Friday, June 24, 2011

FRIDAY FOLLIES: Huntsman's Debut Dud, New Bank Heist Health Care Plan, Pop-up Pianos, and Barbie killed Bratz

Rachel Maddow, dear-heart, I'm begging you--never, ever do beat poetry at the bongo drum AGAIN!  Gawd!  That was painful! I'm telling you, it was excruciating!  I love you truly but that was just gawdawful.  Really.

So if you were watching Rachel and you managed to get past the dimmed lights and the bongo and the terrible, horrible attempt at...whatever the hell that was, you might have seen what it was leading up to, which was a hilarious account of the disastrous roll-out day for newly announced GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman.  Oy, they shoulda stood in bed.  The lot of 'em.  Video here, but Rachel recaps it nicely like this:

“Getting the name of your candidate wrong, getting the state wrong where you launched your campaign in getting your address wrong, getting your phone number wrong, not getting the cameras pointed at the Statue of Liberty, and then the generator dies 12 minutes before the announcement, and then as soon as the whole thing is over and it time for whatever this guy’s name is to go to his next campaign event in New Hampshire, when it comes time to get all the press, all those dozens of press get them on board the plane to go with whatever his name is to go to New Hampshire for his first big campaign event. What happens? They try to accidentally board the press corps on to a plane that is not going to New Hampshire, but is instead going to Saudi Arabia.”

Okay, a lot of it wasn't Huntsman's fault (though that bizarre motorcycle ad might have been) and a lot of it was kind of nitpicky, but I laughed my head off as it went on and on...and on (the video is almost 19 minutes long!), and it's Friday, so there it is.

The first Barbie commercialFound this, the very first Barbie commercial at Paddy and Laffy's "The Political Carnival" and it took me back--not to my day but to my daughters'.  Oh, yes.  Fun but fraught with dangerous girl-to-woman signals, those Mad Men babes.  But Barbies were like peaches and cream compared to Bratz, the black-booted hussy dolls my granddaughter went nuts over.  (Their first commercial is here.) Interesting to note that Mattel won the battle over competition and forced Bratz out in order to keep Barbie strong.  I thought competition was a good thing for capitalists.  But then there is that whole values thing going on...

 This next story is funny and sad and poignant and ripe for movie-making if only George Carlin were still alive (or if Woody Allen hadn't done something similar in "Take the Money and Run").
 James Verone, age 59, robbed a Gastonia, NC bank using a demand note requesting only a dollar, apparently the lowest amount needed in order to get free housing and medical care in the local hoosegow.  Verone said he is hoping for a three-year sentence so he can ride it out until Social Security kicks in and he can go live at the beach.  He said he's never done a dishonest thing in his life before this. 

I could launch into a screed on the need for universal health care in this country and what the lack of same drives even the most honest men to do, but I'm picturing James Verone sitting on the floor of the bank holding a stolen dollar bill in his hand waiting for the police to arrive and take him away to safety.  A man at the end of his rope. With a plan. An absurd, ridiculous plan  And then I'm picturing millions of people at the end of their ropes, each demanding one dollar from banks all across the country and waiting for the police to come and take them away.  And from there I'm remembering honest black citizens breaking the law by sitting at all-white lunch counters or refusing to get to the back of the bus and I have to marvel at the purity of James Verone's plan.  He might well be this century's Rosa Parks.

A Moment Sublime:  Pop-up pianos in New York City (video).  Sing for Hope, a non-profit arts project, has set up 88 artist-decorated pianos in public places all over NYC and made them available to anyone who feels the need to tickle the ivories.  Artists include Izaac Mizrahi, Diane Von Furstenburg, Kate Spade, B.D. Wong, and others whose names New Yorkers will surely know.  They're asking people who have visited to come back to the website and tell their stories.  What a great project.  Wish I could be there to see some of them. (It runs through July 2.  Hope it doesn't rain...)


Cartoon of the Week:

R.J Matson - St. Louis Post Dispatch

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