Monday, September 29, 2008

Knuckleheads In The News ®

Today's stories include a man who had a very bad night, a sibling snack rivalry, and problems at a backyard wedding reception.

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This podcast is made possible by Champion Windows Siding & Patio Rooms.
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Theremin

My daughter was watching an episode of "Jeopardy!" recently and one of the answers had to do with a theremin, the first musical instrument you played without touching. She had never heard of it, so I found this video of Pamelia Kurstin, a theremin virtuoso, demonstrating the instrument and explaining how it works...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Another Movie You Might Not Know

Today's addition to my Movies You Might Not Know list is "Get On The Bus," Spike Lee's fictionalized account of a group of African-American men traveling by bus from Los Angeles to Washington for Louis Farrakhan's "Million Man March."

With a cast including Ossie Davis, Andre Braugher, Charles S. Dutton, Bernie Mac, and Isaiah Washington, Lee uses a documentary-like, hand-held style to capture the adventure, the divergent personalities, the inevitable hostilities, and the moments of solidarity. And all that's before they even get to DC.

See the entire Movies You Might Not Know list here, and feel free to add your suggestions.

Second Semester of Spanish Love Song

After one semester, you graduate to bigger words and you get Erik Estrada as your co-star...


[thanks to Eric, who is not Estrada, for the link]

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Knuckleheads In The News ®

Today's stories include a thief sentenced to his son's advice, a driver surprised by a flying cow, and a man with a problem in his pocket.

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

This podcast is made possible by Champion Windows Siding & Patio Rooms.
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For factory-direct savings, call 314-692-7300 or visit their showroom.

Letterman vs. McCain

David Letterman sees the ridiculousness of John McCain "suspending" his presidential campaign, which meant the candidate canceling his appearance on Dave's show. So, in a theme that ran through the entire show, Letterman lit into McCain (including footage of McCain being made up for an interview down the street with Katie Couric at the time he was supposedly "racing back to Washington")...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Worth A Link

Another Movie You Might Not Know

New to my Movies You Might Not Know list: "Mistress," a 1992 release starring Robert Wuhl as a down-on-his-luck moviemaker with a good script he wants to direct, if only he can find the money to make it.

To the rescue comes Martin Landau, as a producer who promises more than he can deliver. That leads to three possible investors (Robert De Niro, Danny Aiello and Eli Wallach), each of whom would be happy to bankroll Wuhl's movie, on one condition -- each has a mistress that must be cast in a starring role.

It's not the greatest movie about the sleazy side of Hollywood, but with a cast like that, and the opportunity to watch Landau chase Ernest Borgnine around a parking lot, what's not to like?

See the entire Movies You Might Not Know list here, and feel free to add your suggestions.

Knuckleheads In The News ®

Today's stories include a man who shouldn't have hopped a fence, a car thief whose victim made it too easy, and a big butt bank bandit.

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For factory-direct savings, call 314-692-7300 or visit their showroom.

One Semester of Spanish Love Song

Subtitles not included...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Knuckleheads In The News ®

Today's stories include the price of gas affecting the price of cocaine, a nude skater, and an experiment with prostitutes.

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This podcast is made possible by Champion Windows Siding & Patio Rooms.
They've done great work for me, and I recommend them to you!
For factory-direct savings, call 314-692-7300 or visit their showroom.

Monday, September 22, 2008

12 Things The Next President Must Say

I will remember that the United States does not stand for democracy. It stands for freedom. In a democracy, rights may be lessened by majority vote. In a free society, rights are sacred.

I will fire anyone who screws up. There will be accountability for the actions of everyone in my administration. When someone's incompetence is clear and unmistakable, I will not tell them they're doing a good job or reward them with the Medal of Freedom. Instead, I will order them to clean out their desk and I will then report to the American people exactly what went wrong.

I will instruct every federal employee, including those closest to me in the White House, to comply with all subpoenas and cooperate with all Congressional investigations of malfeasance in my administration. Executive privilege will be invoked only rarely, and then only for the highest levels of national security.

I will trust scientists. Since I am not a scientist and have no training in the field, when the scientific community reaches a peer-reviewed consensus, I will accept it. I will not allow anti-scientific dogma and pseudo-science to be funded or supported in any way by my administration.

I will preach parental responsibility, and remind parents that they are the front lines in raising our children. I will not let special interest groups pressure the government into taking the place of parents in determining what children may watch, listen to, or play with. To the extent that our government has agencies regulating content of any kind in any medium, I will dismantle them.

I will remind Americans that the overwhelming majority of public schools and teachers do an excellent job educating our children, and that anyone who disagrees and thinks they can do better is welcome to quit their job and join the ranks of educators at every level.

I will urge and sign legislation that makes the development of renewable energy and fuel-efficient products the highest priority of the US government. We will accomplish this through the greatest public/private partnership since the space race put us on the moon and, in the end, will ready our nation for its future energy needs by decreasing our reliance on fossil fuels and encouraging technological achievement.

I will hold monthly press conferences where journalists will be encouraged to ask me any questions they like, and follow up when I don't give them a straight answer.

I will not issue signing statements that clarify how I will enforce legislation passed by Congress. If I don't like the bill, I won't sign it, but I won't create an alternate interpretation that applies only to me.

