Saturday, June 06, 2009

Okay, I'm weird but everybody is weird

I've been tagged. Challenged to list five of my weird habits. The real challenge is to hold it down to five.

1) In a restaurant, theatre, or any public place I can’t be seated anywhere near a child. This made it very difficult when I had my own small children. It’s not that I don’t love kids. I just love them more when they’re locked away in your home.

2) I don’t like anyone looking over my shoulder when I’m writing, be it a script, email, or love letters to Jessica Alba or Sandy Koufax.

3) I listen to 60s music when I write. And this includes radio station jingles from the era and Joanie Sommers Pepsi commercials. I love Joanie Sommers.

4) I can’t watch an old black and white movie from the 30’s or 40’s without thinking “everyone I’m looking at is dead”. Not that this spoils my enjoyment.

5) I go through breakfast phases. I eat the same thing every day for a couple of years and then switch. Currently it’s macadamia nuts and raisins. If I ever switch to Lucky Charms get “old Betsy” off the wall and shoot me.

6) I have no blood so I always dress warm. Stop making fun of Cosby for wearing those sweaters. They look cool.

7) I'm afraid if I install any computer program I'm going to hit the wrong button and crash every computer on the planet. I call this Y2Ken.

8) As a former disc jockey, I still talk-up records in my car. Right up to the vocal. I’m a master at this. It’s maybe my greatest skill…which is unfortunate since it’s also utterly useless. KHJ Boss Radio is not coming back anytime soon.

9) I can't leave a baseball game until it's over. This quirk has served me well since I go on the air after every Dodger game.

10) I watch HOUSE and believe I have whatever mystery ailment the patient of the week has. My doctor then assures me that bleeding out of my eyes is normal, just drink a glass of water.

Okay, so what are some of yours?


Anonymous said...

Hi Ken...

Your comment that you talk up song intros in the car made me laugh hysterically. As a former radio person myself, I thought I was the only idiot to do that. Now I know there are two of us. "It's 5:15, those were the Beatles on K-Idiot". Does that sound familiar? Thanks for making me smile.

Zanuck said...

Yep, here's another weirdo comment about talking up records. It is a great skill, and unfortunately, it seems like it's only fun at parties lately. Like last night. My friend and I had a couple or 6 beers, and I proceeded to give him talk-up tips going through the iTunes library. "ALWAYS hit the post!" I wish that thing would give you a digital counter of how long the intro is!

Ref said...

Gee, you must be the ONLY person in Southern California who stays until the end of the baseball game!

WV: Wessil = whatever Mr. Chekhov is riding n.

A. Buck Short said...

As a guy with a horse, I can’t watch the Belmont Stakes (or the Kentucky Derby or Preakness) without thinking that, when you really get down to it, they’re all basically mostly about sperm. But I enjoyed the NY classic more than ever this year – realizing that both the winning horse and the governor who presented the trophy had blinders. Sorry.

wv: knutumi -- but I guess it's old hat to you.

J S Swanson said...

Ummmm .....

You listed 10 of your 5 weird habits.

Does anyone else think that's weird?

Anonymous said...

The serendipitous nature of the in ternet. Some way some how I stumbled across a reference to K100, an LA station dear to my heart ...then to Beaver Cleaver... then to this post by KEN LEVINE! Oh, my. Hey Ken, there are thousands of us still talking up songs in the car, if only under our breath. Which sure makes our kids look at us strangely. Hope you are well.

Big Bob Anthony
La Quinta, CA

Keith said...

I get uneasy standing in a spot where a corner (of a wall, chair leg, rug) points directly to my feet. Still waiting for hovershoes, which would alleviate the problem as the "laser" which bisects my feet only runs along the floor.

Cap'n Bob said...

I switch off dj's who talk over the music. Thanks to them, I now listen to talk radio almost exclusively.

I talk to people who talk on cell phones publicly.

I, too, ask not to be seated near small children in restaurants.

I always cringe when I hear the word "myself" misused, which is 99%of the time it is used.

I never wear short pants. The world is an ugly enough place without my legs adding to the blight.

When clerks ask me how I am I tell them. Truthfully.

I hate filling out forms, any forms, no matter what their purpose.

WV: caduckyl. A prehistoric mallard

Anonymous said...

"which is unfortunate since it’s also utterly useless"

and thank god for that, I can't stand those self centered DJs who think it's ok to talk over the music as long as nobody is singing. STFU and respect the musicians for fucks sake. Do you like it when they play an ad for the next show right over the credits of the show you just watched? it's the same thing. there are PEOPLE playing those instruments you know? (well, most of the time)

Aaron Barnhart said...

Not five minutes before he was to sign off for what he knew might be the last time ever -- the station was changing formats and he wasn't about to let management out of the contract that had nearly three years still on it -- Chicago's Steve Dahl talked up a record right to the vocal. And wasn't happy with it, so did it a second time and nailed it.

So I think it's an occupational hazard.

Rick said...

Don't know if you're serious about Joanie Sommers, but about a year ago I was able to get one of the favorite albums of my youth on cd: her bossa nova record "Softly, The Brazilian Sound".

(A great album that holds up beautifully.)

My weirdness?
I read whenever I can, always have a paperback book with me.
Unless I'm in the middle of a book I just can't put down, I will always try to select a reading book from my shelves to carry whose cover's predominate color closely matches the shirt I'm wearing...

D. McEwan said...

My weird habits:

I read books for pleasure.

I watch black & white movies.

I vote liberal.

I listen to classical music.

I have sex with other men.

That's 5.

jbryant said...

Ken: Stick to 30s and 40s movies starring Tallulah Morehead. That way you'll know that at least ONE person on screen is still living.

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

Joanie's voice undresses her man, gives him a warm bath and cuddles him until he falls asleep...all with a word or two. Her voice is magic...for Those Who Think Young.

Insofar as talking up songs on the radio: I think that the hardest part for a DJ is using the "white space"...and not yielding to the temptation of talking up the entire :30 second intro of a major hit, but having the good sense to bail after the 8th bar or so.

After all these years, I think I finally got it 'down' and no one cares.

Hrumpf. Hrumpf-Hrumpf. (I didn't get a Hrumpf outta you guys...)


Brian Scully said...

To overcome a shy bladder in public restrooms, I whistle the theme from "The Tonight Show, Starring Johnny Carson" and imagine I am standing in the middle of that stage, in front of 20 million viewers, taking a whizz. Has worked like a charm for almost thirty years.

By Ken Levine said...


You win.

Gary Mack said...

KHJ Boss Radio is not coming back anytime soon?

So I can stop going to Jacob's meetings?

dewberrypie said...

I'm going through withdrawal right now because the type of notepad I have used for twenty years -- and which I usually buy in bulk -- is apparently no longer being manufactured. I absolutely must have that kind of paper in that format in that color with the lines spaced in exactly that way. I have ten notepads left -- maybe enough for the rest of the year -- if I'm careful and, oh, I hate being careful -- it stifles what little creativity I have left.

I'm weird in plenty of other ways, too, but that's the one that's driving me nuts right now and my friends are tired of hearing me whine about it ("My God, it's ONLY a notepad.), so I thank you for this opportunity to vent.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

My weird habits:

I read books for pleasure.

I watch black & white movies.

I vote liberal.

I listen to classical music.

I have sex with other men.

That's 5.

You fucking sicko! You listen to classical music? ;)

D. McEwan said...

"I can’t watch an old black and white movie from the 30’s or 40’s without thinking 'everyone I’m looking at is dead'."

Then turn your back on all those bodies in your celler and look at the screen.

Oh, you meant ...

Actually, they may not all be dead yet, especially if there are kids in the movie. Shirley Temple and Liz Taylor are still around.

Actually, Carla Leammle is still alive, and she was in both DRACULA with Lugosi in 1931, and THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA with Lon Chaney in 1925. She was 16 in PHANTOM.

And Gloria Stuart is still alive, and she was in THE OLD DARK HOUSE in 1932, and THE INVISIBLE MAN in 1933. It's surprising how some of those film pioneers are still rattling around.

But still, for the most part, really old films are a case of: THE DEAD WALK! And sing, and dance, etc.

When I was showing my book, THE Q GUIDE TO CLASSIC MONSTER MOVIES, to Paul Pirceni, who was the male romantic lead in Vincet Price's HOUSE OF WAX, he saw where I had written that he was the last still-living principle from that movie. He turned slightly pale. "Am I really the last survivor of that movie?" He is. He wins.

benson said...

"Arsenic and Old Lace" must seem like a complete bloodbath....

A fellow radio guy pointed this out to me (in addition talking up records for fun and profit), when listening in the car, and say you pull into a parking space, radio people like myself will wait for the jock to finish his bit, while normal people will shut off the engine immediately.

Just one weird thing I can think of right off the top of my head..I love raw food. Salmon and pork sausage at the top of the list. (Yes, I've been lectured on how bad this is with pork. Can't help myself.)

Lynn A. said...

1. I listen to classical and Celtic music and think this is non-weird.

2. I want to wrap my hands around someone's throat and shake some sense of grammar into them whenever I see the word "your" used in place of "you're."

3. Correcting customers that use the word "need" in place of "want."

4. Making one sentence out of all the movie titles in a theater.

5. Carrying an 18-inch long cat o nine keychain and a box of tampons when heading to the check out lines during Christmas shopping season so I can move to the head of the line.

Anonymous said...

From Jan:

I always stay until the very end of movie credits, which usually makes me the last one in the theater.

I also hate filling out any kind of forms--I almost always write something in the wrong place.

I buy things in multiples: 2 tubes of toothpaste, 12 packages of gum, 3 jars of jalapenos, etc.

Cringe when I hear someone say "between you and I" instead of "between you and me."

I, too, go through "breakfast phases" well as "lunch phases" and "dinner phases." And I go through "clothing phases" too--the same clothes, same earrings, same bracelets for months on end.

Nat G said...

I buy every book I can get with Charles Schulz's Peanuts in it. Even if I have all the contents in other books. Got like 1000 of those suckers.

When a checkout clerk asks me how I'm doing, I answer "medium".

When I'm embarrassed, I find myself either mentally or verbally listing names of days of the week. (If there's some ancient trauma causing that, I neither recall it nor want to.)

I speak out against misplacement of apostrophes in casual contractions. There's an argument to be made that it should be Guns 'N' Roses (with apostrophes indicating all missing letters), and an argument that it should be Guns 'N Roses (indicating the placement of the vowel sound), but none for Guns N' Roses.

But unlike D., I don't have to have sex with other men. I'm good enough that I can get it done on my own.

Anonymous said...

Whenever I have more than one banknote, I have to arrange them so the heads are all the same way.

Tom Berg said...

Speaking as a CURRENT radio dj at an Oldies station in Indianapolis, yes I talk up records for a living.

If I hit the post, fine. If not, no big deal.

I wait until a song ends before I start the next song and start talking.

Radio is an entertainment not a jukebox.

OK, I'm putting the soapbox away.

1. I listen to swing music and enjoy it immensely. I'm 46.

2. I stay through the credits of a movie. Hey! I might miss something.

3. When I was a kid and would go to drive ins, I would enjoy the stuff between the movies more than the actual movies themselves. (5 minutes until showtime!)

Alan Coil said...

"It’s not that I don’t love kids. I just love them more when they’re locked away in your home."

Hoo, can I agree with that one.

Mary Stella said...

Lynn A said:
Carrying an 18-inch long cat o nine keychain and a box of tampons when heading to the check out lines during Christmas shopping season so I can move to the head of the line.

Does that actually work? I'll have to try it.

I don't have any really weird habits.

(That gasping you hear is my family laughing.)

wv: fattl -- steers ready for market

A. Buck Short said...

Sorry, while double-dipping the chip is like putting your whole mouth the dip – especially when you’ve already more than used up your allotted chips, I just can’t help it:

Never take my clothes off unless it is absolutely necessary. And then never until it is actually necessary.

At this age, whenever I forget a name or word, I mentally look for the first letter by going through the alphabet --- until I’m absolutely certain I can’t remember it that way either. And then it shows up 5 min. later with no external prodding whatsoever.

