Tidbits -May 23 2019

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY



TV ENDINGS
  I’m not ashamed to say I teared up at the end  of the  finale of one of my favorite TV shows, “The Big Bang Theory” last Thursday night.
  I’ve invested practically every Thursday in these characters for 12 years, and I’ve learned to love them ... and now they are gone to  Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, network TV syndication heaven, where each of the stars will make $10 million and not have to hit a lick.
  Through the years I have had many favorites go off the air. Some last shows drew tears, some drew laughter and some drew, “what was that?”
  One of the most traumatic episodes of my childhood came when “The Howdy Doody Show” went off the air in 1960.
  The trauma had to do with Clarabell the Clown, who never spoke during the run of the show. I didn’t remember how truly devastating it was until I read the following description in Wikipedia:
  “It was only in the episode's final moments that Clarabell, still gesturing and using his horn, revealed to Howdy Doody and Buffalo Bob that he could actually speak. Amazed, Bob excitedly told Clarabell to prove it then and there as he would never get another chance. His lips quivered as the camera slowly zoomed in on his face; a drum and cymbal roll grew louder and abruptly stopped right before Clarabell tearfully whispered, "Goodbye, kids."
  A tear could be seen in Clarabell's right eye as the screen faded to black. There were sounds of sobbing as a celeste version of “Auld Lang Syne," quietly played over the end credits.”
  Good, Lord, how could they do that to a nine-year-old kid? I remember Clarabell speaking, followed by me crying, but I didn’t remember the "Auld Lang Syne" part.
  Since “Big Bang Theory,” and another crowd favorite, “Game of Thrones,” are ending this year, several TV outlets have been reviewing some of the greatest and worst ending episodes of classic TV shows.
  Most agree “The Bob Newhart Show” had the greatest ending of all time, when Suzanne Pleshette, Bob’s wife in his first series, appeared in bed with him at the end of his second series. The joke was the entire second series was a dream.
  MASH had a tear-jerker ending. It was watched by something like 80 million viewers. That shows what that series meant.
  The ending was not the episode that produced the most tears during the 11-year run, however. That came after McClean Stevenson left the series, because he mistakenly thought he was a hot commodity who could carry his own show.
  In order to explain the absence of Col. Blake, the show creators had to kill the character off.
  At the end of the episode, the doctors and nurses were in surgery, when Radar came on the loudspeaker. He said the plane carrying Col. Henry Blake had crashed into the sea, and he concluded, “There were no survivors.”
  The doctors and nurses, wearing their surgical masks, had to keep working. They had no choice. The viewers could see the tears in their eyes. It was one of the greatest acting moments in television history, by an amazing cast.
  Of course many long running shows have come to an end. Most of the endings were not memorable.
  Some, like Steinfield, were downright stupid.
  The Sopranos left longtime fans hanging. The Soprano family was sitting at a table in the restaurant. Tony looked up and the screen went black. Since he was a crime boss, you can guess he was assassinated, but we’ll never know.
  I’m writing this Sunday afternoon. Sunday night, another of my favorites, the Game of Thrones, came to an end, and I will not stay up late to comment in this week’s column.
  I hope it has a memorable ending. Many fans are complaining about the writing this year. Author George Martin did not keep up, so the showrunners wrote the final year.
  I have been disappointed that Dany destroyed so many innocents with her dragon, and I’m disappointed Cercai didn’t come to a more tortuous death.
  This character is the most hated woman on television, and Lena Headey is an outstanding actress.
  Who will sit on the throne? I’m voting on the dragon.