I will not sign any legislation that was written by lobbyists, but will strengthen laws restricting the movement of government employees and cabinet officers to firms that lobby the government, and vice versa.

I will remember that the Bill Of Rights was written to restrict our government, not our people, and that nowhere in any of our Constitution does it say that the President shall act as the nation's arbiter of morality. In that vein, I will not sign any legislation restricting personal relationships between consenting adults, as that is not the business of government.

I will remind every member of Congress who opposes universal health insurance that, as a federal employee, they are covered by a generous taxpayer-funded government health insurance plan which none of them has turned down.

Worth A Link

  • Phil Plait explains why, even though today is the Autumnal Equinox, it is not the only day of the year when you can stand an egg on its end
  • David Letterman, interviewed by Jason Gay for Rolling Stone
  • Barack Obama is so popular in Brazil that five candidates are using his name
  • An acoustic bathtub that's wi-fi-ready

The Emmys

Nice to see shows I like get the big awards -- "30 Rock," "Mad Men," "Daily Show," "John Adams," "The Amazing Race" -- but with all those famous and talented people in the room, couldn't someone have told Mary Tyler Moore that, at her age, she has to wear sleeves? I haven't seen arms like that since the last time I visited the gibbons exhibit at the zoo.

Knuckleheads In The News ®

Today's stories include two sleeping thieves and one broken antique.

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

This podcast is made possible by Champion Windows Siding & Patio Rooms.
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For factory-direct savings, call 314-692-7300 or visit their showroom.

The Dana Carvey Show

In 1996, ABC gave "SNL" veteran Dana Carvey his own primetime sketch comedy show. With a cast including Stephen Colbert, Steve Carrell, and Robert Smigel, the series had a lot of promise.

But it lasted only 8 episodes before the network yanked it, partly because the opening sketch on the season premiere brought howls of protest from the usual suspects of easily-offended viewers. Here's Carvey as Bill Clinton with puppies suckling at his nipples...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Stadium

As they play the final game at Yankee Stadium today, my mind drifts back to my boyhood. Yankee Stadium is where I saw my first major league baseball game. I don't remember what the visiting team was, but I remember the thrill of going with my father.

We sat in the right field bleachers (admission: one buck), near a guy who kept shouting, "Hey, Pepitone, cut your hair!" Joe Pepitone was the Yankee outfielder whose hair covered his ears, the first in the majors to ask for an electrical outlet in his locker so he could plug in his hair dryer. And whenever Joe trotted out to his spot on the outfield grass to start an inning, this fan started in on him.

My father -- who had grown up in The Bronx, not far from the ballpark's home on The Grand Councourse, yet somehow managed to be a lifelong non-sports-fan -- couldn't have cared less about Pepitone or his hair. He was enjoying sharing a day in the sunshine with me, his seven-year-old son who was crazy for the game. I couldn't have been happier sitting there with him by my side, my glove on my left hand always at the ready just in case a home run came our way, a small pencil in my right hand to record every at-bat in the ten-cent scorecard on my lap.

Dad took me back to the ballpark many times over the next few summers, and when my brother was old enough, he came along, too. Sometimes we'd check the schedule and talk him into taking us to a doubleheader, which I later learned my mother referred to as Her Day Of Freedom.

The drive was at least an hour each way, up and over the Throgs Neck Bridge, off at the Jerome Avenue exit, and onto the streets Dad knew so well. We couldn't afford to pay for a space in a parking lot, so he'd prowl the streets for a free one. Those were never close to The Stadium, but you don't mind walking ten blocks when you're going to a baseball game with your father.

Yankee Stadium was also where I saw my first NFL game in person. Dad took me to see the NY Giants (who played there for decades before moving to their own home in the Meadowlands) play the Dallas Cowboys. Once again, we got the cheapest seats in the house, the obscured-view seats way up in the third deck, with a support pole right in our field of vision. It didn't matter. I brought the plastic binoculars I'd bought for 50¢ at Adelstein's. I watched the entire game through them and told my father everything I observed, almost like his personal play-by-play man.

It was odd seeing football in a baseball stadium. The infield dirt was still there, but now with the yard lines across it. The monuments to past Yankees greats which stood in such prominence in centerfield (they were actually in the field of play in those days) now were an afterthought behind the Giants sidelines. The dimensions seemed wrong, but the smell was the same. I think it was Robert Klein who described his first visit to the ballpark as a child: "One whiff and you knew there was something important happening here -- or a rodeo."

Fast-forward two decades to 1985. I was doing mornings at WYNY/New York, and one of my listeners, the Yankees director of media relations, called to invite me to a game. My friend Steve Morris was in town, so we took the subway up to the stadium that afternoon, where she had set aside box seats for us, mere rows behind the home team's dugout. Pretty impressive. Again, I have no memory of who the other team might have been, but there was a moment in the middle of the game that I'll never forget.

It was between innings, and Steve and I were talking about something or other. In those days, you could have a conversation with someone at the ballpark, because there were actually times when nothing was going on. Now, when you go to any pro sports event, you're not given ten seconds of peace, what with the promotional announcements, the t-shirts being fired into the crowd, the animated cap race on the video screen, the bloopers video, the blaring music, and on and on.

