A Broke Comic Challenges One of the World’s Richest Geezers.

January 16, 2012

When somebody woke super billionaire geezer Warren Buffett from his nap the other day it seems they told him Conservative around the country have been chiding him for his tax rantings. Some suggested, me among them, that if Mr. Buffett really felt he had been short changing Uncle Sam he could take a billion or two of his dough and voluntarily dump it into the IRS coffers.

Before he was fully awake someone let him give an interview to Time Magazine in which he challenges Republican members of Congress to pony up their own dough and he will match them dollar for dollar. He even went as far to say he’d match Mitch McConnell three to one. Big whoop, Warren!   

It seems the Nabob of Nebraska has missed the point altogether on several levels. First, it wasn’t Republicans in Congress who said they weren’t paying enough; it was you, Mr. Buffett. Most of us believe we are already paying too much. So why should you challenge the Congress to pay more? 

Second, it shows that Buffett knows about the gigantic scale of his fortune. He is risking very little for big publicity. With his fortune vast and he could easily match the entire net worth of all of the members of congress and not lose a serious fraction of his worth. I put a little perspective on Buffett’s challenge for you. Let’s say my net worth is $10,000 and your net worth is $2. I ask you to bet me $2 on a challenge. In order to accept you have to risk 100% of your net worth while I will be only putting up .0002% of mine. Mr. McConnell is said to be worth somewhere between 10 and 20 million. Not bad, but a small fraction of Mr. Buffett’s 50 + billion.

This “challenge” also is exactly what Mr. Buffett says is wrong with the tax system. It not about raw dollars, his percentage is too low.

So, in the interest of fairness, I have a counter offer for Mr. Buffett that fits more with his point about taxes. I will donate 1% of my net worth to Uncle Sugar if he will. I will also try to recruit 49 more conservatives to do the same. If he will match us all we have a deal. Besides, if he believes Obama and the government are so good with money why did he shelter a huge portion of his money in various charitable funds rather than donating it to the government? Why does he take only 100K a year as salary and the rest of his vast income as dividends and capital gains? Because the taxes are lower! If this phony horse’s backside really wants to pay more he should just declare all of his income as straight salary and fill out a 1040EZ He’ll get to pay plenty. Until then, Warren, STFU!

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The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy: Super Ads 2011

February 7, 2011

Before I get started on my review of this year’s Super Bowl commercials I want to come to the aid of a lady in distress. Can we lay off of Christina Aguilera and her muffed line in the National Anthem? Look, she was nervous, under pressure, and out of her element. The NFL asked her to sing fully clothed and without a stripper pole to hang onto! While I’m on the subject of the Nation Anthem why can’t the football players show a little respect when the country is being honored?  Their sideline slouching was shameful! Roger Goodell, get out your paddle and take some of those guys to the woodshed!

Once again the folks who think this is a good way to spend their investors dollars spent slightly more than the gross national product of Niger and Ethiopia combined with, in most cases, very mediocre results. With so many ads it’s hard in a short piece to hit them all so I am skipping all the promos and movie trailers although the CBS/House parody of the 1980 Mean Joe Green was one of my favorites.

I think I have finally figured out that GoDaddy.com is run by a horny fifteen year old boy out of his parents’ basement. What in the world trying to make me think Joan Rivers is hot has to do with getting a domain name is beyond me? Joan is a safe distance from “hot” no matter how many body doubles they used. I don’t know how much money Danica Patrick and Jillian Michaels are paid to debase themselves in what year after years have been the unsexiest and unfunniest ads but it isn’t nearly enough! The ads beg us to go to their website to see the “uncensored” ending to the ads. I wonder how many frustrated high school boys went to Go Daddy thinking they were going to see Ms. Patrick and Ms. Michaels in the buff but only found a lame joke/dance number instead. Can someone tell me the name of Go Daddy’s biggest competitor is because I am moving my domain names!

The Groupon ads with Timothy Hutton and Cuba Gooding Jr. were clever and as a conservative I liked how tweaked liberal causes. This series was among my favorites until I had to explain to my 12 year old boy what a “Brazilian Wax” was after the Elizabeth Hurley ad. Do we really need to be making jokes about crotch waxing during a sports event that is watched by families?

Pepsi Max/Doritos continued their series of homemade ads which this year fell woefully short of the high standard that had been set in previous years. Cans to the groin, spousal abuse and felony assault: hilarious! The finger licker and pants sniffer guy was just creepy and made me wonder how the HR person at this company still has a job. I must admit I did like the “tiny dog through the door” ad and if I were picking the winner “house sitter who revives grandpa” would get the money.

