Sunday, January 31, 2010

More Video in the Historic Scott Brown Win

Health care was supposed to be done by August, now it drags on forever, like Stalingrad!

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Fox News Covers Scott Brown's Victory
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Indecision 2010 - The Re-Changening
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Ayla Brown is Available for the Early Show

Watch CBS News Videos Online
The Senator's daughter is still blushing a bit.

Was it real: "My dad is definitely like that."

Was it true: "Still looking and waiting it out."

Scott Brown Family Portrait

Daughter Ayla, wife Gail Huff, Senator Scott Brown, daughter Arianna.

SNL Winks at Scott Brown's Charms

If you think the Barney Frank fantasy is over the top, we're hearing that Scott Brown posters from that now famous Cosmo centerfold shoot are now the rage in the South End.

SNL Says Shame on You Martha Coakley

The Martha Coakley rants stops after a couple of minutes.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Anne Hathaway Mugs and Kisses for the Pudding

Yes, it was Woman of the Year week in Harvard Square. And those boys in the Hasty Pudding really know how to pick them.

This year's Pudding Pot kisser is Anne Hathaway. We're looking forward to seeing her as the White Queen in Alice in Wonderland, scheduled to be released to theaters in 3-D on March 5.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Joan Rivers Isn't Crying for Coco or Leno

Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno aren't funny, Joan Rivers says. And she should know. She also talks about her book, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work. That she is.

And Conan O'Brien walking away from NBC with $40 million? "Not tragic," says Joan. And we agree. We did think that Conan's final week had some of the funniest stuff we have ever seen on late night TV.

Chris Matthews Forgets for an Hour

Chris Matthews tried to do some thinking on MSNBC about Barack Obama after his State of the Union address last night. Let us deconstruct:

Chris MatthewsDesconstruction

"He is post-racial, by all appearances."


"I forgot he was black tonight for an hour."

And remembers the rest of the time.

"I was watching and I said, wait a minute."

Which is it, a minute or an hour?

"He's an African-American guy in front of a bunch of other white people."

Other white people?

"There he is, President of the United States, and we've completely forgotten that tonight — completely forgotten it."

Forgot "that" he is black, or forgot "that" he is President of the United States?

"I think it was in the scope of the discussion, it was so broad ranging, so in tune with so many problems and aspects of American life."

We watched the speech too and, no, that wasn't it.

"You don't think in terms of the old tribalism and the old ethnicity."

But usually thinks in those terms, it would seem.

"It was astounding in that regard, a very subtle fact. It's so hard to even talk about it. Maybe I shouldn't talk about it."

Astounding or audacious?

Some will say that Chris Matthews remarks were racist. We think not. Certainly they were racial, or at least post-racial, whatever that means.

Our problem with Chris Matthews is that we have woken up to the fact that he has been one of the active resistors to Barack Obama's desire to change the culture of politics in Washington, DC.

On paper Matthews has impressive Democratic credentials. Served in the Peace Corps. Worked on staff for Senator Edmund Muskie. Wrote speeches for President Carter. Toiled as top aide to Tip O'Neill.

In practice, Matthews uses his show Hardball as a pulpit for old school Democratic politics. The kind of politics Barack Obama campaigned against. The politics Obama promised to change. And the response of the guys like Chris Matthews in the Democratic Party to the 2000 election has been, "You can be President, and we can run things just like we always have."

And so the Hardball Democrats have not been following their President. They have worked actively or inactively to undermine him. Loading the stimulus and then health care reform down with their backroom deals, sneering at the promises of openness, thumbing their noses at the President, and at the people who voted for him.

Livestreaming Patty Griffin for Downtown Church

Patty Griffin sings a couple of songs and talks with Peter Cooper about her new CD Downtown Church on Livestream. There's more video on

It's a sad state of affairs when Patty Griffin releases a new CD and you can't find it in Harvard Square. Yes, it's gospel but who has a better voice for gospel than Patty Griffin? You can find it on on and iTunes.

Save the Obama Agenda for Just 50 Cents a Day

We received this email from the President just before midnight following his State of the Union address. The $15 a month he is asking for works out to just 50 cents a day.

From: President Barack Obama []
Sent: Wed 1/27/2010 11:45 PM
Subject: I cannot do it alone

I just finished delivering my first State of the Union address.

