Thursday, January 29, 2009

Weekly Questions from the Mailbag

I’m not dumb. I just have command of thoroughly useless information.”
Bill Watterson (1958)

A good quote is worth a thousand words. With that…..I answer your weekly mailbag questions:

Q: Have you seen the latest Jessica Simpson pictures?

Denver, CO

DG: Yes, I have seen them. For anyone reading this who doesn’t know the pictures in question, go ahead and google “Jessica Simpson fat pictures” right now. Its ok I’ll wait…waiting…..waiting… waiting...done yet? Good. I’m sure only about 10 Million websites popped up. Apparently, Mrs. Tony Romo has packed on some SIGNIFICANT pounds over the last few months. This was revealed when photos of a recent public appearance earlier in the week-at a chili cook off no less- were posted on the internet.
Originally, I didn’t want to rail against her weight because:
1) She could be pregnant
2) It stinks for a person in the public eye because if you’re committed to a public appearance you have to go no matter what. I mean if it were me and I had put on 30 bad pounds, I wouldn’t want people snapping pictures, putting them on the internet, and then bashing me. Unfortunately, this happens to her because she’s a public figure. I suppose to a certain extent that’s not fair
3) It may be totally out of her control. I’m guessing the weight gain stems from the unavoidable food gorging brought on by a major trauma. In this case: distress over the Cowboys lost season.
4) It is serious bad karma. I feel like if I were to bash her and say something...i dunno like “Sure looks like she ate everything but her Daisy Dukes’!” I'm sure the universe would turn around and hit me back twice as hard. It would probably do something horrible to me like have the Giants inexplicably sign Terrell Owens to replace Plax. Yikes…cold chill just went down my spine.

I still would not have mentioned any of this except, after the pictures surfaced, she made like the President of the United States and issued a public statement. It basically said something to the effect of: “I love my body… I love the way I look”. That’s fine I have no problem with that. However, I’ve noticed more than a few celebrities that have been caught looking a little hefty have issued similar statements…immediatley followed by “make me skinny fast” crash diets probably coupled with diuretics and liposuction. Three weeks later, and 30 pounds lighter, they show up on the cover of some women’s mag wearing novelty fat pants, with the waist pulled all the way out, screaming to the world “How do you like me now!” And yes I’m looking directly at you Jennifer Love Hewitt and Britney Spears. So I’ll be watching this one very closely to see how much Jessica Simpson really “loves the way she looks” heavier and doesn’t go about losing weight fast. Either way I’m hoping the story has a happy ending, and Tony Romo shows up to training camp like 350 pounds. One can only hope.

Daily backhanded Dallas Cowboy bashing….CHECK!

Q: What is the best sandwich place in New York?

-Matt S.
Long Island City, NY

DG: Let me start by saying as a whole New York City has the best deli’s in the world. As long as you stay away from the chain sandwich places like Subway or Quizno’s, and don’t order some sort of weird concoction it’s almost impossible to get a bad hoagie in the city. However, based on my non-expert opinion I would say the award for the best sandwich place in the city goes to..... Katz’s Deli. You might remember it from the scene in When Harry Met Sally where Meg Ryan shows Billy Crystal how she fakes it (classic scene for Meg but doesn’t hardly make up for her unfortunate turn in Top Gun). They have the greatest pastrami sandwiches in the world. How good? I don’t even eat pastrami and had it there and it was the greatest sandwich I’ve ever eaten. Katz’s is located on the corner of Hudson and Ludlow on the Lower East side, and is really the only good reason to go to the Lower East side unless you live there or you’re trying to score some cra-….never mind. Advice if you do go down there: 1) Bring a partner. The sandwiches are ginormous 2) Get a potato knish to go with the pastrami. Without question the greatest use of a potato since the invention of vodka.

Greatest sandwich place you have never heard of: Pane Pepe
This little gem is located on Greenwich Street in Tribeca right across the street from Stuyvesant High School. When I worked in that area, I used to eat there twice a week for lunch. Always the highlight of that given day. They have a stable of killer sandwiches named after parts of the city on their menu. However, if you do happen to go there might I suggest going off the board. Try this: grilled chicken on a long club roll, mozzarella cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and here’s the coup de ask the guy behind the counter to add a scoop of marinara. Sounds a little whacky, but I guarantee you that sandwich will make you howl like Meg Ryan…. but for real.

