Category Archives: Sophia Loren


Some blogger – I won’t say who, but he appears on my blogroll – was expressing embarrassment about crushes he had on various famous people people when he was younger. I, apparently, have no such hangup. These are mine. Who were the people you had a crush on when you were 18 or younger, people who were at least semi-famous; i.e., not your teacher or your best friend’s parent?
The first big crush, one which was de rigeur for boys of my generation and slightly older (I was watching repeats of the Mickey Mouse Club, I later learned) was Annette Funicello. Don’t know why she became so iconic, exactly. If I ever saw her in her later movies with Frankie Avalon, it was quite by accident, but at the time, I would rush home from school to see her, quite probably on the one and only station we got at the time. There were two, but one was VHF (good reception) and one was UHF (not so hot. Isn’t it strange how I can still remember Tuesday was guest star day on that show?

Mary Tyler Moore as Laura Petrie on The Dick van Dyke Show (CBS, 1961-1966). Must have been the dancing, and the perkiness. And the capri pants.

Inger Stevens was on a 1963-1966 ABC show called “The Farmer’s Daughter”. She had a Swedish accent, which I’ve only recently learned that she had to fake, because she had worked hard to lose it. The character Katy Holstrum was a governess to Congressman Glen Morley (William Windom), who was widowed with two sons. She also appeared in several movies, including Hang ‘Em High with Clint Eastwood (1968). Inger Stevens died, a suicide by pills and booze, in 1970. I found that particularly depressing.

I knew Angela Cartwright from Make Room for Daddy/The Danny Thomas Show (first of two Danny Thomas connections); she started in 1957. Also from The Sound of Music (1965). But for some reason, it was during her run on Lost in Space c. 1965, that I developed a crush on her. She was my youngest crush, being only six months older than I.

Marlo Thomas, daughter of Danny. I watched That Girl pretty much religiously, and really liked it for much of its run on ABC (1966-1971), though it sagged at the end, when it added dopey lyrics to the theme song. (Thanks to GayProf for that information.) Marlo is probably of a physical type, like the MTM/Laura Petrie, and likely a personality model for shows with “independent women”, such as The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

In the early days of the Supremes, the group shared lead vocals more often than in later times, when Diana Ross dominated. One of my favorite songs on Meet the Supremes was Buttered Popcorn, with the lead vocal by Florence Ballard. But I really got a crush from the cover of The Supremes Sing Holland-Dozier-Holland, with Flo looking particularly zaftig, in a good way. Of course, she died, broke, in 1976, which was wrong on so many levels, and was partially the inspiration for Dreamgirls.

I have no idea how I first became aware of Sophia Loren. I certainly never saw any of her movies until much later. But I thought she was the epitome of a beautiful woman when I was 16, and I’ll stick with that.

O.K., people, I want responses, either here or in your own blogs.


My Periodic Need for a Non-Thematic Post, January 2007 Edition


I’ve seen saxophonist Michael Brecker playing somewhere. Maybe it was backing Joni Mitchell in Philadelphia in 1981, or maybe on one of his solo jazz excursions. He appears in that “Hot Tub” segment of Saturday Night Live I linked to when James Brown died last month. In any case, you’ve almost certainly have HEARD Michael Brecker, who played with Paul Simon (Still Crazy, among others), Bruce Springsteen (Born to Run), Frank Zappa, and zillions more, including the aforementioned James Brown, and who died of leukemia this week at the age of 57.
Art Buchwald, whose wonderfully acerbic column I used to read, was probably best known for not dying when everyone, including himself, thought he would. That and the lawsuit over the Eddie Murphy movie Coming to America.
I would have said something about the passing of film producer Carlo Ponti, except that I might have accidentally revealed my grand crush in high school (and later) of his wife, and it seemed unseemly, so I won’t.


HIV/AIDS attacks



When it comes time to prepare and file your 2006 tax return, make sure you don’t overlook the “federal excise tax refund credit.” You claim the credit on line 71 of your form 1040. A similar line will be available if you file the short form 1040A.

This is about the federal excise tax that’s been charged for long-distance calls on phone bill for years, based on the distance and length of the calls. When phone companies began to offer flat fee phone service, challenges to the excise tax ended up in federal courts. The IRS has now conceded this argument. Phone companies were given notice to stop assessing the federal excise tax as of August 30, 2006.
But the challengers of the old law also demanded restitution. So the IRS has announced that a one-time credit will be available when you file 2006 tax returns. However, the IRS also established limits on how BIG a credit you can get.
If you file your return as a single person with just you as a dependent, you get to claim a $30 credit on line 71 of your 1040.
If you file with a child or a parent as your dependent, you claim $40.
If you file your return as a married couple with no children, you claim $40.
If you file as married with children, you claim $50 if one child, $60 if two or more children.
In all cases, the most you get to claim is $60 – UNLESS you have all your phone bills starting AFTER Feb 28, 2003 through July 31, 2006 – which I certainly don’t – then you can add up the ACTUAL TAX AS IT APPEARS ON YOUR BILLS AND CLAIM THAT FOR A CREDIT. If you do that, you’ll have to file a special form number 8913 and attach it to your tax return. Individuals using the form 1040EZ will have to attach this form 8913 also.

One final point – this credit is a refundable credit. That means you get this money, no matter how your tax return works out. If you would end up owing the IRS a balance, the refund will reduce that balance you owe. If you end up getting a refund, the credit will be added and you get a bigger refund by that $30 to $60, depending on how many dependents are on your return.


January 27-29 gathering in Washington, DC, “to remind the new Congress that we elected them to end the war in Iraq and to bring the troops home now.”


Conan the Librarian
A REAL library’s take on Madonna’s Ray of Light
A Biblical Understanding of Marriage
Finally, watch Tom the Dog on 1 Vs. 100 (square 81) AGAIN tonight on NBC, at 8 EST.
Carlo Ponti,