Wednesday, February 28, 2007

did get fooled again

Between TiVo and online streaming, it's getting harder to miss your favorite TV shows. Yet I missed one of my favorites on Sunday night through no fault of my own. When the bloated Oscar telecast finally ended 53 minutes behind schedule, I manually reprogrammed my TiVo to record "Jimmy Kimmel Live" with a couple of minutes of wiggle room on either side. Today when I sat down to watch Jimmy's post-Oscar special, I was extremely disappointed to find that our local ABC affiliate did not carry it, even though the TV listings said they would. After the Oscars, their local news was followed by an old episode of "CSI Miami" which was followed by that night's edition of "The George Michael Sports Machine." Instead of Kimmel, I got Caine. Jimmy's post-Oscar special must have been pretty good. It's supposed to be repeated when he goes on vacation next week.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

where no man has gone before

In our current radio commercial for LA Weight Loss, my wife teases me about the Star Trek uniform I wore on TV this past Saturday. As you can hear in the spot, the co-hosts of the morning show went to a local TV station for another on-camera segment. The director, John Hudgens, thought it would be funny if one of us put on a costume he had saved from his award winning fan film, "Sith Apprentice." The size of the costume determined that I would be the lucky one.

Looking at that picture, is it any wonder that Terry Morrow of the News Sentinel nominated me for a mini-makeover? The newspaper will document the process as I get fitted for an outfit from Dillard's and a more contemporary haircut from Garde Bien Spa Salon. I hope I get to keep the clothes. The prospect of getting something for free is why I agreed to the makeover in the first place. The "reveal" is supposed to happen at the Women Today Expo. There's a slim chance that WBIR will send a camera to get some footage for their "Style" show, which would be interesting because "Style" co-host Michele Silva is in one of my heaviest "before" pictures from August, 2005.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

holding out

The cast of "Heroes" was supposed to be interviewed on "Larry King Live" on Friday night. I set the TiVo only to discover on Saturday morning that the "Heroes" cast had been bumped for more coverage of Anna Nicole Smith. I'll try to remember to periodically check the CNN listings to see if they get rescheduled. Tonight's episode of "Heroes" was another good one. I liked the way Claire used her superpower to deal with the situation at her house. Twice.

I can't remember the last time I watched "Larry King Live." Radio host Laura Ingraham does a funny segment that makes me want to watch Larry more often but there's almost always something else on that I want to watch and/or record instead. The feature on Laura's show is called "Guess the Guest." She plays sound clips of King's questions and lets her listeners guess who Larry was interviewing. Unfortunately our local affiliate airs only two hours of Laura's three hour show so I usually miss it.

The topic of superheroes turns up in the most unusual places. A friend remembered my post about religious affiliations of superheroes and sent along a link to a podcast for me to share. On February 15, Monsignor Bill Parent spoke about superhero films to the Catholic Campus Ministries group at George Mason University. He points out the Christ-like figures in "The Matrix," "Spider-Man," "Superman Returns" and "Batman Begins." I'm listening to it as I type this. Holy Christological analogies, Batman!

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

get to the good stuff already

After looking forward to the Oscars for weeks, both my wife and I are having a hard time staying awake for them. The HD broadcast looks good but we're an hour and forty-five minutes into the show and they've only handed out one major award so far. Eddie Murphy (no relation) got robbed. The other supporting actor nominees were all deserving though. Why not alternate between the popular and technical awards? The live bloggers at Popwatch and Best Week Ever are doing a good job of describing the boring parts without falling asleep.

Jimmy Kimmel has a post-Oscar show on ABC tonight, which I will record. I was thinking about recording the "Ellen" and "Live with Regis & Kelly" post-Oscar shows tomorrow morning but my interest is waning. Here's a note to my sleepy wife: click here in the morning to see some of what you're missing right now.

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

comparison shopping

Kroger is missing an opportunity. Instead of giving their store brand the simple name "Kroger Yogurt," I think they should call it "Krogurt."

While I was shopping at Kroger, I noticed that they were selling the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue right next to the alcoholic beverages. Why not in the produce or bakery sections too?

Just in time for Lent, I spotted a product at Sam's Club for kids who are reluctant to try seafood. Who can resist a fish and cheese nugget with a name stolen from a "SpongeBob SquarePants" cartoon?

