30 Years Ago Today, On the Summer Solstice of ’87

… Donna and I wanted to get married because the day fell on a Sunday and would be easy to always remember. And would always feature the longest potential sunshine of the year. But our selected minister had a commitment to a weekly sermon on the radio (!!) and so couldn’t do it until the next day. So we were married on a Monday — thirty years ago tomorrow.

“National Lampoon” (What, Again?!?!)

Almost all of these depressing and catastrophic developments were news to me.  As I said earlier, in what has proved to be the most surprising frequent topic in this blog, I stopped paying much attention to the operation and its spin-offs after 1978 or so. (I’ve never even seen a “Vacation” movie since I regard Chevy Van Chaser as toxic unfunny.) But the NatLamp story is still enlightening on several levels.

One, in the contest to revive a once-notorious outsider magazine, Punk and CREEM now have to give up the Botch Crown to National Lampoon. Obviously no other publication has fallen as far or squandered so much energy.

Two, this is further confirmation of a most peculiar failure of understanding: reviving a brand is weak and lazy. It’s just throwing out an imitation. Inventing a hit brand is a lot harder, but the real task at hand.

Third, the piece touches on a crucial transformation: NatLamp started as a mixture of the subversive and the sophomoric. And it eventually went with the easier option. Part of that whole horrible wave where racist and sexist and generally bigoted humor was considered “bold” or “rule-breaking,” whereas the opposite type of satire was and is the tough way forward.

Yeh, I know — it’s cheap fun to satirize the squares and the Establishment. But those are extinct. The powerful and smug and cruel and hate-mongers and anti-thinkers are the targets of our time, and they can be fired upon.

Followup on the Park Hotel

There were three or four other permanent renters — all seniors — who were able to swing a little more independence than the Old Folks’ Home. They all seemed so alone and low on resources, though. One particular fellow, who spent much of his daytime sitting in the comfy chair in the lobby and said little, had a name that remains one of my all-time faves:

Nobel Summers.

“On Thermonuclear War” — Ageless Insanity

Sad to say, it’s still essential to get to know Herman Kahn. His masterpiece, On Thermonuclear War, is the most meticulously deranged book I know of.The horror just builds and builds. Of course we could get through an all-out nuclear war. My favorite suggestion is to feed the most radiation-contaminated food to the oldest people in the fallout shelter, since they’re gonna die soonest, anyway. Whether any sane person would want to live on in such a world is a question never asked. The utterly wacko tone hanging over it is, “well, you could get up in the morning and still salute the Stars and Stripes and that would make it all worth it.”

I despise fat-shaming, but I will say in this case, Kahn being gruesomely overweight added to the effect of his madness.

The Current Dope on Snopes

One of my earliest favorite things on the interweb. I realized you could take a prime public temperature by seeing what rumors were taking hold currently. I noticed Barbara Mikkelson’s entries disappeared quite a while back and I wondered what the hell had happened. Too bad she’s out of the picture — enjoyed her wry humor touches quite a bit.