I turned against Jerry Lewis when I saw “The Nutty Professor” at a movie theater at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi in 1963, the year the film came out.
I was 11 years old at the time and months later I would enter the sixth grade at Nativity Elementary.
I was never a fan of “The Nutty Professor.” Jerry Lewis’ Nutty act was too goofy and his Joe Cool was too pompous, and the kid in me believed the latter part reflected the real Jerry. I didn’t like the real Jerry.
Give me his 1950s films and, much later, “The King of Comedy,” the 1982 Martin Scorsese work of geninus in which Rupert Pupkin stalks Jerry Langford. Those movies represent Jerry Lewis’ best.
My favorites include “The Delicate Delinquent,” “The Sad Sack,” “Rock-a-Bye Baby,” “The Geisha Boy,” “The Bellboy,” and “Cinderfella.”
All are from 1957 to 1960 and they are classic LOL comedies. A theater at a military base was usually the venue for the films because my Dad was a sergeant in the Air Force. His tours of duty took us to Japan and the Philipines before we moved to Keesler in 1960.
We lived in base housing and our address was 5440 C Street, which was within walking distance of at least three movie theaters.
I saw a lot of movies at those theaters, and “The Nutty Professor” was a classic. It was a classic disappointment. I couldn’t handle Jerry Lewis playing two roles, one as Professor Julius Kelp and the other as Buddy Love.
Perhaps I was too young to appreciate a man drinking a magic potion to improve his social life.
Had I been 21, maybe I would have enjoyed the premise.
After “The Nutty Professor,” Jerry Lewis had a couple of good 1960s films, one of them “The Disorderly Orderly,” but none matched the awesome entertainment he provided in the 1950s.
And don’t get me started on his Labor Day telethons. Though working for a great cause, the man was over the top and unwatchable.
I’m sorry I don’t love Jerry Lewis as much as you do, but his death brings out the contrarian in me.
I didn’t know it until I woke up at 11:15 a.m. thinking of the song, a funky comedic tune on my mind for the first time since the 20th century.
If I’m going to think about the song all day, and I have, might as well make it “Troglodyte” Thursday. It’s certainly a throwback.
The song was released as a single in 1972. Forty-five years ago. I was 20 back then. That’s also the year I started Boogie, a rock-music fanzine I published until 1975.
“Troglodyte” was a Top 10 hit for The Jimmy Castor Bunch and I was going to write a Facebook post about it once my day got going, but I decided to make it a blog post instead because I’ve going a week without writing one.
I went to YouTube and found a televised 1973 performance.
“Troglodyte” would be great for a karaoke night on the town. Imagine millennials reciting the lyrics, dancing and dropping the mic in triumph before an appreciative club crowd.
Here are samples of the lyrics:
“Gotta find a woman, gotta find a woman, gotta find a woman, gotta find a woman.”
“This one woman just lay there, wet and frightened.
He said: Move… Move.
She got up, she was a big woman, big woman.
Her name was Bertha, Bertha Butt, she was one of the Butt sisters.”
Make “Troglodyte” Thursday a new tradition. Do it tonight if you gotta find a woman or even if you don’t have to gotta find a woman.
By Caitlin Kelly If you’ve never tried working freelance — i.e. no job, no salary, no paid sick or vacation days — it can look cool. Freedom! I’ve been doing it since 2006 (and for periods before then as well), and enjoy it. It’s rarely dull. Here’s some of what this week has been […]
GULPORT, Miss. —It all started on Oct. 18, 2016, with a Facebook message from Sun Herald sportswriter and longtime colleague James Jones.
“Sir Paul took a shot at my boy Phil,” James said.
James’ message included a link to a story in which Phil Collins, promoting his memoir, “Not Dead Yet,” revealed he still resents Paul McCartney after the Beatle allegedly mocked an autograph request at a Buckingham Palace party during the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth in 2002.
In an interview with the Sunday Times in 2016, Collins said that “McCartney came up with Heather Mills and I had a first edition of ‘The Beatles’ by Hunter Davies and I said, ‘Hey Paul, do you mind signing this for me?’ And he said, ‘Oh Heather, our little Phil’s a bit of a Beatles fan.’ And I thought, ‘You f**k, you f**k.’ Never forgot it.”
I got the feeling I was supposed to side with Phil and James.
This sarcastic thought raced through my mind: “Oh, I feel sorry for Phil Collins.”
James and I agree on a lot of things. We think actor William Devane is cool. We like old TV shows like “Happy Days” and “Laverne & Shirley.” We like the classic Rat Pack movies like “Ocean’s 11” and “Robin and the 7 Hoods.”
