Author Archives: hobo hippie

About hobo hippie

Hi I am an old hippie and a "beat" poet and writer. I have 40 book of poetry, and 3 novels.I have had 3 tours of U.S. and Europe. My work has been taught in colleges in the U.S and Soviet Georgia. I was co editor and publisher of "Alpha Beat Press" alpha beat soup, bouillabaisse and cokefish and cokefishing in alpha beat soup magazines with my late husband Dave Christy. I am passionate about writing, My novel "eeenie meenie minee moe is for sale on amazon books. I also write short stories and create collages. Do check out my other blogs all about #art. and about #hippies and #beatniks, #counterculture, #america, and #cool people and about #trends, #humor and the #weird. The blog is named after a Charlie Chaplin movie. .ig-b- { display: inline-block; } .ig-b- img { visibility: hidden; } .ig-b-:hover { background-position: 0 -60px; } .ig-b-:active { background-position: 0 -120px; } .ig-b-v-24 { width: 137px; height: 24px; background: url(// no-repeat 0 0; } @media only screen and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2), only screen and (min--moz-device-pixel-ratio: 2), only screen and (-o-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2 / 1), only screen and (min-device-pixel-ratio: 2), only screen and (min-resolution: 192dpi), only screen and (min-resolution: 2dppx) { .ig-b-v-24 { background-image: url(//; background-size: 160px 178px; } }




Let me tell you a bit about myself. My name is Brian Wellington and I am almost fifty years old.I am blind-legally, well that’s the diagnosis. It took me a long time to convince the disability people and the doctors that I couldn’t see more than a foot in front of my face. I do have a problem with my sight, it’s diabetes. A few years back I  had trouble reading,got reading glasses and that helped a bit but then I couldn’t see distances clearly. With some exaggeration and a little bit of deception. I went on disability.

I have worn many hats in my life, line cook, bus driver, a stock man at Walmart, and a tobacco salesman, all unsuccessful jobs,with little satisfaction. I had no savings, no wife anymore, we have been divorced 8 years now. and no kids,thank god!  I was due a hand out-and the government was the way to go.

I live in low income housing in Milleville, New Jersey on the second floor. My constant companion is my mutt, Dog  who is a pain in the ass, he never listens. My neighbors are a pain too, they are all assholes, even the ones who believe I am blind, and go out of their way to help me. Fuck them all, I hate people, all of them.They push themselves on me with their pot roast dinners, and plates of over baked macaroni and cheese. They are constantly knocking on my door, don’t they know what is overkill even for a blind man?

It has puffed by several weeks in a row, rattling over the trestle that is a few feet away from my bedroom. a black steam train with  a dozen carriages. A headlight that shone through the branches, way before it came around the bend. It seems to have the same schedule, passing by at 10 pm. and returning a few hours later. It has spiked my curiosity as to where it came from and where it was going.

According to the internet the train which had been a passenger train stopped running in 1953. One quiet Spring evening there had been a terrific roar out of nowhere and the train had derailed, plunging all 125 passengers and the driver 20 ft. to their deaths in the Delaware River. It had been springtime and the river was already swollen from bad storms. No one could be rescued. Only 62 people’s bodies were recovered, leaving the missing a mystery for all these years. The local and national newspapers had covered “the story” every year on the anniversary of the tragedy, even sending news crews on fishing boats and diving crews in hopes of finding something. But to no avail, it still made for a good story.

Now let me digress a bit. Back to my window, where I sit in my old green corduroy recliner, with Dog on my lap. Across the street next to the trestle and the tracks are the woods, there is a pathway that leads down to the river, Kids like to hang out there, smoking pot I assume, and to get away from their parents, and I walk “dog” all the time.

A few months ago I noticed “town” dump trucks going through the opening with big loads of dirt dumping it in the back. I watched this over a three month period. Then came the backhoes, what the hell is going on? I have to take a walk over there. 

I took Dog  across the road, to examine the situation. Upon close inspection,  a dozen or more  deep holes, some filled with dirt and others with ropes and hooks hanging over the edges. I walked up to one, and peered into the darkness, there was silence and then there were sounds  grrrr unngr egger grrr emitting from the ground deep within. I couldn’t believe my ears, it was just my imagination, it had to be –  too many Stephen King books, or too much medication. Whatever it was I was getting the hell out of there. This is what happens when you have too much time on your hands.

I went back to my apartment,closed the windows and the shades and put on The History Channel. I couldn’t concentrate. I really wanted to talk to someone, but whoever I told would think I am whacky, and then word would spread, and soon no-one would visit me and bring me their awful food.

