Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Earworm: “Sometime in the Morning”


I was still trapped in Florida, waiting for my parents’ house to sell, and as I hoped for reprieve I toyed around with the iPad I had brought to liven up my confinement. I don’t even remember what I was looking for when I stumbled across this old song on YouTube. I had heard it before, of course, when it was new. But back then it was just another song on one of the Monkees albums we kids had around the house.

And now hearing it again, half a century later, I admitted that “Sometime in the Morning” was a damn good song. And why wouldn’t it be? It was, as I already knew, written by Carole King, arguably the greatest American songwriter of the rock era. (With a nod to Paul Simon.) In fact, it was co-written by King and her former partner/husband, lyricist Gerry Goffin. And make no mistake, Goffin’s contribution to the song should not be dismissed. As original and infectious as the melody is, the lyrics, too, are creative and touching, and leave quite the emotional effect.

“Sometime in the Morning” is about a man who has an epiphany, and suddenly and dramatically appreciates the woman he has been with for who knows how long. And to give credit, it’s a joy to watch and listen to the short clips of Micky Dolenz sing it in the video, which is taken from the Monkees’ both wildly popular and surprisingly short-lived TV show of the 1960’s.

Still, as I played the song over and over I eventually switched to viewing the version with just the lyrics on the screen. As the song grew on me it became harder and harder to listen to it as the Monkees, dressed as clown, Benny Hilled it up trying to cheer up some chick at a circus. The song deserved better.

I played that song every day, several times a day, for about a week. When I was driving around that hot, flat state I often caught myself singing it. No doubt about it, “Sometime in the Morning” had become what today is commonly known as an earworm. That is, that song that you play over and over in your head until it almost drives you crazy.

And apparently I’m not the only one who appreciates the song. As you would expect, so does Micky Dolenz. In fact in 2010 he recorded his first album in ten years, cleverly titled King for a Day. On it he covers fourteen Carole King songs, including, of course, “Sometime in the Morning.” In concert Dolenz has introduced it as, “A beautiful song by Carole King.” He’s absolutely right, and it goes like this:






Monday, April 27, 2015

Chocolate Bunnies


I’ll get two Buddies and a Sweetie, I thought to myself. Excellent. I had been invited that evening to a friend’s house for dinner, and having already purchased the requisite bottle of wine, I wanted to pick up something for her three children as well. And as it was just a week before Easter I figured chocolate rabbits would be perfect. The two boys would each get a Buddy Bunny, and the girl a Sweetie Bunny.

I grabbed three of the bunnies off the shelf and headed for the checkout. The plan was working out fine, as both the Buddy Bunny and the Sweetie Bunny weighed fourteen ounces. I knew it wouldn’t at all do to give unequal amounts of chocolate to each of the children. Or have kids perhaps changed since I was growing up? I still remember my mother showing me the scrap of paper where she had totaled the prices of the Christmas presents she had bought for my brother and me. The totals were within a few cents of each other. My brother and I were, incidentally, in our thirties at the time. (If I remember correctly, and I do, Mom had spent exactly twenty-eight cents more on my brother than on me. I figure with just a few more years of therapy I’ll be over it.)

I was accepting my change from the check-out girl when I noticed it. Somehow I had picked up only one Buddy Bunny and two Sweetie Bunnies! Sure, maybe kids have changed, but I doubt so much that a young boy still isn’t going to cringe in embarrassment, or scream in outrage, if he gets handed a bunny named Sweetie. Especially if his brother does not.

I explained the situation to the check-out girl and she said, yes, it would be fine if I went back and swapped out the Sweetie for another Buddy. Actually, I don’t think she had a clue as to what I was babbling about, and didn’t much care. She was, I suspect, due for her break.

When I got back to the chocolate bunny section I was horrified to find that there were no more Buddy Bunnies! Well, that’s the way the chocolate crumbles, kids. One of the boys would have to live with the shame that he had received a Sweetie Bunny. I mean, what was he going to do, turn down what was nearly a full pound of free chocolate? I’m sure.

Better yet, what if I gave each of the boys a Sweetie and gave the girl the Buddy? Yeah, that’s the ticket. After all, it’s the 21st century. Let’s break down those outdated gender stereotypes! I was still congratulating myself on my Solomon-like solution when I looked down at the plastic bags on the car floor. Was it my imagination or were there only two chocolate bunnies there? I pulled over and frantically opened the plastic bag. What the hell happened to the other Sweetie? (In truth there was a third bunny in the bag, a much smaller one that I had also purchased. It was, of course, for me, and doesn’t figure prominently in our story.)

