Saturday, November 26, 2022

Jukebox Saturday Night for November 26, 2022: The Never Giving Up, True Faith, and This Guy Edition -OR- 53 and Somewhere in South Florida

Somewhere in South Florida, 10:58 a.m., November 26, 2022

Specifically, it was the view from the Brightline train heading north somewhere near the Miami-Dade / Broward County line. I was heading up to Wesat Palm Beach for the afternoon to meet my second cousin Tony, who lives in Port Saint Lucie. It was a TIM-FREE visit, and so much more relaxing and stress-free ...

I like Tony -- he straddles two worlds to include my Long Branch 1970s childhood / 1980s teenage one and the current awful mess of the 2020s, living down here in South Florida.

Yours truly on the Brightline train returning to Miami, Fla.,
8:46 p.m., November 26, 2022

The Premium class is so crowded and noisy that I moved into the regular section.

*******

As today is my 53rd birthday (see new "About Me" at right), I'm back home in Miami Beach a bit drunk after a nice day (see above), and it's Saturday night back here in Miami Beach, here's a Jukebox Saturday Night edition ...

"Never Gonna Give You Up" by Peter White from his Reflections release (1994)

"Never Gonna Give You Up" is, of course, the song by the genuinely talented and nice guy Rick Astley from his 1987 album Whenever You Need Somebody that is the basis of the "Rickrolling" internet meme that Rick Astley himself has finally come to embrace ...

*******

Speaking of 1987, when I was 17 and the last year that I was totally happy ...

"True Faith" by New Order from the group's album Substance (1987)

I love this song. My favorite stanza:

I used to think that the day would never come
I'd see delight in the shade of the morning Sun.
My morning Aun is the drug that brings me near
To the childhood I lost, replaced by fear.
I used to think that the day would never come
That my life would depend on the morning Sun.

*******

View fron the Brightline Miami station VIP lounge, Miami, Fla.,
9:34 a.m., November 26, 2022

Of note, the building with the domes on it is the Equinix "Network Access Point (NAP) of the Americas" building that is the main pathway for internet data traffic between the United States and the Caribbean and South and Central America. It is also one of the "K-root" homes of the Domain Name System (DNS), and it serves as a relay for the U.S. State Department's Diplomatic Telecommunications Service.

Visible in it is my FAVORITE Miami skyscraper, the ultra-high end condo called One Thousand Museum. Here is a picture of the base of it as I was going to the Brightline station in a dedicated Uber:


*******

Apropos of nothing ...

So, there's this "thing" that happens in South Pointe Park here in Miami Beach at dusk on Sundays -- especially in the summer -- where all these young people amass (hundreds of them) in an all-barefoot-in-the-park gathering. There, they enage in weird yoga, dancing, tight-rope walking, complicated dance-gymnastics routines, and sometimes strange balancing acts. I happened to be there on Sunday, July 17, 2022 (and not specifically since because it's too distracting) ...


This guy -- in his 20s and bouncing around -- must have had size 15, maybe 16, feet. For comparison, here he was next to another guy with, maybe, size 13 feet ...


That's all.

*******

And finally, since I've been going on about THAT GIRL, here is a song, which I featured in this Jukebox Saturday Night edition back in May 2019 ...

"This Girl" by Kungs vs. Cookin' on 3 Burners (ft. lyrics by Kylie Auldist) from the album Layers (2016)

The models in the video are Louïs Rault Watanabe and Irina Martynenko

OK, that really is all for now. My next planned entry is about a week from now.

--Regulus

Friday, November 25, 2022

Sprawling Black Friday Posted Entry: Ruminations on Why I Am So Often Alone on Thanksgiving; Memories of Systemically Lousy "Orphan Thanksgivings" During My D.C. Life; and Political Commentary -- Interspersed with Atlanta Trip Pics

A (male) gingko tree at half golden-yellow fall peak, the other half still green, Piedmont Park, Atlanta, Ga., 1:06 p.m., Nov 13, 2022

The images in this entry are from my Atlanta visit to see Chris T. earlier this month (Nov 11 - 15). Except for the first three Piedmont Park pics, they are posted chronologically. Yes they are topically unrelated to the written portion of this entry, but this is as good a time as any to post them. Most of them are not captioned, but the file names contain location and time information.


As for the lead image, there are at least two ginkgo biloba trees in this image. Oh, and the fall color cycle this year was screwed up -- and nothing like last eyhar, when I went to Atlanta at the same time of the year (Veterans Day holiday weekend) and everything was at perfect peak. This year, about half the leaves were past peak / already fallen while the remainder were mostly a dull and vapid green.


You may note that this entry has fewer font color shifts than usual. That's intentional.

*******

[Note: I wrote this entry in part on Thanksgiving but did not finish and post it until the day after, "Black Friday."]

Thursday and another Thanksgiving about to end.

I did very little today except multiple loads of laundry.

Heading over the MacArthur Causeway into Miami to MIA,
10:23 a.m., November 11, 2022

And, OF COURSE, there had to be one borderline homeless-looking nutty guy -- who may or may not live in the building -- just sitting in the laundry room the whole time through his two loads. The troubling part was when he intentionally ignored as I tried to get his attention that his dryer loads had finished. I finally got him to notice, but I half expected him to attack me, although that kind of shit is more something you'd get back in Washington fuck you D.C.


As I had no meaningful food in my apartment -- that's pretty much always the case -- I went to Big Pink around 6:30 p.m.