At the moment, the only sound other than conversations in the crowd was the organ music of Eddie Layton. Steve was on my left and suddenly exclaimed, "Holy Crap!!" I looked up to see what he was looking at and followed his gaze to the huge scoreboard in centerfield. There, in letters ten feet tall, were the words, "The Yankees Welcome Paul Harris of 97 WYNY." As I read them, so did Bob Sheppard, The Voice Of Yankee Stadium.

I gulped. I couldn't say a word. I stared at Steve and he nodded his head to indicate that he understood the significance of this moment.

Here I was, just 20 years removed from that very first visit to the most storied ballpark in the country, and my name was now not only on the scoreboard, but echoing off the facade with that baritone voice that had introduced Mantle, Maris, Mattingly, and the rest.

The moment lasted all of ten seconds, before the message on the scoreboard changed and Bob Sheppard announced, "and we're also happy to welcome the Cub Scouts from Secaucus, New Jersey, to Yankee Stadium."

My affinity for the Yankees waned as I grew older, became more interested in other things, and eventually moved away from New York. I haven't been back to The Stadium, but I have been to other ballparks around the country and, of course, here in St. Louis. I'm sure each town's residents have their own connections to those places, but it's the memories of those childhood adventures that stick with me.

I bet the same is true for those kids from Secaucus.

Cloning Dinner

The FDA is reviewing proposals to allow selling genetically engineered animals as food, which makes it sound like the descendants of Dolly the Cloned Sheep could end up on your plate as lamb chops. But bioethicist Arthur Caplan says wait before you jump to conclusions:

Some argue that it is inherently wrong for us to try and manipulate the heredity of animals. It is not our place to change the essential characteristics of a horse or a chicken. Nor can we be sure, critics worry, that genetically engineered animals will produce milk or meat that is absolutely safe to eat. And some critics worry that mixing genes from different species is not only unnatural but may wind up creating animals who wind up interbreeding with others and making offspring with traits that no one ever intended or anticipated.

These ethical worries are not all legitimate. In a world in which there are thousands of varieties of pigs, chickens, sheep, cows, dogs, cats and mice all made by humans using selective breeding, it is hard to argue that it is inherently wrong to change "the essence" of any animal. We have changed our domestic animals so much that their wild relatives can no longer recognize them. Genetic engineering speeds the process and allows more drastic changes to be undertaken, but it is not fundamentally different than what it took our ancestors a few thousand years to do to get to the Chihuahua, Pekingese, collie or Great Dane.
Caplan adds:
As for safety, who knows if genetically engineered pork chops will be any scarier than an American meal, which could consist of a Slim Jim, a Scooter Pie and a Red Bull.
His whole column is here.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ric Edelman on C-SPAN

My friend Ric Edelman, the personal financial advisor, is always one of the calmest, most rational people I know whenever the country dips into an economic crisis.

That's why he joined me this morning on WLS/Chicago to talk about what you should do in light of the turmoil on Wall Street this week, and it's why you should set your DVR to record C-SPAN Saturday morning from 9 to 11am CT, as they simulcast Ric's WMAL/Washington radio show (rebroadcast on WLS Sunday morning at 10 and on other stations nationwide throughout the weekend).

If you haven't read Ric's books, "The Truth About Money" and "The Lies About Money," you're missing some essential financial information.

Ralph Nader, Political Parrot

Here's the strangest video of the presidential campaign, if you don't count creepy Mike Gravel staring into the camera and skipping a rock off the water back in the spring. This is Ralph Nader -- who knew he was still a candidate? -- talking to a parrot named Cardozo, who seems almost as bored as you will be...

Knuckleheads In The News ®

Today's stories include making a federal case out of spilled soda, trouble with female midget oil wrestlers, and a man with a secret mission that got him stuck in an air duct.

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

This podcast is made possible by Champion Windows Siding & Patio Rooms.
They've done great work for me, and I recommend them to you!
For factory-direct savings, call 314-692-7300 or visit their showroom.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Gates + Seinfeld = Delete

Microsoft announced today that they're pulling those horrible commercials with Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates. The spin out of Redmond is that it was just a tease for the real campaign, but columnist Adrian Kingsley-Hughes isn't buying it:

"So the whole idea was to come out with two ads that featured Gates and Seinfeld, ads that were enthusiastically hated by most and then move on to phase 2? I doubt it. I can't say that these ads weren't funny, but rather than being 'ha ha funny,' they were more 'What's that funny smell?' funny."
Now Microsoft will commit another mistake by airing spots that parody the Apple "I'm a Mac. I'm a PC" commercials. When you're #2, you can always play underdog and make fun of #1, but it never works in the reverse. You can't parody a parody without looking silly yourself. Besides, the Apple spots have the wit that Microsoft has never indicated it can display.

There are more bugs in Microsoft's advertising strategy than in version 1.0 of their operating systems.

Bob Woodward

This morning on WLS/Chicago, I talked with Bob Woodward about the financial crisis, the presidential campaign, and his fourth book about the Bush administration and the conflict in Iraq, "The War Within: A Secret White House History."

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

George Stephanopolous

George Stephanopolous joined me on WLS/Chicago this morning to talk about reaction to the financial crisis from a political perspective, how it is affecting the presidential campaign, and whether anyone in Washington knows what to do about it.

