Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Your Daily '80s: Me, myself and I yi yi

In 1982, Charlene wanted to take a very short, very annoying journey to herself. Because she'd never been there.

You think she would have made it there after the original release of "I've Never Been to Me" in 1977, but she didn't. So there she was again five bloody years later, vowing she'd really make it this time. You go, girl.

No, really. Go.

Frankly, I think she started out there and never left.
Oh, goody.

OF COURSE, having been to himself in 1981, Billy Idol could serve as Charlene's guide to that particular destination.

While they're doing some trip planning, you can go to the comments on SongMeanings and watch people argue over whether or not "Dancing With Myself" is about playing with oneself. Which would be a whole other kind of futility.

Wasting your time debating that, I mean. Or reading about debating that.

Or, yeah, for that matter, that.

Why am I not surprised?

An anti-recall group is sending out postcards to people whose names appeared on recall petitions asking if they intended to sign on to the campaign to remove Mayor Jim Suttle from office.

Noelle Obermeyer, co-treasurer of Forward Omaha, said Monday that postcards were mailed last week to some petition signers, although she didn't know the exact number. She said the postcards ask people to call the Forward Omaha office to report any potential problems.

“We've had people call back and say, ‘I signed the petition, but I didn't know it was to recall the mayor,'” Obermeyer said.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Your Daily '80s: X 'mas' the spot

Wot? It's the end of bloody November?

Well, it's Christmastime, then, innit?

And if it's bloody Christmastime, then -- Yuletide, as it were -- it bloody well's time to commence with the nickin' of hilarious Christmas shows off of
YouTube, innit? I thought I'd, meself, personally commence with this 1987 offering from the BBC.

The Homemade Xmas Video
is, in fact, is every bit as hilarious as
A Christmas Story.

Only weirder.

And shorter.

And British.


Well, while we at it. . . .

Is it a twister, or is it just Clovis?

I hear a tornado done hit Yazoo City, Miss., this evening. That's the second one this year.

I always worry about bad weather like that in Yazoo City. There's always the chance that folks will hear the big roar coming and just mistake it for Clovis Ledbetter walking down the road.

Well, at least they can get his brother Marcel to cut up all the debris. And then Clovis can haul it off.

Avoid the clap. Just look at the Big 12.

Texas is like the clap. It's something you want to avoid.

Look at what happened when a perfectly fine athletic conference got all liquored up back in 1994 and hopped in the sack with a bunch of floozies from thereabouts. Not only was it not better in Texas, but the Big 8 ended up with a wicked case of SWC-philis.

And not only that, a TV network had the videotapes, and a shotgun marriage was in Big 8's future. The new union ended up being called the Big 12 -- as in,
"Come to think of it, not even a big 12-pack of beer could make this bunch look prettier at closing time."

Unfortunately, a shotgun marriage -- while it might have kept the videotapes in ABC's vault (and the Big 8 from becoming a celebrity like Paris Hilton) -- did nothing to cure that now-raging case of SWC-philis. Big 12 grew sickly as the years passed and, as the SWC-philis moved into its brain, became prone to irrational rages and sank into a quagmire of co-dependency.

"I hate this SWC-philis. How could I go on without my SWC-philis? Pass me another big 12-pack of Lone Star. (Urp.) Still uglier than s***. Kill me now, I married a f***ing cow. No, really."

ALAS, this is an ill-fated union that won't end until the fat Longhorn sings "Vaya con dios, mi sucker."

Until then, all there is left to do is endure the irrational ranting of The SWC-philitic Formerly Known as Big 8 as its appendages fall off one by one. For example, this insane rant, penned under the pseudonym of "Berry Trammel"
(God, the poor bastard can't even spell names right anymore):
Such is the fractured relationship of Nebraska and its soon-to-be ex-league, you couldn't blame Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe for telling the Cornhuskers, don't leave, just leave mad.

Corn Country is outraged that Beebe — nor anyone from the Big 12 office — showed up in Lincoln for the Nebraska-Colorado game Friday.

Beebe was honest about why he didn't go to Nebraska. He feared for his safety.

I talked to Beebe in the Boone Pickens press box Saturday night, and he said he had received enough threats from Nebraska fans — over the 2009 title game controversy, over his suspension of NU's Eric Martin for a helmet-to-helmet hit against Oklahoma State, over the officiating in the Nebraska-Texas A&M game two weeks ago — that he was advised to steer clear of Lincoln.

Now the Huskers consider it an affront that no one bothered to conduct a trophy presentation for the Big 12's North division title.
SIGH. They say that when the mind is being eaten up by the SWC-philis, gullibility is always the last thing to go.

Poor, poor bastard. God knows that's what got him into trouble in the first place. Read on . . . if your breaking heart can bear it:
I don't think Nebraska's football standards have fallen so low that the Huskers prize a We-Beat-Mizzou piece of hardware. I just think a once-solid fan base has lost its collective mind.

Nebraskans have resorted to bloodlust over their exodus to the Big Ten. They've demonized the Longhorns. Called the rest of the league rubes for staying aligned with UT.

Hey, Huskers. The Big Ten is a great conference that offers lots of money and lots of intriguing competition. Nobody blames you for going.

We blame you for losing your class.

Last November, one calendar year, I wrote a column with a banner headline: “Why can't every place be like Lincoln?”

I applauded Nebraska's commitment to hospitality and courtesy and a stadium experience the way it ought to be.

What happened to those people? Now Nebraska seems inhabited by a bunch of kooks who frighten off Beebe, an ex-NCAA investigator, and fire off uncouth e-mails like they're from Louisiana or somewhere.
POOR BASTARD. Stockholm syndrome.

Kids, let this be a cautionary tale about what happens when you jump into the sack with just anybody. Loss of virtue is just the beginning of the end result. You, too, could end up with a raging case of SWC-philis. And that's never pretty.

Avoid the clap.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A mighty itch

"No, sir, we don't do that. If you'd like, we can refer you to the TSA."

Or, in Nebraska, to the Texas A&M football team.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Not suffering #$@*&%! fools gladly

Last Saturday, after Nebraska's football coach left a blue cloud wafting over the scorched moonscape of the Husker sideline in the wake of a ref-assisted loss at Texas A&M, I mistakenly mentioned to my lovely and charming wife that "I get Bo Pelini."

"Really?" she asked. "You get Bo Pelini? Really?"

I am not a bright man, but neither am I Forrest Gump. I was starting to think there might be sarcasm in play here.

"You understand Bo Pelini? Really?"

Yeah, it was sarcasm, all right. You don't have to throw a yellow flag with "SARCASTIC" written on it at me and hit me right in the eye with the weighted end and scratch my cornea or anything. I'm not Nancy Pelosi, for pity's sake.

"Honeybun, you
are Bo Pelini."

The woman always goes for the kill. Every time.

And after 27 years of marriage, the woman also still doesn't understand those of us with a majority of Mediterranean blood hotly coursing through our bulging veins. I blame the Swedish blood treading cautiously, yet efficiently, through hers.

ON THE OTHER HAND, after watching this press conference this evening after Nebraska's 45-17 final beatdown of Colorado, she may have a point. If you're in a hurry, skip to the 4:55 mark.

Here's a transcript of the relevant exchange:
Reporter (who really should have known better):Do you tell the guys to just, to celebrate this? I mean, do want them to enjoy tonight, or is it something you don't even want to. . . .

Pelini: No, I want 'em to be pissed off and feel like they got their butts kicked.

I mean, come on. Yeah . . . yeah I hope they would enjoy it. They earned it. They did a lot. They've won 10 football games -- that's not easy to do, it's nothing to sneeze at, you know? I'm proud of these kids. They better enjoy it.
I WOULD HAVE said exactly the same thing. Exactly the same way.

I even may have added a gratuitous
"Are you some kind of @#$&*#! nut???" as an exclamation point. Maybe not. I don't know.

All I do know is that Coach Bo might be the brother I never had.
Now, #@!* you, you #@$%!&% #$*&!. No, really.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

If it's Thanksgiving. . . .

Some radio stations play "Alice's Restaurant" every Thanksgiving. Revolution 21's Blog for the People screens the "Turkeys Away" episode of WKRP in Cincinnati.

As God is our witness, we thought turkeys could fly.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Your Daily '80s: Remembering what's important

In Michigan in 1986, the forces of TV advertising pause to remember what's important about Thanksgiving -- the day after.

Sex and the old sportswriter

Y'all watch this video, then all y'all tell me whether the amalgamated foofarah below accurately represents what happened at LSU's weekly football presser with Coach Les Miles.

Here's the incompetent reportage -- Aw, hell, I was supposed to let you make up your own mind . . . you go ahead, ignore my editorializing -- from the hometown rag, The Advocate, as it throws an 86-year-old alumnus under the team bus:
An offbeat exchange between LSU football coach Les Miles and a retired Advocate reporter led to some awkward moments Monday at Miles’ weekly news conference.

Near the end of Miles’ question and answer session, former Advocate sportswriter Ted Castillo asked Miles about being interviewed by ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews.

“What is it like to be, and you can take the Fifth (Amendment) on this, but what is it like to be interviewed by a sweet, young thing like Erin Andrews?” Castillo asked.

Miles responded by saying: “If they had given that job to some old, big, ugly man, it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun. But what a joy it is to represent LSU in the postgame with victory and to celebrate victory in a postgame interview with a very talented, very attractive woman.”

Andrews was the subject of a celebrated invasion of privacy incident in 2009 when she was secretly videotaped in the nude through peepholes in her hotel room. Michael David Barrett pled guilty to interstate stalking and admitted he shot videos of Andrews on at least two occasions.

Barrett was sentenced in March to 27 months in prison.

The case became the subject of a follow-up statement by Castillo.

“You know they nabbed the guy who was filming her through the keyhole,” Castillo said to Miles.

“I’m not going to go there, Ted,” Miles replied.

“What I’d like to know is how that guy pulled that off,” Castillo continued, “because I’ve been peeping through keyholes for years and I’ve yet to see anything but a blank wall.”

Miles responded: “Ted, damn if I’m not impressed with your candor. I’m with ya,” before moving on to a question on a football-related topic by WBRZ sports director Michael Cauble.

Castillo, 86, worked for The Advocate from 1948-91 and for several years after that wrote stories for the newspaper as a freelance writer.


ESPN’s Josh Krulewitz, vice president of public relations for college and news, did contact The Advocate and LSU seeking to learn more about what was said.

Contacted on Monday night, Krulewitz said: “We’re not going to dignify those offensive questions with a response.”

Miles called Andrews after the incident became public to offer his support and encouragement, according to Bonnette. Bonnette said Miles was sensitive to and supportive of Andrews’ situation.

Since his retirement, Castillo has frequently attended LSU sporting events and news conferences and often asks questions and offers his view on topics at Miles’ weekly media gathering.

“I consider Ted a longtime fixture in the media in Baton Rouge, and I have never considered it my position to block his participation in our news conferences,” Bonnette said. “In the past he has generally asked good questions. Coach Miles has enjoyed his relationship with Ted. He only sees him about 12 times a year, and he respects Ted and understands that he’s been around a long time and has a history about LSU to share.

“But that being said, what happened (Monday) was unfortunate and something that we don’t condone.”
NOW WE move from the newspaper realm to that of the Internet's East Coast snark patrol, where liberal hipsters all congregate to gratuitously make fun of people not like them.

There, something like t
he humanity of an old man is unimportant. Gotcha -- and only gotcha -- is all that need govern the actions of media professionals here.

What do you know? Noo Yawk hipsters and The Advocate's Baton Rouge Bubbas actually have something in common.

(Dammit, there I go again. Strike that. Again, you go on and make up your own mind here.)

The first of these Internet entries comes from Asylum:
This is how we want to spend our (imaginary) retirement: asking LSU's football coach insane questions about Erin Andrews at the post-game press conference.

Andrews, a "very attractive" journalist for ESPN, interviewed LSU Coach Les Miles, prompting 86-year-old retired sportswriter Ted Castillo to ask, "What is it like to be -- and you can take the Fifth -- interviewed by a sweet, young thing like Erin Andrews?"

Castillo's voice is something akin to what you hear in your mind when you read phrases like "You boys ain't from around here, are ya?" Miles could only respond with: "What a joy it is to represent LSU in the postgame with victory and to celebrate victory in a postgame interview with a very talented, very attractive woman."
THIS ONE'S a follow-up from Deadspin:
We have video of the bizarre line of questioning Les Miles dealt with during his "Lunch With Les" press conference this morning. Furthermore, we've ascertained the identity of the mysterious "Ted" who is so curious about Ms. Andrews.

The "Ted" in question is Ted Castillo formerly of the (Baton Rouge) Advocate. He has a reputation for asking off-the-wall questions, and judging by Miles's reaction, as well as the rest of the room's reaction, we don't doubt that for a second.

AND HERE, from Down South, Mr. SEC gets into the act:
A retired sportswriter for The Baton Rouge Advocate has stirred up a controversy by asking Les Miles what it’s like “to be interviewed by a sweet, young think like Erin Andrews.”

In case you haven’t seen, the exchange has already made national news on sites like Deadspin.com.

Here’s a little background: Ted Castillo is an 86-year-old man. LSU allows him to still take part in media events. According to Deadspin, “He has a reputation for asking off-the-wall questions.”

Miles took the “sweet, young thing” question and responded as follows: “If they had given that job to some old, big, ugly man, it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun. But what a joy it is to represent LSU in the postgame with victory and to celebrate victory in a postgame interview with a very talented, very attractive woman.”

Better answer? “Come on, Ted. I’m not going there. Andrews does a very good job.”
I THINK we are agreed that Ted Castillo committed a serious breach of political correctness, forgetting this isn't 1967 and that humor is no laughing matter, Mister.

All right, I get it now. I have been enlightened.

The old codger committed the sin of letting time pass him by. Frankly, he should have known it's inappropriate to objectify beautiful young women . . . and especially to joke about their good looks.

He forgot (if he ever knew) that it's what's inside a woman that's important. He was oblivious to Andrews' reportorial skill, which
is the only thing one needs to know -- or notice -- about her. Frankly, in this enlightened age, we rightly realize how terribly wrong it is to objectify any professional woman.

It is the content of her mind and her heart that matters . . .
not the content of her double-D cups.

Pity Ted Castillo, who must make sick, sick comments at football press conferences, humiliating a proud educational institution and offending the dignity of Erin Andrews and a serious journalistic institution like
ESPN. It is not unreasonable to demand an answer from the octogenarian as to why he must speak inappropriately in public instead of privately downloading Internet pornography like everyone else.

THIS SAD -- and, frankly, deeply troubling -- incident has at least served to highlight the plight of young professional women and the daily struggle they face in a society still ravaged by sexism . . . and randy old farts. This, one hopes, is a wake-up call for America.

It is time we take Erin Andrews seriously, and it's time we take sex completely out of any discussion of this talented sports-journalism professional.

IT IS TRULY . . . a . . . despicable thing . . . that . . . Ted . . . Castillo has . . . done. It is . . . high . . . time -- Holy mud-wrestling mother of God! -- that . . . the LSU athletic . . . department stands up for . . . the dignity of -- Ow! Mamacita! -- women and . . . takes Ted Castillo -- Hubba! Hubbahubbahubba! -- out of . . . its . . . pressers and . . . puts him -- pant pant pant -- out . . . to pasture.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Your Daily '80s: I know that dude!

In 1982, at Ridgemont High School, it wasn't for nothing that surfer dude Jeff Spicoli lived his life inside a cloud of cannabis smoke.

No, what you don't realize is that the dude had "second sight." Like, the dude could, like, see the future, man. He could see us today, bro.

And stoned just seemed like a rational response to that knowledge at the time.

OK, I love this clip, dude. So sue me.

Bobby good. Feds stoopid. College godless.

I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

It's because this went down wrong. Of course, "this" is enough to challenge even the strongest stomach -- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, proclaiming the wonderfulness of Himself to the perennially wacky Pat Robertson on The 700 Club as he ripped the federal government's inaction in the Gulf oil disaster.

"We kept tellin' them, lead or get out of the way," Jindal said while promoting his new book, "and the bottom line was we saw some of the same bureaucracy, the same red tape."

Urp. There I go again.

Listen, I know the gub'na likes to tell everyone what a strong Christian he is, so I know that he knows there's an old Hebrew proverb -- one quoted in the Good Book itself -- that says
"Physician, heal thyself." Or something like that.

I think it's
somewhere toward the back.

Anyway, you'd think that would be on his mind -- being such a fine and godly man and all -- when he's out on the road telling the world what a colossal screw-up Barack Obama is. Never mind that the headlines from Jindal's Louisiana don't exactly suggest administrative competence on the part of its absentee governor.

FOR EXAMPLE, higher education has been gutted because of an ongoing budget crisis. It will be gutted much, much more in the coming budget. This is Jindal's response to that:
Graduating only 38 percent of higher education students is unacceptable. My message to college administrators and everyone else is that we must find ways to live within our means and deliver more value. Budget cuts may result in fewer sabbaticals and may force professors to spend more time in the classroom teaching and interacting with students. But that is a good thing and will result in a better education for our students.
YOU'RE DOING a lousy job -- you'll do much better with far less funding. That's what he's saying.

When LSU leaders publicly fret over the disaster that awaits with further massive cuts next year, all the Jindal Administration can muster are straight-from-the-script red herrings about ending sabbaticals and increasing class loads as a cure for a looming cut of perhaps $60 million. No, really:

Jindal’s chief budget architect, Paul Rainwater, said Wednesday that universities must focus more resources on the classroom and make better use of taxpayer funds.

“We need to make sure the course load is maxed out and people aren’t taking sabbaticals,” said Rainwater, the state’s commissioner of administration, adding that LSU’s flagship campus has 19 faculty on sabbaticals. “That happens nowhere else in the real world.”

BOBBY JINDAL criticizes the president -- rightly -- for the federal government's lame response to BP's oily plague upon his state. Back home, the problem certainly isn't that Jindal has mustered a BP-type response to his state's myriad woes, most notably surrounding higher ed, public health . . . or just plain old fiscal responsibility.

No, back in the Gret Stet -- that place where the little lord Jindal has seldom laid down his sweet head -- the problem is that the gub'na is BP. And it's gonna be a hell of a blowout.

But that's OK. Whatever suffering . . . or surging ignorance . . . or mayhem . . . or sickness and death results from dismantling the concept of commonwealth is OK because when one asks "What would Jesus do?" -- that's it.


All because college professors are politically correct atheists, and the best way to fix a government that doesn't work is to destroy it altogether.

I'm sure the Deepwater Horizon never would have blown up if the feds' incompetent regulation had just given way to no regulation at all. Jesus said.

They're funny that way


Monday, November 22, 2010

Your Daily '80s: History repeats itself, almost

March 30, 1981.

Now President Reagan.

Here's some coverage from ABC television.

Meanwhile, on Dallas TV

WFAA television in Dallas. Nov. 22, 1963.

A day in November in 1963

It's a big day in Dallas-Fort Worth this late November day in 1963. The president, vice president and first lady are in town.

WBAP radio is providing complete coverage of the presidential visit. An exciting day in the history of any city, to be sure!

North Texans will long remember this Nov. 22, I'll bet.

All we need is sex

mud kiss

We didn't die before we got old after all, and that's a real bummer, maaaaaaan.

Associated Press poll finds that the generation that gave us the sexual revolution now wonders whether that's all there was once the passion fades and your freak flag, as often as not, hangs limp waiting for a mighty wind:
Faced with performance problems, menopause blues and an increased mismatch of expectations between the sexes, middle-aged Americans are the unhappiest people of all when it comes to making love, a new Associated Press-LifeGoesStrong.com poll shows.

Only 7 percent of people between 45 and 65 describe themselves as extremely satisfied with their sex lives. And nearly a quarter of the middle-aged Americans say they are dissatisfied. Even among seniors, fewer are dissatisfied.

"Older people can learn new tricks," said Ruth Westheimer, the sex therapist better known as Dr. Ruth. Aging men and women need to work on being "sexual literate - to really know what they need, what their partner needs and how to pleasure each other," she said in an Associated Press interview.

The findings represent a stark turnaround for the group of Americans who spearheaded the sexual revolution, coming of age as birth control became readily available, premarital sex gained wider acceptance and abortion was legalized. The Many of the first victims of the AIDS epidemic were in this group.

Younger and older people report better feelings about their sex lives. Some 24 percent of middle-aged group say they are dissatisfied, compared with only 12 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds, 20 percent of those 30-44 and 17 percent of those over 65.

Perhaps the middle-aged group have given up on experimenting. A surprising number of them feel they have learned just about all there is to know about sex - nearly three in five women and half of men.
IF YOU HAVEN'T noticed before now, my generation whines about everything. Why?

I'm glad you asked. It's just that. . . .
People try to put us d-down (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Just because we get around (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
We had hoped we'd die before we got old (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby

Why don't you all f-fade away (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
And don't try to dig what we all s-s-say (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I'm not trying to cause a big s-s-sensation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I'm just talkin' 'bout my g-g-g-generation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
NOW, WHERE did I put my glasses? I'll never find my Viagra without them.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Your Daily '80s: Ain't dere no more

March 17, 1980. Broadcasting magazine. The Mutual Broadcasting System -- "The World's Largest Network" -- heralds its affiliation with 1050 WHN, New York City's only country station.

July 1, 1987. WHN drops country music, as well as its vintage call letters, to become sports-talk WFAN. In 1988, WFAN would move to 660 on the New York dial, ending the historic tenure of WNBC.

