Why you shouldn’t smoke weed or get old

President Trump (lol. I keep forgetting that’s a real thing) met with Henry Kissinger today  –  a news item I wouldn’t bother reporting if I didn’t have something funny to share over it. But first lets get the news part out of the way:

 President Donald Trump met with Henry Kissinger in the Oval Office on Tuesday, calling the former secretary of state a “man of immense, talent, experience and knowledge.”

Kissinger, who worked under former Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, has been advising Trump on foreign policy matters since his presidential campaign. The president conferred with Kissinger at the White House in May, the same day he met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Trump and Kissinger met twice in New York before he became president.

And now your dessert:

I don’t even know why I’m posting this, really. I go against the mainstream popular rejection of the anti-Drug PSA’s the meme is mocking (some of the claims about crime might have been overblown, but ones like this that note what a loser you can broadcast yourself as if you make getting high on tha weedz a major part of your life are just objectively true and humorously depicted in the visuals, sooooo… i’m going with “decent art” instead of “loathsome propaganda” on those) and poor Kissinger’s crimes are just “being Republican” and “being old” (and also maybe actual crimes) but whatever. It couldn’t be passed up.

Credit to this goes to this person on Twitter & Wyatt for finding it in the first place because he’s a Kissinger-phile and stitching the images together because I told him to.

Miller, Tiller, and Price: 3 old white guys walk into a bar

Breaking: comedian, Larry Miller, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and as-of-now Former HHS Secretary Tom Price are apparently different people.

In related news: the first guy in the picture is Tom Price has resigned. I know you don’t care, and you have no reason to, so here are the quick hits:

HHS Secretary is the leader of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Tom Price was the guy in charge. He was an advocate for doctors.

He got hassled in the press over flying in private jets at taxpayers expense even though he claimed he was reimbursing tax payers for those flights. So he resigned because of all the bad publicity – and yes, he reimbursed the United States Treasury for his private flights, like he said.

Here he is performing his famous “Five Levels of Drinking” bit on stage in the 90s:

*Addendum: it’s been brought to my attention that this might be Tillerson in the above comic routine. Standby for further research.

Update: Interesting observation – Every time the President focuses on policy, that Cabinet secretary disappears.

Pregnant local news anchor’s water breaks live on air and she finishes the segment

“Breaking News!” That’s the opening to the DailyMail’s report of this story and I couldn’t not-repeat it. I cringe at “you go girl!” style posts lauding someone for doing what they’re either supposed to or what someone of another gender or background would not be celebrated for if such were the case of the story – but this is legit. A human person growing inside another person pops the sack that begins the “get me TF outta here” process and the host-body continues the duties of her job – in this case talking about the new character limits on Twitter – and waits until they go to commercial to continue the birthing process? You go girl!


35 Year Old NBC News 4’s Natalie Pasquarella

The new Megyn Kelly and new Megyn Kelly show are both…confusing

Megyn Kelly was a Fox News contributor and sometimes-host for many years before getting her own primetime show on the network titled The Kelly File, which was very good. When she announced she would be leaving Fox News for a new hosting gig at NBC, it annoyed a lot of her fans because they felt abandoned and that Kelly had used Fox and it’s conservative viewer base to gain fame and fortune and then use that popularity as leverage to leave that network and that base and go to a rival mainstream source.

As a media observer, I thought there was definitely an element of “you’re supposed to dance with the one that brung you” to her departure, but also empathized with the move as she seemed to be increasingly out of place at Fox News in the era of Trump and while I personally saw that as an opportunity for her to take her show in more of a personal-story and investigative-reporting angle and less of the “news of the day” interviews and commentary – I could understand her wanting to take another opportunity with another network. While Fox was a good fit for her, I could imagine Kelly breaking big stories and see her bring her center-right feminist anti-Trumpism methodical interrogations to both a wider set of interview targets than would be willing to go on a Fox News show (cowards), and a wider audience than just the type that is willing to tune into the Fox News Channel for news and commentary. Especially of interest to me would be the mirror-image of her previous life she would be displaying at NBC – because at Fox News she was only regarded as conservative because that’s the general slant of the network at large, but Kelly in particular showed no reverence to conservative ideology, Republican party politics, or any such movement beliefs.

In other words: at Fox News, Megyn Kelly was an outsider voice providing the logic and prosecutorial deconstructions of things that don’t make any sense that the networks conservatives loved, while slipping in factual corrections, challenges to right-wing dogma, and a female-centric advocacy angle the networks viewers were open to but not necessarily clamoring for and thus got in their news diet stealth style like a dog eating its medicine wrapped in a slice of cheese.
At NBC, she would be an outsider voice providing the reverse: at a network with typically left-wing reporting choice and editorial coverage bias, Kelly would largely fit in in most thesis’ and tone, while slipping in factual corrections, challenges to those left-wing dogmas, and a female-centric voice for more reason based arguments than is present in the mostly emotionally driven Left. It would be interesting, I thought, to see Megyn deconstruct things like “no, it’s not okay to ‘punch Nazi’s” or gently remind viewers that Trump’s handling of recent hurricanes hasn’t been the neglectful “let them all drown” policy that many of his critics are opportunistically decrying.

Well, anyway – Never got to see any of that, because that’s not what either Megyn Kelly wanted or what NBC wanted for her.

Megyn debuted on NBC on Sunday nights with a show called Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly. It wasn’t very bad, but it wasn’t very good. Mostly it was just nothing. Nothing in the way of “nothing special” and “not a game changer” or even a dial mover in any way. She interviewed Putin. Which was nice for her I guess but the results weren’t anything big for news media consumers and didn’t get any love from news media critics. The observations in this article by John Ziegler were all much more interesting than the actual interview.

The only other interview I saw from this show was a Q&A with comedian Ricky Gervais which just kept had me thinking “why?…”. I like Ricky and I like Megyn and I don’t hate this interview, but… what’s the point? It was good for a podcast, but out-of-place as a Sunday Night news magazine item that appeared to be surrounded by other equally ho-hum items instead of being the moment of relief among other important or heavy toned topics.

Then Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly ended and Today with Megyn Kelly began. Today with Megyn Kelly took everything I expected from Kelly’s next chapter of life and was confused at not seeing in the Sunday Night and tripled down on it in this iteration…

“The truth is, I am kind of done with politics for now,” she declared in the inaugural episode of her Today show. and sure enough, the show was anything-related-to-news free.

I watched a couple clips and quickly thought “I miss the old Megyn Kelly“….

Rather than politics, she explained, her new show would focus on, well, emotions. “Have a laugh with us, a smile, sometimes a tear, and maybe a little hope to start your day,” she said. “Some fun! That’s what we want to be doing. Some fun.”

In one segment, she had a fashion expert convince women that they could, indeed, pull off high-waisted pants. In another, she made roast chicken. When the actor Russell Brand — who, in better days, might have been a worthy political adversary — confessed that he worries that he doesn’t look good enough and that his body isn’t good enough, she interrupted him. “You do. It is.”

It was the antithesis of the woman who was once willing to give up the support of her conservative audience to speak truth to power. The former Megyn Kelly came to slay, whether you liked it or not. The new Megyn Kelly is “so excited — so excited” and “also a little nervous; bear with me, please!” With every gesture, every word, every look, the new Megyn Kelly seems to be trying to convey one thing: Like me.

This was disappointing to me because the Megyn Kelly that was popular was not so because she was so “likeable” definitely not because she cared if you liked her – she was popular because she commanded respect through professional execution of prosecutorial talent. It is what made her goofier lighter moments on Fox so much more endearing and human – because they were coming from a professional. Ironically, this excited and emotion driven persona seems so…less human.

In another post, the previously cited John Ziegler voices the same reactions and concerns as I thought about the new show, although doing so under a harsher headline than I would choose myself that asks “So, Was the Old Megyn Kelly a Fraud, or is this New Version the Phony?“…

I get that humans can sometimes evolve and that as a media personality you have to remold yourself to fit the nature of the target audience. But what has happened with Megyn Kelly makes some of the transformations of Madonna or Lady Gaga’s seem rather tame by comparison.

The promotional lead up to Monday’s first show set a new standard for desperation. Each promo almost literally exuded estrogen in a frantic, obviously focused-grouped, attempt to show stay-at-home moms just how much Kelly is like them. The message seemed to be, “See, she’s rich, beautiful, famous, got attacked by our president, has kids and lady parts… just like you!”

