Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Commercial Appeal

1) If you happen to be watching TV this week, pay close attention if you see a Staples ad. It features a gas station attendant who looks very, very similar to Rob Bartlett...perhaps because he IS Rob Bartlett. (Isn't it creepy how those things work out?) Anyway, it's on a bunch of stations, so be sure to keep an eye out for it.

2) Speaking of commercials: During the Warner/ESPN controversy of last week, I kept asking myself if I'd seen the Mike and Mike cast somewhere. Oh, I've never listened to their show, but I knew I'd seen one of them on television. Then I remembered that Golic used to co-star in this opt-repeated commercial that MSNBC would air during Imus.

The commercial was for a diet pill (Nutrisystem? Maybe?), and it featured a zillion ex-athletes. The gist was that 15 of these guys had gotten together and made a weight-loss pact. (A question: Do guys actually do this? It sounded very Oprah to me.)

Anyway, the commercial was very "informative," by which I mean "it was forty-five minutes long." They'd all get up there, and they'd drone on and on, and time would tick by...and nothing would actually happen. It was The Brothers Karamazov of celebrity diet commercials.

Anyway, the best part by far was towards the end, when everyone was bragging about the results. The point was to make the audience chuckle. "Thanks to this pill, I fit into my old uniform!" Or, "Thanks to this pill, I won't be embarrassed to go to my Super Bowl reunion!" Then one guy got up there and proudly declared, "Thanks to this pill, my wife no longer thinks that I look disgusting!" The joke being, "Ha ha! His marriage is in shambles!"

Saturday, July 26, 2008

You Chose...Wisely

Wait, what just happened?

Warner Wolf, who since December has been doing sports reports for both 1050 ESPN and Don Imus on WABC, has left 1050 on weekday mornings effective Monday after being asked by ESPN to choose between the jobs...

1050 ESPN program director Aaron Spielberg said Friday the decision was made in the wake of on-air remarks by Imus Thursday in which he ripped the ESPN morning show, "Mike and Mike," in terms ESPN believed crossed a line from legitimate criticism to "off-color" personal attacks.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Day Is Mine

This week, a very famous media personality turned 68. This man is the host of a long-running, influential program which has gained fame throughout America and has developed a following of millions. While his program is scorned by many for its "elite subject matter," as well as the host's sometimes-abrasive personality, it's obviously a classic. Many fans dream of appearing on this man's show, and a scant few have made it - and unfortunately, most of those lucky few have been humiliated in front of millions. In short, it's one of the best shows out there, and the host should be respected for the institution that he's built.

Of course, I could only be speaking of one man:

Alex Trebek.

Mr. Trebek turned 68 this Tuesday, July 22nd. There were a few other celebrity birthdays this week, but none of any importance.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Secret Lives of Farmers

The Imus show is back from vacation! And they have a new affiliate in Richmond!

Also, I somehow missed this excellent article about RFD-TV and their expansion. It's all very interesting, but the best part is when an "agriculture media executive" criticizes Mr. Gottsch. He claims that all of RFD's program has "trended towards the cheap and cheerful," and then delivers the ultimate bitchslap: "Patrick's seen as a dilettante in the industry." A dilettante? Oh no he DIDN'T!

So here's what these quotes apparently mean: in the Agriculture Media World, RFD-TV is apparently considered a "sellout to the Man" and "a corporation spoonfeeding the masses." This raises several important questions:

-Is there a vast, agricultural media that we know nothing about?

-If so, does this mean that RFD is like the Parade magazine of the media, but with slightly less tackier ads?

-Who is the New York Times of the agricultural media? Do they have a bunch of Maureen Dowds and Tom Friedmans, who parody Department of Agriculture figures and write about how "the plain is flat?" Is there a Frank Rich who writes savage reviews of the crops at the county fair?

-Is there a cult of personality among famous agriculture journalists? Was there ever a lunatic who beat up a Dan Rather doppelganger while yelling, "What's the crop rotation, Kenneth?" (Which would later be a song by Rascal Flatts.) Does everyone remember when a Walter Cronkite figure reported on massive crop failures, and subsequently started crying on-camera?

It's also unsettling that Mr. Gottsch is being accused of belonging to the famous Dilettante Society of Cambridge. When someone belongs to a society that intends to "correct and purify" the cultural preferences of the nation, you get worried when that someone happens to program I Love Toy Trains.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

If It's Summer Vacation, Then Why Am I Working?

-Bernard will be subbing for Bob Grant tonight from 8-10 PM EST, while Mr. Grant goes on vacation. So if you want to hear this program, hopefully you'll read this blog between now and 10 PM. If you didn't, then, well, my bad.