Meanwhile back at Kroger, they're ready for Easter with the new green Marshmallow Peeps. Why wait? The Peeps website says they're perfect for St. Patrick's Day. You can see them just over the shoulder of the inflatable Hershey's Bunny.

Food City is now offering Peeps brand sugar-free marshmallow chicks. The package has the same warning as most sugar-free candies: may cause laxative effect.

Now for a comedy quiz. Did you catch the add-your-own-punchline opportunities? You should have at least come up with melons, buns and poops. Any more? Post them in the comments.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

thank you, Thing

Imagine yourself going for a swim in at a beach in Florida. Maybe you get too tired, maybe you get caught in an undertow. Next thing you know, a lifeguard is dragging you out of the water. He's unusually tall and powerful. You look up and realize that your life has been saved by Lurch from "The Addams Family." If this were an episode of the show, you would probably run back into the ocean as the laugh track swelled. In reality, you would have been swimming some time around 1953 and lifeguard Ted Cassidy had not yet landed the role that would define him forever. The article about Lurch's previous career was my favorite link in Perry Simon's Talk Topics column on this week. If the Internet is to be believed, Cassidy worked at a Dallas radio station in 1963, ad-libbed his famous "you rang" line and his cremains were buried in his own backyard.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

no turntable needed

The former cable network Trio now only exists on the Internet. At some point I must have signed up for their mailing list, probably around the time they were showing "Brilliant But Cancelled" series pilots. I started getting emails from Trio a couple of weeks ago. I briefly thought the messages might have been personalized with my name because of a paragraph about "Frank's Vinyl Museum." It turned out to be a link to a great website full of so-bad-they're-good recordings collected by Frank LaRosa. I was reminded of the "outsider music" championed by WFMU deejay Irwin Chusid and of the "Golden Throats" discs from Rhino Records. Speaking of bad singers, it wouldn't surprise me if some of this year's "American Idol" top 24 end up in a future version of the Vinyl Museum. Ugh.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

dust to dust up

Including myself, I counted four radio personalities at Ash Wednesday Mass this afternoon. I also saw two TV sportscasters in the congregation. It's no wonder our diocese is the most vibrant. I won't name the other media Catholics in case they are more private about their religious beliefs than I am.

Byron Chesney can ask the local sportscasters about their religion if he decides to interview them for his newly resurrected Knoxville Trivia Blog. I'm glad he brought it back. His site has taken over as your best source for Abby Ham news and information. Yesterday he posted Abby's response to some criticism about her coverage of the McClung Warehouse fire. Abby explains why it may have looked like she pushed another woman while trying to make room for her station's camera. It's not like she was getting ready for a wrasslin' match with Tearsa Smith and Stacy McCloud.

Another new Knoxville media blog sometimes has interesting stuff. I would consider adding it to my blogroll if it hadn't taken the same name as a famous website that's been around for almost ten years. That shark has already been jumped.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

like Duncan Hines

Moist. Does that word affect you? For years "moist" has been part of a running bit on the Kevin & Bean show on KROQ. As I remember it, a female listener once called in to say that she couldn't stand hearing the word. Ever since then, other listeners have gone out of their way to say "moist," especially in voice mail messages played on the air. Try it yourself by calling (323) 520-2376 and leaving a moist-filled message. By the way, you can now download Kevin & Bean audio clips for your cell phone.

Last night on "How I Met Your Mother," the writers decided to have Lily hate the word "moist." I wonder where they got that idea.

For a few minutes I mistakenly thought that "The Class" was a rerun last night. Then I realized that I had watched part of the run-through for that episode on the CBS website last month. It's still available online if you are interested in behind-the-scenes stuff. They've been getting rid of excess cast members on that show lately and now a prop seems to be missing too. I didn't see Yonk's University of Tennessee football helmet in the display case.

As expected, "Heroes" was great last night.
Did you laugh at the "Lost" reference during Nathan's conversation with Simone? "24" and "Prison Break" were very good too, although I didn't watch "24" until this afternoon. I read an article that describes how "American Idol" has pushed all the good shows onto Monday and Thursday nights, which I've griped about before.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

start spreading the news

The peanut butter warning hit home for two reasons. First, I had recently switched to the brand in question. Second, the bacteria is called "Salmonella Tennessee. " I had already eaten some of my reduced fat peanut butter spread when the news of the recall broke. Sure enough, my jar had the "2111" product code on the lid. Since I hadn't gotten sick, I briefly thought about ignoring the recall and enjoying the rest of the jar.

Eventually common sense prevailed. How could I ignore the fact that the bacteria has the same name as the state where I live? I took the jar back to Food City. The girl at the customer service desk put my jar with the others and handed me a refund form. She said they hadn't been too busy with peanut butter returns so far today but that it was "pretty crazy on Saturday."

I took the $3.13 in cash that she gave me and headed to the peanut butter aisle. I selected a jar of Jif reduced fat peanut butter spread. I guess that means I'm switching back. I'll miss the sweeter taste of the Peter Pan brand, especially since it would have been on sale this week.

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Sunday, February 18, 2007


The weather has been wintry lately and I've been feeling a tad under it. My current head cold has been lessened by drinking plenty of fluids and getting some rest. This weekend I've been able to watch several old shows on the TiVo and one new one ("The Amazing Race: All Stars") in real time on the plasma screen. Now that football season is over, I wasn't expecting whatever it was that caused the CBS schedule to run about 26 minutes late tonight.

With all the old shows and the movies we saw this weekend, it was like traveling back in time to 2006. I watched two episodes each of "Smallville," "C.S.I." and "Shark," all from November. "Smallville" used to have hip songs on its soundtrack. Now all I hear is a lame clarinet score, the overuse of which is even more apparent when watching multiple episodes back to back. Meanwhile, one of the "C.S.I." episodes featured a great cover version of the song "Word Up" while the lab tech from "The Larry Sanders Show" danced the robot.

My family and I watched some DVDs too. On Friday night, we really enjoyed "Scoop." After that, I put on "Snakes on a Plane," which made my wife leave the room. The movie was as disappointing as I had heard. On Saturday night, we watched "The Departed," which was really good even though I think I dozed off for a minute or two in the middle of it.

A dusting of snow last night didn't keep us from going to church first thing this morning. Nor did it stop my wife and me from going to see "The Queen" at our local art house theater. I brought along a box of tissues for my head cold but I wonder if anyone thought I was planning to cry over Diana. My friends and readers probably know that my morbid curiosity keeps me from getting emotional over celebrity deaths.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007


A woman who did testimonial spots for another radio station sat next to us in the waiting room at LA Weight Loss this morning. She agreed that the report on last night's "20/20" was one sided. It focused on the price of membership and not on the fact that the program works. At least the "reporter's notebook" on the ABC website does mention that the plan is based on a balanced diet and smaller portions. Every so often, we are instructed to tag our radio spots with a price special. For example, the most recent special was "lose all the weight you can and pay for only 20 pounds." Any time we advertise a discounted price, we also say "based on the purchase of a full service program, setup and supplements extra." There is no bait-and-switch in our commercials.

As I wrote yesterday, my wife and I lost weight without the supplements by strictly adhering to the LA Weight Loss program. Early on we used a discount coupon to try a bottle of Essential Fatty Acids pills but later realized that we didn't need them, probably because we were eating enough fish regularly. Most of the foods we eat come from the grocery store, especially the produce section. We sometimes buy the LAWL prepackaged snacks not because we were pressured but because we wanted some conveniently packaged foods to eat while away from home. We like the biscotti and the caramel popcorn. Sometimes our son drinks an LA Weight Loss meal replacement shake before a swim meet. He's not on a diet, he just likes the way it tastes and the way it doesn't feel too heavy while he swims.

Our experience with the Knoxville franchise has been excellent. Obviously I didn't have any dealings with the franchisee in Washington state. Because each franchisee runs their own business, it is unfair to think that a problem in one part of the country exists elsewhere.

Another blogger had a similar reaction to the "20/20" piece. Rebecca in Pennsylvania writes that she's never been pressured to buy anything at LA Weight Loss. The people posting on a KFAN discussion thread in Minnesota seem to understand that weight loss is about eating right and not about vitamin supplements. As you would expect, a blog affiliated with LA Weight Loss takes issue with the "20/20" hatchet job too.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

just say no

Tonight's "20/20" is scheduled to include a segment that is critical of LA Weight Loss. In a version of the report that is already online, a dissatisfied customer complains that she was coerced into buying vitamin supplements. The woman says she was unable to resist the sales pitch. To make matters worse, she says that instead of losing weight, she gained 12 pounds.

Readers of my blog probably know that my wife and I both followed the LA Weight Loss plan successfully. She lost 70 pounds and I lost 60. We lost the weight without buying the optional vitamin supplements. We were offered the opportunity to join the program in exchange for writing and producing a new radio commercial each week. Last night we recorded our 70th spot for them. Instead of being paid the standard talent fee for commercials, we would visit the LA Weight Loss center three times a week to weigh in and to have our food diaries reviewed by the counselors. Now that we are in the maintenance phase, we only have to go once a week. As part of the trade agreement, we also receive a supply of delicious "LA Lite" nutrition bars, which retail for about $2 each.

We found most of the counselors at the West Knoxville location to be helpful and genuinely interested in our progress. They would occasionally suggest that we buy their supplements. We would decline because we wanted the power to keep the weight off by controlling our portions and by making healthy food choices. If we had the self control to follow the program and to stop eating so much, we certainly had enough will power to turn down a sales pitch for vitamins.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

fromage homage

There's no such thing as bad pizza but some pizza is better than others. If I still lived in New York, I would always get my pizza from Roma Restaurant in Tuckahoe. Instead, I try new places hoping to find one that reminds me of my childhood favorite.

I thought I had found a new pizza place at Turkey Creek last night but the manager said that Mangia Pizza & More has been there for five years. I guess I don't get to Turkey Creek that often. The restaurant is delightfully smoke-free, an instant improvement over Big Ed's in Oak Ridge. The pizza was so good that I asked the manager if he or the owner were from New York. Turns out they are both Tennesseeans with an appreciation for thin crusts, good sauce and good cheese. They gladly put some extra oregano on my pizza, unlike most places. Whether because of Valentines Day or Wednesday church services, my wife and I were the only customers between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. The manager told us that they are busiest on Friday nights.

While we were eating our pizza at Mangia, my wife told me about the "Desperate Housewives" episode she had watched earlier that day. Pizzeria Scavo is about to open and my wife remembered that Doug Savant, who plays Tom, used to work at Dino's Pizza in Burbank. He was already a regular on "Melrose Place" by the time we became regulars at Dino's

The next time they come to visit, m
y sister and her husband might want to include a stop at the new restaurant opening soon right next door to Mangia. It appears to be the first Tennessee location for Five Guys Famous Burgers and Fries. The Five Guys in Centreville, Virginia is one of their family's favorite places. I ate there with them just before starting my weight loss program seventeen months ago.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

what's the next line?

The earworm stuck in my head goes like this: "I've been living with a shadow overhead..." You've probably heard Hugh Grant singing it in the commercials for the new movie "Music and Lyrics." If enough other people feel like they also need to hear the rest of the song, the movie will do big bucks at the box office. The fragment is from a song called "Way Back Into Love."

For the concept of the movie to work, "Way Back Into Love" has to be believable as a hit record. The idea reminded me of "That Thing You Do," another movie whose plot revolved around the characters creating a pop hit. I was more than a little surprised when I found out that the two songs were written by the same person in real life. An article in the Boston Globe mentions that the songwriter is Adam Schlesinger from the group Fountains of Wayne, the band best known for the song "Stacy's Mom." That's another song they could build a whole movie around.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007


What is currently the most popular breakfast cereal? Rice Krispies? Cap'n Crunch? I have a theory that it might actually be Kashi 7 Whole Grain Flakes. Huh, you say? My wife and I began eating Kashi Flakes regularly while losing weight. We want to continue eating it now that we are in the maintenance phase of the LA Weight Loss program. We would get the cereal at Kroger or Food City but the lowest price was usually at at Wal-Mart. Lately we haven't been able to find it at either Wal-Mart or Food City. Kroger has it in the health food section for $4 a box and sometimes even they are sold out. Out of frustration, I checked the Kashi website for store locations near me. Only the local Kroger stores and the Super Target at Turkey Creek were listed. Today I drove out there with the hope of stocking up. The gaping hole on the shelf told me everything I needed to know. Priced under $3 a box, Target customers can't get enough of the Flakes either. A sales clerk confirmed my suspicion. The Flakes sell out as fast as they can restock the shelves.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

tonight's the night

The problem with anniversaries is that they make you think about the passage of time. I don't feel 15 years older than I did the night WAVA died, but I am. And so are you. During a long period of unemployment, I had the time to build a simple website for my former co-workers to reconnect on the 10th anniversary of WAVA's demise. Even though the site's not all that fancy, it does have a link from Wikipedia.

