Comments: Remembering 'Horshack' actor, adding 'f-bomb' to dictionary
"Welcome Back, Kotter" fans are mourning the loss of Ron Palillo, who died of a heart attack Tuesday at 63.
August 14th, 2012
09:44 PM ET

Comments: Remembering 'Horshack' actor, adding 'f-bomb' to dictionary

Editor's note: We're listening to you. Every day, we spot thought-provoking comments from readers. What follows is a look at some of the most talked-about stories of the day.

Today we're hearing about a wide variety of things on, including coffeemaking techniques and python management. We're highlighting a few stories today with comments that caught our eyes.

1. Remembering 'Horshack'
2. Hypersonic test flight
3. Lost my kid in public
4. Jennifer Aniston
5. 'F-bomb' and other words

1. Ron Palillo, TV's 'Horshack,' dead at 63

Horshack was a beloved persona from "Welcome Back Kotter." Readers are mourning Ron Palillo, who played the 1970s TV character. For some, it's a generation thing.

Irv Kaage: "A sad day for all Sweathogs and a day that makes us all feel a little older."

Horshack paved the way for others who would dare to act like high school students, says this person.

SuthunYankee: "Hello. How are you? MY NAME is ARNOLD HORSHACK! He had many imitators: Urkel, Screech, etc. ... But Horshack was the best. R.I.P."

Or, more specifically ...

Maverick2591: "He was one of the first television nerds who made being a nerd cool. Everything else is superfluous ... Ron was decent and passionate, and he will be missed."

We heard from a couple of people who had gotten to meet Palillo, including one person who says they work at the G-Star School for the Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida. Palillo taught acting at the charter high school.

Steven Weiss: "In his Kotter heyday, Ron was an idol to many of us. In Arnold Horshack, he created an iconic character who was the epitome of the lovable sitcom geek. When he came to work at my school three years ago, I felt privileged to have the opportunity to know a true celebrity who had left an indelible impression on my childhood. Ron was a wonderful man and a fantastic teacher who will be missed by his many students and peers. My thoughts are with his family today, and those of us who knew him as a real and decent person. RIP Ron. You will be missed."

Steph Laberis: "You're lucky! I got to spend a few weeks with him when I was 12 when he was in a local production of Guys n Dolls. I didn't know he had illustrated a children's book and he took the time back then to look through my sketchbook and encourage me to pursue art. He was a joy to be around, a hilarious guy – totally lit up the room. I wish I had gotten back in touch with him 20 years later to let him know that I was able to make a career of my art and catch up with him, he was just wonderful."

In other notable news, people continue to talk about politics and in particular, Rep. Paul Ryan. We featured a number of the comments about him yesterday; today, CNN iReport followed up with several readers who had shared their pick for VP running mate. CNN is looking even further into Ryan's Generation X roots as well as explorations into the philosophy of Ayn Rand.

Onward to more conversations from today.

2. Imagine flying from New York to London in under an hour

An unmanned 25-foot-long vehicle is being dropped off a converted B-52 bomber Tuesday. It is attempting to travel Mach 6, more than 4,500 mph, for 300 seconds. That's fast enough to travel from New York to London in under an hour, if sustained. Readers are talking about this hypersonic test vehicle and what it means for society and war.

p36288: "Numerous engineers around the world are paying close attention to the US hypersonic research, especially each flight experiment. Although there are quite many obstacles to be overcome in hypersonic gas dynamics, supersonic combustion, advanced materials, guidance and control system, etc., many countries including China, Russia, Australia, and several EU countries are paying a lot to continue this kind of research, due to its apparently extreme importance in the next generation’s defense and business transportation. The US have made many great achievements especially in recent years, and is far way ahead, which is benefit from their continuous studying in the past half century. You Americans should be proud of this."

PudninTane: "I don't think it's going to be used for planes or anything anytime soon. This is primarily for developing maneuverable reentry vehicles, probably for global strike."

Cheese Wonton: "This is as much an exercise in intimidation as it is an exercise in scientific research. The program is made public, and only barely, so the adversaries of the US are made aware the USAF can do something they cannot, and in the process force them to spend countless man years and dollars, yuan, rubles or whathaveyou to catch up, if they can, or suffer the embarassment of not being able to catch up. Of course, there is valid scientific research going on here, but there is also a bit of one-upsmanship and a bit of intimidation mixed into the equation. If your enemies know they can't do what the USAF does, they will think twice about doing something that might lead to a conflict. In a way, it is cheap insurance."

Would it be better to invest in NASA?

trayvon47: "It's sad the military can afford to just throw money away like this but NASA has no funds for anything anymore. I can't help but think nasa could have done a better job with this and would have learned more. They need to refund NASA and cut military funding. Everyone knows america will not be getting in a big conventional war again. NASA will be more important in the future then throwing money at the military. Why not throw some military money at NASA and see what they can come up with. I bet they would really make a difference in future warfare."

