Who Gave a Crap?
CBS put old leather-hide, smoked-ham-looking Mike Wallace out to pasture last night. Did anybody see it? The rest of the 60 Minutes gang each did a hooey piece on old shriveling Mike, each piece, like a John McCain college graduation speech, simply the same hooey rehashed, most of them using the same hacky adjectival phrases, like "Mike's hard-hitting reporting," or "Mike goes for the throat with his straight-to-the-point questions." That trumpeting went on for the whole G-D hour; with inserted comments from Mike himself looking like a burlap-bagged mummy with that smoked-ham skin and those bagged eyes and those pulpy jowls but talking aw-shucks modestly about how great and "hard hitting" he was, and, that, yep, he admitted it, he patented the straight-to-the-point question. Ah, come on, Mike; Les Moonvez told you your time was up; you were scaring children; Morley Holy Wafer, too; 60 Minutes needs some youth pumped into it; even Ed Bradley is getting scary looking. Andy Rooney, you don't give a damn about him; he's been old longer than Mike, so you accept him like you accept one of your grandparents who just won't f-ing die; of course, you're lucky if Old Andy's you're grandparent unless he outlives you; he's so old, he may have outlived his own grandkids, if he had any. I swore, I would have croaked if I had heard one more tribute to old leather-face Mike Wallass calling him a "hard-hitting reporter." I would have puked myself to death. As it was I heard it the first time and I puked; then, damn, a second time, puke, a third time, puke, by the last time, I was dry heaving. Mike Wallace wasn't an original; hell no, he was simply doing an impersonation of his hero Edward R. "Where are my cigs?" Murrow.
My earliest recall of old puckered-up Mike Wallace he's totally surrounded by cigarette smoke. Since he was impersonating his idol, Edward R. "Light me up another one" Murrow, Mike chained smoked right on camera. It's a miracle, unless there's something we don't know, like Peter Jennings dying of cancer a year or so ago, how old Mike smoked so damn much yet he hasn't followed in the footsteps on the banana peels of his idol, Edward R (for Radiation). "I'm Dying of Cancer" Murrow, who did eventually die of lung cancer. Mike has a gravelly voice but he seems able to cope with getting out of the game while he's pretty much ahead. I'm sure old hard-hitting Mike has knocked down some multimillion bucks and will have a hambone hell of a time retired to one of his fabulous gated community getaways. I'm also sure we'll get a couple of Mike Wallace primetime specials, like "Mike Wallace's Protologist View of the World Bent Over." Or how about, "Mike Wallace Asks: 'Viagra, Is It a Hard Drug and Are We Being Too Soft on It?'"
Here's another way I remember old Mike "Hambone" Wallace. Back in 1982, at a break in a broadcast, right after Mike had been interviewing a black man, the sound man accidentally left the microphone on and you heard Mike being asked was it hard to interview black guys, and Mike shot back, it's hard to understand what they're saying when they're trying to speak over the tops of their watermelons, like it's hard to understand Latinos when they're trying to speak over platters of tacos. Except Mike told it with more snide maliciousness that my weak-kneed words are capable of expressing.
A Recipe From Dinah Shore
Toss a mixed salad in a big bowl: lettuce, tomatoes, cukes, red onions. Put in refrigerator. Then you fry some bacon, dry it off on a paper towel. Take the salad bowl out of the refrigerator and crumble the bacon over it. Then reheat the bacon grease left in the frying pan. Now mix into that heating grease a teaspoon of powdered mustard. When the bacon grease is sizzling, pour it quickly over the cold salad. The grease will crackle as you pour it over that salad. Then eat. It's Old South as hell; po' folks food; usually made with dandelions and wild onions or with Swiss chard and wild herbs. I saw the late great Dinah Shore make this on her late afternoon teevee talk show near the end of her career. She did cooking segments with her guest. She did this one with Dandy Don Meredith, a retired Dallas Cowboys quarterback, one of Tom Landry's first successful quarterbacks at the beginning of his winning years, though Don was never of the star quality of Bart Starr, Fran Tarkington, or Johnny Unitas, but he was as great as Broadway Joe Namath, who was also a frequent guest on Dinah's teevee show.
On this same show with Dandy Don Meredith, she also made some fried chicken. It was different because...well, here it is. You take a chopped up fresh pullet. You then take 5 egss and break them in a big bowl. Then to the eggs you add a half-pint of buttermilk and then you beat those eggs. I think the Dandy One quipped, "Hey, Dinah, now don't beat your eggs too hard." Then you dip the chicken pieces in the egg/buttermilk batter. Then you crush a ton of Premium Saltine crackers in a bowl and you roll the chicken pieces in these cracker crumbs. Then you put the pieces straight into sizzling hot grease lining the bottom of a 12-inch cast iron skillet. Through the top on that sucker and let that chicken fry for over 30 minutes on a slow heat. Boy, now that'll be the crispiest chicken you'll ever eat and it's thanks to the good girl band singer become teevee show queen Dinah Shore. [There were vicious rumors spread about the delicious Dinah. Back home in the hills of Tennessee where she was from, it was implied she had maybe a tad more black blood running through her veins than white. They gave as there evidence her rather thick lips and large breasts; enough evidence to sway an all-male Old South jury, I'm sure.]
for The Daily Growler
The Daily Growler Quote of the Day
"It is not difficult to be alone if you are poor and a failure. An artist is always alone--if he is an artist. No, what the artist needs is loneliness." Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer, Grove Press, 1965.
"I'll hain't you, boy, if you monkey 'round my widder when I'm gone." Doc Watson from a song I heard him singing with Chet Atkins one time.
"All the monkies ain't in a zoo, there's some runnin' loose around me and you." from a song sung by Tommy Collins.