Showing posts with label humour. Show all posts
Showing posts with label humour. Show all posts


rip barry crimmins: call me lucky to have known him

In late 2015, I blogged about a remarkable documentary: "Call Me Lucky," about the life and times of Barry Crimmins. Barry died last week at the age of 64.

Describing Barry as a comedian somehow seems wrong. He was a social critic who used biting humour and righteous anger to enlighten and to skewer. He was a fierce opponent of any system that furthers war, poverty, and repression, and a stalwart advocate for equality, justice, and peace. He was also a master of wicked one-liners, as his thousands of Twitter followers knew.

Barry was in many ways a cynic and a curmudgeon, but that didn't stop him from being an idealist. He constantly called attention to the mistreatment of children, the kind that happens every day in our own communities. Barry went public with his own horrific story of child sexual abuse. In the 1990s, he became an activist against child pornography, after discovering that AOL chat rooms were harboring pedophiles. As Barry often said, "Child pornography is not protected speech. It's evidence of a crime scene."

In my review of "Call Me Lucky," I noted:
Allan and I met Barry through a baseball discussion list in the 90s, quickly bonding over our politics and, for me, a shared identity as survivors of sexual abuse or assault. We stayed at Barry's place on the Cleveland stop of our 1999 rust-belt baseball tour, and went to a few games together in New York. We lost touch until re-connecting on Facebook. Barry is the master of the political one-liner, and his feed keeps me laughing about the things that anger me the most.
I have mixed feelings about Facebook, but re-connecting with Barry Crimmins is one of the best things I've gotten from social media. We caught his act in Toronto last year, and said hi and exchanged hugs after the show. The world is a poorer place without Barry, but call me lucky to have known him.

Barry Crimmins' obit from Rolling Stone, along with a few video clips, here.


what i'm watching: call me lucky: a hilarious, heartbreaking, inspiring movie

Barry Crimmins might be the most famous person you've never heard of.

In "Call Me Lucky," a documentary tribute to Crimmins created by Bobcat Goldthwait, an A-list of comics talk about the influence Crimmins had on them and their community: Patton Oswalt, David Cross, Margaret Cho, Marc Maron, Steven Wright, among others. Crimmins toured with Billy Bragg. He won a peace award, handed to him by Howard Zinn; the other recipient sharing the stage: Maya Angelou.

In his younger and wilder days, Crimmins was hugely influential in the rising stand-up comedy scene, although the word influential doesn't quite describe it. In Boston, he was comedy's midwife, and his club was its incubator.

Allan and I met Barry through a baseball discussion list in the 90s, quickly bonding over our politics and, for me, a shared identity as survivors of sexual abuse or assault. We stayed at Barry's place on the Cleveland stop of our 1999 rust-belt baseball tour, and went to a few games together in New York. We lost touch until re-connecting on Facebook. Barry is the master of the political one-liner, and his feed keeps me laughing about the things that anger me the most.

Call Me Lucky is a tribute to Crimmins, and a revelation of his personal journey, a glimpse at where his anger comes from, and how he has used his righteous anger to help others. For many people, Crimmins may seem like a paradox, raging at injustice - raging at almost anything! - but simultaneously overflowing with empathy and compassion. But Barry and I are kindred spirits, so I know there's nothing paradoxical about it. Barry is angry in a way I wish more people - especially more Americans - were.

At one point in Call Me Lucky, Crimmins says:
I feel like there's entire nations that feel like I do. There's entire nations. And you know what? That's why I don't give a shit about American dreams. That's who I am. That's the country I am. I'm of the country of the raped little kids. I'm of the country of the heartbroken. And the screwed over. And the desperate with no chance to be heard. That's what country I'm from.
This made me weep with recognition. A similar idea had been at the heart of my personal development, a key understanding of my self and my values. I realized that I had no patriotism, and I didn't want any. I realized "my people" were not others who happened to be born on the same land mass as I happened to be born on, or people whose mothers had been born into the same religion as my mother. My people were the people fighting for justice. In the fields, in the mines, in the malls, in the factories, in the streets, in the prisons. People working with others to advance the cause of justice, if only the tiniest bit. That is my country. I'm lucky to have found Barry Crimmins living there, too.

