Sunday, November 30, 2008

WKRP In Cincinnati for Real

Image from source, FOX "News"

WKRP in Cincinnati was one of the best sitcoms of the 70s and 80s, possibly of all time. The characters created there will live on as classics forever in my mind. Not even the badly done New WKRP series could tarnish them.

Loni Anderson as curvaceous but smart receptionist Jennifer Marlowe. Howard Hessman as stoner DJ Dr. Johnny Fever (Caravella). Frank Bonner as smarmy sales guy Herb Tarlek. Richard Sanders as neurotic newsman Les Nessman. Tim Reid as groovy DJ Venus Flytrap (Gordon Simms). Gary Sandy as program director Andy Travis (with the clothes as tight, and hair as perfect as Jennifer). Jan Smithers as mousy but sexy Bailey Quarters. Gordon Jump as the clueless station manager, Big Guy Arthur Carlson. Every one unique. Even secondary characters like Carol Bruce as evil Mama Carlson, Ian Wolfe as her sarcastic butler Hirsh, and Edie McClurg as daffy Lucille Tarlek were stellar.

Now, a TV station in Cincinnati is attempting to cash in on the memories. That's OK though, since it's hard to believe somebody hadn't already done that by now. Still, shouldn't it be a radio station?


WKRP in Cincinnati ... For Real This Time

A low-power TV station has changed its call letters to WKRP, the same as the fictional radio station in the 1970s hit series "WKRP in Cincinnati. . ."

Read more at: FOX "News"

Here is one of the better episodes: Tornado

Still Going. . .Energizer Bunny Turning 20

Seems like longer, doesn't it? But do you remember how the Energizer battery campaign started? Sometime back in the 80s, Duracell batteries ran commercials with lookalike toys ran down, their batteries exhausted, while the Duracell-powered ones kept going. Energizer then ran a parody of the spot, with the Energizer Bunny. This bunny was cool, with flip-flops and Ray-Ban sunglasses. He broke down the set, and began appearing in other commercials--parodies themselves.

It was all very clever in the beginning, though I'm not sure they have been for oh. . .18 years or so. Still, he keeps going, and going. . .


Still going ... Energizer Bunny to turn 20

Turns out he really does just keep going and going.

The Energizer Bunny, the symbol of battery maker Energizer Holdings Inc., debuted in commercials in 1989 and has, well, kept going ever since. . .

Read more at: MSNBC

The Onion: Gag Christmas Gift Boxes

Usually, when I go to a web site, and have to wait for an ad before getting there, I can barely stand waiting for the "skip ad" link to pop up. In this case, the ad was as good as the site. On a visit to The Onion, the ad that popped up was for fake, parody gift boxes. The boxes are real, but the products on the outside are ludicrously funny.

The one featured here was my favorite. There are several others, including USB Toaster, iFeast (a catfood feeder/iPod player), Kleen•Stride (brooms for the front of your shoes), Visorganizer (a storage unit for the bill of your cap), 28-Piece Professional Whisk Set, and Auto Power Strip (attaches to your rear-view mirror). Great stuff.


Peaceful Progression Smoke Alarm Gift Box

Awake to your next fire calm and refreshed with DigiPliance's Peaceful Progression Smoke Alarm. Choose the perfect way for your family to wake up—from the peaceful sounds of the Rainforest, to the celebration of Dixieland jazz, or the hot pulse of the Caribbean—because a fire doesn't have to be a disaster. . .

Get yours at: The Onion

Frivolity Break: Cowboys Herding Cats

Ever heard the phrase, "as difficult as herding cats?" It applies to diverse groups of people; Democrats, gay people, and others I can't think of right now. Republicans are more lock-steppy, tending to fall in line. Others, like those mentioned, have their own ideas, and are more difficult to lead.

So how difficult would it really be to herd cats? This YouTube clip gave me a chuckle (and a literal LOL), trying to show just that. Sure, it's a commercial for some data company (EDS), but it is a very good (and funny) one. And yes, I'm aware it is a couple of weeks old, but I spend a lot of time online, and I've never seen it.

Obama and the Right-Wing Conspiracy Theories

Photo from source, CBS News

Conspiracy theories. For the last eight years they have been relegated to mostly "9/11 Truthers" and rehashings of old stories like the JFK assassination. But if you think back a little, they used to be centered around Bill Clinton. For years, countless nutty theories about the Clintons ruled the talk radio airwaves and the then primitive internets. Vince Foster and the supposed legions of dead bodies at the feet of the Clintons was one of the more prominent examples.

That's not to say that all conspiracy theories are held by nuts alone. Parts of them can be very persuasive, maybe even true. Even the official story of 9/11 can be regarded as a conspiracy theory. But then, not everybody buys that one either. Where these theories usually fall apart is when they start lumping nutty stuff on top of the plausible stuff. It spoils the soup. Mention that you don't think World Trade Center Building 7 should have fallen down, and you will be lumped in with those who think there weren't any planes at all.

While George W. Bush has been President (leaving 9/11 aside), there hasn't been much need to invent fanciful theories. He's given us plenty of real stuff to complain about. Sure there have been dire predictions about what he might to do, like declare martial law, or postpone elections, but I think those sorts of things are in a slightly--though related--category.

But as we enter the Barack Obama era, all of those people obsessing about the "Clinton body count" are coming back out of the woodwork. And the story they've cooked up about Obama's birth certificate is a doozy. Apparently, countless people including Obama's mother and hospital officials began laying the groundwork for this conspiracy 47 years ago. I guess on the off-chance that little Barry might one day run for President, and would need to have his non-natural born citizenship covered up. Riiiight.


Obama & Right-Wing Conspiracy Theorists

They don't have political rallies to bring them together anymore, but it's no secret that a lot of people out there don't much like Barack Obama. The president-elect, according to his more fervent campaign-season detractors, has a raft of unforgivable faults: He's a socialist, a Muslim, an actual love-child of Malcolm X. His birth certificate was missing, his book had been ghost-written by William Ayers, and his wife, "Mrs. Grievance," as a National Review cover dubber her, was perennially on the cusp of getting caught ranting against the white man. The only thing keeping the Illinois senator's infamy from going public is the quiescence of the liberal media. Perhaps you remember. . .

Read more at: CBS News

Mike Huckabee Interviews Bill Maher

I've previously described the FOX "News" program Huckabee as "part politics, part folksy discussion, part Hee-Haw." I still think that description is apt, but I think I may have been too easy on Mike Huckabee. We were fortunate that he didn't "fire up the base" like Sarah Palin did, because the guy is just plain dangerous.

Huckabee is an advocate of infusing politics with religion. That's not so unusual, but Huckabee is also extremely affable, has a sense of humor and humility, and has a scary way of making the unreasonable sound reasonable. Even his show on uber-conservative FOX "News" manages to be rather light and friendly, even when he has liberal guests on.

Here, he interviews Bill Maher, the famously irreligious host of HBO's Real Time. Maher's recent movie, Religulous is at issue here, and it's a pretty good interview. I don't think it's a mystery which person I agree with, but Huckabee manages to come off OK, despite Maher's drilling.

New Orders by Bush May Violate His Own Rules

Photo of the Commander Guy from source, Raw Story

Am I surprised that George W. Bush would break his own rules? Nah. He's broken laws, and violated the Constitution for goodness' sake. Why would breaking his own rules bother him? And I'm also not surprised that the issue at hand is making worker protections more difficult. The almighty dollar rules the day with the Bush Administration, at least dollars for big business. Nope, nothing surprising here.

So, why run an excerpt of this story? Immaturity. I find the doltish picture of The Decider a particularly good example of his ineptitude and ridiculousness. I'm sure he'll offer several new reasons for mockery before January 20, 2009, but time is short! I must get in every dig that I can.


Bush aides push for rule to hamper worker health protections

Bush administration aides are rushing to pass a safety rule which would make government regulation of workers' exposure to toxic chemicals more difficult -- a rule President-elect Barack Obama opposes.

Public health officials worry the decreased protections will result in additional, unnecessary deaths. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

Media Punk'd: Martin Eisenstadt, Fake McCain Advisor

A while back, when making fun of Sarah Palin was still cool (I mean cooler, it's not like we're going to stop doing it!), a little drama broke out within the news media. Carl Cameron of FOX "News" reported that a John McCain-Sarah Palin campaign advisor had leaked to him tons of information about how stupid Sarah Palin is. Stuff like not knowing that Africa is a continent, or what countries are in North America.

It was a vindication for people who'd been saying that she was basically "Miss Teen South Carolina" in hockey-mom clothes. Anyway, there were denials, and non-denials about the story. Palin herself gave a (what else?) rambling non-answer excuse that didn't convince me.

Then, a twist. MSNBC's David Shuster reported that they'd uncovered the source of the unnamed advisor, somebody named Martin Eisenstadt. Shortly after this, he retracted the story. End of issue, right? Not exactly. Shuster was lambasted by bloggers, his image everywhere, painting him as a fool and a sucker. Here on my blog, I scratched my head aloud, and wondered why Cameron wasn't taking any heat. Well, it was because I didn't read thoroughly enough to see what the blogs were laughing about.

The story goes that Martin Eisenstadt is a phony; a fraud. And Cameron's original story was not sourced by Eisenstadt, but somebody else. So apparently, Sarah Palin is ignorant for reals y'all, and Shuster (and others) were "punk'd" by hoaxsters. I still don't get why this attracted so much attention though. It would have been a better "gotcha" if the whole story had been a fake.

No less than conservative "FOX Fan" blogger Johnny Dollar came to my site, to rub my nose in it the fact that I'd gotten the story wrong. And hey, I am the first to admit I am capable of making a mistake. I'm a one-man show, running this blog between a real job and a real life. My only fact-checkers are my limited base of readers. So, anyway, here is the real story behind the story, to make up for the fact that I didn't get it at first.

I've got to wonder though, is the "conventional wisdom" on the Africa and North America ignorance by Palin now considered to be entirely a hoax? Is this falsely attributed leak now like the "Memogate" Bush AWOL-ness from 2004? Part of the story turns out to be false, so the CW throws the baby out with the bathwater? I'm betting, yes.


Filmmakers Behind Fake McCain Adviser Discuss Tricking The Media (VIDEO)

Dan Mirvish and Eitan Gorlin appeared on CNN's Reliable Sources to discuss how they tricked the media by creating a fake McCain adviser named Martin Eisenstadt. The duo were able to fool such reputable news organizations as The New York Times, The New Republic, and, most famously, MSNBC, whose anchor David Schuster reported live on air that Martin Eisenstadt had been identified. . .

Watch the video at: Huffington Post

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Post-Apocolyptic Warnings from the Future!

Apparently, there is still a faction of the religious right that is convinced that Barack Obama is the Anti-Christ. I know, it's stupid. And they also seem to regard the very (very, very) bad fiction series Left Behind as literal truth. Scary. But also a little funny.

Fair warning: if you take the bait, and check out the Left Behind series, be prepared for a lot of wasted hours, and some dreadful writing. Read my review, and save yourself some time.

Found at: Jesus' General

Frivolity Break: Cat Massage

For no other reason than the cuteness factor. OK, this might just be cute overload. . .

Separated at Birth: Seth MacFarlane and Christopher Knight

This is just a frivolous post to point out something I noticed (likely others have too). I was reading about Seth MacFarlane, the creator/writer/voice of Family Guy, American Dad! and the upcoming Cleveland Show. I found it most interesting that he was booked on American Flight 11 on September 11, 2001, but missed the flight both due to bad information and a hangover.

While his cartoons have their critics, I'm a fan of both, and think it's amazing how close we came to barely knowing who he is. McFarlane seems to take it in stride, and it is true that we all come close to death many times in our lives (probably more often than we know). This is just one of those times that was huge.

Anyway, that all has absolutely nothing to do with Christopher Knight of The Brady Bunch. It's just a little window into how my brain works. Knight has turned a kid's sitcom from the 70s into a life-long career, with nearly all of his fame based on that one silly show. Or rather, one silly show, countless spinoffs and reality show tie-ins. But Knight, like McFarlane seems pretty affable too, and doesn't seem to take himself very seriously (and he was terrific on Celebrity Circus!). While I know they don't look exactly alike, they do look more alike than the various girls who stood in for the Brady sisters in all those various spinoffs!

Other Separated at Birth Posts:

Sarah Palin Looks Like?
Featured Blog: Totally Looks Like (Cindy McCain and Borg Queen from Star Trek) Cindy McCain Plagiarizes Recipes? (Cindy McCain and Jane Badler, Diana of V)
Separated at Birth: John McCain & Lon Chaney, Sr.
Horrible Monster or Presidential Candidate? (Fred Thompson and Movie Monsters)
Separated at Birth: Obscure Celebrity Edition
Sean Hannity & Lou Costello Separated at Birth

Alzheimer's Disease Linked to Fast Food?

Photo from source, Reuters

And here, I thought that William Shatner's "Mad Cow" disease on Boston Legal was just a joke. . .


Research on mice links fast food to Alzheimer's

Mice fed junk food for nine months showed signs of developing the abnormal brain tangles strongly associated with Alzheimer's disease, a Swedish researcher said on Friday.

The findings, which come from a series of published papers by a researcher at Sweden's Karolinska Institutet, show how a diet rich in fat, sugar and cholesterol could increase the risk of the most common type of dementia. . .

Read more at: Reuters

Batman Dead? SURE He Is. . .

