"Tivo-ifies the web" Paul Kedrosky

Dinga Dinga Dee – Israeli Arms Dealer’s Bollywood Foray

Weapons dealers’ marketing materials are often a great source of unintentional black comedy, however, there are no words to adequately describe this gem found by the excellent 3 Quarks daily.

Israeli arms company, Rafael, decided to create a Bollywood style promotional video for the Aero India 2009 show in Bangalore. The truly weird result is a lot of singing and dancing around missiles.

4 comments comedy

Jon Stewart’s Defining Moment.

Sometimes truth is no stranger to fiction. America’s only serious news comes from a comedy channel.

US network and cable news are an embarrassment, a children’s view of the world based upon geographical and historical ignorance delivered by people who look like Long Island realtors and whose opinions should be deemed equally suspect.

In print form, U.S. newspapers make up for relatively poor coverage of world news with advanced level business news – this is capital C Capital-ism after all. However, the same sophistication does not apply to cable business news, and this is best exemplified by CNBC.

CNBC covers the industry that makes money, the industry that has recently lost 30% of the notional moolah created from everything humans have made, planet-wide, since Tutankhamun. It is watched by Wall street professionals from large screens which hang over trading floors, and during the collapse of Lehman, the employees were looking at CNBC to see what was happening in their own building. In other words, it is not just a consumer product but one used by the billionaire pros who can afford anything. Yet it looks and feels like a cheap toy.

The fact that this financial channel of record looks like a low-rent hybrid of a shopping channel and pro-wrestling match, with ads for gold coin collections and get rich quick books and set designs comprised of embossed metallic, swooshing titles and plasticky red white and blue, certainly does not spell money. And yet I am gripped by it.

For three years I have been going to the gym across the street from the stock exchange and pumped or, more accurately, schlepped iron in front of CNBC. I have nothing to do with manipulating money for a living, I have little of it and don’t understand how it works, but am overwhelmed by a morbid obsession with cable financial news while working out. It fires me up with primeval anger and makes my veins bulge like a steroid addled bodybuilder.

Sadly, I was in London, when the most egregious CNBC moment took place and the one that Jon Stewart takes CNBC to task over: Rick Santelli’s Mercantile Exchange uprising – at the least that was how it was pumped up on Drudge.

The Rick Santelli uprising comprised a televised football coach style rant. Santelli complained that home owners were being bailed out, and this was yelled from the floor of the Chicago Mecantile New York Stock Exchange, where his fellow libertarians, presumably working for financial institutions bailed out by tax payers, rallied round, failing to see the pitiful hypocrisy of it all.

London was a strange place to watch this, because there the libertarianism of ‘don’t let the government bail out the people’ would have been crushed, despite the fact that Britain’s endemic culture of home equity greed outstripped the worst avarice of the financiers. In the UK, the prevailing mood on TV was unanimously, ‘hang the bankers, don’t screw the home owners’.

I put this difference down to culture, but Jon Stewart has proven me wrong by bookending a relentless series of clips of CNBC editorial failure with the Rick Santelli uprising and an interview with the world’s second best conman, the sweaty, pie-faced, cricket playing Texan, Allen Stanford. It is a withering attack on CNBC but possibly more than that.

In fairness to CNBC, three of the clips concern reporting of other people’s mistakes, for example one shows Merril Lynch saying they were adequately capitalized not CNBC, and one shouldn’t shoot the messenger. But in the grand scheme of things both the originator and the messenger were at fault and there is evidence to prove it.

The degree of this financial implosion makes the once epic ambitions of Bonfire of the Vanities seem inadequate, yet to my mind the scale of the tragedy has ironically been best captured, to date, by a ten minute comedy piece.

Watch it in its entirety and see what Stewart has to say about Allen Stanford at the end. A must see.


14 comments business, comedy, the smashing list

Recycling is Bullshit

There are long tracts of glass in the Sahara, caused by meteorites skidding across the sand and melting it. Glass looks pretty and feels precious, but sand does not, and this is perhaps part of the reason why people perceive glass recycling to be a valuable exercise – something that is debatable at best.

I am actively against recycling non-metals, because I think it does nothing to aid consuming less, and may actually exacerbate the problem. In other words, I think it creates a net damage to the environment. It would be better that people had to pay directly for the removal trash which scrap merchants wouldn’t pay them for and for these people to be non-subsidized.

Showing up in a car to the bottle bank with Perrier bottles reminds me of Roman schoolboys who had slaves who would take a proxy beating for them when they did something wrong. Both are dubious ways of avoiding blame.

Recycling is about preventing people digging something out of the ground and burning fuel to make something from it. If it were truly viable, then people would be ransacking landfills to recycle them.