In 2002, I wrote that I hadn't communicated with Don & Mike since 1996. In 2005, that changed. I had gotten fired from an oldies station and was looking for a new job. When my phone number was listed in one of the radio trade magazines, Don & Mike saw it and called me on the air. We talked about the reasons I chose not to follow them to WJFK and reminisced about the good old days.

A couple of months later, after I had started working part time at Star 102.1, I went to Northern Virginia for my niece's First Communion. Don had suggested I contact him the next time I was in town. I did and he invited me to stop by that Saturday morning. We had a good long chat about radio. He especially enjoyed the story about my involvement in an on-air feud between Kevin & Bean and Rick Dees.

That summer, Don's wife Freda died in a tragic auto accident on the same day that David Haines died. I bought an airline ticket and went to David's funeral and Freda's wake. While there, I talked with Don, Mike O'Meara and Loo Katz. Later that weekend, I met up with some other former WAVA-ers, Janet Elliott and Paula Kidwell at O'Meara's Restaurant.

I still think fondly of my time at WAVA.
One of my favorite stories from those days explains how Don Geronimo got an audio clip of David Letterman saying hi to Washington. The almost eight years I spent there may have left me unprepared for all the job changes that were to come but I wouldn't trade my WAVA experience for anything.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

odds podkins

The interview I recorded two weeks ago with Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson, authors of "Flesh and Bone," aired this morning on all four stations in the cluster. I'm sure you heard it either at 6:00 a.m. on 93 Point 1 or at 6:30 a.m. on both Star 102.1 and Hot 104.5. Amplitude modulation stalwarts heard it at 8:30 a.m on Studio 1040. The authors have four book signings in East Tennessee this week.

I have some friends who are interested in the Body Farm but probably did not hear one of the audio streams at 3:30 a.m. Pacific time. For them, I will post a podcast of the interview just like I did last year when I spoke with Dr. Bass.

Click on the play button below or right click here to save the file for transfer to your mp3 device.

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

odd name for a magazine

Crisis Magazine has ranked the 176 dioceses of the Catholic Church in the United States. The survey looks at factors like number of ordinations, adults received into the church, etc. The new number one diocese had been ranked second when the survey was last published ten years ago. The most vibrant diocese in America is... drum roll please... the Diocese of Knoxville!

The rest of the top five dioceses are Savannah, Kalamazoo, Alexandria (Louisiana) and Pensacola-Tallahassee. Generally speaking, larger dioceses didn't fare as well in the rankings because of the adherent to priest ratio. The archdioceses where I have been a member are examples of that. New York ranked 140th and Los Angeles ranked 143rd. However the Diocese of Arlington did okay at number 25. Here's a quote from the article:
It is unmistakable that many of the most vibrant dioceses in the country are confronting adversity. This fact has emerged from conversations with dioceses in the South, the Southwest, and the Pacific Coast. This is most especially true in the South, where the Catholic Church has never been the largest denomination. "We are outnumbered, we are young, we are building churches, we are growing, there is an enthusiasm for evangelization among the laity," reported a priest in the number one-ranked Diocese of Knoxville. Catholic dioceses seem to be most successful when they are self-consciously the pilgrim Church on earth.
The main contributor to the vibrancy of the Knoxville diocese is the largest parish, All Saints Catholic Church. The success of All Saints contradicts the criticism of its interior design that I told you about in December.

Meanwhile, the cathedral in America's top diocese is still closed for repairs after a fire on August 30th. Ironically, the fire was caused by faulty wiring in their new electric votive candles. Like many parishes, Sacred Heart Cathedral removed the old wax and wick votive candles because they were considered to be, you guessed it, a fire hazard.

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Friday, February 09, 2007


Blogger forced me to finally update to its new version tonight. I had delayed doing it because I knew I would obsessively (or is it compulsively?) try to add labels to every one of my old posts once that feature was available to me. I made myself stop after labeling all my posts since January 1. I will try to limit myself to only labeling a few old posts per day. Your comments about the labels are welcome. Are they helpful? Interesting? Just another thing for me to worry about? For example, I want to know how to control the font selection on Blogger's labels and sidebar links. It bothers me that they are not sans-serif like the rest of the text on this page.

