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Herewith a completely solipsistic list of things that tickled my fancy this past week and that bear further investigation by The World Out There. IMHO.

Kate McKinnon on Saturday Night Live: She had me with her recent channeling of Ann Romney, but last night took the cake with her wondrous portraits of the Long Island Medium, Ellen deGeneres, and (most side splitting of all) Celia Gimenez, the eighty-year-old Spanish lady who painted over a 100 year old fresco of the face of Christ. I’ve got my eye on you, McKinnon. You’re now officially the one to watch on SNL. Gracias.

Not Fade Away, David Chase’s new movie: Well I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I have been waiting for this film to come out for what seems like years. The feature film directorial debut of genius David Chase (ahem, The Sopranos), it stars James Gandolfini, John Magaro, Jack Huston, Will Brill, Bella Heathcote, Brad Garrett and others and is the story of a rock group in 1960’s New Jersey. The music supervisor is Steven Van Zandt, so ’nuff said.  It’s due out in December from Paramount. Check out the trailer here.

The return of Homeland, on Showtime: Even if you didn’t watch the first season, or know anything at all about this show, you probably grokked that it swept the Emmys and also racked up a few Golden Globes. Apparently all this attention resulted in a huge ratings win last week when Season 2 premiered, and it did not disappoint. We find Claire Danes’ character Carrie puttering around in the garden and closing down her laptop when a news story about the Middle East pops up, until her old buddy Mandy Patinkin (um, J’adore) reaches out to get her help with an asset she recruited years before. Of course it doesn’t take much to get her on the plane to Beirut. And suddenly our Sunday nights look a whole lot better for the next few months.

Theatre Is Evil, By Amanda Palmer, racks up the establishment kudos: Rolling Stone named Amanda Palmer’s new album Theatre Is Evil one of the year’s best rock records. Palmer made world headlines earlier this year with her massively successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the production of this album, from which she raised $1.2 million. The record is kickass. The band is magnificent. Palmer is a goddess. You can stream and purchase the record here for as little as $1.00 in a Pay-What-You-Want scenario. Mark my words; she’s the Queen of Social Media and she puts on one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. Plenty of chances to see if I’m right on that, here.

The Candy Bar of the Week goes to the New Smoked Banana Caramel Chocolate Bar by Vosges: I haven’t had it yet, but who needs to with a description like this: Smoked bananas blended into soft caramel, with a touch of Alderwood smoked salt and tucked it into the pockets of a 72% cacao dark chocolate bar. When tasting the bar, the smoke flavor is distinct with the smoky notes found primarily in the Mesquite smoked banana. Who writes these things? Vosges always comes through and I’m sure this is my tastebuds’ version of a rocket to the moon.

Janey Milstead, Editor In Chief of my favorite magazine, like, ever, TeenSet, located via Google!: Well, to me, this is Ultra Mega. Not only did I locate the website of Ms. Milstead, I also found out that while at TeenSet she wrote under many names and one of those was Shirley Poston, possibly my favorite writer…ever. All these years, I never knew they were the same person. To my teenage self this is the equivalent of the Mars Landing or some other huge scientific discovery. I’m still hoping to find someone has digitized all those TeenSet magazines, somehow, somewhere.

The Communication Cure, by Dr. Neha Sangwan: I was lucky enough to meet Dr. Neha at a nutritional seminar several years ago and have stayed abreast of her work ever since.  Sangwan is an internal medicine physician as well as a gifted corporate communication strategist who speaks internationally on the topics of conflict resolution, stress management, and wellness. This video sets out the premise of her upcoming book, and I guarantee you she’s going to be a household name when it comes out.

The 30th Anniversary of Men Without Women by Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul: Earlier this week, it was thirty years to the day of the release of Men Without Women, an album that, to be quite honest, I probably played more than any other record I own. Ten songs - a masterpiece of passion - the first solo statement from an artist who had already proven himself as an incredibly gifted songwriter, though until this album, not for himself. In July 2011, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes paid tribute to the record with a live show bringing those songs to life again, and you can now pay homage to it by purchasing SSJ’s version here.

