Acceptable Lucy

Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown proved to be not one of the finest Peanuts Specials, nor even the finest of the recent batch, but nonetheless watchable. It was compiled almost exclusively from Schulz’s strips about baseball (and he did around 1800 of those), which kept it thematic, but also made it a bit repetitive. I hope that in future specials, they leaven the main storyline with stories taken from other strip sequences, much in the way that the typical sitom does.
I’d love to see if I could compile the script for such a special myself. (I say “compile”, because the new Peanuts specials are based strictly on the strips, so it’s more choosing and ordering a set of strips than it is scriptwriting.)

Published in: on August 31, 2003 at 11:27 pm  Comments Off on Acceptable Lucy  

Lucy Must Be Traded on Friday

A reminder to all my fellow Peanuts buffs out there: the new special Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown airs on Friday, 9 PM in most areas, on ABC.

I haven’t seen this one yet, but the new Valentines Day special was good and the Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales shorts were great, so there is definitely hope for this one.

Published in: on August 26, 2003 at 1:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

Welcome Back, Alan Brady

Hey folks, I was gone for a week up in the wilds of Alaska. Somewhere in the suburbs of Homer, I was staying in a geodesic dome that’s outside of TV reception. The only TV that got watched as a video tape of GalaxyQuest, a fine little gem of a film. I was visiting Mom, and knew she’d like that one. Normally, I just give Mom my used videos, but this is one I’ll want to watch again in the future.

So I’m only now catching up on the TV I missed, which means that I just watched the animated Alan Brady Show on TV Land. Having Carl Reiner play his Dick Van Dyke Show character Alan Brady again is not a bad idea; he did it well a number of years back on Mad About You. However, having a bunch of computer animators try to capture the great dry moments that Reiner put into his character? That proves to be a less-good idea. Nothing is gained from the computer animation but stiffness and slowness. The times that they do try to go broad with things that couldn’t be done live prove to be bad ideas. There are some funny moments in here, but almost all come from Reiner’s delivery. It wasn’t a great work, but it would work at least as well in radio form. This wasn’t a tragedy or a car wreck, but it will likely always be a minor footnote on the bigger discussion of Reiner’s career and The Dick Van Dyke Show.

And speaking of minor footnotes on The Dick Van Dyke Show, my pal Mark Evanier, dissatisfied with there not having been any DVD comic books during the 1960s, decided to review them anyway.

Published in: on August 24, 2003 at 1:12 pm  Leave a Comment  


I went to my ReplayTV this morning to watch last night’s interview with Hillary Clinton on The Daily Show, only to find that a rerun program was on instead.

It took me a few minutes before the obvious hit me, that they were unable to complete yesterday’s show because of the blackout.

Now here in California, we’ve learned what to do when the lights go out.

Wait two years, then recall the governor.

Published in: on August 15, 2003 at 10:34 am  Leave a Comment  


Last night I dreamed I went to the state fair and balanced a fox on one hand and a drunk guy claiming to be an elephant on the other, and they not only both weighed the same, they both stunk just as badly. Weird, eh?

Published in: on August 14, 2003 at 11:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Full and Final List

Well, the folks at the California Secretary Of State office have culled the 247 applicants down to 135 actual candidates for the office of governor. Some of the interesting ones were dropped off the list, alas, but most of the best ones stayed on and some new names have been added. Still, here are your 135 selections:

