Gaga-Boo Music

By now you may have heard about the Fox News anchor who used a racially derogatory word in her discussion of Lady Gaga’s performance at the Oscars.  The beauty-pageant winner turned newscaster said it was hard to really hear Gaga’s voice with all of the “jigaboo music” accompanying the singer.  I missed seeing the Academy Awards again this year.  I think my streak for skipping that show for 56 consecutive years is impressive, but I’m not here to grandstand.

She's a former beauty pageant winner, and he's a co-anchor.  Is it okay to call someone a co-anchor?
She did well in the swimsuit competition, but faltered during the talent portion, where she showed how limber she was by sticking both of her feet in her mouth. The co-anchor seems to already know he’ll soon have that desk all to himself.  Is it okay to call someone a co-anchor?  That’s not one of those slur-word things is it?

Since I didn’t see it, I guess there’s a slim possibility that Gaga’s back-up music was so raucous and bizarre that the standard English language was simply insufficient to adequately describe it.  If that was the case, the reporter had little choice but to resort to jerky hand gestures or funny sounding slang words like “razzamatazz” or “badonkey-tonk”.

It can be difficult to hear Gaga's beautiful voice, especially in this scene where she sang "..the hills are alive, with the sound of cherry bombs going off in my bra"
It can be difficult to hear Gaga’s beautiful voice, as in this scene where she sang “..the hills are alive, with the sound of cherry bombs going off in my bra”

When criticized for her use of the slur, the news anchor Tweeted her little heart out, spewing apologies and offering the explanation that she didn’t actually know what the word meant when she said it (twice, but who’s counting, right?).  The guy to her left seems to be a little more familiar with it.

In these N-word sensitive times, many white folk simply aren’t up to speed with the broad selection of racial epithets available out there to insult most any group.  In truth, there’s no shortage in colorful words and phrases with which to simultaneously flaunt both ones racist leanings and impressive vocabulary.  I’m not interested in helping popularize any of these lesser known terms and will keep them to myself, unless someone cuts me off in traffic.

As a lifelong speaker of English, I understand that we sometimes say things we don’t mean to.  I say the wrong thing fairly often, such as “Hell yes!” to the offer of yet another pint of beer when I meant “No thank you”.  The difference is that I know the meanings of the words, I just chose the wrong ones.

I know I should've said no, but it's a Goat Boy Imperial Weizenbock!  No one says no to another one of those.  Lookit that cute little goat boy!
No one says “No” to another Goat Boy Imperial Weizenbock, NO ONE !!

When I go to Starbucks, I order whichever coffee drink I’m interested in having, and specify whether I’d like a small, medium or large.  I do not order a yeti or a grande.  Though I’ve certainly been to enough Mexican restaurants to know that grande probably means large, I’m not positive, so I don’t use the word.  To further complicate things, Yeti is another name for Bigfoot, which has the word “big” right in it.  No wonder people are confused.  Besides, the whole thing smacks of pretentiousness, but that’s for another blog post.

My daughter recently brought these back from Seattle, home of Starbucks.  I think we can all make the Yeti/Mocha Latte connection now.
My daughter recently brought these back from Seattle, birthplace of Starbucks. I think we can all make the Grande-Yeti-Mocha Latte connection now.  For the record, Yeti turds have a sweet, nutty taste.

The real story is not that some perky newscaster used a racist term.  The big message is that this woman, who talks for a living, had no idea what she was saying!  Thousands of viewers tune in to find out what’s going on in their corner of the world and this is one of the people who tells them!?    She didn’t know what it meant, and said it anyway – at least that is what she Tweeted, but there’s a chance that she also types things she doesn’t know the meanings of.

No need to bother with a caption, the pic is self-explanatory.
No need to bother with a caption, the pic is self-explanatory.

It’s commendable that people turn on the news in the first place, considering the sensationally tragic nature of most news stories.  Even if some of them are only tuning in to find out who won the game or to ogle the weather girl, at least they’re taking some slight bit of interest in the world around them and not parking themselves in front of a “13 Wives and Counting” marathon on A & E.

Quiet kids, Daddy's watching the news!  (Image from the nayshun dot com)
Quiet kids, Daddy’s watching the news…and learning a little Spanish! (Image from the nayshun dot com)

This talking head has done little to restore peoples’ faith in the news media.  If only she’d stuck to the teleprompter.  In other news, Walter Cronkite is still spinning in his grave like a rotisserie chicken on a cordless drill.  When pressed for a comment, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley both stated they could do a better job handling broadcast news despite their mutual state of deadness.  Stay with us for continuing coverage, we’ll be back with weather and sports after these messages (Pull back to studio shot and cue the Starbucks commercial).