The over-the-top efforts of the rest of the NBC Today Show staff to welcome her to their TV family have been so contrived as to make them appeared provoked by serious threats from the corporate suits who overpaid for Kelly’s services and are now very invested in trying to salvage this possibly doomed maneuver. However, it all feels like they are trying too hard to sell fancy cat food to a public which usually has an uncanny ability to smell inauthenticity, and may very well simply turn up its collective nose.

In fact, lack of genuineness seems to be biggest problem Kelly’s new show has. I doubt many of her old fans from Fox News will find her complete shedding of, and overt disdain for, her former persona and subject manner appealing. Nor will they find her attempt to be the combination of Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres (wrapped in the package of a pretty, straight, white woman) appealing. I also doubt the new “MSM” viewers are likely to completely buy this new, super soft, version of her any more than MSNBC loyalists took to Trump supporter Greta Van Susteren (who lasted only a few months there).

Roger Ailes was right about Megyn Kelly, why was Megyn Kelly wrong about Megyn Kelly? From the NY Times piece I quoted earlier:

Even as he was commenting on her bra choices, Roger Ailes himself was giving Ms. Kelly savvy advice that was, in a way, progressive. As she notes in her book, Mr. Ailes told her at the beginning of her career “to not try so hard to be perfect” and to show “who I really am.” Who she really was turned out to be smart, aggressive and impossibly quick. A former lawyer, she developed an adversarial approach that made her something of an anomaly among talk show hosts: Whether she was sparring with Anthony Weiner over President Barack Obama’s tax policy or with Donna Brazile over the Democratic National Committee’s hacked emails, Megyn Kelly was not there to make friends.

The family that revived The Chipmunks into a billion dollar brand

NPR has a great show called How I Built This where host Guy Raz talks to people who created successful multi-million dollar brands as they tell the story of how they did it. Most of the episodes are very good. This one about The Chipmunks characters was of particular interest to me since I always wondered what was going on with that brand as early as 8 years old when I was trying to figure out the corporate structure and mechanics of how to build my own empire of cartoon characters – back in an age with no world-wide-web with any helpful information on it, I had to fill in a lot of the gaps on my own. Some of the things I would try to figure out along these lines were:
-What’s up with the Padding Bear stop motion animation shorts? They don’t appear to be American-made. How old are the books and how old are these little stop motion movies?
-Dr Seuss cartoons – The Grinch, The Lorax, The Sneeches – these arent episodes in a series, they’re all – what? – specials that aired on tv whenever a deal could be made? So Dr Seuss would just have a successful book and then be offered to make a tv special half hour animation of it? or how did that work?
-Peanuts – “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” and “Snoopy Come Home” were staples in my childhood but these too were specials just made from the newspaper comic strip? How does that work exactly?
-The Chipmunks – I was familiar with The Chipmunks Witch Doctor song and their Christmas song (“I still want a hoola-hoop”) as a kid and I knew both were old 50s era classics by the context they were presented on tv and radio so I knew their 1980s Saturday Morning Show and related media (an animated Christmas Special that preceded the series and an animated Chipmunks Movie that was a longer version of the Saturday morning show) were revivals of a sort. But how did these characters resurrect after having no public presence for 30 years? Then when all Chipmunk media died in the early 90s – why? Where’d they go?

The Chipmunks have made 2 comebacks experienced in my lifetime. The first obvious one I just detailed and their confusing fizzle from the public until 2007’s live action Chipmunk movie and its sequels – including the much derided “Sequeakual” – which have spawned new cartoons and more movies and made the characters Billion dollar money makers. The episode’s description summarizes: 

Years after his father created a hit singing group of anthropomorphic rodents called The Chipmunks, Ross Bagdasarian Jr. made it his mission to revive his dad’s beloved characters. Over the last 40 years, Ross Jr. and his wife Janice have built The Chipmunks into a billion dollar media franchise – run out of their home in Santa Barbara, California.

Knowing that the Chipmunk revival was a son juicing up a creation of his father and working hard to build it into something was the draw of the tale for me. Kids of mine reading this in the future: please revive my stuff! Run with it. Work hard at it. Go be Bagdasarian Jr’s with my shiz.
Hearing them tell their story also makes the Saturday morning cartoon more touching. It always excited me and was one of the first themes I downloaded to my 2nd generation iPod in the early 00’s but hearing the tale of how a husband and wife were shopping the Chipmunks wherever they could and working day and night to make them what they became brings new energy to the lines of the theme song hailing their comeback. “Watch. Out…. CUZ HERE WE COME… it’s been awhile but, we’re back with style”… Go get em, Alvin.

