Tuesday, January 31, 2006

T-Bone Checks In

Blogs have become handy conduits for political parody, as seen in the faux-first person Harriet Miers and Samuel Alito web sites that chronicled their respective roads to the Supreme Court. Now New Yorkers have one of our own, the T-Bone Golisano for Governor blog. The site's been updated slightly more often then the real Golisano web site, and has actually made an announcement about the billionaire's intentions:
Look at the great Buffalo Bills teams of the early nineties. Those teams lost three straight Super Bowls, and yet they persevered and went to a fourth Super Bowl.
And so, I hereby announce I am spending for Governor.
You and I look at this and understand that we're reading a parody, but not everybody gets the joke. Paul Vandenburgh, WROW's irony impaired morning host, read from the blog on the air yesterday, citing it as a sure sign that Golisano has formally joined the race. What a maroon.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Turn Off Here

NABET 21 is turning up the heat in its fight against WRGB. Over the weekend they showed up in Albany in front of Huck Finn's Warehouse (the humungous savings store) with a crowd of protesters at CBS 6's Survivor auditions. WNYT was there, getting shots of GM Bob Furlong looking on nervously as his sweet little event went somewhat sour. I guess nobody explained to Huck Finn's Jeff Sperber that there would be a bunch of picketers and cops outside to greet shoppers and wanna-be Survivors.
The union is also hitting the airwaves this week with a media campaign to support its Turn off CBS 6 signs and billboards. You can check out the spots here; They both do a good job of explaining the union's position, but the TV commercial is particularly nice. Several readers have pointed out that former WRGB reporter Darcy Wells voices the spots; she now heads communications at PEF.

Mid-Winter Blogs

Some people expected the whole blogging thing to be just about over by 2006; for better or worse, they were wrong. This week we're going to take a quick jog around the Capital Region blogosphere and see what's new and noteworthy.

After some fits and starts, the TU has gotten up to speed, first with their Editors Blog, but now with the must read for political junkies, Capital Confidential. It's like a peek inside the notebooks of the reporters working the capitol ---or a chance to overhear the sort of snarky observations that can't make it into the paper. Elizabeth Benjamin seems to particularly enjoy the new format, quickly becoming the site's most active participant. Maybe we can eventually see some photos that don't get printed in there.

Some of the paper's other blog choices don't quite measure up yet, like some of the sports selections, but if you doubt they're serious, just go to the home page and see how BLOGS has taken a place among the navigation buttons.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Swing Time

The TU's Mike Goodwin did the only thing left to do on the Schenectady swinger story this weekend: he paid a visit to the Friday night come together party at The Union Street Bed & Breakfast. Goodwin toured the facility, sampled the finger foods, and talked to folks who are into The Lifestyle. After closely reading the article, we have no reason to suspect that Mr. Goodwin tasted the sweet, forbidden pleasures of participatory journalism.

He also interviewed neighborhood activist Dana Swalla. Ms. Swalla...oh, sorry, Dr. Swalla, has been leading the charge this week against the bed and breakfast's special purpose. It's important to note that she's Dr. Swalla, because she listed herself on the petition she handed around as Dana Swalla, Ph. D.

Maybe I'll start calling myself Albany Eye, BS.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Fixodent and Forget It

In every arewa newsroom, people were closely examining the Union Street B&B's dildo collection.Everybody was talking about The Union Street Bed and Breakfast this week, that quaint little place in Schenectady that's crawling with wild swingers. Folks in area newsrooms were especially drawn to the photos in the adult section, but people weren't wondering about The Dungeon Cross or what gets examined on The Examining Table ---they were curious about that tube of Fixodent among all the toys.
Fixodent? Is it there as a courtesy to aging hedonists who may need to glue those dentures back in? Maybe not. I'm starting to think it may have something to do with making sure the ...uh...attachments...stay properly adhered to the...ummm... motorized devices. This testimonial is from the Fixodent web site:
"Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! For making the new little tipped tube that I asked for! It is just perfect for me! It's the best design on the market today and Fixodent has the best holding power! I'm lovin' it!" -Phyllis, Marshall, MI
Don't want those things coming loose and getting lost, do we?

