Hey, the Earth from Shannon Lucid’s point of view.
Shannon Lucid is a NASA astronaut who has served aboard the space shuttles and the space station Mir. In 2002 she was named NASA’s chief scientist (she holds a PhD in biochemistry).
It’s just a jump to the left.
An imitation of the pompous narrator from the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show, explaining how to do the “Time Warp.” Sample lyrics: “It’s just a jump to the left/And then a step to the right/With your hands on your hips/You bring your knees in tight …”
The really nutty professor.
The Nutty Professor is a 1963 film starring Jerry Lewis as a nerdy professor who invents a potion that transforms him into a suave ladies’ man. A remake starring Eddie Murphy was released in 1996.
Mount Pinatubo erupted yesterday, spewing movie credits all over the southern hemisphere.
Mount Pinatubo is an active volcano located in the Philippines. In 1991, for the first time in 600 years, it erupted, killing more than 700 people and leaving 100,000 homeless. It is considered probably the largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century.
Hey—Alfred the butler!
Alfred Pennyworth was the butler to Bruce Wayne in the Batman comic books; he was fully aware of Wayne’s alter ego and assisted him in fighting crime. In the campy TV series, which aired from 1966-1968, the part of Alfred was played by Alan Napier (1903-1988), who plays the high priest Elinu in The Mole People.
William Faulkner? F. Scott Fitzgerald?
William Faulkner (1897-1962) was a Nobel Prize-winning novelist (The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying) who also wrote screenplays for Hollywood. F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) was a novelist known for his portrait of the Jazz Age in such books as The Great Gatsby; Fitzgerald also worked as a screenwriter for a time.
A man, a plan, a canal: Laszlo Gorog.
“A man, a plan, a canal: Panama” is a famous palindrome (a word or phrase that reads the same backwards and forwards).
[Sung.] And up from the ground comes a bubblin' film crew.
A paraphrase of a line from the theme song to The Beverly Hillbillies (1962-1971): “And up through the ground came a-bubblin’ crude.”
Oh, sound and welfare reform by the governor of Wisconsin.
Tommy G. Thompson was the governor of Wisconsin for 14 years, leaving in 2001 to become secretary of Health and Human Services under George W. Bush. In 1996 Thompson pushed through a welfare-reform program that required welfare recipients to work.
Veni, vidi, vici Virgil Vogel.
“Veni, vidi, vici” (“I came, I saw, I conquered” in Latin) is how Julius Caesar laconically reported to Rome that he had won a military victory over the king of Pontus in 47 B.C.
Virgil Vogel: Vestal Virgin.
In ancient Rome, the Vestal Virgins were the six priestesses who served the hearth goddess Vesta. They were chosen to serve their 30-year terms while they were still young girls; afterward, they could marry if they wished, although few of them did as it was considered bad luck to marry a former Vestal.
How brown is my valley.
How Green Was My Valley is a book by Richard Llewellyn about a valley in Wales ruined by the coal-mining industry; it was made into a film in 1941.
Members of Cheap Trick plan their next move.
Cheap Trick is a rock band that achieved its height of popularity in the late 1970s with albums like Live at Budokan and Dream Police, although they later enjoyed a comeback in the late 1990s.
You know, this was Francis the Talking Mule’s first film.
Francis the Talking Mule was a forerunner of the more famous Mister Ed. He appeared in a string of movies in the 1950s; the first, Francis the Talking Mule, was released in 1950.
No matter where I serve my guests, they seem to like my kitchen best.
This phrase is one that appears on plaques, trivets, needlepoint samplers, etc., generally popping up in cutesy homes that favor country crafts and potpourri.
Older than Frampton Comes Alive.“It also referred to the king of the dynasty, a king called Sharu or Charo.” Cuchi-Cuchi.
Frampton Comes Alive is a record album by rock guitarist Peter Frampton; it was released in 1976.
This is a reference to the catch phrase of classical guitarist María del Rosario Pilar Martínez Molina Baeza de Rasten, who goes by the stage name of “Charo.”
“Earthquake!” In Sensurround!
Sensurround was a gimmick, like Cinerama and Smell-o-Vision, designed to lure audiences into theaters. It was used to hype the 1975 film Earthquake by promising to use high-decibel sound to literally shake the audience; unfortunately, the effect bled over into neighboring theaters and disturbed patrons, which discouraged any repeat performances.
Nice! They’re making Lipton sun tea.
Sun tea is a method of producing iced tea in which the sun provides the heat for brewing. The tea company Lipton produced large glass containers designed specifically for making sun tea. (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
Sam Spade, archaeologist.
Sam Spade was the harder-than-hardboiled protagonist of the Dashiell Hammett detective novel The Maltese Falcon; he was portrayed on the silver screen by Humphrey Bogart.
Quick, get the tiny Zig-Zags! –Wooo!
Zig-Zag is a French brand of cigarette rolling paper. In popular culture it is associated with marijuana use. (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
They let Billy draw the runes this week.
A reference to the comic strip “Family Circus,” created by Bil Keane. Keane periodically publishes cartoons that look as if they were drawn by a small child, claiming that they were drawn by “Billy,” the seven-year-old son in the strip.
Free government cheese!
In 1981, the federal government launched the Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) to distribute food to the needy. At the time, due to a huge subsidy program run by the USDA, the government had massive warehouses filled with surplus food—particularly cheese—so that’s what needy families got. The surplus food stores were largely gone by 1988, but TEFAP continued to purchase food and distribute it to the poor. The term “government cheese” has become synonymous with welfare handouts.
Then we snowboard down Everest.
The Man Who Skied Down Everest is a 1975 documentary about Japanese skier Yuichiro Miura, who, armed with a parachute, skied down the Lhotse Face of Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain. In 2003 Miura, at the age of 70, became the oldest person ever to reach the summit.
They’ve been to Sam’s Club of Asia.
Sam’s Club is a members-only chain of warehouse stores that sell great whacking boxes of things at relatively modest prices.
Do we have to take all his stupid Uriah Heep albums?
Uriah Heep was a popular British prog-rock band in the 1970s; although they are obscure in the U.S. and Britain today, they remain popular in Eastern Europe and South America. The band’s name is taken from a character in the Charles Dickens novel David Copperfield.
Denny’s is a budget chain of restaurants found across the length and breadth of this fair land.
Phil Steger leads another pointless expedition.
Phil Steger is an antiwar activist in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he is the executive director of Friends for a Non Violent World, a Quaker antiwar organization.
Watch—they’ll get crushed by a giant dog chasing a Frisbee.
Coors Light ran a series of TV ads in the 1990s that showed giant people—and a giant dog—playing various sports among the Rocky Mountains.
“Because it’s there”—what kind of an answer is that?
In 1923, British mountain climber George Mallory was asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain (which at that time had not yet been conquered). His famous reply: “Because it’s there.” Unfortunately Mallory froze to death during his attempt the following year; the mountain’s summit was not reached until 1953.
They’re going to find the frozen body of the lonely goatherd.
A reference to the song “The Lonely Goatherd” from The Sound of Music. Sample lyrics: “High on a hill was a lonely goatherd/Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo/Loud was the voice of the lonely goatherd/Lay ee odl lay ee odl-oo.”
Are they at high-altitude baking level yet?
The lower air pressure found at higher altitudes can wreak havoc with cooking—in particular, cakes and breads tend not to rise, so bakers in the mountains must alter their recipes to compensate. Most cake mixes, for example, have separate directions for high-altitude baking. Generally you don’t need to worry about it until you hit about 3,000 feet above sea level.
Let’s move over to our AccuWeather radar forecast.
AccuWeather is a provider of meteorological information to local news stations. (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
Nepal, public and private; Tibet, public and private ...
An imitation of school closing announcements during inclement weather. (Thanks to Bill Stiteler for this reference.)
Um, no fear?
No Fear is a clothing company that manufactures a wide range of sports clothing with said slogan emblazoned on it; it first became popular in 1995.
At least in Times Square you got Sex World.
Back before Times Square got all prettified and Disneyfied and made safe for Midwestern tourist families, it was largely known for a wide array of sleaze: hookers, massage parlors, adult bookstores, porn theaters, etc., etc. That said, “Sex World” is actually an adult store located in Minneapolis.
I just know somehow Balki’s responsible for this.
The wacky immigrant Balki Bartokomous was one of the main characters on the television sitcom Perfect Strangers, which aired from 1986-1993; he was played by Bronson Pinchot.
Mike, I don’t love you anymore because the mountains are crumbling.
Probably a reference to the Led Zeppelin song “Thank You”: “If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you/When mountains crumble to the sea/There will still be you and me …”
I guess there’s a Mervyn’s up there.
Mervyn’s is a discount department store chain.
Kwai Chang Caine’s last journey.
Kwai Chang Caine, as played by David Carradine, was the young Shaolin monk who traveled the American West, helping people with their personal problems and kicking booty, in the TV series Kung Fu, which aired from 1972-1975.
[Rapped.] It ain’t no shocker, I love my BluBlockers!
Paraphrase of lines from an extemporaneous rap featured in infomercials for BluBlocker sunglasses during the 1990s. The BluBlocker company claimed that blue light, as well as UV, is responsible for eye damage. Removing the blue portion of the spectrum gave their sunglasses a deep yellow-orange tint. (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
Jack Nicholson’s house.
Jack Nicholson is an actor who has appeared in dozens of films since he got his start in B movies in the 1960s. His better-known movies include Chinatown, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and The Shining.
Look—there’s a Sox Appeal and a Kinko’s, too!
Sox Appeal is a chain of mall stores based in Minneapolis that sell nothing but socks. Kinko’s is a national chain of photocopying stores.
Gee, the Sherpas really outdid themselves with this base camp.