Q: What’s your Super Bowl Prediction?

Poughkeepsie, NY

Steelers (-7): Steelers 24 Cardinals 13
This was really a tough game to pick. Last year was much easier because I’m a big Giants fan and they were getting like 11 or 12 points. A truly terrible line. If you look at this year’s match-up on paper, I think a seven point spread is pretty fair. I’d really like to see the Card’s pull an upset, but if I had to put money on it (and I am) I think I’d lean the other way. I think the difference is going to be Arizona’s inability to account for the Steelers free blitzers. The Steelers use a base 3-4 defense, with three down linemen and four linebackers. They occupy blockers with the defensive lineman and attempt to pressure the quarterback largely with linebackers coming off the edge and safety blitzes up the middle. I have to imagine James Harrison, Lamar Woodley, and Polamalu will create a few turnovers. I’m also thinking Warner will turn it over at least twice Therefore, if Big Ben can keep it to one horrible interception he’ll give his team a good chance to win. I think I read a stat somewhere that the team that wins the turnover battle wins like 73% of the games. Based on that, I’m taking the Steelers giving the seven points.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Don’t Call it a Comeback

I love boxing. Apart from maybe track and field, boxing is the purest of all forms of athletic competition. Two men stand toe to toe using nothing but their hands in combat. There are no helmets, no pads, no bats, no balls, no baskets, no goals, no teammates, no halftime shows, no ice, and no mascots. Just two men out on an island. Boxing tests a man’s stamina, physical strength, mental fortitude, and courage, while both examining and revealing character three minutes at a time.

That being said I might be one of the last real boxing fans out there. As MMA and other forms of cage fighting have gained popularity over the past ten years or so, there seems to be increasingly less and less attention paid to the “sweet science”. This is nothing new to boxing. It seems as long as I can remember people have written it off as a dying sport, popularity waning with each corrupt promoter, each disappointing pay-per-view bout, and each Mike Tyson ear chomp. However, with that being said I come not to bury boxing but to praise it. I believe that the sport, so long on life support, might be on the cusp of a revival of sorts though not in the form most people remember.

There was a time in this country where boxing was most likely the second most popular sport. Before there was an NBA or NFL, baseball was America’s pastime and boxing its guilty pleasure. The heavyweight champion of the day was most recognizable, most revered, and highest paid figure in all of sports. These were names like Jack Johnson, Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, and Muhammad Ali. Somewhere along the way things changed. As professional football and basketball grew in popularity, the NBA and NFL turned into big time businesses with licenses to print money. This changed the landscape of the heavyweight division in America because now if you were a big athletic guy you would gravitate towards playing tight end or power forward and didn’t have to spend your whole life getting whacked in the head to make a buck. Talented heavyweight fighters became more and more scarce, fights became less and less interesting, and the heavyweight division faded into that goodnight.

While the heavyweight division still lies largely dormant, the renaissance of sorts in boxing that I had previously spoken of is occurring in the lighter weight divisions. Right now there are half a dozen or so potential hall of fame fighters in there prime in the junior welterweight (140 pound limit) and welterweight (147 pound limit) divisions. These are names like Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito, Paul Williams, and an up and coming Andre Berto to name a few. Among these names alone you will have four or five blockbuster bouts in 2009 (in fact as I write this a bout between Pacquiao and Hatton is being finalized for May; with the winner likely getting a chance to fight Mayweather latter in the year). I don’t use the word blockbuster lightly either. Welterweight bouts tend to be much more dynamic than bouts at heavier weights with more punches, more action, and less clenching.

Don’t get me wrong even with an exciting division boxing as a whole is not without its problems. There is no reliable scoring system. Many of the bouts are decided by three ringside judges whose scores are blind throughout the entire fight and only revealed afterwards. There are too many belts. Without one true governing body boxing has a number of different associations each with its own sanctioned belts and each with different champions. Boxing is perceived to be corrupt to a certain extent at many levels, whether it be promoters, judges, referees, or the fighters themselves. At times this has seemed to warrant merit while other times not. Oh yeah and they need to reduce the price of price of pay-per-view fights. At $50 a pop they are too expensive to order for the fringe fan. Why is that if you order movie it cost three dollars while a fight of the same length costs 15 times more ?

