Tuesday, October 31, 2006

where the wild things vote

Senate races around the country are drawing a lot of attention this year. I watched the local news (anchored by Shannon Bream!) while in the DC suburbs over the weekend and saw plenty of the negative television ads slamming the candidates running in Virginia and Maryland.

Based on an unscientific glance at a few yard signs, I think it will be a close race in Virginia. In my mother-in-law's neighborhood, it looked like every Allen sign was matched by a Webb sign next door or across the street. I stopped to take a picture of one home because I'm not sure if they are trying to get people to vote for or against the candidates whose names they mixed in with their Halloween decorations.

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The blogosphere loses one of its best today. My good friend Bean has retired his excellent daily musings after 304 consecutive posts. Every day he would write a tremendous volume of interesting stuff. For any of his readers who may have come here, know that I will keep an eye out for any interesting news about the Post Office, Pluto, 7-Eleven and the like. You're on your own for Mariners updates though.


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Monday, October 30, 2006

platypus man

Eddie George was in town last week. I heard him interviewed about the GetFitTN program. The governor appointed Eddie as spokesperson in the fight against obesity and type 2 diabetes. Eddie said something in the interview that I have found to be true from personal experience: the key to successful weight loss is 80 percent diet and only 20 percent exercise. I might have even said 90/10. It is so easy to eat 100 calories but so hard to burn them off. For example, I could eat a medium sized banana in a minute but I would have to walk a mile to work it off. I never did enough exercise to burn all the calories in the Halloween candy I was so fond of eating. Lately I've learned to not reach into the candy bowl in the first place. It's like comedian Richard Jeni used to say, "stop eating, you fat b*****d!" Although I've got to admit, it's easier said than done.

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

like in the chapel

A "Festifallooza" was going on outside the restaurant where we had lunch yesterday. We were in Northern Virginia celebrating some family birthdays. An a cappella group called dcVocals was just finishing up their performance while we waited for our table. I wish I had heard more of them because their version of "I'm Only Happy When It Rains" was quite good. dcVocals is the first co-ed a cappella group I've ever seen. My family and I have actually been to an a cappella festival at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre where we saw Rockapella, The Blenders, the Knudson Brothers and a bunch of others.

After lunch, we looked at some of the tables and booths at the festival. The petting zoo had a llama that looked just like David Spade's character in some Disney movie.

I spotted a table with freebies from WARW. They were one of the Arrow (All Rock & Roll Oldies) radio stations that eventually evolved into a classic rock format. I saw t-shirts, DVDs and some registration forms and wondered if a major market station used entry blanks to give away t-shirts due to high demand. The guy behind the table told me that he was just using a registration blank to write down some information for a listener. To win a prize on the table, one only had to know the name of any of the deejays on his radio station. This is the exact same question I use when giving away shirts at my remote broadcasts. I couldn't keep from blurting out the name of their morning show and I accidentally won a t-shirt. Later I was kicking myself for not mentioning Cerphe or Weasel instead.

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Saturday, October 28, 2006

good times

The last weekend in October was always one of my favorite weekends of the year. As I mentioned last year, my friend Bean and I put together a one hour recorded show to fill the extra time on the WAVA music log when the clocks got turned back. It aired every year from 1985 to 1991 and I would try to stay up to hear it.

When we lived in Burbank, my wife and I got involved with staging a haunted house fundraiser at St. Finbar School. One year, I had one of the parent volunteers to dress as a TV news reporter. At the entrance, we showed a videotape with the basic safety announcements disguised as a news report about a killer on the loose. Once the customers got inside, they saw the killer and his victim, the TV reporter. Our friends Charlie and Anja were in charge of the haunted house and always threw a great "wrap party" at their home. Charlie is a comedy writer and always made sure the experience was as funny as it was scary. Even after the school discontinued the haunted house, Charlie and Anja continued hosting the parties and Charlie would dress as a recently deceased celebrity.

Next year the time change moves to after Halloween. The move to November is fine by me but I still think the clocks should be changed on a Friday night/Saturday morning, especially in the Spring. Any takers?

