In the steam bath with Dr. Joyce.

We had a bit of a server problem last night that cut into my blogging time, so not much today. But how can any of us think about ANYthing else than the death of Dr. Joyce Brothers? How is it possible this icon of my childhood is gone? Actually, how is it possible she was still alive? She died at 85. Old, but not that old.

Once upon a time, every time you turned on a talk show, she was there, offering advice with the imprimatur of her doctorate. She outranked the ad hoc wise women like Ann and Abby, but she wasn’t all credentials, right? I remember her being common-sensical and wise.

I interviewed her once. Some book, probably. At the end of the interview, I mentioned Gilda Radner, and she laughed about Roseanne Rosannadanna and the sweatball story. You have to like a person who can have a laugh at their own expense.

And after a day of computer-monitor staring, frankly, my eyes are athrob. So let’s take it away, comments.

Posted at 12:38 am in Current events |

55 responses to “In the steam bath with Dr. Joyce.”

  1. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 14, 2013 at 1:07 am

    She made lots of my peers interested in psychology as a career. Calm, reasonable, with little witty insights, but not much of the puffed-up self-importance of the old Freudian model psychotherapists, whose personas threatened to trivialize the science of the mind. God be good to her.

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  2. Dexter said on May 14, 2013 at 2:02 am

    Last fall I saw a ghastly still photo of her , maybe she had been admitted to a hospital, but she looked nigh dead for sure.
    She always had an opinion, she was on the treadmill circuit of talk shows since I was a little kid and I would listen to her, but now I can’t remember a damn thing she ever said.

    I hope prospero watched the Boston Bruins game. They trailed the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 with only one minute and twenty-two seconds left in the game. Bada boom, bada bing! Two goals to tie and then they won in overtime. It was a remarkable study in perseverance.

    Get your Powerball ticket for today. The prize is $350 million before taxes. Good luck. 10% finder’s fee, payable to Dexter’s Enterprises. 🙂

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  3. Deborah said on May 14, 2013 at 4:59 am

    Thanks for the Powerball advice Dexter, I only ever buy a ticket when it’s way up there and then I only buy one. There’s a little commissary on the ground floor of my building, one of the residents recently won $10,000 from one of the lotteries bought from there. So that probably reduces my chances to way less than zero.

    I’m going to a photo shoot early this morning on the lakefront. I’ll tell you all what it’s about later if it pans out. There’s actually a Nancy Nall connection.

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  4. ROGirl said on May 14, 2013 at 5:53 am

    I used to get called Roseanne Roseannadanna on a regular basis, mostly at work, usually by 1 or 2 men. Last year I worked at a place where a lot of the people were too young to even know who she was, and of course had never seen Gilda (their parents’ era). I started a new job a few months ago and work with a man who called me Roseanne Roseannadanna when I met him.

    Powerball drawing is tomorrow.

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  5. Connie said on May 14, 2013 at 7:34 am

    An interesting tidbit about Brothers: Brothers gained fame in late 1955 by winning The $64,000 Question game show, on which she appeared as an expert in the subject area of boxing.

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  6. alex said on May 14, 2013 at 7:43 am

    We forget that Detroit was considered to be among the top tier of cities not all that long ago, and Gilda Radner used to throw her hometown a lot of shout-outs. A particularly funny one that I remember was Roseanne Roseannadanna on a tangent about she had a bad case of B.O. caused by a polyester blouse from Korvette’s.

    I also remember Dr. Joyce Brothers. She put a much friendlier face on the psychological profession than I found in my early efforts to address my homosexuality. In this town in those days, the shrinks I encountered would eventually let me know in no uncertain terms that I needed to straighten up and fly right. This was after winning my trust and telling me there was nothing wrong with me. After several of those I wrote off the profession as a crock. (And some of them were dumber than a bag of hammers, so it seemed to me they had no business giving me any advice anyway.) It wasn’t until many years later that someone recommended a Freudian analyst in Chicago, who not only changed my opinion of psychology but helped me change my life.

    (Jeff, her personality didn’t get in the way of her work, but I once went on a weekend retreat at about age 18 at the compound of some shrink in Arlington Heights who was megalomaniacal. He also was certain that being gay was simply a self-esteem problem. He did group counseling with everyone in the nude. And charged bazillions of dollars for it and sold people his crappy book that I can’t even find online or I’d link to it. All in all, that episode took a severe toll on my mental health rather than doing it any good. I don’t know what school of thought he hailed from. His own, I think.)

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  7. Prospero said on May 14, 2013 at 8:05 am

    Nancy. You said my eyes are athrob. I’m hoping that is good news.

    And for the Obama whacko witch hunters that visit here. If the GOPer nutso conspiracy types really want to go on a witch hunt, I’d suggest they read some recent history and look at how John Kerry tracked down the Raygunista Iran-Contra mob, that trashed the Constitution way worse than the Nixon bunch. You won’t find anything there, despite Inhofe’s outrageous accusations. Ever heard of Banco Livorno? You assholes have apparently forgotten “Mission Accomplished”. How do these assholes live with themselves?

    Rosanne Rosanadanna was truly hilarious. And the idea that Gilda married Gene Wilder brings tears to my eyes. I love Johnny Depp, but Gene Wilder is Willy Wonka, and that boat ride is the scariest movie moment ever. The snake crawling through the skull? Holy shit that is Roald Dahl, perfectly.

    And yeah. Dex. I saw that. it did my old crusty heart good. Tuuka Rask is a goalie that can take them all the way, Not to mention having a great goalie name. The NHL owes the Bs one for letting Ulf Samuelson get away with it: That is hilarious about Powerball. The Raygunista attack on the Constitutio was astounding,. What the fuck was wrong with these aholee? Ollie didn’t know? These fuckers jist ytashed the Constitution and they are GOPer heros, Assholes. There is your scanda, yoi shitheels. Follow the cash, youe numbnuts assholes.eeeeeeeeeee

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  8. beb said on May 14, 2013 at 8:55 am

    It’s good to see the server back up. I ended up reading half of yesterday’s comments today.

    The beauty of the 501(c)(4) is that up to 49% of its income may be spend on politics and it doesn’t have to reveal its contributors. The other 51% can be eaten up through salaries, donations to other charities and political activities can are narrowly threaded so as to not qualify as a campaign contribution. However, considering how intense some of these conservative millionaires are, I suspect that a 51% wastage of their donations, as long as 49% remains sheltered, is a small price to pay for FREEDOM!

    Or whatever.

    I avoided Dr. Brothers all my life, much the say I avoid Dr. Phil.

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  9. Deggjr said on May 14, 2013 at 9:02 am

    “Old, but not that old”

    It’s funny how perspectives on age change as we get older.

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  10. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 14, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Alex, I can’t back this up with anything other than anecdote and experience (both of which can lead one dangerously astray, I know), but your experience just reaffirms for me that it really doesn’t matter if a counselor/therapist is Freudian, Jungian, Christian, a disciple of Beck & CBT or of Minuchin & family systems therapy (the last my own particular kink), but the ability to grow and make the changes you want is always ultimately in whether or not you can trust who you’re talking to. I do no more than three sessions in pastoral counseling in my official role, and even with that limitation – and as I’m trying to make the most effective possible referral whether after one, two, or that final session – I tell people “if you don’t feel comfortable with what I’m saying or responding with active interest to how I’m inquiring, don’t hesitate to say you think you need to just stop and go talk to someone else.”

    If you go through three people in a row and quickly don’t like what they’re saying, and they’re all saying the same thing, then you might want to just pause and ask *yourself* some questions, but aside from that, I won’t say you shouldn’t keep looking for a fourth or a fifth therapist/counselor, for exactly what you’re saying. There’s no shortage of not-very-good counselors out there, and even if they’re all adequate, if that sense of connection isn’t there, I don’t think it’s going to work.

