The few. The proud. The extremely polite. The Marine Corps withdrew its de facto endorsement of the Clint Eastwood film Heartbreak Ridge after Corps officers decided that Eastwood, playing a tough gunnery sergeant, used too many obscenities and treated his men too roughly. This, a Corps spokesman suggested, is a new era. Modern drill instructors, no doubt, say things like, “Excuse me, young gentleman recruit, if it wouldn’t be terribly inconvenient, might you hit the ennobling ground and execute several ennobling push-ups, please?”
They came to praise Jimmy, not to bury him. The Teamsters union voted against deleting from the organization’s constitution a section designating Jimmy Hoffa—missing since 1975 and presumed dead—”general president emeritus for life.”
He checked into a drug clinic and you didn’t. Chevy Chase underwent two weeks of treatment at the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif. for a dependence on pain-killing drugs. Chase, it was explained, became hooked on the drugs when he used them to treat back injuries incurred while falling down in skits on Saturday Night Live, many of which made fun of President Ford.
Why don’t we stuff His Majesty and keep him around until Barbara Walters gets her own show? Newly published notes revealed that Lord Dawson, the royal physician treating Britain’s King George V on his deathbed in 1936, hastened the death of the mortally ill monarch by injecting him with cocaine and morphine. His Lordship explained that he thought it more proper for the King’s death to be timed to the morning deadline of the stately Times, rather than have it announced in one of London’s unseemly evening tabloids.
Our tax dollars at work: The government held a stress management seminar in Denver for federal executives. Among the stress-reducing activities was some incidental bombardment by subliminal messages, which included “I am calm,” “I deserve to feel safe” and “Mommy and I are one.” The last message, explained the psychologist who ran the seminar on behalf of the Office of Personnel Management, “gives people a feeling of safety and security.”
Want untrashed skin and an uncreased face to go with that heart of gold? Sydney Biddle Barrows, the upscale Manhattan hooker broker, wrote a book and in a subsequent interview gave such beauty tips as “I take my satin pillowcase wherever I go. It’s my answer to trashed skin. When you’re a stomach sleeper like I am, your face gets all creased and you wake up looking like a road map. Satin helps your skin slide.”
Howard, what’s the definition of humility? Testifying in the USFL-NFL pro football antitrust trial, an attorney asked Howard Cosell if he had understood a question. Cosell replied, “If you ask a question I don’t understand, we will have the biggest story of the century.”
Unquote: Pop composer Jule Styne, on being given the National Academy of Popular Music’s Board of Directors Award, said, “It’s nice to be remembered. And I deserve it.”
Free the Sacramento 127—and spring a few vats of stuffing while you’re at it. The Animal Liberation Front claimed credit for liberating 127 turkeys from what it called “death camps,” two huge turkey ranches where the birds were scheduled to be marketed as Thanksgiving dinners. The group said it had transferred the turkeys to “safe homes”—perhaps those whose inhabitants favor standing rib roasts.
No, no, Jonas baby, we’re doing upbeat guerrilla here; if we play our cards right we can get Eddie Murphy to play you in the movie version. Jonas Savimbi, leader of a rebel movement in the African country of Angola, toured Washington, D.C., using a publicity firm he had hired for $600,000 a year to polish his image in this country.
You don’t have to be Jewish to like buffalo meat. A 13-year-old American Indian boy, Little Sun Bordeaux, claiming to be a descendant of the Sioux chief Crazy Horse, went to Israel to have his bar mitzvah at Jerusalem’s Western Wall. Little Sun, in a yarmulke and Sioux headdress, said, “My Jewishness is kind of like a wave that is going over my Indianness. I’m really into my Jewishness now.”
Jane Fonda, All-American. Not only did Fonda show up at a Los Angeles Dodger fantasy baseball camp in Florida to lead calisthenics for Tommy Lasorda and others in need of stretching, burning, paining and gaining. She also disclosed, after being called a vegetarian in a peculiar senatorial campaign in South Dakota, that she eats red meat.
Stupid Lawyer Tricks: Two pet owners whose pooches appeared on “Stupid Pet Tricks” segments of Late Night With David Letterman sued Letterman, one for $35,000, the other for $1 million. M. Michele Hills-Shaw and her husband, David Shaw (the lower rollers), said that Letterman without their consent showed a tape of their Labrador diving into a swimming pool to retrieve a toy. Maryjane Kasian (the high roller) said Letterman ruined her poodle’s career in show business by joking that “some unethical and intricate spinal surgery” had been performed on the dog to allow it to do such tricks as walking on its hind legs while balancing a glass of water on a Frisbee.
