Tuesday, October 31, 2006
In honor of Halloween, here's a list of some of the scariest things I ever witnessed or heard about within the spooky confines of CNN:
1.)The massive blob of ear wax on James Brown's earpiece after he removed it from his ear. Rather than clean off the toxic goo, the audio guy simply tossed it out.
2.) A particularly horrid green velvet jacket worn by a CNNI anchor who later tried to sue CNN for not renewing her contract. I say The Defense should have used that suit as Exhibit A.
3.) The weird stains covering the sofa in the breakroom.
4.) The horrific sounds coming from a Hard News Cafe employee in the bathroom stall next to me ("uuuhh...uh...oh...man...") as she was clearly taking a problematic dump.
5.) The bubbling Brunswick stew from the Hard News Cafe, which more than likely caused the problematic dump.
6.) The terror of trying to coil Valerie Voss The Weather Boss's camera cables in the proper figure 8 formation.
7.) The mouse I found upon opening a cupboard in the CNNI breakroom.
8.) The mouse's friends throughout CNN.
9.) The creepy bottom level of the parking decks.
10.) A disturbing entry in Read-Me in which some jackass raved about being "enchanted" by The Riverdance.
Monday, October 30, 2006
Today I read on the news wires that a Japanese woman named Momoko Ikuta has designed a pastel colored cell phone specifically for women that will:
A.) Alert you when you are most fertile
B.) Give you recipes
C.) Fake ring for you if you feel uncomfortable with someone and want to pretend to have just received a phone call.
People often ask why I do not have a cell phone, as at this point not owning a cell phone practically makes me Amish.
Well, this pastel Japanese atrocity is an extreme version of why I do not have a cell phone.
A.) It is such an intrusion. I do not want anyone having the ability to call my ass up at any hour. Especially if it's a call from my cell phone itself to nudge me into fucking my man because I am at my most fertile. Sometimes, I do not want to be reached. And when you have a cell phone, you always have to make up excuses as to why you did not call back. Enough already. Sometimes I don't want to talk. I've never claimed to be a particularly nice person, and I'm not about to start now.
B.) Recipes from my cell phone? This whole foodie/recipe culture is on my nerves. Sure I like to cook, but I'm sick of all these damn cooking shows and endless books, magazines and whatnot. And I hate that perky demon that is America's Sweetheart Rachael Ray. I'd like to smack her in the face with one of her fucking cookbooks. Or better yet, a bottle of EVOO.
C.) Fake rings so I can pretend I have a phone call? Nah. Refer to example A. If I don't want to talk to someone, I don't need any excuses. I'm no America's Sweetheart like Rachael Ray, so I've got nothing to live up to. If I don't want to talk, you'll hear it from me, not the ringing of my cell phone.
Today, I'd like to praise a bygone bigwig who was approachable, kind and really cared about the network on a personal level: Bob Furnad. He was the CNN president and looked a bit like Yosemite Sam, if Yosemite Sam sported glasses and corporate clothes...
Okay so maybe he didn't look that much like Yosemite Sam, but he did have a rather luxurious mustache, and that's enough for me.
When he ran the place, there was a much more mom n' pop vibe to it, and it seemed like he was open to ideas from everyone. Back when he was in charge, every new crop of VJ's sat in on an editorial meeting with all the prominant folks. This usually happened on one's second or third day of employment, before one was jaded. Consequently it was pretty exciting, even if VJ's were too shy to say anything.
At this meeting, I remember Bob raising the question,
"How can we reach the younger demographic? What steps should we take to attract their viewership?"
Despite the fact that there were several of us there in the younger demographic, some fat, satisfied, upper-management hemorrhoid says,
"Well, obviously we need to dumb it down a little. Maybe use some rock music or something."
I immediately thought:
What's really obvious is that this fat fuck knows nothing about our generation; which if it has any definition at all it's that we don't want to be defined. But since people love definitions, we've been labled as cynical. And I suppose we are, if that means being wise to fat fucks trying to market news or sneakers or movies to us in a dumbed down, blatant way.
However, as good as this all sounded in my head, I was too nervous to say it aloud. So I was grateful when Bob Furnad himself said,
"That's just lazy thinking. Try again."
Here's to you Bob Furnad, wherever you are.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
A LIST OF THINGS I ATE FOR DINNER WHILE ON A CNN VJ SALARY, AFTER HAVING BLOWN MY PEON BUDGET ON SHOES:
1.) One Dunkin' Donut cut into four parts to make it last longer
2.) White rice and corn ($2.00) with hot sauce on it from the Hard News Cafe
3.) One bag of BUGLES from the vending machine, divided in half to make it last longer
4.) Left-over saltines in the Feeds area
5.) An apple someone left behind in the breakroom, festively decorated with a magic marker-drawn face.
Yes, I wiped the face off first.
However, no matter how desperate I got, I never once ate one of those foul sandwiches or the cans of Vienna Sausages roating around in the machine pictured above.
I had my standards.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
I've decided to mix this blog up a bit. In between CNN tales, I'm going to post personal Op Ed pieces on current events. I figure, it's all under the same umbrella of news anyway...
