The Power of Fish Sticks

“The only kind of seafood I trust,” Dave Barry, the humorist, once commented, “is the fish stick, a totally featureless fish that doesn’t have eyeballs or fins.   That’s as good a reason to eat fish sticks as any.   Trust.

Four fish sticks. Photo by: Timo Kirkkala

Clarence Birdseye developed the technology for fast freezing fish.  Gorton’s is credited with first introducing the product here in 1953, winning the Parents Magazine Seal of Approval.  With the widespread adoption of kitchen appliances over the next decade, including the freezer, fish sticks were a hit!

But do fish sticks taste good?  Add a bit of lemon and some tartar sauce, and just about anything tastes good.

As an alternative, sprinkle fish sticks with shredded parmesan cheese and top with spaghetti sauce.  Voila!  Italian.

For a more exotic palate, try Asian Fish Stick Lettuce Wraps.  Add some veggies, carrots and such, to your favorite brand.  Serve with a dipping sauce of soy sauce, peanut butter, lime juice, coconut milk, and a dash of crushed red pepper.

Concerned about the nutritional value of fish sticks?   Make your own, suggests celebrity chef Rachael Ray.  Start with boneless cod or halibut fillets cut into strips, dip the strips in eggs, and coat them with panko seasoned with a dash of salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper.  Bake at 450 degrees for ten minutes.  It’s easy.

Kids like fish sticks, too, especially the fourth-graders on South Park.

Working on his comedy routine, Jimmy spawned a joke, asking Cartman whether he likes fish sticks.

Do you like tartar sauce? Photo by: Girl Interrupted Eating

Yeah, I like fish sticks,” Cartman replied.

“Do you like putting fish sticks in your mouth?” Jimmy then asked.

“Yeah,” answered Cartman.

“What are you?  A gay fish,” pronounced Jimmy, delivering the punch line.

“Fish… sticks.  Dude, that’s funny as shit.  Let’s try it on the gang,” Cartman shouted, rushing out the door.

The gang liked it, and the joke spread.  A teacher told it to the principal.  A neighbor repeated it at the supermarket.  Jimmy Kimmel, Dave Letterman, and Jay Leno told a version to their audiences, eliciting huge laughs.

A television anchorman commented, “The fish sticks joke crosses all borders, all races, all ages and ethnic groups, and is slowly uniting our country.”

The joke couldn’t fail because the set-up was perfect.  Everyone likes the frozen comfort food.

Know any jokes about hot dogs?  We could use some about now.

© 2011 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved


It’s easier to trust men sometimes. I only have a few close girlfriends that I trust.

— Paris Hilton


I wouldn’t trust any man as far as you can throw a piano.

— Ethel Merman



Who Do You Trust?

Before becoming the King of Late Night, Johnny Carson was the emcee of the daytime game show Who Do You Trust?  Partway through its run from 1957 to 1962 Ed McMahon replaced the announcer.  Yes, Johnny and Ed were together for a long time.

Johnny Carson: How we miss you. Photo by: Alan Light

Amazingly, Johnny had already perfected his shtick for which he was so popular for decades.  In his opening monologue and, yes, he had an opening monologue, he told jokes and imparted observations, relaxed and casual, as if he had been in front of a studio audience his whole life.

One day after explaining he had gotten a haircut earlier, and that was why he was twitching and jerking, he noted, “Something just occurred to me.  When one barber gets a haircut by another barber, who does the talking?”  Ed got a big chuckle from that.

Johnny also liked spending time with the contestants.  One guest, a firefighter describing a blaze at a bra factory, asked him, “And you know what the smell was, Johnny? Burnt rubber.”  Without losing a beat, our favorite host replied, “Sort of a falsie alarm?”  Ed liked that one, too.

