People I Miss


PREFACE:  Originally I was going to highlight three people I miss in today’s post. But I could not do justice to any one of them in a short blog post. So I have decided to do a series of posts. This is Part 1.

People I Miss

No. I am not in blue mood. Maybe reflective.

But I miss Johnny Carson, Charles Kuralt, and George Carlin.

I miss their class, their genuineness, their warmth, their competence, and their intelligence.

Sensationalism Glitz Outrageousness

I am tired of over rated, over exposed, over paid, over pampered, over drugged, super stars. They are all about sensationalism and glitz.

Super stars whose only claim to fame is outrageousness!  Not being satisfied with simple outrageousness each “star” tries to out do the other with even more brazen behavior. Their outrageous behavior is really simply designed to feed their bloated egos and the pathetic empty shells of their being.

The pathology goes beyond the entertainment industry. It has seeped into businesss, sports, education, politics, and every day life.

The people I miss were real, genuine, and down-to-earth. The people I miss actually accomplished something worth while in their life time. They were common folk who made it big; who were successful. They made me laugh, touched my heart, illumined the human condition, and made me think. They never lost that common touch.

They were not perfect.  They were human. I could relate to them. They were caring people who entertained, yet like me struggled in their lives, were imperfect, and yet like us they kept on keeping on. They may have had wealth but they did not flaunt it in front of me. They did not waste it. They lived well, yet retained that common touch. They gave back to others.

Johnny Carson

Johnny was and remains the King of Late Night television. No one did or does late night as well as Johnny Carson.

Johnny was the ultimate in class and charm. He was a gentleman. He had grace and dignity. His humor came from understanding the human condition. His humor was smart. He never lowered himself by being crude or obscene. He never dropped the “f” bomb in 30 years of The Tonight Show.

He could tell adult jokes, make double entendres, yet he was never crude or obscene.

He could say more with just a look than some comedians can muster in an entire monologue.

His show was warm, inviting to all, and generous of spirit. Johnny was the best interviewer because he showcased the guest, not himself. He made his guest look good. He let his guest shine, and that light reflected back on him thus making him a star.

Johnny was amazing with animals.

The blog Outtakes said: “Animals instinctively know how to steal a scene. Johnny Carson had a way of bringing comedy out of animals like no other.”

With animals one minute Johnny could be funny, filled with awe, and the next minute scared to death in turn depending on the animal. One time when a big cat got away from the trainer Johnny ran and jumped into Ed McMahon’s arms with a mock look of fear on his face. Many of the videos of these animal encounters have been disabled on You Tube  by the Carson Entertainment Group. You can purchase videos of many of Carson’s animal encounters with the money going into his estate. More on that later.

Johnny hosted the Tonight Show through seven presidential terms. I did not know his politics and quite frankly, I did not want to know. I did not care. It was not important.  Judy Woodruff  at CNN Washington Bureau  said of him, he “was an equal opportunity needler, mocking [all] politicians.”

Woodruff went on to say:

Along with his biting humor, Carson also brought grace and civility to the often competitive world of television entertainment and the even more competitive world of politics. And, perhaps that is his political legacy.


 I loved his recurring character, Carnac the Magnificent, a mystic from the East. It was pure silliness but in the hands of a master it worked. After a long, hard day at work silliness and laughter relaxed me and made the day right again.

The premise of Carnac was he could psychically “divine” unseen answers to unknown questions. This is how the shtick worked. Sidekick, Ed McMahon would provide an answer.  And Carnac would divine the question.

Here’s how it worked:

 Ed:                   Answer: Big Ben, Joe Namath, and a candidate’s campaign promises.
Johnny:           Question: What is a clock, a jock and a crock.

My day was not complete until I watched Carson. It was like a bedtime prayer. Now I can lay myself down to sleep……….

Giving Back

It was not announced upon his death. In fact, it was several years later before any one knew.

Without fanfare and without seeking any publicity and according to a 2010 report at The Smoking Gun, Carson’s tax filing reveals a $156 million transfer from the Johnny Carson estate to a charitable foundation. In fact, he had made regular transfers into his foundation account throughout The Tonight Show years. This is where much of the money from the sales of Carson videos goes.

According to the Huffington Post money has been donated to:

……… support dozens of nonprofit organizations. [Snip] …….. the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Free Clinic and Planned Parenthood. Carson’s foundation also supports several nonprofits in Nebraska, the entertainer’s home state.

 A class act to the end and beyond.

Johnny once joked, “If life were fair, Elvis would be alive and all the impersonators would be dead.”

Today I would substitute Johnny’s name for Elvis.

In Closing – Why Carson Matters
Why I Miss Johnny Carson

Sharing these thoughts and my admiration of these people I miss with you is not simply nostalgia or wishing to go back in time. You can never go back in time.

It is about quality. It is about being the best. It is about trying to be the best. It is about growing.