-A political humor question: Is this JibJab cartoon the best we can hope for in the next 4 years? Oh, man. Now, granted, I only saw 30 seconds of it, so maybe the remaining two minutes are the Sistine Chapel of political comedy. If so, I will stand corrected. But the talking heads are acting like George Carlin just rerose from the dead. Actually, all the praise for it makes me feel a little happier, because if that's the best kind of humor out there, then I'll have an easier time getting stuff published in the next few years. The bar will be lower.

On a sort-of-related note, Maureen Dowd has a column about this subject. It's a great piece, and I know we have some Mo Dowd fans in the house.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Have you ever laughed at something, not because it was funny, but because it was so insanely over-the-top that you couldn't believe it actually existed?

That was my reaction to the cover of this week's New Yorker, which will probably be considered their equivalent of the "Smell the Glove" album cover:

The magazine claims that that the cover art "satirizes the use of scare tactics and misinformation in the Presidential election to derail Barack Obama’s campaign.” OK, I see where you're going - the cover is so over-the-top that it's obviously sarcasm. (And this is from the New Yorker, of all places. Your average New Yorker reader gets offended as often as Joe Pesci says the F-word.) However, Obama's campaign has already denounced it; so has McCain's.

Now, I am pro-satire and pro-free speech, so in my opinion they can do whatever they want. Editor David Remnick says that "if you can't tell it's a joke by the flag burning in the Oval Office, I don't know what more to say." Very true. But if the New Yorker can get away with this kind of satire, then the Imus folks (and anyone, really) should be allowed greater leeway with their own humor. Just saying.

Still, I would love to see the look on a Tribeca resident's face when they open the mailbox and see this...

Another One Gone

Bad news comes in...fours? I took another break this weekend, only to find that I-guest Tony Snow had passed away at the ridiculously young age of 53. RIP.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Jesse Jackson Hates My Favorite Shows

We’ve all heard about Jesse Jackson and his recent faux pas. Since I didn't know a great deal about the man, I randomly decided to look him up on Wikipedia. I'm glad I did, because I found out some very, very disturbing news. It turns out Jesse Jackson has claimed that one of my favorite shows is racist.

No, not Imus in the Morning. Why would you ever think that? I’m talking about a show that I used to watch as a small child and haven't seen in almost 15 years: the Power Rangers.

The Power Rangers, if my memory serves me correctly, was widely known as "the greatest show of all time, or at least the summer of 1994." There was a lot of hubbub in the media about how boys shouldn't watch the show because it was too violent. But I was a girl, and everyone knows that girls aren't affected by TV violence, so I could watch as much as I wanted.

Each episode had the same basic story:

A) There was a group of evil people and aliens who orbited around the moon. These people wanted to conquer the planet Earth. They didn't want to stay in space and keep living in their moon kingdom, like God intended.

B) Then the Power Rangers would step in and karate-chop them back to space, where they would remain forever, or at least until 8:30 on the next weekday morning.

C) And there was much rejoicing.

Now I know some of you are scratching your heads and wondering, “How could any of this be racist? Surely the universal theme of beating up aliens would unite everybody.” Here’s how it went down:

Each Power Ranger was a different color - the Red Ranger, the Blue Ranger, etc. Sometimes in the heat of battle, the Rangers would yell out battle cries like “Blue Power!” or “Green is rockin’!” or what have you. It was one of those outbursts that prompted Mr. Jackson to complain. See, there happened to be a "White Ranger" in the cast. And apparently during one reckless moment in 1995, the White Ranger took pride in his color and yelled out in the heat of battle, "White Power!"

Well. You can imagine what happened next. The Right Rev. sent a complaint letter to the network, concerned that the Power Rangers were being influenced by the Klan. Wikipedia claims that Jackson "later retracted his statement," probably realizing that hey, when you're giving roundhouse kicks to an evil outer-space lizard set on conquering Earth, you're likely to yell out things you'll later regret.

Meanwhile, I don't know what will happen if Jesse goes after my other favorite shows. He had better not mess with South Park or House Hunters.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


I'm going to be out of town for a little while, and I'll be returning sometime next week. In the meantime, talk amongst yourselves.

Have a happy Fourth!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

RFD News

According to this article, Verizon's FiOS cable network will soon be carrying RFD-TV. FiOS is in "more than 6.5 million homes in 13 states, California, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Oregon, Texas and Virginia."

Also, you should check out the car sponsored by RFD that will be in this Friday's NASCAR race. It looks pretty sharp, and it features the names of several RFD programs. Tragically, it does not mention the Big Joe Polka Show.