This is also where I went on Wednesday night and sat at the bar area. The bartender / manager Paul -- a large ex or semi-ex-Marine -- working there on Wednesday told me the place would be serving a Thanksgiving-type tray of food on Thursday, and that he'd be again working, so I went back.

That was it for my day.


Above: A cute little French bulldog who looked so unhappy while his daddy tried to check in one of the American Airlines counters at MIA. Daddy was having some serious issue -- possibly related to traveling with the dog.

Below: MIA Gate D60 is actually outside on the tarmac and consists of an absurd number of "sub-gates" -- all just makeshift ramps and steps into particular jets -- that run up to D60-Z. I somehow always end up there. (I think it's for smaller jets such as those going from MIA to JAX, ATL, or CLT.)


So, no big Thanksgiving dinners with friends or acquaintances or, of course, family (since I have no family in the Miami area, my dad being 250 miles north of here in Flagler Beach). Not even an "Orphan Thanksgiving" for me.

Let me try to explain something, though, about why I ended up alone more often than not on Thanksgiving -- and why I'm fine with that.


For starters, I'm an an only child from a "broken" home from my earliest memories -- often swatted back and forth during my childhood, adolescent, and teenage years.

And since early adulthood, I have alwys been single and lived alone due in no small part to a mix of antisocial tendencies and unwillingness to settle for anything less than perfect (and, yes, I am fully aware there was no goddamn long line to get to me -- just other failures).

To adapt the memorable line by Groucho Marx, I'd never date anyone who would have me as a partner.


Added to this, my November 26th birthday is ALWAYS swallowed up by the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Whether it falls, as sometimes happens, right on the holiday, or within at most four days of it (range of Thanksgiving possible dates: Nov 22 - 28), my birthday is forever lost in the accompanying holiday weekend to this fourth Thursday-of-every-November holiday.

What's more, Thanksgiving is not only the biggest secular American holiday, but in some sense, it has an unspoken requirement surpassing even that of Christmas that you should -- MUST -- be with family or in some group gathering.


As a result of that strange mix of factors, I've spent as many Thanksgivings outright alone as I have with anyone. And those that I spent with "adopted" families have typically been shitty -- ESPECIALLY all those awful ones with the BIG Y'EYEMAH's family (add Easter into that, too) at their home in suburban Maryland just inside outside the Capital Beltway.

These were the unctuous but spiritually empty Protestant sorts who can't wait to grow old, feeble, confused, and gassy together and, after a single generation, have offspring that never reproduce and end up nihilistic atheists who only celebrate "the right" to have abortions and support the usual farrago of "social justice" leftwing causes favored by the Oligarchy as a go-to tool of political control.


While BIG Y'EYEMAH never married (or had any relationship whatsoever), the brother had a wife, who I never could stand because of her combative style and aggressiveness. They broke up -- I suspect, because she went full lesbo on him.

I mention this because In declaring her adamant opposition to having any children when she was married to him, she'd bellow comments such as, "I DON'T WANT SOME ALIEN PARASITE GROWING INSIDE OF ME!!" The parents (her now-ex in-laws) -- thinking what the hell they had -- would titter nervously while BIG SPINSTER Y'EYEMAH laughingly approved for her own reasons.


Going there on Thanksgiving was always an exercise in suffering through multiple indignities ...

There's the suffocating and smarmy self-righteousness, the indigestion-inducing food, the stupid puns, the absurd political arguments with the father "Pa Walrus" (those would not have happen today, that's for sure), the "oooh, it's sinfully delicious!" mediocre desert, and, finally, upon departure, the obligatory bestowing upon you of a paper bag filled with inedible leftovers and weird "goodies" you had to throw out.


This was all part of the mother Ma Wide Spot's intrinsically ethically dubious notion of an "Orphan Thanksgiving" wherein she "rounded up" all the lonesome losers, obese failures, passive doormats, and confused non-Americans attending her church (but with nothing going on) for the crappy and forgettable affair.

In later years of suffering through those events, there was always the mother's mobile phones-in-a-wicker basket stunt that was supposed to result in you focusing on the shitty context and forgettable people around you instead of your phone. Looking back on that, I find that belittling and would not submit to it.


Once stranded in Silver Spring for the affair, you'd watch the plopped-out Big Y'Eyemah -- never one to eat anything except cheap meat and cheesy processed foods while always eschewing any fresh vegetable or, God forbid, a tossed salad -- chew real fast on those baby carrots. And her mouth always made a small oval within twin spheroids of cheek fat when she replied "COKE, PLEASE" upon being snort-asked by Pa Walrus what she wanted to drink. (She always turned down the expensive wines, which were one thing the father did well.)

The Big Y'EYEMAH would then sit there all beady eyed that I'd be in some argument with her old man, Mr. Snuffleupagus. That's because it was always, ALWAYS, that uniquely Gen X-style failure ABOUNDING in every Boomer-facilitated way.

After the always-crummy affair finally ended, you always felt so much worse. And I don't just mean in a gastrointestinal way -- although there was that, too.

About that, at the risk of TMI overload, turkey is something that has always been "digestionally" problematic for me -- and, God, does it stink up the bathroom. And you have to go, like, half a dozen times -- running the risk of an exacerbating a minor fissure and unwanted bright red coloration in the bowl water to the point you can even smell the iron.

Such a great way to start your day.


