NPR Listeners Comfort A Dying Man Who Tried To Stop The Challenger Disaster

David and I listened to this follow up story Thursday on the retired Thiokol engineer who tried to stop the Challenger disaster, and had a parking lot moment of our own. We were meeting Dad and Linda (my father-in-law Sheldon and Shel’s girlfriend Linda) for dinner. As the story ended, we listened, pausing before getting out of the car. NPR listeners evidently had their own driveway or parking lot moments, and responded quickly to the original story. It’s nice to report so many acts of kindness to try to comfort a dying man. Challenger disaster

After NPR reported Bob Ebeling’s story on the anniversary of the Challenger explosion, hundreds of people responded. Ebeling, now 89, says those letters “helped bring my worrisome mind to ease.”

Source: Your Letters Helped Challenger Shuttle Engineer Shed 30 Years Of Guilt

Workaround for Universal Scrobbler

I listen to a LOT of music via Internet radio streams, and until August, I used to be able to put a nice list of “Listening” tracks on my various blogs. That was courtesy of, which used to be the main place people could gather or “scrobble” their personal music libraries as they listened to iTunes or CDs on their computers or listened to radio stations online that provided the right kind of track medadata.

UPDATE: WOW – check out the list at “Scrobble Along” and see how that site makes it possible to scrobble some pretty interesting Internet radio stations.

Well, “don’t play dat” anymore. They still provide “scrobbling” music playlist service if you listen to your personal music library and/or CDs via iTunes or Windows Media (or Clementine, and maybe WinAmp if that’s still working), and they might provide cover art TO various apps for listening to music online. However, they no longer pick up the data FROM those apps (with a few obscure exceptions, apparently Tunemark and Rdio might do it, but not TuneIn).

RadioRiel just does not want to “scrobble” or pickup metadata from Internet radio streams anymore, so how to capture all that interesting music for possible later purchase? There’s a workaround: it’s possible to manually or semi-manually scrobble tracks via something called the Universal Scrobbler. It’s not perfect, but it’s quick, it’s clean, and a WordPress plugin called “ Played for WordPress” reads the scrobbled tracks instantly, where the former plugin did not. In some cases, it uses’s own music database to discover and capture the track information. So there. I spend too much time listening to my obscure streams to let that data just disappear.

Basically, while listening to music off the Internet (or even if I happen to hear something on the radio and get the track and artist name from Shazam), I can enter the artist or release name in the search page for Universal Scrobbler, and it can check one of 3 databases and send the information to for me, where it appears on my list of tracks, which then gets picked up by my plugin. It’s not perfect and it won’t capture anything automatically, but it’s better than nothing.

The End And The Beginning of My Virtual Life

My iPhone died today. I’m not sure why, but it couldn’t have been good when the speaker dock I’d been using started making more squawky noises than usual – sometimes with shocklingly loud humming and buzzing that came through the speakers. It somehow managed to charge the phone where my older docks did not, but it was never a happy marriage, and David had remarked that it was unshielded, so there’d always be interference. So he’d already found a little wireless speaker called “Mini Jambox” that would be my Hannumas present, and he’s getting a GoPro.

But the iPhone? It’s my life, or a big part of my virtual life. It’s constantly at hand, and being without it isn’t really an option, because all my calendar listings, notes, emails, and a ton of other stuff is on it.


Welp, since my iPhone gave up the ghost, refusing to power up via battery and unable to connect to wifi to be reset, off we went to the local AT&T store to get a replacement, as we figured it had finally gotten the shock of its life and gone poof. Alas, the bright guy at the AT&T store didn’t have any of the Chosen One (an iPhone 5C) in stock. We liked Glenn, he pounced on us very politely when we walked purposefully into the AT&T store, and if only things had gone otherwise, we wouldn’t have had an hour’s worth of woe and gnashing of teeth at Best Buy.

But off we went to the Best Buy, where at first things were off to an auspicious start: not only did they have the 32G 5c in stock, they had it in white AND blue AND green. Faced with an actual color choice other than the Model T (black) and the Model A (white), I froze all deerlike in the headlights and blurted out “Green!” Well, in retrospect, maybe the blue would have been the less neon-y choice, but the color is kind of minty and it’s growing on me, and it goes with my deep blue/purplish Hannemas present (but I’m getting ahead of myself).

