Ricardo Montalban. I started worked on the 23rd installment of the Jonny Christmas saga (continued from last year's edition, Jonny's Same-Sex Marriage Christmas), which means it was time to conduct the Suggest a Celebrity to Appear in the Annual Jonny Christmas Extravaganza contest. This yearly competition allows my fans to suggest a well-known person to appear in a cameo within an illustration in the story, with the lucky winner being pictured alongside his idol. Last year's honoree was Misty LaRue for submitting Prince Harry, the year before it was Kiki Wistone for offering Titanic star Gloria Stuart, and the year before that it was Bro Joe for championing dog murderer Michael Vick. This year's competition had a few good entries (Joe was heavily in the running for his suggestion of Walt Disney's head), some "in-the-news"names like Anthony Weiner and Miley Cyrus, some off-the-wall proposals like "Grandmaster of Funk George Clinton" and Three's Company star Joyce DeWitt, and some people that I have never heard of (I had to go to Google to find out who Rafael "Ted" Cruz was). In the end, the easy winner was Jeebus Burbano's choice of Mr. Montalban, and she was no doubt inspired by the fact that she is starring in the musical Menopausia! which is about to open at Los Angeles' Ricardo Montalban Theatre. The actor is best remembered for playing Mr. Roarke in Fantasy Island, enacting the title role in the Star Trek masterpiece The Wrath of Khan, and appearing in commercials for Chryslers which praised the cars' interiors of "rich Corinthian leather," glossing over the fact that there is no such fabric as "Corinthian leather" and never has been, and the leather used by Chrysler in that era actually came from a supplier located outside Newark, New Jersey.
But what places Mr. Montalban on these pages was a point made by Bro Joe after I had announced the winner. While most people reminisced about his performances as Mr. Roarke or Khan Noonien Singh, Joe opined "I think of him as the Japanese kabuki dancer in the film Sayonara. In those days, it was assumed there were only two ethnicities in the world – white people and everybody else."Joe made an excellent point; while Mr. Montalban was chiefly called upon to play Latin lovers (he was born in Mexico City), he fell inevitably into the "foreigner" type and was occasionally asked to play nationalities far removed from his own (Khan - in which he gave a superb performance in both The Wrath of Khan and Space Seed, the episode of the original Star Trek series that inspired it - was supposed to be a Indian Sikh). This was never as out of place as it was in Sayonara, in which Mr. Montalban was about as convincing as a Japanese dancer as he would have been if he was cast as Mammy in Gone with the Wind. But it's not his fault, since prior to around 1985, it never dawned on Hollywood to cast Asian actors in Japanese roles, allowing such dubious names as Katharine Hepburn, Paul Muni, Marlon Brando, Peter Lorre, Warner Oland and Sidney Toler (the guys who were most famous for playing Charlie Chan, who were born in Sweden and Missouri, respectively) and the immortal Mickey Rooney (whose performance as Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany's is as racist as anything in Birth of a Nation) to tape up their eyelids and speak in pigeon English. At least Mr. Montalban lent more dignity than most to his miscasting, but that's what happens when you live a life swathed in rich Corinthian leather.
The fore-mentioned Bro Joe, who was contacted by a professional matchmaker who wrote him "I stumbled across your profile on our mutual social network you seem very adventurous, outdoorsy, just downright fun to be around, and not to mention good looking - you are the ideal man." Joe was tickled pink that he was officially designated by the Yenta Network as "the ideal man" although I would caution him that might not be quite the compliment it initially seems. He was awarded that sobriquet by a 90 year-old Eastern European in a babushka whose job is tracking down husband bait for desperate women whose biological clocks are about to explode. What this kind of woman considers to be an "ideal man" is someone who will provide DNA material and financing for her last-ditch attempt at having a baby and otherwise remain docile and comatose unless she needs to drag him out of his crypt to accompany them to a family wedding or a Sunday dinner at Mother's house so she finally won't be nagged to death about when she's going to settle down and find a man. Joe's history of alcohol abuse and conversational ineptitude makes him the perfect mate for such women since he'll spend his nights passed out in the basement after drinking a bottle and a half of Jack Daniels while she's in the nursery reading Ayn Rand books to Junior. It's an ideal situation.
Strut Your Mutt, an event that Winston and I attended last Sunday in which hundreds of dogs and their owners went on a 2-mile walk in a local park to raise funds for homeless animal, urged on by a pair of the Laker Girls. It was a great cause but the organizers scheduled it for a day when the temperature was in the 90s and I wound up having to carry Winston for the last part to prevent him from suffering a stroke. We did meet a number of interesting animals including a Pekinese in a wheelchair and a pug who had no eyeballs (he got around surprisingly well by sniffing his way through the world) but that didn't alter the fact that both Winston and I are pussies who requires an artificially controlled environment at all times or else we get cranky. But the event raised almost half a million dollars to help orphan cats and dogs so I suppose we can put up with a little discomfort for one day. But the next time they do something like this, I'm hoping it can take place in my bedroom with the AC blasting. If only I can talk the Laker Girls into showing up, it will be perfect.
Sheryl Crow, who I saw perform at Los Angeles' Greek Theatre on Saturday night. I didn't have a bone to pick with Ms. Crow because she put on an amazing show (although anyone that talented, rich and smokin' hot is bound to show up on my shit list eventually) until she sang her radio smash "Strong Enough."The ditty unfolds by her describing psychotic and violent behavior that she frequently engages in and then poses the question "Are you strong enough to be my man?"And because she is such a knockout, the answer that inevitably comes from the pathetic males in her audience is "My heavens, yes!"That's all well and good for the three minutes and fifteen seconds that the song runs for, but the reality is that if a woman - even a gorgeous woman (especially a gorgeous woman) - starts providing you with a laundry list of her craziness, run like hell in the opposite direction. Because there are plenty of chicks out there who don't require daily workouts at the gym so that you'll have the strength to put up with their bullshit. And if she taunts you while you're leaving by saying that you're "not man enough" to put up with her, just tell her over your shoulder that she's goddamned right. You might feel ashamed, but it's only going to last about three minutes and fifteen seconds.