Don Pardo, 1918-2014


Don Pardo, Longtime Saturday Night Live Announcer, Dead at 96 [TVLine]

Well at least capitalism officially is finished as the robots take over all of the jobs. It won’t unfold exactly like Marx’s vision, but apparently the inevitable self-destruction is near. The Job KKKreators long ago forgot that one company’s payroll expenses are another company’s revenues, so all that remains to be seen is how rapidly society will evolve into whatever’s next–Star Trek utopia or Mad Max hellscape.

Live From New York It’s Cannibal Anarchy!

Reading the NYT obit. As a staff announcer, it was Pardo who broke into WNBC programming to deliver the news of JFK’s assassination.

Me, I first heard him announcing the Art Fleming-era Jeopardy in the late ’60s, years before SNL. In the late ’70s, Tom Snyder did a group interview with the old-school NBC announcers including Pardo, on location at a favorite watering hole near 30 Rock. Some day that’ll turn up on YouTube.

I have no idea who this is. Not boasting, just saying.

@Benedick: “Live, from New York, it’s Saturday Night!”
If you ever heard the intro to SNL, that was Don Pardo. Great voice.

@Benedick: Not exactly equivalent to the BBC test-card girl, but similar cultural presence. Don Pardo’s been hovering around the edges of my life for fifty years.

Don Pardo was 57 when SNL debuted in 1975. At the time, it would have been just another gig in a long career, no more noteworthy than announcing the original Jeopardy or the original Price is Right.

But early SNL turned him into a character — it’s handy having a veteran announcer in the room for TV parodies — and through sheer longevity, he became a minor American cultural icon.

Late Fame fascinates me. At any moment, your entire life can be redefined.

@Mistress Cynica: The intro to SNL is going to sound “off” forever.

(And yes, I still watch it off and on. Arguments about “it hasn’t been good since 19XX”… commence!)

@rptrcub: 1995.

Also, SNL has cheated on occasion, using Darrell Hammond to fake an unavailable Pardo. I suspect they won’t pull that trick this fall.

@nojo: I can only throw up my astonished hands.

Holy Fuck, ISIS just beheaded a journalist. They have another one in captivity.

@Tommmcatt Au Gros Sel: With an 8 in bowie knife? I can’t even.

That poor man. After almost 2 years. That poor man. And his family. That poor man. I have private hopes that should stay private about how he might have experienced what was happening. Talk about heart of darkness.

@Tommmcatt Au Gros Sel: His poor family. And what I couldn’t figure out from the NYT article that says the other captured reporter was shown on the video was whether the other reporter was right there present when he was decapitated.

The news that US Army special ops tried and failed to rescue the two reporters will no doubt get the Walnuts/FauxNewz types all frothed up. Somehow it was Obama’s fault they didn’t recover the hostages.

@Benedick: The guy that “narrated” was a Brit, Benedick. Someone born there or someone who lived there a very long time. They think about 100 westerners have joined ISIS so far… Americans too. I’m very troubled.

How do we respond? I can’t believe I’m thinking this, but is a smoking crater the only sure option? Do we have to be monsters to kill this monster?

@SanFranLefty: The barbarity of it stuns me. I have not seen it. The idea of it chills me to the bone.

@Tommmcatt Au Gros Sel: A year ago, Psychogeezer and Butters wanted us to arm them against Syria.

Which wouldn’t have been unusual. We armed the Shah against Iran. We armed Saddam against Iraq. We armed the Mujahadeen against the Russkies.

Problem is, we suck at being monsters. We make bad things worse, and sooner or later, they backfire on us.

For that matter, we only care because of oil. Bad shit goes down in Africa every day. We ignore it.

Solution? Do nothing. Or as little as possible. We’re incapable of improving the lives of those we interfere with.

So tired of living in an 80s future dystopia. Who would’ve guessed that The Running Man would be the one that came true?

Now if only those horrid, sleazy Kardashian grifters would just engage the Palins and the Duggars in a three-way fight to the death over swag bags on national television.

@SanFranLefty: @Tommmcatt Au Gros Sel: I could not, would not watch the video, but the still photos show Foley facing death with amazing courage and dignity that throws the barbarity of his killers into even higher relief. I am in awe. The Stoics would be proud.

@Mistress Cynica: I haven’t seen the video either. Do you think he knew what was going to happen?

@Benedick: He knew exactly. From the NYT:
“His colleagues point to the remarkable bravery he displays in his final moments as a testament to the man he was: Looking straight at the camera, Mr. Foley’s face is concentrated. When the jihadist lifts the knife to his throat, and pulls his head back, he does not try to pull away.”

@Mistress Cynica: I can’t even begin.

I was about to type, ‘And the murderous thug..’ Then remembered the Thugee cult that gave us that word. That poor man. But as you say, I’m in awe.

@Benedick: For a meta linguistic joke, Wikipedia defines Thuggees as Assassins.

@nojo: That’s what they were. According to Kipling they were a death cult worshipping at the altar of Kali. Their aim was to rid India of the English. By way of garroting. In the doing of which they murdered quite a few innocent bystanders.

@Benedick: The meta linguistic joke is that neither Thugs nor Assassins are originally native English.

Now I have to look up the etymology of Hooligans.

@nojo: Irish. But barely a century old.

@nojo: To find a relevant word that’s been used in English for more than a century or two, we have to reach for Brigand or Scoundrel.

@Mistress Cynica and Tommmcatt Au Gros Sel: I haven’t watched the video and do not want to. The written descriptions give me the heebie jeebies.

Plus, last week’s exhausting sadness of watching the occupation of suburban St. Louis by a bunch of rent-a-cops with a small dick wanna-be military mentality and the Black Dog killing Robin Williams, has carried over the weekend and to this week as after four days of much sadness and crying and ear-scratching, our neighbor had to put down his sweet, sweet, stinky/farty/pretty much blind 12 year old doggie who had cancer all over his body. That sweet beagle would stagger up to me every morning as I left for work and walked past his porch, baying and wagging his tail every time he saw smelled me, I was referred to as his “girlfriend” by his two daddies.

I’m taking a sick day tomorrow. And yes, I know how lucky I am as an American to get paid sick days.

@SanFranLefty: I’m so sorry for your loss.
My beloved thirteen-and-a-half-year-old Dalmatian, Charlie, passed away two weeks ago. We were together all the time–he even slept in bed with me–and coping with his death has been even harder than when my own father passed away. Fortunately, we really made the last year count since we knew that the inevitable was near. It’s been so weird watching all of the endless crowds of people here go about their daily lives like nothing happened. I’m dogless for the first time in all these years, and I don’t even know what to do with myself. I need another lifetime with him.

@JNOV: The blue wall. The police in this country have been fighting a federally-funded war on minorities and poor people for 40 years, and for what? Millions of destroyed lives, billions of dollars squandered, a permanent undercaste of “felons” being punished for the rest of their lives with the collateral consequences of a conviction, rural economies propped up (and overrepresented in the statehouse and Congress) due to the thousands of urban residents warehoused in prisons in the middle of nowhere, and publicly traded and hedge-fund owned for-profit prison corporations bribing lawmakers to pass more draconian laws.

Meanwhile, in Benedick’s Iceland, they have a national day of mourning in 2013 after a civilian is killed by a cop for the first time in the country’s history.

@¡Andrew!: Honey, I am so sorry about Charlie. Those balls of fur leave such a hole in our hearts when they leave us. It’s been seven years since my pup shuffled off to the dog park in the sky, but this has brought all the emotions back, and I’ve been having dreams involving her in peril and trying to save her. How is your kiddo handling it? People I know who have lost animals said the Huneck book is really helpful for opening up a conversation with their kids about death, and FSM knows that book gave me some comfort too. Hang in there.

@JNOV: More than 50 years later, these words still ring so damn true:

“I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”
— Letter from a Birmingham Jail (1963)

@SanFranLefty: She doesn’t really seem to be affected at all. I don’t think that a six-year-old can comprehend how extraordinarily rare and precious it is to find unconditional love and companionship in this life. It’s comforting knowing that he had the best dog life that he could’ve possibly had. Thanks so much for the book recommendation; I’ll check it out. (Hugs)

There’s a beautiful quote about grieving that always chokes me up:

“I mourned my husband for a hundred days. I never left my house… I never spoke to anyone. And then one day I left my house… and then another day I spoke to someone.”

Can’t remember the source/exact phrase, but it gets me every time.

@JNOV: And SFPD’s March killing of a “suspicious” brown man who had the temerity to be wearing the taser that was part of his security guard uniform. No media attention besides the Spanish language and alt-weekly paper, but lots of protest signs have been up in the Mission, Bernal Heights, and Potrero Hill neighborhoods for the past few months, and a rally earlier this week.

@¡Andrew!: St. Francis candle is lit for Mr. Charlie. I bet he’s having a blast at the dog park in the sky. I’m an atheist, but if I’m wrong, then when I die I hope to go to the dog park in the sky (with adjacent cat play room).

Moving today and tomorrow. The more you love someone, the more you want to kill them. There are shoes fucking everywhere. What is all this lint? Nobody told me it would take this much shelf paper. Seriously.

At least the floor makes our broke-ass couch look good.

@Tommmcatt Au Gros Sel: The more you love someone, the more you want to kill them. This is very true. And often involves walks in woods thinking up scenarios of ‘accidental’ death. But we moved 17 times in about 12 years? Tip: Buy the proper boxes. Do not use liquor store boxes. I don’t care that you have a stack of them ‘anyway’. Do not ask friends to help. Well you’re already on your way. Why did you not reach around to me for help? Am I not your treasured online uncle? Plus, you need to tip at least 20%. Unless you’re Episcopalian. Then just fix them martinis.

