Sunday, April 30, 2006

view askew

First of all, my apologies to any Kevin Smith fans who Googled their way here by mistake. Instead of Jay and Silent Bob, today's topic is actually the changes at "The View," the daily women's talk show on ABC-TV.

After a few years of working at male-targeted radio stations, I wanted to expand my horizons and be able to host a show at a station that appeals to female listeners. I started recording "The View" on my TiVo to see which "hot topics" they were covering.
After a year or two, I gave up on it because I was increasingly frustrated by the ladies' simultaneous talking in particular and by Star Jones in general. I still see an occasional highlight from the daily gabfest because some of my favorite comedy shows like "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and "Best Week Ever" are also oddly fascinated by "The View."

The upcoming departure of Meredith Vieira and the hiring of Rosie O'Donnell have me wondering who will leave the show next. I made up a few scenarios:
  • Rosie O'Donnell - It turns out that she doesn't like sharing the spotlight with the other ladies but uses the excuses that she only had a one-year contract and that she's producing a dinner-theatre revival of "Taboo" in Branson.
  • Joy Behar - It turns out that she misses her pal Meredith and doesn't like sharing the laughs with another comedian but she uses the excuse that she has been appointed campaign manager for Hillary Clinton.
  • Star Jones - It turns out that her mysterious weight loss has also made her thin-skinned and she is easily insulted whenever Rosie and Joy speak the truth about her but she uses the excuses that her line of Star Jones Body Butter is demanding her full-time attention and besides, Al has been feeling neglected and is spending too much time on
  • Elisabeth Hasselbeck - It turns out that she tried to tender her resignation several times but nobody else on the panel was listening to her. She finally stops coming to work after the birth of her seventh child and the other ladies still don't notice. Meanwhile her eldest daughter Grace wins a million bucks on the 52nd season of "Survivor."
  • Barbara Walters - It turns out that she finally decides to retire on the occasion of her 100th birthday. All the other ladies give their glowing tributes except for Elisabeth who is rudely interrupted by Joy and Star. Barbara spends the rest of her days reenacting "Sunset Boulevard" with Bill Geddie playing the part of Max.
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Saturday, April 29, 2006

murder, midgets and music

Metro Pulse's "Best of Knoxville" edition hit the street the other day. I finally got around to picking up a copy this morning. After checking for the annual snub of Einstein Simplified (appearing May 6 at The Comedy Zone by the way), I read the rest of the survey and found a few entries that piqued my interest. In addition to all the categories voted on by readers, there are several "staff picks." Here are excerpts from three staff picks I found worthy of sharing :
Best Merchandising Idea We Wish We'd Thought Of
The "Knoxville Girl" T-Shirt
We'’re impressed with their popularity, considering that in the ancient ballad, which became a bluegrass standard lately interpreted by rockers like Nick Cave and Elvis Costello, the "“Knoxville Girl" is a victim of a grisly and apparently senseless murder. We'd like to think of the T-shirt'’s popularity as her revenge. You go, girl.

Best Midget Wrestling
The Electric Cowboy
This past February, the theater of the absurd reached new heights. Even Beckett couldn't have foreseen this kind of zany rigmarole. Bloody, hard-core midget wrestling. '’Nuff said.

Best Rock'n'’roll Barbecue
Sweet P's
Chris Ford knows his barbecue. During the years he spent on the road with his former band, Gran Torino, the musicians made sport of scouting out the most authentic barbecue joints. When the band split, he decided to open a West Knoxville catering kitchen called Sweet P's that would keep those memories alive forever.
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Friday, April 28, 2006

penny loafers

This week's news about pennies costing 1.4 cents to make reminded me of a recent conversation with my son. He was excited to tell me about an experiment in his chemistry class. The teacher heated a penny until the zinc core melted leaving only a copper shell. Pennies are made of zinc coated with copper. Nickels, dimes and quarters are made of copper coated with nickel.

Whenever pennies are in the news somebody always tries to get them abolished. The penny deserves to stay. I'm too cheap to support any plan that would round prices up to the nearest nickel. If pennies were eliminated, those same people would probably go after nickels next and try to get everything rounded up to the nearest dime.

It's too bad that pennies now cost more to make than they are worth but I have to ask: why does the mint needs to make so many new pennies anyway? What happened to all the old ones? There are usually plenty in the leave-a-penny/take-a-penny dish at the convenience store. Are that many people squishing them into instant souvenirs? I know of one auto dealership where the bored salesmen toss pennies down the incline of the car lot. I picked up an extra 12 cents during my last remote broadcast.
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Thursday, April 27, 2006

mason dazed

The incredible Final Four appearance of the George Mason University men's basketball team brought national attention to my alma mater. Fans of the Patriots got some good news last night when Coach Jim Larranaga signed a contract extension to stay at GMU after being wooed by Seton Hall and who knows who else.