That evening I sat with a bottle of Vodka and drank till my head spun. Still my imagination was overloaded with spooky things, derailed trains and bodies thrashing in the river. I fell into a drunken belligerent sleep and  woke to the sound of birds chirping and the sound of a distant lawn mower. Had it all been a dream? I hoped so.

I was eating chili from a can and sitting at my usual perch at the window when a couple of dump trucks rolled into the woods. They dumped dirt into a couple of holes, and left. This is getting weirder by the minute!  I called the town hall and asked them if they were doing any road work or construction on my street. The lady on the phone snapped at me and said she knew of no such thing and why was I asking. I quickly hung up determined not to call again or I may raise some suspicions.

The following night armed with Dog,  a flashlight and a camera, I climbed the overgrown embankment and stood by the track. I would wait for the train and see it close up and take some pictures. I waited for t were no longer present time, but in the past. But these passengers were not really there, the train was not really there. The train line was defunct, history, a bad and terrible moment in time. Those passengers were long gone along with the driver. They had plunged to their death that Spring night in 1953. I was beside myself in terror and disbelief, shaken to the core.

Dog was spooked with his tail between his legs. I dragged him down the embankment, across the street and back to the safety of my apartment. I fell into my chair with my bottle, knowing there would be no sleep that night, if ever again. What had I witnessed, was it real, was my mind screwed up, was I ready for the “big house”. My inside joke calmed me, at least I hadn’t lost my sense of humor. I’d drink myself stupid and fall asleep. Maybe it was a delusional  figment after all. I never made it to the bed and slept uncomfortably in the chair all night.

That morning I knocked on the door of one of the original residents, Jill Magpie, perhaps in her 80’s,always dressed neatly in suits, and high heels,as if she were going to work. Her hair a perfect blue-gray perm, Rouge and pancake makeup She let me in and made me tea and put out a plateful of cookies.

i haven’t seen you Brian in a long time, how are you doing? You never come by anyone to visit an old lady, what have you been up to?

Well Miss Magpie I want to ask you about the train that crashed and to ask you what you know about it, can you help me?

That was a long time ago, I had forgotten all about it. This used to be the old train station, they build the apartments on the original foundation. Some of the old parts still remain, the laundry room, the ground floor and the big porch in the back used to be the platform. That crash shook the town up to the core. No one talks about it anymore. Those drowned people are all but forgotten. It’s as if it never happened. Now don’t be shy have some cookies. She pushed the plate toward me. What is it with old women and food, it’s a “mother’ complex!

Why all the questions Brian, you shouldn’t talk about such things, what’s done is done. Those people are dead and long gone. Let them rest in peace, or rather their watery graves. Don’t go asking around, it will only get you in trouble. Bill and Molly Shannon from apartment 4B got curious and they suddenly disappeared,  never seen again. There was never any sort of investigation.  John Osbourne, the reporter for the Gazette was writing an article on the disappearance of the passengers and according to gossip she suddenly left town. Let sleeping dogs lie Brian. It’s for your own good and safety. Mind your own business , I know what I am talking about.

Thanks Jill for all the info, I will keep my investigation low key I promise you, but I must do what I must do. Thanks again for the hospitality.

Don’t be a stranger Brian, come around more often, do you hear?

She lead me to the door and patted me on the back. Beware of ghosts Brian, they can talk.

She had given me goosebumps.

That afternoon the machines resumed their digging and filling up. I wondered what was going on, but put the thoughts behind me.

A week passed by and I hadn’t been able to shake what Miss Magpie had told me about the disappearances. I didn’t want to become a statistic so decided to keep my investigation to myself and Dog. According to my observations the train would pass by tonight.
Armed with a flashlight, my camera, and Dog  I Climbed the train embankment and walked further down the track toward where the train had derailed. Right on schedule it came roaring through, navy smoke rising in the night sky. I was shaking, thinking I would bear witness to the awful accident. The train passed within inches of my body. I stood very still with my camera ready. The train heaved and groaned bending off the tracks. Sparks were flying and I could smell searing hot metal. Putting my camera to my eyes. I shot frame after frame, disbelieving my eyes. Passengers with terror on their faces were being tossed left and right, falling down and on top of each other. I could hear their silent screams as bewilderment and horror set in. Then the train heaved and groaned and spun off the tracks, rolling down the steep rocks and twisting and turning until it splashed, heaved and disappeared into the depths of the consuming swollen river. Nothing was left except for heaving bubbles and choppy waves. I prayed for the dead and dying, knowing there was no hope at all. They were long gone,

Where were the cops and the sirens? I heard not a sound. The train was gone, the passengers drowned. It was as if nothing had ever happened. My heart was pounding and my knees felt weak. I looked down into the river once more and thought of those lost innocent souls in their watery graves. I shuddered, and sat on the edge of the twisted tracks to catch my breath before I went back to the safe haven of my home.