Anyway, we started the process of de-commissioning the old phone off of our account and enabling the new, but Houston, we had a problem: the Best Buy tech person said that she’d typed my phone number in correctly (…) but they had de-commissioned David’s phone (and he had a conference call to take in less than an hour back home). The tech rushed to get this corrected, IMing the AT&T people frantically, and finally calling (on her own iPhone) to have them fix it.

Unfortunately, the fix meant somehow that both SIM cards (on David’s current phone, and on my erstwhile new phone) had been disabled. So she had to get two new SIM cards out, enable each and install each in the proper phone, and insure that the phones had the right phone number. While that was playing out and we were politely trying not to freak out too much, the tech had a floor runner fetch a green iPhone case and comped it to me for the trouble. Well, heck, I still could have had a blue case, it’s got holes in the back that would be like fun polka dots in the contrasting green. Anyway, eventually she got the SIM cards installed, David called my new phone, it worked, and we were good to go.

Back home again, I started rebuilding all my email passwords, swearing at Yahoo for making the “forgot my password” process such a nightmare (for various reasons, I have several Yahoo email accounts, to go with various social IDs). David had to step in and straighten that out.

I was relieved that my apps had made it through the ordeal, even though I hadn’t synched the old phone to iTunes since September. And now I see that a bunch of my songs didn’t stay in iTunes… there’s a lot more of them on my laptop, which I *thought* I had gotten to synch up to the desktop. I can see that the end is not in sight, but will try to get the old library to synch to the new one. I also still have the Gateway computer handy, which may have the synched library. It needs to be decommissioned, if not.


David decided to give me my prezzie early, so I powered up the MiniJambox, installed the app that makes it easy to configure and paired it up via Bluetooth with the new iPhone. As an added bonus feature, it also acts as a speakerphone, and a full charge lasts 10 hours… AND it can get Siri talking, too. I started fooling with some of the other features, as it can connect to Spotify, Rdio, and something called Deezer through the app. It sounds terrific, it’s compact and nicely designed, and comes with a mini-USB charge/synch cable and an audio line in/line out double-ended cable (for those times when using Bluetooth to connect isn’t… what, necessary? It paired like a dream).

I signed up for the Spotify free trial and the Rdio free trial. Apparently some services on either will remain free, but playlists and albums are a subscription deal after the trials; I will pass on paying. After all, I still have bad vibes from when, the original source of much scrobbling, took their free service to a subscription model, and I went in search of free internet radio apps that scrobbled to my blogs. While I’ve got the free trials, I’ll listen to as much stuff as I can.


My last big worry: did my Minion Rush game app survive and make the leap across the chasm, with more than 400,000 delicious bananas and quite a cache of game tokens, not to mention my level 26 ranking? Yes, thank goodness, it did – such a funny game – if I’d been reset to 0 loot, 0 tokens, 0 levels I’d have been pretty sad. And right after downloading the delightful Holiday Lab update, too! It’s so Christmassy (say that like “it’s so fluffy!” and you’ll have it right).

So the resurrection continues (it’s not blasphemy unless it’s capitalized, right? Right.). My work life will be full of music (and no more buzzing and crackling). And my play life will be renewed too, because we’re thinking this Jambox thing will be great to bring on future trips… more on “future trips” later.

Now this, THIS is scrobbling: Clementine and and Streaming radio just plain work.

On a whim, I looked once again to see if there’s a way to set WinAmp up to “scrobble” streaming radio, and it appears not… but one word at the support site said simply “clementine” and that seems to do the job nicely. Built in support for, Grooveshark, Spotify, and a few other services. There’s a ton of Internet radio stations to explore, and it’s relatively simple to set up playlists with my favorite Radio Riel streams, plus stations I’ve encountered on trips and local stations too.

The feed is put into my sidebar using a plugin called – it’ll pick up oddities like on-air ads and station IDs, and some songs miss the feed but are visible at my page

I’ll try to move the political stuff and noise elsewhere. I can’t blog during the workday – that goes without saying. But I can certainly have music playing. I’ve moved some of the “stats” stuff to the About page, which could use some work but it clears up some white space on the main page and post pages.

Clementine runs well on the old laptop, it’ll get installed on the main desktop machine too, so that when I’m online in the evenings, I can listen to whatever I want and scrobble tracks.

Still need to carve some time out to upload a few batches of photos to Flickr from the last 2 trips. More later.

