Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Decade of 9/11

A Decade of Rules Changes

Willie's Year in Review

For a broader perspective, explore the entire playlist.

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Year 1 for Barack

Each year, Time Magazine columnist Joe Klein hands out annual “Teddy” awards for political courage... An honor named after the former president, Theodore Roosevelt.

Although he's not the only winner, this interview concentrates on why President Obama gets one of Klein’s awards this year... And Klein reviews why his first year in office, and conflict, merits his award.

Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now. Host: Robin Young.

Klein's article includes links to Times various year end summations.

The Year In Sports

And Sports Books

Bill Littlefield, host of NPR’s weekly sports show “Only A Game” talks about some of the best sports books he’s read and reviewed in 2009.

Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now. Host: Robin Young.

The Year Down the Tubes

2009 on TV

Along with other advertising media, the economy hit commercial broadcasting hard. And attempting to transplant Jay Leno to prime time has been a self-inflicted ratings disaster for the NBC network on both sides of their affiliates' late night news.

But TV critic David Bianculli says networks may yet find a brighter future by looking toward cable's approach toward quality drama in shorter seasons. He joins Terry Gross to talk about the best and the worst television of '09 and what we can look forward to in '10 on NPR's Fresh Air.

TV 2009: David Bianculli On The Best ... And The Rest

Time's TV Critc Weighs In, Too

Movies That Should Die With The Decade

NPR's movie critic Bob Mondello, looked back at the big screen, and came up with a list films that, based on poor critical and audience reception, shouldn't gain any wider audience over time.

Audio: NPR's All Things Considered, Host: Guy Raz.

And a Few Good Things , Too

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Decade of the Recount

The Decade of Change

Dumb 911 Calls of the Decade

The Year Tiger Fell

The Year in Pictures

The New York Times Review section, normally covering books and news of the week, has compiled a slide show of memorable photographs from the news of 2009. In addition, articles mark:
  • The Obama Inaugural: He swept onto the world stage with his hand on Abraham Lincoln’s Bible and his voice ringing with yes-we-can hope and promise.
  • Hitting Bottom: If the Great Recession were ae editorial cartoon, February and March are the months we staggered around with anvil-flattened heads, little birds tweeting above our X-ed out eyes.
  • Troubled Lands: The fighting in Afghanistan spilled into Taliban controlled Pashtun tribal areas within the borders of Pakistan, and the violence drove an estimated 1.9 million people from their homes.
  • Health Care: From progessive policy wonks, to corporate backed faux populists, excited partisans lobbed inflamatory & contradictory charges at a moving target, igniting a furious political firestorm.
  • A Lion Is Lost: After a Senate career longer than his presidential brother's life, forty years after Chappaquiddick and 15 months after doctors found a malignant tumor in his brain, Edward M. Kennedy died.
Photo Collage: The Year in Pictures from the NY Times.

The Economy in Cartoons

Although it doesn't seem at all funny while happening, "Tragedy plus time equals comedy.”

Perhaps laughter is the best medicine for economic ill health.

That's the perspective offered by New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff, who has compiled the new book “On the Money: The Economy in Cartoons 1925-2009.”

Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now. Host: Robin Young.
See more selected cartoons from the book.

The Year's Winners & Losers

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Decade in Political Blunders

The Decade of Financial Failure

Tehran In Chaos

Al Jazeera Still Has Access

Distinctly western news organizations may offer reports, but they often come with disclaimers about Iran's crackdown on journalists making it hard to confirm details.

This video depicts the streets of Iran today...

School of Rock

High School video warfare from the Seattle suburbs...

Shorecrest HS

Shorewood HS

The World in Lights

A slide show of cities around the world.

Photo of Curving Northern Lights via Picture of the Day Archives (02/09)
Source: T3 library project at the University of the Pacific

The Year In Lies

Politifact Points the Finger

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Decade of Angry Voters

The Decade of Powerful Women


Past: iPod

It wasn't the first portable MP3 player. But it was the first to integrate internet commerce (iTunes) into a world dominated by online file swapping (Napster). No bigger than a pack of cards, the iPod made a huge impact.

