This week, host Peter Sagal's guest contestant for the "Not My Job" segment of the NPR comedy-quiz show Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me! is the great singer-songwriter John Prine. There's a nice bit of connection here, since the show is done is Chicago, and Chicago is where John Prine came to fame -- and even started as a mailman. (He talks about that here, although leaves out the story about how he occasionally would lock himself in a mailbox for the privacy so that he could write there.) There's no discussion of his close friend Steve Goodman, but he does talk about folk singer Ed Holstein, who's still performing, and with his brother Fred -- a folksinger, as well -- owned the prominent club Holsteins, which was the center of the folk scene in Chicago. And Prine also tells the story about how he got his start thanks to, of all people, Roger Ebert. It's a very affectionate and funny chat.
This is an absolutely wonderful story that Stephen Colbert tells about meeting his wife. It's wonderful not just for the story itself, but the vibrant way he tells it with great verve. It's impromptu, but comes across as if written by an eloquent writer. He's clearly told it before and honed to its fine-tuned charm, but it's still off the cuff -- the shorter version, as he puts it at the end.
This doesn't appear to be told during a broadcast, but before the show when coming to the stage to meet the audience beforehand.
And as long as we're on the subject, here's a bonus companion piece. When talking to guest Leslie Mann, Colbert spots his wife in the wings and briefly and adorably brings her onstage.
Years back, when I worked in P.R. at Universal Studios, we released a film that starred Roger Moore -- who passed away today at the age of 89 -- which was a huge flop and remains little-known in his portfolio. But it was great fun and one of my favorite of his works. It was an adventure film with the terrible title, ffolkes (which was the characters last name, down to the lower case spelling).
What made the move so fun is not so much the story (which is fine, but flawed), but that although it was an action-adventure, with Moore playing an expert called in to resolve a hostage situation on an oil drilling platform in the North Sea, and came right in the middle of his run as James Bond, it was a role that called for him to play against type. The character was an action hero, but one with a scraggly beard who was reticent, almost a recluse in his family castle, who was stiff, stilted, an overt and non-apologetic misogynist, and great lover of cats, who had assembled and trained his own team. And Moore seemed to revel in the role.
It had a pretty nice cast, with Anthony Perkins as a bad guy, and James Mason. The film wasn't great, but an enjoyable popcorn film. But above all, it was worth having been made if only because it gave rise to one of my favorite lines in our department after the opening weekend box office figures came in and we had our Monday Morning meeting. The head of the department gave the dismal reckoning and then added, "Well...I guess all that's left to be said is -- That's all, ff-ff-ffolkes."
When it later got released on TV, the name was changed to, I think, North Sea Hijack, so if you ever see that playing, it's actually ffolkes.
Here's the trailer. It's lousy and doesn't give much a sense of the humor and adventure, and the video quality is poor. (And this description has the spelling wrong. It's lower case "f", for goodness sake!) But here it is --
Oh, okay. As long as I'm writing about ffolkes, and you have a slight idea of the film, I might as well post two other videos that are far-better quality and give a better sense of the movie, thought would have made little sense out of context.
This first comes early on and has the character explaining his misogyny. And what he does love.
And this is the very end of the film. If you don't want anything given away -- on the off-chance that you may see this one day (highly unlikely) -- don't watch. But if you're watching the movie and can't figure out how the end basically gets resolved, you're not trying very hard.
A couple of notes. The title used below -- "Esther, Ruth and Jennifer" -- are the code-names of the oil drilling platform and two rigs he's been sent to rescue, or something close to that, if I recall correctly.
And the woman you see below is one of the the team who helps ffolkes, much against his wishes (in one of the funnier scenes of the movie), and yet she earns his admiration for her great work during the mission.
This week on the NPR game show, Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me!, host Peter Sagal's guest contestant is movie director Guy Ritchie, who among his many films has directed the current King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, both recent Sherlock Holmes films, Swept Away, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and came to fame with the well-regarded independent Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Yes, I know he's promoting his film, but it's one thing to do promotion, and it's another thing for the British Guy Ritchie of all people to so-unexpectedly appear on a radio popular culture game show. And for all his tough-guy movies, and tough early life, he comes across as quite charming and thoroughly self-effacing. And funny.
A month or so back, I posted a lovely rembrance by CBS about the wonderful Charles Kuralt's career. (If you missed it, you can watch it here.) I'd intended to start post some of his great "On the Road" pieces on a reasonably-regular basis, but life got in the way, and they fell through the cracks.
Let's try again. Here's one on the Domino Theory, of sorts...
In many ways, today's selection from the NPR pop culture quiz show Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me! is oddly timely. The guest contestant on the "Not My Job" segment is a former CIA analyst -- and to make it all the more appropriate and timely, his name is...John Nixon, who was an expert on Saddam Hussein and was sent with Special Forces to find the Iraqi leader and then interrogate him. For such an intense career, he's a funny, personable guy who ends up doing some political impressions.
And a video, too, to watch.
You may know Rick Steves through his many travel books -- or perhaps from his long-running travel series on PBS. Well, even if not, I can't suggest highly-enough that your read this article from him and watch the video below. Or just watch the video -- though after doing so, you'll want to read his blog posting.
The short version is that for the past decade he's been housing otherwise-homeless women from the YWCA in an apartment complex he bought years ago and renovated with help from local government in Washington State and the Gates Foundation. And he's just donated it -- worth $4 million -- to the YWCA.
His blog piece explains why, eloquently and movingly, but simply. You can read it here
Or you watch this short news story where he talks about it.
Peter Sagal's guest contestant for the "Not My Job" segment of NPR's comedy-quiz show, Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me! is Ina Garten, star of the Food Network show, The Barefoot Contessa. I'm not a particular fan of the show and her style, but her background is fascinating and she's very pleasant and personable here.
From time time, along with my co-founder of the Apology Institute of America, Nell Minow, we pass along examples of Really Bad Apologies from public figures for their transgressions. But once in a while, there are some who get it right. And they deserve their due, and hopefully can serve as a standard to aspire to. Chris Pratt is one such.
The other day, in doing a promotion for his new Guardians of the Galaxy film, Pratt made a quip that was a bit insensitive to those who are hearing impaired. The problem had been that his video promo was done in Instagram, and that service by default mutes the sound on videos. So, as a jibe at that, Pratt's video had fun with a scroll of text they added at the bottom. But those the gaffe wasn't remotely as egregious as many that we've seen in public, he felt that it went beyond what he'd intended, got a little flack for it, and decided to apologize.
He included a video -- which was done entirely in sign language. And at the end, he pointed down below to the text of his apology. This is how it's done. He wrote --
I'm unable to embed the aforementioned short video he made that preceded this apology, but if you'd like to see it, just click here.
By the way, the number of view was last up to 2,190,750 after 10 hours.
Host Peter Sagal's contestant on this week's "Not My Job" segment of the NPR comedy-quiz show is Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado. It's a fun, freewheeling interview, that's helped by the appreciative local audience for their Democratic governor, who once owned a brew-pub and currently owns a pool hall.
Robert J. Elisberg is a two-time recipient of the Lucille Ball Award for comedy screenwriting. He's written for film, TV, the stage, and two best-selling novels, and is a regular columnist for the Huffington Post and the Writers Guild of America. Among his other writing, he has a long-time column on technology (which he sometimes understands), and co-wrote a book on world travel. As a lyricist, he is a member of ASCAP, and has contributed to numerous publications.