Saturday, January 8, 2011

Weekend or End Times?

Willie Geist's Signs of the Apocalypse

Jimmy Kimmel's Signs of the Apocalypse

Jimmy Fallon's Sing of the Apocalypse

Week In Review

Jon Stewart

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Recap - Week of 1/3/11
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Stephen Colbert

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Recap - Week of 1/3/11
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

This Week In Unnecessary Censorship

David Letterman - Top Ten Little-Known Facts About John Boehner

Political Comedy from Club Ed

Pension Probe

Under severe pressure to achieve greater returns on pension investments, the longtime Treasurer-Tax Collector of Orange County, California, engaged in a number of high-risk investments, which were made while consulting psychics and astrologers.

His investment pool lost $1.64 billion. Nearly $200 million had to be slashed from the county budget and more than 1,000 jobs were cut. The county was forced to borrow $1 billion and Orange County was forced into bankruptcy in 1994.

Now, Securities and Exchange Commission investigators are looking at the California Public Employees' Retirement System, known as Calpers... And whether California adequately disclosed the risky nature of Calpers' investments. During the financial crisis, the fund lost a significant portion of its portfolio, leaving the entire state of California on shaky financial ground.

The country's largest public pension fund's shakedown could send tremors through the public pension world, which is already suffering financially and under political attack as well.
NY Times reporter Louise Story
Audio Embed: PRI & WNYC's program The Takeaway 1/7/11,
Hosts: John Hockenberry & Celeste Headlee


Fixer Upper

One of the first pyramids built by the ancient Egyptians was seriously damaged by an earthquake in 1992. But only now has Welsh engineer Peter James stepped forward to repair it.
Restoring a Pyramid
Audio Embed: BBC, PRI & WGBH's The World 1/7/11,
Host: Katy Clark.

The Alan Parsons Project album "Pyramid" was released in 1978... Visuals are from "Immortal" a 2004 English language, French- produced science fiction film, directed by artist Enki Bilal.

Ice, Ice, Baby

ITN: A Norwegian musician who makes his instruments out of ice is "performing"... Which sounds like a goose being force-fed lutefisk.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Inscrutable To Radar

The unofficial unveiling of China's first stealth fighter model...

Video analysis by

He's A Gadget Guy... Really

Technology Consultant John Quain appeared on CBS to talk about what's hot at the International Consumer Electronics Show... And prove to skeptical loved ones his Las Vegas getaway wasn't to visit the AVN porn expo, now showing too much elsewhere on "The Strip."

Direct Deposit

What's That Sound?

A boxharp is a zither-like instrument associated with Appalachian music and it's also the name Scott Solter and Wendy Allen use when creating swampy, moody renditions of folk songs.
Alt dot Roots Music
Audio Embed: Echoes, an ambient music program on public radio with extensive archives of subscriber downloads.

Watts Up With That?

A 2007 energy law mandated old-style incandescent light bulbs will be phased out starting in January 2012. The change is prompting some people, like Nolan Finley, editorial page editor of the Detroit News, to express his inner Andy Rooney and to hoard incandescents, which haven’t changed much since Edison invented them.
Rage Against the Dying of the Lights
Audio Embed: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now 1/6/11,
Host: Robin Young.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Oily Bastards

Presidential Commission Report Is In

It blames the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on a "failure of management" by BP and sub-contractors Halliburton & Transocean... And it all could happen again.

Pointing The Big Finger
Audio Embed: CBS Radio's Osgood File 1/6/11.

Costs Of Business

Buying Influence Isn't Cheap,
But The Rewards Are Priceless

Republicans dangle regulation repeal in front of Finance, Insurance and Real Estate sectors... Campaign funding bribe deluge results.

Congress Open For Business

The Freshman Class

Incoming Republicans outnumber their Democratic counterparts by about 10-1, and among the R's, about half are backed by Teabaggers.
Allen West (R-FL) is one of those, and speaks to Katie Couric about the fate of the Tea Party movement and the possibility of a 3rd party.

MSNBC's Chris Matthews questions two Congressional newcomers and The Young Turk’s Cenk Uygur explains why America shouldn’t forget its progressive roots and that voter's positions on issues are liberal.

Now Serving The 111th's Leftovers

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
2010 Part 2 - The Re-Sh*t Stormening
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

The Long & Short Of It

Apps, Tablets and Long-form Journalism

As many as 80 rivals to the iPad are expected to debut over the next few days at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Until Apple sold millions of iPads, the devices were best known for failing in the marketplace. But New York Times business columnist and culture reporter David Carr says that this new wave of touch-screen tablets, led by the iPad, restore the pleasure of reading and are now the reliable wingmen to long-form journalism.
Could iPad Apps Save Our "Papers?"
Audio Embed: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now 1/5/11,
Host: Robin Young.

