Yearning For Erma… “Art Fern”… Lewis… Andy… Dennis et al

    ErmaBombeckSays
    BobLee
    May01/ 2019

    BL LOGO

    Yearning For Erma… Here’s Johnny… Lewis… Andy… Dennis et al

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    Someone posted a legendary Erma Bombeck column on Facebook this week. It was a “Smell More Roses” admonition that one would think “Everyone” can benefit from. – Link – Erma Bombeck

    I was struck with the quandary of:  What is there in America today for which EVERYONE can and will agree on / enjoy / benefit from.

    I thought of other Erma Bombeck-types from by-gone days that EVERYONE (or almost EVERYONE) enjoyed and that somehow linked us as a national community.

    Erma… Ann Landers… Lewis Grizzard… Hints From Heloise… Dear Abby… Andy Rooney… Johnny Carson… Bill Cosby (BEFORE we knew about…) … and, around the Triangle, The N&O’s Dennis Rogers.

    The list is a very long one if we include numerous local radio / TV / newspaper personalities of their “ilk” of my short list above.

    Back in the Day… every community had “A Somebody that Everybody Likes” … at least as much / little as we really knew about’em.  Right Greg Fishel?

    These were journo-entertainers in various media “platforms” that seemed to touch a common chord in – if not all – certainly in a MUCH higher % of humankind than any ten of the current version of them. “Ten” ??… howsabout “Any”.
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    STOP !!

    RELAX… This is NOT a“If all You People would just share MY socio-cultural-political POV we would not be neck-deep in the apocalyptic quicksand our country is stuck in…”.

    I am soooo beyond trying to Save Western Civilization. Rather, I see myself as the opening act for the orchestra on The HMS Titanic preparing to play Nearer My God To Thee as yet another “Unsinkable Civilization” sinks.

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    In some corner of Purgatory… the Romans, Babylonians, Egyptians, Minoans, Atlantians (why not?), Mayans, etc etc are laffin’ their butts off at our arrogance.

    Maybe Arrogance is what we all do share. “Arrogance” that America Is Indestructible no matter how hard we try to destroy it?
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    I don’t hide my POV (Duh!) although I am endeavoring to no longer flaunt “IT” on this page.

    Twitter? Now THAT is a whole ‘nother issue. On Twitter I take the rubber tips off the arrows and aim for vital organs… . but not here.

    Whether you support Donald Trump or the 20+ folks all trying very loudly to convince you that they HATE TRUMP more than the other 19+ folks do… I like to think most of us collectively enjoyed Erma Bombeck… Lewis Grizzard… Johnny (and Andy’s) monologues… et al.  No?

    There are still humorists… commentators… pundits… today that are “popular” and considered “very successful”. “Very successful” in America 2019 means bazillion of “Likes” and/or “Follows”. But which – if any- truly “cross-over” our differences?

    When I was pondering whether to make this website hard-core BobLee’s Political Rant du Jour; I reasoned that 63,000,000 followers would be aplenty.  Like Roy Williams’ “How many golf balls does one guy need?”

    I decided Not To BECAUSE… it would mean I would have to be in a combative mindset most of the time. Life’s too short…

    Begging the question of  How many Follows / Likes would Erma Bombeck have today?

    If Erma Bombeck was still “being Erma Bombeck” would her columns cross-over the ever-widening socio-cultural chasm that divides America?  Or…back in 1973 did Erma mention “watermelon” in a column … OMG!!!

    Would you and “That jackass in Accounting that actually voted for ______” sit in the company break room these days and share laughs over Erma’s latest domestic frustrations?Tea Time Movie

    At Thanksgiving… Could you and your sister’s no-account / know-it-all 3rd husband find common ground in Johnny Carson’s “Take the Fork in the Road at The Slawson Cut-off”?

    As I compose this, the ONLY one I can think of is Frank Caliendo. WHO? The guy that does impressions of Jon Gruden, Mike Ditka etc. on one of the NFL Sunday shows.

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    I know “a very smart man” who truly believes America took the poison pill with The Fairness Doctrine.  YIKES!

    Many say Social Media has been our Cup of Hemlock.  … Some Say The World Will End in Fire… Some Say in Ice…. either will suffice.

    Did we ever truly recover from “Adam” leaving Bonanza?

