Saturday, October 06, 2007

 

Most Invisible Reporter?

Well, this sort of explains things. I guess I should consider myself fortunate to have gotten second place in the Funniest Reporter show. Because, one of the judges, apparently, uh, didn't see me on stage! (Ralph Ellison jokes put to the side -- or just left in the title).

Seriously. Judge Emily Gould from Gawker described her experience:
First up was Star Editor At Large Julia Allison...

Sean McCarthy, who writes features for the Daily News, appeared onstage and handily won the competition by having his act really down...

He was followed by an hour or so of largeish women with "producer" in their titles making jokes about their weight and isn't dating weird...

Uh, OK. I'm 5'10", 165 lbs, so I'm not exactly "largeish." Sean and I were the only male journalists in the show. So, somehow, I got lost in the midst of an "hour or so of largeish women." It's fine if Emily thought everyone else was forgettable, but in terms of accuracy, it would be nice if she got people's gender correct. I swear to God, I did not do my "Big Mamma's House" impression!

I can only guess that Emily must have somehow fainted during my set. Geez, I'm glad she recovered in time to write her review.

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Friday, October 05, 2007

 

Open Thread

Right said thread.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

 

Funniest Reporter?

Well, not quite. Only the second funniest reporter in New York, according to the judges. I'm suspicious because I think I saw one of them wearing a "Remember Florida!" pin.

Anyway, I had a great time -- one of my best stage performances ever.

Here's a review of the evening. And photos of the participants.

Video coming in a few days (he said with fingers crossed).

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Pigskin Pick'em - NFL Week 5 Picks

Once again, time for the picks (in red), this time from last week's defending champion (that's me):

Miami Dolphins at Houston Texans: I can't pick the Fish until they show me they can win.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Kansas City Chiefs: The Jags are not much better than the Chiefs, but they should be good enough to beat this Herm Edwards train wreck.
Cleveland Browns at New England Patriots: The only way the Pats lose this one is if they take the Brownies lightly.
Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints: The Saints are a tempting pick this week, but they will have to win one before I take them. They have looked pretty bad so far.
New York Jets at New York Giants: This one is a coin toss between two underachieving teams.
Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers: I have not been overly impressed with either of these teams. They have played well enough to win, but their competition so far has not been exceptional. That said, I lean towards the Steelers in this long road game for the Hawks.
Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams: Kurt Warner wins one against his former team.
Atlanta Falcons at Tennessee Titans: Rumors swirling about
Bobby Petrino returning to the college ranks after this season cannot be helping the Falcons team morale.
Detroit Lions at Washington Redskins: Expect the Lions to have a letdown after their big win over the Bears last week. The Skins coming off a bye week makes it even tougher for Millen's boys.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Indianapolis Colts: As beat up as the Colts are this week, I might take the Bucs to win under normal circumstances. Unfortunately, the Bucs are just as beat up. With both starting running backs (Cadillac Williams and Joseph Addai) likely to miss this game with injuries, don't be surprised if this game turns into a passing fiesta, and we know how Peyton Manning does in those.
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos: Norv Turner vs. Mike Shanahan. 'Nuff said.
Baltimore Ravens at San Francisco 49ers: Expect Trent Dilfer to pull a "
Culpepper" against the team he led to the Super Bowl.
Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers: Yawn. Am I the only one who is completely bored with Brett Favre, even when he does well?
Dallas Cowboys at Buffalo Bills: If this game were played anytime other than Monday night, I might take the Bills. But give Terrell Owens a spotlight, and he'll take it.


Pigskin Pick'em Rules:
1. Pick the straight-up winners of all this weeks NFL games (excluding any Thursday games). Picks will be accepted in the comments section of the following websites:
Politics and Pigskins, Ragged Thots, and American Legends. All picks must be posted by 1 pm Eastern Time on Sunday, or by the kickoff of the first NFL Saturday game on weeks when that happens.
2. The winner gets...bragging rights! (you weren't expecting money, were you?)
3. And new for this year: I will be keeping a running tally for the season, so the person who gets the most picks correct for the whole season, including the playoffs, gets...even BIGGER bragging rights! (and still no money)

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

 

Making Page Six

Yep, I get custody of Britney's kids!

Um, well, not quite. But it's cool anyway!

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Garden On The Hill

Call it a bizarre cosmic synergy -- or publishing/marketing genius at its "finest."

Yesterday, NBA head coach Isiah Thomas and the Madison Square Garden operation were found guilty of sexual harassment. MSG and its chairman James Dolan have to pay the plaintiff $11.6 million. It's the highest-profile corporate sexual harassment case in years.

By coincidence or design, this was also the week that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas began the rollout of his autobiography "My Grandfathers' Son." That book features a major section concerning his confirmation hearings which prominently featured sexual harassment charges leveled against him -- almost exactly sixteen years ago to the month.

So, it's Thomas and Thomas.

It's Anita (Hill) and Anucha (Browne Sanders).

It's Supreme Court and basketball court (okay, I'm pushing it).

Truly eerie timing nonetheless.

By the way, one can argue whether the payout in the MSG case was appropriate, but one thing is for sure: Thomas, Madison Square Garden and Dolan deserve everything they get because of their stupidity. Given everything that was going on in the Garden and its "Animal House" culture, Dolan and Co. should have settled the suit months ago. Instead, by letting it go to trial, they've lost more than money (pending appeal); they've lost something far worse -- their reputation (though given what has happened to the Knicks over the last few years, there wasn't much of that left to begin with).

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First Lady...Nominee

Hillary seems ready to roll toward an early knockout punch. She outraised Obama -- both in "primary" dollars and overall -- in the last quarter.

And, in the latest Washington Post poll, she takes her widest over her nearest rival.

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Pigskin Pick'em - NFL Week 4 Results

Look who won this week. Some guy named Ed:

EdMcGon - 8
FunkyPundit - 7
J. Mark English - 6
Bill Barker - 6
bl - 6
Rigel - 6
David Stefanini - 5
Dave O'Leary - 5
SoloD - 5
Robert A. George - 4

And that guy named Ed seems to be moving up in the YTD standings too (with number of weeks won in parentheses):

David Stefanini(1) - 33
EdMcGon(1) - 32
J. Mark English(1) - 30
Robert A. George(1) - 27
Bill Barker - 27
Dave O'Leary - 21
bl - 16
FunkyPundit - 15
SoloD - 12
Rigel - 11
Mike - 8

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

 

Pat Buchanan Is Right

This topic came up a couple weeks ago during an NPR discussion, but it bears repeating.

He may not have said it delicately enough, but Pat Buchanan was essentially right in pointing out saying that it's not necessarily in a Republican candidate's best interest to attend last week's "black" debate.
Talking Points Memo called Buchanan's argument "offensive".

Few people are surprised that Republicans don't attend an organized labor candidate forum -- or that there won't be a "Values Debate" where conservatives entertain the Democratic presidential candidates.

Why weren't the Democrats invited to speak to the NRA? For that matter, why did the Democrats choose to skip the Fox News debate?

The answer is that the different parties, during the primary season, are busy wooing the different parts of their "base." It is unfortunate, but African Americans have become a locked-up constituency of the Democratic base: No Republican president has gotten more than 11 percent of the black vote since Richard Nixon received 30 percent in 1960. While one can certainly blame the GOP for various mis-steps (beginning with Barry Goldwater's declaration that he was "going where the ducks" were -- Southern white voters -- and writing off the black vote in '64), the fact is that black leadership has chosen to declare demonstrate its power solely within the context of the Democratic Party.

Even when a Republican has tried to reach out to the black community -- as George W. Bush did in 2000 -- that overture is rebuffed. Bush went to the NAACP convention, trying to salve hurt feelings derived from Bob Dole's bumbling campaign in 1996. What was the result? The NAACP ran anti-Bush radio ads based on a fake issue (his decision to veto a "hate crimes" bill in Texas). The ads featured Renee Mullins, daughter of James Byrd, a black man dragged to his death by three white rednecks. The woman said that she felt as if she had "lost" her father all over again when Bush vetoed the bill (for reasons that had nothing to do with race). Bush pointed out in a later debate that, under Texas law, two of the men were sentenced to death, so

Because of the NAACP's decision, Bush skipped the annual convention for the first six years of his term. In 2004, Bush ended up being re-elected (and received a small uptick in his percentage of the black vote -- which turned out to be crucial in Ohio).

The point is that, as Buchanan noted, Republicans see going to a venue of a constituency that has chosen to be fully in the pocket of the Democratic Party as a high risk/low reward bet. It makes far more sense for the major candidates to devote more time in the primary season to appear in front of groups that represent parts of their own base. There's no reason for Republicans to change their presidential campaigning behavior until they see a change in black voting patterns.

It doesn't help, by the way, that the moderator was Tavis Smiley: He is perceived by many Republicans to be biased against the GOP -- in much the same way as Democrats see Fox News journalists to be biased against their party.

The full video of Buchanan can be found
here.

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Rudy's Phone-iness

Okay, I don't mind occasionally admitting that I was wrong.

A week or so ago, when Rudy Giuliani answered a cell phone call from his wife -- during a speech to the NRA, I assumed that it was a stunt, because he had done the same thing at a previous campaign event. Furthermore, Bob Novak has reported that this is part of his "political bag of tricks."

But, according to the Wall St. Journal's John Fund,
the truth is a lot worse:

Even members of Mr. Giuliani's own staff are appalled at how he handled the incident in which he answered a phone call from his wife, Judith, right in the middle of a nationally televised speech to the National Rifle Association.

