Monday, October 31, 2011

Mister Halloween

 Happy Halloween all. Tallulah is out Trick-or-Treating, by which I mean she turned a trick she felt was quite a treat, and now she's out --- cold. So while she's napping, I, "Little Dougie," would like to tell you about the man who was Halloween Personified to me: Larry "Seymour" Vincent, who is 36 years dead, but forever alive in my heart.

4 years ago I wrote and published a new book titled The Q Guide to Classic Monster Movies. It's a Halloween-type book. I'd like to share with you the words found on the dedication page. They are:

Jerry Vance was born in Boston in 1924. Early in his career he adopted the name Larry Vincent, but when he died all too young at 50 in 1975, he was best known as Seymour, The Master of the Macabre, The Epitome of Evil, The Most Sinister Man to Crawl Across the Face of the Earth. And the Best TV Horror Host that ever was. He was also the first person to pay me to write jokes about horror movies, and he was my friend. I miss him still, and I dedicate this book to his memory.

A photograph of Larry and myself was supposed to appear on that page, but was cut without my permission, or indeed even any notification to me. I found out it was not in the book when the I received the first copy. This is one of several matters concerning the treatment my book received from it's publishers which have left me - let's say dissatisfied. Anyway, here's the picture that was supposed to be in the book.

I wish I still looked like that, and I wish he were still alive even more. Note the autograph over Larry's right shoulder. It reads "Good show Doug!! Seymour. (I'm on the left.")"
 A strange thing happened a couple days before the book came out. I was channel surfing one afternoon less than a week before publication day, and I came across an episode of Mission: Impossible from the third season, shot probably in 1968 or '69. This seemed like just the mindless white noise I wanted running. A few minutes into it, a door on the TV screen opened, and Larry Vincent stepped into the show and began playing a scene with Martin Landau.

I got to meet Martin Landau a couple months ago, and told him this story of unexpectedly seeing him with my dead friend, and how it surprised me into tears He patted my back and gave me a hug, as I was getting teary again just tellng him.
I knew that Larry had appeared in an episode of Mission: Impossible, but not that I was watching that episode, so his appearance surprised me into happy tears. There was my long-dead friend, alive and acting with a future Oscar winner. And Landau's Oscar was for playing Bela Lugosi, an actor, and I use the term loosely, who is profiled in my new book, dedicated to Larry. It was a wild series of accidental occurrences, but it felt to me like a ghostly visit from my friend, a Hello to acknowledge my posthumous gift. When the DVDs of Season 3 came out, I bought the whole season just to get three and a half minutes of Larry in it.

I'd like to share with you this Halloween an account of my friendship with this wonderful and funny man, which I wrote some years ago for the late, lamented Local Legends webpage, about Los Angeles TV personalities of the 1950s, '60s, and '70s. Believe me, if there'd been no Seymour, there'd never have been Elvira. This essay also appears in full in James Fetters terrific new book Creatures of the Night that We Loved So Well: The Horror Hosts of Southern California, which you can order by clicking on the title. (I also wrote the forward.)

What's under the cloth? See next photo.
Having been a big fan of Jeepers Creepers (A hosted horror movie TV show in Los Angeles from 1962 to 1965.), when I was ages 12 to 14, when a new horror host show, Fright Night With Seymour came on KHJ in 1970, I was excited to tune in, and quickly fell in love with Seymour's prickly sense of iconoclastic humor. I was in college at the time, and never guessed that before Seymour ran his course, I would become a part of it.

Seymour was so popular with us college kids, that we actually turned on the show and watched him, even at parties. I remember the night I turned 21, in May 1971, I performed as Puck in the closing night performance of our University production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, then went to the closing night party at the home of the girl playing Hermia in Hermosa beach, and very stoned, we all watched Seymour. We talked through most of whichever movie was running, and we ignored the commercials, but we all watched Seymour and laughed our heads off.

I first actually met Seymour that October, the night the opening day at Disney World TV special was broadcast. Seymour was hosting a special Halloween show at the Wiltern Theatre: a double feature of The Return Of Count Yorga & Night Of The Living Dead. Seymour did a monologue, including his infamous version of The Raven, then sat onstage with a microphone and made jokes all through the silly Count Yorga sequel. (Whatever possessed AIP to think that queeny Robert Quarry could be the next Vincent Price?) During intermission Seymour signed autographs in the lobby. Then he introduced the second feature, mentioning that jokes wouldn't be appropriate during George Romero's disturbing masterpiece, and left.

I stood in the fan line and got Seymour's autograph on my Seymour certificate and went home thoroughly entertained. Over the next couple years I attended several more Seymour appearances in movie theatres, and seeing some real dogs in the process. But the day came, in late 1973, when Seymour was announced to ride in the Westminster Founder's Day Parade, a parade which formed on the grounds of Westminster High School, from which I had graduated in 1968, just a half mile from my home.

I was working then writing radio comedy for "Sweet Dick" Whittington at KGIL (To this day, still a close friend), and decided to take a shot at getting a writing spot with Seymour. I was convinced I could write the character. I'd seldom missed the show, and felt I knew the character intimately by this time.

I found Seymour waiting around, just outside a classroom in which, a few years earlier, I had studied Moby Dick & Lord Of The Flies. I introduced myself to Larry Vincent, told him I was writing for Sweet Dick, and asked if he was looking for writers for his TV show. Luck was in. He was. He told me to call his office on Monday and set-up an appointment to come in and show him some sample material. He also introduced me to Lynda Vincent, his much-younger wife, who wrote most of the shows with him, and Gary Blair, the show's executive producer, who was also the voice of Herkamer Eugenski, the nasal voiced, whiny announcer for Seymour Presents on KTLA.

Seymour's Dorian Gray portrait was Banjo Billy, Seymour's nemesis, seldom seen at the same time and place as Seymour.
I made that call, come Monday, and Larry, who was as nice on the phone, as Seymour was prickly on the air, invited me to come down to the studio a few days later, on the day they would be shooting that week's show. I could show him my samples and watch a Seymour show shot. I was in Heaven.

The evening before my appointment, I sat down and made a stack of what I felt were my strongest radio sketches. Then I put paper in the typewriter, and wrote a sample Seymour sketch.

At that time, one of the most popular shows on the air on KTLA was Help Thy Neighbor. Neighbor was a morbid feel-good tearfest, on which down-on-their-luck sad sacks would come on, unload their sob story to the host, Larry Van Nuys, and then Larry would take phone calls. Viewers (The show was on live, 5 nights a week) would call in with one form of assistance or another to help the poor schmuck humiliating himself. It was creepy and only slightly less horrifying then Queen For A Day. (At least everybody who came on got helped. They didn't kick 3 needy cases out empty-handed each day like Queen did.)

I felt that Help Thy Neighbor was ripe for the Seymour treatment. I wrote a sketch called Shaft Thy Neighbor, in which Seymour read a letter from a pathetic wretch who had been buried under the biggest pile of hard luck since Job, and then took calls from people who "Helped" him, by making matters worse. ("You will no longer have to work day and night at two jobs to support your wife and 14 shoeless children, because your bosses both phoned and fired you, your wife has left you for another man, and your children have all run away.")

