I know why you're standing there. You're standing there just to aggravate me.
Rodeo artwork for you to color.

Is there any figure in contemporary society who is more tragicomic than the rodeo clown? Don't answer right away--flop the question around in your skull a little bit first.

And, while that question is flopping, look at the illustration of the rodeo clown putting on makeup and imagine watching him do that accompanied by a slow, sad rinky-tink piano track. (Or if it's hard to imagine sad rinky-tink piano, use the theme to the old classic TV show, The Hulk.)

Totally tragicomic.
'Bewitched' in other languages, with screengrabs from the shows and RealAudio sound clips. Surprisingly interesting.
Here are some things I saw and heard at the LA County Fair:

America Rocks
Enthusiastic clean-cut red, white and blue leotard-clad young people sang and danced their hearts out on a red, white and blue stage with red, white and blue star-covered monoliths. Behind them were two giant stars, one labeled "America," and the other labeled "Rocks."

The "America Rocks" performers had the energy level and extreme smiling that you might see with cheerleaders or a swing choir.

They sang America-themed rock classics by the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Neil Diamond with the lyrics changed slightly (and strangely) to include lines about "saving the children." At one point they got the audience of about 150 people to clap and chant with them, "I love living in America!"

The performance ended with the lead singer sauntering off the stage; he pointed to the "America" star and then to the "Rocks" star and gave the audience a big thumbs-up.

If anyone anywhere in the world doesn't like America, it's only because they haven't seen "America Rocks."

"Well, how do you think I liked it..."
Overheard: "Well, how do you think I liked it when I was in jail."

On display at the LA County Fair is one of the most patriotic art collections that you might hope to ever see.

And there was a high-concept quilt with a firefighter looking at the New York City skyline and above the skyline were clouds. And in the the clouds were the Twin Towers. The buildings had gone to heaven.

Also, I got to see the winning tables of the tablescaping competition; tablescaping is themed table setting. (Thankfully no 9/11 table-settings.) The two themes I remember were "classic Hollywood" tables and also "denim and diamond" tables. Oh yeah, and "Christmas around the world" tables, too, I think.

Gastonomical delights
Hot dog on a stick, corn on a stick, chicken on a stick, linguica on a stick, and egg roll on a stick.

Big pigs
I somehow accidentally ended up in the pig-walkway during the swine-judging competition and was told that I would have to get out because "we're running pigs through here. BIG PIGS!"

Pointing out that the pigs were big was not really necessary. Equally unneccessary was her adamant tone, as if she was expecting me to put up a fight to stay there in the pig alley.

So, county fair swine judging pig path guardswoman, if you're reading this, you were kind enough to give me advice and now I would like to return the favor and offer you this advice: please try and lighten up a little bit. It's not the end of the world if people are in the pig path. Just ask them nicely to move out and I'm sure they will.

A guy on the midway had a monkey on a leash. And the monkey didn't really do any tricks except shaking hands if that can be called a trick. The signs said "monkey shakes hands $1.00" and "[something crossed out] 25 cents."

And what was going on was, people would put out their hands, palm up, with quarters in them and the monkey would come by and take the quarters.

If you held out a one-dollar bill, the monkey would take your dollar and then distractedly hold his hand in your hand, which if you use your imagination, you might call that a handshake.

I would like to point out here that the experience you get for 25 cents does not differ substantially from the experience you get for one dollar. If you're going to pay for this service, save yourself 75 cents. In fact, you may be able to save yourself 90 cents; I saw one person only give the monkey a dime and nothing bad happened. I don't think the monkey noticed.

I should also say that everyone seemed to be walking away satisfied with their encounter with the monkey, no matter how much or little they spent. (What do people want from a monkey encounter? It's simple! They merely want the monkey to touch their hands--the same thing they want from a holy man or a famous person.)

As the family next to me turned to leave, a kid about 5 years old or so said to his dad, "Remember, last year you made the monkey angry."

His father: "well, a couple years ago, yeah."

"Internationally recognized and praised as the #1 Tom Jones look and sound alike in the world."

His bio says that Harmik wanted to be a singer and wanted to make it big on his own, as an individual, just being himself. But for Harmik, that could never be. He simply looked and sounded too much like Tom Jones. At every turn, he found that he couldn't escape the Tom Jones box in which cruel fate had placed him.

So, he made the best of it. He became the self-proclaimed #1 Tom Jones look and sound alike in the world.

And look what he's got--some great photos (1, 2, 3), including this one of Harmik with "X President" Carter.

Also, wouldn't it be a great TV show to have a Tom Jones impersonator (Harmik!) who's also a police detective? So he lives this double-life, crimefighter by day, night club entertainer impersonator by night.

And sometimes his two worlds collide.

Backstage, after the big show, Harmik's toweling off--but something's just not right. Harmik looks up; there's Petrucco (the bad guy in this episode)! What's HE doing backstage? Talking to the club owner. It's a set up! Their eyes lock. Think fast, Harmik!

Or how about at the police station--the chief pairs up Harmik and the new guy to do some investigating. "Get out there and see what you can find out about this Petrucco. Jenkins, you go with Harmik."

Jenkins laughs, "with Harmik--the lounge singer?"

The chief gets right in Jenkins face, "He may be a lounge singer. But that lounge singer is the best detective we've got."

Harmik would also be the name of the show.

Now, don't leave without getting Harmik to sign your souvenir Harmik panties.

Great diary entry: One Saturday Night in Furbank, wherein diarist, Kitty Bukkake, crashes a furry shindig, The 14th Annual International Anthropomorphic Convention and Exhibition, ConFurence 2002 at the Burbank Airport Hilton.

"Problem: we don't want them to know we are impostors or they might kick us out. We'd brought some plush toys along: Steven had a bunny, and I had a whale, a bee, and a dragonfly, plus a panda keychain. But we weren't fooling anyone with our old toys, our short hairdos and stylish, non-pleated jeans. We didn't fit the profile."

And now Ms. Kitty B has turned those exciting field notes and photos of the Furry gathering into a book.

[Thanks, Andrew.]
Turn by Adam Frank.

[Thanks, Katherine.]
09.16.02 (more)
Wow, here's more Willard Scott, including Willard as Farmer Willard on "Barn Party" with early Jim Henson puppets.

And! Commander Retro.

Willard Scott was the first Ronald McDonald.

He was Bozo. Then he was Ronald McD. Then he was the Today Show Weather Clown, of course.

This site has video clips of 3 Willard/Ronald spots from 1963. Or you can just read the transcripts: p.s. Willard Scatt. Also, Get Stuffed.