Fran Lebowitz On Q With Jian Ghomeshi: Not David Sedaris

I spend a lot of time listening to radio via WinAmp over headphones while goofing around on my computer at home. I happened to tune in to WBEZ and caught the last few minutes of an interview between CBC Q’s Jian Ghomeshi and somebody that sounded a lot like a very peevish David Sedaris. However, the conversation was all about the lack of manners shown by Americans in everyday life, and the voice and accent didn’t quite have the languid edginess of Sedaris’.

How surprising to find that it was actually Fran Lebowitz speaking. She approves of cigarette smoking, but it’s done a number on her voice (and skin – she reminds me a bit of Geoffrey Rush). I enjoyed her discourse with Ghomeshi on the irritating things Americans do in public, like eating, or speaking too loudly, or letting their children run wild and uncorrected. I call this behavior “The World Is My Living Room.” It’s something I really hate in places where relative quiet is called for, like a movie theater, art gallery, or fine restaurant.

My family-by-marriage is loud… really loud when we gather together. We’re quieter in restaurants – not louder than anyone around us (though when it’s the whole clan, with the moieties together, it’s really best to put us in a private room).

On trips to England, I was struck by how very, very quiet dining rooms were in the better sort of restaurants (ie., not pubs, and with tablecloths and carpeting). After I pointed out the relative difference in sound levels to David, we tried speaking in very low tones, or at least matching the level the waiter or waitress used. And we were quietly amused and a little horrified when we realized we could pick out all the Americans in the room, just by the, well, braying sounds above the background noise.

If I ever encountered Ms. Lebowitz somewhere (unlikely, as we’re probably not headed to New York anytime soon) I’d hope we wouldn’t offend her by being noisy, or eating in public, or talking on cell phones. Texting, apparently, is fine, because it’s silent. She really doesn’t care what anyone does, as long as it doesn’t bother her. However, many things other people do bother her, such as coming to New York and making it too crowded. You could hear Ghomeshi trying and mostly failing to stifle laughter; she really has a way with a good rant.

If I did encounter her, I wouldn’t be able to get close enough to risk offending her. I just wouldn’t be able to breathe; she’s reportedly still a very heavy smoker.

Still, her commentary was enjoyable in a “really blows your hair back” kind of way, and I found myself agreeing with her stance more than not. She may be tetchy, she may be crotchety, but she’s got a point: most Americans have no manners, and no sense of proper behavior in public. And it’s all the fault of… McDonald’s and other fast food places, apparently.

It appears that the interview may be heard on the CBC website.

Thank you for reading this post.

/me waits patiently for a simple “You’re welcome.”

The latest in our quest to redesign America — author, humourist and public speaker Fran Lebowitz on American manners.

Never afraid to share her firm and unswerving opinions, The Paris Review once noted that she disapproves of "virtually everything except sleep, cigarette smoking, and good furniture." From eating and chewing gum in public to being in "a world of one’s own" while walking down the street, Fran had a lot to say about what she sees as bad manners.

via Fran Lebowitz takes on American manners | Q with Jian Ghomeshi | CBC Radio

Listening to The Zombies On World Cafe : NPR

I had no idea that some of the original members of classic 60’s group The Zombies were playing together again, but I happened upon a repeat of the World Cafe show where they sang some songs from their new album, accompanied by piano. And then they sang their classic, it’s a rough version but live, live, live.

Actually, there’s something about their voices that reminds me a lot of much more contemporary groups, they’ve still got a compelling sound.

In today’s World Cafe session, Argent tells the story of his attempt to meet his idol, Elvis Presley, in 1965 by visiting Presley’s Memphis home — and the surprise he received when he got there. Later, Blunstone describes recording the famous Odessey and Oracle at Abbey Road immediately after the Beatles finished Sgt. Pepper’s; the Zombies even used some of the same instruments, like the Mellotron. Finally, Argent and Blunstone perform two new songs off Breathe Out, Breathe In before treating us to a rendition of the classic “She’s Not There.”

via The Zombies On World Cafe : NPR

Dick Van Dyke Rules Vans and Dikes


Just listened to @WaitWait with Dick Van Dyke, who totally rocked “Not My Job” with his comprehensive knowledge of vans and dikes. What a delight when he SANG the “Dick Van Dyke Show” jingle!

Still testing WooTumblr – David DOES need to edit the tags in the theme so that it picks up photos, links, and so on. I’m adding a link via the RTF buttons in the normal Article function this time.

Also, the time stamp is not updating.

UPDATE: And the link did not work either. No point in testing further until David gets a chance to update the templates with the WooTumbler tags.

Daniel Schorr -30-

Of all the many tributes and stories remembering the life and career of Dan Schorr, Scott Simon’s was the one that that moved me most. Schorr wasn’t a teddy bear; he pissed presidents and premiers off, as well as colleagues, columnists, and Congressmen.

NPR’s Scott Simon Remembers Daniel Schorr : NPR

No other journalist in memory saw as much history as Daniel Schorr.

He was born the year before the Russian Revolution and lived to see the Digital Revolution. He was there before the Berlin Wall went up and there a generation later when it came down. He was born before people had radio in their homes but pioneered the use of radio, television, satellites and then the Web to report the news.

How many people were personal acquaintances of Edward R. Murrow, Nikita Khrushchev, Frank Zappa and Richard Nixon?

For all the history that he reported, Dan Schorr will always be remembered for the moment he stood before live television cameras in 1974 with a breaking bulletin about a list of enemies compiled by the White House.

Schorr began to read the names. One of them was his own. “The note here is, ‘A real media enemy,'” he read, before continuing through the list.

“What went through my mind was, ‘Don’t lose your cool. Be professional,'” he said years later.

Schorr’s career is detailed, including the infamous story of how he allowed his old bosses at CBS think for a time that Lesley Stahl had actually leaked some Congressional documents to the “left-leaning” Village Voice. He gives his side of it, most notably in a quoted interview with Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes. Other stories note the incident, showing that there were some people at CBS’ Washington bureau who maybe never forgave him for it.

There’s more about the Nixon enemies’ list by another LA Times/AP writer that added a few nice quotes by surviving elder statesmen of journalism Bill Moyers and Bob Schieffer (the latter of “Face the Nation”).

Daniel Schorr’s path through the news business began in print, then led to almost three decades in television with CBS News and the fledgling cable network CNN.

By the time of his death, he was best known as a longtime senior news analyst and liberal commentator on National Public Radio. He also wrote several books, including his memoir, “Staying Tuned: A Life in Journalism.”

Bill Moyers, who like Schorr had stints at CBS News and in public broadcasting, said Schorr was a model of integrity.

“At NPR, he exemplified the very best of public broadcasting by refusing to be intimidated by either official funders or partisan thugs who besieged the brass in protest of his honest reporting,” Moyers wrote Friday in an e-mail. “With razor-sharp wit, personal courage, and love of our craft, he distinguished himself and journalism.”

CBS “Face the Nation” host Bob Schieffer said if not for Schorr, he doesn’t know what reporters would have done to get stories about Watergate. “When Watergate came along, he kept us in the game,” Schieffer said.

“He was a model for us all,” Schieffer said. “I’ve never seen anybody who just enjoyed reporting a story as much as he did. He just loved it.”

Schorr reported from Moscow, Havana, Bonn, Germany and many other cities as a foreign correspondent. While at CBS, he brought Americans the first-ever exclusive television interview with a Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, in 1957.

During the Nixon years, Schorr not only covered the news as CBS’ chief Watergate correspondent, but he also became part of the story. Hoping to beat the competition, he rushed to the air with Nixon’s famous “enemies list” and began reading the list of 20 to viewers before previewing it. As he got to No. 17, he discovered his name.

“I remember that my first thought was that I must go on reading without any pause, or gasp or look of wild surmise,” he wrote in his book “Clearing the Air.”

Schorr’s stories pointing out weaknesses of the administration’s programs so angered Nixon that he ordered an FBI investigation of the reporter, on the pretext that he was being considered for a top federal job. That investigation was later mentioned in one of the three articles of impeachment — “abuse of a federal agency” — against Nixon.

In White House recordings from 1971, Nixon and Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman discuss a tax investigation of Schorr in the Oval Office.

“You take a fellow like this Dan Schorr, he’s — I notice — he is always creating something, isn’t he?” Nixon said.

“Oh … He incidentally is on — you don’t, shouldn’t get involved in this, but he’s on our tax list, too,” Haldeman said.

“Good,” Nixon replied.

“They’re going after a couple of media people,” Haldeman said. “They’re going after Dan Schorr and (Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Star columnist) Mary McGrory.”

“Good,” Nixon said again.

The recording was made available by the University of Virginia, which is transcribing and annotating the secret Nixon tapes.