Despite all that I’m excited about the potential match-ups that can be made in 2009, and hopeful that we get to see a few great fights. There is nothing more exciting than a big event and this year boxing will have plenty of those. If you’ve never been a big fan of boxing this is a year to get into it. I’ll bet you’ll get sucked in.

TV Temperature Check

Top 5 BEST shows people AREN'T watching:

1) Friday Light Lights (NBC)
2) 30 Rock (NBC)
3) Mad Men (AMC)
4) Scrubs (ABC)
5) The Soup (E!)

Most Underrated: The Soup (E!)
On life support: Friday Night Lights (NBC)
Already dead: Dirty Sexy Money (ABC)

Top 5 WORST Shows people ARE watching:

1) Hole in the Wall (FOX)
2) Rock of Love (VH1) 2a) Bromance (MTV)
3) Deal or No Deal (NBC)
4) Biggest Loser (NBC)
5) The City (MTV)

Most Overrated: The City (MTV)
Most Embarrassing: Bromance (MTV)
Are you kidding me..really? : Hole in the Wall (FOX)
Won't seem to go away: anything with Bret Michaels

Monday, January 26, 2009

Wheel Spinning

If you’ve watched the evening news or a weekly new magazine over the course of the last few years you might have noticed at least once in every broadcast they have a story about people’s health. If you breakdown a typical evening new broadcast this segment usually airs second. For example a skeleton of a NBC, ABC, or CBS Evening News might look something like this:

Segment I - Political story previously with anti-Bush slant

Commercial Break I – uninterrupted string of male enhancement pill commercials (i.e. Viagra, Cialis, etc)

Segment II – Story to scare you to death about your health based on a preposterous correlation study or experiment which nets a simple answer like “Drugs are bad”.

Commercial Break II- more male enhancement pill commercials occasionally broken up with a commercial for a cholesterol reducing pharmaceutical or my personal favorite Flomax, a product that I believe makes it easier for old guys to take a leak, with a commercial that has two Jack Lemmon look-a-likes all laughs and smiles toasting water bottles in celebration while driving thru the desert

Segment III- A puff piece personal interest story intended to make all the women in the room collectively go, “Awww…”. These type of stories tend to feature babies, puppies, and small animals.

Obviously there is a need to talk about all the pharmaceutical drug commercials (rest assured there is definitely enough for a future entry) but it’s that segment two I want to focus on for right now. I understand there are a number of reasons why the news departments run health related stories like this. For one baby boomers, the largest sect of the population, is slowly getting to the age where are very concerned about health, aging, and wellbeing. Also, because of the modern media, with constant live internet updates, these taped segments have become vital because airing the news of the day would be rout with redundancy. That’s all fine. But there isn’t a huge medical breakthrough every night! There aren’t enough major medical revelations to account for a daily segment. I’m no expert but a lot of this research doesn’t really seem designed to find out anything new, to break barriers in medical research, but rather to prove what previous studies (and common sense for that matter) already point to. For instance I was watching 60 Minutes the other night and they had some piece on about the health benefits of different types of living. They interviewed a half a dozen different doctors and researchers from two or three different independent studies. One of the groups studied mice, another human beings, and another studied a group of chimps over 27 years! Brilliant doctors and researchers spent millions upon millions of dollars on these studies. They set up space age looking high tech sterile labs where they could control all unmeasured variables. They spent countless hours in the lab monitoring the most minute differences and details. Killed god knows how many little mice and chimps. Do you what the conclusion of all this time and money spent was: obesity is most likely riskier to your health than being fit. Or even simpler obesity = bad. Hallelujah! Am I taking crazy pills here? Isn’t this common sense? Then I got thinking about the doctors themselves. These are brilliant men. They were most likely top of their Ivy League graduation classes, top of their medical schools, and now are highly regarded medical researchers and scientists. They should be out solving more complex problems than this. Instead they’re killing a boatload of mice with donuts. Fabulous. One of the last scenes they showed was this one doctor observing and taking notes on this chubby little mouse running on a tiny treadmill. I was left wondering which one of them is really spinning his wheels?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Questions from the Mailbag

To say that I have “fans” would be a total misuse of the term. That would be akin to saying that people throwing peanuts at a chimp at the zoo are “fans” of the chimp. That being said some of my "fans" have been emailing me questions over the past couple of days so I feel like I should get to answering them:

Question: Is Hilary Swank hot?

