A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Coming Attractions – Summer 2008

Ah, once again the summer season opened with a glorious three day celebration of hamburgers, hot dogs, parades, and massive department store and automobile sales. Somehow I managed to not get near a barbecue for the entire weekend. No matter, I’ll make up for later in the summer, which (according to the calendar) doesn’t start for another three weeks. Anne Marie and I visited my Mom for Saturday and Sunday. Memorial Day itself had beautiful weather, a perfect day to spend outside doing gardening and other chores.

So, naturally, I went to the movies. (Anne Marie stayed home – not a chick film in sight at the multiplex.)

There I caught up with most of the films which will be vying for our entertainment dollars in the coming months. These included:


The next Will Ferrell release doesn’t appear to be a sports-related satire. This is the first time this has happened in about five years. I hope the film is as funny as the trailer – the two leads Ferrell and John C. Riley, posing very still as if sitting for a photo, then moving, teasing each other, and making fun of the audience in the theatre. I probably won’t see this one in the theatre, but I’m hoping they include the trailers in the DVD version.


Hooray! Someone is finally bringing this fascinating F. Scott Fitzgerald short story to the big screen! The title character has an unusual problem: he was born an old man and gets younger every day while his loved ones grow older. Due for Christmas release, according to IMBD.


A big budget musical that’ll appeal to everyone, including Anne Marie! It’s bright; it’s flashy with lots of energy. This is a film with major chick appeal with themes about love and marriage. I’ll consider seeing it for the music which is by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaes...oh wait, Andersson + Ulvaes = ABBA. Well, I guess Anne Marie will be staying home for this one too.


America’s version of Inspector Jacques Clouseau returns to the big screen. (Remember “The Nude Bomb”? If you don’t, no problem. I didn’t see it either.) It promises to be good slapstick fun, but I feel compelled to explain one element of the Get Smart story, particularly to my readers under the age of 25. The main character, Maxwell Smart, enters and exits his corporate headquarters through a phone booth.

The phone booth was a glass and metal structure in which a person entered, closed a bi-fold door behind them, and made a call using a rather large, bulky, box-like device mounted on the back wall of the booth. The “phone” was black metal with a shiny silver border. The call was placed by placing coins in slots (also shiny silver) at the top of the device designed for this purpose. Once the call was completed, the caller would put the receiver back on a (shiny silver) hook mounted on the side of the device, open the bi-fold door and leave the booth. This enabled the caller to have privacy while making their call. Privacy is another concept unknown to those of you who have been raised in the era of the cellular phone, and will be discussed later in a future blog. I hope this helps everyone enjoy Get Smart.

Then the feature attraction:


It is good to see Indy back in the theatre again! Granted, his adventures aren’t the greatest cinema in the world – his latest adventure blended elements from Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Return of the Mummy - but anything that can make me forget high gas prices and all of my other worries for awhile is worth the measly five bucks I paid for the matinee performance.

Now I’m looking forward to the next Indiana Jones adventure – probably his greatest challenge: INDIANA JONES AND THE FOX NEWS NETWORK. The script is still in its preliminary stage, but basically it centers on Indy appearing on Hannity and Colmes to explain why he hasn’t worn an American flag pin on his lapel in all of his other adventures. As everyone knows, wearing a flag pin is the greatest problem facing America today.

Yeah, right! Happy summer everyone!

Friday, May 30, 2008

If Anybody Asks, Tell Them You Didn’t See Us

Presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Senator John McCain carried out a heroic act earlier this week: he actually allowed himself to be photographed talking and hugging the President of the United States. The President’s disapproval ratings in the polls keep hitting record numbers – just like America’s gasoline prices. Most political analysts feel that McCain meeting with Bush is tantamount to political suicide. So what did they say to each other? We’ll probably never know, but we can use our trusty old tool, historical theory, to start the speculation and innuendo here.

Bush: “John, you haven’t called lately. Is everything all right?”