Image from AlexRossArt

DC Comics has killed off one of their top three characters. They've already killed (and revived) Superman at least once. They've regressed, rebooted and rebirthed Wonder Woman many times. And while I'm sure they've also killed Batman a time or two, this time the message seems to be that he's "really" dead.

And if you believe that, you don't know much about comic books. It is the rare major character that stays dead, no matter how final, or how brutal his or her death may be. Like in the movie Soapdish, even a beheading won't keep a good super hero down. Now, there are a few scattered exceptions. The 60s-80s version of The Flash, Barry Allen, was killed in the Crisis on Infinite Earths, and he actually stayed dead. But Flash was a time-traveller, so even he pops up here and there. And while popular, Barry was no Bruce Wayne. DC has far too much name recognition there, too much money involved. . .I just ain't buyin' it.


THE world’s most famous comic book hero has breathed his last Bat breath.

Bruce Wayne – who by night is Batman – gets murdered by a man claiming to be the father he thought was dead.

In a highly controversial new storyline Bruce, who first appeared in 1939, is killed by Simon Hurt – the leader of the shady Black Glove organisation. . .

Read more at: The Sun

Friday, November 28, 2008

MSNBC: Right or Wrong to Cut from Mumbai?

Wednesday night, pretty much right after reports of the terror attacks in India were coming in, MSNBC continued on with their broadcasts of Countdown with Keith Olbermann and The Rachel Maddow Show. They had updates, and cutaways, but ran much of the regularly scheduled segments of both shows. For that, they are being challenged and criticized.

Add to that the fact that both of the above shows are left-of-center commentary shows, and you have a recipe for right-wing frothing and lathering. The article excerpted below takes them to task for all of this, and says that MSNBC is no longer a news channel. I have no problem with that.

I'm a regular MSNBC watcher; not a fan of the network per se, but a fan of both of the criticized shows. And while I believe that calling them the anti-FOX is a bit overblown, I agree that at least in prime time, they are not a news channel. Neither is FOX "News", Headline News, or arguably CNN. Most of the cable news prime-time lineup is news commentary, or news commentary debate. To comment on news requires that subjective opinion be entered into the mix, and thus you have--by definition--a bias.

I am all for labeling these programs as such, across the board. If a program is to be known as news, it should have to meet certain journalistic standards. If it is commentary, it should be disclaimered as it used to be back in the 70s. This would mean disclaimers before (or during) Countdown, Maddow, Hardball, The O'Reilly Factor, Hannity & Colmes, and. . .shoot. . .darned near everything on FOX "News." Go for it. It should be pointed out that of the four cable news channels, MSNBC does not have the word "news" in its name anyway, so they're half-way there.

But there is another point here, and that is when there is "breaking news" like Mumbai, there is often not yet much to say. They tend to show the same looped footage over and over while the talking heads. . .um. . .comment on the event. News commentary. Biased. Am I right?

And one more thing: If this guy thinks that MSNBC is no longer news "after Maddow," what must he think of FOX "News" after Alan Colmes leaves?


MSNBC since Maddow -- the used-to-be news channel

In an analysis of TV journalism on Wednesday night, I wrote that a red-ball event like the terrorist attacks in Mumbai often provided a great look into a news oganization.

But in expressing my dismay at the way MSNBC couldn't let go of the comedic shtick of Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow to provide viewers with a steady diet of hard news and information on Mumbai during prime time, I missed a key point: MSNBC isn't a news channel any more in any way, shape or form. It is a 24-hour used-to-be-news channel that now appears to want to be a cross between Comedy Central's The Daily Show and Fox News from the left. . .

Read more at: Z on TV

Five Members of Congress Probed for Bribery

Photo from source, Raw Story

The suspense is killing me on this one! And the possibility of Katherine Harris being one of them? Priceless! C'mon, sweet karma. . .


Five more members of Congress being probed in bribery affair

Five other members of Congress are being probed in association with the bribery scandal linked to former California Republican congressman "Duke" Cunningham, according to a little-noticed legal filing discovered Thursday. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

Cartoon Network Rick Rolls Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

This made me giggle more than it should have. Nice to see Rick Astley again, though. He doesn't look as much like Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen anymore! Pass the Rick Rolls!

Rachel Maddow Gives Thanks for End of Bush Administration

Amen, sister! I'm right there with you.

Black Friday: Death at Wal-Mart

Photo from source, Daily News

Black Friday has always been something of an enigma to me. I'm simply not into the Christmas spirit yet on the day after Thanksgiving. In fact, I'm dreading getting started on the Christmas shopping. But Black Friday is a religion in itself for some folks, with strategic plans on which stores to hit when.

Still, who would think that a deal on any particular thing could lead to death? I mean, what would possess a mob of people to storm the doors at Wal-Mart of all places, in the wee hours of the morning, causing mayhem and destruction, even death? But they did. Merry Christmas everybody.


Worker dies at Long Island Wal-Mart after being trampled in Black Friday stampede

Wal-Mart worker died after being trampled when hundreds of shoppers smashed through the doors of a Long Island store Friday morning, police and witnesses said. . .

Read more at: Daily News

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Roseanne Thanksgiving

And heck, why not, an episode of Roseanne. I think they did a Thanksgiving themed episode every year, and it always reminded me of my family. This is part 1, but the other parts are available at the end of the clip. Enjoy.

Friends: Thanksgiving with Brad Pitt

Friends had some great Thanksgiving episodes. This is the one with Jennifer Aniston's then-husband Brad Pitt as an ugly duckling old friend of Ross.

The Simpsons: Homer's Thanksgiving Prayer

Well, whattaya know, I had time for a post or three! Of course, I'm cheating a bit, using some Thanksgiving Hulu videos, but what the heck. This is a clip from a Thanksgiving episode of The Simpsons, a show no holiday would be complete without a cheeky reference.


Photo from Wikipedia

Now I'm not saying there will be no blogging today. But it is a distinct possibility. It's Thanksgiving after all, and while some of you may actually have more time on your hands to be on the computer, I do not. The Other Half and I are off to our "home away from home," at Mr. & Mrs. Lesto's house. They're gourmet cooks, and their Thanksgivings are legendary. This is my tenth or eleventh at their house at the very least.

So, if you've come looking for new posts, it is very unlikely to happen. I could get home early of course, but likely not. So, while you're here, by all means, scroll down. Aside from the usual politics and news commentary, I have a couple of fun Thanksgiving posts up, such as a Planes, Trains and Automobiles compilation, and WKRP in Cincinnati's "Turkeys Away" episode! Enjoy, and don't eat too much!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Blast from the Past: WKRP "Turkeys Away!"

One of the best episodes of the always-classic WKRP in Cincinnati has to be the Thanksgiving episode, "Turkeys Away!" If you loved it then, you'll love it now. And if you are too young to remember WKRP, see what you've been missing. . .