When I got to the KTLA lot at Sunset & Van Ness (Just across the street from an apartment building, now demolished, in which I was to live in 1986-8. It's the apartment building in Pulp Fiction.) Larry brought me in to to see The Slimy Wall in the sound stage. To my delight, the Help Thy Neighbor set sat right next to the Slimy Wall, at right angles to it. My sketch could be shot on the actual set, just by rotating the cameras 90 degrees!

As we entered the studio, we ran into Larry Van Nuys coming out. As it happened, I knew Larry Van Nuys. Prior to his achieving fame with Help Thy Neighbor, he had been the next disc jockey on after Whittington each morning at KGIL. (Since leaving, he'd been replaced by Wink Martindale) Larry Van Nuys, seeing me, hollered, "Douglas! How the hell are you?", and grabbed me in a big bear hug and gave me a loud, sloppy kiss on the cheek, all right in front of Larry Vincent. I explained that I was there to try and land a job writing for Seymour, and Larry Van Nuys, on the spot, began to regale Larry Vincent with extravagant praise of my comic genius. This, I felt, didn't hurt at all

Seymour reads the teleprompter roll through the fog, while a crew member laughs.
Larry Vincent explained that he had been actively trying out writers for sometime, to find someone to take the burden of turning out the scripts every week off his and Lynda's shoulders. In fact, the show I was going to see shot was written by a female guest writer, to whom I was introduced. I instantly envied and hated her.

Back in his office, I gave Larry my sample pile, with the Seymour sketch carefully buried at the bottom. I sat there as Larry read the pages. He started looking stern and detached, but quickly was laughing out loud, and mentioning how funny he found some of the words used. (I remember him saying he thought "Dreck" a particularly funny word, when it popped up in one of my sketches.)

Then he came to Shaft Thy Neighbor. "What's this?" he asked. I explained that it was a sample Seymour sketch I'd written the night before, to show how well I could write for him. He put his serious, detached face back on, but it didn't stay long. By the time he finished reading the sketch, not only had I been commissioned to write an entire script, but Larry bought the Shaft sketch on the spot.

Larry prepares for a take, by looking over the teleprompter copy for the next sketch.
 The movie I was assigned to write a show around was The Leech Woman. Unfortunately, it was not possible for some reason, for me to see the movie before writing the script. (The evening my show was broadcast remains, to this day, my only viewing of The Leech Woman, a film of seminal importance to my career.) I looked the movie up in several guides, and read as much about it as I could, and went from there.

Since I couldn't write about the film's specifics, I wrote instead a series of parodies of other famous films & TV shows. My opening sketch was a take-off on You Bet Your Life. When Seymour said "Fringies", that turned out to be the secret word, and a rubber chicken came flying down from the eaves. Another sketch employed a huge photo of Banjo Billy I had seen on Larry's office wall, which, in my script, became Dorian Gray's portrait of Seymour. ("Many of you have commented on how I appear to be eternally youthful, how my classically chiseled features never show the wear of time.") Of course, when Seymour revealed the picture, he was livid. ("That can't be me! I want my money back! Eternal youth isn't worth that! Get me Dorian Gray on the telephone immediately!")

I had Seymour try to crash That Party Down The Block disguised as a mousekateer, wearing my own, personal mouse ears, and a furry shirt that had been part of a theatrical costume of mine. (Lynda Vincent provided the offscreen voice of Annette). Shaft Thy Neighbor was used, and, in my favorite sketch, a parody of Curt Siodmak's beloved Sci-fi nonsense Donovan's Brain, I had Seymour remove Eugenski's brain and put it in a fish tank. The disembodied brain instantly took control of Seymour, forcing him to tap dance and sing Won't You Come Home, Bill Bailey. In the final scene, Eugenski's brain had been put in Seymour's body, so Seymour now spoke with his squeaky voice, while Seymour's brain squawked impotently from the tank. In short, since this might be my only Seymour script, I fired all my comedy guns.

I delivered the finished script to Larry at the Equicon science fiction film convention, that November. My relationship with Larry had already altered. It was no longer fan and celebrity. Larry let me hang with him throughout the convention, and we discovered that I had the ability to break Larry up as easily as he broke me up. We were to go on breaking each other up, for the rest of his life.

Unfortunately, when the time came to shoot the script, Larry had bad news. KTLA had cancelled him. My script was to be his next-to-last show. Larry told me he was very happy with what I had written. He said they had auditioned dozens of other writers and every single one of them had had to be completely rewritten by Lynda and him to fit the character's speech patterns and stay in character, which meant they saved them no work at all. Mine was the only script anyone else had ever written for them that could be shot exactly as written, with no rewriting. The job would have been mine, except, there was now no job.

One change had been made. KTLA Standards & Practices decided that the phrase Shaft Thy Neighbor was dirty. (It was 1973. Dinosaurs still walked the earth) The sketch was changed to Shelf Thy Neighbor, which sounds similar, but which, you'll notice, makes no sense.

On KTLA we had a set time slot. The show had to end on time. As we shot the show, it soon became clear that my script was too long. Midway through shooting, the film editor went back to his lab and hacked a few more minutes out of The Leech Woman, to give us some more air time. (So disrespectful. Fortunately, the movie is crap) Even with the movie butchered to bits, there wasn't time for my brain switch ending. Seymour's brain would remain in his skull. Too bad.

My friend, the late David Tarling, came to the taping with me and took these pictures, now so precious to me. The one picture from that day that I no longer have, was a shot of Larry, Lynda, Garry and myself, lined up in front of the Slimy Wall. Months later, when I began working with Larry at his home on a projected record album, I was proud to see that picture of us framed on Larry's living room wall, where it remained until his death.

So, that was it, I thought. The day of the broadcast, in January 1974, I had friends over and we and my family all watched my first, and for all we knew last, show air. At one point, after an unseen, imaginary audience boos a particularly lame joke, Seymour said, "I didn't write that joke. I got it from Eugenski, and he got it from his writer, whom I've already fired." My mother broke up and, always willing to ally herself with anyone criticizing me, said, "He really let you have it for that one." I believe she was disappointed when I showed her that every word of that bit, including the booing sound effects, were in the script and were written by me. Mother was so hoping it was Larry departing from the script to humiliate me on TV.

Shortly thereafter, I was promoted to producer of The Sweet Dick Whittington Show at KGIL, which was now full-time employment, writing bits, booking the interview guests and setting up all the details of Dick's notorious live stunts. I became happily busy.

Larry performing Shaft, excuse me, Shelf Thy Neighbor.
At the beginning of March Larry Vincent called me. KHJ had picked the show up. Back under it's original title Fright Night With Seymour, it was going back on the air in April, and Larry was putting me on staff to write half the shows. Best of all, our time slot was open-ended. It didn't matter how long we ran, so I could write as long a show as I wanted and we would do it all, without butchering the movies. You've heard of a dream come true? Well, this was one.

We shot every other Thursday afternoon, doing two shows in a session. Every other taping session I would be the author of the shows. The two shows in between would be by Larry & Lynda.

I would come in to the studio and sit in a screening room so tiny it made the Marx Brothers stateroom look like a stateroom, and a projectionist would run 16mm prints of my two movies. In this pre-home video Stone Age this was the only chance I had to see the films, though a couple, like The Incredible Shrinking Man, which was the best film we ran, I already knew fairly well. I took extensive notes of everything that happened in the movie. I wrote the scripts at my leisure, usually in my office at KGIL, turned them in, came in the day before taping and met with the projectionist/editor, with whom I would extract the film clips we would be using in the show. Since we literally snipped the clips out of the movie, and spliced them back in when we had shot the show, we were damaging the prints every time we used a clip. Naughty.

