Monday, September 29, 2008


I found this on the web but it wasn't credited, so I don't know from what great mind it sprang. But I do know that it rules.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Paul Newman 1925 - 2008

"I wanted to acknowledge luck. The beneficence of it in many lives and the brutality of it in the lives of others, especially children, who might not have a lifetime to make up for it."

-Paul Newman, on his style of low-key philanthropy

He was a great-looking movie star who eschewed traditional leading-man roles in favor of playing heels and anti-heroes and became an icon for it. He was a fine actor who was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and even as he aged continued to turn in tremendous performances (1982's "The Verdict" and 1994's "Nobody's Fool," a movie that reminds me very much of my pop, come to mind.). In the span of 4 years he managed to make 3 films that started with the letter "H" - "Hud," "Harper," "Hombre." He was reportedly thrilled when he found that he had made #19 on Richard Nixon's famous enemies list in the 70's for his political views. He was an accomplished racer of cars and managed to remain married to the same woman for 50 years, once famously remarking "Why go out for hamburger when I have steak at home?" As simply an actor and one of cinema's all-time great movie stars, his life would certainly be memorable and worthy of remembrance.

But Newman took things up a notch. In 1980 or so he and a friend got the idea that his homemade salad dressing, which he bottled and gave out as Christmas presents to friends and neighbors, could do some good in the world via his celebrity. Thus was born "Newman's Own" line of food products (Mrs. Blogfoot has never gotten over the fact that I prefer Newman's delicious "Marinara" spaghetti sauce to her mother's recipe). With a company motto of "Shameless Exploitation in Pursuit of the Common Good," this company has donated all of it's after-tax profits to charities, an amount that to date is estimated to be be over $250 million dollars. Relief efforts, schools, and arts & humanities have all benefited, but a good chunk of it goes to his "Hole In The Wall Gang" camps. Named after his gang in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", the camps are a place where children with life-threatening diseases can attend free of charge and forget about being sick and just be kids for a while.

Did he do this for publicity? Hardly. In fact, he turned down a proposed commendation from President Clinton in the 90's for his efforts. As former camp counselor Dahlia Lithwick writes on

"In an era in which nearly everyone feels entitled to celebrity and fortune, Newman was always suspicious of both. He used his fame to give away his fortune, and he did that from some unspoken Zen-like conviction that neither had ever really belonged to him in the first place."

Plus, he ate 50 eggs. Nobody can eat 50 eggs.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Well said

Legendary investor Warren Buffet on the subject of gold and the world's obsession with acquiring and basing currency on it:

"It gets dug out of the ground in Africa, or someplace. Then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility. Anyone watching from Mars would be scratching their head."

I like every word in this quote. But I especially like the "...or someplace" part.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ye Gods

If you tried to envision the most terrifying headline you might possibly see today, you'd probably think that said headline would have something to do with the current economic crisis, or that some crazed dictator has the nuke, or that Al Queda has struck again.

But you'd be wrong.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"Let me ask you this: Does it have to be a whale? Wouldn't an airplane-sized shark be scarier?"

Ain't' It Cool News is reporting that some visionaries in Hollywood are gearing up to make a new, big-budget version of Herman Melville's classic "Moby Dick." Except of course, that they are determined to change it in order to make it more palatable to today's moronic audiences.

"Our vision isn't your grandfather's version of 'Moby Dick,'" said screenwriter Adam Cooper. "This is an opportunity to take a timeless classic and capitalize on the advances in visual effects to tell what at it's core is an action-adventure story."

Well Adam, at it's core 'Moby Dick" is actually a symbolic and metaphorical examination of man's hubris, obsession and futile attempts to control his fate and impart his will on nature, set against a backdrop of the whaling industry that was so vital to our growing nation at the time. But whatever.

The story goes on to say "The writers revere Melville's original text, but their graphic novel-style version will change the structure."

This means they will attempt to cram a hot chick in there somewhere.

"Gone is the first-person style narration by the young seaman Ishmael..."

Makes sense. He was only the vessel through which the reader understands and interprets the story.

"This change will allow them to depict the whale's decimation of other ships prior to to it's encounter with Ahab's Pequod..."

Translation: "We're going to rip off "Jaws" as much as legally possible. And there will be plenty of unconvincing CGI."

"...and Ahab will be depicted more as a charismatic leader than a brooding obsessive."

This also makes sense. Why would someone who had their leg bitten off by a whale waste time and energy brooding, or be obsessive? In fact, can we ditch that whole peg-leg thing? No A-list actor is going to want to waddle around on a peg-leg. It's just not very sexy. Instead, maybe he just has a scar on his face? Not too big, though - a tasteful scar. And now that I think of it - that title. "Moby Dick?" A sperm whale named Dick? Come on - kids are going to laugh at that. Maybe we could change it. Something like - "Leviathan"? No , too highbrow. Maybe..."White Death"? Well, we've got time to hash all that out. Can someone see if Brett Ratner is available?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Columnist Gregg Easterbrook points out the following dreary fact in his fine "Tuesday Morning Quarterback" column on

"It took the United States 209 years, from the founding of the republic till 1998, to compile the first $5 trillion in national debt. In the decade since, $6 trillion in debt has been added. This means the United States has borrowed more money in the past decade than in all our previous history combined. "

Yikes indeed.

Friday, September 19, 2008

It's that time of year again

Am I referring to the forthcoming fall equinox? No, nothing so pedestrian. Instead, I am speaking of the birth anniversary of none other than Mr. Adam West. Mr. West turns 80 years young today. He is akin to a god.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I saw this photo on some other blog that I forgot to bookmark, so I can't credit them. Sorry, dudes. But what we have here are a couple of visionaries who decided that they didn't want to just thoughtlessly add to one of our nation's ever-growing landfills, so they took their old mac and made a "tobacco" pipe out of it. Well done, gents. I also like that one guy took pains to conceal his identity while the other stared brazenly into the camera. And, for the final flourish, all this went down in a purple room.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


That's the sound of the Dow dropping 500 points the other day. Well done, Wall Street. So much for deregulation. But I must admit, it's pretty clever how you've managed to socialize risk but privatize profit.

Monday, September 15, 2008

It's deja vu all over again

"I was defined as the insider [in New Hampshire], and those days are over. I'm going to make it very clear to the voters of this state who Mr. Outsider is and who Mr. Insider is."

-George Bush referring to John McCain, 2000.

To communicate his new maverick image, Bush then adopted the slogan "A Reformer With Results." Now McCain and his Creatonism-favoring running mate are sounding the same horn.

Since we're all just going to buy this sack full of malarky and pretend that the last 8 years never happened, I'd like to tell you about this great new song I heard: it's called "Who Let The Dogs Out?" and it's by a hot new band called the Baha Men. It's utterly infectious, and I'm convinced these guys have the talent that will stand the test of time.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

We're not out of the woods yet

OK, so turning on the Large Hadron Collider early this morning didn't create a black hole that sucked in everything in it's path.

Yet, that is.

It is my understanding that right now the LHC is only firing particles in one direction, and things won't actually start colliding for a month or so. Once that starts, the feared-but-unlikely black hole could manifest at any time. So if you're sitting on the couch minding your own business sometime in October and suddenly your perception of time slows down and everything looks all rubbery and stretched out, prepare to be winked out of existence.

And what would that be like? Well, charmingly enough, something like this:

"Your body would be shredded apart into the smallest possible pieces. Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, who wrote the definitive account Death by Black Hole, imagined the experience as "the most spectacular way to die in space."

Thanks, Neil. I'm going to head home and tightly clutch my teddy bear now.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Say your prayers, hug the wife and kids, etc

Because tomorrow some scientists deep underground on the border between France and Switzerland are going to fire up the world's largest particle accelerator, and once they do, we could all perish within seconds. Intended to allow these foolhardy eggheads to learn how the universe was formed by analyzing particle collisions, some fear that the accelerator could accidentally create a black hole that will suck up everything around it. In other words - you, me and everything we hold dear.

The scientists called such fears "baloney." I don't know about you, but I like that guys smart enough to conceive, design, build and operate a particle accelerator the size of a small city still use words like "baloney." Brings them down to our level.

But the most terrifying part of the article to my eyes was the following: "(the accelerator) even has a rap dedicated to it on YouTube." Brrrr - such words chill the bones.

More about the impending apocalypse here. Been nice knowin' ya!

Violent coffee commercials from the 50's with muppets

On the most recent episode of "Mad Men," the agency was pitching a large coffee account that wanted to reach a younger demographic. A mention was made of a failed previous attempt that featured puppets. Well, a little digging reveals that lo and behold, such a thing did exist.

These were done on the 50's for Wilkins Coffee, and featured muppets courtesy of a young Jim Henson. They are strangely violent, especially for the era:

These would be fun scripts to write:

MUPPET #1: Hey, do you like coffee?

MUPPET #2: No.

SFX: Blam! (Muppet #1 kills Muppet #2 with cannon).

Ah, the good old days.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

And another thing

Something else that has struck me as odd this week is another shrill refrain from all the RNC speeches: that the GOP believes in smaller government, that the GOP will reduce the size of the government, etc.

Well, consider this: the last time a Republican president left office with a smaller government than when he went in, it was the 1950's.

The GOP does not believe in or engender small government. The GOP likes the government to have no say in how businesses are run or regulated, but that's a whole different story.

That's the last of my scorching political commentary for now. I'll go back to posting Scooby-Doo clips.

I'm confused

Various blustery and strident speeches made during the Republican National Convention that has blighted my city this week have all had a common theme: Republicans are going to change things! No more politics as usual! Throw out the political elite and bring in some outsiders to shake things up!

I find this fairly interesting, seeing as how we've had a Republican President for the last 8 years and Republicans controlled the House and the Senate until January of 2007. So - what they are offering is change from...themselves?

An interesting strategy. I would say that voters would see right through it, except that these same voters twice-elected a privileged moron (who failed in every business venture he undertook but kept getting new opportunities due to his father's political power and connections) and were willing to swallow the image of this same mope as a salt-of-the-earth, God-fearing Texan who toiled ceaselessly to clear brush from his land.

Should be an interesting election season.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Singer, songwriter, actor and good ol' boy Jerry Reed died Monday at the age of 71. He starred with Burt Reynolds in "Smokey & The Bandit" and also wrote & performed the movie's famous theme song "East Bound and Down" (You know you know the words..."East Bound and down, loaded up and truckin', we gonna do what they say can't be done....").

He wrote songs for Elvis and Dean Martin, popped in on "Hee Haw", had a big hit in the early 70's with his novelty song "When You're Hot, You're Hot" (a personally adhered-to philosophy that we here at Blogfoot believe shapes the world in untold and myriad ways) and, lest we forget, even co-starred on "Scooby-Doo":

Jeez - would have it have killed the animators to fill in some more of the seats in concert scene? Things looked pretty sparse there.

Anyway, here's hoping you got that truckload of Coors where it needed to go, Jerry.