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Friday, October 27, 2006

best little candy in Texas?

The Mast General Store opened in downtown Knoxville several weeks ago. My son and I finally stopped by on a recent Saturday afternoon. I was amused by the balloon powered toy boats and toy cars and puzzled by the "Forest Faces."

They had 500 types of old-fashioned candy displayed in barrels, including ginger, clove, anise and
Horehound. I had never heard of Horehound candy before. You can make your own jokes.

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

blinded by the hype

Borat seems to be everywhere. He was on the cover of my favorite magazine, "Entertainment Weekly." He's mentioned almost daily on my favorite entertainment websites. The commercials for his movie have been running during my favorite TV shows. "Access Hollywood" has covered the Hollywood and London premieres of the film.

All the attention has to remind you of "Snakes On A Plane," a movie that didn't benefit from all the buzz. The movie company figured that out too and scaled back plans for the release of "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan." Entertainment Weekly's Popwatch blog published an apologetic entry about it this morning, accepting some of the blame for the media overkill.

I watched the first four minutes of the movie on YouTube.com. It's really funny but the Popwatch writer is correct in that the audience should be left to discover Borat on their own. Best Week Ever's site had a link to some Borat comedy from the HBO show where the character originated. Borat sings a song making fun of Jews, but the real target of the satire isn't the Jews or the Kazakhstanis. It's the Americans who gladly start singing along.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

outside my window pane

Halloween is less than a week away but I'm not feeling it yet. To get in the right frame of mind, I need to hear a certain song by Lambert, Hendricks and Ross. "Halloween Spooks" is an old song from the '50s that I didn't discover until the '80s when it turned up on a compilation disc called "Elvira's Haunted Hits." Don & Mike saw the camp value of the tune when I suggested they play it on WAVA. In the '90s, Kevin & Bean had a lot of fun with it on KROQ, permanently cementing it into my Halloween psyche. A blog called Cake & Polka Parade has a link to an mp3 of "Halloween Spooks." If you have a little more time, you might enjoy a podcast that also includes ten other Halloween novelties at a site called Why Fidelity. I tried playing the song on each of the Knoxville stations where I've worked but none of my co-hosts enjoyed the bit. Apparently the "so bad it's good" concept is not for everyone.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

islands in the stream

The old TiVo in the family room refused my request to record one more show. We were on the way out for the evening and I had to make a snap decision. What should I delete to make room for "Dancing With the Stars?" Ultimately I chose to delete an episode of "Survivor" that I had not yet watched because I had faith in the "CBS innertube."

I've been sampling some of the full episodes of shows posted online at the ABC, NBC and CBS websites. Some have worked better than others. The episodes of "Ugly Betty" and "Desperate Housewives" that I tried to watch on the ABC site both cut off after about 20 minutes. An episode of "30 Rock" worked fine on the NBC site. However my best web viewing experiences have come from the episodes of "CSI: NY" on CBS.com.

Showtime, a subsidiary of CBS, has hooked me with their delightfully creepy show "Dexter." You can watch the first two episodes on the Showtime website or you can get caught up with a marathon of the first four episodes this Saturday night. I haven't tried watching "Dexter" online because it's so good that I watch each Sunday night episode on the TiVo as soon as I get home from work on Mondays.

If recorded shows waiting to be watched are on my "TiNo" list, which shows are on my "TiYes" list? In addition to "Dexter," I am caught up on "The Amazing Race,"
"Prison Break," "Dancing With the Stars," "Lost," "My Name is Earl" and "The Office."

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Monday, October 23, 2006

hanging on the telephone

The phone has been ringing a lot this campaign season. A couple of weeks ago I got a call from Bob Corker's mother. It was prerecorded of course. In recent days I've gotten taped calls from Governor Phil Bredesen and from a candidate for the state house. Just after 9:00 tonight the phone rang again. This time it was the voice of Congressman Harold Ford Jr. urging me to show up on the UT campus tomorrow afternoon for a taping (or is it live?) of "Hardball with Chris Matthews." He must want people to stand in the background and cheer for him during MSNBC's "Battleground America" coverage.