I came to all the tapings, whether it was my shows or not, for two reasons. 1. I often came up with tweakings for lines or bits on the set, and 2. Being with Larry was such a joy I wanted to be around all I could.

Larry was a great guy, and we became close friends quickly. Lynda & Garry were also terrific people, and we were a happy unit indeed. Larry had a temper. If somebody screwed something up, he would let them have it with both barrels, but he never simply got angry, and he never got angry without cause. In all the time I knew him, he never once raised his voice to me.

In May, Larry rode in the Strawberry Festival Parade in Garden Grove, not far from my folk's home in Westminster. I rode in the parade with Larry & Lynda, then we went to my parent's home for a huge home cooked meal. My 16 year old brother Duncan had, of course, told every kid for miles around that Seymour was coming to our house, so there was a small crowd of kids to greet us when we arrived. (Enroute, we had stopped at a K-Mart to pick something up, and Larry had been recognized, and started a small mob scene.) Larry & I got going at that meal, sharing increasingly ribald humor, while Lynda & my mother sort of smiled indulgently. (I remember one thing that broke us up being the idea of Larry playing Banjo Billy wearing, instead of Groucho glasses and fake nose, a dildo-nose & glasses. Well, it is a funny image, though Mother wasn't amused.)

We attended a Sci-fi/comics convention in San Diego together, during which, they ran Larry's ghastly movie The Witchmaker. Larry and I sat and made jokes aloud throughout the film to the delight of the audience.

(In an excessively weird co-incidence, at that time, I was working for Larry Vincent, who had appeared in The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant, and Sweet Dick Whittington, who appeared in The Thing With Two Heads. Stranger still, now those two two-headed movies are available on the same DVD. It's like my 1974 life on one disc, with my one boss on side 1, and my other boss on side 2. Spooky.)

These movies are terrible, but they're fun. You kow the old sayng: Four heads are better than one."

Killing two jobs with one stone, I booked Larry on The Whittington Show on KGIL one morning as an interview guest and sat back and listened to the comedy gold as my two bosses sparked and riffed together, the only time they ever met. (Needless to say, they both tried to top each other with tales of what an utterly worthless excuse for an employee I was.)

One time on the set, a sketch required Larry to wear a Sherlock Holmes-type deerstalker cap. He was wearing my own personal one. (I kept writing my wardrobe into the show) Larry was in place on the set, waiting for the scene to be slated when I strolled up to him and whispered to him that he had the hat on backwards. Now, of course, the front and back of a deerstalker cap are identical. It isn't possible to put it on backwards, though you can wear it sideways, as Harpo does in Duck Soup. Larry knew this, of course. But he strode mock-angrily off the set, and staged a pretend tantrum ("Why doesn't anybody check these details?") about almost being allowed to do the sketch with the hat on wrong, while he took the hat off, turned it around, and re-groomed.

May 1st, 1974 Doodles Weaver was on the set. He had recently released a record album called Feetlebaum Returns, and was now going to produce a Seymour comedy album. Larry and I were to write it. That evening I dined with Doodles and Walker Edmiston, and Doodles regaled us with tales of drinking with Bogart. Doodles was a great guy to hang with, but murder to work with. We argued about material constantly. Basically, I would write a Seymour piece and Doodles would rewrite it into a Doodles piece, and then, since Larry would be doing it rather than Doodles, it got changed back to my original version.

I remember one afternoon, sitting with Larry in his living room in Santa Monica, working on the album script, when Larry and I noticed something odd. Visible through his sliding glass door, a wrench was floating up into the air. Larry had an open toolbox on the porch, and we found a kid leaning out of the window of an upstairs apartment, with a fishing rod with a magnet on the line, tool fishing.

M - I - C - K - E - Y  M - O - U - S - E.
 Larry was appearing six nights a week at The Mayfair Music Hall in Santa Monica most of that year. As it was easier than bringing people to the studio, I often took friends to the Music Hall to meet Larry and see him perform live, seeing and meeting guest performers as varied as Ian Whitcomb and the late, great Anna Russell. Bernard Fox, who more recently appeared in both Titanic and the Brendon Fraser version of The Mummy, was the Master of ceremonies for these shows.

Once Larry tipped me off that Mel Brooks was shooting a sequence for his new film at the Music Hall in the afternoons that week. I put on my "I Belong Here" expression and showed up, which is how I came to be present in the room when Mel shot the Puttin' On the Ritz scene in Young Frankenstein, a scene this blog's friend Ken Levine has listed as among the top 5 funniest scenes in movie history. (And I am inclined to agree.)

Another day, Larry told me about going into a bar the evening before. Rod Serling sat down next to him and ordered a drink. Slowly the two men noticed each other. "Rod Serling?" Larry asked. "Seymour?" Rod asked back. Turned out Serling was a Seymour fan too. Larry was just tickled by it.

On August 8th, 1974, we had just finished taping my scripts for Vincent Price's Diary Of A Madman & Son Of Godzilla, when a news bulletin came over the studio monitors. I stood next to Larry Vincent in the studio at KHJ and watched Richard Nixon resign. Larry was very depressed by the event, fearing it boded ill for America. I was ecstatic to see the old bastard fleeing in disgrace.

During my time writing for Larry I came up with two new characters for him to play on the show, a biker hipster called "Mr. Cool" and "Ranger Bob", a forest ranger who dispensed insane forestry advice. I also created Seymour's Fairy Tales in which Seymour told horribly warped new versions of old children's favorites.

And then Larry was hospitalized. The show was cancelled. Larry gave me the task of writing the last two shows. The next to last show, for the film Octaman was never shot. Larry was simply too ill to do it, so a show was cobbled together out of old pieces on video at the last minute.

The World's Coolest Bumper Sticker!
That Thursday, I picked Larry up at the hospital in Burbank and drove him to Knott's Berry Farm, installing him in a suite at a hotel adjoining the park, before scurrying over to the theatre to oversee the tech rehearsal while Larry relaxed. My job at the park that weekend was really just to see to it that Larry had as easy a time of it as possible. I didn't know Larry was dying, but he knew.

Before I could leave the hotel room to go to the rehearsal (Lynda was already at the rehearsal.), Larry stopped me. "Douglas, I have to tell you something. You've been a good friend to me, and I appreciate it. I love you, my friend." And he hugged me. I was embarrassed and kept mumbling that I knew it and he didn't need to say it, but Larry said, "No, I do need to say it." I didn't know it then, that he was taking care of business, making sure he'd said the things he wanted to say to his loved ones while he still could. Though I was about as uncomfortable as I could possibly have been at the time, afterwards, in the years that have followed, I have always been very deeply glad that Larry made a point of opening his heart to me, and letting me know I had earned a place in it.

Doing the show turned out to be the best medicine for Larry. He rallied that weekend, and rose to the occasion so well. He enjoyed himself tremendously. Between performances we would go out on an electric cart, toodling around the park, going on rides. As Seymour he would elaborately take cuts in line. "Look over there!" he'd yell, pointing away, and then we'd sprint up to the front and push on to the ride. "So long, suckers." He would call as we rolled into the ride, and everybody had a great time.