Do we invest too much in the military?

tfredrich2: "This article is a clear example of why the United States should seriously consider down sizing their military to about 50%. They spend billions to trillions of dollars on useless stuff when that money could be better used to improve conditions within the economy. Instead, the logic is to build bigger, faster, and more powerful weapons ... and at 140 million a pop ... that seems like Washington is saying 'that's chump change to us.' This country and world are so screwed. If people honestly think we can go on living like this, just wait."

This reader is optimistic about the possibilities.

Pete: "The shuttle got up to over 17, 000 mph so this isn't for speed records. It is a practical application that will eventually be reusable and (hopefully) eventually cost effective. There would be less moving parts for maintenance and other than getting it initially into the air–lots less fuel. This model is a mock-up of the technology required and the aerospace industry can build on what is learned from the tests."

3. The time I lost my kid in public

Columnist Amanda Enayati offers a first-person look at losing a child in public places, and readers offer their own stories.

NYsage65: "I can so relate. I lost my son at the beach when he was 9. It is a very surreal experience indeed, your heart freezes and you think how your life will never be the same if your child is lost forever. All ended well when he rode up on the back of the lifeguard's motor bike. He had stayed calm and knew to go to the lifeguard for help."

zaphodb: "More proof why cities where you need to use public transportation are no place to raise kids.
This turned out for the best, but it could just as easily have gone the other way."

ylimmah: My fiance and I were at a large, metropolitan zoo a month or so ago. We were in a huge aquatical building and saw a boy, maybe 4 years old tops, slowly wandering around by himself. All the other adults just walked right past him. Finally, when we sure that his parents weren't anywhere near him, I knelt down and started talking to the boy, while my fiance went to find an employee. The boy was terrified and would barely talk to me. A short time after we got the boy to an employee, the mother ran up, bawling, and hugged the kid harder than I've ever seen in my life. That sure beats all the times I helped reunite a child with his/her parent at the retail store I used to work at – and the mom smacked the kid or yelled at him/her for getting lost.

MDMick: "I had a similar experience – but the "child" was my mother! I was -as an adult- with my Senior Citizen mother on the 2nd of the 3 platforms of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and talked her into taking the elevator up to the dizzying height of the top platform. As my mom stepped in a guard stepped between us indicating the car was full and the doors closed before I could explain we were together and she was scared. I could see the terror in her eyes through the glass doors. I yelled, "Don't worry! I'll see you at the top." When I arrived on the next car she said she sunk her face into the chest of a friendly man standing next to her so she didn't have to look through the glass doors. I never met him because she had told him she was okay once she realized there was lots of room to stay away from the edge on the 3rd platform, but I appreciated his effort!"

Mary Bonner: "My children used to love hiding in the clothing racks from me. it was really hard to deal with. my young son had beautiful white hair and my daughter had beautiful honey blond hair. one day, i had them in a shopping cart, dreading when they would clamour to get out of the cart, promising to stay by me, and hide. two elderly ladies stopped to admire their hair, touching their hair and commenting how they wished they had beautiful hair like that. the laides left, smiling. i looked at my children and told them that if they left my side, the ladies would steal their hair. i said yes, lots of ladies would love your hair on their heads. both little children grabbed the tops of their heads, eyes huge. i never had a problem with them leaaving me ever again. and i didnt feel guilty over it either."

4. We care that Aniston's getting married. Why?

A look at the excitement over Jennifer Aniston’s happier days is getting a lot of people fired up because this piece is about entertainment, and some like it and some don’t. See below for an exchange that took place between two of our readers.

"1) We grew up with her and her pals in Friends, which for many was the only weekly comedy life that we can associate with.
2) She is beautiful, genuine and victimized. For me I like Angelina as well. But I really wish Jen the best in finding her love.
3) I've never later liked any of her movies. She has not found her grove in movie career, but still I wish her the best. Please don't be mean to her."

Mark Bixler:
"1. No, 'We' all didn't. In fact most of us didn't. Just a small section of the population grew up with her. In reality, much of that section didn't grow up at all.
2. She is average-looking but has lots of money to enhance herself. What you know about her is that she's genuinely an actor but you don't know her personally so you can't says she is genuine. Don't glorify victimhood, it's unhealthy for everyone and denotes an unhealthy need for negative drama.
3. Agree, her movies have never been any good. She's in them because there's a built-in audience of former Friends viewers so she actually has found her groove in that way."

5. Adding 'f-bomb' to dictionary makes for an 'aha moment'

Dropping "f-bombs" just got a little more legitimate, now that the word is defined as a "lighthearted and printable euphemism" in the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.  This and other words got readers rushing to make some awkward sentences.

