But until that day comes, I can disinter some of the gems I've turned up through sundry search-engine and auction-site deep digs in his honor, with the intent of sharing more to come. (Since I've been holding onto the following with that very intent since the autumn of 2014, overmuch breath should not be held.) Here's one to start with:
I can't tell you how, exactly, I was able to figure out which issue this essay appeared in and how I lucked into finding a copy on eBay for much less than you would imagine a three-and-a-half-decade-old consumer monthly for Betamax enthusiasts would go for, but figure I did and lucked I... also did. And now I bring it to you. TV has changed in myriad ways since this was written, of course - the landscape would theoretically be more friendly to a Michael O'Donoghue these days, though I'm sure he would have managed to find a way to fuck that up - and the nature and delivery systems of the American fantasy have done much the same, of course. (Then again, every word of the second-to-last paragraph holds even more true in annus horribilis 2019***** than it did in '82.******) But what stands out here, as I discovered when I painstakingly typed it out, is that O'D's rhythms, even in a lesser venue, remained precise, with not a wasted syllable or a punctuation mark out of place. Even his run-ons never get winded. And as my intro turned out at least twice as long as the article it's setting up, maybe I could learn something from that. Happy birthday, Mr. Mike.
* O'D is barely present on the track in substance - almost every word is paraphrased from John Lennon's infamous 1971 Rolling Stone interview, Tony Hendra does the (dis)honors as the voice of the ex-Beatle (aided by Bob Tischler's production trickery, Christopher Cerf wrote the music, and the not-yet-famous Christopher Guest and Melissa Manchester make audible contributions - but the simple genius of the concept and the Zen-assassin precision of the attack are all his. There's plenty of badly dated material on Radio Dinner - given that most of it satirizes the pop culture and politics of 1972, that's inevitable (though I'm sure "Profiles in Chrome" didn't make much sense even then) - but "Magical Misery Tour" still draws blood.
** Needs work; come back later and see if I haven't come up with something that doesn't sound like a Japo-Irish sushi pub.
*** I may just have dreamed this.
**** The other "big" name in this particular issue, who got the center spread and a mini-interview in that issue's editorial while O'D got the back page, was O'D's former friend and colleague turned lifelong nemesis Tony Hendra. Undoubtedly, this must have pleased O'D a great deal.
***** Sure, the year's not even a week old, but, seriously, can there be any doubt?
****** The sole difference being, the ecosystem is now a really fucking vast bowl of dogsnot.