The Friday File

Aside from local TV news, WAMC is without question the most prolific producer of broadcast content in the area ---but maybe you haven't heard one of their local shows because it's on at such a weird time. The Weekly Rundown, which is described on their web site as "a little bit week-in-review with a healthy dose of pop culture", is hosted by WAMC regulars Mary Darcy and Greg Dahlmann and runs Friday nights at 9pm. The show's topics are aimed squarely a younger audience, touching not just on the news but all sort of other things. My favorite part is Katie Britton's commentaries ---but maybe I just like hearing the way she says "Katie Britton." Don't usually spend Friday night listening to public radio? Like many other WAMC shows, Weekly Rundown is available as an mp3 download.

Easy Rider

I'm glad I'm not the only one around here with a filthy mind. One of our regular readers pointed out Kate Gurnett's article about driving in the snow that ran in Tuesday's TU; Gurnett advises drivers to think of Foghat's Slow Ride when making their way through the slippery white stuff. Well, Kate, driving in the snow isn't exactly what comes to mind when I hear Slow Ride:
Slow ride, take it easy - Slow ride, take it easy...
Slow down, go down, got to get your lovin' one more time.
Hold me, roll me, slow ridin' woman you're so fine.
If I think about that, I'm going to have a lot more trouble staying on the road.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Wanna See My Doppler?

The swinger forecast is steamy today and hot tonight, baby...A sharp eyed reader has pointed out that Schenectady swingers prefer CBS 6. This is what's on the TV the in the living room picture shown on the Union Street Bed & Breakfast's web site. Those look a little like Greg Floyd's legs in the full sized version of the picture, don't they? Either way, there's a weather promo in there somewhere...

Cook the Books

How did I go from being an ambitious young person with a promising career to someone who writes this stuff? I think it has something to do with my disdain for management books. I can barely contain my loathing for business self-help books and the people who write them ---and while I find the idea of burning books a disgrace to humanity, if you told me we were going to burn some management books, I'd be there with my Zippo, a gallon of kerosene, and a case of beer. Maybe I should have forced myself to read one or two. Where is this going, you ask? To the Tech Valley Summit, of course.
The Chamber has announced that a featured speaker at this year's event is retired Honeywell International CEO Lawrence Bossidy, author of Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done, and its sequel Confronting Reality: Master the New Model for Success. Just typing those titles makes my eyes glaze over. Bossidy is one of those guys who thinks because he was successful, he needs to share his philosophy with the world; I'm here to tell you that you're wrong, Mr. Bossidy. We'd all prefer it if you'd shut up and go play some golf.

Beg-a-Thon Redux

Several people have asked how the fund drive went. Let's just say that most of you share my conviction that content on the internet should be free. So far, we collected $51, which will go to renewing albanyeye.org and albanyeye.net ---and what's left over will be used to purchase some new pencils. A sincere thank you to everyone who makes Albany Eye part of their day.

The only complaint we got was from Troy Record reporter Jim Franco, who wrote:
I should pay you to read the newspapers, listen to the radio and watch the news and then comment on the reports? Hell, my grandfather has been doing that for over 60 years at the diner. Sorry.....no money from me unless you compensate my grandfather.
Well, Jim, I'd be happy to throw your grandfather a buck or two. If I worked at The Record, I'd just steal the money I need.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

And Speaking of Schenectady...

Neighbors of the Schenectady swinger house complain of loud parties and people fondling each other on the porch. It could be worse: you could live next to Rep. John Sweeney. Some Schenectady residents are upset that a local bed and breakfast is catering to swingers ---and we're not talking about martini drinking, nouveau Rat Pack hipster types. As Gazette reporter Kathleen Moore helpfully explains:
Swingers are couples who agree to have sex with other people. Typically they meet another couple, switch partners and have sex.
So they're not getting together to do the Lindy Hop, are they? The Union Street Bed and Breakfast's web site features a special section for those into "The Lifestyle", featuring pictures of amenities like The Dungeon Cross and The Examination Table. Have fun opening these at work.


There's a petition going around to force a referendum on Brian Stratton's $28,000 pay hike, so when WROW's Paul Vandenburgh promised to help get it done, I expected something BIG! Maybe a rally outside Schenectady City Hall, with bullhorns, and music and people waving signs. Now that would really be impressive.

Instead, he announced yesterday that there would be a live remote at Sally's Street Side Cafe in Rotterdam. Huh? What about the rally? What about going to the streets and taking back our government? What about the bullhorns? What about actually doing it in Schenectady? This was apparently news to Sally Pardi, owner of the establishment. By 10:30am, Pat Zollinger, the activist running the petition effort, announced on her web site that Sally had backed out. On top of that, Zollinger called Pardi a liar in today's Gazette. You've got to love Schenectady.

