Category Archives: TV

Welcome Back, Pants


The Pants Institute is pleased as pants to present: The Classic Pants TV Lineup!¹

From the conservative black & white pinstriped pants of the 50s to the colorful polyster prints of the 60s and 70s bellbottoms and on through the high-waisted peg-legs of the 80s, this look back at the golden era of Pants TV will bring a smile to your pants.

  • I Love Pants: This classic show from the 1950s features a young married woman’s antics, which frequently involve trying to sneak around in her husband’s pants.
  • Growing Pants: A family learn that as the kids get older, they must wear larger sizes of pants, or be increasingly uncomfortable.
  • All in the Pants: A 70s show about the life and family of a middle-aged middle-class white man who struggles to adjust to changing societal norms for who wears the pants in the family.
  • I Dream of Pants: An astronaut happens across a pair of magic harem pants that can fulfill his wishes, but only if he wears them in secret.
  • Three’s Pants: In this madcap 70s comedy, 3 single young adults sharing an apartment are always getting their pants mixed up in the laundry.
  • The Pants Boat: Each weak, different styles of pants are paraded on the decks of the Pantsific Princess, a cruise ship that promises to pair up pairs of pants.
  • Pantasy Island: Each week visitors arrive on a tropical island to act out their wildest fantasies of wearing different pants.
  • Diff’rent Pants: 2 young boys from Harlem must trade in their worn-out jeans for new fancy pants when adopted by a man with millions of pants.
  • The Facts of Pants: A group of teenage girls in a boarding school learn about love, life and pants.
  • The Golden Pants: 4 older women live together in the 80s and wear 4 distinct styles of pants.
  • The Pants Bunch: When 2 families merge their wardrobes, how will they ever fit all their 70s polyester pants into one dresser?
  • Welcome Back, Pants: A high school teacher and his students teach each other lessons about changing pants fashions and returning classic pants styles.

This post is for Mary, who requested a pants post when I asked for suggestions on things to post about. This post is also dedicated to my dear friend Elizabeth, who first introduced me to the comedic power of pants, and who should have been wearing her birthday pants today. I still miss her every day.

Can’t get enough pants? Try these on for size:


¹ I had just about finished this post when I had a nagging memory that my blogging buddy Painted Maypole had years ago done a pants-TV-themed post, as part of a challenge to write a post in the style of another blogger. (She chose me!) Happily, there is only a wee bit of overlapping in the pants shows. And these are rerun pants, anyhow…

Who’s who?


With the excitement building for the new episodes of Dr. Who to start¹, there has been a lot of who-buzz. But Dr. Who is not the only Who who is out there. I offer you this list of whos: a sort of Who’s Who of Whos.

  • who: an English interrogative word a relative pronoun used to stand in for a person².
  • WHO: The World Health Organization
  • who: the sound made by a hooting owl
  • Dr. Who: A British sci-fi/fantasy TV show that has been on for decades, about The Doctor, a time-travelling alien who gets to have a new body every so often.
  • Whovians: Fans of Dr. Who (you know who you are)
  • The Who: A British rock band, originally formed in the 1960s
  • Who Are You? A hit song by The Who. (And the title track of the album “Who Are you?”)
  • Who am I? A 1998 Jackie Chan movie where he plays an amnesiac spy. (It features this very memorable fight scene with a man with very long legs and very good balance. [youtube])

  • Who dat? A phrase used to show support for the New Orleans Saints (a football team)
  • Who’s Who: a type of publication listing biographical information
  • Whoville: a fictional town (or possibly two towns of the same name) in two Dr. Seuss stories: Horton Hears a Who and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
  • Whos: Inhabitants of Whoville. Cindy Lou Who is one such Who.
  • Who’s on first? Abbott and Costello’s famous comedy routine of name/pronoun ambiguity. (If you don’t know it, you can read the full transcript. Better yet, watch this clip from the 1945 movie The Naughty Nineties on [youtube])
  • whodunnit: a nickname for a type of story where the reader (or viewer) tries to solve a mystery along with the protagonists
  • Guess Who's Coming To Dinner

  • “Guess who?” Something sometimes said by a person sneaking up behind another person, often while preventing that person from seeing by covering the eyes.³
  • The Guess Who: a Canadian rock band best known in the 60s and 70s
  • Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?: A 1967 drama/comedy movie starring Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn. (It’s not actually about dinner with a Canadian rock band, but about a family coming to terms with an interracial relationship.)
  • Who can it be now?: A song by Men at Work
  • Who’s that girl?: A song by the Eurythmics
  • “Who’s a good boy?” Something often said to dogs.Cf this Onion article:
    Nation’s Dog Owners Demand to Know Who’s a Good Boy

    With canine-cuddliness levels at an all-time high and adorability-boosting ribbons and chew toys plentiful at pet stores across the nation, no resolution to the good-boy-identity issue appears to be on the horizon.