The next day I downloaded the photos, and saw the horror of what I had witnessed. It had not been an accident I was convinced of that. What had caused it, who had caused it?  My thoughts were totally consumed. Later that day I walked into the woods and saw that all the holes had been filled. I wondered what they signified, and why the constant filling up with dirt.

That night I took a shovel and started digging up the soil on the freshest hole. The ground was soft and easy to lift. When I got about two feet down, I hit something something solid. I cleared the dirt and saw a half decomposed head and an arm. It moved,it’s hand opened and reached for me. The mouth on the head opened and let out a growling moan. I fell back in astonishment and fear. I was shaking all over. Dawn Of the Dead- Zombies-The Dead Rising?  I stepped down on the body, hearing a nasty crunch, and covered it with nearby rocks and brush. What the fuck was going on, this can’t be real. Why me, why must I be part of this nightmare?

I googled the “”undead” as soon as I got home. There were articles up the kazoo, could there really be “undead” people trying to come back, for whatever purpose?

I broke into the cop station the next night, after casing out the coming and goings of the cops on their shifts. I cut a chain link fence and climbed the fence. I broke a back window, no alarms went off to my amazement. Well it is a small rinky dink town with little to no crime. The last thing the cops would expect would be a break in! I found myself in a small bathroom, used the facilities and made my way through all the offices. I came across a room with  a sign with “Cold Case Files” posted to the door. I went in, the room was long and narrow, with rows of metal shelves lined with box after box  labelled with dates and names. I found a box with “Train Crash” magic marker=ed on it.

I grabbed the box and sat on the floor shining my flashlight into it. I read report after report and soon  got the jist of the facts. The accident was no accident. The train had been deliberately derailed by intent. The rails had been pulled up and twisted making sure the train would flip the tracks and crash. But why? According to a Gazette report on May 10th 1953 by John Osbourne, the tracks had been tampered with. Bent and twisted by the town construction crew, they made sure the train would lose it’s grip and flip. The town of Millville didn’t want the train to  come through town anymore. It was causing too much pollution, and passengers were beginning to move into town, snatching up prime housing, in particular the Victorian houses on famous Main Street. The town was getting overpopulated, much to the anger of the residents who had been there for generations. Millville didn’t like strangers. The town was on the historic registry, a population of 13,000 residents. There was room for no more. More people meant more needs, and sooner or later the townsfolks imagined a fast food restaurant and a Walmart moving in. A plot had been hatched by the mayor and police chief to cause the accident. The newspaper article said it loud and clear. The truth was out, but that was not all, tucked into a corner of the box was a crumpled envelope was more.

John Osbourne had written. The dead had come back to haunt the evil living. To live as were their rights in the town of their choosing. They had been brutally and inhumanely killed in a horrible way, gasping their last living breathes beneath the murky river. The Mayor and cops were criminals and murderers. They were getting their just desert. PAYBACK, the dead coming back to haunt the evil doers. I photo copied the files and climbed back over the fence. With evidence in hand I  ran as fast as I could back home. In the morning I “googled” John Osbourne. He had died in a gas explosion in his home, one week after his article came out. He had been permanently silenced.

The truth had been squelched. Forever silenced. But now I knew, and  would do something about it, I would contact the state newspaper.

I  went across to the holes and dug up one, I  heard awful moans and reaching of stiff arms and wagging of the moaning heads. Their skin was puckered gray,eyes sunken into boney skulls..I trembled as I  took pictures, and with my heart pounding, gently covered the hole back up.

I  composed a letter to the editor in chief. Enclosing John Osbourne’s article, the newspapers reports, and the photos. I waited nervously for a week, on little to no sleep. and then I got a phone call. It was from the editor and he wanted to interview me  I explained my concern about exposing the truth, and I told the editor I  wanted to remain anonymous. He agreed.

The next few weeks the town of Millville was inundated with the press, photographers, the State Police and the FBI. TV crews soon turned up and everything became a media circus. The town was turned upside down. The Mayor and cops responsible were arrested and put on trial. The courtroom was packed with the living and the undead. It seemed that only I saw them,only I smelled their acrid odor,Their torn and muddy clothes.