  1. Iris Adam: Natural Law Party (who seem to dance around the fact that they are primarily about Transcendental Meditation)
  2. Brooke Adams: BA in Communications from the University of Southern California, 2000
  3. Alex-St. James: born in Liberia, studied for the priesthood
  4. Douglas Anderson: Republican
  5. Angelyne: Age is “ageless”, occupation is “billboard model”
  6. Mohammad Arif: During the 1980s, was organizer for the Pakistan People’s Party
  7. Badi Badiozamani: Navy veteran — Iranian navy, that is.
  8. Vik S. Bajwa: from North Hollywood
  9. John W. Beard: education ends with Los Angeles Baptist High School in 1980
  10. Ed Beyer: P.I.; his website name, may confuse some people. He’s not already Elected Beyer, he is merely telling you to Elect Ed Beyer
  11. Vip Bhola: attorney from North Hollywood
  12. Cheryl Bly-Chester: an environmental engineer, post-doc’d at MIT
  13. Audie Elizabeth Bock: was the first Green Party candidate to win a statewide office (CA Assembly), but running as a Dem.
  14. Joel Britton: non-partisan
  15. Art Brown: “I started for publicity, but now I kind of want to win”
  16. John Christopher Burton: civil rights attorney from Pasadena
  17. Cruz M. Bustamante: thinks he’s “lieutenant governor”. May be right.
  18. Peter Miguel Camejo: ran for president in 1976 as Socialist (lost, apparently), but now running as a Green
  19. Todd Carson: member of the Western Carwash Association for three years
  20. William “Bill” S. Chambers: a switchman/brakeman for the railroad
  21. Michael Cheli: in the Indian gaming business
  22. D. (Logan Darrow) Clements: Claims to have a plan, definitely has a name
  23. Gary Wayne Coleman: got his G.E.D.; when he asks “what yoo talkin’ about, Willis?”, it’s probably during discussions of trig or natural biology
  24. Mary “Mary Carey” Cook: porn star
  25. Robert Cullenbine: retired, but apparently willing to step out of retirement if the right elected position comes along
  26. Scott Davis:”I’m the real Davis for governor.”
  27. Robert “Butch” Dole: not the Bob Dole
  28. Bob Lynn Edwards: divorce lawyer
  29. Warren Farrell: author of Why Men Are The Way They Are
  30. Dan Feinstein: not Diane
  31. Larry Flynt: spent six months in prison for contempt of court
  32. Lorraine (Abner Zurd) Fontanes: Motocross journalist
  33. Gene E. Forte: executive recruiter, recruiting himself as the state’s top executive
  34. Diana Foss: Democrat
  35. Ronald J. Friedman: L.A. doctor
  36. Leo Gallagher: comedian famed for anti-watermelon violence. “I’m the spice in this election.”
  37. Richard Gosse: “‘Fairness for singles’, that’s my platform”
  38. James H. Green: Nurse
  39. Jack Lloyd Grisham: Musician
  40. Garrett Gruener: Democrat, high-tech entrepeneur
  41. Joe Guzzardi: online and print opinion columnist
  42. Ivan A. Hall: owns a business that makes dentures
  43. Ken Hamidi: tax officer
  44. Sara Ann Hanlon: B.A. in graphic design
  45. Charles Stephen Henderson: teacher
  46. Ralph A. Hernandez: inspector for a county DA office
  47. John J Hickey: big-L Libertarian
  48. Jim Hoffman: “When I signed the petition, I never thought I’d run. But I thought ‘why not?'”
  49. Arianna Huffington: red-headed liberal with questionable roots
  50. S. Issa: not the “Issa” who funded the recall, that was Darrell
  51. Michael A. Jackson: not Michael The Jackson
  52. Trek Thunder Kelly: artist who shows his commitment by wearing blue every day
  53. Edward T. Kennedy: T does not stand for The. He goes by “Ed”.
  54. David E. Kessenger: “I live relatively comfortably on $10,000 a year”
  55. Kelly P. Kimball and Scott A. Mednick: two candidates that co-own ButtMonkey Beer, normally targeted at spring-breakers but now being touted as the Official Beer Of The California Recall Election. “A great opportunity to expose our brand name to people” — Mednick
  56. Stephen Knapp: engineer
  57. Eric J. Korevaar: CalTech grad
  58. Jerry Kunzman: non-partisan
  59. Dick Lane: Watch out for this guy, he’s a psych professor!
  60. Gary Leonard: Spent 11 years photographing construction of Walt Disney Concert Hall
  61. Todd Richard “The Bumhunter” Lewis: You know, “The Bumhunter”… from the movie Bumfights? Me neither
  62. Calvin Y. Louie: “I guess I took out my papers way before Bustamante”
  63. Frank A. Macaluso, Jr.: radiologist
  64. Paul “Chip” Mailander: golf pro. “I’d have to look at the fiscal crisis, then chip away at it, as they say in golf”
  65. Robert C. Mannheim: “Hey, it sounds like a lot of fun.”
  66. Bruce Margolin: Director, NORML, the marijuana advocacy folks
  67. Paul Mariano: “If elected, I would institute Gray Davis as my chief of staff”
