Category Archives: Humor

Headline of the day II: More sex and politics

Following up on our earlier headlines, via News Corp Australia:

Flying penis slaps-down NZ MP Steven Joyce in Trans Pacific Partnership protest

New Zealanders have a unique way with expressing themselves through protest: This time, it features an Economic Development Minister — and a flying dildo.

And the video, from BBC News:

New Zealand politician hit in face with sex toy by protestor

Program notes:

A New Zealand politician has been hit in the face with a sex toy after a protestor took issue with his decision to sign a trade deal.

Economic Minister Steve Joyce was leaving commemorations for Waitangi Day with Maori leaders this morning when he was struck by the pink rubbery object.

“That’s for raping our sovereignty,” the female protester said, in response to the New Zealand government signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPPA) trade agreement.

The unnamed woman was then led away by police.

Mr Joyce said he hopes the protest is not the only thing he is remembered for in NZ politics.

“I was amused. Genuinely. When somebody throws something like that at you, what else are you going to be? I was surprised and then amused,” he told NewsTalk.

“I’d rather hope that I’ve done a few things that made a contribution to New Zealand, and this will be just one of the little background things.”

Labour leader Andrew Little said he did not condone the protest but understood the reasons behind it.

“The connection between sexual devices and sovereignty is not immediately apparent to me, but I think we shouldn’t underestimate the fact that people are very hot under the collar about TPPA,” he said.

Critics of the TPP believe the deal will cause the cost of medicines skyrocket and crush freedom of speech through onerous copyright laws.

And now for something completely different. . .

For those of a certain age, the comedy routines of Bob and Ray — Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding — provided many a smile and the not-infrequent guffaw.

While they made occasional forays into television, their routines were born in an era when radio delivered not only music and news, but comedy, drama, and variety programs, featuring the leading stars of the age.

Their routines provided inspiration for two generations of comedians, and novelist Kurt Vonnegut wrote of the delight he took in their schtick.

The routines played on the medium itself, skewering newscasts with their intrepid report Wally Ballou, one of a whole cast of characters.

What prompts our nostalgia is a a story in today’s New York Times:

Bob Elliott, who as half of the comedy team Bob and Ray purveyed a distinctively low-key brand of humor on radio and television for more than 40 years, died on Tuesday at his home in Cundy’s Harbor, Me. He was 92.

His death was confirmed by his son Chris Elliott, the actor and comedian, who said his father had had throat cancer.

Mr. Elliott and his partner, Ray Goulding — Bob was the soft-spoken one, Ray the blustery, deep-voiced one — were unusual among two-person comedy teams. Rather than one of them always playing it straight and the other handling the jokes, they took turns being the straight man.

What better way to memorialize what is truly the end of an era than with s few of their brightest routines?

First up, from the early radio days, a sketch that focuses on a feature that was once ubiquitous on the airwaves:

Bob and Ray – The Question Man

The next sketch captures a trauma all too common in the days of live radio news interviews:

Bob & Ray – The slow talker

And another interview sketch:

Bob and Ray A Visit with Neil Clummer of The Hobby Hut with The Vegetable Collector

In 1951 the comedy duo moved their act to television, with a fifteen-minute broadcast [yes, broadcast television then often came in both shorter and longer programs than today]. Audrey Meadows, who would go on to television immortality as Alice Kramden in The Honeymooners, joined the duo for the show.

Bob & Ray. “Jack Headstrong” & “The Life and Loves of Linda Lovely”

Program notes:

The first episode of “Jack Headstrong, All American American” and the contuing story of Uncle Eugen’s kidnapping in “The Life And Loves of Linda Lovely”.

From the “Bob & Ray Show” which ran on NBC from 1951-1953, with Audrey Meadows, announcer Bob Denton and organist Paul Taubman.

And pair of short sketches:

Bob & Ray. “Hartford Harry”. Bud Sturdley “Impartial Survey”

The next sketch was performed just as politicians were beginning to discover the power of the medium:

Bob & Ray “Booking Agents to the Politicians”

And one final sketch from their show, again playuing against the medium itself:

Bob & Ray: “Television Referee”

And finally, their appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, performing two sketches that leave their host writhing in laughter:

Bob and Ray “Most Beautiful Face Winner”

Program notes:

Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding perform two of their classic interviews: “Most Beautiful Face Contest Winner” and “Four Leaf Clover Farmer.” Lots of great Bob and Ray available at the official site:

Radio as they knew it is dead, a transformed into a coldly calculated corporate entity, with local stations reduced to robot run money-making machines.

So hoist one for Bob and Ray, and may their shadows never grow less.

Donald Trump, the Emerson ideal embodied?

It was Ralph Waldo Emerson, that patron saint of the New England Transcendentalists, who famously opined that “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”

If such be the case, Donald Trump must be a man possessed of a very large mind indeed, as exemplified in this Stephen Colbert sketch,

From The Late Show with Stephen Colbert:

Stephen Moderates An All-Trump Debate

Program notes:

Since Donald Trump dropped out of Fox News’ final GOP debate, Stephen decided to hold the classiest, Trumpiest debate of all time.