It’s a bitch and a half to get in and out of the parking lot where I bought the bunnies. I also knew that if I returned to that grocery store and asked that check-out girl if she remembered if I had left a chocolate bunny there, I’d be as familiar to her as an alien that had just beamed down from the Andromeda Galaxy.  Probably less so.

Ah, but my brain was still firing on all synapses. I would not let this chocolate bunny fiasco beat me. And so I continued on to the nearby CVS, where I knew they had a fine selection of chocolate bunnies. If luck was with me, and I saw no reason why it would be, they might even have another Buddy Bunny. Now, wouldn’t that just solve everything!

They didn’t have a Buddy Bunny, of course, but just as I remembered they did have a pretty good assortment. And then I saw him: a not particularly creatively named bunny with the moniker of Peter Rabbit. He looked to be about the same size as Buddy and Sweetie, and so I zoomed in for a closer look. Peter was 13 ounces, just an ounce short of Buddy and Sweetie’s fighting weight. Close enough, I thought. If those kids want to quibble over a single ounce of chocolate, have at it. I’m washing my hands of the whole sticky affair.

Not so quickly, though. While I was checking out Peter Rabbit’s weight I also noticed more of the description. Goddammit! Peter Rabbit, it seems, was “chocolate-y.”  It took me several years to train my wife in this regard. Don’t buy me a rabbit that’s described as “chocolate-y” or “chocolate-flavored” I would instruct her. That means it’s not real milk chocolate. And though you’ll agree that I am a hypocrite when it comes to many, many things, chocolate is not one of them. I knew then and there that I was not going hand some poor kid a low-rent bunny that was not only an ounce lighter than the rabbits received by his siblings, but was fake chocolate besides. And back onto the shelf hopped that ersatz chocolate rabbit named Peter.

It was then that a rabbit called Bunny Big Ears caught my eye. He’s been around a few years now, and is probably the cutest of all the massed produced chocolate bunnies, what with those giant ears and all. And yes, he is indeed chocolate, the real deal. Still, one look and I could tell he didn’t weigh nearly as much as Buddy and Sweetie, despite his outsized auricles. A close examination of the box verified that Bunny Big Ears, notwithstanding his grandiose demeanor, weighed but ten ounces.

It is said that the greatest ideas, the best songs, the noblest inventions, often come right out of the blue, suddenly and dramatically, like a bolt of lightning. And that’s what happened to me on that day one week before Easter at the CVS store. I picked up Bunny Big Ears, and then also snatched a lesser bunny, one that was so small that he wasn’t even given a name by his manufacturer. No matter, because what that bunny did have was a description on his much smaller box, and that description told me he weighed exactly…four ounces. And so when combined with Bunny Big Ears’ ten ounces, well, you get the picture.

And so I arrived at the dinner with my not inexpensive (although certainly by no means expensive) bottle of wine, as well as the chocolate bunnies for the children. I gave Buddy Bunny to one boy, Sweetie Bunny to the girl and Bunny Big Ears and his diminutive and nameless companion to the other boy, each child receiving exactly fourteen ounces of chocolate. And even then, hours after I had come up with this extraordinarily wise solution to the bunny dilemma, I was still basking in the warm glow of my undeniable brilliance. And then I heard it:

“Hey!” said the girl in an indignant voice. “How come he gets two?”

Friday, April 24, 2015

Quiz: Icons of the Sixties


It was once a clever and fresh aphorism: If you can remember the Sixties you weren’t there. Complete nonsense, of course, but amusing. Over time, however, the adage has become tired and old, much like the denizens of that decade themselves. And judging by the rate of the ticking and tocking, it won’t be much longer until we’ll be saying, If you remember the Sixties, your dementia hasn’t set in yet.

Ah, but there is still a generation of us who were there, and we do remember. Well, we remember most of it anyway. Or do we? One way to find out is to take this quiz about some of these once-famous people and places who were such a major part of what is rapidly becoming that long-ago decade.

Oh, and before you begin, let me give you a little hint. It’s no understatement to say I’ve worshipped the Beatles since that historic night in 1964 when I frantically tried to memorize their first names as they momentarily flashed on the television screen. I’ve written extensively about them and even count the number of Beatles reference I still come across each day. Yes, they were the greatest thing about the Sixties, but not the only thing. So I’ve made this a Beatles-free quiz about the Sixties, and may God forgive me.