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    Would anyone who even tried to develop “cross-over” appeal be “Kate Smith-ed”?

    If Seinfeld’s Show About Nothing was starting today… would it HAVE to have an obvious socio-cultural direction… Elaine would be a Muslim Lesbian… George and Kramer would be “life partners”… and “Newman” would shoot up The Diner with an AK-47 wearing a MAGA cap. … sigh.

    A 2019 version of Sanford & Son would have Aunt Esther replaced by “Aunt Maxine” forever screaming that she won the Georgia gubernatorial election. OUCH!

    Without doing a really deep Google dive… I have no clue what the “politics” was of these by-gone entertainers – Erma et al… or their sexual preferences. On the latter issue, I appreciate that “being outed” was very controversial until this millennium… unless one was Liberace. Just ask Rock Hudson.

    Recall the first decade or so of Saturday Night Live… Belushi, Murray, Axroyd, Chase, Ratner, Curtin… then Murphy, Piscopo, Carvey, Myers, Morris…

    Didn’t you and “that Jackass in Accounting” and “her know-it-all 3rd husband” find common ground on Monday morning recounting SNL skits?

    I haven’t watched SNL in AT LEAST 10 years. I haven’t watched Late Night / Tonight With (Anybody) in AT LEAST eight years.

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    Before this turns into one of those sappy “Yearn For The Good Ol’ Days” baby boomer laments that dominated Facebook for so many years… … …

    Indeed, Societal Evolution Is Like A Shark… which has to keep moving (evolving) to survive. We cannot simply pick a point and say “Let’s Keep It Just Like This”.

    I see that already with “Twinkle & Scooter” up in Madison. In just 15 months I’ve seen them evolve so much and each stage has it’s “aaahhhhh” moments of extreme cuteness. “Talking” is coming very soon. Can you say “I Love Granddaddy Soooo Much?”

    Hard to imagine there could be a “brat stage” down the road… much less “rebellious teen agers” or WORSE !!! Alas, stopping their evolution on “the day they discovered their toes” would have been a real shame.

    Grandchildren grow older (and we do too)… Newspapers join Dinosaurs in History’s tar pit… Societies Evolve… etc etc etc …. And somewhere…

    Dennis Rogers finds an artichoke that looks like Millard Fillmore.

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    OK… go ahead and “comment” with your choice of popular humorists – pundits – commentators that – IYO – are non-partisan. … That you and your know-it-all idiot brother-in-law both enjoy.

    I can’t promise I won’t guffaw when your choices are so ridiculously partisan its hard to imagine you thought otherwise.

    Now… As the icy waters of the North Atlantic splash across our unsinkable decks…

    Maestro… Strike Up The Band (Skip The Ad) …. LINK
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    A Lot More BobLeeSays Columns … LINK

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    BobLee
    • Former96Heel Reply
      3 months ago

      Tom Sorrensen (sp?) was a sports writer who loved to tweak the public. he left a few years ago, but still does special columns. That must be McClatchy’s way of turning out 6 sports columns during football season without having to count someone on the headcount or benefits HR chart.
      .
      I think a huge part of the newspaper freefall is, they just stopped writing about the good stuff. They focus on Woodward and Bernstein type stories, but don’t do investigations…oh, and only focus on the right as the bad folks. Newspapers were best when you read about Ms Peabody, 5th grade teacher at Elm Lane Elementary, or the High School football team, not national stories that are way over their pay grade. I’m pretty sure Chlt does not have a church writer, a society writer, a food editor, etc, but I will guarantee you they are covering the Barr hearings with some sort of spin that makes you wonder if you are the one in Bizarro World.

      • BobLee Reply
        3 months ago

        YES… Tom Sorenson. Thats the guy.

    • Former96Heel Reply
      3 months ago

      It must be hard for anyone at McClatchy to even write a thoughtful article nowadays. With keeping an eye on the printing press, delivering the 7 papers per town that still subscribe, tweeting click-bait, recruiting one intern to replace 4 of your colleagues, manning the table at Food Lion begging anyone to subscribe, then finally editing the 99% of AP/McClatchy feed articles in your 14 page edition. I have absolutely zero doubt that if someone wrote a humorous, non-political article today, they would be flushed away as unnecessary by sundown.
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      Tommy Tomlinson in Charlotte was not a straight humor article, more human interest, and he occasionally let his politics show, but he was jettisoned very early in the great staff purges of the 21st century of McClatchy. One can only guess that he wasn’t so good selling ads in his free time.
      .
      Some old institutions we miss when they become irrelevant. Our newspapers in this state? No way, they can’t fade away fast enough.

