Friday, February 12, 2016

A study shows bottlenose dolphins will murder other dolphins. Sometimes a female dolphin will cover for the murderer with a fake alibi, but it’s easy for the cops to flipper. (sorry)

Former Virginia Gov., Jim Gilmore, is suspending his campaign for the republican presidential nomination. In a related story, I will never get back the 25 seconds it took me to write that. 

Valentine’s Day is coming up. It is that exciting time when guys try to pair what wine goes with what food, and Bill Cosby tries to pair what narcotic goes with what cocktail. 

Ted Cruz’s campaign pulled an ad because it starred a porn actress. They hired the porn actress because they thought she could make Ted Cruz easier to swallow. 

Smug AIDs drug profiteer, Martin Shkreli, has offered Kanye West $10 mil. for his new album. In a related story, the Biggest A-Hole in the Universe race just got closer. 

Since you asked:

This Bill Murray-throwing-cell phones at Pebble Beach (good for him) reminds me of one of my favorite stories that just happens to involve Bill Murray.

When I had moved back to California from New York in 1986, I was out at a hip bar in Venice Beach when I saw Bill Murray having drinks with his friends. He was at the top of his “Ghostbusters” fame and people were losing their minds. And the people were so rude, Murray and his pals had to leave. (It never entered my mind to bother him and I knew his younger brother, John, in high school, but more on that later) 

The people who were hassling Murray were not smart enough to figure out that his “Who’s your buddy? Who’s your pal?” “Stripes” persona is a character a great actor plays. Not Murray himself. That night, Murray was just another human being who wanted to spend time with his friends. These drunk idiots want to be “Caddy Shack” “Buddies for life, I think,” with Murray and that is their fault for not being smart enough to understand the difference. It is not Murray’s fault. 

As I mentioned at the top, in 1974/75 in high school at New Trier (nee) East, I was friends with John Murray, Bill’s younger-by-seven-years brother. We were not close friends, but friends. At first John thought I was a mean, dumb jock, and I thought he was one of those too-cool dudes who hung out in the smoking area (yes, my high school had a smoking area) who wore Army jackets and slouched. 

But we had played football together as freshman and we ended up in a literature class sitting next to each other. We hit it off, which is to say we went past friendly acquaintances to friends.

Turns out we both thought the other was hilarious. Later we also teamed up to be in the same drivers-ed car with a psychotic instructor, but that is a whole different story. To this day I tell people that Bill Murray’s brother, John, is just as funny as Bill. 

Thanks to the miracle of Twitter, John and I are in sort-of touch again. 

Back to high school.

One day before class, I saw John reading a letter and laughing. When I asked what it was, he said it was a letter from his brother, Bill, who was out on the road touring the East Coast with an improv cast. Now, in suburban Chicago in 1975, if somebody said somebody was touring with an improv cast, they might as well have said they were in the International Space Station training lab monkeys. And there was no ISS then. 

John gave the letter to me to read. I could not. My handwriting has been compared to a letter to Santa Claus provided the child had some sort of muscular disability. Bill Murray’s handwriting was worse.

John translated. Sadly, I do not remember a specific tale, I just remember us both laughing so much we got in trouble with the teacher, the wonderful Mr. Gahala. (A brilliant teacher who was also funny as hell)

What I do remember vividly - over 40 years later - is that John’s brother Bill had taken the time to write a touching and funny letter to his younger brother, one of his eight brothers and sisters. My brother was serving in the Peace Corp in Morocco at the time and he never wrote me once. And there were just two of us. And I didn’t write him. It never occurred to us to write each other. 

It was on my girlfriend’s bed in college watching a tiny black and white TV in the Spring of 1977 that I put two and two together and figured out the Bill Murray killing it on “Saturday Night Live” was the same guy who wrote that amazing letter to my friend, John.   

That is how I know, beyond question, Bill Murray is a great guy. And if somebody hassles him with taking a picture without asking, and Murray throws their phone away, they’re the asshole, not Bill.