I’m entertained when James talks about Frank DeFazio, Carmine “The Big Ragoo” Ragusa, Lenny, Squiggy, Shirley Feeney and Laverne DeFazio. He says we have worked with Laverne-like women in the Sun Herald newsroom, ones without the nasal Bronx accent but with the attitude.
James always mentions Doug Barber, our longtime Hall of Fame sportswriter colleague, when he talks about the Newsroom Lavernes.
The Newsroom Lavernes pushed Doug around. Doug is usually fearless about women, but the Newsroom Lavernes always intimidated him. Maybe that’s why he retired a couple of years ago.
James and I imagine Doug would shiver just seeing this Laverne DeFazio line.
Touch my “L,” sweetie, and your teeth go to Peoria!
James and I don’t agree on Phil Collins. James is a fan. I’m not a fan. I’m a Paul McCartney fan.
I told James “Phil Collins is a hack. His songs are terrible and he’s not even a good drummer. Sir Paul is a better drummer than Phil Collins.”
Yeah, I’m quite aware drumming isn’t Sir Paul’s day job. Phil has played drums more often, and I have to admit, far better. I just wanted to antagonize James.
James seems to think “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)” is a great song and I think it is sappy and syrupy stuff.
I couldn’t believe we got caught up in this. James is in his 40s and I’m in my 60s, but the more I got into it, the more I enjoyed it. It was good-natured.
I told James that Phil was a 13-year-old extra in the Beatles movie “A Hard Day’s Night” in 1964 and perhaps that would have been a good time for Little Phil to ask for Paul’s autograph.
“U cold-blooded,” James said.
Our Facebook exchanges, all from his home to mine, carried over to the newsroom, where James sought sympathy for Phil from anyone.
He found it from the Page One designer, who was told the autograph sob story and then called Sir Paul “a big old douchebag.”
When I heard that, I thought, “Oh, brother.”
James, with someone finally on his side, told me, “Take that, you hater.”
Roy Rolison, my sports editor from back in the day, chimed in on my Facebook page with an old photo of Paul playing the drums. Roy was on my side.
“Paul has created an online instructional site to tutor, show the ropes to Phil Collins,” Roy said.
I have no idea if James saw the snarky post. Maybe he was listening to “Take a Look at Me Now.” If not that, maybe “Higher Love,” the only Steve Winwood song he likes.
I retired from the Sun Herald on March 3, 2017, and I brought up our Phil-Paul exchanges during my little farewell speech to the newsroom on March 2.
Much of my prepared speech, which I worked on up to the last minute after a couple of weeks, was about parting shots and inside jokes. James said many nice things about me, but I had to poke him one more time.
“James, I’m ready to bury the drumsticks, though I still think Sir Paul is a better drummer than Phil,” I said.
The line got some laughs, but I doubt that’s the last word.
Rented a Nissan Maxima, downloaded the Waze travel app and took our sweet old time from Gulfport, Mississippi, with seven day trips in nine days on the road to Colorado and back.
My wife, Patty, organized just about everything for our vacation to attend the beautiful Rocky Mountain wedding of my nephew and godson, Ryan Bialas, to Taylor Thomas.
Ryan is the youngest of the three sons of my brother, Mike Bialas, and Mike’s wife, Carmen, and the family is from Lafayette, Colorado, which is in the Denver area. Taylor and her family are from Fort Collins, Colorado.
Patty made all the hotel reservations and figured out the interstates and highways to take, and all I had to do was drive when I felt ready to get behind the wheel.
The routine went something like this: Get up at 7 a.m. or 8 a.m. with me or Patty as the driver, and when Patty did the driving, I was navigating or napping.
When I wasn’t navigating or napping, I was driving and making meal plans and thinking of places to escape the monotony of traveling for nine hours or so.
Patty and I stayed in harmony about how to break up the boredom of the 2,800-mile round trip that started Saturday, July 22 and ended Sunday, July 30. Here are highlights:
First destination: Plano, Texas, July 22
Long before Plano, we had to get off Interstate 49 for a doughnut fix in Louisiana, and it was worth it. Rickey Meche’s Donut King in Carencro was the place and I hope I get a chance to go back there.
Maybe the next time I’m in Louisiana, I will make a day trip from my daughter’s home in Madisonville just to load up on the biggest apple fritters you’ll ever see. The one I got on this trip lasted three days.
The Waze app, with its map and precise directions, helped us get through the death trap of traffic in the Dallas area, and after we checked into our hotel, we went to In-N-Out in Frisco for dinner.
It was our first trip to the popular fast-food burger chain, with locations primarily on the Pacific Coast and in the Southwest.
