Monday, November 09, 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Saturday, September 05, 2009

The Argument for Health Care Reform That Will Convince Even a Republican

Have you ever known someone who had a loved one who was suffering from a terrible disease or injury? Someone whose child or wife or husband was terribly ill? Have you ever known someone in that situation who was uninsured? Or underinsured? Who was dealing with a a horrible health crisis, and had no idea how to pay for it? Who was slowly realizing he or she would end up grief-stricken, alone and homeless?

Friday, September 04, 2009

Beatles Rock Band Commercial

The Way Democracy is Supposed to Work: People Being Reasonable

Senator Al Franken reasons with protestors, the protestors give him a chance, and a calm, respectful dialog ensues. People disagree, yet no one is screaming. Show your children how this country used to be, and tell them it can be this way again.


Sunday, August 09, 2009

What to Say to Someone Who's Frightened by Health Care Reform

The government provides food for people who don't have any. Yet supermarkets and restaurants still thrive, and you are still free to eat wherever you like and whatever you like.


The government provides shelters and/or low-cost housing for people who need it. Yet there are still a wide variety of hotels, motels, apartments, houses and mansions for you to choose from.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Media Step on the Rake Again

Having just wasted a week on birthers, and a week on Cambridge, the media is now wasting a week on so-called deathers. Seriously? How does crap like this get covered? How do the media justify giving airtime to a claim so demonstrably, absolutely false?


I just saw some radio talk show host I've never heard of on Hardball. He made ridiculous claims about the health care bill that I won't dignify with repetition. Then the actual Congressman who wrote the provision came on to say the radio guy didn't know what he was talking about, the bill says nothing of the kind, and it's posted online so you can see for yourself.

Chris Matthews was equally aggressive with both. So much for his claim that he loves nailing people who don't tell the truth. So much for any reasonable definition of "hardball."

But here's the core question: How many segments like that have we seen on the news these past few years? On one side, a legitimate expert. On the other, a radio talk show host??

30 Drunken Homers in Two Minutes

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Just a Couple of Examples of Why Mika Brzezinski is an Idiot

Okay, so I swore off watching Morning Joe months ago and I've felt better for it. Also, after almost ten years of going to Starbucks pretty much every day, I stopped when they decided to become the title sponsor of that show. And it turns out I don't really miss Starbucks, which surprised me.

But this morning, when I flipped by MSNBC I saw Lawrence O'Donnell was on, so I had to stop and watch for a bit. (Seriously, MSNBC, give Lawrence O'Donnell his own show.) Hey, if O'Donnell is on and Scarborough isn't? I'll take a look.

It didn't take long for my blood pressure to rise, and I had to turn it off.

In the course of ten minutes or so, Mika, in her typical Red Queen fashion, imperiously turned up her nose at reality TV, fast food and Paris Hilton, among other things. As each was mentioned she called them things like stupid, a waste of time, disgusting, worthless, etc.

But whenever anyone said anything negative about Sarah Palin, she complained, "But she draws a crowd" or "Crowds come to see her." When O'Donnell pointed out some negative polling data, Mika simply bleated, "She draws crowds."

Don't insult or criticize Sarah Palin, was Mika's message, because there are a lot of people who like her.

Just to review, the hundreds who show up for her speeches validate Sarah Palin. The millions who, for example, watch reality TV? Worthless, according to Mika.

To top it off she kept saying, "What is William Shatner taking?" I suppose it was some crude form of "joke" but no one knew what she was talking about. Finally she managed to explain it: She watched him do the Palin bit on
The Tonight Show, and thinks he was "high." I suppose on "reefer."

In other words, she didn't get Conan's and Shatner's joke. Her head is so far up her own ass she has totally missed Shatner's very funny bit all these years. The whole thing went over her head. But it didn't stop her from cackling at her own whimsy every time she said it.

