Listen to me on KTRS/St. Louis every Friday, 3-6pm CT

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Adam Conover, "Adam Ruins Everything"

I have become a big fan of "Adam Ruins Everything," the TruTV series hosted by Adam Conover. As a skeptic, I'm happy to have another show in the tradition of Penn and Teller's "Bullshit" and Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman's "Mythbusters." On his show, Adam debunks nonsense about everyday issues like weddings, job salaries, voting, football, malls, eyeglasses, and housing.

I missed its first season, but have caught up by binge-watching all the repeats, and am looking forward to its second season, which begins on November 15th (but set your DVR for his Election Special, October 25th). When I finally got Adam on my show, we talked about:
  • how this election year may seem to be the strangest ever, but there are plenty of stories from past presidential elections to rival it;
  • how he's had some of my heroes as guests, including Elizabeth Loftus (on the unreliability of eyewitness testimony) and Bruce Schneier (on the TSA's "security theater");
  • which segment of his show has gotten the biggest reception from viewers;
  • which topics he'll tackle in the new season.
Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

You can catch "Adam Ruins Everything" Tuesdays at 9pm CT on TruTV, with each episode repeated during the week. You can find old episodes on the show's website and clips on YouTube. There's also an "Adam Ruins Everything" podcast.

Showbiz Show 10/21/16

This week on the showbiz segment of my show, Colin Jeffrey and I reviewed "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back" and "Keeping Up With The Joneses." We also discussed "Weiner" debuting on Showtime, an actress from "The Accountant" to keep your eye on, and casting for the upcoming young Han Solo movie.

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Harris Challenge 10/21/16

On this edition of my Harris Challenge -- the most fun you can have with your radio on -- you can try to answer trivia about Forbes' Highest Paid Comedians, Girls On The Screen, and You Know The Music But Do You Know The Names? Listen and play along, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Want more Harris Challenges? Click here.

Knuckleheads In The News® 10/21/16

On this edition of Knuckleheads In The News® I have stories about fake death threats, freezers full of dead cats, and buying beer with a Blockbuster card. Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Want more Knuckleheads In The News®Click here.

Friday, October 21, 2016

KTRS Friday

I'll be back on my 3-6pm CT show at KTRS today. In the first hour, I'll talk with Adam Conover, star of the TruTV series "Adam Ruins Everything." In the second hour, Colin Jeffrey and I will review "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back," "Keeping Up With The Joneses," and other movie/showbiz stuff. Plus, you'll get another opportunity to play my Harris Challenge, and I'l have a brand new batch of Knuckleheads In The News®. Listen over the air, via the station's free smartphone app or via

Picture Of The Day

Mark Cuban offers a new service, just in case Trump becomes president...

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Joke Of The Day

A: Nasty women & bad hombres.

Q: What are the signs on the bathrooms at Trump Tower?

Trump Has No Power To Transfer

There's lots of talk today about Donald Trump, at last night's debate, refusing to say he'd accept the outcome of the election. It couldn't matter less. It won't change a single vote in this election. There are no undecided voters for whom that will be the tipping point (how there are still undecided voters less than three weeks before Election Day is an unanswerable question).

Much of the outrage in political and media circles is that Trump's "I'll keep you in suspense" answer goes against the traditional "peaceful transfer of power" following American elections. Here's the problem with those remarks: Donald Trump has no power. The "peaceful transfer" refers to the incumbent president passing the leadership baton to the newly-elected president with class and grace by packing up, moving out, and leaving a private note behind for the successor, as George HW Bush did in 1993 when he left this letter for Bill Clinton...

(click to enlarge)

Losing something big is always tough. Coming out on the short end of a sports event like the Super Bowl, the World Series, or Wimbledon makes you feel like crap. So does being fired from a job or dumped from a relationship for someone else. You go through the Kubler-Ross five stages of grief, but your mental state affects only you -- in the end, the winner wins, regardless.

That's why it doesn't matter whether or not Trump accepts the results of the election. He can pout and whine and complain and shout "rigged" as often as he wants and yet, on inauguration day, Hillary Clinton will be sworn in as our new president, and Trump -- whether he personally gets to the acceptance stage or not -- will have no say in how our country moves forward. Game over.

His only role at that point will be to watch his brand be forever tarnished while his businesses implode as lots of people (disgusted by his words and actions over the last 18 months), avoid his hotels, move out of his buildings, and don't buy his trashy merchandise. He might continue to have a forum to spew his vitriol on "Fox and Friends," but no one else will pay much attention to him -- and that's the absolute worst thing that can happen to a narcissist like Trump.

James Taylor Guitar Lesson

I don't have many regrets in life, but one of them is that I stopped playing guitar when I was 13 years old. I had started taking lessons when I was 8 and, although my hands were too small to form many of the bar chords, I enjoyed being able to make music.

When I was 12, my guitar teacher gave me a copy of a then-brand-new album from a singer-songwriter he liked -- James Taylor. The album was "Sweet Baby James." I took it home and listened to it over and over and over, falling in love with every song, so much so that I still get a tinge of nostalgia anytime I hear any of those tracks.

During the week before my next lesson, I studied the sounds coming off that record. Since I didn't have any sheet music for the songs, I would pick up the needle and put it back down to figure out Taylor's fingering and chords, trying to keep up on my own guitar. By the time I saw my teacher again, I had a rough idea of how to play "Fire and Rain" (which has gone on to become Taylor's most famous tune), and with his help over the next month, was able to work up passable versions of every song on "Sweet Baby James."