The double cheeseburger was good, but I’ve had much better at such places as Company Burger, Five Guys, Whataburger and Steak and Shake.
The highlight was knowing I’ll never want to go to In-N-Out ever again.
Second destination: Las Vegas, New Mexico, July 23
A friend told me to stop at The Big Texan restaurant in Amarillo, Texas, right off Interstate 40, and we did around 1 p.m.
This is the place you get a 72-ounce steak for free if you can eat it in an hour. I thought I deserved a prize for eating a 9-ounce ribeye in nine minutes.
The featured image for this post was taken outside The Big Texan. It’s one of the few vacation photos I have left after losing nearly all of them because of an iPhone update.
Hours after going to The Big Texan, we were in Las Vegas, New Mexico, and yes, New Mexico has a town named Las Vegas. It’s a small town and it’s the real Stark Vegas. It makes Starkville, Mississippi, the original Stark Vegas, look like Las Vegas, Nevada.
After driving through a couple of bleak-looking neighborhoods, we found the best part of Las Vegas, New Mexico. We stayed at the historic Plaza Hotel downtown. It has New West and Old West vibes. I was expecting the jingle jangle of cowboy boots among cellphone rings.
The hotel is known for hosting celebrities, and it overlooks a park. We spent the night in the John Lithgow Room and down the hallway is the Javier Bardem Room.
The Plaza Hotel has a strong connection to the Oscar-winning 2007 movie “No Country for Old Men,” which stars Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin.
Patty and I were happy no violence and mayhem ensued during our visit, and after our vacation, we started watching the TV series “Longmire” because it, too, is connected to The Plaza Hotel.
Our room had a big bookcase with a lot of books, and though I saw no Cormac McCarthy works, I looked through a very old copy of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Twice-Told Tales.” The Hawthorne book must be worth something.
The hallways also had bookcases filled with books, and once I got through admiring all of them, Patty and I walked across the plaza to a pizza place that has three lanes of bowling. Roll and dough at JC’s New York Pizza Department.
Our waitress, a graduate student in psychology, told us she is an Ohio State football fan. That led to a long conversation between the young woman and Patty, who will talk about the Buckeyes with anyone, even rival fans from Ann Arbor, because she is an Ohio State graduate originally from Columbus.
Third destination: Boulder, Colorado, July 24
We stayed at the University Inn, which looks like a motel in “No Country for Old Men.”
The room was small and had a bad bathroom scent. The good thing about the University Inn is that we could walk to the Pearl Street Mall, where I spent about 45 minutes roaming through an awesome bookstore that reminded me of the old Kroch’s and Brentano’s in Chicago.
Another good thing about Boulder was the bottle of chocolate milk I got at Alfalfa’s, which is across the street from the University Inn.
After four days of drinking the milk, I brought the empty bottle home and I refill it every few days.
Fourth destination: Estes Park, Colorado, July 25-27
We stayed with Mike and Carmen in the Deer Mountain Loft at the Rustic Acre for the next three nights, and when we got there, we saw guys playing wiffleball.
Patty said, “That’s Eric over there playing ball.” I said, “No way Eric is playing wiffleball. He’s in his 30s.”
As usual, I was wrong and Patty was right. Eric, Mike’s oldest son, was playing ball with his brother, Matthew; their cousins; and their friends, T.J. and Sam, who are brothers. I’m guessing T.J. and Sam are in their late 20s or early 30s and they seem to embody the spirit of Vince Vaughan.
All those guys have lots of energy and share a competitive spirit.
Ryan played ball later on, and there were ground rules, adult refreshments and cornhole, all leading up to the rehearsal dinner. And what did everyone have for dinner? The best food on earth. Pizza, and there was a lot of pizza.
Twenty-five pizzas were ordered from Antonio’s. Mike and I went to pick them up and we were the delivery boys.
I enjoyed the sausage pizza and I also liked the Buffalo chicken pizza, a really big hit with others. Donald Dorcik, who is from D’Iberville, Mississippi, and is the youngest brother of Carmen, took this photo of the pizza fest early on.
The pizza proved to me that Ryan is truly a Bialas. Marinara apparently runs through his veins and you have to have that in the Bialas family. My grandson has it and he’s only 5. He must have picked that up from his mother.
The Rustic Acre is 420-friendly and outside tables have pots for your pot. I have no idea what you do with the pots. I do know the owners of the Rustic Acre are Ohio State fans and that made Patty more than happy. She is the one who makes me believe Woody Hayes is a saint.
