Category Archives: Bagatelles

Frivolous amusements

The Especially Popular Smart Aleck Post

For two days last week (before the Stormy Clovers posts were published, drawing a dazzling number of hits), the most frequently viewed Heck Of A Guy post – by a wide margin – was a September 5, 2005 entry titled Etymological Serendipity: Smart Aleck and Heck Of A Guy.

And why not?  It has everything associated with internet popularity:

  • Sex
  • Etymology
  • Money
  • Pimps and Prostitutes
  • Coincidence
  • Secret Passages Hidden In Walls
  • Thievery
  • Smart Aleckedness
  • Police Corruption
  • Cohen (OK, it’s G.L. Cohen, author of Studies in Slang Part 1 (1985), but still …)
  • Content that is arguably interesting and almost certainly useless

Heck, Etymological Serendipity: Smart Aleck and Heck Of A Guy falls short of being the perfect post only by the its lack of a cat photo with a hilariously misspelled caption.

And it’s yours for the reading at

Etymological Serendipity:
Smart Aleck and Heck Of A Guy

Join The Crowd At The Mary Tyler Moore Show Funeral Of Chuckles The Clown

Mary reacts to eulogy for her WJM colleague, Chuckles The Clown

A little song, A little dance, A little seltzer down your pants – And 800 Heck Of A Guy Hits

Because Matt Zoller Seitz’s story Is this show bad, or am I fickle? at Salon.com yesterday included a link to a three year old Heck Of A Guy post Eulogy For Chuckles Lauds Clown, Laughter, Trouser Effervescence,1 this site received an extra 800 unique views on 20 May 2011.

In celebration, I’ve once again replaced the nonfunctional videos  (videos of this Mary Tyler Moore Show are withdrawn and removed with disheartening frequency) with available clips. As of this morning, video players embedded in that post are playing (1) Lou’s announcement of the accident leading to the demise of Chuckles and (2)  the eulogy, with Mary’s reactions during the funeral.

So, today’s entertainment recommendation is that viewers see what all the fuss is about and take in – before the videos disappear – the eulogy Heck Of A Guy named the winning entry in three categories:

  • Best Eulogy For A Fictional Character
  • Most Delightful Eulogy
  • Best Eulogy Delivered Using The Phrase, “I hurt my foo-foo”

This gem can be found at Eulogy For Chuckles Lauds Clown, Laughter, Trouser Effervescence

  1. This post was one of several in the He Was A Heck Of A Guy eulogy series that were part of the planning for my own eulogy. Others included

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Once More Into The Woods Of The 1973 Mountain View Ozark Folk Festival

38 Years Later – Forest Still Primeval

As noted in Return To Mountain View Ozark Folk Festival, Lord of Leisure and Hippie With Tiara dared to return to Mountain View, Arkansas, site of the adventure known at Heck Of A Guy as The Great Ozark Folk Festival Flood of 1973, a tale told in three parts: Introduction, Bluegrass, The Courthouse, The Campgrounds, & Hungry Hungry Hippies, and The Flood.

Editor’s Note: During the recent Mountain View trip, Lord of Leisure was in visitor rather than photographer mode. The photos from this excursion are casual snapshots, not the product of long, arduous, and intense efforts such as those typically found in category labeled Photos-Lord of Leisure. I prevailed upon Lord of Leisure to allow these shots to be posted. Click on images for best viewing.

Today’s focus is on the woods where our intrepid group1 camped during the 1973 sojourn:

The tone for our stay within the municipality of Mountain View was set when Lord of Leisure (pictured in situ on the reader’s right), upon driving into the designated camping area, was guided across a dry creek bed into the imaginatively defined “city park” by a deputy policeman, whose rank was indicated by the battered badge pinned to his wifebeater tank top and whose authority was confirmed by the several pounds of Colt revolver holstered on his hip.