Audio: NPR's Morning Edition, December 22.

Future: iTV

As part of their current revamping of  iTunes, which already offers television content for a price, Apple Inc. is aggressively courting broadcast and cable networks.

The Wall Street Journal's Sam Schechner reports they're hoping to form deals that would offer consumers alternatives to cable or satellite TV subscriptions with bundles of unwanted channels you'd never watch.

Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now, Host: Meghna Chakrabarti.
Apple Globe Photo: Kevin Van Aelst, via Guilford Art Center, 2007.

Zam Champs

Chicks Dig the Zamboni

A rinky dink video from See Our Shorts.

Holy Baboon!

Sharing a Mystical Moment

Biologist Barbara Smuts, who spent years in East Africa studying baboons, shares an experience she can't explain with Robert Krulwich and Jad Abumrad of WNYC's Radiolab.

Audio: NPR's Morning Edition, December 22, Host: Rene Montagne.
American RadioWorks is the national documentary unit of American Public Media.

The Year in a Tiara

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Decade in Sex Scandals

The Decade on YouTube

Looking for Happiness

In Denmark

By every index, the Danes are some of the happiest people in the world -- sociologist Peter Glindelock explains why.

Audio: PRI's Living On Earth, Host: Steve Curwood.

Or Amherst, MA

A course at Amherst College has students contemplate what and how they consume, and the happiness derived from it.

Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now. Host: Robin Young.

See also: The Happiness Project blog at


"The Mustangs of Las Colinas" is believed to be the largest horse scuplture in the world and consists of nine wild horses in bronze running across a granite stream at Williams Square Plaza in Irving, Texas... Something to see when visiting the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.

Blimp Crash

Video by Steve Arenholz

The Year in Celebrity

Sorry, Babs!

San Diego radio friends Berger & Prescott weighed in on the "most fascinating" people of the year.

The truth isn't pretty...

Mike and Jeff checked over the list Barbara Walters came up with for 2009.

The verdict: 2 thumbs down.
People offered more and different selections on their yearly list...

Topped by singer/Kanye West mugging victim Taylor Swift.

"Swift shares year-end 'honors' with PEOPLE's pick of the most unforgettable entertainers, scene-makers and headline-generators of 2009: Hollywood's fabulous philanthropists Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie; Mo'Nique; Barack and Michelle Obama; Sandra Bullock; Neil Patrick Harris; governor gone rogue Sarah Palin; kidnap survivor Jaycee Dugard; Rihanna & more."


See NBC's Top 10 Craziest Celebrity Moments, too.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Battle of the Banks

Hacker Heist

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the FBI is investigating a hacker attack, detected over the summer, which they believe is connected to a "cyber gang" of Russian criminals.

The article says they got away with tens of millions of dollars.

The bank's parent company, Citigroup, denied the report, which also alleges two other computer systems, one connected to a U.S. government agency, were also attacked. That prompted the FBI, the National Security Agency, the Homeland Security Department working together to investigate the attack.

Founding Fathers

Let It Fly

As gentlemen may have noticed, flies are turning up in urinals with increased frequency. Not real ones, but lifelike images carefully positioned in the porcelain bowl. It seems the very presence of this insect drastically reduces what's politely called "spillage."

But why flies?

Audio: Weekend Edition Saturday, December 19, Host: Scott Simon,
Reporter: Robert Krulwich

Source: NPR / Maggie Starbard, Dylan Isabell, Jessica Goldstein

Vermont Student Sues Over Co-Ed Bathrooms

Nineteen-year-old Green Mountain College student Jennifer Weiler has filed a lawsuit over the lack of single-sex bathrooms in the her residence hall. All seven of the school's residence halls are co-ed.

According to the lawsuit against the college and the Vermont Department of Public Safety (which enforces building and plumbing codes), Weiler and others are uncomfortable with both facilities: flimsy curtains on the shower doors, and conduct: men using the toilets with open stall doors.

Weiler's father told the Burlington Free Press that school officials at Green Mountain College labeled the bathroom on her floor "female" but males still use it.

Are there any flies? A college spokesman declined to comment.

Mission Comes First

Soldier Sex Under Fire

Horatio's Christmas Treat

Steve Martin's Holiday Wish

Christmas Bellagio Style

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It Takes (Snow) Balls

Don't Bring Your Gun

Pavlov's Dogma

Taking A Stand Against Religious Extremes

Frank Schaeffer has spent his life thinking about religion -- he’s the son of leading figures in the "relgious right" and was a Christian fundamentalist himself for some time.

He is no longer an evangelical, and in his new book, he finds fault not only with them, but also with a group of outspoken atheists; Schaeffer sees both groups as dogmatic.

Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now. Host: Robin Young.
Patience With God, and the Church of Hopeful Uncertainty.

Holiday Shopping Guide

by Fast Draw

Perhaps the perfect gift is no gift at all! Josh Landis and Mitch Butler explain why your best guess gift is likely a big waste of money.

Scroogenomics by Joel Waldfogel.

Irwin Mainway

Some gift ideas in time for the holidays.

Glengarry Christmas

Elf Motivation

Christmas at Wynn's

The Christmas Tree is the one with fewer lights.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Conning The Pentagon

One man's claims about secret al-Qaida messages embedded within Al Jazeera TV broadcasts led American officials to raise terror-alert levels and cancel a number of flights. But those claims turned out to be bogus.

Journalist Aram Roston wrote a Playboy article about Dennis Montgomery, "The Man Who Conned the Pentagon."

Audio: NPR's All Things Considered, December 19. Host: Guy Raz.

More from Monday night...

Be A Fraud, Be Very A Fraud

Techno Claus

High Tech Gift Advice

'Tis The Season for electronic gift-giving, and David Pogue of The New York Times presents some suggestions, in verse, for those who fear they might give someone a high-tech lemon.

Buzzwords of 2009

Illustrations by Valero Doval
Catchphrases and buzzwords can tell us much about a year past — what resonated, what stuck, what the year revealed about the sensibility of the nation, whether you’re a wise Latina woman, a mini-Madoff, a teabagger or Balloon Boy.

But if ever there were a year to put buzzwords before a death panel, this would be it, before the aporkalypse comes.
Article: The Buzzwords of 2009 compiled by the New York Times.


Photo by Angela Kohler
You've seen Annie Little... Alot!

Usually on TV in the Amazon commercial called "Kindlicious."

Over the summer, Amazon launched a campaign called, "Your Amazon Ad Contest," where participants submitted 30 second pieces advertising utilizing completely original content (music, video, etc.). Photographer Angela Kohler created the visuals in "Kindlicious." And beyond appearing as the model in the cute, catchy, and memorable photo collage, Annie Little wrote & sang, too.

Season's Greetings

from Tarzan, Tonto & Frankenstein

Christmas at Caesar's

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Vegas Biggest Bet

MGM Mirage Goes "All In" with High-End Hotels

There's no doubt it's big. The neighborhood has its own fire station.

There's no doubt it employs a lot of people. But not all of them came off the unemployment roles. Many were transfered from within MGM's already massive holdings, or hired away from competitors who are not at all inclined to hire replacements yet... Or maybe not at all. And most of the new jobs are closer to $6 per hour than six figures a year... No accident that CNN's report features a greeter & a busboy.

There's lots of doubt about the project's overall impact... Because it was designed in an era of a very long winning streak, when eveything new seemed to grow the entire market. And builders who caught the fever raised the stakes, betting it always would.

But in an era of long-lasting recession, newer shinier properties tend to canibalize older ones. What passed for cutting edge in the days of the "Rat Pack," was a step up from downtown saloons with cowboy themes... This past week one of that generation's best, the Sahara, closed two of three hotel towers, and Binion's, the former downtown home of the World Series of Poker, closed all its hotel rooms and a coffee shop that figured into decades of local legend.

And like the game, the number of chips on the table didn't change... It's just that fewer players held them as the blinds got bigger.