Before this year, it was the economics department that was most likely to make headlines. Famed GMU economist Walter Williams wrote a column comparing the rise of the two programs. This week Williams was quoted in a very interesting John Stossel column about the positive motivation of greed that I heard about on the Neil Boortz radio show. Boortz drew a parallel between Williams' views about supermarkets and the current anxiety over oil company profits. It's worth reading.

A new VH1 contest got me thinking about my days at GMU. I was station manager of the student-run radio station. We decided to promote the station by staging an event at the school's big Spring festival called Mason Day. Around that time, Yale University had gotten some ink in the New York Times for an air guitar contest. We took that idea and expanded it into an "air band" contest. Steve Doocy reported on our contest on the Channel 4 News, which directly led to me getting an internship at WAVA. Anyway, VH1 is holding an air guitar contest. Everything old is new again.

This year's Mason day was held on April 20. An editorial in the student newspaper pointed out that the big party was coincidentally scheduled for the same day that potheads celebrate themselves and that the University would not condone any illegal behavior. The funniest part is that the headline entertainment was provided by reggae band The Wailers.
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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

oh that's just Beethoven decomposing

The heck with "TV Turnoff Week." The May ratings sweeps start tomorrow. One of our local stations, WATE, couldn't wait and aired an extremely "sweeps-worthy" feature on tonight's 5pm news. I'm surprised that they didn't save their piece about the Body Farm for another day or two.

I was listening to WATE's 11pm newscast on the way home last night and to their 5am newscast as I got dressed this morning. I heard the promos for their "Bodies of Evidence" report and made sure to set my TiVo before leaving the house. The story and video are already posted on the WATE website. Reporter Adam Longo did a good job with his piece about one of my favorite subjects. (Special note to readers in the Washington DC area: Adam is a Maryland Terp and got his start at WMUC. His bio makes me think that he must secretly be married to a fellow reporter, the lovely Melissa DiPane.)

Return visitors to my blog might recall that I have written several posts about the Body Farm. A quick Google search of my own site revealed more results than I expected. I especially enjoyed writing about an attempt to find the Body Farm in the final paragraph of my March 6 entry. If Adam Longo's two and a half minute report left you wanting more, may I humbly suggest you listen to my half hour interview with Dr. Bill Bass?
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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

slime time

It was a little like show and tell. Before tonight's Einstein Simplified show, Dave Fennell was excited to show me a photo on his camera phone. Once I saw it, I asked him to send it to my phone so I could post it here.

Dave said he was clearing away some bushes full of burrs and found a strange and peculiar slug underneath. Something made him immediately think of me. I choose to believe it was the word "peculiar" rather than the word "slug." The more I read about slugs, the more I'm glad not to be one. Although it's bright yellow like a banana, it doesn't match the description of the world famous banana slug. There's a species known as the yellow slug but it's mostly found in Europe. So what is the name of the slug on Dave's hand?
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Monday, April 24, 2006

it only takes a moment

"There is an incredibly tight relationship between a man's job and his ego." That sentence kept me from punching the next button as I was flipping around the AM dial one day last week. I had stumbled across the James Dobson Family Minute, a short form radio show. I could relate to the message in the program and made a mental note to scan the AM dial over the next few days to hear more episodes. So far I haven't heard another one. I'm not even sure what station it was on.

The feature reminded me of other short programs I enjoyed over the years. When I was in grammar school, I would tune in to WFAS on snowy mornings. Between school closing announcements, Bob E. Lloyd would air a syndicated daily feature called Point of Law. On days school was not canceled, it seemed that all my classmates had also been listening to Point of Law.

When I lived in the D.C. area, I always tried to leave work in time to flip on WMAL and hear Paul Harvey tell us The Rest of the Story. I occasionally heard it on KABC once I moved to L.A. I've never heard it in Knoxville. It must be on at an inconvenient time.

When I was working early morning hours in L.A., I would try be out of the shower in time to hear a daily short form program on KNX called Something You Should Know. I thought it used to be broadcast at 4:25 a.m. but according to the KNX schedule, it's now on at 4:55 a.m. Still pretty early though.
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Sunday, April 23, 2006

guy smiley

The finale of "The Next Food Network Star" is on TV tonight. My wife and I spent some time this weekend catching up on the previous episodes. As we watched the first one, we noticed a contestant who looked vaguely familiar. His name is Guy Fieri, a chef from Santa Rosa, California. According to his bio, one of the restaurants he owns is Tex Wasabi's which serves two of my favorite foods under one roof, Southern BBQ and California style sushi. What a concept!

A few years ago, my wife and I spent one weekend in wine country but we didn't know about any of Guy's restaurants at the time. We ate dinner
with a group of radio people at an overpriced place called Pinot Blanc, wishing the whole time that we were next door at the A&W instead.

Guy has performed well on the show so far. He is one of the two remaining contestants in tonight's finale. Several bloggers have picked him to win including Foodie Obsessed, June Cho and Magnolia Mom. BBQ Forum has a podcast about him. I found one blogger named Little Judy who is rooting for Guy's opponent, Reggie Southerland.

I thought about it and remembered meeting Guy (or someone who looks exactly like him) at the Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational Barbecue in 2004. He was with a camera crew, so naturally I approached him and asked about it. As I recall, he was shooting footage for a show called "BBQ King" that he hoped to sell to a network. I must have sensed his future stardom because I asked him to pose for a photo with me. After seeing him on Food Network, my wife joked that he may have found some of the weight I have lost. No offense, Guy.

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

maybe he was thinking of George Jefferson

Some hail storms came through the area last night. One of our local weathermen described the hail as "nickel sized" and then held up a nickel on camera for the audience to see. My wife was in her car listening to 87.7 FM and called home to see if we happened to catch this moment on the TiVo. We did. I'm not sure if the video from my camera phone will do it justice but you should be able to hear the man say, "this is nickel sized hail that I have in my hand here, got the old George Washington on the coin here."

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Friday, April 21, 2006

on top of old smokies

Scott Reiff is the airborne reporter for KABC-TV. Several years ago he invited me to go flying with him as he reported on rush hour traffic for KLOS. Best of all, he said I could bring my daughter along. We took off from Van Nuys Airport early enough to do some sightseeing before the first traffic report of the afternoon. Scott flew to Burbank so we could see our house from the air. Then it was over the top of the hill where we looked out the window and saw part of the Hollywood Sign. We were too close to see the tops and bottoms of the letters. Scott gave us a couple more thrills as we appeared to dive down the side of the tallest building downtown and then flew about five feet above the surf off the Pacific Palisades.

Last week I was offered the opportunity to take an aerial tour of the Smoky Mountains and to do some endorsement spots for Scenic Helicopter Tours. This time I was able to bring my son and my brother-in-law along. We had a great flight over Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Dim the lights, it's time for the slide show.

We loaded into one of their black and yellow Bell JetRangers and took off. These first shots are of the heliport.

Our flight was piloted by Dan Haynes, who owns the company. He's the one who looks like he knows what he's doing. Dan is getting ready to open Helicopter Headquarters next month.

We started toward the Smokies, passing Ober Gatlinburg on the way.

The scenery was amazing. We saw Mt. LeConte, Cades Cove and a neighborhood called "Top O The World."

If you're near Sevierville tomorrow, bring the family to Helicopter Awareness Day. The event honors the memory of Dan's father, Hal Haynes and raises money for East Tennessee Children's Hospital.
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Thursday, April 20, 2006

comedy = celebrity + time

The New York Post's Page Six column has had a rough time lately. At least somebody there still has a good sense of humor. This morning's column had a very funny spoof of what Page Six might look like twenty years from now. The whole thing is worth reading, especially the "Just Asking" section:
WHICH aging lothario rates Apple Martin a "5," Lourdes Ciccone a "7" and Moses Martin a "9"? Naughty. . . WHAT pouty-lipped celebrity offspring is renouncing her American citizenship to run for president of Namibia? . . . WHICH poptart spawn was arrested for driving without a seatbelt for the third time this month? "Mom never strapped me in to car seats or high chairs, so I guess I just never got in the habit," he told our spy.
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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

hark, the cheesy lounge man sings

December may be eight months away but I'm already excited about the upcoming Christmas album from my friend Richard Cheese. You might recall that I'm a fan of cover songs and Christmas songs. Richard sent out a mass mailing asking for song suggestions:
If you'd like to recommend a neo-traditional Christmas song for us to put on the album (for example, Chingy's "Holidae In"), visit my website's Request-A-Song link, and if we use your suggestion, I'll send you an email with a smiley-face in it! :-) But don't request "Deck The Halls" or "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer," you idiot. We want to hear about some contemporary "holiday" songs by Slayer, Snoop, or Soundgarden! "Holiday In Cambodia"? Yes. "Ice Ice Baby? Yes. "Personal Jesus"? Yes. Now you get the idea! Tell your friends, and let's spread some Christmas cheese!
Like most contemporary artists, Richard is on You can hear some of his songs and see his music video for "Gin and Juice."

Speaking of MySpace, some of my improv brothers have pages there and Einstein Simplified even has a MySpace group. It seems that most MySpace pages I've seen open with a cacophony of songs and video clips all playing at once. I know I just quoted from Perry Simon's "The Letter" last week but I need to share what he wrote about MySpace this week:
And don't even THINK of having a MySpace page if you're over 40 unless you insist on being what my friend Greg calls "Creepy Old Guy," the same as the grey-ponytailed 40-something guy in the mosh pit at any concert. Or someone whose name is bound to be included in a newspaper story that also includes the words "underage," "alleged" and "arrested."
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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

what year is this?

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is visited by over nine million people every year. The main road leading to the park is home to hundreds of businesses that cater to the tourists. You can find Christmas shops, hunting & fishing shops, t-shirt shops and restaurants that serve every kind of food, especially pancakes. I was browsing in one of those shops over the weekend when I was surprised by what I saw.

This particular store had several racks of DVDs. Most of the labels looked like they had been printed on a ten-year-old inkjet printer. I can't imagine the estate of Lucille Ball choosing the photo I saw on the cover of the "Lucy & Desi Comedy Hour" DVDs. I checked to see if they also sold these DVDs but they only had it on VHS.

In the rack facing the Lucy DVDs were seventeen volumes of "Amos & Andy" episodes alongside copies of a movie called "Tall, Tan and Terrific." The label says the movie features "an all-star colored cast." Huh?

There were two "Batman" DVDs I wouldn't mind having, although I would prefer the nicer versions available on They might not be as funny as the 1960s TV version but they probably still have some camp value. Ralph Garman probably has autographed copies, not that I'm jealous or anything.

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Monday, April 17, 2006

hard boiled moai

Today's noon newscasts (right before another good episode of "The Beverly Hillbillies") featured some costumed bunnies standing next to the President and First Lady. The furry (or is it plushie?) characters were there for the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, a tradition started by President Rutherford B. Hayes. My family and I used to go to the event in the late '80s and early '90s. Several local celebrities would be on hand to autograph wooden souvenir eggs. We still have some of the eggs from 1990:

I mentioned on Saturday that we would be decorating our Easter eggs that day. We started with two dozen eggs and several coffee mugs filled with dye. If you look closely, you might notice that we used Christmas mugs. We don't drink much coffee at our house. My wife usually decorates at least one egg with a Christian symbol. My son made one with the colors of the Irish flag. I tried coloring a few myself this year. You can see one of mine in the "five o'clock" position on our egg tray. It turned out a drab color, more Easter Island than Easter Sunday.

When it's time to eat the eggs, we crack them by smacking two together, point to point or round end to round end. My wife's family calls this tradition "egg bunting." The losing egg is the one that cracks first. I looked it up on the Internet and found a Swiss tradition called Eiertütschen, but I'm not sure if it's exactly the same thing. One site said egg cracking was a Bulgarian tradition while another said egg knocking was a Cajun tradition. Has anyone ever heard of egg bunting?
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Sunday, April 16, 2006

that must have hurt

Fr. Ragan Schriver is the executive director of East Tennessee Catholic Charities. He also celebrates Mass at my parish. Every year at the Easter Vigil, Fr. Ragan has a gleeful look in his eye as he sprinkles the congregation with holy water. He uses a lot more water than any of the other priests.

Last night several parishioners told him that he had received some payback. During the Rite of Initiation, Fr. Ragan had to lift the gigantic paschal candle from its stand so the flame could be used to light smaller candles for the catechumens and candidates. The six foot candle tipped slightly, pouring hot wax onto Fr. Ragan's head and vestments. Afterwards he said "(the pastor) was worried about the vestments but I was like, 'my head is on fire!'"

Some parishioners told him to remove the wax by heating it. Others said to freeze it. I don't think anybody suggested using mineral oil. He let me photograph his hair, which looked as if he had been standing under a pigeon.

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hoppy Easter

A photo of a giant bunny has been making the rounds of the Internet. Somebody probably emailed it to you last week. I got it a couple of times but one came with an interesting note from someone I've heard of but not met. Here's the email from the father of our local quintuplets:
-----Original Message-----
From: Willem van Tol
To: Frank Murphy
Subject: Easter Bunny

Hi Frank!

What do you think, shall I get one for my kids for Easter? I bet all 5 of them could ride him at the same time if he came with a saddle. This thing is real!!!!! Here's the article:

Willem van Tol

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Saturday, April 15, 2006

pick your battles

Earlier this week I quoted from an article that described the pagan fertility symbols that we now associate with Easter. Even the word "Easter" comes from pagan tradition. In most other languages, the word for Easter comes from the Hebrew word for "Passover." The English equivalent would be "paschal."

Last December I wrote several times about the secularization of Christmas. Today's New York Post says that the head of the Catholic League is objecting to the removal of the word Easter from mall displays and egg hunts. Shouldn't it be the pagans who are upset about this, instead of the Christians?
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holy Saturday, Batman

Every year on the day before Easter, our family colors Easter Eggs. This year, I've noticed that Paas Easter Egg Dyes are a lot fancier than when I was a kid. Some are so complicated that you need a CD-ROM to use them.

Some others appear to be a tie-in with Mariah Carey's movie, "Glitter."

But best of all, you can have the best looking Easter eggs in Gotham City with this Batman decorating kit.

If all that is too much trouble for you, I found some pink eggs that might do the job.

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Friday, April 14, 2006

first thing you know

Perry Simon writes a great daily column (called Talk Topics) for radio professionals on In addition to that he sends out a weekly newsletter (called The Letter) to promote the column. In this week's Letter, Perry writes about one of his TV guilty pleasures, "The Big Joe Polka Show":

You want a portly old guy in garish accordion-themed polyesterish vests and ruffled shirts? You want a procession of dispirited-looking bands with names like "Walter Polszewski and His Southern North Dakota Polka Kings" performing songs like "The Who Overcooked The Kielbasa Polka"? You want video quality that looks like a Sony Handycam under water? You want the host wandering absentmindedly into the shot while puzzling over the next page of his script? You want action shots of an empty dance floor or someone pawing through a rack of polka dresses? You want television the way it was when I was a kid and they used to have polka shows on early weekend mornings? Big Joe is your man. It's so uncool, so cheesy, so beyond redeemable that, naturally, I love it. (And if you remember the Schmenge brothers sketches on "SCTV," this is the real thing and a thousand times more funny) Highly recommended. Set your TiVo now.

I need to confess a guilty pleasure. Lately I've been flipping on the TV during lunch to watch "The Beverly Hillbillies" on WBIR-TV. Yes, you read that correctly: "The Beverly Hillbillies." I grew up in the New York suburbs. Every afternoon my sisters and I would watch classic sitcom reruns like "Batman," "Gilligan's Island," "Bewitched," "The Addams Family," "F Troop," "The Beverly Hillbillies" and many more. The Clampetts were just another TV family, about as real to me as "The Munsters." Later in life I moved to Los Angeles and got to see some of the extravagance of Beverly Hills firsthand. I even had the good fortune to meet Buddy Ebsen but it wasn't as big a deal to me as meeting Adam West. The fourth anniversary of my move to Knoxville is ten days away. Living here has given me an appreciation for Jed, Granny, Jethro and Ellie May that I would have never developed in the big cities. It's understandable that cityfolk TV critics didn't care for the show when it premiered.

Within the past week, WBIR showed an episode with Mel Blanc as a cab driver who thought the Clampett mansion was a mental hospital and that Mr. Drysdale was the doctor. After Jethro gave Granny some unsuccessful driving lessons, the cab driver told a Beverly Hills cop that Jed believed himself to be Abe Lincoln. That was good stuff. In another episode, Granny was teaching Ellie May about "courtin' and sparkin'" with Mr. Drysdale's stepson. Granny said, "Honey, when I was a girl back in Tennessee, I set so many boy's hearts on fire that they took to callin' that neck of the woods the Smoky Mountains!" That line alone may be responsible for my new guilty TV pleasure.

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

silly ribbit

Several Mountain Chorus Frogs have been heard in our backyard since February. Despite our efforts to discourage the lovestruck frogs from mating on our pool cover, there are dozens of tadpoles now swimming in the rainwater collected there. In preparation for the upcoming pool opening, my son and I have been siphoning excess water off the cover. Before starting a siphon, my son filled a bucket with rainwater and leaves and then used a skimmer net to collect as many tadpoles as he could see. Trying to save these tadpoles feels like the right thing to do but we may just be making it more difficult for ourselves. There's a pretty good chance the tadpoles which grow into frogs will return to their birthplace next year to make even more tadpoles on our pool cover. Here's a couple of baby pictures and a short video of the little swimmers:

Labels: , , ,

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

his name is Inigo Montoya

At the start of the TV season, I posted a list of shows that I hoped to watch. There are some I have watched religiously like "The Office," some that I tried and gave up on like "Bones," some I was dead wrong about like "Reunion" and some that I never got around to like "Criminal Minds." So I felt a little guilty when I received the following email:
-----Original Message-----
From: Amy
To: Frank
Subject: Criminal Minds TV show in your blog

I was reading your blog and noticed you mentioned you liked Criminal Minds. I run a small fansite for the show, "" and was hoping I could get a link from your blog somewhere to my site. I would be incredibly grateful.

I'd love to hear back if you get the time.


Criminal Minds Staff
Ok, Amy there's your plug. To ease my guilt, I will make a point of watching some "Criminal Minds" reruns once "Lost" and "American Idol" finish their seasons in May. After yesterday's post about a flippin' commercial, how could I refuse?
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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

fertility clinic

If you enjoyed Sunday's post about Easter candy, you'll probably love Doug Mason's article in today's News Sentinel about Peeps, jelly beans, chocolate bunnies and the baskets they come in. The story also contains this beautifully succinct history lesson:
The critter we call the Easter Bunny was first mentioned in writing in 15th century Germany. It is a pre-Christian symbol, popular with pagans as a representative of fertility (as are eggs). In some stories, the fertility goddess Eostre (namesake of Easter) is the one who empowered the Easter Bunny to lay eggs once a year.
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tortoise shill

Somebody from an interactive marketing company found the reference to The Slowskys in my recent blog entry about tortoises and sent along the following email:
-----Original Message-----
From: Lauren
To: Frank
Subject: The Slowskys

Hey! I just found your blog and I think you may be of some help to me. I'm reaching out to you on behalf of Comcast and M80 regarding The Slowskys TV commercials. Since you are a fan of The Slowskys, I thought that you might enjoy and/or be interested in posting a video of the Slowskys. In addition to the original Slowskys commercial, we have a special outtakes video exclusively for those who are willing to help us out. Please let me know if you're interested!

Lauren, M80
Click on the picture to see the outtakes:

The more I listen to the commercials and the outtakes, the more I think I recognize Rachael Harris as the voice of Mrs. Slowsky. Anybody know who plays Mr. Slowsky? Hang on, let me Google that. Yep. That is Rachael Harris as Karolyn Slowsky. A comedian named Andrew Donnelly plays Bill Slowsky. And wouldn't you know that the campaign was developed by the same agency that came up with the ingenious "Aaron Burr" commercial which first gave us the phrase "got milk?" and made Sean Whalen semi-famous. Haven't seen it in a while? Click here.
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Monday, April 10, 2006

idles at 300 communist rpm

Over the weekend, my co-worker Seth told me about the new Chinese cars expected to hit the U.S. market in 2008. The Geely (not to be confused with the "Gigli") will sell for under $10,000. At that bargain price we joked that the cars might be made of aluminum foil and that you might be required to wear a motorcycle helmet while driving one. Seth had the conversation topper when he said that a Chinese family sedan would have only one seat in the back.
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Sunday, April 09, 2006

t minus seven days

It used to be that jelly beans were only available at Easter. I was always partial to Brach's Classic Jelly Bird Eggs. Now thanks to Jelly Belly (and probably Ronald Reagan too), the sweet treats are available anywhere, anytime.

For those who aren't getting enough electrolytes and vitamins with their candy, celebrate this Easter with Sport Beans.

And for the practical joker, why not slip a few of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans into your victim's Easter Basket?

What is your favorite Easter candy? Many people are as crazy about Cadbury Creme Eggs (there's even a podcast) as I am about Marshmallow Peeps. This year Elmer's Candy of Ponchatoula is trying to get their products to as many displaced New Orleanians as possible. Their Easter stuff sounds pretty good but can it top a Scotchmallow Egg from See's?

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Saturday, April 08, 2006

stop the presses

Imagine my surprise when I received the following email:
Original Message:
From: Ham, Abby
Date: Sat, 8 Apr 2006
To: Frank Murphy
Subject: Green Eggs and Ham in the Pants


I just wanted to say thanks for the kind words you posted about me on your website. My aunt was searching my name several weeks ago and found your blog. Then, there were only a few nice comments. When I checked back several weeks later, it was quite a different story. I think that sometimes people forget that we are actually human. Although, I will say some of the comments were pretty funny.

You do a good job on the radio. I catch the show on my way in to work some mornings. You have a very nice voice and are well-spoken. Thanks again for the nice comments. I must say it was a fun way to be welcomed to Knoxville. Maybe we will actually get to meet in person in the future. Michele Silva had good things to say.

Have a great weekend!