The undead were no longer restless and soon became quiet and at peace. They were given a proper burial.  Milleville had lost it’s innocence and no longer was listed as a peaceful town on the Delaware- a place for good living and peace of mind.

I, Brian Wellington had had my  moment of anonymous fame. I saw Jill Magpie in the laundry room some months later, she was leaning on a dryer. She motioned for me to come over to her and whispered in my ear. It was you Brian who found out the truth. You did a good thing, bought out the truth and gave the undead their peace. I have a bundt cake with your name on it. God bless you son!

  1. I do live by the Delaware in N.j

2.There is a mystery train that runs by my window

3 There are woods opposite my windows, and town construction trucks go into them and use backhoes.

Okay I made up the rest!

Ana Christy

Anonymous Man Becomes Spider-Man Every Night to Feed the Homeless in Birmingham

Every night, one anonymous hero dons a Spider-Man costume and goes out to feed the homeless population of Birmingham, UK. A bartender by day, the 20-year-old transforms into the Birmingham Spiderman once the sun goes down. The kind man, who wishes to keep his identity hidden, buys sandwiches with his own money, changes quietly in an alley, and then walks around the city looking for people on the street who will appreciate some food and a kind word.Although the nameless do-gooder has been volunteering for years, he only started his nightly rounds as Birmingham Spiderman a few months ago. “Before when I was handing out food, no one would take a second look,” he told the Huffington Post. “But when they see Spider-Man handing out the…

50 great novels about madness


Not so much into March Madness? Well, perhaps you should look at it another way. March is the perfect month for reading books about madness — it is a transitional time, after all, possessed of both lion and lamb. Plus, you’ll have ample reading time, both outside and inside. The books herein, it should be noted, are those that deal with a kind of literary madness — obsession and absurdity and hallucination — not directly focusing on mental illness proper, whenever the two can be separated. So you won’t find The Bell Jar or One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest or The Yellow Wallpaper here, though those are all excellent reads. READ MORE >

COOL PEOPLE – the original Saturday night live team




In no particular order: Laraine Newman, John Belushi, Jane Curtin, Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, Garrett Morris, Bill Murray and Chevy Chase



‘Saturday Night Live': All 141 Cast Members Ranked

Read more:
Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

 40 reasons why ‘Saturday Night Live’ is still awesome in its 40th year

By Todd Leopold, CNN
updated 12:26 PM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014

Source: CNN

  • “Saturday Night Live’s” 40th season premieres Saturday
  • Show has been incredibly influential
  • Cast members have become stars in many media
  • “SNL” has become big leagues of comedy


(CNN) — On October 11, 1975, “Saturday Night Live” was first beamed into living rooms.

It wasn’t called “Saturday Night Live” then. It was “NBC’s Saturday Night,” because there was another “Saturday Night Live,” hosted by Howard Cosell, over on ABC. And its Not Ready for Prime Time Players — seven youthful comic veterans of theatrical and improvisational troupes — were known only to those who may have seen performances of Second City (both its Chicago and Toronto versions) or “National Lampoon’s Lemmings.”

Almost 40 years later, the show is an institution: its players celebrated, its catchphrases ubiquitous, its very name synonymous with the comedy big leagues.

‘Saturday Night Live’s’ 5 best skits

As the show prepares for the premiere of its 40th season on Saturday, we celebrate “SNL’s” landmark contributions to pop culture.


From the beginning, “SNL” was both cutting-edge comedy and a throwback to TV’s golden era. The show aired live: no retakes, no second chances. Though there’s plenty of taped material — and an occasional delay in case of profanity — it still airs live today.

Rockefeller Center
The show has originated from New York’s Rockefeller Center since the beginning.
Getty Images

“From New York”

Also like those golden age shows, it airs from New York. When “SNL” started, the Big Apple was a TV backwater, home of soap operas, news operations and little else. Today, a number of network shows shoot in Gotham, and even talk shows have come back to town.

“It’s Saturday Night!”

Before “Saturday Night Live,” late Saturday night was home to old movies, reruns and local programming. The show not only made the slot a network profit center, it helped bring in a youthful audience, which it still does today.

Studio 8H, 30 Rockefeller Center

When it was built in the early ’30s, 8H was the largest studio in the world, home to Arturo Toscanini’s orchestral radio broadcasts. The NBC studio has been the home of “SNL” since the beginning.

