Monday, May 30, 2016

Over Time with Bill Maher: May 27, 2016

Bill Maher and his guests - Melissa Harris-Perry, Michael Moynihan, Wayne Allyn Root and Scott Adams – answer viewer questions after the show.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Rachel Maddow Explains What Hillary Clinton's Official Email Policy Should Have Been

When people ponder Hillary Clinton's very tedious email "scandal" (and isn't the very word tedious, when attached to Clintons particularly?), if they're not being knee-jerk defensive, or knee-jerk offensive, they might ponder "why?" Why would the official way be undesirable (assuming there wasn't anything particularly nefarious intended, which I realize, many people would never, ever assume)? For the first time that I'm aware of, we have an explanation, courtesy of Rachel Maddow.

And don't get all, "well of course Rachel's shilling for Hillary," since she's just as likely to get criticized for being on Bernie's side, or even for allowing a Trump speech during her show, and just listen.


Clinton e-mail report illustrates antiquated IT system

Rachel Maddow looks at how a new inspector general's report on Hillary Clinton's violation of State Department e-mail rules describes the archaic archiving system Clinton was supposed to have followed.

Kinda nuts, right? But apparently, the rest of the MSNBC crew doesn't watch Rachel's show, because the Morning Joe crew seemed absolutely baffled at why Clinton wouldn't done this "for convenience." Maybe for the same reason her predecessors did? Nah, had to be nefarious, right?

Monday, May 23, 2016

John Oliver Explains Primaries and Caucuses to an Amnesiac America

Americans have a notoriously bad memory when it comes to politics. The cyclical nature of things ought to get us by sheer repetition, but they don't. Every four years, we have the same freak-outs over how these things happen. Though, truthfully, even having Sarah Palin on stage eight years ago couldn't possibly have prepared us for the Trump show. So, this year, we get a partial out for being just gobsmacked by THAT particular element.

SNL Season Finale Gives Us One More Hillary & Bernie Skit (with Larry David)

By the time Saturday Night Live returns for Season 42, the Hillary Clinton/Bernie Sanders fight will be far in the rear-view, and we'll be wrapping up the general election, one that promises terror for both sides. Seriously, when is the last time both candidates terrified the other side's constituents?

So, let's wring a few more laughs out of Larry David's Sanders. There are still plenty to be had.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

It's Time to Bury 2 Broke Girl$

Image from Wikipedia
I just watched the season finale of CBS' 2 Broke Girl$, which just wrapped up its fifth season, unbelievably. Now, I do realize that as a 50-year-old, I am not this program's target audience. Though I was a wee 45-year-old when it started, have been a fan of Garrett Morris since episode 1 of Saturday Night Live, and adored the show's prototype, Laverne & Shirley. Also, I'm of the gay persuasion--a demographic that the show manages to lampoon, insult, pander to and sometimes embodies the spirit of. So, I'm sort of in the mix after all.

But the show is terrible. Just awful. Oddly, even so, I probably saw the majority of the first four seasons, and a decent amount of season five. I don't even know why. I kept hoping its vortex of bad would stop sucking me in, but no. The awfulness of it, for some reason, compels me. And it's bad in so many ways, and on so many levels. The casting is bad. The acting is bad. The writing is bad. The jokes are bad. The storyline is bad. The continuity is bad. It's thorough, I'll give it that. But why is it so bad? That's a tougher nut. Because though all of what I just said is true, I really don't think the actors are bad, or that the creator (Whitney Cummings) or writers themselves are bad. It's just that somehow, the show is so tremendously less than the sum of its parts.

A horse in Georgetown. Seems legit.
The premise is simple. A Bernie Madoff type goes to jail, and leaves his rich bitch daughter broke and alone in New York. She's taken in by a lower class waitress, and the two embark on a dream to open a cupcake shop, while working in a diner. Nothing particularly bad about the premise. The diner is run by a short Korean man, who is the endless butt of jokes, generally about his height, alleged androgyny and/or boyishness. The jokes never evolve, get better, nor have ever been funny. The character hasn't improved from a one-note caricature either. Oleg, the repellent, horny, ethnic cook is equally undeveloped, non-evolving and unfunny. Kat Dennings is the streetwise Max, authentic broke girl, and Beth Behrs is the newly broke, blonde Caroline. Garrett Morris rounded out the original cast, and came off best, as the grizzled cashier of the diner.