What a friggin' imbecile.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

iPhone 3GS Photos I Just Kinda Like

Today I got the feeling a Parking Enforcement officer was writing me a parking ticket, so I quickly took some pictures with my iPhone 3GS to prove my innocence, if necessary. (It's a long story... Suffice to say, if get a ticket -- my first ever, by the way -- I will make a Les Miserables-sized fuss.)

Anyway, none of that is why I'm here. I just thought the pictures look very vivid and pretty, and thought they show off what a surprisingly good camera is tucked inside this phone. So enjoy:







Ask For It By Name

From the Ikea website. I gotta say, the price is appealing.



Wednesday, July 15, 2009

First in a Series: Strange Things I Own

I've been doing my spring cleaning for about eight or nine years now, without much success. Especially because when I clean I get distracted by finding stuff that I initially bought or nabbed because, well, they were weird. So as I find some of them I'll share them with you.


First up: A doll I bought because it was, I thought, the scariest friggin' thing I've ever seen. I fully expect to wake up one night and find it skittering around the floor wielding a knife.

And what's really weird is that, according to the tag, the facial expression is considered a selling point. Whereas to me it's more of a rictus of terror... as if a little girl were screaming at the instant she was shrunken and transformed forever into a doll that would be frozen and silenced forever, but could still feel pain. But hey, that's me.




Monday, July 13, 2009

What???!! Fox & Friends on Racial Purity

If you get the chance to see The Soup this week, check it out. Joel McHale follows this clip with the perfect reaction. Really the only one possible: jaw-dropping astonishment.


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

I May Not Know Much About Economics, But I Still Know More than Tony Blankley

Let's say you play the same numbers every week in the Lotto. So I buy a ticket with your numbers for one dollar, then offer it to you for two dollars. After all, by next week it could be worth millions.

So you buy it. I made one dollar in profit, and you bought a chance at a fortune for only two dollars

Tony Blankley, like most Republicans, thinks that's "the free market at work." He thinks we just "created wealth."

Yes. But only for me. In a few days, you will almost certainly be stuck with a worthless slip of paper. Sure I doubled my money, but how many times will I be able to run this scam on you before you're fed up? And if I'm running this game to the tune of a hundred or a thousand tickets a week, won't I eventually run out of suckers?

Regulation of the financial industry doesn't hobble businesses, it protects them. From themselves.


Sunday, July 05, 2009

When TV is Out of Order... Literally

Today Fox Reality Channel showed 40 minutes of one episode of Hell's Kitchen, then 20 minutes of another. Such a weird mistake, I couldn't believe things like this could still happen with todays technology. Which reminded me of NBC's legendary 1978 snafu, when part three of the Loose Change miniseries ran on night two. Here is the announcement that aired that night... awkward, to say the least.


At least NBC apologized. Fox Reality either didn't notice, or hoped we wouldn't.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and John Wayne Surprise Guest Host Don Rickles on the Tonight Show


Push Push In the Kush

I don't know why, but I feel like buying one of these for every woman I know. And for every woman I don't know. In fact, if they'll keep running this commercial, I promise to just keep buying this incredibly important product.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Jimmy Fallon Makes Me Laugh, Both Accidentally and On Purpose

First is Jimmy asking if we can help Clay Aiken and Adam Lambert "squash their beef" (!) And yes, I do have a junior high school mentality.


And below that, the very, very funny "Let Us Play With Your Look" co-starring Will Ferrell. I warn you, though, the song is a total Ceti eel (or "earworm" as Stephen King calls them).


Later in that same episode, by the way, Kyra Sedgwick's segment (and Will Ferrell's participation) was a reminder of how great talk shows can be when guests move down the couch instead of fleeing after their plug is done.







Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Aretha Franklin: Nessun Dorma (1998)

I was telling a friend about this, one of the most exciting performances I've ever seen on TV, and decided what the heck, I'll post it here. Along with, of course, the thrilling (and final) performance by Pavarotti himself. Enjoy.




Amazing: A Great Bluetooth Speakerphone




I have tried every bluetooth implement known to man. Even the ones that everyone else loves, best among them the Samsung, Jawbone and BlueAnt. And they're all fine, up to a point. Some easier to keep paired than others, some more comfortable than others, some louder than others, some better voice quality than others. All have drawbacks that, for me, offset any advantages.

The Contour SurfaceSound Compact Bluetooth Speakerphone is different. Pairing it is a painless process, and it's a slim unit that clips to the visor in your car. That's it, you're set. The mic arm folds up to power the unit off. If the phone rings, swing the arm down and the unit automatically connects with your phone and answers. And the speaker is fantastically, wonderfully loud (unlike, say, the iPhone's built-in speakerphone). You'd think the mic being so near the speaker would result in echo, but the cancellation works perfectly.

It charges with a proprietary cable, which is irksome... but it's a USB cable, which is always nice, since you can use your laptop when an outlet isn't handy. At a street price of $59.99, it's priced in the high end for this category, but even at that price it's still cheaper than all the $20 and $30 headsets and speakers sitting in my drawer. In fact, it's so good that when I get out of the car I bring it inside and clip it to a lamp in my office.

If you decide to buy it, it would be great if you use the link below. As with all Amazon purchases you launch from this blog, my cut goes to the Humane Society and the ASPCA.


Scarborough Gets Reamed by The Daily Show, Then Begs For More

Last week:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Corporate SynerJoe
thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorNewt Gingrich Unedited Interview


Then, last night:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Morning Joe's Sarcastic Starbucks Sponsorship
thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorNewt Gingrich Unedited Interview

Colbert in Iraq: Head Shaved by Order of the President

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Obama Orders Stephen's Haircut - Ray Odierno
colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorIraq

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Dr. John "Iko Iko"

Once and For All, Can We Please Admit Ronald Reagan Was Not Funny?

Chris Matthews, among many others, STILL quotes Ronald Reagan's "jokes"... especially "There you go again." Even today, it's still invoked on cable news as some sort of high watermark of political wit. Sarah Palin even clumsily quoted the line in a vice presidential debate, interrupting the flow of her clumsily saying everything else.


Unlike Sarah Palin, however, "There you go again" is not a joke. Not by any definition. Has no actual joke structure or even content. Worse, it's not funny. Never was. If anything, it's just a cheap way to belittle what your opponent just said without having to refute it. Kind of the definition of being a douchebag.

It seems even more so when you watch the actual clip and see what Reagan was responding to. President Carter was pointing out that Reagan began his political career campaigning against Medicare. Which is completely, 100% true. (You can listen to the proof here, if you can stand it.) So when he denied it, Ronald Reagan was lying. There you go again.

President Carter was also talking about how this country needed national health care. Which we still desperately need and still don't have. Because douchebag politicians still trot out the old Reagan "socialized medicine" wheeze. So there you go again.

See, the reason we have videotape and Google and all that is so we can eventually realize that the people we made fun of at the time may have deserved better. Yes, Sinead O'Connor tore up a picture of the Pope on
SNL, but do you remember why? It was to protest the Church's silence on the sexual abuse of children by priests. If it seemed funny and crackpottish to you at the time, does it still?

And can we finally admit that Al Gore was right about the "lockbox"? And that sighing in exasperation when George W. Bush was debating was actually the sensible response?

Only when we cleanse our media of the myths of the past can we begin the serious work of fighting the myths of the present.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Almost as Good as LeBron James' Game-Winning Shot


Cleveland's Channel 5 News anchors had given up hope... a little too soon. I love that even the on-air talent wasn't watching the show.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Steny Hoyer Manhandles Nancy Pelosi

Hoyer is either getting handsy or has decided to throw Pelosi out a window. Either way it's really strange.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ellen DeGeneres' Great Commencement Speech at Tulane

And I am in shock: I seriously, completely, always thought the Pussycat Dolls were saying "boobies."

Glenn Beck, Your Petard is Ready

Occasionally, The View comes through. Case in point: this appearance by unstable douche Glenn Beck, who made Whoopi and Barbara angry. And he won't like then when they're angry.


He gets caught in some lies. Small lies, but whenever I read or hear something in the media about a subject I personally know about, and it's completely wrong, I wonder why I trust the media on anything else?