I wish I could still do that, and that I hadn't given up on the guitar all those years ago. I never envisioned myself as a rock star, but would like to be able to strum and sing some of those tunes again. My wife still has two guitars in the house -- one of the things that attracted me to her was that she played -- but neither of us has picked one up in more than a decade. Even then, the best I could do was remember how to form a few basic chords, but couldn't play an actual song if my life depended on it.

All of this came flooding back to me when my friend Scott mentioned that he'd come across something on James Taylor's website from four years ago. It's the rock legend himself giving lessons on how to play some of his classic songs, with one camera focused on his left hand as it works the fretboard, and another inside the guitar to show the fingering of his right hand. If only I'd had tools like this when I was young enough to use them...

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Worth A Link

  • Here's what Samantha Bee says you should expect at tonight's debate.
  • Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner, Christopher Guest, and Michael McKean were supposed to get 40% of the net profits from "This Is Spinal Tap." So far, they've gotten less than $200, so Shearer is suing -- for $125 million.

Frank Deford and Bob Costas

This is a wonderful conversation between two of our most knowledgeable sports journalists -- Bob Costas and Frank Deford. The occasion was a sit-down at the 92nd Street Y in New York last June to promote "I'd Know That Voice Anywhere," a collection of the essays that Deford has been doing for NPR for many years. He's had an amazing five-decade career with Sports Illustrated, HBO, and other media outlets, and is one of the smartest and most erudite practitioners of the craft of sports journalism this country has ever produced. Of course, Costas is no slouch, either...

Previously on Harris Online...

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Pace Yourself, Dudes!

Last Saturday morning, I arrived at Lambert Airport for a flight to Las Vegas. After breezing through security and getting some breakfast, I arrived at the gate around 9am, an hour before boarding time.

As I sat down, I noticed that there was a bar across the hall. Since I have just marked 23 years of sobriety, I wasn't interested in a drink, but couldn't help but notice that a half a dozen guys had bellied up to have a beer. This was before flying to Vegas, where the free booze would no doubt flow into them as quickly as the cash flows out of their pockets and into a casino's blackjack coffers.

Even though I don't indulge, I have no problem with anyone else putting whatever they want into their own bodies, as long as they maintain control (don't get behind the wheel, and don't get loud and obnoxious). The last thing I need is to have to make an emergency stop in Omaha because some guy who can't handle his alcohol has gotten too rowdy and insists on running up and down the aisle wearing only his tighty-whities.

I hoped they weren't on my flight, but of course they were, probably with some Southwest free-drink coupons in their pockets to enjoy a few more cold ones on the plane. Because it's a good idea to be drunk before you start your weekend in Vegas.

It reminded me of when I took my wife and daughter to Cancun, Mexico. It takes about an hour to get from the airport to the hotel zone, and we shared a shuttle bus with about 8 other people. Once the driver had checked everyone in and secured our luggage, he opened up a cooler next to him on the front seat and offered cold beers for $2 each.

Two guys on the shuttle smiled and replied, "Hell, yes, pass 'em back!" Along the way, they easily consumed a six-pack, at ten in the morning, on the way to an all-inclusive resort where it was clear they would be loss-leaders for the hotel operator when it came to alcohol.

On that trip, as on my recent Vegas flight, all I could think was, "Pace yourself, dudes!"

Best Thing I've Read Today

TV ratings for the NFL are down 10% from last season. Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal thinks one reason may be that the quality of the game has dropped:

There are a lot of football games I watch where I wonder if the teams were assembled in the stadium corridor 15 minutes before the game. There are too many offenses with only a vague familiarity with a complete pass, too many quarterbacks found on eBay, too many defenses that are defensive in name only. There are coaches who seem like as if they were hired after winning a call-in FM radio contest.

I worry the great football that’s out there—and it is out there, like those virtuoso Patriots—is getting overwhelmed by the gruel. Last month, the Journal’s former NFL columnist, Kevin Clark, now at The Ringer, wrote a persuasive piece about the league’s diminishing game quality, citing, among other factors, the NFL’s current labor situation and how teams have become increasingly dependent on younger, cheaper, less capable talent.

At the same time, the product feels thinly spread, less of an event. Thursday night may be conducive to post-work margaritas but it does not appear to be conducive to high-quality football. Elsewhere, NBC’s Sunday Night Football has squished the glamour and urgency of Monday Night Football, which has started to feel like ESPN’s Leftover Turkey Sandwich Game.
One other factor he doesn't cite is the growing number of people who only watch the NFL Red Zone channel, getting just the highlights of games in-progress, without having to sit through the boring, go-nowhere plays. I know several guys who are in weekly fantasy leagues who only care about the players on the team they've created, not the team designations the NFL uses. For them, it's not about loyalty to the representatives of any single city, but to the statistics of the men who make up their personal roster. They're never going to watch a Bears-Buccaneers game in its entirety. For them, Red Zone is all they need.

Read Gay's full piece here.

Magicians Movie

A couple of years ago, I contributed a few bucks to the Kickstarter campaign for a documentary called "Magicians." The movie is finally finished and will debut in Los Angeles in a few weeks, then hopefully roll out across the country over the next few months. I haven't seen the completed film, but here's the trailer...