He didn’t lose his cool when he read the enemies’ list with his name on it, and he was always a professional. In his final “Week in Review” with Scott Simon from July 7, you can hear that his voice is a little weak and Simon feeds him some some pretty obvious “tell us about that one time, Grandpa” questions about spies, but the answers are clear and detailed. We could only wish that our current crop of Junior Journos could have as firm a grasp of the facts as Schorr had, even in his final days.

I can’t imagine what he would have made of this week’s agonizingly stupid story of the fall of Shirley Sherrod, or how she was failed by a national press that’s become incapable of checking the most minor of facts (and in fact leaving it to bloggers to both make shit up, and debunk it). It seems like at a time in our history when we most need journalists to BE JOURNALISTS, they’ve completely forgotten how to get the story, and to get it right.

It’s a frightening time when blustering, blubbering bullies diagram insane conspiracy theories on tear-stained chalkboards and nobody bothers to fact-check them. Meanwhile, batshit-insane ex-con fanboys drink the full-strength Kool-Aid and literally swallow every damn stupid crazy fearmongering thing they’re told. They then feel free to load up on guns, ammo, and body armor before heading out to shoot up the ACLU and a community organization funded by (DUNH DUNH DUHHHHHNNNNNN!) neocon bogeyman George Soros.

George Who? Dan Schorr could have analyzed it for you, but here’s what Crooks and Liars detailed earlier today, complete with timelines showing what’s been bugging Beck recently, that can be connected to the “I-580 Shooter.”

Armed to the teeth, and as a third-striker, not particularly concerned with his fate, too:

When the officers tried to contact Williams, a 12-minute-long gun battle ensued. Williams, armed with three guns, including a .308-caliber rifle that can penetrate ballistic body armor and vehicles, eventually surrendered and exited the vehicle.

Williams was arraigned in Alameda County Superior Court Tuesday on four counts of attempted murder of a peace officer and being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. He received enhancements for wearing body armor. [Read more]

The Tides Foundation is George Soros’ philanthropic charity, and the ACLU is, well, the ACLU. I wonder, what would cause an unstable, bitter angry man to target the ACLU and the Tides Foundation? I wonder…

Here are some recent headlines from top right wing sites. I won’t link them or quote them, but let’s see what they say.

* July 19, 2010: FoxNation: Soros-Funded Group Wants Feds to Probe Talk Radio
* July 21, 2010: Big Journalism: There You Go Again: Soros Comes to America
* June 23, 2010: Soros Says Germany Could Cause Euro Collapse –
* June 22, 2010: ‘Glenn Beck:’ Soros Poised to Profit? – Glenn Beck –
* July 6, 2010: Oliver Stone Lunches With George Soros | The FOX

Why does the right wing, and particularly Fox, hate Soros so much? As far as I can tell, there’s no rational explanation. I did, however, find an irrational explanation on a weird, off-the-beaten path right wing blog.

Here’s a summary: George Soros is a foreigner who came from a “socialist country”, allegedly supports organizations promoting child molestation (he doesn’t), supported the Solidarity movement in Poland (he did), and donated money toward George Bush’s 2004 defeat (he did, but so did a lot of people).

Mostly, it’s irrational ginned up stupid fear of absolutely nothing. His name isn’t Koch, therefore he is evil. That’s as rational as anything.

More baffling, actually, is the ACLU. For all of those liberty lovers, the ACLU should be their very, very best friend, because the ACLU loves the constitution just as much as any true teabagger. So why do they hate the ACLU?

Here are some headlines:

* July 20, 2010: ACLU Wants Prayer Banner Expelled « FOX News Radio
* July 19, 2010: Black Hills Fox – ACLU warns of travel to Arizona
* September 10, 2009: Raw Story » Fox guest: ACLU defense teams should be jailed
* July 20, 2010: Judge OKs Lying About Military Service – Fox News, blaming the ACLU for bringing the lawsuit
* July 19, 2010: Beck: Does Presidential Assassination Program Exist? (Beck alleges the President could even assassinate the ACLU)

Not a week goes by without at least three stories about the ACLU threatening the frightened viewer’s freedom and liberty. Penis pumps for illegals? Fox News blames the ACLU. American Taliban lawyer going after Arizona’s immigration law? Blame the ACLU. Tourism down in Arizona? Blame the ACLU.

This is how these wingers operate. They make bogeymen out of anyone and any organization that doesn’t fall into lockstep with their thinking. And they just don’t care when some deranged fool takes their bloviation seriously, loads up the truck, puts on the body armor, and sets out on a mission to ‘start a revolution’.