Keep that digestion issue in mind for the following "Black Friday" morning when I had to be in work by 9 a.m. (I rarely got in before 9:30 a.m.) at that GODDAMN Japanese turkey farm in Bethesda, and you'd try to find an as-little-as-used-as-possible men's in the building.

The whole anti-life freak show was part never-ending nightmare and part celestial farce that is now, thankfully, over. But it forms that legacy of 28 years of fucked up D.C. / D.C. area failure.


As for that GODDAMN Japanese turkey farm, it was a low-rent corporate espionage affair when these young Japanese girls on visa to work in the U.S. put in 14-hour days five days a week (MAYBE 12 hours on Friday). And your Japanese harpy boss doing a kamikaze Friday morning work attack on you: "YOU GO LITE UP 'BOUT ALL BOILER LEGURASHUN IN YEW ESS A BY MONDAY! AH, SO ..."

The point is, I'm used to spening Thanksgivings alone, and even when I've spent them with other adopted families, they were usually shitty. Honestly, I don't even like Thanksgiving.


OK, back to the present ...

It was a warm and humid day and night -- in fact, it was quite warm for Miami late November standards with a KMIA high of 87°F even while the dew point hovered around 73°F. (The daily record was 88°F set in 2014.) A warm and humid pattern looks to remain in place over South Florida with no signficant frontal passages for the next 5 days and the 570-dkm line staying to the north of Miami that entire period.

As for today, Friday, Nov 25th, KMIA hit 88°F -- which was a daily record high, surpassing the 86°F set way back in 1947. (The record low was 40°F set in 1970.)

A bulldog waits while his mommy sits at the bar area having a morning meal at Cafe Lucia in Atlanta's Midtown area, 8:23 a.m., Nov 12, 2022

Atlanta's Midtown neighborhood encompasses what used to be good about Washington, D.C. -- Young, electically diverse, vibrant, interesting people, and a "livable" city environment in a temperate middle latitude climate and ecology.


But it has (so far -- subject to change) everything that went wrong with D.C.: A totalizing Marxist critical theory obsessed "hyper reality" of WOKE Maoist monsters and their Regime-sponsored Khmer Rouge cousins in the form of Antifa street thug shock troops and undergoing a slow mass suicide through thesecular fundamentalist religion of Covid enforced by horrifying Millennial Karens and Gen Z Madisons.


Additionally, the level of city government-actively facilitated schizophrenically violent and drug-addled homelessness is definitely less in Atlanta. Finally, probably due to its Southern location, the background level of hair-trigger urban extreme aggression is markedly lower than in Atlanta than D.C., Baltimore, Philly, or NYC.


I got home by about 9 p.m., and I'm watching another Samsung TV Plus internet streaming channels, namely, Pluto TV's TV Land. It is one two channels "up" from the FilmRise one showing a 24/7 continuous loop of That Girl (see previous entry for THAT topic).

It's showing multiple episodes (but not a 24/7 continuous loop) of 2010s-era sitcom The Exes. Airing for four season (Nov 2011 - Sept 2015) across 64 episodes, the show co-stars Kristen Johnston, Donald Faison, Wayne Knight, David Alan Basche, and Kelly Stables.

David Alan Basche is the kind of guy I definitely find attractive -- facially and body type. (And I see why he played Todd Beamer in the movie United 93.) But, of course, Basche's politics are garden-variety Hollywood leftism mixed with factually wildly wrong shit (GEORGIA ELECTION LAW IS JIM CROW 2.0!). Such leftwing political ideology is de rigueur for Hollywood B-and-C-list celebs. (Ultra-A listers are given some latitude.)

But looking at his Twitter feed, Basche's politics aren't totalizing and smothering in the way of, say, Debra Messing or Mia Wacko Farrow.

As for Pluto TV, it has the strangest "network identification (ID)" feature, or rather, series of features. I don't even have the right vocabulary for it -- and I couldn't find any online descriptor or key words.


It involves a "top" and "bottom" mesh-like undulating topographic surfaces -- mirror images of each other, one a "floor" and the other a "roof" -- through which the viewer is moving.

The weird topographies are illuminated, depending on the version, one of four off-primary electric colors -- magenta, blue-violet, gold-yellow, or deep orange -- in an otherwise black void. Sometimes, it shifts through these colors, other times, it remains constant.

In other versions of this network ID, there is only a "surface" terrain, no "roof" mirror image.

There's another one involving streamers of electric color that eventually form an animated curving tunnel -- like one of the older representations of traveling inside a black hole / worm hole.


In all cases, it is set to a haunting trance-instrumental sound. I'm not sure if sound qualifies as a synthpad, but it is trance like. The logo "Pluto TV" sometimes floats in this space, moving with the viewer.

Oh, and there's this one with just the "surface" topography, the Pluto TV logo, and next to it, the Samsung TV Plus one.


OK, at this point, I want to detour into a politically themed entry, but it's so late (1:30 a.m.) and I really end up going down a rabbit hole with such topics.

I will include mention of this story via linked article by Teri Christoph, Red State: White House Encourages Americans to Serve up a Healthy Portion of Misinformation at Their Thanksgiving Meals.



The story here is that Ron Klain, the repulsive, fat-faced Chief of Staff to the dessicated, dementia-addled, angry octogenarian pervy creep who is the notional / titular President of the United States, got staff of Millennial Marxist shit-bags to draft a "talking points" that he posted to Twitter for its supporters to use to have a Thankgiving dinner table political brawl with their "Trump loving uncle."


