Warning: array_slice() expects parameter 1 to be array, boolean given in /home/uvatha/public_html/kayhoflander/wp-content/plugins/my-twitter-widget/widget.php on line 164

Warning: key() expects parameter 1 to be array, null given in /home/uvatha/public_html/kayhoflander/wp-content/plugins/my-twitter-widget/widget.php on line 164

Tag Archive: Johnny Carson

Sep 15

Watching television and eating dinner can be complicated

“If it weren’t for Philo T. Farnsworth, inventor of television we’d still be eating frozen radio dinners.” – Johnny Carson

The late Johnny Carson would be shocked to learn that the traditional frozen TV dinners he once joked about are not popular anymore. Instead, the American public seems to prefer the trendy “bistro gourmet entrees” that are made in the oven or as quick skillet dinners.

And, don’t we just love to eat our dinners and watch television at the same time even if Emily Post and our grandmothers would disapprove?

Grab those dinners, whatever they are, and go straight to the television set and settle in for a favorite show.

Trying to eat dinner in front of the television set, however, is not as easy as it sounds.

At the exact moment in time when one wants nothing more than to sit in a comfy chair, eat a simple meal, and watch one’s favorite show, a law of the universe kicks into effect. That law dictates that the cable television signal or quality of the picture will be disrupted. It is written somewhere. You will spend the rest of the evening fiddling with the set. Your dinner will get cold.

“Wonderful,” my husband said when this happened to us the other night, “Nothing to do now but call the cable guy tomorrow.”

Next day, to my eternal surprise, the cable guy showed up. After a long and valiant attempt to fix the problem, he timidly told me that he had no idea what was wrong and would have to bring a more experienced technician tomorrow.”

“Rookie,” I am thinking at this point. “They sent a rookie!”

The following day not one but two cable guys arrived. After nearly three hours of sweat and struggle both inside and outside of the house, they reported to me that they could not fix the problem. To make matters worse they meekly broke the bad news that all three television sets in the house were affected.

A surge was the likely culprit.

They kindly rigged the television we watch the most (its tuner was fried) so it would feed through the VCR/DVD player. However, we have to use that device’s remote control now to adjust channels and the television remote to turn the thing on and off and adjust volume. The big screen is damaged least of all with just two channels affected. The television in our bedroom can still be used if we only want to watch Nickelodeon.

Television watching is suddenly far too complicated in our household.

I have a good book and a bistro skillet dinner ready for tonight.

There is only one problem as Orson Welles once said, “I hate television. I hate it as much as peanuts, but I can’t stop eating peanuts.”

Jan 27

Garage sale fever means Spring is near

I am thinking a lot about Spring and garage sales right now, almost feverishly in fact.

One thing on my mind is that it is very possible that the junk we sell in garage sales is just like a holiday fruitcake. Seriously.

Johnny Carson is credited with saying there is only one fruitcake in the world, and we pass it from house to house. I say perhaps we do that with our garage sale refuse, too.

Case in point, one of our sons moved to his college apartment and took with him neighbor Susan’s discarded dishes amounting to almost four place settings not counting a couple of missing bowls and coffee cups. He also has her silverware, minus a few pieces. These great garage sale finds of mine had belonged to Susan’s daughter, but Katie was through with them.

I have a neighbor’s floor mats in my car. She only had three not four so I have two in the front and one in the back. Whoever sits on the side without a mat has a $1.00 rag rug underfoot.

Same neighbor has some of my garden tools and an old wheelbarrow of mine.

I have some very interesting concrete garden bricks of hers that now cover the grave of our deceased family pooch.

So far, I have only mentioned one neighbor. Believe me, there are plenty of others who deserve mentioning because we all have each other’s stuff.

Once while taking a morning walk another neighbor and I noticed a very nice set of saw horses (apparently left for the trash men) at the curb of yet another neighbor’s house.

Kathy and I quickly snatched these, but we did call the family to let them know.

I thought that was indeed honorable of us.

Anyway, over the years we have had countless garage sales in our subdivision. At first when the neighborhood was new, we made an informal pact to never have garage sales. That lasted until the first Spring, and since then, we have lost track of how many we have engineered.

A new pact of sorts was instituted just last year in an effort to slow or stop our neighborhood garage sales. Kathy promised Susan’s husband Bill that she would never have another garage sale, and therefore, Susan would not be a part of one either.

So Bill thought due to the fact that Kathy actually signed a contract with him to that effect. She told me not to tell anyone (which I would never do).

Bill is a bit tired of these neighborhood sales.

In fact, I think we all agreed under any circumstance to never have another one.

During the bitter cold month of January with its two-inch glaze of ice on the sidewalks and temperatures dropping to near zero, everything changed with regard to garage sales.

