Hillary’s 2016 logo looks a little too familiar…

Presidential campaign season is upon us so it’s time to once again kick myself in the gonads for not blogging. Anywho …

As a long-time campaign button collector, the first thing that came to mind after watching Hillary Clinton’s announcement video was, naturally, a feeling that her logo wasn’t quite that original.

So I walked over to my 300 strong button collection and pulled this pin from Sen. Barry Goldwater’s 1964 campaign, which Hillary volunteered for back in the day:

Clinton logo

Not an exact match, mind you, but the spirit of ’64 is still there. It’s also worth noting that in an interview with the Washington Post four years before his death Goldwater said of Bill Clinton, “If he’d let his wife run business, I think he’d be better off. … I just like the way she acts.”

It wasn’t a completely glowing endorsement since Barry went on to bash the Clinton health care proposal.

Now I’m not implying that Hillary micro-managed her campaign roll out to the point of wanting to reference her days as a “Goldwater Girl.” I will say that if you look at enough buttons every once in a while a particular design comes full circle.

For a more detailed brief on Hillary Clinton’s volunteer work for Goldwater and subsequent left turn check out this FactCheck.org page here.


Settling my Election Day bets

First things first, time to settle those Election Day bets I made.  I’ll assume each prediction was worth five dollars.

On the plus side, I said no new independents would join the U.S. Senate (i.e. Greg Orman and Larry Pressler) and that here in Austin light rail would fail (though it failed more spectacularly than I expected).

Meanwhile, Leticia Van de Putte did not get more votes than Wendy Davis and Scott Brown did not have an upset victory.

I was right that Republicans would, “pick up seven Senate seats tonight.”  However that’s me spinning the details (political science grads do that) as Alaska and Virginia are still not called and Louisiana is headed to a run-off.

The jury is still out on whether Angus King (I-ME) will eventually switch parties.  So remarkably, the GOP could end up with 55 Senate seats (maybe 56 if they get really really really lucky in Virginia), the most they’ve had since the 2004 election.

Last night I remembered one bet I didn’t blog about, that Austin would have a mayoral run-off between Steve Adler and Mike Martinez.  Missed opportunity!

So I’ll end Election 2014 up 3-2 and win five bucks.  I shall remember to pay it to myself.*

Coming up next, why this campaign was more of a return to normalcy than a blowout for Republicans.


*I hope you recognize that as a “Casablanca” reference.


UPDATE: At a press conference today, Angus King announced he’ll continue to caucus with the Democrats.

Several stories about Lauren Bacall you should know (but probably don’t)

There are two kinds of movie stars we love. There are those we look up to and want to be, the Hepburns and Bogarts of the world. Then you have those you think you could be, who are relatable and easier to make eye contact with.

It’s been a rough couple of years for the latter category. Both Ernest Borgnine and Jack Klugman, the kind of everymen you could admire and emulate, died in 2012.

Flash forward to last Tuesday, we lost another great one when a woman known to her friends as Betty left us.

Born Betty Perske in the Bronx, Lauren Bacall was first and foremost a fan. Her autobiography, titled “By Myself,” opens with her professing an endless love for both Bette Davis and Leslie Howard.

Calling Davis her “fifteen-year-old idea of perfection,” Bacall would cut school to watch Dark Victory and other Davis pictures, all the while smoking in the theater balcony. Bacall’s mother would eventually punish her … for the smoking.

Bacall’s feelings for Howard were shared by her future husband Humphrey Bogart, who got his first big break in The Petrified Forrest thanks to Howard’s support. The couple would later name their daughter after him.

While in high school, Bacall actually met Davis before seeking theater work and eventually moving to Hollywood. Trembling, ignoring her tea for fear of spilling it in front of the “Queen,” Bacall listened as Davis offered sympathy and advice.

“Well, be sure [acting is] really what you want to do with your life,” Davis said. “It’s hard work and it’s lonely.”

While her autobiography was called “By Myself,” I would hardly describe Bacall’s life as a lonely one. She kept constant company, either from family or from fame, and always had the support of fans and friends alike.


This will always be one of my favorite posters!

On that note, here are a few stories from Bacall’s autobiography I think you’ll enjoy:

-She helped keep Kirk Douglas clothed

While attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1940, Bacall would look forward to the weekly plays put on by the senior class. One handsome figure who caught her eye was Kirk Douglas, attending the school on a scholarship. Douglas didn’t have much money, even telling Bacall he once spent a night in jail because he had no place to sleep. After finding out that Douglas only had one coat in his wardrobe, Bacall convinced her uncle to give him a spare one so he wouldn’t freeze during the winter. She even sewed a loose button back on the coat.

-Got over a career setback with help from Abraham Lincoln

One of Bacall’s first adventures outside of New York City was performing in a production of Franklin Street in Washington, D.C. One night she got a call from Burgess “Buzz” Meredith (whom she had met previously in NYC) asking if she’d ever seen the Lincoln Memorial. She said no and immediately accepted his invitation to give her a tour.

