Saturday, November 13, 2010


Willie Geist - Wheel's best guess, Conan returns with beard, Bush with book

NBC/Questlove remixes the clips on Late Night

CNN's Jeanne Moos makes the most of (mistaken?) missile mystery mania.

Video: MSNBC/Comedian Lizz Winstead's take on W's book blitz

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Recap - Week of 11/8/10
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Recap - Week of 11/8/10
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionMarch to Keep Fear Alive

ABC: This Week In Unnecessary Censorship from Jimmy Kimmel Live

The Onion: You've got an Oprah Invitation

CBS/Late Night with David Letterman - G20 Summit Top Ten

Voter Motivaton

Why people pull the levers

Indexed by Jessica Hagy

Tooning 40

Doonesbury is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Since its start in a Yale campus newspaper in 1970, the strip has continued to evolve and reflect important social and political events of a generation and their children. Doonesbury's creator, Garry Trudeau, talks about how he develops his characters, from B.D. to Duke to former U.S. Presidents, and how events of the day, as well as his own life, inspire him to keep drawing.
Casting A Unique Cartoon
Audio Embed: WNYC's On The Media 11/13/10,
Host: Brooke Gladstone.

Cold War (2010), continued

Video: NBC/Today - Defector/double agent spymaster now assassin/s target.

Video: CBS/Exposed to the world as a spy, Anna Chapman remains in public view.

Funny Money (in Euros)

Irish economist and commentator David McWilliams talks with Melissa Block about Kilkenomics, the world's first economics/comedy festival taking place this weekend in Kilkenny, Ireland.

He says comics can ask questions that cut through the jargon economists use -- and allow average people to understand what went wrong with the world economy.
Going Broke with a Brogue
Audio Embed: All Things Considered 11/13/10.

Leapin' Lizards

A scientist discovered a new species of lizard while lunching at a restaurant in southeast Vietnam that featured them on the menu.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Interesting Yes, Funny No

Video: A fake cable news anchor appeared on TV with a real cable news anchor... MSNBC's Rachel Maddow with Lawrence O'Donnell after her Jon Stewart interview.

Video: MSNBC's Morning Joe crew agrees - Americans calmer than as seen on TV.

Not-So Future Tech

Meet George Jetson, or Someone Like Him

Video: CNN/Kate Bolduan meets the missionary "Maverick" inventor of his own fling car. Is this the future? No, it's happening right now, somewhere in Florida.

The Technical Term Is Exoskeleton

Video: CNN/Chris Lawrence tried to do something better suited to someone wearing a Raytheon subdivision's prosthetic shell of metal and hydraulics, built to turn every day ordinary soldiers into real-life Iron Men... Or human forklifts.

Two Thirds Fabulous

Two Decorating Dos, One Don't

This chair by Daisuke Motogi Architecture lets you hide items between the seat's upholstered cubes.

This costume let's other people sit in your lap, but not on your face.

While the Yang sofa by François Bauchet comes in 4 sections that can be put together like a puzzle, or pulled apart into seats.

Los Lobos: Tiny Desk Concert

The set list says it all:
  1. "Burn It Down"
  2. "Yo Canto"
  3. "Don't Worry Baby"
Los Lobos music reflects their roots, both Mexican & Rock'n'Roll... The durable L.A. band's latest album is called "Tin Can Trust."
The Wolf Survived and Thrives
Audio Embed: A Tiny Desk Concert from NPR Music.

Long Live Rock

"Life is change. How it differs from the rocks."
-- Paul Kantner, co-founder: Jefferson Airplane (1968)
Not so fast! It's an interaction, in which both change each other.
We are stardust. We are golden.
Audio Embed: Morning Edition 11/11/10,
Reporter: Robert Krulwich (read more)
"All in all is all we are."
-- Kurt Cobain, songwriter: "All Apologies" (1993)

The Who live in Seattle (1982 "farewell" tour following the "It's Hard" album) with originals Roger Daltrey (vocals), Pete Townshend (guitar), John Entwistle (bass) plus Kenney Jones (drums) and John "Rabbit" Bundrick (keyboards).

Haunted By The 80s

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Role Reversal

A video compilation of Daily Show "rips" and/or "ribs" prior to Jon Stewart's 11/11/10 appearance on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC turf .

Inside Job

Who put hundred of thousands out of their homes, millions out of work, destroyed hundreds of billions of dollars in net worth, nearly toppled countries and the world economy?

Film Points To As Yet Unindicted Co-conspirators

In the new documentary, “Inside Job,” filmmaker Charles Ferguson says academics -- business school and economics professors -- share the blame.