Another wasted actor (Sandra Bernhard) in another
illogical (and ultimately aborted) story arc.
In season one, the immediate impression given by the show was that it was primarily a vehicle for big eyed, big boobed Dennings to crack wise, and deliver double- and single-entendre jokes about sex and body functions. At top volume. Dennings (and to be fair, most of the cast) seems to be unaware that the studio has microphones. Lines are shouted to the rafters, as in a high school play. And with nearly as much subtlety. The show does not do subtlety, and does not do hushed tones. At all. The decibel level is astonishingly grating.

Many episodes center around Max and Caroline trying to pick up extra work, or just extra money via schemes, part-time jobs, second or third jobs, going to pastry school, running a pastry shop, a cupcake window, working in an airport restaurant, in an upscale restaurant, and on and on. These side jobs and adventures can last an episode, a short arc, a season-long arc, aborted arc, you name it, and they seldom make a bit of sense scheduling-wise with their diner jobs. This sort of thing was easier to accept in the simpler 70s, when Laverne & Shirley would somehow keep their brewery jobs while joining the army, or becoming candy stripers. TV was simpler then, for one thing. The brewery was a day job, for another. And I was ten.

Laverne & Shirley wasn't perfect, and was just as loud,
but they were so much better.
L&S never tried to pass off a thoroughbred horse being kept as a pet, in the courtyard of an inner city apartment as normal or possible either. They did have loud and annoying secondary characters in Lenny & Squiggy. Girl$ has one, embodied by the (usually terrific) Jennifer Coolidge Sophie character, a brash, Polish, zaftig neighbor, greeted by whoops from the audience whenever she appears, in seam-bursting, over-stuffed dresses. Sophie has little reason to be in each episode, so they paired her, despite logic and lack of chemistry, with Oleg, and have not only made the couple over-sexed (and public about it), but have decided by season five to have 54-year-old Coolidge (depicted as a cougar in American Pie some 17 years ago) become pregnant.

Despite the show's many faults, I have, as I said, for some reason watched a majority of the show while it's been on. Occasionally, they've done something right. As when they've brought on love interests for the girls, notably Nick Zano's Johnny, Ryan Hansen's Candy Andy, Eric Andre's Deke and Ed Quinn's Randy (the best of the bunch, despite his nineteen-year age difference with Dennings). But as with the aborted storylines with all of the mini-careers the girls have started, each of these relationships seems to abruptly end, not because the storyline demands it, but because it seems the show is just like that.

Ed Quinn wasn't enough to make this a good show. But
it sure got my attention. Looking good for almost 50,
Ed! Well played, show.
2 Broke Girls loves the reset button. They love to have the girls in the diner, in those awful outfits, screaming their lines, ignoring no sexual pun, even stretched ones, still making fun of how short Han is, and how old Earl is. So, out with the boyfriend. Out with the gay waiter, or the Irish waiter, or any other staff at the diner. Out with the separate cupcake shop they somehow ran at night simultaneously with their night time diner jobs. Windfalls of money must be spent down to nearly (or past) zero. And no character development can take the characters out of their originally established one-note personality.

So, what spurred me to write about this terrible show, now renewed for its 6th year? Again, I don't know. I think checking in on it after missing several episodes, wondering why the impossibly good looking, talented, and much-too-old-for-the-part Ed Quinn was hanging around, and incredulous that the show manages to stay on the schedule, despite never improving. The show should be put down, as should poor, neglected Chestnut, the pet horse.

Mr. Tangerine Man (Another Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

It's been a while since I've posted a Rocky Mountain Mike song parody. Not because he stopped making them, or because he hasn't remained funny. But, because this campaign has ground me down to a little blogging nubbin. I'm finding the art of blogging isn't rewarding enough to pay more attention to all the foolishness going on. But this one caught my eye, lifted my spirits, and gave me the gumption to get it up on the ol' blog! A riff on The Byrds' Mr. Tambourine Man about the bloated pumpkin-headed Donald Trump was both obvious and genius. Good goin' Mike!