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

Knuckleheads In The News ®

Today's stories include two men too close to train tracks, and a store employee who wouldn't help get a child out of a hot car.

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

This podcast is made possible by Champion Windows Siding & Patio Rooms.
They've done great work for me, and I recommend them to you!
For factory-direct savings, call 314-692-7300 or visit their showroom.

Geraldo Wipes Out

For years, Geraldo Rivera has personified the cliche of a reporter doing something stupid just to make his live shot look better. Here he is on the Texas Gulf Coast as Hurricane Ike approached, standing in the water with his mike cord dangling, when a wave wipes him out...


[I missed this one earlier this week, so thanks to Keith Conrad for the link]

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Dennis Phillips Poker News

Here's an interview by Poker News with my pal Dennis Phillips, who's going to be chip leader at the final table of the World Series Of Poker Main Event in less than 8 weeks.

Soothing Chicago

I just checked into my hotel in Chicago, and when I walked into the room, the TV was on and tuned to their generic channel, which shows bucolic country scenes and plays soothing music.

I felt like Albert Brooks watching the weather channel in his room in "Defending Your Life." If the coffee shop here brings me an omelet fifteen seconds after I order it, I'm in trouble, even if it turns out to be the best omelet I've ever had.

Greed Is Good -- For Whom?

As a new part owner of a major insurance company, some thoughts...

I wish I had trained to be a failed CEO, so I could get a multi-million dollar golden parachute after driving a company into the ground and having the feds pick up the pieces.

After 9/11, not a single person at the top levels of the CIA was fired for doing such a horrible job with our intelligence. Similarly, no one in the corner offices on Wall Street is being shown the door and held responsible for the financial crisis -- unless they're given a big check first.

With no economic training at all, could you or I have done worse than these Wall Street jokers who were supposed to be the Smart Guys when it comes to finance? If they can't keep their heads above water when they get so over-levaraged, it is any wonder regular Americans get so behind with credit card debt?

Thanks, Phil Gramm, for starting the deregulation of the financial world 9 years ago. I wish you were my economic adviser so I could fire your ass -- or am I just another one of those Americans you call a "whiner"?

If the money markets don't right the ship soon, we'll have to choose between making a withdrawal from Bailey Savings & Loan or asking Mr. Potter for a loan.

Scared Of Sarah

Rick Rydell, morning man at KENI/Anchorage, was back with me on WGST/Atlanta for more insight into Sarah Palin -- stories that you're not hearing in the national coverage of the VP candidate.

Since he's talked about Palin for a lot longer than anyone in the non-Alaska media, he knows some of the fiscal mistakes she's made (including the story of a state-run dairy that she bailed out), the truth about the earmarks she requested from Congress, and why she doesn't deserve the reputation as a reformer. He says that the woman you're seeing on stage as John McCain's running mate is not the governor he knows, and he's scared to have "someone of this caliber" a heartbeat away from the presidency.

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


Here's my earlier conversation with Rydell about Palin.

Insuring The Insurers

Mark Evanier writes on his blog:

So now the U.S. government owns 79.9% of American International Group, one of the largest international insurance and financial services organizations in the world. Hey, what's that term we use when other countries do this kind of thing?

Oh, right. Communism. Well, that always works so well.

But don't despair. At least the C.E.O. of A.I.G. got a $47 million dollar severance package back in July. I mean, you have to reward a guy who does such a fine job steering his company. And I was glad to see that so many investors did well the last few days by selling the stock short. They made about $40 billion which doubled the price we (you and me, folks) paid for this failing insurance firm we now own.

Several years ago, I wrote a joke that Bush was doing such a bad job with the economy, his only hope was to burn the country down and try to collect on the insurance. Now we can't even do that because we're the insurance company...

Bob Schieffer

Here's a quick visit I had with Bob Schieffer on WGST/Atlanta.

We talked about the presidential campaign from his perspective of covering so many of them over the last quarter-century, and how both candidates promised us a "high-road" campaign but are giving us a series of tough attacks instead. Schieffer thinks the crisis on Wall Street has the potential to be a game-changer in the election.

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


Schieffer is CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent. His new book, a collection of essays from "Face The Nation," is "Bob Schieffer's America."

Knuckleheads In The News ®

Today's stories include a woman throwing out her boyfriend for not doing the dishes, a rabbit with non-floppy ears, and a cop with a Taser vs. a nude guy.

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

This podcast is made possible by Champion Windows Siding & Patio Rooms.
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For factory-direct savings, call 314-692-7300 or visit their showroom.

Star Lab

Where does the next generation of Disney child stars come from? The laboratory...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Leno's Impact On The Campaign

Aaron Barnhart has a terrific piece on the impact Jay Leno may be having on the presidential campaign. In a manner reminiscent of Johnny Carson, Leno's monologue jokes are full of sharp comments about the candidates and their supporters. Aaron reprints many of those jokes in his piece -- in reading them, I hear the voice of my friend Jon Macks, one of the guys crafting Jay's monologue each night.

Knuckleheads In The News ®

Today's stories include a boy in a washing machine, a man who wanted a flat screen TV for his wife, and thieves who couldn't carry out their theft.

