Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mad as Hell

Although “Network” is an older film, I had never seen it. Howard Beale urges viewers to open their windows, lean out and yell, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

Although most of the events depicted in the movie are from the 1970s, they could be now. There was massive unemployment, unpredictable fuel supplies and institutions in America were being gobbled up by foreign ownership. Network sports and entertainment programs are still used to divert people from problems.

The Tea Party movement is people saying, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.” Network news tries to marginalize this movement. Local media tries to marginalize critics of the Madison Edgewater project and plowing the roads in Madison. A number of cars here have liberal stickers on their bumpers.

A car I followed yesterday had a really different sticker. “I Miss Reagan,” it said. “So do I,” I said out loud. The danger to Democrats in Wisconsin and nationally, is that many will say on Election Day, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Packer Shortcomings

Shortcomings of the current Green Bay Packers were on display against the Chicago Bears and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The punting of Jeremy Kapanos, the kicking of Mason Crosby and questionable challenges by Coach Mike McCarthy squander the efforts of Aaron Rodgers and his big play receivers. Against the hapless Chicago Bears, offensive play calling almost snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Run, run, run, punt.

Under general manager Ted Thompson, the Packers only build chiefly by drafting players. They have drafted well, especially on defense, but other teams draft, sign free agents and pick up proven players on waivers. This is the way the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints were built. This is how the Green Bay Packers were built when they won the Super Bowl in New Orleans. Reggie White, Charles Woodson, Desmond Howard, Andre Rison. Only Woodson remains.

No Fun League says that I should not be able to comment on what everyone already knows. Only die-hard Packer fans think that things are fine if the Packers make the play-offs. If they miss the play-offs, it is because other teams are more imaginative.

Friday, December 18, 2009

I’m Shocked, Shocked That These Are Funny

There are a few movie, television and radio gags that I giggle every time I hear them or even think of them.

I have seen “Casablanca” at least 30 times. While we think of it as a drama, Claude Rains has the funniest lines. “I am shocked, shocked to learn that there is gambling going on here.” “He brings the bill. I tear up the bill. It is most convenient.” “We will be there at 8.” “I’ll be there at 10.”

“Why did you come to Casablanca?” “I came here for the waters.” “What waters? We’re in the desert.” “I was misinformed.”

Abbot and Costello doing “Who’s on First?” kills me. Slappy and Skippy Squirrel parody it with the Woodstock “Who is first” routine. I have seen “Duck Soup” a dozen times and there is not a bit that I do not find laugh out loud funny.

“Gentlemen, you can’t fight here. This is the War Room.” “Dr. Strangelove.” Steve Gutenberg sweats profusely as a week-end anchor in “Broadcast News.” They pull out a blow dryer to blow some of the sweat away.

W.C. Fields playing golf. I think it is the “Big Broadcast of 1934,” best known for the young Bob Hope singing “Thanks for the Memories” for the very first time. Fields is followed by a dozen caddies carrying giant bags. He throws clubs away. “Too long. Too Short. Too Medium. Caddy, hand me that putter.” Or playing pool with the curved cue.

When Buck Henry hosted “Saturday Night Live,” they did a bit that has stayed with me for years. It is a royal reception and guests are introduced. The Earl of Sandwich who invented cold cuts and Lord and Lady Argyle, who wear matching socks. Then announced are “Lord and Lady Douchebag.”

We do not need to tell the joke to get the punch line. The agent is stunned and says “That’s a hell of an act. What do you call it?” “The Aristocrats.”