I set out an urgent plan for restoring economic security for struggling middle class families. This is my top priority, but I cannot do it alone -- and that's why I'm writing to you now.

Tonight, I called on Congress to enact reforms and new initiatives to defend the middle class -- to create millions of new jobs, support small businesses, and drive up wages; to invest in the education of our children and the clean energy technology that must power our future; and to protect the economy from reckless Wall Street abuses.

And I made my position on health reform clear: We must not walk away. We are too close, and the stakes are too high for too many. I called on legislators of both parties to find a way to come together and finish the job for the American people.

I have no illusions -- there have been setbacks, and there will be more to come. The special interests who have shaped the status quo will keep fighting tooth and nail to preserve it.

So tonight, I'm asking you to join me in the work ahead. I need your voice. I need your passion. And I need your support.

Can you help fuel our fight for the middle class with a monthly donation of $15 or more?

We have just finished a difficult year. We have come through a difficult decade. But a new year has come. A new decade stretches before us. We don't quit. I don't quit. Let's seize this moment -- to start anew, to carry the dream forward, and to strengthen our union once more.

Thank you for making it possible,

President Barack Obama

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New Apple iPad Pre-Mocked on Mad TV

Apple just introduced the iPad. This is Apple's latest iProduct, joining the iMac, iPod, iPod Touch, and iPhone. The new iPad is a tablet PC device which will have internet connectivity and a touch screen sized for easy reading.

The price is $499, which will complete with the Amazon Kindle and the HP Slate, and much lower than the rumored $1,000 price.

But it's curious why Apple would chose a product name that was mocked on Mad TV over 2 years ago.

With every teenage boy and middle-aged girl snickering about the name iPad, don't be throwing those Kindles on the fire just yet.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Girls with the Curious Clams

OK, we couldn't resist posting this picture, even if it has been already posted everywhere else on the internet. As near as we can tell it was posted first by on the day after the special election in Massachusetts.

The site says only that the picture was posted by "a tipster who is friends with Scott Brown’s daughter Ayla." She's the older, taller daughter on the left. The one Scott Brown announced was available on election night. And ready to play basketball with the President of the United States.

What we know about the picture is that it was taken in the Brown's kitchen in Wrentham, which has featured in one of Scott Brown's commercials. We'd recognize those yellow kitchen cabinets anywhere. And from the stuff on the counters as well as the attire we can see that a party is in progress.

So let's round up the usual suspects on who took the picture.

(1) Former boyfriend of Alya. Obviously a cad. That would explain why her father says she is now available.

(2) Girlfriend of Alya. That suggests there might have been other girls at the party, perhaps similarly attired. That means there could be more pictures.

(3) Friend of the Brown parents. Let's not go there.

(4) Mom. She is the only member of the Brown family not in the picture. And she's done some bikini work herself in the 1980s Digney Fignus music video The Girl with the Curious Hand.

The smart money is on a former boyfriend or girlfriend but we bet it was the mother. A father can always say something that will embarrass his daughters. A mother has pictures.

In the category of embarrassing Brown family pictures, no one beats Scott Brown himself for his Cosmo spread.

We are curious about the clams.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Martha Coakley Neglected to Ask for My Vote

I've got back through my saved email. The following people sent me emails asking me to vote for Martha Coakley in the U.S. Senate special election this past Tuesday.

Ellen R. Malcolm, President of Emily's List
Barack Obama, President of the United States
Jeremy Bird, Deputy Director of Organizing for America
John Spears, Massachusetts State Director of Organizing for America
Jon Vogel, Executive Director of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States
Patrick Kennedy, Congressman from Rhode Island
Tony Mack, Cambridge-Somerville for Change
Alan Khazei, Citizens for Alan Khazei
John Kerry, U.S. Senator for Massachusetts
Mitch Stewart, Director of Organizing for America
Jen O'Malley Dillon,
David Plouffe, Organizing for America

Some names are conspicuously absent: our Congressman Mike Capuano, Governor Deval Patrick, and interim Senator Paul Kirk. But the most conspicuously absent name is Martha Coakley.

Scott Brown Senate Campaign Turns a $4 to $6 Million Profit

Eric Fehrnstrom, senior advisor to new U.S Senator Scott Brown, has told a radio interviewer that the campaign ended with $4 to $6 million in its coffers. Apparently campaign contributions were coming in during the final days faster than they could precisely count or spend.

And what will Scott Brown use the money for? To run again in 2012. Not for President silly. The U.S. Senate seat he just won comes up again for election in 2012, at the end of the term to which Ted Kennedy was elected in 2006.

Scott Brown Drives a 2005 GMC Canyon

The Boston Globe reports that new U.S. Senator Scott Brown's truck has become a trendsetter. The truck featured prominently in his campaign ads, but the nameplates were understandably obscured so as not to positively identify the make and model. Now it has been identified as a dark green 2005 GMC Canyon.

The truck is said to get 16 miles per gallon in the city and 22 on the highway, which I must admit is better than my 1993 Jeep Cherokee.

Martha Coakley Reflects on Her Loss But Not Issues

Martha Coakley gave a reflective interview on her Senate race and loss to Scott Brown, perhaps her most personally engaging interview of the race (ironic, since it is now over). She still avoids discussing any of the issues.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The New Senator's Wife with the Curious Hand

The Girl With the Curious Hand by Digney Fignus

Gail Huff, wife of new Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, starred as the title character in this music video from the 1980s. More recently she has been a news reporter at Channel 5 WCVB in Boston.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Glenn Beck Already Hating on Scott Brown

Two days ago I gave Rush Limbaugh until Friday to be hating on Scott Brown, the newly elected Senator from Massachusetts.

Glenn Beck went off on Scott Brown the very next day:

"I want a chastity belt on this man. I want his every move watched in Washington. I don't trust this guy. I'm just telling you. This one could end with a dead intern. I'm just saying. It could end with a dead intern."

"I'm just saying, congratulations, now let's monitor him, let's put an ankle bracelet on him, let's just know where he is at all times."

A lot of people are having fun with Scott Brown's exuberant touting of his daughter Ayla's availability in his victory speech on election night. Here is what the Boston Globe is reporting:

"Ayla didn’t return our phone call, but told the AP: 'I definitely had a talk with my dad,' adding that she got 1,568 friend requests on Facebook and 300 inbox messages, mostly from men, since he made the remark. She said her father asked former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney 'if he had any more sons he could sell me to.'"

But Glenn Beck did not even wait until Wednesday, publishing this on the Fox News website while the election was still underway Tuesday:

"America has been fighting our battle through the tea parties. Americans are on to the Republicans who are really progressives. We know not to trust someone because they have the 'R' next to their name."

"I mean, I don't trust Scott Brown yet. Americans don't know him. He posed naked in Cosmopolitan magazine back in 1982. I mean — really? I question the judgment of man who thinks anyone wants to see the male body naked: 100 percent of Americans agree naked males should never, ever be seen — ever. We aren't pretty."

Thoughts on What Happened in Massashusetts

From our Democrat in Montana:

Devastating loss for Dems and Obama. What happened? Your thoughts?


Scott Brown caught fire like you would not believe. Some last minute things that threw gas on the fire:

(1) Rumors were swirling last week from Washington, DC and our state capitol on Beacon Hill that, if Scott Brown won, his swearing in might be delayed so that the interim Senator Paul Kirk could vote through health care. Worst possible message to voters that their vote might be ignored.

(2) The Obama administration announced a new bank tax to "get our money back" from the backs that got bailout money. Yes, in the middle of a tax revolt in a state with a lot of bank jobs. A Democrat should never use the word "tax" within 4 months of an election, let alone 4 days.

(3) Leaks even while Obama was speaking in Boston that based on polling White House people expected Martha Coakley would lose. Congressman Barney Frank even made some remark on the bad campaign in an interview to Fox News, calling the game with time on the clock and the team still on the field.

There's a lot more to it than that. Martha Coakley ran a very bad campaign and there was an anti-Washington mood out there. We're one year into the Obama administration but 3 years into the Pelosi-Reid Congress.

I personally think this will strengthen President Obama's hand in Congress. He has been needing a graceful way to back down to a more centrist and actually doable proposal on health care reform and get on to some other things, like jobs and the economy.

On health care reform, President Obama always wanted to negotiate with the Republicans, he campaigned for openness and bipartisanship. The 60 seat majority got in the way of that without accomplishing anything. If Republicans refuse to negotiate, they risk losing the public on health care reform. That's how it should have been played from the beginning.

Negotiating and moving on seems to be the message out of the White House today, so I think they get it.