It’s also especially rewarding to hear Dave Seville himself tell all these stories – as not only is Bagdasarian Jr the voice of Dave in those 90s cartoons, but his Dave voice is his natural speaking voice without change to the good-hearted-overworked-slightly-neurotic-but-optimistic cadence I felt in every line of David Seville on the show and now from the real-life Chipmonks manager, Ross Bagdasarian.

The podcast fills in these blanks and more and I learned the corporate treachery and screwovers the couple went through who own and have dedicated their lives to the Chipmunk characters, and that they evidently went to court over The Squeakual being such a piece of garbage (since the court case was settled with terms that they not talk about it, you don’t get any juicy details in the podcast or anywhere else online except for that it seems that there was an issue over not paying royalties or profit shares of some kind that the Bagdasarian’s were entitled to, and that the family was unhappy with the writing quality over their characters and sued for future control over how they’re treated. I think that’s what I gleaned from the vaguely worded articles I read on the subject, anyway).

Listen to the How I Built this episode with Ross Bagdasarian Jr. and Janice Karman through your podcast app (if you listen to podcasts at 2x the speed like I do) or play it below:

Bonus romper clip: At the end of every episode they have a postscript titled “How You Built That,” featuring a shorter version of the main show that focuses on a new or recent Startup instead of an iconic brand or long standing successful business as is the normal spotlight of the show. The postcript for the Chipmunks episode above is how Daniel Clark-Webster and his three friends came up with RompHim – a company specializing in male rompers.

Everything [I have determined that] you need to know about Apples 2017 announcements

Apple announced stuff. Here is that stuff and what it means.

THE STEVEN JOBS THEATER
– a nice tribute to the late Apple founder
First event to be held on the Apple Park campus in the 1,000 seat theater named after the dude who started the company and then came back to make it what it is today.

I would have done it differently, but who cares. Thought the extended voice-over with no visuals was more odd than it was tributary but it was all nice enough. Technically, the Steve Jobs Theater was the first new product unveiled at this event. Now on to the stuff you can buy:


APPLE WATCH 3
– Cellular data option and a heart monitor feature

LTE on Apple Watch is $10 addition to existing cell plan. that’s just approachable enough for me to not dismiss it out of hand and also ridiculous enough for me to scoff. It’s cool to be able to have a device on your wrist that can communicate with satellites and not need the proximity of another device to get data to it but I don’t see a user outside of athletes that would use the feature. A runner, swimmer, surfer, or sport team member training Rocky style who wants to be able to receive calls and/or listen to music while doing their activity without having their phone on them makes sense but virtually no other scenario outside of sport activity is imaginable to me. Apple also announced that the watch will monitor your heart and notify its wearer of any cardiac arrhythmia. Also, the digital crown is a red dot for some reason now instead of the same metalic covering as the rest of the watch.

APPLE TV
– Now with 4K (and nothing else added)
Notice the difference between the image above and the previous Apple TV? Thats because there isn’t one. Same exact body, same exact remote, and it has the same exact software. No big crime I guess. Underwhelming for something I think should be a much bigger focus by Apple but the current device is suitable enough and the addition of 4k video is… something… to some people. Makes me feel better about buying my parents an Apple TV two weeks ago, knowing this new version with 4k and who-knows-what-other-upgrades would be announced. I needed to get them to cord-cut their cable service before the next billing cycle so I had to buy it and was pre-annoyed that a new model was coming out in just a couple weeks, but today Apple announced the only new thing in the next version of the device is that it supports 4K video. They, nor I, have a 4K display, so this is a non-feature for us.


iPHONE 8
– Wireless charging & it’s a little faster and takes better pictures

The iPhone & iPhone 8+ look much like the 7. It’s got a faster processor (A11 chip they’re calling “Bionic” that has six cores) and better camera (same megapixels as its predecessor but now has a new sensor with optical stabilization), as every new iPhone does. The iPhone 8 Plus will have a better more powerful camera with a dual sensor so it looks like I’ll be shelling out $800 for one of those ($700 for the regular 8). Wireless charging is the only other discernable feature anyone would probably care about. Just enough to make the new product an unexciting but desired upgrade.


