Wednesday, August 20, 2014

David Letterman's Tribute to Robin Williams

Gotta say, I got a little teary.

 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Rick Perry Booked on Felony Charges

Oops. Image from source, AOL
I know, I know. My conservative readers (both of you, hi guys!) may say that the charges on Perry are flimsy and won't hold up. That might be true. There are plenty of pundits on the left saying that very thing. That's something you'll rarely see on the right, by the way. The John Boner Boehner lawsuit against President Obama is flimsier, but Right Wing World drools at the prospect, or wants it to go further to impeachment!

So please, let me take a little joy in that headline, willya?

[Excerpt]

Texas Gov. Perry arrives for booking on two felony charges

Texas Gov. Rick Perry arrived at a county courthouse Tuesday for booking on two felony counts of abuse of power for carrying out a threat to veto funding for state public corruption prosecutors. "I'm going to fight this injustice with every fiber of my being. And we will prevail," Perry said before walking into the Travis County Courthouse in Austin, where a grand jury indicted him last week. . .

Read more at: AOL

Don Pardo, the Voice of Saturday Night Live, Dead at 96

Well, this was of course inevitable. But sad. Don Pardo has simply been a voice on NBC practically since there has been an NBC. My first knowledge of him was as the voice of Saturday Night Live from episode 1 in 1975, and right up to the present, missing only a season. Pardo's voice is so distinctive, I'm curious if they'll just drop an announcer from here on out. Who could replace him? RIP, Mr. Pardo

[Excerpt]

Don Pardo Dead: Voice Of 'Saturday Night Live,' Dies At 96

Don Pardo, television and radio announcer best known as the voice of NBC's "Saturday Night Live," died on Monday, August 18 in Tucson, Ariz., his daughter and an NBC representative confirmed.
Cause of death has not been released at this time, according to The Hollywood Reporter. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Rick Perry's Fool in Prison Blues (Another Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

Yes, I know this is a cheat; using a Rocky Mountain Mike parody, two posts in a row. But I tell you, the news isn't snarkable at the moment, at least not with my meager talents. So, I'm leaving it to Mike, a professional! Plus, it was an unexpected work night, so I have that as my excuse.
 

G.I. Cop (A Rocky Mountain Mike Ad Parody)

Leave it to Rocky Mountain Mike to find a nugget of humor in the ongoing crisis in Ferguson, Missouri. Though, hopefully we're getting a consensus that the militarization of the police is at the very least disturbing.

If you want more Rocky Mountain Mike, go here.
 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Rick Perry Indicted. Oops.

Yes, Governor Oops McGoodhair has found himself in a bit of a pickle. And though he brushed off the charges as "sketchy," it's never good to be charged with dual felonies. Whether they get him on this is open to speculation. But do I think Rick Perry is a vindictive prick? I do.

[Excerpt]

What the Hell Just Happened in Texas, and Why Was Rick Perry Just Indicted?
 
Texas Governor Rick Perry was indicted Friday on charges of abuse of power—a first degree felony—and coercion—a third degree felony. The charges stem from a 2013 scandal that has been quietly rumbling in the Lone Star State as Perry has been floated as a viable contender for the Republican nomination in 2016. This is a complex case, which might be why it has not made national headlines the way other recent, state-level scandals (like Bridgegate, in New Jersey) have. Below, I have outlined a somewhat confusing short version of events, and a longer, more colorful explanation that involves alcohol, police, and masks. . .

Read more at: The Daily Beast

Blast from the Past: Class of '84, The Movies

This will be my last Class of '84 edition of Blast from the Past for a while. But my 30th class reunion was this weekend, and I missed it. So, I've still got that year 30 years ago on my mind. There were actually quite a lot of very good movies in 1984, and of course, a lot of schlock. My list is mixture, and includes some of my favorites.

1. A Nightmare on Elm Street - Most horror franchises are fairly thin on plot, heavy on mayhem. This one, by Wes Craven, started strong, at least as strong as the original Halloween in style and impact. It remains one of my favorite films from that year, or any year. Plus: Johnny Depp!

2. Ghostbusters - The silly theme song sticks with you (even if it was a ripoff of a Huey Lewis number), but the movie is timeless. Oh, sure, it's clearly an 80s flick, but the humor is transcendent. It's one of Bill Murray's (and Harold Ramis' and Rick Moranis') best.


3. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom - Yes, everyone thought this one was a weaker installment than Raiders of the Lost Ark. But they didn't know what was coming with Curse of the Crystal Skull, now, did they? I worked at a theater for this movie's entire run. I know every line. Harrison Ford is fantastic in it, and I don't care what anyone says, so was Kate Capshaw.

4. Supergirl - A flop, but a charming flop. Without it, we may not have had Helen Slater to kick around (and she was great in Ruthless People a couple of years later). Plus, you've got Faye Dunaway chewing the (cardboard) scenery, and dreamy Hart Bochner! It's time to revisit Kara Zor-El.



5. Gremlins - This is a very cute film, with a very cute puppet creature, and very cute leading actors of both sexes. Hard to top that. Plus, it's funny/gory. Maybe a first for that. My brother told me the story, line by line, and ruined it for me. But I won't do that to you, because I'm not a douche nozzle.

6. Top Secret! - By the same guys who did Airplane! and Police Squad!, this one spoofs cold war spy movies, war movies, Elvis movies, beach movies and The Blue Lagoon. Yes, it's kind of scattershot, but it's hilarious. It's in my top five all-time favorite comedies. And Val Kilmer was really great with his own singing and dancing. If you've never seen it, check it out.

7. The Terminator - Not nearly as slick and shiny as its immediate sequel, this one managed to grab you by the throat on a budget. Arnold Schwarzenegger found a role that he embodied perfectly.

8. Sixteen Candles - I came late to this one, which is odd, since I was part of the target audience. But when I finally got around to it, I did see the charm. And finally understood what "Long Duk Dong" was.



9. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter - It was far from the final chapter. But it was--at the time--the best of the series, and the biggest money-maker as well. A notch above the rest of the sequels, but still just mindless fun. And hey, Crispin Glover!

10. Beverly Hills Cop - Eddie Murphy was only a smidge behind Michael Jackson in popularity in the early 80s. This film (with an assist from a very funny Bronson Pinchot) put Murphy further into orbit.



And that'll do it for the week, and for the topic for a while. Here's hoping this is a better week than last. Happy Monday!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

David Gregory Out as Host of Meet the Press

Image from source, Politics USA
I started watching Meet the Press (and often one or two of the other Sunday shows, Face the Nation, This Week and FOX "News" Sunday) some time during the George W. Bush administration. Oh, I'd caught it a few times in my life, but not regularly. I thoroughly despised the entire Dubya cabal, and will even cop to having a moderate case of Bush Derangement Syndrome for a little while. So, I was more politically plugged in, and this is one way to do that.

Unfortunately, these shows are also really horrible, in many ways. Awful. Almost every guest (with rare exceptions) is thoroughly rehearsed in their side's talking points, and will steer the argument back to them at all costs. In fact, they'll often go to talking points that don't even relate to the question. Which side is worse about distortion, spinning and even lying probably depends upon your political leanings. But there is no doubt who gets more coverage: Republicans. In study after study, the GOP gets more guests by a mile, regardless of who holds the White House or Congress.

Distressingly, it's the old, (pasty) white, male variety of Republican that gets the most opportunity to
Good luck, dude. You're going to need it
sling their spin, notably John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who appear to be joined at the hip. If the green room had a bridal suite, it would be occupied by those two. If it's Sunday, it's the John and Lindsey Show. It's tired, oh so tired.

David Gregory is not the worst host of this type of show. Chris Wallace is worse. But David Gregory is an odd figure, as these things go: nobody seems to like him. Conservatives think Gregory is a liberal hack. Liberals, conversely think, Are you freaking insane? He's a conservative hack! They may be both right. But I'd rather just say, "hack." His questioning style is very surfacy, and geared toward making his own news, with "gotcha" questions. He very often seemingly frames his questions from the perspective of the opposition's talking points. He's smug. He's smarmy. And I'm not sorry to see him go. As I'm sure everyone is saying about this story, he's no Tim Russert.

You know who else isn't Tim Russert? Chuck Todd. His interviewing style may prove to be better than Gregory's. But otherwise, he seems to be almost exactly the same sort of figure: not liked very well by either side. I suppose an argument could be made that such a quality is a good thing, but probably not if you're looking for ratings.

[Excerpt]
 
David Gregory Is Officially Fired as Chuck Todd Takes Over NBC’s Meet The Press

The axe finally fell today as David Gregory confirmed that he is out at Meet The Press, and is leaving NBC. Chuck Todd will be the new host of the Sunday morning staple.

David Gregory got the boot fast. This was a literal don’t let the door hit you on the butt on the way out. According to CNN, “The sources confirmed widespread speculation that David Gregory, the moderator of the iconic Sunday morning public affairs program for the past six years, will be replaced by Todd. One of the sources said the transition will be swift — so swift that Gregory will not even host “Meet the Press” this weekend. . .”
 
Read more at: Politics USA

Friday, August 15, 2014

L-E-S-B-I-A-N (A Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

If you missed it, Jonathan Saenz, the President of "Texas Values," ironically lost his wife to a lesbian lover. Which is hilarious, I don't care who you are. And to prove it, here's the Rocky Mountain Mike song parody, to the tune of D-I-V-O-R-C-E by Tammy Wynette. Enjoy!

And to get more Rocky Mountain Mike, go here.
 

Rand Paul's Your Man (A Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

I missed this fantastic Stand By Your Man parody by Rocky Mountain Mike. So, here it is!

Get more Rocky Mountain Mike here.
 

Lewis Black Blasts Rush Limbaugh on Robin Williams Suicide Comments

Image from source RawStory
As I have stated on this blog in the past, Rush Limbaugh is a big, fat, disgusting pig. He proves it endlessly, and did it again this week when he blamed Robin Williams' suicide on liberals.  And as is typical for Limbaugh, when he got sufficient heat for it (even from some on his own side), he walked it back. Well, sort of. He--of course--did not apologize. He claimed the liberals (of course) took him out of context. They did not. He knows his listeners will believe anything he tells them, so he lied  to them. But I guess they deserve what they get.

Comedian Lewis Black, a friend of Williams', didn't take Limbaugh's comments well. Who could? So he gave Rush both barrels (or middle fingers, more aptly) in a Facebook message. And he couldn't be more on the money.

[Excerpt]

Lewis Black blasts Limbaugh: ‘F*CK YOU’ for making light of Robin Williams’ death
 
“F*CK YOU Rush Limbaugh,” Black wrote on his Facebook page. “Your statements were beyond cruel and stupid. They were intolerable. Enough is enough from you. You are an idiot. Don’t you ever demean the death of another human being. He was my friend. You disgust me.”

Read more at: Raw Story

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Maddow: Iraq Engagement on "Constitutional Autopilot" with Absent Congress


So, Ferguson, Missouri. What's Up With That?

Is this the new normal in small town USA? Creepy.
Image from source, New York Times.
If you're a regular visitor to this blog, you may have noticed that it's been rather thin around here, of late. Though I do tend to post less in the summer, there's more to it than that. I just can't wrap my hands around some of the horrible news going on in the world. You know? I mean, when it comes to the problems in Ukraine, Israel and Iraq, what can be said? These are long-running, war-prone regions, and I'm not going to pretend I have the answer. And shoot, most of the people who are paid to be experts don't seem to know what they're talking about either, most of the time.

Now, the news out of Ferguson, Missouri is a little closer to home. And my instinct in this case would be to reserve judgment until all the facts are in. I'm not one to immediately jump to the defense of the police or the accused. But I have to say, the cops are coming off badly here. Very, very badly. And I agree with the meme that is ricocheting around the internet: what does a small town police force need with all of this military gear? They look like an army invading a country. Is this what we want American towns to look like, occupied territory?

So, here's a little more on that. I'm going to try to get my brain in the game, but summer's not over yet. I still have that excuse.

[Excerpt]

Amid Protests in Missouri, Officer’s Name Is Still Withheld
 
In the five days since an unarmed young black man was fatally shot by a police officer here, the selective release of information about the shooting, and especially the anonymity granted to the officer, has stoked frustrations in this largely African-American community north of St. Louis, where residents describe increasingly tense relations with the police. . .

Read more at: New York Times

What Happens in Vegas: Celine Dion Cancels. . .Everything

You would think that I'm Celine Dion's target demo. After all, I love powerful, female singers. But I go for rockers like Pat Benatar or Melissa Etheridge, and pop divas like Cyndi Lauper, Janet Jackson, Lady Gaga or Katy Perry. The overwrought power balladeers are just not my thing. But I will concede that she's got an amazing voice, and is an amazing talent. She also has a legion of fans.

Which is why this is rather big news. Dion is one of the biggest draws on the Las Vegas Strip, and has cancelled all of her shows into next year, due to health issues of herself and her husband. Here's hoping for a swift recovery for all concerned.

[Excerpt]

Celine Dion cancels Vegas, showbiz schedule for health, husband

Celine Dion has canceled all Las Vegas shows through March and an Asian tour, and postponed her entire showbiz schedule, to focus on her husband’s cancer fight and her own struggle with an inflammation of her throat muscles. “I want to devote every ounce of my strength and energy to my husband’s healing, and to do so, it’s important for me to dedicate this time to him and to our children,” Dion said in a Caesars Palace news release emailed to the media at 6 a.m. Wednesday. . .

Read more at: Las Vegas Review-Journal

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Movie Legend Lauren Bacall Dies at 89

Image from source, CBS News
It's actually hard to believe that actress Lauren Bacall was only 89 years old, when you consider the era in whih she became famous. But for the longest time, I took an odd comfort in the fact that she was still around. I don't know why, I guess it was because she was among the last of her generation of movie stars, and it hasn't been all that long since she last worked. In fact, I remember checking the IMDb credits for an episode of Family Guy, and indeed, it was her!

Beyond her classic movies, she was also a voice artist, voicing countless commercials over the years. Small wonder, with that trademark husky voice of hers. And she was in more than a few "modern" (compared to her classics) films, from Stephen King's Misery to the comedy My Fellow Americans to the Barbra Streisand flick, The Mirror Has Two Faces. But oddly enough, I'll always remember her first and foremost for The Fan, a cheesy 80s horror flick! RIP, Lauren. You were a class act all the way.

[Excerpt]

Legendary actress Lauren Bacall dies at age 89

Known for her husky voice and sultry looks, Lauren Bacall, the model-turned-actress who starred with husband Humphrey Bogart in classic movies such as "Key Largo" and "To Have and Have Not," has died at age 89. Her son told CBS News that she died Tuesday morning in New York City. The Humphrey Bogart estate also confirmed the death. . .

Read more at: CBS News

 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sarah Palin Channel's Latest Folksy Video

'Cause ya know ya wanna see it, also.

[Excerpt]

Sarah Palin Channel's Latest Video Is Just A Bunch Of Word Salad


 
The latest video on Sarah Palin's eponymous online network was billed as a rebuttal to Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-MA) Netroots Nation speech, but some of Palin's points were just too incoherent to follow. In the video posted Friday, Palin responded point by point to eleven "commandments" that Warren outlined in her speech to the progressive confab last month. Warren's sixth point, that fast food workers deserve a living wage, drew so much scorn from Palin that she stumbled over her words a few times. . .

