December 25, 1989 12:00 PM

Highs and lows of 1989 plus the year in movies, TV, records, books and video


“B-2 or not B-2. That is the question.”—Massachusetts Congressman Edward Markey, soliloquizing in the Stealth bomber funding debate.

Oh, say, can you hear…

A Las Cruces, N. Mex., Navy veteran of World War II was found guilty of flying a disturbingly loud American flag—a violation of a noise pollution ordinance—after a neighbor complained that his nylon banner flapped too much in high winds. (The conviction was dismissed when the veteran substituted a quieter cotton flag.)

If you can keep your head while those about you are losing theirs, chances are they don’t know about you at TV Guide

To illustrate a story headlined OPRAH! THE RICHEST WOMAN ON TV?, TV Guide published a cover showing a photograph of Oprah Winfrey’s head grafted onto an old picture of Ann-Margret’s body (a retinted old picture, of course), with the composite Oprah-Margret perched on top of a pile of money. Why the need for artificial artwork? Winfrey, said her spokeswoman, wouldn’t pose for such a photograph; A-M’s publicist said the actress had been “shocked” to find herself appearing as a body double.

Next: transsexual transvestite role-reversing cross-dressing talk show hosts and their stories of how they would do a lot of mateswapping if only it wasn’t so confusing

During one month-long sweeps period, Phil Donahue did a program titled “Catching Your Mate in Bed with Someone Else” and Geraldo Rivera did one on nymphomaniacs (shy nymphomaniacs, who appeared in disguises). The syndicated Paramount show Hard Copy covered “The Most Expensive Call Girls” and did a survey showing that people who listen to music during sex prefer Neil Diamond. Sally Jessy Raphaël offered “I Took My Son to a Prostitute” and “Sex, Lies and Extramarital Affairs,” during which a woman met her husband’s mistress—for the first time—on the air.

Boys of the Dismal Science

At the World Economic Forum conference held in Davos, Switzerland, California Gov. George Deukmejian delivered a speech entitled “The Nation State of California. “But Deukmejian’s stately address was outdrawn 2 to 1 by a competing talk. The preferred lecturer was Playboy Enterprises chairperson Christie Hefner (left), offering some observations on the topic of “Leisure Life in the ’90s.”

No mas—and we mean it more than Roberto Duran ever did Roseanne Barr, attending the opening World Series game at Oakland Coliseum, was inspired to pull down her pants to display a tattoo of her new fiancé’s name on her buttock.

When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are, but you have a lot less chance of getting a woodenheaded campaigner if you don’t live in New Jersey

The two major-party candidates in the Garden State’s gubernatorial election, Democrat James Florio, below right at left, and Republican Jim Courter, left and below right, exchanged charges of lying by using Pinocchio-like illustrations of their opponent. Nobody let his conscience be his guide. Florio won.

We say if you don’t have a sock handy, you stuff in it what you have on hand, Jim

Temperamental tennis pro Jimmy Connors was on his way to winning his 109th career singles championship, at the Riklis Classic in Tel Aviv, and in a relatively good mood, but he still found an occasion to attract some extracurricular attention.

No need to get all bent out of shape just because you put your foot in your mouth, Pete

Canadian contortionist Pierre Beauchemin, holder of two Guinness Book of World Records certificates, for twisting his arm 360 degrees and walking with his feet backwards, said, “My legs and arms can go any which way. You see it sometimes in the handicapped.”


“Dangerous car. What if you’re doing a mere 50, you have the illusion of being parked and you try to step out of the car?”—Los Angeles Times columnist Scott Ostler, after Oakland A’s star Jose Canseco was arrested for driving 125 mph and said his Jaguar ran so well he thought he was going only 50.

In fact, if there were any justice, the really isolated, bored guys would get to slip a tactical nuclear missile or two into their duffel bags

The National Rifle Association criticized drug-war administrator William J. Bennett for supporting the notion that military personnel should not be exempt from a government embargo on importing semiautomatic weapons. NRA assistant counsel James H. Warner, hinting Bennett was insensitive to servicemen’s needs because he never served in the military himself, said, “While you may not be familiar with the life of a serviceman, for many of these men the chance to bring home firearms while posted overseas is small recompense for the isolation, the boredom and the risk of overseas duty.”

Not only is the money pretty good, Mike, but there’s not much chance of your hair catching fire

At an L.A. press conference announcing his new $20 million (plus stock options) endorsement deal with a sports-equipment maker, Michael Jackson made a 10-second speech, then refused questions and exited, blowing a kiss. Skeptics noted that Jackson, whose pay rate based on the event would come to $7.2 billion an hour, seemed a bit inarticulate. A company spokesman explained, “I’ve spoken with him, and he speaks very well.”

Where was this judge when Julianne Phillips (Springsteen) needed her?

In a New Jersey divorce case, an appeals court upheld Superior Court judge Isabel Stark’s ruling giving Nancy Piscopo (right, with comic husband Joe in 1988) $47,380.13—or 48 percent of the celebrity goodwill her spouse had amassed.

They shoot comedians, don’t they?

After he said some New York Jews would vote for black candidates out of guilt, comic Jackie Mason responded to criticism by saying, “Anyone who calls me a racist should be shot in the street like a horse.”

Trade you a Sandy Koufax and a Secretariat for 19 Jackie Masons and 11 sticks of stale kosher bubble gum

A Baltimore company issued trading cards featuring well-known Jewish rabbis.

Never mind why the chicken crossed the road; how did it get to the other side in one piece?

Poultry mogul Frank Perdue has been convicted of 34 moving traffic violations, most for speeding, in the last 20 years and paid thousands of dollars in fines and legal claims. “I’m just a fast driver,” he said. “I’m often late for where I have to be. But that’s no excuse for speeding.” He has, amazingly, never lost his driver’s license, not having accumulated enough points in any two-year period to reach the minimum for suspension in Maryland, his home state.

Who’s so vain?

Carly Simon, interviewed for a New York Daily News Sunday Magazine cover story while doing publicity for a children’s book she had written, sent the magazine a picture of herself in a cut-down-to-here seducto-frock that added an unexpected sort of meaning to the phrase “bedtime story.”

A night of ignominy; an event of escutcheon blotting; a tragedy of exteroceptive origination; an epiphany of…

Howard Cosell, emcee for a Detroit Afro-American Sports Hall of Fame ceremony, grew incensed when another announced participant, Muhammad Ali, failed to show after he missed a plane connection from Pakistan. Cosell called one inductee, bowler Lafayette Allen Jr., “a nobody,” and griped, “I’ve been brought here under false pretenses.”

OK, Donald, this is our chance. You get Daisy and Gladstone and the boys, we find ourselves a shrewd lawyer and hit them up for underpayment, job discrimination and making us go without pants all these years

The Disney organization was charged with animal cruelty violations after wild birds on its Disney World compound in Florida were found to have been beaten, shot at and given too little food after being trapped.

I tell you, Wayne, I don’t mind the other NHL teams bringing in these Russian imports, but there’s something about the way this guy holds his stick that bothers me

A versatile bear from the Moscow State Circus put on a hockey exhibition during a show in Hamburg, West Germany.

And what it says is “Bowwow”

During spring training, New York Mets outfielder Darryl Strawberry got angry at the seating arrangements for a team picture and took a punch at teammate Keith Hernandez—characteristically, it was a wild swing that missed. Then Strawberry promised he would have a “fantastic” season. He also said, “From this point on, I’ll let my game speak for itself. “He ended up hitting .225 as the Mets—heavily favored to win their division championship—lost to the Chicago Cubs in the National League East, and after the season said he would demand that the Mets renegotiate his contract to pay him $12 million over four years.


“I heard the gun go off, but I didn’t know it got me until I tried to take my cap off and I couldn’t.”—Lance Grangruth, a Duluth, Minn., construction worker accidentally shot with a staple gun.

A camel! A camel! My kingdom for a camel!

In a speech, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi argued that Shakespeare was of Arab origin. When Britain’s press scoffed, the Libyan press agency blamed “a very strong pressure of Zionist egoism which does not recognize the right of others to freedom of expression.”

I don’t know anything about art, but I know what I like, and I would have liked this piece more if it had a little powdered sugar on it

Ed Brzezinski, an artist himself, was at a gallery in New York City to see an exhibit by Robert Gober, whose works included a drain attached to a wall and a sculpture of a bag of cat litter—also a pedestal holding a bag of donuts, one of which Brzezinski ate. “This won’t be good for my career,” Brzezinski said later.


“We have heard many beautiful words of encouragement, but, being a worker and a man of concrete work, I must tell you that the supply of words on the world market is plentiful, but the demand is falling. Let deeds follow words now.”—Lech Walesa, on the political revolution in Poland.

Kiss. French kiss. Giraffe. French-kiss a giraffe. Can you say, “French-kiss a giraffe”?

TV children’s show host Fred Rogers, visiting the San Diego Wild Animal Park with park spokeswoman Joan Embery, employed a creative means of feeding a giraffe a carrot.

No no mas, and we mean it more now than we did before

In a Sam Donaldson—Diane Sawyer interview with Vice President Quayle on Prime Time Live, Quayle boasted, “I stand by my misstatements.” Donaldson later asked an irrelevant, I-can-misstate-you-under-the-table-any-day question, “Mr. Vice President, is your wife smarter than you?”

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