Anyway, even though Glenn Beck is low-hanging fruit, it's nice to see him get personally plucked, and called out for being the crap-sack he so is.

Though as always I'm bothered by Barbara saying at the end "I'm sure you meant well." What? No, he didn't. He lied. In this case about something trivial, but still, why kiss his ass? Particularly when he's so unapologetic.

And another thing that always strikes me when I see footage of Beck or Limbaugh doing their radio shows: Why do such wealthy men have such shitty webcams? Seriously, it's baffling.

On a happier note, Beck's lie reminded me of the night the
Duckman writers and producers went to the Ace Awards (remember those?). We get up from our table to get a bite from the BBQ buffet -- leaving our coats and handbags and such -- and when we came back a certain CNN correspondent and his posse had stolen our table! We protested politely and were rebuffed impolitely.

When some men put on tuxes they become James Bond. Then there are those of us who become Otis P. Driftwood. So, naturally, we flung crawfish at them until they got up and left in a huff. (Actually a minute and a huff)

Anyway, please to enjoy:


William Shatner Sings to George Lucas

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Brave Dog Diverts Traffic When His Mom is Struck by a Car

A happy ending for both, and cheers to the motorists who, despite the traffic snarl, didn't honk their horns.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Arizona State, Up Close and Personal



When President Obama spoke at ASU, he was characteristically gracious and turned lemons into Arizona Lemonade. If I were so rudely snubbed I either would have cancelled or shown up drunk and recited "suck it" in fifty different languages. Obama, on the other hand, used the moment as a chance to inspire the grads. Shows why he's President, and I am so not. Well-played, sir.

I'm moved, but still pissed. So here is the fantastic
Daily Show segment shedding light on ASU's dimness.


The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Arizona State Snubs Obama
thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisPolitical Humor

The Jimmy Kimmel - Matthew Fox Staring Contest

Why Don't I Ever Run Into Shoppers Like This?

This Victoria's Secret ad either depicts every mall cop's fantasy, or is a cautionary tale about waiting until laundry day to do your shopping.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cap and Trade


I am a big fan of Brooke Shields, the Sport of Kings,
Clothes Off Our Back, and Grey Goose vodka, separately. But I cannot claim to be a fan of the hat that brought the four of them together. Still, when said hat is being auctioned off to benefit the Barnstable Brown Foundation, a very worthy cause, I am happy to point you to where you can bid on it, along with lots of other cool items for two other great charities: Clothes Off Our Back.



Sunday, May 10, 2009

Yoo-Hoo

I always loved frosty, delicious Yoo-Hoo when I was growing up. And I was always fascinated by the idea (or was it legend?) that it was sterile until you opened it. Sort of the ultimate freshness guarantee.

But my dear friend Richard Samson once pointed something out that changed the way I looked at Yoo-Hoo forever: That "Shake It!" on the label seems oddly bossy for a beverage.


Yoo-Hoo, Shake it!, originally uploaded by jasoncalacanis

Monday, April 27, 2009

Free Printable Paper

This is genius. Printable has hundreds of free, downloadable PDF's of all kinds of paper. Lined, graph, dot, music, columnar, ledger, receipt, Cornell, checkbook... even Yahtzee scorepads!


(Which is great because, seriously, have you seen the scorepad that comes with Yahtzee? Unless your table is a spool of thread and your bed is a matchbox, it's pretty useless. Or maybe that's just me and my meat hooks.)

Anyway, why buy a ream of paper when you can just print out the couple of sheets you need, as you need them? Combine Printable paper with a Fontifier font of your handwriting and you can eliminate the tree-killing altogether.

Some designs are even available in Word format for a nominal fee, so you can adapt them to your needs. This is the kind of ingenuity that makes the Internets worthwhile.

Andrea Wachner is My New Favorite Person: "I Remember Andrea"

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Can We Have a BBC America for America?


Okay, I know that doesn't make sense. But I've been enjoying BBC America so much lately, it makes me wish some American TV were more like it.