After hinging on exctinction for several months despite the intense efforts to save it from ruin, CBGB, famous for both its repulsive bathrooms and for being the birthplace of punk, is closed for good. Amidst all the tributes and celebrity benefit shows that have taken place, owner Hilly Kristal had entertained the notion of getting his gritty hole in the wall official landmark recognition or turning it into a punk museum. The latest plan is to open a CBGB in Las Vegas.
Why stop there?
Why doesn't Hallmark hire Richard Hell to pen prose for a new line of Baptism cards, or Metlife revamp a Dead Boys song as a jingle to endorse life insurance policies?
The way I see it, punk sneered at nostalgia, spat in the face of history, and often espoused a brand of nihilism so nasty that “No future” became a mantra. The songs were fast and fierce, and some of the best punk bands never achieved fame, occasionally self-destructing in a matter of months. Malcolm McLaren, punk’s P.T. Barnum insisted that the Sex Pistols were never supposed to last, claiming they were “cash from chaos.”
Punk desecrated idols and institutions, and didn’t even trust itself. As music journalist Greil Marcus pointed out in his excellent book “Lipstick Traces”, there is a distinct thread between the deconstructive Dada art movement and punk. Tristan Tzara’s slogan “True Dadas are against Dada” could easily be interchanged with punk.
So to turn this place into a museum, or worse, reopen in Las Vegas, the slick, overly rehearsed antithesis of punk, seems ridiculous. At its core, this music sought to negate nostalgia, negate sentimentality. It was supposed to be enjoyed in the sweaty moment, not awarded, remastered, or deluxe editioned.
But then, maybe the whole spirit of CBGB had vanished so much that it doesn’t really matter if it is sanitized or commodified even further. With the sales of CBGB's merchandise such as the ubiquitous t-shirts and a new book, Hilly Kristal has made cash from chaos too, and turned the name into a product, like Nokia or Depends. I was recently walking past the CBGB shop and noticed a thirteen year old with her parents, happily strutting out of there with her Gap bag in one hand and a CBGB t-shirt in the other.
So maybe my irritation at the thought of moving CBGB's memorabilia to Las Vegas just shows my own brand of sentimentality. Maybe a kitchy CBGB in Vegas is a weird brand of punk ethos in its absurdity.
But I can’t help but think the most fitting tribute would be to tear it apart, throw all the years of defunct band stickers, filthy, water-stained plaster, graffiti-festooned walls, chewing gum and vomit into a pile, light a match, invite the ghost of Joey Ramone and have one last great party. Then poof-it would all go up in smoke.
The place that spawned a genre that disdained musty history would cease to be a musty historical landmark.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Just a little memory for today:
During the construction of Atlanta's "casino-style" newsroom, the very one televised to this day, the writers, producers and assignment desk people were forced to work amongst the debris as the construction men built around them.
Deeply concerned about their safety, the CNN overlords gave them red CNN hard hats to wear as they clacked away on their computers, cranking out the news.
It was literally one of the funniest things I have ever seen.
Monday, October 09, 2006
This post has nothing to do wth CNN, peons, Ted Turner, mean cafeteria employees, shoestring budgets, masturbating techies, or bitchy anchors. But, this is my little cyber-spot so I set the rules.
Tonight marks the birth of a boozy, slightly lewd new brand of entertainment.
"Mama D's Arts Bordello" offers up an eclectic night of saucy storytellers, a sultry singer, a crazy film, a tribute to MC5 muse Bob "Righteous" Rudnick with live MC5 music on guitar and sexy Bolivian dancers with a sizzlin' band.
Come check it out tonight!
Jimmy's No. 42 on E. 7th St.(btw 2nd and 3rd avenues)NY, NY
2 drink minimum, but no one's enforcing a maximum
See you there!
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
CNN Atlanta had a studio tour for hapless tourists that showed off the "exciting world of broadcast news."
While being peered at through glass windows by throngs of fanny-packed masses made many of us employees feel like animals in a zoo, we did not experience the worst of it.
No, the worst part of this tour was that at the end of it, these poor people were held hostage, forced to be part of the "Talk Back Live" audience.
"Talk Back Live" was a horrendously bad afternoon talk show that for many years was hosted by Susan Rook.
It was taped in the ugly Omni atrium, as the scent of Wendy's, Taco Bell and other assorted fast food crap wafted through the air. The show was was cheap looking and dull dull dull.
Anyway, one memorable moment occurred when Susan Rook was attempting to get somebody, ANYBODY to ask a question or make a comment. It's pretty embarrassing for a live show to have such lackluster audience participation. Things were getting dire. Finally, this ancient woman raised her hand, and Susan Rook rushed over to her, with the lightning speed of a gazelle sprinting past an SUV.
She rammed her microphone to this womans' lips and said,
"You had a comment?"
This woman leaned into the microphone, and with a heavy southern accent said,
"Can we go now? Our ride's waitin' on us."
If that wasn't bad enough, Susan didn't understand her, and asked the woman to repeat herself.
This time the comment was louder and clearer:
"CAN WE GO NOW? OUR RIDE'S WAITIN' ON US."
It was a no go, and this brave woman was forced to stick it out with the rest of the hostages.