For more from Rocky Mountain Mike, please go here.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Trump Half of General Election in Place. . .What About Hillary?

Badly written?
Much of the 2016 election cycle has played out like really, really bad writing. If this had all been merely a story, in a book, movie, TV show or even a comic book series, it would have had to have been as satire, or outright absurdist comedy. Trump's campaign alone plays like Springtime for Hitler from The Producers: an accidental runaway hit.

You've got an egotistical, eccentric, absurdly rich reality show TV star, who threatened to run for president for decades. Nobody took him seriously, and nobody thought if he ever called our bluff he'd amount to anything more than a curiosity. Even his handlers think it's an ego trip, a way to get even more famous/notorious/rich. Said celebrity finally goes ahead and does it, and begins by being as offensive as is possible to multiple groups of people. He manages to commit many, many "fatal" campaign flaws, any one of which would halt the ambitions of any and all presidential contenders.

But not Trump. Not only is he impervious to the ordinary rules of campaigning, his followers are willing to give up their bedrock issues to continue supporting him. They can even be "single issue voters" where Trump is wobbly at best, and they don't care. They  love him. They forget (or again, don't care) that many of the complaints they lobbed at Barack Obama ("arrogance," "celebrity," "narcissist," "inexperienced" and more) Trump embodies much more accurately. They ignore his obvious ignorance on crucial issues, they ignore that he has the extemporaneous vocabulary of a 5th grader, and the temperament of a 2nd grader. They ignore his utter disregard and contempt for political correctness ("manners"), his lack of diplomatic skills. They rechristen Trump's natural tendency to spout off as "telling it like it is," and "truth telling," when it is really braggadocio and a knack for bullshitting. And unbelievably, they ignore the fact that Trump is clearly irreligious (and religiously ignorant) at best, and very likely simply  atheist or agnostic.

Bernie and Hillary, early draft?
His supporters, again and again, love him even more. And he now has effectively won the nomination against sixteen other candidates, most of whom were far more likely candidates, Senators and Governors among them. See? Bad writing. The worst.

On t'other side, things are a little more toward normal. One Star Candidate, one Dark Horse, and a couple of extraneous nobodies. The Dark Horse started gaining some momentum, against-all-odds. That itself may be a trope or even a cliche, but it's not bad writing if done well. The Dark Horse's intended mission was to drive the star politician further to his aims and goals, and he did that. That's not bad writing. The Red Shirt candidates fell away, the special guest star (Martin O'Malley) finally dropped out, and our Dark Horse started catching up. There are two possible outcomes: Tortoise and Hare, with the star candidate getting lapped by the Dark Horse, in a major upset, or the happy ending, where the Dark Horse imparts his wisdom, and makes the Star Candidate a better candidate, and winner.

But somewhere toward the end of our story, the Dark Horse started to lose, but insisted it wasn't true. Occasionally, he'd surge, but not catch up, and would insist he was catching up anyway. He started to allege shenanigans and fraud. He complained about the pre-set rules. He continued to insist he was winning, while either losing, or facing increasingly poorer odds. All the while, the Star Candidate is taking on damage, and being criticized for becoming a better candidate for the Dark Horse's influence. That isn't to say that on its own, this couldn't become a good story in the hands of a decent writer. But it keeps getting more implausible. And we're quickly getting to the point where it would take a deus ex machina in order for the Dark Horse to somehow win.

Ted Cruz finally dropped out in our first storyline, setting up the final act, where our stories will converge. But despite having been written into a corner, Bernie Sanders vows to fight on to the convention in our other storyline, preventing a clean segue. His only play, by staying in, is to commit his own shenanigans, do the things he alleged the other side was doing, in order to usurp Hillary's almost certain nomination. Both sides are fractured, both sides are hoping against hope for someone to write them out of this mess.

Where's a dark and stormy night when you need one?

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Unlikable Teddy Cruz Quits

Cruz prepares to eat his wife. Image from source, MSN
I didn't expect it, did you? No other embarrassing loss prior to tonight could shake Ted Cruz before Tuesday night. But there, right after one of his patented "victory from defeat" (and let's not forget God before country) speeches, Ted Cruz up and quit. And right after picking the equally unlikable Carly Fiorina as his running mate, too.

