The Hollywood Squares

When I was a kid, I thought The Hollywood Squares was one of the funniest shows on TV.  I particularly liked the quick-witted and often hysterical Paul Lynde, who for years was the center square.

Apparently most of the episodes of The Hollywood Squares of that era were destroyed.  (Why in the world would NBC do that?)  What is left, and available on YouTube, is outtakes and a few snippets of episodes.  This clip of off-color comments, complete with classic outfits and hairstyles, gives a good sense of what the show was like.

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Raffoolishness

Our election campaigns are so awash in cash and our politicians are so trained to engage in incessant, mindless fundraising that seemingly nothing is off-limits, no matter how silly or classless.

Witness President Obama’s recent videotaped message offering his supporters a chance to participate in a raffle for a chance to have dinner with the President and Vice President Biden.  The message, which was filmed somewhere in the White House and emailed to millions of people, was accompanied by a form offering supporters the chance to check boxes making donations of between $5 and $700 for a chance to win the dinner.

There are arguments about whether or not the raffle constitutes “fundraising,” and if so whether the appeal was improper because it was filmed in the White House.  I don’t know enough about campaign finance law to opine on such issues, but I do feel strongly that the appeal cheapens both the Office of the Presidency and the White House.  Our President’s time should not be raffled off like it is a weekend at a Hilton Head condo or a hot air balloon ride.  And although other Presidents apparently have used the White House, to varying degrees, for fundraising purposes, can’t we all agree that one of the most historic and venerated buildings in the land should not be used like a cheap backdrop in the eternal quest for cash?

The amount of money raised in political campaign is obscene.  Candidates from both parties don’t seem to have trouble raising money by giving speeches, attending political dinners, and appearing at standard-issue fundraisers.  President Obama’s 2012 campaign fundraising goal is somewhere above $750 million, and some are saying he will raise $1 billion.  Given his proven ability to raise huge amounts of money the old-fashioned way, why must we stoop to tawdry raffles and similar fundraising gimmicks that make our President look foolish?

“Easy Feet” And The Decline Of American Civilization

If I were of a more inventive mindset, I would try to think a device — any device — that would allow the porcine members of the American public to avoid any potentially unnecessary bending or moving.  I’m convinced that there is an insatiable market for such products, whether they are like “The Clapper” and allow you to turn off light switches without the hassle of getting out of bed, or motorized chairs that, according to a current TV ad, apparently can take the mobility impaired to the very rim of the Grand Canyon.

The latest evidence is a product called “Easy Feet” that allows you to clean your feet in the shower without any of that treacherous bending that otherwise would be required.  You’ve probably seen the commercials, which show a device that looks like a plastic sandal with bristles like a toothbrush and a built-in pumice stone.  You lather it up, stick your foot inside and move it back and forth, and voila!  You’ve managed to avoid having to wash your feet the old-fashioned way.  Thank God!  The link above describes the product as a safety enhancement:  bending to reach your feet in the shower can be “dangerous,” slipping and losing your balance could “lead to serious injuries,” and bending is “uncomfortable” and “awkward.”

If Americans have become so fat, lazy, and helplessly uncoordinated that we cannot even safely wash our feet in the shower without the assistance of commercial products, is it any wonder that America is losing its preeminent place in the world?  What’s next?  “Easy wipe”?