Brian, I’m with Ken. Have you ever thought of taking that act to New Haven? Incidentally, for me it’s always been “Fascinatin’ Rhythm” – but involving a slightly different exercise. And D McE, if you’re in the habit of doing all 5 simultaneously, well that would really be virtuosity.

It’s been weighing on me all night. What’s with this recurrent Joanie Sommers obsession? Alright already, you found a nice Jewish pop singer ("Yonkel, Get Over Yourself") who isn’t Amy Winehouse ("They Tried to Make Me Go to Rebbes") with all the contradictions that implies. The ideal of our people, a woman, who even in her teens, was able to afflict a guy with both lust and guilt simultaneously. OK, you got me. What’s not to like about a Hullabaloo appearance by a Jewish girl that ends with a quartet gay goose-stepping to an African beat?

More proof that white guys should attempt to neither dance nor play basketball. Actually I like the smooth, mature artist she turned into of future albums even more.

PS: Talking up songs in the car -- faggetaboudit! My biggest fear is turning into one of those sad boomers in the audience mouthing the lyrics in on ‘o them PBS doo-wap or music of the 50’s and 60’s specials. Obviously the current big thing: Jack Blogger. Say whatever you want, whenever the F you want to.

WV this time: rebess - what Joanie Somers could have grown up to be had everybody not noted "Such a voice! She could be a cantor!" (My mother once made that observation about Pavarotti, and all I could think was "Ma, the guy makes $50-million a year, WTF would he want to be a cantor?")

Mike Bell said...

I refuse to step on a crack even though my mother passed almost a decade ago.

25 years ago, while rushing to the radio station at 5am, I got a ticket for turning left on a red light even though I waited three minutes there was no other traffic around. To this day I will not turn left on a red.

When starting any radio show, before opening the microphone, I always say "Ok, time for professional broadcasting," even though the only thing professional about it is that I get paid.

I continue to produce video content for the county cable TV channel even though I know nobody watches.

I like to think my "famous" twitter friends are actually my friends.

Mike Bell said...

I use the words "even" and "though" WAY too much.

Larry said...

It's comforting to know those of us who hit the post while driving comprise a small cult. Who among us have hit the pro level? Who has talked through "We Are Family" by Sister Sledge without call letters or a time check?

Tom Berg said...

Talk up "I Need A Lover" by John Mellencamp..then get back to me! hehe

Emily Blake said...

I always have to have even numbered things. If my boyfriend sets the volume at 11, I will change it to 12.

And I always have to sleep as far from the door as possible. I can't sleep with my closet door open.

Dave Mackey said...

The all time talk up champ is "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" by The Temptations. Yes, I too talk up records in the car, usually using the call letters of stations I actually worked for.

Joanie Sommers - the genius behind that talent was her music arranger/conductor, Tommy Oliver. I was surprised to learn that Hal David had written the lyrics to "Johnny Get Angry", her biggest hit. There's a YouTube floating around of k.d. lang giving that song quite the twisted reading.

Mary Stella said...

Put a dark wig on dancer/singer Julianne Hough and she could play Joanie Sommers.

Anonymous said...

Ken, for your #4 issue about black and white films -- what do you then think about if you come across the colorized version?

K said...

I like living vicariously through successful writers' comment sections.

AlaskaRay said...

>>Ummmm .....
You listed 10 of your 5 weird habits.<<

and that would #11.

I can't sit in a restaurant unless I can see the door and the street outside. I guess my work makes me paranoid.


Anonymous said...

When a person says "Have a good one" I wonder:

a) What a good one is,

b) If a good one is good, why can't I have two?

c) If a good "one" is really, really good pee, but I really need a good number two now after that pound of cheese I just ate.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad someone else has that same thought watching old movies. (And then I either get very philosophical or I want to write a sci fi story about the concept of "life after death" on film.)
---Amy, etc.

D. McEwan said...

"Anonymous said...
When a person says "Have a good one" I wonder:
a) What a good one is"

If you have to wonder, then you've never had one.