Putting aside the fact most of the points are factually wrong (GOP wants to destroy Social Security and Medicare) or nonsensical (inflation and gasoline are "lower" because they are below their 9% and $5/gallon peaks set earlier this year during which time Biden was already Hair Sniffer-in-Chief), this is a nice example of the Marxist mindset of this current White House:


A political hyper-reality where everything is reduced to a brutal and totalizing Marxist group struggle, one in which all bonds of family and friendship are to be destroyed and replaced by nodes within the Great Reset Oligarchy's Techno-Panopticon Hive Mind.


This is the mindset of the Communist -- economic or culture, it makes no difference. The Communist only understands power and only backs off when confronted with a stronger and unyielding force. American conservatism with its focus on small-minded republicanism and just-leave-us-alone limited government is uniquely ill-equipped to fight this kind of totalizing Marxist conflict.


The other major topic I want to relates -- except it would really extend this entry, and I just can't start it right now -- is the grotesque Blood Libel of the Big Media Maoist Millennials who instantly exploit every tragedy / mass shooting before the bodies are even cold for their depraved totalizing warfare.


I refer to the Left's critical gender theory Marxism whereby biological sexes are simply interchangeable based upon the whim of the person involved (provided that person is in "allyship" with them) and that there are literally an infinite number "genders" in a sort of genderqueer quantum foam.

The result of this psychotic "critical gender theory" ideology -- itself a tool of control of the Oligarchical Overclass -- is manifesting itself in the sexual multilation and related necessary "puberty blocker" drugging of tens to hundreds of thousands of adolescent children, not to mention the rampant sexualization of children nationwide through "drag queen story hours" and sexually explicit reading material.

You end up with 13-year old children that look like this person:


Any sane person not in the throes of this death cult belief system can see that this child's life is ruined -- physically mutilated and badly weakened and biochemically AND pyschologically destroyed -- and s/he will likely not make it to 35, maybe not even 30.

Yet the entire FUCKING American "Vertically Integrated Messaging Apparatus" is onboard with this Mengelian ideological monstrosity. I refer to the NGO - Nonprofit / Big Media / Big Tech (OK, MINUS Elon-era Twitter) / Public Education / Big Academia hydra. Indeed, to resist it is to be branded the thought criminal worthy only of destruction.


This is how the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) can dogmatically demand no limits on such "gender affirming care" while the National Hockey League tweets out how it is IMPERATIVE that fully grown men pretending to be women are allowed to play a violent contact sport with biological woman.


Yes, any deviation from this bizarre and, ultimately, depopulation-focused dogma IS deemed by the Left LITERAL physical violence bordering on genocide.

What's more, the person who would disagree with the sexual multilation and sexualization of children is therefore collectively guilty of "stochastic terrorism" (the new buzzward on the Left) and must be professionally, legally, and even physically destroyed.


Two incidents in the past week, most notably the killing of 5 people at a gay night club in Colorado Springs on Nov 19th by, it turns out, a "non-binary" and deeply mentally ill person, brought all of this to the fore.


The current Maoist propagandist army leading this charge -- with the active encouragement of their corporate overlords -- are Ben Collins, Brandy Zadrozny, Benjamni Coggin, and Taylor Lorenz, not to mention the entire New York Times and Washington Post newsrooms, and the entire staff of Salon, Slate, The Atlantic, and The Bulwark, among pretty much the rest of the Big Media hydra.

Here is what Tucker Carlson had to say about that:


The full transcript is here (and remember to click on the URL bar when you get the "Access Denied" page.)

As you can see, this topic quickly gets away from me, which is why it is so difficult each to broach in a limited way.

Intermezzo Cafe, Atlanta, Ga., 12:52 p.m., November 12, 2022

I really like this Intermezzo Cafe in Atlanta's Midtown area, especially the bar area. I went there twice on my Atlanta trip earlier this month.

*******

For tomorrow, I'm planning on treating tomorrow more or less like a weekend day and go out. I really don't want to sit inside all day trying to post a damn blog entry. [OK, that did not happen, and I ended up staying inside all afternoon completing this entry.]

The Cirque du Soleil stage area shortly before the show started, Atlanta, Ga., 4:33 p.m., November 12, 2022

*******

On Saturday (my birthday), I'm going on the Brightline up to West Palm Beach -- but NOT to meet Tim. That relationship is quite over. Twice. Once in 1997 and now again in 2022. Besides, he's probably off on one of his stints involving 15 flights to 8 cities in six states over 12 days facilitated with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of money.

Instead, I'm going up there to meet my second cousin Tony from New Jersey. He now lives in Port St. Lucie. (His mom is my great Aunt Antoinette ("Toni"), wife of my late great uncle Billie, one of my late paternal grandmother's multiple younger brothers. Soon to turn 96 -- on the same day as my mom's birthday, Dec 16th -- Aunt Toni is one of only two of the remaining wives of all those great uncles.)

Blake's on the Park, Atlanta, Ga., 5:09 p.m., November 13, 2022

*******

Next week, I really need to buckle down and get some work done for my job involving those mindnumbing "desktop reviews" I do every 3 to 5 months. I also need to start this before the next round of monthly progress reports causes a two-week interruption.

Finally, by mid-December (just three weeks hence), it's time to go to Maryland to visit my mom for a week and a half and then take a three to four day side jaunt to Buffalo to meet Gary during the period between Christmas and New Years.

Given all of this, my next planned entry likely won't be for about a week -- that is, around next Friday.

