The 15 Funniest Things Bobby “The Brain” Heenan Ever Said

This is neither here nor there, but I was working on a 50-50 round, and thought about using Bobby the Brain Heenan for it. Well, I decided I couldn’t really use The Brain because too many of his lines contained wrestlers names, but I was laughing my head off at some of his one-liners, so I thought I’d share. He and Gorilla Monsoon were the greatest 1-2 combo is announcing history for any sport, if you ask me. Keep in mind, he was the ultimate bad guy wrestling manager so he wasn’t particularly politically correct.

  1. “Hulk Hogan’s entrance music is my second favorite song of all time. All the rest are tied for first.”
  2. “Tito Santana is like a cue-ball. The more you strike him, the more English you get out of him.”
  3. On Kerry von Erich: “He is the only man I know of who can hide his own Easter eggs.”
  4. On Lou Ferigno’s speech impediment: “Hey, he speaks pretty well for a guy who just ate two pounds of crackers.”
  5. “That was a legal move. It was a Greco-Roman hair pull.”
  6. “Brass knuckles come in handy at the movies when that guy behind you can’t shut up his ugly kid.”
  7. “His Dad’s Italian, his Mom’s a German Shepherd.”
  8. “If women were meant to be wrestlers, why do we have kitchens?”
  9. “She was voted Best-Looking at the Indiana School for the Blind.”
  10. “You ever see Old Yeller, Monsoon? I love a good comedy.”
  11. “The main difference between Boss Man and his Mother is the beard. His Mother’s is much thicker.”
  12. “She should get arrested for impersonating a lampshade.”
  13. “If they made brass knuckles legal, it wouldn’t be cheating!”
  14. “Next week I’ll be on the Cartoon Network with pictures of your last date.”
  15. “The biggest difference between kids and dogs is that you can’t put kids down. It’s illegal.”

Wanna Hear a Cool Story?

Shipwreck from Johnny Goodtimes on Vimeo.

My buddy Rob used to be a deep sea fisherman, fishing for conchs, sharks, and croaker. One November about 15 years ago, disaster struck and his boat went down. The resulting story has always been one of my favorites, so I wanted to be sure I recorded it for posterity. I think some of you might enjoy it too. No frills, no dramatic re-enactments, just some good old fashioned storytelling. And what a crazy story it was. (It should be noted that at the time of the wreck, Rob was the most anti-Christian person I knew. He now goes to church every Sunday.)

Even More North Korea Awesomeness

Last week I posted a bunch of fun stuff about North Korea (Yeah, I’m obsessed). This week I interviewed an American who travels there annually for the Philly Post named Ray Cunningham. The interview is really interesting. However, due to space and time considerations, we had to leave out part of it. I thought I’d post below. Also thought I’d post a few more cool photos Ray took while he was there as well (You can check out all of his North Korea photos here). I really think North Korea is the most fascinating country on earth, and the more I read and learn about it, the more  intrigued I am. It’s really the last bastion of Stalinism (though there is a tremendous black market in North Korea apparently, just as there was in Soviet Russia). So for people my age who were in their teens when the Berlin Wall came down, and can never understand the fear that our parents had for communism, it serves as an example of what people feared of a repressive communist regime. That said, like anywhere else, the story doesn’t begin and end with political ideology. In fact, the real story here is how people have adapted to their lives in such a political system. I had a few more questions for Ray that were more about his personal experiences and less about general travel there. I think you’ll be interested in his answers.

What is the biggest misconception Americans have of North Korea?

Most Americans have a view of North Korea through the lens of the Cold War, the Korean War, the media, and the North Korean media projection of themselves. What they know of the inside of the country is nothing – save for a few photos of a strange leader, goose stepping soldiers, and a missile launch. Korea pulled up the draw bridge and went into isolation so everyone is to blame for this.

To understand North Korea is to first understand Korea. What you are seeing is not Communism but a form of Confucian extremism. We stopped the bus one day on a rural farm road to use the bathroom which turned out to be a corn field and on the road was a sign. The propaganda banner read “We do things the Korean way.” I questioned our Worker’s Party of Korea member on the bus about what this meant. After being enslaved by the Japanese and freed by the efforts of Kim Il-sung the Korean people won their freedom and they must make their way in the world under their own efforts and with their own means. They want a country that gives them the right “to be Korean.” This regime has more to do with the Koryo dynasty of the past than Karl Marx. Another thing to remember is that the Koreans are fiercely nationalistic – a response in part to being oppressed by the surrounding nations. Isolation, nationalism, an ideology of self-reliance (Juche), and a view of the past (right or wrong) of what a Korean state should be has led to a nation state very different from anything on the planet. Studying Korean culture is the first step in understanding why things are the way they are in North Korea.