 

Popular TV Episodes Summarized For Your Convenience

First of all, you’re welcome.  I had to do my monthly duty over at the Nudge Wink Report, so I thought I’d summarize the latest goings on of a few popular TV shows instead of coming up with some sort of intelligent topic to write about.  Don’t worry about spoilers though, as I’m actually a week or so behind.  If you’re further behind than that, you need to buck up and take your TV viewing a little more seriously and stop wasting time with more meaningful pursuits, like earning a living, raising children or volunteering at the local ebola clinic.  Since I know that many of you are visual learners, here’s a photo for you:

I found this and figured someday it would be a great illustration for a post, then I saw something shiny and forgot all about it.  Feel free to be disturbed.  (Image from wincountry dot com)
I found this and figured someday it would be a great illustration for a post, then I saw something shiny and forgot all about it. Feel free to be disturbed. (Image from wincountry dot com)

Feel free to thank me later.  You can click on the Nudge Wink link above, or here to jump over there and see my incredibly shallow summary of a few popular shows, which you may or may not watch.

TV Doctor! Paging TV Doctor!

On a recent episode of a TV show, a doctor in 19th century New York had a man arrive on his doorstep who was obviously in some sort of distress.  The doctor had no way of knowing, but the man had lost quite a few of his toes after an interlude with a rather sadistic shoe salesman.  The diagnosis didn’t matter as the doctor knew just what to do.

The man of medicine turned to his wife and yelled,  Get me plenty of clean towels and hot water!”

"We don't have much time!  Get in your AMC Gremlin and drive to the laundramat - I've got a load of whites in  the dryer - they should be done by now!"  (Image from museum dot tv)
“We don’t have much time, Sally! Get in your AMC Gremlin and drive to the laundromat – I’ve got a load of whites in the dryer – they should be done by now!” (Image from museum dot tv)

Viewers like myself were amazed that despite the patient’s having no outward sign of having endured a nasty bunch of amputations, the doctor inherently knew the treatment would require clean towels and hot water.  Viewers unlike myself probably didn’t notice and just wished they could enjoy the show without my constant piping up and taking issue with the dialogue and continuity.

There’s an interesting fact: TV doctors only have one of two choices when it comes to addressing any medical emergency.  The first and most popular choice is the old standby of clean towels and hot water, or as it’s also known, the shave-and-a-haircut treatment option.  Even the worst doctor would not treat a patient with dirty laundry and cold water, (there were exceptions made during the Tide epidemic of the late 1950’s).

The second treatment choice for TV doctors is a more recent development.  TV physicians turn to whoever is helping them and urgently ask for something really technical, including a couple of medical abbreviations to jazz it up.  Any modern TV doctor worth his salt will assess a situation and quickly demand something along the lines of “100 cc’s of epi and a goniometer, stat!”.  Viewers will instantly recognize the authenticity of the dialogue because it was filled with stuff they don’t understand.

"You!  Get me a doo-hickey and a whatsis, stat!  Also, you got to stop letting your family tell you how to live your laff - you're a grown woman and it's tamm to stop bein pushed around by these people to satisfahh their own twisted ideas!"   (Image from dr-phil-blog.newsok.com)
“You! Get me a doo-hickey and a whatsis, stat! Also, you got to stop lettin your family tell you how to live your laff – you’re a grown woman and it’s tamm to stop bein pushed around by these people to satisfahh their own twisted ideas!” (Image from dr-phil-blog dot newsok dot com)

The last mandatory ingredient for successful treatment in TV medical emergencies then, is the third person.  When clean towels and hot water are all that’s needed, the third party can be almost anyone, even a child or a well trained collie.  In the case of more technical orders, the third person needs to have enough medical training to know what the doctor’s talking about, but not enough expertise to question he’s going to do with two speculums, an enema bag and a syringe full of morphine when the patient appears to be suffering from nothing more than a really bad hair day.

If no third party is available, the patient will most certainly die.  Lacking clean towels and hot water, the doctor’s only choice is to reach out and gently close the eyelids of the deceased.  In the event of a closed-eye death, he or she can pull a sheet over the face.  In either case, it’s then time to say something really meaningful.

Roll credits.

Manon Kubler – Is that Samoan for “Reader With Great Taste”?

At the tattoo parlor, they told me this means “courage, faith and eternal happiness”, but the guy at Peking Gourmet said it meant” Shrimp in Szechuan Sauce with Snow Peas”. (Image from checkoutmyink.com)

A week or so ago, I got a notice that a blogger named Manon Kubler wished to re-blog one of my earlier masterpieces.  The post was my biting commentary on the government’s attempt to make bullying illegal, though truthfully, it could have been any of my blogs, they’re all just so damn re-bloggable.  I’m doing the noble thing and not putting a link to that post in here – go over to the right border later and click on “Bully For You” if you want to read it.

As an absolute whore for blogging popularity, I was more than happy to give Manon Kubler the green light to reblog my work.  I figured his scores of loyal fans would read my post, and maybe a few of them would join the fledgling ranks of my followers.  I won’t build a massive loyal following overnight, but small moves like being re-blogged could add up over time.  One complication of it all was that everything Manon wrote in his comments was in a foreign language.

At first I was too flattered to care what he had written.  He had given me exposure to some new readers and I didn’t have to do crap’s worth of work to get them.  That’s a win-win in my book.  After a while, I got curious to see what his comments were.  As my loyal readers can both tell you, I only speak English and not all that well.  My writing is only slightly better than my speech, as I have the luxury of editing and sounding the words out in the privacy of my own home before I hit “send”.  Curious as to what Manon had to say, I went to a few translation websites and started putting some of his words in there, but they didn’t get translated to English consistently.

The words looked kind of Spanish, but didn’t all get recognized by the Spanish translator website.  Maybe he spoke Portuguese or some regional dialect like Catamaran or Pekinese.  After a solid five minutes of trying, I was as stumped as ever.

I do have limited experience with foreign languages.  Occasionally, I’ll be in the home of Spanish speaking clients.   Many of these people have the Spanish television channel on at all times.  The Spanish station around these parts is very entertaining to watch.  Most of the women on it bear a resemblance to Sofia Vergara, only a bit sexier and they tend to dress more provocatively.  They teeter across the screen in 5 inch pumps with skin tight skirts and low cut blouses barely covering their impressive chests, blathering on and on about God knows what – because they’re speaking Spanish.

EeS gonna bee cloudy tomorrow and…are chu even leestening to me? !?  Eye’s up here you steenky dog! (Image of Mary Gamarra from tvallure.com)

If the woman on the screen is standing in front of a weather map and gesturing wildly with her blood-red painted nails, one might assume that she is talking about a tropical depression off the Carolinas.  I tend to provide my own custom translation wherein she is talking about how handsome I am and wishing she had me alone in a deserted vacation home in Hilton Head.  If the woman is holding a microphone as she stands in front of the burned out shell of a rowhome, I naturally assume she is describing how her desire for me burns within her like the flames which displaced a family of four in Brooklyn last night.  As you might imagine, many of my Spanish-speaking clients get a little pissy with me since I tend to ignore them and just watch their TV’s.  There’s just no pleasing some people.

Zee Rerun, he is zee genius, no? Ow ee wearz zee beret and zee sus-penderz! Hees comedy eez, how do you zay, “what eez appening”    (Image from celebslist.com)

It should come as no surprise then, that I have decided to interpret Manon Kubler’s words with meanings of my own choosing.  Here’s the gist of his words:

Manon has written that he and his thousands of avid followers have recognized me, even before my own American countrymen, as a stone-cold genius – kind of like the French did with Grampa Al Lewis and Fred “Rerun” Berry.  I am the next Ernesto Hemmingwayo in their estimation.  Beyond seeing me as a literary giant in the making, Manon’s followers have essentially deified me into something like a cargo god.  They feel they are not worthy of my incredible talent and only read my words on the sabbath.  In the event that I ever deem it necessary to travel to the South Pacific island paradise they call home, I will be greeted in a manner worthy of a spiritual master, descended from the heavens.  Manon didn’t come out and say it, but I’m pretty sure there will be a nice buffet with a roast pig and some of those fancy drinks served in hollow coconuts.

I’ll admit that I may have taken some poetic license with Manon’s words, but if he didn’t want to risk misinterpretation, he could have written his comments in English, or possibly Pig Latin.

“What is a lamp, you nincompoop? It’s a major award. I won it!”

Mr. Parker: It's a Major Award!
Swede: Shucks, I wouldn't know that. It looks like a lamp.
Mr. Parker: What is a lamp, you nincompoop? It's a Major Award. I won it!
Swede: Damn, hell, you say won it?
Mr. Parker: Yeah, mind power, Swede; mind power.
(Image and dialogue from Jean Shepherd's "A Christmas Story" - MGM)

I was recently named as a winner of the Versatile Blogger Award.

I was nominated by the presumably lovely and unquestionably talented Emma of In Other Words .  Thanks Emma – I’m not worthy of your praise.  While I appreciate the award, it’s made writing even more challenging than it already was.  It’s always been a bit daunting to hit the “Publish” button on a piece.  With my award, I now have to ask myself,

“Is this worthy of a Versatile Blogger Award recipient?

“Is it too trite?”

“Is it versatile enough?”

“Will posting this give Emma reason to doubt her judgement?”

Clearly the bar has been raised, and now I’ll need to consider my stellar reputation as a wit (or half-wit) before I post just any old thing.

I read how after winning the Academy Award for “Hamlet”, Sir Lawrence Olivier had the good judgement to turn down the title role in “The Incredible Mr. Limpet” – leaving the door open for Don Knotts to star as the man-turned-fish.  That’s the kind of foresight I’ll be needing from here on out.  I don’t want to be the Don Knotts of blogging – there are too many of those already.

To add further doubt to my already shaky self-image, I’ll be damned if I can figure out how to post a link to Emma’s site in here.  Fortunately, I stumbled onto a video tutorial on the VBA page, and after watching it an embarrassing number of times, I was able to negotiate myself through the process.

Now the other award shoe drops.

As if it wasn’t difficult enough writing with this massive new weight upon my shoulders, the award stipulates that I, in turn, award the VBA to no less than fifteen of my favorite bloggers.  Fifteen?!!  That means I’m going to leave someone out and undoubtedly hurt their feelings.  In addition, I’ll be saddling fifteen other bloggers to this same horrific batch of challenges and angst.  What fun!

The positive aspect of this is that all fifteen of my nominees write way better than I do, so they should skip through this effortlessly.  In the event that as a recipient of this noble chain letter award you choose not to follow through with your sworn duties, don’t be hating on the nominator.  It’s not my fault you write well and entertain me – that’s on you.

Here then, in no particular order, is my list of fifteen wicked-good blog writers.  I apologize in advance to both those who I nominated and to those I did not.  If you are one of the award winners, try clicking on a link besides your own, ferchrissakes!

The Good Greatsby

The Byronic Man

japecake

Prawn and Quartered

Paltry Meanderings of a Taller Than Average Woman

publikworks

Notes from a She-Hermit

blogdramedy

TEStazyk

Shut Up Dad

freddyflow

White Elephant In The Room

Perverted Wisdom

She’s a Maineiac

Peg-o-Leg’s Ramblings

I know that some if not all of my nominees are wildly successful bloggers who can’t be bothered with this nonsense, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to put some hack on my list and risk guilt by association.  Many of these blogging superstars have the good taste not to follow yours truly, so I have no idea when or if they will even hear about this.

The final requirement for winners is to tell seven previously undisclosed things about themselves to their loyal readers (This is a lot like work).   I’m not exactly a private person, but I’ve decided to just make some of this stuff up rather than risk boring people with nothing but facts.  In a wacky twist, you’ll have to decide for yourselves which of my following are facts and which are fabrications.

1)  Born in Vienna, Austria

2) I’m a physical therapist who works with special needs children

3) I have an admitted fondness for dessert wines

4) My middle child is a jet-setting professional poker player

5) My younger brother once met Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. – and I resent him for it (My brother, not Kurt)

6) I see my mother on TV sometimes

7) My basement is filled with survival gear and back issues of Guns and Ammo magazine

My god, I feel so exposed !  For those of you who don’t know me personally, I’d love to hear which of the 7 attributes you think are true.  For those of you who know me in the “real” world, don’t be tools and spoil it for everyone else.

THE FUTURE OF REALITY TV

"So...these shows will have just like regular people OK?..but cooler than just regular people, because you know, they're like...on TV and stuff"

I’m sure if someone told you ten short years ago about what would pass for entertainment in 2012, you would have looked at them as if perhaps they’d lost their mind.

“There’s going to be a show about an exterminator, OK?  The camera follows him around while he gets raccoons out of attics and knocks hornets’ nests down from porches.  Sometimes he gets stung by the bees and possums try to bite him.  He wears a funny hat and he’s like..a rocker dude?  Then, there’s gonna be this other show, OK?  where they follow meter maids around in Philadelphia while they give parking tickets and put boots on cars.  It’s gonna be really funny because it makes Philly look even worse than usual.  Cool, right? There’s all kinds of people screaming and yelling ’cause you know, nobody likes having their car towed and stuff.  Then, there’s gonna be this other cool show where you watch people make cakes, but wait, don’t make that face, cause they’re really cool cakes that don’t even look like cakes man, and the bakers are all like these kind of Soprano-talking dudes and then…”

By this point you’d have tuned the person out and tried not to roll your eyes at their insane rambling.  He’s off his meds again – hide the pets.

Of course, as we know all too well, these are all shows which have actually come to life in these strange times.

Now the obvious question: What next?  What could possibly be more interesting than watching inept, out-of-work loggers trying to mine gold in Alaska?  What in the world could compare with the trials and tribulations of rich, suburban housewives from Atlanta, Orange County or New York?  Hold on to your hard-hats and/or breast implants people, because I’ve figured it out!

Several of these shows have already given us hints as to the future of reality entertainment.  “The Deadliest Catch” stepped away from showing the gritty, tough lives of crab fishermen in the Bering Sea and focused instead on their own difficult job of recording the gritty, tough lives of crab fishermen in the Bering Sea.  That’s right – they showed the cameramen, sound guys and producers of the show as they worked in challenging conditions to film the fishermen.  On a special episode of “Gold Rush”, the emphasis was on filming the film crew running around to catch all the action as miners threw tantrums and pick-axes (OK, I’ll admit, I didn’t see anyone threw a pick-axe – it’s called poetic license).

A brief, but necessary detour from our topic: It’s a fact that nothing is more appealing to show-biz people than shows about show biz-people.  You can see it now and way-back-when in entertainment from sixty or seventy years ago.  The black and white movie flickers on the screen, some freckle-faced young actor calls out “Hey kids!  Let’s put on a show!”.  Soon the whole gang is building scenery and practicing dance numbers.  There were notably fewer movies where the freckle-faced youngster calls out “Hey kids, let’s open a veterinary clinic” or “Say fellas, wouldn’t it be swell if we started our own full service nail salon right here on Main Street?!”

In the years since, there’s been plenty of narcissistic examples of show biz focusing on itself.  Movies and TV series like “Fame”, “A Chorus Line”, “A Star Is  Born” and more recently “Smash” all tell the stories of people acting and singing all about their lives acting and singing.

I know what you’re thinking: “Dave, what the hell does ‘Smash’ and ‘A Chorus Line’ have to do with reality TV?”   Keep your pants on, I told you it was a brief detour, didn’t I?

Show biz has waited patiently for America to get through this awkward phase of infatuation with reality TV.  Now they have found the gateway back into our viewing hearts.  Drum roll please…The next phase in reality shows is:

Reality shows about the making of reality shows!  The reality show will have less emphasis on the subject of the show and increasingly focus on the people who make the reality shows.  After the new “show about a show about a baker” phase runs its course, the logical evolutionary step into the future will be “a show about a show about a show about an exterminator”.  There will be a brief period where cameramen and sound engineers will be as famous as Kardashians.

In this scene, one of the miners takes over the sound boom to catch the audio as the camera crew pushes a car. A second camera crew records this special moment. In the next phase, a third camera crew will record the second camera crew - capturing the gutsy intensity of people filming other people who are filming other people who are pushing a car.

As the number of people on-camera swells, it will be increasingly difficult for producers to count on so many people who have traditionally been on the opposite side of the lens to act naturally.  Since the 1st and 2nd camera units will no longer be shooting any actual footage, the producers will eventually replace them with good looking young actors and actresses.

Within a few additional years, the viewers, who aren’t all that bright to begin with, will not be able to tell reality TV from scripted TV.  Television will once again be in the business of telling stories.  Writers, long thought extinct, will creep back into brainstorming sessions.  Actors, who were already confused by all of this, will settle back into the simple job of pretending to be a fictional character in a scene, rather than posing as a cameraman in a show about a show about a show about people who buy abandoned storage lockers.

Got it?

I didn’t think so.  Don’t worry, just keep watching TV and it will all be explained to you in due time.