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

This podcast is made possible by Champion Windows Siding & Patio Rooms.
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For factory-direct savings, call 314-692-7300 or visit their showroom.

Snail Face

How many snails can you fit on your face? Nine-year-old Tiana Wilson let 25 snails slither across her face to set a new world record...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Knuckleheads In The News ®

Today's stories include using spaghetti to settle an argument, a woman who took a kid to make a point, and a 33-year-old high school cheerleader.

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

This podcast is made possible by Champion Windows Siding & Patio Rooms.
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For factory-direct savings, call 314-692-7300 or visit their showroom.

Adam Savage Has Gas

To be specific, the Mythbuster has helium and sulfur hexafluoride...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sarah & Hillary

Who else but Tina Fey to play her lookalike, Sarah Palin, opposite Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton on SNL...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Palin Baby Name Generator

A blogger in Alaska has discovered why Sarah Palin named her kids Track, Bristol, Piper, Willow, and Trig -- and links to a site where you can generate your own Palin Baby Name.

Friday, September 12, 2008

More Interview Transcripts

I just posted the transcripts of interviews with three guests from the world of sports who stopped by my Washington DC radio show about a decade ago:

  • Sugar Ray Leonard, who was about to return to the ring after a five-year hiatus to fight Hector "Macho" Camacho
  • Carl Lewis, talking about his experiences at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta
  • Ken Shamrock, who was, at the time, the Ultimate Fighting Champion

Climate Change

The Jet Propulsion Lab has created the Climate Time Machine, a cool graphical representation of the effect of climate change on the Earth's temperature, the extent of arctic ice, CO2 emissions, and the level of the seas [thanks to Mark O'Keefe for the link].

Knuckleheads In The News ®

Today's stories include the Butt Bandit, a man who billed the city for cleaning a bathroom, and an argument over watering the plants.

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

This podcast is made possible by Champion Windows Siding & Patio Rooms.
They've done great work for me, and I recommend them to you!
For factory-direct savings, call 314-692-7300 or visit their showroom.

History In The Mirror

Six decades of history, as viewed from the front page of the British tabloid The Daily Mirror...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Craig Ferguson on Voting

The best political rant of the year comes from a new American who happens to have a TV show -- here's Craig Ferguson last night on CBS telling you it's your duty to vote and telling the media to stop covering nonsense...

Knuckleheads In The News ®

Today's stories include a breathalyzer request that backfired, a conjugal visit interrupted in the act, and a commuter's accident unlike any you've ever had.

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

This podcast is made possible by Champion Windows Siding & Patio Rooms.
They've done great work for me, and I recommend them to you!
For factory-direct savings, call 314-692-7300 or visit their showroom.

Stand Up To Cancer

One of the best parts of last Friday's Stand Up To Cancer fundraiser on NBC/CBS/ABC was this video montage of survivors, by Errol Morris...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Worth A Link

Quirky Romance

Dr. Richard Wiseman, the man behind the "Quirkology" book and videos, is doing a new survey exploring the psychology of romance. You can take part, anonymously, here.

Knuckleheads In The News ®

Today's stories include a tickle monster in a park, a guy who wants $240,000 back from the IRS, and a guy who couldn't bring himself to admit to his wife he had lost $8,000.

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

This podcast is made possible by Champion Windows Siding & Patio Rooms.
They've done great work for me, and I recommend them to you!
For factory-direct savings, call 314-692-7300 or visit their showroom.

Mr. Baseball

After yesterday's Carson/Garagiola clip, Steve Nessun sent me the link to this clip of Carson with Bob Uecker, also from 1984...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Knuckleheads In The News ®

Today's stories include a teacher's reward, life-saving mattresses, and a car that's not worth stealing.

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

This podcast is made possible by Champion Windows Siding & Patio Rooms.
They've done great work for me, and I recommend them to you!
For factory-direct savings, call 314-692-7300 or visit their showroom.

Baseball Balance

Joe Garagiola, Bob Newhart, Johnny Carson, and some baseball bloopers (circa 1984)...

Monday, September 08, 2008

Knuckleheads In The News ®

Today's stories include a bird-brain in trouble, a gas station customer upset over toilet paper, and a cop who couldn't be bribed.

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

This podcast is made possible by Champion Windows Siding & Patio Rooms.
They've done great work for me, and I recommend them to you!
For factory-direct savings, call 314-692-7300 or visit their showroom.

Brain Magic

Magician Keith Barry does some clever mentalism at the TED Conference in Monterey (Februrary, 2004). Remember that these are all tricks, and there's nothing paranormal going on. While I've seen others do them -- Chris Korn, Jamy Ian Swiss, Banachek -- it's always fun to see them done well...

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Worth A Link

Friday, September 05, 2008

A Site To Watch

It didn't take long for the Internet Movie Database to become a go-to resource on movies, TV shows, directors, actors, writers, etc. It became a subsidiary of Amazon a few years ago, and now the company is trying do for for aural entertainment the same thing it did for the visual.

The new site SoundUnWound is in beta, but plans on being a new wiki-style information source on all things musical, with artist bios, album credits, song samples (and, of course, links to buy via Amazon). The pages also include YouTube videos, timelines, and lots of cross-referencing. There's not as much info as on Wikipedia and other sites, but as SoundUnWound grows in popularity, more users will add more info, just as they did to IMdB, and it may become a valuable resource.