New York, NY

: I’m a huge fan of The Office and I did happen to catch the episode the other night (Anyone surprised? Guy with a blog and no girlfriend home on a Thursday night watching tv). I’m actually very glad this came up and that people are discussing this around the country today. For year’s now I’ve been having this argument with people and there is a very definitive answer here. Hilary Swank is not hot. Typically, if someone tries to argue that an actress is not hot they are crazy. The point being that people on television and movies get those parts largely because: they are better looking than regular people. There are a few notable exceptions with Julia Stiles and Julia Roberts being the first two names that pop into my head. You might therefore be saying to yourself “Hilary Swank is in movies….and she isn’t Julia Stiles or Julia Roberts. So isn’t she hot?” By that definition the answer usually would be ‘yes’. However, in this special case there is damning evidence that trumps any argument to Hilary Swank’s hotness. In Boys Don't Cry she played a man. Not only that, but she played a dude so well… to such critical acclaim… that she was given an Academy Award. Couple of other people who won Academy Awards for playing dudes…Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson, Sean Penn, Al Pacino, etc. If Hilary Swank looked like Charlize Theron MAYBE she could play a man and still be considered hot. But she doesn’t and she isn’t. Case closed.

Q: Are you serious with this blog thing?

Nashville, Tennessee

DG: Excellent question Carter. Serious is a tough word for me. Not sure I’ve ever really been. It’s probably a question of maturity. Although I’m 25 years old, in many cases I have the maturity of preschooler. For instance, if I were to tell you less than half of my weekly DVR recordings are cartoons I would actually have to count to make sure that were true. However, there are days when I wake up and I feel like I might be maturing. When this happens I have a little litmus test that I give myself to make sure. I try to use the word “macho” in a sentence during a normal conversation. It sounds stupid but, seriously, if you can slip a “macho” into a conversation with a straight face you must be a full fledged adult. Never works for me. I laugh out loud every time. It might be impossible or it might be that I am pushing the envelope too far by using it like: “Watched Top Gun again last night….movie never gets old. That Tom Cruise is just so damn macho!” Who knows.

Q: I cannot stand watching NFL playoffs without the Jets or Giants still alive. Give me some something to look forward to. What are they going to do in the draft?

Charlottesville, VA

DG: I’m actually going to address this topic in a First Round Mock Draft in the near future. I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to do it very soon or wait for the NFL Combine. What I might actually do is one before the combine and then do a revised one closer to the actual draft. We’ll see. To answer the specific question I have some educated guesses as to what the Jets and Giants will do. The two teams are picking 17th and 29th respectively in the first round so whom they pick will be contingent on what players are still on the board when their picks come up (also either team could trade up or down from where they are slotted to pick). For the Jets, I believe they are going to try to target a defensive back. They just hired Rex Ryan, a defensive guru, who almost certainly use this pick on a defensive player. I don’t think they will be drafting a quarterback because Matt Stafford from Georgia and USC’s Mark Sanchez will be long gone by pick 17 and no other quarterback in the draft will warrant a first round selection. Moreover, the Jets carried four quarterback on their roster last year: Brett “Look at me” Favre, Kellen Clemens (a former second round pick), Bret Ratliff, and Erik Ainge. The only reason to take a signal caller would be to draft a first round franchise guy, which won’t be available to them here. I think the Jets would be smart to take a guy like Vontae Davis, out of Illinois. He is pretty tall for a corner, at 6 feet, and a terrific athlete who will probably run somewhere in the 4.35 – 4.4 range in the forty. He’s a little raw but has a chance to develop into a complete corner. That would be a pretty lethal combination with Darrell Revis, who appears to be turning into one of the better defensive backs in the league, on the other side. An outside linebacker/defensive end hybrid to rush the passer out of the Jets 3-4 base could also be a consideration given how disappointing 2008 first round pick Vernon Gholston turned out to be. I think Everette Brown out of Florida State would be a nice value if the Jets were to go that way. As far as the Giants, a lot of their draft strategy hinges on the whether or not ole’ Plax goes to the big house or not. If he does they will need a big red zone target to replace him. They would love to get Michael Crabtree, but he’ll be gone within the first 5 picks (most likely to Seattle at pick 4). A creative option might be to choose a tall athletic tight end to replace Burress. I like Jared Cook the 6’5” 240 pound WR/TE hybrid out South Carolina, however I think he will be available in the second or third round and would be a reach at pick 29 of the first round. I think a far more glaring need for the G-Men is at middle linebacker. Where Plaxico Burress is shooting himself out of the league Antonio Pierce is EATING himself out of the league. Listed at 238 pounds, but probably more in the 260-270 range, Pierce looked heavy and out of shape all season. When he wasn’t hiding ballistic evidence for his boy Plax, Pierce spent the majority of 2008 out of breath running 10 yards behind the other teams running backs and tight ends in coverage. The Giants will almost certainly have to draft his replacement. Assuming Rey Maualuga and Wake’s Aaron Curry are gone by this point in the first round, I think three players the Giants will target are USC’s Brian Cushing,Virginia’s Clint Sintim, or Ohio State’s James Lauranitis. Personally, I would like to see either Cushing or Sintim because they both have the versatility to slide over and also play outside linebacker and situational rush end. Lauranitis would strictly be a middle backer lacking the size to play outside and rush the passer.