  68. Gino Martorana: Dropped out in 10th grade to become a barber, now owns a restaurant
  69. Mike P. McCarthy: Used car dealer
  70. Robert McClain: “I originally thought it would be fun to be on the ballot, but the process has become more serious — quite serious.”
  71. Tom McClintock: State Senator, resides in the Newbury Park area of Thousand Oaks (as do I)
  72. Dennis Duggan McMahon: San Francisco banker
  73. Mike McNeilly: Beverly Hills artist
  74. Scott A. Mednick: See “Kelly P. Kimball”, above
  75. Carl A. Mehr: Electrical engineer, worked for IBM on prototype computers in the 1950s
  76. Jonathan Miller: BS, MIT
  77. Darryl L. Mobley: founder of Black-oriented businesses
  78. Jeffrey L. Mock: metal recycler
  79. John “Jack” Mortensen: Attended San Jose City College. For a day.
  80. Dorene Musili: from Sonoma
  81. Paul Nave: former world boxing champ who served three years in San Quentin
  82. Robert C. Newman II: both a psychologist and a farmer
  83. Leonard Padilla: Bounty huner, president/cofounder Lorenzo Patino Law School, has a “college equivalency diploma”
  84. Ronald Jason Palmieri: gay rights attorney
  85. Gregory J. Pawlik: of the Pacific Palisades Pawliks
  86. Heather Peters: Mediator
  87. Charles “Chuck” Pineda, Jr.: Army topographical surveyor in Korea, ’59-’61
  88. Bill Prady: as a TV writer/producer he has worked with the Munsters, the Muppets, and both Dharma and Greg. Truly, he is well-equipped to deal with the citizenry of California
  89. Darin Price: teaches chemistry to university students
  90. Bryan Quinn: businessman
  91. Jeff Rainforth: marketing coordinator for Best Buy
  92. Daniel C. “Danny” Ramirez: of Calexico
  93. Christopher Ranken: Planning commissioner
  94. Reva Renee Renz: What party is R.R.R.? An R, of course
  95. Daniel W. Richards: of Rancho Cucamonga
  96. Kevin Richter: information technology manager
  97. Kurt E. “Tachikaze” Rightmyer: middle-weight sumo wrestler. “my motivation is obviously to win…”
  98. David Laughing Horse Robinson: chairman of Kawaiisu tribe of the Tejon Indian Reservation
  99. Ned F. Roscoe: president of family-owned national discount cigarette chain. His campaign website?
  100. Sharon Rushford: member of Kaiser Permanente Reform Committee
  101. Georgy Russell: at 26, has been in Death Penalty Focus, an anti-death penalty group, for 10 years
  102. Jamie Rosemary Safford: from Granite Bay
  103. David Ronald Sams: of, the self-proclaimed Internet Superspot
  104. Darrin H. Scheidle: founded four companies, one in the digital fingerprinting biz
  105. Mike Schmeir: attorney
  106. George Schwartzmann: no times Mr. Olympia, businessman
  107. Arnold Schwarzenegger: seven times Mr. Olympia, has smoked pot in front of cameras
  108. Richard J. Simmons: not the Richard Simmons
  109. Bill Simon Jr.: Failed to defeat Gray Davis when no one else of note was running
  110. B.E. Smith: L.A. Times says went to prison “under the Medical Marijuana Compassionate Use Act”; I suspect it was despite of that act
  111. Christopher Sproul: “I figure, the more people on the ballot, the more ridiculous the whole thing will look.”
  112. Randall D. Sprague: investigates complaints of discrimination
  113. Christopher Sproul: environmental attorney
  114. Lawrence Steven Strauss: personal injury lawyer
  115. Tim Sylvester: “the recall is unfair”
  116. A. Lavar Taylor: former IRS attorney
  117. Dianna Beall Templin: “I’m not one of the good ol’ boys.”
  118. Patricia G. Tilley: already lives in Sacramento
  119. Brian S. Tracy: motivational speaker. “I’m a realistic optimistic.”
  120. William James Tsangares: Republican
  121. Peter V. Ueberroth: 1984 Time Man Of The Year (although let’s remember that other people to have gotten that honor include Stalin, Hitler, the Ayatollah Khomeni, and Richard Nixon)
  122. Mark Valdez: air pollution scientist
  123. James M. Vandeventer, Jr.: salesman
  124. Paul W. Vann: co-founded the Morasha Jewish Day School
  125. Bill Vaughn: member of the Western Carwash Association for three years
  126. Van Vo: radio producer. With a mere five letters in his name, he would’ve been the perfect write-in candidate!
  127. Chuck Walker: business intelligence analyst
  128. Maurice Walker: real estate appraiser
  129. Nathan Whitecloud Walton: student; his dad is in the basketball hall of fame
  130. Daniel Watts: college student
  131. C.T. Weber: “the Peace And Freedom Party stands for women’s rights, the environment, and democratic socialism”
  132. Jim Weir: “my motivation is obviously to win…”
  133. Lingel H. Winters: consumer business attorney
  134. Michael J. Wozniak: retired cop
  135. John W. “The Bear” Zellhoefer: energy consultant