  • “Who cares?” A question sometimes asked by someone who doesn’t⁴

Who’s got more whos?

¹Season 7, part 2 starts this Sunday, March 30th
² Prescriptive grammarians will say that who is only to be used in cases where the pronoun/interrogative is in the subject, or nominal, position, and that whom is what you must use in object positions. However, contemporary usage allows for use of who in object positions.
³ I’ve never enjoyed this game.
⁴ I care.

Whose whos are whose? (image credits):Horton Hears a Who!, Whoville from the 1966 animated movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas (based on the book), Who Dat, The Guess Who Greatest Hits album cover, The Who logo, Jackie Chan’s Who Am I?, Who’s On First? screenshot from youtube clip from The Naughty Nineties,Tardis, World Health Organization logo, and Introspective Pug.

late-night line-up

Yesterday I crossed the finish line for my commitment to daily blogging, and even met a deadline for a conference submission. (Remarkably, I submitted the paper even though the deadline was extended, in part to accommodate confusion over date lines and timezones, since the conference organizers are in Shanghai, and probably most of those submitting papers are from timezones that are lagging behind. But they added several days, which may be overkill…) And now I’m trying to get things in line for another submission. The timeline is quite tight, since the deadline is Monday. As it is, I’m pretty wiped out from pushing myself for that last submission. I think I’ve been running on adrenaline the last few weeks, which is actually not a kind of line. And while I should be working on an outline for the next deadline, or some other more productive line of activities, I find myself goofing of online. And thinking up line things.

This list is but a scratch on the surface of all the things with line. (There sure are a lot of meanings of the word line, for a start.) If you have more line items to include in the line-up, drop me a line in the comments.

masters of communication


This sketch from A Bit of Fry and Laurie amuses me. Quite a lot. (Thanks to The Skwib for offering up these tasty nibbles, which are neither plain, nor prawn flavored.)

If you enjoyed that, you might also enjoy sketches by The Two Ronnies. I confess I’d never heard of them until reading the comments for the Fry & Laurie sketch on YouTube. (Which is usually a dangerous endeavor, as 99% of the comments on YouTube are written by 12-year-olds.) However, on this occasion I learned that the sketch above was likely influenced by this other sketch comedy pair. You can see a bit of their skillful timing below in “Crossed Lines.”


And one more from the Two Ronnies. This last one is chock full of fun with phonetic ambiguity. (You scream, I scream, we all scream for phonetic ambiguity.)

(This post actually relates to several of my candidates for categories of things I like, but I won’t count this post as one of my 40 since I don’t have time to say more. But can you guess what some of the things I like are?)

the swine flew

“Thinking again?” the Duchess asked, with another dig of her sharp little chin.
“I’ve a right to think,” said Alice sharply, for she was beginning to feel a little worried.
“Just about as much right,” said the Duchess, “as pigs have to fly….”
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 9.

Everyone knows that pigs can’t fly.

Except, of course, when they do. And fly they do, in all sorts of lore and literature, song and show, and even in a few airborne vessels. This ThThTh list is hog-wild for the swine of the skies.

A list of flying pigs

  • when pigs fly: an expression by which a speaker can convey the opinion that a given event will never happen. As in “this blog will be awarded a Pulitzer when pigs fly.”
  • when pigs grow wings: an expression that means “when pigs fly”
  • Pigs Have Wings, by P.G. Wodehouse. A book by the author of the Jeeves and Wooster series.
  • Flying Pig: a character on Kids in the Hall, portrayed by Bruce McCulluch. He is a winged pig who flies and “entertains people at bank-machines and other of life’s many lineups.” (See him in flight on YouTube.)

    flying pig kith

  • Pigasus: various references to winged pigs. The name plays on Pegasus (a winged horse)
  • Cincinnati: this city has adopted a winged pig as a mascot. The city has a Flying Pig Marathon.
  • pb125575

    A flying pig mug I bought at the Cincinatti airport.

