Not to be confused with "Bing!", although I did have dinner with my grandparents the last couple of nights.
Wednesday, Grandmom and I spoke mostly about Lost. I'm taking a break from that subject for at least one post, though, since the coming weeks will be full of it; my thoughts on Tuesday's episode will be up shortly.
Thursday, we enjoyed a function at the Gs' residence with better food than the ballyhooed event two months back featuring (mostly cold) uninspired cuisine from local restaurants. Among the offerings last night were scallops wrapped in bacon in a barbecue glaze that was literal awesomesauce. There was no ice cream, but my diabetic grandfather downed most of three miniature cups of crème brûlée; at 95, he's entitled to cheat on occasion, especially if it makes him happy and puts on some weight.
While food was not a subject of this post before I began to type, that's part of the "Boing!" — it's going to be all over the place.
It was last night's Late Show with David Letterman that prompted the title and most of the tangents herein. Only clips of the show are online via the CBS website at this writing, but by next week the entire thing should be up at the link above; right now, the latest full episode is Monday's, with Lost's Evangeline Lilly (...oops) in feisty form.
Alec Baldwin was the first guest yesterday, promoting 30 Rock and his hosting of tomorrow night's Saturday Night Live 2009-2010 season finale. I've had a hard time taking Baldwin in dramatic roles (good as he was in The Closer) since he revealed tricks from his soap-opera days on Letterman several years ago — his earnest, ridiculously serious comportment made it nearly impossible to watch him wear a straight face with a straight face. Luckily, his comedy work plays off of exactly that ability to deliver seriously ridiculous material, say as Jack Donaghy or SNL's Delicious Dish guest Pete Schweddy, with absolute conviction.
Screencaps © 2006, 1990 NBC Universal Inc. & Broadway Video.
This will be Baldwin's 15th time hosting SNL, tying him with his recent Oscar co-host Steve Martin. When Baldwin made his 12th appearance as host a few seasons ago in 2006, Martin welcomed him into the Platinum Lounge; he'd rehearsed the bit, of course — sans the surprise appearance from Paul McCartney, as is obvious from his awestruck look. It echoed what, me being an in-joke junkie, is one my favorite SNL sketches: Upon Tom Hanks' 5th hosting gig — a mind-boggling 20 years ago in 1990 — he was ushered into The Five-Timers' Club, where he was joined by Martin, Elliot Gould, and Paul Simon ("There was some concern after Joe Versus the Volcano, but...").
You can find transcripts to "Five-Timers Club" and "Platinum Lounge" online through simple Google searches, but they're no substitute for seeing the video, particularly because of the cameos. "Platinum Lounge" is available at both the NBC website and Hulu; a copy of "Five-Timer's Club" with poorly synched audio is up at a Conan O'Brien fansite due to O'Brien's small role in the sketch during his time as an SNL staff writer, before he replaced Letterman on NBC's Late Night. If you ever catch the full episodes, Hanks' 1990 episode (actually his second hosting gig of the year) is also notable for an appearance by my beloved Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, supporting Ghost of a Dog — it's when Mr. Simon met his future wife Ms. Brickell — while Baldwin's 2006 appearance featured Tony Bennett, there to duet with musical guest Christina Aguilera on her second number, playing Tony Bennett copycat "Anthony Benedetto" (his real name) on The Tony Bennett Show, as Baldwin did his great, great, great Bennett impression.
Jacket © 1962 Ingri & Edgar Parin d'Aulaire.
In the not too distant past I was in the checkout line at Borders and overheard a family trying to find a book with the aid of a sales associate at the nearby Information desk. Pretty quickly, I realized that what the party — led by, I think, a mother looking for the book for her son or daughter — was not very successfully describing to the associate was in fact D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths, not only one my favorite books on Greek mythology but one of my favorite books ever. As mentioned in my recent post on Supernatural, I was a mythology junkie as a kid and racked up books on the subject good, bad, and ugly; I never cared for Thomas Bulfinch (though I haven't re-read it in maybe decades), liked Robert Graves very much early on, and when I started reading more serious stuff went back to Edith Hamilton again and again, but the D'Aulaires' entry was perfect for a budding reader and remains a delight.
So I stepped out of line and mentioned the title to the group. The mother instantly lit up with recognition, after which the associate simultaneously breathed a sigh of relief and practically smacked himself in the forehead. All of them thanked me, including what I took to be the mother's parents, one of whom asked me if I could show them where the book was; the mother had to explain that I didn't work there.
One of my cousins' kids recently became enamored with Greek mythology, due in large part to the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, and I picked him up D'Aulaires' Book. I started to explain that while it had lots of illustrations, it wasn't meant as "merely" a children's book, but he told me that he had, in fact, been wanting it; he's a really smart kid with a real mind for characters and organization, and as I'd predicted he, like I, went straight for the family tree.
The above story, in a roundabout way, ties into the highlight of last night's Late Show episode, a return to Dropping Things Off the Roof of The Ed Sullivan Theater onto 53rd Street. Now, Dave said that someone in the audience had complained that he never does this anymore, which isn't true, but I'm glad that the remark prompted him to order up another installment of the activity anyhow. As I get older, the wastefulness of it bothers me more, yet it's just so darned much fun to watch — in slo-mo and backwards, especially.
My absolute favorite roof-dropping scene dates back to the days when Dave would get up on the roof himself. He grabbed a long, cylindrical fluorescent light bulb, perched one leg on the ledge of the building, and proclaimed himself to be Zeus, God of the Sky, Lord of the Thunderbolts.
First off the roof last night, at the direction of head stagehand Pat Farmer, were magnums of champagne — apparently cheap, but still legally champagne (not an issue brought up on the show, just one in my mind since it was in the news some years back). There's a nifty list of what bottles larger and smaller than the standard bouteille of champagne are called at production coordinator Mike McIntee's installment of The Wahoo Gazette. Nomenclature for the smaller sizes is mostly French, with half a standard 6-glass bottle being a demi-bouteille and one-eighth standard being a huitieme, but for larger sizes, after the double-sized magnum, it gets, um, Biblical, from Jeroboam and Rehoboam through Methuselah up to the twentyfold, 120-glass Nebuchadnezzar.
Next to be launched were bags of flour, while last were a bunch of melons plus big jugs of water. But for me the pièce de résistance came second-to-last, as my prayers were answered and Dave once again went to the Zectron Super Balls, also known as High-Bounce Balls and, during my childhood, advertised on the gumball machines as Super-Hi Bouncing Balls. I just loves me the Super-Hi Bouncing Balls; let them babies loose and your humble blogger is practically, as Dave would say, hyp-mo-tized by the strangely calming nature of their very franticness.