Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Perfect Setup

Many in the blogosphere (possibly including you, dear reader) were wondering aloud if Stephen Colbert's performance at last month's White House Correspondents Dinner was intentionally omitted in several mainstream media accounts of the event. Dr. S is wondering if such omission was less motivated by politics than politeness. And politeness would dictate that Mr. Colbert send thank-you notes to those reporters who did him the courtesy of refraining from mentioning his performance. Fact is, he bombed — happens to the best of them. If you haven't already seen it, click below to see the obviously well-rehearsed and very funny skit that directly preceded Colbert's speech:

Now go back and look at the Bush reaction shots during Colbert performance (or the ABC feed of the camera trained on Bush). W isn't glowering — he's gloating that he just upstaged the headline act. He had a ringer, and he knew it; the whole thing was his idea. W just figured out what professional comedians have known for ages: there are few better setups for a comedy routine than a failed presidency.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Pimping TAL: Parental Guidance Suggested

When Dr. S moved to Chicago in 1998, there were three people native sons he wanted to meet. One was radio personality Ira Glass (unbeknownst to Dr. S, all three were radio personalities, but that's a story for another time). One of the many Lab Rules in effect at that time was to not even think about calling the Doctor when This American Life was being broadcast (this was the pre-podcasting era). After this week's program, that rule may be re-instituted. So if you happen to be reading this before TAL's local airtime (it's aired twice per weekend in many major markets), stop reading this jackass blog and turn on the radio. Warning: make sure you don't need to pee beforehand, because once you start listening to the first segment, an interview with the author of The Color of Love, you will be frozen in place for half an hour — and then the second segment will make you pee your pants. The third segment is about the daughter of yet another radio personality, Joseph Helfgot, who for many years had a very popular radio show in Boston called "Talking Sex with Joseph Helfgot". The segment begins with her discussing her father's inordinately popular Human Sexuality class at the Big U, which was known on campus variously as Holes & Poles or T&A. Program note: Dr. S TA'd T&A for Dr. Joe.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Pulp Friction

The official group portrait of the heads of state of the European Union and Latin America at their summit in Vienna today was interrupted by a bikini-clad Argentinean carnival queen from Greenpeace who was protesting the construction of a pulp mill in Uruguay. After enough time had passed so that, um, everyone could read the sign, she was rushed away immediately
by security, who pretended to be very upset that the assembled dignitaries had been exposed to such exposure.

If Greenpeace America were this smart, maybe they wouldn't have to spend so much time begging on the streets.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Qwest, You're the Best, Now You're Under Arrest

Corroborating what paranoid wing-nuts have been saying for years, USA TODAY broke the shocking news to the rest of the nation this morning that the NSA has been indeed monitoring domestic phonecalls. Not just of suspected terrorists, Arab-Americans, or DNC members: the aim of the "largest database ever assembled in the world" is to "create a database of every call ever made" in the United States.

A big tip o' the Sardonic three-cornered hat to Qwest, the only major telecomm provider that didn't grab their ankles for Gen. Hayden.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Woe Is Poe

And this was the reason not long ago
     The North Side lost all glee:
A wind blew out of a cloud by night
     A freak accident, you see —
The Dodgers' Rafael Furcal
     Crashed hard into Derek Lee,
Which put Lee on the disabled list
     Now the Cubs are out to sea.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

So Funny It Hurts

The Doctor knows that Steve Jobs knows that Apple and Microsoft having never been direct competitors. As Saint Nicholas would say, one sells atoms, the other sells bits. But making fun of its actual competitors — Dell, Gateway, and (increasingly) Sony — just isn't as much fun as tugging on Microsoft's cape.

Enter the new Mac ads. These include some of the best-directed spots Apple has executed in 21 (if not 22) years. Some of them are so funny that the Doctor hit replay when he thought no one was looking. A couple, though, caused mild wincing, and the campaign just begs to be parodied. In one instance, however, parody apparently won't be necessary.

It's always best to avoid spitting in the wind, especially when the wind is Microsoft. Would someone please tell Apple Marketing to pull their pants up?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Pimping The War Tapes

An erstwhile associate of the Doctor's, Chuck Lacy, has been busying himself over the past couple of years exec-producing a film called The War Tapes. Chuck revealed the project's delectably simple plan (and graciously shared some footage) to a gathering of classmates from The Drinking College last May: buy five videocams, give them to soldiers on active duty in Iraq, and see what they, um, shoot. The film premiered over the weekend at the Tribeca Film Festival, where Dr. S was tickled to be in attendance. The festival director personally pimped the film with an introduction that he concluded by saying that there was "no film [he] was more proud to be showing at this year's festival". Not to be out-pimped (well, OK, maybe a little), Dr. S gives The War Tapes TWO VIALS WAY UP; check the web site for additional screenings if you're in the Tri-State area, and look for a wider release soon.