Finding Memo

The receptionist is out on maternity leave and the secretary is busy doing important work, like running the place and getting my car detailed.  I’ve been assigned the arduous task of handling the memos.  Today’s memos cover reality TV shows.

Memo

To: Network programming people

Message: Re-running the same episode but with the Tweeted comments of idiots inserted into the corner of the picture does not constitute new entertainment.  You may fool my DVR with this ploy, but I see right through it.  If I wanted the opinions of dolts added to my viewing experience, I’d watch TV down at the corner bar.  For the record, @pornstarrentacar Tweets “#1ptperspective I agree, man.  U blog truth! – this episode sux as bad as 1st time – even Twitter cant help it

I scoured the internet for a screen shot of one of these shows and struck out, big time.  So I Tweeted a Tweet, cut and pasted into the corner of this pic, and whew, I'm freaking exhausted.  (Doctored image from Naked and Afraid)
I scoured the internet for a screen shot of one of these shows with a Tweet in the corner and struck out.  So I had to post a Tweet, cut and paste into the corner of this pic, and whew, I’m freaking exhausted. (Doctored image from Naked and Afraid)

 

Memo

To: TV Creative Consultants

Message: We’ve seen a married couple survive the wilderness, we’ve seen a barefoot hippy dude paired with a military-type guy survive the wilderness, we’ve seen a British guy who allegedly spent his nights out of the wilderness off-camera in luxury hotels survive the wilderness, we’ve seen a guy with nothing but a couple of cameras and a harmonica survive the wilderness, and most recently we’ve seen pairs of naked strangers survive the wilderness.  How about making a show about people who don’t survive the wilderness?

 

Search and rescue teams worldwide agree it's much easier to locate the remains if a camera cre documents everything.  (Image from saportareport dot com)
Search and rescue teams worldwide agree it’s much easier to locate the remains after a grizzly bear attack if a camera crew documents it first. (Image from saportareport dot com)

 

Memo

To: TV Location Scouts

Message: Alaska is an enormous state, but it’s relatively sparsely populated.  We’ve now got shows which include nearly every segment of its population, including state troopers, crab fishermen, gold miners, ice-road truck drivers, dredge gold miners, lumberjacks, vice presidential candidates, mountain men and homesteaders.  By my reckoning, the only remaining segments of the population who don’t have their own shows are convenience store clerks and salmon cannery workers.  Please begin taping the shows about these last two groups as soon as possible, so we can move on to another state.  FYI, I hear Delaware is beautiful at this time of the year and to the best of my knowledge, no one has done a show about chicken farmers yet.

This photo shows the grid-lock traffic typical in Alaska during rush hour.  (Photo by Anne Kostalas)
This photo shows the grid-lock traffic typical in Alaska during rush hour.  Two of the drivers in this shot are rumored to have their own reality TV shows. (Photo by Anne Kostalas)

 

Corned Beef #cornedbeefhash

At one point in my efforts to build a larger blog following, I heard that having a presence on Twitter is critical.  I set myself up there, but I still don’t think I’m using it properly.  It’s as if I’m squatting in the brush, swinging an electron microscope to smash my way into a termite mound.

In an ironic twist, there is no use of #hash-tag in the text.  (Image from mycitybynight dot co dot za)
In an ironic twist, there is no use of #hash-tag in the text.  Also, people were so outraged at the first name that no one noticed that they got her last name from a bottle of Irish whiskey.   Rumor has it the proud parents will call her “#”  for short.  (Image from mycitybynight dot co dot za)

As a case in point,  I still haven’t quite grasped the whole “hash-tag” thing.  On Twitter and other social media sites, it seems to be the preferred way of maximizing a message’s relevance to a given topic – but more often than not, it just seems to be really overused.  For those of you who are even more clueless than I, the “hash-tag” apparently involves putting a pound sign in front of a bunch of topical words – and by “topical” I mean “random“.  How or when some unknown entity decided to change the pound sign into a hash-tag is a mystery to me.  Lord only knows what people are supposed to use for a pound sign now.

A friend recently posted the following on her Facebook page: Newwwww hair #ombre #hairr #ahhhhh #ihave2getusedtoit #craycray #stylishh #mommydontlike #too2badd #mee #webstagram.  I had to cut and paste it so I’d get it exactly right – I was worried I might mispell “Newwwww”.  Thanks to a couple of anthropology courses in college, I was able to deduce that this message was either about her new hairstyle or a desperate cry for rescue from the voices in her head.

This is not my friend from Facebook, this is a model who shows up in a Google search when I type in "ombre hairstyle".  I don't know what makes this ombre.  Clearly I know even less about hairstyles than I do about hash-tags - refer to my gravatar pic if you need a reminder of how well I get along with hair.  (Image from colored hairstyle dot info)
This is not my friend from Facebook, this is a model who shows up in a Google search when I type in “ombre hairstyle”. I don’t know what makes this ombre. Clearly I know even less about hairstyles than I do about hash-tags – refer to my gravatar pic if you need a reminder of how well I get along with hair. (Image from colored hairstyle dot info)

I went to Twitter to investigate, and found all the posts with the hash-tag “mommydontlike”.  Some D-list celebrity had written something moderately witty and 117 people had re-Tweeted it. Otherwise, there wasn’t much to see.

The next logical place to look was Webstagram, but I mistakenly typed in “Instagram”.  I believe Instagram has something to do with doctoring pictures from your cell phone to make them look artsy.  It bills itself as “A fast, beautiful and fun way to share your photos with friends and family”.   I’m sure that the folks at Instagram are accurate in their description, but I don’t know if I’m ready for it.

I found that Webstagram is a site which bills itself as a “the best Instagram web viewer”.  Instagram already advertises that you can share your photos to Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter, but Webstagram implies that their site is an even better place to show ones photos.  I’m not sure if Webstagram is any better for Instagram pictures, but one thing is for sure; it’s another place to display your pictures.  When I typed in one or two of the hash-tags on Webstagram, I found my friend’s photo.  I knew it was hers because I had already seen the pic when she posted it with the original hash-tag fest on Facebook.  It was only the one photo, and it really didn’t show her new(newwwww) hairstyle, but that’s just #myyy#biggphat#opinion.  For those of you keeping track at home, that makes the score –  Photos: 1   Hash-Tags: 13

After my first proofread of this mess, I realized that posting it with my friend’s original hash-tags might result in my many followers getting a good look at this girl’s hairstyle, and she might not want anyone to see her photo except everyone else in cyber space.  I took the liberty of doctoring some of the hash-tags so that only the most persistant of stalkers could figure it out.

After all this screwing around, I still haven’t figured out what the hell hash-tags can do for me.

I’ve tweeted a fair amount, and some of my Tweets were pretty darn clever, which is tough for me to do in 140 characters.  In addition, every time I post a blog, there’s an automatic link which shows up as a Tweet by me.  I’m not really sure if those Tweets have resulted in a single hit on the blog.  Let’s face it, the vast majority of Twitter subscribers are running low on attention spans by the time they reach around the 73-character mark.  It’s an awful lot to expect them to click on the link and read one of my 1000 word treatises on constipation.

My Tweet with this picture read "Good News - Your face transplant is a success and you found true love.  Bad News - You look like Gene Simmons"To the best of my knowledge, no re-Tweets, no likes, no nuthin!  (Image from Yahoo)
My Tweet with this picture read “Good News – Your face transplant is a success and you found true love. Bad News – You look like Gene Simmons”
To the best of my knowledge, no re-Tweets, no likes, no nuthin!  Where my #cynical #peeps at?  (Image from Yahoo)

I decided to take the bull by the horns and post my own hash-tagged topic and see if anyone took the bait.  On Easter Sunday, I created a holiday-related hash-tag with my own quip following it.  I know none of you saw it, so here it is: #asparagusscentedpee one of Easter’s less celebrated traditions.  To date, no one has hopped on board.  Now that Easter is sooo last week, my snazzy hash-tag may as well have been carved onto a stone tablet and buried in the yard.

I estimate that my Twitter presence will continue to be a non-factor until I’m at least as famous as a D-list celebrity.  Till then, I’m just going to try to work at keeping my posts under 1000 words and hang onto my day job.

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.