Not that we don't have a lot to be proud of here in the US of A. The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Fringe, Lost, 30 Rock, The Simpsons... all are among the best TV has to offer. And we export programming, too, like the perfectly named Amazing Race. I vividly remember being a little homesick in Milan, and how great it was to come across The Daily Show: Global Edition while channel surfing.

I actually wish we got to see more of those exports here. In fact, the only thing that will ease my pain when Celebrity Apprentice ends will be my delight when The Apprentice UK starts airing on BBCA.

But we could import more, too. For example, I wish our TV news were more like
World News America. And with all the excitement about Susan Boyle, don't you wish someone here would run Britain's Got Talent? Hell, NBC could run it instead of the lesser America's Got Talent, for my money. No offense to The Hoff.

And my absolute favorite cooking show is Gordon Ramsay's The F Word. I'd love to see an American version... but only if they don't fox it up the way they did Kitchen Nightmares. (If you have only seen the horror-show American Kitchen Nightmares, you owe it to yourself to see the U.K. version, which is actually funny and heartwarming.)

If we can't import all of British TV, can we at least import Cat Deeley?


MSNBC's Conundrum


I've asked before how it's possible for MSNBC to permit Joe Scarborough and the other Morning Joe Know-Nothings to regularly recite GOP talking points that Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow have already proved false. I still think a news operation should only hold one set of truths. If something's a lie at night, it's a lie the next morning. End of story.

But there's another, increasingly troubling dilemma facing MSNBC. Olbermann and Maddow regularly call out crooks and liars on Fox and CNN for their Worst Personhood. But they never call out Scarborough for saying the same crap or worse.

I get it. There's clearly either an official gag order or a self-imposed truce. I get that it would be boring for the hosts to just keep lobbing charges at each other night and morning. That it's probably best to just say that "inside the MSNBC family" is off-limits.

But it is a little weird to criticize Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly for saying something while letting Scarborough off scot-free. And it creates a dangerous lack of balance.

When Fox News calls MSNBC a "far-left smear machine" etc. it always strikes me as odd. After all, MSNBC surrenders a huge amount of airtime to Scarborough and his cast of bobbleheads. (Actual Mika counterpoint the other day to a Scarborough rant: "I don't... I mean, isn't... I just...We need to get to... some... " Good one, Mika!) And Pat Buchanan is on camera throughout the day, every day. Who are Fox News' Scarborough and Buchanan?

In order for Fox to criticize MSNBC they must pretend Joe Scarborough doesn't exist. And Olbermann and Maddow are clearly pretending Scarborough doesn't exist. And while everyone on cable news is pretending Scarborough doesn't exist, he just keeps spewing his lies and spraying his bile, unchallenged.


What, him worry?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Saturday Joe Scarborough Would Hate Monday Joe Scarborough


On Saturday, Joe Scarborough tweeted:

"Have a great weekend and try to have a long conversation with someone with whom you genuinely disagree. Show respect and learn something."

I was stunned, since this is the absolute antithesis of every molecule of Joe Scarborough's existence. His snide, sarcastic, loathsome existence.


So I broke my promise to myself and watched a few minutes of Morning Joe today... at least until my projectile vomiting started. For today Scarborough was back to his old self, sniffing and huffing that President Obama's shaking Hugo Chavez' offered hand, even in a non-ceremonial setting, was like a tongue-kiss to fascism and an invitation to invasion.

What a douche.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What is Your NPR Name?


The clever formula at Lianablog is: Insert your middle initial into your first name, then add the smallest foreign town you've visited. So my NPR name is a good one: Mikke Thera.

Like a Rock. Tied to America's Ankle.

In every talking-head discussion of the economy you hear someone say how essential the car industry is to America's national identity. How that is who we are, and how the world sees us, through the cars we make.

And then someone always, with a sigh, says something like:

"We just don't make things in this country anymore."

Uh, yeah, we do.

Among many other things, we make movies and TV. And we make them better than anyone else.