But there he goes. Old squiddy face is going back to the Senate, and leaving John Kasich to. . .what. . .tilt at a few more windmills? Try to swoop into the convention and steal the nomination? I can't see it.

But this whole thing has been so bizarre, end-to-end, who the hell knows anymore? The only thing we know for sure is that we don't know for sure.


Ted Cruz drops out of the Republican presidential race

Ted Cruz, the insurgent Texan whose presidential campaign was fueled by disdain for Washington, dropped out of the 2016 race Tuesday night, removing the last major hurdle in Donald Trump’s quest to become the Republican nominee for president. . .

Read more at: MSN

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Surprising to Nobody: Trump v. Clinton

By the looks of things, I was so depressed by the death of Prince, I simply could not find it in myself to blog for a week. In reality, it's just a) a continued case of blog burnout and b) a stepped-up professional life! Woo-hoo, a good excuse, finally! Oh, I'm still working from home, I'm just doing a lot more of it, and that's a good thing.

But I suppose I could comment on the big story of the day. Even if it sounds like a rerun. Regardless of what some people in denial are desperately clinging to (I'm looking squarely at you Bernie, Cruz and Kasich supporters out there), it's clear: It's going to be Donald J. Trump (nee Drumpf) versus Hillary Rodham Clinton in the general election.

Barring the surprise withdrawl of either of those two people or by death (literal or political), no other scenario is likely to play out. And by saying that, I'm sure I'm invoking some further bizarro happenstance that changes everything!!!

One thing I'm sick of: the Bernie and Hillary supporter catfight on virtually every story even tangentially related to either of them. Let's be clear about this:

The Bernie supporters, and/or conservative plants posing as BernieBros started it. They just did. Any and every Hillary leaning opinion (or let's face it, even fact) elicited an anti-Hillary diatribe from those guys way, way before the "HillBots" got going. Eventually, they returned fire, and even then would often--like I always have done--couch their comments in the "but I like Bernie and will vote for him if he gets the nomination" disclaimers. That is still the case, by the way, for me.

But Bernie folks, please don't try to claim that this was equal at the beginning or even the middle. You flung the first (and second, and third) poo. And then got pissy that there was a poo storm. You may or may not have been right about a "media blackout," a preference for Hillary by the establishment and/or media. But you became as bad as any frothing tea bagger. And as nutty in some cases, as any conspiracy theorist.

Please knock it off now, everyone on the left. Can we not just enjoy the implosion of the Republican Party from the sidelines?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Made of awesome... #RestInPrince.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Artist (Previously and Otherwise) Known as Prince, Dead at 57

This one elicited a "holy shit" from me. 2016 has been a brutal year for celebrity deaths already, and musicians in particular. But Prince? PRINCE? At the risk of pissing off any David Bowie fans out there, this is bigger. Or at the very least, just as big. And a bigger shock, being a decade plus younger.

I remember hearing Prince, knowingly, for the first time at my cousin Garrett's house. We listened to the 1999 album on vinyl, naturally, when I visited him, it must've been 1982. Putting me at maybe 15 or 16. Which seems unlikely for an age, because it's hard to remember when Prince wasn't everywhere, in the pop culture foreground or background. He definitely filled the soundtrack of my later high school and college years, and on into my adulthood.

I can't claim to have been his biggest fan, nor have I always understood what his artistic oddness was going for. But he was spectacular. He was my generation's Bowie, he really was. And where with Bowie, I could name but not necessarily sing the lyrics to his most known songs? With Prince, I could sing word-for-word easily a dozen hits, possibly twice that, and name quite a few more. Wow. So, RIP, little purple man. I sure didn't expected to be this soon.


Musician and pop culture icon Prince dies at 57

Iconic musician, actor and songwriter Prince has died at the age of 57. His publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure, confirmed with The Associated Press that he died in his home in Chanhassen, Minneapolis.

A few days before his death, it was reported that Prince had been hospitalized for the flu and had to take an emergency plane landing. . .

Read more at: cnet

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Let's Get Real: It's Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump in November

Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Bernie Sanders and their (mostly) creepy crews of spokespeople can spin it however they want. Joe and Mika can snark their way to other conclusions. Trumpettes and CruzControllers will continue to fight about it, as will #ImWithHer vs. #FeelTheBern crews.