    But even at that, I know someone who tried four or five counselors, and ended up going back to one they talked to first or maybe second, and this time they clicked, and that began a four year journey that was incredibly helpful for her. In a sense, I guess it’s like the old adage “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

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  11. brian stouder said on May 14, 2013 at 9:38 am

    Pros, let me just say – in all seriousness – I agree about the ridiculousness of the never-ending Congressional Benghazi-palooza; and the IRS thing is murky enough to strike me as normally screwed up (and in need of reform)…but the DoJ versus the Associated Press?

    That’s the one that has me concerned. That’s the one that is a real scandal. That’s the one that ought to lead to Congressional probes and criminal convictions.

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  12. Deborah said on May 14, 2013 at 9:57 am

    Brian, I agree with you about the brewing scandal of the DoJ and the AP, but it doesn’t seem like the kind of thing the right wing will be up in arms about, so it may not be as big a flap as all that.

    My memories of Dr. Brothers are of her obvious intellect, it always made me feel good to see an intelligent woman on the TV talk shows. Which reminds me of how much I loved the earlier talk shows like Jack Parr and Dick Cavett. Everyone appeared so sophisticated and erudite. Today there only seem to be whacky starlets or jocks being interviewed.

    Isn’t that something about Angelina Jolie and her decision to have a preventative double mastectomy?

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  13. brian stouder said on May 14, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Deborah – regarding Ms Jolie – wow.

    I think I would read Angelina Jolie’s (ghost-written) book, if she ever writes it. She’s made lots of sacrifices to get where she is (including implants and all the rest), and now she’s making sacrifices that are exponentially greater in order to live out her lifetime?

    Considering her clownish dad and her tumultuous romance-in-a-fishbowl life, her narrative would be compelling.

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  14. 4dbirds said on May 14, 2013 at 10:16 am

    I too bought one powerball ticket to have some skin in the game.

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  15. Dorothy said on May 14, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Thanks for the link to the Roseanne Rosannadanna script. When I read it, I had Gilda’s voice in my head as I read it. And of course, Jane Curtain’s. I laughed and laughed! I miss Gilda Radner. My current car is named after her. (Just “Gilda”. The car shares my last name – duh!)

    I was astounded to read that about Angelina Jolie first thing this morning. I imagine there’s a lot of actresses who, if they did what she did, would never say a word about it, for fear their image would be compromised. She was brave to announce it like she did.

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  16. Connie said on May 14, 2013 at 10:26 am

    So what would you do if YOU knew you had the breast cancer gene? My mother died of breast cancer at age 57. Earlier this year my OB/GYN recommended that I have the breast cancer gene test. After much thought, mostly involving the question of what would I do, I took the test. I DO NOT have the breast cancer gene. And I did qualify for insurance of the test which cost around $3,000.

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  17. alex said on May 14, 2013 at 10:32 am

    There was once a made-for-TV movie of the back story of “Gilligan’s Island,” revealing all of the infighting and other things that were said to have gone on among the cast of that series. One thing that came to light was that Natalie Schafer, who played Mrs. Howell, had undergone a double mastectomy many years earlier and that she’d had to keep it a secret because the “C” word was so scary to people in those days, and that a Hollywood actress without those assets was considered washed up.

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  18. Dorothy said on May 14, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Connie that’s an excellent question. I want to bring it up with my daughter. My mother-in-law had breast cancer when she was 53. But it wasn’t what she died from four years later. Also on that side of the family was a great aunt of my husband’s who had breast, brain and skin cancer. And two years ago my husband had colon cancer. On the TODAY show this morning they mentioned that if there is a family history of certain kinds of cancers, you should probably be tested for the gene. I just don’t know how to bring it up to my daughter without alarming her. I am going to assume her insurance will cover it.

