Archive for June, 2008

Good on ya, Amy

30,June, 2008

Amy Winehouse is in the news again for bad behaviour – this time for punching an audience member in the front row of her gig at Glastonbury. While I can’t bring myself to condone Amy’s previous misdeeds, I applaud her for that one. Let’s assume that Amy isn’t barking mad and there is a reason for her clocking this person. Some say it was because an audience member dared to touch her beehive hairdo but from what I saw it’s more likely the person said something. If that’s the case, then every comedian in the world is sitting back saying, “Good on ya, Amy.”

Regular shouting hecklers are a pain but at least it happens in open court. The audience can hear both sides of the duel between the comedian and the heckler. The comedian usually wins and the peer pressure of the group shuts the disrupter up. A heckler in the front row is a comedic nightmare. The problem is that since a front row heckler is so close, it’s usually only the performer and a handful of people around him** (usually the asshole’s friends) that can hear what’s being said. On stage, if you use your regular heckle comeback lines, like the oldie but goodie, “It’s a shame when cousins marry,” the audience wonders what you are going on about. If you have to get real heavy on him, then the audience wonders why you are being so mean. What usually happened is that you either have to ignore him, in which case he ruins you timing all night or you flip out. It looks like Amy flipped and I thought she did it really well. It would be inaccurate to say she didn’t miss a beat cause she literally did but only a couple. She threw an elbow and two really good jabs and was back on-tempo by the end of the bar. I’ve come close to belting someone in a front row but never had the guts – well done Amy.


**I say him because most asshole hecklers are men but there are exceptions. I once worked with Robin Williams at London’s Comedy Store. I was MCing and Robin was of course on last. There had been a horrible, drunken, stupid, female, front row heckler that had been tripping up comedians all night.

When she heckled Robin he stopped and asked, “Why are you heckling me?”

The woman answered, “I love you.”

Robin replied by holding an imaginary rifle up to his eye, “That’s like Oswald saying, ‘I really respect you Mr. President.’”

Looking for a cool ride?

29,June, 2008

I’m making my first Ebay sale. This is a very funky bike I bought for my son in the USA and humped it all the way back here to England. It looks fab but weighs a ton. If you live near NW2 and you want to stand out in the crowd place a bid.

Say Hello to Olive

28,June, 2008

Say Hello to Olive. Olive is my Refol‘s 105-year-old tortoise who is living with me now. Olive was unwell recently – a pair of socks to anyone who can guess what was wrong with her.

I know I’m way behind in posting socks to previous winners – if you are due socks, send an email with a postal address to:

podlit (at) gmail (dot) com

Imus and the International Ratings Week

27,June, 2008

Don Imus is in another racial flare up. I’ll give Imus the benefit of the doubt that he didn’t mean what his comments sounded like, but you would think that a man whose job is words would know better. I want to address the incident that got him fired from CBS.

Everyone is now saying that Imus lost his job at CBS for being a racist, I don’t think that’s true. Regardless of whether his comments about those girls were racist or not, they certainly were downright mean. He did humbly apologise and I think he could have weathered that storm but for the content of the rest of that show.

The TV and radio industry has a thing called ratings week. That’s when the pollsters are counting your audience and the advertisers are listening to programs to see if they want to sponsor them. During ratings week all the scripts are sharp and everyone is on their best behaviour. By making the “Nappy-headed” comment, Imus turned that particular show into his own international ratings week. The whole world heard the insensitive comment but then half the world listened to the rest of the show and it wasn’t good. Those people asked CBS, “Do you pay good money for this?”

Imus and his production team were coasting that day – normally that wouldn’t be a problem , if you have to crank out a show every day then some of them are going to be better than others. But if your shows a clunker and you say something stupid – that makes everyone listen to it – then you get what you deserve.

Vertical vs. Circumference.

26,June, 2008

I read in the NY Times that one’s waist should be no more than half his height. I almost made it. How about you?


Shadowmagic Wordle

25,June, 2008

There is a cool website that makes art from words – called Wordle. I entered all of the words from my Shadowmagic style sheet and got this.

Shadowmagic is due out in hardback on the 4th of August. Click here for more details or to be put on the mailing list.

The Blue Duck

24,June, 2008

John Scalzi’s blog Whatever is one of my favs. Yesterday be had a photo competition that really tickled me. He asked what was going on in this picture. Click on the photo to read some of the replies.

Little Brother

24,June, 2008

At the Springsteen concert a couple of weeks ago Bruce said and I paraphrase, “Recently in the US we have had, illegal wiretapping, the tearing up of the Geneva Convention, prisoners with no habeas corpus and prisoners of war tortured. When we were growing up, this is the kind of stuff that they told us only happened in other countries.”

It should have been something easy to dismiss. Just a rant from a liberal rock star but the idea has stuck with me.

And now I have just finished a book that although it is aimed at young adults – it has sent a shiver down this old fart’s spine.

Cory Doctorow’s latest novel Little Brother is the story of a techno-savvy 17 year old who is arrested – no not arrested – taken, by Homeland Security without any kind of due process. When he finally gets out he fights back.

It’s a cracking book for young adults that includes sex, underage drinking, and serious civil disobedience and I recommend every kid to read it. The cool and scary thing about the book is that it is all based on real stuff. The surveillance, the computer hacking and the powers granted to homeland security are all based on fact. I think it should be read by everyone.

Little Brother is not yet available in the UK until November but you can download it for free online. (I read it on my mobile phone.) If after you read it for free, you have a hankering, like I did, to give Cory something for his work then you can go to his website and get details of how to donate a copy of the book to a library. I sent one to a library in my old neighborhood. I can only hope some kid reads it and grows up to be a little less compliant than my generation has been.

The Gratuitous Sock Tribute to George Carlin Day

23,June, 2008

It looks like today is the Gratuitous Sock tribute to George Carlin day – and why not? The first link to George’s album Class Clown seems to work directly on youtube. Try this link:

The Hippy-Dippy Weatherman

23,June, 2008

The George Carlin link on the previous post stopped working about an hour after I posted it. So I’ll have to post a video after all. I found this gem. It’s Carlin’s first appearance on The Johny Carson show performing his character ‘The Hippy-Dippy Weatherman.’