There's a lot of humour in this film. And there's a lot of pain, too. Don't be afraid of the pain. As Crimmins says, to paraphrase, if people can survive this, surely you can hear about it. You can witness.

It's a great film. Don't miss it. Call Me Lucky: website, Facebooktrailer, Netflix.


before the onion, before the yes men, there was the post new york post

One day, as I was getting off the subway on my way from Brooklyn to my workplace on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, people were handing out these tabloids. I never learned who made them, where they came from, or where they went. But I'm so glad I saved my copy all these years.

It's a whole newspaper - news, sports, weather, ads for fake movies, personal ads. Brilliant. In case you can't read the date, it was 1984.

And special bonus from one decade later, The National OJ.

I had to scan them in two parts, but they are each tabloid size.


never forget, onion style

I think The Onion has outdone itself this time.
From the Structural Steel Melt on Tower 7–Grain bread to the Twin Chowers cold cut combo with Ground Zero–Carb vinaigrette on a Let’s Whole Wheat Roll, we’ve got something for everybody this Subtember 11.
Click here.


happy howlidays!

Love and happy holidays from all of us at chez wmtc. In 2013, raise your voice! Howl for peace, howl for justice. Howl for change.


stephen harper awarded first richard nixon award

Some of us found it more than a little strange to learn that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been named World Statesman of the Year by the Appeal of Conscience Foundation. Perhaps this is to expected in a world where Barack Obama - now Commander in Chief of a military presence in more than 150 countries, waging no less than 75 "special ops" wars - is given the Nobel Peace Prize. Even Resident Bush managed to hold the number of secret wars to 67.

Fear not, Canada. We will not be outdone. "A coalition of international and community groups" announced that Harper has won the first ever Richard Nixon Prize.
The selection committee applauds the Prime Minister's "principled, forthright and steadfast international policies in the interests of the rich and powerful".

Because the Prime Minister will be in New York to receive another award, this one will be presented using the "empty chair" technique recently used by Clint Eastwood. The prize will be presented by author Yves Engler, who has written extensively about Harper's foreign policy. The Nixon prize will be unveiled and the Ottawa Raging Grannies will express their appreciation in song.

Reasons for the committee selection are as follows:

• The grantees cite Harper's "consistent backing of the interests of North America's top 1% of income earners, with a special emphasis on supporting those who make their billions from resource extraction, weaponry and banking."

• The committee applauds Harper for bombing Libya into democracy and at the same time standing by Egypt's Hosni Mubarak until the final hours of his 30-year presidency.

• In Afghanistan the Prime Minister has stayed committed to war even though most Canadians want to bring the troops home, the prize committee said in a statement. Harper's decision to continue to deploy 1,000 troops as well as special forces is exactly what America's 37th president would have done. "Canadian special forces play an important role in US-led nighttime assassination raids. When a parliamentary committee began asking inappropriate questions about Afghan detainees Harper refused to buckle and simply closed shop," said the committee's statement. "Richard Nixon would have been proud."

• Despite Harper's Conservative government being the biggest backer of the world's mining industry, ordinary Canadians just don't understand how valuable this is to the wealthy, the committee said. "We appreciate the Prime Minister's commitment to advancing Canadian mining companies' interests abroad. All investors benefit."

• The Richard Nixon Prize grantees thoroughly support Harper's international environmental policy. "The Prime Minister has firmly challenged those in Washington and Europe who call the tar sands "dirty oil". At international climate negotiations Harper has made the tough decision to support more carbon in our atmosphere rather than simply accede to an overwhelming international consensus. His government repeatedly blocked climate negotiations and withdrew Canada from the Kyoto protocol, what he once correctly called a 'socialist scheme' to suck money out of rich countries."


some stuff i saw on facebook

A collection of stuff I saved from Facebook, courtesy of Snipping Tool.

If only this were true! Then it might be a little more difficult for governments to sell people wars.

In my usual way of getting sucked into Facebook trends that I dislike, I created this card because I love this saying. Now can the whole quote-card thing go away?

This is not from Facebook, just a good item by my favourite cartoonist, Charles Barsotti. (I love The Pup!)