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  19. Deborah said on May 14, 2013 at 11:12 am

    I would do it if I knew I had the gene, in a heartbeat.

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  20. Peter said on May 14, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Yumping Yiminee, Alex, that was one disturbing post. Kudos to you, I don’t know what I would be like if I went through that experience.

    However, Korvette’s was originally a New York outfit. I didn’t find that out until way after they closed – they had a couple of stores in Chicago and I thought they were a local chain, like Turnstyle or Shopper’s World.

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  21. alex said on May 14, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Peter, aside from those shrinks who earned my trust and then betrayed it, there were also those who were freaked out because they’d never dealt with a gay teen-ager before and those who were openly hostile from the git-go. In those days, it was hard to know where to turn, and there was a lot of conflicting information, but most of it on the negative side was religious in nature. I remember that on shows like Phil Donahue they couldn’t discuss the subject without bringing on people like Jerry Fallwell and Phyllis Schlafly for “balance.” They wouldn’t have dared to “balance” a discussion on race with a panel of klansmen, but this was tantamount to the same thing.

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  22. Prospero said on May 14, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Gilda Radner was one of those Hollywood aholes that should have never openend her piehole, right: because she was sstupid> Right you moron?

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  23. Bob (not Greene) said on May 14, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Peter, I remember the Korvette’s in North Riverside. They had a good record department and were a go-to spot for records when I was a kid — them and G.C. Murphy, where I bought my first album, a Beatles record, with money I got from my first Communion.

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  24. brian stouder said on May 14, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    …I bought my first album, a Beatles record, with money I got from my first Communion.

    Thread win, right there!!

    (poetic, really)

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  25. MarkH said on May 14, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    I knew I had read somewhere that Radner based Roseannadanna on a real NYC newscaster and I found some documentation. Here’s Roseanne Scamardella:

    “…I learned so much, and I worked with such incredible people,” said Rose Ann Scamardella, who was the first woman to anchor the news in New York. “It was such a unique and special time.” (Ms. Scamardella was also the inspiration for Gilda Radner’s iconic “Saturday Night Live” character Roseanne Roseannadanna. “God bless Gilda Radner,” Ms. Scamardella said on Sunday. “She was very good for my contract negotiations.”)…”

    LAMary, didn’t you live in NYC in the ’70s? Aside from the name variation, did Radner pick up anything else from the real Roseanne?

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  26. Sherri said on May 14, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    A big reason the breast cancer gene test is so expensive is because one company owns the patent on the genes. Not the test, the genes, which prevents any other company from coming up with another, cheaper test. The Supreme Court is deciding a case on the validity of these patents this term.

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  27. MarkH said on May 14, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Here’s Scamardella in her heyday:

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  28. Dave said on May 14, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    My wife had cousins in Brooklyn and they often remarked about the newscaster in NY, back in Gilda’s heyday on SNL.

    Pros, what brought that on, am I missing some previous remarks regarding Gilda Radner?

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  29. Scout said on May 14, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Prospero, you seem to be celebrating happy hour early today!

    I loved Gilda, she was my absolute all-time favorite SNL actor. Although, I must admit that after the original cast moved on I rarely ever watched it.

    The Anjelina double mastectomy story is very interesting. She definitely dances to an alternative rhythm. I too would read her auto-biography if it were to be written.

    Dr Joyce was what Dr Laura pretended to be.

    Nance, take it easy for a while longer. An entire day spent in front of a monitor gives me eyeball burn even without having undergone what you just did!

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  30. MarkH said on May 14, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    To this day, whenever Barbara Walters appears on the TV, I think, and if my wife is there, we say to each other, “Baba Wawa”.

    What makes it stick, I think, is that at the time, Walters made it known she was offended by Radner’s impersonation.