So here's what we have: No rally, no music, no signs, no bullhorns, no Sally, no Schenectady, and now, not even a cheesy live remote. Whatever happened to the days when these radio people had some sense of show business?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Drive, He Said

If you can afford to pay Time-Warner a hundred bucks a month, I think you can give these fine folks $50 a year.Call me a geek, but I like listening to big congressional hearings on the radio. Alan Chartock had a letter in the TU yesterday about his station's practice of airing major hearings, defending WAMC's recent gavel to gavel coverage of the Alito confirmation sessions. Yes, thank goodness we have journalists and commentators to put things in perspective, but it's important to experience this stuff unfiltered.
The station finds itself in a bit of a pickle in February, as their Winter fund drive begins on the same day the Senate Judiciary Committee opens hearings on domestic spying. While this provides good material for the fund drive, it creates some coverage issues. In promos that started last week, Chartock urged people to pledge early and promised to work the fund drive's daily goals to allow time for the hearings. Since I enjoy the fund drive even more than listening to Senators mouth off, I'm expecting the week of February 6 to be an exceptionally good one.

Disgusted in Delmar

Revolted reader Paula-Christy Heighton complains to the TU today about a recent story on strange eating:
I am disgusted and outraged by Steve Barnes' Jan. 11 story on the most unusual foods he and others have eaten. He states that art director Richard Lovrich ate sashimi carved from a live fish nailed to a board. Carving the flesh of a living animal is animal abuse. I'd like to know where the sashimi was served, so that I can report them.
Ms. Heighton, who describes herself as one who eats "adventurously", had no problem with Yono Purnomo's beaver eating ---despite the beloved creature's status as the State Mammal.

Monday, January 23, 2006


Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose.This is from the handbook Freedom Broadcasting gives out to WRGB employees:
In any year that WRGB exceeds its operating goals as set by Freedom, all eligible WRGB Associates will receive a year-end bonus.
Unless they're in the union, that is.

2005 was a profitable year at CBS 6, and yes, all eligible associates got a bonus ---except the 44 photographers, engineers, and editors represented by NABET 21. They got squat.
You may recall that the union employees are working without a contract, trying to stave off a 15% wage cut Freedom's trying to shove down their throats. One can certainly understand why GM Bob Furlong wouldn't OK bonuses for the NABET members. Even though they worked hard to give him a good year in '05, they're making him look bad in front of his boss ---and to someone like that there's nothing worse. When he's not stewing about that, he's probably dreaming of the money he could save by cutting 44 salaries by 15%!

Making Sausage

Say what you will about the newspaper business these days, but journalism students are certainly living in interesting times.
Take the new openness that's swept through papers. People are no longer expected to just read the thing, they're handed a cup of coffee, whisked into the conference room, and given a seat at the editorial meetings. Just look at the Times Union. Every Saturday we get a glimpse into the mind of editor Rex Smith, who this week walked us through the process and pitfalls of planning the Sunday paper. Not satisfied? Then point ye olde mouse the TU Editors' Blog, where William Dowd gives perspectives on how the paper does that thing it does.
I love this stuff, but enjoy it while you can. Someday there will be research that says folks aren't interested in how the paper gets put together, just in reading the paper.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney

Even the worst Andy Rooney imitation brings instant recognition. That may seem like a dubious distinction, but how many people are that well known?
Rooney's columns that run in the Saturday TU, like today's on the sounds of nature, are elegant and beautifully written. If I taught composition, I'd make my students read his work. Now well into eighties, it seems that Andy Rooney still writes every day; Experts on aging say use it or lose it. Andy Rooney uses it and hasn't lost it.

Good Hire

Regular readers know we've knocked WROW's Paul Vandenburgh Show once or twice, but recently I've noticed that his program sounds much better, mostly due to newscaster Heidi Kelly. Kelly (this totally sounds like a radio name) can not only make it through an entire story without fumbling and stumbling, she's bright and appealing, helping dilute the dreary monotony of the last few months. If they're smart, they'll do what they need to do to keep her ---but we are talking about Pamal Broadcasting, aren't we?

Friday, January 20, 2006

Tube Boob

If there were a field guide for intellectuals, it would tell them to earn street cred by blasting television. You'd think smart people would be able to find a more challenging target.