The Sherpas are a Tibetan mountain tribe who have won fame as invaluable assistants to mountain climbers in the Himalayas. Along with Sir Edmund Hillary, a Sherpa named Tenzing Norgay was the first person to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
At least she came packed in Styrofoam.
Styrofoam is a brand of plastic foam frequently used as a packing material; it is manufactured by Dow Chemical.
He’s walking on RyKrisp.
RyKrisps are lightly salted, baked rye crackers manufactured by Bremner.
Courtney Love is down there.
Courtney Love is a musician and a founding member of the L.A. alt.-rock band Hole. She was married to Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain until his death in 1994.
I should have worn my Zubaz for this.
Zubaz are a brand of weightlifting shorts. Introduced in 1991, they quickly became popular for their bright colors and flashy designs.
You know, I think I would rather watch Dave Crosby eat a McRib sandwich than watch this scene.
David Crosby is a founding member of Crosby, Stills & Nash and one of the most influential folk-rock musicians of the twentieth century. The McRib sandwich is a boneless pork sandwich introduced by McDonald’s in 1989.
Bozo in his later years.
Bozo was a children's show franchise that aired in various television markets from 1949 to 2001 featuring a white-faced clown with a bald head and fringe of red hair. (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
He’s got his Primatene Mist.
Primatene Mist is an over-the-counter asthma treatment manufactured by Wyeth.
This shot was featured in the film Visions of Light.
Visions of Light is a 1993 documentary on the history of cinematography.
Boy, the Fonz didn’t age very well, did he?
Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli, as played by Henry Winkler, was the leather-clad greaser on the TV show Happy Days, which aired from 1974-1984.
Barney Clark, spelunker.
Barney Clark is the world's first artificial heart recipient. (Thanks to Randy J. for this reference.)
Man, Ward got back!
Ward Cleaver, played by Hugh Beaumont (Dr. Jud Bellamin in The Mole People), was the all-knowing father on the television series Leave It to Beaver (1957-1963). “Baby Got Back” is a 1992 song by rap artist Sir Mix-a-Lot. In this ode to amply proportioned posteriors, Sir Mix-a-Lot states his preference for women with a Rubenesque figure. (Thanks to Erik Topp for pointing out the Sir Mix-a-Lot reference.)
Michael Nesmith was one of The Monkees, the 1960s musical group that had their own TV show from 1966-1968.
Filmed in Wedgievision.
Wedgies are a time-honored playground torment, consisting of grabbing the waistband of the victim’s underwear (visible above their pants) and yanking sharply upwards, forcing the underwear into the victim’s butt crack. “Wedgievision” is meant to evoke such 1950s cinema gimmicks as Vistavision.
Live from the Pantages theater!
The Pantages Theatre is an Art Deco theater in Hollywood, located at the corner of Hollywood & Vine. It was built in 1930 and originally showed movies and held live vaudeville shows. Starting in 1977 it closed down the movie side of its business and became a live theater venue, hosting music shows and stage shows. Well-known performances have included Les Miserables, Wicked, and The Lion King. The riff follows a drum roll, which is probably a reference to the fact that from 1950-1960, the Pantages hosted the Academy Awards ceremony—including the first televised ceremony in 1953.
This is why the Cleavers stopped at two children.
See note on Leave It to Beaver, above. Ward Cleaver’s wife was named June; the part was played by Barbara Billingsley. Their children were Wallace “Wally” Cleaver (Tony Dow) and Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver (Jerry Mathers).
They’re going to have to clean the rope with Lysol.
Lysol is a brand of household cleaners and disinfectants.
Shurfine is a generic brand of grocery products distributed nationally by Topco Associates. (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
[Sung.] But we’ve got high hopes ...
A paraphrase of the Frank Sinatra song “High Hopes.” Actual lyrics: “But he's got high hopes, he's got high hopes/He's got high apple pie, in the sky hopes …”
You want it when?!
“You want it when?!” is the caption to a cartoon of a group of people laughing hysterically; it has been posted in countless workplaces over the years. The cartoon appears to be the work of Henry Syverson, who drew regularly for the Saturday Evening Post.
“There’s another tunnel.” It leads to France.
Known as the Chunnel, the tunnel crossing the English Channel between Great Britain and France is the longest undersea tunnel in the world. The Chunnel project took years to build and cost billions of dollars, but was finally opened for passenger and freight traffic in 1994. (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
Hey, I got the Amontillado!
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) wrote a short story in 1846 called “The Cask of Amontillado,” in which the narrator, Montresor, lures his friend Fortunato into his cellar with the promise of a “pipe of Amontillado”—a cask of fine dry sherry—and walls him up alive as revenge for unspecified insults.
It’s Baby Jessica! She’s digging her own way out!
Jessica McClure, or “Baby Jessica,” as she was dubbed by the media, was 18 months old when she fell into a well near her home in Midland, Texas, on October 14, 1987. Rescuers worked frantically for three days before they were able to pull her out, a story that was covered relentlessly around the world.
I have to stop Christmas from coming, but how?
