Monday, December 31, 2007
skippy's new year's eve nite music club
brett & link - new year's resolution song
Labels: skippy's music club
award of the state
the only award that counts in blogtopia, and yes, we coined that phrase, of course is the monkeyfister annual golden turkey awards.
we say this because we won one last year at this time. so we know quality when it scratches our back.
many great blogs won this year, some of which we actually read. among those of our friends who received the accolades are down w/tyranny, cannablog, wtf is it now?, mahablog, whiskey fire and blue girl, red state.
congratulations to one and all upon receiving this most important of all awards anywhere ever!
as we have been quite disappointed with edwards' campaigning this season, we are most heartened to see his sudden surge to the top of the polls in iowa.
and we notice that the agonist has endorsed sen. edwards. intrepid liberal journal, like us, also is leaning edwards.
here's hoping he does well in iowa.
forever blowing (housing) bubbles
sub-prime meltdown keeps creeping upward. mortgage defaults are at a record high, according to bloomberg:
the number of insured borrowers falling more than 60 days late on payments jumped to 61,033 last month from 45,325 in november 2006, according to data from members of the washington- based mortgage insurance companies of america. the missed payments, often a prelude to foreclosure, represented a 2.9 percent increase from october.
nationwide housing starts declined 3.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.19 million units in november as home builders continued to put the brakes on new-home production, according to newly released data from the u.s. commerce department.
the company said it plans to set aside $1.5 billion to $1.6 billion for loan losses in the fourth quarter. and the worst is far from over -- the company anticipates higher loan-loss provisions through the end of 2008.
the company also said it will discontinue subprime lending. as part of that move, wamu will close 190 of its 336 home loan centers and sales office and will shave 22 percent of its mortgage staff, or about 2,600 jobs. the company (nyse: wm) will cut 550 corporate and support positions as well.
the economy's growth is expected to have slowed sharply to a pace of just 1.5 percent or less in the final three months of this year. the big worry is that housing and credit troubles will force individuals to cut back on spending and businesses to cut back on hiring and capital investment, throwing the economy into a tailspin.
to help bolster the economy, the federal reserve has sliced a key interest rate three times this year. many economists are predicting the fed will lower rates again when it meets in late january. yun said he preferred to see the fed make one big rate reduction at that time, rather than make a series of modest, quarter-point cuts.
on friday, the government reported that new-home sales plunged by 9 percent in november to a pace of 647,000, the lowest in more than 12 years.
down the penrose lane
we're all crooks now
...now, in an unusual case in which an arizona recipient of an riaa letter has fought back in court rather than write a check to avoid hefty legal fees, the industry is taking its argument against music sharing one step further: in legal documents in its federal case against jeffrey howell, a scottsdale, ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a cd to transfer that music into his computer. - wapowhat next? illegal to play the music on a sony walkman?
no munching this mooched meat
14,800 pounds of missing ground beef thought to be contaminated with e. coli bacteria has prompted u.s. regulators to issue a public health alert.tip o' the kangaroo tail to the ethicurean
the united states department of agriculture (usda) said in a statement that a trailer containing the ground beef was reported stolen by texas american food service corporation, based in ft. worth.
the health alert pertains to ground beef products packaged for consumer use carrying the establishment number “est. 13116” on the package labels. - brownfield network
#1 story in santa barbara this year
we were reminded of just how long term damaging the fire is on christmas day. the winds kicked up and blew dust and ash from the burned areas down into town. it looked and smelled like there was a fire somewhere, and for people like me with asthma, it was hell breathing.
what was the #1 story in your neck of the woods?
question for the last day of 2007...
Sunday, December 30, 2007
skippy's sunday nite music club
jose feliciano & andy williams - hi heeled sneakers & autumn leaves
Labels: skippy's music club
our ailing health care system
some of our readers took issue with our positions; others simply added a few titles we had neglected to mention.
we thought we'd share those here.
the marked hoosier takes great exception with our analysis of mel brooks, whom, he insists, is "a genius." we can see the argument for that, as we once made it ourselves in our younger days. and we admit that spaceballs tickles our fancy ("you fool! you captured their stunt doubles!").
and, speaking of brooks, anonymous (a very prolific commenter on blogs) reminds us that the only word spoken in silent movie was uttered by marcel marceau. anonymous also insists that only scary movie 1 and 2 were done by the wayans bros., and 3 and 4 were helmed by david zucker of the zucker/abrahams team, whom we praised so highly. we are the first to admit that zucker/abrahams are not gods; witness mafia! w/jay mohr & christine applegate, two funny actors who could not save that terrible mess of a movie.
anonymous (probably another anonymous) says student bodies was a "gooder," and, if we remember it correctly, it wasn't that bad as a parody of teen slasher flicks (written by mickey rose, woody allen's early partner on bananas). but it also reminded us of two other parodies of that genre, thursday the 12th (renamed pandemonium) and saturday the 14th. of those two, saturday is definitely funnier than thursday (saturday stars richard benjamin, with whom skippy has worked, and thus we are a bit favorable).
dee loralei recommends shaun of the dead as a zombie spoof. we have not seen shaun, but we have seen hot fuzz, made by the same team, and thought it was a pleasant enough diversion as a take-off of violent cop action films. we agree w/dee loralei that hot fuzz had characters that you could actually care about.
our own jim yeager suggests a mighty wind as the last good musical biopic parody he has seen. made by christopher guest, one of the masterminds behind this is spinal tap, we agree that a mighty wind was a funny movie. tho it parodied folk music in general, we are of the opinion that it treads that fine line between farce and parody; it wasn't really a parody of a movie genre, rather than a movie about folk music full of parodies of that musical genre. still, we liked a mighty wind a mighty much.
