all the way through.

They talk to you every now and then and say to “Breath in. Breath Out. Hold your breath. Now breath regularly.”  It’s not even a robot voice, it’s a pre-recorded voice who stumbles over the word “breath.”  My old boss at Dairy Queen, John, had a recording for the drive thru speaker, and it was nasal, and awful, and I think they still use it, but this voice might be worse.

Or, maybe it’s only worse because you have to hear it 50 times within the space of an hour.

I told myself I wasn’t going to use the panic button they give you, but about 50 minutes in, I did, and I was like, “Am I breathing in and out right!?”  (I suck at a lot of things but pride myself in being able to breathe in and out.)

Turns out I WAS doing it right, so, it only took me 20 more minutes to get out.

And they had this IV in my arm so they could inject some fluid in me.  When I was done, they said I should leave this thing in my arm, in case the people doing the stress test later might need to inject something into it.

I know what you’re thinking, “That wasn’t the STRESS test!!?”   I thought the same thing, but we’ve got two more to go.

The next test was the ECHO. I’ve had this one done a million times, and I usually hate it, but it was a walk in the park this time compared to the MRI.

It works like this: You take your shirt off, someone rubs gel all over your chest, and then smooshes a stick thing into your body, trying to take pictures of your innards. It can hurt, but if it’s a hot nurse doing it, not gonna lie, it can be kinda hot. (It really isn’t “hot” but I just pretend it is, because sometimes I’m sitting there, shirtless, next to a pretty girl, and that gets my mind off what’s happening.)

So, after I wipe all the gel crap off my chest, I’m off to the final test of the day. (With an IV chord still dangling off my arm, with a syringe in it, because it wasn’t necessary at all for the last test, and they didn’t take it out. So, for all I know, I might need it for the last test, and I should make sure it’s taken out before I leave hospital, because, otherwise, I might be arrested or something.)

 

SPOILER ALERT: I didn’t need it for the last test either. The last test, the STRESS test, consisted of me running on a treadmill as much as I could, so they could see if my heart would explode or not. It didn’t, which I think is a good thing.

But it felt like the type of thing the FLASH would have to do to test his maximum speed.

They told me to make sure someone takes my IV-syringe thing out of my arm, and if forget, to stop at a fire department, because they could do it.

So, then, I have to wander up to my appointment with my main doctor, and it WENT WELL!!   She said I get to live for at least another year! And the nurse even took out my IV-syringe combo pack, so I didn’t have to go to a fire department!!

Then, on the way home, I stopped at Steak ‘n Shake, to ruin any good heart health I had.

As a present to myself, to congratulate me for the day, I got another Atari off ebay. (I still can’t find the Atari I had as a kid, but I’m sure I will find it now that I got another one.)  It’s important to me to have an Atari easily accessible at all times, just in case I want to re-visit the dulcet tones of the MRI.

So, THANK YOU CLEVELAND CLINIC for keeping me alive for another year! (Some people might not be happy about that but I am.)

And now, I shall leave with an image of what Truncus Arteriosus is. Whatever the hell this is, it’s inside of me.

 

 

 

HAPPY 4TH OF (Or 5th) OF JULY! NOW, LET’S TALK ABOUT THE STUPIDEST CAPTAIN AMERICA COMIC THAT I OWN.

Friday, July 5th, 2024 3:17 pm.

This may seem like a negative topic to bring up for 4th of July, especially because of but trust me, facing this will make us stronger as a nation.

As an American born citizen (with a last name that weirdly makes me seem like I’d be a Canadian)  I truly believe If we can survive the lowest of the lows, we can achieve the highest of the highs.

Now, in this particular case, one of the lowest lows I’m talking about is the time Captain America teamed up with NFL SUPERPRO!!

Do you not know who NFL SUPERPRO is? Well, if you don’t know him, don’t feel too bad. I only vaguely know of him because of this one weird comic where he teamed up with Captain America. I happen to own hat comic, from back in the day.

I have a lot of  Captain America comics, I enjoyed his adventures long before he became a movie mega-star. (Even though he was in a movie serial in 1944 he didn’t really become a STAR until Chris Evans and the MCU)  I’d say I was first into his comics right around the time when J.D Salinger’s son played him in a movie that very few people (including me) ever saw.

Much as I thought Cap was cool, as a kid, the comic I’m about to talk about is not one I would have sought out. You see, I have NO IDEA how football is played.  I have nothing against people who do understand and enjoy it, I just don’t.

I actually ENVY jocks, in a non-sarcastic way, because they understand football. And football makes about as much sense to me as “Logic” class did in college. (I don’t know if you’ve ever taken a “Logic” class in college, but even though it sounds like it might be LOGICAL, it’s about as easy to understand as anything ever made by David Lynch.)

Joe Bob Briggs is a personal hero of mine, and he understands football.  He used to be a sports writer, of all things!

And football has been explained to me MANY times, by uncles, cousins, girlfriends, random people in the street, and I still don’t get it.

So, why do I own this football themed Captain America issue, you might ask?  Well, I think I might be able to answer that for you (and hopefully me.)

I think I got it in one of those big sacks of comics that nobody wanted, back in the 90s. I don’t even wanna talk about some of the other crap I got in those. Basically, stores were allowed to bundle together a bunch of leftover comics nobody wanted to buy, so you could be waiting at Wal-Mart for your mom, and she wouldn’t complain if you got a pack of like 20 comics, because it was super cheap.  In those packages, Captain America Meets NFL SuperPro was probably the cream of the crap.

I THINK that’s how I got it, but I have another theory.  I could have traded someone like a really good trading card for a bunch of comics, which may SEEM like a good deal at the time, but trust me, kids, don’t ever do it. (No kids do that anymore but I thought I’d throw that advice in just in case we all travel back in time.)

This series was endorsed by the NFL and written by Fabian Nicieza. I’m saying his name as a PERSONAL favor to him because I had to look him up 50 times to be able to spell it, and I probably STILL didn’t spell it right.. (Hey, my last name might be stupid but at least it’s easy to spell!) Spiderman was in the first issue and Captain America is in this issue. You can always tell how popular a character is based on how many other popular characters they pair him up with to try to sell his book.

I don’t wanna waste any more time speculating on how I ended up with this comic book, because I’m sure you’re dying to know the plot.

To sum it up all quick and neat, Captain America meets some football player with a magic helmet, and they did something together to save something.

The plot is not important; what’s important is that we, as a nation, survived this.

This comic basically appealed to nobody. It didn’t appeal to geeks like me because we don’t understand sports, it didn’t appeal to jocks because they don’t even read comic books. I mean, I have no idea what anyone was thinking, making this. But it’s kind of important that they did, because it now exists in the Hall of Stupid Ideas. (I will buy every issue.)

Yes, there is absolutely no reason for NFL SuperPro to exist, but I love crap that shouldn’t exist, and Captain America is in this issue, so, I thought it was appropriate to discuss it on the 4th of July.

So, have a good 4th, eat some hot dogs or something, but don’t read this comic. I don’t think the forefathers of America died for this thing. At least I hope they didn’t.

And I’m seeing I’m publishing this on the day AFTER. The 4th wasn’t great because the sky rained on my grill.  So, let’s just focus on this goofy comic!