Saturday, December 29, 2007

Mommy Dearest

Most kids have been embarrassed by mom and dad at one point or another, either fairly or unfairly. These incidents are usually forgotten and fleeting.

Not this one.

You've Got to be Kidding Me


Starting Jan. 1, a new California law takes effect that prohibits smoking in cars when kids under 18 are present. On the same day, smoking will no longer be welcome in Illinois bars and restaurants and other public places, and ditto for a number of Canadian cities.

I wonder if the ban includes refreshing cigarettes such as Kool, which I've been told are actually good for you, and which reportedly are as cool and as clean as a breath of fresh air.

Salem also offers a wonderful world of freshness, with a softness that actually freshens!

Winston rocks too:

What Song Is He Singing?

Let me rephrase this:

?Singing He is Song What

Friday, December 28, 2007

Strike Up the Band: Letterman Returns

David Letterman will be back on the air Wednesday, and with his writing staff. Yay.

Jay Leno also will be back, but without his writers. Not that I watched him before, but this is one Scab I won't be picking when I turn my TV dial.

In honor of Dave striking a deal, here's a quick FIVE FAVS entry -- my five favorite individual Letterman shows.

1. The Warren Zevon show. It was just after Zevon announced he was dying, so Dave gave him an entire show. Tremendous.

2. Dave's first show back after 9/11. Dave's monologue struck the perfect notes for a wounded city and nation, as compared with Leno's first monologue after 9/11, which didn't seem as sincere and as genuine. Dave's guest that night was Dan Rather. This is a show they'll be showing clips from years from now, and deservedly so.

3. Pie Night. Any Pie Night. It's always on Thanksgiving, and Dave's mom is featured in a live remote from her Indiana kitchen. I was in the audience for one of his Pie Night shows. I can't remember the pie, but I do remember laughing a lot. Pie Night was canceled this year because of the writer's strike.

4. Dave's first show after his heart surgery. His guests included his entire medical team. Puts life in perspective, no?

5. The Speeded-Up Show. This was back on NBC. Dave wanted to pack an hour and fifteen minutes worth of comedy (or something like that) into one hour, so the entire broadcast ran at a slightly faster speed so the show would still only take an hour. If I remember correctly there also was a real-time clock clicking in one of the corners. How cool is that?

I Hate It When This Happens

Underwear from Target: The Directions

Tumble dry low. Remove promptly. Cool iron if needed.

Cool iron if needed?


What type of person irons underwear? Some of us, and I won't use names or point a finger at myself, can't even be bothered to iron clearly visible clothing.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Whom would you vote for?

... If you had to choose between one of the following for president of the United States:

a) American Dad

b) Ken Doll

c) A combination of A and B. Also known as "Mitt Romney."

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Spoiler Alert: Predictions for 2008 Coming Soon

One year ago this week, I made some shocking predictions for 2007, almost all of which came true!

Coming soon: My predictions for 2008.

But just a warning: If you want to be surprised by what is going to happen in 2008, I strongly advise you to avoid reading this post, especially considering the amazing accuracy of my incredible and astonishing predictions from last year.

Things I Find In My Basement


With no end coming soon for my basement-cleaning project, it looks like the "Things I Find in my Basement" regular feature will continue well into the new year.

My latest find is sure to annoy Reaganites and people who know how to use hypens:

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Cheer

U.S. Surgeon General Steven K. Galson chastised Santa recently for being a bad role model to kids in this era of unprecedented childhood obesity.

He suggested that a new, thin, more fit and modern Santa should start entering the collective popular imagination.

I agree.

Mrs. Claus shouldn't be off the hook, either:

Merry Holidays!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Recipe for Smear

Day 1: Say something nasty about someone's past. Get media coverage.

Day 2: Resign for saying something nasty about someone's past. Repeat smear. Get more media coverage.

Day 3: Have your boss issue a statement and hold a press conference about how he or she regrets her former employee's smears from two days ago. Repeat smear. Get even more media coverage.


This is exactly what the Clinton campaign did to Barack Obama last week, and it's hard not to believe that they didn't know exactly what they were doing. The smear made the news cycle for three consecutive days, and there might be more today.

I guess some people call this good politics, but not me.


It's not the politics of keeping hope alive, it's the politics of keeping smears alive.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Not Me, Part I

What's coming later today for Major League Baseball is going to be a circus.