To appreciate these scenes, viewers should also be informed about a specific event that took place in those woods. From The Great Ozark Folk Festival Flood of 1973: Bluegrass, The Courthouse, The Campgrounds, & Hungry Hungry Hippies:

That prizewinning episode [involving food] came to pass the in the midst of the sunshine-filled afternoon of our second day in Mountain View. From our campsite, we heard what can only be described as wailing. Convinced that someone was in acute distress (the smart money was on “bad drug trip”), we hiked toward the apparent source of the moans, a portion of the woods that was a reasonable facsimile of the forest primeval and the likely home of spooks, goblins, witches, werewolves, and similar supernatural entities. Our search did not turn up anyone shrieking (or anything in the ghost/ogre category), and the noise had ceased by the time we entered the woods.

We did, however, find an object that was immediately enshrined in my mind as a prime symbol of human depravity, a position it has maintained unto this day.

In our search for the source of the wailing, we unexpectedly stumbled onto a stone amphitheater carved into a hillside in the woods, causing one member of our party to speculate on the likelihood that the sounds we had heard were occasioned by a human sacrifice completed during a pagan ceremony held on the stage of this secluded venue. Exploring the grounds, we found the thing.

At our feet lay a sandwich composed of two pieces of white bread – encasing a generous helping of what we determined by consensus to be Chef Boyardee canned spaghetti. It was not a pretty sight. But the nuance responsible for the object’s transcendence from the disgusting to the horrible was the single bite taken from the sandwich before it was discarded.

Perhaps, gentle reader, the impact of this emblematic sandwich cannot be conveyed by the written word. Perhaps, as the cliché has it, “you had to be there.” I can testify that when we came upon that scene we all immediately realized that one of the central existentialist questions of our time is

To what levels of despair and desperation must a human
being sink to not only construct a sandwich from white
bread and Chef Boyardee canned spaghetti but to
actually take a bite of that sandwich before rejecting it?

I have no proof that the wailing we heard was connected to that sandwich, but …

Lord of Leisure2 writes:

The amphitheater [above] was built as a federal “Green Thumb” project, a program designed to provide work for unemployed farm workers,  in the late 60′s so it was fairly new when we first visited, but I don’t remember it looking new at all.  In this photo taken today [late April 2011], one can see that it has been neglected and is in need of repair.

We found no evidence of a memorial marking the sacred ground where the spaghetti sandwich was discovered

Lord of Leisure writes:

Above are steps leading down to the amphitheater looking in the opposite direction as the previous picture. When we visited [late April 2011], this pretty, quiet place was populated by many blooming dogwoods and very few people.

From The Great Ozark Folk Festival Flood of 1973: The Flood:

… we discovered that the low water crossing over the dry creek bed had been replaced by a roiling gush of water with no bridge of any kind visible.

As we approached the water we watched one car drive onto the low-water bridge, now buried under a rushing stream. The vehicle began moving with the current and seemed doomed to be swept downstream when, at the last moment, the driver managed to escape the waters, gaining enough traction to climb the bank on the opposite side.

In testimony to the narrow margin separating that successful crossing from the catastrophe it could have been, no one else, among the multitude stranded in that campground, many of whom had demonstrated in the preceding two days a distinct lack of judgment, impaired reality testing, and no evidence of an instinct for self-preservation, made an attempt to ford the stream.

Lord of Leisure writes:

I took this picture from the bottom of the amphitheater, shooting back toward the woods where I think we camped in 1973.  My memory is that we walked through the woods searching for the source of wailing we hear that sounded like someone may have been on a bad trip.   The trail in the background may have been the way we made our approach. This stone bridge is far more  picturesque than the submerged, aptly-named low-water bridge we had to cross to return from Mountain View in 1973, but goes over the same creek that flooded that year.

  1. Left to right: Flame, Hippie With Tiara, PolySciGuy, and DrHGuy in camp – Mountain View, Arkansas.  Not shown: Lord of Leisure (photographer) and the then eventually-to-become-first-Mrs-DrHGuy, aka the still-later-to-become-ex-Mrs-DrHGuy (MIA)


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  2. Lord of Leisure was previously known in these posts as Mr. Science. Both Lord of Leisure and Mr Science spend most of their time disguised as Neil Ellis, mild-mannered, retired teacher at a great suburban school system, who can identify a bird by its call, complete the New York Times Friday Crossword in ink, and snap a heck of a photo. []

Return To Mountain View Ozark Folk Festival

Survivors Of 1973 Great Ozark Folk Festival Relive Event

Last week, Lord Of Leisure and Hippie With Tiara reprised the journey to Mountain View, Arkansas, site of the adventure known at Heck Of A Guy as The Great Ozark Folk Festival Flood of 1973, a tale told in three parts: Introduction, Bluegrass, The Courthouse, The Campgrounds, & Hungry Hungry Hippies, and The Flood.

The following excerpt is from the Introduction:

Comprising events that took place 34 years ago within a period of less than 72 hours, the story of The Great Ozark Folk Festival Flood of 1973 [is] part travelogue, part drama, and part farce …

The Ozark Folk Festival, which, since its origin in the early 1960s, has annually featured a weekend of unalloyed, down-home bluegrass music played as God intended it, by overalls-clad fellows, red of neck and wizened of visage, each with a hefty wad of Red Man twixt cheek and gum and a can at the ready for use as a spittoon – well, by those guys and by the hippies, of course.

As a bonus, the Festival took place in a beautiful wilderness area in Arkansas. …

As it turned out, my romantic companion of that era, the then eventually-to-become-first-Mrs-DrHGuy, also decided to sign up for the trip as did two of my high school buddies, PolySciGuy and Flame, who had married each other and were living nearby.

Thus it was that on Good Friday, 20 April 1973, I and the still-later-to-become-ex-Mrs-DrHGuy were ensconced in the back seat of a metallic blue 1968 Pontiac Tempest5 driven by Lord of Leisure with Hippie With Tiara by his side and followed by PolySciGuy and Flame in a newish Fiat as we departed civilization as it then existed in the university town of Columbia, Missouri to journey across 265 miles and a time-space vortex into the Kingdom of Mountain View, Arkansas.

Lamentably, few photos resulted from the first trip; on this return visit, however, our intrepid travelers have brought back a feast of images.

Especially striking are the scenes from the town’s central square:

Courthouse & Stone County Seat

The pertinent passage from  Bluegrass, The Courthouse, The Campgrounds, & Hungry Hungry Hippies follows:

The Ozark Folk Festival activities, including a Saturday morning parade featuring Governor Dale Bumpers, took place on or near the Courthouse square that is the political and social center of the Mountain View metroplex. …

When we visited the Courthouse, its electrical wiring was conveniently located on the hallway walls. Portions of that wiring ran to the ceilings of those hallways and then dropped a short distance, suspending the naked, dangling bulbs that provided lighting for the area.

And, it was after a memorable visit to the Courthouse restroom that I embraced the conviction that, the tenets of medical science notwithstanding, one could, indeed, become infected with a venereal disease from a toilet seat. Indeed, I believed that transmission of disease might well take place without physical contact with the toilet seat.

The Jail

In 1973, the county jail was also on the town square. It remains there today but now sports the addition seen below on the reader’s right.

Again, The pertinent passage from  Bluegrass, The Courthouse, The Campgrounds, & Hungry Hungry Hippies follows:

One of the sights on the square early Saturday afternoon had been the hippie contingent openly quaffing wine. One of the sights on the square later that afternoon was the remainder of the hippie contingent begging for spare change to raise bail for their recently arrested comrades who were then residing in the local jail, an ancient stone blockhouse located behind the courthouse, having been educated, though the didactic device of undergoing arrest, that Stone County Arkansas was, as it still is, a dry county.

The view below shows that the addition to the jail building is the office of the Prosecuting Attorney.

