December 2006

2006
Dec
31

We Report. We Can’t Decide.

Associated Press reports: “Americans Optimistic About 2007”.

Associated Press reports: “Americans See Gloom, Doom in 2007”.

Both stories use data from the same poll. I wonder if AP Writers Nancy Benac and Darlene Superville have ever met. Or if some supervisor said “Here, Nancy, you write the optimistic version and Darlene, you write the pessimistic version. Then we’ll send them both out and let the papers pick which one to run based on their own biases.” That’s modern professional journalism? No wonder newspapers are dying and dumb bloggers are taking over.

AND NOW A WORD FROM SOMEBODY WHO MAY HAVE NEVER HEARD OF ME...
2006
Dec
30

MORE Predictions for 2007

  • Getting bored with his retirement from “The Price Is Right”, Bob Barker will announce that he’s running for President. The polls will show him almost as popular as both parties’ front-runners, without going over. But his campaign won’t recover from his controversial proposal that Social Security be converted to a “Plinko-based system”.
  • In order to protect the dwindling polar bear population, most of them will be moved to the coldest known location on earth, David Letterman’s TV studio.
  • There will be controversy in the second season of “Heroes” when it is discovered that the cheerleader didn’t “save herself”.
  • The director of “Snakes on a Plane” will attempt a lower-budget production aimed directly at the (now known to be pretty small) internet-influenced audience: “Bugs on a Blog”.
  • Researchers will discover that the recent drop of penguin populations was not due to Global Warming, but the fact that they have been chain-smoking Kool brand cigarettes since the 1950s.
  • Sacha Baron Cohen will introduce a brand new character to attempt to continue his series of “Borat”-style pranks, but despite his skill with dialects, nobody will believe he’s a Ferengi.
  • Al Gore will NOT run for President again, because it’s too inconvenient.
  • String theory will be challenged by a group of scientists who claim the universe is held together with duct tape. After this theory is debunked, the group will come back with machine screws and locknuts, then it will be discovered their research was fully funded by Home Depot.
  • A woman accused of cutting off her husband’s penis will claim in her defense that she was influenced by Saturday Night Live’s “Dick in a Box” sketch.
  • “Pirates of the Caribbean 3” will feature a controversial crossover appearance by Animatronic Mr. Lincoln.
  • “Spiderman 3” will feature so many cool villains, the producers will have to edit out Spiderman.
  • As a side effect on the battle against Trans Fats, most hospitals will refuse to perform sex-change surgery on the obese.
2006
Dec
28

Obites Revisited

Well, it now is pretty clear who the “third of the three” is going to be. “Saddam to Be Hanged by Sunday.” And while All The Media is no doubt annoyed that it’ll further mess up the pre-written pre-produced Year in Review features, it’s also a rare gift to get 48-hours to prepare for a momentous news event. Which I’m sure was what John Edwards was trying to do when he announced that he was going to announce his candidacy for that job nobody in their right mind should really want, which says volumes about everybody who wants it. But I digress. The MetaFilter comment thread for the Edwards pre-announcement is the most entertainingly schizoid thing I have ever seen on the Web. One half a “What’s wrong with John Edwards/What’s right with John Edwards” argument, and one half the reaction to longtime MeFite ‘dobbs’ commenting “I stand a better chance at being the next President of the USA than he does” and very new member “Dizzy” setting up the “Dobbs for President campaign” and handing out high-level positions in the Dobbs Administration.

By the way, tomorrow I will announce the date on which I will announce my plans to announce my intention to announce that I am running… out of sour cream. But I digress again.

My problem with the Saddam execution (besides what is apparently the ‘slow strangulation’ method of hanging used in Iraq which is certainly cruel and unusual, even if the Butcher of Baghdad is among those most deserving of cruel and unusual punishment) is that it’s going to screw up the first of my 2007 Predictions, because even if I were serious about Bush making announcement “three hours after,” that would make it while it was still 2006, but Bush would never make such an announcement in the middle of a holiday weekend, but I had considered saying “within a few days” in my Prediction, and decided “three hours after” was just funnier, so now I have to choose between supporting the joke and keeping up the illusion of seriousness and, you know, sometimes it’s no fun being a humorist, and BOY do I digress!

Dec
28

RIP: Rerun In Perpetuity

My contribution to the endless “Year in Review” features is up at MSNBC.com, as I did a run-down of TV series ended or canceled in 2006. The formatting forced the omission of an introduction I’d written for it, so, I’ll drop it here:

The Academy Awards always makes time in its interminably long ceremony to pay tribute to anyone even slightly associated with the movie business who had died in the past year. So it seems appropriate to recognize not the people, but the 50+ TV series that ended this year, either by natural causes or at the hands of murderous network executives. (Will their reign of terror never end?) Unfortunately, every director to whom I proposed a video montage of cancelled shows had me thrown out of his-or-her office, home or booth at Denny’s. So, instead, we offer a succinct review of the year’s most notable cancellations.

Dec
28

Predictions for 2007

What the heck. Everybody else does, so here goes…

  • Hours after Saddam Hussein is hanged, President Bush will announce that all American troops will be withdrawn from Iraq, declaring “everything’s done that I thought needed to be done.” Celebrations will be muted when it is learned that the withdrawal route is set up to go through downtown Tehran.
  • A secret plan by Karl Rove will be uncovered in which the White House made plans to trigger a Constitutional Crisis with the Democratic Congress once every 28 days to correspond with Nancy Pelosi’s PMS. The plan will be abandoned when a staff member points out that the 66-year-old House Speaker/Grandmother is well past menopause. That staffer will be immediately fired.
  • The G.O.P. will fail in their efforts to get Senator Lieberman to change parties, and so will the Democrats in trying to get Rep. William Jefferson to do the same. However, as a result of the “Political Brain Damage” law quietly passed at the end of the last session, Senator Tim Johnson’s stroke will automatically change his affiliation to Republican.
  • In response to threats against Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison, he will be offered his own Military Security Detail but will turn it down when he discovers one of the soldiers assigned to the squad is Corporal Lynndie England.
  • After months of Wall Street analysts complaining that Google has too much unused cash, the web giant will use it to buy the New York Stock Exchange. Microsoft will respond by starting its own stock exchange, accessible only through Microsoft Money.
  • The Next Big Thing on the Web will be a site designed to attract the 100 million plus web users who don’t want to be part of a social network, tentatively called “DamnKidsGetOffMyLawn.com” A rival site, “AndIWouldHaveGottenAwayWithItIfNotForThoseDamnKids.com” will be frequently criticized for attracting illegal activity.
  • The creators of Digg.com will introduce an upscale version of their site, called “Excavatte.com”. A mainstream newspaper will attempt a Digg-like site, but in a total misunderstanding of the concept, call it “Graave.com” and only use it for obituaries.
  • Apple will partner with GM to introduce the iUV, a car with a single ‘click wheel’ control and trips sold through iTunes for 99¢.
  • HP will capitalize on its ‘spying’ scandal by introducing a pocket device that allows you to listen to other people’s iPods. But the only “iPod killer” product to have any sales success in 2007 will be one from Smith & Wesson.
  • As the ratings for CBS News continue to decline, Katie Couric will take the unprecedented action of doing her daily newscast while not wearing panties. The FCC will decline to cite the network for indecency because she’s just so damn perky. Still, her ratings will not improve, so by the end of the year, Katie will be replaced by Rachael Ray.
  • Ted Turner will use a portion of his fortune to establish the “Ted Turner Home for Delusional Cable News Personalities Who Think They’re Doing Something Important.” Lou Dobbs will be the first to be admitted, but by the end of the year, the facility will be full. There will be a serious ‘incident’ when the admissions clerk puts O’Reilly and Olbermann in the same room.
  • More than one famous pro athlete who should have retired years ago will test positive for Preservatives.
  • The umpteenth revamping of the Bowl Championship Series will result in the NCAA’s #1 Womens Volleyball team being picked for one of the New Years Day 2008 games. And an obscenely high sponsorship offer will finally convince one of the major bowl games to be renamed the “Ti-D Bowl”.
  • NewsCorp will hire Chris Hansen and his “To Catch a Predator” team away from NBC and replace the shows on its “MyNetwork” with 10 hours a week of “The Perverts of MySpace”.
  • In response to the success of ABC’s “Ugly Betty”, the Fall 2007 schedule will include NBC’s “Plain Jane”, FOX’s “Homely Hillary”, the CW’s “Deformed Debbie” and CBS’s “Agnes With the Great Personality.”
  • The Time Person of the Year for 2007 will be “That Guy Who Was Out of Town When We Gave Last Year’s Award to Everybody Else”.
2006
Dec
27

2007 Predictions

(Sssshhhh… not to be made public until Thursday)

What the heck. Everybody else does, so here goes…

  • Three hours after Saddam Hussein is hanged, President Bush will announce that all American troops will be withdrawn from Iraq, declaring “everything’s done that I thought needed to be done.” Celebrations will be muted when it is learned that the withdrawal route is set up to go through downtown Tehran.
  • A secret plan by Karl Rove will be uncovered in which the White House made plans to trigger a Constitutional Crisis with the Democratic Congress once every 28 days to correspond with Nancy Pelosi’s PMS. The plan will be abandoned when a staff member points out that the 66-year-old House Speaker/Grandmother is well past menopause. That staffer will be immediately fired.
  • The G.O.P. will fail in their efforts to get Senator Lieberman to change parties, and so will the Democrats in trying to get Rep. William Jefferson to do the same. However, as a result of the “Political Brain Damage” law quietly passed at the end of the last session, Senator Tim Johnson’s stroke will automatically change his affiliation to Republican.
  • In response to threats against Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison, he will be offered his own Military Security Detail but will turn it down when he discovers one of the soldiers assigned to the squad is Corporal Lynndie England.
  • After months of Wall Street analysts complaining that Google has too much unused cash, the web giant will use it to buy the New York Stock Exchange. Microsoft will respond by starting its own stock exchange, accessible only through Microsoft Money.
  • The Next Big Thing on the Web will be a site designed to attract the 100 million plus web users who don’t want to be part of a social network, tentatively called “DamnKidsGetOffMyLawn.com” A rival site, “AndIWouldHaveGottenAwayWithItIfNotForThoseDamnKids.com” will be frequently criticized for attracting illegal activity.
  • The creators of Digg.com will introduce an upscale version of their site, called “Excavatte.com”. A mainstream newspaper will attempt a Digg-like site, but in a total misunderstanding of the concept, call it “Graave.com” and only use it for obituaries.
  • Apple will partner with GM to introduce the iUV, a car with a single ‘click wheel’ control and trips sold through iTunes for 99¢.
  • HP will capitalize on its ‘spying’ scandal by introducing a pocket device that allows you to listen to other people’s iPods. But the only “iPod killer” product to have any sales success in 2007 will be one from Smith & Wesson.
  • As the ratings for CBS News continue to decline, Katie Couric will take the unprecedented action of doing her daily newscast while not wearing panties. The FCC will decline to cite the network for indecency because she’s just so damn perky. Still, her ratings will not improve, so by the end of the year, Katie will be replaced by Rachael Ray.
  • Ted Turner will use a portion of his fortune to establish the “Ted Turner Home for Delusional Cable News Personalities Who Think They’re Doing Something Important.” Lou Dobbs will be the first to be admitted, but by the end of the year, the facility will be full. There will be a serious ‘incident’ when the admissions clerk puts O’Reilly and Olbermann in the same room.
  • More than one famous pro athlete who should have retired years ago will test positive for Preservatives.
  • The umpteenth revamping of the Bowl Championship Series will result in the NCAA’s #1 Womens Volleyball team being picked for one of the New Years Day 2008 games. And an obscenely high sponsorship offer will finally convince one of the major bowl games to be renamed the “Ti-D Bowl”.
  • NewsCorp will hire Chris Hansen and his “To Catch a Predator” team away from NBC and replace the shows on its “MyNetwork” with 10 hours a week of “The Perverts of MySpace”.
  • In response to the success of ABC’s “Ugly Betty”, the Fall 2007 schedule will include NBC’s “Plain Jane”, FOX’s “Homely Hillary”, the CW’s “Deformed Debbie” and CBS’s “Agnes With the Great Personality.”
  • The Time Person of the Year for 2007 will be “That Guy Who Was Out of Town When We Gave Last Year’s Award to Everybody Else”.
Dec
27

Obites

Here’s an insight into the thinking of the Major Media Entities, no matter what the format, style or bias. They are all majorly pissed at James Brown and Gerald Ford for dying in the last week of the year. Because all the “Year in Review” stuff was written, produced and otherwise prepared weeks in advance (I have one piece pending weblication that I submitted two weeks ago). Of course, there is also that Old Media Wives’ Tale that famous people die in groups of three, so they are probably all sitting at their keyboards waiting for that third shoe to drop. (And, no doubt, all the members of the Right Wing Media are chanting under their breath… “Castro, Castro, Castro, Castro…”)

Dec
27

The Future of Panhandling

It’s being pioneered right here in California. Sitting on the curb at an offramp of Highway 101 in San Luis O., a bearded, discheveled man, smiling and waving at cars with a handlettered sign on brown cardboard saying: “BET YOU CAN’T HIT ME WITH A QUARTER”. I would have gotten a picture, but I didn’t have enough quarters to pay him for the rights.