  • references to flying pigs are used in many different business such as restaurants and art galleries . I’ve bought bread adorned with a winged pig from a bakery called When Pigs Fly. There’s evenFlying Pig Eyewear.
  • logo 111 flyingpig f

  • winged pigs have become so ubiquitous as to be commonly used for decoration, such as adorning weathervanes
  • “Pigs on the Wing”, a song by Pink Floyd
  • The first recorded pig flight took place in England in 1909. (source)

    The first historically recorded flight of a pig took place on British soil, at Leysdown in Kent in 1909. The pig was carried aloft by J.T.C. Moore-Brabazon, later the First Lord Brabazon of Tara, in his personal French-built Voisin aero plane.

    The pig was placed into a wicker basket, which was in turn strapped to a wing strut of the aero plane. A hand-lettered sign attached to the basket read: ‘I am the first pig to fly.’ Brabazon purposefully carried the pig aloft, thereby disproving the long help opinion that ‘pigs can not fly.’

  • More recently another flying pig made the news after a flight on a commercial airline
  • piscrew pigs in spaceship

  • Pigs in Space: these pigs from the Muppet Show have mastered not just flight, but space flight.

  • ad astra per alia porci: Steinbeck’s motto “To the stars on the wings of a pig” (found via the blog On Pig’s Wings, taking its name “from Steinbeck, whose motto, described his status as a ‘lumbering soul but trying to fly.’” )
  • Can’t get enough flying pigs? Lots more about them can be found at Porkopolis, a website devoted to all things porcine. Be sure to check posts in the category “flight,” and the informative post A Brief History of Pigs and Flight. Flying pigs have their own Wiki page, too.

remember, remember

four lobes of the cerebral cortexIt’s the 5th of November. Which makes me remember some things about remembering.

I’m fascinated by memory, and clearly I’m not alone, judging from the large number of movies, stories, songs and such that feature themes of memory. Or loss of memory. Here’s a ThThTh list of some things I can remember:

    Some memory-related things that come to mind

  • The poem about Guy Fawkes day:

    Remember, remember the fifth of November,
    The gunpowder treason and plot,
    I know of no reason
    Why the gunpowder treason
    Should ever be forgot.

  • remember the Alamo!
  • mnemonic devices: phrases, poems or other sayings used to aid the memory for specific facts, such as:
    • Roy G. Biv (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet: the order of colors in the rainbow)
    • homes (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior: i.e. the Great Lakes)

    (more mnemonic devices here)

  • string on finger

  • string tied around a finger: if you need to remember something, you can tie a string around your finger as a reminder that there was something you were supposed to remember. This relies on you being able to remember what it was that you hoped to remember.
  • souvenir: a keepsake or memento, typically from a visit to a place to which one has travelled. From the French verb souvenir, “to remember”
  • memento: an object kept to remember a time, place or event. From the latin remember:

    L. memento “remember,” imperative of meminisse “to remember,” a reduplicated form, related to mens “mind.” Meaning “reminder, warning” is from 1582; sense of “keepsake” is first recorded 1768. (from etymology online)

  • Memento (2000): a movie about a man who loses his ability to form new memories.
  • The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004): a movie in which people can undergo a process of selective memory erasure.
  • Chester Tate: A character on the 70s TV show Soap who spends several episodes with amnesia.
  • “Tabula Rasa,” a Buffy episode: A spell gone awry causes the main characters to forget who they are. Hilarity ensues. (Seriously, it’s a really fun, funny episode.)
  • “The Forget me Knot,” an episode of The Avengers in which Emma Peel forgets who she is. (This was Diana Rigg’s last episode on the series.)
  • Forget Me Not,” an amnesia episode of Gilligan’s Island (Okay, I didn’t actually remember this one, guessed that there was an amnesia episode.)
  • For that matter, there are probably plenty of episodes from sci-fi shows like those in the Star Trek and Star Gate universes.
  • The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996): Geena Davis plays an amnesiac ex-spy
  • The Bourne Identity (2002): Matt Damon plays an amnesiac ex-spy
  • Who am I?/Wo shi shei (1998): Jackie Chan plays an amnesiac spy.
  • Total Recall (1990) Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a spy whose memories were re-written
  • lots more movies and shows with a memory (or loss of memory) theme can be found here:
  • “I Don’t Remember,” a song by Peter Gabriel

    I don’t remember, I don’t recall
    I got no memory of anything at all

  • “I can’t forget,” a song by Leonard Cohen. I can’t forget, but I don’t remember what.
  • “Only a Memory,” a song by the Smithereens
  • The Persistence of Memory: famous Salvador Dalí painting with melting watches
  • memory: a card game also known by the name “concentration”
  • memory: a computer component for storing data
  • ddr ram

  • Remember when Chris Farley interviewed people? Remember how he interviewed Paul McCartney? That was awesome.