1. Her real name is Lesley Hornby. One of the first super-models, she was named “Face of the Year” in 1966, as well as “British Woman of the Year.”

2. This roadway was home to many of the hippest boutiques, fashion designers and underground music bars. It became the place to be in swinging London, with bands such as the Rolling Stones and the Who performing, as well as shopping, there.

3. This group, which included Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden and four others, were put on trial for conspiracy and inciting to riot for their actions during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. None were sentenced to jail or fines.

4. His most famous book, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, was made into an Oscar-winning film. He is perhaps equally as famous as one of the Merry Pranksters, who drove a school bus across the United States while under the influence of LSD.

5. A founding member of the Oakland, California Hell’s Angels, he is featured in Hunter S. Thompson’s book Hell’s Angels, and is himself the author of five books. He has appeared in several films and was one of the Hell’s Angels present at the infamous Rolling Stones concert at Altamont.

6. A teacher, author and political activist, she ran twice for Vice President on the Communist Party USA ticket. Ronald Reagan requested that she not be allowed to teach in any university in California. She was acquitted of conspiracy charges relating to the armed takeover of a California courtroom.

7. This writer was born in England, and is best known for popularizing Eastern philosophy in the West. His book, The Way of Zen, was an early best-seller on the subject of Buddhism. He experimented with psychedelic drugs, including LSD and mescaline, and said of their use, “If you get the message, hang up the phone.”

8. This peace activist decided that he would be arrested less frequently at protests if he dressed like a clown. His real name is Hugh Romney. He is the official clown of the Grateful Dead, and he founded the activist commune the Hog Farm.

9. He is the creator of comic character Fritz the Cat and Mr. Natural. He first gained fame when his work was published in the underground comic Zap Comix. While meditating he conceived of the magazine Weirdo, which was published for thirteen years.

10. He was a former military analyst. As an employee of the RAND Corporation he released what became known as The Pentagon Papers, igniting a firestorm of controversy.  He was arrested under the Espionage Act, but all charges were eventually dropped.


ANSWERS

1. Twiggy
2. Carnaby Street
3. The Chicago Seven
4. Ken Kesey
5. Sonny Barger
6. Angela Davis
7. Alan Watts
8. Wavy Gravy
9. Robert Crumb
10. Daniel Ellsberg


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Presumed Guilty


I’m going to use the Bill Cosby scandal to illustrate my point, but in truth the misuse of this expression had been irritating me for years, long before the accusations against Cosby came to light. The expression is, “A person is innocent until proven guilty.” You hear it all the time, not infrequently by Cosby’s defenders, and it makes me cringe every time.

First of all, the expression actually states that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. They even get this wrong at the beginning of Cops. And what the presumption of innocence means is that when a person stands accused of a crime, generally in a court of law, the burden of proving guilt is on the accuser, rather than the accused having to prove himself innocent.

Let’s take a look at the famous O.J. Simpson trial. It was the job of the prosecution to prove that Simpson had committed the two murders. They failed to accomplish this, at least in the eyes of the jury. Now, assuming that Simpson did indeed kill those two people (and you and I have no way of knowing for sure) there’s no way he can be considered innocent. He may not have been convicted, but he most certainly is guilty of the crime.

A year or so ago I heard an interview with comedian Jerry Seinfeld, who stated that the three greatest stand-up comedians of all time are Richard Pryor, George Carlin and Bill Cosby. I recall this because they’re the same three that I would have chosen. Sometimes Cosby, who works clean and never presented a particularly hip persona, doesn’t get the appreciation he deserves, so it was nice to hear him get the recognition.  

Not every one of Bill Cosby’s accusers is saying he raped them. Some have simply come forward with an account of how Cosby crudely attempted to seduce them, and was rejected. However, if even one of the rape allegations is true, Cosby is a criminal. Again and again women have said that while with Cosby they mysteriously passed out and woke up naked, often with Cosby having sex with them, or with Cosby not there but with the feeling that they had had sex.

If Cosby did in fact rape these women but never stands trial, because of statute of limitations loopholes and/or secret payoffs, it is legally wrong and morally reprehensible to describe him as “innocent,” as the people who still attend his performances often do. If he raped those women he is guilty, even if he never steps inside of a courtroom. As with O.J. Simpson, we can never know the truth with absolute certainty, but as thinking adults we can look at the evidence and form our own opinions. And many people, myself included, now believe it’s at least possible for someone to be both one of the greatest comics in history and a serial rapist.