Aug. 31, 1998. Mutual's now-owners, Westwood One, shuts down the Mutual newsroom in Arlington, Va., merging its operations into that of its affiliated CBS Radio.

April 18, 1999. The last newscast under the Mutual name is aired.

May 7, 2002. New York's last country-music radio station, Y-107, changes format. New York has been without a country station since.

Sic transit gloria radio. Bee doop.

Texas A&M-Nebraska: Behind the scenes

Football fans, particularly of the Husker variety, were mystified at how a clean hit on the Aggie quarterback could magically turn into a late hit, and how Nebraska tight end Ben Cotton could get 30 yards of personal-foul penalties for trying to stop an A&M player from grabbing his junk.

This unfathomable mystery nearly drove Coach Bo Pelini mad with frustration on the NU sideline. Hell, I know that watching this trademark Big 12 fiasco on television in the comfort of my Omaha home had me yelling obscenities even I seldom use.

And that's saying something.

Well, I think I have the answer. I was searching the Internets up and down for some elusive enlightenment, and I came across this -- the secret behind-the-scenes Big 12 Conference video meant for its secret archives in Irving, Texas.

Now it's all so clear.

Rest in peace . . . dahlin!

If you're from my neck of the woods, I can say one word, and you'll know exactly who I'm talking about.


Of course, I'm talking about Price LeBlanc, the king of cars in greater Baton Rouge. I remember when he'd hawk Ramblers, then American Motors, then Chryslers and Plymouths, then Toyotas from a spare studio with a simple curtain backdrop and a couple of his products parked behind him.

And he'd give you free country sausage if you came in to the dealerships in St. Gabriel and Gonzales.

I ALSO remember, back in the 1980s, a night of seafood and drinking at the old Cotton Club just north of LSU, but only because Price paid a visit to the bar and proceeded to visit with everyone in the place, leaving them with his trademark "Dahlin!"

Price LeBlanc was the king of cars in Baton Rouge, all right. And now the king is dead.

Long live the king.

The Advocate carried the sad tidings to his subjects Saturday morning:
Price LeBlanc Sr., longtime Baton Rouge businessman and owner of several car dealerships, died shortly after 6 p.m. Friday, his family confirmed.

He was 88.

LeBlanc died peacefully of natural causes, surrounded by his family, said his son, Price LeBlanc Jr.

The elder LeBlanc was well-known as the namesake for his car dealerships, which became synonymous with its trademark catchphrase “dahlin” ending each of its commercials.

The elder LeBlanc added the familiar slogan in honor of his mother, who often used the endearment, his son said.

Price LeBlanc Sr. was a life-long resident of St. Gabriel, where he started with a cattle business career after graduating from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Miss., his son said.

He made the switch from livestock to cars in 1954, and opened his first dealership in 1969, the younger LeBlanc said.

“He had a way of relating to people, a common touch, that he could bond with anyone from any walk of life,” he said. “That’s what he’s leaving behind with us.”

NO, THERE will never be another Price LeBlanc. I'll bet you a Toyota and a damn case of country sausage on that one.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Your Daily '80s: Eurovision schlock contest

Bucks Fizz of the United Kingdom won the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest with this.

I blame it all on socialism.
Or something.

Friday, November 19, 2010

3 Chords & the Truth: Sultry, swanky, sweet

If you've spent any time lately listening to commercial radio -- for instance, you've just been released from a CIA torture chamber or, perhaps, Mexican drug lords wanted to find out where you hid their stash, man -- boy, are you going to need this.

"This," of course, is 3 Chords & the Truth, otherwise known as the Big Show.

And that, of course, is the mark of quality music on the Internet.

Here's a quick example of the sumptuousness of today edition of 3 Chords & the Truth: Right out of the box, we're going to be hitting the rarer side of the British Invasion, and then you're going to listen to that set of music segue into . . . well, you're going to just have to listen to find out, won't you?

OK, OK, OK. Another quick example for you, Skipper.

A LITTLE LATER in the show, we're going to launch from a little 1965 disc by Mimi and Richard Fariña, and then you get to sit in utter amazement as their electric folk stylings morph, with the succeeding tracks, into . . . naw, you're going to have to listen to find out what happens there, too.

Hang on. OK, how about this. I can let you in on this little bit of proprietary information.

See, closer to the end of the show, we're going to kick off a sultry, swanky and sometimes sweet spate of songs with a great, great number by a singer's singer -- and native Nebraskan -- Jeri Southern. You can read all about her here.

Anyway, we're going to start there and tell you a little bit about this underappreciated song stylist who's nearly been lost to the ages, and then we're going to go right into some stuff by . . . no, just can't spill the beans.

That would be wrong. Sorry to have been such a tease.

BUT IF YOU just go click on the player up yonder at the top of the page, or just click here, all will be revealed to you. I guarantee.

Really, I do.

As always, it's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

Your Daily '80s: We are devo in '87

In 1987, '80s teenyboppers cover '60s classics, and those of us reared on the original figure the country is heading for a cultural low tide.

De-evolution, as it were. Thanks, Tiffany.

Hell, if we had known where this hip-hop thing was going to end up 20 years later, we probably just would have committed hara-kiri.

Quick! A palate cleanser!

Omaha's stinking, steaming pile of recall

Sometimes, I'm so right I disgust myself.

I didn't want to be right.

But it looks like we're going to have a mayoral-recall election in Omaha. From the number of signatures, it even looks like there's a chance we'll actually throw Mayor Jim Suttle out of office.

Let the unbudgeted hemorrhage of city funds begin. Special elections ain't cheap.

Anyway, this is what I wrote here July 3, 2009:
OK, I'll start by saying this: Omaha, generally, is a city that can withstand idiot politicians without missing a beat. The Big O's new mayor, however, is going to put us to the test.

Sometime in the next four years -- if not the next four months -- I predict we'll not only cry uncle, we'll be crying "Walt Calinger." If not "Fred Conley."
AT THE TIME, I wasn't particularly enamored of the new mayor. He was not off to a good start.

He wasn't leading on budget matters, and he seemingly was doing his best to make the worst impression. And you know what they say about not getting a second chance to make a good first impression.

Well, now Jim Suttle knows what they mean, too.

If you regularly read this space, you know I've taken my shots at the mayor -- really hard shots at the mayor. Really, he did not get off to a good start in anybody's eyes.

Ironically, though, I think Suttle has been gaining his footing this year. He's been starting to lead, and he is acting responsibly on the city's budget problems, realizing we can't cut our way out of the financial thicket the city finds itself in.

The money has to come from somewhere, and in a commonwealth, that would be your pocket.

OBVIOUSLY, the spoiled teen-agers who make up way too much of the city's electorate think otherwise. But having no plan, no foresight and no clue is no excuse to call off a good temper tantrum.

No matter who has to pay for it.

Recall elections were meant to be a last resort for the electorate. Now, in this age of unending political warfare, it's a first-strike option when the chips don't fall your way. And it's deadly when wielded by people whose good sense is only underperformed by their maturity and intelligence.

I call it the downside of universal suffrage. Government of the people, by the people and for the people is only as good as . . . the people. And when the people have it in their minds to be a bunch of spoiled brats, you're kind of hosed.

But that's where we are in Omaha, by God, Nebraska. Folks seemingly have come to the conclusion that sh*tting in their own bed is how you run a city and, in that respect, they display much less sense than my dogs.

Nornally, I'd say, "Well, it's their bed." But it's not.

The recall-mad people of Omaha are sh*tting in my bed, too. And yours.

Perhaps it's time to make that fact well understood.

A simple solution to the 'anchor baby' problem

Remember when Nebraska cut off prenatal care to pregnant illegals and some other poor women?

Now the results are starting to come in some eight months later, and I think I've figured out the philosophy of "pro-life" Gov. Dave Heineman and all the other Republican defenders o' the border. It's as ingenious as it is simple.

But before I tell you what it is, why don't you get yourself up to speed with what the Omaha World-Herald is reporting today? Basically, it's that doctors are reporting levels of stillbirths they haven't seen in years and years and years among poor women:

Health-care providers for the poor have seen five stillbirths in Columbus and Omaha since March 1, when the state decided to end prenatal services for illegal immigrants, they said Friday.

The providers said they could not definitively link the stillbirths to the policy shift by Gov. Dave Heineman's administration.

But they said it was clear women had forgone or delayed the preventive care, which has been proven to head off expensive and complicated deliveries and higher long-term expenses for birth defects and special education services.

As little as $800 worth of prenatal visits, they said, can head off $5,000-a-day stays in intensive-care units for children who automatically become U.S. citizens at birth.

"It's shocking that the State of Nebraska has chosen to disregard the huge weight of medical evidence about preventative (prenatal) care," said Dr. Paul Welch, an obstetrics/gynecology physician from Columbus.
THIS IS Tea Party America. I frankly am shocked that the doctor is shocked. It's going to get worse.

Anyway, back to the story.
Advocates for prenatal care said they are already seeing some of the higher costs and poor medical outcomes associated with a lack of such care.

Rebecca Rayman of the Good Neighbor Community Health Center in Columbus said her clinic has seen four unborn babies die since March after having no stillbirths in the previous six years.

“Only God knows” whether those deaths were directly attributable to the lack of prenatal care, Rayman said. She had evidence at least one was directly linked to lack of care.

Two emergency births took place at a South Omaha clinic because women are afraid of the costs of going to a hospital.

One infant, delivered at 20 weeks of gestation, died, said Andrea Skolkin of OneWorld Community Health Centers. The infant's mother had received no prenatal care.

Skolkin joined former U.S. Rep. John Cavanaugh, who now heads an effort to improve education for the poor in the Omaha area, in asking legislators to restore the prenatal services.

“This is a domino of destruction that will follow (these children) and us,” Cavanaugh said, in terms of higher costs for special education and poorer academic performance.

“There is not one word of testimony about the positive impact of this change,” he said.

NOW THAT you've been filled in, here's Heineman's brilliant strategy -- in the sense, of course, that Lex Luthor comes up with brilliant strategies for thwarting the Man of Steel. Like I said before, its brilliance lies in its very simplicity.

There's only one sure way to keep the Mexicans, and other impoverished opportunity-seekers, from flooding across our besieged borders and overwhelming the Greatest Nation on Earth (TM). And that, children, is to make America into Not the Greatest Nation on Earth.

You stop Mexicans, etc., and so on, from "flooding the zone" by taking away any advantage we have over places like Mexico. If Mexico sucks and we suck, too, there's no percentage in risking life, limb and la Migra by sneaking across the border, now, is there?

Accomplishing this while also making sure Mexican mommas deliver more dead "anchor babies" -- and doing it all while you proclaim your "pro-life" bona fides -- is just a bit of panache that borders on showing off.

Never mind the bollocks

When a high-profile consultant in your own party starts recycling jokes he told at your expense during the 2008 campaign -- when working for your archrival -- you may be in some political peril, Barack Obama.

Especially when it's a really, really funny joke.

And even more so when it kinda, sorta has the ring of truth about it.

Then, when the White House gets all pissy and thin-skinned about a joke -- especially a good one that people think is kind of close to reality -- the butt of the joke just starts to look like a butt, period.

A rather humorless one, actually.

TAKE THIS story from CNN, for example:
Democratic strategist James Carville compared President Barack Obama to his democratic primary rival and current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Thursday, implying Obama needs to toughen-up.

"If Hillary gave up one of her balls and gave it to Obama, he'd have two," Carville said at a "Christian Science Monitor" breakfast discussion.

His comment was a response to whether Obama is taking strong enough stands on taxes and repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military policy.

Carville made a similar comment to "Newsweek" during the 2008 campaign season when he compared Clinton and Obama's toughness.

"If she gave him one of her cojones, they'd both have two," he said.

He reacted to the comment on CNN's "John King, USA" Thursday.

"If I offended anybody, I am not sorry and I do not apologize," Carville told CNN's Chief National Correspondent John King.

THE WHITE HOUSE and senior Dems, according to King in the CNN video, "are outraged tonight (Thursday)." Well, that certainly violates a basic rule of politics, and life: "When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging."

President Obama can stop digging any time now.

The proper way to handle this would be 1) not to look like something traditionally paired with "balls," and 2) step out of character and summon your sense of humor. (Like, everybody's supposed to have one of those, right?)

An example: Pop in at the daily briefing and announce to the White House press corps -- in a basso profundo voice -- that you'd just had a productive meeting with the secretary of state. A good laugh defuses much.

Face it, when the most celebrated Democratic strategist's response to reports of your outrage over his political funny is "I am not sorry, and I do not apologize," you'd best start doing all the defusing you can regarding that H-bomb in the middle of your presidency.

P.S. TO CNN: If you're going to quote somebody -- especially somebody telling a a joke -- get the quote straight. All you had to do was . . . watch the videotape. Doesn't YouTube come through your Internets tubes in the CNN newsroom?