Nyfiken Ienstrut: " 'Aha moment'? English is not my first, second nor even my third language – but i know what "epiphany" means. 'Aha moment' sounds like small kids language to me. What next? 'Big cry moment' instead of sorrow? 'Wanting food moment' instead of hunger. You get my drift?"

Ldopa: "So while having an energy drink in the gastropub you can have an aha-moment while cloud computing and sexting a game changing f-bomb to your bank about the systematic risk of building that bucket list item you've always dreamed of: your very own underwater man cave."

153246: "I had an 'aha moment' where I realized the Merriam-Webster's editorial staff is spurring on a game changer in its own downward spiral of credibility."

But are we being too harsh?

Ldopa: "One can 'poo-poo' the word additions all they want, but for a language to remain a 'living' language, it must evolve ... even if to evolve it must appear to 'devolve", it is still changing, ergo evolving, ergo living. We must accept this vital requisite, lest English suffer the fate of Latin and be relegated to obscure Language Arts electives. Say, for example, a student wishes to study Flatulence. The guidance counselor may well advise the young student to study English, as the word 'fart' is indeed pure English, as are most 'four-letter' words commonly used today. One of the many silly ironies is that one could then eat Mexican, drink German beer, and practice English at the same time. :)"

Define a Kermuflgup, please.

Peopl: "Dictionaries reflect the use of everyday people. WE decide what is and is not a proper word. My professor worked on the committee for the Oxford dictionary and explained this to me. They are trying to keep up with how regular people speak, not the other way around. We could get Kermuflgup into the dictionary simply by starting to use it; it's that simple."

FattyFred: "A bit frightening when you consider how many regular people have no idea how to speak properly."

What do you think about the day's many news stories? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Celebrity • Comments • Showbiz • TV
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. chrissy

    Yea but do the moderators allow the f bomb to be used in a post?

    August 14, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. chrissy

    Well hello cutie patootie! Good to see you posting also.

    August 14, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. drap™

    I enjoyed watching "Welcome back Kotter" Who would have thought John Travolta became the star he is... .? But the last photo looks like Woody Harrelson... .

    August 14, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Nah, Woody has less hair...

      Hey chrissy, little mister.
      My last post of the evening:

      RIP, Ron Pallilo.
      You brought great joy to many.

      Jennifer Aniston is irrelevant to my life; I wish her well, though.

      The "F-bomb" being added to the dictionary is weird, but not unexpected.
      You ought to *see* what other words they have included.
      An "Ah-Ha moment" *is* an epiphany; let's not dumb things down any more than we need to, mmmkay?

      I was once lost at our County Fair when I was about 8; it was terrifying...I'll never forget it.
      I've kept that in mind when I was raising my children, and I never lost them.

      Okay, that wraps it up for me; good night, all.

      August 14, 2012 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. BOMBO ©

    When I go, I just want to keel over without warning when I'm about 85.

    What was Gabe Kaplan's reaction? Did he go all in?

    August 14, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. chrissy

    Good night banasy, and me too. Good night also to superman and little mister the cutie patootie.

    August 14, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. chrissy

    oh and @ BOMBO too, im sorry i missed your post. You have a specially good nite dear.

    August 14, 2012 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. BOMBO ©

    Thanks chrissy. Good night to you all too.

    And now to bore peple – or anyone who is still up at this hour. Being a Rush fan, I read Ayn Rand when I was younger (2112 and some other pieces are based on Ayn Rand works). I outgrew her years ago. I had heard that the whole objectivist movement is a bit strange. I read an article a while back about how Neil Peart, Rush's lyricist, explored that movement briefly and was put off by the members who seemed to surrender their own will, constantly quoting Ayn Rand like robots, and dressing like characters from her novels. Odd, considering individualism is supposed to be central to the whole thing. It sounded more like a cult.

    August 15, 2012 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Oh, this wasn't a boring story at all, BOMBO©.
      I rather enjoyed it.
      I didn't know about the Rush/Rand connection, either...and you're right; onces ya start acting like everyone else, how much of an individual are ya, really?

      August 15, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bytor the Snowdog

    Great story @BOMBO. Keep em coming. I never made the Ayn Rand connection. I was the only kid in my HS who had ever heard of Rush, and I had the only 2112 LP in the entire town. (ditto Aqualung) The town had one AM station that played cornpone. 🙂
    We'll hit the stops along the way. We only stop for the best!

    August 15, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  9. Spot of Joy

    Never made the connection until now, Bombo. I'll have to dig it out and dust it off.

    August 15, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  10. Bytor the Snowdog

    ...and Arnold Horshak was the bright spot in Vinnie Barbarino's tall shadow that still castes itself across screens everywhere.
    Bill Gates was no Horshak. Gates was a back stabbing little terd, not a loveable nerd.

    August 15, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  11. 711 Kevin

    I remember him and enjoyed the program.John Travolta's hollywood break.Thank god I stayed in school and graduated.Our public school systems have changed so much since then.

    August 16, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |