Saturday, April 10, 2010

Play It For Laughs

Harvey Korman holds Carol Burnett's face during a routine on 'The Carol Burnett Show' in 1967
Your favorite moment might have been Carol Burnett as Scarlett O’Hara with a curtain rod sticking out of her drapery-made gown... Or her turn as the working class, Eunice, who exchanged hilarious barbs with her momma... And that trademark Tarzan yell still reverberates across TV history.

The incredibly popular, “Carol Burnett Show,” is the source of many memories shared in “This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection.”
Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now 4/9/10, Host: Robin Young... Also, read about a hilarious encounter with Jimmy Stewart in an excerpt from the book.

Play It Straight

At Least 'Til You Leave New Jersey

Play Amatuer Exterminator

Yes, living in Southern California is a little like having bees in your head... Or your attic.
But there you are.
Audio: Berger & Prescott publish podcasts on Facebook. Mike's house is the one that went from eco-friendly to EPA Superfund Site in 1 day.

Play A Round

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Tiger's Nike Commercial - 4/8/10
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorFox News

Audio: WBUR & NPR's It's Only Game, 4/10/10 Host: Bill Littlefield.

Tiger made the cut with a workman-like second round in the Masters.
Two below par on Friday... Something of a personal "Amen Corner."

Play With Your Sibling

Rebuilding a Band of Brothers

Geoff Edgers had an unusual midlife crisis. Approaching age 40 he went on a mission to reunite the favorite band of his youth, The Kinks. Problem is: the band’s two founding brothers, Ray and Dave Davies, haven’t spoken to each other in years. Undeterred, Edgers set off on a quixotic quest to bring the brothers together and documents his effort in a film called, “Do It Again.”
Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now 4/8/10, Host: Robin Young.

The final encore 9-23-79, on the Low Budget tour in Providence RI

Play With Your Food

Friday, April 9, 2010

Fox & Fiends

Stoking Fear Makes for Ratings, and Fallout

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Comeback & Blowback

Before he hit from the first tee, this Nike ad hit the TV.

In haunting black & white... In the voice of his late father...
Tiger blinked, but stood silent.

"It's brilliant" say ad execs, while "Creepy" has been a more common reaction from the general public seeing the first commercial from Nike, the largest sponsor to stick with Woods through the scandal.

There was substantial media controversy, YouTube parodies and heckling flyovers as distractions, but Tiger tried to overcome both disgrace & layoff, and completed opening round play in front of an appreciative gallery at minus 4 in his quest for a fifth green jacket.

While any major pro tourney is a challenge, the protective bubble at Augusta National is unlike any other... In part because the club is already hypersensitive to criticism of discriminatory white men only membership policies excluding applicants by race, and by sex.

Woods may enjoy a polite reception on the course, but there it stops.

Audio: NPR's All Things Considered 4/8/10, Reporter: Tom Goldman.

Power of Gold(man Sachs)

With continued after-effects from 2008's economic setbacks, public resentment has deepened towards Wall Street and especially the ultra-profitable, ultra-connected greedy giant Goldman Sachs.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Live At the Fox Theatre, St. Louis, Missouri on June 25, 1991

They Can't Explain

Financial forces have already spent millions on ads and lobbyists to spin regulation as just another government takeover... A proven dog whistle for the right wing, who bought the line on heath care reform.

NPR’s economics correspondent Adam Davidson has spent the last two years breaking down the financial crisis with clear, simple language. But Davidson is stymied by regulatory reform, which has proven resistant to even his brand of explanatory journalism.

Audio: WNYC's On The Media 4/2/10 Host: Brooke Gladstone.

Portrait of Petraeus

The Renaissance Ranger

Vanity Fair magazine commissioned Mark Bowden, author of "Black Hawk Down," to profile General David Petraeus, architect of the successful surge strategy in Iraq and now leader of U.S. Central Command, the theatre which includes responsibility for Afghanistan.

What the writer found was a four star soldier, scholar and statesman. A master of war with a Princeton PhD, not only fit for command but in physical shape that'd put someone half his age to shame... Needless to say, Bowden was impressed.
Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now 4/6/10, Host: Robin Young.

Tip / Wag

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Tip/Wag - Hello Kitty Wine & Pig's Blood Filters
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Reform


Darius had a thing about voicemail... It pissed him off.