Oh yeah; two guys who want to be President for the next four years were onstage together for 90 minutes in Denver: If you know me, you know how I feel. And if you don’t may I quote Immanuel Kant to you:  We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals. Under no circumstances would I vote for Mitt Romney to be President of a Block Association let alone the US, once I heard the story of Seamus strapped to the top of a car in a cage for hours during a highway drive. Laugh all you want, if you think this is trivial, but the mere fact that Mitt Romney did this; that the dog was ill and had the runs; that Romney pulled over and hosed off the dog and put him back up there, now soaking wet, to freeze in the wind; it doesn’t even bear thinking about. So yes, I was disappointed in Obama’s performance this week at the debate. But if you don’t want half the country, the poor, the unemployed, the 47% he spoke so disgustingly of when he thought no one but big money donors were listening, to be strapped on top of Mitt’s car while the special people ride inside as he races up the highway to glory — I beg you — don’t vote for him.

And lastly, if you need another reason to love Bruce Springsteen, he was part of a big campaign this week for gay marriage:
Springsteen joined The Four2012 Campaign, putting forth his macho Jersey stare right into your soul and blasting some strong words in support of marriage equality specifically in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington. Marriage equality is now a plank in the DNC’s platform, at last, and is sure to be a subject that will continue to be discussed as we head towards the Election on November 6.

ALSO ON MY RADAR:

Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.
~ Oscar Wilde~

March 21 - April 19 Aries
I don’t know any Aries folks who would not be aware that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band rocked the Super Bowl last weekend. Which apparently reflected quite well in this week’s Billboard charts for Springsteen’s newest album, Working On A Dream. That’s all fine, and it’s a great record. But the way the economy looks, it’s drawn me back to Bruce’s first solo album (from 1982), Nebraska. Said to be recorded at home on a four-track cassette recorder and then the cassette carried around for months in a flannel shirt pocket, the spare, arid feel of these songs fits where we’re at right now to a T. From the title song about Charles Starkweather’s murder spree to the brother-betrayal of Highway Patrolman to the childhood memories in Used Cars to the lost, sad, washed up town depicted in Atlantic City, and all the others, each song shines darkly like onyx. And the final message is: at the end of every hard earned day, people find some reason to believe. Amen.

April 20 - May 20 Taurus
Trouble in River City is a way cool blog by Mr. Kopper of St. Louis, Missouri, highly recommended to Taureans and their brethren. In which Mr. K rants and raves about personal stuff, as well as stuff he finds interesting, exciting, fun, stupid, or lame. Kopper is the genius behind GaragePunk.com. A former terrestrial DJ, he now hosts a great podcast called Savage Kick. The man himself puts it best: I’m just a guy that loves wild and primitive rock’n'roll, podcasting, weird stuff, outside culture, my ‘65 Plymouth Barracuda, B-movies, pizza, barbecue, beer, booze, Cardinals baseball, Blues hockey, my family and my home town.

May 21 - June 20 Gemini
My Gemini friends, were you aware that February is National Hot Breakfast Month? I thought not. Didja know that breakfast cereal was invented by colonial housewives, who created the first cereal made from popcorn with sugar and cream? That the word cereal is from the pre-Roman goddess of the harvest, Ceres? Didja know that people who eat breakfast usually perform better in tasks at work and at school? Didja know that those who eat breakfast are less likely to overeat throughout the day? And hey, are you one of those who need to curtail gluten? Here are some ideas for gluten-free hot breakfasts. Speaking of gluten free, though not breakfast, check out Whole Bakers, makers of delicious gluten free/kosher certified baked goods. Word on the street has it that their cookies are TDF. Order them here.

June 21 - July 22 Cancer
I don’t think I know any female moonchildren that wouldn’t secretly like to strap on a guitar or pick up some drumsticks and rock out in their fantasy worlds, at least. Well, welcome to the Land of Dreams Come True; Bust Magazine clued me in to Ladies Rock Camp, a glorious offshoot of Rock ‘N’ Roll Camp for Girls. Yes, you can now unleash your inner rockin’ banshee from April 24 to 26, May 29 to 31, or October 23-25, for the unbelievably great tuition rate of a mere $375. All levels of skill are welcome; all instruments are available. Read about a former camper’s experience here. Sign up soon; only 55 applicants can attend each session, which takes place in Northeast Portland, Oregon.