A paraphrase of a line from How the Grinch Stole Christmas, a classic children’s tale by Dr. Seuss. Actual line: “I must stop Christmas from coming! But how?”
The Hardy Boys, and their load.
Joe and Frank Hardy, a.k.a. the Hardy Boys, are the teenage heroes of a series of children’s mysteries. They were created by Edward Stratemeyer (1862-1930), a writer of children’s fiction who also created Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, and the Bobbsey Twins. The books were actually written by several different authors using the pseudonym Franklin Dixon.
A Robert Motherwell painting.
Robert Motherwell (1915-1991) was an American painter who was one of the founders of the Abstract Expressionism movement.
[Sung.] The Indian boy ...
A reference to the theme song for the TV series The Adventures of Pow Wow, which aired in 1949. Sample lyrics: "Pow Wow, the Indian boy/Loved all the animals and the woods/Pow Wow, the Indian boy/Loved all the animals and the woods ..." (Thanks to reader Ronald Byrd for identifying this reference.)
“Probably some chemical in the rocks.” Pilgrim.
A reference to cowboy actor John Wayne (1907-1979), for whom “pilgrim” was a perennial catchphrase. A sampling of Wayne lines: “Well, don’t fret about that, pilgrim.” “You’re a persistent cuss, pilgrim.” “Thanks for saving my life, pilgrim.”
See previous note on John Wayne.
“It’s an exact replica of the head we found on the plateau.” Pilgrim.
See previous note on John Wayne.
“The city must have been built on ...” Rock and roll.
A reference to the song “We Built This City” by Starship, née Jefferson Starship, née Jefferson Airplane. Sample lyrics: “Ma Coley plays the mamba, listen to the radio, don't you remember/We built this city, we built this city on rock and roll …”
“Strong enough to support the city until an earthquake came along.” But made for a woman.
“Strong enough for a man, but made for a woman” is the longtime advertising slogan of Secret deodorant.
It’s the equivalent of your Skokie or your Downers Grove.
Skokie and Downers Grove are both suburbs of Chicago, Illinois: Skokie to the north, and Downers Grove to the southwest.
His head is shaped like a DustBuster.
The DustBuster is a handheld cordless vacuum cleaner made by Black & Decker.
You might want to tell Lizabeth you’re coming.
On the TV series Sanford and Son, which aired from 1972-1977, when Fred Sanford (played by Redd Foxx) wanted to manipulate his son, he would fake a heart attack and call out to his dead wife, “It’s the big one! I’m comin’, Lizabeth!”
A Starbucks employee was killed today in an avalanche of Guatemalan Antigua.
Starbucks is a Seattle, Washington-based chain of coffee shops that was founded in 1971; as of 2003, it boasted more than 6,200 locations worldwide. Guatemalan Antigua is just one of the many varieties of coffee offered by Starbucks.
The mole people have Jheri curls.
Jheri curls are named after beauty products manufacturer and hairstylist Jheri Redding. It was a curly, “wet look” style that peaked in popularity in the 1980s; it was worn largely by African-Americans.
Venus de Nothingo.
The Venus de Milo is one of the most famous statues in the world. It is a depiction in marble of the Greek goddess Aphrodite; it was carved around 150 B.C. by an unknown sculptor and discovered in 1820 on Melos, an island in the Aegean. It currently resides in the Louvre in Paris.
[Sung.] I ain’t got nobody ...
A line from the song of the same name by jazz/blues artist Mose Allison. Sample lyrics: “Well I ain't got nobody/Nobody cares for me/That's why I'm so sad and lonesome/Won't somebody come and take a chance with me.”
[Sung.] After the lovin’ ...
A line from the song “After the Lovin’” by Englebert Humperdinck. Sample lyrics: “And I know that my song/Isn't sayin' anything new/Oh, but after the lovin'/I'm still in love with you.”
June, no, not tonight, honey.
See note on the Cleavers, above.
They’re turning him into Jerzy Kosinski!
Jerzy Kosinski (1933-1991) was a Polish-American writer whose satirical novels include Steps and Being There.
You slept with Madonna!
Madonna is an American rock musician known for her frequent “reinventions” of herself and her uninhibited sexuality. She has gone from being a lightweight pop singer popular with preteen girls to one of the most powerful women in show business.
”We were brought in, there has to be a way out.” Pilgrim.
See note on John Wayne, above.
The one guy was originally cast in Desperado; then Antonio Banderas came in.
Desperado is a 1995 action film starring Spanish heartthrob Antonio Banderas as a mariachi musician turned outlaw.
Oh, you never would believe where those Keebler cookies come from.
A reference to an old advertising jingle for Keebler cookies, dating back to 1967. The complete lyrics: “Man, you never would believe where those Keebler cookies come from/They're baked by little guys in a hollow tree/And what do you think makes those cookies so uncommon?/They're baked in magic ovens and there's no factory. Hey!”
Santa will see you now.