Both parties seem to have done enough research to know that my vote is still up for grabs. Somehow I am slightly relieved that they haven't dug deep enough to realize it's a waste of time to ask me to be anywhere during nap time. Even if it means that I'll miss a chance to see Norah O'Donnell in person.

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Sunday, October 22, 2006


My daughter will cast her vote by absentee ballot this year. Like every Tennessee voter, she's very interested in the U.S. Senate race between Bob Corker and Harold Ford, Jr. I spoke with both candidates on the half-hour public affairs show that airs on all four stations in the cluster. The audio files are too big for me to email to my daughter, so I'll post them here instead for her to hear. Ford was recorded when he visited the studio on October 9 and Corker on October 12. The first show was broadcast last Sunday and the second aired this morning. Each file is 12MB for your podcasting pleasure.

Harold Ford Jr.

Bob Corker

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Saturday, October 21, 2006

or just a game?

Taylor Dayne is one of the last people I thought would cross my mind at church this past Sunday. She had a small dog in her coat pocket when she visited WAVA on a publicity tour years ago but that's not why I thought of her. Although if anyone ever shows up at church with a dog in their pocket, I will immediately think of Taylor Dayne again.

The church choir launched into a peppy, uptempo number that sounded more like a pop song than a hymn. I looked at the fine print in our "Gather" hymnal and saw that the song "Come And Follow Me" was written by Tom Franzak and Gerard Chiusano. The hook reminded me of Taylor Dayne's "Tell It To My Heart."

I tried to find a clip of the church song on the Internet. The version I found was a lot slower and not as much fun. Plus the clip cuts off before the part of the song I'm trying to describe to you. I'll keep looking.

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Friday, October 20, 2006

to the TiVo!

The saddest website I saw today is probably this one, with instructions on how to get a refund for the tickets you bought to see the World Series at Shea Stadium.

At one point last night I thought that today's blog entry would be all about a Mets win and about the incredible catch made by Endy Chavez in the sixth inning. It turned what would have been a two run home run into a double play. If you didn't see it live, you should watch the video on the Internet. I also thought that I might scan and upload my ticket stub from the World Series game I attended as a child. Maybe next year.

I'm not the only one who thought that the Mets would win. On Wednesday, a Tigers fan (I assume) in Portage, Michigan somehow found my blog by searching for the phrase "where can I buy cigarettes near Shea Stadium?" That smoker is tenacious. My site turns up on page 20 of the results because I wrote about the Mets on August 10 and about smoking on August 11.

During the NLCS, my TiVo got completely filled up with various prime time shows. I had the same problem last month when I wrote a guest blog for Terry Morrow. Now that I don't need to watch the World Series, I can catch up on some of the shows I have "TiNo'ed." That's a new term coined by San Francisco TV critic Tim Goodman for those shows you've recorded but not watched. One of my favorite sites, TV Squad had the link.

As of tonight, my TiNo list includes multiple episodes of "Heroes," "Friday Night Lights," "Veronica Mars," "The Nine," "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and "Shark." What's on yours?

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

open mic, insert joke

Before watching tonight's baseball game there was time to stop by The Comedy Zone for the "New Faces of Stand Up" comedy competition. My friend Dave Fennell was one of the performers. It was the second of six nights of the contest, which continues on the first and third Thursdays of the month until December 21. Dave did a fine job, as I expected. The other aspiring comedians ran the gamut in age and background. One guy from Newport may have only been comprehensible to fellow residents of Cocke County. I heard that the older comic who talked about his angioplasty was the winner two weeks ago. A ventriloquist did some surreal sight gags by removing the head of his dummy. At least it took attention away from his moving lips.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

to the TV!

The Mets will play their first "must win" game of the season tonight. They cruised through the regular season and swept the Dodgers in the first round of the playoffs. The Cardinals and their backdoor curveballs have posed more of a challenge. The Mets have to win tonight and again tomorrow night to advance to the World Series.