So when he spotted a friend on the next block just after leaving a message for him, he decided to connect old school.

"REGGIE!" He bellowed.

Reggie didn't react... Maybe he didn't hear.

Darius kicked it up a notch. "REGGIE!"

Still no reaction... Maybe the motherf***er was voice-screening as well as call-screening.

"HEY, REGGIE!" Louder still.

I wondered if Reggie had gone deaf... From having friends like this. But he must have reacted. Although I didn't hear the response... Or much of anything else... After Darius, my ears needed recovery time.


And he must have, because the shouting stopped.

Dangerous disrespect diffused, the two friends continued walking... Absorbed in cellular conversation channeled through a tower, which was farther away from both of them than they were from each other.

Can your hear me now?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

American Fatwa?

American-born Enemies & the Ethics of Assassination

Selective History Month

"New" Republicans, Neoconservatives & Neoconfederates

Mandela's Way

Time Magazine's Richard Stengel, who wrote "Mandela's Way: Fifteen Lessons on Life, Love and Courage," appeared on Hardball with Chris Matthews to compare and contrast the two iconic leaders.


Going For Gold

This Pulitzer medal was awarded to Long Island, NY's Newsday in 1970
Next week, the Pulitzer Prizes will be announced, including the most coveted — the prize for public-service journalism. Past winners have included such landmarks as the New York Times for publication of the Pentagon Papers; and the Washington Post’s coverage of the Watergate affair.

Roy Harris is author of Pulitzer’s Gold: Behind the Prize for Public-Service Journalism. He explains the kind of journalism that goes into award-winning coverage, including the Boston Globe’s innovative method of reporting on the clergy sex abuse scandal which won the 2003 prize.
Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now 4/6/10, Host: Robin Young.

Won't Be Scarred Like That

April 8th is the day my Dad died... It was Good Friday that year.

We had thought his flu-like symptoms were what they seemed, so as I set up a vaporizer in the bedroom I used to share with my younger brother, he said "You're a good son, lad," And I wished him a good night, hoping he'd be more comfortable.

A few minutes later, my mother heard him gasping for breath and recognized the same peculiar sounds she'd heard about three years before, when he had survived an aneurysm that burst in his chest.

So I dragged my Dad out of what had been my bed, and performed CPR as Mom called an ambulance. He was gone before they arrived... And only God knows if he said anything else after I'd left him.

There are times when the best you can do won't help...
But you try, if only to be a good son.

I'd never seen the upstairs part of the parish where we held his funeral, the following Monday... I'd only been to the basement where they held mass, confession and novenas invoking intercession from Jesuit co-founder St. Francis Xavier. It was impressive up there and they'd saved some Easter lilies to supplement the funeral flowers.

I didn't know the priest, and I'm not sure if he knew my Dad, but the homily was eloquent and rich with the promise of resurrection and everlasting life. And I wondered if Jesus also might have thought the best you can do won't help... But you try, if only to be a good son.

Whatever his sacrifice did for the sins of the world, it hadn't stopped them from happening anew, and repeatedly... The parish church was one of six in my hometown in the Southern region of the Archdiocese of Boston, and not immune to the clergy sex abuse scandal there.

About 5 years before the funeral, and nearly 30 before it would become another small piece within a stained glass picture of massive scandal, a slightly older guy from my neighborhood told me in pre-adolescence he'd been molested by a priest from the same parish.

It was an odd combination of apology, confession and explanation... His reaction to being a victim had been to become a victimizer, too.

I have no authority to prescribe penance or grant absolution. I'm just an ordinary child of God, not one ordained... Stumbling through life wanting to face my own challenges with character, and other peoples' challenges with compassion... Trying my best to be a good son.

Another Final Four

Defying all fears,
exploding gas and cave-ins...
To work the black seam.

The mine explosion in West Virginia and the tragic loss of life shocked those who pay close attention to coal mine safety... Some had recently marked a mine safety milestone: the nation's safest year ever.

Audio: NPR's Morning Edition 4/7/10, Reporter: Howard Berkes.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Whatcha Gonna Do About

Crazy Crazy?