Maggiano's at the Perimeter Mall, Dunwoody, Ga., 3:47 p.m., November 14, 2022

As with the Midtown Intermezzo Cafe I really like this Maggiano's at the Perimeter Mall in the Atlanta suburb of Dunwoody. I repeatedly asked Chris for us to go there and we did. I discovered the place on my last visit to see him in November 2021.

And as happened on that last visit, we had an unexpected and pleasant conversation with someone from north Georgia. Last time, it was a young lady literally waiting for her little daughter to finish up a weekend parental visit to her father (the lady's ex-husband). A very intelligent lady, she was pissed and way too bitter for her age.


This time, it was a young fellow (26 years old) from the town of Helen, Georgia -- famous for its yuletide Bavarian-themed Christmas display -- who is working for the Georgia Republican Party who was staying in the Atlanta area for the upcoming runoff election -- which Herschel Walker is going to easily lose to the Communist "Reverend" and slum lord incumbent -- and represent another Trump-touted failed celebrity candidate.

*******

The Nook, Midtown Atlanta, Ga., 11:55 a.m., November 14, 2022

I went to The Nook to meet a coworker, Ryan, who happens to live in Atlanta's Midtown neighborhood.

*******

About the Buffalo trip detour before I return to Miami, the reason for this is Gary got one of this usual amazing hotel deals, and we will go there -- perhaps, if we're lucky, seeing a snowy period in between Christmas and New Year's period.

The now-permanent "airport rainforest" display between Concourses A and B at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, 2:54 p.m., November 15, 2022

I had a lot of time that afternoon, so I walked from the check-in area by Concourse T all the way to Concourse D rather than taking the automated ATL SkyTrain. Once at Concourse D, I did a sort of solo bar crawl through three places.

*******

OK, I'm signing off for now. Again, barring something significant to relate, my next entry won't be for about a week.

--Regulus

Monday, November 21, 2022

On the Occasion of Marlo Thomas's 85th Birthday, In the Context of the Long Ago Wonderful Sitcom That Girl, Remembering the Late Ted Bessell; Also, Noting the Death of Robert Clary, Holocaust Survivor and Last Cast Member of Hogan's Heroes


I actually started this entry last week, but I never quite finished it.

But today, November 21st, seems a good day to post it because today is Marlo Thomas's 85th birthday (Happy Birthday, Ms. Thomas). It may come across somewhat disjointed because of how it was written and rewritten -- often going off on unrelated tangents.

Marlo Thomas holds flowers given to her by her husband, Phil Donahue, on the day of her "Today" show appearance,
November 4, 2022

*******

As context, since my return from Atlanta last Tuesday night, I've been watching on one of those obscure streaming channels that I get through Samsung Plus by virue of an internet connection. This particular channel shows a continuous loop of episodes of the series That Girl memorably starring Marlo Thomas.


This entry is not exactly about Marlo Thomas, but more about her series co-star, the late Ted Bessell, who died much too young at age 61 on October 8, 1996, of an aortic aneurysm.

But let's start out with a little bit about Marlo Thomas.

Marlo Thomas on the "Today" show on November 4, 2022

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Ms. Thomas, now 85, remains active both as an actress and in her various causes, most notably as National Outreach Director for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. This is the pediatric treatment and research facility located in Memphis, Tennessee, that was founded in 1962 by her father, Danny Thomas, himself a famous actor, singer, comedian, producer, and philanthropist.

Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas on a visit to Bermuda this past Memorial Day weekend 2022

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At the risk of this sounding needlessly nasty, Ms. Thomas appears to have had so much facial cosmetic surgery that she basically bears no resemblance to what she looked like over a half century ago. Maybe that's not surprising, but her long-time husband, Phil Donahue, 86 (almost 87), still "looks" like he did back in the 1980s -- just a lot older.

As for Donahue, he was the King of Daytime Talk Show genre with his eponymous program The Phil Donahue Show that ran from 1970 - 1996 until he was finally defenestrated by the Feminizing, Infantilizing, and Unstoppable Cultural Force known as OPRAH.)


But let's focus on That Girl and her role as Ann Marie - arguably the best known of her 50-year long career. I'll simply quote the opening paragraph in the Usual Wikipedia Source Suspect (minus the in-line links) to sum up That Girl (see below image):


That Girl is an American sitcom that ran on ABC from September 8, 1966 to March 19, 1971. It starred Marlo Thomas as the title character Ann Marie, an aspiring (but only sporadically employed) actress, who moves from her hometown of Brewster, New York, to try to make it big in New York City.

Ann has to take a number of offbeat "temp" jobs to support herself in between her various auditions and bit parts. Ted Bessell played her boyfriend Donald Hollinger, a writer for Newsview Magazine. Lew Parker and Rosemary DeCamp played Lew Marie and Helen Marie, her concerned parents.

Bernie Kopell, Ruth Buzzi, and Reva Rose played Ann and Donald's friends. That Girl was developed by writers Bill Persky and Sam Denoff, who had served as head writers on The Dick Van Dyke Show (with which Thomas's father, Danny Thomas, was closely associated) earlier in the 1960s.


As noted above, this entry is less about Marlo Thomas more about her That Girl co-star, the late actor and director Ted Bessell, who died much too young at age 61 in October 1996 from an aortic aneurysm.


To begin with, again according to The Usual Wikipedia Suspect, it looks like there are 136 episodes in all of That Girl across five seasons. The series starts with the episode "Don't Just Do Something, Stand There" that first aired September 8, 1966, and ends with "The Elevated Woman" that first aired on March 19, 1971.