The Not Ready for Prime Time Players

The show’s first cast: Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, Garrett Morris, Laraine Newman and Gilda Radner. The show has had more than 130 performers in the years since.

Lorne Michaels
Lorne Michaels created “SNL” and has run it for most of its 39 seasons.
Getty Images

Lorne Michaels

Except for five seasons in the early ’80s, the show’s creator and executive producer, a Canadian native and former “Laugh-In” writer, has been in charge for all of the show’s soon-to-be 40 seasons.

Dave Wilson

“SNL’s” original director for most of its first 20 seasons. He set the tone for the show and was game enough to take part in the occasional sketch.

Don Pardo

The longtime NBC announcer introduced the first cast — and pretty much every one after that. All told, Pardo announced for 38 of the show’s first 39 seasons. He died in August at 96. Darrell Hammond, “SNL’s” longest-serving cast member, is taking his place.

Don Pardo
Don Pardo was “SNL’s” announcer for most of its run.
Getty Images

Eugene Lee, Franne Lee and Akira Yoshimura

The Lees and Yoshimura created the show’s look; in fact, Eugene Lee, who’s also won several Tonys, has been “SNL’s” production designer for the entire run. For his part, Yoshimura has connections to several other NBC shows, including “Today,” “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” and “Star Trek.” Well, at least the “SNL” parodies, in which he played Sulu.

“Weekend Update”

The show’s midnight hour begins with a recap of the news. It’s been hosted by everybody from Chevy Chase to Cecily Strong and Colin Jost, with notable turns from Dennis Miller, Norm Macdonald and Tina Fey. It hasn’t always been called “Weekend Update”: for a time in the ’80s, the news segment was called “SNL Newsbreak” and “Saturday Night News.”

Alec Baldwin

The “30 Rock” actor leads the way among “SNL’s” most popular guest hosts with 16 appearances. Steve Martin has 15. Other frequent guest hosts include Buck Henry, John Goodman and Tom Hanks.

Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin has hosted “SNL” the most times.
Getty Images

Miskel Spillman

But to prove that “Anyone Can Host” “SNL,” the show had a contest in 1977 to show just that. The winner was Spillman, a New Orleans octogenarian who did just fine with the program’s drug-fueled humor. Today she’d probably get her own show.

Mr. Bill

TV’s most famous Play-Doh accident victim was created by Walter Williams as the subject of a Super 8 film. Soon, his adventures with Spot, Sluggo and Mr. Hands were regular features on the program. He later did commercials, game shows and even became Peter Scolari for a real-life TV program.

Banned hosts

Not every host was so welcome. Louise Lasser locked herself in her dressing room. She was never asked back. Milton Berle hammed it up. Never again. Steven Seagal, Martin Lawrence and Adrien Brody are also persona non grata.

Paul Simon in a turkey suit

“SNL” is not above making stars look foolish. On the 1976 Thanksgiving show, Simon came out wearing a turkey suit and started singing “Still Crazy After All These Years.” Dolly Parton went along with a skit called “Planet of the Enormous Hooters,” originally written for Raquel Welch. Timberlake put his d**k in a box. You get the idea.

Your musical guest

“SNL” has hosted some of the biggest names in music, often giving them their first taste of the big time. The Rolling Stones played “SNL” — and so did Devo and Fear. Justin Timberlake has taken the stage — and so did Lana Del Rey and Ashlee Simpson. You could set aside a portion of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (or Hall of Shame) for “SNL’s” music.

The Beatles
“SNL” landed some big acts, but never the Beatles — though not from lack of trying.
Getty Images

The Beatles

But “SNL” never landed the biggest of them all, the Beatles. (Not that anyone else did, either, after 1969.) It wasn’t for lack of trying, though. After a $50 million reunion offer was made to the Fab Four in 1976, Michaels responded by countering with $3,000. The ploy almost worked: a week later, Paul McCartney was visiting John Lennon in New York and the two almost headed down to the studio from Lennon’s Dakota residence. McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr all have appeared solo over the years.

Howard Shore and Paul Shaffer

For musical inspiration, the show has also relied on Shore and Shaffer. Shore was music director for the first five seasons. He’s gone on to really big things since, including composing the music for the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, which won him three Oscars. Shaffer, who could play music impresario Don Kirshner in a pinch, has been David Letterman’s bandleader for more than 30 years.

G.E. Smith

Another of “SNL’s” music directors was once married to Gilda Radner and the guitarist in Hall & Oates’ band. Smith led the “SNL” group from 1985 to 1995.