GOP vs. Media

On WHAS/Louisville today, I talked with Joe Strupp, senior editor at Editor & Publisher, about the Republicans making "the media" the enemy in some of their speeches week. We talked about whether some news outlets have stepped over the line in their reporting on Sarah Palin, whether she can campaign for the next 60 days without having a news conference or facing questions from the press, and how effective this strategy is in playing to their conservative base.

You'll find Joe and his colleagues blogging in the E&P Pub.

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

Howard Mortman

When Howard Mortman was editor of "The Hotline," I used to call on him for perspective and commentary on politics, so with the conventions now behind us, it seems an appropriate time to invite him back.

Today on WHAS/Louisville, we started by talking about Howard's old boss, Chris Matthews of MSNBC's "Hardball," and the in-house battles with Keith Olbermann. Then I asked him where the presidential race stands with two months to go, the impact of Sarah Palin, what the Democrats have to do to grab the spotlight back, and whether John McCain's Hanoi Hilton story is relevant (if elected, he'd be the only President to have served in Vietnam).

Howard is now director of the public affairs practice for the online intelligence company New Media Strategies, and blogs at ExtremeMortman.com.

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Knuckleheads In The News ®

Today's stories include a suspect who hid in a toilet, a thief who left a receipt, and people going skinny-dipping for prime rib.

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Andrea Mitchell's Balloon Drop

The best moment in two weeks of convention coverage -- Andrea Mitchell in the midst of the balloon drop as Republicans celebrate around her...

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Worth A Link

  • Anne Applebaum on what Sarah Palin has in common with, of all people, Michelle Obama
  • The New Yorker has an in-depth profile of the profoundly unhappy Alec Baldwin
  • Vanity Fair has an in-depth profile of media mogul Rupert Murdoch

A Media Apology

Politico's Roger Simon apologizes...

On behalf of the media, I would like to say we are sorry. On behalf of the elite media, I would like to say we are very sorry.

We have asked questions this week that we should never have asked.

We have asked pathetic questions like: Who is Sarah Palin? What is her record? Where does she stand on the issues? And is she is qualified to be a heartbeat away from the presidency?

We have asked mean questions like: How well did John McCain know her before he selected her? How well did his campaign vet her? And was she his first choice?

Bad questions. Bad media. Bad.

It is not our job to ask questions. Or it shouldn’t be. To hear from the pols at the Republican National Convention this week, our job is to endorse and support the decisions of the pols.

Sarah Palin hit the nail on the head Wednesday night (and several in the audience wish she had hit some reporters on the head instead) when she said: "I’m not a member of the permanent political establishment. And I’ve learned quickly, these past few days, that if you’re not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone."

First, we should have stuck to the warm, human interest stuff like how she likes mooseburgers and hit an important free throw at her high school basketball tournament even though she had a stress fracture.

Second, we should have stuck to the press release stuff like how she opposed the Bridge to Nowhere (after she supported it).

Third, we should never have strayed into the other stuff. Like when The Washington Post recently wrote: "Palin is under investigation by a bipartisan state legislative body... Palin had promised to cooperate with the legislative inquiry, but this week she hired a lawyer to fight to move the case to the jurisdiction of the state personnel board, which Palin appoints."

Why go there? What trees does that plant?

Fourth, we should stop making with all the questions already. She gave a really good speech. And why go beyond that? As we all know, speeches cannot be written by others and rehearsed for days. They are true windows to the soul. Unless they are delivered by Barack Obama, that is. In which case, as Palin said Wednesday, speeches are just a "cloud of rhetoric."

Fifth, we should stop reporting on the families of the candidates. Unless the candidates want us to. Sarah Palin wanted the media to report on her teenage son, Track, who enlisted in the Army on Sept. 11, 2007, and soon will deploy to Iraq. Sarah Palin did not want the media to report on her teenage daughter, Bristol, who is pregnant and unmarried.

Sarah Palin thinks that one is good for her campaign and one is not, and that the media should report only on what is good for her campaign. That is our job, and that is our duty. If that is not actually in the Constitution, it should be. (And someday may be.)
The whole thing is here.

This Time, They Mean It

How is it possible that every four years, we're faced with "the most important election of our lifetime"?

I've heard that from both parties in every presidential race since I first voted in 1976. Not that I expect the candidates to say "this year, it doesn't really matter," but how about a little history lesson? We're not in the midst of a Depression, we're not involved in a World War, the country is not torn apart while soldiers battle each other in our streets, we're not rationing gas on odd/even days, and our kids aren't doing duck-and-cover drills because we're worried about nuclear weapons dropping from the sky.

Let's not lose perspective in the name of politics.

Knuckleheads In The News ®

Today's stories include a Peeping Tom, a body in a sleeping bag, and a dead guy's doctor's appointment.

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This podcast is made possible by Champion Windows Siding & Patio Rooms.
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Goose, Gander

You can't be a valid VP candidate if the only experience you have is being the mayor of a small town and then governor for only a few years. That's what king-maker Karl Rove said three weeks ago on "Face The Nation" about Virginia's Tim Kaine, when he was on Obama's short list...