The episode nearest to the day I was born -- November 26, 1969 -- was "Kiss That Girl Goodbye" that first aired the following day on November 27, 1969 (which was also Thanksgiving).


There was also an unaired That Girl pilot episode "What's In a Name?" filmed in 1965 that was not televised until April 29, 1996, on TV Land. Although Ted Bessell was in it, he played not just her boyfriend but also her agent and had a different name ("Don Blue Sky" instead of Donald Hollinger). Also, her parents were played by Harold Gould and Penny Santon, not Lew Parker and Rosemary DeCamp.


Given the continously looping nature of the airing of the show, and the fact that each episode is about a half hour, as many as 48 episodes can be shown per day - meaning it can run through all 136 episodes in just under 3 days.

Assuming this channel is showing every episode, this means you're likely to see any two episodes at least twice a week. While this doesn't take into account the timing (i.e., certain episodes / seasons may appear at certain times of the day, it should slowly shift with time -- if only because, in theory, it takes 2.833 days to show all 136 episodes.


With that in mind, so, far, I've only seen episodes from seasons 1, 2, and 4. As a result, I've only seen the openings with the upbeat instrumental since the lyrics were not added until season 5 -- thus making the memorable That Girl song.


While the opening was different in the first season, by the second season, it included the opening scene of a train -- presumbly on a southbound commuter train -- heading from her parents' home in the real town of Brewster (in Putnam County) into New York City. She stares all hopeful and happy at the skyline seen as a window reflection that clearly includes the Empire State Building.


Ann Marie is then seen running around Midtown Manhattan -- presumably in the Garment or Fashion District -- all wide-eyed and overjoyed. She is then dumbstruck by a window mannequin of herself (played by herself). She waves sheepishly, and it (she) winks back.


In rapid succession, it's then nighttime, and she's in running about the Broadway Theatre District, overawed by all the bright threatre marquee signs for plays and movies. It whirls by much too fast to read, but if you freeze frame it, you see the following names in plays and movies:


Anthony Perkins ("The Star-Spangled Girl"), Lauren Bacall and Barry Nelson ("Cactus Flower"), Rock Hudson (Seconds), and Aldo Ray (Dead Heat on a Merry Go-Round). You also the see a marquee sign for "Cabaret" at the Imperial Theatre and a small marquee announcing the play "Philadelphia, Here I Come!"


Above and below: Screenshots from the opening sequence of That Girl showing two marquee images with two plays that were on Broadway in 1966. The one above ("The Star-Spangled Girl") is by Neil Simon. The one below ("Cactus Flower") was adapted by Abe Burrows from the earlier work Fleur de cactus.


It then ends in Central Park where she flies a kite with a silhouetted-like cartoon of her that exaggerates her black hair. Of note, this kite actually appears in the store window next to the mannequin. Also, the color scheme of that kite -- hot pink and black -- bears a distinct resemblance to the "Shades of the Orient" cosmetic briefcase carried 30 years later by Fran Drescher in The Nanny.


Additionally, the show's closing features some nice aerial period views of Manhattan and the Hudson River. The show ended right about the time the fallen Twin Towers of the old World Trade Center were under construction. (As an aside, the NYC regional air quality was far worse back then owing to all the sulfur dioxide and NOX emissions.)


The show portrays a very 1950s world even though this was the period 1966 - 1971, and it included the year 1968 that was the worst in American history until 2020. This includes everyone's very clean cut looks and reflexive good manners -- and against despite the fact the hippie / antiwar / social protest era was in full swing by then.

Indeed, by the late 1960s, New York City was already a dangerous place by that time. While this is alluded to -- and there are episodes in which Ann is mugged and the victim of an obscene phone call stalker (those terms were obviously not used) -- the show still portrays a sort of magical New York City more like about 1950.


UPDATED 1:54 a.m. 11/23/2022 and 7:01 p.m. 11/28/2022

OK, this is BIG ... I found an opening sequence for That Girl from season 5 (it includes the lyrics) and the description of where the train ride was. I am quoting it IN FULL:


The opening scene in this 1966 TV show "That Girl" starring Marlo Thomas is of the Northeast Corridor's Pennsylvania Railroad in the New Jersey Meadowlands.

The film was taken out of a eastbound train's rear car. Geographically north, time-table east (because NY is east of Philadelphia) (the center of the universe to P.R.R. folks). The film is played BACKWARDS for the scene. Note the backwards moving traffic on the NJ Turnpike on the right. You can also see a black box truck moving backwards on the left side of the track's road underpass.

You can't see the backward-moving truck well in the above video, but you can on a full screen TV. Also, you can see a bridge in the distance that might be the Pulaski Skyway.


Above: Zoomed in screenshot of the opening sequence frame in question. The truck is in the orange rectangle and the bridge in question is in the rounded-edge blue one.

Lastly, here is an article from MeTV's website from June 2018 with show trivia: 10 things you never knew about 'That Girl'.

END OF UPDATES.

As an aside, Saturday Night Live did a parody back in January 1986 "That Black Girl" featuring Danitra Vance as LaToya Marie that you can watch here. To clarify, I think this was a recurring role, but that video from January 18, 1986, is the only one I could find. As for Ms. Vance, she died in 1990 at age 40 from breast cancer.


So, far, the strangest That Girl episode I've seen is called "He and She and He" guest starring the late British actor Gary Marshal (pictured above with Marlo Thomas, and not to be confused with the famous American actor and filmmaker Garry Marshall).