Democrats Respond: Thank You, Sarah Palin!

Recently, a bizarre Republican ad saying "Thank you, Sarah Palin" was produced, to run during football on Thanksgiving. It's bizarre, because many people feel that Palin contributed mightily to the defeat of John McCain by Barack Obama. Making much more sense--and equally heartfelt--is this response ad by Democrats. Brilliant!

Al Franken Camp Finds Missing Votes; Not to Be Allowed

Image from source, Raw Story

Count every vote, and every vote should count. That's an Americanism if ever there was one, but it doesn't seem to hold true much anymore. I'm hopeful that after eight-plus years of untrustworthy elections, we're able to finally get the unintentional and intentional bugs out of the system by next time around.


Franken camp finds 6,400 uncounted absentee ballots

With the recount in the razor-thin Minnesota U.S. Senate race continuing into its second week, Democratic candidate Al Franken's campaign says it has uncovered 6,400 rejected absentee ballots and will ask a state board to count at least some of those votes. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

Coordinated Terror Attacks in India

Image from source, MSNBC

Coordinated terror attacks rocked India just a few hours ago. It may be a half a world away, but it's still very scary.


Gunmen kill dozens in Mumbai, hold hostages

Teams of gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, hospitals and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital Wednesday night, killing at least 82 people and taking Westerners hostage, police said. A group of suspected Muslim militants claimed responsibility. . .

Read more (with video) at: MSNBC

Slinky Lady Dies

Photo from source, New York Times

A lot of the toys of my childhood wouldn't hold the attention of today's children for more than a few seconds. Lincoln Logs. Tinker Toys. Erector Sets. Girders and Panels. We had hours of fun with all of those things back in the 70s. Today's kids would say, "meh."

Slinky was one of those things, I'm afraid. We all had them. But how many "hours of fun" were actually had with them? And how many days did they last until they were hopelessly tangled into Slinky knots? Still, the toy and the jingle will remain in our memories until we are sitting in retirement homes, wondering where all the time went.

Mrs. Slinky passed away, and I think we should all mark the passing with fond remembrances. Or at least a tumble down the stairs.


Betty James, Who Named the Slinky Toy, Is Dead at 90

Betty James, who came up with the name Slinky for the stair-walking spring that has delighted children for more than 60 years and who ran the toy company after her husband, the inventor, left it and his family in 1960, died Thursday in Philadelphia. She was 90 and lived in Hollidaysburg, Pa., where the company, James Industries, is located. . .

Read more at: New York Times

William Shatner's Reaction to New Star Trek Film

OK, this is a hoot. As a long-time Star Trek fan, I just couldn't resist.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What's Up With (Still) President Bush's Jaw?

I've mentioned this before, the weird jaw-wiggle that (still) President George W. Bush does after he completes a sentence. It's a strange, distracting thing, once you start to notice it. John Boehner has a similar thing, tensing back the corners of his mouth repeatedly. When you clue into it, you notice almost nothing else.

But Boehner's grimace is pretty obviously a facial tic. He's probably not aware he's doing it. Bush's looks more serious than that. It's a waggle more than a wiggle, a jut outward and to the left. It alternates with tightly pursed lips. What the hell does that to his face? Is his slurred (schlurrred) speech part of the problem? And why does it come and go from speech to speech? Is he just drunk? Medicated? Is it a holdover from his cocaine-binge days? This just bugs me. I hate unsolved mysteries.

Slurred speech 'n' coke jaw, before a captive audience at Fort Campbell. Junior's RIPPED.

Found at: Democratic Underground

The Young Turks on Colmes Leaving Hannity

I was surprised there was no mention of Alan Colmes' retirement from Hannity & Colmes on tonight's Countdown with Keith Olbermann. He enjoys tweaking FOX "News" so much, you'd have thought it would be irresistible! Well, I certainly can't leave it alone. So, here is Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks, who has a great take on it.

Department of Irony: Ann Coulter's Mouth Wired Shut?

Image from TowleRoad

Did you ever wish something, and then--weirdly--it happens? I've never specifically wished for Ann Coulter's mouth to be wired shut, but I guarantee somebody has, and they've got to feel like buying a lottery ticket today.

Now, what I want to know is, does anybody have video of the actual jaw-breaking event? Whether it was an accident, or someone. . .uh. . .helped her break it, the video would be a hot ticket.


Ann Coulter May Very Well Be Speechless

Ann Coulter, the leggy basher of liberals who never seems to be short of words, has been robbed of speech after reportedly breaking her jaw. . .

Read more at: PopEater

Mormons Investigated for Election Impropriety

I don't like it when civil rights issues are held open to a popular vote. And I like it even less when a religion injects itself into politics. So, I'm happy to see that somebody is at least checking into whether or not the Mormon church broke any laws by pushing so hard on California's Proposition 8. Maybe they didn't, maybe they did, but it is high time we stopped ignoring possible flouting of the law just to be nice.


Probe into LDS Church's Prop 8 donations going forward

California's Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) confirmed Monday that it will investigate allegations that the LDS Church failed to report nonmonetary contributions to the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign.

An independent nonprofit organization, Californians Against Hate, called for the investigation after the measure passed earlier this month, effectively ending same-sex marriages in that state. . .

Read more at: Salt Lake Tribune

Florida Rules Against Anti-Gay Adoption Ban

Photo from source, PageOneQ

With all of the bad news gay rights activists got on election night, it's nice to see there is some good news for a change.


Florida judge: Adoption ban has 'no rational basis

A Miami judge has struck a blow against a Florida law banning adoptions of children by gay people. . .

Read more at: PageOneQ

Bill O'Reilly: Most Hated Man on Television?

Photo from source, Asylum

Well, my personal vote is Sean Hannity, but Bill O'Reilly will do nicely. And I'm not shocked to see one of my favorites, Keith Olbermann on the list. The right really does hate him, but I'm sure Olbermann takes that as a badge of honor. The funny thing is, I don't think O'Reilly feels the same way. From past experience, I'd say he's livid to be included on such a list.


Fox News host Bill O'Reilly is both America's favorite and least favorite political journalist.

Five percent of respondents to a Pew Research Center post-election survey named O'Reilly as their favorite political news personality, while six percent singled him out as the one they liked least -- the highest percentage in both categories. This isn't a huge surprise, considering the ratings for "The O'Reilly Factor" consistently lead the cable news pack. . .

Read more at: Asylum

Delusional Republicans "Thankful" for Sarah Palin

They actually called her "articulate." Seriously. You can't make this stuff up. . .