Q: You’re an idiot.

-My brother

DG: Duly noted and seconded.

Please keep sending your questions along people.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Say It Ain't So Derek (PART II)

5) Minka Kelly
Highlights: The beautiful but inwardly tormented Lyla Garrity on Friday Night Lights, the best show on tv
Lowlights: Really no other work to speak of

Verdict: Tough to believe she doesn’t get better acting gigs. I have to believe after her FNL run this extra Jeter publicity will help her get big time movie gigs. That or she’ll just live off his $18.5MM a year contract.

4) Jessica Biel
Highlights: Out of this world body and maybe The Illusionist
Lowlights: Stealth and Summer Catch

Verdict: She might actually be a little TOO ripped. Girls with major abs intimidate me

3) Jessica Alba
Highlights: The scene in the leather getup in Sin City
Lowlights: A veritable Who’s Who’s list of dry heave inducing flicks. Take your pick: The Love Guru, The Eye, Honey, Into the Blue . Then married a guy named Cash…..CASH. Yeah

Verdict: Basically her ridiculous hotness largely makes up for making awful movies.

2) Scarlett Johansson
Highlights: You’ve seen her defy gravity in low cut dresses at the Oscars haven’t you? If not do yourself a favor
Lowlights: Is so against eating disorders she threatens to eat her way out of Hollywood to prove a point

Verdict: This blond bombshell has got legit acting chops, and may one day win an Academy Award. Probably the only girl on here you can say that for. Usually, I would put her number 1 on any list but unfortunately she is up against a freak of nature in this case

1) Adrianna Lima
Highlights: Is Adrianna Lima.
Lowlights: Where could I even begin?

Verdict: Need I say more?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Say It Ain't So Derek (PART I)

The past few days rumors have been swirling that Derek Jeter might be engaged to his girl of the moment, the gorgeous actress Minka Kelly. Although I am an unabashed fan of Ms. Kelly’s show Friday Night Lights (an by unabashed I mean that you would be hard pressed to find a human being I love more than that show- sorry mama), I cannot help but shed a tear over the possible end to one of the greatest “bachelor-hoods” of all time. As a ballplayer, Jeter is more than likely a surefire first ballot hall of famer, but his scorecard with the ladies might be unmatched.

Minka Kelly is uber uber hot don’t get me wrong, but this sobering engagement news also got me to thinking… did DJ get top dollar for his stock? Might he have cashed out with a woman that was not even the best he has seen so far?

With that question posed, I present to you the list of Derek Jeter’s top 10 girlfriends:

10) Mariah Carey
Highlights: Worldwide pop sensation. First artist to have her first five singles top the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.
Lowlights: The movie Glitter and a slew of weird disturbing public mental breakdowns due to “exhaustion”. I’m not saying drugs…but I’m thinking it REALLY hard.