The second day at Estes Park was the big day: Ryan and Taylor’s day. Hours before the wedding, I took a 30-minute walk and I’m glad I did. I saw seven elks lodge in front of an American Legion post. Talk about harmonic convergence.
Ryan and Taylor’s wedding at the Della Terra Mountain Chateau was a late-afternoon ceremony outdoors with a view of the Rockies, and I teared up when T.J. talked about how love is like a dog. I laughed, too, and Patty and I were proud to be on the first row with Mike and Carmen.
At the reception, I told Taylor her new last name will often be mispronounced and misspelled, but I wasn’t telling her anything new.
“Yes, like B-i-a-l-i-s.”
The third day Patty and I went to Rocky Mountain National Park. We spent two hours driving up and back and saw patches of frozen tundra at the highest peak we reached.
Frozen tundra? I thought only Lambeau Field in Green Bay has it.
Fifth destination: Amarillo, Texas, July 28
We stayed at a really nice Marriott Courtyard, which is in a historic building downtown, and across the street is Acapulco, the best Mexican restaurant of all times.
We ate at Acapulco after visiting the Cadillac Ranch right off Interstate 40, where people were spray-painting old cars partially buried in mud.
A Cadillac Ranch souvenir shop is down the road, and I got a T-shirt and a steak restaurant recommendation: Logan’s is the best in town. Logan’s? Really?
I’m more than happy we went to Acapulco.
Sixth destination: Natchitoches, Louisiana, July 29
We stayed at the Church Street Inn Hotel, a really cool B&B downtown next to a Catholic church. We like Catholics. We are Catholics.
We walked to the “Steel Magnolias” house, named after the 1989 film shot in town, and afterward met a genial high school coach from Bossier Parish.
I’ll call him Johnny Treme, who told me a lot of things in about 10 minutes. One of them is that he thinks Slap Ya Mama seasoning is much better than Tony Chachere’s, and I didn’t even ask him about Cajun seasoning.
Coach Treme was sitting in front of a women’s shop with his son and his wife, and his other son was at a basketball camp at Northwestern State, which is in town.
Coach Treme’s wife has a wonderful Cajun accent thicker than Bobby Hebert’s and Ed Orgeron’s, and I never thought anyone could out-Cajun those two.
Final destination: Back home to Gulfport, July 30
And the day after we got home, Tilly was back home, too, after her stay at the doggie hotel in Biloxi.
“It just sort of introduces the idea that you’re in for something pretty idiotic,” he said in a 2009 interview.
The title of the tune is “Frolic,” a work by Italian composer Luciano Michelini.
Subway and Larry David go together well in this video and nowhere else: A hilarious combination you can see on YouTube.
After you watch the clip, it will be time to get back to reality.
The use of the “Curb” music in the ad curbs whatever enthusiasm I might have for Subway.
Every time you go to Subway, you will hear that music in your head when your sandwich maker goes through the process of getting your order from the toaster to the takeout bag, and this will be so overwhelming, you will hallucinate and believe your sandwich maker is Richard Lewis or Super Dave Osborne.
And those guys are too cool to be making sandwiches.
This reminds me of the gentleman who worked in the Polo men’s section of the pre-Katrina Dillard’s in Biloxi. He was a spiffy dresser and looked like a short and older version of Larry David.
Months after Katrina, I saw him wearing a nice Polo ball cap at the Super Wal-Mart in Gulfport. He was a Wal-Mart associate. He was slicing meat for a deli customer.
How can you go from selling nice clothes to cutting deli meat? I was in shock.
Testy afternoon thoughts while waiting for my comfy chair at Barnes & Noble in Gulfport, Mississippi:
Don’t interview your job applicant right here among the magazine displays.
This bookstore is not your office.
This place is for people who want to sit, relax and read.
I don’t want to overhear your conversation with the woman next to you. Both of you are in two of the store’s few comfy chairs and I’m in an uncomfortable chair mainly because of you two.
Hey man, I don’t want to hear your color code system (“we have yellow and orange”).
I don’t want to hear the train whistle that is your cellphone ring.
I want you to leave. Now.
I came here to escape distractions and seek out other worlds far from my own.
I planned to read a few pages of a Dave Eggers paperback and an Eleanor Brown paperback, but you made me sneeze so hard from whatever manly fragrance you’re wearing (Johnny Depp Dior perhaps) that you’re forcing me to sit in the Starbucks cafe.
I don’t like to sit and read in the cafe. It’s uncomfortable being surrounded by religious people and lonely laptop people, even more so when the baristas fail to fill the water pitcher or they hide the water pitcher.
I get really thirsty when I’m irritated.