Metroland's Jo Page takes her turn this week, writing about how she succumbed to the intoxicating allure of the evil tube. It seems that she (gasp!) bought a TV and DVD/VCR combo for her bedroom and has since been hooked. I admit, I'm not smart enough to always understand the point of her columns, possibly because I watch too much TV, but she makes it abundantly clear what she thinks of her newfound brethren:
I'm not sure the switch from text to television is the right one for me. I'm afraid I'm going to end up using too much hair spray and quoting sitcoms. But it's time I get with the program. It's time I learn to surf. It's time I learn that when Oprah makes a book selection I should just sit tight and wait for the movie.
I get it. If you watch TV, you couldn't possibly read a book. This notion that it's cool to shun TV is getting a little tired, isn't it? Who hasn't been to a party where some egghead is droning on about not owning a TV set? I'd almost rather hear someone discussing 24. Almost.

My Worst Ideas Ever

1978: M-80 in the girls locker room.

1982: Shaved head.

1987: Cinco de Mayo tequila party.

1999: 150 shares of WorldCom.

2006: Beg-a-Thon '06

(This actually works now if anyone's still interested.)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

There's Nothing More Important than Stealing It Right

It's tough to argue against the slogan WNYT's been using lately, after all, what could be more important than getting it right? WRGB certainly agrees.
Last week CBS 6 started airing promos that are a direct rip off of their competition, if not word for word, in spirit and substance. And what did Liz and Greg cite as an example of the importance of getting it right? The West Virginia coal mine disaster. I can appreciate the value of swiping a good idea, but I can't tolerate stupidity ---and talking about the coal mine thing as the media getting it wrong is just plain dumb.

A Good Time Will Be Had By All

From a Monday press release:

Troy-Rensselaer County Executive Kathleen M. Jimino and Troy Mayor Harry Tutunjian recently announced a January 20th graduation date for the officers that will form the new Emotionally Disturbed Persons Response Team (EDPRT). Festivities will begin at 2:00 pm at the RPI Alumni Center.
Festivities? What are they going to do, turn loose some EDP's?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Present Company Excluded

Here's what incoming WTEN news director Dana Dieterle wrote in an online remembrance of a former coworker, the late WSVN reporter Mark Londner:
Mark was an incredible journalist and storyteller. I can honestly say I don't expect to ever work again with a reporter as intelligent, thoughtful, objective, classy, respected, dedicated, and humorous as Mark. I am thankful for having the opportunity to work with him and to get to know him and my thoughts are with the Londner family. -Dana Dieterle, WHDH-TV Boston
It's got to be a relief for the people in the WTEN newsroom to read that the new boss has low expectations.

Beg-a-Thon '06

In the tradition of coffee house musicians and street performers, I shall now pass the hat. For a limited time, you may make a donation to support what goes on at Albany Eye by clicking here or selecting the donation button on the lower right. Think of this the same way you'd think about tossing some spare change in the guitar case of a busker down in the subway station. No obligation, no minimum, and no dirty looks for not pitching in. Thanks to everyone who takes the time to visit Albany Eye.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Greg Floyd: Blotto on New Year's Eve

Greg Floyd was one wild ass party animal in the early '80s, wasn't he?He's got the skinny tie, the wraparound shades and the coat he picked up at a thrift shop for five bucks: It's 1981 and he's Greg Floyd. The TU published a letter from the WRGB anchor yesterday congratulating Blotto for their New Year's Eve performance at First Night Saratoga ---and yearning for the good old days:
For those of us who enjoyed Capital Region nightlife in the early '80s, Blotto was "the band," and it's great to see Sarge, Bowtie, Broadway, Lee Harvey and the rest of the band haven't lost a step. Forget "I Wanna Be a Lifeguard;" I wanna another Blotto concert ---soon!
Can't you just imagine Floyd bobbing his spiky haired head to Blotto at J.B. Scott's or The Chateau Lounge? If you can picture him massaging Liz Bishop's feet, anything is possible.

For some reason, the TU didn't publish the letter in their online edition, but you can read it here.

Phantom Phrenzy

Do not miss this rare opportunity to see The Phantom of the Opera.What? you haven't gotten your Phantom of the Opera tickets yet? What are you phreakin' waiting phor? By my estimate, there were only about 84,000 tickets available for the thirty-plus performances, so I suggest you get on the stick and place your order before they're all gone. The TU ponies up their side of the Phantom ad deal today with a special promo insert for the show. The centerfold stage diagram is actually very interesting ---and note on page 9 how much Andrew Lloyd Webber looks like Lon Chaney.

