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Archive for the tag “Robin Williams”

I’M PRETTY SURE MY DEAD GOLDFISH INVADED COLORADO

Now I know how Patty Hearst’s family must have felt the first time they saw her on TV in a beret, fronting for the Symbionese Liberation army.

*Kids, go ask your parents.

Teller Lake in Boulder, Colorado has been overrun by some 4,000 goldfish. Now the ecosystem is threatened by a mass of fifty- cent pets no one ever expects to live more than a week. Scientists can’t believe it.

But I can.

Several years ago, we got a fish tank and populated it with “expensive” two dollar fish. All of them died. Screw that, we thought, and dumped a fifty-cent, garden-variety, orange goldfish in there. Little did we know, that choice would eventually lead to to the end of life in Colorado as we know it. It’s only a matter of time before the hideous half-human, half-goldfish people start flopping around on fingered fins, demanding lattes and saltwater bong hits.

This IS Colorado, don’t forget.

We named him Stone, I think after legendarily-named Newscaster Stone Phillips. Stone turned out to be the little-goldfish-who-could. Every day, he patrolled his tank. He would swim over to greet us when we walked in the room. He came to the surface when it was time to eat.

And he grew.

The thing ate and ate. He outgrew one tank. Then another. He lived on and on. He survived moves to at least three houses and four tanks. After a house fire, he survived two days in soot-filled water before we could rescue him. This fish was invincible.

Until one day, he wasn’t. I assume old goldfish age finally got him.

But what if it got him, but didn’t stop him?

Here’s how I imagine Stone’s adventure, post-mortem: the cold Stone is so accustomed to, being cold-blooded and, you know, dead, is replaced with all-encompassing warmth. He slowly opens his already open eyes (fish don’t have eyelids), the stirring words of John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” filling his nonexistent ears. He is surrounded by dozens of goldfish. “Stone?” he says, since all goldfish look pretty much alike and any one or more of these could be him. (goldfish have pretty tiny brains)

“Am I dead?” Stone asks.

“Better,” one of the other goldfish replies, “you’re in Colorado.”

“Cool.” There’s no need to ask any questions. These are talking, possibly undead goldfish. Just swim with it.

“Hey, man,” one of the goldfish says, “or lady. Hard to tell ourselves apart. Anyway, wanna take over the state?”

“Why?”

“Because the hermit crabs already called dibs on Montana.”

“Okay,”says Stone, failing to shrug.

And just a few short years later, their plan is in full swing, er full swim Today, Teller Lake. Tomorrow, the music store in Boulder that Mork and Mindy worked at.

**Kids, ask your parents about this too.

The hermit crabs, meanwhile, are still caught in traffic in Helena. Also, they’re HERMIT CRABS.

I know this must all be true. I’ve seen the news footage and I’m sure I spotted Stone in that lake. He’s the one in the beret.

Sorry, America.

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GOODNIGHT, 2014!

(With apologies to Margaret Wise Brown)

In the year gone by,

There was a Manson marriage

And a polar vortex

And a picture of –

Olympic athletes jumping over the moon

And there was a bid for Scottish independence

And no extra Olive Garden breadsticks

But we got a free U2 album

(Much to our dismay. Weirdly.)

 And too many shootings

And too many hostages

 And legal pot and ebola and Kim K’s oiled-up tush

And huge CVS pharmacy told smokers to “hush”

 Goodnight Seth Rogan’s “The Interview”

Goodnight Robin Williams

 Good night Arthur “Rudolph/Frosty/Santa Claus” Rankin and Larry “Yukon Cornelius” Mann

 Goodnight Tom “Car Talk” Magliozzi

And Russell “The Professor” Johnson

Goodnight Pete Seeger

Goodnight Ukraine

 Goodnight Norman “Clifford” Bridwell

And goodnight Japanese whale hunting

 Goodnight Heartbleed Internet bug

And goodnight Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 Goodnight Harold Ramis

 And goodnight Rubin “Hurricane” Carter 

Goodnight Ladies’ Home Journal

 And goodnight NFL player scandals

Goodnight nobody

 Goodnight depressing news mush

 And goodnight to the US

Telling Cuba to “hush”

 Goodnight stars

 Goodnight air

 Goodnight noises everywhere

 *Phew* 2015 better not be so…challenging, lest we develop a global drinking problem.

 

ROBIN WILLIAMS: POET TO YOU, POPEYE TO ME

“Just stay alive. That’s all I’m askin’.”
– Robin Williams, “Popeye”, 1980

When I was a kid, I somehow acquired an 8 x 10, autographed photo of Robin Williams and Pam Dawber on the “Mork and Mindy” set. I was a fan of the show. I had a Mork action figure that said “Na-noo, Na-noo” and “shazbot”. And another Mork figure in its own plastic “egg” spaceship. Though young, I knew the show jumped the shark by bringing in Jonathan Winters as Mork’s son, but loved it anyway. I’m still kind of sad I never got rainbow-colored suspenders.

As an adolescent, I laughed at his brilliant, but definitely not for kids, standup.

I was never, honestly, a rabid fan of his movies, but I was always reliably entertained. Dead Poet’s and Aladdin. Goodnight Vietnam or Moscow on the Hudson. Years came and went, faster all the time, but you could always count on a new movie, or two, from Robin to make you laugh, even while there was a lump in your throat.

My favorite Robin Williams performance was his supporting role in Good Will Hunting when he managed to transcend his schmaltzy period – like Patch Adams or A-I – to be truly witty AND moving.

I’m watching Popeye, Robin’s second film, as I write this. I LOVED this movie as a kid. True, it’s really not a great movie. The look of the setting and characters is true to the history of the cartoon, and the cast is game, but…yeah, it’s not great. There’s enough there to get a glimmer of the Robin Williams to come; still young, a little uncertain about his on-screen persona, but full of life. In short, he’s all of us in our twenties. For those reasons, it struck me as a fitting way to remember the man and his work this week.

I intended to gripe in this post about the destructive power of celebrity and about the the public’ s morbid fascination with celebrity death. But, you know what? I think instead I’m just gonna relax and enjoy a mediocre film with a delightful lead.

That’s how tributes are made.

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