Showing posts from February, 2011

Heeeeree's NOT Johnny!

Johnny Carson is dead.

No news here, I know, but I mean more than just Carson dead in a physical sense, which occurred just over six years ago.

I mean, Johnny is dead in the same way as pay phones, drive-in theaters, and chivalry.

Specifically, Johnny Carson is dead in a "Who's good at hosting the Oscars?" sort of way.

Carson did it brilliantly---emceeing the Academy Awards five times (1979-82, 1984), providing the perfect blend of wit, sarcasm, irony and class as he shepherded the sometimes seemingly interminable production through the evening.

Not that others didn't host the show with aplomb---Billy Crystal comes to mind---but this blog post serves to lament that there just isn't another Carson out there today who can do what Johnny did during the Oscars telecast, which takes place again this Sunday night.

David Letterman gave it the old college try on more than one occasion, but he had the smarm factor that Johnny wouldn't, couldn't bring to the podium.


The British Are Coming!! (Again)

What's the fascination in TV advertising with those who sport a British or Australian accent?

This isn't an anti-UK post, bloke, but I must protest.

Seems there must have been some market research done, that says us Yankees are more inclined to yank out our credit card or rush to the nearest big box store if we hear said items being hawked by those who hail from across the pond or Down Under.

How else to explain the influx of voices I am hearing lately on the telly?

Before, the tack du jour was to yell. That's all. Just simply shout EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO SAY IN HOPES THAT VOLUME WOULD TRUMP COMMON SENSE.

The late Billy Mays yelled at us, as he sold us on those great TV offers. He was hardly the first TV pitchman to literally "give a shout out."

Now it's not so much shouting as it is the apparent allure of the British or Australian accent.

You may not be aware of what I'm talking about, but give the TV commercials these days a listen.

There's the GEICO geck…

Promo Seltzer

Tell me, what would be your annoyance factor if, while trying to watch television in your living room, someone occasionally steps in front of the screen, making hand gestures and other things to call attention to themselves?

Pretty flipping annoying, right?

Then why do some television networks insist on pumping their programs in the CGI version of what I just described?

You've been there---watching whatever on wherever, and you get momentarily startled by a moving image that is doing something in the lower right corner of the screen.

Your eyes can't help but go over there, and it's a graphic or an image of a person (or people) dancing or moving or waving their arms, calling attention to their show, which is sometimes several days away.

Some networks, in addition to the moving images, simply leave the programming information for what they're promoting on the screen for the entire duration of what you're currently watching. Though that's easier to ignore because it…


I don't know whether Christopher Lee should have resigned for cheating or for being stupid.

Either way, he's what he should be today: an ex-Congressman.

Lee, the Republican from New York, is the doofus who answered an ad on Craigslist---using his real name and personal e-mail address---under the category "Women for Men" and sent a photo of himself, shirtless, to a woman, declaring himself divorced and 39 years old.

Lee is married and 46, with kids.

Well, he has kids. The married part is rather tenuous right now.

Lee, observers say, had himself a bright future. He was young, up-and-coming within the party, and had landed a seat on the powerful, tax-writing Ways and Means Committee.

And there's that wife and kids thing---which is in of itself a blessing.

Now it might all be gone, because of Lee's cheating and/or stupidity.

It's a chicken-or-the-egg thing.

Is Lee more guilty of cheating, or of being a moron?

In other words, is he any more in the right if he had chosen…

Chrysler's Longball

I won't be running out to buy a Chrysler 200. I won't be moving into the city of Detroit.

But I'm proud as hell of the spot that Chrysler heaped on us during the third quarter of Super Bowl XLV.

About 160 million people watched the game on TV, by the way, so it wasn't like the 2:00 ad was played to a private audience of Detroit backers.

Some of those non-Detroiters are beside themselves. They just can't stand anything portraying Detroit in anything close to a positive light.

That's OK; I suspect that there were far more who were bedazzled with the spot than who are hating on it today.

I had the unusual experience of both watching the spot AND later strictly listening to it, minus the visual images.

I heard the audio played on the radio, and still it was riveting, even without the gritty, architectural images of Detroit.

That's because the script was dynamic---perfectly acknowledging Detroit's foibles along with pointing out that it's those very foibles tha…

The Great Centurion

Whatever one thinks of Ronald Reagan, I submit this without too much fear of contradiction.

He was a much better president than he was an actor.

That's about as far as I'll go, and as far as a lot of other people will go.

There are many others, as you know, who'll go much further than that.

The Gipper's 100th birthday is almost upon us. Reagan was born on February 6, 1911.

He was 69 when he was elected president in 1980, and almost 70 when he took the oath of office.

Reagan was among the eldest of presidents, on the cusp of turning 78 when he gave way to George Bush I.

I feel bad for the Reagan legacy, no matter what you think of it, because those who are enamored of him have unwittingly cheapened it by going overboard with their exultation.

The pro-Reagan zealots want everything to be named after him, and then some. They want him on currency. They want him added to Mt. Rushmore. And that's just the beginning.

All this does is make the fence-sitters and the anti-Reagan folk…

Snow Time Like a Blizzard

Most snowstorms are like lumbering elephants. It's hard for one to catch you unawares.

There's really no such thing as a sudden, unexpected big heaping of snow. You don't get caught in a snow shower, like you can with rain. The skies don't open one afternoon and before you blink, there's two inches of fluff on the ground.

No, snowstorms announce their presence ahead of time, like a courteous guest alerting you that he's planning on stopping by in a couple of days. And he'll be knocking, whether you're home or not.

Which is a good thing, I suppose. The advanced warning signs give the Chicken Little weather people plenty of opportunities to run screaming down the streets and yelling into the radio microphones, telling us to take cover and to buy provisions---not necessarily in that order.

The impending, Great Snowstorm of 2011 is apparently on its way, having announced its intentions as early as Saturday night.

I'm not sure how it works. Maybe the chief me…