One thing that you can definitely count on, however. You will never hear me defend Cosby, or any accused person, by claiming he is “innocent until proven guilty.” It is simply an automatic, go-to defense for people who have no other evidence to support their argument, and besides, it’s not what the concept means. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Guess Who #39



It’s not that tonight’s Mr. X is a hero of mine. In fact, most of his work was created before my time, if you can imagine such a thing. Still, there’s no denying that Mr. X was a powerhouse in the field of cinema in his day, and you’ve most certainly heard his name. And if, before taking this quiz, you come up a little short in your attempt to identify even a few of his accomplishments, that’s okay. You’ll certainly be able to do so after taking it.


Mr. X’s middle name was Marcellus.

Mr. X was born in 1906.

Mr. X was nominated for an Oscar ten times.

Mr. X began perming in Vaudeville at the age of three.

Mr. X was married five times.

Mr. X often cast his father in movies.

Mr. X often cast his daughter in movies.

Mr. X often cast Humphrey Bogart in movies.

Mr. X is the only person to direct both a parent and a child in Oscar-winning roles.

Mr. X was a licensed pilot.

Mr. X said, “If I ever do a movie that glorifies war, somebody shoot me.”

Mr. X was an amateur boxing champion.

Mr. X received an Oscar nomination in five consecutive decades.

Mr. X once had a pet monkey.

Mr. X was proclaimed the 13th greatest director of all time by Entertainment Weekly.

Mr. X appeared on a U.S. postage stamp in 2012.

Mr. X said, “I prefer to think that God is not dead, just drunk.”

Mr. X was born in Missouri and died in Rhode Island.


My, that certainly is a long list of clues up there. So tell me, who is Mr. X?


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Talk Show: The Ultimate Prize


It was 1997 and I was enjoying a new game show called Win Ben Stein’s Money. It was fun to try to answer the questions and add to my vast storehouse of useless information, of course, but more and more I found myself tuning in to watch Stein’s co-host on the show. He was a bit chubby, poorly dressed and had a quick, smart-ass wit that made the show a lot of fun. His name, of course, was Jimmy Kimmel.

Kimmel remained on Money for three years, but eventually left to co-produce and co-host the hilariously creative The Man Show. I still remember thinking that it was much too soon for Kimmel to leave this show when he did just that, in 2003. The show was at its creative peak and had a lot of mileage left. Kimmel left because the Holy Grail of television had been laid down before him: he was offered his own talk show.

Short of a break-out movie career, the ultimate achievement for successful television funnymen (and funnywomen) seems to be sitting behind the desk of their very own talk show. Over and over we seem to lose uniquely entertaining programs, and their stars, to the apparently irresistible lure of the talk show. You would think the formula would have worn out by now, with the host feigning fascination with a seemingly endless parade of celebrities pretending they are not there to hawk their latest movie, book or TV show. It has been, after all, fifty-three years since Carson began his celebrated late-night reign.

But no, it seems that few can resist that seat behind the desk. We lost The Man Show because of it.  Some might recall that before she had her talk show, Chelsea Handler hosted a sketch comedy show on the E! network called The Chelsea Handler Show. It was funny, daring and something fresh. Ah, but it didn’t fit the formula. It lasted two years, after which Handler began to host Chelsea Lately, which was, and let’s say it together, a talk show.

And that brings us to my main point, the most crushing blow of all. I still remember that he was a little shaky during the first weeks of his new fake news show. He stumbled over lines and at times I felt just a bit embarrassed for him. Back then it would have been nearly impossible to imagine that Stephen Colbert would host his Colbert Report for the next decade, amassing a catalogue of 1,447 shows. Television is much like any art form. There is some real crap at the bottom, a huge mass of mediocrity in the middle and a slim layer of brilliance floating on top. For ten seasons The Colbert Report, without a doubt, was nothing short of brilliant.

And then he was tapped to replace the retiring David Letterman. Yes, Colbert was leaving the Report to do…a talk show. I suppose it’s really not a mystery why he, or any performer, would make this choice. Apparently a late-night talk show, especially on one of the major networks, is a huge step up the showbiz ladder, and I assume it is, as such, accompanied by the appropriate rewards, monetary and otherwise.