Some brief takes some of the other ads. Eminem doesn’t do commercials but had two on during the super bowl. Anyone convinced the rap star is pimping down Woodward Ave. in his Chrysler 200?  Coke Dragon ad: predictable. Faith Hill Teleflora: Nice “rack” joke, please refer to Elizabeth Hurley comment. Richard Lewis and Roseanne Barr of Snickers: not bad for variations on a theme. Motorola Xoom: Let me see if I have this right; if you have a Xoom you are a rule breaker and unlike all the zombies using that other Smartphone, you know the one who did the original 1984-ish ad years ago. So let’s all run out and get a Xoom so we can all be the different again. Do I have it?

http://www.tuaw.com/2011/02/06/motorola-xoom-ad-inspired-by-apples-classic-1984-ad/

Chevy Truck/Lassie, I chuckled! Bud Light/ Home Improvement: weak. Bud Light/Dogs: weaker! Chatter.com: forgettable. Mercedes Benz/Diddy: Look who we spent too much money to get in our ad! Chevy Cruse/Old Folks: Oops I think you missed a cliché! Career Builders: Monkeys are always funny! E Trade/babies: Apparently as babies get older they lose their sense of humor!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_UR1t_Kj0w

The cream of the crop for this year were very good! The Bud Light “product placement” ad was an example of taking a joke and running it into the ground until you can’t help but laugh!  When the Bud Light truck comes screaming into the frame I was LMAO! Both Bridgestone Tire ads were clever and well done. The “reply all” ad was my runner-up favorite of the evening. Is there anybody under the age of 90 who hasn’t sent an e mail they wish they could pull back? The other Bridgestone ad had a high cute factor with the beaver repaying the driver who swerved to avoid hitting him.

I liked Kia “Epic Ride” but my overall favorite for the day was the CarMax, “I Feel Like…” ad.  Though both ads followed a series of connected vignettes the quirky similes of the CarMax ad made it my big winner! Agree, disagree or maybe I missed your favorite, let me hear from you!


The Vast Right Wing Conspriacy: Top Gear USA

January 2, 2011

 

There is a long history of cultural exchange between British and American television. Sometime the American results are better than the British versions like Sanford and Son. Some are wildly successful without making major changes like American Idol. Some are carefully adapted taking into account the cultural differences of two countries separated, as Winston Churchill said, by a common language, like Law and Order: UK. Others are humiliating failures because the producers didn’t have a clue what made the original great. All three American versions of “Fawlty Towers” would fall into this category.

Unfortunately for the Americanized version of the long running BBC hit “Top Gear” it is trending into the third category. The show is lacking three elements; originality, chemistry among the hosts, and humor. That’s a shame because it has a lot going for it. The best asset of the show, after the cars, is comedian Adam Ferrara. I will readily admit that I have a bias towards my fellow comics doing well but the problem is that the producers of the show seem to lack the humor gene. In the six episodes I have seen thus far they haven’t let Adam loose. The closest they came was when he got a ticket for speeding on the causeway to Key West.  After watching the rest of the episode I wasn’t sure if this was an actual event or staged for the camera.

More on that in just a few minutes. Let me back up and admit I am a huge fan of the British version or the show. The three “presenters” as they are called in the U.K. seem to have a real friendship and mutual respect for each other even though they constantly “slag” on each other. I realize that relationship has been built over the years but even when I go back and look at older seasons of Top Gear on DVD that chemistry seems to exist. The two other hosts of the American show, Tanner Foust and Rutledge Wood  seem to be a little out of their element as hosts, despite the fact that Mr. Wood has experience as a reporter for NASCAR and Speed Network.  I don’t want to be too negative about Mr. Wood. He has a “good old boy” hominess that I think could work to his and the shows advantage but it seems that the producers haven’t figured that out just yet.  Secondly the British version is anchored by Jeremy Clarkson; though one of the three hosts he obviously the boss and the center of the show.  I believe having a “boss” on screen would help give the American show some definition and Mr. Ferrara would seem to be the natural choice.

The problems of Top Gear USA are greater that the hosting duties. Thus far every “challenge” given to the hosts is a direct rip off from the BBC version. Car vs. skiers, seen it! Boat, car and plane race to a destination, been there. Many of the shots seem way too staged to have been just captured by the roving camera. It the episode where the guys race from Miami to Key West there is a beautiful shot of all three modes of transportation in the same frame as they race South. What are the odds?  This is the scene which called Mr. Ferrara’s traffic citation into question. Call me crazy but I think a realty show should be realistic!

They also use the “Star in A Reasonably Priced Car” segment from the original series. This features a celebrity driving an underpowered car around a European style formula one track.  

This feature of the show could have been easily “Americanized” by using a typical “NASCAR” banked loop track, (Perhaps the producers failed to notice how popular NASCAR has become?).They could have also used a drag strip, the most American form of racing.

Despite its faults I am watching Top Gear USA; it is set on my DVR. I am hoping the show matures and finds its stride because like millions of Americans I love cars! When the host gets behind the wheel of a Bugati-Veyron, McLaren, or some other supercar I will never own I can’t help but thinking how cool that would be. When they take a challenge in a “beater” I can identify with that feeling of hoping my car makes the next exit after driving several of the POS I have owned in my life.  I hope the show runs long enough for them to get so far down the list that I might get invited to take the reasonably priced car around the track because I know I could leave Jay Leno in the dust!


Colbert at Congress

October 1, 2010

 

Now that Steven Colbert’s congressional “testimony” has had its fifteen minutes I think it’s time for someone to say his whole shtick has run its course. I don’t want to discuss if it was appropriate for a comedian to be at a congressional hearing. If it weren’t Al Franken could just have his check direct deposited and show up to vote once in awhile. Come to think of it that is just about what happens. Mr. Colbert is an acceptable sketch comedy actor who has taken a character he developed for John Stewart’s “Daily Show” and parlayed it into his own low-rated show. I don’t begrudge him his success, in fact I say well done!  I think it is a tribute to the greatness of our country that a guy with one joke with some help of his friends and a simpatico entertainment industry can become a multimillionaire. In the words of Max Bialystok, “Flaunt it, baby!”  

Calling his recent appearance before the House Judiciary subcommittee on immigration “comedy” may leave Mr. Colbert open to legal action for lying to Congress. There were also several points in his testimony that were of questionable, as he would say, “truthiness.” Political comedy in sketch form is tricky but as stand-up it is a balancing act that requires great skill. To my mind there are two rules: first you must, as my friend Will Durst says, be an equal opportunity smart ass. Unless you are willing to slap at both sides of the aisle or only work highly partisan events you lose at least fifty percent of the audience from the first joke. The second is that no matter who or what you are attacking it must be funny. Mr. Colbert’s stand-up or sit down in the case of his Congressional gig, fails on both counts. Mr. Colbert’s one dimensional highly partisan act has run its course. We get it, Steve; any sincere conservative is a dim witted, xenophobic, racist, Christian numbskull who just doesn’t understand the issues.

It is difficult to take a sketch character and develop it into a more than a series three minute scenes. One only has to look at the number of horrible Saturday Night Live spin off character films that have been made to prove my point. It is even harder to take a character out of the sketch and build it into a stand up routine. Mr. Colbert has now proved this to be the case…twice.

His recent attempt to use humor to “…draw attention to this important, complicated issue…” was not the first time he has bombed in the capital. In 2006 at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner Mr. Colbert tried his character driven stand up and died a horrible death when he bypassed funny and went to being personally insulting to Mr. Bush and others in attendance. In a rare bipartisan show of support his act was panned by Republicans and Democrats alike.

Mr. Colbert started his testimony with a nice piece of self-deprecation saying his appearance might get the hearing moved up to C-SPAN 1. Unfortunately it was downhill from there until the last line of the set. He followed this with a big stretch set up about obese American’s to get to a weak colonoscopy reference. The next joke was a reference comparing illegal immigration to the Israelites’ slavery in Egypt and a bad pun about “food pyramids.”  The problem with this “joke” is that the comparison isn’t accurate. I’m not saying political jokes can’t stretch the facts but there is a breaking point where the audience doesn’t buy the premise.

This was followed by a series of weak attempts to humorously say that farm work is hard, hot physical labor. I don’t think that anyone doubts that. His point is that these are jobs American’s won’t do. Again, the humor is rooted in a falsehood so great that we all know it to be invalid. As a teen I used to cut corn out of soybeans and bale hay. The pay was crap and the hours long. I didn’t do it because I liked it I did it because there was no other way to get money. My father didn’t believe in the welfare system known as an allowance. Illegal immigration suppresses wages and makes the welfare system the smart choice for unskilled labor. Perhaps Mr. Colbert and his progressive friends are too dim to get that.  Just as “progressives” don’t get that raising the minimum doesn’t lift people out of poverty it only raises the number we consider being poor. If raising the minimum wage was the answer to anything we could just make the minimum wage $300,000 a year and we would all be rich.

