I'm testing a theory that Victor Fleming's masterpiece "The Wizard of Oz" is so woven into popular culture that someone or something makes reference to it at least once every day. It comes up in conversations, songs, TV shows, ads, other films, colloquial saying, etc. For one year I'll be updating this blog each time Oz comes up. Check back daily to see if the theory holds water, or melts in it. (And try it yourself. You'll start to notice Oz everywhere, I promise.)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Dark Side of Oz

Several people have asked me recently about Pink Floyd's masterpiece "The Dark Side of the Moon" and "The Wizard of Oz" and whether they sync up (also known as "The Sync" or "The Dark Side of Oz"). I wrote an article about this a while back that describes some synced up points and posted the link here, but since it is buried at the bottom of my blog, and I haven't gotten an Oz reference yet today, I figured I'd repost it.

Does it work? I'd certainly say so. Is it intentional? Pink Floyd has long denied it, and I don't know if we'll ever know for sure. Try it some time. It's fun.

Click here for details on The Dark Side of Oz

Monday, January 28, 2008

goodbye yellow brick road, hello Oz reference

This morning on the way to work I heard Elton John's classic "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road." Did you know that album sold over 20 million copies? What a song. I thought about posting a photo of the album cover, but who could pass up the opportunity to add a ridiculous Elton John pic to their blog?

p.s. Elton John hates the internet.

Friday, January 25, 2008

at long last

The dry spell is finally over. Both The Daily Show (or "A Daily Show," as they've been calling themselves since the writer's strike began) and The Colbert Report made "Wizard of Oz" references last night (1/24). They were as follows:

A Daily Show: while playing clips of some national news anchors discussing Hilary Clinton, some dude on CNN said: "...she would have melted like the Wicked Witch of the West."

The Colbert Report: referring to a photo of an old man who was a human blockhead (see photo for example of a "human blockhead," though I was unable to locate the photo of the exact old man), Colbert said, "Oh human blockhead, I think I'll miss you most of all."

We're back on track. Let's keep the streak alive.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

sorry, Erica

Due to the slowness of my blog due to the slowness of Oz references, I'm forced to post a picture of my friend Erica who went to see Wicked last week. She is surely going to hate me for this.

on the complete absence of Oz references of late…

As is often the case with a sprinter, 2008 came out of the gate like gangbusters. Then over the last few days she completely lost steam. The Wizard of Oz has been nowhere to be found lately. Last night David Foster Wallace made another reference to the film in his David Lynch essay, but I’ve already used that one (see post from 1/5/08).

I don’t know if I’m doing something wrong or what. We were red hot, and now we’re colder than a Chicago day in January (I can attest to this).

Friday, January 18, 2008


Oz has come up a few times, but mostly in repeats and conversations about this blog.

Friday feels right for a good reference.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

full disclosure

In the interest of full disclosure, yes, I watch American Idol. Is it acceptable to watch it out of cynicism? To watch because of a sadistic pleasure derived from Simon Cowell laying into some delusional performer?

No? Still not acceptable? Fine.

Well, since the cat is out of the bag, tonight when they were montaging through the various dressed up "singers" waiting to audition, I spied the Wicked Witch of the West.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

myspace stalking

I was myspace stalking this evening and came across two Oz references. One was a girl I used to know who had her location set to "Somewhere Over the Rainbow, IL." Then I moved on to high school graduating classmates stalking. I found a picture of a girl that I apparently graduated with but have no recollection of whatsoever. She was dressed up as Dorothy and her friend was the scarecrow.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Smithsonian endorses this blog (...in a way)

If you saw the Colbert Report on Thursday you caught a great Wizard of Oz reference. And even beyond the reference, was the comment from Brent Glass confirming my thoughts on The Wizard of Oz.

Glass is the Director of the Smithsonian's Treasures of American History exhibit. Colbert was meeting with him to try to get his studio portrait added to the exhibit. Glass was giving Colbert a tour of the exhibit when they stopped at a glass case featuring the original Scarecrow suit and Dorothy's ruby slippers. First, Colbert asked Glass if he was a "friend of Dorothy."

Then Glass said:
"The popularity of the Wizard of Oz transcends almost anything in entertainment."

I couldn't agree more, Mr. Glass.

Colbert responded to this, "Other than my portrait." The two debated which was more important to American History: the ruby slippers or Colbert's portrait. A $50 bet ensued, and the segment will carry over into Monday's show.

Friday, January 11, 2008

it's like totally Wicked, man

Wicked seems to be coming up everywhere. First, I was out to lunch with work friends today and one of them -- Erica -- mentioned she was going to see Wicked that night. I will have to go to the employee database on Monday and get her picture to post. She won't care if I post it here, right?

Then, while having dinner with my wife, a cab stopped outside the window with a Wicked billboard on top.