What was that about? Columnist Robert Novak cites "supporters from outside the Giuliani staff" who claim that taking phone calls from his wife as been "part of his political bag of tricks all year." But Mr. Giuliani's deputy press secretary Jason Miller told me the NRA incident was definitely not a stunt. Instead it was a "candid and spontaneous moment" that would humanize the tough-guy former mayor with voters.
The quote from the press secretary would lead one to believe that actually, the opposite was true: It was a stunt. You would think that because whenever a press assistant admits that a "candid and spontaneous moment" was designed to "humanize" the candidate, that means that the moment was neither candid nor spontaneous.

However, Fund goes on:

The fact is that people inside the Giuliani campaign are appalled at the number of times their candidate has felt compelled to interrupt public appearances to take calls from his wife. The estimate from those in a position to know is that he has taken such calls more than 40 times in the middle of speeches, conferences and presentations to large donors. "If it's a stunt, it's not one coming from him," says one Giuliani staffer. "It's an ongoing problem that he won't take advice on."

And in trying to explain his odd behavior, Mr. Giuliani has only dug himself in deeper. On Friday he told David Brody of CBN News that since 9/11, when he and Mrs. Giuliani get on a plane, "most of the time . . . we talk to each other and just reaffirm the fact that we love each other." He admitted he had taken calls from his wife "before in engagements, and I didn't realize it would create any kind of controversy." That's hardly possible. Giuliani staffers say he has been warned over and over again that the phone calls are rude and inappropriate and have alienated everyone from local officials to top donors to close friends.
Think about that: More than 40 times he's taken a call in the middle of a campaign event!!

And here's the anecdote that takes the cake for the "ick" factor:

I've been told of many other incidents, from a California fund-raiser to a Florida speech to a gathering with top donors at Bear Stearns in New York. At the Bear Stearns meeting, Mr. Giuliani took a call from his wife and then noting the strained faces of his supporters, he sheepishly tried a joke. "I've been married three times," he explained. "I can't afford to lose another one. I'm sure you understand." (Mr. Giuliani's media office didn't return a call I made to them on Friday afternoon.)
Now, that's a great way to get people to ignore your interesting family background. Truly mindboggling is that Rudy doesn't see the cultural disconnect (pardon the expression) that he is demonstrating with this sort of behaviour.

Far from "humanizing" him, this makes an otherwise tough-appearing guy look like he can't hold off from chatting with his wife for the five or ten minutes it takes to finish a speech. "Judi-Whipped" is the way the Post headlined the NRA incident.

Worse, as much as cell phones have become a necessity of modern life, they also truly tick people off when they go off at inappropriate moments -- or people decide to start using them in inappropriate places. That's why Amtrak has instituted a "quiet car" on its Northeast Corridor (primarily DC to New York/Boston) line.

So, Rudy doing this could be the equivalent of George H.W. Bush's seeming befuddlement at a grocery-store scanner -- a faux pas that has nothing to do with politics, but just turns off people at a very basic level.

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Sunday, September 30, 2007

 

The New York Mets...

...suck.

Discuss.

UPDATE: In the interest of good sportsmanship, we should give the Philadelphia Philliestheir due. While the Mets lost games that they should have won against the Marlins and the Nationals, the Phils did the lion's share of the damage to the Amazin's by winning eight straight games against them in September. They are rightly NL East champs. I tip my cap to my colleague, Phillies Phanatic extraordinaire, Funky Pundit (who, strangely has yet to blog his team's big win; I think it's because he's getting seriously drunk).

UPDATE II: The New York Jets suck too. The Bills? The frickin' Buffalo Bills? You gotta be kidding me...

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Robert George's Comedy Tour -- Unabridged

Over the next week, I'm doing a few stand-up dates for the New York City Underground Comedy Festival (My dates refused to lie down, so I had to do stand-up). So, if you're in the area and have some time, drop by.

SUNDAY, Sept. 30th, 9:30 PM: "Harlem Renaissance" Show, Gotham Comedy Club, 208 W. 23rd St., New York, NY, 212-367-9000; think of it as the "Anti-Def Jam Comedy" show -- black-themed comedy with a minimum of "MFs"!

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 3rd, 9:30 PM: "Funniest Reporter in New York", Gotham Comedy Club (same contact info as above) -- a fun cross-section of various journalist types showing off their INTENTIONALLY funny sides!

THURSDAY, Oct. 4th, 7:30 PM: "Official JAMNOW.com Stage!!!", HA! Comedy Club, 163 46th Street @ 7th Avenue, 212-977-3884.

SATURDAY, Oct. 6th, 8:00 PM: "The Despot Show", Sage Theatre, 711 Seventh Avenue (between 47th & 48th), 2nd Floor, 212-302-6665. In the increasing likelihood that despots like Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmajinedad don't appear, expect an evening of political-themed humor.

Come by one -- or come by all! Just come on by!

UPDATE: Sunday's show has been cancelled. Producers are hoping to reschedule sometime this week.

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