Dec
27

Post-Holiday Post

A bearded webcartoonist posted some “‘facts’ that you may not know about Christmas” …

  • The tradition of gift-giving on Christmas was first introduced to America by Abraham Lincoln, who gave his clinically insane wife a water-damaged log for their first holiday together. She devoured it with gusto.
  • Stories of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” can be traced back to ancient Norway, where the outcast reindeer was depicted as a Norse Demi-God who soaked his nose in the blood of his enemies, and bathed in their entrails.
  • Astonishingly, most common depictions of the Nativity are almost exactly right, down to the smallest detail, except for one small imperfection; a rhesus monkey was perched on Joseph’s head for the entirety of his son’s birth. To date, no nativity manufacturer has gotten this detail correct.
  • Santa Claus is real. He is a being composed of pure energy from the planet KRINGLE X-16, who is often mistaken for the Aurora Borealis in photographs. He is able to assemble matter out of raw atoms and distribute them worldwide with but a thought. Zxtlyflor, as he is known in his native tongue, is also inexplicably racist against Asians, and is believed to be directly responsible for the 2005 Tsunami.
  • The roots of our modern Christmas can actually be traced back to Pagan rituals. Our godless heathen ancestors’ children, for example, were known to desire specific items from local shopkeeps around the winter solstice, forcing their parents to camp out overnight only to spend upwards of 600 rodent skulls on the latest bundle of designer twigs, collections of rare dirt clods, or extremely ticklish stuffed chipmunks.
  • …and I felt challenged to contribute a few of my own.

    Oddly enough, there is no record of anybody ever asking Jesus: “Were you born in a barn?”

    Then there is the old Amish tradition (now being covered up by the Ocean Spray people) of molding the gelatin-style cranberry sauce into large penile shapes in a kind of fertility ritual. It must work, because 72% of all Amish living today have birthdays in September or October.

    The “Frosty the Snowman” story was actually the taming-down of an old legend about the Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas attacking a haberdashery shop and getting surprisingly docile afterwards, due to those infamous “Mad Hatter” chemicals.

    The “kissing under the mistletoe” tradition was based on a misunderstanding at an 1874 Christmas party where drunken revelers started chewing on the poisonous berries and their mouths swelled up into a permanent pucker.

    The whole “Jingle Bells on the sleigh” idea was originally devised as an early-warning system for unwanted Christmas visitors, who, like the Belled Cat of the Aesop’s fable, were fooled into thinking they were ‘festive seasonal decorations’ and never figured out why nobody was home when they showed up.

    And the reason Charles Dickens’ classic story was titled “A Christmas Carol” was because it was originally intended to be sung. Unfortunately, for the first performance, Dickens hired an unknown performer named Ezekiel Federline and the performance was a disaster.

    I know I am going to Hell for this, but at least I will be in pleasant company.

    BTW, my ongoing survey of comic strips for my soon-to-be-brought-up-to-date Funny Paperless blog now has the count at 361 for “the number of comic strips that used a ‘Christmas Presents/Christmas Presence’ pun to make a sentimental point” and 286 for “the number of comics that showed a house decorated with a single massive Christmas light bulb” (247 of them red, only 39 green).

    2006
    Dec
    26

    I’ll Be Late for Christmas

    For December 26th, known in SometimesJollyAlwaysOldEngland as “Boxing Day” and in the AlwaysLaughingAtTheWrongThingUSA as “Day Spent Standing in Exchange Line at Target”:

    What Those Gifts of TV DVDs Really Mean

    In general: “Here’s 22 hours to distract you from my bad habits”

    The Simpsons Season 8 or Earlier: “Life was so much better ten years ago”

    Monk: “Learn to clean up after yourself!”

    Seinfeld: “If you can ignore what Kramer did, you should at least forgive me for what I did.”

    House: “It’s not all in my head; there’s really something wrong!”

    The West Wing: “Just in case that new Democratic Congress turns out to be a letdown”

    Remington Steele: “Why are you so ga-ga over that new James Bond?”

    The L-Word: “There’s a lady at the office I’d like you to meet…”

    Diff’rent Strokes: “What’choo talkin’ ’bout?”

    Anything from Adult Swim: “I’ve really gotten to like it that you ignore me after 11 PM”

    “The Complete Series” of any short-lived series: “I understand you’re not like other people and I accept that”

    Saturday Night Live Season 1: “See? I’m not going senile when I tell you it used to be good!”