More Tawdry Viewing

I didn’t see the MTV awards show this year.  Then again, I’ve never seen an MTV award show.

True to form, those preceding two facts will not deter me from weighing in on this year’s highly-hyped edition.  For those readers who actually saw the awards show, feel free to roll your eyes at the inaccuracies which will soon follow.  For the rest of you, take my word for it and try to enjoy my synopsis.  By reading my account and not actually watching the show, you’ll have saved yourself an hour or two, including roughly 23 minutes of Axe Body Spray commercials.

This isn't the MTV trophy, it's from Darwincountry dot org.  No one can deny the "evolution of outrageous" of MTV's award behavior.  I can't wait to read about what happens next year!
This isn’t the MTV trophy, it’s from Darwincountry dot org. No one can deny the “evolution of outrageous” of MTV’s award behavior. I can’t wait to read about what happens next year!

As a bit of background, MTV Music Television – which hasn’t aired music videos since who knows when – has an annual movie and music awards show.  The show has had its share of “outrageous” moments, all of which served to catapult someone further into the spotlight for a few more minutes.  This is the same venue where Madonna sucked face with Britney and Lady Gaga covered her loins with flank steaks (or maybe she covered her flanks with loins).  Howard Stern once flew in dressed as his own super hero, “Fartman”, and blew up part of the stage with an egger.

The Gagster had originally thought about wearing this tie with khakis and a sport jacket, but didn't think it was "outrageous" enough.  (Image from z a z z l e dot com
Lady Gagster had originally thought about wearing this tie with khakis and a sport jacket, but didn’t think it was “outrageous” enough. (Image from z a z z l e dot com

This year’s big story, if the internet is to be believed, is that Miley Cyrus did a naughty dance on stage.  To be honest, I wouldn’t recognize Miley if she was twerking right in front of my house.  It’s a safe bet that I’d yell at her to stay the hell off my grass though.  I’ve written about Miley before and if nothing else interesting happens in the future, I likely will again.  She’s constantly featured in gossip rags and we all know that’s where I get some of my best material.

Even more fun than Miley’s dancing is the feigned shocked reactions by the media to what they had all expected in the first place.  I don’t doubt that some of the talk-news types already had “outrage over something that was said or done at the MTV awards” penciled into the following week’s programming before the show even happened.

I sat in a doctor’s office waiting room on Monday, listening to one TV talking head after another yabber on and on about Miley’s performance, with one commentator making the suggestion that they should no longer call her by name.  Apparently, “She Who Will Not Be Named” is this knucklehead’s idea of a punishment for someone whose parents named her “Miley”.  It seemed something of an over-reaction to Miley’s antics to put her in the same category as Beetlejuice and Leona Helmsley.

She Who Shall Not Be Named (Image from content dot time dot com)
She Who Shall Not Be Named.  “Why so serious?” – so sayeth the Joker.  (Image from content dot time dot com)

On Tuesday I sat in another doctor’s waiting room and listened to more of the same.  I’m either getting old or I’ve changed careers and become a pharmaceutical sales rep.

At one point, they stopped talking about Miley having unsafe relations with a foam finger and discussed poison gas attacks and the likelihood of the US getting themselves into yet another no-win military clusterfuck in yet another middle eastern country.  There was a commercial break and then it was back to more in-depth debate over the outrageous behavior of former child stars.  Justin Beiber could not be reached for comment as he was busy killing a potted palm.

As the world teeters on the brink of absolute bedlam, I suppose it’s a perverse luxury to spend our time worrying about a skinny white girl shaking her moneymaker on a TV award show.  I can hardly wait to see what diversions next week will bring.

Follow Me On Twitter N C My Nu Bangs!

{I was recently Freshly Pressed here on WordPress.  For those of you who aren’t WordPress bloggers, just know it’s a big deal, with the most important by-product being the wholesale harvesting of new followers.  Lord knows, I grabbed my fair share of new disciples.

The big challenge now is not writing some disappointing piece of crap for my next offering.  After slaving like a dog for months to finally get a bunch of new followers, I don’t want to scare them away this soon.  Be that as it may, I’m going to write about the following topic anyway.}

When I was a kid, a hundred years ago, the news was not fun viewing.  The screen featured a very serious looking man, wearing a suit, sitting at a desk with some papers in front of him.  He’d tilt his head slightly at the camera, cock an eyebrow above the frame of his horn-rimmed glasses and tell America what had happened that day.