Reuse yes, recycle no. Penn and Teller make the point better than I ever could.

12 comments business, comedy

Eurovision Song Contest 1973

In order to persuade anyone that any kind of institutionalized event is a bad idea, all one needs to do is say “imagine x run by the DMV”. The Eurovision song contest is what it would be like if the music industry were run by the DMV.

To commemorate Eurovision’s biggest winners, the Irish, who have just blown the European Union treaty and the last time oil buggered up the global economy, here is the 1973 Eurovision song contest, held in Luxembourg – which is a bit like a country run by the DMV.

Following the terrorist attack against Israel at the Munich Olympics, and Israel’s debut in the competition, the floor manager strongly advised people in the audience to remain seated while clapping, to avoid being shot by security forces.

Belgium’s entry at 8:15 is pretty special, and if you have a history of hallucinogenic flashbacks, I’ve no idea what’s going on at 1:05, but you might not want to watch it. Beyond satire.

9 comments comedy, music, nostalgia, world

Great Antiques Roadshow Spoof

On the antiques roadshow, people lug along ancient pieces of unwanted crap – sorry priceless heirlooms, in order to find out how much they are worth so that they can fantasize about immediately flogging them and moving to Florida. Trinket owners play along with the genteel history lesson charade, pretending to be interested in some bone-grindingly dull anecdote from an expert in Chinese foot binding stools, or whatever, followed by the fake rhetorical question – have you ever thought about what its worth? Answer: Oh no, not really – I’d never, never sell it.

At this point, if the expert didn’t actually give the price, the owner would, of course, instantaneously beat her to a bloody pulp. I love the Antiques Roadshow, its my favorite TV program, and I love this trailer for BBC HD.

Worth it, even as a link rather than an embed: Link

3 comments comedy, commercials

Robert Newman – The History Of The World Backwards Episode 1

Robert Newman – The History Of The World Backwards Season 1 Episode 1/6

Robert Newman combines comedy and history in fantastically entertaining monologues such as his ‘History of Oil’ theater production.

In this new 6 part series, Newman looks at history as if time flowed backwards. The opening scene, for example, comments on the ethnic cleansing by Cherokee and Apache in the 1800s that lead to the eradication of all white people from the North American continent by the mid 15th Century.

The most startling result of this process is that many things can be seen as progress when played backwards. Our destruction of the Earth’s environment becomes our understanding of how to fix it.
29 min 1 sec Oct 30, 2007

Comments Off comedy, history

Guinness Book of Records – Derek and Clive

The other Peter Cook
Guinness Book of Records – Derek and Clive

Comments Off comedy

Kick Ass Miracles – Mind and Body (yes that really is the title)

This is a another great example of FEBL media. Compulsive viewing: travelogue; mysticism; jazz beards; toothless 300 year old Thai shamen.

A Chip Shop owner from Birmingham, England, who has spent six years living with Kung Fu monks after seeing a Tarantino movie, guides you through the mysteries of the mystical Orient. The title alone, ‘Kick Ass Miracles’ is worthy of an entire social anthropology conference.

Suggested conference panel topics:

1. Kick Arse or Kick Ass, the use of contemporary American slang in British youth TV.
2. Exorcising Noddy Holder. How presenters hide Birmingham accents when presenting British youth TV while pretending to be hip to American jive and concealing salary handicapping regional dialects by reverting to mockney (fake Cockney).
3. An ornithology of miniature Jazz Beards, Soul Patches and facial hair amongst presenters of British youth TV.
4. The clash of civilizations. 2000 year old dangerously poisonous herbal remedies and skateboard culture as exemplified by British youth TV.
5. Where Ali G gets his material.

“So ere we ah in Souf Eeeeest Aishah, wheh we gunna check aht some KNARLY two fowsand yeea owd ‘erbuw remedy. Innit.”


27 min 44 sec May 7, 2007


2 comments comedy, FEBL, religion, society

Laughing With Hitler

I have never liked people who cannot laugh at themselves. I was to have to choose a single trait to measure someone’s humanity, it would be that. Laughter is a powerful weapon for those who take themselves too seriously. This documentary looks at the gradual elimination of that weapon during the Third Reich.
58 min 28 sec Oct 17, 2007 popperslist.blogspot.com


1 comment comedy, history

Cuckoo – documentary about Laurel and Hardy

1 hr 6 min 43 sec Oct 6, 2007 laurelandhardyforum.com

I’m not normally a fan of slapstick era humor, but Laurel and Hardy are an exception. Even better is the fact that this documentary features all sorts of other funny people. It is narrated by the legendary Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise. The video quality is not great, at the beginning.

1 comment biography, comedy