Like Groucho Marx on You Bet Your Life, Carson seemed to prefer interviewing the participants than quizzing them.   On many occasions he’d ask his guests to demonstrate their unique talents or hobbies, always serving as their guinea pig in good cheer.  This resulted in his being chased off the stage by a saber-brandishing fencing instructor, diving into a tank of water in full scuba gear, and crashing into a wall driving a miniature racecar.

First airing on CBS, the program was originally called Do You Trust Your Wife?   When it moved to another station, ABC  changed the title, but the concept was the same.  Three couples participated on each episode.  When it was time to compete, the husband was given a category and asked to decide whether he or his wife would answer the question.

Watching YouTube clips, the husband usually took it upon himself to answer the question, not trusting his wife, or does it only seem that way?

At least on The Newlywed Game that premiered in 1966, the husband and wife took turns responding to questions about each other.  This led to many arguments over incorrect answers and even some divorces, which is probably why the show was so popular.  Was the prize of their choosing – washers and dryers, bedroom sets, dining room table and chairs, home entertainment systems, you name it – really worth it?

But this begs the question, who do you trust?

© 2011 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved


Betty White: Not Just Hot, But Trustworthy, Too.

Would you trust this woman? Yes! Yes! And, yes! Photo by: Hysterical Bertha

Every time Allen Ludden, the bespectacled, gentlemanly host of the popular 1960s television game show Password, proposed to the queen of television Betty White, and he proposed often over the course of a year, she said “no.”  She said “no” for so long that when she finally said “yes” Ludden had used up most of his vacation courting her.

Rather than waiting until there was more time to plan a lavish ceremony and go someplace exotic for their honeymoon, the couple opted instead for a quickie wedding in Las Vegas followed by a short holiday in Laguna Beach, California.

But sometimes there are hitches when getting hitched.  Allen, who had never missed a plane in his life, missed his plane from New York to Los Angeles because he was caught in a traffic jam on his way to the airport.  Betty, upset and angry, thought it was a bad sign.

But she believed in him.  When Allen caught the next flight out, the soon-to-be-newlyweds were on their way to Las Vegas as planned. Betty’s parents were witnesses to the ceremony that took place in the wedding suite at the Sands Hotel on June 14, 1963.

The Luddens had a strong, happy marriage. It lasted until Allen’s death eighteen years later. In her book In Person Betty wondered why she hesitated for so long before accepting his proposal. Yet she knows that they stayed together because they thought of themselves as a unit, rather than two separate entities

Ah, it’s a matter of trust.  She trusted him to have her back, and he trusted her.  Trust goes a long way in building a relationship.

It turns out many of us trust Miss White, not in love and marriage, but when shopping.  In a recent survey, more respondents named Betty as the celebrity whose endorsement they were most likely to consider when deciding between one brand and another.  Paris Hilton, not so much.  She was at the bottom of the list.

A sense of humor helps, too.  And Betty has that in spades.

She starred in sitcoms in the fifties, including Life with Elizabeth and Date with the Angels.  Okay, not too many of us remember either show. But who can forget her as Sue Ann Nivens, the host of “The Happy Homemaker” on the Mary Tyler Moore Show? She was ingratiating on camera and just the opposite in the office.

Or what about sweet and caring, if a bit naïve, Rose Nylund on Golden Girls?  Now that was a character audiences could get behind.

As Catherine Piper on Boston Legal, she said what she thought, never playing softball.  Telling her boss, lawyer Alan Shore, what she thought of him, she declared, “Most people aren’t able to see that beneath your slick and sensitive exterior, deep down you really are douche bag.” Still, he kept her from a life behind bars for murdering her murderous boyfriend.

Betty’s role in a 2010 Snickers commercial brought her new fans. After a vigorous Facebook campaign lobbying for her to host Saturday Night Live, she finally said “yes.”   In her introduction on the show, she noted, “Many of you know I’m 88 and a half years old.  It’s great to be here for a number of reasons.”

Now she’s beloved in Hot in Cleveland.  Paris, no longer hot, can take a cue from Betty White.

© 2011 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved