Wednesday, August 31, 2005

a couple of random TV notes

On Tuesday night's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" there was a train wreck of an interview with Vivica A. Fox. She seemed really mad at him for all his jokes about Star Jones' wedding. Vivica left after her segment. After the break, they kept the camera on a two shot of Jimmy and the empty guest chair. Lloyd Grove led off his column with the incident.

The new promo for "Alias" makes me worry about the future of one of my favorite shows:
"(gunfire sfx) These were the sounds (tires screech) of Sydney Bristow's life. (baby crying) Until now. Alias. The new season begins Thursday September 29th. 8, 7 Central. Only on ABC."
If you listen carefully I think you can also hear the sound of a motorboat, some water-skis and a swimming shark.

My friend Jessica pointed out that former WAVA intern Greg Garcia is the creator of "My Name is Earl." Check out this Boston Globe article about how the critics hated "yes, dear" but are praising Greg's new show.
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too bad nobody else is watching

INXS should just give their lead singer job to MiG Ayesa right now. He's clearly the best of the candidates plus he already has an Australian accent. Having said that, I enjoy "Rock Star: INXS" more and more with each episode so I want them to stretch it out for a while. I even stayed up late to watch it after I got home from tonight's Einstein Simplified show.
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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

better than raking leaves

Every year at this time I get excited about the new Fall TV season. I study the schedule grid and try to decide which shows I will watch and which ones I will record on the TiVo. This year I would like to open my choices to debate. Are there shows you're excited about that I'm overlooking? Are there shows I should drop?

It looks like I can spend Friday and Saturday nights watching the stuff I recorded throughout the week. I didn't notice anything worthwhile either night. I think I will drop two shows I used to watch regularly, "The Bernie Mac Show" and "Malcolm in the Middle," which both air on Fridays this year. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays there are too many good shows on at the same time. I've listed them in order of preference, which is also open to debate. I will have our two TiVos working overtime, especially on Thursdays.

Here's my planned viewing/recording schedule. New shows are marked with an asterisk. Obviously a new show may not live up to my expectations and could get dropped. What do you think?

8pm Cold Case (CBS)
9pm Desperate Housewives (ABC)
10pm Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
10:30pm Extras* (HBO)

8pm Arrested Development (FOX)
8:30pm How I Met Your Mother* (CBS)
9pm Prison Break* / 24 (FOX)
10pm CSI: Miami (CBS)

8pm Bones* (FOX)
9pm The Amazing Race (CBS)
9pm My Name is Earl* (NBC)
9:30pm The Office (NBC)

8:30pm yes, dear (CBS) (created by a former WAVA intern!)
9pm Lost (ABC)
9pm Veronica Mars (UPN)
9pm Criminal Minds* (CBS)
10pm CSI: New York (CBS)

8pm Smallville (WB)
8pm Alias (ABC)
8pm Survivor (CBS)
8pm Everybody Hates Chris* (UPN)
9pm CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS)
9pm Night Stalker* (ABC)
9pm Reunion* (FOX)
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it's what Billy Squier uses to keep his pants up

How come none of my friends told me about the "Luther Burger" before today? Maybe they thought it was an urban legend or maybe they didn't want me to find out that I live in the "Stroke Belt!" Thankfully Marc & Kim are going to cook some tomorrow.
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Monday, August 29, 2005

do the math: 18 x 37 = ?

No family wants their loved one's funeral turned into a protest. If only the preacher conducting these protests had something else to get upset about. We could probably get him worked up over having the number of the beast ($6.66) printed on every book of 37 cent stamps sold in this country.
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great googly moogly!

Google search results change frequently as new things are posted on the Internet. I got a laugh yesterday when somebody contacted me because one of my blog entries was the top result when they searched for "America's Cleanest Comic." That got me wondering which other phrases will bring this blog to the top of Google's results. How about a search for "Coldest Beer in USA" or maybe "Distributors Of Ridiculous Knowledge"?
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Sunday, August 28, 2005

this one time at band camp

Sunday's News Sentinel had a long article about the audition process for the marching band at UT. Even if you're like me and don't play an instrument, the story is very interesting. The newspaper's website has a video presentation that illustrates how the band members end up with bloody calves from doing the "flash step." In the article, the UT Chancellor tells the band that the football team is number 3 in the country but that the band is number 1. With a director named Gary Sousa, how could they be anything less?
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sad and bizarre

Last month a troubled North Knoxville man was involved in a shootout with police officers who were responding to a 911 call about an attempted suicide. The TV stations identified the man as William Wagner but did not mention that he was a weekend deejay at the local oldies station. The name he uses on the air is "Jeff Summers." He occasionally did a fill-in weekday shift right after me. I remember that he would show up for work 30 minutes early so he could talk about radio and tell me how he knew Rick Dees in Memphis. One news report quoted a neighbor who said that Wagner was "always speaking," which is consistent with what I knew of him. I pray that he will find peace.
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Saturday, August 27, 2005

add your own punch line

The "Coldest Beer in USA" sign will catch your eye when you drive past JoAnn's on Andrew Johnson Highway.

The beer is so cold that... don't get drunk, you get brain freeze's called Bud Dry Ice
...Ted Williams' head drinks it
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Friday, August 26, 2005

let's return to the classics

During the '80s and '90s we all added phone numbers. In addition to our home numbers, we got a direct dial number at work, a fax number, a cell number and maybe a pager. Some of us got a second phone line at home for our modems. By 1999, I had two lines at home, a cell phone and direct voice and fax lines at work. There were five different phone numbers just to reach me. No wonder the phone companies complained about running out of numbers. They took the area codes we used to know and split them into fragments. The (626) was carved out of the (818). (540) was broken off from (703). (631) was amputated from (516). And then came those annoying area code overlays. This happened all over the country. You could no longer recognize an area code by the 1 or 0 in the middle. Phone numbers themselves can now start with three digit combinations that used to be reserved for area codes.

Technology columnist Kevin Maney writes this week that a melding of Wi-Fi and cell phones is coming. We will have a combination home phone and cell phone that only uses one number. Companies could issue phones to employees that are combination office phones and cell phones using only one number.

If each person will have fewer phone numbers, maybe we can start a campaign to get rid the lame newer area codes and go back to the classics. Remember when (212) meant New York City; (213) meant Los Angeles; (214) meant Dallas and so on? Now you need a chart to tell where you are calling. I don't remember them now but I can't be the only person who used to know the U.S. area codes by heart. Maybe it was a precursor of my invitation to join D.O.R.K.
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what if I just whistle the jingle?

Here's an email that was sent to our improv group [with my comments in red]:

I'm writing to you from Teamworks Media, a production company based in Chicago. We are coming down to UT Knoxville next week to film a series of national commercial spots for Old Spice High Endurance Body Wash. (Last year we were down there for a similar campaign, and had a blast!)

This campaign is searching for "America's Cleanest Comic," and I am looking for the three funniest guys on campus to tell clean jokes to the crowds tailgating at the football game on Saturday, Sept. 3rd. Each guy will get three commercial spots built around him, with the possibility of two more spots and a free trip to Vegas if he is indeed voted "America's Cleanest Comic."

We are looking for three outstandingly funny improv guys (who don't have to be students, by the way, [I'm in!] but should look like they possibly could be) [I'm out!] to mix with the crowd, do funny bits, and tell a clean joke [I'm back in!] while in a portable shower! (Swim trunks [I'm out!], robes, and rubber chickens [I'm in!] will be provided!)

There is no pay [I'm back out!], but it's a fun day and the guys get a lot of exposure and some good stories. I'm wondering if you may know anyone who is interested, or how I would best announce auditions (I will be holding them on Thursday, September 1st on campus).

The university is a great partner of ours, and we're looking forward to a fun couple of days. How do I find the funniest guys in Knoxville??

Thanks for you help... I look forward to hearing from you!


Amanda LaFollette
Associate Producer
Teamworks Media
Sounds perfect for Brad Bumgardner!
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Thursday, August 25, 2005

you thought Seinfeld liked cereal

The guys from Bowling for Soup are doing a concert in Austin that will be shown live in movie theaters around the country on Tuesday night. Let's hope that Chris Burney wears a shirt that shows off his breakfast cereal icon tattoos:

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money making idea

Shoney's and the NCMEC sponsor a KidCare Photo ID program in Knoxville. Parents bring their kids to the mall to be photographed and fingerprinted as a way to help police should a child ever go missing. Kim Hansard says the kids don't enjoy being fingerprinted, which leads to my big idea: flavored, edible fingerprint ink. What kid wouldn't want to stick their hand into some chocolate or grape or cherry flavored ink? After the ten card is collected, the kids can lick their fingers clean. If Shoney's ever drops out, KFC could sponsor it and return to their "finger lickin' good" slogan. The whole experience could inspire more children to study criminology than the CSI home game.
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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

radio gets press coverage!

Analyst Leland Westerfield says "there's zero awareness" of digital radio. A huge article in USA Today should help.
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please define "longer"

While in the waiting area at Hosenfeld Chiropractic the other day, I saw the latest issue of Readers Digest. The headline "Laugh More, Live Longer" is right next to a photo of the late Johnny Carson.

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today's obscure references

Last week I took some ribbing for mentioning Bananas In Pajamas on the radio. Today a plug for an upcoming Jack Johnson concert caused me to blurt out a reference to G. Love & Special Sauce. Later in the show, a conversation about steroids turned to Carrot Top. I tried to make a point that there are very few prop comics. Marc mentioned Gallagher and I came up with Marty Putz (official site coming soon).

The following email from Rich Hailey made me feel a little better about myself:

I was listening to the radio this morning and heard Marc giving you a hard time for bringing up useless information.

I'’d therefore like to extend an invitation to you to enter the hallowed ranks of the ancient order of the Distributors Of Ridiculous Knowledge, or D.O.R.K.

If you choose to accept this high honor, your welcome packet will include a personalized pocket protector, an HP3 calculator, and an autographed life size poster of our hero, Pitney Bowes spokesmodel and patron saint, John Ratzenberger, AKA Cliff Clavin from "Cheers" and Maj. Bren Derlin from "The Empire Strikes Back." (That should be enough useless information to make Marc'’s head explode!)
I accept! I accept!
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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

horn tooting

Terry Morrow of the News Sentinel was kind enough to post a link to this little blog today. Thanks Terry!

I think that makes four links, the others being from
Rich Hailey, Les Jones and my bio page on the Einstein Simplified site. If you know of any others, please pass them along.
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let the tabloids speculate on this

For some reason, several of my friends have emailed to tell me that Jenny McCarthy is getting divorced.

I swear I had nothing to do with it.
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who is home watching TV during Boomsday?

When I was in second grade, my teacher called me the "walking talking TV Guide." I would always remind her when it was time for the class to watch a specific educational program on PBS. I used the TV Guide like other people use a Week At-A-Glance planner.

I was looking ahead at my TiVo schedule when I noticed something different about this year's Boomsday coverage. It made me wonder, will anyone show up on the wrong day for Boomsday?

For many years Boomsday was held on Labor Day. This year it's on the Sunday night of Labor Day weekend. For many years WBIR-TV broadcast the Boomsday fireworks live. This year they will show prerecorded pyrotechnics on Labor Day. (Last year Boomsday was held on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend due to a conflict with the UT football schedule.) Somebody might look at their TV listings and mistakenly think that Boomsday moved back to Monday night and that WBIR is carrying it live.

Most people will get the message by listening to Star 102.1, which will broadcast the
synchronized soundtrack to the fireworks on Sunday night. While hundreds of thousands of us will be watching and listening live on Neyland Drive, WBIR will be carrying a NASCAR race. The race must be important. It appears that they will be joining the Jerry Lewis Telethon a few hours late in order to show it. Would they have pre-empted Jerry for Boomsday? Maybe we'll find out next year.
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Monday, August 22, 2005

spoiled rotten

WARNING: clicking on any links in this blog entry could reveal Harry Potter spoilers

Friday morning we did a radio prank that got some people riled up. I wrote a fake ending to the latest Harry Potter book and read it aloud on Star 102.1. Listeners who haven't read the book (mostly adults) were upset at us for spoiling the ending. Those who have read the book (mostly kids) got the joke right away. You can read my fake ending by clicking here. Although some lines are copied verbatim, I made sure to steer readers away from what actually happens in the book. Those who heard the bit and have yet to read the book should still be surprised.

The whole bit was partly inspired by my frustration with the Harry Potter spoilers that are out there. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that most critics were keeping the ending of the sixth book a secret. Since then, several clues have popped up.

A popular online t-shirt shop sells a shirt that gives away a major plot point and then says "I just saved you 4 hours and $30."

Within a couple of weeks of the book's release, the geniuses at one of our radio showprep services posted a domain name in big, bold print as their daily "Site For Sore Eyes." The domain name allows you to figure out the same major plot point.

Entertainment Weekly devoted two whole pages to discussing the ending of the "Half Blood Prince" but they put big spoiler warnings on the pages.

One of my favorite TV shows even got in on the spoiling action. "Best Week Ever" had a joke by Doug Benson in which they bleeped the name of one character involved in the climactic scene but they didn't bleep the other name.

Is there a better way to avoid spoilers?

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Sunday, August 21, 2005

carnivores, herbivores and omnivores

My wife and I went to the Feast with the Beasts at the Knoxville Zoo last night. It may not have been such a great idea to go to two food festivals in one day but I wasn't going to miss it. Most of the best restaurants in town were serving their specialties from booths all throughout the zoo.

We were greeted at the gate by an enormous furry (or is it plushy?) mascot, K.C. Beaver:

Then we saw WBIR-TV's Michele Silva:

We spent some time talking with a guy who works in radio sales at a competing station. He told me that as a transplant to the South, I would not be familiar with Muscadine, a sweet wine made from a local berry. He said that he had been drinking it since he was a kid. The Stonehaus Winery was serving Muscadine at their booth. According to their website, the local berry they use is called a "grape." It's as sweet as a fruit juice for kids but if you drink enough, things get out of focus, like in this photo:

One of the bands performing at the event was Blue Mother Tupelo:

At the silent auction they were selling painted ostrich eggshells. The one in the middle was painted by an elephant. I don't know how they kept the elephant from breaking the eggshell:

I'll have to write a separate blog entry about the
Mold-A-Rama which brought back some memories from childhood:

Perhaps the highlight of the night for me was seeing what Kid Rock will look like in ten years:

One of the best things I ate all night was an oyster quickly cooked in the half shell on a grill. Does anyone know the name of the restaurant that served those oysters? I would like to go there.

After a couple of hours, we couldn't eat any more even though there were still things we hadn't sampled so we decided to head home. Most of the remaining crowd were there more for the drinks than the food. There are quite a few hangovers around East Tennessee this morning.
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Saturday, August 20, 2005

just got back from GreekFest

We went to GreekFest today or as the sign clearly states, GrekFest.

Food tents lined World's Fair Park.

The Souvlaki man serves up a dish.

We ate Souvlaki, Pastichio and Chicken in a Pocket.

Greek dancers performed despite the brutal heat.
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bad luck?

My sister is thinking about selling her Manhattan condo. She hired a "space strategist" to help her make the place look bigger. For $200, he rearranged the furniture and other items. He also hung a mirror over the fireplace but didn't do it right. The next day my sister came home to find the mirror had fallen and smashed on the floor.
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Friday, August 19, 2005

comparison shopping

One year I celebrated my birthday in Alaska. My wife and kids put a "portable birthday cake" in my luggage. Of course, it was a box of Twinkies:

Almost a year ago the parent company of Hostess filed for bankruptcy. Jimmy Kimmel handed out Twinkies to his audience that night and the ladies on "The View" did the same thing the next morning. They said that every American should support Hostess and buy a Twinkie. Meredith Viera may have blamed low-carb diets for the declining sales. I think it might be simple economics.

I was recently enjoying a Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pie, which came in a box of 12 for $1.19. The price was printed right on the box. On my next visit to a convenience store I checked the price of Twinkies. They wanted $1.09 for a package of two. HoHos were also $1.09 for two. Meanwhile a similar sized package of Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls could be had for 50 cents. Smaller Swiss Cake Rolls were only 25 cents. You don't have to be James Buchanan to realize which snack more people will buy. Hostess may be less focused on price since they own two of their former competitors, Drake's and Dolly Madison.

While we're on the subject, there was something that gave me the creeps on the Little Debbie box. They had an offer for a Little Debbie doll and a toy horse named Oatmeal Creme. Just let me eat my Creme Pie without that doll staring at me from the box.

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they call them earworms

The song from that Levi's commercial can get stuck in your head. The song is "It Must Be Love" by Madness. In the spot, a guy throws rocks at windows until he wakes the woman who runs the laundromat. Which current commercials have the best songs?
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Thursday, August 18, 2005

they have free Wi-Fi too

Krystal has big things planned for Knoxville. Katie Allison Granju posted the press release about the TV commercial Krystal will film at UT on August 24 and 25. Krystal will hold qualifying rounds November 11 through 13 in Knoxville for this year's IFOCE sanctioned hamburger eating championship. Why don't they just use footage from the eating contest in their commercial?
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catch them unawares

Marc & Kim were giving me a little bit of a hard time this morning. They called me "Mr. Obscure" when I mentioned a children's TV show they hadn't heard of. It's an Australian show called "Bananas In Pajamas" and it was on in the U.S. during the '90s. I always thought that whoever created the show must have been on some hallucinogenic drug at the time. B1 and B2 are two giant talking bananas who play pranks on teddy bears. But they do have a catchy theme song. Anyone else ever heard of them?
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maybe they're supposed to be extinct

This morning's USA Today has a story about "rewilding" the Great Plains of North America. Somebody thinks it's a good idea to set loose the cousins of extinct species like mastodons, mammoths and saber-toothed tigers. The idea is to use elephants and lions or maybe regular tigers. Perhaps PETA can put full body wigs on the elephants so they'll look more like wooly mammoths. I went to the website of the journal Nature looking for the original article on "rewilding." It costs $8 a month so I found a different, free article on their site: "Lion Attacks on the Rise."
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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

only you can prevent cigarette fires

future Darwin Awardee? (click to enlarge)

For the past six weeks, I've been doing remote broadcasts from convenience stores located at gas stations. I am continually amazed at the people who smoke cigarettes in close proxity to the gasoline pumps or the propane tanks. Every time I see someone litter with their butts, I picture the gas station scene from Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds."
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coming attraction

A reporter from the Knoxville News Sentinel's website came to the improv show last night. Dipti Vaidya interviewed us, recorded video and shot stills during the show. It's all part of a bigger story on comedy in Knoxville that should be posted to in a month or so.
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more on Dukes

On the radio this morning, Kim Hansard said she heard that Johnny Knoxville and Jessica Simpson had a quiet dinner together at the Copper Cellar / Cappuccino’s after the local premiere of "Dukes of Hazzard." Kim also heard that Jessica left a $385 tip.

Several listeners emailed that Jessica was at the restaurant but with a bodyguard, not Johnny Knoxville.
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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

a funny coincidence

Just days after the news showed runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks mowing the lawn as her community service in Georgia, I saw this sign posted in Knoxville:
click to enlarge
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must confess I still believe

Tonight on "Rock Star: INXS" one of the contestants (Marty) will have to cover Britney Spears' "...Baby One More Time." As anyone who has been to a Bowling For Soup concert knows, a rock version of that song sounds great. The BFS version of "...Baby One More Time" is on the "Freaky Friday" soundtrack.

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my penmanship stinks

Two weeks ago I found the website for Cades Cove Outrageous BBQ and filled out the form for special offers. They sent me some 50 cents off coupons, which arrived in a hand addressed envelope. Inside was a handwritten note from Clay Jones thanking me for visiting their website. Who expects to get a handwritten anything anymore?
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Monday, August 15, 2005

thunderstorms here and there

A thunderstorm passed through the area knocking out our electricity for a few hours today. I listened to my hand crank radio for a little while but couldn't find any news about the storm. Then my wife tried our tiny battery powered TV to watch the 7pm news on WVLT. They reported that lightning had struck a house near us, setting it on fire.

There was a big thunderstorm near Los Angeles in the town of Lancaster last night. Thunderstorms are somewhat rare in Southern California. One of the local weathermen, Fritz Coleman of KNBC-TV, reported on the unusual phenomenon. On tonight's 5pm news Fritz said, "Maybe you were awakened by a spouse saying someone is trying to break in the home! Maybe you said 'the next door neighbor's home blew up!' Ha!" Seems like a weird thing to laugh about, doesn't it?
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oh yeah, Debb & Maralyn were on that show too

Tina Wesson fans, Elisabeth Hasselbeck fans and Amber Mariano fans have reason to celebrate. Reruns of "Survivor: The Australian Outback" began airng tonight on the Outdoor Life Network. When Elisabeth returned to "The View" after having her baby this Spring, Joy Behar referred to her as "Elisabeth Hasselrack." And for good reason.
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stream heat lets you stream almost any popular song you can think of. Go ahead. Challenge it. I already stumped it by looking for "Pon de Replay" but they still have plenty of others.
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Sunday, August 14, 2005

there are shows even I don't watch

While leisurely reading the Sunday paper, I decided to peruse a column that I normally skip. It was a soap opera recap written by Nancy M. Reichardt. Here's the sentence that made it worth my time: "Whitney was angry that she and Chad committed incest again by making love during the tsunami." Again?
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yes, and...

Speaking of non-credit courses, Paul Simmons will teach an improv class at Pellissippi State this Fall. In 2001, I wrote one of the first essays for my website about the correlation between improv and morning radio. Improv skills are useful for several other careers too. Lawyering comes immediately to mind.
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they have more than just football

The University of Tennessee non-credit course catalog arrived in the mail yesterday. A couple of years ago I tried to sign up for the Forensic Anthropology lectures but they were sold out. Decomposing corpse slide shows have been a Knoxville favorite ever since the publication of Patricia Cornwell's novel called "The Body Farm." Since then, I've had the good fortune to interview the famous Dr. William Bass twice. He's the founder of UT's Forensic Anthropology Center. Last Christmas, my son gave me Dr. Bass' non-fiction book, "Death's Acre." At a recent Einstein Simplified show, the co-author of "Death's Acre," Jon Jefferson, told me that a sequel is in the works. By the way, Patricia Cornwell's website says that the next Scarpetta novel, "Predator," will be released on October 25.

UT also has non-credit classes called Championship BBQ Smoking Techniques and Introduction to Blogging.
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Saturday, August 13, 2005

will she recognize him?

The upcoming season of "Survivor: Guatemala" features former NFL quarterback Gary Hogeboom. Gary says his plan going into the game was to keep his 10-year NFL career a secret. The producers must have known he was going to try that because they also cast a sports radio talk show host (and former Miss Kansas) named Danni Boatwright.
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Friday, August 12, 2005

yes, I'm ready...

A "live whip-around show featuring action from six games" is on tonight. Despite the fact that it's got nothing to do with bullwhips or even lion taming, I plan on watching. The show is called "No Huddle" on the NFL Network. When they do cover a full game, it will be fun to hear the local announcers call the action. Speaking of lions and local announcers, I went to college with the new announcer for the Detroit Lions, Dan Miller.
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pop culture questions answered

It's a catchy song that has turned up on "Entourage" and all over the radio. But what does "Pon de Replay" mean? There's a great article in today's USA Today that answers that question and a bunch of other pop culture questions from this summer. It would be great if they made this a regular feature in the paper. I'll even forgive them for sneaking in a Harry Potter semi-spoiler at the end of the article.
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something for Mom's scrapbook

As promised, Terry Morrow included my David Keith encounter in his gossip column. It's the second item in "The Insider" today.
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Thursday, August 11, 2005

where the giant muffler man eats

Roadside America often features restaurants shaped like giant hot dogs and other food items. I had a burger today at the Morristown location of a chain they've mentioned. It's called Pal's and the outside of the building could be the headquarters for the Aqua Teen Hunger Force. I had the Sauceburger because it was only 89 cents. If you go, you should know they serve their food so (temperature) hot that there is a warning on the outside of the bag.
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her dad was one of the Hudson Bros.

Kate Hudson was on the Letterman show Monday night. She told Dave that traveling with the Black Crowes could be boring, especially in some cities. Dave asked for an example and she said "Knoxville." An editorial in today's Metro Pulse suggests the city form an "Entertain Kate Hudson Committee." Since the show aired, there's been much discussion about Kate at Here's my question for you. What are your favorite things to do in Knoxville? What are some things Kate Hudson could have done while she was here? If the reports I read are true, Kate went to the Tomato Head, a vegetarian restaurant that happens to be smoke-free. No wonder she was bored. She needed a cigarette.
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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

best free show in town

Super blogger Les Jones and his wife Melissa came to see last night's Einstein Simplified improv show. He was kind enough to post a message and a photo. That's me in the white shirt.
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echo chamber

Kathy Griffin has started podcasting to plug her new Bravo series "My Life on the D-List". It sounds like she recorded it in the bathroom. She's got more reverb than the old WPGC.
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his real name is Phillip John Clapp Jr.

My neighbor told me that he's read the blog and saw the entry that mentioned Johnny Knoxville's dad. Turns out that Phil Clapp Sr. works with my neighbor at a rental car agency. They drive the returned cars back to wherever they need to be. I wondered why Phil had to work if his son is rich. My neighbor said that Johnny bought his dad a Cadillac and a beach house in Florida but that Phil still leads a normal life as a good ol' boy in East Tennessee.

Johnny recently told a reporter that he was inspired by Jack Kerouac. The
idea that became "Jackass" started as his plan to write a magazine article about testing self defense equipment on himself.
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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

shocking! radio host exaggerates!

Around 10:30 this morning I was flipping around the dial and heard the last few seconds of a segment on Mancow's radio show. He was just finishing a conversation with Dr. Drew and was telling Drew that Jimmy Kimmel used to do sports for him, which was news to me. He also seemed angry with Adam Carolla for some reason.

I emailed Jimmy and asked him when and where he did sports for Mancow. Jimmy wrote back and said that he never did sports for Mancow but that Mancow aired Jimmy's syndicated bits. I had forgotten that during the time we worked at KROQ, Jimmy recorded a weekly sports commentary for a syndicator like Olympia or Premiere.
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name that reality show

Here's a little game for you. Can you identify the reality show that brought us each of the following names? Some are way too easy and some are way too hard. All of them will appear on the upcoming "Battle of the Network Reality Stars" on Bravo. Use your cursor to highlight the invisible text for the answers.

Adam Mesh from “Average Joe”
Bob Guiney from “The Bachelor”
Bradford Cohen from “The Apprentice”
Brittany Brower from “Americas Next Top Model”
Charla & Mirna from “The Amazing Race”
Chip & Kim from “The Amazing Race”
Coral Smith from “The Real World”
Duncan Nutter from “Showbiz Moms & Dads”
Evan Marriott from “Joe Millionaire”
Heidi Bressler from “The Apprentice”
Matt Kennedy Gould from “The Joe Schmo Show”
Mike “Boogie” Malin from “Big Brother”
Mike “The Miz” Mizanin from “The Real World”
Nikki McKibbin from “American Idol”
Omarosa Manigault Stallworth from “The Apprentice”
Rachel Love-Fraser from “The Swan”
Richard Hatch from “Survivor”
Ryan Starr from “American Idol”
Susan Hawk from “Survivor”
Theo Vonkurnatowski from “Road Rules”
Tina “Fabulous” Panas from “The Bachelor”
Trishelle Cannatella from “The Real World”
Valerie Penso from “Temptation Island”
Wendy Pepper from “Project Runway”
Will Kirby from “Big Brother”
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road trip?

Anybody want to try and catch a live show by Drew Carey's Improv All Stars? According to the schedule on their website, it looks like the closest show to Knoxville would be in Clemson or Raleigh. Unfortunately the show in Clemson is on a Sunday and the show in Raleigh is on a Thursday. It would be tough to drive there and back without missing work. I urge my friends in Seattle, Reno and Norfolk to go see the show when it's in their town. If I had enough frequent flyer miles (or enough cash) I would fly to one of the cities with a Friday or Saturday night show.
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glad they didn't need it

Just as the Space Shuttle was landing safely this morning, I clicked on the speech that William Safire wrote for President Nixon to read in the event that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were stranded on the moon in 1969. I think my childhood would have been ruined if they had to use that speech.
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Monday, August 08, 2005

not enough reality to fill two channels

My wife and son have been watching the reruns of "The Amazing Race" on GSN and "Survivor" on OLN. They seem to enjoy it even though they know who wins. Both shows were supposed to be on a channel called Reality Central which had investors like Blake from "The Amazing Race" and Tina from "Survivor." Tina told me that their plans for Reality Central were scrapped when Fox basically stole their idea and launched the Fox Reality channel.

That reminds me. I need to write to TiVo and tell them to add Fox Reality to their channel listings. It's been available on DirecTV channel 250 for months.
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politics on paper, it's a mania

This blog is barely a week old and I have already received a comment from an esteemed member of the Rocky Top Brigade. My intention is merely to write some light extemporanea and frothy observations on pop culture. An editorial in the Metro Pulse caught my eye and I chose to write a blurb about it. That blurb and the Metro Pulse editorial triggered Rich Hailey's comment on the flags of the Confederacy, which deserves notice. Like many people, I did not know the difference between the "stars and bars" and the battle flag.

I realize that I don't know much about the Civil War. I'm more interested in the American Revolution and that's mainly because they made it into an entertaining musical called "1776". Actor John Cullum once told me that the show played a little fast and loose with the facts. Cullum played Edward Rutledge of South Carolina. Cullum says that the character of Rutledge was made to look like a bad guy so that the character of Thomas Jefferson could look like a good guy. Imagine that.
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squeeze the lemon (trigger)

Les Jones wrote something funny which I read on the radio a couple of minutes ago. It's his million dollar rap music idea. Music industry executives should send their checks directly to Les.
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CSI: the home game

Have you seen the TV commercial for a product called Urine Gone? It's mostly for pet stains but the ad showed that it's also for human stains. It comes with a C.S.I. style black light which they wave over a litter box, a toilet and a mattress to highlight the messes. You know who could use this product? Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas.
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Sunday, August 07, 2005

tobacco kills

Just heard the news that Peter Jennings has died of lung cancer. If you smoke, take your cigarettes and throw them in the trash. Do whatever you have to do to break your addiction to nicotine.
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see the USA from your couch

Lately I've been TiVo-ing a lot of shows that remind me of my friend Bean. There's one on PBS called "Rare Visions & Roadside Revelations" and one on the History Channel called "Weird U.S." Since he's a vegetarian, he would enjoy some but not all the foods on "Taste of America" on the Travel Channel and I can be fairly sure he would hate "The All-Star BBQ Showdown" on the Outdoor Life Network. I think Rachael Ray has another new travel/food show coming soon. By the way, has anyone ever made a TV show based on the "Roadside America" books?
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another man's treasure

When I lived in Burbank I loved driving past the movie studios and the businesses that catered to the entertainment industry. For example, how many cities in America still have a hat maker? With so many people in town working in showbiz, yard sales always had a certain cachet. While visiting us, my sister once bought a production cell and pencil sketch of Tigger. These days it makes more sense to sell collectibles on eBay. The Burbank Leader has a story about a business that sells stuff on eBay for you. It's no surprise that they sell a lot of Hollywood items. (For my L.A. readers, the store is on Magnolia Boulevard and it's called AuctionFarm.)
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it's on the roof of the General Lee

The Civil War ended 140 years ago. Some people in the South still display the Confederate Flag. Some high schools still call their sports teams the "Rebels." Some fans still wave the stars and bars in the name of "tradition" and refuse to consider why it upsets others. According to Jack Neely, the Confederacy isn't as much of a tradition as they might think. Did you know that Sam Houston was against the Confederacy? What's the difference between changing the name of a team called the "Rebels" and changing the name of a team named after an ethnic group?
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Saturday, August 06, 2005

you're just not right for our band, INXS

I'm a little bummed that the ratings have been terrible for "Rock Star: INXS." I'm one of the few who actually enjoys the show. You could tell things were starting to go bad when the band eliminated two singers at once on July 27. The only reason for that was to shorten the planned run of the series. They will have to do it again soon to cut another week from the series. The show is on three nights a week, which is too much. My wife skipped the Monday night scenes-from-the-mansion show and just watches the performance (Tuesday) and elimination (Wednesday) shows with me. They've now bumped the mansion shows to Sunday nights on VH1. I wonder if the show would have had more viewers if they put it on at 8pm Tuesdays instead of 10pm. The similarities to "American Idol" are enough that it might have attracted some of the viewers who watch Idol on Tuesdays at 8pm during the Winter and Spring. "Rock Star: INXS." is considered a failure with "only" five million viewers. But if all of those people were to buy the new INXS disc during the first week it's out, it would set some kind of sales record.

Reality superproducer Mark Burnett has had two stiffs in a row. I didn't care for "The Contender" but Marc Anthony loved the show and hated that nobody was watching. I showed him no sympathy at the time. I wish I had because now I know how he felt.
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best reality show ever

There have been reports elsewhere on the Internet about the next season of "The Amazing Race" filming around North America for a change. The racers were spotted at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama among other places. A good friend of mine saw the race being filmed in Middleburg, Virginia. She said they were at a big private estate with extremely tight security. She heard explosions that could have been Civil War cannons or maybe even fireworks. Could that have been the finish line?
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Friday, August 05, 2005

truth in advertising

Before leaving the house this morning, I grabbed a few things from the refrigerator to eat during a break at work. We had a new brand of string cheese that struck me as funny. It's called Kid Builder. In this day and age of childhood obesity, are there that many people who want a product that promises to make their child even larger?
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Thursday, August 04, 2005

tubthump this!

I stumbled across the Slanguage Dictionary at today. You can talk the talk of a movie mogul after learning a few words like zitcom, chopsocky and kudocast. It's boffo!
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mash-up: H. Potter vs. R. Kelly

The talented folks of "The Bert Show" at Q100 have posted what I'm calling a new type of mash-up. They've combined the "genius" of R. Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet" with the first five Harry Potter books. Thanks to Justin Buznedo at Star 102.1 for telling me about this. Justin wrote his college thesis on the Potter books. Isn't that something?

Speaking of mash-ups, you can still find some of the best at the website of Q100's sister station, and at
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hot dog

A dog has been cloned in South Korea. It's name is "Delicious."
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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

any publicity is good publicity, right?

Terry Morrow from the News Sentinel called today to get a confirmation on what David Keith said to me at the "Dukes of Hazzard" premiere. Terry plans to run the story in his "Insider" column next week.
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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

best BBQ in Knoxville

Somebody at Channel 10 decided to list their five favorite local BBQ joints. I'm embarrassed that I've only been to the two places in West Knoxville. They sure are right about M&M Catering on Middlebrook Pike. They praised the pork and brisket but didn't mention my favorite, the pulled chicken sandwich with a mixture of hot and mild sauce. The chicken isn't really pulled, it's actually chunks of white meat. I still need to try the brisket but it's usually sold out. My wife heard that you have to pre-order it.

The best pulled pork I've had recently was the shoulder that my wife smoked in our backyard for my birthday. Shortly after that we had our best success yet with ribs over the July 4th weekend. This week I'm getting my BBQ fix from some store-bought pork! And it's really good! It's called Cades Cove Outrageous BBQ and my wife found it in the prepared meats section at WalMart.
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someone died on "Six Feet Under"

I'm glad I watched this week's "Six Feet Under" before I checked the news headlines on the Internet. The first headline I saw announced the death of a major character on the show. Why did the AP announce the death in their headline? ran a similar story with a different headline but made it clear that the story contained a spoiler.

Why is it okay to protect the secrets in the new Harry Potter book but not "Six Feet Under"? It would be different if the show aired once and wasn't repeated for months like "C.S.I." or the finale of a reality show. HBO runs "Six Feet Under" and their other original shows several times during the week for those who don't see the first showing. Of course TiVo users like me have to learn to deal with this all the time.

Speaking of Harry Potter, I'm almost finished reading the fifth book. I've had to stop reading a review of the new book because they started describing what Harry had done so far.
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Jessica Simpson and the floppin' naked guy

Star 102.1 has posted the audio of the phone interview Kim Hansard and I did with Jessica Simpson and "Dukes of Hazzard" director Jay Chandrasekhar. They posted it in four parts but you can go ahead and skip right to Part Three. You'll hear how I was disturbed that Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane is also the floppin' naked guy from "Sideways."
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Monday, August 01, 2005

some other notes from the Dukes of Hazzard premiere

Two of my favorite local TV hotties were covering the premiere. I scored hugs from both! The always pleasant Russell Biven was there too. You can kinda almost see me about 10 seconds into the video of WATE's report. I'm nodding my head as the publicist tells me to keep it short with Jessica. Click on the little red video camera on this page. I also saw myself on WVLT Saturday night but they have not yet updated their website with a link to the story.

Betsy Pickle posted her comments about the premiere on her News Sentinel blog.

A magazine reporter told me she didn't care about the premiere. She was waiting for it to end so she could follow the stars and report on whatever they did next. I guess she wanted to see if they each returned to their individual hotel rooms or if they shared.

I asked Johnny Knoxville's dad if Johnny was staying at his house here in Tennessee. He said that the movie stars were actually staying in that "big motel on Summit Hill." Classic.

WBIR's Ted Hall told the crowd that there was free popcorn, free soda and nice rooms if you needed to drop the kiddies off at the pool. He told me later that he was trying to make Jessica Simpson laugh with a reference to her "Newlyweds" show.

Mayor Haslam welcomed Johnny, Seann and "Jennifer" before realizing his mistake.

I would describe the movie as three car chases and a bikini.

talking to Johnny   eye contact with Jessica
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cussin' Keith

Well, I made David Keith cuss at the "Dukes of Hazzard" premiere in Knoxville. He was walking the red carpet and I was standing with the media doing interviews. I asked him if he had a new place to live. He mentioned the name of the theater executive who he says cheated him out of the house he wanted. I told him that the same executive had already arrived at the premiere and David said "I don't give a ----!"
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1st entry to the blog

Let's see how this works out...


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