McCain: “Oh, sure, George. Everything’s fine, but...are those television cameras over there pointing at us? Damn! Here, Mr. President, put this blanket over your head. That way no one will recognize you.”

Bush: “Oh, okay. We’ve been concerned that maybe you didn’t want to be seen with me anymore since my poll numbers are so, why am I wearing this blanket over my head?”

McCain: “Security reasons, sir. Your Secret Service detail thought it might be a good idea for you to wear this while we met briefly. Cindy’s here!”

Cindy: “Hi, George!”

Bush: “Cindy! Good, see you. I can’t see a thing with this over my head. I feel like one of those criminals on the six o’clock news. You know how they come out of a courthouse and hide their faces from the cameras, like they're ashamed of something they did.”

McCain: “Oh, no, Mr. President, not you.”

Cindy: “George, I know you’re poll numbers are in the toilet. Do you need any help? Can we loan you any money? (Shouting) BECAUSE I HAVE LOTS OF MONEY TO SPARE! DID YOU HEAR THAT, YOU PEOPLE FROM THE MEDIA OVER THERE? AS IF IT’S ANY OF YOUR BUSINESS...”

McCain: “Calm down, Cindy. Let’s just help George over to his car.”

Bush: “Thanks for the offer, guys. And thanks for meeting me here. I know you took an awful risk coming out to see me off like this. Say, John, about this war in, John? Where are you?"

Secret Service Agent: “They’re gone, Mr. President.”

Bush: “Oh? Where?”

Secret Service Agent: “Um, away. They’ve gone far away...and very quickly. Here’s your car, sir.”

Bush: “Thank you. Hey, can I take this blanket off now?”

Secret Service Agent: “Not yet, sir. Not until you’re in the car, and I’m safely out of sight.”

Bush: “What?”

Secret Service Agent: “I mean, you’re safely out of sight.” (Opens car door.) “Please get in, sir.”

Bush: “Thank you.” (The car door closes and the President takes off the blanket.) “There, that’s better. It was getting hot under! You’re Osama bin Laden!”

Bin Laden: “Yes, now be quiet. I’m hiding. Keep your voice down! I can’t afford to be seen with you.”

Bush: “Why? Because you’re wanted for mass murder in the free world?”

Bin Laden: “No, because your poll numbers really suck!”

Friday, May 23, 2008

There Will Be Greed – Part 2

It’s time for another episode of the ongoing continuous saga: “Congress Meets the Oil Men.” Once again, we find our elected public servants questioning oil company executives about their always rising standard of living which is directly related to the ever rising prices at the gas pumps. Our Congresspeople are fit to be tied about this situation and they’re not going to take it anymore!

They ask the executives pointed questions, listen to the calm answers about supply and demand, then retort with withering words of deep sarcasm! Ooh, I’ll bet they’re scared now! The oil executives are, in one respect, very good sports about this now monthly get together in Washington. I’m not sympathetic to them, but I admire the way they drop everything to travel to Capitol Hill just to take all of this verbal abuse.

It’s always good to see Congress taking action, even if it’s just sitting in a room and engaging in a verbal jousting match with the rogues of our capitalistic system. Of course, it is possible that all of this is just theatre. After the television cameras are turned off and the print journalists have retreated to their pressrooms, the atmosphere may change noticeably in the hearing room. After hours we could hear exchanges like this:

OIL EXECUTIVE – “Wow, you were real rough on us today! What gives?”

CONGRESSPERSON – “Oh, come on, you know us better than that! All that stuff we were saying was just our constituents talking. Join us for a drink? By the way, Conoco, your check to my re-election PAC bounced. What’s up with that?”

...and so on.

Of course I don’t know what Congress was expecting to hear from the executives. Did they really think that one of them would break down and confess to some sort of price fixing? Do they really expect to hear one of them say, “I can’t take this sarcasm anymore? I confess! I e-mailed my counterpart at Exxon-Mobil with a proposal to add a few billions to our golden parachute by gouging the American public!” I’m not holding my breath for this revelation, although it would do wonders for the ratings at C-SPAN!