And if he couldn’t start a revolution, well hey, he can shoot at some cops instead.

It ought to be criminal. There was a time where it was. Now it seems anyone can say anything and get away with it.

Glad that Crooks and Liars is there to call it out. Sad that Dan Schorr has filed his final story and won’t be analyzing this crazy week for us tomorrow with Scott Simon. I can only hope that Dan’s legacy for rigorous fact-checking and source-protecting will live on, perhaps in a new kind of news media.

As he started out in print, it seems best to end with the traditional journalist’s sign that the Dan Schorr story can be put to bed (go to print).


Cinnamon French Toast

I’m off for the next couple of weeks, and today I’m out of the house, spending time at Panera while “the ladies” do their twice-monthly thing. It seems the clientele here this time of day is older than I’m used to seeing in the evenings, but there are plenty of people using laptops and taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi. One guy has a small monitor and full-size keyboard set up with a dock; pretty serious gear.

No doubt more than a few are unemployed or between jobs. Several are chatting with each other as if they’re regulars. Me, I’m just hoping to avoid the one chatterbox that seemed to be going from table to table asking people about mining disasters, as she seems to be both obsessed with the story from West Virginia, and a little loopy.

I’m set up with headphones so I can listen to NPR; currently connected to the website catching up on this morning’s news, as I slept through WBEZ’s broadcast for the most part.

Panera Bread › Recipes › Cinnamon Raisin French Toast

Cinnamon Raisin French Toast

Our Cinnamon Raisin bread makes fabulous French toast.
8 slices 1/2″ thick Panera® Cinnamon Raisin Bread
4 T. melted butter
3/4 c milk
1/2 c heavy cream
3 large eggs
1 T. honey
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt

1. For the French Toast custard, combine using a hand whisk the milk, heavy cream, eggs, honey, vanilla extract and the salt. This custard can be made well in advance. Give a brisk stir before making the toast.
2. Transfer the custard to a casserole or open shallow dish for dipping.
3. Dip one slice into the custard and turn over after about 15 seconds. Transfer the slice to a plate while dipping another slice into the custard.
4. Place a large skillet on a medium fire. Allow the pan to heat thoroughly before pouring 1 Tablespoon of the melted butter into the pan.
5. Place both slices carefully into the skillet and cook on each side until golden brown or about 2 minutes.
6. Repeat steps 3�5 until all the French toast is cooked.
7. An optional step is to place each finished French toast onto a baking sheet in a preheated oven until all are ready to serve.

Serve warm with real maple syrup. Serves 4.

So Glad We Had This Time Together

…woke up to the sound of Carol Burnett’s voice on NPR this morning, which caused an instant and very pleasant flashback to our 70’s-era family/dining/TV room. Her variety show was always a favorite in our family, and even now I can remember many loud belly laughs caused by their particular brand of tongue-in-cheek sketch humor. We got hysterical most weeks watching that show; laughing helplessly at the famous “Went With The Wind” dress, but also at Tim Conway trying to close a door by sitting on its unusually large doorknb. Most of all, there was poor Harvey Korman, trying not to laugh and failing, every week.

It took forever to find a clip with most of the “doorknob” sketch on it; a nearly complete version of it was on a “Bust Ups and Bloopers” compilation DVD. The best part: Harvey pushes the door open with Tim still straddling the doorknob; his reaction is almost out of shot but you can see he wasn’t expecting the jolt he got.

Carol Burnett – Bust Ups, Bloopers & Blunders Finale HQ

Carol Burnett, Still Glad For ‘This Time Together’ : NPR

Carol Burnett was one of the original queens of TV comedy. Her long-running variety show, with its outrageous costumes and its uproariously unpredictable sketches, offered a warm brand of wackiness that parents would let their kids stay up late to watch. Now, in a new memoir, Burnett tells stories about what went on behind the scenes of The Carol Burnett Show — plus a few tales about what went down when she ventured out among the show’s fans.

The lingerie saleslady at Bergdorf Goodman, for instance, who cheerfully accepted a personal check without proper ID — but only after Burnett demonstrated her trademark Tarzan yell. Lacking options, needing stockings and seeing that the department wasn’t especially crowded, Burnett obliged.

“Right behind the saleslady, there was an exit door that burst open,” Burnett tells NPR’s Renee Montagne. “And in came a security guard with a gun pulled. I mean, we could have had our heads blown off.”