But barring a shocking event--and I mean shocking, like the GOP fever dream of a Clinton indictment, the revelation that Trump is Kang or Kodos--It's Clinton vs. Trump in November. I believe that 90% of the speculation that says otherwise is nothing more than the desire for there to be a horse race to talk about, and a desire to keep hope alive among Bernie supporters and Donald Trump loathers.

Let the record show that if that out-of-left-field event does knock either of them out of their obvious shoo-in status, I'd still support Bernie. I voted for Hillary in the Ohio primary, but I'm by no means a "never Bernie" voter. I'm a lot less decided on the other side's slate. All of them are awful. I think Trump is the easiest for Hillary to defeat. I think Cruz is scarier as an actual American policy maker, and Trump scarier as a world leader. I think Kasich is the least scary of the three to imagine as president, particularly on a world stage. All three would result in an arch conservative Supreme Court for as much as a generation, possibly for the rest of my life. I don't want to see that.

In the general, again, unless there is some sort of shocker, the Democrat wins. Very likely, now, HRC. And, love her or hate her, seeing her address the nation, or appearing before a foreign country? She's the only one I think I could stomach well for four or eight years.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


Happy 50th Birthday. . .To ME!

Today is my 50th birthday, though for some reason it feels like it alreay happened. I think I've been geared up for it long enough, that the arrival of the big 5-0 is somehow anti-climactic.  I mean, I've been taking Centrum 50+ for like two years. And, The Other Half is five years older, so he always breaks in new ages for me. Whatever it is, I'm still a year older, officially, than I was yesterday. 50. F-I-F-T-Y.

It really doesn't sound so bad. I can't really still play the doubling game, where you figure out how old you'll be at twice your age: 100. Not bloody likely, but not impossible either. I could get there, but doubtful. But most of my friends and plenty of family are older than me, so 50 doesn't sound so bad.

April 19th isn't a particularly happy day in history, despite its meaning to me. Here are just a few of the bad and/or very serious things that happened on my birthday:

- 1775: "The shot heard 'round the world," the first shot of the American Revolutionary War fired. Sure, it ended up OK, but somebody was on the other end of that shot!
- 1927: Mae West sentenced to ten days in prison for indecency!
- 1961: Bay of Pigs invasion.
- 1989: 47 soldiers killed on USS Iowa.
- 1993: Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas is raided, then burns to the ground.
- 1995: Domestic terrorism of Oklahoma City bombing.
- 2005: That creepy Pope was named.

Then again, some good and/or interesting things happened on April 19th too:

- 1775: That American Revolutionary War thing is good, of course.
- 1892: First automobile driven in the United States.
- 1935: Actor Dudley Moore born.
- 1946: Actor/singer Tim Curry born.
- 1971: Charles Manson sentenced to death. . .so why is he still alive?
- 1987: The Simpsons debuts as a short, recurring cartoon within The Tracey Ullman Show (on my 21st birthday, and I was watching!).

Other birthdays today include Kate Hudson, Jayne Mansfield, Hayden Christensen, Ashley Judd and Suge Knight. Deaths on this date include Charles Darwin (1892), Pierre Curie (1906) and Benny Hill (1992).

And did you know that my birthday is also: Bicycle Day, Venezuala's Independence Day, "Feast Day" of several Roman Catholic saints, every once in a while it's Orthodox Easter! My birthday has occurred on ordinary Easter three times during my lifetime, and never will again, unless I live to be 105. Fancy that!

Source for much of this frivolity:

Monday, April 18, 2016

Doris Roberts Dead at 90

Image from source, Huffington Post
Certain celebrities have popped up in so many places throughout your life, you get a little surprised when you hear they've passed. What? No, that's not right, you think. She's always around somewhere. She's always the same too, in the case of Doris Roberts. What I mean by that is, she was a terrific actress, but she was for all intents and purposes, always herself. And she was one of those ladies "of a certain age," seemingly, who was really impossible to peg as far as that goes.