Monday, January 16, 2006

New Blood

To understand WTEN's new news director, Dana Dieterle, you need to know the name Joel Cheatwood. Cheatwood is well known in news circles for perfecting the "if it bleeds it leads" school of broadcast journalism. His sensationalistic approach to crime and mayhem made a success of Miami's WSVN, a formula he later used to drag Boston's WHDH out of the ratings cellar. These are both stations where Dieterle has worked, most recently at WHDH. Does this mean he's going to show up on Northern Boulevard and wave the Cheatwood magic splatter wand? That will be interesting to see. The station has already made fits and starts toward taking an aggressive hard news position ---and Dieterle's been hired to make them walk the walk.

It's tough to find out much about Dana Dieterle, although it seems he belonged to a Manchester, Connecticut Boy Scout Troop in the 70's. No indication of whether he got his Journalism Merit Badge.

Enjoy Troy

Remember A Christmas Story, when Ralphie finds out the Little Orphan Annie Decoder ring was nothing but a crummy commercial? That's how bad this was.I was pretty excited when this fell out of my newspaper: The 2006 Troy Record Calendar. Excellent! I quietly scarfed it up before anyone else could get their hands on it, expecting something cool to hang up in my cubicle. I figured that I was in for month after month of historic Troy images or photos by Record staffers showing local landmarks ---but that's not what I got. As I leafed through the year, I found that each month featured a huge ugly ad where the picture was supposed to be, from clients like MoonDazl Realty and Inferno Pizzeria. Who would hang this thing up? My copy went directly into the garbage.
I'm not about to say this is the worst piece of crap I've ever seen, because believe me, I've seen some real crap in my time, but I wonder who really got screwed here: the readers or the advertisers?

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Mystery Man

Maybe you should consider turning off the TV and reading a book now and then? This would be a good place to start.I mentioned the author Trevanian in a post on Monday, but it escaped my attention that he passed away in December. Trevanian was the pen name used by Rodney Whitaker, who wrote cool books like Shibumi and The Eiger Sanction ---and last year's The Crazyladies of Pearl Street, a autobiographical novel about a boy growing up in 1930's and 40's Albany.
The reclusive author, who kept his identity cloaked for many years, also wrote non-fiction under his own name, like his well known book The Language of Film. Interestingly, in college I read (was forced to read) The Language of Film at about the same time I read The Main. Had I only known.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Meet the Press Club

The Women's Press Club of New York State has teamed up with the local chapter of the Press Relations Society of America for a January 25 event titled "The Year in Review and the Year Ahead: Top News Stories of 2005...and 2006." Big whoop, right? Well not so fast, because it seems that not everyone's happy about the program. In a blistering email, Betty Flood of the Cuyler News Service, who serves as the club's Vice President for Membership, savagely ripped the WPC president Jeanne Cross over not having a single woman on the panel. OK, she's upset ---but she also copied her nastygram to about fifty members. From the email:
I find it very discouraging and disgusting that the Women's Press Club would lower it's sights to participate in such an event. Is this what leadership is reportedly about? Is this the best that you could do?
You can read the whole thing here. The person who sent this says Flood is known as a tough cookie(that's not the phrase she used), but isn't this some harsh stuff for an organization that's supposed to be about empowerment and all that?
Maybe they need to take a cue from the Women's Business Council.

Note: Several people wrote that they weren't surprised by Flood's bitter tone, but by her atrocious grammar.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Cable Guys

How is it that we are so blessed to be allowed a glimpse into these hallowed chambers?Policy wonks, government geeks, and news nerds rise up and unite! The New York State Legislature is now on TV.
I'm so excited about this that I upgraded to digital cable so I could bask in the cool blue glow of democracy in action. That cost me several more dollars a month, but boy was it worth it. Now we can all tune in and enjoy the sonorous oration of Shelly Silver, Joe Bruno's sparkling smile, and the incisive wit of Jim Tedisco. My question is what will they do out of session, show highlights and great moments in the Legislature, like ESPN Classic?
Anyway, here's what Tedisco had to say:
Televising the proceedings of the Legislature is a resounding victory for the 19 million New Yorkers who deserve to know exactly what their elected officials are doing when they are in Albany.
If that's the case, they should also put cameras in Cafe Capriccio, Nicole's Bistro, and other downtown eateries popular with lawmakers and the lobbyists who love them.

This is great news for FOX 23 GM Jeff Whitson. Now there's finally something on that will have lower ratings than his five o'clock news.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Think Lovely Thoughts

WTEN weekend anchor Anya Tucker: Hand me the pixie dust.Who could possibly resist this offer from Proctor's:
They do this stunt every time Peter Pan comes to town, strapping a reporter in for a little air time. It's great ---and who isn't interested in how they get people to zoom around over the stage? The man who makes it happen is Paul Rubin (that's Rubin, not Ruebens), who learned the art of stage soaring from Peter Foy, the guy who first flew Mary Martin on Broadway.
This all got me thinking who I might like to see up there hanging from the wires. Judy Sanders? No, too much like Margaret Hamilton. Ann Hughes? While pregnant? What's wrong with you people? John McLoughlin? Smoking a stogey?? That would be hilarious, but who I'd really like to see up there is WTEN's new weekend anchor Anya Tucker. She's totally got the haircut. I'd love to try it, but after ripping that Phantom thing, they'd probably have me dropped on my head.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Boning Up

J.R. Gach kicked off his new morning show on "The Bone" Thursday talking about the previous day's press conference. Mark McGuire, he said, "Looked like a drug dealer," and the Gazette entertainment reporter appeared to be "retarded". It's all good fun.
There's much prognosticating going on over what Gach will do to morning radio around here, but I have a theory you probably haven't heard: he will hurt WROW. Many of the same folks who used to listen to J.R. in the afternoon tuned to Paul Vandenburgh in the morning ---and if his show continues to deteriorate, they're bound to switch.
It increasingly sounds like WROW's morning show is something inconvenient that interrupts the commercials, not the other way around. The 6-7 hour is a throwaway, the newscasts are sloppy, and there's a reek of cheap and cheesy that you can practically taste through your radio. The only saving grace is that lately he's had Fred Dicker on a couple of times a week, who's become noticeably sharper in correcting his host's wrongheaded statements.
It's too bad. The Vandenburgh show could be much better, but if they don't invest in a crack staff and clean things up, it will continue to sound more like market 262(Texarkana) than market 62.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Pimp My Book

Now this is something I'd like to see on the shelves of the local interest section over at The Book House: A Man Named Nebraska: A Life Lived in Poverty, Pimping and Politics. That's the book being shopped around by Nebraska Brace, legendary Albany character and newly minted memoirist. Brace, whose resume includes a stint as Third Ward Alderman from Arbor Hill, movie actor, and pimp, reportedly enlisted a professional writer to help him pull it all together. Hmmm... William Kennedy? Trevanian? Paul Grondahl, who wrote about Brace in yesterday's TU? We'll have to wait and see.
Meanwhile, Nebraska's working for some folks who know a thing or two about pimping: he mans the door as a greeter at Sam's Club. Imagine the confusion when someone shows up at the store looking for a hoe.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Your Own Personal Jesus

Oy Vey! Would you people down there try to lighten up a little? A letter writing campaign has been under way complaining about NBC's mid-season replacement show, The Book of Daniel, which premiers tonight on WNYT. In promos I've seen for Daniel, title character Aidan Quinn has conversations with Jesus while sitting in his Volvo. Is that so wrong? Two affiliates have already bailed on the program, which has been described as 7th Heaven meets Desperate Housewives ---and as usual none of the people complaining have have actually seen it. TV critic Tom Shales has seen it; he hates it for other reasons.

Here's an actual viewer complaint letter (unedited), forwarded to us by a tipster at WNYT:
I am writing to let you know I am really SHOCKED that you would be willing to air this show BOOK OF DANIEL ... on your station, WNYT. I was under the impression that your station aired Good, Quality, Family acceptable programs. This is a travesty ..and there is NO EXCUSE ...for it to be put on your station.
I,... along with MANY others, will be boycotting this time slot if it does appear on your roster as well as this station,... if it does . By the way...my son ...Daniel... was named after my reading ..the "Book of Daniel" from the Bible...and this is an outrage and an embarrassment to him and many others like him!Shame on you for even entertaining the thought of introducing this to your audience...and calling it ..."Entertainment"!!!!
Who wrote that, Jim Tedisco?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Random Notes

State of the State
The most interesting thing about yesterday's speech was the steadicam shot of Pataki walking down the aisle and up to the podium. It went on forever, reminding me of that amazing sequence in Goodfellas of Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) entering the Copacabana through the kitchen and greeting everyone along the way. Martin Scorsese would be envious.

Mine Fallout
Just like everyone else, the Troy Record ran the erroneous mine survival story yesterday. Unlike everyone else, they ran it on the obituary page. Creepy!

Speaking of creepy, WROW's Paul Vandenburgh checked in yesterday after hearing one of the miner's family members mention a possible lawsuit: "She can plan on suing, but there probably isn't light at the end of the tunnel there..."

The Department of Humorous Names
I would never stoop so low to make fun of someone's name. Except maybe just this once.

The president of the New York State Bar Association is A. Vincent Buzard. I don't know how he pronounces it, but a lawyer named buzzard? That's priceless.

From the New York Lottery: Fannie Spoor of West Chazy got the gift that keeps on giving this year by scratching her way to millions. Fannie Spoor! Scratching her way to millions!

Tell Me About the Rabbits Again, George

Jim Tedisco: Mentally Retarded?Here's the Assembly Minority Leader's statement on the State of the State address. Sounds like when other kids were sitting in English Comp at Union College, Jim Tedisco was in the gym being hit in the head with basketballs:
The Governor laid out an ambitious agenda and one that I believe will generate wide-spread support. In the coming year we need to pass legislation to reduce high property taxes, help grow jobs, improve education - especially in the math and sciences to keep our competitive edge - and we need to keep pedophiles and sexual predators off the streets and away from our children. The Governor laid out some excellent ideas and my conference and I are excited to get to work.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Stupor Bowl Wednesday

Hey...When you guys said I had a meeting with Philip Morris, I thought you meant the cigarette people.In a sense the State of the State address really is the Super Bowl of the political year: boring, predictable, and over-stuffed with meaningless ceremony. The difference? Now and then we get a really good Super Bowl.
Pataki's swan song is a huge waste of time and money, but it will be interesting to see how long he spends patting himself on the back or if he breaks his own record for the use of the world bold. Last year bold appeared 21 times ---20 if you don't count the one use of boldly.
As always there are many ways to enjoy the State of the State. Watch live on Capital News 9, listen on WAMC, or if you're totally desperate, click to a live feed at www.ny.gov. Be warned: If your computer is like mine, once that thing starts playing you may not be able to stop it.

As usual, Sheldon Silver's response follows ten minutes after the Gov finishes; I'll let you know if I can find a podcast of this for those nights you can't get back to sleep.


Sad beyond words.America went to bed believing that there had been a miracle in a West Virginia coal mine; they woke up to the news that all but one miner was dead. Many papers, like the TU, showed up on the doorstep with headlines like 12 Found Alive Inside Mine.
This will go down as a case study in what can go wrong during a complicated and emotionally charged story. Ultimately, blame can mostly be placed on those in charge on the scene. It needs to be made clear, over and over to everyone, that there is only one reliable source of official information. Under the National Incident Management System, instituted after 9/11, an event like this will have a public information officer who reports only to the person at the top. Nothing gets out unless cleared by the incident commander. I know that sounds onerous and may go against your nature, but it helps prevent horrendous screw ups like the one last night.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Waiting for J.R.

By the time you read this, J.R. Gach may already be back on 94 Rock. Or not. We were tuned in yesterday morning to see if the rumors were true, but it turned out not to be the day that dawned with Gach at the helm of the station's morning show.
J.R. abruptly disappeared from the station a couple of weeks ago, vanishing not just from the air, but from WRCZ's web site ---also suddenly dark, or blue as the case may be, is the show's web site. Is he really gone, or is this just some stunt? If it's a stunt it's a lousy one. Leaving your listeners swinging in the breeze isn't a great way to get them excited about your new time period. Advertisers have been told Gach is a go for mornings, but this wouldn't be the first time a radio station lied to its clients. Stay tuned, as they say...

Monday, January 02, 2006

See You in Hell

Here's a picture of Mariah Carey squeezing our Dick on New Year's Eve.Maybe it was the party atmosphere. Maybe it was the booze. Maybe people were just taken by surprise. Whatever it was, everyone at the party I attended New Year's Eve laughed like crazy when Dick Clark came on TV. These were all relatively intelligent people, many of them the sort of folks who read books and listen to NPR, but they couldn't contain themselves. It didn't help that Clark's countdown was a bit off the one displayed on the screen. I know that sounds sick, and all of us may be due for some Karmic payback ---especially those who were imitating Clark's slurred speech--- but you've got to wonder if the 76-year-old Clark will be back next year.