Game show parodies

What would “SNL” be without game shows? The program has taken numerous shots at “Jeopardy” and “Family Feud” and frequently made up its own contests, including “Jackie Rogers Jr.’s $100,000 Jackpot Wad” and one in which Phil Hartman played God. He did very well.

Short films

“SNL” has regularly gone to tape to air some short films. Some of the best include Eddie Murphy’s investigation, “White Like Me,” Harry Shearer and Martin Short as synchronized swimmers and the cartoons of Robert Smigel’s “TV Funhouse.”

Not Ready for Prime Time Players
The originals (L-R): Gilda Radner, Jane Curtin, Chevy Chase, Laraine Newman, Garrett Morris, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd.
Getty Images

“SNL prime time

The show hasn’t always stayed in late night. There have been a number of prime-time specials over the years, from the ridiculous — a messy Mardi Gras program in 1977 — to the sublime: 2008’s “Presidential Bash,” which gave Tina Fey another opportunity to play Sarah Palin.

Recurring characters

John Belushi was a samurai. Phil Hartman was Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer. Adam Sandler was Opera Man. In fact, some of these characters were so popular they got their own movies.

“SNL movies

Your local theater has featured movies based on “SNL” characters almost as long as there’s been a “Saturday Night Live.” “The Blues Brothers” went from a strange skit to a hit album and popular movie; “Wayne’s World” was a huge success. Even Julia Sweeney’s androgynous Pat got a movie — “It’s Pat” — though most folks probably want to forget it.

Wayne's World
Dana Carvey and Mike Myers in “Wayne’s World,” one of the most successful of “SNL”-related movies.
Getty Images

“SNL movie stars

The list of “SNL” performers who have gone on to big-screen stardom is long and influential: John Belushi, Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy, Mike Myers, Adam Sandler, Tina Fey, Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell, just for starters. Even Robert Downey Jr. spent a year in the “SNL” cast when he was best known for playing a jerk in “Weird Science.”

Those who have left us

A handful of “SNL” cast members have left the stage entirely. They include John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Phil Hartman, Chris Farley, Danitra Vance and Charles Rocket, as well as writers Tom Davis and Michael “Mr. Mike” O’Donoghue.

Fake ads

The parody commercial has long been an “SNL” stock in trade, whether it’s Dan Aykroyd’s Ron Popeil-like pitchman for Bass-o-Matic (“Mmm, that’s good bass!”) to Chris Farley and Adam Sandler in an ad for “Schmitt’s Gay, the beer for homosexuals.” Don’t take “Colon Blow” or you may find yourself in need of “Ooops, I Crapped My Pants!”

John Belushi
John Belushi, one of the original cast members, died in 1982.
Getty Images

Pushing the limits

“SNL” has battled NBC’s censors over the years, so it’s surprising what did make it on the air. How about “Sofa King,” the New Jersey furniture store? Or the music video “D**k in a Box”? The show was once even sponsored by “Pussy Whip, the first dessert topping for cats.”


Over the years, “SNL’s” parodies of celebrities have become better known than the celebrity’s own persona. Dan Aykroyd nailed talk-show host Tom Snyder and Phil Hartman was a wicked Frank Sinatra (“I’ve got chunks of guys like you in my stool!”). The show’s been on long enough that its own stars have since been parodied — witness Jay Pharoah’s take on Eddie Murphy.

Politicians and presidents

But when it comes to impersonations, politicians deserve their own slot. Gerald Ford may have been our most athletic president — the guy almost went into the NFL — but when Chevy Chase started falling down, it was all over. Will Ferrell was a master George W. Bush, while Dana Carvey cornered the market for W.’s father. And could Tina Fey have helped decide the 2008 election with her version of Sarah Palin? 1980 independent John Anderson is lucky he showed up in person.

Will Ferrell as George W. Bush
Darrell Hammond as Dick Cheney and Will Ferrell as George W. Bush in 2009.
Getty Images


Where you want to start? “Cheeseboogie, cheeseboogie, cheeseboogie”? “Schwing!” “Well, isn’t that special?” “Da Bearss!” A good chunk of the pop culture phrasebook wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for “Saturday Night Live.”


“Saturday Night Live” is, by definition, live, so occasionally the show shocks even the cast. Sinead O’Connor ripped up a photo of Pope John Paul II while saying “Fight the real enemy.” Elvis Costello abruptly stopped “Less Than Zero” to play the anti-industry “Radio, Radio.” Charles Rocket let the F-word fly. For all of the planning and preparation, sometimes stuff happens.