I’ve had a week of fucking hell but you know what? (waits for echoes of disinterest to subside) It came out well. Even better than I hoped because of the absence of schlepping. There will be no schlepping involved. Instead I will be sitting around puffing on a fag through my ivory holder saying, Darling, are you really going to do it like that? No, darling, it’s magic. Magic! Words fail. No, you don’t look like a hippopotamus. Your sister is an evil bitch (Can we get her agent on the phone? No? They’re in Glasgow? Good God, why? Why would anyone go to Glasgow unless they’re like IRA kidnapees.?) Just… you know… we don’t actually want to drive the punters screaming out of the theatre. Leave that to the New York Times. Darling, we all love you.

@Benedick: My wife and I are going to Scotland next month. I understand that whiskey is made there. Is there perchance a theater in Edinburgh where a jet-lagged American can understand what the fuck anyone is saying?

@¡Andrew!: Focused on Napa — a bit up the coast — but having endured a couple, a 6.1 is quite a ride.

@¡Andrew!: Holy fuck, when you live in a wood frame home, it can be a ride. After counting off 8 seconds of shaking and rocking, I said “This can stop now, please?” Didn’t fall back asleep for a hour, and then a half hour after that we got the aftershock.

@SanFranLefty: The fun part is when the lamp is still swinging a half-hour after the quake ends.

@Dodgerblue: I don’t really know Edinburgh more than as a place I passed through to get to where my grandparents lived north of the Firth of Forth in Fife (You may all now wipe the spittle out of your eyes). So your guess is as good as mine. If you don’t know Scotland I’d strongly recommend that you find somewhere that serves high tea. They make wonderful bread and scones, jam and butter, and tea is/was almost the most important meal. Working class people like my family ate their most substantial meal at lunchtime. If the men were working then we’d have what was known as a meat tea, perhaps ham or corned beef would be served. But the best was high tea. My grandmother would boil a cloutie dumpling. For breakfast look out for baps, a floury, flat, soft yet crisp bread roll that I think is heaven. At tea look out for drop scones. BTW, we say the o short, like the o in ‘sconce’, not scoan. It’s a beautiful city and as you fly in you’ll see the elegance of the circles of grey stone houses that were built when the medieval city was demolished.

@Dodgerblue: Go to St. Andrew’s, even if you’re not a golfer. It’s beautiful. Pack like you’re going to Vancouver Island in March.

I loved Inverness and the Orkney Islands, but took an irrational and intense dislike to Edinburgh. The drive from Inverness to Fort William along Loch Ness is gorgeous.

@Dodgerblue: St Andrew’s is beautiful but you might want to explore the Fife coast. My bankster cousin has a house on the harbor in Anstrother. If you have time try to see Loch Ness. Scotland is extraordinarily beautiful. And nothing is far away. I think you’ll be too early maybe not. When the heather blooms whole hillsides turn a soft purple.

This has made me be overcome by the memory of my grandmother in her yard cutting rhubarb singing, “The king sat in Dunfermline town, drinking the blood red wine…” B Britten made a very beautiful setting of that old rhyme. Fife was once a kingdom and Dunfermline was the seat of the king. When I used to sing that was one of Britten’s songs I loved most. I lost all that family on account of the gay. It’s a knife in my heart, a weight of guilt I can’t ever repay.

My parents sent me alone on a plane at the age of six from London to Edinburgh. When I was nine I no longer got half-fare so I was put on the Flying Scotsman, one of the great trains of Europe that left Euston (I think) at 9 am arriving at Edinburgh around 4? Then I took myself to the platform to wait for the train to Cowdenbeath. Where my grandparents lived had been a posting stage between Loch Leven, where Mary Stuart was imprisoned on an island in the loch, to Edinburgh. Then it became overwhelmed by the coal mines in the early part of the 20th cent. When the owners locked out the workers in the 20s my great uncle was part of a team that dynamited the pit heads. He was imprisoned, went to Australia, was awarded a medal by the International Communist party (I have it draped over the alabaster bust of Shakespeare my mother thought appropriate for me to have hanging like an albatross over my desk.) I’m convinced he was my queer progenitor. I met him when I was very young and he was maybe 50? I was 7? I’m told he was a lover of the plays of Shakespeare.

Scotland was a vital part of the great Norse circle of culture: from Scandinavia, west to the Faeroes, Scotland, Northern England (the capital was York), across to Ireland, Iceland, eventually Greenland and then North America. When I was in Iceland I felt I was in the Scotland of my childhood. Edinburgh, on the other hand, was very much a city of the Enlightenment. If you can find a place that serves a pudding supper you might want to go there.

@Benedick: Alabaster albatross? Maybe you need to use it as a door stop for a while so you don’t feel so flummoxed.

@JNOV: Rainier Beer. For when you drink to forget you’re drinking Rainier.

@Benedick: Can you work this into your novel? You should.

@nojo: heh. Yeah. Fuck the beer. Magical beards, however…I’m beginning to understand some of the dudes at work. I don’t understand the beard BO thing.

@Dodgerblue: I can’t write direct autobiographical stuff. It embarrasses me.

@Benedick: Yeah, but that pudding supper thing is golden.

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