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  31. brian stouder said on May 14, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Baba Wawa indeed! And don’t forget other media icons that got brought down a notch, such as the conservative on 60 Minutes’ ‘Point/Counter Point’ (Jack Kilpatrick?) “Jane, you ignorant slut!”. Come to think of it, if they DIDN’T make fun of Eric Sevareid, they should have. (He always seemed to deliver his commentaries as if he was holding back a major bowel movement)

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  32. Deborah said on May 14, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Brian you made me laugh with your description of Sevareid commentaries.

    Thursday Morning I leave for New Mexico and as usual I am contemplating all the things I will miss about Chicago. The last few days have been glorious with blooming tulips everywhere, blossoming fruit trees, red buds, even now lilacs, I’m so glad I was here for this. I will be in NM all summer so will miss the stifling humidity of the Midwest which I am happy to avoid. Building our place in Abiquiu commences soon, finally.
    I won’t be back to Chicago until after labor day, taking the cat with me. This should be interesting.

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  33. Dexter said on May 14, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Bob Not Greene: I still have my first Beatles album…shaggy-not-long (Teddy Boy) hairstyles…”Introducing The Beatles”, Vee-Jay Records, $2.79, Miracle Mart, Fort Wayne, Indiana. It must have been early in 1964.
    Mono recording, of course. The stereophonic re-issue came later.

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  34. Dorothy said on May 14, 2013 at 3:53 pm


    I too admit to being pissed at Prospero for his remark about Gilda but then I considered the source and found myself not bothered (much) anymore. Still …. it made me pretty cranky for awhile.

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  35. Bob (not Greene) said on May 14, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Dexter, I had that record too! It may still be somewhere in my parents’ house. The thing about that album cover that still sticks with me is that they all have brown hair and are wearing brown suits with red checked shirts. “Very clean,”as Paul grandfather would say in “A Hard Day’s Night.” That record and “Meet the Beatles” were the two albums that opened my eyes. A friend of my mom’s gave both of them to me when I was 6 or 7, which is why I couldn’t wait to head out to Murphy’s once I got my communion loot to buy “Something New” which had a picture of the band on the Ed Sullivan Show for the cover or “The Beatles Second Album.” I can’t remember which one it was. It may have been both.

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  36. Bob (not Greene) said on May 14, 2013 at 4:04 pm


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  37. alex said on May 14, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    I never had Meet the Beatles, but I do seem to recall a satirical wall poster of the album cover — out of Mad magazine maybe? — that was titled “Beat the Meatles.”

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  38. Julie Robinson said on May 14, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Sherri, you always come up with great facts. That huge profit doesn’t seem quite right. Luckily, the cancer gene has mostly passed over my family, but if I had it, they’d go immediately. It would be a huge adjustment to my womanly self-image, but then, so would losing my hair to treatment or losing my life to a preventable disease.

    Perhaps one of the gents here can rise, so to speak, to the occasion–has Jolie done nudity in movies? For an actress known in large part for her beauty and sexiness, it could be considered a career risk. (But, see previous paragraph re life/death.)

    Gilda was one of the good ones for sure. Whenever we catch bits of SNL these days, the consensus is that there’s one or two good skits and even those go on too long.

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  39. Bob (not Greene) said on May 14, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Dexter, this is the label I had of that album. Of course, scratched all to hell and not pristine like this one.

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  40. mark said on May 14, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    With Holder announcing an investigation, Harry Reid planning for hearings and this news-

    -it might be wishful thinking to assume IRSgate is going away soon.

    And rumor has it that Victoria Nuland refuses to quietly be tossed under the Benghazi bus by the White House.

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  41. brian stouder said on May 14, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    Mark, I will agree with you without exception on the AP/DoJ scandal.

    The IRS/teaparty hullabaloo strikes me as a nothingness wrapped in an obscurity.

    And there is no Benghazi bus available to get thrown beneath, except for the one that won’t start, and which Issa (et al) are busily wrenching upon. From my view, there’s much more danger that the Benghazi bus will fall off it’s jacks and on top of Issa and the Republigoons if they persist with their (useless) hammering away on it.