Each of the people in this series were tops in their field. They were grown up. They were not seeking glitz, sensationalism, or outrageousness. They were seeking to be the best at what they did: the best comedian, the best reporter, the best critic. They sought to be the best for many reasons; and one of them was to give us, the audience, the best. These people respected us enough to give us the best quality they could muster.

It takes years and lots of disciplined hard work to become the best at something. Sadly too many today think glitz, sensationalism, and outrageousness will mask the fact that they are not the best at anything, leaving a void in our entertainment, business, sports, education, politics, and thus our every day lives.

We as individuals and the nation and the world are poorer for it.

Featured Recipe   Crispy Chicken Strips with Lemon Soy Dipping Sauce

This is a quick and easy recipe. I know. I know. I always say that. But it’s true. I am basically lazy and so I make it a point to find recipes like this.

This recipe is also super delicious. Plus it is just plain fun. This is finger food at it’s very best. The chicken is cut into such small bite sized pieces they cook up in a snap too.

I think we all like finger food. But for some unknown reason young children especially like to eat with their hands. I don’t know if it is a kick back to our cave days or what. Or maybe it is as simple as small pieces of food are easier for small hands to hold. Smal hands and big utensils do not always work out so well.

If your children do not like the soy sauce give them catsup or another favorite condiment.

This is also a great recipe for children to participate and help in making. 

It is also fantastic party and informal get-together fare. Everyone can pile in the kitchen and have a hand in helping fix it.

I do not know where this recipe came from. It was a clipping I found in one of my mother’s many cookbooks after she died.

However, I doubled the garlic in the recipe. I also substituted chicken tenders for the chicken breast since the tenders were on sale this week.

This is what you will need for 4 people:

For the sauce:

½ cup soy sauce

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

2 garlic cloves minced

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon Oriental sesame oil*

2 green onions

*I use Oriental toasted sesame oil

For the chicken:

1-1 ½ pounds chicken breasts or tenders

4 generous tablespoons flour

About 4 tablespoons vegetable oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Here is what you do:

Mince the garlic using a press straight into a bowl large enough to hold the soy sauces and lemon juice.

Wash and then remove the root end and the first outer layer of the green onions. Mince them. Add to the bowl with the garlic.

Juice the lemons. (About 1 medium large lemon,  or 2 small lemons will yield ¼ cup. Roll them on the counter first or place in a micro wave a few seconds to get more juice.) Add to the bowl with the garlic and green onions.

Add the remaining sauce ingredients to the bowl and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.

Now to the chicken. Slice the chicken in half cross wise first.

Then cut each piece into two or three slices.

However you cut the chicken, you want to end up with strips of chicken about 3 inches long and about ½ wide.

Place the flour and some salt to taste in a plastic bag. Place about half the chicken pieces in the bag, zip it shut, and shake to coat the chicken.

Remove the chicken to a plate and add the rest of the chicken to the bag and shake to coat.  

Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium high heat until it is hot.  but not smoking.

Add as much of the floured chicken as you can in a single layer without crowding them. Sauté over medium high heat until crisp and golden brown on the bottom, about 2-3, maybe 4 minutes.

Turn and cook the other side until browned, about another minute or two. You actually want the chicken to be cooked a little crispy.

Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with pepper.

NOTE: Sometimes when I have guests over I am tempted to just omit this step and just dump the hot pieces in a bowl and let guests have at them. That is a mistake.  BIG mistake. These bite sized pieces of heaven taste a  gazillon times better with pepper on them. And many of you know I am not normally big on pepepr. But for some reason I realy like it on these morsels.

Fry the remaining chicken adding more oil if necessary.

Serve with the dipping sauce and a salad.

Bon appétit!!!


For the sauce:

½ cup soy sauce

¼ cup fresh lemon juice        $0.66

2 garlic cloves minced            $0.10

1 tablespoon sugar                $0.02

1 tbspn Oriet. sesame oil       $0.42 

2 green onions                      $0.14

Cost = $1.34

For the chicken:

1-1 ½ chicken breasts           $3.98

4 tablespoons flour                $0.16

4 tablespoons oil                   $0.24

Salt and pepper to taste

Cost = $4.38

Total cost = $5.72
Cost per serving = $1.43

Another Recession Buster Recipe©

Quote of the Day

They say fingers were made before forks, and hands before knives.


Jonathan Swift



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4 comments to People I Miss

  • Gosh I couldn’t agree with you more about Johnny Carson. He was a class act.

    I don’t think Ed Sullivan was in the same spot as Carson but I did miss him when he was gone. Just saying that reminds me of Señor Wences. I miss him too. 🙂

    I’m just too old, that’s my problem!

  • I remember Topo Gigio fondly.On the list of 3,I too miss Charles Kuralt!

    • Roberta

      So do I. Loved his Sunday Morning show. I will be doing a profile of him in the very near future. You have class, Meg!!!