Like Rose Marie, Edie McClurg, Betty White (all of the Golden Girls, really), and Cloris Leachman to some degree, Roberts seemed to start out middle-aged, and then only slowly age from decade to decade. In the early 1980s as Mildred in Remington Steele or the 1970s as Theresa on Angie, or Mrs. Flotsky on Soap, and nearly everything I've seen her in (I know without checking there have to be credits for Fantasy Island, Love Boat and Hotel), THERE she is. I know her! I like her! That was my reaction, and I suspect until she started playing Marie on Everybody Loves Raymond, most of America just knew her from "somewhere." And liked her.

RIP, Doris!


Doris Roberts, Star Of ‘Everybody Loves Raymond,’ Dead At 90

Doris Roberts, a character actress who labored honorably both on stage and screen for years before finding the perfect vehicle for her talents, the hit sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond,” died on Sunday. She was 90. . . .

Read more at: Huffington Post


Monday, April 11, 2016

Over Time with Bill Maher, April 8, 2016

Bill Maher and his guests - Sec. Thomas Perez, Heather McGhee, Andy Dean, Max Brooks and Kathy Griffin – answer viewer questions after the show.

SNL: Hillary in New York

I already voted for Hillary Clinton in the Ohio primary, but even I can find humor in this bit, particularly since Kate McKinnon's Hillary impression keeps getting better. And there's some genuinely funny stuff in here.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Creepy Spokespeople on Both Democratic and GOP Sides

I know it pisses off Bernie Sanders supporters when you mention any similarities between Bernie and Donald Trump (even though your average #FeelTheBern and Trumpette keyboard commando seems to have that same crazed tenor). But here's one that bugs me. Ever notice that spokespeople for both look like they're being Photoshopped in real time on television?

Here is Jeff Weaver, Bernie Sanders spokesperson and campaign manager:

And here is Katrina Pierson, whack job and Donald Trump spokesnut:

Both have that very odd, unnaturally smooth skin. Is it botox? Is it heavy makeup? Is it the seemingly mobile CGI digital anti-wrinkle cream that Calista Flockhart must be using on Supergirl? Whatever it is, it weirds me out. But it isn't helped by my default loathing for these types of people in general. Whether in charge of the DNC or RNC, like Debbie Wasserman-Schultz or Reince Priebus, or spokesperson for a candidate, these spinmeisters are spokes-liars, from the word go. Even for an "honest" candidate like Sanders, their chief job is to make their candidate(s) look good in all circumstances, I get that. But by their nature, they come off unctuous, insincere and smarmy. That isn't helped by looking like they come from the Uncanny Valley.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Republicans Keep Accidentally Admitting that Voter ID Laws are Trojan Horses

A typical Voter ID reminder. I had to show one in Ohio
to vote in the Democratic primary, my first. But I had
no issues, fortunately.

Though I really haven't posted much lately, one continuing theme is the idea of trying to figure out the politics of the day, and the intent behind them. Do politicians (and their followers) believe the rhetoric they're spewing when they pass controversial or radical laws? Do they buy their own BS, or are they being deliberately disingenuous.

In the previous post, I wondered if anyone really believes the "religious freedom" excuse with all of these new anti-gay laws and bills. And in this one, does anyone really believe that Voter ID laws have anything to do with preventing in-person voter fraud? Or are they really all clear that this is about voter disenfranchisement, as is eminently clear? It's surely a mixture, and not always the same from politician to politician, or voter to voter. And just like with the other issue, it's wholly dependent upon intelligence, gullibility for "truthiness," or a lack of interest in digging beneath the surface.

Which is a handy reminder for me. Blogging apathy is a bad thing for me, should I wish to have a voice. I may have a tiny corner of the internet, but if I reach only a few people on any given story, it has the potential to exponentially seed some truth, rather than just truthiness.


Another Republican Admitted That Voter ID is All About Disenfranchising Democrats

They keep doing it. Republicans continue to accidentally spill the beans about unspoken GOP plots to roll back constitutional rights. Donald Trump, last week, accidentally blurted something about punishing women who undergo illegal abortions. And this week, Glenn Grothman, a Republican congressman from Wisconsin, became another in a growing list of mid-level conservatives to blab about the true intention of voter ID laws: to disenfranchise Democrats. . .

Read more at: The Daily Banter
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...