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The Cat In The Hat

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Turncloak - 4/5/10
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Reform

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Reza Aslan - 4/5/10
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Reform

Father Fixer 2

Patrick Wall was a special kind of monk; a scandal fixer. But after being sent to four different churches in as many years, covering up for pedophiles, adulterers, liars and embezzlers, he decided to make a change... He now works to expose the church's worst scandals.

Patrick Wall, expert witness.

Audio: PRI's This American Life, Host: Ira Glass, Producer: Carl Marziali.

Go to part 1

Woofa Goofa

His rapid fire jive was an odd match for the early days of underground fm radio, but perfect for fronting the J. Geils Band, where his energetic "pole vaulting" with microphone stands became a trademark in the live shows that were the band at its best.

Peter Wolf is out with a new CD, Midnight Souvenirs, that includes a number of new songs and a few collaborations with Merle Haggard, Neko Case and country singer Shelby Lynn.

Pete Blankfield from the Bronx has had a long career in Rock 'n' Roll, and an unusual road took him there.
Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now 4/2/10, Host: Robin Young.
“Midnight Souvenirs” is Peter Wolf’s first CD since his 2002 release “Sleepers,” which Rolling Stone magazine called “”a superb work of soulfulness and delicacy…one of the greatest albums of all-time.” You can see how Wolf brought his new work to life in the following behind-the-scenes films.

Candy or Celery & Carrots

You can bet they'll overcharge for this, too.

Flavor of India

An incoming transmission from All India Radio, not India's national radio service, but a band from Australia that makes global ambient music full of rock influences and inviting atmospheres orchestrated by chief radio operator Martin Kennedy.

Audio: PRI's Echoes, an ambient music program on public radio with an extensive archive of audio for download via subscription. Flag of India in food, from Fill Inn.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Animal Photography

Sometimes You Snap The Bear...
Sometimes It's The Bear Who Snaps

From Damn Cool Pics: How to Make a Perfect Animal Photo

Card Games

Race Card


Video: Countdown MSNBC 4/5/10

Parlay Card

Duke by 2! So if your bracket wasn't busted, time to cash 'em in.

Father Fixer 1

Patrick Wall was a special kind of monk; a fixer. The Catholic church sent him to problem parishes where priests had been removed in scandals. His job was to come in, keep events from going public and smooth things over until a permanent replacement priest was found.

Patrick Wall, former priest.

Audio: PRI's This American Life, Host: Ira Glass, Producer: Carl Marziali.

Go to part 2

Cabbage Contest

Kim Jong Il is the dictator. Kimchi is the delicacy.

Boston celebrated the national dish of Korea with its first Kimchi pickle-off. The pungent spicy cabbage brought out plenty of Korean-Americans, farmers and foodies to indulge in fermentation fervor.
Audio: PRI's Living On Earth ,
Host: Jeff Young,
Ike Sriskandarajah reports.

Pole Dancing



Pole dancing might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of competitive sports, but the US Pole Dance Federation thinks otherwise... Competitive pole dancing combines athleticism, grace, and a respectable amount of clothing.

Audio: WBUR & NPR's It's Only Game, Reporter: Karen Given &
Host: Bill Littlefield. The program teased already aired on 4/3/10.

On A Dare

The Eyes Have It

Monday, April 5, 2010

Play Ball, America

A major lesson from the minor leagues

Dick Summer moved from a distinguished radio career, into a semi-retirement sustained by three great loves: his wife (aka Wonder Wench), piloting his own single engine plane, and continuing to make magic in front of microphones... Plus a lifelong baseball obsession.

I'm a regular listener to his weekly Good Night podcast, just as I wanted to catch what he had to say when I was within radio range.

The podcast is normally filled with the kind of fun things he did on the radio. But when he said "I'd like to make the Fearful Fringe feel safe" I found something more serious I wanted to share.

Dick Summer's website and blog.

"Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. I sense much fear in you. Much fear in the world, I sense."
-- Jedi Master Yoda (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace 1999)

Did you notice that the menace is a phantom?

In 12-step recovery programs, where they seem to have acronyms for everything, fear = False Evidence Appearing Real.

Those who would exploit that fiction for their own political ends are playing with a dangerously furious, fact-free, fear-fueled firestorm... And those of us who live in the West know how frequently & easily even "controlled burns" get out of hand.