Hannity & Colmes Soon to be Just Hannity

For years, any time a liberal would complain that FOX "News" wasn't Fair and Balanced as advertised, a conservative "FOX Fan" (is there any other kind) would point to Hannity & Colmes as evidence. The Crossfire-type show pits uber-conservative Sean Hannity against self-avowed moderate Alan Colmes. And while a moderate is as close to "liberal" as FOX can get, the show nevertheless has a pronounced tilt to the right in subject matter, and with guests.

I used to watch occasionally, strictly for the unintentional humor and as opposition research. But since the debut if The Rachel Maddow Show, I've rarely darkened my home with the sights and sounds of H&C. The Other Half is particularly grateful for that, since he can barely stand the sound of Hannity's voice.

After a dozen years on the air, Colmes has apparently gotten tired of being Hannity's whipping boy. He's leaving the show, leaving Hannity the sole host. Having sampled the Colmes-less Hannity's America a couple of times, I simply cannot imagine that the switch will be a success. Without even a half-hearted counterpoint, Hannity is a sputtering mess. The show--unless they have something else planned--will likely be simply a televised version of his radio show.

Now, I'm aware that Hannity's radio show second rated only after Rush Limbaugh (and ahead of the freakish Michael Weiner Savage). Maybe it is possible to retain that same big audience. But I'm not so sure. Radio is a habit. With TV, there are many more options, and Hannity is relentlessly, boringly repetitive. He's got a huge, multi-million dollar contract with FOX "News," so I'm sure they won't let the show die. But I'd entertain taking bets on how long he goes without a co-host.
For some reason, I keep thinking of Laverne & Shirley after Cindy Williams quit. The show was known by critics as "Laverne & Furniture." Maybe Hannity's new show will be "Hannity & Garish Set"


Hannity to Go It Alone, Without Colmes

“Hannity & Colmes,” the longest-running program on the Fox News Channel, will soon be without Colmes.

Alan Colmes, 58, the liberal half of the 9 p.m. show, will leave his daily hosting duties at the end of the year, the network announced Monday. . .

Read more at: New York Times

Thanksgiving's Best Movie: Planes, Trains & Automobiles

This is sort of a re-run of a post I ran last year, but I ran it after Thanksgiving, which kind of defeated the purpose of the post. Planes, Trains and Automobiles is probably the best--and certainly the funniest--Thanksgiving-themed movie ever.

I would say the list for that genre is pretty short, but even if it wasn't, Planes, Trains and Automobiles would still have no trouble making the top of that list.

Starring Steve Martin and John Candy, it contains more laughs per minute than most comedies, maybe even surpassing Airplane! and What's Up, Doc? Marred only by a sappy ending, and an atrocious 80s soundtrack, it is simply one of the best comedies of all time. Surely John Candy's best movie, and possibly Steve Martin's as well (though All of Me might nudge it out), PT&A can leave you laughing days later, and you'll be quoting it for years to come: "I want a f***ing car, right f***ing now!"

WARNING: Clips may contain hilarious profanity (and had to be rearranged this year, due to changes in the YouTubes). . .

#1 - Car Rental - This clip with Edie McClurg is one of the funniest scenes in comedy history, and was severly butchered in TV airings. Enjoy it uncut here.

#2 - Those Aren't Pillows! - John Candy & Steve Martin share a romantic moment.

#3 - Doin' the Mess Around - When I hear this song, I don't think of Ray Charles, I think of John Candy.

#4 - You're Going the Wrong Way! - How do they know where we're going?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pardon Me! Who's Looking for Favors from Bush?

Photo of Randy "Duke (Duchess?)" Cunningham from source, Washington Post

George W. Bush has 56ish days left as the very lame duck President. As such, everybody expects that he's got a briefcase full of pardons ready to go. Maybe several. But who is actively seeking them?


As Bush's Term Ends, Some Big Names Seek Pardons

With a backlog of applications piled up at the Justice Department, high-profile criminals and their well-connected lawyers increasingly are appealing directly to President Bush for special consideration on pardons and clemency, according to people involved in the process. . .

Read more at: Washington Post

The Sarah Palin Turkey Slaughter, Part III

And to cap off the Sarah Palin bashing, this great cartoon. . .

Source: Kenneth in the (212)

The Sarah Palin Turkey Slaughter, Part II

The host of Countdown with Keith Olbermann was on vacation during the infamous Sarah Palin turkey slaughter interview last week. So, Olbermann elected to comment on the--to him unseen--video as it unspooled. He's in a little window like Garrett Morris in the old Saturday Night Live "Weekend Update" skits. Classic.

The Sarah Palin Turkey Slaughter, Part I

Sarah Palin is the gift that keeps on giving. First, the turkey slaughter interview last week lead to these wonderful "chyrons" (the captions at the bottom of the screen) from MSNBC:

Source: AmericaBlog

Coleman Leads Franken in Minnesota; Sort Of

Image from MinnPost

The recount in Minnesota has helped drag out the 2008 elections, so that we political junkies haven't had to go cold turkey (mmmmm, turkey). It is annoyingly slow though. And the totals have been both disheartening to this Al Franken fan, and a bit misleading. The totals as they stand show Norm Coleman ahead. But that's disallowing all of the "challenged" ballots. And Coleman has challenged some pretty hinky ballots. Franken has too, but not to the same degree.

Anyway, what is going to happen, after the finished recount is tabulated, is that Coleman will apparently be the winner. And he will likely make a very big deal about that. But we really won't know until the challenged ballots are factored back in. There, it is possible that Franken actually wins, but probably not by much. This will let Coleman thump his chest, and say that Franken has tried to steal the election. Either way, I'm bettin' it ain't gonna be pretty.


The nightly, 8 PM update from the Minnesota Secretary of State now shows Norm Coleman with a nominal lead of 172 votes over Al Franken. According to the state's accounting, Franken has gained 43 votes on Coleman since the recount process began. However, the high number of challenges on both sides probably obscures any true movement in the vote counts. . .

Read more at:

More Bush Emails Go Missing?

Image from source, Raw Story

How many times have you heard a conservative--be it a bloviator like Rush Limbaugh, or your uncle Earl--rant about "the rule of law?" It was a mantra when Bill Clinton lied about a certain little indiscretion. 'Member that? Heh.

Well, after eight years of the Bush Administration flouting the rule of law--in fact, acting as though the law simply didn't apply to them--that rallying cry ought to be over. Case in point, the lost/deleted/never retained White House emails. Apparently, no effort was made to follow any of the laws as it pertains to retaining electronic communications by the White House. It is going to be enormously frustrating to hear them nattering about every perceived Obama Administration transgression, isn't it?


National Archives unsure how many White House emails will be saved

The plans to retain and store records from George W. Bush's eight years in office is lacking in specifics and raises the serious possibility that millions of missing White House e-mails will be lost permanently, a independent government watchdog warned Monday. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

Franken and Coleman Challenge Ever More Ballots

Photos from source, BradBlog

This wasn't a very active weekend, at least for the blog. With the election over, the post-mortem winding down, and no pervasive story beyond the financial crisis, I just haven't found much of interest to relay. It's OK, though, I sorta needed the break! Hopefully, you stuck with me.

