Thursday, April 27, 2006

Revision... REVISION!

In honor of upcoming Derby week, here's another revision attempt, this time of the now-infamous 2004 Larry King Live interview with Merv Griffin and jockeys Gary Stevens and Chris McCarron. Today's Theme: You don't have to be a horseracing fan to appreciate good old fashioned train-wreck television.

Gary Stevens was on CNN last night. He was helping to preview the Pro Bowl of racing, the Breeders' Cup, on The Show That No One Actually Watches Anymore But Yet Still Manages To Book People, Larry King Live. Sitting in with him was fellow jockey Chris McCarron-- now retired, general manager of Santa Anita, and race designer of Seabiscuit-- and that one name everyone on planet Earth immediately associates with the majesty of Thoroughbred racing: Give it up, if you please, for Merv Griffin.

Merv is a big-time horse owner, and is the “celebrity host” for the Breeders' Cup this year, clearly because Kato Kaelin was not available. He totally dressed for the occasion. Gary and Chris looked terrific in the sense that they seemed to have made an attempt to, like, finish cleaning out the garage before appearing on national television. Merv looked like he just rolled out of a barn, or a murdering-hitchhiker spree gone awry, or possibly both. He had on this plaid shirt and a baby-barf green jacket, and... just... no, Merv.

Larry was, for some reason, wearing lipstick.

When I first saw Merv, I became upset, because he's usually the go-to guy for Hollywood Death. Johnny Carson, Marlon Brando, Jack Lemmon: Wheel in Merv. I do not know what Larry will do when Merv himself dies. Possibly conduct the interview anyway, only with slightly fewer non sequiters on Merv's part.

At one point everyone were discussing the retirement of the great jock Laffit Pincay (more on this later) and in the middle of the conversation Merv turns to the jockeys and goes, “Do you keep track of how much you’ve won?” and Gary snorted—he snorted—and McCarron was giving him this total Look of Death. Seriously, why didn’t he just go, “So, how many times do you have sex a week?” You just don’t ask these things.

And Chris somehow manages to not kill him, and to diffuse the situation said, “Well, my wife does,” which left poor Gary alone with Merv and Larry, both of whom need to be shot out of the International Space Station at top speed, and Larry turned to Gary and gave him the Index Finger Point of Inquisition and said, “Do you know?” and Gary gave up and said, “Right around two hundred million” and Chris admitted to something like two hundred sixty-something million, and Merv, stunned, hurt, and mumbling, said, “See, your wife doesn’t know. You know” and McCarron simply couldn’t summon the strength for yet another well-deserved Look of Death and laughed politely instead, silently resolving to ride some limping mare over a cliff and into a valley of very sharp knives rather than spend one more nanosecond in the company of this, his Celebrity Host.

One of the commercial bumpers consisted of a few seconds of Gary getting out of that obnoxiously huge car as George Woolf in Seabiscuit, outfitted in that hat that deserved its own mention in the credits and those clothes that made him look like he just fell out of an episode of Queer Eye For the Straight Jockey and that slightly self-conscious smile that says, “I am faaaaaaaaaabulouuuuuuuuuus!” And then there were a few seconds of him giving an interview wearing the highly respectable brown hat that he apparently stole out of Sinatra’s closet. So wardrobe was one-for-two.

But of course Larry had to stomp very hard upon it by coming out of the break and saying to Gary, “How do you like being a staaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh?” whereupon Gary did not, sadly, kick him directly in the spleen.

We now come to Pincay. He was this truly amazing jockey who was forced into retirement by successive injury (“Two percent body fat!” Chris said with deep and quiet reverence of Pincay, because the ability to swallow your own weight in laxitives is a good thing) and Gary mentioned that he and Pincay live near one another (which totally made me happy, to imagine this little jockey subdivision somewhere near Del Mar, with tiny houses and wee little driveways and lawn jockey statues on every square of grass) and he said, “I saw him walking yesterday. He had his shirt off—“

Stop the tape. This raises a number of questions:

1) Where was Laffit going, without his shirt? Was he just wandering around?

2) Did Gary have his shirt off?

3) If so, why did no one call me about it?

4) Is this normal behavior in the Little Jockey Subdivision?

I need to know these things. Anyway, go ahead, Gary:

“—and, I mean, what a specimen. He looked like he hadn’t missed a single day of riding.”

There was also a point in the program when Chris accidentally let it slip that they had taped the show, so it was not in fact Larry King Live but Larry King, Two Jockeys, and a Strangely Plaid Man Discussing the Breeders' Cup At Some Point In the Very Recent Past. And Gary turned to Chris and slapped him on the forehead, which was totally funny and real and I enjoyed it immensely. You don’t playfully slap just anyone. You need to be in That Place. But you could see a sense of wistfulness flash over McCarron’s face, like: “O, that we could fully beeyotch-slap these two dinks sitting beside us, my friend.”

At one point, Merv also completely derailed an actually pertinent conversation about the Breeders' Cup by whirling on Chris and saying, in highly accusatory tones, “Is the story about Ferdinand true?”

