Monday, March 10, 2008

Things I Didn't Know

"Things I Didn't Know", or "Wikisurfing U.S.A."

So today at lunch I got bored and commenced to surfing through Wikipedia, looking up one thing and clicking on an internal link to leap to another article, eventually Googling a term to find a picture, and from there leaping onto other interesting finds. I thought some of y'all out there might enjoy following along today.

I started by dropping into my chair and exclaiming "uff da". Now, I had no idea what that phrase means; I just remember reading it in the title of a book long ago. So I look 'er up on Wikipedia and discover it's a Norwegian phrase used in the Midwest to mean "I am overwhelmed." Interesting.

At the end of that entry, they suggested a link to "oy vey". Why not? Everybody loves Yiddish. From that entry, I learned there was a Jewish James Bond parody called "Oy Oy Seven" (I'll have to track that down sometime) and that there's a sign that reads "Oy Vey" on your way out of Brooklyn.

"Oy vey" was a favourite phrase (apparently) for the Japanese character on the 1960s show McHale's Navy, so off we go! I had no idea the comedic show was based on a dramatic movie, so that was interesting. A brief trip to Joe Flynn's page added to my knowledge of character actors.

On McHale's Navy, they piloted a PT boat, and would sometimes refer to the commander of another PT Boat, PT109--that boat was, in real life, commanded by none other than John F. Kennedy. So off we go to the PT109 page! I had never heard the exciting tale of JFK's naval exploits, so that was pretty cool. Stranded on an island behind enemy lines in the Pacific, he carved a message on a coconut and sent it back to the Navy via islanders on an outrigger canoe.

The article said that Kennedy preserved the coconut shell and it was now in the Kennedy Library in Boston. Well I HAD to see that! And thanks to the internet, my lazy ass can see it from the slothful perch of my office chair.

Oddly enough, that picture was on this page, which is part of an insanely detailed website devoted to Jeopardy, with complete listings of all the questions and answers for each show, along with incidental remarks from smarmy Alex Trebek and the contestants, and even a "Game Dynamics" graph that charts how each contestant progressed through the game. While you're at this site, check out the guy's amazing glossary of Jeopardy-geek terms. Back to the coconut page though, the great find there was the category "Food A LaFontaine" which featured voiceover king Don LaFontaine reading dramatic descriptions of foods--and the page has links to mp3s of the actual readings! Yay!

So back to Wikipedia we go to look up Don LaFontaine's info, as I realize I've never actually read his biography. That page gives us the information that LaFontaine has actually appeared multiple times on Jeopardy, so a quick jump back to the J-Site gives us links to more mp3s from those appearances! You've got to check out the nursery rhyme previews...they're fabulous.

A search for Don on YouTube gives us stuff I had seen before but which is still great to revisit, like his Geico spot, a short magazine piece, and the now-classic "Five Guys In A Limo". There's also stuff I hadn't seen, like this Today Show piece, an amusing appearance on the Frank Caliendo show, and a parody of Don done by Pablo Francisco. And all that reminds me of the fabulous trailer for Jerry Seinfeld's Comedian which features another voiceover giant, Hal Douglas.

And now back to work.

1 comment:

Nat G said...

Hey, if you're still curious about the Oy Oy Seven spoofs, we just put them all back in print (first time in about 40 years), including Kindle and other ebook editions.