Another loser: Sarah Palin. This election result kills the Sarah Palin buzz. Scott Brown is the new star and he is a winner not a loser. Fox News hiring Sarah Palin as an analyst also seems designed to expose her more to the American public to a degree that will likely not redound to her benefit, at least as a future candidate for President. Hired the week the book Game Change was released, there was no way she could avoid answering questions about the book.

Intended or unintended winner: Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts. He spoke at the Scott Brown victory party. Romney did health care reform with Democrats here in Massachusetts, but has been very quiet in the national health care debate so far. Scott Brown just erased "liberal" from "liberal Massachusetts" and now it reads "independent Massachusetts."

Connect the dots: The interests of the two national parties (or at least the centrist wings of those parties) converged for different reasons on the same result in the Massachusetts race being good for both.

Further reply:

Look at it this way, if Obama loses one Democratic Senator but gains 3 or 4 New England Republican Senators, he can afford to lose one or two other Democrats who want too much in special deals. And he can tell House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that otherwise they just don't have the votes for health care reform.

There are now 4 New England Republican Senators: Scott Brown from Massachusetts, Olympia Snowe from Maine, Susan Collins from Maine, Judd Gregg from New Hampshire. John McCain from Arizona is also often good for a compromise.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Scott Brown Wins 10 to 1 on YouTube

Uh oh, the Republicans have learned how to use the internet!

While Scott Brown beat Martha Coakley in the Massachusetts U.S. Senate race by a margin of 1.1 to 1 at the polls on election day, on YouTube he beat her 10.4 to 1.

Scott Brown gained his first traction on YouTube with his viral JFK Republican ad. But that ended up being his campaign's 4th most popular video.

The Martha Coakley campaign's 4th most popular video was the highest viewed one to feature her. Her most watched video featured President Obama, her second featured Vicki Kennedy, and the third was intended as an attack ad featuring Scott Brown.

YouTube views1,064,417102,3894,419
Facebook friends135,62918,4722,280
Twitter followers16,5464,312263

Scott "only" won 7.3 to 1 on Facebook, and 3.8 to 1 on Twitter.

But that's not the half of it. These were the two most watched YouTube videos from all posted featuring Scott Brown:

Massachusetts Miracle also posted on MassachusettsMiracle.com475,090
It's The People's Seat posted by the blog American Glob601,436

For Martha Coakley, these were the two most watched of all posts on YouTube:

President Obama: Support Martha Coakley for U.S. Senate, which was rated only 3 out of 5 stars74,598
Curt Schilling Is A Yankees Fan, which features but is not really for Martha Coakley160,057

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How Long until Rush Limbaugh Hates on Scott Brown?

I give Rush Limbaugh until Friday to be hating on Scott Brown. Scott got through his acceptance speech without ever saying the word Republican. Says he wants to be a worthy successor to Ted Kennedy. Called Ted Kennedy and John F. Kennedy patriots. Gave his daughter an Obama-style fist bump.

Just Back from Voting at the Cambridge Armory

I'm just back from voting at the Cambridge Armory. There was, as always, a Guardsman in fatigues wandering around (Scott Brown is a Guardsman himself). And a Cambridge Policewoman was observing the sign-in (Cambridge Police Union endorsed Scott Brown).

When I was here for the Primary in December, I ran into four middle-aged women who had just voted (which bode well for Martha Coakley that day). This time just one (the other woman in the photo is a poll worker).

I saw lots of red check marks on the sign-in and sign-out pages, so I think turnout will prove very good. It looked like most everyone on my street had voted.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Inside the Head of a Massachusetts Independent

OK, America, I can't claim to know what is going to happen in the Massachusetts U.S. Senate race tomorrow, but I have been watching the cable news and there are a few things they aren't telling you about the independent voters who are fueling Republican Scott Brown's campaign against Democrat Martha Coakley.

Only 3 weeks ago the Massachusetts Senate seat appeared to be Democrat Martha Coakley's to lose, but many independents were still undecided. In the final week before the tomorrow's vote, it's become a toss-up. The reason why is simple. Independents in Massachusetts have gone on revolt against the Democratic Party in Congress.

These revolts are not uncommon here. Democrats trump Republicans in Massachusetts, but independents trump Democrats.

The danger for Democrats in losing independents can be seen in the 2008 Presidential election results: 1.9 million Massachusetts residents voted for Barack Obama and 1.1 million voted for John McCain, a margin of 62% to 36%. That margin of victory is typical for Democratic candidates against Republicans in Massachusetts.

But that big margin of victory includes 800,000 independents for Obama. If half of them had joined the 500,000 independents who voted for McCain, then you'd have a toss-up.

Usually the independents side with the Democrats in Massachusetts, but there is a history of periodic revolts where enough independents join Republicans to elect candidates or pass ballot initiatives:

1980 - Passed Proposition 2 1/2 to limit property tax increases and backed Ronald Reagan over Jimmy Carter for President.

1990 - Elected Republican Governor Bill Weld and Treasurer Joe Malone.

1994 - Repealed rent control.

2002 - Elected Republican Governor Mitt Romney.

As the gaps in these dates indicate, we are due for another revolt.

Sometimes these revolts carry over to the next election, sometimes they don't. Ronald Reagan repeated in Massachusetts against Walter Mondale in 1984. Governor Bill Weld got himself reelected in 1994 and got his successor Paul Celluci elected in 1998. Mitt Romney failed to ignite a revolt against Ted Kennedy in 1994, and failed to get his successor Kerry Healy elected Governor in 2006.

How do these revolts get started? Every Republican candidate for statewide office in Massachusetts would like to win the independent vote but few succeed. There are no independent party leaders or ward bosses to consult. It can't even be said that every independent goes on revolt for the same reason.

A revolt against the state Democratic Party has been growing for some time. The current Democratic Governor Deval Patrick is widely regarded as ineffectual. Tim Cahill, the current state Treasurer, resigned from the Democratic Party this fall (but not his job as Treasurer) to run against him as an independent. A recent poll showed Cahill with 23% compared to 30% for Patrick and 19% for the likely Republican challenger Charlie Baker with 28% undecided.

Those 28% just haven’t decided whether they are voting for Cahill or Baker. And why should they, that election isn’t until November. But the pitchforks were already being sharpened and State Attorney General Martha Coakley presents a more immediate target in tomorrow's special election.

This special election is about health care reform, but not in the way that you might think. Massachusetts already has health care insurance reform at the state level, and as a result now 98% of our residents have health insurance. Republican Scott Brown supports health care reform in Massachusetts, and voted for it as a State Senator. In fact some on his campaign staff are on the Massachusetts Health Connector.

Democrats in Congress are having trouble passing a good health care reform bill, and a lot of people here are frustrated. One friend has described the debate in Congress to me as "asinine." Another, who has worked in the state health care bureaucracy, has expressed concern to me that the legislation in Congress will undermine some important aspects of the new system we set up here.

I expect both those friends will vote for Martha Coakley, but other voters with concerns won't. Since we already have health care insurance reform, Massachusetts has the least to gain from federal legislation and the most to lose from a bad bill.

Democrats in Congress made a big mistake when, after the health care reform bill passed the Senate, they decided to conduct negotiations between House and Senate behind closed doors. That annoyed some Obama supporters who had been promised an open process, and it also angered many independents.

Up to that point, Maine Republican Senator Olympia Snowe had been in the room for the negotiations. She is one of those centrist New England Republicans that conservatives like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity hate almost as much as they hate Barack Obama. But a category of Massachusetts independent looks to centrists like Olympia Snowe (or Bill Weld, or Mitt Romney back when he was a centrist) to look out for their interests.

It's not that these independents necessarily agree with centrist Republicans on all issues, it's that they just don't completely trust the Democrats. They want someone to watch over the Democrats' shoulder.

So when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid closed the door and locked Olympia Snowe out of the room, they locked independents out of the room too. They want back in that room. And some independents are prepared to use Scott Brown as a battering ram to knock that door down.

That brings us to the central idea of this campaign, that Martha Coakley will be the 60th vote in the Senate for health care reform and that Scott Brown will be the 41st vote against.

That is a bit misleading, because the Senate has already passed the health care reform bill. All the House has to do is pass it too without changes and health care reform will become law with President Obama's signature.

So Scott Brown can't stop health care reform, he can only stop a revised bill that might come out from behind that closed door. That may be lost on most voters, but it is not lost on all. Some independents might vote for Scott Brown as a cloture motion, with the message to Congress to stop debating and pass the current bill.

After all, this health care reform debate has been going since August and there are other things for Congress to work on, like the economy and job creation. This revolt is as much about what Congress is not doing on those issues as what it is contemplating on health care.

Nancy Pelosi is already whispering that she won't pass the Senate bill as written if it comes to that. So blame Pelosi not Massachusetts independents if health care reform stalls.

In fact, it's not clear Congress can get health care reform passed even if Martha Coakley is elected here in Massachusetts. Coakley has promised to vote against health care reform unless it contains language on abortion that more conservative Democrats in Congress may find unacceptable. That could prove the cruelest irony of all.

Finally, many union members are independents. They usually vote Democratic but often aren't liberals. Unions quietly helped to scuttle HillaryCare in 1993, they may want to do the same with ObamaCare in 2010, and the Massachusetts race presents an opportunity to do so without leaving any fingerprints. Unions don't like the so-called "Cadillac health plan tax" which might hit some union health care plans. And universal health care interferes with one of the primary union organizing tools, promising to get health benefits for workers who don't have benefits.

So, if Martha Coakley loses or squeaks by tomorrow, does Barack Obama need to worry about losing Massachusetts when he runs for reelection in 2012? Probably not. Can an independent vote for Obama in 2008, Brown in 2010, and Obama again in 2012? Yes, we can. So far none of these revolts has changed the basic character of Massachusetts as a Democratic state (with an independent majority). But it is a state Democrats take for granted at their own risk.

And I don't even think this vote necessarily represents any change in independent voter attitudes, which have been none too fond of the Democrats in Congress.

One need look no further than Minnesota, where Democrats got this 60th Senate vote that they are now afraid of losing. Democrat Al Franken and Republican Norm Coleman battled essentially to a tie. They each got 1.2 million votes, within the margin of lawyering (eventually the recount went to Franken by 312 votes).

But 437,000 in Minnesota voted for Dean Barkley, the independent candidate. Barack Obama beat John McCain by 300,000 votes in Minnesota. Independents clearly provided Obama a big margin of victory and declined to give the same vote to Franken.

All of this could be moot, because of a factor that was driving the race up until 8 days ago. And that is the chance for Massachusetts to elect its first woman to the U.S. Senate. If you accept the notion that Obama's Presidency is on the line, middle-aged and elderly white women still bitter about Hillary Clinton's loss in 2008 could rescue his Presidency.

What to watch for when the vote comes in Tuesday night (polls close at 8pm EST):

(1) Greater Boston - Martha Coakley needs a big margin of victory to cancel Scott Brown support across the rest of the state.

(2) Fall River and New Bedford - This is Barney Frank's Congressional District, but is also close to Scott Brown's base in Wrentham.

(3) Lowell - Congresswoman Nicki Tsongas there has been Martha Coakley's most consistent supporter, and she has credibility with independents.

(4) Western suburbs of Boston - Scott Brown put his campaign headquarters in Needham with the hope of doing well in Minuteman country.

(5) Exit polls - assuming no more than 15% of registered Democrats join the revolt, Scott Brown needs 70% of independents to win. If he doesn't get that, Martha Coakley wins.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Next Cool Trend: Designer 3-D Glasses

We think we're onto what is going to be the cool new trend in fashion: designer and prescription 3-D glasses.

With many new movies coming out in RealD 3-D format, moviegoers are going to have to get used to wearing 3-D glasses. But why wear the generic pair issued by the movie house? And if you wear glasses already, how ridiculous does it look wearing the 3-D glasses on top of your regular glases.

Young moviegoers will naturally want to exhibit their own sense of style and taste. It can only be a matter of time before someone starts selling designer and prescription 3-D glasses. Just think of all the accessories, such as designer cases for your 3-D glasses and designer dongles so you can easier take them on and off.

And if the eyeglass makers can craft a lens that can be used for sunglasses as well as 3-D movie viewing, then you're going to see a whole new opening for eyewear.

Scott Brown Winning Massachusetts Senate Race on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter

Whatever else you want to say about the Massachusetts Senate Race, one thing is clear, candidate Scott Brown is winning big on the internet.

Scott went viral on YouTube with his JFK Republican ad, in which President John Kennedy morphs into Scott Brown as both read a Kennedy speech in which JFK called for tax cuts to stimulate the creation of new jobs.

But Scott is also clocking hits for his video driving around Massachusetts campaigning in his big, black pickup truck. You've got to admire a man who can get 200,000 miles out of a GM vehicle. (I think it's a GM truck, but can't tell for sure, and you're welcome to set the record straight in the comments.)

YouTube views148,99715,2823,269
Facebook friends27,1877,8871,281
Twitter followers5,7592,443185

Note: YouTube views based on 10 most viewed videos on each candidate's channel.

Can Scott translate his internet surge into votes at the polls on Tuesday, January 19? Conventional wisdom says no, but we'll know in a week.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Underwear Bomber Predicted by Calvin Trillin in June 2006

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Moment of Zen - Calvin Trillin's Prediction
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Calvin Trillin, the brilliant writer for The New Yorker, The Nation, and Time magazines and author of numerous books is now proved more prescient than our national security apparatus.

It must be said too that the job of playing goalie is a hard one, and not made a lot easier by knowing that the other team wants to kick a goal.

Impeach the Pelosi-Reid Presidency

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Stealth Care Reform
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Everyone, even supposed Obama-friendly Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, has taken the Democrats to task for the hypocrisy of holding closed door negotiations on the final health care reform bill despite Barack Obama promising during his campaign that they would be broadcast on C-Span. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi brushed this off with the flip comment that “there are a number of things he was for on the campaign trail.” So she and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will have their closed door meetings.

But Candidate Obama made that promise for a reason. He understood that the American people would not stand for legislation as fundamental as health care reform being conducted in the usual backroom dealing ways of Washington, DC. And that’s why the health care reform plan is increasingly unpopular. Yes, there were unprecedented town hall meetings on health care reform back in August 2009, but the Democrats didn’t actually have their plan ready to present at those meetings or listen to the feedback.

I don’t think it’s a question of hypocrisy but a question of the relative powerlessness of President Obama within his own party. Democratic Congressional leaders just don’t feel bound by the promises Obama made on the campaign trail. What we have now is a Pelosi-Reid Presidency. I’d personally like to vote that Pelosi-Reid Presidency out of office.

The Democratic Party surely has other, better leaders who can take their place. Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey, for example, would make a fine House Speaker. California Senator Dianne Feinstein would make a fine Senate Majority Leader.

But only Democrats in Congress and not the public can vote Pelosi-Reid out of office. They won’t do it until they get a wakeup call, and if they don’t get that wakeup call now, they’ll be getting an even bigger one in the fall 2010 elections.

I think the way things are going the Democrats are on track to lose 25 to 50 seats in the House and 6 to 12 seats (including Harry Reid’s) in the Senate. That could bring in Republican House Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) and Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Kentucky).

Pelosi-Reid might have been fine for the Democratic Party when their do-nothing-ness starting in 2006 contributed to dragging down the last two year’s of the Bush Administration. But now it’s their responsibility to govern, and they continue to do it badly.

Warning: Avatar Glasses Unsafe for Use as Sunglasses

I went to see the movie Avatar in Harvard Square on Friday and the theater was packed, even though the movie came out 3 weeks ago. I had to sit in the front row, which I usually hate. With my 3-D glasses, it felt like much of the movie was taking place right in front of me, some parts almost in my lap. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Avatar may not be the most original story, the smartest dialog, or the sharpest acting but the visual stunning film work puts it all together. And the 3-D glasses have the added bonus of disappearing the audience around you into a dark, hazy blur. This may be the new way to watch movies.

The new RealD 3-D glasses issued for viewing are not the old-school 3-D paper glasses with different colored lenses. They are Risky Business-style dark glasses. But be warned (in English, Spanish, and French):

"The glasses do not screen ultraviolet light. Wearing them as sunglasses will not protect your eyes. Use only in the theater. Keep out of reach of children under 3."

Propelled in part by tickets that cost $3 or $4 more than usual (for the 3-D glasses?), Avatar has been tracking very, very well in U.S. domestic ticket sales:

5 days to take in $100 million.
10 days to take in $200 million.
15 days to take in $300 million.
23 days to take in $400 million.

Only 2 movies have reached $500 million, The Dark Knight in 45 days and Titanic in 98 days. Avatar seems on track to hit that next weekend. Titanic took 252 days to reach $600 million, the only movie to make that much domestically. Avatar may be there by the end of the month.

Internationally, Avatar is doing even better. Avatar has moved into the #2 position with $1,189,940,297 in ticket sales worldwide. That’s nearly two-thirds of the way to Titanic’s #1 spot of $1,848,813,795.

Don’t cry for Titanic losing the record. Titanic’s director, James Cameron, also directed Avatar. He’s got an impressive list of blockbuster movies to his credit:

Avatar (2009) - $429,040,297 and counting
Titanic (1997) - $600,788,188
True Lies (1994) - $146,282,411
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) - $204,859,496
The Abyss (1989) - $54,243,125
Aliens (1986) - $85,160,248
The Terminator (1984) - $38,019,031

I saw 3-D previews for four movies that looked interesting: Alice in Wonderland (March 5, 2010), Shrek Forever After (May 21, 2010), Piranha 3-D (April 16, 2010), and Despicable Me (July 9, 2010). I’ll probably skip the Piranha movie, and also Jackass 3D (October 15, 2010) which wasn’t previewed but is also coming, but will be ready to go to the movies for Spider-Man 4 in 3-D (May 6, 2011). Up, which I saw on DVD, would have been even better in 3-D in the movie theater.

So is 3-D going to be the new way to watch movies? At least in the movie theater, maybe so. All the new animated features from Dreamworks are being shown in 3-D. Live action may follow, especially in big movies such as Avatar where live action is mixed with animation or digital special effects. This is, I think, the first feature movie I’ve seen in 3-D in the movie theater. It won’t be the last.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Knight and Day May Upset Your July 4th Plans

Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz fans, start planning your July 4th weekend around the release of Knight and Day. You can laugh, but I may have to see this movie in Maryville, Missouri.

"No one follows us, or I kill myself, and then her."

It has scenes shot in Boston, Bridgewater, Worcester, and Melrose, Massachusetts. Including a car chase scene filmed along what could be the Charles River.

Think Mission: Impossible meets My Best Friends Wedding. Or Minority Report meets What Happens in Vegas.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Is Your Kindle Soon to Be Kindling?

OK, I don't get the Kindle. This is the electronic device that is selling to take the place of physical books. You download the book you want to read onto the Kindle wirelessly, assuming it's available for the Kindle, and then you read it on the Kindle.

The Kindle costs $260 for the small size with a 6 inch screen and $490 for the larger 9.7 inch screen. It has a small keyboard and some page navigation controls. So it's supposed to be more convenient, but it's going to take 10 to 20 books before it pays for itself. And that's if the books to read on the Kindle were free. Since they aren't free, you've got even more to read before break even. Assuming you don't break your Kindle and have to replace it, which will set you back further from break even.

Now Microsoft is showing off an enhanced tablet computer made by HP at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. These are also called slates, run Windows with a touchscreen rather than a keyboard, and can be used to do lots on the Internet besides just read books.

And Apple is expected to launch its own touchscreen tablet computer later this month, which is expected to cost around $1,000.

Which brings me back to the Kindle. If you have one already, and want to buy one of these new devices, what do you do with your new kindling?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Davis Square Theater, Restaurant, and Lounge

Word on the street is that Davis Square in Somerville will be getting an 800 capacity club.

The former space occupied by the Bowl and Board and the Jimmy Tingle Theater along with some additional basement level space has been taken by the Rockwell Restaurant Group, LLC.

Approvals from the various Somerville licensing boards are in the works. The entertainment license would allow shows, plays, music performances, televisions, and juke boxes.

The Jimmy Tingle Theater had a capacity of around 250, and the additional space may bring the whole club up to 800. That has the potential to surpass The Burren and Johnny D's, the current marquis spots for live club music in Davis Square. It could even rival the Middle East in Cambridge.

And who is behind Rockwell Restaurant Group? We hear that it is Ken Kelly, the proprietor of The Independent and Precinct in Union Square. He has certainly made the upstairs, downstairs formula work for him there.

If that is the model, expect three rooms with an upscale feel and menu in one, a bar menu in another, and an expansive club music room for the third. And if they stage plays in that space too, so much the better.

Sarah Borges Live at the Lizard Lounge

Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles performing live at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge, Massachusetts on January 1, 2010. They will play again there tonight, January 2.

If the quality of the music recording in this video is a bit rough, you just have to wait a bit. Sarah had a team of sound engineers in to record for a live album.

One thing about Sarah, you may find her playing at the usual places around town, but you're just as likely to find her at the Thunderbird Cafe in Pittsburgh (January 13), Slowdown in Omaha (January 20), or Knuckleheads Saloon in Kansas City (January 210.

Band news of note: Sarah was sporting a big engagement ring, and guitarist Lyle Brewer was sporting a big smile.