Abby Ham

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Friday, April 07, 2006

green eggs

This blog has a new "comment champion" and her name is Abby Ham. On March 13, I wrote about Abby, a local weekend news anchor who impressed me with her talent and looks. As of tonight, that blog entry has generated 25 comments, which is about 25 more than almost every other entry except for one. The previous comment champ (with 22) was Laura Ortiz, the funny caffeinated cheerleader in a T-Mobile commercial who I wrote about on November 12. In both cases it is disappointing that some of the anonymous comments come from people with remarkably poor vocabularies.

At least one reader "gets it" and has posted comments that are in the fun-loving spirit I have tried to establish. The other day he sent the following email:
Frank! Love your site. I found it by google-ing Abby Ham. I have posted on your Abby Ham page under Ed Munster. Anyway on to the point of my email, I have 2 pictures I took of Abby that I thought you may want to post on your 'who's hottie' page.
I wrote back:
Thanks for the kind words, Ed. I would love to share your Abby photos. All I did was take a picture of my TV while the TiVo was on pause. I realize the quality was marginal but I was doing it more for comedy than beauty. It makes my day when I receive blog comments. Yours are better than most, as you can tell by reading the messages trying to tear down Abby Ham's physique.
And he replied:
Well I took these while my DVR (from Charter) was on pause as well. I am not a great photographer, but I try. I took one when the news started, and one more while she was smiling (and it is not a fake smile). I am not sure if the quality is better than yours, but you can look at them. You know Frank, I just can not believe these people are trying to pick her apart. I think she is very pretty. My wife aggravates me when Abby is on the news, saying 'there is your woman.'
Here are the photos that Ed sent. If you're interested, I found a story with video on the WBIR website that lets you watch Abby at the anchor desk.

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

holy disposable income!

Only six more days until Adam West's episode of "Living in TV Land." During his Tennessee visit last month, Bean told me that TV Land filmed some of the show at KROQ. (He also said that he heard a DVD release of the 1960s "Batman" series is stalled by a disagreement over the music rights.)

I've mentioned before how much I continue to enjoy the campy humor of "Batman." Just the other day I came across an Argentinean website that catalogs all the cartoonish sound effects of the show. I still have my Corgi toy Batmobile (five inches of danger!) and I've sat inside the real Batmobile but my fandom is put to shame by Ralph Garman. Ralph is on the air daily with Kevin & Bean and was the host of the very funny "Joe Schmo" reality show parodies.

While watching the Barry Williams episode of "Living in TV Land" today, I saw the promo for next week's show. The promo said that a preview of the Adam West episode is available online for the next few days at During the rather lengthy excerpt, you can see some of Ralph's incredible collection of Batman memorabilia when he takes Adam home with him. I half expected to see Ralph trap Adam in a giant Plexiglas box as the ultimate collectible.

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

oh, didn't I tell you?

"24" is having a great season, perhaps its best ever. We have been kept guessing as established characters get killed off and great new ones like Robocop and Leland Palmer are introduced. The show rates a Season Pass on my TiVo but I stayed up to watch Monday's episode that night rather than wait until the next day. There are only a few other shows that I will go out of my way to watch on the same night they air. I usually have a Tuesday morning conversation about the latest goings-on at CTU with a couple of other Jack Bauer fans around the office.

My TiVo has a new feature that lets me recover recently deleted programs. I used it today so I could re-watch Monday's "24." I wanted to make sure I hadn't missed something before complaining about one of my favorite shows.

This season's story has revolved around the efforts of some bad guys to release deadly gas. At the end of last week's episode, Jack destroyed the gas and was hot on the trail of those responsible. That story line was hurriedly finished at the start of Monday's show. Then it turns out that there's a minor character named Evelyn Martin who has had some important evidence all along. Then we find out that Evelyn's daughter was kidnapped by the bad guys who want the incriminating evidence as ransom. When was this child kidnapped? How could they not have mentioned that in an earlier episode? It's as if the writers are making this stuff up as they go along. I was reminded of listening to a poorly told joke. "So the priest says to the bartender... no wait, wait... there was a rabbi who walked into the bar too. Let me just start over."

By the way, if Audrey and Chloe are secretly helping Jack, why would they put his call on a speakerphone in the CTU headquarters? Wouldn't the new overlords from Homeland Security overhear the conversation? C'mon!