Why is it so hard to find the playoff games on the radio? I don't know for sure but maybe smaller stations find it too expensive to air live sports, which usually require a human board op on duty. Last night while driving home from the Old City, I scanned the dial for a station carrying the game. The local sports station didn't have it but I was able to pick up the Mets' New York flagship station, WFAN. I had to struggle to make out all the words because a Spanish language broadcast was drifting in and out on the same frequency. My son was fascinated by the way AM stations bounce off the ionosphere and can be heard in distant cities at night.

When I got in the car this morning, the radio was still tuned to 660. Around 5:20 a.m., I heard a caller encouraging Mets fans to make a lot of noise at tonight's game. He said that if, God forbid, they should lose, the crowd should give the team a standing ovation as thanks for a terrific season. He correctly pointed out that it has been a great year to be a Mets fan. Let's hope it's not over yet.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

constant craving

Here's a news flash. Chocolate is addicting. Not that I could tell from the scientific abstract about the medial orbitofrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex and blah blah blah. The study was presented over the weekend at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. Fortunately Perry Simon posted a link in his Talk Topics column on AllAccess.com to an article that spelled it out for me in plain English. The gist of it is that eating chocolate, or even looking at pictures of it, turns on pleasure centers in the brain associated with drug addiction.

I don't know how looking at a package of dark chocolate affected my pleasure center but I did feel compelled to photograph it. The back of the package says Hershey's Extra Dark products should be enjoyed in moderation. Yet they sell it at Sam's Club in 24 ounce bags.

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Monday, October 16, 2006

rock that town

How far would you drive to see one of your favorite bands in concert? An hour? Maybe two? How about three hours? My family and I drove that far when I was given some tickets to see Rockapella perform at Georgia Tech. Atlanta is about 3 hours south of Knoxville while Nashville is about three hours west of here. Concert tours are much more likely to be routed through one of those bigger markets than through KnoxVegas.

Check out the web version of an email sent to "radio professionals" today. It says that Brian Setzer has a new CD and it lets you hear the track "Everybody's Up To Somethin'." Best of all, it says that Brian is bringing the whole orchestra to the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville for a Christmas concert on December 7. I would love to get some tickets if I can figure out how to get enough sleep and still make it to work the next morning. I need to try because Brian told a Minneapolis newspaper that he will probably retire the BSO after this year's holiday tour.

Mr. Setzer is responsible for some of my favorite radio memories. One morning we packed the whole Brian Setzer Orchestra into the studio, offices and hallways at KROQ for a live performance. I still remember the thrill I got a couple of years later when I first heard the Orchestra's version of "Rock This Town" while they were in the KLOS studio.
I am reminded of the feeling every time I listen to that track on my mp3 player/phone. One year when the NAB convention was in Los Angeles, I went to some downtown hotel to hear Brian play in a suite on the top floor. The lobby was swarming with a hundred or so radio guys when Setzer arrived and headed for the elevator bank. He made me feel like a million bucks when he spotted me in the crowd and shouted, "hey Frank!"

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

missed it by that much

Toward the end of today's Redskins game, the coach of the Titans was so excited about his team's first win of the year that he held his hands over his head in a V-shape. The announcers said he was signaling his offense to use the "victory formation," in which the quarterback takes a knee to run out the clock. The hand gesture looked just like one that Larry David and Jeff Greene used on "Curb Your Enthusiasm." The episode was about a nurse was suspected of stealing things from her patient. Does anyone know what I'm talking about?

One of the CBS announcers was the ageless Don Criqui. My parents used to listen to him do the sports on the old "Rambling With Gambling" show on WOR in the '60s and '70s. My father wrote Don a letter once and received a reply that I saved as part of my autograph collection. I wish I knew which storage box all those autographs are packed in.

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

calling an audible

The plan for today was to check out the Tennessee State Bar-B-Q Championship at Lenoir City Park. I had about two hours before I had to go to work. My wife and I hopped in the car but soon found ourselves sitting in bumper to bumper traffic on I-40. We took the next exit and headed toward home, stopping on the way to buy some stuff at Sam's Club. In addition to the fruits and vegetables we needed, a couple of impulse buys found their way into our cart. We ended up with a pair of Member's Mark jeans for me (go ahead, call me a fashion plate) and a 1GB memory card for our camera.

