Posts Tagged ‘Ronald Reagan’

 

Letterman’s Impressionists

Tuesday, November 14th, 2006

My DVR was set to record David Letterman tonight. It’s been a long time since I did that. His show is must see TV for me this week, because it’s “Impressionist Week.”

I love impressionists. I remember watching them perform on Ed Sullivan when I was a kid. They did voices that made my parents laugh, based on references I didn’t get at the time. My dad’s laugh of approval was good enough for me.

I knew Rich Little would have to be part of the Letterman line-up at some point, but I didn’t expect him to be the first up.

Thirty years ago… can that be right… Thirty years ago, Rich Little was as hot as a comedian gets. The intervening years hadn’t been kind. I saw him a while ago and he was lackluster – like a guy just going through the motions.

I forget what show he was on, but it demanded more than just an impressionist. As a person, he seemed drab and cold.

Obviously, my hopes were not high as he walked out. The first thing I noticed was his hair. I’m 56 and people complain, thinking mine’s colored (it’s not). Little has twelve years on me and has bright brown hair.

Maybe I’m wrong about his hair as people are about mine. I doubt it, but maybe.

He started his act doing Dr. Phil – and he killed. I am thrilled to say, Rich Little was as good tonight as I’ve ever seen him. I was happy for him – happy for me.

He then proceeded to run through some ‘names.’ He was Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Andy Rooney.

He finished with his signature, Johnny Carson. As fresh as Johnny is in my mind, that show hasn’t been on since 1992! And, I’ve seen Rich Little do Carson a zillion times.

This time, he began with a new set-up (at least for me), explaining how his inspiration for the Carson impression came after seeing an ostrich at the zoo. Without saying a word, he began posturing, shifting his body and moving his head.

He was Johnny Carson before he spoke a word! He killed some more. And then he did a silly, slightly off color Carnac joke. Letterman’s audience ate it up.

Is it possible for a performer to ever get too used to… to be blas

Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Friday, November 3rd, 2006

I’m fascinated by our upcoming election. I read as much as I possibly can. That’s a tall order.

Recently, I’ve heard pronouncements from both Republicans and Democrats, that when the votes are counted, they will control the House of Representatives. They can’t both be right, can they?

Of course politicians have a vested interest in not giving up. Remember the grief Jimmy Carter got when he conceded to Ronald Reagan?

From PBS.org: Though he had been begged not to, the president gave his concession speech before the polls had closed on the West coast, hurting several Congressional Democrats in tight races. “You guys came in like a bunch of pricks, and you’re going out the same way,” a furious Tip (O’Neil) told a Carter operative.

Conceding too early can hurt national political parties. In other words, you’ve got to take everything you hear with a grain of salt.

So, who can you trust? I don’t know, but I’m curious if it might be a betting site.

I’m about to write about TradeSports.com. I have never bet on this site and don’t intend to. I’m not even sure its business is legal… at least not in the US.

Tradesports takes ‘book’ on a variety of ‘contests.’ You can bet on sporting events and snowfall in New York. It’s a pretty eclectic mix. There are a number of ‘contracts’ available on political races.

If you think money bet really is ‘smart money,’ The Democrats will win the House, the Republicans the Senate. I’ll be watching all the political races TradesSports tracks to see how they do.

The two graphs which follow are updated in realtime. They show the contract price on bets for Republican control of the House and Senate respectively. As a numbers geek, I find this part fascinating.

Going to the Candidates Debate

Thursday, September 30th, 2004

I am poised for tonight’s presidential debate from Coral Gables. Like hurricane coverage that starts two days before the storm arrives, the TV pundits have run out of valuable things to say.

Here’s my point: Debates can affect elections.

As close as it was, Al Gore’s horrendously stiff show in the last election debates probably cost him the presidency. Remember ‘lock box,’ a phrase he obviously wanted to get in no matter what was asked?

There was Ronald Reagan’s “there you go again” to Walter Mondale, Gerald Ford’s premature freeing of Poland from communist rule, and Richard Nixon’s five o’clock shadow.

Tonight I hope it’s not a gaffe that eliminates one man from the presidency, but a realization by the voters of where they stand vis a vis the other.

I recently watched an entire George Bush campaign stop on ABC World Now. There was no commentary and no cut aways. Bush was masterful. I was extremely impressed at his warm, folksy style. To see it used so effectively was unexpected, to say the least. If he can pull that off in this debate (of course in a campaign appearance he never faces critical commentary or questions from his audience as he will tonight), Kerry might as well start wind surfing tomorrow.

On the other hand, for the first time, Kerry gets seen in context with the president. Will he look presidential, compared to the man who currently defines that role? If he does, that goes a long way to calming some fears.

How will he handle the charge of flip flop? If John Kerry changes that perception, Bush has a much tougher opponent for the next 33 or so days.

Will either candidate attack the other? If so, how will the voters react? It can be looked at as a sign of strength, or the trait of a desperate man, depending on how the attack is wielded.

This will be very interesting to watch. I’ll be glued to my seat.