There might be sharper minds and quicker wits on television than Stephen Colbert, but none come to mind. And no doubt he will find even greater late-night success when he begins his new gig. The price he’ll have to pay, however, is the softening up of that razor sharpness. He’ll have to appeal to a wider audience and therefore use broader humor. He’ll probably even have to, dare I say it, “dumb it down” for his new audience. He’ll have to play it safe. Oh, he’ll be fun to watch, no doubt. And it will be easier, too, for us viewers. You know, without all that thinking to get in the way of the laughs.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

He Loves Garlic


It’s called Cheesy Chicken and it’s a simple recipe that I’ve carried with me for about thirty years, ever since making it for a long-ago girlfriend. And on this night just last week it looked like I had all of the necessary ingredients in the house.  This shouldn’t have been too surprising, since there really are only three. I had the chicken, I had the cheddar cheese and I had the cream of mushroom soup.  Great! Let’s make dinner!

I had already grated the cheese and was in the middle of browning the chicken when I reached up to grab the can of soup. Hmmm…that’s interesting. It was indeed a can of cream of mushroom soup, but somehow I had accidentally bought the “with garlic” variety. Well, how much difference could it make, really?

I opened the can and tasted a bit of the soup. I was not pleased. It didn’t taste like good old cream of mushroom soup. Frankly, it tasted worse. Much worse.  Ah, but I had already started making dinner, and so convinced myself it would come out just fine.

But it didn’t. The Cheesy Chicken, one of my favorites, didn’t taste right that night. And it was no secret why. It was the garlic. Now, had you asked me earlier that day if I liked garlic I would have given a resounding, “Sure! Who doesn’t?”

That doesn’t, however, mean it needs to be added to everything. In fact, there are very few things that are enhanced by garlic. Have you ever been to the Garlic Festival in Gilroy? There’s always a long line of people waiting to buy the famous garlic ice cream.  I love ice cream, and a few years ago I finally made it to Gilroy to taste the garlic kind.  It was awful. How could it not be? It’s garlic in ice cream! And no matter what people claim, they don’t like it. They just eat it so they can tell their co-workers that yes, of course they ate the garlic ice cream at the festival.

You no doubt know someone who claims to love garlic, or you yourself might be that very person. They go on and on about garlic. Oh, they put it in everything.  I suppose it’s possible that they do actually love it, but I have my doubts. You know, I love ice cream. I love the Beatles. I love breasts. But loving garlic? Nah, not even close.

And then there’s the guy, and for some reason it always seems to be a man, who has to prove his love of this stinking rose. And woe be to you if you find yourself a dinner guest at his place. You see, this maniac has a point to make, and he’ll do so by putting more garlic into a single meal than most humans consume in a lifetime. 

And soon the people sitting around the table, those who had only just recently proclaimed their undying  love of garlic (“Mmm…what smells so good?”) will have quieted down, slowly eating their dinner, politely complimenting the cook and  surreptitiously making eye contact with their fellow diners. Maybe, if it’s a particularly close group of friends, somebody might mention there’s a bit too much garlic in the meal. At this point the whole group will quickly jump in to agree. The cook will just smile, of course. He’s sorry, he’ll chuckle, but you see he can’t help himself. He just loves garlic.


Friday, January 09, 2015


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D’oh! A Long Overdue Simpsons Quiz


 
How is this even possible? I was chatting on the phone today with Miss Lucy, the Queen of Atomic, when we discovered that we are both fans of The Simpsons. Miss Lucy said she had taken some of my oh-so-popular quizzes but didn’t remember the Simpsons one. I told her I’d send it off to her right away.

Well, I searched through all 1400 of these damn things and guess what? No Simpsons quiz. To be sure there were quizzes dealing with all of my other favorite things, like the Beatles, Howard Stern and at least three on Seinfeld, but somehow the Simpson got overlooked.

And so tonight we correct this egregious oversight. After all, I’m only here to please my readers, and if that reader happens to be a young woman so much the better. So without any further delay allow me to present my very first Simpsons quiz. This one, of course, goes out to Miss Lucy. And after this build-up I’m expecting a score of nothing less than a 90%, young lady.