Thoughts of spring and rubbish sales could not be stifled.

The pact went right out the window.

Who could blame us?

What is Spring anyway without garage sales, and that is not a question needing an answer.

Predictably, Kathy whispered to me, “Do not tell Bill but I am actually thinking of having a garage sale. So is Susan. So is Sandy. Maybe some others, too.”

My eyes lit up, and I headed straight to the basement to begin a garage sale pile. Actually, I had one started already, but I did not admit that to my neighbors in light of the above-mentioned contract.

We have set the date, and I am so excited about cleaning out our basement and getting rid of the junk that I otherwise cannot give away.

I have developed a philosophy about garage sales: if you cannot possibly give something away because no one wants it, you can most likely sell it at your own garage sale.

If all else fails, sit it by the curb and someone like one of my neighbors or me will surely grab it.

Kay Hoflander writes about the ‘reluctant aging of Baby Boomers on a weekly basis’ for The Examiner. Her first book. “Al Fike, The Modern Minstrel Man”, is available through local bookstores, your preferred online retailer, or her website at kayhoflander.com.

Oct 21

Bob Newhart can improve the silence

An old Spanish proverb warns–do not speak unless you can improve upon the silence.

I only know one person who can—Bob Newhart.

Newhart is best known to most of us as the deadpan comedian of the 60’s who knew exactly when to pause in his delivery.

His punch lines and his pauses were pure perfection.

In 1960, Bob Newhart rose to instant stardom when his comedy album, The Button Down Mind of Bob Newhart, was released.

I can still remember how my Dad thought it was the funniest recording he had ever heard. We played it over and over committing Bob’s lines to memory.

My Dad’s favorite story on the album was “The Krushchev Landing Rehearsal.”

Doubled over and holding his stomach, my Dad would laugh until tears came to his eyes.

What made that story so hilarious was that Bob was carrying on a conversation on the telephone with someone we never got to hear. Newhart repeated out loud for us what was happening on the other end.

For Bob Newhart, it only took one half of a conversation to be funny.

Listeners could picture the scenes in their minds, perhaps more vividly than television in those days could have portrayed it.

Most of Newhart’s appeal was due to the fact that he delivered his lines with no expression, reminiscent of Jack Benne, but funnier.

Another tale my Dad loved on the album was “Abe Lincoln vs. Madison Avenue.” Abe Lincoln’s press secretary was trying to prepare him for a speech. Lincoln was making mistakes and getting everything wrong.

The press secretary (Bob) says, “Please read the bio! You were a rail-splitter then an attorney (pause). You wouldn’t give up your law practice to become a rail-splitter!”

“The Cruise of the U.S.S. Codfish” and “The Driving Instructor” were famous sketches on the album as well.

The album went straight to the top of the charts, the first comedy album to ever do that, and it even beat out Elvis!

Newhart went on to star in two different television shows, was guest host for Johnny Carson 87 times, and had numerous appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and The Dean Martin Show to name just a few.

What strikes my fancy now about Newhart is that he is 76 and still entertaining, and he has a new book out. His book, “I shouldn’t even be doing this and other things that strike me funny,” is sure to be a hit with Baby Boomers.

Our Baby Boomer generation has not forgotten Bob Newhart.

For example, most of us have mimicked, at some time or other, this famous line from his 70’s television show, Newhart: “This is my brother Darryl, and this is my other brother Darryl.”

A line that always brings rounds of laughter.

Bob knows how important laughter is in our lives, too, “Laughter gives us distance. It allows us to step back from an event, deal with it, and then move on.”

Wishing I could hear Bob’s original album one more time, I searched the basement with no success.

Then, I realized that I didn’t need the album after all. My family and I had memorized it.

We must not have had much to do back then.

Anyway, “The Krushchev Landing Rehearsal” goes a little bit like this, if my memory serves me well.

To set the stage, Bob Newhart was speaking into a telephone giving directions, presumably to a crew on the ground, as Krushchev deboarded the plane.

“Cue Ike (pause). Somebody take the putter from Ike. Alright have him shake hands with Ike. Have him shake hands with so-and-so (pause). No, not so-and-so shake hands with Ike; have Krushchev shake hands with Ike…Start the speech…blah, blah, blah, blah. Jerry he keeps hopping up and down (pause). I can’t keep him in the picture, Jerry. Look out. Jerry, Krushchev is going to hit the kid with the door. He’s going to hit the kid with the door, Jerry. Someone, get the kid (long pause).”

Then, Bob would say, with absolutely no inflection, “He hit the kid with the door.”

I am still laughing at Bob’s jokes, just like my Dad did, some forty-plus years ago.

And the wonder is, I remember them.