My friend, former San Diego broadcaster, Jeff Prescott is an avid reader of out of town papers, which until recently arrived late and, once read, piled up in his garage... He's an apps fan now:
"Presently I'm a daily reader of the London Times, London Sun, NY Post and NY Daily News. 2 are facsimiles of the printed paper and 2 are in newspaper 'style.' The London papers are available around 8pm Pacific Time. The London Times pictures and video are unreal. Its like the paper is now in HD. All are easy to read. It's very cool."
When "The Daily," Rupert Murdoch's new iPad-only edition, debuts later this month Jeff will add that one, too.

Broadcasting Only Wants Quickies

In 1973, as CBS Radio cloned its successful New York "news radio" format in Boston, a manager went through the property and removed all the tape cartridges that could hold audio longer than 70 seconds... So although the company intended to fill the air with news, it had no use for length or taking the time to explain complexity.

There would be lots of short stories... Coverage would be wide but not deep.

The Onion suggested the 24-hour news cycle seemed glacially slow and recently the Boston Globe's Craig Fehrman chronicled the media's march toward speaking in bumper stickers, miniaturized single-phrase political discourse, in an article that NPR reduced to 2:53.
The Incredible Shrinking Sound Bite

Audio Embed: Morning Edition 1/5/11,
Hosts: Renee Montagne and Steve Inskeep.

Would You Still Buy It?

Without The Fancy Package?

Alternative concepts by Antrepo design group.

Rewriting N-word Jim

Should Anyone Sanitize Twain's 'Huckleberry Finn?'

The English professor who proposed a new edition of Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn -- without the offensive "n" word -- says there's an obsession with the word that makes teachers and students uncomfortable, and stops many schools from using the book in classrooms. Critics say removing the racial slur amounts to censorship and fails to acknowledge America's racist past.
America's Most-Censored Classic
Audio Embed: All Things Considered 1/5/11,
Reporter: Larry Abramson.

Princeton professor Melissa Harris Perry is a contributor to MSNBC.

A Changed Man

A Really Changed Man on an Unchanged Show

Jimmy Kimmel's take on ABC's recycled "Bachelor," Brad Womack... Can the "amazing" Bachelor(ette) drinking game be far behind?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

You're Cryin' Now

Gerry Rafferty (16 April 1947 – 4 January 2011)

From "City to City" (1978) featuring Raphael Ravenscroft on sax... 32 years later annual royalties still brought in £80000 for this one song.
The Best Part Of Soft Rock
Audio Embed: All Things Considered 1/4/11,
Hosts: Melissa Block & Michele Norris.

From Stealers Wheel (1972)... Unfortunately alcohol dissolves talent.


Video: MSNBC/Ed Schultz's exit interview with Florida's Alan Grayson.

Rise of the New Global Elite

F. Scott Fitzgerald was right when he declared the rich different from you and me. But today’s super-rich are also different from yesterday’s: more hardworking and meritocratic, but less connected to the nations that granted them opportunity—and the countrymen they are leaving ever further behind.
-- Chrystia Freeland, Reuters Global Editor-at-Large in The Atlantic

Video: MSNBC - The widening gap between the rich and non-rich has been evident for years and is evolving into two distinctive interest blocs: the Plutonomy and the rest... Read the article in The Atlantic.


Apocalypse Arkansas

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Dead Birds Drop From Arkansas Sky
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

2011 Off To A Bad Start

Video: CBS/Late Show with David Letterman

Game Over?

Audio Embed: Dave Ross, KIRO-FM/Seattle, 1/4/11.

Goodbye Governator

Video: ABC/Jimmy Kimmel Live - Arnold Schwarzenegger: spotty record as California Governor; great late night comedy material.

Video: ITN/Everybody's got ideas for what should be Arnold's next act... On his last day in office, among his final official outgoing acts, Schwarzenegger reduced the manslaughter sentence of Esteban Nunez (son of a prominent legislative political ally) from 16 years to only 7, sparking harsh criticism from the California criminal justice complex.

Berger & Prescott Say Bye Bye
Audio Embed: Berger & Prescott, podcast via Facebook.

TV Viewing Hits Record High

According to the A.C. Nielsen Company -- the ratings guys -- an average American has their TV on about 5 hours every day... But according to Syracuse University's Robert Thompson, their attention isn't always directed toward the screen.
Deciphering Why We Watch
Audio Embed: PRI & WNYC's program The Takeaway 1/4/11,
Hosts: John Hockenberry & Celeste Headlee.

London-based pop was overshadowed by floor-thumping disco in 1978 when Terry Thomas & company released Charlie's 3rd album: "Lines."

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

What's Next?

Today, a specter is haunting America: a sense that we will no longer be the dominant world power, and more troubling, a sense that our future may not be brighter than our past. CBS senior political commentator Jeff Greenfield asks, what's next for America in 2011?

Brain Drain

Political Fear Factor

Study Suggests Conservatives' Brains Have Larger Fear Centers

Video: MSNBC - An accidental discovery may indicate a biological connection between Conservatives and sociopathic authoritarians.