Take that, all of you who say Americans have lost their drive to achieve. Ashrita Furman of New York City set an all-time record for underwater pogo stick jumps—3,303 in 3 hours, 20 minutes—then retraced the nearly 10 miles of Paul Revere’s route, somersaulting the whole way. He also executed 45,027 jumping jacks in 12 hours, 20 minutes.
Hail to thee, blithe spirit; bisque thou never wert. A 22-lb. lobster, trapped off the Maine coast and destined for a Dallas restaurant was spared and named—Conan—when it occurred to someone that his size meant he was at least 154 years old. Shipped to Galveston to the crustacean equivalent of a retirement community, Conan died of complications from shedding his shell.
Obfuscatory malexpression of nonoptimum output. The Pentagon won a Doublespeak Award from the National Council of Teachers of English for describing a hammer in a purchase form as “a manually powered fastener-driving impact device.”
Sure he had his weaknesses, but as a fourth for canasta…. The late Peter Lawford’s mother, Lady Lawford, included in her autobiography a photograph of Princess Stephanie Hohenlohe-Waldenburg “Steph” Schillingsfürst and said, “For years people have accused Steph of being Hitler’s girlfriend, but I don’t care—I adore her!”
Unquote: The report of the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography included this summary of a novel plot: “Becky saw Loomis in pain and wanted to help him, in accordance with her Girl Scout oath, but she hesitated because she was nude.”
You load 14 honorariums and what do you get? A group of 14 Democratic congressmen received $2,000 apiece to tour a Virginia coal mine. The United Coal Company said paying legislators for such junkets is “very much a part of normal practice.”
Then there’s always the Joan Crawford Coat Hanger, the Joey Heatherton Steak Knife and the Sly Stallone Diction Adviser. An epidemic of new products with celebrity names hit the market: Clark Gable detergent, Marilyn Monroe fabric softener, Hemingway sunglasses and Elvis Presley “Love Me Tender” shampoo among them.
Ain’t that a kick in the head? Los Angeles Raiders defensive end Greg Townsend was suspended for a game by National Football League Commissioner Pete Rozelle for booting Kansas City Chiefs tackle David Lutz in the the head after Lutz had lost his helmet. Townsend described the action as a “foot slap.”
Unquote: Sean Penn, asked his feelings about James Dean, said, “He was a guy who died. He made a couple of films.” Elsewhere, Penn discussed his attitude toward photographers who flew in helicopters over the site of his wedding to Madonna: “I consider myself very human and very moral, and I would have been very excited to see one of those helicopters burn and the bodies inside melt.”
Winning gracefully in New York, Part I. Even after he had won re-election as Governor of New York by a record margin, Mario Cuomo continued to castigate reporters for their coverage of his campaign. He said of the New York Daily News: “They can call me from a burning building and say, ‘You’re the captain of the Fire Department,’ and they’ll have to learn how to fly.”
Winning gracefully in New York, Part II. After the New York Mets won the World Series, President Reagan invited the team to the White House. A contingent of just 14 showed up, including only 12 of the team’s 26 players.
Twinkiegate: George Belair of Minneapolis was arrested and charged with a campaign practices violation for buying Twinkies and coffee for a group of senior citizens while running for the city council. Belair said he spent a total of $31 for the snacks and “it was just a good social event.” He lost the election.
Look on the bright side: They might have decided to sing Tammy. Former Washington Redskin Joe Theismann and his running mate, actress Cathy Lee Crosby, filled in for Debbie Reynolds at an insurance agents’ convention by giving a talk titled “Life and Transition: Working It Out Together.” The couple spoke of their mutual dependence, and one audience member described it as a “great love feast.”
Special: five specimens from a little old lady in Murfreesboro who has never drunk anything but unchlorinated spring water. Programs in Tennessee to test workers for drug use led to a market in “clean” urine samples—at $50 apiece.
Pssst! Rodney, want to buy a cheap specimen? Rodney Smith, deputy executive director of the President’s Commission on Organized Crime, who had advocated that federal employees be given unannounced urine tests to check for drug use, refused to provide a sample himself when asked for one at a congressional hearing. In making the request, Rep. Gary L Ackerman (D.-N.Y.) said he wanted to dramatize the need for probable cause in demanding such tests.
Catch-23: If they really do this, they’re too crazy to be allowed to go through with it. The Air Force Academy announced plans to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Joseph Heller’s anti-military novel, Catch-22.