iPHONE X
– Same as iPhone 8 but a bigger screen & face ID instead of fingerprint ID

Steve Jobs would end his presentations with “one more thing” and then announce something cool and that’s what Apple was mirroring when they announced “one more thing” and revealed the iPhone X, which Apple pronounces as 10 (“ten”), not “ex” (same as their OSX operating system). There’s no more home button, dashing my concept that the new Apple Park campus building’s “spaceship” design was intended to represent a giant home button – which it still may well have been since it was designed when both Steve Jobs and the home button were alive and planning to go on living for awhile – and instead unlocks by scanning your face since there is no more fingerprint pad, as the screen is borderless. The camera appears to be the same as the iPhone 8 with a double vertical sensor of 12 megapixels but something slightly different about “optical stabilization”. As reported in leaks and rumors before the announcement, the new phone will be a thousand bucks. $300 more than the iPhone 8 just for facial recognition instead of fingerprint scan and a borderless screen? I can pass on both since neither feature is particularly attractive to me.

 

The Russia and United States “Frenemy” relationship

Russian and United States relations are a mixed bag and the news media is not helping clear the connection, especially lately as it has become politically advantageous for Trump critics to latch onto an evidence-lacking conspiracy theory that Russia not only paved the way for Trump to get into office, but did so with the collusion and cooperation of the Trump campaign. Due to the accusations there are multiple government probes investigating any such collusion in which Democratic senator Feinstein admitted there was no evidence of, but the hopes among most Democrats are that this will change if enough digging takes place. Unsurprisingly, Trump calls the whole thing a total hoax. All of this criticism comes as a total about-face from Democrats whom in the last election cycle mocked Mitt Romney for calling Russia America’s top geopolitical threat. This was because the Obama administration was comically cozy with Putin’s Russian.

So are America and Putin’s-Russia friends or enemies? I’m asking rhetorically because this post is presuming to know that the answer is that they’re Frenemies: Never been very chummy with each other but different presidents have had different strategies. Bush and Obama pretty much kissed Putins butt to try and get cooperation on certain global actions and avoid direct conflicts. Hillary Clintons approach was to try to be a badass and trash talk Russia like it would shame its government into doing things we wanted and make her look like a big strong woman standing up to a big scary power she strategized that she could tame or contain. Trump has a more Trumpian policy approach where he talks nice and then sets blunt terms. This is on display in particular in the recent news that the U.S. ordered Russia to close their consulate in San Fransisco in what is described as a tit-for-tat move.

Imagine it like we’re gonna go out to lunch and Anastasia is like “Richard is pretty awesome. Great guy. Fair man. And he agrees with fairness, especially towards friends, right?” baiting Richard to be like, “eff yea I’m awesome and great. I’m so awesome and great you outta pick up my tab for this meal. wudda ya say?” and Anastasia comes in with the hook saying “I absolutely would do that you awesome dude. Although I grilled-cheesed you yesterday, so – you being such a fair dude, you outta actually be paying for me this time around – but yea man, you’re the-tits!” and then Richard, who had plans to get a free meal, is now paying for himself & Anastasia’s.

Anastasia is Trump and Richard is Putin in that scenario. In the news link shared, what happened was that Russia claimed it wanted parity (that means equality – like parallel) with the US on “missions in each others countries”. So the Trump administration move was to be like “Absolutely my friend. We will help you meet this effort. How many American government consulates [offices] do you have in Russia? 3? okie dokie artichokie – we will order the closing of Russian consulates in America so we can get our number down to 3 as well. Big hug my friend!”
So in other words, Kremlin was saying “lets make things fair [implying a balancing in their favor would achieve this]” and the Trump admin was like “sure thing, bro. lemme just check the numbers and make it fair [knowing its not what they wanted, but doing it with a smile as a legitimate execution of the stated desire]”.

Or to have it described by the Guardian:

Heather Nauert, a state department spokeswoman, said the US had fully carried out Moscow’s demands to cut its staff in Russia from 1,200 to 455, to make it the same size as the Russian mission in the US. The deadline for the staff reduction was 1 September. But Nauert also announced that the US was striking back for what she said was an “unwarranted and detrimental” move by the Kremlin.

“In the spirit of parity invoked by the Russians,” Nauert said in a statement, “we are requiring the Russian government to close its consulate general in San Francisco, a chancery annexe in Washington DC, and a consular annexe in New York City. These closures will need to be accomplished by 2 September.