So what can we, the American consumers, do to express our deep displeasure with the oil executives? What are our options after we’ve already crossed them off our Christmas card list? I struggled with this question while I listened to news reports about the executives appearing before Congress. The reports stated that the Senate committee was grilling the executives, and this gave me an idea.

I realize the media were speaking metaphorically, but allow me to reach into the darker side of my (stereotypical) German ancestry and use the word grilling in the literal sense. Grilling is a good idea, although my personal preference is either sautéing with onions and peppers, or my all-time favorite: deep-frying (see recipe below). My thanks to Og Ohula, a resident of the upper Amazon River region, for this recipe:

5 oil company executives
Very large vat of sweet crude
Garbanzo beans

Bring crude to a rapid boil or a temperature of 450 degrees. Drop in executives one at a time, frying until they are crispy and float to the top. Garnish with garbanzo beans. Serves 10.

No, I’m not advocating cannibalism, although clearly Mr. Ohula doesn’t have a problem with the concept. In fact, I have it on good authority (Mr. Ohula again) that deep-fried oil executives aren’t all that tasty. It’s best to just throw them away, and besides, it would be a terrible waste of garbanzo beans. It’s best to save those for your tossed salad.

Granted that boiling executives in oil won’t change our gas prices, but it makes as much sense as appearing in the Congressional theatre. We’re fast approaching a day of reckoning for the American consumer and businesses. We will have to adopt new work and commuting patterns just to keep the country functioning. We can only hold out our hands for more money for so long, before the whole system collapses on top of us.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Optimistic Lame Duck

It will be left to history to judge George W. Bush’s recent trip to the mideast as either a rousing success, or just another pathetic foot race by a lame duck limping to the end of his term. On the other hand, why wait for history? We can do an armchair analysis right now.

The President may have had good intentions for his tour. There was a definite schedule to keep, such as Israel’s 60th anniversary of its founding, and an economic summit of mideast countries. Unfortunately, given everything he has done for the mideast, I mean to the mideast, we can’t consider his trip a good will tour.

In a speech to the Knesset, he envisioned that Israel would celebrate its 120th anniversary side-by-side in peace with a Palestinian state. Mind you, this is from the guy who also saw democracy blossoming in Iraq as a slam-dunk. Bush probably thought he was being optimistic; we consider it another case of rose-tinted-glass-itis. (Republican Presidential candidate John McCain also showed symptoms of this malady when he proposed that most of our troops would return from Iraq by 2013!) No problem, guys, we understand...we’ll just make a note to the doctors to adjust your medication and you’ll be feeling all better!

Bush then asked the leaders of Saudi Arabia to increase their oil production so that it might give the American consumers a break at the gas pumps. The Saudis refused, saying that they would only increase production if their customers asked for a supply increase. By customers the Saudis meant, their preferred customers: China and India. For some reason, the United States has fallen from grace in the eyes of the Arab world.

Gee, this wouldn’t have anything to do with that little war we started and threw the entire region into political chaos, would it? We thought the Bush clan was tight with the Saudi ruling family, or so Michael Moore had us believing in Fahrenheit 911. Wow, could this information have been wrong too? Gosh darn, if you can’t trust a left-wing documentary filmmaker, then whom can you trust?

Apparently, there was more to the Saudis refusal than customer favoritism. There were some reports that the Saudi rulers acted according to the wishes of the Saudi people who, for some odd reason, hate President Bush. This is blowing our minds that a leader of a country follows their citizens’ wishes. This is something Americans have not seen in, oh I’d say, at least eight years. Usually, we Americans will tell our legislators and our President what we want them to do. They consider our request with all due courtesy and gravity. Then they do as they damn well please anyway!