In addition to out-of-control Wall Street financiers and asleep-on-the-job regulators, Ferguson’s documentary shows how unethical professors played a key role in the crisis by lauding financial industry practices that weren’t working, even as they took home millions from Wall Street firms.
Greed Isn't Partisan... It's Academic
Audio Embed: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now 11/10/10,
Host: Robin Young.

Katie Couric interviewed director Ferguson at greater length for CBS.

Truth or Consequences

Video: CNN's Kathleen Parker & Elliot Spitzer say a British court's solution to lying politicians could either clean up Congress, or if not, clear it out.

New Congress, Old GOP Agenda

Acting on their taxation fixation and undo Obama obsessions will limit the possibilities for achievement, but even futile efforts might have a political benefit of convincing the radical right they tried, not lied.

CBS News' Christina Ruffini reports incoming Republicans' stated legislative goals limit possibilities for compromise on common ground with Democrats.

Adam Carolla's Manopause

Videos: ABC/Jimmy Kimmel Live - Man Show co-host returns to promote a book on the bestseller list... Whoever would have bet any money on that one?

Teller Raises The Dead

Photo: Beverly Poppe
Penn's silent partner directs "Play Dead" off-Broadway in NYC.
Scary Seance & Spook Show
Audio Embed: All Things Considered 11/09/10,
Reporter: Robert Smith

Bizzaro Bazinga!

Bizzaro Comics' on journalism's most rigorous selection process...
People Magazine's annual Sexiest Man Alive issue comes out 11/17.

The Big Bang Theory - Howard's Galatica Fantasy

Simon Helberg with Melissa Rauch as Bernadette, Katee Sackhoff & George Takei

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Missle of Mystery

Apparent Launch Near Los Angeles Baffles Officials

Videos: CNN & MSNBC... No explanations or admissions so far.

Missile contrails are commonly seen along the Central & Southern California coast with launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base and create spectacular sights when timed at, or shortly after, sunset.

Dave's Not Buying Any More Than 10 Excuses

Video: CBS/Late Show with David Letterman

Back to Basic

Video: TBS/Team Coco - Cold open to the first show illustrates a futile job search pre-TBS deal, including major star cameos.

Young viewers welcomed Conan O'Brien's Monday basic cable debut in numbers which made for winning ratings... But long term impacts for his new network (TBS), or on Jay Leno, David Letterman & especially Comedy Central's Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert will take weeks to emerge. Check back when Coco's not a novelty anymore.

Video: TBS/Team Coco - Apparently even the graphics for "masturbating bear" don't translate well for Taiwan's panda fans.

What's clear already is that TBS, whose overall slogan is "very funny," has staked its future and fortune on the resurrected redheaded staple of NBC late night... And in doing that, they're not alone.

Other cable or satellite channels bundled within the "basic" tier of service have also been able to attract major talents to awards-caliber projects they've made marquee attractions, including:
  1. AMC's Mad Men,
  2. FX’s Sons of Anarchy,
  3. Lifetime’s Drop Dead Diva,
  4. TNT’s Men of a Certain Age and
  5. USA’s Royal Pains.
These shows typically cost much less to produce than hour-long network dramatic fare. They appeal to niche audiences and have given many well-known actors a chance to showcase their talents.

The Wall Street Journal's Amy Chozick reported on the phenomenon.
Cable Competes with the Big Boys
Audio Embed: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now 11/09/10,
Host: Robin Young.

He's Back Now, Too

Video: MSNBC/Keith Olbermann returns, stunned & grateful; offering a timeline, apologies and a few laughs about his brief political donation policy suspension.

And 3rd Place CNN Wants To Start Something

Video: CNN promos takes a dig at competitors' ethics and/or objectivity.

Tucker Carlson Must Want To Fight, Too

Over the summer, Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller purchased the Internet domain name and Carlson (whom Olbermann has previously labeled as the inspiration for Countdown's "Worst Persons" segment) said he would personally use the email address

As the real Keith returned to the air, news came out that Carlson had used that account to trick a Philadelphia Daily News columnist into thinking he was having an email fight with Keith Olbermann himself. The exchange was published, then quickly shot down, on Phawker.

2 Much? 1DR Y

Poster from
4COL, OH HS stdy sez 2 mch iz bd 4U!
Audio Embed: CBS Radio's Osgood File 11/09/10.

The Queen Has No Friends

Her Majesty is on Facebook, but one may only "like" her from afar.