CAT-TASTROPHE

  For many years, I had plenty of cats, but eventually, for various reasons, I went from double digits to none.
  For mice and snake reasons, I needed a cat, and that situation was remedied when a black kitten showed up at Jackie Kidd’s house and she brought it to me.
  This is the kitten that jumps out at me and scares me on my walks. I figured he needed a friend, besides me.
  I took the papers to Saluda Hardware a few weeks and ago and saw the litter of kittens their house cat had delivered a few weeks earlier. I commented that I liked the orange kitten.
  The next week, Cyndie McCormick messaged me on Facebook and asked if I wanted the orange kitten, because the kittens were all over the store.
  Being the great humanitarian I am, I said, “Yes.”
  The next day, I took my cardboard box into the store to get my kitten, which turned out to be the only wild one in the bunch.
  Glenn Miller finally rounded it up, and when he put the kitten in the box, Everette Berry picked up a black and said, “Take this one, too.”
  Gee, thanks.
  I got the kittens home, and my best laid plans went awry, as my larger black kitten and my new kittens hate each other. They will get used each other, some said.
  Last Monday, I got a text from Jackie, “I’m bringing you another kitten.”
  It seems she had found a dead kitten in her yard, and she was afraid her dogs had killed it. She found a live one nearby.
  When she got to work, she said, “You’re going to kill me.”
  Why? She had two kittens! What was I going to do? Turn them loose on Church Street?
  I crisscrossed the top of the box, and headed home.
  I heard the kittens meowing as I drove home, but it sounded closer than it should be. I found out why.
  When  I opened the back door of the van, I saw the box had turned over and the kittens had escaped. They were under the van seat.
  I crawled into the back of the van and tried to reach the kittens, but to no avail.
  There was not a lot of room for my hand, and I’m always hesitant to stick my hands in tight places where objects on the other end can bite.
  I crawled out and found a stick, but that didn’t work. I needed something better.
  I went on the back porch and found the long dryer lint brush.
  I opened the side door of the van and pushed the lint bush through, finally forcing the kittens out. They both jumped out of the van.
  It was deadline day, and I had already wasted about 30 minutes.
  I didn’t see where the kittens went, and I wasn’t going to look.
  When I backed up, I soon saw one of the kittens. He had been under the van. I quickly stopped, got out and heard the other kitten crying.
  Fortunately, he was okay.
  What was I going to do now? I just started walking, and like I was the Pied Piper, the kittens followed we.
  I led them to where the other new kittens were, and they immediately hit it off.
  The big kitten now has four enemie.
  Oh, the wild orange kitten? I haven’t been able to touch him yet.
  When I go into the backyard, all of the new kittens run toward me, as if I’m their mother. Just as he gets near touching distance, however, the orange kitten will hang  right!

GOLF, AGAIN

  My brother Jamie, Dean Roesner, David Coleman (SHS principal Sarah Longshore’s father), and I played in the SHS football golf tournament Saturday.
  As usual, we finished at or near the bottom.
  We started out with so much promise, birdieing two of the first three holes we played. We only birdied one more the rest of the way.
  I was killing the ball the first few holes. On number 18 I hit the longest three-wood shot I’ve ever hit in my life. Had I hit it straight, we would have been putting for an eagle.
  David, who played with us in the last two Gentry tournaments, asked what I had done. He didn’t remember me hitting the ball that far.
  I told him I started drinking Body Armour sports drinks, at $2.25 a pop. He said he was getting some.
  For some reason, the older I get, the further I’m hitting the ball.
  Of course, advanced age gets the benefit of the gold tees, but I’m talking about my second shots.
  “That’s good,” you may say. No, it’s not.
  It’s like the joke about the gorilla who hit a drive 400-yards and it landed 10-feet from the green.
  “That’s amazing,” a fellow golfer said to the gorilla’s owner.
  “No, it’s not,” the owner said. “Just watch.”
  The gorilla, just ten-feet from the green, sizes up his shot, then hits the ball 400-yards.
  Instead of hitting my approach shot short of the green, I am now hitting it over.
  I don’t hit irons well, so when good golfers use a nine iron for a shot, I use an eight, for example.
  Sunday, my eight iron, or whatever I was using, sailed over the green on six or seven holes.
  I posted a picture of our foursome on Instagram, and during the round I heard from my cousin Sarah Parris’ boyfriend Jake.
  He said he had been practicing golf every week, and he was going to beat me when we played at the beach this summer.
  Now, Jake is a big strong young man, who was a starting offensive lineman on Dorman’s state championship team two seasons ago.
  He doesn’t realize, however, how strong I’ve gotten!