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

pressed between the pages of my mind

The unexpected appearance of my alma mater in the Final Four gave me reason to connect with some old friends via email. My friend Julia sent along an interesting item from the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. They have created a website to commemorate this year's Cinderella story. Here's the official announcement:
As Patriot hoops makes history, our historians are helping fans become a part of the story. George Mason University's Center for History and New Media has put together an exciting new website: the George Mason Basketball Digital Memory Bank. Fans, students, and even the players are becoming part of history by posting online their memories of this momentous run to the Final Four. Fans around the world can visit and see pictures, stories, and even videos about this basketball event. Visit and become a part of this important process. Our stories will become part of a living history, as a component of this digital archive.
While browsing the archive, I found some blog entries, some great photos and the GMU fight song. I'm thinking of submitting the mp3 file of Kevin & Bean talking with me on KROQ.
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Monday, April 03, 2006

what's your favorite noun?

Big ups to my improv brothers Paul, Dave and Greg. They were photographed and interviewed by Joe Howell of the News-Sentinel at last week's Einstein Simplified show. You can see and hear them online (and in person every Tuesday night at Patrick Sullivan's).
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home of the lukewarm draught

Baseball season is upon us once again. I'm a lifelong New York Mets fan although I also root for the Washington Nationals a bit. As I type this, I'm watching ESPN's broadcast of today's opening day game. The Nationals are playing the Mets at Shea Stadium.

Just over a year ago, I checked off one of those things on every guy's to-do-before-I-die list when I attended a Spring Training game.
Of course, I chose a game at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Florida so I could see the Mets and the Nats, who were days away from starting their debut season in DC.

The game started right around sundown, which made for a nice photo. My niece had sent me her Flat Stanley to take on the trip, so he got photographed too.

One of the big outfield billboards was for the Miccosukee Resort. The pronunciation of which puzzled me until I recently heard Janet Reno properly say the word on "Jimmy Kimmel Live." She said something similar to "mick-o-sookie." All this time I had wondered if the tribe's name would sound like a really bad Irish bar called Mike O'Suckey's.
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Sunday, April 02, 2006

time won't let me

Every year at this time I grumble about the start of Daylight Saving Time. I don't mind the early morning darkness or the added evening sunshine. It's the disruption to my circadian rhythm that bothers me. And it's not just me. The time shift will probably cause more traffic accidents tomorrow morning. I wrote about it five months ago when this blog was fairly new and had virtually no readers. If you have a minute to read the whole post that would be great but here's the most important part:
I think the government should at least change Daylight Saving Time so that we start and end it on a Friday night / Saturday morning. How do I make this happen?
If there's anyone reading in Indiana, welcome to the DST party. One Hoosier is charging $10 to change the clocks in your house.

Meanwhile the battery in our smoke detector must know that this is the weekend we spring forward. The darn thing started chirping yesterday afternoon.
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Saturday, April 01, 2006

Cinderella beheaded by ugly stepsister

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quick, turn on the TV

ABC News showed some love to George Mason University yesterday. A report on Good Morning America started with a live shot of happy, screaming mob. The pre-taped package that accompanied it can be viewed online. ABC isn't done yet. They're bringing the cameras back to campus early this morning:
-----Original Message-----
From: Office of Housing and Residence Life
Sent: Friday, March 31, 2006
Subject: Good Morning America to Broadcast from Ike's on Saturday Morning


Please join us for breakfast this Saturday at Ike's as we welcome ABC's Good Morning America to George Mason University.

Members of the Good Morning America Saturday team will begin broadcasting live from IKE's at 7:00 a.m. EST. GMA wants to share Mason's Final Four victory with the nation and they are particularly interested in knowing what this has meant for you, the students. The Good Morning America broadcast ends at 9:00 am.

A special FINAL FOUR breakfast will be served up at Ike's throughout the morning with normal meal plan programs in effect.

Let's give Good Morning America a warm welcome and GO PATRIOTS!
Last night on ABC World News Tonight, the person of the week was Coach Jim Larranaga. If you are still not positive that Larranaga is a great guy, the Washington Post article about the other families on his street should convince you. The Post has done an excellent job of covering the Patriots' journey to the Final Four.

Comcast SportsNet boasts that they have the most comprehensive George Mason coverage. On last night's "SportsNite" show, they had footage from Folarin Campbell's camcorder. You could call it the Followin' Folarin Campbell Cam. During the course of the expanded one-hour program, they asked who should play Jim Larranaga in a movie version of this season's Cinderella story. Their suggestions were James Cromwell, Ed Harris, William Hurt and Craig T. Nelson. Apparently Larranaga himself has said that Nelson would be a good choice.

As you watch the game, keep an eye out for the sign my friend George is bringing to Indianapolis. Look for text arranged to highlight the letters CBS on a sign that reads: Can Billy Packer Say: "Here We Go Mason, Here We Go"
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