Her Majesty's a pretty nice girl,
but she doesn't have a lot to say
Her Majesty's a pretty nice girl
but she changes from day to day

I want to tell her that I love her a lot
But I gotta get a belly full of wine
Her Majesty's a pretty nice girl
Someday I'm going to make her mine, oh yeah,
Someday I'm going to make her mine.
-- Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE - Abbey Road (1969)

Black Swan

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

He's Baaaaaaack with a Book

W: Shooter Was Pissed About Scooter

Video: NBC/Today - Pre-show excerpts from Matt Lauer's interview of former President George W. Bush, on his memoir "Decision Points," released 11/09/10.

Book Is New, Content Is Not

Video: MSNBC/Rachel Maddow - Bush continues old and discredited argument for Iraq war despite facts, non-existent WMDs, without benefit of doubt.

Wilson & Plame Get No Apology

Video: MSNBC/Wronged former U.S. Ambassador and outed CIA agent wife angrily react to book on Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell in an exclusive interview.

Loyal Bushie, Decider Defender Forever

Video: MSNBC/Being a former White House Director of Communications is a life sentence... Nicolle Wallace offers insight on Bush book and post 9/11 panic.

I don't know what it means that former president George W. Bush and Conan O'Brien returned to the spotlight on the same date... But from now on 11/8 will be celebrated yearly as Serendipity-doo-dah Day!

Briefly Benched

In July 2003, AlterNet repeated a Columbia Journalism Review article by Brent Cunningham criticizing the press under the title:
The problem with U.S. coverage is not political bias but a misplaced adherence to a shallow definition of objectivity.
The crux: It always sounds like you're taking an opponent's side if you question any politician's misrepresentation of falsehoods as facts... However easily disproved.

To partisans, a private donation is no more likely to fuel doubts about objectivity than a reporter's job description: to question authority.

Keith Olbermann's suspension for unapproved campaign donations ends today, unlike MSNBC indefinite suspension/dismissals for:
  1. Don Imus (now on Fox Business Channel) after racial taunting of Rutgers' women's basketball team, and
  2. David Shuster (yet to resurface nationally) after he shot a pilot episode for a new show on rival CNN
That history, along with a mutual predilection for taking shots at each other, led to premature giddiness by Greg Gutfeld on Fox's Red Eye:

Keith Olbermann's niche in cable commentary is pointed criticism of major politicians and public figures... Directed particularly, but not exclusively, at the political right. 

Olbermann has taken shots at Comedy Central's Jon Stewart.

But he also responded to Stewart's criticizing him for "over the top name calling," first with an on-air admission (1/27/10) and recently with removal of Countdown's “Worst Persons" segment (11/01/10) after seeing his own heated political rhetoric amidst Fox News personalities (and others)... Even as he expressed his outrage over Stewart’s "false equivalency" between him and those strident Fox competitors/political opponents with whom he incessantly feuds.

When Countdown was new in 2003, Olbermann received executive criticism for booking "liberals" Janeane Garofalo and Al Franken as guests on consecutive nights. In 2010, MSNBC is more comfortable with a progressive identity... Adopting the marketing phrase "lean forward," and with the addition of "The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell" following Countdown and Rachel Maddow, prime time is the highest rated time of day, and filled entirely with Olbermann and his (like-minded but more temperate) former guest hosts.

Three days and 300,000 petition signatures later, a recantation:
"After several days of deliberation and discussion, I have determined that suspending Keith through and including Monday night's program is an appropriate punishment for his violation of our policy. We look forward to having him back on the air Tuesday night," Phil Griffin, president of MSNBC said Sunday.


Rally, Election, Cans of Worms

New Rule: The Center is Closer to Left than Right

Video: HBO/Real Time host Bill Maher draws a lesson from Stewart/Colbert rally.

Progressive's Open Letter Opens a Can of Worms

Video: CNN - Author: Time is running out for aging White Right's intolerance.

Let It Bleed

Old School

New Wave

Canadian scientists discover a way to create blood from skin cells.
Listen Up, Vampires!
Audio Embed: CBS Radio's Osgood File 11/08/10.

Music: Pete Townsend - Give Blood live on Westdeutscher Rundfunk (1986)

Comet Hartley 2's Closeup

Stunning Pictures, Now Serious Science Starts

Video: ITN - Deep Impact spacecraft beams back images of Hartley 2 comet.

Space Peanut!

Video: MSNBC - Franklin Institute chief astronomer Derrick Pitts, talks about the Deep Impact close range probe of a 2nd (peanut-shaped) comet active in space.

Hail Yeah!