Larry's "Baseball" card.
Closing night Larry had pizza delivered backstage for everybody working on the show, out of his own pocket. He entertained the friends of mine that came to the shows in his dressing room. He seemed to have time and energy for everybody. I remember sitting in that dressing room, listening to him talk about his experiences understudying Kirk Douglas on Broadway, and about the time, as a college student, that Boris Karloff had come and addressed them.

A genuine Seymour fan club membership card, sent to me by Douglas Mason, who is not Little Dougie.
After the weekend was over, Larry felt well enough to return home, instead of going back to the hospital. He seemed full of optimism, and spoke of plans to use Seymour in other ways, after we finished the album, which was only partially recorded. When my paycheck came, it was considerably larger than what we had agreed on. Gary Blair told me that Larry had insisted that I be paid an increased fee, because I'd done such a good job for him, and everything had gone so well.

Onstage at Knott's Berry Farm.
 But Larry's rally lasted only about a month and he was back in the hospital. I came to see him as often as I could, until he was moved into intensive care and only family could come. It was Gary Blair who finally told me Larry was dying. It seemed hard to believe. He was only 50. These days I am 61, and I'm way too young to die. For Heaven's sake, Tallulah is 114, and seems set on outliving all of us.

Sending Moona Lisa's halves to opposite sides of the planet. Moona Lisa, aka Lisa Clark and her identical twin sister were the "Siamese Twins" in Sir Alfred Hitchcock's classic film Saboteur.
Finally the terrible day came. I was living in Redondo Beach, next door to my aforementioned friend David Tarling (Who also took the Knott's Berry Farm pictures above, of Larry's last-ever show.) and his wife Mary. (David would better Larry, or perhaps worse him, by dying at age 38.) When I got up one day, there was a note tacked to my front door that Mary had left before going to work. It just said three little words: "Larry is dead." The pain of that loss is still sharp today.

The gauntness of Larry's hands in this photo still makes me sad.
It just isn't right. Larry should still be here, crotchety and funny at 82. We should have had a lot more laughs together. I can't imagine what other paths my life and my career would have taken had Larry Vincent not died so young, but I know I miss my friend still. He leers down at me from pictures on my wall, and, thanks to his loyal, devoted fans who loved him too, I have audio tapes to hear him again, though I know of no existing video tape of "Seymour", beyond this 58-second blooper clip, but I never give up hope video will turn up. Meanwhile, I have my DVD of The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant, and have the Mission: Impossible DVD, and he's also in Disney's The Apple Dumpling Gang as Iris Adrian's husband, but don't blink. Search about You Tube, and you may find some of comedy songs.

(In Seymour's last TV show, shot shortly after The Apple Dumpling Gang, I had Seymour relate how a terrible tragedy occurred at Disney Studios while they were shooting the movie. Then we ran a clip from our movie that week, The Hideous Sun Demon, showing the monster catching a rat and squeezing it to death, while Seymour said, "A new security guard didn't recognize Mickey Mouse without his little pants and gloves.")

A page of TV Guide. Seymour "caught" scrounging through the trash. In one show, I had him throw the film reels of a terrible movie we'd run into a trash can like this, only to have them pop back out. The trash rejected it.
 In 1976, in a conversation that will forever be one the supreme highlights of my life, Groucho Marx, or, as I think of him, God, told me he had seen some of my Seymour shows and that he thought I was a funny writer. Groucho was a Seymour fan!

In 1978 my first full-length stage play, an adaptation of Dracula, opened. The dedication in the program read: "This play is dedicated by it's author to the memory of Larry Vincent, better known to his fans as 'Seymour'. A great friend to horror, terror and things that go bump in the night, and a great friend to me."

"And now, the time has come for me to make that dread sojourn into the world that lies out there, beyond the slimiest of walls. Until next time, this is Seymour, wishing you and yours a Bad Evening!" I'll be waiting, my friend. Meanwhile,


This photo hangs, framed, beside the computer on which I type up Tallulah's columns for her. She'll be back soon.

Monday, October 24, 2011

BIG News Coming! (Plus Survivor)

Have you been dying for a good book to read since finishing reading my autobiography, My Lush Life? Well there is good news on the horizon, for Skeletor here, and for all of you. Details remain to be hammered out, no dates have been set yet, and the release date is apt to be a year away, but I can confidently state now that the sequel to My Lush Life, modestly titled Tallyho Tallulah, is coming, as an eBook for Kindle and other eBook formats, and as a Print-on-Demand hard copy for you Luddites like myself that like real books on your shelves. Like I say, publishing moves slower than a glacier, but wait long enough, and you get the majesty that is Yosemite Valley. In any event, a literary treat for my fans is on the way. Be patient and your patience will be rewarded with the funniest book of the 21st Century. The hard parts, the writing and the finding of a publisher, are finished. Soon, darlings, soon.

One of my ex-husbands, looking to see what I said about him.

You need a better mask, Little Russel. With this one, we still know who you are.
There are other things in life than Survivor this week, as Mohamar Gaddafi could tell you if he hadn't been shot like a dog with a depraved owner. They say his last words were pleading for mercy. He received the same mercy he'd shown thousands. Should he have been taken to The Hague, legally tried, and then hanged? Sure. Sadly for him, his captors hadn't the patience. Boo hoo.

Saddam Hussein found in a "rathole." Qadaffey (Never spell it the same way twice.) found hiding in a drainage pipe. Good lord, don't any of these super-villains have any huge luxury hideaways under volcanoes, or stylish private cheateaus atop the Swiss Alps, or undersea cites, like normal super-villains? Blofeld would be laughing. Khaddaffei was last seen dead in a drainage ditch. Now the EPA is fining him for pollution.

It's a mid-life career change for Khaddafi. (Kay Daffy? Quadraffini?) He's doing Snuff Films now, except he made a rookie mistake in the area of casting.

Anyway, Qadaffi (Quadaffie? Kadaffi? Ghadaffay? Cadaddfei? Gdaffy Duck?) is dead. The "Occupy Tripoli" protesters can go home now.

Meanwhile, in the South Pacific, Survivor was continuing. Ozzy's tantrum was hilarious. How many people has he helped blindside in past Survivor seasons? And yet, when his little girl friend got blindsided and he learned that "his" tribe was not playing for him to win as Rob's had, he was indeed all pissy about it. What does it mean, Ozzy? It means you're not in control. So what does he do? He does his best to further alienate the tribe, and makes the idiot blunder of telling them he has the idol, just to brag that he was smarter than they all are. Never tell people you have the idol! That's begging to be blindsided.

"I'm now what's called a free agent," the moron said. Does he think the other tribe will bid for him?

"He's behaving like a stupid bitch," said Cochran, anxious to show why he's still a virgin. Way to charm the ladies.

The Blue Tribe is still eating that saliva-and-blood-soaked pork. Ew.

Little Russell was out idol-hunting, and Benjamin, who has the idol, and Albert, who is an idol and knows Benjamin has it, were happy to watch the little idiot waste time on his futile search, as was I. Benjamin, who talks endlessly about playing an "honorable" game and never lying (recipe for losing Survivor), decided that not-telling little Hantz he had the idol didn't constitute an actual lie. Let's see how well he succeeds at not lying to Little Hantz.