Santa Claus is the mythical figure who delivers toys to children at Christmas; the origin of the legend is thought to lie in stories about St. Nicholas, a fourth-century Christian saint. (“Sinterklaas” is the Dutch name for St. Nick.)
You’ll make excellent fudge stripers.
Fudge Stripes, shortbread cookies covered with stripes of fudge, are a variety of cookie in Keebler’s Fudge Shoppe line. See note on Keebler, above. (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
It’s gotta be humiliating to be tortured by a Smurf.
The Smurfs were a cartoon and a line of children’s toys: little blue molded plastic guys with white hats and pants. They were a huge fad for a short time in the 1980s.
Hey, Sneezy, you ever have rooms open up?
Sneezy was one of the seven dwarfs in the Walt Disney animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). (The others were Dopey, Sleepy, Grumpy, Happy, Bashful, and Doc.) He was voiced by Billy Gilbert.
You guys know Data?
Lieutenant Commander Data, played by Brent Spiner, was the pale-skinned android crew member on Star Trek: The Next Generation, which aired from 1987-1994.
It’s an In-N-Out Burger.
In-N-Out Burger is a California-based chain of fast-food restaurants.
They did a good job redeveloping the River Styx.
In Greek mythology, the River Styx was one of the rivers of the underworld. According to legend, its waters were poisonous and would eat through any container except one made from a horse’s hoof.
[Sung.] The Indian boy ...
See note on The Adventures of Pow Wow, above.
No one must tell Mr. Wayne about our little soiree.
See note on Alfred Pennyworth, above.
Just do it.
“Just do it” is an advertising slogan for Nike athletic shoes. It was first introduced in 1988 and has proved phenomenally successful.
[Sung.] Can’t stop this feeling ...
A reference to the song "Hooked on a Feeling." Sample lyrics: "I can't stop this feeling/Deep inside of me/Girl, you just don't realize/What you do to me." (Thanks to reader Blake Maddux for identifying this reference.)
He’s modeled his hair after the Dickeyville Grotto.
The Dickeyville Grotto in Dickeyville, Wisconsin, was built by Father Mathias Wernerus between 1925 and 1931. It is a folk art construction consisting of caves, alcoves, statues and fountains, with nearly every square inch covered in costume jewelry, found objects, shells, and so forth.
The world’s most foppish Klansman.
The Ku Klux Klan has been a couple of secret organizations over the years; the first was founded just after the Civil War as a vigilante group designed to retain white supremacy in the South by intimidating newly freed black slaves. It had disappeared within twenty years. But in 1915 the group was revived, inspired by the film The Birth of a Nation, which portrayed the original KKK as a noble band striving to protect civilization from depraved African-Americans. The official uniform of Klansmen was a set of white robes and a pointed white mask, used to conceal the identities of the members. The organization peaked at a membership of about 4 million in the 1920s but had once again died out by the end of World War II. There was another brief resurgence of the Klan in the 1960s in response to the civil rights movement; today its membership is probably only a few thousand, and it has fragmented into several small and competing groups.
It’s a race of albino Patti LaBelles.
Patti LaBelle’s career as a singer has ranged from girl groups to acclaimed solo work; she is one of the diva queens of contemporary music, best known for her early 1970s hit “Lady Marmalade” (you know, the one that goes “Voulez-vous couchez avec moi, ce soir …”).
“You will die in the fires of Ishtar.” Hey, the movie wasn’t that bad.
Ishtar was a notorious Hollywood flop, a 1987 road movie about two lounge singers (played by Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty) who get mixed up in a CIA plot. It cost $55 million and only took in $12.7 million at the box office.
[Sung.] Who will buy this wonderful feeling?
A line from the song “Who Will Buy” from the 1960 musical Oliver!, based on the novel Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. Sample lyrics: “Who will buy this wonderful feeling?/I’m so high I swear I could fly/Me, oh my! I don’t want to lose it/So what am I to do/To keep the sky so blue?” (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
Linc. Julie. Load.
Linc Hayes and Julie Barnes (played by Clarence Williams III and Peggy Lipton, respectively) were two of the hip young police narks in the TV series The Mod Squad, which aired from 1968-1973. (The third was Pete Cochran, played by Michael Cole.)
It’s a pride of Dr. Smiths.
Dr. Zachary Smith, as played by Jonathan Harris, was the mincing, villainous stowaway/saboteur on the TV series Lost in Space, which aired from 1965-1968.
The Swiss Army is always undone by book dumpings and pantsings.
Switzerland, despite its famed neutrality, maintains an army for self-defense (the origin of the fabled Swiss Army knife). Its soldiers are drawn from the general population—every able-bodied male is liable for service until the age of 42.
Data is down!
See note on Data, above.
Thank you, Hannah Arendt.
Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) was a German-American political scientist and philosopher who coined the phrase “the banality of evil” in what is her best-known work, Eichmann in Jerusalem. She wrote extensively on violence and totalitarianism.
Another Keebler. You don’t even need to age these guys.
The Keebler elves are an assortment of tiny characters who supposedly bake all of Keebler’s cookies in a hollow tree (see above note). They are headed by a harassed fellow named Ernie.
Three weird sisters.
The three weird sisters are the witches who appear at the beginning of William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, muttering over a cauldron.
Disney’s Dominatrix World.
Walt Disney (1901-1966) was an animator, producer, and theme-park impresario, including Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
Crack that whip!
A line from the song “Whip It” by Devo. Sample lyrics: “Crack that whip/Give the past the slip/Step on a crack/Break your momma's back.”
My shitake, mine!
Shitakes are an intensely flavored, quite pricy variety of mushroom used in gourmet cooking. You can buy them fresh or dried.
Eduard Shevardnadze hits the wall.
Eduard Shevardnadze was the foreign minister of the Soviet Union from 1985-1990 and again briefly in 1991. He aided Mikhail Gorbachev in his program to bring greater freedoms to the USSR but resigned abruptly in 1990 in protest over the influence of old-style Communist hard-liners on Gorbachev’s policies.
Scenic design by El Greco.
El Greco (1541-1614) was a Spanish painter who was far ahead of his time; his expressionistic paintings gained new renown in the 20th century.
It was the Monster Mash.
“Monster Mash” was a smash hit song in 1962 by Bobby Pickett and the Crypt-Keepers. Pickett went on to release a few more singles but never again attained the popularity of his first outing.
It’s Emo Philips.
Emo Philips is a stand-up comedian from the wacked-out Andy Kaufman school of comedy. The All Music Guide describes his routine as "a bit like listening to an extraterrestrial doing shtick, and just about as funny in spots."
And here’s Kitty Carlisle with the soup dish.
Kitty Carlisle (1910-2007) was an actress who appeared in a few movies during the 1930s and 1940s, but she was best known for her regular appearances as a panelist on To Tell the Truth, a game show in which the celebrity panel must decide which of three contestants is associated with a story.
Your Auntie Mame privileges are revoked for a month.
Auntie Mame is a 1958 movie based on the Patrick Dennis novel of the same name. It starred Rosalind Russell as Mame Dennis, the eccentric aunt of a young orphan.
David Soul makes a movie.
David Soul played Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson on the TV series Starsky and Hutch (1975-1979). He is also a singer who had a number-one hit in the 1970s: “Don’t Give Up On Us, Baby.”
Have you never been mellow?
“Have You Never Been Mellow” is a song by Olivia Newton-John. Sample lyrics: “Have you never been mellow?/Have you never tried to find a comfort from inside you?/Have you never been happy just to hear your song?”
Except once in a Moody Blues song.
The Moody Blues are a British classical rock band known for such hits as “Tuesday Afternoon” and “Nights in White Satin.”
[Sung.] Some folks like the summertime ...
This is a line from the bluegrass song “Footprints in the Snow.” Sample lyrics: “Well, some folks like the summertime/When they can walk about/Strollin’ through the meadow green/Well, it’s pleasant, there’s no doubt.”
The Quad Cities are a group of four cities clustered along I-80 in the Midwest: Moline, Illinois; Rock Island, Illinois; Davenport, Iowa; and Bettendorf, Iowa.
And I’ve heard ooh heaven is a place on earth.
A reference to the Belinda Carlisle song “Heaven Is a Place on Earth.” Sample lyrics: “Ooh, baby, do you know what that's worth?/Ooh heaven is a place on earth.”
Suddenly Susan is on.
Suddenly Susan was a television sitcom that aired from 1996-2000. It starred Brooke Shields as a young woman starting a career as a magazine editor after leaving her fiancé at the altar.
[Sung.] a bubblin’ crude ...
See note on The Beverly Hillbillies, above.
They killed Fozzie Bear!
Fozzie Bear was one of the Muppets on The Muppet Show, which aired from 1976-1981. Fozzie (named after puppeteer Frank Oz) was a sweet-tempered, not-terribly-good standup comedian who usually got booed off the stage.
Mark Seven, Mark Seven, Mark Seven Productions.
Mark VII Limited was a television production company founded by Jack Webb, star of Dragnet. In addition to Dragnet, Mark VII produced Emergency! and Adam 12, among other shows. Its logo showed an arm wielding a hammer to chisel the Mark VII logo into stone.
And pick me up a Frappuccino, too.
Frappuccinos are a line of cold drinks served by Starbucks (see above note), consisting of ice blended with coffee and other flavors.
Kristen McMenamy looking wonderful in a Vivienne Westwood skirt ...
Vivienne Westwood is a British fashion designer who dressed the Sex Pistols, among others. Kristen McMenamy is a fashion model who is apparently pretty scary-looking.
That’s another fine mess you’ve gotten us into, Stanley.
A reference to the old Laurel and Hardy comedy team, which made a string of movies during the 1920s and ’30s. Oliver Hardy’s childish, bossy, fussy character was wont to say the above line to reprove the gentle, incompetent Stan Laurel.
Harold Lloyd is behind you.
Harold Lloyd (1893-1971) was a bespectacled film comedian of the 1920s and one of the most popular actors in the silent-movie era. Lloyd was known for physical comedy featuring an array of life-threatening stunts, which he performed himself. The most famous of these was the clock sequence in Safety Last (1923), in which he hung from the arms of a clock on a building several stories above the ground.
The mole people need César Chávez.
César Chávez (1927-1993) was a labor organizer who worked to better the lives of migrant farm workers. In 1962 he founded the National Farm Workers Association, and three years later he launched a five-year strike by grape pickers that led to a nationwide boycott on grapes. A number of other successful labor actions followed.
Make them long, beautiful Maybelline lashes.
Maybelline is a brand of moderately priced cosmetics—including mascara—sold in groceries and drugstores worldwide.
Cassius, Antony, where’s the Ides of March dinner?
Julius Caesar (c. 100 BC-44 BC) was a Roman general and dictator. On March 15, 44 B.C. (also known as the Ides of March), he was stabbed to death by a group of conspirators led by Cassius. Marc Antony was not involved in the plot; he instead became Caesar’s successor as ruler of the Roman Empire.
[Sung.] I’d rather be in some dark hollow where the sun don’t ever shine ...
A line from the traditional bluegrass standard “Dark Hollow”: “I’d rather be in some dark hollow where the sun don’t ever shine/Than to be at home alone and knowin’ that you’re gone …”
“The king wishes to see you at once.” He can’t remember a line from Carousel.
Carousel is a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical that opened on Broadway in 1945. It was adapted for film in 1956 and for television in 1967. (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
Thanks for the bucket of cold water, Clorox face.
Clorox is a brand of household bleach manufactured by the Clorox Co.
What’s new in the hollow tree, you freaks?
See note on Keebler elves, above.
Oh, Pilate’s favorite! What I wouldn’t give to be spat upon!
In Monty Python’s 1979 movie Life of Brian, the Roman jailor spits in Brian’s face before locking him up. Brian’s cellmate regards this as preferential treatment and calls him a “proper little jailor’s pet” before lamenting, “Ohhh! What wouldn't I give to be spat at in the face! I sometimes hang awake at night dreaming of being spat at in the face.” (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
Just pretend it’s Adam Sandler.
Adam Sandler is a comedian and actor who has enjoyed amazing success with a series of fairly lowbrow, feel-good movies, including The Wedding Singer (1998) and Mr. Deeds (2002). He got his start on Saturday Night Live, where he appeared from 1991-1995.
That’s for Billy Madison!
Billy Madison is a 1995 movie starring Adam Sandler as the son of a very wealthy man, who, in order to inherit, must repeat grades 1-12.
They make the French army look stalwart.
Jokes about the cowardice of the French army are legion; most date back to the World War II era, when France surrendered to Nazi Germany in 1940.
Agar is the John Brown of the mole people.
John Brown (1800-1859) was an abolitionist who in 1859 staged a raid on a federal arsenal in Harpers Ferry, Virginia, in hopes of inciting a slave rebellion. The attempt failed, and Brown was convicted of treason and hanged, becoming an instant martyr for the anti-slavery movement.
They’re wearing the Green Giant’s protective cup on their backs.
The Green Giant food company has as its corporate mascot the giant, green Green Giant. Since 1928 the Green Giant has appeared in the company’s ads for prepared vegetables. (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
They’re really Jell-O mold men.
Jell-O is a sweetened gelatin dessert made by General Foods Corporation. A number of companies sell molds in various shapes to make the Jell-O look fancy.
Cindy Lou Who! No!
Cindy Lou Who, “who was no more than two,” is a character from the classic 1966 TV special How the Grinch Stole Christmas, based on the book by Dr. Seuss. Cindy almost foils the Grinch’s plans when she wanders sleepily out of bed while he’s stripping her home of everything festive.
And away we go ...
An imitation of comedian Jackie Gleason’s catchphrase from his variety show, The Jackie Gleason Show, which aired, in various incarnations, between 1952 and 1970. He became best known to later generations for playing Ralph Kramden on The Honeymooners.
The Linda Hunt modern dance troupe.
Linda Hunt is a diminutive actress who won an Oscar for her portrayal of male photographer Billy Kwan in The Year of Living Dangerously (1983). She has appeared in more than 30 films and TV shows.
Thank you, Bjork.
Bjork is an Icelandic musician and actress.
This is the Jerry Garcia guitar solo of liturgical dance.
Jerry Garcia (1942-1995) was the singer, songwriter, and lead guitarist for the Grateful Dead. At the band’s live performances, Garcia was known for his meandering, interminable guitar solos. Liturgical dance is dance as a form of worship during a religious ceremony.
Amateur Night of the gods!
Chariots of the Gods is a book written by Erich Von Daniken, in which he postulated that the pyramids of ancient Egypt were built with extraterrestrial assistance.
Ah, Helen Mirren volunteers to go first.
Helen Mirren is a British actress best known for her portrayal of police detective Jane Tennison in the Prime Suspect series on the BBC.
Appetizers of the gods.
See previous note on Chariots of the Gods.
Calgon, take me away.
“Calgon, take me away” is a longtime advertising slogan for Calgon scented bath products, which include bubble bath, body lotions, and more.
It’s like Al Lewis in a long wig.
Al Lewis (1910-2006) is an actor who is best known for his portrayal of Grandpa Munster on the TV show The Munsters, which aired from 1964 to 1966.
The death of Shirley Manson.
Shirley Manson is the lead singer for the band Garbage.
[Sung.] Stupid girl ...
“Stupid Girl” is a song by the band Garbage (see previous note).
Now we apply the holy Solarcaine.
Solarcaine is a topical anesthetic ointment used to relieve the pain of sunburn.
I wanted so badly for George Hamilton to like me!
This is a reference to actor and Dancing with the Stars contestant George Hamilton, whose ultra-tanned complexion has resembled chestnut-brown leather for the past four decades. (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
Don’t interrupt my bridge club again.
Bridge is a card game played with four people.
A flashlight! Now all we need is a tent, some S'mores, and an ... outside.
S'mores are a traditional campfire treat consisting of a toasted marshmallow and a square of chocolate (ideally Hershey’s) sandwiched between two squares of graham crackers.
[Sung.] Diamonds, daisies, snowflakes, that girl.
A line from the theme to That Girl, a television series that aired from 1966-1971. It starred Marlo Thomas as Ann Marie, an aspiring actress struggling to make it in New York City. Sample lyrics: “Diamonds, daisies, snowflakes/That Girl/Chestnuts, rainbows, springtime/Is That Girl/She's tinsel on a tree/She's everything that every girl should be!”
[Chanted.] I left my wife and forty-nine kids on the verge of starvation with only one hamburger left, left, a left right left.
This is one version of an old army marching song; there are a number of variations.
She’s stumbled into the Hormel meat-packing plant.
Hormel Foods is a company that manufactures a number of products, including deli meats, hot dogs, canned chili, and more.
No, please, no, I need my Bain de Soleil!
Bain de Soleil is a brand of sunscreen.
Out you two pixies go ...
From the Amazing Colossal Episode Guide: “Sheldon Leonard from It’s a Wonderful Life.” (The actual line: “That’s it, out you two pixies go, out the door or through the window.”)
Pismo Beach, and all the clams you can eat.
“Pismo Beach, and all the clams we can eat” is a line from the Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck short cartoon “Ali Baba Bunny.”
Oh, Mr. Drysdale!
Mr. Drysdale was the greedy banker on The Beverly Hillbillies (1962-1971); the part was played by Raymond Bailey.
This is for all those years of Whack-a-Mole!
Whack-a-Mole is an arcade game in which small plastic moles pop up out of holes in the game board in a random pattern, and the player attempts to hit them with a mallet before they disappear again.
The Gore-Tex seal of approval.
This is a reference to the notched-arrow logo of W.L. Gore and Associates, makers of Gore-Tex. Gore-Tex is a breathable, waterproof fabric for use in clothing and medical applications. (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
Are you there, God? It’s me, Margaret.
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret is a children’s book by Judy Blume, about a young girl dealing with her spiritual doubts and her burgeoning adolescence.
“Sunlight.” With the power of lemon.
Sunlight Hand Dishwashing Liquid boasts that it has “the grease-cutting power of real lemon juice.”
I was in the top three-quarters of my class at Cardinal Stritch.
Cardinal Stritch University is a Catholic university in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with a total enrollment of about 6,800.
I’ve been thinking: now that we have two children, it’s time to marry June.
See note on Leave It to Beaver, above.
[Sung.] There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow ...
A line from the song “Oh What a Beautiful Morning,” from the musical Oklahoma! Sample lyrics: “There's a bright golden haze on the meadow/The corn is as high as an elephant's eye/An' it looks like it's climbin' clear up to the sky.”
Who is this Eddie Bauer?
Eddie Bauer is an upscale chain of outdoor clothing stores found in shopping malls everywhere.
I forgot my Lancôme and my journal!
Lancôme Paris is a cosmetics company that sells a full line of beauty products: skin care, makeup, perfumes, etc.
Be with us next time when they discover the pocket gopher people.
Pocket gophers are rodents found in North and Central America. The “pockets” are their large cheek pouches.
Later, when Marlon Brando hops on his treadmill ...
Marlon Brando is an actor who in his heyday was one of the best-looking men in Hollywood, starring in such films as On the Waterfront and A Streetcar Named Desire. As he got older, however, he began to put on the pounds and became the frequent butt of jokes for his increasing girth.
Don’t go chasing waterfalls!
A line from TLC’s 1995 song “Waterfalls.” Sample lyrics: “Don't go chasing waterfalls/Please stick to the rivers/And the lakes that you're used to/I know that you're gonna have it/Your way or nothing at all/But I think you're moving too fast.” (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)