There are always too many choices of things to do when the Vols have a bye. While I went to work, my lovely wife took the camera and the new memory card to the fall festival at St. Joseph School where she did some guest photo-blogging for us. She knew we would be interested in seeing a Chocolate Jar Cake and some cookies and candy that were stuck together to look like turkeys.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

sports night

The Mets are struggling in the ninth inning as I write this. It looks like the Cardinals will even up the NLCS after a great Mets win on Thursday night. Tonight the Mets could have used some of those terrific defensive plays from last night. Hey, did you notice the signs at Shea Stadium for losmets.com?

I guess I'm a bigger sports fan than I realized. Since 7:30 p.m. I have been flipping between an exciting high school football game and the Mets playoff game. I left the downstairs TiVo tuned to CSS and the upstairs TiVo tuned to Fox. A couple of times I was able to rewind to see a home run or a touchdown that I would have otherwise missed. At 11:00, I flipped between the three network affiliates to see their coverage of the football game I had just watched between the top two local high school teams. Both Catholic and Fulton were undefeated going into tonight's game. KCHS won the game, 27 - 14.

If I'm still awake at 12:30, college basketball gets added to the mix, as I told you yesterday. I will probably just go to bed and save my Mason Madness viewing for tomorrow.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

advice for life

Can you possibly stand another post about the Final Four's George Mason University? Thursday morning's USA Today had a great article about my alma mater's basketball team as they prepare for Friday night's Midnight Madness, which will be televised on ESPNU. Three of Mason's regular season games will be on TV.

Coach Jim Larranaga is ready for another season. He recently spoke to a group of students at the Catholic Campus Ministry during one of their Thursday Night Suppers. Coach L talked about the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels of the game. Larranaga has a philosophy that can be condensed to three words: attitude, commitment and class. It's worth downloading the podcast of the speech (right click here) and spending some time with it.

There was a non-basketball story worth sharing in
Wednesday's USA Today. The article has some easy tips to trim a couple hundred calories a day from your meals and snacks.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

old business on the agenda

A couple of comments recently turned up on my January 30th post about Cas Walker. One of them mentioned an upcoming event at the East Tennessee Historical Society worth noting.

You might recall that Scott West contacted me and booked our improv group into one of his businesses. That didn't stop me from making a joke on TV though.

I like cover songs and Christmas songs. This week I added the new "Now That's What I Call Christmas" disc to my wish list and I listened to four Twisted Sister Christmas songs on the web. You can almost tell the songs apart.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

separated at birth

Fr. Ragan Schriver was telling me that he thought "Saturday Night Live" has gotten funnier. I think he's right, especially when Kristen Wiig is onscreen as I wrote last year. He asked what I thought of the new "Weekend Update" anchor. I mentioned that Seth Meyers had also been promoted to head writer of the show. Fr. Ragan started to say "Do you think that he..." but I finished his sentence by saying "...looks exactly like you?"

At the Easter Vigil, Fr. Ragan accidentally spilled hot wax from the paschal candle on his head. I took pictures and wrote about it on the blog. For the sake of comparison, I took a picture of Seth Meyers on my TV. The shot is a freeze-frame from the opening credits of "Saturday Night Live." Do you think Fr. Ragan looks like Seth Meyers? Or does he look more like Will Forte? That reminds me. I miss "Clone High." Will Forte was the voice of Abe Lincoln on that funny show.

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Monday, October 09, 2006

won't you take me to Irish Town

The Old City is probably Knoxville's most interesting neighborhood. I went there on my second night in town and I've been going back every week since. A radio station flew me in for a job interview and put me up at the hotel on Summit Hill. After a day of meetings, I walked to the Old City to see Einstein Simplified perform on a Tuesday night in the Spring of 2002.

The cover story of this week's Metro Pulse is all about the Old City. Jack Neely mentions most of the bars and restaurants, including the new pizza place. The article describes the activity on a typical weekend night at the bars and the lack of activity during a typical day at the retailers. However the Tuesday night gathering of almost 100 disciples of improv in an upper room gets totally ignored.