Not Me, Part II

CIA Director Michael Hayden.

Not Me, Part III

This is torture.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Things That Readers Find in Their Basement

For the last several months I've been cleaning my basement. I'm not done yet, and there's no end in sight, so you can expect the Things I Find In My Basement feature to continue well into 2008.

I'm happy to report that a reader says he finds interesting things in his basement, too, and sent some photos along.

I truly wish all these things were in my basement, don't you?

FUN FACT: One of the people in the above album covers is now a U.S. Congressman.

Click here for the answer, and my old post on the matter.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Not-So-Charming News About Huckabee

Almost a year ago, last January, I saw presidential candidate Mike Huckabee on The Daily Show. He was merely a blip on the polling radar at the time.

What I saw worried me because:

1) He came off very well, like a moderate. Charming, likeable, electable.
2) I knew he wasn't a moderate. And I knew, despite how he slickly answered some gay-marriage questions, what he really thought about gay people. The record is not good.

So last January, I wrote a quick post on it. "Homophobe on The Daily Show" was the title.


Many news outlets reported today how Huckabee viewed AIDS back in 1992, and it only bolsters the "Huckabee is a Homophobe" argument. To say the least, his views are a little harsh, and weren't even in line with the most up-to-date medical knowledge of the day. And his suggestion at the time that Hollywood celebrities, and certainly not the federal government, fund AIDS research is laughably idiotic from multiple perspectives, and especially from the medical and public health perspectives.

His views on this issue from 1992, which he won't back down from today, truly are a window into his soul.

But be warned that window can get a little foggy when he charms so on The Daily Show.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Things I Find In My Basement


Official New Kids on the Block figures. Circa 1990. "With articulating head, arms and waist!" Poseable. "Collect All Five."

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Bon Appetit

Dave "I'm not your bitch, bitch" Martin from Top Chef just opened a new restaurant in New York.

More here.

Good Comic Timing Propels New News Leader

The New York Times reported today that Brian Williams at NBC Nightly News, in the latest ratings period, beat the previous network news leader, Charlie Gibson at ABC World News Tonight. He also retained a decisive lead over Katie Couric at CBS.

Why now?

Although it's not mentioned in the article, I think you can credit one thing: Williams' credible and funny and likeable turn as host of Saturday Night Live earlier this fall, on Nov. 4, near the beginning of the latest ratings sweep period.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Please Do Two Things

1. Watch this.

2. Read this.

Good Judgment and Gut Feelings


In 2003, I and a minority of Americans had a strong gut feeling against the war in Iraq, at a time when the vast majority of the country was cheering it on, and most TV journalists were going ga-ga over wearing American flag pins. You weren't considered a Patriot, or a good reporter, if you remained more objective, like the late Peter Jennings and ABC News reporters, who didn't wear pins, opting instead to report news.

Remember all those splashy and subtly pro-war "Operation Iraqi Freedom" cable news graphics (MSNBC and CNN joined the party just as eagerly as Fox News Channel) that pretty much presupposed that 1) the war was just, 2) the war was necessary and 3) the war was actually about freedom? At times Dan Rather and the supposedly liberal CBS News operation were among the worst offenders and, in my opinion, biggest cheerleaders.

Many of us in the anti-war camp were not fooled -- nor were we shocked and awed -- by snazzy graphics or Republican sophistry -- including Colin Powell's U.N. testimony regarding weapons of mass destruction.


In 2007, I have another strong gut feeling regarding the presidential election. Any of the Democratic candidates will be an improvement over Bush, and I think that just about any of the Republican candidates would be an improvement over Bush, too.

But there's one candidate that gives me a strong gut feeling. That this candidate is the right person, at the right time, with the right message.

I'm voting for Barack Obama, and I'm not changing my mind.

Obama also had a strong gut feeling against the War in Iraq way back when, and unlike other leading Democratic candidates he was a vocal opponent of it as an Illinois state senator. (Remember, at this time he was a man with higher ambitions, such as the job in the U.S. Senate, so taking such a stand was not motivated by political polling, just inner conviction.)

How can you describe such opposition, this public disapproval of a popular war from a politician with goals beyond being just a state senator?

It's called "terrible politics" if the year is 2003, but "good judgment" in any other year.

God Bless America. Vote Obama.

TODAY'S MUST READ: Frank Rich's Obama column in the New York Times.