Today is the 40th day of 2007. In those 40 days, I have used the label "Body Farm" five times. "Burbank" also turned up five times. "Knoxville" is my most used label with 15 posts so far (including this one). I've written 11 posts about "food," 8 about "TV" and 7 about "radio."

Speaking of blogs, Byron Chesney emailed to tell me that he is discontinuing the Knoxville Trivia Blog that I told you about on December 15. It's too bad Byron had a bad experience. I enjoyed reading his posts.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007


Saddened and disappointed are the words that come to mind upon hearing of Anna Nicole Smith's passing. Her death caps off a series of recent tragic events. I first heard of Anna Nicole in the early '90s from my friend Bean, who was a fan of her work as a Guess model before she was in Playboy. I think she may have eventually appeared on his radio show while promoting her series on the E! Network. I never met Anna Nicole myself but my daughter met her son Daniel when he briefly attended the same school in Burbank. I don't think money would have solved her problems but I do think that Anna Nicole deserved to get a large sum after J. Howard Marshall died. Not all his money, but a lot of it.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

too good to be true

The bottle of cognac was on display in a locked case toward the back of the sushi lounge at Tao. Another guest at the party saw me looking at the display case and offered to educate me. She said the cognac was Louis XIII, one of the most expensive in the world. It cost $150 a glass at this bar. Her brother had heard about two things that made me want to head straight to Google when I got home. Supposedly if you buy the last shot from a bottle of Louis XIII, it's traditional for the bar to give you the Baccarat crystal decanter. I thought this was unlikely, but I did find a reference to a club in Seattle that did just that back in 1999. The woman's brother hoped to go someplace local where he could buy the last shot, get the decanter and then take it to France for what he heard would be a free refill. Enough people must attempt this that the company felt compelled to discourage them in the FAQ on their website. Unlike Burger King, Louis XIII does not offer refills.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

once you go dark

As St. Valentine's Day draws near, chocolate is everywhere I look. Last week I wrote about some "healthy chocolate" and some Mozart chocolate, which elicited an interesting comment all the way from England.

I set the TiVo to record a couple of chocolate shows
while I was out improvising tonight. With so many of my regular series to record last night, tomorrow night and Thursday night, I didn't want to entirely miss "Covered in Chocolate Week" on Food Network. The festivities will be capped off with a full day of chocolate programming on Sunday. Their website is loaded with chocolate recipes. This recovering marshmallowaholic must try S'more Brownies someday.

In addition to the TV listings, chocolate is calling to me from my mailbox. A Sam's Club magazine arrived the other day. It was full of intriguing recipes like the Hershey's Chocolate Mousse Box and enticing products like Chudleigh's Lava Cakes (a molten ganache center surrounded by decadently rich chocolate cake). I'm no connoisseur but an article about which wines go with which chocolates has me wine-curious.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

pickin' and grinnin'

The national Super Bowl commercials get all the glory but it was a local ad that got my attention. A newly signed on radio station bought time on the local CBS affiliate yesterday. Their ad ran a couple of times during both the pregame and postgame shows. I also saw it once either during the game or during halftime. The new radio station borrowed a page from the negative campaign commercials we see before every election. The ads attack the incumbent country music station, which gets huge ratings that seem inexplicable to the casual observer.

In case you don't know, I work for a radio station that would stand to benefit if the top rated country station were knocked down a peg or two. However I'm not so sure that their new competitor will land a punch. The new station is attacking what I think are the big station's strengths, not weaknesses. The TV commercial says:
If you like the same 20 songs over and over, do not listen to 96.7 FM. Merle has more country music and we play it all. If you like jibber jabber, commercials and sports broadcasts, do not listen to 96.7 FM. While they're talking, Merle's playing country music. While they're playing ball, Merle's playing country music. While they're bragging about how great they are, Merle's playing great country music. See for yourself tomorrow morning, listen to 96.7 Merle FM Total Country.
A graphic on the screen showed their red, white and blue logo. Across the top it said something like "we don't eat bugs," a reference to WIVK's frog mascot.