Patrick Sullivan's is the site of our weekly comedy show. The building dates back to 1888 and was reportedly a brothel in the old days. The structure has a unique look that I find appealing. Back in March, I showed you some drinking glasses with Sullivan's turret on them. There's a sidebar about the history of the Old City on the Metro Pulse website. Here's an excerpt that gives another reason why I might feel so comfortable down there:
Everybody who talks about the Old City's past simplifies the story a little. It was the red-light district. It was the immigrant district. It was the Warehouse District. It was the African-American district. It was called "the Bottom." It was called "Irish Town." It was called "the Bowery."

The movement to embellish the area into an urban commercial district was apparently led by the man for whom the Old City's most distinctive building is named. Patrick Sullivan was an Irish immigrant and Union veteran whose successful saloon became the hallmark of a neighborhood.

Beginning in the 1850s, the Irish, who came to the growing town to work on the railroad and other local industries, settled around the northern fringes of downtown because it was near their work and especially because it was near the only Catholic church in East Tennessee. Immaculate Conception was established up on the hill overlooking what came to be known to a generation as Irish Town.
It's all a matter of perspective but to me the Old City isn't only about the live music or the drinking. It's also about the comedy. Jack Neely should check it out.

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Sunday, October 08, 2006

just dessert

Wal-Mart had three shelves stocked full of Mallomars when I resisted the urge to buy some. On my next trip to Wal-Mart six days later, there was only one shelf left. Obviously I needed to buy a box before it was too late. The key to my successful weight loss has been portion control. Tonight I opened my box of Mallomars and ate only two cookies, just like it says in the Nutrition Facts panel on the label. In the old days I would have eaten half the cookies in the box. The package has an interesting bit of trivia printed on it. It says that 70% of Mallomars are sold in the New York area, which reminds me: Lets go Mets!!

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Saturday, October 07, 2006

booty booty rockin' everywhere

The bucolic town of Bell Buckle is known for at least three things. It plays host to the annual RC & MoonPie Festival; it's the hometown of blogger Katie Allison Granju and it's the site of the original Webb School. There are two other Webb Schools, one in California and one in Knoxville.

Webb School of Knoxville
is also known for at least three things: producing quality athletes like Chad Pennington; graduating some of the brightest students in town and supplying "eye candy" to elaborate birthday parties for fifteen year olds. A story in last Sunday's News Sentinel described the MTV-worthy celebration thrown for Brittany Gibbs. She received a $45,000 BMW as a gift and Bubba Sparxxx provided live entertainment. Here's an excerpt from the article:
Five young hunks didn't require an invitation to the party. The five Webb High School athletes were handpicked to mingle and dance with partygoers. Their uniform: pink bow ties, jeans, and a coat of spray glitter on their bare upper bodies.

"Basically, our job is to be eye candy," said Jeffrey Johnson, a 16-year-old football player at Webb. "It's an odd request, but we have a good story to tell for the rest of our lives."

With her court in tow wearing pink and green satin evening gowns and shiny wings, Brittany enters on a green litter trimmed with pink feathers, carried by four of the shirtless Webb athletes.
The article generated so much negative reaction that the newspaper editor has had to defend the story on his blog. In an earlier post he included a link to the paper's video coverage of the party. Bloggers in East Tennessee and all over the world just love it, love it, love it. Did I mention that bloggers love it, love it, love it?

Last night was the annual football game between Webb and their crosstown archrival, Knoxville Catholic High School. It was homecoming night for Catholic. The game was regionally televised on CSS, which didn't help me because my cable company showed the wrong feed again. The game was a nail-biter. Catholic won by one point in overtime.

Before the game, flag-waving pep squads from both schools got the crowd psyched up. A group of KCHS students called the Catholic Cheering Crazies (or it might be the Crazy Cheering Catholics) parodied the photo of Brittany Gibbs' party that was in Sunday's paper. A male student dressed in a ball gown and tiara was carried on a litter by four shirtless classmates right past the Webb fans in the grandstands. Twice. Classic.