In this episode, the then distinctively red-haired Marshal reprises his role as the wealthy British photographer Noel Prince he had in the two-part episode "It's a Mod, Mod World" earlier in season 4. Prince is in love with Ann Marie and wants to marry her -- which causes her much confusion given she has a boyfriend she loves (Donald).


Above: YouTube video "That Boy - The Life and Sad Ending® of Ted Bessell"

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This results in an outright bizarre dream sequence in which Ann is married to BOTH Donald and Noel -- and the two move in a (for me) captivating synchronized motion. And it gets even more bizarre when in the dream, there is a violent rainstorm outside that is actually the start of Noah's Flood.


Above: Ted Bessell's childhood house at 29-63 215th Place in Bayside, Queens, New York City, as it appeared in the 1940s when he lived there; see article here. Below: The house as it appeared in the most recent (August 2022) Google street view -- with an unfortunately sidewalk positioned small (kanzan cherry?) tree.


As part of the episode's dream sequence, Ann's father, Lew, dressed up as Noah, comes in and demands to know which of the two men is Ann's husband -- and any suggestion of taking BOTH men is shot down by Noah's statement that this would require giving up one of the two giraffe's already on the Ark ("If I have to take TWO husbands, I'll have to leave off a giraffe!").

Image of the Los Angeles Times print edition obituary article for Ted Bessell, October 9, 1996

The online version of this article is here, although I'm doubtful that's how the L.A. Times "website" looked in 1996 -- it probably was created later. Also, the article does not have the correct cause of death.

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Ann falls into confused heap, only to wake up -- and having made up her mind that it's Donald she loves.

Leaving aside any gay / homosexual overtones in that -- there really is none as far as I can tell -- there is certainly an openly stated bigamy to the arrangement ("we're the happiest TRIPLE in the world!"). Ann loves Donald but just "likes" Noel -- but is satisfied with that even though she admits ("There are THREE of us when there should only be TWO of us!!").

The whole thing is bizarre.


Keep in mind that this was 1968, and -- reiterating what I said above -- although the real world of America was as destructively fucked up as it would not be again until 2020, TV sitcoms of the day were still caught in a 1950s time warp. There was virtually no intimacy or suggestion of intimacy was shown between him and Ann (except for the occasional hug and quick kiss).

Marlo Thomas herself discusses this as part of a longer FoundationTV interview from about 11 years ago (unsure the date on it). Here is the relevant part of that interview:


(Today, of course, it's the exact depraved opposite -- TV cannot show enough depravity and "genderqueer" grooming, but I'll avoid a political angle to this entry.)

You can actually watch the entire "He and She and He" episode on YouTube (and it looks like the source posting it -- "YouTube Movies & TV" -- is such that this video won't soon be removed). Here it is:


The dream sequence starts around 17:30 and runs for about four minutes. I tried to do my usual screen captures, but YouTube has thoroughly guarded against that mischief by making the screen go black just before any attempt at using the snipping tool. Ditto any attempt at doing a full computer screen shot. So, my workaround was to simply take pictures of it -- and they are posted below in the section containing the write up about Ted Bessell.


In terms of what I'd like to relate about Ted Bessell, once again, I think the Wikipedia article is probably the best summary of Bessell's career (without the inline links and footnotes) but broken up by various images including the set from the "He and She and He" episode.


Born in Flushing, New York, to Howard Weston "Buster" Bessell (1904–1958) and his wife, Jo (1915–2004), Ted Bessell grew up in Manhasset, Nassau County, Long Island. He was initially preparing for a career as a classical musician. As a 12-year-old child prodigy, he performed a piano recital at Carnegie Hall. Bessell played lacrosse in high school with future football star and actor Jim Brown.


After attending Georgetown University and the University of Colorado, Bessell decided to focus on acting. He studied with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse, studied dance and dramatic movement with Martha Graham and Louis Horst, was a member of a professional acting class under Meisner and worked with Wynn Handman in another professional acting group. He worked at ABC New York as a page (or usher) to supplement his income in the late 1950s.


He appeared on such TV shows as Who Do You Trust? with Johnny Carson and The Dick Clark Show, a Saturday-night variety show featuring rock 'n roll stars. He directed and acted in stock where he appeared in a wide spectrum of theatre works ranging from Shakespeare to Jule Styne. He then was cast in the off-Broadway production of The Power of Darkness, which led to further off-Broadway work with the Blackfriars Guild. He co-produced (with his brother, writer-director Frank Bessell) Joe Orton's Crimes of Passion, directed by Michael Kahn.


Bessell first went to Los Angeles in the West Coast production of Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward, Angel, for which he received great critical notices. Following that, he had small roles in The Outsider and Lover Come Back.


In 1962, he played 27-year-old college student Tom-Tom DeWitt on the short-lived television series It's a Man's World. In 1965, he appeared in an episode of 12 O'Clock High and “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour” episode, “Thou Still Unravished Bride,” as Elliott. In 1965 to 1966, he was also regularly featured on Jim Nabors' Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. as Private Francis "Frankie" Lombardi.


Bessell appeared in such feature films as McHale's Navy Joins the Air Force, and Don't Drink the Water. He appeared in the TV film Your Money or Your Wife, which won the Peabody Award for Best Mystery of the Year.


That Girl (1966–1971) and other work
Bessell's best-known TV role was as Donald Hollinger, Marlo Thomas's boyfriend and fiancé on the hit series That Girl, which ran for five seasons from 1966–71.