But it's a new week, albeit a short one for most of us. And for me, it promises a huge cheat day on my diet, the first in nearly two months. To say the least, I'm excited. So, I'll try to bring some of that excitement here to the blog with some active posting. As I said, I'll try.

First up, the ongoing recount in Minnesota for U.S. Senate. Al Franken, writer, comedian and favorite of this blog, is still 100 or so votes behind incumbent Senator Norm Coleman. I'm starting to feel that Coleman is going to hold on to his seat, if only barely. And even if Franken pulls out a squeaker, he's going to have the full wrath of right-wing world come down on him, accusing him of fraud or worse. Not a great way to start your Senate career. And if Coleman wins, he's going to have to live with the fact that this comedian--denigrated thoroughly by the right--almost beat him. That's not so great either. Still, I'm hoping Franken pulls an upset.

And in Georgia, where the Senate race is also undecided? There are no ballots to check there. Just electronic votes with no paper trail whatsoever. Wonderful.


As of the end of Day 3 of hand counting paper ballots in the MN U.S. Senate race between Democratic challenger Al Franken and incumbent Republican Norm Coleman, the total number of challenged ballots by both camps has now ballooned to more than 1500, even as the official gap of ballots that have now been tallied (versus the challenged ballots that will be adjudicated later by the state Canvassing Board) shrank slightly to 115. Franken's camp, however, now puts that number at less 100, based on their calculations of how election officials initially judged a number of those challenged ballots. . .

Read more at: BradBlog

EDITOR'S NOTE: I'm aware that this information may be outdated by the time you read this. I'm writing this in the wee hours of Monday morning Eastern time. I'll try to update the story later in the day.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Media Bias, Revisited: Barack Obama and John McCain

Without an overriding story in the news (outside of the ongoing, but unsexy economic crisis) much of the political talk is still about the election post-mortem. And one of the themes is that Barack Obama benefited from an adoring mainstream media, while John McCain was thrashed by them. Um, what?

This has been a recurring theme, ever since the Saturday Night Live skit, with Campbell Brown offering Obama a pillow to make him more comfortable in his debate against Hillary Clinton. But is it true? I was reading The Raw Story this morning, and happened upon a piece about how Time magazine's Mark Haleprin is "disgusted" by the fawning media treatment.

"It's the most disgusting failure of people in our business since the Iraq war," Halperin said at a panel of media analysts. "It was extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage." This statement reminds me of Cindy McCain's claim that this Barack Obama had run one of the dirtiest campaigns in history. It's a complete blind spot for the other side of the story.

While you can click the link above to read more on Halperin's opinion piece, the better quote comes from the comments section on Raw Story, by "David." Check it out:

I can't believe that this notion of a pro-Obama media bias is taken remotely seriously for even one moment. Imagine for one moment if Obama had a pregnant out-of-wedlock daughter, and that the father had a Facebook page proclaiming himself to be a "proud Black Panther" instead a "f-in' hillbilly" or whatever it was that moronic redneck Alaskan kid said about himself. Imagine for one moment if Obama had any association at all with a Kenyan witch doctor who "blessed" his candidacy. Imagine for one moment if Obama did not know the difference between Shia and Sunni. Imagine for one moment if he needed an aide to whisper in his ear that no, militants in Iraq were not being funded by Iran. Imagine for one moment what would happen if Obama suggested that there's such a thing as an Iraq/Pakistan [border], as McCain did. Imagine for one moment if Obama stated, "The issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should." Why was McCain never asked to explain in detail (let alone apologize for) his association with louts and criminals like Hagee, Renzi, Land, etc? Why almost no media comments on jaw-dropping flip-flops on abortion, creationism, immigration, intervention abroad, tax cuts for wealthy, etc. Meanwhile, days of cable news coverage is dedicated to Obama not wearing a flag pin. To the strangeness of his name, to his middle name, etc. Pro-Obama my rear end!

David 11.23.08 - 12:20 am

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Candace Gingrich's Open Letter to Big Brother Newt

Image from As It Happens

Newt Gingrich. I'm still amazed that a guy named Newt is so lauded in conservative circles. And if the name weren't bad enough, here's a guy who was largely responsible for the birth of the conservative movement that is currently imploding before our eyes. Bush was the endgame, Sarah Palin was the improbable. . .what. . .overtime? Sudden Death? And Newt was the kickoff.

He started with The Contract with on America, became Speaker of the House, was unfaithful to his wife while impeaching a President for largely the same thing, and was eventually drubbed out of office. These days, he rights highly partisan books, and is a staple on FOX "News." Somehow, amazingly, his stock is rising in the now decimated GOP.

Recently, Newt appeared on The O'Reilly Factor (on FOX "News," naturally) to discuss California's Proposition 8, and the issue of same-sex marriage in general. He wasn't very nice, as you could imagine. But the not-so-secret truth is, Newt has a gay sister. She was semi-famous for a little while in the 90s, and even appeared on Friends. And she's not happy with her big brother. Good.


. . .The truth is that you're living in a world that no longer exists. I, along with millions of Americans, clearly see the world the way it as -- and we embrace what it can be. You, on the other hand, seem incapable of looking for new ideas or moving beyond what worked in the past.

Welcome to the 21st century, big bro. I can understand why you're so afraid of the energy that has been unleashed after gay and lesbian couples had their rights stripped away from them by a hateful campaign. I can see why you're sounding the alarm against the activists who use all the latest tech tools to build these rallies from the ground up in cities across the country. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Get Ready for Obama Derangement Syndrome

Image from sweetness-light

Something's coming, and liberals, progressives and Democrats had better be ready for it. There isn't a catchy name for it, like "Bush Derangement Syndrome," or BDS, as conservatives have branded left-leaning foes of George W. Bush. It didn't have a name back in the 90s, when every little nit was picked regarding the Clintons. But it is coming.

Already, there are sites devoted to impeaching President-elect Barack Obama. And he won't even take office for two months! Yes, Obama Derangement Syndrome is coming, and arguably already here. It will do liberals no good to point out the whoppingly huge impeachable offenses of George W. Bush. We will have "But, but, but Bush. . .!" thrown back at us, just as assuredly as we threw "But, but, but Clinton. . .!" at them from 2000-2008. There is a distinct difference of course.

For all of the time and millions of dollars thrown at Bill Clinton in the search for an impeachable offense, the only thing they came up with was--say it with me--lying about a blow job. This was in a case that was eventually thrown out of court for lack of merit. So, the big dummy lied about something that was irrelevant to a case that was dismissed. Great. I'm still flat-out amazed that otherwise rational people still hold this out to be a valid reason to tie up a president for two years. But they did it.