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Friday, October 06, 2006

still an odd name for a child

So-called Delicious apples have never tasted that good to me. I found most of them to have a mealy texture. McIntosh is usually my apple of choice although I have come to appreciate a good Granny Smith over the past year or so. It's a lot easier to find Granny Smith apples in the stores than McIntosh. My wife recently bought some apples that have become my new favorite for now. My first taste of a Cortland apple brought back memories of growing up in New York. My father took us apple picking someplace upstate one fall. Of course we considered anyplace north of Westchester County to be "upstate." It must have been around this time of year because I remember listening to a World Series game in the car on the way.

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

creature feature

Count Gore DeVol. Vampira. Zacherley. Do these names mean anything to you? They are three of the dozens of "horror hosts" featured in a documentary called "American Scary." The film debuts October 21 at the Hollywood Film Festival.

The movie's director, John E. Hudgens, works at a television station in Knoxville. John had previously attracted some attention with the short films he made for the Star Wars Fan Film Awards

Yesterday John showed me a couple of clips and a deleted scene from his new movie. The clips featured legendary voiceover announcer Ernie Anderson in his earlier life as Ghoulardi.

It's fitting that Ernie continues to work from beyond the grave. My manager has some sort of deal for radio stations to license Ernie's voice. They have archives of him reading just about every imaging statement a program director could want.

The deleted scene was hysterical. Unfortunately it had nothing to do with horror hosts. It featured Tim Conway describing a disastrous puppet show that he and Ernie Anderson once did on live television in Cleveland. It gives us a good reason to look forward to the DVD.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

animal adventures

Posters around Market Square promote several upcoming shows at the spectacular Tennessee Theatre. The one that caught my eye proudly announced "Jungle Jack Hanna." As you can see, it shows the famous zookeeper with an elephant.

What kind of stage show should Jack Hanna do? Song and dance? Scholarly lecture? Magic tricks? A circus act? Wouldn't it be false advertising if the elephant doesn't take the stage with him? Until today, I had no idea that Jack is originally from Knoxville. Maybe that's why he's coming to town on Monday night.

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play at the plate

Mets win! I took a short nap from 1:30 to 3:00 so I could watch the whole game from the beginning. And I'm glad I did. The second inning featured what is already being called the "Amazin' double play." If the Mets can take this series from the Dodgers, they will avenge their 1988 playoff loss. Hmm... maybe they could get some 1973 payback by beating the A's or some 2000 revenge by beating the Yankees in another Subway Series.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

guaranteed to have the time of your life

Everyone born in the '60s or earlier can remember where they were and what they were doing when Spiro T. Agnew resigned the vice presidency. Right? I was with my dad at Shea Stadium watching a playoff game between the Mets and the Reds when the news was flashed on the big scoreboard in centerfield.

The postseason started today for fans of the Twins, Athletics, Cardinals, Padres, Tigers and Yankees. Fans of the Mets (like me) and Dodgers have to wait until tomorrow afternoon. This year marks the seventh playoff appearance for the Mets. Game 1 is inconveniently scheduled at 4pm, during my nap time. Game 2 starts Thursday at 8pm, as if I didn't already have enough stuff to watch in that timeslot. Obviously I will record all my regular shows and watch the baseball game live.

My dad did some public relations work for National Bohemian, a major sponsor of the Baltimore Orioles. As a result, he was able to go to the 1969 World Series with his clients from the beer company. In 1973 it looked like the Orioles and Mets would have a World Series rematch. When the O's lost to the A's in the playoffs, Dad offered to buy the World Series tickets that National Bohemian had already purchased for the three games at Shea Stadium. Trying to look like a good guy, he must have bought several hundreds of dollars worth of tickets. I got to go to a game and so did some of my grammar school teachers and principal.