Oh, there was one other thing -- after dinner we came home and watched last night's (Thursday) 30 Rock. At one point Kenneth is leaving town to go back to Georgia. He's saying goodbye to Tracy Jordan and his posse, and says to Grizz, wide-eyed, "Grizz, I'm going to miss you most of all." (Clearly mimicking Dorothy saying goodbye to the Scarecrow.)

So far, the ubiquity of The Wizard of Oz in '08 has been remarkable. I just thought about renaming my blog "The Ubiquitous Oz." ...Nah, that sounds pretty pompous.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

this guy...

His name is Karim. He is by far one of the most beloved characters in the building I work in. He works in the warehouse and delivers everyone's mail. He is probably about 70 years old and is the happiest, most energetic guy you could imagine. He is always smiling and has a nickname for almost everyone. If he doesn't know your name he'll probably call you something like "Easy Money."

"Hey, Easy Money! How's it going?"

As Karim weaves through the cubicles and past the offices, he whistles and sings. Loud. Disruptively loud. If anyone else in the world did this, they would be reprimanded, if not worse. But Karim's whistling and singing is not only acceptable, it's a ray of light in what could be an otherwise dull day.

Today Karim was whistling Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

It was wonderful.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Oz is everywhere, I tells ya

Arrested Development is up there with Seinfeld as one of the funniest sitcoms ever produced. It was downright tragic when Fox canceled it. And just as painful when it didn't get picked up by some other network. Last night I was revisiting Season 3. I watched three episodes, and one of them contained two Oz references.

I just spent 30 minutes trying to find the references and I can't. Damnit. I should have written them down last night. Anyway, I searched the internets for help, and it turns out AD has tons of Oz references. Yet another reason Arrested Development ruled.

In addition to Arrested D, I got another reference today when NPR was discussing Bush's visit to the Middle East. I wasn't paying close attention, as my dinner was burning, but some choir of Israeli kids were singing a song for his arrival. Can you guess what song? That's right, Somewhere Over the Rainbow. NPR appears to be in love with this song.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Family Guy

It's 10:15 and I had just changed the channel from CNN's over-dramatic coverage of the New Hampshire primary. I needed something mindless. Family Guy was on Adult Swim. It's the episode where Peter (or Meg...I missed a few minutes) knocks out Quahog's cable. Peter is having problems adjusting to no television. He's having a nightmare and guess what happens...

...the show turns to black and white, and Peter finds himself twisting around in an Oz-inspired tornado, waving out the window to a bunch of 70s and 80s TV characters like Alf and Gilligan.

I was worried I wouldn't get a reference today. But no worries.

Monday, January 7, 2008

on tornadoes

It's midnight and unfortunately I didn't notice any Oz references today. But there were tornado warnings all over the Chicago area. Tornadoes always make me think of Oz.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

NPR gets in the act

2008 has been fantastic so far for Wizard of Oz references. I think I'm 5 for 6.

Anyway, today while washing dishes, I had NPR on the radio. Some hip old dude was playing Dizzy Gillespie and some other old jazz. I was half-listening. Then at one point a few notes of a tune caught my ear. I missed the name of the orchestra that was performing, but sure enough they were playing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

It sounded great and made me smile. Keep 'em coming, '08.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

compliments of David Foster Wallace

I've been reading David Foster Wallace's "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again." This is a must read for any cynic who's taken or going to take a cruise. I don't think anyone could have described the oddity of a cruising experience more perfectly.

After I finished that essay, I moved on to an essay that DFW wrote about spending time on the set of David Lynch's Lost Highway. I found my reference about halfway through the essay when DFW writes:

Wild at Heart itself, for all its heavy references to The Wizard of Oz, is actually a pomo-ish remake of Sidney Lumet's 1959 The Fugitive Kind."

I don't know what "pomo-ish" means, but I was happy to get my reference.

p.s. DFW looks exactly like my wife's ex-boss. Every time I talk to him I imagine I'm talking to David Foster Wallace.

p.p.s. The pic is a Mii someone created of DFW. Hilarious.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

how wicked is Wicked?

It seems lately, the only Oz references I'm finding are references to the musical Wicked. This is partially due to the fact that here in Chicago, Wicked is pretty popular.

So I'm continually asking myself if I should be officially counting these references to Wicked as references to The Wizard of Oz. Finally I decided there was no reason not to. I mean, obviously one spawns from the other. So from here on out, I will no longer question the Wicked references. I won't count the same one (i.e., the same billboard or the same commercial, etc.).

All that said, this morning on the radio the DJ was talking about how Wicked is the longest running musical in Chicago (or something like that).

Reference accomplished. Conscience clear. Done and done.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year (of Oz)

Yesterday, new years day, wearily driving home from a New Years Eve party, the wife and I spied a Wicked billboard on the side of the road. We'll have to count it as an Oz reference. I mean, it was the Wicked Witch at forty feet tall.

Today I wore my Dark Side of the Moon t-shirt. I'm not counting it as a reference, it's just a cool shirt.

Fingers crossed for an '08 riddled with Wizard of Oz references...