    Chris Farley: You remember when you were with the Beatles?
    Paul McCartney: Yes.
    Chris Farley: That was awesome.

lessons from the other side of the Street

Here’s a bit of “unnecessary censorship.”

This video taught me several important lessons:

    1) My mental age is 12.
    2) The videos I show Phoebe and Theo aren’t that far off from Sesame Street after all.
    3) I should be extra careful sending emails with silly youtube links late at night.
    4) The autofill function for the address field in my mail program is not always my friend.
    5) Especially since my spouse and my advisor have names that start with the same 2 letters.
    6) I am lucky that my advisor has a sense of humor.

Brought to you by the letter [bleep].

Money Momentum

Just because I love the Kids in the Hall. (And because my post title from yesterday reminded me of this sketch.)


I’m going to show you what a comma and three zeros can do.

pulling some strings

Emily of Wheels on the Bus sent out an unusual plea, having recently gone to see Puppetolio, an LA-area puppet theater that is closing its doors this weekend unless they manage to…um…pull a few strings:

If you know anyone who lives in L.A., anyone in the media, anyone who loves puppets, anyone who reads blogs, anyone who cares about the arts, then you know someone who will find this of interest and might be able to help.

I’m not around L.A., but I do care about the arts, and children’s entertainment, and I hate to see such a time-honored tradition dying out. So, if you can, go see what Emily has to say. And if you can, pull a few strings to help out the puppeteer in his plight.

But first, I’m putting on ashow of my own with this ThThTh¹ list o’ puppets.

  • Punch and Judy: traditional English puppet theatre, typically performed in a booth-type stage.
  • Pinocchio: a famous wooden puppet of fiction and film who comes to life.
  • punch-bw-puppet

  • Muppets: a range of mostly cloth and plush puppets, originally created by Jim Henson.
  • puppet: an expression for a person or entity whose actions are covertly dictated by some other person or entity. Political figures are sometimes disparagingly called puppets.
  • the_godfather

  • The Godfather: The poster for the 1972 movie shows a hand holding the string controls for a marionette, alluding to the “puppet master” status of a mafia boss
  • “The Lonely Goatherd”: A scene from The Sound of Music (1965) in which an elaborate puppet show is performed
  • “Puppet Man”: A song performed (separately http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=12771 ) in the early 1970s by The 5th Dimension Tom Jones. Here’s the Tom Jones version:

    Baby, Baby, I’m your sweet pet
    I’m just your personal marionette
    Wind me up and let me go
    Don’t you know I’m a one man show?
    Raise your finger and I’ll perform
    I’ll crack a jack till’ the crack a dawn
    If you wanna see me do my thing, baby pull my string

  • “Puppets”: a song by Depeche Mode from their first album, Speak and Spell. (YouTube vid)

    And I don’t think you understand
    What I’m trying to say
    I’ll be your operator baby
    I’m in control

  • The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre: What can I say? They are sock puppets. Who sing in falsetto voices. With Scottish accents. Watch their latest video, “Back in E.D.I.N. BRAW“:
  • Lamb Chop: a sheep sock puppet operated by comedian Shari Lewis.
  • Bob from the TV show Soap.
    A ventriloquist’s dummy operated by Chuck, but a character in his own right. (Watch a scene with Bob here)
  • Mr. Hat: Mr. Garrison’s puppet from the show South Park
  • The Puppet Show: an episode from Buffy the Vampire Slayer involving a ventriloquist’s dummy.
  • Puppetmaster (1989) A horror movie with puppets that come to life.
  • Being John Malkovich (1999) John Cusack plays a puppeteer, and puppeteering features prominently in the plot. The movie also boasts a gigantic Emily Dickinson marionette.

——-

¹ It’s been a while since I put up my last Themed Things Thursday² post. (Has it really not been since April? Craziness. I’ve drafted probably a good dozen or so lists, but haven’t quite gotten any together and ready to post.)

² Yes, I know it’s Friday. Don’t quibble with me. I’m tired.

Image sources: Godfather poster, Punch puppet, Pinnochio from Ginn and Company The Common School Catalogue (Boston: Ginn & Company Publishers, 1906) 40 via etc and puppet show from Harper’s New Monthly Magazine (New York: Harper and Brothers Publshers, 1871) XLII:831 via etc.