And in doing it, they created a whole cottage industry. If not for the Clenis, we may never have seen people like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter and entities like FOX "News" in the mainstream. Opinions from these folks used to be fringe elements, far-right wingers. But they noodled their way out of the fringe, and used the Bush years to stay in the mainstream. But now, these folks are back to being the loyal opposition. They will not want to be relegated to the shadows again, as it is clear that they love the limelight. It is going to get ugly.

In the days leading up to Obama's inauguration, and for how ever many years follow, these folks, and likely some new ones born in the "resistance," will be after Obama every minute. They will turn over every rock, and probably invent a few to turn over. If you thought flag pins and patriotism issues were stupid, you ain't seen nothin' yet. By all rights, no president ought to be impeachable now, given what has been overlooked about Bush. And we liberals will be tempted to point out the very real transgressions of the Bush Administration as counterpoint to idiotic faux outrages of the right. But it won't work.

Or at least, it won't if we aren't ready. The problem with trying to argue against Bush is that the list is so long, the crimes and misdemeanors so numerous, that our heads are too full. We very likely would sputter I "But, but, but Bush. . .!" And the problem is, even if we don't bring up the Bush record, we'll probably be asked "OK, what did Bush ever do that was so bad?" Ugh. . .

So here's a little something that can maybe help you out. You might not win an argument, but at least you won't be furiously sputtering like a lawn sprinkler.


Bush's Impeachable Offenses, Part 1

1. Fall 1999 - Before his presidency, Bush reveals his interest in invading Iraq.

2. Early 2001 - The CIA informs the Bush administration that the "aluminum tubes," later to be used as evidence of a nuclear WMD program, were probably not intended for that purpose.

3. March, 2002- Despite his later claims that he had not yet decided to attack Iraq, Bush indicates his intention to do so.

There's much (much) more at: OhmyNews

Blast from the Past: The 1984 Television Season

Well, how about that? When I posted Blast from the Past: The 1983 Television Season last week, I marveled at the fact that somebody had posted the openings from so many shows from one season. As I said then, I tried the same thing with my VCR back in 1986. But there was more to be found at the YouTubes!

Somebody put together these clips from the 1984 TV season. That's the year I graduated high school, so I have a keener memory of some of these shows than in the intervening years. But even I don't remember all of them. Anybody remember Empire? How about The Master? Yeah, me neither! So, here we go, the shows of 1984. . .

Shows include, in this order: Masquerade, Lottery, Riptide, Empire, Legmen, The Master, Blue Thunder, TV Bloopers & Practical Jokes, The Four Seasons, Airwolf, Partners in Crime, Cover Up, Finders of Lost Loves, It's Your Move, St. Elsewhere, People Do The Craziest Things, Who's The Boss, Night Court, Knight Rider, Punky Brewster, E.R., Hot Pursuit, Mike Hammer, Diff'rent Strokes, Jessie, After MASH, Hawaiian Heat, Falcon Crest, Call To Glory, Charles in Charge, Dreams, Foul up Bleeps & Blunders, Three's A Crowd

Rovian Alternate Reality Breaking Down: Bachman

This example of "creating our own reality" by a Republican is notable for a couple of reasons. Michelle Bachman, Congresswoman from Minnesota, stuck her foot in her mouth on Hardball with Chris Matthews, by calling for a McCarthyesque "Anti-American" investigation into Congress. She was on tape, plain as day. And yet, on the FOX "News" program Hannity & Colmes (their one so-called "balanced" program), there she is, saying it never happened, it was an "urban legend." Them's some big brass ones y'got there, Michelle!

This latest attempt at re-writing history has utterly failed. Nobody believes her. And that is something of a victory, a--dare I say it?--change we can believe in! For the last eight years, we liberals have been stupefied by the constant stream of "reality creating" spearheaded by Karl Rove. We'd hear the President (or Dick Cheney, or Donald Rumsfeld, et. al) say something on Monday, say he didn't say that on Wednesday, and have Wednesday's proclamation become accepted fact on the Sunday morning shows.

Occasionally, they would get busted. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart or Countdown with Keith Olbermann would show two clips side-by-side, contradicting the obfuscation. And once again, liberals would sit slack-jawed, with proof positive that they were right, and yet the general public just wasn't seeing it. Thankfully, those days seem to be ending. Dare we hope that Karl Rove's political machine is really, most completely dead? That it's so rusty and broken that it can't be rebuilt, or given replacement parts? Nah, I'm sure they are hastily building a new one, though they may have to start from scratch. Let's just hope people aren't so gullible from now on.

Friday, November 21, 2008

My Cat Hates Me

We rescued our cat from the late but not lamented Dewey Animal Shelter here in Las Vegas. We weren't told that 85% of the cats from Dewey were ill with severe upper respiratory infections. Not until after we had adopted her, of course. We saved her on her last day before termination, and it wouldn't be the last time we saved her life.

After a week of ownership, it became clear that the cat was very ill, and not just shy. She spent all of her time under the bed, and wouldn't eat or drink. So, we took her to the animal hospital, and $400 later, and three weeks of force-feedings, she was on the road to health. A relapse occurred after she was declawed a month later (necessary, because she'd taken a shine to our brand new furniture). She got through that with antibiotics (ever give a cat a series of pills? Not. Fun.).

Because of all of this trauma, and because she plumped up nicely, and isn't allowed outside or around other cats, we let her skip the vet for the past six years. But over the last few months, Jinx has developed a lump right between her eyes. It might just be a wart or a mole or something, but it was getting bigger, and started to show through her fur. So, back to the vet.

I was not scolded for her chubitude, which was nice. Nor was I reprimanded for the skipped visits. But I was presented with a $430 vet bill. And a cone around the cat's head. And one very pissed off cat. And I haven't even mentioned the car ride to and fro. Mercy. She's going to wear herself out squalling, and/or in the attempt to remove the cone. And the damned thing has to stay on for two weeks! It's going to be a very long 14 days. . .

Is She or Isn't She? Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State

Photo from source, New York Times

Remember back during the Presidential primary, when it became apparent that Hillary Clinton couldn't possibly win enough delegates? There was tons of speculation that she'd drop out tomorrow, the next day, the next week or month. And it drug out all the way to June.

Now, Mrs. Clinton has been offered the position of Secretary of State, and here we go again! She was offered the spot, she wasn't offered the spot. She's going to take the spot, she's not going to take the spot. . . And on and on. One of these days, we'll know for sure.


Clinton Decides to Accept Post at State Dept., Confidants Say

Hillary Rodham Clinton has decided to give up her Senate seat and accept the position of secretary of state, making her the public face around the world for the administration of the man who beat her for the Democratic presidential nomination, two confidants said Friday. . .