No screaming like a Banshee when these guys were on.  They were giving America the news, not yabbering about Ruth Buzzi and giving birthday shout outs. (Image from anchoringamerica.com)
No screaming like a Banshee when Huntley and Brinkley were on. They were giving America the news, not yabbering about Ruth Buzzi and giving birthday shout-outs. (Image from anchoringamerica.com)

My brothers and I seldom stuck around to see what the anchorman had to say, as it wasn’t very entertaining in our estimation.  Our Dad would yell at us to “stop screaming like Banshees” so he could hear it.  Maybe if the news featured them, we would have sat down quietly and found out what the hell a Banshee was in the first place.  Instead, the only visual breaks in the action were usually maps of Southeast Asia or stock market graphs.

Of course, time changes ones tastes, and now I occasionally want to watch the news.  This was the case the other day.  The house was devoid of  Banshees, and the wife and I sat on our respective ends of the couch and watched Diane Sawyer on ABC.

Diane Sawyer is an attractive woman, not necessarily by TV standards, but certainly by news standards.  She also presents the news like a kinda-foxy aunt telling bedtime stories.  As the newscast wound down, a picture of Michelle Obama flashed on the screen behind her.

Can you see anything different about Michelle Obama?” Diane asked us viewers, her voice lilting and mischevious.  Then they cut to commercial.  Some guy in a khaki shirt was telling America about a quick and easy way to manage the tartar build-up on the teeth of our dogs.  I glanced over at my wife and made a wrinkled kind of face, as if to ask her about what had happened to Michelle Obama.  I got no reply to my non-verbal query.  My wife had looked back down at her Kindle as soon as the commercials started.  For the record, the non-verbal communication between my wife and me will be the focus of an upcoming post, in case you think I can’t top this one for dull topics.

I was annoyed at Diane Sawyer for teasing me and the rest of America with this First Lady topic.  I’m not worried about Mrs. Obama.  She seems like a strong woman and I’m certain there are plenty of staff eager to make sure she comes up with great healthy snack ideas for the kids and always has an outfit to wear that looks sassy yet refined.  Still, as the commercials for reverse mortgages and erectile dysfunction medications droned on, I wondered what it could be.  It’s funny that bullying is illegal in America, but teasing has been allowed to escalate into an art form.

Diane Sawyer doesn't mess around when it comes to the news.   Here she is interviewing Michael Jackson.  She was so glad that she thought better of wearing her own gold-plated catcher's shin guards - that would have been SO embarrassing!  (Image from bet.com)
Diane Sawyer doesn’t mess around when it comes to the news. Here she is interviewing Michael Jackson and Elvis’ daughter. She was glad that she thought better of wearing her own gold-plated catcher’s shin guards – that would have been SO embarrassing! (Image from bet.com)

After what seemed like an eternity, Diane Sawyer was back, smiling patiently, as if it were my idea to wait 4 minutes before finding out the answer.

She briefly recapped the question for those sleepy audience members in the back of the classroom who didn’t hear it the first time.  Then she dropped the bombshell.  Apparently there were two things different about Mrs. Obama.  The first was that she had started her own Twitter account and the second was that she had changed her hairstyle to one with bangs.  The first lady had bangs!

That’s NOT news!!” I screamed.

My wife’s attention was startled away from her Kindle and the dog quickly got up and slunked from the room, not sure if she was in trouble.  I could hear a low rumbling sound as Walter Cronkite and David Brinkley spun in their graves like rotisserie chickens.  I turned to my wife to expound further on this travesty of news reporting only to discover that she had already found where she had left off and resumed reading her electronic romance novel.

I looked back at the screen as Diane gushed about the exciting topic of the wife of the leader of the free world having a Twitter account.  For the record, if my dog could type a little better, she’d have a Twitter account too.  If she did, she may well have left the room earlier to “follow” Mrs. Obama on Twitter and not because of her assumed guilt.  As for the guilt, I didn’t find that chewed up pair of boxer briefs behind the recliner for several more days.

I let it all sink in.  As if changing ones hairstyle isn’t upheaval enough, Michelle had started Tweeting at the same time.  Talk about a busy day!  Before I could wrap my big, bald head around it all, Diane moved onto the next story.  There was a scratchy recording of a little girl being interviewed on an old time radio show.

Do you recognize that voice?” Diane cooed.  Another question?  One tease after another!  This wasn’t the news, it was pop-culture trivia torture.  If she kept this up, Sawyer would make Pat Sajak look like a Nobel Prize laureate.  This time, she was kind enough to give us the answer without going to commercial first.  It turned out the little girl in the recording was none other than actress Betty White, who had turned 91 years old that day.

Betty White is in an American treasure (not to mention the last “Golden Girl” still standing).  Every birthday is a milestone, and the closer she gets to triple digits, the more newsworthy it becomes.

The standard format of any news show is that you start with the biggest story first, then work your way down to the filler and fluff.  By this framework we can deduce that Michelle Obama’s hairstyle/Twitter account story ranked higher than Betty White getting older.  I’m embarrassed to admit that I even took the time to consider this.

I guess I should be thankful that my kids are too old to have been in the house interupting my time watching the news.  What kind of father would I have been if I had shushed them so that I could properly hear this drivel?  Truthfully, I think I would have preferred screaming Banshees to listening to what Diane Sawyer had to say.  Oh well, at least she’s nice to look at.

A Deal’s a Deal

The pre-nup didn’t mention beheading specifically. I’d like to think our relationship is more civilized than that. (Image from weddingcakes.com)

You’ve probably noticed.  I haven’t been cranking out the hits as often lately.  I know, I know, calling those posts “hits” is a bit presumptuous of me.  Even so, I’ll admit that things have slowed down a little.  I’m sorry.  I realize that I’ve surely disappointed you, and to be honest, I’ve disappointed myself a little too.  As adults, we have to realize that things don’t stay the same forever, things change and that’s just part of life.

I thought this might be a good time to bring up the pre-nup we signed and the vows we shared when you first started following me.

Please don’t try to play dumb with me.  I’ve got my copy right here.  If you choose to skip the fine print or to keep shoddy records, you have no one but yourself to blame.

Anyway, it says right here in the third paragraph that you pledge to follow me in good times and in bad, in periods of bountiful, hilarious posts and in times of minimal writing with infrequent pity-chuckles.

A few lines down it grants you permission to follow others, which I think was pretty progressive of me, especially since I’m writing just for you (those other followers don’t mean anything to me, you’re the only one who matters – you know that, right?).

To continue, if we scan down to the bottom of page one, there’s the clause for unfollowing.  You have the right to unfollow me, but I’m granted 2 weeks advance notice and the right to appeal your decision via repeated, whining emails and, at my discretion, small bribes.  This is only fair, as it gives me ample time to try to scratch out a new, funny post in a pathetic attempt at recapturing the magic which we shared just a few weeks ago when our relationship was fresh and new.

I realize that introducing legal documents into our relationship makes for some potentially hard feelings.  I didn’t want to have to do this, but dammit, I’ve been hurt too many times!  Besides, these papers don’t really leave you in a bad position; you’re still free to come and go as you please.  The rider regarding clicking “like” isn’t even in there anymore!

I think we need to put these papers aside for a minute and clear the air a little bit.  You might not realize it, but my dopey posts only look like the rambling thoughts of a stooge.  I actually go to great lengths to capture the innocent child-like literary voice of a simpleton for your amusement.  It’s hard work, darn it!   What do you bring to the table?  A promise to follow me?!  That’s it?!  I’m doing all the work and all you have to do is read?  Hell, you don’t even have to do that – just stay on as a follower and let me go on thinking that you still care!  I’ll try to amuse you when and if you deem my post worthy of your attention.

I’m sorry.  I lost my head for a minute there.  I’m just in a dark place right now.  I had this Justin Bieber piece almost done and The Good Greatsby beat me to the punch.  All that time and research down the toilet.  Now I’ve got photos of that little gnome Bieber in my media library, what the hell am I going to do with those?  That and the 7 Deadly Sins competition is tougher than I thought.  After I won the very first sin, it only increased the pressure to win again or risk being branded a one-post-wonder.

He’s mocking me. His recycling can has more followers than my blog. (Image from fanpop.com)

It’s a lot of pressure, because…well…because I want to do my best for you.  Because you believed in me and followed me when no one except those other 6 people did.  I know this line is corny, but by golly, you make me a better writer.  I want to make you laugh and write me cute little comments to make me feel better about my strange view of life.  Honestly, you don’t even have to write the comments if you don’t want to  (Actually, the paragraph requiring you to make comments was struck down by the judge weeks ago).

Tyler/Brittany/Grayson Scored The Winning Goal/Basket/Run!!

As an avid TV watcher and student of popular culture, I’ve noticed a few things about advertising over the years.  It really doesn’t matter what the product is, advertisers have any number of wily ways to coddle and woo the customer.

One proven method involves subliminally suggesting that if you buy a given product, you will magically inherit the traits of the people in the commercial.  Using the right shampoo will make your hair look luxurious and full of body, and if you read the subliminal messages, it will also take care of that crooked nose, unsightly warts and as an added bonus, you’ll shed those 35 extra pounds you’ve been carting around since the late 90’s.  For obvious legal reasons, no shampoo manufacturer is going to actually promise you much of anything beyond clean hair.  Still, the models in their ads never have crooked noses, warts or thunder thighs.  A coincidence? I think not.

For many advertisers, there is an implied promise which is even more alluring than that of physical beauty, and that is making your child into a sports superstar.  Take for example, the notion that if you buy a certain brand of minivan, your child will score the winning goal in the soccer game, and will be carried off the field on the shoulders of his or her comrades, to the waiting luxurious comfort of your shiny, stain-free mini-van.  It might be the winning run of the baseball game or the winning shot of the basketball game instead of soccer, but make no mistake about it, if you plunk down 30 large for this incredible mini-van, your son or daughter will win the game (As a point of clarification, scoring the winning touchdown in football games is usually reserved for laundry detergent ads).

Listen Brittany! We didn't buy that new mini-van so you could sit on the damn bench! Now smear a little dirt on your cheek and go win the game, and for God's sake, try to look enthused about it! (Image from pranamama.com)

Parents have no bounds when it comes to doing anything and everything they can to ensure the success and popularity of their children.  Trust me on this one, I have kids.  OK, you got me, I had kids.  They’re all young adults now, but I have my memories.  If some slick huckster on Madison Avenue implanted the germ of an idea in my head that buying the right mini-van would improve one of my kids chances of scoring a winning goal, you know damn well I would have bought it.  Crash rating?  We don’t need no stinking crash rating!

Now that my kids are older, I can look back with some degree of objectivity on all of this subliminal advertising insanity.  While I wrote that any number of sports could suffice, I’ll stick with soccer for this hypothetical discussion.

On any given weekend day, there are easily a hundred thousand little league soccer games being played all across America.  A standard soccer game will have 11 players on each team.  Only one team can win – there are no ties in mini-van commercials, so we’ll eliminate the 11 players on the losing team.  One of the players on the winning team is the goalie, and unless they make an incredible kick, the goalie is highly unlikely to score the winning goal.  The goalie, especially in little league soccer, would be much more likely to score the winning goal for the other team, however this would probably not result in his or her being carried off the field a hero.

Another factor is that, despite the best efforts of league organizers at spreading the talent evenly among the teams, there are often powerhouses and cellar dwellers in many soccer leagues.  The disparity of talent will result in lop-sided wins or losses.  It’s a simple fact that no one will carry you off the field for scoring the winning goal if it happens 3 minutes into the game in an eventual 10-2 blow out.  Therefore we can safely eliminate half the games being played because they’re blow outs.

Yet another issue is the incidence of overly involved parents.  In a few of these games, despite the outcome, some Dad will go berserk and charge onto the field to assault the referee.  This will result in the game being called on account of boorish behavior, and no one will be carried off the field with the possible exceptions of  Dad being carried off in hand-cuffs and/or the referee on a stretcher.  This may present an opportunity for police car or ambulance advertisers, but admittedly these are niche markets at best.

Of the remaining eligible kids who could possibly score the winning goal, still more must be ruled out.  In commercials, it will be the smallest, scrappiest, cutest little goomer.  He or she will have a small scuff of dirt on their little determined cheek, and they’ll make a face of utter surprise and delight after scoring.  Therefore, none of the bigger kids on the team can score the goal, because they would appear to be a bully or a ringer.  None of the clean faced kids can score it, that just wouldn’t look right.  Finally, none of the really incredibly talented kids can score it because they would never be able to fake the look of surprise and delight, because as an elite 3rd grader, they knew that shot was going in.

I know I’ve lost some of you by now, so allow me to lose the rest of you by introducing a summary in mathematical terms:

100,000 soccer games X 2 Teams of 11 players                                  =  2,200,000

2,200,000 players minus 1,100,000 losing players                                 = 1,100,000

1,100,000 players minus 100,000 goalies                                              = 1,000,000

1,000,000 players minus 500,000 players in blow outs                           = 500,000

500,000 players minus 50,000 players in games called due to Dads       = 450,000

450,000 players minus 400,000 players who are

too big, too talented, and/or too clean                                                        = 50,000

50,000 players minus 40,000 players who’s parents

missed the game due to work or other obligations                                     = 10,000

10,000 players minus 6000 players who were distracted by

planes overhead                                                                                           = 4000

4000 players minus 2000 players who fell down or burst into tears

for no apparent reason                                                                                 = 2000

2000 players minus 925 players who were called offside

by that idiot ref                                                                                              = 1075

1075 players minus 274 who stopped to tie their cleats                                   = 801

801 players minus 211 who missed the game due to dance recitals               = 590

590 players minus 562 who are in sportsmanship leagues which forbid

gloating or being carried off the field by teamates                                            = 28

So there you have it.  By my highly scientific calculations, 28 players out of 2.2 million will score the winning heroic goal as portrayed in mini-van commercials.  Not exactly Mega-Millions long shots, but far from a slam dunk.

Maybe those crash ratings are worth a second look after all.