      • BobLee Reply
        3 months ago

        There was another long time CharObsvr columnist up until 5-6 years ago. A curmudgeonly fellow that got cussed and discussed in the local diners and break rooms ??? I think his first name was also “Tom” ??
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        Could it be that there simply are no longer ANY TOPICS that are not socio-political timebombs ?? Could a Dennis Rogers still write about motorcycles or “veterans” or “a guy in PineLevel who collects Burma Shave signs” and not incur the wrath of radical readers ??

    • Doug Reply
      3 months ago

      Re: Lewis Grizzard. Told by my B-I-L. In the early 80’s he was on the entertainment committee for his company convention. LG was the star guest speaker somewhere in the Caribbean. LG’s contract specifically called for xxx number of cases of Tab diet soda, the biggest suite in the hotel for LG, his blonde bimbo, and a few other oddball things. He arrived a day early and when checking out his dressing room noticed there was Diet Coke or some other diet soda because Tab was not sold in the country where the convention was held. He looked right at my B-I-L and told him point blank. No Tab-No Show period. In summary they had to call the US mainland and fly Tab over so LG would do his show. The brother-in-law has/had a very low opinion of the late Mr Grizzard. I like him.

      • BobLee Reply
        3 months ago

        I was around LG at a few celebrity golf things. He was usually several sheets to the wind and borderline incoherent. “Genius” definitely has its dark side…

    • Doug Reply
      3 months ago

      Reply to James McCabe. Dennis also said something close to this about East Vs West barbecue. Paraphrasing. “Residing as we do in perfect Eastern North Carolina, it is tempting to look down our fortunate noses at those miserable wretches forced by bad circumstances to eat inferior Western North Carolina BBQ”

      • BobLee Reply
        3 months ago

        His physical presence kind of matched his feisty writing style. Nothing fancy just a country boy who never outgrew his raising. I hope he found contentment in retirement.
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        Grizzard burned the candle at both ends and enjoyed a wild wooly existence.

    • James McCabe Reply
      3 months ago

      Dennis Rogers was indeed the “Oracle of Holy Grub.” “Y’all is plural, there is no such thing as one grit and barbecue — for the thousandth time — is a noun. It is not a verb or an adjective. You cook a pig and you get barbecue. You grill steaks and burgers. You do not “barbecue” anything. So shut up about it.” Loved the guy.

      • BobLee Reply
        3 months ago

        Dennis became somewhat predictable in his last few years but always an enjoyable read. His predictability a part of his popularity I guess.

    • Frank.Linstreet Reply
      3 months ago

      I have a question. What did Art Fern do with all those “Slawsons” that were cut off? Is there like a warehouse full of cut-off slawsons in an abandoned warehouse in Long Beach?

      • BobLee Reply
        3 months ago

        Yes. You answered your own question except there are two warehouses full of slawsons. The other one is in Sherman Oaks.

    • Robert Kennel Reply
      3 months ago

      BL
      Loved Erma, Lewis, Dennis, etc.
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      Used to love Lone Ranger and Amos n’ Andy but recognize the racial blindness I thankfully outgrew.
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      I view you in that first category as an original with talent and sense of humor.
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      Don’t agree we’re going to “hell in a hand basket” because my Christian belief keeps me from wishing for the “last days” scenario that would also preclude you from the terrible threes or teen witnessing.
      .
      Finally, there are plenty of Trump apologists out there. Better for you to be a Bombeck 😎

      • BobLee Reply
        3 months ago

        Delighted to see you are NOT agreeing with the “Hell In A Hand Basket” Solution. Your encrypted notice that you are NOT supporting ANY of the 20+ Screaming Loonies? I was worried that you might be; and was tempted to ask WHICH Screaming Loonie you were backing this go-round.
        .
        As Re:Amos & Andy… “Auntie Mad Maxine” does more in one day to promote a negative clownish stereotype of AfAm women than “Sapphire Stevens” or “Aunt Jemima” ever did. But there is no objective from AfAm women ??? So is it a True Stereotype? Relax… thats a rhetorical question…
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        BLOCKBUSTER BobLeeSays coming up RE: The New Girls’ BB Coach over yonder at UNCCH. OK, as “BLOCKBUSTER” as anything about Girls’ Basketball can be. BTW… former NCSU WBB HC Kelli Harper has done well being named new HC at UTenn WBB!