Read more at: New York Times

Anatomy of The Christmas Shoes, Revisited

As you head into your weekend, you are undoubtedly going to be assaulted by Christmas carols somewhere, even though Thanksgiving isn't until next week. And if you're like me, you will unwittingly overhear The Christmas Shoes by NewSong, one of the worst songs of all time.

Last year, I wrote my own critique of this song. Here it is again if you missed it. Maybe in the next couple of weeks I'll revisit this again, with a few more observations. For now, here it is in its original form.


I’ve been wanting to write my own version of "The Annotated Christmas Shoes," since I read the original on Diary of a Blood Ray (now known as The B Pryde Machine) years ago. The first time I heard the song, my reaction was much the same as his. I wasn’t moved to tears. I didn’t find the song precious or heartwarming. The song actually kind of pissed me off.

The more I thought about it, the more convinced I was that this song was brainstormed (if you can call it that) to be as manipulative of people’s emotions as possible. I can envision the writers sitting down to write a sappy Christmas song, trying to pluck the heartstrings until they frayed. Now that the season is upon us, this hideous song has already started to play. And play. And play. And I just can't take it.

So, taking a page from Blood Ray (and hopefully, not stepping on his toes too much), here is my own version, which I call "Anatomy of The Christmas Shoes." Put on your glasses, I'm shrinking the font because of length.

The Christmas Shoes by NewSong

It was almost Christmas time, there I stood in another line OK, It sets the scene, and it’s not so bad yet. It does manage to telegraph what’s coming though.

Tryin' to buy that last gift or two, not really in the Christmas mood Still setting the scene, and there’s the obligatory tryin’ as though "trying" wouldn’t be heartwarming enough.

Standing right in front of me was a little boy waiting anxiously Here’s where my cynic antennae start going up. I’m thinking the writers picked a boy, because a girl would just naturally do something nice for her mom. So, yeah, let’s make it a boy, to make it more poignant.

Pacing 'round like little boys do Filler. You can’t really pace in a line, and little boys don’t do it more than anyone else, do they?

And in his hands he held a pair of shoes Yes, the titular shoes. Why shoes? I’ll tell you why shoes. Because if the writers made it a hat, bra, panties, dress, or almost any other item of clothing a woman might wear, he’d seem gay. Believe it.


His clothes were worn and old, he was dirty from head to toe The scene was set, but this goes wayyy over the edge. Apparently, this is to show that the boy is poor. What it does for me is tell me that his parents aren’t taking care of him. He’s wandered away from home, unsupervised. He’s wearing rags, and he is filthy. What kind of home does this kid come from?

And when it came his time to pay I couldn't believe what I heard him say Cheesy writing to get to the chorus. You couldn’t believe it? Really?

[Chorus:] Sir, I want to buy these shoes for my Mama, please Because a dress would be too gay, remember. Also, this line is jarring. "Shoes" is so far from rhyming with "please," it almost audibly shrieks out, doesn’t rhyme, doesn’t rhyme!

It's Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size Maybe he’s a little gay after all. What little boy knows his mom’s shoe size?

Could you hurry, sir, Daddy says there's not much time Where was Daddy when you needed a bath, and your clothes wore out?

You see she's been sick for quite a while Another line to make you feel sad, Mama’s dying on Christmas. OK, I won’t pick this one apart yet. . .

And I know these shoes would make her smile One of the more baffling parts of the song. Shoes might be the very last thing on Mama’s mind right now.

And I want her to look beautiful if Mama meets Jesus tonight OK, back to Mama dying on Christmas. Apparently, she’s not only dying, she’s dying of one of those women’s movie/soap opera diseases that doesn’t disfigure you. I mean, if all it takes to make her beautiful is a yummy pair of shoes, she can’t look too bad, can she?

And I haven’t even mentioned the cloying, syrupy, calculated to make you cry "if Mama meets Jesus" part. People! If this stuff works on you, you need to know that you’ve been played!

He counted pennies for what seemed like years Because that makes the story somehow more precious. If he simply was short a bit of paper money, it wouldn’t seem so annoying/cute.

Then the cashier said, "Son, there's not enough here" This kid is not only alone, filthy and in ratty clothes, he’s too young to know how to count money. Interesting.

He searched his pockets frantically I’m with Blood Ray, this kid’s a grifter. And a good actor too.

Then he turned and he looked at me Sizing you up, no doubt. . .

He said Mama made Christmas good at our house Though most years she just did without Laying it on a little thick there, kid.

Tell me Sir, what am I going to do, This kid is far too articulate to match up to the rest of the song. Maybe he’s not just a grifter, but a midget grifter.

Somehow I've got to buy her these Christmas shoes I’d swallow it if it were almost anything but shoes. What kid—especially a boy—would get so set on shoes? Does Daddy force Mama to go barefoot at home? Is that what’s going on here? Is Daddy abusive? Maybe Mama’s going to meet Jesus, and Daddy says there’s not much time because Daddy’s gonna kill her?

So I laid the money down, I just had to help him out I’d have rhymed that better. Finish it with, "’cause my heart had come around" or something.

I'll never forget the look on his face when he said Mama's gonna look so great Sorry, I still don’t get it. If Mama’s only problem with "looking great" is footwear, she had options. Socks, maybe? And it still doesn't rhyme. They should've spent less time being cloying, and made the friggin' thing rhyme.

[Chorus] Worse the second time around.

[Bridge:] I knew I'd caught a glimpse of heaven's love What? How? Maybe being an agnostic obscures this for me, but how does an untended, filthy kid, lousy at math, but speaking in verse, whose Mama is dying on Christmas Eve from a mystery disease that leaves her pretty except for her gnarly feet--show you heaven’s love?

As he thanked me and ran out As fast as his feet would carry him, I’m sure, just in case you caught on to his con.

I knew that God had sent that little boy Couldn’t God have worked a slightly more relevant miracle? What’s more important, a little boy being robbed of his mother and Christmas in one fell swoop, or for a bad singer/songwriter to learn the meaning of Christmas?

To remind me just what Christmas is all about. Yeah, yeah, we could have written that line, knowing what came before. It’s like when there was a hurricane in Mexico that destroyed a church, killed almost everyone, but it was a "miracle" that a plaster statuette of Jesus survived intact. The miracle, apparently, that Jesus saved his own butt. And the singer of this song? I really don’t know. And neither does anybody else. It’s worth mentioning that the last chorus is sung by a children’s choir, and the last line delivered by a single boy’s warble: If Mama meets Jeeeesus. . .tonight. . . Which really. Pukes. Me. Out.

The song is quite simply calculated to make you tear up, say "awwwww," and have a vague feeling that you should play it over and over again every year. The song is also ripe for parody, and I hope one day a talented writer (you listening, Blood Ray?) comes up with a song that simultaneously skewers this song, and outsells it.

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