Little Hantz was gleeful that he found the clue where Albert had left it for him. Benjamin was right that Little Hantz does indeed have his uncle's walk. Stuff was said, but it's hard to hear when Albert is shirtless, though I did catch Benjamin's comment that they wanted to play "as Christian men," which I assume means burning Cochran at the stake as a heretic.

Little Hantz: "You wouldn't think someone has it already, would you?"

"I don't think so," said Benjamin as the idol nestled deeper into his pocket. Ok, Benji, that's not withholding information. That's an active lie. Your pledge to play the game without lying to him, which you swore to, is out the window. A liar and a hypocrite. Yup, he's playing as a Christian man all right. Lies and hypocrisy are Christianity's centuries-long stock-in-trade.

Benji's excuse for going back on his oath to tell Little Hantz no lies? He reminds Ben of Big Hantz. Was that in his oath? I will always tell you the truth, unless you remind me of your uncle, and then I'll be the same lying hypocrite he was.

Martini Shuffle Bored.
They should rename Redemption Area Arena as Bitterness Stadium. Christine, all class, flipped her former tribemates The Bird. What is she, 7? She looks 47. Jeff asked Elyse about playing in front of people who had voted her out. Actually, her tribemate spectators were Ozzy and Keith, neither of whom voted for her, but she didn't know that, or much of anything else. She thought her attach-herself-as-concubine/whore-to-a-strong-veteran-player strategy would carry her to the end. Oops. When just being the Alpha-Dolt's bitch won't get you to the end of Survivor, then the terrorists have won.

Dalton Ross over at Entertainment Weekly doesn't like the shuffle bored challenges, but I do. It's better than watching footage of puzzle-solving. You can follow this game and tell who's doing well and who isn't, and it takes some skill. Elyse managed the rare come-from-behind-loss.

Jeff Probst: "What do you take away from this?"

Elyse: "I think for me, I take a sense of accomplishment, because I gave my all." Hello? So lounging about all day in a bikini, tanning while flattering Ozzy, and being asked to sit out challenges because she's useless, is her "all"? Her "all" isn't very much. She got eliminated in the first half of the game. I think she should take away from this a sense of Failure, because, by pretty much any measure, she failed, utterly and totally.

Jeff should have sent her off with: "Elyse, your adventure - is pathetic. Get out of my sight." But he didn't.

That's my ride in the background. Captain Nemo is so hot. He calls me his little Giant Squid.
Over on the Blue Tribe, Not-Dame Edna has also adopted the attach-yourself-to-the-returning-veteran strategy. This is working better for her because the Blue Tribe has forgotten their initial repugnance at acquiring Benjamin, and are following this moron like sheep. At least Not-Dame Edna's way of doing it is not to lie about tanning, but to seek out food, work around camp, kiss Benji's ass endlessly, and walk on Benjamin's spine. If only she'd crack it. If he suddenly became a paraplegic, Survivor would stop bringing the delusional creep back.

So Mikayla the Delilah is now Benji's target for elimination. Come on, you bozos; get rid of Little Hantz. He's a loose derringer. (That little twerp is no cannon.) He's a mixture of stupid, ignorant, religious, and Texan, and that is a recipe for a camp full of corpses.

In the Red Tribe, Ozzy suddenly noticed he was playing on his own, and that that would guarantee his losing, so he came dragging back, tail between his legs (Well, emotionally. His little bit of tail was just sent home.), apologizing for being a dick, and fully realizing that revealing he had the idol was basically, really, really stupid. But Cochran and Hairy Pothead both know they need to keep the target on Oz The Great and Peevish. Keith, nice-looking, well-built, is still worshiping at the Oz shrine. Keith is cute, but a balless dope.

I've got a lovely bunch of cocoanuts.
Great challenge, and whomever designed the transformer wheelbarrow/giant slingshot is a genius.  In addition to Immunity, the winners got to go slide down rocks into a lovely pool, and a third clue to the idol. If it's the Blue tribe, the clue would be:

"If your idol-seeking energy is starting to lag,
Look in the pocket of the moronic windbag."

Whereas, if the Red Team wins, the clue would be:

"You won't find the idol,

And that is because,
It's already been found,
By the douchebag named Oz."

We had a come from behind win this time. The red tribe was hopeless at the wheelbarrow-through-the-zig-zag course part, giving the blue tribe a huge lead which the blues managed to blow by having Benji, Albert and Mikayla do the slingshotting. Albert was great at it. He is a professional athlete. Mikayla was mindlessly doing it one-handed because, you know, aim isn't important when shooting at targets. At The Playboy Mansion, Hef preferred the girls to shoot one-handed, as it displayed their tits better, and Hef didn't give a rat's ass if the girls scored or not as long as he did. Benji suggested twice that she sit it out, but she wouldn't, despite the fact that she never hit a target, even by accident.

But Benji was not shooting any better than she was. He also never hit a target. They both should have sat down and let Albert win the challenge for them, but noooooo. So instead, the red tribe came from behind and won. "It's Mikayla's fault we lost, " said Benji, who played every bit as badly as she did. It was both of their faults they lost. Ah, I can never get enough of that old-school Christian hypocrisy.

Jeff hands their fake idol to Ozzy, ignoring me, a True Idol of Millions.
The Red Tribe had a lot of fun at the sliding rocks. They got a picnic along with the natural water park stuff. That's nice.
Falling for Ozzy.
Benji decided instantly that the elimination candidates were just Delilah and Not-Dame Edna, and since Not-Dame Edna was his personal slave, he decided to make Li'l Hantz's sick dreams come true, and vote out the temptress. His stated reason was that she blew the challenge, but he blew it equally, and he wasn't nominating himself. More fine, aged-in-wood Christian hypocrisy.

Albert however, was of the opposite opinion, and campaigned to keep Mikayla and lose Not-Dame Edna. Hey! What about Li'l Hantz? Vote out the borderline psycho. (Okay, he's not "borderline.") Trust me. Vote him out, before he gets rid of you - with a machete while you sleep. You'll wake up just long enough to watch yourself bleed out, while listening to Li'l Hantz apologize and explain that The Lord told him to gut you.

"Trust me. I can get Coach to listen to me," said Albert, as he scrubbed a skillet shirtless. (Albert. I have a dirty skillet too. Could you come over and scrub mine shirtless too? I'll make you very glad you did. Just let me know long enough in advance to dirty up a skillet.) The problem is, the only voices Benji ever listens to are the ones in his head.

Mikayla referred to Not-Dame Edna as "Almost double my age." Not-Dame Edna is 35. Mikayla claims to be 22, which means she's probably 40, but let's pretend she is 22. Double 22 is 44. 35 is not "almost" 44. Mikayla apparently flunked math, unless she shagged the instructor. Wait. Maybe she meant to say that Not-Dame Edna was almost double Mikayla's IQ. That I believe, and Not-Dame Edna is no genius. (However, Real-Dame Edna is a genius.)

Albert's position was that Not-Dame Edna was useless at challenges, which is why they sat her out. This ignores that Mikayla was also useless at the challenge. He also said Not-Dame Edna is smart. I have so far seen no evidence of her being smart. I guess he's just assuming she's smart because she's Asian.

Benji's position was that Not-Dame Edna is his slave. Mikayala is not.

Albert to Li'l Hantz: "Honestly, the way we came together on day two was real and legitimate. And the way, I feel, Edna was brought into that group, it wasn't as authentic." This is blissfully meaning-free. Really. That is all meaningless verbiage, but he was talking to Li'l Hantz, who is an idiot, unacquainted with Reason, so there would be no point to trying to make sense. Making sense scares him. In any event, Li'l Hantz has wanted Mikayla burned at the stake ever since he first noticed that her tits make his dick hard. No one would ever sway him from voting out Delilah.

But Li'l Hantz said he would not vote out Not-Dame Edna, so he won't. Albert realized that Li'l Hantz is a dope among dopes, and gave up trying to talk to him. A man who tells you he wants to be "a Radical for God" is way too stupid to talk to about - well - anything.

Benji had a classy way of expressing why he wants to keep Not-Dame Edna: "If you were to tell Edna at the merge, Edna, I want you to follow Ozzy, even when he goes and takes a shit, and wipe his ass for him, she would." Talk about high praise! Watching the broadcast, Not-Dame Edna must have felt filled with pride. (CBS bleeped out "Shit" and "ass". Last week, on NBC's Harry's Law, the word "twat" was spoken, unbleeped, twice! Make up your minds, guardians of TV morality. Of course, everyone who watched Harry's Law, when they heard the word "twat" on network, prime time TV, well, their heads exploded and they all died. All of them. All of the millions of people watching that high-rated show died of hearing "twat" spoken aloud. It was tragic. That was how they killed Kuaddaffie, they told him that "twat" had been heard on NBC prime time twice, Mohamar thought of Condeleeza Rice, and his head exploded.)

So Rick Nelson, the Utah rancher who has spoken about three sentences all season so far, found himself the swing vote. He turns out to have no guts, no balls.

"He hee. We won the challenge, and Ozzy is making an ass of himself. Wanna Joint?"
At Tribal Council, Li'l Hantz spoke the best sentence in the whole episode, maybe all season. He was trying to use big words to sound educated and intelligent, when he plainly is neither, so he threw some multi-syllabic terms into his pronouncement. Apparently it never occurred to him that words are more than just sounds; they have meanings, so, in trying to explain that the next challenge was crucial (All Immunity Challenges are crucial) he said: "This next challenge is absolutely detrimental to the way the game turns out." Clearly he has no idea what the words he is using mean. He just chooses words at random. No wonder the Bible thumpers were able to hook this pathetically stupid young man so deeply. He goes with the words that sound best, and, say what you will about content, a lot of the King James Bible translation sounds like lovely poetry, even though it's just senseless, superstitious twaddle. (No, NBC, I said "TwaDle".) After he said it, everyone else politely refrained from saying: "Huh?"

They debated whether loyalty or numbers were important at the merge. Remember Russell going into the merge in his first season, way, way down in numbers, and his tribe still wiping out the other tribe because the idiots were falling all over each other to flip and betray each other? I'd say the loyalty vs strength debate was settled quite decisively that season. Snore.

Li'l Hantz, true to form, announced all the secret oaths they had made. That boy has less discretion than Wikkileaks. And then, Li'l Hantz launched into a morality lecture, like any intelligent adult needs a lecture from an idiot: "Nowadays, people get the misconception that we can tell a half-lie, or tell a little bit of a lie. Oh, it's just a game. Oh, it's just a cigarette. Oh, it's just a little bit of marijuana [Where was Hairy Pothead to defend pot? Back at his camp, not having lost.] Oh it's just a little - You know, that's lasciviousness. Because there is no gray. It's black or white. Period."

Where to start? First off, he's clearly quoting from what ever dumb-ass con-man preacher he has been seduced by. There's no way a boy who has no idea what "detrimental" means, knows what "misconception" and "lasciviousness" means, particularly as none of that was lasciviousness. If there is anything I know about, it's lasciviousness. I've embraced my inner lasciviousness, and my outer lasciviousness too for that matter, all my life. I admit freely that "a little bit of marijuana" is a bad thing. One should have a LOT of marijuana.

But beyond his hapless parroting of some southern Bible-thumper, there is the appalling, obvious fact that this is a boy who lives in a world of all blacks & whites. Any intelligent, educated human being knows that
everything in Life is shades of gray. Everything! The mental world he inhabits is the limited world of the moron: all black & white. Scratch a moral absolutist; find a fool.

He is an idiot. I'd call him a buffoon, but I'd be insulting buffoons.

Cowboy Rick Nelson did not cowboy-up. He chickened out, and Mikayla was off to Redemption Area. After Li'l Hantz's idiot sermon, I do not understand why there was not a unanimous vote for Hantz.

Exiting, Mikayla said that Li'l Hantz always blows-up at "a stronger woman." Is she saying he's a weaker woman?

The previews for next week showed Benji leading the Blue Tribe in a group prayer. I may well vomit. Of course, he also mentioned putting a bullet into Li'l Hantz's head, which I rather like the sound of (You'll get off with self-defense anywhere but Texas.), but I know they don't have guns.

Anyway, no need to thump, nor read, any stupid Bibles. Just toke up on your shades of gray medical marijuana and await Tallyho Tallulah. It's coming, my darlings, it's coming.

Cheers darlings.

Sawyer/James Ford/LeFleur is enthralled by great literature.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Horror of Being "Benjamin"!

 Coach Benjamin Wade: "If anybody calls me 'Benjamin' to my face, I'm gonna go nuts!"

Funniest line I've heard all week. Honestly. What could be more disgraceful, insulting, and humiliating than to be called "Benjamin"? This is why Master B. Franklin of the Founding Fathers always insisted friends call him "The Stove," and, in his later years, his homies all called him: "C-Note."

Oscar-winner Benjamin Affleck. You may debate his acting chops, but not his beauty.
 Though I haven't been writing about Survivor, I have been looking at the grotesque spectacle. Russell Jr has a future (a short future) as a horror movie subject. That boy is one troubled mess of conflicted feelings: his desire to be a Good, God-Fearing Boy clashing with his need to rape the Delilahs who are intentionally tempting him by breathing and walking around and stuff, and to then bury them in shallow graves down near Redemption Area, coupled to his inability to keep his mouth closed, all coated with his genuine stupidity, make him a scary study in psychosis. I was actually shocked he wasn't voted out last week, when everyone learned that he was lying to everyone, betraying all confidences, Russell's nephew, and seriously unbalanced, but no. They chose to evict Scary Stacy, The Diva Mortician, who is good with people, once they are dead. Her live social game is disturbing.

Ok, beware Benjamin Linus, although word is, he's reformed.
 Imagine you are all alone except for a camera crew out in Redemption Area, late, late at night, trying to sleep, and without warning, Stacy touches your shoulder, with her hands that handle The Dead. I would SCREAM!!!

Stacy, who may have escaped from the Blaxploitation version of Six Feet Under, explained to us that Tribal Council was all "fake." We know this. It's a TV show. It's fake, like Stacy's sanity. This woman has serious anger issues. I understand not wanting to be hugged by Benjamin. No one in their right mind (which, ironically, excludes Stacy right there) ever wants to touch, let alone be hugged by, Voldepussy. But she has full-on rage happening. Her stiffs - I mean clients, don't give her trouble like this.

Christine to Stacy: "I was hoping it wouldn't be you." In her situation, I'd hope it wasn't Stacy also. I'd be hoping for Albert to come tap, tap, tapping at my backdoor, to be perfectly frank.

Stacy: "All you-all goin' straight to Hell with gasoline drawers on." Yes, just the person I want telling me bedtime stories as she tucks me in, all alone with a camera crew out on Redemption Area at Midnight.

Benjamin Bratt is so dreamy!

 "I don't care what people think of me out here," sobbed Russell Junior, lying once more, as it is painfully obvious that he does care what people think of him, or else, why bother to tell us "I'm a good guy"? And why cut out the eyes of his victims who have seen his lust and his sin, which they, the Temptresses, the Delilahs, the Jezebels, deliberately provoked from him, if not because he couldn't stand the accusations that flashed in their dead eyes as they looked at him. Or was that someone else? The case is still unsolved.

Benjamin was hoping that Albert, beautiful Albert, and that Playboy Bunny-Delilah person (How ironic that as she's out here being a Playboy Cover Model, The Playboy Club became one of the first cancellations of the new season.) would report back from the Duel For Redemption that Christine and Scary Stacy keep their mouths closed like good little soldiers, and not spill any beans to the other side. Has he met Scary Stacy? Did he see, when Russell Junior first came out of the Hantz closet and confessed his Bad Seediness, the triple-take Stacy did at the "revelation," one that Daffy Duck would consider overdone? And then there's the small problem of what possible motive would Scary Stacy have not to use her last remaining weapons, "Tribe Intel"?

Stacy on Coach: "Adults call him Benjamin." I've heard adults call him Voldepussy. Now Stacy might have gotten by if it had stopped there, but helpful Christine had to chime in: "Whether he likes it or not," thus exposing the essential pettiness of the matter. Jeff was on it in an instant, and went right after the underlying pettiness of refusing to call him "Coach," utterly eroding the "adult" portion of the Rage-With-Dignity pose Stacy had chosen for her appearance. But full-on craziness awaited, once Jeff got her mouth going, and he knew then to sit back, like the "clients" she talks to all day long, every day, as she pumps them full of Formaldehyde. The Dead never call her "crazy," or at least, not twice.

Albert, accurately, called Stacy's rant "Sour grapes." It was, big sour grapes, in a big sour whine, but what most of it also was, was incomprehensible, barely intelligible, and dependant on mental leaps she was making alone. Anyway, she got across that Benjamin was running his tribe, much like Ozzie thinks he's running his tribe.

I love the catch-the-balls-in-the-swirly-ramps challenge. It works best as an elimination challenge, with five or more people. All those balls whizzing, and the faltering concentration that, one-by-one, eliminates folks makes for great viewing. As a one-on-one duel, it depended on only a single error, which is a waste of its potential. There was never any doubt that Stacy would lose it. She was enraged, and few things monkey with your concentration more than being enraged. Believe me, I know, God fucking damn it!

Of course, having Jeff Probst hollering stuff at you interferes with concentration also. And he missed a great opportunity to announce, on CBS: "Ladies, its time to drop your balls."

Stacy: "I'm a diva." Ah yes, one of the many, beloved Diva Morticians popular culture is so enamored of. She's like Tina Turner, as she would be if she were up to her elbows in a human cadaver.

Albert was mad at Stacy letting the other tribe know that he is Benjamin's Bitch. "These were the things I thought we'd be able to keep under the radar pretty well. Just pisses me off." Yes, isn't it awful how, when you make an enemy, that enemy then does stuff you wish she wouldn't?

Albert predicted: "Coach is gonna be pissed." Close. If they'd had a reasonable supply of vodka, say 9 or 10 gallons, he'd have gotten good and pissed, but as it was, he merely got pointlessly peeved. He so wanted revenge against Stacy who is totally gone now, beyond his reach. She is with The Dead now, literally. (And you know how work piles up when you're out of the office for two weeks.)

"If anyone calls me 'Sir Benjamin' to my face, I'm gonna go nuts. I will go all Medieval on his diaper."

And so we learned that "Benjamin" is the worst thing you can call someone. "Who's 'Benjamin'?" asked Russell - Shh, My Last Name, Which is Tattooed All Over Me, is a Secret - Junior. That boy is swifter than snails.

Benjamin Graduates
Benjamin: "My parents call me 'Coach'." Oh who do you think you're kidding? Your parents never call you.

Over in Red Tribe Land Elyse is in full Manson Girl Mode for Ozzy. She saw how being a total Susan Atkins to Boston Rob and Russell in past seasons had worked out well for those floaters, and decided to be a floater here. In the words of Pennywise the Dancing Clown: "We all float down here, and when you're down here, you'll float too!"

Not a Benjamin. It's Pennywise, the Dancing Clown.

Ozzy also saw the last season of Survivor, and thinks he's The-Boston Rob-Who's-Done-Porn. Unfortunately, as he will quickly find out today, this isn't a repeat of last season. Everyone else saw last season also, and the others are not happy little Manson Girls.

Elyse thinks it's just cute as Hell the way Cochran works at camp, instead of spending all day sunbathing in her Playboy Mansion Lifestyle. Imagine. If he'd only take the time to tan like she does, he wouldn't be so pasty. (You know, Elyce actually looks like Susan Atkins in 1968, with just a touch of Patricia Krenwinkle.)

Elyse took Cochran's "Little Engine That Could" appellation and instantly, without even meaning it as meanly as it was, emasculated him further into "The Little Cochran That Could." Actually, most of the Little Cochrans I've encountered over the centuries could, it's just, who wanted them too? Cochran refused to confirm the proper spelling of "Cochran" to Ozzy, to keep him from being able to write it on a ballot. If certain past contestants have proved anything, it's that in Tribal Votes, spelling does not count. (Remember "Ressell"?) And in any event, I'm sure Ozzy could spell "Jew Boy" without a problem.

Ozzy saw Benjamin's dominance of his tribe as Natural and Good; the Way the World Works. So did Susan Atkins. However, Hairy Pothead, Dawn, Cochran, and even Keith the attractive-but-mildly-vacant one, felt a new game plan was needed, one where Ozzy didn't ride on their backs to a shot at the big money. (And if they'd enjoyed Ozzy's porn career as I have, they'd know that Ozzy is experienced at riding a co-star's back to a big money shot.)

Jim, aka Hairy Pothead, picked up instantly that Ozzy's unasked-for advice to Benjamin to eliminate Albert (Heresy!) translated into his own plans to eliminate Keith and Hairy. Of course, Ozzy's real plan is to eliminate Cochran, but Cochran, for all his social ineptitude, is smarter than the rest of his tribe combined, and saw that in encouraging the "Ozzy-is-the-threat" campaign, his - ah - bacon would be safe from the fryer again.

Why do I love Survivor? Well part of it is that it occasionally throws stuff at me like Albert's Idol Hunt. Sure his early display of smartness in finding the clue was quickly negated by his sharing it with Benjamin and the dumpy broad, thus allowing Benjamin to go out and actually find the idol (So the idols are both found, and in the possession of the two vets, natch.), but so what? He was shirtless and gorgeous every moment of it. Look at him: physically flawless, and in those wet-shorts walking-shots, clearly hung like a sperm whale, handsome, level-headed, smart-but-not-too-smart. He is The Perfect Man! Tallulah is in love....