  1. Which one is not a Simpsons character?
      a. Sideshow Mel
      b. Lunchlady Doris
      c. Air Force Amy
      d. Bumblebee Man

  1. What is Apu’s last name?
      a. Nahasapeemapetilon
      b. Nehpassapaatem
      c. Nupatahemisutt
      d. Smith

  1. Which character is still alive?
      a. Maude Flanders
      b. Bleeding Gums Murphy
      c. Fat Tony
      d. Dr. Marvin Monroe

  1. What breed of dog is Santa’s Little Helper?
      a. Dachshund
      b. English Terrier
      c. Bulldog
      d. Greyhound

  1. How many eyes did the mutated fish have?
      a. One
      b. Two
    c. Three
    d. Four

  1. What is Lenny’s last name?
      a. Carlson
      b. Leonard
      c. LaRue
      d. It’s never given

  1. Which one is not a schoolyard bully?
      a. Jimbo
      b. Kearney
      c. Rags
      d. Dolph

  1. Which character is based on Mike Tyson?
      a. Duffman
      b. Dreaderick Tatum
      c. Kirk Van Houten
      d. Ranier Wolfcastle

  1. On which program did the Simpsons originally appear?
      a. The Carol Burnett Show
      b. The Tracey Ullman Show
      c. The Tony Randall Show
      d. The David Letterman Show

  1. What are Itchy and Scratchy?
      a. A cat and mouse
      b. A dog and cat
      c. Two cats
      d. Two dogs


ANSWERS

  1. AIR FORCE AMY is not a character on The Simpsons.  She is, however, a real-life prostitute on one of those filthy HBO programs. And if you knew that you should be ashamed of yourself. (Me? Oh, I just heard about her somewhere. Ahem.)
  2. Apu’s last name is NAHASAPEEMAPETILON, and thank God for copy and paste.
  3. Of that quartet only FAT TONY still survives.
  4. Santa’s Little Helper is a GREYHOUND who lost his last race on Christmas Eve, causing Homer to remark, “He’s a Simpson.”
  5. The mutated fish who swam a little too close to the nuclear power plant had THREE eyes.
  6. Lenny’s last name is LEONARD, which is a pretty strange last name. Kind of a strange first one too, now that I think of it.
  7. There is no Simpsons character named RAGS, bully or otherwise.
  8. DREADERICK TATUM  is based on Tyson. He once said of his hometown of Springfield: “That town is a dump. If you ever see me back there again you’ll know I f&*$#d up pretty bad.”
  9. The Simpson family first appeared on THE TRACEY ULLMAN SHOW on April 19, 1987. Ullman later sued the program, claiming that at least part if its success was due to it having appeared on her show. The judge is still laughing.
  10.  Well of course you knew that Itchy and Scratchy are a cat and a mouse. Ah, but          which is which?   


So how did you all do? How about you, Miss Lucy, did you get at least nine correct? If not, you got some splainin’ to do!

Monday, January 05, 2015

While My Guitar…


Is it possible that you, the staunchest and most loyal of Beatle fans, could ever imagine a circumstance where an iconic trophy of no less prestige than a guitar that had been autographed by George Harrison is purposely destroyed, and you actually support and even cheer this action? Hold on, don't answer too quickly. First you must hear the story, and then you can decide. Sound fair? Okay then, listen up:

George Harrison died of lung cancer on November 29, 2001. A legal complaint was filed shortly after on behalf of his estate, claiming that Dr. Gilbert Lederman, a radiation oncologist, had sometimes brought along his family while visiting the dying Harrison. On one occasion the family began to sing, forcing the former Beatle to gasp, "Please stop talking." The complaint also alleges that later Lederman had his 12 year old son play guitar for the captive Harrison, after which he asked him to autograph the guitar.

"I do not even know if I know how to sign my name anymore," pleaded Harrison.

The complaint claims that Dr. Lederman then picked up Harrison's hand and guided it, saying "Come on, George, you can do this. G-E-O..."

The suit was eventually settled out of court. One of the stipulations was that the guitar that Harrison had been forced to sign must be "disposed of." How the guitar was destroyed has never been made clear, but I'm sure you'll now agree that getting rid of the musical instrument that surely would have become known as "George Harrison's Death Guitar" was the proper thing to do.

Or perhaps not. Maybe the guitar should have instead been preserved and hung on a wall, with Harrison's shaky signature serving as a stark and cruel reminder to us all that people, and especially sick and dying people, should be treated with kindness and dignity. And even better, instead of the guitar, maybe it should have been the callous Dr. Lederman himself who should have been disposed of. 

With kindness and dignity, of course.  




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