It's actually the jibber jabber and sports broadcasts that make WIVK unique. Anybody can play LCD country music but not anybody can broadcast the Vols, Paul Harvey and the local news. Every time a snowflake or raindrop falls in East Tennessee, listeners call WIVK to report it. The station used to have four billboards along I-40. None of them even mentioned their music. Instead each billboard promoted a different selling point of their station: news, weather, traffic and Volunteer football. They also have one thing that listeners want yet can't be bought: longevity. Maybe Merle's Super Bowl commercial is actually an attempt to goad WIVK into fixing what isn't broken.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

what's in a name?

Indianapolis Colts shirts are showing up all over Knoxville. On Friday, I saw some nice Colts sweatshirts being worn by a few of the employees at Sam's Club, where I could have bought cupcakes decorated with the Colts horseshoe atop blue and white icing. Our town doesn't have any special relationship with the Circle City. It's all about Peyton.

The News Sentinel gathered together 49 of the many local kids who were named after Peyton Manning since his days as quarterback of the Vols. Today's paper is packed full of Peyton minutiae as it has been for several days. And it's not just the newspaper. Rick Russo from WVLT is filing Peyton-centric reports from Miami. Sports collectors are hoping their Manning memorabilia will increase in value.

People with Baltimore ties still remember how the Colts abandoned them in the dark of night. Years later when Baltimore did to Cleveland what Indianapolis had done to Baltimore, somebody had the decency to insist that the team leave their name behind. Otherwise there would be Baltimore Browns instead of Baltimore Ravens. It would have been nice if Indianapolis had come up with a new name for their team and if the Colts name was made available when Baltimore got a team again. For the same reason, there really shouldn't be Cardinals in Arizona or Rams in St. Louis. The Oilers did the right thing when they became the Titans after moving from Houston to Tennessee even though the Texans didn't use the Oilers name.

There's examples in other sports too. My dad felt abandoned when the Giants left him for San Francisco. However the best case for leaving the name behind when a team moves can be summed up in two words: Utah Jazz.

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

maybe Zira and Cornelius did time travel

The "Planet of the Apes" movies were favorites of mine when I was a kid. I even liked the lame TV series that was based on the films. I still remember when my friend Brian Kirk got his parents to drive us to an all day "Planet of the Apes" marathon at a theater somewhere around Larchmont or Mamaroneck. It cost me 75 cents for a youth ticket to see all five Apes movies. That's only 15 cents per movie! I was flipping around the dial tonight and saw that the original "Planet of the Apes" was on TV. But why is it on the History Channel? Did I miss a lesson somewhere along the way?

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Friday, February 02, 2007

feelin' groover

It's happened before and it will probably happen again. My wife was listening to the audio portion of channel 6 on 87.7 FM as she drove home this afternoon. As soon as she got in the door, she wanted to rewind the TiVo to see something she had only heard. Paula Deen was the guest on Oprah's show today. My wife heard them howling with laughter over something. Even though I was watching an old episode of "The Class" (hey, did Fern shoot Holly?), we were able to hit the "live TV" button and then rewind. It turns out that Paula was making Grandmother Paul's Sour Cream Pound Cake. She accidentally dropped the ramekin of vanilla into the mixing bowl. When the little dish hit the beaters, batter starting flying out of the bowl. Paula ran back into the danger zone to turn off the mixer and got hit in the elbow with an especially large glob of something. After Oprah replayed the clip at the end of the show, you could see Paula Deen's husband in the audience laughing.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

what would Salieri do?

Christmas candy lasts a lot longer around our house than it used to because we have discovered something called "portion control." This week I finally got around to sampling some German chocolate we received for Christmas. The product is called "Mozart Chocolade" by Reber-Spezialitäten. These milk chocolate treats were filled with pistachio marzipan and hazlenut praline. To make it even better, every other piece had Mozart's face on it.

Tasting this actual German chocolate reminded me of something I once read about German Chocolate Cake. The recipe is not from Germany. The cake is made with baking chocolate that was named after a "Sam German." It was originally known as German's Chocolate Cake.

While we're talking chocolate, somebody at work gave me a sample of "The Healthy Chocolate" by Xoçai. It was really good and really dark. My wife thought it was a little too bitter though.

But wait, there's more. Here's a photo of some Cacao Reserve by Hershey's ready to eat at our local Kroger. It's pretty good too.

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