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Just Asking

Why is it okay for Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin to exploit for political purposes one son's imminent duty in Iraq and the other son's special needs -- she brought them up last Friday when McCain introduced her, and again tonight at the convention -- but her daughter's pregnancy is somehow off limits?

Why was it okay to attack Jamie Lynn Spears for becoming a teenage mother, but Bristol Palin must be left alone? For the record, I've criticized both of them.

If Palin's executive experience as Mayor and Governor trumps the two Democratic candidates, doesn't it also trump McCain's? He's never run a city or state either. Should the GOP reverse the ticket and put the more experienced leader at the top?

Regarding the Bridge To Nowhere, another one of her favorite self-promoting talking points, how long before a left-leaning PAC runs a commercial about Palin being "for it before she was against it"?

Was that GOP delegate serious tonight when he claimed that Palin has foreign policy experience because Alaska is so close to Russia? At what point did she use the National Guard to keep Putin's thugs from swimming across the Bering Strait?

Update: It turns out that she has just as much military command experience as the other candidates -- none -- since in her role as Commander In Chief of the Alaska National Guard, Palin never ordered them to do anything.

My Friends

Am I the only one who gets uncomfortable when a politician addresses a crowd as "my friends"? Joe Biden did it last week, Joe Lieberman did it last night, and John McCain does it all the time.

They're not my friends. Friends are people close enough to deserve your trust. No one trusts politicians any more (even other politicians). Using "my friends" presumes a relationship we don't have but, if we did, it would be one that accrues only to the benefit of the speaker. When they call you their friend without even knowing you, they're like the appliance salesman who knows the perfect refrigerator for your house without ever being there. Coincidentally, it's the one that affords him the biggest commission.

Besides, if you're running for office, your real friends are probably voting for you without being asked. If you want to get elected, it's the people who aren't your friends that you have to convince.

Sarah Palin, Book Banner?

From today's NY Times:

Shortly after becoming mayor, former city officials and Wasilla residents said, Ms. Palin approached the town librarian about the possibility of banning some books, though she never followed through and it was unclear which books or passages were in question.

Ann Kilkenny, a Democrat who said she attended every City Council meeting in Ms. Palin’s first year in office, said Ms. Palin brought up the idea of banning some books at one meeting. “They were somehow morally or socially objectionable to her,” Ms. Kilkenny said.

The librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons, pledged to “resist all efforts at censorship,” Ms. Kilkenny recalled. Ms. Palin fired Ms. Emmons shortly after taking office but changed course after residents made a strong show of support. Ms. Emmons, who left her job and Wasilla a couple of years later, declined to comment for this
article.

In 1996, Ms. Palin suggested to the local paper, The Frontiersman, that the conversations about banning books were “rhetorical.”
Time magazine has a similar account:
[Former Wasilla mayor] Stein says that as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. “She asked the library how she could go about banning books,” he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. “The librarian was aghast.” The librarian, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn’t be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire her for not giving “full support” to the mayor.

Knuckleheads In The News ®

Today's stories include a pigeon arrested for drug smuggling, a thirsty hostage-taker, and a politician in trouble for looking like Al Pacino.

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This podcast is made possible by Champion Windows Siding & Patio Rooms.
They've done great work for me, and I recommend them to you!
For factory-direct savings, call 314-692-7300 or visit their showroom.

Bristol Palin's Movie Debut

From Brian Berrebbi of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater comedy group, a poster for the hottest movie of the campaign season...

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Wind Envy

ABC's Mike Lee on reporters suffering from "wind envy" while covering hurricanes. If it was up to him, he'd stay inside:

I have no intention of setting foot outdoors while it is unsafe. Instead, I will set up surrogate reporters outside my bunker, lots of them. They will be mannequins, donated by local department stores and anchored to the ground with sandbags. Out of respect for family viewing, I will dress them, perhaps , as leading contenders for U.S. president and vice president. Maybe there will be a Paris Hilton entry. We will run a live online contest as to which "reporter" will be blown away first. Send me your mannequin ideas, so we can prepare for the next storm.
[thanks to Bob Robinson for the link]

Family Values

Dear Governor Palin,

How's that abstinence-only education you promote for Alaska's schools working out? Will your daughter Bristol be doing any student-teaching on the subject this year?

To those of your supporters who cry foul and demand "hands off the family," this is not about the teenage girl -- it's about her mother and how your failed policy has literally come home to roost.

I wonder what you and your conservative demagogues would say if the pre-natal shoe was on the other foot. If Ashley Biden, the Democratic veep candidate's 27-year-old daughter, was pregnant with an out-of-wedlock child, would the extremist right leave it alone? Of course not.

The fact that your daughter is ten years younger than Ashley makes it a story worth addressing.

By the way, if there's nothing wrong with Bristol being pregnant, why did you keep it a secret, only revealing it after the blogosphere did some digging?

Signed,
Smirking America

Don LaFontaine

In a world where deep-voiced men are paid handsomely to promote movies, TV shows, and insurance, Don LaFontaine was the king. If he wasn't the most famous voiceover man of all time, he was certainly the most-imitated of the last decade.