With his tour over, our little lame duck flew home to Washington. Here he did all he could do to ease our pain at the pump. Bush signed legislation to stop oil shipments to America’s reserve supply until the price drops back to $75 a barrel. Oh dear, another case of rose-tinted-glass-itis! Doctor, please come quick...the patient has had a relapse!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Lessons Learned in the Political World

MEANWHILE...back at the ranch, first daughter and former underage drinking tabloid fodder, Jenna Bush, is married in a small, private ceremony attended by 200 friends and relatives. No hoopla, no paparazzi, and no high society overtones. The size and scope of the ceremony are treated with much respect in the American press. A few commentators note that it was very politically savvy to hold a small ceremony given the bad economic conditions in the country. It would not be prudent to throw a big shebang when many Americans are considering taking out a second mortgage to pay for a gallon of gasoline.

There is a second possibility regarding why the ceremony was small: Jenna may have been raised to reject the materialistic values of modern American society. Perhaps she is not into all that bling! If this is the case, then props to her parents for instilling a higher set of values into Jenna. Yes, I realize that I am saying something nice about the President, but we must attribute credit where it is due. Also, I think it demonstrates that this blog can be fair and balanced. I sincerely hope that the Fox News Network is taking notes.

MEANWHILE...back on the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton swamps Barack Obama in the West Virginia primary. Clinton celebrates her victory by vowing to fight on for the nomination. Obama takes the high road and doesn’t comment on Clinton’s win. Apparently he has learned from an earlier mistake the Clinton camp made about Obama’s winning in North Carolina.

During that earlier contest, former President Bill Clinton made the observation that Obama would easily take North Carolina, implying that the predominant black skin color of the electorate would back him. The backlash to these comments came quick. Obama could have stooped to this level and attributed Hillary’s win to the (stereotypical) notion that West Virginia’s voters are predominately white. No such thing happened, and the campaign goes on. I sincerely hope Bill Clinton is taking notes.

MEANWHILE...back on another part of the campaign trail, Senator John McCain vies for the Al Gore Sound-Alike Award by coming out against global warming. Stop the presses! This is earth-shattering news! A Republican is acknowledging the existence of mankind’s greatest ecological catastrophe!

There may be several reasons for this break from the Bush Administration. McCain may be saying all this to pander to swing voters. It would be too bad if this is the case, since all his hot air against global warming would, ironically, contribute to the problem. Or he may actually mean what he says. Okay, reality check: McCain is a Republican legislator from a western state. This type of politician has not – in the past – been terribly concerned about the environment, given that vast amounts of western land are not developed and are being held for conservation. I hope he means what he says; the environment needs all the friends it can get in Congress. I sincerely hope George W. is taking notes.

MEANWHILE...back in Myanmar, rescue efforts are finally underway to help the cyclone-stricken country. The Myanmar government caused the delay itself. I can understand hesitation at letting the United States in – look at all the good we’ve done in Iraq – but they could’ve allowed the United Nations to come in with food, medical, and building supplies. One report stated that the Myanmar government was more concerned with exporting its available rice crop for money than using it to feed the victims. Note to Myanmar government: who’s going to harvest next year's crop of rice if you allow all of your workers to die off this year?

I shudder to think that Myanmar’s indifference to its people could make the Bush Administration's post-Katrina efforts look like a rousing success! I can’t believe that any other country would look at the Bush response to New Orleans' troubles as a good case study on how to manage a disaster. Yet that does seem to be the case in Myanmar. I sincerely hope Michael Chertoff is taking notes.

MEANWHILE...the world goes on.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Puree Diet

A few weeks ago, I introduced my Uncle Hugh in this blog. As you may recall, I mentioned that he has the highest IQ of any of my relatives. In recent years, his health has been declining and once again he found himself hospitalized for general overall weakness. Currently, he is convalescing nicely at a rehab center near my house. This gives me a good opportunity to see him on a daily basis.