    But again, the direct assault on the AP’s reporters – including their home phones and cells and so on – has my undivided attention…no “if”s, “and”s, or “but”s about it

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  42. mark said on May 14, 2013 at 4:47 pm


    Odd that the alleged IRS conduct struck the President as “outrageous”. I’m sure your view will prove correct.

    Nuland had already been chosen, but not yet officially nominated, as the next Asst Secy of State for European Affairs, a much sought after posting. That position requires Senate confirmation. She has been told the Administration will not put here up for anything that permits questioning by the Senate. Nuland is a career diplomatwho has worked both sides of the political aisle and could probably be confirmed with little difficulty. She reportedly is not happy with her career being limited to save Obama further embarassment.

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  43. David C. said on May 14, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Hire the handicapped.

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  44. Dexter said on May 14, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Bob NG: My “Introducing…” album is the most scratched-up worn-out album I ever had. The past 8 years or o I only listen to those tunes on YouTube. 🙂

    I bought my “Meet the Beatles” album at the old downtown Murphy’s in the Fort. “A Hard Day’s Night”, the movie, changed my world somehow. I can’t explain it…I was 14, and I never viewed the world the same way again. I was insanely in love with a classmate who thought I was just the worst dirt on the planet (of course!) and this song nearly drove me insane with frustration.

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  45. LAMary said on May 14, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    I was in NY in the late seventies but for at least part of that time I didn’t have a TV. I don’t remember Ms Scamardella.

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  46. Heather said on May 14, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    My mother and grandmother died of cancer–mom was ovarian and I’m not sure what grandma was, probably breast cancer. I’m a participant in an ovarian cancer prevention study and the genetic counselor recommended I not get the gene test–she said she would expect to see more cancer/deaths in my family (my grandmother had brothers and sisters who were cancer-free and lived quite a long time). I don’t know what I would do if I found out. Not a fun decision to make. As it is I freaked out last month when they called me back for a second mammogram (all clear).

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  47. Prospero said on May 14, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    Dex: Anybody that didn’t have their world changed by Ringo walking by the river is somebody I don’t want to know. Poberto Benignit, kiss Ringos’s ass.

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  48. ROGirl said on May 14, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    The rumor about E J Korvette was that it was named for its owners: Eight Jewish Korean Veterans. Alas, it’s not true.

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  49. Prospero said on May 14, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Mark@42 They all just do it. No they don’nt asshole. The GoPers do it like it;s going out of stylle. They boycott Committee meetings. They don;t do the jobs they were paid to do, Because we can’t let a brown-skonned guy run the country.

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  50. coozledad said on May 14, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    Awww. The Benghazzum’s done moneyshooted up in ABC’s own face. Now who could have been editing them emails? ABC’s Jonathan Karl? One of Darryl Issa’s cum-socks? Do I repeat myself?

    When it takes CNN to correct your sorry ass, you’re in the journo-shitter.

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  51. alex said on May 14, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    So how ’bout those journos comparing Obama to Nixon? Liberal ones, mind you. This is why I like this president. If he pisses off the shrillest harpies on both sides he must be doing something right.

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  52. coozledad said on May 14, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    The lessons of Benghazi are clear. If a Republican ever manages to get his whoring ass in the White House again, the Democrats need to do everything they can to box him up and get him out of there before he can sell off a single national asset. No judicial appointments. None of that executive privilege bullshit.
    Just one fishing expedition after another, the Republican way.

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  53. coozledad said on May 14, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    Shorter Republicans first thing tomorrow morning?
    White house fed Jon Karl doctored emails to make us all look stupidged! Again.

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  54. Bitter Scribe said on May 14, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Sounds to me like some IRS agents were doing their jobs.

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  55. Sherri said on May 14, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    The woman who makes Sarah Palin look sane, Michele Bachmann, says the IRS thing is just a smokescreen to distract attention from BENGHAZI!!11!!

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