Video: College Humor - Violent hailstorm wrecks havoc on backyard pool.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Conan O'Brien's Comeback

As Seen on TV

Video: Team Coco - About that blimp sighted over baseball playoff games.

The late-night star's much anticipated, and heavily promoted, new show starts Monday night (11/08/10) on TBS.

NPR guest host Lynn Neary talks with Entertainment Weekly Senior Writer Jeff Jensen about all the chess moves that landed O'Brien on TBS at 11 and the current late-night landscape.

Conan caricature from Blog is Everything.
Return To Late Night TV
Audio Embed: Weekend Edition Sunday 11/07/10.

Video: Team Coco - An interim quickie called "Show Zero."
Tweet, Tour, Then Back to TV
Audio Embed: Morning Edition 11/08/10,
Reporter: Elizabeth Blair

Mount Up, Muggles

The Snitch Is Loose!

Intercollegiate (Muggle) Quidditch

More than 60 teams, including several from prestigious universities, are registered for the fourth annual Quidditch World Cup next weekend and count the sport among their extracurricular activities. Although they have yet to transcend laws of physics, or master whatever wizardry would elevate their game to the aerial version... But not bad for a game that just a few years ago existed only in the pages of the Harry Potter books the players grew up reading.
Beats Boring Bocce Ball
Audio Embed: All Things Considered 11/07/10,
Host: Guy Raz, Photo: Tina Fineberg/AP

Video: CBS/Greg Gumbel's play-by-play of a match with Dave Price (3/28/08)

San Fogcisco

"AM Fog" by Aqus Sutanto - 9/29/10, Twin Peaks, San Francisco, CA, US

When Work Doesn't Work

From Email Addiction To Skipped Lunches...
We're Doing It All Wrong

Consultant Tony Schwartz says long work days spent constantly checking e-mail are not only making us unhappy, they’re sabotaging the rest of our lives and making us less productive. His new book is “The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working: The Four Forgotten Needs That Energize Great Performance.”
To Start: Take Back Your Lunch!
Audio Embed: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now 11/05/10,
Host: Robin Young.

Book Excerpt: ‘The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working’ (PDF)

Carolla's Complaint

"In 50 Years We Will All Be Chicks."

Former "Man Show" co-host decries vanishing masculinity.

Video: MSNBC/Morning Joe

Too Damn High

And Charlie Sheen is Always Ready To Party (NSFW)

Video: Funny or Die - Jimmy McMillan & son (Billy Eichner) announce The Charlie Sheen is Too Damn High Party after his NYC incident with porn's Capri Anderson.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

We Need More Mythbusters

Collective Delusions Circulate in the Echo Chamber

Video: MSNBC/Rachel Maddow & Daily Show Resident Expert John Hodgman - Debunking is defunct within the self-reinforcing right wing media world.

Mediaite tackled the Indian trip cost controversy, attributing the initial figure to an undisclosed Indian wire service source. Traction on the American right can be traced to repetition by The Drudge Report.

Objective Observers Opinions

In a nation where the Supreme Court protects campaign donations as "free speech," the notion that any corporation enforces a policy of prior approval (or veto) over an employee's private vs. public participation in political process raises disturbing questions.

For example: Should being a journalist require a form of non-participatory civic celibacy?

The recently suspended Keith Olbermann has said previously that objectivity is impossible, but that one could be fair... Even handed in holding all parties in an argument to the same skeptical standard.

There's no inherent benefit to continuing to give equal credence to an assertion which can be proven wrong; however often repeated by the misinformed, or the deliberately disinforming.

A Breed Apart

A good portion of 21st-century news consumers no longer believe in objectivity. They know it isn't possible. And yet the public expects reporters to always play it down the middle, delivering the facts and only the facts, unencumbered by bias. But to what lengths should reporters go? Can they report fairly on beats that encroach on their personal lives? Should they vote, or does their occupation demand they sit out while others participate?
Neutral, Not Neutered
Audio Embed: WNYC's On The Media 10/06/10,
Host: Brooke Gladstone.
Rolling Stone contributing editor Matt Taibbi's columns have been a destination for those trying to understand what happened in the aftermath of the financial meltdown. "Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids and the Long Con That Is Breaking America," makes the subject even clearer in the blunt & colorful language Taibbi's readers know well. He doesn't mince words, dilute with adverbs or couch anything in the veneer of deference more typical of "beat reporters" incestuously keeping "access."
Dateline: Griftopia

Audio Embed: All Things Considered 10/06/10,
Host: Guy Raz.

Read An Excerpt