One day this week, I had a chance to visit with him while he ate his supper. I’ve asked him several times how his food has been and, having spent several days in my life in a hospital, I didn’t expect that his answer would be very encouraging. My past experience has been that hospital food is usually on the bland side with nary salt, pepper, or other seasoning packet in sight.

He explained to me that he has been given a purree diet, since he told his doctors that he recently gagged on solid food. I watched him eat his puree dinner and I decided that the word puree comes from the French meaning to render a solid food into a state that makes it easily digestible, yet totally unappetizing glop to the naked eye. We should probably define glop as any unrecognizable mass that derives its name from the sound made when it is dropped onto a person’s dinner plate.

Last night, Uncle Hugh had a tan pile of glop with a thick golden liquid on it, a green pile of glop, and some white glop with more golden liquid on it. We decided that the tan pile was chicken or turkey topped with gravy, the green glop was spinach, and the white glop was creamy mashed potatoes with more gravy. I have further concluded that mashed potatoes and apple sauce are the only two foods that are specifically pureed to look presentable on our dinner plates, while other foods are left decidedly less desirable.

While he ate, I attempted to start a conversation on some topic to pass the time. I could have talked about the weather, or what I did last weekend, but no, I decided to talk about...

DISCLAIMER: Small children, small animals, and any human being with a nervous stomach condition are hereby warned not to read any further!

As I was about to say, the subject of bowel movements just seemed to lend itself naturally to the situation, given the physical state of his dinner. This conversation would have made Beavis and Butthead proud. It is surprising what you learn about other people when you talk about such matters! We both realized that we had both been treated for hemorrhoids in our lives. Amazingly, all this talk of crap and surgeries in our nether regions didn’t affect his appetite. He was able to finish every bit of glop on his plate.

Hopefully, Uncle Hugh will be released soon and return to the land of appealing food. I think he misses the French fries he usually consumes on Monday nights, although his heart is probably enjoying the break from this fatty treat. The lesson here is that sometimes the unhealthy foods we eat are made to look attractive; the McDonald's restaurant chain has built an entire empire on this concept. The healthy food is best inside our stomachs. Just don’t look at it for too long, or you may find yourself running for the fries.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Sainthood for Mrs. Gunther – All of Them

As Mothers Day approaches, we’re all thinking about the best gift for our respective mothers. Over the years, we reward them not only with this special day, but also with some small token of our deep appreciation. I have done my part over the years with flowers, candy, and gift cards, to name a few. Still, there are times when I wish I could do more to honor my mother’s efforts.

In recent years, one company offered people the chance to name a star after their loved ones as a gift. This is a nice sentiment, particularly for a loving woman like all of our mothers, but I’m skeptical. There is too much of a chance to play a trick on dear old mom. I can see thousands of women asking their grown children where their star is, and these children point to a street lamp, and say, “It’s right there, ma!” It all seems so deceptive to me.

I remember promising my mother sainthood if she would do a favor for me. At the time, we both realized that this is one promise I couldn’t readily deliver, but at least we did share a good laugh about it. However, as the years go on, I think I would like to give my mother this truly unique spiritual gift. In fact, I have submitted applications for sainthood for my wife and my brother’s wife, both of whom are – coincidentally – named Mrs. Gunther.

So what have these three Mrs. Gunthers done to deserve sainthood? Simply, they have devoted major portions of their lives to making men named Gunther happy. This is not an altogether horrible experience, but there are times when it is not always such a simple task. Please don’t get me wrong, we Gunther men aren’t 100% bad. We are very giving individuals who like to laugh and enjoy life. However, and I must be honest here, there is something in our DNA that can make us moody, impatient, and irritable at times. This fact can make us appear less than lovable.

Therefore, I took it upon myself some months ago to fill out separate applications for sainthood for all of the Gunther women in my extended family. The forms were fairly straightforward and I completed them as honestly as I could. Okay, I had to lie a little a bit about their being practicing Roman Catholics, and I had to exaggerate a bit on the two miracles essay portion, but otherwise I really don’t see why I haven’t gotten a response yet.

I have called several times for the status of my applications, but I seem to be getting a runaround. I hear, “Oh sorry, Mr. Gunther, we must’ve misplaced them,” or “The check still didn’t clear, Mr. Gunther.” Did I mention the application fee? Well, it seems that there is a $300 fee per application, but they talked me into the “three for $1000 special” they were running at the time. Now, I’m not a wizard at math, but they insisted that this was a bargain. After all who am I to question the Church?

I’m also having misgivings about the whole operation. For example, would the Vatican really name their sainthood investigation office “Saints ‘R’ Us”? Then there’s the fellow I’ve spoken to each time I’ve called, Bishop B. Dickes. I presume the initial “B” stands for Benjamin, Bernard, Bruce, or Bartholomew, but I have to wonder if he’s really a bishop.

Judge for yourself. Here is a transcript of one of my phone calls to them.

Bishop: “Saints ‘R’ Us, Bishop B. Dickes speaking. How my I help you on this blessed day?”

Me: “Oh, uh, I’m calling about the sainthood application I sent in for my mother. The name is Gunther.”

Bishop: “Yes, Mr. Gunther. Hold on please.”

(At this point I’m put on hold where they usually play selections from famous Italian operas. However, on this particular day they are playing Pope John Paul II's Greatest Hits. After a moment there is a click and I hear this.)

Man’s Voice in Background: “...think we are? Miracle men?”

Bishop: “Quiet, I have him on hold.”

Second Man’s Voice in Background: “How old is he? Ask him what he’s wearing.”

Bishop: “Hush, he’ll hear you. (Then directly to me) I’m sorry, sir, that application is still being processed. Call back in ten business days if you don’t hear anything before then. Good-bye, and oh, bless you, my son!"

(Then I hear hysterical laughter in the background before there is a click and the line goes dead.)

Oh well, it appears I’ll have to come up with another gift for my Mom this year. Also, no doubt, I will burn in hell for this blog entry.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Short Notes – May 2008


The anniversary was another occasion to renew the controversy regarding the “Mission Accomplished” banner that served as a backdrop for the President’s speech. Sadly, not everyone believes to this day that military operations in Iraq have ever ceased. Coincidentally, many of these people live in Iraq!

Thirty-five Iraqis celebrated the anniversary by getting themselves killed in a pair of suicide bombings. Why are they still dying? Didn’t they hear the President’s speech five years ago? It was in all the papers! The nerve of these people!

How dare they make the President look like a liar by dying in conditions that he maintains no longer exists! Didn’t they get the memo, “Hey, the war is over. Go live your normal lives again?" In actuality, no one in this country got that memo either. As for making the President out to be a liar, well, all of us probably need to take up a more challenging hobby.


Obama spent another chunk of time last week distancing himself from the words of his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The pastor, who recently embarked on a media blitz named “The Farewell Say Something Stupid Tour”, voiced his belief that the United States government invented AIDS to wipe out the African-American community. This isn’t true: the United States government did not invent AIDS for this purpose. They might have acted indifferently, which allowed the disease to proliferate and make the government look more self-righteous to its core constituency (i.e., the Christian right), but we haven’t found the smoking gun to prove Wright’s accusation...yet.

In any case, Obama still has problems shaking off Wright’s outrageous remarks. He tried taking the high road with a far-reaching speech that opened up a new dialogue on race relations in America, but obviously this wasn’t good enough for some members of the media. By some members, I am of course referring to George Stephanopoulos, Charles Gibson, and the entire Fox News Network.

I hate to suggest that Obama would have been better off by pandering to these critics, but maybe it would have shut them up if he had adopted another tactic. For instance, he could have responded to Wright’s first round of YouTube exposure by saying something like, “Man, what’s that cat been smoking?” Or perhaps, “He was my pastor for many years, but we always thought he was just a crazy old fool.”