The folks who were on our earlier list but whose applications were rejected:

  • Camilla Cochran: attorney/homemaker
  • Dennis Hugh Conn: non-partisan
  • Paula “Teena” Cooper: nurse
  • Joseph R. Evanns: from Ventura
  • Justin Garten: of San Bernadino
  • Howard Allen Gershater: walked across America. Twice. Former Elvis tribute singer
  • Gerold Lee Gorman: unemployed dot-commer
  • Sara Ann Hanlon: B.A. in graphic design
  • Sharon Holland: from San Francisco
  • Temila C. Jensen: attorney
  • David “” Johnson: because with a bland first and last name, you need an eye-catching middle name
  • Matt Lemcke: a mere 22
  • Shu Yih Luh: L.A. Times claims that he’s CEO of the “Stuttz automobile company”, but I can find no further data, either for Stuttz or for someone with that name linked to the more-likely Stutz
  • Sergio Myers: creator of MTV’s Sorority Life reality show
  • Geoff Nathanson: L.A. broadcast sports reporter
  • Wolfgang Georg Neckien: “I’m going in so that at least somebody was there who was speaking for the small people”
  • Don Novello: Saturday Night Live‘s Father Guido Sarducci
  • Kevin Richter: respiration consultant, whatever that is
  • Ralph S. Sherwood: disabled ex-plumber
  • Erik R. Smith: of San Francisco
  • Scott “Gray Will Stay” Sookman: of Beverly Hills, a fan of the band Spinal Tap
  • Mathilda Karel Spak: 100 years old. Last year, was named “ambassador” of the 99 Cent Only store chain. That chain has been advertising looking for a candidate to sponsor; I presume they are her backers. Got her business degree in the 1920s.
  • Lester Terry Tate Speight: not Teight Spate, no matter what my fingers wanted to type
  • Elizabeth Swayney: non-partisan
  • Bill Thill: of Sherman Oaks
  • Linda L. Toth: author/educator
  • Ruben Raul Vega: banker
  • Paul Walton: resort/spa owner
  • Donald P. Wang: Republican

And there were plenty of folks who applied who I never got to write-up at all. But we kept most of the most interesting folk.

Published in: on August 14, 2003 at 10:53 am  Comments Off on The Full and Final List  

Understanding the governor situation

I’ve been answering a few questions for non-Californians who are trying to better understand just what is going on and why. Here’s my analysis of it, which I should warn includes some things that are more my point of view rather than incontrovertable fact.

Even the news stories that tell you why this is going on
tell it to you wrong.

Davis has never been a great governor or an inspiring guy.
True enough. Davis gets blamed for our energy problems of
a couple years back (which are really the fault of the
republican lawmakers who passed the partial deregulation),
and for our current budgetary situation (dismal, but certainly
not all his fault). Some folks point to the handling of this
year’s budget, but fail to note that the recall drive plans started
before that. And the energy situation (and the expensive fixes
that Davis was illegally pushed into implementing) was all
before he was reelected.

Here’s what’s really going down: in the 2002 election, Davis
was quite beatable. Now that’s saying something, because the
last California governor not to get a second term left office
in 1943. All the Republicans had to do was to put up someone
who looked vaguely competent, and they would have taken the
governorship. And they had such a person in the primary:
Richard Riordan, who had done at least a reasonably competent
job as mayor of LA, a tricky position.

But also in the primary they had Bill Simon, who ran a mudslinging
campaign against Riordan, and won. Then during the course of the
gubernatorial campaign, Simon not only was involved in something
of dubious ethics but also showed a lack of organization, and
then he failed to take responsibility for it. He made himself
look criminal, incompetent, and irresponsible all at once, and
it didn’t even take a particular negative push from Davis to
achieve that.