Sometimes the shock is on us — especially when there are unexpected guests. Janet Reno dropped by “Janet Reno’s Dance Party,” and the real Sarah Palin showed up next to Fey’s version. Perhaps the most ingenious was Barbra Streisand guesting on “Coffee Talk,” delighting Streisand worshipper Linda Richman (Mike Myers).


Viewers naturally focus on the cast, but without “SNL’s” writers, the show would be a lot of dead air. So let’s pay some tribute to Anne Beatts and Marilyn Suzanne Miller, Al Franken and Tom Davis, Jim Downey and Alan Zweibel, Andy Breckman and Carol Leifer, Bonnie and Terry Turner, Jack Handey and Robert Smigel, Bob Odenkirk and Ian Maxtone-Graham, Adam McKay and Max Brooks, Mindy Kaling and Simon Rich, and the dozens of others who have written all that material.

Tina Fey, Sarah Palin
Tina Fey’s resemblance to Sarah Palin paid comedic dividends.
Getty Images


“Saturday Night Live” opened the door for several other edgy sketch shows. An early competitor was “Fridays” on ABC, which gave us Michael Richards and Larry David. Later came “MADtv,” “Mr. Show” and “Exit 57.” If the old-fashioned variety show is no more, it’s because of “SNL” and its imitators.


“Saturday Night Live” may seem as American as apple pie, but like the Band, there’s a portion that’s as Canadian as a maple syrup-covered moose. Among the show’s north-of-the-border notables: Dan Aykroyd, Mike Myers, Martin Short, Norm Macdonald, musicians Howard Shore and Paul Shaffer, and creator Lorne Michaels.


The show has also used some improv groups as pipelines. More than two dozen of the cast members have come from Second City’s outposts in Chicago and Toronto, and at least 15 have learned the trade with Los Angeles’ Groundlings comedy troupe.

Going viral

In recent years, word of mouth — “Did you see that sketch?” — has been replaced by viral video and social media. The show quickly adapted to new technology, particularly thanks to Andy Samberg and the Lonely Island troupe, whose “Lazy Sunday” became a Web sensation in 2005.


According to the Internet Movie Database, “SNL” has won 45 Primetime Emmys over the years. It won four its first year — including outstanding comedy-variety series — and, just last month, picked up five more.

Tina Fey, Lorne Michaels (center) and Dennis McNicholas pose with Emmys in 2002.
Tina Fey, Lorne Michaels (center) and Dennis McNicholas pose with Emmys in 2002.
Getty Images

“Good night!”

The first show of the 2014-15 season will be “SNL’s” 767th, and it’s long since become the longest-running variety series in U.S. history. To put it another way, both the season premiere host, Chris Pratt, and musical guest, Ariana Grande, were born after “SNL” first went on the air. So here’s to another 40 years — except, this time, let’s use more cowbell.

70’s snl original cast

Original cast members of NBC’s Saturday Night Live


Tribute to the SNL Original Cast (1975-1980)



Sugarcreek, Ohio has what they claim is the world’s largest cuckoo clock. In fact it had been on display at a couple of different venues for many years. It is quite a lovely and charming tourist attraction.

mother and Jack Kerouac



 mother and Jack Kerouac


Reading their love letters from before I was born is an eerie experience.

My mother met Jack Kerouac on a blind date arranged by Allen Ginsberg. It was January 1957. Kerouac at the time was penniless, 34 years old, burned out from frantic world wandering. My mother, Joyce Johnson, then 21, worked in book publishing as she slowly wrote and revised her first novel. Years later, in his novel “Desolation Angels,” Kerouac called her “an interesting young person, a Jewess, elegant, middleclass sad and looking for something.” He also wrote, “I still love her tonight.”

The correspondence between them, collected in the new book “Door Wide Open,” starts a few months after that first meeting, when Kerouac characteristically splits for Africa, then San Francisco, Mexico City and Florida. As he speeds from place to place, he sometimes asks my mother to join him, then abruptly changes his mind. “I admit I’m flipping and am bugged everywhere I go,” he writes from Berkeley, Calif., distraught as each new place offers no refuge, no vibration, no new vision.

When “On the Road” was published late that year, the Beats quickly went from underground cult to mainstream clichi. But the success of “On the Road” only increased Kerouac’s sense of isolation and despair, hastening his desertion from the cultural revolution he helped to invent. In the letters, he comes across as a mad, ruined genius, swinging between the “starrynight exstasies” of his writing binges and the squalid excesses of his alcoholic binges.