“I hung up, jumped up and down like a child with a great new toy,” Bacall said. “Buzz was there! He must just like me a little bit.”

Meredith had a horse and buggy waiting for Bacall at her hotel and the two visited both the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. The following night, Bacall found out that Franklin Street would end its run in D.C. and not continue back to NYC. Devastated, Bacall went back to the Lincoln Memorial for comfort.

-Was Bogie’s designated driver before marrying him

Before her death, Bacall lamented that too often people think her life revolved around her marriage to Bogart. While I’d like to keep the focus on her, it’s hard not to include at least one Bogart story in this line-up.

After falling in love with Bogart while filming To Have and Have Not, Bacall received a drunk phone call from him at four in the morning. “I’m walking back to town,” Bogart said. “Come and get me – I’ll be on Highway 101.”

Bacall, who had only recently learned to drive, rushed through the rain in the dark and found Bogie just around sunrise, “unshaven, wearing espadrillas, and with a large sunflower in his lapel.”

He could have said please.

-Bacall wasn’t impressed by Clark Gable

Producer/director Howard Hawks tried to dissuade Bacall from seeing Bogart, so much so that he and his wife Slim set her up with Clark Gable.

“He was dazzling to look at, but he stirred me not a bit,” Bacall said. “I tried to flirt a little, tried to be attached to him – but it didn’t work. He was just a pleasant terrific-looking man without an overabundance of humor who had incredible dimples and was named Clark Gable.”

There was more life in Bacall’s relationship with Gable’s Gone with the Wind co-star Vivien Leigh. While Bacall was visiting Paris in the 60s, Leigh, with “manic energy and total inability to sleep” threw a party for her. Expecting only a gathering of friends, Bacall was surprised to hear that Leigh had invited a few hundred people and took over a nightclub to host the get-together.

-She had the best “Looney Tunes” cameos


Watch Underwood and Heisenberg…

When you work too much, you avoid the best shows. When you avoid the best shows, you forget how the bad guys have never looked better. When you forget how the bad guys have never looked better, you go fly a kite in Texas. And when you go fly a kite in Texas, you end up in bed with a cold and a sunburn.

Don’t end up in bed with a cold and a sunburn: watch the newly-arrived final eight episodes of “Breaking Bad” on Netflix and enjoy “House of Cards” one more time!

It’s odd how much fun one can have with Microsoft Paint when you get the compulsion to plug good TV. The red in “watch” is the same tint from the Netflix logo, all other colors were borrowed from each program’s poster or opening title using the color picker tool.

Five memories for 50 years: The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson’s 50th Anniversary

Jerry Seinfeld once confessed that for the longest time he and other comedians debated who would take over “The Tonight Show” after Johnny Carson retired, but after reflection realized it wasn’t the show that was an American institution it was the man himself.

He was an institution I never fully discovered until after his death, laughing away at his prank on Myrtle Young (“the potato chip lady”) while the cable news networks presented his greatest moments.  Growing up in the early 90’s “The Tonight Show” was on far past my bedtime, my only early late night TV memory was seeing the opening credits of Carson’s show and “The Arsenio Hall Show” (I must confess that 5-year-old punk thought Arsenio’s intro was more flashy & memorable; forgive him, he was young).

So why do I care about a show I never watched?  Admittedly it’s mostly Carson’s longevity.  His inaugural “Tonight Show” premiered on October 1, 1962 and remained on top the late night airwaves for 30 years, an admirable feat.  But to put it simply, Johnny was special because he had both the right line at the right time and knew when the moment called for a deadpan expression.  His words were precise, his silence was golden.  A private person, he was everywhere as the “King of the Night” but never suffered from overexposure.  That kind of balance meant Carson never overstayed his welcome and it’s hard to find that kind of restraint these days.

Carson himself put it best when a TV producer approached him at a cocktail party in the late 80’s to boast about a new talk show he was launching on another network.  The producer went into detail about the kind of skits they had planned, the type of personalities who would be invited and what time slot they’d get.  Carson listened politely before casually replying, “It’s all about the man behind the desk.”

Fifty years out, and many shouts of “Here’s Johnny” later, let us simply raise a glass and say, “Here’s to Johnny.”

Five memories for 50 years:

1.) Ed Ames teaches Johnny to throw a tomahawk

2.) “Sid boom bah”

3.) Ed McMahon appears drunk

In Ed’s defense, his correction of Johnny’s math was right.

4.) Jimmy Stewart reads a poem about his dog Beau

5.) Bette Midler and Johnny sing “Here’s That Rainy Day”

Recently unearthed publicity photos from “The Dark Knight” show the true origin of “Tebowing”

Unused publicity photos from 2008’s “The Dark Knight” show never before seen takes of Christian Bale’s Batman as well as Heath Ledger’s Joker … and a very Tebowing-like stance from the Caped Crusader. Hat tip to IGN for the story.  Full gallery available here.