July 23 - August 22 Leo
Our Leo of the Week is Andy Samberg, stand up comedian, musician, SNL cast member, lead honcho of the comedy group The Lonely Island, and, according to Time Out New York, child of destiny. Samberg and his longtime partners in crime Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone will release their debut album, Incredibad, this coming Tuesday February 10th. Yes, you can now own both Dick in a Box and Jizz in my Pants, as well as Lazy Sunday (The Chronicles of Narnia Rap), plus a bunch of never before released material. High school dick jokes aside, these three guys are credited with having reinvented SNL and making it cool again with their digital comedy short films. There’s much to explore here. Plus, Samberg looks like a guy I would have had a crush on in Hebrew school.

August 23 - September 22 Virgo
These trying times seem just made for Virgos, the worriers of the Zodiac. It’s for this reason that I want you to immediately read Karen Salmonsohn’s timely HuffPo piece, The Map Out Of Doomsville. Salmonsohn sagely advises that, if you’re one of the millions losing their jobs these days, try using this experience as a jumping off place to new opportunity. Be honest with yourself! Did your ex-job pay your bills, yet empty your soul? Instead of earning a living - were you merely earning an earning? If so, this treacherous economy might have served you up a wonderful chance to head towards doing what you love and making even more money. OK? Breathing always helps, too, to quote my fabulous yoga teacher.

September 23 - October 22 Libra
O Libra, holder of the scales of justice and injustice, be thou aware that we’re losing one of the great independent bookstores of all time. On March 29, due to the cruel winds that blow during this economic crisis, The Oscar Wilde Bookshop, the world’s oldest Lesbian and Gay Bookshop, will close its doors after 41 years of serving the community. Shop online here or go visit them in their final days; bargains abound – rare books are 25% off, gift items up to 50% off. If you live in the nabe and are a lady of the lesbian persuasion, consider joining their Lesbian Bookclub. Next meeting is February 25th at 7pm to discuss Erica Fischer’s novel Aimee & Jaguar: A Love Story, Berlin 1943.

October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
Indulge the passionate, intuitive, independent-film loving side that Scorpio is known for with the Stranger than Fiction series, an eclectic mix of documentaries on Tuesday nights at the IFC Center in Manhattan. Now in its fourth year, STF has featured esteemed guests like Barbara Kopple, Michael Moore, Laurie Anderson, D.A. Pennebaker, Jonathan Demme, Ira Glass, and others. I know how my Scorpio friends love to discover sneak previews and lost classics and this is just the place. Screenings are followed by a discussion with the filmmakers and post-show gatherings nearby at 99 Below (99 MacDougal Street), hosted by Thom Powers. Buy a season pass for $95 (the season ends March 17) and be assured you’ll always have a seat, even when a screening is sold out. This coming Tuesday, February 10th: Lucia Small and Ed Pincus present The Axe in the Attic about their road trip from New England to Louisiana. The film opens six months after Katrina hit New Orleans. We first see the eerie beauty and horror of the shattered landscape, draped in heavy fog and emptied of its residents. The story of an American Diaspora unfolds – the displaced struggling with loss of home, family, and culture. Emotions range from deep pain to surprising humor, as filmmakers and subjects tackle questions of race, class, and our government’s failure to protect its own. Tickets here.

November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius
Pull back that arrow, Sagittarian archers, and let it fly. I’m talking about making yourself a magic list and marveling as it manifests. What in the sam hill is a magic list? It’s a list you write down of what you want – kind of like a menu of your favorite foods you’re ordering from, but this is a person, or a job, or a dream. I know, I know. You’re not a new agey freak and all that. OK, Fine. But read Martha Beck’s piece Go Tell Alice on Oprah.com, and give it a try. You might just be pleasantly surprised. Says BeckMaybe list-making simply focuses our attention on what was always available. Did I mention I have no idea how this works? But if you let go of everything mutable or temporary and express your yearning from the pure core that remains, I suspect you’ll find that same magic. Beck’s article is a response to Alice Gorman’s The Love List - a real life magic story.