Since I retired, I make daily appearances at the store and I usually find a comfy chair. I even have a favorite comfy chair and might even chat with a couple of people also relaxing in their comfy chairs.
I believe my loyalty to Barnes & Noble entitles me to free reserved seating.
Daylight Donuts is our go-to doughnut place in Gulfport. It’s in the old Hungry Howie’s on Pass Road just east of 25th Avenue and is one of 400-plus independently owned and operated Daylight shops in the U.S.
The shop is in a small strip mall, where I bought a wig back in the 1970s to hide my long hair during my Air National Guard weekends. Now I need a wig to cover what little hair I have. Much of the hair is long gone and so is the wig store.
I used to run to Dunkin’ Donuts in Biloxi, about six miles from our Gulfport home, but it has become mediocre at best. Daylight is better, fresher, doughier, more delicious and more colorful and offers more variety.
The last time our grandson stayed overnight, he asked, “Can we get doughnuts in the morning?” We knew which doughnuts Wade was asking about. Daylight Donuts, and it’s about five minutes from our house.
At 5 years old, Wade knows what’s good. He will get a chocolate twist, eat half for breakfast and save the other half for later.
The Gulfport Daylight Donuts Facebook page lists the shop’s hours, address and phone number, and when you look at the photos on the page, you can almost taste the sweetness.
Don’t waste your Friday in long lines and traffic jams trying to get the cheap deal at Krispy Kreme, which is a dozen glazed doughnuts for 80 cents to celebrate 80 years in business.
The oldest building in the Gulfport neighborhood of Broadmoor can be yours for $99,000, a price I saw on the Inrix travel app.
Our family has lived in Broadmoor for 35 years, so I’m going to be a diplomatic neighbor and forego saying anything mean about the building on Kelly Avenue at 19th Street, less than a half mile from the beach, a block from the railroad tracks and about three blocks from the picturesque Second Street neighborhood. Let’s just say the building’s need for repairs is overdue perhaps by a decade or two.
Many old-timers remember when the building was the home of the family-owned Broadmoor Grocery, a small convenience store where you could buy an ice-cold Coke or Barq’s from a vintage cooler.
The store was on the first floor of the two-story building, a rental home is in the back and an apartment remains on the second floor.
The grocery went out of business a long time ago, perhaps years before Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.
Now the awning serves as a thunderstorm shelter for the hood’s ubiquitous bicyclists. The property is only a sidewalk away from two convenience stores. One is the Chevron Mart, also known as Hop In, and the other once housed the Broadmoor Laundromat. Its name is Chaibi, right behind the Chevron Mart and right across from the property.
A woman getting into a car parked near the apartment Saturday afternoon saw me taking pictures of the $99,000 building and thought I might be a potential buyer. No, not me.
She told me the building is more than 100 years old and that Mrs. Doleac, an original Broadmoor Grocery owner in her 90s, is selling the property through Cameron Bell Properties. Cameron Bell says it was built in 1940.
It’s my opinion the former Broadmoor Grocery is the neighborhood’s oldest building. It is across the street from a renovated and renamed Baptist church, the street being Kelly Avenue. I think my opinion is closer to fact than fiction. The building certainly looks like Broadmoor’s oldest, especially on the north side, which is the walk-up to the living area.
An urban legend has it that during the Chris Jackson era of Gulfport High basketball in the late 1980s, sportswriters would use the pay phone outside the building to shack in their stories to their newspapers after games at B. Frank Brown Gym. Jackson, who later became the NBA player Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, lived west of the store in the Soria City neighborhood.
The pay phone was on the south side. These days there are remnants but no phone. That alone has to be worth something to somebody.
The new shop is on Pass Road just west of Rodenberg Avenue and it’s on the south side of Pass. I recognized a landmark nearby, a place that used to be called Kelly’s back in the day. It was a bar where high school students were allowed to hang out, and there was some form of gambling in the back of the establishment.
I’m sure very few people remember the Kelly’s location, but Fantasy Donuts is to spot because of its signage, and once you get inside, you will see treats better than anything at Dunkin’ Dounts and Krispy Kreme, which is Krispy Kreme is celebrating its 80th anniversary Friday, July 14, with this deal: A dozen glazed for 80 cents. I wouldn’t take a dozen Krispy Kremes if they were for free.
At Fantasy Donuts, I went for a fritter and a glazed twist to take home for breakfast, and the guy at the counter threw in a cinnamon roll for free.
The menu is straightforward. I have no idea where the name Fantasy comes from. There are no Katsuwatch kolaches, Kingdom Rush croissants, Zodiac glazed and whatnot.
You can get the basics and there is a lot to choose from. So go nuts for the doughnuts.