So Davis, for whom there was no great love, managed to defeat
Simon. And a wealthy Republican named Darrell Issa saw his
opportunity. For a handful of millions of dollars, well less
than the cost of running a proper gubernatorial campaign, he
could get the signatures for a recall petition. And then, he
probably reckoned, given an opportunity to put someone who
was not Bill Simon into office, the people of CA would
grarefully dump Davis and usher in Issa. And hey, who in the
Republican party would even bother mounting much of a campaign
against Issa, when he was doing so much good for them?

Well, it looks like people were glad to have the chance to
put someone who wasn’t Davis or Simon in the seat, but they
had no love for Issa and his transparent motives. Besides,
folks like Arnie who had been eying the governership for so
long saw this as their chance. And hey, for $3500, anyone
could be a candidate and why not try? So we got the circus,
and Issa realized that he would be utterly lost in it, so
he dropped out.

Davis is still governor until the vote… and he may still
be governor after the vote. There are two questions about
the governorship on the ballot, which boil down to this:

  1. Should Davis be recalled?
  2. If Davis is recalled, who should replace him?

If most of the people vote “No” to question 1, then Davis is
still governor and question 2 is moot. If “Yes” wins, then
the top vote-getter from among the 135 ballot candidates
and any write-in candidates for question 2 wins and
immediately (upon certification of the election) becomes
governor. Davis is not eligible to be on the ballot for #2
(it still is not clear to me whether he is eligible as a

Given the large number of candidates and the reasonable
number of viable recognizable candidates, it is likely that
Davis will get a larger minority of the vote (via question 1)
than the person who replaces him (via question 2). If this
is democracy at work, I don’t see it.

And here’s something else to realize: if Davis looked weak
after taking the governorship with a majority of the vote
in 2002, just how weak is the new governor going to look
with probably about 25% of the vote? I can guarantee you
that the day after the election, there will be a drive
started to recall the new governor, whoever it is. I’m
not certain that they will get enough signatures and much
less that the recall will pass, but the drive will happen.
And this will keep happening until someone changes the law,
something that the populace will likely be glad to see by
that time.

I’ve seen people try to describe this as Californians deciding
that they made the wrong decision last election. That is not
true. Given the choice between Davis and Simon, they chose
Davis, and they’re actually sticking by that at this point.
Simon is one of the recall candidates, and in the last poll
I saw his expected vote totals were less than a quarter of
the total number who want to keep Davis in office.

Published in: on August 14, 2003 at 9:48 am  Leave a Comment  

Nat on the Radio

The CBC (that’s Canada, folks) in Montreal contacted me last night and arranged for me to chat for a couple minutes on today’s Radio Noon. They were really just trying to reach out to someone well-spoken in California to talk about the Schwarzenegger candidacy, but were happy to hear that I had so involved myself in the whole gubernatorial campaign. I managed to slip in a few little tidbits, and left them with a better sense of what a circus this whole thing is.

Today, we’ll find out the whole list of who actually qualified for the ballot. As of last night, the count was at 131, with 70-some folks having failed to qualify, and dozens left under investigation. I hope to be able to update my candidate list, although I’m preparing for travel and may not have time to do so.

Published in: on August 13, 2003 at 11:58 am  Leave a Comment  

Governor: The Game

I’m not the only one who thinks that the gubernatorial race makes for good TV. The Game Show Network has announced plans for a five-candidate on-air competition. "Who Wants to Be Governor of California? The Debating Game" will include a political debate produced in the style of a game show says the AP report. The winner gets about $21,000 contributed to their campaign. Alas, it sounds like they’re only doing a one episode special. With so many candidates, they should be rushing it to air immediately and doing as many episodes as they can.

Published in: on August 12, 2003 at 2:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

The full governor list

The CA Secretary Of State has a list of all 247 folks who applied as candidates, as well as whether they’re processing is complete or pending, here. It is not clear to me whether “complete” means “accepted” or not. As of this writing, 115, less than half, were complete.

Notably absent from the list is Barry Short, comic shop owner, who announced his candidacy but apparently did not file papers.

Published in: on August 12, 2003 at 12:49 pm  Leave a Comment