December 22 - January 19 Capricorn
Hey Capricorn – you shrewd, practical, hardworking goat you. I’ve got a brilliant idea for you; how about adopting a rescue pet for Valentine’s Day? No matter what, you’ll have a valentine who will love you unconditionally and completely. Cat, dog, lizard, whatever tickles your fancy. The recent economic tsumami has resulted in, among other things, a surplus of animals without homes. Open your wallet and your heart and see how much you get in return from a rescue pet. A plethora of adoption possibilities listed here. Not able to adopt for some reason? Consider giving some of your time and love to animals as a volunteer. This article lists dozens of ideas on how to do that.

January 20 - February 18 Aquarius
Water carrier, you have to deal every day with the dichotomy of life; be honest or be detached – be inventive or be contrary. While you struggle with these choices, Aquarians, how about checking out the Top Five Reasons to Take Your Own Shopping Bags to the Store, courtesy of PETA. News flash: the environment needs help. Bring a canvas bag with you and stop the spread of plastic bags, which are not biodegradable. Some stores now even offer a discount when you bring your own bag. Need to recycle the plastic bag collection you still have under the sink? You can find a list of stores that accept them for recycling here. The word for 2009 is GREEN.

February 19 - March 20 Pisces
I started this week’s scoop with Bruce Springsteen and I’ll end it with him too. Break out that Piscean compassion and check out Bruce’s recent PSA for The Danny Fund about the dangers of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Original E Street Band Member Danny Federici died last year of this disease. After seeing the outpouring of support following Danny’s death, Bruce, the E Street Band, Danny’s family, and his doctor Dr. Paul Chapman decided Danny’s vision could make an even greater impact. Together with Debra and Leon Black, founders of the Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA), they created The Danny Fund to bring melanoma to the forefront of public awareness and to fund research with top melanoma doctors from around the world. One person in the U.S.A. dies every hour from this disease. Learn more here.

Bill Hicks once opined (and I agree): Watching television is like taking black spray paint to your third eye. That being said, the fact is that dramatic moments of all shapes and sizes were played out this year on the small screen, from the sublime to the ridiculous (most of it being more in the latter category). The year began with the writers’ strike which went on for about ten million years and impacted our lives in all kinds of ways. After a Busboy drought (no Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert) the daring duo returned to the screen early in the year sans writers – and, surprise surprise, were pretty much as hilarious and entertaining as ever.

The writers’ strike, among other things, ensured no new season of 24 would take place until 2009. I don’t know about you but I was fine with that decision; much as I missed Jack B’s constipated facial expressions (and sour-faced / annoying / but you gotta love her - sidekick Chloe) I was fine with not seeing a show this year where presidents were snuffed out. (And then we recently got a little taste of Warrior King JB on 24: Redemption to warm us up for next year)

The overwhelming TV presence this year was politics. But let’s get to that later. First I’d like to spotlight the best new show of the year, Alan Ball’s True Blood. Lip-smacking good. Here’s some fun; tonight (New Year’s Eve) you can catch a True Blood marathon on HBO 2 starting at 6pm. Bon Temps, Louisiana comes alive (in a manner of speaking) with this vampire romance between sweet telepathic Sookie (Anna Paquin) and sexy undead Bill (Stephen Moyer). Best characters: Sookie’s conflicted, demon-ridden, wisecracking best friend Tara (Rutina Wesley) and Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) as the coolest, cutest, freakiest, most interesting short order cook ever. What else would we expect from Alan Ball, who created Six Feet Under and wrote the film American Beauty.

Other great shows this year, in no particular order:
-Always necessary – The Daily Show, The Colbert Report. The Colbert Report’s week in Philadelphia covering the heated Pennsylvania primaries was outstanding. Colbert at the Liberty Bell telling the guide “Let me tongue the crack of liberty.” Colbert singing the National Anthem with John Legend, beautifully. Hillary Clinton fixing the digital screen in order to prove she can handle any crisis, only to have Obama appear on it soon afterward by satellite (Colbert: Won’t Senator Clinton be glad she fixed that).
-CBS Sunday Morning – for the most part, educational and entertaining (except when they go off on boring tangents).
-Gossip Girl – a moral drama of the highest order, with the consistently best dialogue of any show methinks. Remember Blair trying to keep her cool when meeting her mother’s new boyfriend for the first time; “I am Grace KellyGrace Kelly is me.”
-Lost – best moment so far in a show chockablock with great moments: Ben turning the frozen wheel that made the island disappear. Say what?!?!?!
-Ugly Betty – eye candy with a moral lesson thrown in. And love, love, love Marc St. James (Michael Urie), the bitchy but soft-hearted assistant to diva ediatrix Wilhemina Slater (Vanessa Williams). Another reason to watch; Betty’s younger brother Justin (Mark Indelicato). His best scene ever (Season 1) – acting out the play Hairspray to passengers on the subway. Receptionist Amanda (Becki Newton) also hits many high notes. This show is blessed by brilliant casting.
-30 Rock – All of a sudden it’s all about Tina Fey. Well my altar to her went up years ago when she broke into the boys club at SNL. I’ve been a fan of this show since the beginning, believing (and rightly so, it appears) that if Tina Fey created it, it must be golden. And then there’s Alec Baldwin. My dream man.
-The Soup – I don’t dare chance a weekend without a bowl of spicy soup from Joel McHale and his sick crew. What’s great about this show is that it is a collection of the best moments of all the worst TV shows. McHale’s banter makes me chortle. Although I am getting a little tired of mankini. And when is Spaghetti Cat getting his own spin-off?
-SNL – When they’re good, they’re very very good, and when they’re bad they’re horrid. Sometimes both in the same show. But consistently great (even in bad skits) are Andy Samberg, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Casey Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Will Forte, and Kenan Thompson. Amy Poehler, girlfriend, I’m going to miss you! Of course SNL had a huge year with all of Tina Fey’s Palinizations and such, of which more later.
-Hardball with Chris Matthews – you want to hate him, and sometimes you do. But maybe it’s his Philadelphia accent (my hometown too), maybe it’s because when he gets excited about something he practically foams at the mouth, but he’s hugely entertaining and I logged many hours of this show during election season.
-Countdown with Keith Olbermann – sometimes it seemed as if his voice was the only one speaking truth to power this year. Although he did go overboard many a time. Still, I love him madly and he’s earned a place at the top of my must-see-TV list.
-The Rachel Maddow Show – she’s smart as a whip, cute, and engaging. Her interview last night with tainted Illinois Senatorial candidate Roland Burris was a don’t-miss and if you did miss it, check it out here.

I have not caught the train on these yet but I know I have to soon:
Mad Men
Battlestar Galactica
The Sarah Silverman Program

Really good shows on the fringes of my radar, to be further investigated:
The Office
Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List
Cash Cab
Chelsea Lately
Dexter
Tracy Ullman’s State of the Union

