Category Archives: All the good ones are taken

Jump the Shark

Henry WinklerRecently I heard Henry Winkler interviewed on NPR about the latest children’s book he wrote about a fictional boy who shares his own learning disability — a severe reading problem. To this day, Winkler does readings from his books by having memorized almost the entire text so he won’t have to read from the page.

Winkler is best known for his Fonzie character from the ’70s TV show “Happy Days.” In the first few scripts, since Fonzie carried lots of the show’s content, he had lots of lines. Winkler says part of the reason that he developed Fonzie’s facial expressions and single-word phrases like “Ayyyyyy” was to take some of the excess verbiage out of his part. Less reading for him.

But that’s not why I’m writing about Henry tonight. Toward the end of the interview, the NPR interviewer said, “I have to ask you, before you go, about the whole ‘jump the shark’ thing.”

Winkler said, “I have three things to say about ‘jump the shark.’

“First of all, no one remembers that ‘Happy Days’ remained the number one show for six years after the ‘Jump the Shark’ episode.

“Two, every time someone mentions ‘jump the shark,’ they show a picture of me on water skis and in swim trunks. Well, I had great legs in those days, so I have no problem with that.

“Three, I’m the only actor to have jumped the shark on two shows, ‘Happy Days’ and ‘Arrested Development.'” (But the second time he merely hopped over a dead shark lying on a pier in reference to the original.)

During the interview, Winkler said “Ayyyyyyyyy” with more attitude and lassitude than he ever did in the ’70s.

Henry, I love you for your attitude, lassitude, and humanity.

And I bet you still have great legs.

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Don’t blame this mess on Hillary

As I write this, the Democratic Party Rules Committee is meeting to figure out what to do about the primaries they botched in Florida and Michigan. It’s a situation that everyone on the committee admits has no great solution. I keep hearing these seasoned politicos — some of the country’s finest know-it-alls — saying, “I really don’t know what’s the best thing to do here”; or “If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have voted to unseat those delegates.”

It just burns me when people say that Hillary Clinton is destroying party unity by doing what she said she was going to do — completing the primary process. Now, I know it’s unusual for politicians of any stripe to do what they say they’re going to do, but the current mess is not her fault. Anyone notice how quiet Howard Dean has been lately?

The tragedy here is that lots of good people voted in those primaries, and their votes now may not count. In Florida, there was actually twice the usual turnout, even though the voters knew that their delegates were, in all likelihood, not going to be seated.

What kind of a democracy is it if not every vote counts? I say it’s the quitters — not Hillary — who disenfranchise us. When someone drops out after a few disappointments in the early primaries, he wastes the votes that were cast for him. Worse, if he turns his delegates over to someone else, he completely perverts the intentions of their voters. How is that any better than Hillary’s giving all primary voters the chance to vote for her if they so choose? They’re still free to vote for Obama if they want to…where’s the harm? I would submit it’s the quitters who are disenfranchising us. More often than not, by the time my home state’s primary rolls around, the person I want has dropped out, taking away my freedom to choose.

How is what Hillary’s doing worse than what Richardson did — drop out and then endorse Obama knowing full well that Hillary was probably most of his supporters’ second choice? Gee, thanks, Bill. Then you go and grow that flattering facial hair and start working out again, just so I can’t be as mad at you as I want to be.

Another thing that really burns me is how, in Florida anyway, this is the Republicans’ fault. That’s right. The Democrats in the Florida legislature wanted to pass a law requiring a paper trail for all votes cast. It was the Republicans who dominate the Florida legislature who insisted upon inserting the line item about moving the primary earlier, leaving the Democrats with the Cornelian dilemma* of risking another election like 2000 or jeopardizing the primary process.

Oh, and you’re not off the hook, NARAL. I’ll get to you later.

* I know I may not be using this term correctly. Just be grateful I didn’t say “Hobson’s choice” or “Catch-22,” neither of which it is, either.

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You Know You Want To

Take the Stephen Colbert Puppet Challenge

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