Hmmmm. . . Wonder what Emerson had so say about follish inconsistency?

And now for something completely different. . .

This time it’s a show of Norway’s leading television network, NRK, featuring a bunch of crusty older guys who love blowing shit up. Hence the show’s name: Never Ever do This at Home.

And we’re forced to admit that the little bit of little boy remaining under our own crusty visage just laps it up.

We begin a very small but spectacular blow-up.

From NRK Viten:

Explosive ice cubes

Program notes:

Rune and Torfinn needs ice in their drinks. Explosive specialist Roar fixes the problem.

Many of the segments are set on an abandoned farm, with massive mayhem resulting.

Consider their solution to cleaning an old farmhouse.

Washing the stairs with explosive chemicals

Next, a very complicated but thoroughly destructive way to add fuel to the fire.

Chopping wood with explosives

Next up, playing with projectiles.

XXL Water Rocket

Program notes:

You may have tried making a rocket out of a soda bottle filled with water, that you pump air into. Never Ever Do This at Home gives you the extra large version of that experiment.

Finally, it’s an Wild West showdown, except that rubbers bands and a watermelon are involved, rather than six shooters and high noon.

The Duel of The Watermelon

Program notes:

Rune and Torfinn are ready to duel. Armed with rubber bands.

The seven-year-old esnl is smiling.

And now for something completely different. . .

Today, it’s a look at the odd couple of the GOP, as seen from Taiwan.

So how does the pairing of The Donald and Caribou Barbie appear to the crew at Taiwanese Animators, those folks at Next Animation Studio?

Let’s just say it appears just as wierd on the other side of the Pacific:

Trump Palin endorsement: mamma bear backs Donald Trump over Ted Cruz ahead of Iowa poll – TomoNews

Program notes:

Former vice presidential candidate and Tea Party firebrand Sarah Palin has endorsed Republican presidential candidate and businessman Donald Trump ahead of the Iowa caucus to be held on February 1.

The endorsement comes at a crucial time for Trump and could help shore up his credentials among the Republican Party’s anti-establishment wing.

It’s easy to dismiss this endorsement as one GOP crazy backing another. To the casual observer, Trump and Palin share an affinity for the type of populist, anti-intellectual rhetoric that makes it seem as though they have minds run by hamster wheels.

But Palin in fact leads a Tea Party faithful that can be instrumental in helping insurgent candidates win primaries.

In 2012, she endorsed Ted Cruz over the GOP’s establishment candidate, then lieutenant governor David Dewhurst. Cruz defeated Dewhurst by a 14-point margin in the primary and went on to win his Senate seat. That’s why Palin’s endorsement of Trump stings for Cruz.

Palin’s endorsement can also help mute a line of attack from Cruz and other Republicans that Trump isn’t a real conservative. The businessman in the past has supported Hillary Clinton and democratic positions. Backing from the Tea Party firebrand helps puts lipstick on this Republican In Name Only.

Will Palin’s endorsement give Trump the edge he needs in Iowa?

And now for something completely different. . .

Hollywood, God knows, can be a pretentious place, full of inflated egos and bizarre conceptual confabulations. We know this because we lived there for a while, developing many friends in what LA folks call The Industry and later as part owner of an independent production company.

And so it was with especial delight that we came across the latest production of Mommy, a Los Angeles sketch comedy troupe:

BEHIND THE SCENES: first feature film shot entirely on Prius backup camera

Program notes:

written by Andrew Heder & Ryan Kelly
shot, edited and directed by Ryan Kelly
graphics by Amy Bury

– Cast –
Mateo St. Portugal – Andrew Heder @andrewheder
P. Brooks – Paul Brooks @cupcupdrinks
Rose Pilates – Amy Bury @AmyBury1
Grey Epcott – Greg Santos @GregorySantos
Kyle Schmidt – Matt Kelly
Randall Hamms – Ryan Kelly @RyanKelly
Tobe Merkle – Paul Morgan @Paul_J_Morgan

– Mommy Comedy –
Andrew Heder @andrewheder
Ryan Kelly @RyanKelly


special thanks to Mofilm Studios for the studio space

The Republicans have a hearing problem

Bernie Sanders ain’t no socialist, nor is he a full-blown social democrat.

He’s not calling for nationalization of industries, nor for businesses to be run by worker councils.

He’s real a New Deal Democrat, cast more in the mold of an FDR than a Jean Jaurès or a Eugene V. Debbs.

Bernie was a socialist a long time ago, a member of the Socialist Workers Party. But Sanders has changed, as this piece in Socialist Worker makes clear.

That said, Sanders is decidedly to the Left of Hillary Rodham Clinton, for former Wal-Mart board member who remained silent on the plight of labor the company she helped run, and who has sold out to corporate healthcare on the issue of single-payer insurance, earning herself millions in speaking fees as a reward.

Okay, enough of the preface.

Now for some humor.

While we hold little esteem for Bill Maher, this segment from his HBO show deftly sums up both Sanders mild Left approach to politics and the radical Rightward shift of the GOP:

Real Time with Bill Maher – What Republicans Hear

Program note:

When Bernie Sanders speaks, Republicans hear it a little differently.

H/T to Metafilter.