Today is June 24, 2020 and Log Cabin Day, founded by Virginia Handy, and the Bad Axe Historical Society in Michigan. It was first recognized in 1986. Log Cabin Day was created to promote the preservation of log cabins and increase understanding of life during the period in the United States when log cabins were widely in use. Seems like a good day to break out the Lincoln Logs! Interesting factoid: Lincoln Logs were invented by John Lloyd Wright, son of the famed architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.
weird al wednesday!
I confess. I am a Weird Al Yankovic fan. Weird Al’s real name is Alfred Matthew Yankovic, which explains the origin of his moniker. Yes, Weird Al is the guy behind so many of the song parodies we’ve heard or seen on video for over 40 years. I was a bit surprised, and you may be too, to learn that those song parodies have been far better to him than I ever imagined. He has won five Grammys (out of 16 total nominations); had four gold records; and six platinum records.
My first acquaintance with his work was in the mid-1970’s on the Dr. Demento radio show. I was attending school at a tiny college in Western Kansas and Dr. Demento came on every Sunday night. I continued to follow Dr. Demento and Weird Al over the years. Each year now Weird Al appears live at Wolf Trap (well, not this year!) and it is still one of my “bucket list” wishes to go to one of his concerts.
Not that I need another reason to admire Weird Al but here’s one: he was asked to be the guest editor of MAD Magazine in 2015! Now I’m just jealous!
One of the things I learned about Weird Al is that he always asks artists for permission to parody their songs. In an interview in 2015 he revealed the only artist who refused his requests until that time was Prince.
I’m not sure why he came to mind today. Just for totally drivelous fun, I decided to feature some of my favorite Weird Al videos. Enjoy!
“Tacky” is a parody of Pharell William’s “Happy” and is one of my favorites. Weird Al’s singing the lyrics but it also features a number of guest stars lipsyncing the words.
We don’t always think of Weird Al as a social commentator, right? “First World Problems” is an original Yankovic work that delivers plenty of commentary with humor.
“I Lost on Jeopardy” is one of the first Weird Al videos I ever saw and I loved it. Note that the host of Jeorpardy! in this video is NOT Alex Trebek but his predecessor, Art Fleming. Trebek started hosting Jeopardy! shortly after the Weird Al video was released in December 1983. Unfortunately, I’m not able to embed the video in the blog but if you follow its link, or this one, you should be able to see it.
“Ricky” was Weird Al’s first music video. It was a parody of Tony Basi’s “Mickey.” Again, YouTube is not letting me embed the video here but you can click on the hyperlink, or this one, and it will take you to it on YouTube. In Weird Al’s parody the song is about the “I Love Lucy” show. In it he appears as Desi Arnaz without his moustache, beard, and his hair straightened. He bears a striking resemblance to a young Desi Arnaz.
In the next video, recorded just as the pandemic was beginning in March, Weird Al plays the instrument he knows best – the accordion – in a cover of Classical Gas. Yankovic started playing the accordion on his 7th birthday.
In this last video, Weird Al faces off against Jon Batiste, music director for the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. It showcases the talent of both amazing artists. Enjoy!
Okay, that’s Weird Al Wednesday. I hope you enjoyed the tour and also developed a greater appreciation of this talented comedian and musician.
chickenman – episode 68
Benton Harbor (Chickenman, the Crime Fighting Capon) seems to have some challenges getting out of bed on the weekend. This could be a barrier to his weekend crimefighting!