    • S.O Reply
      3 months ago

      One of your best! Tar Heel Traveler is one of these guys

      • BobLee Reply
        3 months ago

        Thanks and YES. That Tar Heel Traveler guy IS highly likable … UNLESS he is promoting a BBQ joint that is not “your favorite one”.

    • TarHeel69 Reply
      3 months ago

      Once again, we mesh well – particularly on “late night”. Humor was replaced with one sided “bashing”, etc. You could do a great column on “old time” tv, and how it would be received in today’s world. Imagine the horror of how Tonto was treated by the white guy, that blatant display of racism Amos and Andy, the Latino Pancho asking Wild Bill to “wait for me”, etc. Alas, time goes on, and things change. I just wish some changes would be positive!

      • BobLee Reply
        3 months ago

        I must correct you. “Hey, Wild Bill wait for me..” was said by Andy Devine as Hickok’s sidekick “Jingles”. Devine was a big ol’fat white guy. Now, The Cisco Kid had a sidekick named “Pancho” who was an exaggerated “Speedy Gonzales” Mexican stereotype. I ask you WHERE ELSE you gonna get that sort of info ?
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        Tonto’s “Ugh…Kemo Sabe” act might not play well these days fer sure.

    • NCSU68GRAD Reply
      3 months ago

      Ah yes…..
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      One can be forgiven from having issues that require some sort of “rehab” as that is socially acceptable…..but later on, if one does something that requires investigation by HR, then when one leaves or is no longer affiliated with an organization, it is a “Personnel” matter involving pejorative conduct…
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      Next up would be Dennis Rogers. Met him many years ago in a campground. Personable fellow. Had a motor home and we talked about his migration from a Dodge Ram with a 5W to a 40 ft Class A. He now resides at the coast and his wife is a real estate agent.
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      Asked him if he missed writing. He said there were two types of folks that got “published”. One was the kind that got paid by the inch (E A Poe reference) and the other was one who wanted to write to be recognized. He considered himself the FORMER as he had not written a column or piece since the N&O quit making monthly credits to his checking account.
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      Lewis Grizzard was probably a combo or “Bi”….in that he did take great pleasure in being on tour and the center of his standup routine universe.
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      Grizzard’s accounts of “Sittin’ up with the dead” and his Roy Rogers and Dale Evans interviews were works that can never be topped….
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      Must be a lot of Erma’s and Lewis’ and maybe a Valvano keeping God entertained.

      • BobLee Reply
        3 months ago

        I believe I had heard that Dennis Rogers never looked back when he left The N&O. He got on his motorcycle and skeedaddled in a cloud of dust. Working at The N&O is A LOT worse these days than it was in Dennis’ hey day.
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        Lewis Grizzard was married five times to four different wimmen I believe. He also had a long time close relationship with Jim Beam and Johnny Walker as I recall. AND 4-5 open-heart surgeries to boot… not surviving the last one.

    • The Expatriate Reply
      3 months ago

      Kays Gary of the Charlotte Ob server. Russell Baker of the New York Times. The writer who preceded Dennis at the N&O. (I know his name but I’m 86, my brain is full and the neurons are having to fire through a great, diverse mass of folklore and legend. They’ll get there but too late for this.)

      • BobLee Reply
        3 months ago

        A.C. Snow and Charlie Craven were long time N&O columnists of that era. There was a Tom Somebody at Charlotte Observer for a long time but he’s gone now. All McClatchy columnists went hard-core Left about 15-20 years ago. Barry “Sportin’ Life” Saunders could turn a clever line or steal one from Red Foxx but he was a race-baiter.

    • Old Alpha Wolf Reply
      3 months ago

      Sure do miss Dennis Rogers writing. ..Got all his books..He is the one who deemed Eastern NC Barbecue the “holly grub”.Truly never pondered his politics and don’t know what they were…

      • BobLee Reply
        3 months ago

        I never “knew (or cared about) the politics” of any of my friends… until the past 15-20 years. NOW I know the politics of pretty much all of my acquaintances.

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