Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sarah Palin: The Dark Side of Cute

In a recent opinion piece from the Orlando Sentinal, “With Palin, it’s all about the messenger, not the message” writer Kathleen Parker explores the “genius” of Sarah Palin’s “…jaw-juttingly patriotic and estrogen rich, not to mention cute as a button…” approach. Lo and behold, a phrase I thought of long ago has finally come to pass. Sarah Palin personifies “The dark side of cute!”

A fool's paradise?

Smart Enough to Vote?

Are you smart enough to vote?
Be advised, some of the dumbest people are.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Oil Junkie Cartoon from 1988

The tragedy of the Gulf Oil Spill reminded me of this political cartoon by Martin Kozlowski that I had saved from over twenty years ago, so I’m passing it along. I think that America needs an oil change! Isn’t it time for an intervention?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

More on Doing it with Duets

After seeing the Cass Elliot and Andy Williams video, I realize that we tagged Words/Words of Love with You’ve Got Your Troubles, I’ve got Mine. So that was a triple-play!

I should acknowledge how much both Andy and Cass contributed to the success of the piece. It was fairly complex arrangement, but they made it seem effortless. They worked very hard on it as both singers and actors to pull it off so well. They did it in one-take with no edit!

Another quodlibet (two songs at the same time) arrangement that Allan Blye and I worked up for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was a trio number involving Tom & Dick and Mickey Rooney. Tom wanted to sing Side by Side and Dick wanted to sing You’re Just in Love (I hear music and there’s no one there) and Mickey was torn between two Smothers! The collision of lyric from the two songs was pretty funny. For example, I remember “We ain’t got a barrel of... music… …and there’s no one there” and then “I smell… …ragged and funny.”

I also forgot to mention how important my arranger and close friend, Denny Vaughan, was to figuring out all of these tricky combos of songs. He was a master!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Muck Stops Here!

An oil spill souvenir:

Every person on the Gulf Coast should get a
Harry Trumanesque sign for their desk that says,

“The muck stops here.”

Monday, May 10, 2010

Do it with Duets!

Today I spent some time looking for duets to share with my friends, Evynne Smith & Peter Hollens. A few years ago, Evynne recorded a great lead vocal for my song, Eddie, I'm Ready, which appeared on my album, Electrical gas. I saw Peter & Evynne perform here in Eugene at the The Shedd and it got me thinking about material for them.

My most famous duet is Cinderella Rockefella. It was made popular by Esther and Abi Ofarim back in 1968. It was a hit in every foreign country, except Japan and other parts of Asia. It never hit big in the US, but it was performed on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour several times. It’s a novelty tune and might be considered to be in the English Busker-Skiffel group style. There are several videos of it on YouTube including a performance by The Carpenters that I didn't even know existed! Cinderella Rockefella was most recently used in the film, Walk On Water.

I wrote and arranged a few different songs as duets for television shows that I worked on back in the 60's and 70's. One of the things we explored was the notion of quodlibets... an arrangement that is two songs sung together at the same time.

I arranged Words, by the Bee-Gees with Words of Love, by the Mamas and Papas for Andy Williams and Cass Elliot to sing together for her first television appearance without the Mamas and Papas. The show was called the H. Andy Williams Kaleidoscope Company.

My most popular combo was aired on The Summer Brothers Smothers Show. Glenn Campbell was the host and Allen Blye and I worked up a duet with him singing By the Time I Get to Phoenix, and Nancy Sinatra singing, I Say a Little Prayer. Glenn eventually recorded this arrangement of I Say a Little Prayer with Anne Murray on one of his albums.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Adopt-a-Pull Out Program

A piece by Alexandra Lange in today's New York Times reminded me of an idea I had back in August 2003;

Adopt-A-Pullout program is a shorter and less expensive way to be a part of the Adopt-A-Highway program. If you can’t afford to "adopt" a long stretch of highway, or freeway, perhaps you could support the maintenance of a pull out or passing lane, or even a cul-de-sac?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Oscar for Extras

Written: {3/10/10}

Since the Academy Awards has expanded it’s award categories over the years - in 2010 there were (10) films, up from (5), nominated for best picture, and they are considering a future award for best Movie Titles Sequence, why not an Oscar for Extras?

It would obviously have to be a separate event from the main red carpet event in Hollywood. There could be thousands in wings and in the audience! They would show clips of extras scenes from the nominated films – Pure extras! No stars! No Story!

This idea came to me back in 2005 after having seen Shaun of the Dead. The extras in that film were remarkable and would have won hands down as far as I’m concerned.

The film Gandhi had 300,000 extras. What a bill to pay if it had won!

Question: What does a single Oscar statue cost to produce?

Things to consider: The engraving of the winning picture on 10,000 awards would take months.

It would take hours for the winners (10,000 soldiers, perhaps in make up and costume?) to accept the statues.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Corporate America Announces Partnership With Nature

Back in February of 2004 I wrote a piece satirizing our corporate culture.

Five years later, in August of 2009,

I saw a review of Rebecca Solnit’s book "A Paradise Built in Hell" in the N.Y. Times.

Is this another instance of parallel thinking?

My satire went a bit further than Solnit’s analysis,

applying our mutual observation to its ultimate conclusion;

corporations will eventually embrace this oblique perspective.

Corporate America Announces

Partnership with Nature.

Judging from mankind’s overwhelmingly generous responses to natural disasters, it is obvious that catastrophe brings out the best in mankind: i.e. Hurricane Katrina.

Whereas the Bush Administration was a disaster in leadership,

the people of America pitched in wholeheartedly and came to the rescue.

Since natural disasters bring out the best in all of us we think nature’s on to something

and that’s why we’re philosophically joining together.

Mankind, at its best, needs catastrophes.

Because of the Bush Administration, we have a great future to look forward to.

Mankind will have to be at it’s best, thanks to them, for a long time to come.

Perhaps our recent leadership should be honored instead of vilified

for their contribution to our future disasters.

Therefore, we, the Corporations of America, Wall Street Financiers, and the Banking Industry

now believe that, only if we have a future of ongoing catastrophes,

will mankind be at its best and achieve true nobility.

If Nature can forge disasters and bring out the best in mankind…

so can we.

Monday, March 1, 2010



In regards to the matter of blogging...

It dawns on me that linking up things I’ve written in the past with current events could be fodder for a blogging blurb.

Therefore, in reference to the recent article in the N.Y. Times...

about one of Descartes letters being found, I hereby submit the following originally written in 1967.



Descartes' search for a simple explanation of his philosophy had been formulating in his mind for a long time, but how exactly to state it precisely and concisely eluded him. However, one night as he struggled with the problem it came to him in a flash in the following way;

It was very late, the deepest part of the night. There were scraps of paper scattered about with notes scrawled on them; half finished sentences, marked through words; the detritus of forging an idea's existence.

His roommate, on a bed directly behind his desk, lay fast asleep. Descartes, weary from the mental frustration, rubbed his eyes, yawned and leaned back in his chair. Losing his balance, he fell over backwards, and crashed against his roommates bed. Awakened suddenly, his roommate sat up and seeing Descartes sprawled on the floor said, "What the hell's going on?"

Picking himself up off the floor Descartes replied, "I was stretching and leaned back too far in my chair and it tipped over. Sorry."

"Well, what time is it anyway?" the roommate asked.

“I think it's 4:00 a.m.,” Descartes replied.

"What did you say?”

“I said 'I think it's 4:00 am’"

“Oh…” answered his roommate,

“That makes more sense… I thought you said

‘I think, Therefore I am.’”

Friday, February 19, 2010

We'll B.C. -ing You

I’ve really enjoyed watching the Winter Olympics on TV. So I’ve written a parody for the occasion. I have a lot of Canadian friends, and in fact, my wife is Canadian, so this one is just for them, and especially for her!

It shaped up as a sort of, ersatz invitation promo ad for the world to enjoy this event in their “super, natural” country.

I love the challenge of rhyming unusual names and places and this one was a double corker with double entendre twists! It’s been a pressure!

I suppose it’s a sound track for a video of the things mentioned. I would ever get the chance to participate in creating something for real for the Winter Olympics, so this is a fantasy about being part of them on TV.

The tune my parody is based on is: “I’ll Be Seeing You” (Irving Kahal/Sammy Fain).

Here’s both set’s of lyrics – the original – with my parody lyrics in red.

I'll be seeing you / We’ll B.C.-ing you
In all the old familiar places / In all our cold come-hither places
That this heart of mine embraces / as the Maple Leaf embraces
All day through. / Olympiad

In that small cafe; / The stadium at B.C. Place
The park across the way; / That Richmond Oval Skating space
The children's carousel; / PAC Coliseum
The chestnut trees; / The Cypress Slopes
The wishin' well. / Where you’ll ski ‘em

I'll be seeing you / We’ll be showing you
In every lovely summer's day; / Runs at the Whistler Sliding Center
In every thing that's light and gay. / Where the “Born to Luge” spend winter
I'll always think of you that way. / With the new hot-shot contenders

I'll find you / Even Tho
In the morning sun / We’ve had no snow
And when the night is new. / And had to what with do
I'll be looking at the moon, / If you catch us on the tube
But I'll be seeing you. / Then we’ll B.C.-ing you!

The Olympics will be over soon, so there’s not time or reason to tweak it.

I wrote it all in one day, but Hey! It was a great one; I was part of the Olympics, in spirit at least.

Mason Williams 19 February 2010

PS sorry, no demo but here’s a lead sheet. I had to change the melodic rythms a lot to accommodate the words.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tiger Woods' Cell Phone Fiasco:Telephone Miranda Rights

Perhaps every phone call should be proceeded by a Miranda Rights Warning.

You have the right to remain silent... or keep talking. However, remember anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law or public opinion.

Regarding the Tea Party Movement: Cattle Spook

Wall Street and Corporate America have treated the people of America like cattle...
Now they're about to stampede.