The Parade

While this year’s parade did not include, as it did in 1973, the Governor of Arkansas, it did feature a lead unit destined to trigger excitement.

More Shots Of Parade

Click on images to enlarge to full size

Bonus

Happily, this business, located on the route to Mountain View, has survived the economic downturn to continue to provide the basis of many, many bad jokes. Readers are invited to create their own variations.

Future Attractions

More Mountain View photos coming soon.

Surviving Law & Order

A Heck Of A Guy Encore: How To Beat The Rap On Law & Order

NBC announced last week that Law & Order, a stalwart network series for the past 20 years, would be canceled after this season. In commemoration of this outstanding crime drama and in keeping with what was, during the era in which Law & Order began, the tradition of summer reruns, Heck Of A Guy, emboldened by the success of last week’s showcase of especially popular previously published posts,  Wedding Toasts, Death Threats, Kink, Chuckles Eulogy, Pseudoscience Of Carcinogenic Omelets, offers a refurbished encore production of  How To Beat The Rap On Law & Order, originally broadcast on HOAG March 9, 2006.

The premise for How To Beat The Rap On Law & Order is implicit in this passage:

The observant viewer will also note that, incredibly enough, the designated criminals on these dramas fall for those same interrogation techniques and legal maneuvers every week – even though these scenarios, with a full explication of the underlying strategies, have been repeatedly broadcast on TV, day and night, for years. Why do these otherwise wily, often brilliant individuals, who have the intrinsic advantage of a willingness to cheat, lie, and mislead and, one assumes, some aptitude for and experience with these skills, fall prey to the interrogators’ ancient, clichéd tricks?…

Well, I, for one, will be prepared. If, for example, the Rapture actually turns out to be that cataclysmic period when real life and television completely merge, as presaged by today’s reality shows, and I become a suspect on CSI, Joplin, I intend to be ready.

And, like Leonard Cohen, “I have stumbled on the answer, and I’m not the sort of chap who would keep this to himself…”1

A few excerpts are provided as an indication of the quality of advice the reader can expect:

6. Nor will I resort to the sarcastically intoned “Is that supposed to scare me?” after a cop or prosecutor has made an obviously scary threat. In any case, I suspect that Lennie et al, being detectives after all, might pick up a clue that I was frightened when I fainted, developed total body tremor, or became incontinent.

10. If I am a physician being charged with a crime, I will not

A. Pompously explain that I cannot cooperate with the investigation because I’m too busy saving lives
B. Dress in “a fancy Armani suit” (apparently a well known signal of criminal intent regardless of the suspect’s profession; well trimmed Van Dykes and goatees appear to be giveaways as well)
C. Practice in “a fancy Park Avenue office” (as a rule, cops hate it when suspects have fancy stuff)
D. Invoke doctor-patient confidentiality (which both signals guilt and antagonizes police and prosecutors)

19. I will hire, in advance, the smartest, most aggressive, most pragmatic, most cynical, and (especially) scariest lawyer in the system. I will carefully listen to my lawyer’s advice and will not instruct him or her, “You work for me; just do what I tell you,” “I don’t care what you think, it’s my life and I’m not taking the deal,” or “Put me on the stand; I’ll make the prosecutor look ridiculous.”

26. I will not change my story even if the officers or prosecutors introduce seemingly irrefutable facts that appear to contradict what I’ve said. Seemingly irrefutable facts that appear to contradict what I’ve said are the reason I hired the lawyer in Principle #19.

The complete post cn be found at How To Beat The Rap On Law & Order

  1. Leonard Cohen, Praha August 29, 2009 []

Answer Key For The Leonard Cohen Song Titles Word Search

The answer key for the Leonard Cohen Song Titles Word Search, posted at Things To Do While Waiting For The 2010 Leonard Cohen World Tour – Solving A Cohen Word Search, is now available and can be found at

Answer Key For
Leonard Cohen Song Titles Word Search