Archive of Articles in the "Other" Category

The Birth Of The Modern World

[ Posted Wednesday, January 24th, 2024 – 15:48 UTC ]

Few people will actually celebrate it, but today is the 40th birthday of the modern world. Because on this day, back in 1984, Apple Computers began selling the first Macintosh model. And thus 1984 was not like Nineteen Eighty-Four.

That's what the ad promised, at any rate. The television ad that introduced the Mac only ran nationally once (during the Super Bowl, no less), but it's still one of the most memorable ads of all time (which it should be, seeing as how it was directed by none other than Ridley Scott). This all seems entirely appropriate for the revolutionary product it was promoting. In the timeline of technological advancement in average people's lives, there was "before Mac," and then there was "after Mac" -- which is the world we all live in today. And it all started forty years ago.

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I Welcome The Return Of The Court Jesters

[ Posted Thursday, October 5th, 2023 – 15:29 UTC ]

There are plenty of things I could be writing about today, not least among them the horrifying and completely laughable notion of making Donald Trump speaker of the House, but I decided to focus in on the "laughable" part instead. Because I, for one, am immensely pleased that late-night comedy shows are back on the air every night (and, starting this weekend, on Saturday night as well).

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Menendez Needs To Go

[ Posted Tuesday, September 26th, 2023 – 15:35 UTC ]

This has been a notable week for Labor. President Joe Biden today visited an autoworkers' Union picket line in Detroit, in what is being described as "the first time ever" for a sitting president (nobody seems to have any definitive word on whether Biden truly is the first or not, but then again nobody has yet come up with another example from American history either). The week started out with the news that the Hollywood writers appear to have come to a deal with the studios to end their strike. And I have to say that while I applauded seeing Biden visit a Union picket line, I really cheered the news from Hollywood, as I have been seriously missing late-night television comics in my life. I look at politics all day, every day, and it is almost necessary (for my sanity) for me to decompress with some good political humor at the end of the day (or, for Saturday Night Live, at the end of the week). But that hasn't been an option for months now. The good news is that late-night will be the first part of the industry to recover, so we could start seeing new shows within days of the agreement being finalized.

What will the comics talk about? Well, they've certainly got plenty of material to work with. A lot of Trump's legal developments happened after the strike began, just for starters. Just within the world of politics, there have been plenty of juicy stories just ripe for ridicule over the summer. But at some point they'll also pick up on the most current events; the most current easy low-hanging targets for political ridicule. Which, in a very roundabout way, leads me to the subject of this article: Senator Robert Menendez needs to resign his seat -- and for his own sake, he should do it before Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers and all the rest of them get back to work. He might spare himself a boatload of ridicule by doing so. Admittedly, that's a rather strange angle to see it all from, but it's what popped into my mind when the scandal broke almost simultaneously with the writers striking a deal.

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And Then There Were 13... Or 10? Or Maybe 9?

[ Posted Tuesday, August 29th, 2023 – 16:26 UTC ]

Way back in 2015, late-night television's Stephen Colbert had a ritual bit he'd run every time a presidential candidate dropped out of the race. Using the impressive ceiling in his studio, he projected an image of the also-ran candidate à la how the deaths of each "tribute" in The Hunger Games were announced. He called it the "Hungry For Power Games." Of course, earlier this year, late-night television was the first to go dark when the Hollywood writers went on strike, so we can't expect this sort of thing in the current campaign until they are all back at work (and being paid better). Which is a shame, because the Republican presidential field is already beginning to narrow. Today, the mayor of Miami, Francis Suarez, became the first to officially drop out of the race.

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Please End This Insanity

[ Posted Thursday, September 29th, 2022 – 14:42 UTC ]

This column isn't about politics. It's about safety, and television, and common sense. Because if things don't change, someone is going to get badly hurt and/or die. While we're all watching. Which is why today I'm writing something I have long thought: no sane person should ever "report live" from a hurricane.

What is the benefit to having a human being standing in a street fighting hurricane-force winds? There is none. A shot of the street itself is more than enough to show what is happening.

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The House January 6th Select Committee Hearings [Episode 7]

[ Posted Tuesday, July 12th, 2022 – 17:47 UTC ]

After an extended break (which was interrupted by the unplanned sixth of these live hearings), the House Select Committee to Investigate January 6th reconvened today for the seventh such hearing. Today's hearing centered around the violent rightwing militia groups that attacked the United States Capitol, and how they were encouraged to do so by Donald Trump.

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The House January 6th Select Committee Hearings [Episode 5]

[ Posted Thursday, June 23rd, 2022 – 18:56 UTC ]

Today saw the final June hearing of the House Select Committee on January 6th. Next week, Congress scarpers off on one of their many two-week holiday breaks, ostensibly for the July 4th holiday, so we won't be getting another of these hearings until the week of July 11th, at the earliest. But the committee does indeed plan to hold more public hearings, although they continue to hold their cards very close to the vest on exactly how many such hearings will take place, as well as the subject of any of the upcoming hearings. Perhaps this is done to build tension and interest among the public, or perhaps it is just because they are now reportedly being flooded with new information and new testimony, all offered up since the beginning of the public hearings earlier this month.

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The House January 6th Select Committee Hearings [Episode 2]

[ Posted Monday, June 13th, 2022 – 16:26 UTC ]

Early this morning (very early, for those of us on the West Coast!), the second June hearing of the House January 6th committee was supposed to get underway. This didn't happen on time, due to a last-minute changeup in the program. One of the two in-person witnesses for the first hour, Bill Stepien, cancelled his appearance at the last minute. Stepien was Donald Trump's campaign manager for the last three or four months of the 2020 presidential campaign, and was thus in a unique position to provide an eyewitness account of what went both before and after the election.

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The House January 6th Select Committee Hearings [Episode 1]

[ Posted Friday, June 10th, 2022 – 17:24 UTC ]

Last night's hearing was meant to be an overview of the upcoming miniseries season. The next seven hearings were outlined, which will expose what Representative Liz Cheney called Donald Trump's "seven-point plan" to overturn a free and fair election. Next week, we will get at least two and possibly three more hearings (the official January 6th Committee website only lists the first two (as of this writing), on Monday and Wednesday mornings, but it is being widely reported there will be a third next Thursday at 1:00 P.M. Eastern time). That's a fairly fast pace, and it looks like the next two weeks will be chock full of hearings. I am assuming that at the end there will be a final hearing in primetime which will wrap up the entire storyline and present the full case to the American people about what went on, who was responsible, and what we should do now to ensure that it never happens again.

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Waiting For The Show To Start

[ Posted Thursday, June 9th, 2022 – 15:57 UTC ]

I am reminded, listening to all the hype and buzz building about tonight's House January 6th Select Committee's nationally-televised primetime hearing, of the lyrics of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer's "Karn Evil 9" ("Come inside the show's about to start / Guaranteed to blow your head apart"). But maybe that's just me.

For once, though (progressive rock references aside), the show that we'll all see tonight may actually live up to its billing. Because for once, Democrats are approaching it with professional help in presenting their findings as a narrative. This is more important than you might think.

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