Read more at: Talking Points Memo

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Gay Thing: Tennessee Stalls Marriage Equality's Winning Streak

Since the Supreme Court ruled part of the (badly named) Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional in 2013, the marriage equality cause has been on an unbroken streak of victory, at least 30 wins, depending on how you count them. Inevitably, that streak was broken by a contrary decision in the State of Tennessee.

Image from source, TPM
There is a very strange wild card in play that has so far been dismissed, but in the Tennessee case was ruled valid. It's called Baker v. Nelson, a Minnesota State Supreme Court case, which ruled against same-sex marriage in 1971. The next year, the Supreme Court of the United States dismissed the appeal, but somehow--I'm not a lawyer, so I'm really not getting this--the Baker decision is precedent. Other courts have decided that times have changed in the past 43 years (imagine that!), and Baker doesn't apply. Tennessee apparently thinks otherwise.

So, it's a wrinkle. It was pretty much bound to happen, and I'm sure the National Organization for Marriage and its allies will undoubtedly be doing cartwheels, and trumpeting that the tide has turned.

[Excerpt]

Judge Ends Marriage Equality's Undefeated Streak Since SCOTUS Ruling

A state judge in Tennessee has upheld a law banning recognition of same-sex marriages, snapping the extraordinary winning streak for marriage equality in several dozen state and federal courts since the Supreme Court ruling U.S. v. Windsor in June 2013. Circuit Court Judge Russell E. Simmons ruled that Tennessee need not recognize the union of Frederick Michael Borman and Larry Kevin Pyles-Borman, who married in August 2010 in Iowa. The judge invoked Tennessee's state laws defining marriage as between one man and one woman. . .

Read more at: Talking Points Memo

Robin Williams, Dead at 63

Image from source, LA Times
Few celebrity deaths hit me with any oomph. Michael Jackson. Gilda Radner. Madeline Kahn. And now, Robin Williams. I heard the news on my drive home from work, and it had apparently just broken. My mouth hung open for close to a minute, as I drove. "Suspected suicide." I just. . .some people aren't supposed to end.

I was the perfect age for the character of Mork, when he was introduced on Happy Days. 12 years old, and--like every other kid in America--a fan of both that show and Laverne & Shirley. Williams' zany character took off instantly, and helped turn the already burgeoning ABC TV schedule into a juggernaut. For a pop culture fan like me, it just put me deeper in. He was so funny and bizarre in the role, it somehow felt both safe and dangerous. I think Williams was often like that. Inconceivably, network meddling killed Mork & Mindy, after its very first season, but it took three years to die. Cast and timeslot changes caused a huge amount of viewer loss. I never left, but the audience eventually did. It's a shame too, because when Williams' hero, Jonathan Winters joined the show as his son, there were some classic moments.

Image from source, LA Times
I continued to be a fan of Williams, though not to the degree I did as a kid. I've always enjoyed his brand of humor, and thought he was a great actor. I just wasn't a fan of some of the roles he picked. Still, whenever he's pop up on Letterman or elsewhere, he was just a hoot to watch. Then, when he returned to television, with The Crazy Ones (a terrible title, unfortunately), I had to watch. To be fair, it had something to do with costars Sarah Michelle Gellar and James Wolk, but Williams' part was part of the draw. I watched every episode. It gelled into a wonderful ensemble, and it's really sad that it didn't make it. I've got to wonder if his spirits wouldn't have been better. . .or better enough. . .had the show been renewed instead of cancelled this spring. RIP, Robin.

[Excerpt]

Robin Williams dies in apparent suicide; actor, comic was 63

Robin Williams, a comic and sitcom star in the 1970s who became an Oscar-winning dramatic actor, died Monday at 63 in Marin County. The Marin County Sheriff's Office said he appears to have committed suicide. The news of the beloved actor’s death rocked the nation. Channels broke into their usual programming to make the announcement, and within minutes, Williams dominated online trending topics. Even President Obama noted his passing. . .