Verdict: The whacky public displays remind me too much of a Red Sox fan, as does the crappy movie. And yes I mean Fever Pitch

9) Jordana Brewster
Highlights: The Fast and the Furious
Lowlights: Married a dude who was a producer on the Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning

Verdict: So let me get this straight. She was going out with the shortstop for the New York Yankees and ended up with a behind the scenes guy from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre prequel that did like 8 bucks at the box office? Ouch

8) Lara Dutta
Highlights: Miss Universe in 2000
Lowlights: Has not been able to parlay that into any decent films outside of India

Verdict: Tough to knock a woman who was basically named hottest woman in the universe, but that was in 2000 and this is a “what have you done for me lately” world. The fact that a Miss Universe cannot crack the top 7 shows you the strength of this list people

7) Gabrielle Union
Highlights: Kicking Kirsten Dunst’s scrawny butt in Bring it On
Lowlights: For some reason or another did an Eddie Murphy movie not called Beverly Hills Cop or Trading Places

Verdict: Seriously how does Eddie Murphy still get work?

6) Vanessa Minillio
Highlights: 1998 Miss Teen USA
Lowlights: Was in a Nick Lachey music video

Verdict: Extremely hot but this is a tough list to crack the top five on

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


It’s hard to say for certain but I believe we’re living in a historic time. I would be remiss if I didn’t put pen to paper to record a few thoughts.

I should, however, preface anything I might offer up by saying that I did not vote in this year’s Presidential election. I did not involve myself in the process. I could not argue with anyone who would suggest that any political complaint I have isn’t worth the full 100 cents on the dollar since I did not since exercise my right to vote. That being said at the present time I don’t have a complaint, in fact far from it. I’m still an American and it is my right to have an opinion so I’ll have one.

Had I cast a vote it most certainly would have been for John McCain. I would not have voted for Barack Obama. It’s probable that if I had the opportunity to cast that vote today, like I should have three months ago, that I would still go for McCain. I have always supported conservative political ideals. Sometimes I think maybe I’m a crotchety 90 year old man in a 25 year old body. In hindsight it’s probable that a year from now, or three, or ten that I would still have cast a vote for McCain. But just maybe I wouldn’t.

To me in this past campaign McCain represented the known and Obama the unknown. He wasn’t easy to pin down. Maybe more for political strategy than anything else Obama didn’t offer up much in the way of specific policy ideas. As much as I could not get behind him in the days and months leading up to the election, I’ve seen something since November that I can hardly believe. I have seen genuine enthusiasm from the masses.

I would consider myself more cynical than most and I didn’t believe this sort of passion could exist in the way that I’ve seen it. Sure I’ve seen people excited about the Super Bowl and tickle me Elmo’s and American Idol and Brangelina, but I’ve never seen so much general enthusiasm for, as corny as it sounds, for America. People are excited about the potential for moving in the right direction. Who would I be to scoff at that?

Sure maybe some of this passion has something to do with the liberally inclined media getting behind a Democratic victor flocked by his attention hungry celebrity supporters. Probably also has some to do with the ouster of George W. Bush and his paltry approval rating. I think, however, behind it some genuine sentiment.

I watched on television today as people numbers in the millions showed up in Washington to an event with ticket admittance numbered in the thousands. They just wanted to be in the place where it was happening, to someday tell people they were there when.

My opinion has always been that the Chief Executive should be a prudent practitioner heavy on tax cuts and conservative policy before being a pied-piper able to rally the people. Maybe I’m wrong this time. Hell, I hope I’m wrong. In an instance where the economy and job market and overall prospects are so dim, maybe you need someone to tell you things will be better before they can be. It gives people hope. At the end of the day maybe that’s that most important thing.

It’s impossible to forecast where this is going and be able to say now or ever what ideology or doctrine is correct; who should lead and how. At the very least I do believe we are living in a historic time and I am curious to see where this is going, whether I be right or wrong.

Monday, January 19, 2009


I have always been fascinated by what certain networks put up against big time television events. For example what does CBS put on against the World Series airing on the FOX network. I suppose there is some strategy to it. As a big time network television exec, what do you put up against a behemoth of television event by a rival network? Do you a) put on a highly rated program of your own to combat the effect of the ratings vacuum b) put on an alternative type of program to collect a totally different demographic or c) throw up a white flag and completely surrender by putting on the most god awful crap you can find because no one will be watching anyways.

In many instances those in charge of programming choose the latter and I must say I LOVE the choice. This ideology has given me the privilege over the years, of bearing witness to some of the most gloriously terrible programming in history: Rocky V, various grainy quality Steven Segal movies circa 1984, a
film about giant bunnies that terrorize the southwest (adapted from the book “The Year of the Angry Rabbit”…you just can’t make this stuff up people), a three hour infomercial about a knife that can cut thru steel toed boots, and did I mention Rocky V?
These all rank as 10 out of 10 on my scale of unintentional comedy. I was quite comfortable with my scale until this past weekend. And although I can barely stand to disrupt the sanctity of 1-10 ratings system let me channel Spinal Tap, when I say I may have found a program that “goes to 11”.

Ladies and Gentleman, without any further ado I present to you the
“ Progressive presents Skating & Gymnastics Spectacular”. This little nugget aired from 4-6pm Sunday afternoon on NBC opposite the NFC and AFC Championship on FOX and CBS respectively. Although a written description does it little justice, let me paint a picture if I can. During the opening sequence the center portion of a very darkly lit arena is illuminated to reveal various gymnastics apparatus scattered across the ice in a minor league hockey arena in the hotbed of cosmopolitan culture, Rapid City, SD. Next, as two male figure skaters clad in onion hugging pink pastel body suits begin a routine, Olympic Champions Nastia Lukin and an offseason (I hope) 400 lb William “The Refrigerator” Perr- I mean Shawn Johnson pirouette and pose around the various gymnastics apparatus. The male skaters move towards them and inexplicably they pick Lukin up and carry/parade her around for one lap around the ice, while being very careful not to get close to the rings or uneven bars on which other gymnasts have begun routines. After one laugh…I mean lap Lukin is handed off to the other male skater who in turn goes for another lap. Brilliant stuff. Mind you this is the opening three minutes of a 2 hour program.

Now I was wondering what I’m sure you are currently wondering, “Who in the hell would go to this stupid thing?” The answer: basically no one. During the first pan out you realize that the roughly 2000 seat arena is about 75% empty. The persistent and defining cheers are not of adoring fans but rather a piped in cheer track over the arena’s loud speaker. Those who are in attendance sit expressionless and silent, more as if they are attending a body exhumation than something adorned with the hyperbolic title of “spectacular”.

The broadcast team for the “Progressive presents Skating & Gymnastics Spectacular” is later revealed to be none other than real life husband and wife pair, and Olympic Gold Medalists themselves, Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci. It is not however revealed whether they were the brainchild for this Frankenstein-like abomination of a show.

I’m wondering if you would get as many kids training there whole lives to reach the pinnacle of there respective sports, to be Olympic Champion in figure skating or gymnastics, if they knew it would allow them a place in a two hour dog and pony show taping in South Dakota two days before Christmas. Just a thought.

It was about 5 minutes before I switched back to the football and I didn’t catch the last hour and 55 minutes of the show. I really wish I had had the foresight to Tivo the rest of the show. If you have the means I highly recommend watching a bit of this you’ll be better for it.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The View From My Couch

(Open letter to anyone who reads this):

Dear All,

I want to start with an apology. I'm sorry for creating a blog. I'm sorry for investing time in a vehicle in which I will periodically present my opinions on any number of topics whether it be sports, music, tv, movies, books, politics, or whatever really strikes my fancy.

Blogging (is that even a real term by now?) is about the lamest thing you can do with your free time. I would go so far as to say dressing up like an 8-foot Chewbacca and going to a Star Wars convention is far more constructive. At least in that instance you have some human interaction. As it stands right now I am doing little more than sitting on my couch (presumably with pants on, although it really depends on my wash cycle) throwing barbs or offering up opinions people probably could care less about.

With that being said. I can hardly blame myself. It's not my fault. It's a cultural thing really. The 21st century is about the "Culture of Me". People just cannot get enough of themselves with blogs and personal websites and My Space and Facebook and stupid reality tv and whatever else. The status update on Facebook is something that really gets me. I just want to tell people "The number of people that care that you're 'chillin like a villain in your apart-eezy' can easily be counted on Jim Abbott's right hand."

I fully understand the fact that I'm writing a blog is ridiculous and I hope you accept my most sincere and humble apologies. I also hope you might get a chuckle out of anything I write or perhaps I might even arouse some deep and meaingful feeling within you....or hopefully just the former. At the very least I'll be putting down some good ideas for my book. I figure everyone eventually writes a book about themselves in the "Culture of Me" right? Enjoy.