American movies and TV are enjoyed all over the world, in record numbers. It's only TV pundits who still tie the American identity up with cars. When people in other countries think of America, they think of Tom Hanks and Friends, not Ford and Chrysler. MTV and CSI, not GM.

We need to help the Americans who work in the auto industry. But because they're Americans. Not because they're in the auto industry. There's a difference.

When will America in general - and the media in particular -- get over its snobbery? Why is a person who builds a car no one wants to buy somehow "better" or more "American" than a person who builds sets for a TV show with millions of fans worldwide? Why is a tool belt in Detroit more American than a tool belt in L.A.?

If you work on an auto assembly line, you get to walk in slow motion to a Bob Seger song. If you work on a film or TV crew, you're part of the "Hollywood elite." You don't share "American values." You don't count.

On 24-hour-news they debate whether the government has a right to tell the auto companies how to do business. They never debate whether the government should meddle in every aspect of the film and television business. Which they do. And without subsidies or bailouts.

TV and film are products. They're manufactured by an industry, just like other products. If a TV show is canceled, that puts a hundred or more people out of work. That's like a plant closing. It's not funny. It's not an occasion for snark.

People call refrigerators and cars "durable goods." Is there any good more durable than film or television? Does any product still produce billions in income and thousands of jobs after forty-plus years the way Star Trek does? Does any product still generate as much revenue in as many different forms seventy years later the way The Wizard of Oz or Bugs Bunny do? I'll stack the durability of Back to the Future or Star Wars against any other product America makes.

So how about a little respect?

Fox News morons sneer at celebrities who are politically active, and wonder why one should care what they think. But they're not just "celebrities." George Clooney, for example, is not just a movie star, he's also a successful executive and manufacturer whose opinion matters as much as, say, Jack Welch's. As CEO of "George Clooney" he generates hundreds of millions of dollars and keeps thousands of people employed. George Clooney is, literally, a millionaire industrialist and philanthropist.

George Clooney is Bruce Wayne.

By contrast, how much are the "Sean Hannity" or "Steve Doocy" brands worth? Why should we care what their guests think? How much does your average right-wing talk radio host do for the economy, and for America's image abroad? Why are the only people in L.A. who matter the people who have AM radio shows?

And why is Joe the Plumber's opinion important, but not Sean the Actor's?

Here in L.A. we work hard, we pay taxes, and we watch with dismay every four years as Presidential candidates stand in a field and tell thirty people in flannel shirts that they are "the real America." That no matter what crop they grow or crap they make, the government will guarantee them their inalienable right to keep on growing and making it forever, no matter what.

But when it was time to give "Hollywood" the same tax breaks every other industry already enjoys, Republicans fell over themselves in a race to kill the provision. Why? Where was the outcry about continuing to hobble one of the few industries still thriving, while artificially propping up those that aren't?

If anyone should claim taxation without representation, shouldn't it be us?

Monday, April 13, 2009

"Who Wouldn't Want to Teabag John McCain?"

It's not new, but I've enjoyed this clip so much this past week I just wanted to park it somewhere I could always find it.




Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009

Your Ass is Grassley

When I was a kid, we called playing the dozens "ranking." In that spirit, I present (via Huffington Post) Senator Charles Grassley (R-ude), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, and also apparently Ranking Member in Charge of Juvenile and/or Tasteless Discourse. Having previously called on AIG executives to kill themselves, as well as heaping scorn on their tit-sucking, he's now sunk well below the "That's what she said" level, as seen in this clip.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

ABC's Castle, and the Strangest Line of the Year


In the
Castle premiere, a woman said to the lead that in order to attract men "it wouldn't kill you to put on some lipstick."


The woman in the picture above? That's Stana Katic, the woman this line was said to. (It goes without saying that the woman who said the line was not nearly as attractive, and was wearing too much makeup.)

But to return to the main point: If Stana Katic is not wearing lipstick in the picture above, then she doesn't need lipstick. Do women really think there exists a straight man who would look at Stana Katic and think, "Meh, needs lipstick."?