People I Miss ~ Part 3


George Carlin

In the summer of 1962 before my junior year in high school I first saw George Carlin on a summer variety TV show playing his Hippy Dippy Weatherman, Al Sleet, and his dopey disc jockey at WINO radio. I liked him and thought he was very funny. He had that spark, that certain elusive something, of a star even back then.

Of course, Al Sleet and the stupid disc jockey were a far cry from the social critic Carlin evolved into.

Later that year in Speech class I began my life-long journey learning how to really think.

In the unit on debate our teacher said we were going to debate the question, “Was the Supreme Court decision in Brown Vs Board of Education Topeka, Kansas constitutional or not?” Then she asked us what side we wanted to be on in the debate.

I chose to be on the constitutional side.

When everyone made their choice our teacher then told us we all had to change sides. She was going to arbitrarily make us argue for the position we were against.

An uproar ensued which she let go on for a minute or two. Then when she got us quiet again she said, as best as I can remember all these many years later, something like this:

If you want to be an effective debater, if you want to win a debate you can’t just know your own position. In fact, it is more important to know your opponent’s position inside out and outside in, if not better than, at least as well as your own position……..

……… be an effective debater you have to know your opponent’s position, study it and compare it to our own position.  Otherwise, you won’t be able to, you won’t know how to show it’s weaknesses and what is wrong with it. Lastly, you also have to respect your opponent’s position; not necessarily agree with it, but respect it.

Know . Study. Respect.

 That, she said, was what we were going to learn how to do in her class that year. 

I did not know it at the time, as it was many years later before I realized just how important the lesson she taught that day was for almost every aspect of my life.  

Later in life I used this method with George Carlin. Some people don’t like him because they disagree with him. Some don’t like him because of his language. Some didn’t like him becasue he skewered thier sacred cow.

In the profiles of  both Johnny Carson and Charles Kurault I said how kind, gentle, and classy they were. I do not know about George Carlin’s private life. I am sure he had a gentler side. But on stage when he was performing he was like a bull in a china shop.

George Carlin was a social critic and a comedian. I did not always agree with him, but he always made me think. He made me see the other side of every topic he talked about. He made me see multiple sides of a topic or issue. He made me see other sides of a topic I had never even considered. He made me study it, know it, and respect it. Then I could decide if I agreed, if it was the right position for me and the person I want to be and how I want to live my life.

Like Lenny Bruce before him, and to some extent even Jim Morrison, he pushed the envelope of societies’ mores. Every generation needs someone to do just that. And Carlin was a genius at it. And all the while making  me laugh uproariously.

James Sullivan, who wrote a biography of Carlin, said of him, “He was an independent thinker who could mock liberals as deftly as conservatives”

He was fearless in choosing topics and people to skewer. There was no part of society he left unscathed. From the seven words you cannot say on television (Some of which you can say today.) to closing all golf courses and cemeteries to build houses for the homeless. He spoke his mind, and in so doing,  he exposed the contradictions and idiosyncrasies inherent in my beliefs.

Go to You Tube and type in George Carlin. On page one you will find videos of Carlin on these topics:

education, the American dream, death, saving the planet, the ten commandments, children self esteem movement, today’s parenting style, airport security, fussy eaters, war, driving, and voting.

And that’s just page one. There are over forty pages of Carlin videos.

Carlin was the first guest host Of Saturday Night Live. He appeared on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show 130 times. He authored 3 New York Times best sellers. He made 22 albums. He had 14 specials on HBO. He also had many roles on TV shows and in movies.

He was voted the number two greatest stand-up comedian by Comedy Central trailing only Richard Pryor.

Four days before his death he was told he would be honored with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

According to Yahoo Entertainment Voices:

The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American humor was created to honor humorists and comedians who needle American [sic] not just to laugh, but to think………

George Carlin was all that and more. He was an amazing linguist and knew and understood the English language and how to use it better than almost anyone else in show business.

Why I Miss George Carlin

I miss him simply because there is no one like him in America today.

Thank you George Carlin for making me think about and examine my beliefs through the non-threatening venue of humor.                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Today there are comedians who make jokes about society. Some make me laugh. Most do not. Jokes are far different than insightful humor that exposes and forces me to think and examine my belief systems. Today’s comedians do not make me think; do not cause me to examine my beliefs. No one today challenges me to think and see differently. No one today brings to the top of my consciousness the idiosyncrasies of my beliefs. No one today encourages me to grow and perhaps change.

In my belief system the highest honor I can pay anyone is to call them teacher.

Thank you George Carlin for being my teacher.



Featured Recipe    Almost Instant Chicken and Rice

Today’s recipe is a wonderful quick and easy very busy weeknight recipe. I have had this recipe around for ages. I think I found it in one of those church fund raising cookbooks somebody brought to work to sell. I didn’t buy the book, but I did copy the recipe. Aren’t I just terrible? ! ? !  

The recipe is very budget friendly too, and coming in at only $1.43 per person it is a  Recession Buster Recipe© too.

The recipe calls for left over chicken. However, if you don’t have any left over chicken just poach the chicken per the directions below. I use chicken tenders since they are small and cook fast. You could also use chicken breasts, but they take longer to cook. Actually, you can use any part of the chicken you like. Thighs would be very good to.

Another thing I do when I don’t have left over chicken is to go to a fast chicken food restaurant and just buy some plain chicken and use it in this recipe.

This is what you will need for 4 people:

About 1-1½ cups cooked chicken cut into bite size pieces

2 tablespoons butter

2/3 cup uncooked rice

1- 4 ounce can mushroom pieces & stems

1 package dry onion soup mix

1½ cup chicken broth

NOTE: I used parsley in the picture above simply to add contrast to the picture.

Here is what you do:

Place chicken in a large skillet and cover with chicken broth to cover (about 1½ cans) and cook, turning once, until just done, about 5-7 minutes. Do not over cook as the chicken will become dry and tough, especially since you are going to cook it even longer later on.

Cut or tear the chicken into medium pieces.

Reserve the broth.

NOTE: If you do not have enough broth to make 1½ cups add water to get 1½ cups. I had 2 cups of broth so I froze some for another use later.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium low heat.

Add the rice, mushrooms with juices, and the dry onion soup and mix well.

Now add the cooked chicken and the broth and mix well. From experience in making this recipe, I do not add salt. There is enough in the onion soup mix to float a battle ship. So all I add is pepper.

Cook, covered, over low heat about 30 minutes or until rice is tender, checking it once or twice during the cooking. If the liquid cooks off before the rice is done just add a bit more water until rice is cooked through.

When the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender the dish is done.

Didn’t I tell you this was a quick recipe?

Serve with a salad and/or a vegetable.

Bon appétit!!!


About 1 cup cooked chicken            $2.37

2 tablespoons butter                      $0.16

2/3 cup uncooked rice                    $0.30

1 4 ounce can mushroom               $0.79

1 package dry onion soup mix         $0.65

1½ cup chicken broth                     $1.48

Total cost = $5.75
Cost per person = $1.43

Recession Buster Recipe©

Quote of the Day

Here’s a bumper sticker I’d like to see: “We are the proud parents of a child who’s self-esteem is sufficient that he doesn’t need us promoting his minor scholastic achievements on the back of our car.

George Carlin


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