Mr. Colbert did do one thing right; he saved his best joke for the closer.  At the end of his “expert” opinion he said, “I trust that following my testimony – both sides will work together on this issue in the best interest of the American people – as you always do.” Since Mr. Colbert seems to be fond of bad puns I’ll finish with one; Mr. Colbert’s act has jumped the snark.


If Conservative Media Reported Events Like The New York Times Does: The Recent Obama Oval Office Address.

September 2, 2010

Note: Before we get started today I just wanted to thanks President Obama, who in a recent interview with Brian Williams said those broad dark forces of The Vast Right Wig Conspiracy are still at work…D%*m right, Mr. President!

Now todays Article….

Ten of thousands of people tuned in to hear a broadcast organized by the handlers of President Obama, a liberal politician and former community organizer. The self aggrandizing speech took place from a site where Abraham Lincoln once worked some 150 years ago.

The address, which was stiffly read from a teleprompter, was advertised as an announcement of the end of combat operations in Iraq but actually a sales pitch for Mr. Obama’s failing economic and legislative agenda.

The broadcast, which was listened to by a mostly white middle class audience, failed to mention several facts, among them that Mr. Obama, former cocaine user, had not supported the so called “surge” in Iraq which military experts regard as the key to our success in that country. This is understandable since Mr. Obama, who once bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia, has little experience in military matters. It is also well know that Mr. Obama, who still smokes, and many in his government had not supported the surge and predicted its failure. Mr. Obama, who has yet to produce a birth certificate, also failed to mention that this troop drawdown and the surge were instituted by his predecessor, George Bush.

Mr. Obama, who once attended an Islamic school, had promised in his presidential campaign to have all troops home within a year of his taking office, left behind 50,000 American “support” soldiers. Among them are a reported 2400 special forces who are allegedly tasked to kill random Iraqis who are suspected of being terrorists.

Sources inside the White House report that after the address sycophants gathered around the President and congratulated him on a job well done.


The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy: Sign, Sign Everwhere A Sign!

April 13, 2010

I was driving on the interstate a couple of months ago and near a construction zone I saw a sign announcing that this traffic lane closure was due to the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act”  It was a large 60” X 60” green sign with white lettering and two neat logos. I thought it was a little odd since the ARRA had passed only a few weeks earlier and the reconstruction of the sixty mile section of I-75 had been planned and started two years before. “Obama propaganda,” I thought and let it go.

The next time I saw one of the signs it had a small 12” X 60” orange strip with a diamond at one end added to the top of the sign. In the diamond was a man with a shovel and the sign said, “Putting America Back to Work.” It seems the original sign was too subtle for someone in the Administration and the orange part was added to bring the message home. Shovel ready jobs, get it! How you put people back to work who were already working I don’t know but I thought maybe these were some of the “saved jobs” the president was claiming.

Last week a little road project was started near my house fixing up an old bridge. I noticed there were four signs, one from every direction you approached the construction, announcing the largess of the Federal Government. I started thinking about how many of these sign must be displayed around the country. Within fifteen minutes drive of my house I count at least eleven. Let’s just guess that in my state there might be 750 road projects underway. With an estimate of just two sign per project that means in my state there 1500 of these signs. Multiply that by fifty states and we have 75,000 signs. At approximately $750 for sign and hardware like posts and bolts that means we have somewhere in the neighborhood of $57 million in signs.

So the other day I was driving down the road and a neighbor had added yet another sign! Well said, neighbor!


The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy: Glenn, That Was a Close One!

March 10, 2010

As a right-wing nut job I am bound by the 11th commandment of Ronald Reagan which is: Never be too harsh on a fellow right-wing nut job. Yesterday I almost had to break that commandment.

As a fan of The Glenn Beck Show” I was a little stunned when two days ago he announced that he was going to devote the entire hour on Tuesday to an interview with Eric Massa, left-wing nut job and serial gropper of male employees.

Massa seemed to be a nut job- full stop! He seemed to me to be a guy who had gone off the rails, forget the political mileage that could be made by his wacky charges. Without any prof he seemed like a guy who was playing a huge game of CYA.

That Glenn would have him on made me thing that he had also gone off the deep end. That the usually funny and informative “Glenn Beck Show” might have jumped the shark.  So I watched the hour just in case Massa said anything that made sense or was provable. For an hour he ranted and huffed but it was all smoke without even the benefit of a mirror. Nothing credible except maybe the “Rham in the Shower,” which I find believable but it was unwitnessed.

 My temperature was rising  and I was  getting tired of Massa’s non-answers to Glenn’s questions while Mr. Beck let Massa do his dance. At the end Mr. Beck apologized to his audience for wasting an hour of our time! That was the only thing worth watching in the entire hour!