what movie parodies work for you? please consider this an open thread to discuss various opinion thereon; spoofs we have mentioned and those we haven't, or even the iowa caucus, a parody all unto itself.
addendum: the sailor of vidiotspeak and steveaudio, who couldn't get our comments section to work too well, asks how we could forget mike meyers' spoofs of the bond films w/his austin powers franchise. point taken, tho we find all those films woefully inconsistent. and carl of simply left behind takes us to task for not including this is spinal tap in our musical biopic parody list. we are not so sure it's a parody of a movie, but a movie about a parody of a musical act, but at this point, who cares? it's a damn funny movie (and we suggest everyone rent the special edition dvd, on which there's a commentary track w/michael mcclean, christopher guest and harry shearer doing commentary in character as the spinal tap band members. even funnier than the film).
trish wilson also tells us the lost skeleton of cadavra is a hoot...it's a parody of those cheesy 50's horror films, and we've been trying to remember the name of that flick for weeks, to put on our netflix queue! thanks, trish!
caucus? they don't even know us!
and the allspinzone also reports on huckabee's declining fortunes, as well as john edwards' sudden surge into a three-way w/hillary & barack.
good, hard cox
imagine our pleasure, then, to see walk hard - the dewey cox story -- judd apatow & lawrence kasdan's foray into making fun of the musical icon biopic...a very specific movie genre that has seen almost too much product as of late.
walk hard is a laugh-out-loud parody of the old school variety, like airplane! it mines most of the recent musical biopics (moslty ray and walk the line, but also great balls of fire, the buddy holly story, and everything from la bamba to the gene krupa story, with a tiny bit of i'm not there thrown in for good measure). but unlike recent parodies that simply re-create specific movie scenes with a stupid joke tacked on at the end, apatow and kasdan make fun of the entire structure and cliche universe of the genre, with hilarious results.
two great aspects that raise this flick above the usual watered-down spoofs are the spot-on costumes and art direction which convey the various decades thru the years. we have mentioned that part of doing good parody is to do it with a straight face; the pitch-perfect clothing (by debra mcguire) of the buttoned-down 50's, psychadelic 60's, funky 70's and bland 2000's were the straight face the movie presented.
also raising the parody pedigree of this film are the great songs. the musical pieces are all co-written by real song writers like marshall crenshaw, and manage to both poke fun at, and pay tribute to various rock genres. like spinal tap and the rutles, walk hard spoofs out of knowledge and affection.
john c. reilly, who sings his own songs, is perfect as dewey cox. in one of the funniest gags of the film, he plays the singer at practically every state of his life, except for when connor rayburn plays 8 year old dewey at the beginning of the movie, when he slices his brother in half in a terrible machete accident, which haunts dewey thru-out the film. dewey's father (the excellent character actor raymond j. barry) constantly reminds him that "the wrong kid died."
we first see reilly as 14 year old dewey cox, playing with his band in his high school talent show. his band mates, of course, are real 14 year old boys, and the sight of reilly standing with them, dressed like a kid is laugh out loud funny. and when the band plays, the teenagers in the audience immediately stand up and start dancing, as if the music compels them, while the adults stand up and start shouting about "devil's music."
also in this scene we meet kristen wiig, of snl fame, playing dewey's 12 year old girlfriend ("am i really your girlfriend?" "of course you're my girlfriend, i pointed at you from the stage, didn't i?") who runs away with dewey and marries him.
another great cliche that the film makes into a running gag is stilted dialogue full of exposition. chracters constantly tell each other their age in new scenes (i'm 21 years old! i've got my whole life ahead of me!"), or call each other by their full names, as if the audience couldn't guess who they are. "gee, thanks for the advice, buddy holly," cox tells a bespectacled, white jacketed frankie muniz as they stand backstage watching elvis presley (played by the white stripes' jack white) perform.
dewey, on his rise to the top, of course constantly struggles with falling prey to different temptations (including, late in the film, the real temptations as they sing "my girl"). tim meadows (another snl alum) plays dewey's drummer who introduces dewey to various and progressively harder drugs (culminating with viagra when the characters are in their 70's). the introduction to marijuana was particularly brilliant, as cox argues himself into trying it.
and in a lift right out of walk the line, temptation also comes at its most beautiful in the form of the beautiful back up singer darlene, played by jenna fischer (from the american version of "the office"). dewey falls in love and marries darlene, but unfortunately, he's still married to first wife kristen wiig. ("you can't be married to two people at the same time! it's illegal," she tells dewey, who responds "but what if, if you're famous?")
tho the title song is a direct take off of johnny cash, dewey manages to go thru every style of rock n' roll, as well as every rock cliche. reilly's best singing, in our opinion, is a wonderful orbin-esque number "life without you is no life at all." you may remember reilly's show-stopping number "mr. cellophane" in chicago. reilly is more than up to the different vocal stylings that the history of rock and roll demands.
when dewey decides to try protest rock, the movie suddenly becomes black and white, and dewey's in a press conference denigrating the press, a la cate blanchett in i'm not there. and the dylan-esque twisted metaphors he sings about are hilarious.
even funnier is when psychadelic dewey joins the beatles to meet the maharishi in india. paul rudd as john lennon is wonderfully over the top, and justin long (the "mac" guy from the pc and mac commercials) is funny as george harrison. and tho we are big jack black fans, we thought he was miscast (and rather plump) as paul mccartney.
the key to good parody, which kasdan and apatow seem to realize, is not only a wide knowledge of the devices of the genre being spoofed, but an affection for the subject as well. by the time dewey cox dies (three minutes after his performance at his lifetime achievement award presentation), we have grown quite an affection for cox.
walk hard gives us hope for parody movies again. we give it a big tails up!
Saturday, December 29, 2007
skippy's saturday nite music club
donna summer - i feel love
Labels: skippy's music club
two wrongs don't make a write
the sort of good news is, while most late nite shows are planning to defy picket lines and go back on the air sans writers (and, we suppose, actual jokes) next month, david letterman's world wide pants incorporated has struck and interim deal with the wga to let the writers back on late night w/david letterman and the late late show w/colin ferguson. nytimes:
a spokesman for mr. letterman’s company declined to comment.
beyond the obvious advantage of having writers to supply comedy material that other shows will not have, mr. letterman’s and mr. ferguson’s shows will likely gain a benefit by being able to book guests who will not appear on shows still being struck by the writers guild.
representatives of some of the other late-night shows have reported difficulty booking some the top-name actors in hollywood, who have indicated reluctance to appear on shows whose networks are still among the entities the writers are striking against.
hope you like re-runs and reality shows, folks!
posthumous is better than no humous, we suppose
driftglass has some thoughts on the piece, as does group news blog, including some corrections on the original nytimes piece.
steve was a good friend to skippy's blog, as well one of the few bloggers who refrained from the petty sniping back and forth blogtopia. his was a distinctive voice, a pioneering presence in blogging, and he is missed every day.
we would echo doc wendell's assesment of matt bai's approach...we, to name but a few, knew steve was black.
what's in a name
understatement of the week...
oh, he certainly is. please go read...
she was murdered, end of discussion...
...this is from a late report from cnn...this is one incredibly petty stance on the part of the pakistani government. benazir bhutto may have a checkered legacy, but even if the government's account of her death is the correct one, she is not the slightest bit diminished or trivialized by it...dr. mussadiq khan of rawalpindi general hospital, who treated bhutto before she was declared dead, said she had "a big wound" on the side of her head "that usually occurs when something big, with a lot of speed, hits that area."the key details are there, something big at high speed. i guess 'big' is relative in this context, but that sounds a lot like she got shot or hit by a bomb fragment. and frankly, how likely is it that someone shoots at you several times at point blank range, near so (the video suggests no more than ten feet), and then detonates a bomb a few feet away from you and a few minutes later you're dead and it had nothing to do with either of those things?
i'd say, not likely.
...cnn national security analyst ken robinson, who worked in u.s. intelligence in pakistan during the clinton administration, said he suspects bhutto's enemies are attempting to control her legacy by minimizing the attack's role in her demise.
"they're trying to deny her a martyr's death, and in islam, that's pretty important," robinson said...
(related reading: juan cole shows that the assassination of bhutto is no laughing matter in pakistan...)
not that this matters one iota within the grand scheme...
losing some control over the hand was a bit scary for me. like it or not, i need two good hands to pay my bills, put food on my table, and pay for room and board. the two extremities i had to work with for a couple days were, for functional purposes, a right hand and a left paw. paws are all right when they're attached to a puppy climbing up on your chest while you're lying down, but when a paw is attached to you, it isn't a whole lot of fun to deal with.
i've learned my lesson. next time this happens to me (the flying spaghetti monster forbid it), i'm just going straight home. no more "good little trooper" role-playing for me -- i don't mind having to work my tail off now and then, but i'll be damned if i'll let it render me crippled...
Labels: it is what it is
Friday, December 28, 2007
skippy's friday nite music club
turk murphy's jazz band - mandy make up your mind
Labels: skippy's music club
edwards in a three-way w/clinton and obama
but seriously, the waterloo-cedar falls courier is reporting edwards has snuck up into a virtual tie w/the other top two dems:
on the republican side, mike huckabee remains in the lead with a 7-point edge over mitt romney.
the poll, conducted with 500 likely caucus goers from each party on wednesday and thursday, showed edwards and obama tied with 29 percent to lead democrats, followed by clinton with 28 percent. bill richardson was fourth with 7 percent. joe biden was fifth with 3 percent. chris dodd and dennis kucinich both had 1 percent and 2 percent were undecided.
for republicans, huckabee leads with 34 percent, followed by romney with 27 percent. fred thompson is a distant third with 11 percent, followed by a three-way tie for fourth between rudy giuliani, john mccain and ron paul, with 8 points each. duncan hunter had 1 percent and 3 percent were undecided.
bhutto killed by sunroof
the ministry also said it had intercepted a phone call from a top al-qaeda figure congratulating a militant for the attack on her thursday, and said there was "irrefutable evidence" the group was trying to destabilise the country.
bhutto's death after a suicide bomber blew himself up at her campaign rally has plunged this nuclear-armed islamic nation into turmoil, but the ministry said she would have lived if only she had stayed inside her car.
"if she had not come out of the vehicle, she would have been unhurt, as all the other occupants of the vehicle did not receive any injuries," ministry spokesman brigadier javed cheema said.
meanwhile, speculation runs rampant that this could mean the end of musharrif, as well. forbes:
in a nation marked by personality-centric politics, bhutto’s violent demise thursday has led opposition leaders to declare that holding parliamentary and provincial elections as scheduled on jan. 8 would be a farce. bhutto's longtime rival, the ex-prime minister nawaz sharif, has vowed to boycott them.
“with bhutto’s death, the bush administration’s game plan to widen political support for musharraf’s war on terror through a deal with bhutto’s party has fallen flat,” said g. parthasarthy, a retired diplomat who served as india’s ambassador to pakistan.
“if pakistan holds elections on schedule, sharif will boycott them and bhutto’s party will be rudderless. then the pro-musharraf party [pakistan muslim league—quaid-e-azam] is likely to win, but the entire exercise will lack credibility and the democratic process will suffer,” he said.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
skippy's thursday nite music club
vladimir horowitz - polonaise in a flat minor - opus 53 by frederick chopin
this is the chopin everyone knows, and horowitz does it flawlessly...a true master
Labels: skippy's music club
parodies found - a prelude to some good cox
he went to see a comedy, which he had never heard of before. he remembered seeing a coming attraction for this comedy a few weeks previous. nothing from the preview stuck in his mind except on quick scene: a character shouted out "pour every light you've got onto the runway!" and a quick cut to a dump truck unloading table lamps, light bulbs and lamp shades onto concrete.
it was corny, it was goofy, but it was fast and unexpected; it was airplane!
parody is much like frosting...incredibly inconsequential in the grander scheme of things, but much, much harder to make than one would think. and if not done well (and it's usually not), it leaves a bland, unremarkable taste in one's mouth, and sometimes creates the need to keep one's natural gag reflex from kicking in.
the zucker brothers (w/abrahams) discovered, accidentally or otherwise, the secret of good parody: do it w/a straight face. airplane! used real (and real good) actors, delivering their lines as if their characters were actually in the situation that the film had them in...never winking or nudging at the audience, never stepping out of the moment to comment on the action.
and, at the same time, the zuckers' writing went beyond mere distorted buffoonery of known movie scenes, and remarked on the visual language of movie making itself. robert stack walking out of what was established as a mirror, but turned out to be just a doorway in airplane!; val kilmer's manager's voice is heard in voice over repeating the note val reads, only to be revealed that the manager is sitting next to him, using a megaphone because his throat hurts in top secret!; alan north walking thru a door while leslie nielsen walks around the edge of the movie set wall in police squad!.
the zuckers and abrahams didn't just stop at inserting the obvious joke in a famous movie situation...they deconstructed the entire process of how movies were presented, and sent it up on its ear.
parody is different from satire in its most basic core: satire makes fun of content, whereas parody makes fun of structure. and a good parody has within it several other elements of comedy: slapstick, low gross humor, word play, farce...and yes, sometimes even satire.
of course, there were elements of parodies in movies before and after the zuckers/abrams oevure. buster keaton did some remarkable movie-deconstruction with his own sherlock jr. (the theme of which was also taken up by chuck mccann in the projectionist). hope and crosby used parody, if not as structure, at least as bricks in building their road pictures. and in practically every jerry lewis film you could find a call back to whatever movie was big at the time (we love jerry mimicking bogart's captain queeg, nattering on about the strawberries while rolling ball bearings in his hand in don't give up the ship. and, of course, woody allen used parody to butress his character development in his early romantic comedies play it again sam, and bananas.
however, we are hard, hard pressed to think of entire movies that were parodies of entire other specific movies from beginning to end. most films used parody as a device, not as an entire tone, keeping, however slight, the pretense of original characters and plot. in other words, you could watch the road to morrocco and still laugh without ever having seen a rudolf valentino or douglas fairbanks flick.
some exceptions: neil simon's murder by death (so bad it should have been called murder by boredom); larry gelbart's movie movie, which made specific fun of two 30's classic genres, the little-guy-from-the-streets-makes-it-big-as-a-boxer film, and the backstage musical w/george c. scott as spats baxter, the adolf menjou character. (this was a highly under-rated movie: when eli wallach, whose daughter is going blind, comes back from the doctor, he screams in frustration, "do you know how much an eye costs? an arm and a leg!")
one of our favorites was a pre-airplane! disaster parody called the big bus, in which joe balogna leads an all-co-star cast transferring the airport disaster flick cliches to a cross-country bus ride. also good: the made-for-tv western spoof evil roy slade, with john astin as the meanest villain in the west; whenever good guy dick shawn's character, singing cowboy bing bell, was named, everybody thought someone was at the door.
and, speaking of western parodies, we cannot forget mel brooks. blazing saddles broke new ground and old wind as one of the most audacious, low brow and high comedy put-ons of the cinema. and his next flick, young frankenstein, follows the original frankenstein story almost beat for beat.
(brooks' previous effort, the producers, while parodying broadway musicals with the show-within-the-film, still had an original plot, divorced from parody. and the 12 chairs was actually based on a real book, w/
but unlike the zuckers/abrahams endeavors, brooks never did anything with a straight face. brooks doesn't just wink at the audience; he grabs you by the lapels and screams in your face "get it?? it's schtick!!" thank god for gene wilder and madeline kahn, who managed to bring some semblance of reality to their characters; and of course, young frankenstein was originally written by wilder and blazing saddles was written by andrew bergman, another funny film-maker...we are of the opinion that the producers notwithstanding, brooks by himself is just not that consistantly funny a film-maker. witness men in tights or dracula: dead and loving it. some gags work, but most come from the joke telegraph service...humor so obvious that not only do you see it coming, it calls you for a ride home from the airport.
so the zucker/abrahams team seems quite like the orson wells of parodies (let us take a moment to mention the team that produced the hot shot films...they could be considered the george cuckor of parodies). they lifted the genre to such heights that most efforts pale in comparison, both before and since.
and especially since.
we're not sure, and we have no documented proof of this, but we think the wayans brothers are responsible for an incredibly steep and tragic downward spiral of quality in parody movies. the scarey movie franchise is comprised of jokes so shallow and obvious, they make the sketches form in living color look like oscar wilde. there's no sublety, no surprise, no complexity. if not for anna farris, there would be no depth to any of the characters, which are all so one dimensional that calling them "characatures" would be a compliment.
worse, in terms of structure: the movies that the franchise makes fun of are all over the map in tone. obstensibly they are spoofing horror films. we suppose we could spot them the goofing on the disparate atmospheres of signs versus the ring scary movie 3. but, opinions of marshall mathers aside, what is an 8 mile parody doing there?
other sophomoric entries into the genre of recent years are even less entertaining (as we said, at least the wayans were smart enough to cast anna farris). the jokes are few and far between, and none of them unexpected in date movie, epic movie, the upcoming meet the spartans (at least, if the coming attractions of that film is any indication), not another teen movie (tho we admit a slight fondness for that one; but don't ask us why...we suppose we're suckers for ugly duckling films, even parodies of them).
these recent forays into parody look as if kids were allowed to make movies, which is a common and easy mistake to make (but not easy to watch). sure, the jokes in parody are sophomoric, but that indicates the level of humor, not the grade the writers are currently in. and, as we said before, there are many different elements, as well as levels, to a good parody. sure, there are low jokes, but there should be high jinx as well as middle brow goofs, word play and witticism, dick jokes as well nuance.
colin jacobsen, in his dvd movie guide review of the afore-mentioned the big bus, puts the problems w/this new generation of parody succinctly:
which is why we felt like starving men invited to a feast when we sat down to watch walk hard - the dewey cox story.
we shall review this film soon (hopefully, tomorrow).
mr. swift is not only one of the finest writers in this medium (we know this because so few people understand him and, to us, that's the standard of excellence we strive for everyday), he is also one of the few blogs left who is more than generous with linkage.
now, we haven't mentioned mr. swift's piece simply because he included one of skippy's finer attempts from 2007, no, we are not that craven.
we bring this to your attention because his post also linked to by memeorandum; maybe we'll get some traffic from that site as well (that's how craven we are; you obvioulsy underestimated our cravenosity).
but we must take a moment to urge you to read some of the other bloggers' efforts as well; they are, after all, the "best of 2007," so they're pretty darn good!
huckabee's foot hearts huckabee's mouth
[**update: the huckabee campaign later clarified the last quote, telling cbs news: "gov. huckabee while speaking at a campaign event earlier this morning in florida intended to extend his deepest sympathies to the people of pakistan when he used the word 'apologies.' he is outraged and saddened by the attack and the loss of a world leader whose life he believes was a profile in courage."] …
he made a bad choice of words when saying the u.s. needs to consider “what impact does it have on whether or not there’s going to be martial law continuing in pakistan.” he should have said whether or not martial law will be reinstated – it was lifted nearly two weeks ago. a minor slip, maybe, but not a subject he wants to mess up on when he is already considered weak in the area of foreign policy.
[**update: the huckabee campaign later clarified this last point, telling cbs news: "governor huckabee firmly believes that emergency rule/martial law in pakistan, as a practical matter, should not be viewed as having been completely lifted until the restrictions imposed during that period on the press and judges are removed. although general musharraf let the pendulum swing a little more freely in the last few weeks, the overall policy, which is what the governor was addressing in his comments, has been, and continues to be, repressive."]
not that we care what the atlantic thinks (andrew sullivan and matt yglasias never linked to us, and megan macardle stopped linking to us way back when she was still jane galt, blaming her co-blogger for the linkage problem), but marc ambinder shows how the establishment hearts to hate huckabee:
mitt romney, for example, may have the same degree of experience, but he's boned up and is much more comfortable answering complicated questions about foreign policy.
we are happy to put to the center on our blogroll, as well.
Labels: say hello
like a surgeon
bhutto in bhlogtopia**
and in this corner, our bhlog bhuddy melina at ripcoco who maintains that bhutto was a ground-bhreaker and important figure for women bhoth in third world and the first (and we suppose in the second as well). also in this corner is liza at culture kitchen.
we didn't know ms. bhutto. we are always in favor of opposition, just on general principles, and we are always against assassination and violence on those same principles. so we are sorry to see today's events unfold.
bhut that will not bhelay us from bhad jokes about the spelling of her name.
addendum: jill, over at bhrilliant at bhreakfast, points out that john edwards was the only...repeat, only...candidate to call musharrif today to ascertain the situation in pakistan.
**and yhes, whe choined thhat phrhase!
bhreaking: bhutto bhlown away in bhig bhlast
while bhutto appeared to have died from bullet wounds, it was not immediately clear if she was shot or if her wounds were caused by bomb shrapnel.
president pervez musharraf held an emergency meeting in the hours after the death, according to state media.
police warned citizens to stay home as they expected rioting to break out in city streets in reaction to the death.
police sources told cnn the bomber, who was riding a motorcycle, blew himself up near bhutto's vehicle. watch aftermath of the attack. »
addendum: scorpio of the bhlog eccentricity, points out that the bhomb bhlast did not do bhutto in, bhut rather it was a bhullet that bhlew her away. bhbhc news:
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
skippy's wednesday nite music club
the chemical bros. - the boxer
Labels: skippy's music club
damn those illegals, not destroying the american healthcare system!
so, it’s more than gratifying when two different entities on two different coasts of the nation, independently release studies that say the same thing: “undocumented immigrants are not a burden on society.”too bad, there goes any legitimate reason to hate brown people...now the repubbbs are just going to have to admit they're bigots.
this week in california, the university of california’s school of public health released a report that found undocumented latino immigrants do not cause a drag on the u.s. healthcare system as they are always being accused.
in fact, the vast majority of undocumented immigrants don’t even have a regular doctor or healthcare provider and only visit the er as a last resort.“low rates of use of health-care services by mexican immigrants and similar trends among other latinos do not support public concern about immigrants’ overuse of the health care system,” the researchers wrote.it’s a finding that is repeated in today’s released study by the immigration policy center (ipc), the think tank of the american immigration law foundation.
“undocumented individuals demonstrate less use of health care than u.s.-born citizens and have more negative experiences with the health care that they have received,” they said.
the ipc study found that:per capita health care expenditures were 55 percent lower for immigrants than for natives in 1998. on average, immigrants received about $1,139 in health care, compared with $2,546 for native-born residents. although all immigrants are eligible for emergency medical services, they had lower expenditures for emergency room visits, doctor’s office visits, outpatient hospital visits, inpatient hospital visits, and prescription drugs.
adolf hitler explains his comments, said he "doesn't really like will smith" after all
a scottish newspaper recently quoted hitler as saying that "even will smith doesn't get up in the morning and say 'i'm going to make the most pandering, lowest common denominator film i can.' i didn't mean to imply i actually liked the guy."
the national association of film critics accepted hitler's explanation that he never praised smith. "it's an easy mistake to make," said spokesman richard roeper. "i personally enjoyed kevin james' performance in 'hitch.' before i knew what was happening, people were saying i gave thumbs up to the film."
in a related story, people who write blogs on the internet have now revised 'godwin's law' to mean whoever uses the word "dawg" first in an argument, loses.
one gas bag needs another
slate is on blimp beat:
Labels: ron paul
happy boxing day
the father, surprised, answers, "well, son, there are three kinds of breasts. in her 20s, a woman's breasts are like melons - round and firm. in her 30s to 40s, they are like pears - still nice but hanging a bit. after 50, they are like onions."
"yes, you see them and they make you cry."
this infuriated his wife and daughter so the daughter said, "mom, how many kinds of 'willies' are there?"
the mother, surprised, smiles and answers, "well dear, a man goes through three phases. in his 20s, his willy is like an oak tree - mighty and hard. in his 30s and 40s, it is like a birch - flexible but reliable. after his 50s, it is like a christmas tree."
"a christmas tree?"
"yes, dead from the root up and the balls are just for decoration”
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
skippy's xmas nite music club
james cagney - i'm a yankee doodle dandy
Labels: skippy's music club
the surge is working - christmas edition
in the city of baiji, salahuddin province, a suicide bomber driving a vehicle rigged with explosives blew up at a checkpoint near a residential complex.
iraqi army major shamil mohammed and a senior provincial police official said 23 people were killed and 77 others wounded. the u.s. military and interior ministry in baghdad earlier put the death toll at 20.
in the province of diyala north of baghdad, a suicide bomber wearing a vest packed with explosives struck a funeral in the city of baquba, killing 10 people and wounding five, the u.s. military said. iraqi police said the blast wounded 21 people and said all casualties were members of the neighborhood patrols.
ps i'm not going to help you win that football game
so it was quite nice to receive the following:
it has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking my name out of the season.
maybe you've forgotten that i wasn't actually born during this time of the year. it was some of your predecessors who decided to celebrate my birthday on what was actually a time of pagan festival, although i do appreciate being remembered anytime.
how i personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children and grandchildren of your own.
i don't care what you call the day. if you want to celebrate my birth, just get along and love one another.
...now, having said that...let me go on...
if it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn't allow a scene depicting my birth, then just get rid of a couple of santas and snowmen, and put in a small nativity scene on your own front lawn. if all my followers did that, there wouldn't be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.
stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree instead of a christmas tree. it was i who made all trees; you can remember me anytime you see any tree. decorate a grape vine if you wish...i actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who i am in relation to you and what each of our tasks were. if you have forgotten that one about the vine, look up john 15:1-8.
if you want to give me a present in remembrance of my birth, here is my wish list; choose something from it:
1. instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way my birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. they are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. i know because they tell me all the time.
2. visit someone in a nursing home, not just during christmas time, but all through the year. you don't have to know them personally. they just need to know that someone cares about them.
3. instead of writing "george" complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don't you write and tell him that you'll be praying for him and his family this year...then follow up. it will be nice hearing from you again.
4. instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can't afford and they don't need, spend time with them. tell them the story of my birth and why i came to live with you down here. hold them in your arms and remind them that i love them.
5. pick someone that has hurt you in the past...
...and forgive him or her.
6. did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? since you don't know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the difference.
7. instead of "nit-picking" about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. give them a warm smile and a kind word. even if they aren't allowed to wish you a "merry christmas" ,that doesn't keep you from wishing them one. then stop shopping there on sunday. if the store didn't make so much money on that day, they'd close and let their employees spend the day at church and at home with their families
8. if you really want to make a difference, support a missionary -- especially one who takes my love and good news to those who have never heard my name.
9. here's a good one. there are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no "christmas" tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. if you don't know them, buy some food and a few gifts giving them to the salvation army or some other charity which believes in me. they will even make the delivery for you.
10. finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to me, then behave like a christian. don't do things in secret that you wouldn't do in my presence. let people know by your actions and words that you are one of mine.
don't forget; i am god and can take care of myself. just love me and do what i have told you to do. i'll take care of all the rest. check out the list above and get to work; time is short. i'll help you, but the ball is now in your court.
and do have a most blessed christmas with all those whom you love...and remember...
...i love you!
Monday, December 24, 2007
skippy's monday nite music club
we decided to forego this exercise this year, mainly because the results were always overwhelmingly the same in the past few seasons.
instead, we thought we'd just cut right to the chase. so, without further ado, here is the song that always won our readership poll for best christmas carol of all time:
the pogues (w/kristy maccoll) - fairy tale of new york
and here's wish everyone a happy holiday season and peaceful and prosperous new year from the whole staff at skippy the bush kangaroo!
Labels: skippy's music club
there's nothing like kicking a national political party when it's down.
mr. smith, please report to room 101
it could have been worse, she could have married felix navidad
she has found, however, that she is not alone. mary christmas has been working at ancestry.com for three years and discovered there are as many as 100 other mary christmases in the united states.
the last name of christmas has its origins in wales, she said.
"it was given to people that were born on christmas day," she said. "somewhere back there someone of my husband's ancestors was born on christmas. it is not a super common name."
christmas said her husband's grandmother, joy christmas, once was stopped at a counter at jcpenney, under suspicion for using a phony name.
(b) logrolling in our time
be sure to say hello
in lieu of tagging, we simply hope that politicat has the best and most wonderful christmas possible!
Labels: say hello
it just had to happen the day before my vacation started...
i'm taking this in stride, though. at least i still have a left hand -- and i can still blog with it. but it's trickier than i want it to be. i'll keep everyone posted as i learn more about this problem.
til then, merry christmas to all, and to all a good night. i'll be fine, one way or another...
Labels: it is what it is
Sunday, December 23, 2007
skippy's sunday nite music club
elvis presley - blue christmas
Labels: skippy's music club
skippy's late nite music club: bonus trax
a cute little video.
addendum: upon further research, we are informed the song is done by the drifters, one of our fav groups of all time.
double addendum: lea-p informs us the wonderful animation was done by joshua held. thanks, lea!
give us this day our daily fruitcake
(in case you missed them, here's parts one and two and three)
god speed, bill
washington is not exactly known as a center of verbal, much less musical, wit, which makes all the more grievous the loss this week of bill strauss, the antic, cerebral founder of the capitol steps satirical group and a sort of puckish polymath for all seasons.
strauss, 60, who died dec. 18 after an eight-year battle with pancreatic cancer, somehow combined the dyspeptic fatalism of a failed idealist with the rapier mischief of a court jester in a way that put a human face on washington's political shenanigans. he taught an entire generation of elected leaders to laugh at themselves. - wapo
he will long be remembered as the creator of the "lirty dies" routine and many capitol steps songs. bill was counsel for a senate subcommittee when the capitol steps started back in 1981. - capsteps.comin memory of bill, perhaps sing a round of "gun nuts boasting they can open fire (sung to the tune of the christmas song) or here come democrats! (sung to the tune of here comes santa claus.)
quote of the day
that political custom seems to be inoperative this year: vice president dick cheney isn’t running — and, unless former florida governor jeb bush wants to change his name, 2008 ain’t gonna be his year (unless he changes his name to “none of the above”).
we are pleased as a platypus to add the drexel dems to our blogroll.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
skippy's saturday nite music club
the chipmunks - the chipmunk song (christmas don't be late)
including the intro to their sat. morning cartoon show
Labels: skippy's music club
skippy's late nite music club - bonus trax
chris isaak and kenny dale - christmas medley
Labels: skippy's music club
crack in eggnog form....
broguiere's eggnog and huell howser!
Originally uploaded by chotda.
yeah...it's that season for getting my crack...er, eggnog hit. i picked up a bottle (yes...glass bottle) at the local santa barbara gelson's but it sometimes gets a little bit difficult to find. (chowhound has posts on folks searching for a hit of the addictive liquid crack....) if you can't find some...contact the "dealer" directly....
505 s maple ave.
environmental stories saturday
drip, drip, drip sounds the slow death knell of santa’s lapland hideaway. time is running out for tourists in search of real snow and an authentic father christmas at rovaniemi on the arctic circle. - london times
tree planting mandatory, cutting prohibited in ri action plan. the forestry ministry wants the government to issue a policy making it mandatory for each indonesian citizen to plant a tree every year to store more carbon. - jakarta post
awol thinks the economy is booming
amid this holiday season, food pantries in lower connecticut are reporting a surge in the number of residents seeking a decent meal.
..."i have had to turn people away," said joyce gumbus, who oversees the 164 wilson memorial food pantry in stamford. the pantry is providing groceries for up to 400 people a week, compared with 200 a week last year, ms. gumbus said.
...for the food bank, the clearinghouse for some of the pantries’ food, that translates into some difficult challenges, like providing thanksgiving turkeys for 6,000 families this year, versus 3,000 in 2006. it means handling about 500 tons of food annually, 161,000 pounds of which were distributed in november alone, ms. lombardo said. "the need has doubled in the last year," she said. "and we don’t expect it to get better anytime soon." - nytimes
ceo salary of $12.35 million or a liver transplant for a 17 yr old
teenager dies after insurance firm refuses to fund transplant
cigna's rejection on december 11 led sarkisyan's doctors at ucla medical centre, including the head of its transplant unit, to write a letter to protest that the treatment which they proposed was neither experimental nor unproven. they called on the firm to urgently review its decision.