Steven will probably celebrate this milestone by raising his head, yawning, stretching, turning over and starting another catnap. Ah, how sweet life can be for a cat! Happy Birthday, Steven!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Moe Knows Japanese: A Weekend at a Three Stooges Fan Convention

The Three Stooges Fan Club recently held their 20th convention in and around Ft. Washington, PA. The fan club activities – screenings, guest presentations, memorabilia sale and auction – happened in conjunction with an open house at the Stoogeum in nearby Spring House. Anne Marie and I attended the convention on Saturday, April 26, and spent most of the next day looking over the amazing collection of artifacts at the only museum totally devoted to The Three Stooges comedy team.

In case you have never heard of the Stooges (in which case, welcome back from Mars), I will try to explain them and their phenomena very briefly. The Three Stooges were an American comedy team comprising Moses “Moe” Howard, Samuel “Shemp” Howard, Jerome “Curly” Howard, and Larry Fine. The Howard brothers hailed from Brooklyn, while Fine grew up in Old City Philadelphia. They started in vaudeville under the supervision of comedian Ted Healy, and graduated to film shorts in 1934. They would eventually appear in over 190 comedy shorts for Columbia Studios, featuring their unique brand of violent slapstick humor.

Over the course of a career that ended in 1970, there would be six comics in the group altogether, but only three would be on the screen at any one time. The most popular configuration of the team was Moe, Larry, and Curly from 1934 to 1946. Their shorts were syndicated to television in the late 1950’s and have been seen constantly all over the world ever since. In this respect, their humor has proven to be more enduring than that of their contemporaries: Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, and the Marx Brothers.

This year, the convention featured Moe’s children, Joan Maurer and Paul Howard. The son gave a fascinating presentation involving home movies and slides. His goal is to show that, although Moe portrayed a short-tempered bully on screen, in real life he was a loving family man who doted on his children. We can’t say enough about Moe; he was the real brains behind the team, on and off screen. He managed the team’s business affairs and made sure that his partners could live comfortably once their performing days were over.

The memorabilia was a vast array of Three Stooges related items, artifacts (a personal check by Joe DeRita was available for purchase), souvenir clothing, buttons, cardboard cut-outs, statuettes, film stills, magazines, books, and of course the films themselves available in all formats from 8mm to VHS to DVD. Unfortunately, all transactions were cash only, and I had to leave empty-handed since I didn’t have enough money to buy a few books I would love to own. No matter; there is always

Anne Marie had visited the Stoogeum last year when I was out of town. Her description left me envious, but it did not prepare me for the variety of objects displayed there. The museum must own a poster for each one of the Columbia shorts. They even have an entire gallery of film stills, movie posters and correspondence devoted to Shemp! He had the thankless task of following Curly in the act when the latter fell ill, but he had carved out a respectable career as a second banana in many films prior to his promotion to full Stooge.

The massive display of Stooge marketing items was impressive, but not necessarily complete. I remember owning a Kenner Give-A-Show projector with a Three Stooges cartoon strip as a child. No such item was displayed here, but perhaps they are working on acquiring one for their collection.

The highlight of the weekend was the Stoogeum’s own presentation of rare color footage taken on the set of several of the shorts. An added bonus was footage from a Japanese television program showing Moe and Helen Howard receiving gifts during a trip to Japan sometime in the 1960s. At one point, the camera did a tight close up on Moe as he recited the letters from (I believe) the Japanese alphabet. The Japanese language is very different from the pig-Latin-like gibberish heard in a few of the Stooges shorts (the “ma-jah” routine from Three Little Pirates immediately springs to mind), but Moe handled it and himself with all the respect of a visiting foreign dignitary.

Unfortunately, the Stoogeum is not open everyday. It has an open house a few select weekends during the year, but otherwise it’s open by appointment only. For more information, see As for the convention, hope to see you there next year, knuckleheads!