This is not to condemn Korean culture. The Korean diaspora worldwide is one of hard work and success. The Republic of Korea rapidly moved into the world community and there is no reason to view a unified Korea as anything but a successful and prosperous country.

If North Korea was some mountain kingdom in the Himalayas where the founding deceased king was worshipped with eternal devotion and his son, the prince, was followed you might find it quaint. With red flags, parades, tanks, missiles and nuclear weapons it is much less desirable.

What were you most surprised by during your experiences there?

The one thing that has surprised me was how friendly people are. The Korean people we meet are genuine and friendly. One might think they would be angling for a gift or a favor as people often did in Eastern Europe during the Cold War. This is not the case. The contrast in their lives and ours is so startling that we cannot help but leave a flashlight, batteries, soap, food or something practical for them to have. One man was fascinated with a glow stick that I was using on a road at night and I gave it to him. The Koreans love to look at our technology items and it is not surprising that iPods are the item most left by tourists in North Korea.

What was the most interesting thing you did while in North Korea?

Most all of the activities that we do as tourists are arranged and choreographed. As much as the North Koreans try sometimes things do not quite go as planned. It was a busy summer season in Pyongyang and the number of foreigners in town was quite high and the available hotel rooms were full. Our group was taken to a hotel in a smaller town that was obviously not used for westerners. This town was what I would call “the real North Korea.” Tourists do not often get to see how people live in the smaller towns and this was a valuable lesson. Music and propaganda blared from loudspeakers until 11pm. At 5am the speaker began with the national anthem and propaganda. “Be sure to keep the Dear Leader in your thoughts today” was one part of the message. It is fascinating to see glimpses of the society that others do not see. At other locations we had to haul our water or live in the dark. To see the society as the people live it is a rare opportunity.


Everything You Need to Know About Kim Jong-Il and North Korea

Last week, we had our Kim Jong-il and Kim Kardashian Round. Well, there is nothing interesting about Kim Kardashian, but there is plenty that’s interesting about Jong-il and his country. Here are a few of my favorites.

  • Kim Jong-il looking at things. A blog that is exactly what it claims to be…pictures of the Supreme Leader looking at everything from circular saws to toilet paper.

A Couple of Things You Might Not Have Known About JFK and RFK

The 50/50 round at the JGTAI was JFK or RFK. Sunday was Bobby’s birthday, which inspired the round. There a few kind of random questions in the round I thought I’d throw out a bit more info on, just for fun.

One of the questions was “Which brother regularly took steroids?” The answer was JFK. He was also the answer to “Who got so sick he was given last rites in 1947?” JFK spent most of his adult life in extreme pain and illness. He suffered from colitis, and took more steroids than Mark McGwire. Back then, the side effects were unknown, so steroids were seen as a cure all to be doled out liberally. His Addison’s disease made him so ill in 1947 that he was expected to die within the year, and he was given last rites while on a cruise ship. This from the Atlantic:

The following year, while in England, Kennedy became ill again. He ended up in a hospital in London, where a doctor for the first time diagnosed the Addison’s disease…The doctor told Pamela Churchill, Winston Churchill’s daughter-in-law and a friend of Kennedy’s, “That young American friend of yours, he hasn’t got a year to live.” On his way home to the United States, on the Queen Mary, Kennedy became so sick that upon arrival a priest was brought aboard to give him last rites before he was carried off the ship on a stretcher. In 1948, when bad weather made a plane trip “iffy,” he told his friend Ted Reardon, “It’s okay for someone with my life expectancy.”

Another question was, “Which brother played on the football team at Harvard?” The answer was Bobby. His football career was shortlived. This from the book Robert Kennedy, Brother Protector: Robert returned to Harvard for the 1946 fall semester. For the next two years, he centered his attentions on football, paying scant attention to his studies…Even with several bigger and faster athletes at his position, Robert Kennedy started at left end when Harvard took the field for its 1947 season opener against Western Maryland. He caught a short touchdown pass in the blowout victory, but then injured his leg in practice and did not play again until the Yale game, when a sympathetic coach briefly put him in the game to insure Robert’s varsity letter.

He’s Going to Shock the World

We had a ton of fun at the wrestling quiz last night, where one of the questions was about the worst entrance in the history of professional wrestling. It was of course the Shockmaster’s entrance, where he fell face first, and his glittery storm trooper rolled off. Here is the video of the entrance, followed by Dusty Rhodes discussing it. Part of what’s great about it is Davey Boy Smith in the background, saying “He fell flat on his ass. He fell flat on his f—ing ass.” An amazing moment in wrestling history.

The Explosive Finale of Little House on the Prairie

This week at quizzo I asked a round on worst Series Finales. One of the questions was, “What show about a tight knit family in Walnut Grove incredibly concluded in 1983 with 10 minutes of non-stop explosions?’ The answer of course was Little House on the Prairie. (What else?) I added a little music for ambiance (NSFW). If you’d like to see the full last ten minutes, click here. It’s mostly just more crying than what I included, but then at the end they more or less tell robber baron Mr. Lassiter to “Go F— himself”.

That’s So Raven: the Bird that Inspired Edgar Allan and an Interview with the Poe Guy

I did a piece for the Philly Post today (Philly Mag’s daily blog) about the bird that inspired Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven. It’s a pretty cool piece. Check it out, and if you dig it, please spread the word by clicking recommend at the top of it or retweeting it. Thanks!

Doing this piece gave me a chance to interview Edward Pettit (above), the self proclaimed “Philly Poe Guy” that I mention in the piece. There was a lot of cool stuff in the interview that didn’t really work itself into the fairly narrow scope of the piece, but I thought some of you might find it interesting, so I’m going to include a bit of it here.

JGT: Poe met with Dickens for a short while in Philadelphia, in 1842 at the US Hotel. What did they talk about?

PETTIT: They had a lot in common to talk about regarding copywrite. The laws were so loose, and the authors wanted their money. And of course, Poe is looking for a favor. He wants Dickens to talk to publishers in England and try to get published over there. Dickens tried and failed. That was probably Poe’s real motive for talking to Dickens.

JGT: Was Poe the kind of guy who wrote in a fury, or did he sort of write as it came to him?

PETTIT: He was simply writing all of the time. We know he had a problem with drinking, but there is no way he was an alcoholic. He was writing every single day. If he was a total drunk, he could not have written as much as he did. Not in a maniacal fury, just doggedly pursuing it every day. Just writing. He sits down every day, and works and corrects things he wrote.

JGT: Had his wife gotten ill by the time he spoke with Dickens? (Poe’s wife, Virginia Clemm Poe, contracted TB in 1842 and died of it in 1847).

PETTIT: She had just become ill. The poetical topic in the world is the death of a beautiful woman. His mother ides when he’s young. His foster mother dies of tuberculosis. His wife comes down with TB and dies. If you’re a woman and Poe loves you, you’re doomed. That really affects what he writes. You can see all these beautiful young women in his stories dying.

They had a very successful, very loving marriage. He devoted his life trying to take care of her.

JGT: You are working on a book about how Philadelphia shaped Poe’s works. How did Philly affect Poe?

PETTIT: I believe the time he spent in Philadelphia was crucial. He would not have written some of his greatest works had he not been in Philadelphia. There was a literary culture here that I call Philadelphia gothic. People talk about American gothic, well gothic culture is from Philadelphia. Poe is very aware of Charles Brockton Brown. Great novel called Weiland. Real dark, nasty stories. They are the first dark gothic works in America. European gothic tradition is all about aristocrats, the supernatural, and ancestral curses. In American gothic you don’t have to worry about the spirits of some ancestor coming to murder you, you have to worry about your crazy husband killing you, or the serial killer next door. There are more American gothic works published in Philadelphia than anywhere else in America.

Poe is writing Gothic stories before coming to Phialdelphia in the European tradition. All of a sudden, Poe lives in Philly for about a year or two, and his stories begin to change. They are no longer supernatural , the threat could be domestic. Even William Wilson, the threat comes from within the guys own self. Had he settled in New York, where he went to after Philly, I don’t think he would have started in this strain. That tradition wasn’t up there in New York. It’s here in Philadelphia.