In 1986, I was working in the promotion department at WAVA. The station had chartered a plane and arranged for 105 Redskins fans to fly to New York to see a Monday Night Football game against the Giants. After the Mookie Wilson miracle in Game 6 and a rain delay the next night, Game 7 of the World Series would take place on Monday, the same night as the football game. I was at Giants Stadium with our contest winners. There were times during the game that the Giants fans would cheer wildly even when the Redskins were doing well. It turned out that many people in the stands had brought portable televisions and that they were actually cheering for the Mets.

My good friend Bean just sent me a fantastic belated birthday / early Christmas gift. It's a DVD of Vintage World Series Films from 1969 and 1986. I'm and psyched and ready to sing the song. Who's with me?

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Monday, October 02, 2006

fluffy puffy time

Do a Google search for the word "marshmallowaholic" and it will lead you to my website. It's probably because the word is one that I made up, but that's beside the point right now. Thanks to my recent weight loss, I guess you could say that I'm a marshmallowaholic in recovery. It's been tough these past few days.

On Friday I told you about the Marshmallow Fluff festival in Somerville, Massachusetts. The Boston Globe and Boston Herald both had articles about it yesterday. I also found a blog with some good photos of the festival. The same blogger photographs a tub of Fluff in front of landmarks around the world. What a great idea! Other bloggers posted video of the Fluff Volcano Cake, photos of the Flufferettes, the Fluff Science Fair trophy and more photos of the Flufferettes.

As I was looking for all the online Fluff stuff, I found a site called Candy Blog that has a marshmallow category. While visiting the Mast General Store over the weekend,
I saw many of the candies featured on the website including Goo Goo Clusters, MalloCups and something called Valomilk. I resisted the urge to buy any of them. I don't know that I would have been able to keep from buying either of the limited edition products I read about. According to Candy Blog, two appealing products were spotted at a 7-Eleven in Hollywood. Has anybody seen Marshmallow Take 5 or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups with Marshmallow in Tennessee?

Before walking across the street to the Mast General Store, my son and I went to the Hola! Knoxville Hispanic Heritage Festival at Market Square. At a booth selling Bimbo and Marinela products I saw some Sponch! marshmallow cookies.

Sponch! wasn't as tempting as something I had seen a day earlier. I went to Wal-Mart to buy some double fiber wheat bread and other healthy foods. As I walked through the store, I was drawn as if by a magnetic force to a display of bright yellow boxes that I remembered from childhood. I immediately reached for the phone and called my sponsor (and by sponsor I mean my wife). She barely had time to say hello before I started repeating, "They have Mallomars! They have Mallomars!" My wife talked me down and kept me from buying any but not before I snapped some pictures with my camera phone.

The Mallomars sighting means that Fall is in the air. I may still go back to Wal-Mart to buy a box but tonight I ate a S'mores bar from LA Weight Loss instead.

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Sunday, October 01, 2006

television, radio and internet

There are some TV shows that I am thinking of dropping from my regular viewing. Last week I made a list of the shows I plan to watch this fall. One of the shows that didn't make the cut was "CSI: NY." I found a helpful post on the TV Squad site today. It lists all the network websites that offer streaming video of prime time shows. I watched an episode of "CSI: NY" with jewelry store robbers dressed as Holly Golightly and found the experience to be entirely enjoyable. Watching online may be the only way I'll ever see "Ugly Betty," which everyone seems to love.

George Gimarc, the creator of Radio SASS, found my post about his new format. He edits out the guitar solos and other boring parts to play only two-minute versions of songs. Here's part of the email he sent me:
I really enjoy the comments from the people with iPods, since they were the initial inspiration. I've seen dozens, and heard from dozens more, who program their iPods with their FAVORITE music, then punch to the next song, right in the middle. Listeners do the same thing with their radios, punch right in the middle of the song. Forget art, this all about speeding up radio to the speed that listeners use it. It might sound silly at first, but the focus groups we did with one of the nation's top radio test houses had the director telling me he hadn't seen anything like it in 25+ years. The groups were NUTS for it, and couldn't wait for it to come. Again, they weren't radio-heads, they were listeners. It's about time we programmed for them, and not ourselves.
Rich Hailey is my "blogfather." He organized a gathering of local bloggers that I went to last night. You should read his entertaining recap of the evening.

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