And finally, an enduring image, and an insane injustice.


how prisons work, by brian mcfadden

Don't forget to visit Big Fat Whale for more McFadden funnies. Even better, subscribe to his feed in the New York Times' Sunday Review: The Strip.


tom davis deanimated at age 59

I've just learned of the untimely passing of a very funny man.

Those of us old enough to remember the brilliant and subversive "The Franken and Davis Show" bits on the old Saturday Night Live may have sometimes wondered what happened to Al Franken's less famous partner. Tom Davis died last week at the too-young age of 59.
In 2004, contestants on “Jeopardy!” were stumped by the clue “He was the comedy partner of Al Franken.”

Tom Davis, that comedy partner, sighed as he watched. He was so inured to playing second fiddle to Mr. Franken, now a Democratic senator from Minnesota, that he called himself Sonny to Mr. Franken’s Cher.

But the fact is that Mr. Davis helped shape Mr. Franken’s comedy, and vice versa, from the time they entertained students with rebellious, razor-edged humor at high school assemblies in Minnesota.

In 1975, Mr. Davis, brilliant at improvisational comedy, and Mr. Franken, a whiz at plotting funny sequences, became two of the first writers on a new show called “Saturday Night Live,” which has lasted 37 years. (The two should actually be called one of the show’s first writers: they accepted a single salary of $350 a week. Each, singly, was called “the guys.”)

Mr. Davis never lost the quirky, original tone that helped shape the show, and in his last months he referred to death as “deanimation.” He deanimated on Thursday at his home in Hudson, N.Y., at age 59. The cause was throat and neck cancer, his wife, Mimi Raleigh, said.

With Dan Akroyd and others, Mr. Davis helped create the clan of extraterrestrials known as the Coneheads, who attributed their peculiarities to having come from France. He and Mr. Franken collaborated on Mr. Aykroyd’s impersonation of Julia Child, in which the television chef cuts herself and bleeds to death after grabbing a phone to dial 911, only to find it’s a prop. As she collapses she bids her audience “Bon app├ętit!”

In an interview on Thursday, Mr. Aykroyd spoke of Mr. Davis’s “massive contribution” to the show, characterizing him as “very disciplined” and able to herd less focused writers toward something concrete. “There was no frivolous waste of time,” he said.

Mr. Davis was present at the creation of Irwin Mainway (played by Mr. Aykroyd), head of a company that made “Bag o’ Glass” and other dangerous toys. He midwifed Theodoric of York, a medieval barber-surgeon, played by the guest host Steve Martin, who believed bloodletting cured everything. A famous sketch about a drunken President Richard M. Nixon stumbling around the White House conversing with past presidents’ portraits and spouting anti-Semitism? Mr. Davis and Mr. Franken wrote it.

They flirted with the margins of taste: a sketch about the Holocaust was rejected, but others about child abuse and the murder of lesbians made it onto the air.

In the early years of “Saturday Night Live,” Mr. Davis and Mr. Franken also appeared as a comic duo. One Franken and Davis routine was “The Brain Tumor Comedian,” in which Mr. Franken, his head bandaged, tried to tell jokes but kept forgetting the punch line. Mr. Davis fought tears as he implored the audience to applaud.
Amazingly, very few Franken and Davis SNL moments are online, and what I found is not representative. This HuffPo obituary has some material, along with some interviews.

Tom Davis' comedy was a highlight of my late-night TV teen years. I'm sorry he died so young.


rtod: the how to guide for understanding rioting negroes

Revolutionary Thought of the Day: the KFC Double Down is a plot against white America.
The Negro Rioting Plan that's been put in place is a terribly complicated strategy that has taken hundreds of thousands of Negroes to plan and thousands of years to come together. Sleeper agents, technological advances and an unwavering patience has been our friend on this path to finally achieving our rioting plans. Only one man has ever come close toppling our years of work to destroy then redistribute good earnest White folks wealth with epic rioting.

That man is the brilliant and perceptive Glenn Beck.

Glenn Beck has been our arch nemesis for years. His amazing detective skills has outed many of our operatives and leaked several plans to the world. Our only method of battling his spectacular abilities is to paint him as being a fucking crazy person who clearly doesn’t understand ANYTHING and is simply out to profit from fear mongering and race baiting.

But we Negroes know the truth.

We know this man to be comprised of amazing moral fiber and his main concern is to save America. And since OUR main concern is to destroy America with some fantastic rioting we had to get him off national television. He couldn’t be allowed to continue like that lest we risk everything we’ve worked for crashing down upon us.

On his radio show recently he spoke of the impending race riots that are soon to come if Barack Obama isn’t re-elected. The part he hasn’t worked out yet is that the NEGROES have been working TIRELESSLY to make sure Obama DOESN’T get re-elected just so that we CAN riot!

The economic collapse? Negroes. Bush tax cuts? Negroes. The KFC Double Down? NEGROES. (We want White folk fat so when we riot they can’t do much about it.)

The Negro Riot Plan called for us to undo all of the good work the Republican party has been doing for the people of America. Trickle Down Economics—this indisputable and amazing economic theory has been undercut by all of our hard work. Jobs were created by the rich and the Negroes—in conjunction with other ethnics—have made sure NOT to take those jobs, continue to multiply, and lean on government services hopefully bankrupting it.

The incredibly high unemployment rate amongst Blacks has been hard to create. With so many jobs available and wealth just waiting for us—there are Negroes that have been tempted to just get a job and support themselves. But luckily a large enough group has remained diligent and maintained a lifestyle under the poverty line all so that we can finally come together and RIOT. In the meantime we will continue our smear campaign of Glenn Beck in hopes that America won’t wake up and find out what we’re planning.

Seriously Glenn Beck. Stop snitching.


b*tches in bookshops: don't let me forget this page

Books, bookstores, and New York City! Plus hip hop girls. This video has it all.

Thanks to Stephanie.


in which i call rogers to check on my disconnect order

Further to the saga of dumping Rogers, this morning I ordered internet service through TekSavvy. (I had already called for information on how to switch and called Rogers to cancel my service.)

The customer service rep was friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. I wasn't 100% certain of my disconnect date with Rogers, so after I hung up with TekSavvy, I called Rogers, just to double-check. Ever since cancelling Rogers, we've been inundated with calls, paper mail, and email offering us deep discounts to return. I expected more of the same, but I didn't expect this.

LK: I recently cancelled my Rogers services. I already have a disconnect order, and I need to check on the date of the disconnect. Are you able to help me with that?

Rogers: Why are you leaving Rogers? Are you unhappy with the service?

LK: I appreciate your asking, but I am cancelling my service, and I'd prefer not to discuss it. Could you please check the date of my disconnect order? I believe it is March 6.

Rogers: May I just check on a few details of your account?

LK: Yes, of course.

Rogers: Your address is 35 Elmwood Avenue, Mississauga?

We last lived on Elmwood Avenue on January 1, 2007. Our address on Elmwood Avenue was number 25.

LK: No, that is not my address.

Rogers: And your email address is

LK: No. I don't know what that email address is. Could you please confirm the date of my disconnect order?

Rogers: May I ask why you are leaving Rogers?

LK: I'd really rather not go into it, as I am definitely leaving. Could you please confirm the date my service will be disconnected? I believe it is March 6.

Rogers: You have until March 11 to return your Rogers equipment.

LK: Yes, I know that. I was told that service would be disconnected on a certain date - I believe it's March 6 - and then I have until March 11 to return the equipment. I'm trying to confirm the date of service disconnection.

Rogers: That would be March 11.

LK: Are you sure of that?

Rogers: Yes. You unplug all the equipment and that's when your service ends.

LK: My service ends the day I unplug the equipment? I was originally told that service would be disconnected on one day, then there was a five-day grace period to return the equipment. Could you please confirm the date of the actual service disconnection?

Rogers: Could you hold a moment please?


Rogers: Hello, thank you for holding. Your disconnect date is March 6. You have until March 11 to return the Rogers equipment. Is there anything else I can help you with today?


shit native new yorkers say

Ah, here's the real New York. This one's much closer to the mark.

To be honest, these are not limited to native New Yorkers (except "I grew up in..."), but to anyone who lived in the City during the 1970s or 1980s. I would replace yoga studios with nail salons, but "that used to be..." is a staple of that town. "I remember when this place was a...." earns you a merit badge towards your Real New Yorker ID.

And muggings and dead people on the subway, but no masturbators? What's up with that?

Many thanks to johngoldfine!