When That Girl ended its run, he tried his hand at another sitcom, Me and the Chimp in which he played Mike Reynolds, a dentist who is persuaded by his children to take in a runaway chimpanzee. Created by Garry Marshall, the show had a short, unsuccessful run of 19 episodes in 1972. In 1974, Bessell carried the lead role in the television film Bobby Parker and Company.


It was not until 1975 that Bessell would appear in another sitcom, as Joe Warner, the boyfriend of Mary Richards, for two episodes on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. In the 1980s, he appeared in several other television movies, including Breaking Up Is Hard to Do and The Acorn People. He also played regular roles on a pair of short-lived sitcoms, Good Time Harry and, in his last major role, Hail to the Chief, as the husband of Patty Duke's character, the fictional first female President of the United States.


Bessell moved into directing, helming episodes of The Tracey Ullman Show and Sibs. In 1989, he shared an Emmy as a producer on Fox Broadcasting's The Tracey Ullman Show, which was honored as best variety or comedy program.


Death
Bessell died on October 6, 1996, due to a ruptured aortic aneurysm at age 61.He is i nterred in Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery, Santa Monica, California.

Personal life
Bessell was married to Linnell Nobori and had two daughters, Sarah and Mary.


I tried to find some info on Linnell Nobori, as well as Sarah and Mary Bessell (I presume they have their father's last name), but I could not.

As for That Girl, two other regulars from the show are both still alive: Bernie Kopell, 89, and Bonnie Scott, 81.


Regarding Bernie Kopell, he's best known for his roles on Get Smart as Siegfried and as Dr. Adam Bricker ("Doc") on that dumb-ass show The Love Boat, which I hated but always seemed to watch as a child back in New Jersey in the late 1970s and early 1980s when it aired on Saturday nights. (It actually ran until 1986.)


I thought Kopell's character as the boat's physician was so damn annoying as an insufferably arrogant and, let's face it, physically highly unappealing but with a 1970s-style quasi-sex addict sensibility. (Richard Kline's Larry Dallas character on Three's Company was of the same ilk.)


To clarify, Kopell was far more physically attractive in the 1960s, but not by the late 1970s / 1980s. He got oddly thin and while balding eve as his facial expression became a semi-permanent smirk. Fast forward to today, and he's still alive at age 89. Here is a MeTV article from earlier this month about how bummed out and lost he was when The Love Boat finally ended.


Above: Bernie Kopell in the opening credits of The Love Boat. "Your Ship's Doctor" -- go to Hell. And note how even the font is obnoxious -- probably Aaron Spelling himself chose it. Who the fuck writes like that? No wonder the daughter turned out such a mess. (The son turned out well, at least physically.)

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OK, at this point, I went off on a tangent about the cast of The Love Boat including wacko Lauren Tewes and failed Congressman Fred Grandy, but I've removed that.

But I had another tangent that I will keep because I think it's important to note.


Pivoting off the fact that Bessell was in the 1960s show Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. (see humorous image directly above), I'd like to note that the last surviving principal cast member of another war or military-centered situation comedy show of the 1960s has just died.


I'm referring to Hogan's Heroes and the actor Robert Clary, who died last Wednesday, Nov 16th, at age 96.

Not only was Clary was one of the regular cast members of that unlikely sitcom show set in a fictitious Nazi prisoner of war camp (Stalag 13), but he actually was a Holocaust survivor.


Clary survived as a teenager at the Buchenwald camp while 10 of his 14 siblings and both his parents perished in Auschwitz. (That is, they like everyone who died in Auschwitz and the other camps, were brutally slow-motion murdered by the Nazis.)


Clary survived in Buchenwald because, as he explained it, because he was young (and so not initially fully comprehending the enormity of what was happening) and because he sang every Sunday (accompanied by an accordionist) to an audience of SS Guards. He recounted this in his 2001 autobiography (see image of cover directly above).

Born in Paris on March 1, 1926, Clary and his entire family were rounded up and deported by the Nazis in 1942 (when he was about 16). In the end, Clary and three of his other siblings survived the war (although he didn't know until after the war).


Clary, of course, went on to have quite an acting career spanning five decades -- first in the U.S. and then in the U.S. (and included his 32-year marriage to Natalie Cantor Metzger until her death in 1997. She was the daughter of the legendary entertainer Eddie Cantor. Clary is best known, of course, for playing Corporal Louis LeBeau, one of the principal cast members of the unlikely 1960s comedy Hogan's Heroes.


As Clary often clearly noted, Hogan's Heroes was set in a fictitious stalag, not a concentration (or death) camp. Three other cast members -- Werner Klemperer, John Banner, and Leon Askin -- all were also impacted by World War II and the Nazis.


Here is the article from The Hollywood Reporter dated November 16, 2022 [link embedded]: Robert Clary, Corporal LeBeau on ‘Hogan’s Heroes,’ Dies at 96.

The sub-headline states it well: The French actor and singer spent 31 months in a concentration camp but said he had no reservations about starring in a TV comedy about the Nazis.


Clary's remarkable life certainly warrants a full entry, but since I probably won't get around to writing it, I at least wanted to note his passing and why he was such a significant figure.


OK, I'm signing off for now. I intend to post one and possibly two more entries this week. Thereafter -- following the Thanksgiving holiday and my impending birthday that is always lost in that biggest secular American holiday -- I'll probably take a weeklong hiatus.

--Regulus