LaFonatine died yesterday at 68 of complications from a collapsed lung. His work -- including more than 5,000 movie trailers -- will live on, as will his appearance on my show in May, 2005. He and fellow voiceover king Joe Cipriano joined me to talk about their business, and they were both easy-going and forthcoming. If you missed it when I posted it three years ago, you can listen to it here.

Knuckleheads In The News ®

Today's stories include a Canine-American voter, a diaper that saved a baby's life, and a guy who should have taken the job instead of the wallet.

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

This podcast is made possible by Champion Windows Siding & Patio Rooms.
They've done great work for me, and I recommend them to you!
For factory-direct savings, call 314-692-7300 or visit their showroom.

Sarah Does Sports

Here's Sarah Palin twenty years before becoming the GOP VP candidate, when she was still named Sarah Heath, getting future executive experience as a 24-year-old sports anchor at KTUU-TV/Anchorage (complete with late-80s hairdo)...

Monday, September 01, 2008

Dennis Phillips' Poker Life


This morning on WLS/Chicago, I talked with my friend Dennis Phillips, who will be the chip leader at the final table of the World Series Of Poker Main Event.

With 10 weeks still to go before he sits down to play for the $9.1 million, I asked him how he's preparing. Ironically, he was in a tournament this weekend in Biloxi, but had to leave when everyone was evacuated because of Hurricane Gustav. Dennis revealed that he's been approached by several people who want to coach him before the final table, and he explained how they might be of help. We also discussed his charitable efforts, which have put him on the mound at Busch Stadium with Albert Pujols by his side.

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

Random Political Thoughts

The conservative base loves Sarah Palin as their vice-presidential candidate because she's a gun-toting, abortion-hating mother of five. That may prop up McCain's right-wing following, but the open question is whether Palin brings in any of the people who truly decide our presidential elections -- the swing voters, who don't hew to the message of one party or the other.

In all the talk about Palin appealing to disenfranchised Hillary supporters, there's an erroneous assumption as to how large that group is. Besides, the hardcore Hillary-ites tend to be feminists who disagree with Palin on her core positions. Most women I know would object to the notion that they vote based on ovaries, not issues.

To assume that putting a woman on the ticket guarantees that women will put her in office is to forget how badly Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro lost in 1984. It's like assuming that blacks are voting for Barack Obama just because of his skin color -- if that was their only prerequisite, with race more important than political positions, Alan Keyes would have been a presidential contender instead of an also-ran.

The claims of the right, that Palin is ready to be a heartbeat away from the presidency, are pure political hypocrisy. If Palin was on the Democratic ticket, Republicans would eat her alive, claiming she was far too inexperienced to be that close to running the country. If she were as liberal as she is conservative, you couldn't find a right-winger anywhere who thought she was qualified for the job.

In a year where we're going to elect a sitting senator to the presidency for the first time since JFK in 1960, let's get off the executive experience track -- neither Obama nor McCain has any. On the other hand, Jesse Ventura served a full term as a governor. Anyone think he's vice-presidential material?

Pundits are sure that Joe Biden will have to tread lightly in his debates to avoid looking like he's beating up on a woman. That's sexist in its construction, but Biden would be better off ignoring her, not attacking her, and instead limit himself to throwing body punches at John McCain. That's his role as the pit bull on the Obama ticket.

I've received criticism for commenting on how attractive Palin looks, but I'm not the one who put her on the cover of Vogue with her cougar-hair and a sleek deep-cut dress. Don't tell me McCain would have chosen her if she looked like Rosie O'Donnell.

The Republicans claim that Palin was thoroughly vetted, but McCain admits that he chose her after meeting her once in February, and having one phone conversation with her a couple of weeks ago. I had more interaction with my potential boss when I applied for a job as a pizza delivery guy at age 16.

Let's stop this talk about Alaska being a huge state. Geographically, yes, but demographically, not so much. Sarah Palin received 115,000 votes when she was elected governor. That seems like a lot if you're counting total attendance this year for the Washington Nationals, but it's less than David Cook got when he won "American Idol." Chicago has counted the votes of more dead people than that. Obama packed 84,000 people into Mile High Stadium on Thursday.

Speaking of last week, when Obama appeared at the end of Biden's speech, and again the next night at Mile High Stadium, he greeted the crowd with, "Hello, Democrats!!" I immediately wondered why, at events that he surely knew were being broadcast everywhere, he hadn't said, "Hello, Americans!" Yesterday, John McCain made a similar mistake. In announcing the scaled-back plans for the GOP convention due to the threat of Hurricane Gustav, he said, "If necessary throughout our convention, we will act as Americans and not as Republicans, because America needs us now." Both of these candidates need to act as Americans at all times. The primaries are long past, and the appeal must be to the electorate as a whole, putting people ahead of party.

One last point about Sarah Palin: how much does she the George W. Bush mold? She pronounces nuclear "nuke-ular."

Northern Exposure

Today on WLS/Chicago, I got some insight into Sarah Palin from Rick Rydell, the morning man on KENI/Anchorage who is known as Alaska's Mr. Right.

Even though he's a conservative Republican, he's not sure he can vote for McCain now that the governor is on the ticket. Rydell has issues with her raising taxes to the highest level in the state's history, and says she doesn't deserve all the credit for being a reformer who dealt with corruption and ethics problems. This is an interesting perspective from a guy who has probably talked about Palin more than anyone.

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