Reality TV Rubbernecking:
-Project Runway – this year was not so great, but Tim Gunn always delivers. He’s like the teacher you always wanted to have in high school.
-The Pick Up Artist – unbelievably bizarre reality show where a guy in what looks to be a flea-bitten furry top hat who calls himself “Mystery” teaches a bunch of geeks how to score with hot chicks. Mystery has his own language which is endlessly entertaining, my favorite being DHV-ing. This means ‘demonstration of higher value’ – in other words you’re supposed to work DHV’s into your conversation with the babe you want to snag. It’s like a reality tv show in Bizarro World. And Mystery himself, purportedly the biggest catch on the planet, obviously has a hair loss thing going, always wearing strange head coverings. What’s with the goggles? Possibly weirder than him are the sad losers that hang onto his every word.
-America’s Next Top Model – Child! This show can come up with some fun moments. Like when Tyra lapses into ethnic phraseology. Or when she spontaneously bursts into song on lines like ‘noted fashion photographer Nigel Barker.’ Is it me or does everyone behind her (Paulina, Miss Jay, etc) squirm a bit when she does this? Love that Whitney, a plus-size model, won the top prize this year. Love that Isis, a transgender model, was part of the homegirl gang recently. Lady Miss Tyra marches on, dashing barriers right and left!
-Living Lohan – in which Dina Lohan shows us why she should have had her tubes tied prior to getting married.
-Sunset Tan – the best thing about this vacuous show was the Olly Girls (Holly and Molly), two platinum blonde airheads and former Girls Gone Wild. They were fired and…hired back. Because the producers know what makes for good (AKA bad) TV.
-Paris Hilton’s My New BFF – in yet another sign of the approaching apocalypse, this show went on the air in the fall. The winner was Brittany Flickinger (can that be someone’s real name?). Everyone’s favorite: Onch, the girlboy. Stalker material: Vanessa, the runner up. Wikipedia gives us a gorgeous chart which explains why each contestant was eliminated. (At the elimination ceremonies, Paris would gaze sadly at the ousted hopeful and dismiss them with “TTYN” – talk to you never).
-Rock of LoveSeason 2 of this unbelievably sick show began in January and ended in April with Bret Michaels, a R&R has-been if I have ever seen one (and talk about hair loss) choosing Ambre Lake from a bevy of skanks to be his (gag me) rock of love. This show never disappoints in complete and total ickiness. You practically contract a sexual disease from watching it. By the way, Ambre didn’t last – I know you’re as surprised as I am – Bret launches a new season of this trainwreck Sunday night January 4 with Rock of Love Bus. Apparently he hops between two busfulls of so-called hot mamas while touring.
-Rock of Love Charm School – in which Sharon Osbourne was the plucky headmistress to a bunch of losers from both seasons of Rock of Love. Although she’s supposed to be teaching them to become ladies, she’s got them dressing in sexy jailbait schoolgirl uniforms. Sharon’s great though. And this show provided many hilarious moments with Lacey, Rodeo, Megan, Heather and the gang.
-A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila – I crown this show to be the one most like licking an ashtray. It was positively rank. And why anyone would choose Bobby over Dani is beyond belief. Seriously! If Tila had chosen Dani, I like to think they’d be living together in Florida in semi-marital bliss. Notice you haven’t heard from Dani since the show ended, which has to be the true test of a real person versus a made for tv skank. I wont even bother to go there with the spinoff show Domenico did. Just the bits I saw on The Soup were enough for me.

2008 Randomizers:
-Ryan Seacrest. He’s everywhere. Why?
-Britney Spears. Starting the year with no hair, stabbing cars with umbrellas, ending it with cheese grits cooked over the stove by dad and big hits (fazed cookies too I bet).
-Lindsey Lohan. Apparently now a card-carrying member of the Daughters of Bilitis, big Obama supporter although she later referred to him as “colored” (ouch!), and the real story behind her episode arc on Ugly Betty may never be told.
-Rachael Ray’s never-was Dunkin Donuts commercial due to her wearing a ‘terrorist scarf’ that looked like something a crazy Muslim would wear. I ask you. Can you think of someone less American than Rachael Ray? Because I can’t.
-Word of the Year: Meme. According to Wikipedia, a meme comprises a unit or element of cultural ideas, symbols or practices; such units or elements transmit from one mind to another through speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena. The etymology of the term relates to the Greek word mimema for mimic. Memes act as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate and respond to selective pressures. Well trust me; its still the word of the year.

From The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

From: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Political Asylum TV:
During the long-ass American Idolatrous Popularity Contest between HRC and BHO, I logged about 3 hours of MSNBC almost every week night. If I wasn’t home, I taped it. This had never happened to me before; watching news in this fashion. All of which led me to really believe that the lanky, cool junior senator from Illinois who refused to play dirty could pull this thing off. After watching him for many months, and canvassing, and doing everything I could to get him elected, I had absolutely no doubt in my mind on November 4th that he would win. What I did not realize was that he would win so big.