“With this action both countries will remain with three consulates each. While there will continue to be a disparity in the number of diplomatic and consular annexes, we have chosen to allow the Russian government to maintain some of its annexes in an effort to arrest the downward spiral in our relationship.”

Nauert said the US hoped that “having moved toward the Russian federation’s desire for parity, we can avoid further retaliatory actions by both sides and move forward to achieve the stated goal of both of our presidents”.

The buildings to be shuttered by Saturday are the consulate general and official residence in San Francisco and trade mission offices in New York and Washington.

Further balling:

“The buildings that are owned by the Russians will continue to be owned by the Russians,” a senior administration official said. “Then it will be up to them to determine whether they wish to sell those or dispose of them in some other way.

“We are not expelling any Russians at this time. We have informed the Russians they may reassigned to other diplomatic or consular posts in the US if they chose to.”

UPDATE: Whoah…. Facing short notice of their eviction, Russian “totally not spies” burned evidence to prevent it from falling into U.S. hands.

Proposal: Alternate acceptable way to sing the National Anthem

America’s National Anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, is hard to sing for most Americans, which makes it not a good choice for National Anthem. Hardly anyone can hit the highs and lows right and those who can are too often compelled to butcher it with by showing off their range in the up and down points.

There is a solution though, and it doesnt involve scrapping the Spangled Banner for a different song: Just sing it differently. I have been in favor of this since kindergarden but in 2015 when Stephen Colbert opened up his new gig as host of the Late Show with exactly this type of re-tuning rendition, all my years of think-singing it differently in my head was confirmed.

In the cold-open to his first show, titled Play Ball, Colbert sings, via multi-location montage from various places and with various people, the Anthem in a way that is goofy for comedic affect, but has a real life implication of accommodating a non-singers vocal range. Throughout the song he is accompanied by singers with talent at singing the anthem in its traditional inflections and the 2 together harmonize wonderfully.

Colberts joke should be the nations reality…

Can you not imagine this being a for-real thing? Each individual in the crowd being able to choose the gifted-singer’s version or the common-mans version and either way – or both together – sounding just wonderful? This should be a thing. I think this should be a legitimate option introduced by official government decree that there are 2 acceptable ways to sing the anthem: the traditional way, and this altered inflection way.

The Critic didn’t fail – it was Sabotaged

The Critic was short lived but much beloved-by-me-from-day-one show that originally aired on ABC and I started recording because I had a feeling it would be cancelled. Sure enough – it was. But much to my delight and surprise, the show resurfaced on Fox, only to be cancelled again that same year. Considering the show was everything that is popular today: Family Guy style cut-aways awash in pop-culture references and movie parodies framed by a fat schlubby main character and his friends life adventures – how did this show fail?

This list, “10 Movies Sabotaged by Their Own Creators” (which obviously also includes tv series) revealed to me that the show didn’t fail at all – it was internally loathed and taken down from the inside.

The Critic
1994–1995

The Sabotage:
This cartoon from Simpsons show-runners Al Jean and Mike Reiss ran on ABC for one season before being picked up by Fox in 1995. It had done poorly on ABC (running against the Winter Olympics) but it seemed to have fresh promise on its new network. There was just one problem: The president of Fox hated it.

When he and his colleagues previewed two episodes, he allegedly asked those there why they were laughing. When they replied that the show was funny, he yelled, “NO IT’S NOT!”

The president moved the The Critic‘s time slot to make it harder for viewers to know when to tune in. The network didn’t advertise it. Mike Reiss called this a perfect example of a network “actively killing [its] own show.”

Did They Succeed?
Yes. An initially successful and highly rated show on Fox quickly lost its audience and didn’t receive another season. Still, at least the show has a cult following decades later.

This made me dig further and I found this article from March 1995 in the LA Times that details a further, deeper, and very personal rift between the creator of the Simpsons, Matt Groening (who insists his name is pronounced “Grain-ing”), groaning over The Critic entering The Simpsons world in a crossover episode that was often quoted from by my best friend and fellow Critic fan Johnny and I. Groening was reportedly so angry with James L. Brooks, who executive produced both shows, for “cross-promoting” The Critic in that Simpsons episode that Groening had his name removed from the credits.

At issue is whether Brooks is basically shoving one of his productions that failed elsewhere down the throat of a successful one to launch it on Fox.

This greatly taints my memory of that episode, which I was extremely excited about at the time and remember fondly. The degree to which Groening allegedly sabotaged The Critic runs deep and ran personal. From the 1995 article:

Hurt by the allegation, Brooks said that Groening is acting like an “ingrate” and characterizes Groening’s actions as a public slap in the face to the creators of “The Critic,” Al Jean and Mike Reiss–whose previous work as writers and executive producers of “The Simpsons,” he notes, helped make Groening a wealthy man.

“I am furious with Matt,” Brooks said. “He’s been going to everybody who wears a suit at Fox and complaining about this. When he voiced his concerns about how to draw ‘The Critic’ into the Simpsons’ universe he was right and we agreed to his changes. Certainly he’s allowed his opinion, but airing this publicly in the press is going too far.

“This has been my worst fear . . . that the Matt we know privately is going public,” Brooks added. “He is a gifted, adorable, cuddly ingrate. But his behavior right now is rotten. And it’s not pretty when a rich man acts like this.”

Groening said his decision has nothing to do with Reiss or Jean. His dispute is with Brooks and the cross-promotion, or crossover.

“The two reasons I am opposed to this crossover is that I don’t want any credit or blame for ‘The Critic’ and I feel this (encroachment of another cartoon character) violates the Simpsons’ universe,” Groening said. ” ‘The Critic’ has nothing to do with the Simpsons’ world.”

He fears that fans of “The Simpsons” will “accuse us of making the crossover episode just to advertise ‘The Critic.’ That’s why I’ve had my name removed on this episode.”

The angle about the alleged purity of The Simpsons seems silly. As the article recaps exactly the meta reference to exactly that accusation made in the episode:

In this Sunday’s “Simpsons” episode, Marge Simpson comes up with the idea of a Springfield film festival to boost tourism. Movie critic Jay Sherman, the lead character in “The Critic” (with the voice of Jon Lovitz), is invited to judge the event. (In typical “Simpsons” style, however, the producers acknowledge what is going on. When Bart Simpson meets Sherman, he says, “Hey man, I really love your show. I think all kids should watch it.” Then he turns away and cringes and says under his breath, “I suddenly feel so dirty.”)

19 years later, another show that Groening and The Simpsons have swiped at for copying them – Family Guy – another Fox animated show about a schlubby selfish middle aged man with a smarter hotter wife, an unappreciated daughter, anti-social son, infant baby and a dog in suburbia – did a 45 minute long crossover episode, this time airing on the crossers-show (Family Guy) and I found no mention of Groening having any problem with it.

Further, I noticed the 2016 Simpsons Halloween Special contained a jab at The Critic, including it in a list of short lived shows that The Simpsons had to serve as a lead-in for despite being “bad. really bad” as the song overlay stated. While it’s true that The Critic was short lived on Fox, it’s a crime to include it in the “bad show” company of other short-lived shows like House of Buggin, Hermans Head (the precursor to Pixar’s Inside Out), and a comedy called Whoops about a post-nuclear earth.

Hanson live performing MMMBop in 1997 and 2017


Above, a live version on MTV’s Oddville because I remember watching it at home.
Below: Celebrating the songs 25th anniversary on Good Morning America.

I like this report from NewsOK focusing on the bands Oklahoma origin just because it has an old timey “big hollywood from hometown” newspaper feel to it:

Oklahoma band of brothers Hanson celebrated their 25th anniversary making music with a performance of their breakout hit “MMMBop” today on “Good Morning America.”

The Tulsa trio – Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson – still have those great sibling harmonies going for them.

As previously reported, the band also showed off those harmonies Wednesday night at a star-studded Carnegie Hall concert honoring fellow Oklahoman Jimmy Webb. Surprisingly, Hanson performed the legendary songwriter’s “Highwayman,” known as the inspiration for the name of the country supergroup featuring Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash.

Founded in 1992, the trio of brothers began performing classic rock ‘n roll and soul music, and writing original material, crafting a distinctive blend of harmonies and organic soulful pop-rock. Besides Hanson’s 25th anniversary, 2017 also marks the 20th anniversary of the band’s debut release “Middle Of Nowhere,” led by the iconic single “MMMBop,” which introduced the group to the world.