Archive for December, 2004

The history of A Christmas Story, and it’s creator Jean Shepherd.

Dec 12, 2004 in Pop Culture

Since it began to air on cable television in the mid-eighties, A Christmas Story has become an annual Christmas viewing tradition; the It’s a Wonderful Life of our generation. The film’s uncloying, dysfunctionally humorous take on childhood has resonated with viewers of all ages. But many of us who grew up with the film are unaware of the life of it’s narrator, renegade radio talk show host Jean Shepherd.

Shephard was best known for his daily radio show on WOR New York throughout the sixties and seventies. Shepherd was like an anti-establishment Garrison Keilor, telling stories and anecdotes to late night listeners in his dulcet baritone voice. Flick Lives is a comprehensive tribute site dedicated to Shepherd and his work. The Shep Archives has streaming audio of over 1500 radio shows, albums, and other material.

The A Christmas Story tribute page has more information on the movie and it’s various merchandising spinoffs. Most of the storylines in A Christmas Story come from the book In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash. Read about the origin and development of the Red Ryder BB Gun story, the Leg Lamp, and the Orphan Annie Secret Decoder Pin. (Am I the only one that’s freaked out by the fact that none of the Annie characters were drawn with pupils?)

Ann Coulter was a hippie

Dec 09, 2004 in Pop Culture

No, seriously. She appears on the VH1 show My Coolest Years: The Dirty Hippies (currently in daily reruns). “It’s the music,” she says of her days as a Deadhead. She also claims to have been to over 60 shows. I’ll let you ponder the irony of this.

Motley Crue to reunite

Dec 07, 2004 in Pop Culture

It’s official… Motley Crue are reuniting for a world tour! (sighs, rolls eyes)

Although I’m sure some people will be glad to see Motley Crue back together, it’s kinda sad at the same time. The ravages of time can be hard on rock stars, but it’s especially hard on rockers who have lived so hard and so fast. Lead singer Vince Neil is now an overweight man who led a chicken dance at Octoberfest, guitarist Mick Mars just underwent hip replacement surgery, and Tommy Lee has found a second career as a tabloid and reality TV celebrity. Establishment rockers like the Rolling Stones, the Who and Aerosmith, by comparison, have aged almost gracefully.

I’ll admit that I was a Motley Crue fan back in the day (”the day” being around 1986). Their peak was about 15-20 years ago, of course, but man, they were the shit when Shout at the Devil was still fresh. Even if you don’t like Motley Crue, their autobiography The Dirt is one of the best rock bios you’ll ever read.

In semi-related news, Maker’s Mark is a damn good (and affordable) Kentucky bourbon whisky. Shopping tip: Whenever it’s spelled “whisky” (without an ‘e’), it’s probably good.