We heard Albert say: "I'm gonna have a target on my back once we come to the merge," over a beautiful shot of his walking full back to camera, head-to-toe shot, with him wearing a buff on his head, shoes, and some VERY tight, damp shorts, as indeed my own shorts were becoming quite damp just watching this shot. All I could think was, "That target will be just below your back, gorgeous."

We watched Benjamin pray to whatever weird god he believes in (Yottle? Yog-Sothoth? Baron Munchhausen? Mary Baker Eddy?) to find the idol. He must have prayed to something powerful and big, because he shortly thereafter found the idol. (By looking for it, not by waiting for a "sign".) The only thing big enough to do that which I know Benjamin believes in is his own Awesomeness, so he undoubtedly was praying: "To My own Awesomeness..."

The best parts of Benjamin and Gerold.
 We saw Benjamin make downward-stroking gestures into his seated-lap as he said: "Now I gotta get a hold of myself, and just say: 'Dragon, get back in there'." Benjamin smug in victory is always a sickening sight, but this had him literally aroused, and I don't want to contemplate Benji stroking his dragon, and talking to it, as he forces it back into his pants.

Cochran's Excellent Fishing Expedition really went no where, and was mostly an excuse for gorgeous underwater-photography of Ozzie spearing helpless little animals. Cochran's contribution to the expedition consisted of - ah - his presence, you know, in case a smart Jewish lad of no physical skills should suddenly be needed to - ah - to know something. Yeah, that's it. He was crucial!

Ozzy told us: "Fishing's not easy. It might look easy to somebody watching it at home." Actually, to this viewer watching it at home, it looks impossible. Hollywood Squares looks easy. Underwater hand-spear fishing looks impossible.

"I feel like they're finally becoming My Tribe." said Ozzy, as  we watched him walk ashore carrying his catch, home is the warrior, home with his kills. Ozzy is one Tribal Council away from learning they are not His Tribe.

Ok, he's a loony Creationist, and nearly 40 years on, he's still kissing Richard Nixon's ass, but still, he has money to win.
 Cochran's description of Ozzy as "Mowgli-esque" broke me up. That wasn't Disney's Jungle Book. This one was The Bare Necessities


Not a Benjamin, but he'd have been great at the Immunity Challenge!
I loved the roasted pig challenge. It was disgusting, and it forced Cochran to eat pork, but it was great TV. The only real problem was that, after a 2-ounce loss, it was impossible to assign blame. Not even Elise sat back with a "No thanks. none for me. I'm dieting," or a "Meat? Are you serious? No way. I'm a vegan." I don't know how Hairy Pothead felt after hearing Jeff yell out "Jim with a huge piece of meat at the end," but I'm guessing he was flattered. I'm sure this was far from the first time Benjamin has heard someone yell: "Coach gnawing off something big." I suspect the man is part beaver anyway. He's all pussy. When Jeff yelled out "Dawn with a big hunk of meat," I expected Dawn to mutter: "Oh great, Prom Night all over again!"

Did you get the feeling that this is how Russell Junior always eats?

Jeff Probst: "Now Brandon can't get his out. Rick pulls it out. Both tribes getting to know each other in a whole new way." I'm reminded of the night I learned what "Circle Jerk" means. I was amused by Russell Junior's quiet, automatic "Thank you" to Rick. He was raised right. Not to have brains or be intelligent, but to be polite. I see him in my mind's eye, sitting over the shallow grave he's just buried Mikayla in, sobbing out a very sincere "I'm terribly sorry, ma'am", as he apologizes, and explains that he had to kill the temptress for making him rape her, because he's a good boy. And it's nothing personal, ma'am.

Jeff Probst: "Whatever is in your mouth, put in your basket, then walk away." If only I had a martini for every date I ever went on that ended with those words, sometimes spoken by a cop, once by President Roosevelt. (You should have seen Eleanor's face, which wasn't easy, given the position she was in.)

So the winning team got to keep the spat-out meat? And they took it back to camp and ate it? That was the single grossest Survivor moment to me since they ate the rats a decade ago. Really, truly disgusting. Remember, lots of the players got cut mouths and gums playing this challenge, so they BLED on the food also. I just hope the next challenge wasn't inspired by the Human Centipede movies. (I wanted that role. I was perfect. Instead, I'm going to be in this cheap knock-off of it, The Human Caterpillar.)

 The important thing about how the challenge turned out is that Albert is safe for another week.

Russell Junior made the "feast" of recycled pork. I guess he's used to recipes involving hand-me-down food. "Hey! This meat has only been in one, or at worst, two mouths. Growing up, my par on most dinners was four mouths. And only in their mouths this time too. This is luxury."

Elyse: "We're all gonna have pig guts break-outs tomorrow." Her grasp of science is every bit as weak as Cochran's grasp of society, when he suggested that eating pig will give them all "Oral Herpes." To what terrible extreme did Mama Cochran go to scare her son into keeping Kosher? Or was it just because every guy in his high school that got herpes, got them from, they said, the same pig?

"Doesn't everyone have herpes?" asked life-of-the-party Cochran. He really doesn't get out much, does he?

Ozzy was weirded out by Cochran working a lot, and felt quite secure in his tribe's willingness to vote out someone who contributes constantly over someone who lies around in a bikini all day, saying stuff to Ozzy like: "You're a good guy." (Which, to be fair, to Ozzy, does constitute "contributing.") Ozzy is soon to stop living on Planet Ozzy.

Hairy Pothead believed Keith and he were "on the same page." Maybe so, but in different paragraphs. Keith did not want to blindside Ozzy through Elyse. He and someone called Whitney, whom they swear was on the show prior to her materializing at this point in this episode (Like Nikki & Paolo materializing in season 3 of Lost, and we were supposed just to believe they'd been there all along. Sure. Pull the other one. No! I said the other one!) both liked undermining Ozzy, if they could do it without seeming to do it. The term for this sort of play is "Chickenshit."

They edited the Tribal Council to make it look like Cochran was in deep crap, and this was also part of blindsiding Ozzy by voting out Elyse.

Jeff gave Dawn a chance to go off on Cochran, but she's a Mormon lady from Utah who's probably never seen a Hebrew in person before in all her life, apart from local Indians (Never forget, Mormans believe really weird, stupid stuff.) and in Woody Allen movies. She thinks Cochran is cute as a button, and there's no way she's got the taste to detect the difference in wit between Woody Allenisms written by one of the great jokesmiths of the last 70 years, and Cochran's "hilarious" assertion that they'll all get Oral Herpes from eating that pigmeat.

When Dawn mentioned Cochran's "joke" about all getting a communicable disease, from sharing tainted, unsanitary meat, she said: "I don't know where you get that." Dawn, you get that in science class. Try spending less time in church and more time in a science class. Read  a book by Richard Dawkins or Carl Sagan or Stephen Hawking instead of by Joseph Smith, excuse me, by the Angel Moroni.

Well Elyse suffered a classic blindside that hit Ozzy as hard as it hit her. Loved it.

Anyway, I'm on record: I like a lot of Benjamins.

But there are creepy bad Bens too. One is called "Coach," because all the other Bens, including the rat, voted him off of the name.

Cheers darlings.