My mother’s letters radiate precocious self-awareness and tenderness. She seeks to lure Kerouac closer without frightening him away with any hint of commitment, and she also tries to dissuade him from his “desperate, gluttonous drinking,” his bitterness and the other demons that threaten to destroy him. “I remember the first party we went to last Fall,” she writes. “You said, ‘Protect me,’ and I wanted to with all my heart, but didn’t do a very good job, having all my old shynesses and especially my strange shyness of you.”

I feel a kind of shyness approaching these documents. My mother’s relationship with Kerouac ended six years before she met my father, painter Peter Pinchbeck, and eight years before my birth. There is something eerie about reading a parent’s early love letters; it gives you a vertiginous glimpse into the accidental processes that led to your own creation. Covering a span of less than two years, the letters not only suggest huge worlds of possibility that my mother could have lived, they also make me aware of the various ways these distant events shaped my own consciousness.




knights in white satin

wildest dreams



History of the Band, Biographies of band members past and present, Images and Pictures of the band, Frequently Asked Questions


History and background of the Moody Blues

Biographies of band members current members Graeme Edge, John Lodge and Justin Hayward, recently retired Ray Thomas and others

Images of the Moody Blues

Sites that answer common questions about the band

HIWAY AMERICA -‘Elfureidis’ Montecito, Ca. The Scarface Mansion is Up for Sale




Cool Material

The Scarface Mansion is Up for Sale

You might not know this (we didn’t), but Tony Montana’s Scarface mansion has a name. The estate, known as “El Fureidis” and actually located in Montecito, California, recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation so that the 10-acre ………. continue reading




coverKerouac’s Lowell: A Life on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers


Photographs & Text by John Suiter

Pawtucket Falls from the White Bridge, Pawtucketville, Lowell, Massachusetts, March 1992. © John Suiter.

Pawtucket Falls from the White Bridge, Pawtucketville, Lowell, Massachusetts, March 1992 © John Suiter

From 1918 to ‘20, Kerouac’s parents, Leo and Gabrielle, with their first two children, Gerard and Caroline, lived on the first floor of the building at right—No. 9 Lupine Road, in Lowell’s Centralville section. In 1921 they moved to the second floor, and it was there that Jack was born—Jean Louis Lebris de Kerouac—at five p.m. on Sunday, March 12, 1922.

…..Conjuring his birth many years later in Doctor Sax, Kerouac recalled the afternoon in reds—the red river, red rocks, red rooftops, a red suppertime—and liked to say that one of the first sounds that he heard was the river ice cracking a mile away at the Pawtucket Dam.

<< PREV  1  of  18  NEXT >>

COOL PEOPLE – Canadians Pay Nimoy Tribute by Drawing Spock on $5 Bills


Canadians Pay Nimoy Tribute by Drawing Spock on $5 Bills

Even before his unfortunate passing last week, Leonard Nimoy has been receiving tributes by Canadian Trekkies in the form of currency doodles. Years ago someone noticed that with a few strokes of the pen, Sir Wilfrid Laurier—7th Prime Minister of Canada and face of the $5 bill—looked remarkably similar to Spock.

Ever since, people have shared images online of $5 bills they have found and received over the years that bear the Spock tribute; and since Nimoy’s passing, the amount of ‘Spocks’ in circulation has dramatically increased.

Contrary to the United States, it is not illegal to deface or mutilate Canadian bank notes, although there are laws that prohibit reproducing both sides of a bill electronically. [source]

[Sources: CBC News, IO9, Huffington Post, AV Club]


canadians turn bills into spock for nimoy tribute (2)

Photograph via reddit


canadians turn bills into spock for nimoy tribute (1)


canadians turn bills into spock for nimoy tribute (3)


canadians turn bills into spock for nimoy tribute (9)


canadians turn bills into spock for nimoy tribute (10)

Photograph via Jim P on IO9


canadians turn bills into spock for nimoy tribute (7)


canadians turn bills into spock for nimoy tribute (5)


canadians turn bills into spock for nimoy tribute (4)

Photograph via pcud on reddit

Canada has recently introduced new polymer bills that make doodling nearly impossible.
Of course that has not deterred digital artists :)

canadians turn bills into spock for nimoy tribute (6)
canadians turn bills into spock for nimoy tribute (8)

Photograph via otaking on reddit

If you enjoyed this post, the Sifter
highly recommends:


See also ‘The Abandoned Star Wars Set in the Desert.”