The Original iPod…in 1979

We had a question at quizzo this week about a device that was invented in 2001 and had sold 300 million copies, but which looked eerily similar to a device that was invented in 1979 by Kane Kramer. The answer is of course the iPod. Here’s a bit of the backstory to that question.

You fans of The Wire surely remember the scene where DeAngelo explains that the guy who invented the Chicken Nugget isn’t rich, but working in a basement for Mr. McDonald for minimum wage. Well, his tale of Mr. Nugget is similar to that of Kane Kramer. Kramer was the 23 year old inventor who, in 1979, came up with the concept of the mp3 player. In fact, he built a working model at that time. But like the computer and Charles Babbage, there was very little technology at the time to support his invention. He could have stored 3.5 minutes of music on the device. He was unable to get the money keep his patent, which Apple later scooped up and used to help create their iPod. Kramer is none the richer, despite the fact that he’s the father of one of the most popular devices of the past decade. Here’s some more info from

Kramer came up with the idea for a pocket-sized, portable solid state music player with a friend, James Campbell. Kramer was 23, Campbell 21. The IXI System had a display screen and buttons for four-way navigation. In a report presented to investors in 1979, the IXI was described as being the size of a cigarette packet. Is this sounding familiar yet?

Back in 1979, a memory chip would store a paltry three and a half minutes of music. Kramer fully expected this to improve, and confidently foresaw a market for reliable, high quality digital music players which would be popular with both consumers and the record labels. It could actually be argued that he was still ahead of Apple after the firat iPod went on sale — that had a hard drive and Kramer had moved onto flash memory years earlier.

Much has been made of Apple somehow “stealing” the technology. But the patent did what all patents do, whether used or not. It lapsed, and whether Apple took the idea from there or from somewhere else, it was all perfectly legitimate. In fact, when Apple was suing (and counter-sued by) in 2006 it cited the invention as “prior art” to dispute Burst’s patents. Apple even called Kramer in to give evidence.

But anyone can dream up a magic futuristic gadget. That’s where James Campbell came in. Campbell was an electronics whizz and between them the men came up with four prototypes. According to Kramer’s website, a fifth, pre-production unit actually went on sale at the APRS exhibition at Earls Court, London.

Here’s some more cool stuff from Kramer’s pitch to potential investors. This was written in 1979:

Record albums and/or singles issued by recording companies are fed in digital form into a computerised Central Data Bank. This data bank is connected by telephone lines to all retailers. The computer holds this digital information and upon receipt of coded instructions from retailers terminal, will transmit the requested music instantaneously to the terminal, where it is then programmed onto a blank IXI CHIP. It calculates and bills the retailers account, splits the relative apportionments of PRS, Artists Royalties, writers and record companies share, all in a matter of seconds.

Wesley Willis’s Greatest Hits

Wesley Willis was the answer to a question at quizzo this week. Apparently, more than half of you had never heard of him. That must be remedied immediately. He was a chronic schitzophrenic from Chicago who made simple but bizarre songs in the 90s and early 2000s before tragically passing away in 2003 at age 40. He called rock ‘n’ roll his “joy ride music” because it kept his demons at bay. There are some who call it exploitation, and others who thought it was wonderful that he got a chance to do what he loved in front of adoring fans. (To learn more about this fascinating man, watch this documentary.) He pretty much sang over Casio keyboard loops, and closed every song song with “Rock Over London, Rock on Chicago” followed by a corporate slogan. Here then, are some of my favorite Wesley Willis songs. (There is cussing in some of these.) Enjoy!

1. I Whooped Batman’s Ass. Without a question, the greatest song about Batman ever. He was being such a jackoff.

2. Cut That Mullet. Do something about your long filthy hair. Perhaps the most annoying chorus in all of his songs, and that’s saying something.

3. Elvis Presley. He really pays homage to the king in this one. Wesley did a lot of songs where he honored music stars, including Eazy E, Alanis Morrissette, and Britney Spears.

4. Al Capone. Wesley likes Al Capone even less than he likes Batman. He is a hoodlum. He killed people gangland style.

5. Rock n Roll McDonalds. Probably Willis’s most famous piece. It makes no sense, but it was heard in SuperSize Me.