Study: Fox News Viewers “Most Misinformed” Of All News Consumers

It's All In Our Heads

Today's human brain is about 10 percent smaller than the Cro-Magnon brain from more than 20,000 years ago. Are we all getting dumber?
Inside the Skull Shrinkage
Audio Embed: All Things Considered 1/2/11,
Host: Jackie Leyden.


In The Bucket

On Shrooms

As they age, bears trade a love of water sports for Jefferson Airplane.

Your Face Will Surely Show It

Emotional States Indexed by Jessica Hagy

Wasting Valuable Time

With An Over Valued Time-Waster

Goldman Sachs' new stake in Facebook raised its potential market value to $50 billion which makes the company ostensibly worth more than established institutions that actually produce something.

Is Goldman's goal to repeat an AOL tech-stock bubble all over again?


9GAG puts current day tech stocks in perspective.

One In A Billion

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston have announced a $30 million deal with Johnson & Johnson to bring to market an experimental test that detects cancer in the blood stream.
A New State of the Art in Diagnostics
Audio Embed: CBS Radio's Osgood File, 1/3/11.
Robin Young spoke with another team member at greater length.
Making A Micro-chip for Liquid Biopsies

Audio Embed: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now 1/3/11.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Getaway

Best in NFC's West is Pretty Crappy

Audio Embed: Dave Ross, KIRO-FM/Seattle, 1/3/11.

The Atlantic's Ray Gustini defends the Seattle Seahawks.

Snow Job

Snowy Conditions Proving Hazardous For Nation's Idiots

Kim Jong Il Ends Nuclear Program For Lead In Next 'Batman'

Fumar Prohibido

Spain's National New Year's Resolution


Conan The Comedian

Via 9GAG

Iced, Not Cool

Chinese Competitors Leave Previous Record In Cold

Hit or Miss

Comedian Robert Klein used to joke about getting a copyright on the musical note "C" and then suing everyone else for theft of intellectual property... That made him an ironic choice for the lead in 1979's Broadway production of "They're Playing Our Song." But whether or not a case could be made in court, song writers use the same basic tools to craft their works, however original, derivative or plagiarized.

The "art" of hit-making comes down to finding the right combination of Artist, Repertoire & Timing and a good sense of what ideas to purloin... And when.
Would 'At Last' Be A Hit Today?
Audio Embed: All Things Considered 12/30/10,
Reporter: Zoe Chace.

Remember this song from Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003)?

When William Orbit and Beck lifted the music from "Fresh-Garbage" by the band Spirit, from their 1968 self-titled debut album, they at least had the grace to credit Jay Ferguson as a co-writer.

Not everyone gets the credit they deserve... Even the hard-core Led Zeppelin fan will concede widespread theft of both licks and publishing royalties. But nowhere was the trend more widespread and controversial as in the emergence of rap.

Twenty years ago a series of lawsuits criminalized the hip-hop sampling of artists like Hank Shocklee and Public Enemy. And yet, two decades later, artists like Girl Talk have found success breaking those same sampling laws.
Sampling - On Both Sides of the Law
Audio Embed: WNYC's On The Media 12/25/10,
Reporter: Jamie York

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ex-Spy Flying High

Anna Chapman (born Anya Kushchenkova) kicked off the new year by starring in a parody of a popular Soviet spy flick that aired on Russian TV. Could Hollywood be next? NBC’s Martin Fletcher reports...

Back To Reality

Two weeks away... And I returned to Back to the Future III on TV!

Small Instrument

Giant Talents

One night Israel Kamakawiwo'ole got the urge to record, and in one take re-defined a classic with his heart, voice and a ukulele.
The Wizardry of Iz
Audio Embed: Morning Edition 12/06/10,
Reporter: Renee Montagne
Far from the traditional strumming style, ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro is redefining the traditional Hawaiian instrument. Jennifer Ludden talked to Jake about his new CD, Peace Love Ukulele.
Mahalo, Maestro

Audio Embed: Weekend Edition Saturday 1/1/11.

Aligment Charts

Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing gamers use alignments to categorize the ethical and moral perspective of people, creatures and societies... This site applied the same principles to TV comedies.

Geek O System's Top 10 list includes The Big Lebowski... Dude!

Rock 'N' Roll Train

Fans were more than ready for AC/DC's first album in 8 years, so it was no problem to gather an enthusiastic audience for the "Rock 'N' Roll Train" video shoot in London in August 2008:

See the finished version, and how an introductory animated sequence became the opening for the "Black Ice" concert tour in 2009.

But the production didn't stop with the original, or the concert intro... A decidedly low-tech video version surfaced in October 2008, which the band claims is the first ever music video to be animated by using ASCII characters displayed in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.

You can download the spreadsheet version at

Skydive From Space

Pretend with Google Earth

For Real from Discovery Science