I suspect none of us here are old enough to remember both gentlemen, but we'd be wise to read & heed their words:

“It is easier to believe a lie that one has heard a thousand times than to believe a fact that no one has heard before.”
--H.L. Mencken (American journalist/social critic 1880-1956)

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
-- Franklin Delano Roosevelt (First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1933)

I, too, sense much fear in the world.

So savor & cherish those moments that remind us a truly United States of America is an awesome thing to be part of & behold... Then, "Play ball!"

Worshipping Under A Cloud

For American Catholics, Easter Sunday was a bittersweet occasion due to the latest revelations of sex abuse by priests and cover-ups by the church. As Dean Reynolds reports, the damage is evident this Easter.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

What did Pope Benedict say — or not say — this Easter about the widening controversy over sexual abuse by priests? For reaction from the Vatican and elsewhere, host Linda Wertheimer speaks to NPR's Sylvia Poggioli.

Audio: NPR's All Things Considered 4/4/10.

It's All About The Money

High finance was the theme taped in Houston.

Audio: Wait Wait Don't Tell Me 4/3/10, Host Peter Sagal quizzes
panelists Tom Bodett and Paula Poundstone.


*GAAP = Generally Accepted Accounting Principles

In the entertainment industry you very quickly learn something the entire economy experiences every recession, namely that what's generally accepted, in many cases, isn't all that principled.

Flame Out


Her livelihood used to depend on strangers watching Penny Flame. Now she says her life as Jennie Ketcham depends on watching her former porn persona stay in the past... Among the benefits are a year of sobriety, a first monogamous relationship (at age 27) and
an opportunity to teach some of life's harder lessons at Harvard.


In the same issue, the Boston Phoenix compiles an annual list of the 100 unsexiest men of the year. You can view their compilation of the "Proud and Putrid winners" by rank or category. The truly masochistic can see all 5 years in the alternative weekly.

Jakob Dylan: Women+Country

He was born into fame, but became known on his own as the lead singer of The Wallflowers on Bringing Down the Horse (1996). 14 years later, on Women and Country (his second album as a solo artist), Jakob Dylan reunites with producer T-Bone Burnett, and adds Neko Case and Kelly Hogan as backing vocalists.
Audio: NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday 4/3/10, Host: Scott Simon.

Hear more audio at NPR Music and video from a Tiny Desk Concert. Jakob Dylan - Women + Country is now on sale locally and at Amazon on CD or MP3 download.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Pope On The Ropes

Meditate, Then Act
By Eugene Robinson - Washington Post, Friday, April 2, 2010

At its holiest time of the year, the Roman Catholic Church is being forced to confront not only the central mystery of the faith -- life after death -- but also a more worldly riddle: What did the Holy Father know, and when did he know it?

Questions about whether Pope Benedict XVI was personally involved, as he rose through the church hierarchy, in sweeping under the rug incidents of sexual abuse by parish priests have put the Vatican on the defensive. A top legal official of the Holy See even felt obliged to argue, in an interview with the Rome newspaper Corriere della Sera, that the Vatican is not legally responsible for any failure by individual bishops to properly handle reports of abuse -- and that, in any event, Benedict is a head of state and beyond the jurisdiction of any foreign court.

A spokesman said that Benedict sees the sex scandal as a "test for him and the church" and is spending Holy Week in "humility and penitence." Another official, Cardinal William Levada, took a much more aggressive approach, releasing a lengthy statement attacking newspaper stories that have sought to investigate Benedict's role. Levada, who is prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith -- essentially the Vatican's chief enforcer on matters of faith, a post Benedict held for more than 20 years before becoming pope -- singled out the New York Times' reporting as "deficient by any reasonable standards of fairness."

Easter is a time for Benedict, as the spiritual leader of a billion people, to meditate and reflect. Then he must act. It is time for the pope to be comprehensively honest and open about the tragic failure of the church to prevent or punish horrific sexual abuse -- including his own errors -- and he must credibly assure the faithful that such crimes will never be allowed to happen again. Even more urgently, molesters still serving as priests must be defrocked and reported to civilian authorities.

Penance is a sacrament. It is not optional.

Same Title, Different World

Who speaks to you?

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, Bishop of Rome

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso