Like most people I know, I’ve been suffering occasional attacks of rage or depression. But it’s also oddly energizing sometimes. If you ever had fantasies of being a hero, well, gear up; the villains are taking the field. It feels like we’re in a trilogy, somewhere around the end of Book Two. Ancient evils have jumped out of history books and grainy newsreels, and are appearing on live TV. Their words and ideas are coming out of the mouths of our neighbors.
Who thought we’d have to deal with this in our lifetimes?
For some while now, everything that you can think to do about the situation is going to seem hopelessly inadequate. But it’s important that you do it anyway. That’s how it is at the end of Book Two.
You’re a hobbit with all of Mordor in front of you, or an Ewok facing a galactic empire. The idea that you’re going to turn things around is laughable. And a lot of the stuff that people think to do will come to nothing, just like it seems. But some of it won’t, and if anybody can say for sure which is which, I haven’t met them yet.
So anyway, today I plan to type a bunch of words onto a screen. It’s what I can think to do. You think that seems hopelessly inadequate? Tell me about it.
Amish Paradise, a parody of Coolio’s Gangsta Paradise, which in turn was a remake of Stevie Wonder’s Pastime Paradise.
The great thing about Sherwood Schwartz, who died earlier this month, is not just that he created two popular TV shows. He also wrote or co-wrote their iconic themes.
I never, not once, did I see The Brady Bunch, during its initial run. But I knew exactly what it was about, just by watching the theme. It was the story about two widowed people, each with three kids, each the same gender as the parent, who, along with the housekeeper, became a blended family.
The show was name-checked several times by Weird Al Yankovic and others. From Al’s Couch Potato, “…And there’s “Gilligan” and “SpongeBob”, plus there’s “MacGyver”…” Stop Draggin’ My Car Around, a takeoff of the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers song, also namechecks the show.
But Isle Thing, a parody of Tone Loc’s Wild Thing, is all about “watchin’ that Gilligan’s Isle thing”. And Amish Paradise, a parody of Coolio’s Gangsta Paradise, which in turn was a remake of Stevie Wonder’s Pastime Paradise, appropriates a whole section of the closing theme: No phone, no lights, no motor cars,
not a single luxury.
Like Robinson Crusoe,
it’s primitive as can be. In live shows and on radio shows, Weird Al has been known to do other Gilligan takeoffs.
Others have taken different music and attached it to the theme, none more notably than Little Roger and the Goosebumps merging the lyrics to the music of Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin to create Stairway to Gilligan’s Island. ***
I always thought that Betty Ford, the former dancer Betty Bloomer, was cool. She dealt with her private difficulties, from her breast cancer surgery to her pain medication addiction, in a very public way, helping countless people, women, and men. Not to mention her forthright comments about equal rights, sexuality, and abortion, not always in lockstep with her husband, even when he was President. The long-time lead singer for The Grass Roots named Rob Grill died this month. Reportedly he was listening to a recording of Let’s Live for Today when he passed away.
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