Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, January 13, 2021

From a promo spot for PBS’ “Make ‘Em Laugh” miniseries, a short-and-sweet joke delivered by none other than public television news mainstay Jim Lehrer (although it’s a classic):

Two cannibals are eating a clown. One turns to the other and says, “Does this taste funny to you?”

Grisly, but giggly. Drum rim shot, to complete the funny.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 01/13/2009 07:07:29 PM
Category: Comedy, TV
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Fears of this Great Recession being followed up by a 1990s Japan-like “lost decade” of malaise for the U.S. economy seem moot now. Because it looks like the two terms of W’s Presidency represented the weakest period of economic activity in decades, including neglect of fundamental fiscal policies that could have avoided the current mess.

Bush and his aides are quick to point out that they oversaw 52 straight months of job growth in the middle of this decade, and that the economy expanded at a steady clip from 2003 to 2007. But economists, including some former advisers to Bush, say it increasingly looks as if the nation’s economic expansion was driven to a large degree by the interrelated booms in the housing market, consumer spending and financial markets. Those booms, which the Bush administration encouraged with the idea of an “ownership society,” have proved unsustainable.

“The expansion was a continuation of the way the U.S. has grown for too long, which was a consumer-led expansion that was heavily concentrated in housing,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a onetime Bush White House staffer and one of Sen. John McCain’s top economic advisers for his presidential campaign. “There was very little of the kind of saving and export-led growth that would be more sustainable.”

“For a group that claims it wants to be judged by history, there is no evidence on the economic policy front that that was the view,” Holtz-Eakin said. “It was all Band-Aids.”

So no more wondering about what a stateside lost decade would look like — we’ve already had it, albeit two years short. And if that wasn’t enough, a more bubble-less one could be on the way.

Hey, at least the oil companies got a nice fat profit boost just before the Bush-Cheney party ended. So someone’s happy.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 01/13/2009 05:32:32 PM
Category: Business, Politics, Society
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Don’t ask me what brought to mind this vintage 1987 TV commercial:

Because, in some ways, the kitsch that is Freedom Rock never left my mental corridors. Even now, watching it again after some twenty years, it’s eerie how familiar the cadences are; I can even remember the sequence of song clips, from “Layla” to “Ramblin’ Man” and on and on. Talk about brain-burn! Uh, man…

I love how this version is the slightly-extended one. Not only does it feature the timeless opening lines of:

Hippie #1: Hey man, is that Freedom Rock?
Hippie #2: Yeah, man!
Hippie #1: Well turn it up, man!

But, after the subsequent run-through of sample music clips, Hippie #1 gets down to the business of his sales pitch, prefacing it by commanding his partner to “Turn it down, man!”. Somehow, I find that to be the best comedic touch in the whole thing. Better than that “good ol’ days” stuff about protests and going to jail…

I guess this made-for-TV compilation is hard to find these days. But others still remember the cheesy 4 records/3 cassettes/2 CDs offer, and have even compiled the eclectic playlist (”eclectic” meaning that most of the tracks aren’t even remotely related to one another):

Disc 1
1. Turn, Turn, Turn - The Byrds
2. I’d Love To Change The World - Ten Years After
3. Locomotive Breath - Jethro Tull
4. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down - Joan Baez
5. War - Edwin Starr
6. Black Magic Woman - Santana
7. Jump Into The Fire - Nilsson
8. Smoke On The Water - Deep Purple
9. United We Stand - Brotherhood Of Man
10. One Tin Soldier (The Legend Of Billy Jack ) - Coven
11. Somebody To Love - Jefferson Airplane
12. Going Up The Country - Canned Heat
13. Reach Out Of The Darkness - Friend And Lover
14. A Horse With No Name - America
15. Free Bird - Lynyrd Skynyrd
16. Ramblin’ Man - The Allman Brothers Band
17. Share The Land - The Guess Who
18. Friends - Elton John
19. Put Your Hand In The Hand - Ocean
20. Black & White - Three Dog Night

Disc 2
1. Layla - Derek & The Dominos
2. The Story In Your Eyes - The Moody Blues
3. Signs - Five Man Electrical Band
4. Sunshine - Jonathan Edwards
5. Love Train - The O’Jays
6. White Room - Cream
7. White Rabbit - Jefferson Airplane
8. Both Sides Now - Judy Collins
9. We May Never Pass This Way Again - Seals & Crofts
10. In The Year 2525 - Zager & Evans
11. Eighteen - Alice Cooper
12. Hush - Deep Purple
13. Get Together - The Youngbloods
14. The Beat Goes On - Sonny & Cher
15. Abraham, Martin & John - Dion
16. Lay Down - Melanie
17. I Got A Line On You - Spirit
18. Fire And Rain - James Taylor
19. Me And You And A Dog Named Boo - Lobo
20. Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay - Otis Redding

Gotta admit, after countless viewings back in the day, by the time the commercial gets to “We May Never Pass This Way Again”, my spirits flagged, and then I would change the channel.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 01/13/2009 10:49:44 AM
Category: Comedy, Pop Culture, TV
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