Some real numbers:
-Voter turnout increased by more than 13 million people this year, compared to 2004.
-The Associated Press reported that 136.6 million Americans voted in the presidential election, which is a 64.1 percent turnout rate out of more than 208 million registered voters. What a concept; we’re actually acting like a democracy!

Some wonderful moments over the long road to El Casa Blanca:
-McCain ‘suspending’ his campaign and canceling on Letterman. No one will ever make that mistake again, n’est-ce pas?
-Hillary’s 3 AM wake up call commercial in which the phone rings about fifty times before some half-seen female with glasses answers it, meant to scare the bejesus out of us. Somehow I bet Obama would have answered it on the first or second ring.
-The never-ending discussion over the Bradley Factor keeping white voters from voting for a black candidate. No one talks about it now that we have the Obama Factor.
-John McCain’s insincere smile. It always looked to me like he was suddenly remembering to smile. And the body language between him and Cindy was – well I am not going to go there.
-Cindy McCain’s plagiarized cookie recipe.
-The so-called terrorist fist bump practiced by Barack and Michelle Obama onstage when he announced he was the presumptive nominee.
-John McCain’s confusion about how many houses he owns. And cars! Must be fun to be that rich.
-The debates – McCain wandering around onstage and getting in Tom Brokaw’s camera shot.
-Joe the Plumber, the everyman that was suddenly world famous thanks to McCain, and turned out not to even be a plumber, owed back taxes, had newsmen camping on his lawn, and got a book deal. I’m waiting for the reality TV show. (Hey Joe, where you going with that plunger in your hand?)
-McCain and Palin stoking the fires of fear, ignorance, racism and violence at their sparsely attended campaign rallies trying to make Obama rhyme with Ayers. Trying to paint Obama as a scary unknown communist Muslim. And then McCain being surprised when a woman says she doesn’t trust Obama because he’s an Arab.

And then there’s Sarah Heath Palin. Oh the beauty of it. I doff my hat to McCain or whoever had the foresight to pick her as his running mate. Loyal readers will know that I have run on and on about this particular subject so I will only mention a few of my favorite things here:
-Her first moment in the spotlight, the RNC Speech where she you betcha-d her way into America’s heart. While daughter Piper studiously licked the hair on baby Trig’s head in the audience. While baby Trig was the special needs human football that had to be trotted out in the middle of that loud, germ-ridden arena so we could all admire SP’s motherly dedication to him. As that poor little thing slept through the whole shebang, unaware he was a symbol now and not a child.
-Her debate with Joe Biden. The May I call you Joe? moment where she tried to seem both vulnerable and charming behind the barracuda smile.
-The Charles Gibson interview where he asked if she believed in the Bush doctrine. After a long (for TV) pause where you know SP was frantically racking her brains for what the hell was he talking about, she quipped, ‘in what respect Charlie?” and a whole string of Charlie Charlie Charlie as if that would negate the fact that the emperor (empress in this case) had no clothes.
-The Team of Mavericks. The definition of maverick is an unbounded range animal, one who does not abide by rules. Okay then!
-Thanks but no thanks. The true story of the Bridge to Nowhere.
-Katie Couric trying to pin SP down as to what, if anything, she reads. And not succeeding.
-The turkey death clip that surfaced post election of Palin chattering away as turkeys are slaughtered directly behind her.
-Palin assuring us of her qualifications for a job one heartbeat away from the Presidency because she can see Russia from her house.
-Tina Fey out-Palining Palin and the classic moment when they switched places at the podum on SNL.

And then the final nail in the Bush coffin took place recently when an Iraqi journalist threw not one but both of his shoes at GWB during his farewell press conference in the green zone. Bush later shrugged it off saying, that’s what people do in a free society. Oh really? They throw shoes at world leaders to express their absolute horror, dislike and complete disdain?

From the ridiculous to the sublime… the best TV moment of the year was Barack Obama’s Election Night Speech at Grant Park. In which he said, Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long . . . As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, “We are not enemies, but friends — though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection.” And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too . . . And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world - our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down - we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security - we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright - tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

So ends my 2008 subjective diatribe about the year in television. I know I’ve run at the mouth quite a bit here. Feel free to comment away, and Happy New Year!