in the absence of a response from cigna, doctors told the sarkisyan family that the only alternative would be for the family to pay. but they could not afford the immediate down payment of $75,000 (£38,000). - the guardian
Friday, December 21, 2007
skippy's friday nite music club
bing crosby & david bowie - little drummer boy/peace on earth
Labels: skippy's music club
extra special skippy's late nite music club bonus trax xmas edition
the wet spots - fist me this christmas
Labels: skippy's music club
skippy's late nite music club - bonus trax
frank zappa & the mothers of invention - call any vegetable
Labels: skippy's music club
'tis the season for reruns
no christmas could go by without a trip down to the skippy vaults to dredge up this old chestnut: yes, viriginia, there is a war on christmas:
we take great pleasure in answering at once the communication below, expressing at the same time great gratification that its author is numbered among the friends of nro:
“i am 8 years old. some of my liberal friends say there is no war on christmas. they say it’s just another code-word-filled wedge distraction to keep us from discussing real issues like iraq, the deficit, the patriot act, katrina and the administrations abysmal record on human rights. papa says, 'if you see it on the internets, it’s so.' please tell me the truth, is there a war on christmas?"
virginia, your liberal friends are wrong. they have been affected by the secularism of a secular age. they do not believe except what michael moore tells them. they think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their godless minds.
yes, virginia, there is a war on christmas.
it exists as certainly as lesbian feminazi’s who want to abort all the babies in the world exist, it exists as certainly as communist jewish pinkos who want to force children to worship satan in the schools exist. alas! how dreary would the world be if there were no war on christmas! it would be as dreary as if there were no loofas or falafels. there would be no unquestioning faith in republicans, no pollack jokes, no unfettered greed to make tolerable this tenuous economy. the eternal light with which childishness fills the american dream would be extinguished.
not believe in the war on christmas! you might as well not believe in the war on terror. you might get your papa to hire men to watch all the malls during december to catch godless communists trying to force people to say “kwanzaa hannukah ramadan,” but even if you didn’t see anybody try to wrestle christ away from the true believers at the gap, what would that prove? nobody ever sees secular heathens actually try to drink the blood of christian children, but that is no sign there is no war on christmas. the most real things in the world are those that neither logical men nor rush limbaugh can see. did you ever see jesus ride a dinosaur? of course not, but that’s no proof that he didn’t. nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are available only to the truly faithful, who shall delight in watching their enemies be smitten down in flames when the lord takes his rightful place in the mall.
you tear apart a david brooks argument and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the most evil liberal, nor even the united strength of all the hateful secularists and the aclu and all godless jews who ever lived could ever tear apart. only undying allegiance to talk radio, complete loyalty to fox news and our beloved leader, george w. bush, can push aside that curtain and view the eternal joy of the beauty of the faithful, rejoicing by god’s side as the evil-doers burn in torment, including those who watch the daily show and listen to al franken.
is the war on christmas real? ah, virginia, in all this world there is nothing else more real.
no war on christmas? thank god it lives forever and ever, as long as filthy multi-culturalistic pedophiles want to keep christ out of the malls in december. a thousand years from now, virginia, nay, 6,000 years from now, because the earth itself is only 6,000 years old, the war on christmas will continue to make glad the heart of neocons all over.
credentials where credentials are due
right about the right
if you don’t think that the ‘08 rnc convention will be a meltdown for the history books then you’re not paying attention.
christians fight the war on christmas, keep 9 year old from xmas party because he "didn't believe in jesus"
his parents were told he was not welcome at the celebration because they had pulled him out of religious eduction classes earlier in the year.
headmaster ian davidson said that because the youngster had no interest in religion he could not celebrate the birth of christ.
but the godless liberals rallied and eventually won this skirmish...the little boy was allowed to go to the party after all:
after the council spoke to the school, the decision to exclude douglas was put down to a "misunderstanding".
callum was allowed to attend his party a few days later and douglas received a present santa had left behind.
the brad blog documents the rise and fall of diebold;
and jane at fdl finds a petition to sign to tell comedy central to get back to the negotiationg table in the writers strike.
* yes! we coined that phrase!
holiday donations to skippy are not tax-deductible
blogs don't need money. families need money.
the all-important blogging endorsement
since senator edwards’ first run at the presidency in 2004, we’ve watched him grow as a statesman, a politician, and a man. he was the first of the 2008 democratic candidates who proposed sweeping reform of the healthcare system in the u.s. while he did vote for the initial iraq war authorization during his time in the senate, edwards has been refreshingly candid in admitting he made a terrible mistake when he joined almost every other congressional democrat (admittedly, in a post-9/11 environment) to authorize the unprovoked use of force against another sovereign nation. perhaps more than anything, at a time when more and more americans are struggling every day just to get by, and the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” continues to grow wider, john edwards brings the promise not just of leadership, but empathetic leadership that will sharply focus on the economic and social needs of the working class.
but it doesn't fly
- a jetsons car on the outside
- my 1986 mercury sable on the inside
the aptera electric car
casting a paul over white supremacy
don black, of west palm beach, recently made the donation, according to campaign filings. he runs a web site called stormfront with the motto, "white pride world wide." the site welcomes postings to the "stormfront white nationalist community."
"dr. paul stands for freedom, peace, prosperity and inalienable rights. if someone with small ideologies happens to contribute money to ron, thinking he can influence ron in any way, he's wasted his money," paul spokesman jesse benton said. "ron is going to take the money and try to spread the message of freedom.
"and that's $500 less that this guy has to do whatever it is that he does," benton added.
meanwhile, over at shakesville, jeff fecke thinks the problem with paul is not so much his appeal to neo-nazis, as much as his refusal to extend his libertarian ideals to women and people of color.
the donations eclipsed a previous one-day fund-raising record of $5.7 million, set by senator john kerry in 2004 after he accepted the democratic nomination for president. paul's previous single-day fund-raising high was $4.2 million nov. 5.