Monday, September 25, 2006

Your Monday Morning Benediction for September 25, 2006

To make up for half-assing it last week, today's benediction is from one of the late great radio men, Jean Shepherd. From a 1957 Mad Magazine--back when the magazine was actually interesting--comes a lecture for our times as much as Shep's, "The Night People vs. 'Creeping Meatballism'"

If you have the Mad CD-ROM set from a few years back, this was one of the articles they had to leave out, so it's new to you, too.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Karr Go? Beep Beep.

You remember that guy who said he "was with" JonBenet Ramsey when she died, only it turns out he was just a deluded fruitcake who was nowhere near the state at the time and just had an unhealthy thing for kids? Well, now we kick his story up to the next level of the ridonkulous.

On the same day that Karr was offered a plea bargain (which he turned down, by the way), the Sonoma County authorities announced that not only have they lost the laptop PC that contained Karr's kiddie porn collection, but it's probably been missing for four years. They say they still have an image of the hard drive, but this is starting to get sad.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

On The Air On The Bargain Rack

If you're interested in media history at all, you should already have a copy of On The Air by John Dunning. One of the most comprehensive reference works on the type of radio program the broadcast networks presented in pre-TV days, I can't recommend it highly enough, but if you had to have it on the day it came out, you bought it through Amazon with the exact same $13 discount they're still offering off of list price eight years later. This is why I'm jealous as hell that the book is now being offered directly from the publisher for under $20 for what I assume will be a limited time.

Totally serial, folks, if you've ever been interested in the Depression-through-postwar era, broadcasting, or just want some evidence for your tedious "it's been done before" rants (and I'll be getting to those again before too long), you should make room on your bookshelf for On The Air. Not only is it full of useful information about famous and obscure radio shows, but it's written in a style which makes it great pleasure reading, too.

And of course, the standard disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Oxford University Press in any way and I don't get any money for this plug. So there.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Your Monday Benediction For September 18, 2006

What the hell do you mean I forgot? What do you mean Monday's almost over? One man's night is another's late, late, late, late afternoon, punk. Oh fine, let me just throw a few random things at you and you can take whatever you choose. The first one is for Doom:

You don't know anything about a woman until you meet her in court. --Norman Mailer

No? How about:

The trouble with incest is that it gets you involved with relatives. --George S. Kaufman

Ugh. Okay, I think this one's a keeper:

There is only one good substitute for the endearments of a sister, and that is the endearments of some other fellow's sister. --Josh Billings (1818-1885)

Fine. I'm done.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Blonde on Blonde

My mom asked me the other day why the Today Show felt they had to bring in Meredith Vieira instead of promoting from within and making Ann Curry the permanent co-host instead of sending her back to the news desk. The answer seemed pretty obvious to me: from Barbara Walters on, the female cohost has always been a blonde. I love Ann, but she didn't stand a chance.

It was also obvious that today's show was going to be about fawning over Vieira, and when they showed the 1988 Esquire picture (multiple times), we got another hint why Meredith was heir apparent. "At least I was wearing clothes!" she said as she pulled out a recent magazine with a candid snap of Matt in speedos. And to just pile it on, we cut to a clip of George W. asking Matt to autograph the picture before Matt really gave him something to laugh about.

Fine, get it out of your system, then get back to the nation's business...of how to feel sexy over 50 or whatever the hell the later hours have been about this summer. The Media Research Center has been freaking out over Vieira being "a megaphone for the liberal cause", which would hold more water if Today was actually about news most of the time. Whatever hard news content a typical Today has tends to land in the first hour, the other two hours given over to lifestyle segments, inspirational people stories, and celebrity chat, except for extraordinary circumstances. It takes something like 9/11 to remind us that they can do something unspeakably heavy (I had forgotten until the MSNBC repeat on Monday that even Al Roker was providing useful information about the towers in the moments immediately following the impact.) But on average days, the closer we get to Regis and Kelly time, the fluffier it gets. A toot and a snore to get you out the door, that's our Studio 1A, and I won't deny you if that's what you need.

As for the new studio, the one that's all about "hi-def", it's loaded with neutral colors, there's a couch and a coffee table, and I honestly can't tell the difference from before. This is what the NBC carpenters did with their summer?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Five Years On

The benediction thing would be a bit silly today. I don't want to do it, you probably don't want to read it, and neither of us will be getting paid for it anyway.

I made an oath when the first anniversary of this day came around: to make a florid show in public over total strangers for total strangers seemed too much like making this tragedy about myself, so I wouldn't say anything on my rotten little blog if I couldn't bring anything useful to the table. Sadly, that seems to be contrary to the direction the national debate has taken, where everything is more about scoring debate points on the other side than actually solving anything.

So the most useful thing I can do today is be simple: On September 11, 2001, 2,997 people set out on their day--either in a plane, at World Trade Center, or at the Pentagon--and never made it home. The only thing the majority of them did wrong that day was show up.

The man who sent death our way is still at large, and how his capture wasn't our sole focus over the past five years is a national disgrace. I have no problem with "never forget." I just want people to remember it correctly in the first place.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Who cares.

Supposedly, ABC has started a internet firestorm with the mini-series docudrama about 9/11. First off, this movie is going to paint the Clinton administration in a bad light for failing to get Osama Bin Laden. I am no fan of the Clinton Admin, I think he did alot to damage our national security. Could they have gotten Bin Laden? Probably, but if the Dan Rather report about Bin Laden being in Pakistan and having dialysis on September 10th, 2001 is true. Then I have to ask, why haven't the current admin found enemy number one?

Maybe they don't want to find him. Why would you want to find your Emmanuel Goldstein? What would happen to all those folks at Homeland Security? Would we still need a alert color code? Cause that color code sure seems to get used alot and the politicians use as a us or them in power, who do you trust to defend you. And if after 5 years of hunting Bin Laden and not finding him, I have to ask, Do You Really Feel Safer?

So in retrospect, I could care less what ABC is going to show. Because I am one of those who believe in LIHOP. That stands for Let It Happen On Purpose. 9/11 should not have happened. I don't care what the government says. I don't care what the media says. 9/11 has become synonymous with the war on terror. Or what I like to call it, the fully funded military/industrial complex act.

We have met the enemy, and they are us.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Monday Morning Tuesday Afternoon Benediction for September 5, 2006

And now to today's benediction, which would've been yesterday's benediction except that it was a holiday, and who would be ridiculous enough to spend a holiday in front of a computer? Since last week's was Mark Twain for the readers, it's only fair I throw a scrap of the old man to the writers today:

"If you invent two or three people and turn them loose in your manuscript, something is bound to happen to them -- you can't help it; and then it will take you the rest of the book to get them out of the natural consequences of that occurrence, and so first thing you know, there's your book all finished up and never cost you an idea."

And if you don't like that one, or if you're not a writer, here's a thought from Mark Evanier's Jerry Lewis Telethon wrapup:

Something interesting has happened to this telethon in the last decade
or so and it's because of Jerry. Back in the seventies, he took a lot of heat for its excesses, its pandering, its promotion of his friends and their careers. But back then, he was just a comedian whose TV shows got cancelled and whose movie career had atrophied. The cause seemed to be promoting Jerry Lewis instead of the other way around.

That was then, this is now. As we've bemoaned on this site before, we're running out of legendary comics. We're going to wake up one morning soon and the Elder Statesman of Comedy will be a Wayans brother.

Monday, September 04, 2006

PLUG! PLUG! PLUG! Yeah, That's Right, Three of 'Em...

Because I really need to get back into the habit of looking for these types of things, here's a few link sausages for you...