Now, I’m a yooge dork of a racing fan, and so I knew what he was talking about, namely, Ferdinand, longshot winner of the ’86 Kentucky Derby. It is rumored that he had been shipped to Japan and sent to the meatpacking plant there. And, even knowing this, I got conversational whiplash so fast that I displaced two vertebrae and maybe even a hip. So I can’t even imagine what the average normal person was thinking: “WHAT?! Ferdi—WHAT?” But Chris, who had been in the middle of a sentence with a subject and a verb and an adjective and everything, something Merv had not yet mastered that night, said, basically, “WHAT?” before collecting himself with an “I don’t know for sure,” thinking, “Well, Merv, let me just reach into my BUTT for my eight volumes of The Complete History of Ferdinand” and Gary, perhaps after subtly reaching for his poison blow-dart, nodded. “Yes,” he said solemnly, and Merv was all distraught and even Larry was kind of speechless. Hi, my name is Merv, and I’m a conversation-killer.

Also Larry kept pronouncing “Santa Anita” as “Santer Anita.” He also needs to die.


Jenib said...

OMG your last comment...rofl!

That wasn't nice. (snicker snicker)

Ophelia said...

MB - I know this isn't tied to your current blog posting in ANY way, but have you seen the previews for "Las Vegas" tonight on NBC?
Sasha Cohen is going to guest-star on the show tonight. Yes, the Ice Princess, blog-skewered Sasha Cohen. Can she even act? Not that "Las Vegas" can be classified as high-quality TV but does she have a thing for falling on her rear end lately or what?
Had to share...
Also, finally saw a preview for "Stick It". I think I felt my IQ drop just by watching that. Oi.

Laney said...

MB, I know this guy that knows this guy that could totally take care of Merv AND Larry for a small "donation" (wink-wink). Call me.

Dantelope said...

I'll do it for half of whatever that guy charges.

And I'll even tape the whole thing so you can see Larry grovel and cry.

With his lipstick on.

Topper said...

I know this is a way off the content of your posting but what is your feeling about the Harvard Student Kaavya Viswanathan's plagiarism on her novel.

What do you do when a student plagiarises in your class? Yes I had to google it to get her name right.

Topper said...

"I froze, unsure of (a) what he was talking about and (b) what I was supposed to do about it."
How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life

"So I froze, not knowing whether I should (a) laugh (b) say something, or (c) ignore him and keep on walking."
Sloppy Firsts

Here is a one of the phrasings that is eerily similar to Megan Mc Cafferty's Book, Sloppy Firsts.

Dantelope said...

Topper - perhaps I am not as sophisticated in my knowledge of English as the venerable MB, but let me just say.... Huh?

Those two phrases look eerily similar to many of the things I've posted, written, and read in the past. If two people write in a similar style or use common phrasings, does that mean they are plagiarizing? I'm sure you have better examples than that.

And yes, that's way off topic.

And so is this. And this. And this, too.

Maybe if I say "and that's from the horse's mouth", it'll tie back in...

topper said...

Hi, dantelope maybe not the best example but these next ones are probably better examples.

Page 237 of McCafferty’s first novel reads: “Finally, four major department stores and 170 specialty shops later, we were done.” Similarly, Viswanathan wrote on page 51 of her novel: “Five department stores, and 170 specialty shops later, I was sick of listening to her hum along to Alicia Keys....”

In that example, McCafferty writes on page 6 of her first novel: “Sabrina was the brainy Angel. Yet another example of how every girl had to be one or the other: Pretty or smart. Guess which one I got. You’ll see where it’s gotten me.”

Viswanathan writes on page 39 of her novel: “Moneypenny was the brainy female character. Yet another example of how every girl had to be one or the other: smart or pretty. I had long resigned myself to category one, and as long as it got me to Harvard, I was happy. Except, it hadn’t gotten me to Harvard. Clearly, it was time to switch to category two.”

Lifted from the pages of the Harvard
Crimson ( I probably
should have just linked the story.

topper said...

dantelope- I think sometimes what comes from the other end of the horse can be more revealing.

Dantelope said...

What comes out of the other end, topper, is what you've posted here in this, a completely unrelated thread.

MB - tell us a story about Jockeyville in the form of Desperate Housewives. Please slather many scenes in which little people stand around their garden gnomes discussing when and how they will take down Merv Griffin and kill him, Gulliver-style.

topper said...

Well Dantelope im now talking about horses!

MB said...

Okay, everybody, settle down or I will TURN THIS THREAD AROUND AND NOBODY GETS ICE CREAM.

Dantelope said...

Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

Topper said...

Please forgive me MB I am a total newb to reading blogs. The only other blog I have ever read was on computer gaming. I was drawn to your blog after reading your "stick it" commentary on MSNBC.COM. I have loved humor writing since the first time I read one of Mark Twain's short stories as a kid. I think it is a gift to see the funny things in life and be able to write them down for others to enjoy. Thanks for making me laugh.

The Ice Cream Man said...

Okay now that's not funny! There will be no withholding of frozen treats or else I'll park this ice cream truck outside MaryBeth's apartment and play tinny tapes of The Entertainer til y'all either play nice and buy some Sundae Cones, or else MaryBeth goes postal on my music box. Alright now everyone run and get your dollar-I'm waiting

MB said...

Don't fret, topper, you're a'ight.

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