Read more at: Los Angeles Times

 

Blast from the Past: Ugly Cars of the 70s!

Yes, kids, it's a rerun this week. But it's from two and a half years ago, so it's time for a revisit anyway. It's personally topical, because I'm anxiously awaiting the release of the 2015 Jeep Renegade. While I think it's great looking, there is a contingent (mostly Jeep purists) who think it is ugly. Enjoy!

ORIGINAL POST:

I don't think the new Dodge Dart will land on many
"ugly" lists. Image from MSNBC.
I got the idea for this week's Blast from the Past from the news story that Chrysler is bringing back the Dodge Dart. The new one is a much different critter from the old 60s and 70s Dart, which started kind of classic, and became desperately ugly by the mid-1970s. But so many did!

There is no doubt that Detroit made a lot of ugly iron in the 1970s. Whatever brand loyalty and reputation they may have earned in the previous 50 years was all but destroyed by those crappy cars. Some of them became classics anyway, whether ironically or not. But most of these beasties can only be loved with buckets full of nostalgia thrown on them.


1. Chrysler Cordoba - Only remembered for Ricardo Montalban's "rich Corinthian leather!"
2. Chevrolet Chevette (1976) - This ugly duckling debuted with fanfare it didn't deserve. It never, ever turned into a swan.



3. AMC Pacer - Ugly inside and out, even with a Chevy Nova inside.
4. AMC Gremlin - They took a reasonable looking Hornet, chopped off the trunk, then made it as ugly as possible.



5. Ford Pinto (1970) - Much like the Chevette, Ford tried to make this sound like something wonderful and exciting, and "care free." If you don't care about fires. . .
6. Dodge Dart Swinger - Ten kinds of ugly, swinger or not. (Cheating a little, this is a '69 commercial)



7. Plymouth Duster (1972) - This one actually looked uglier to me in its original time. Given how ugly so many other cars of the era look now, this one is growing on me.
8. Oldsmobile Omega Brougham (1976) - I picked this car because almost nobody remembers it. Unlike the others, it doesn't have a legend that goes with it. But it is a great example of how little thought went into making cars attractive in America in the 1970s. (The original ad is missing, I had to substitute an '80)



That will just about do it for me for the week. I know there are many unrepresented ugly 70s cars, so I tagged this as "Part 1."And we've got other decades to hit too! Happy Monday!

Friday, August 8, 2014

President Obama Authorizes Air Strikes, Humanitarian Aid in Iraq

Image from source, TPM
Ugh. I don't like any of this. I don't like the hovering threat of a renewed Iraq war. I don't like that we have to be involved at all. I don't like that the Twitter comments from #TCOTs was overtly negative before the President had finished a sentence. "Thanks Obama, you screwed up Iraq" is a paraphrase of the comments I saw rolling in.

Sure, Iraq was going perfectly when Dubya left office, right? And the end date he settled by treaty, the one that President Obama followed? Mistake! But Obama's mistake. Dubya was just goofin', seeing if the radical Kenyan socialist would fall for it, right? In reality, we should have stayed in Iraq forever. Right?

Listen, I don't pretend to be an expert on Iraq, the Middle East, or much of anything going on over there. Like most Americans, I kind of cringe, and hope it resolves itself before it gets out of hand, but I don't know why it's our problem. Other than that pesky "Pottery Barn Rule." But I sure would like to see conservatives act like Americans when there's a crisis, instead of blaming everything on the President as a reflex.

[Excerpt]

Obama Authorizes Military Air Strikes, Humanitarian Aid In Iraq

President Barack Obama announced Thursday night he had authorized the U.S. military to launch targeted airstrikes if needed to protect Americans from Islamic militants in northern Iraq, threatening to revive U.S. military involvement in the country's long sectarian war.
He also said the U.S. military had carried out airdrops of humanitarian aid to Iraqi religious minorities under siege by the extremists. . .

Read more at: Talking Points Memo
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