Check it, Peons: Your CNN Humiliation Compartmentalized

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


I have spent some time on this blog discussing the low sartorial depths in which we VJ's sunk: the Dockers, the bedraggled Macy's sale rack finds, the Payless shoes, the occasional Jaclyn Smith Collection gem.
However, I have to commend us on some level. As far as I know, no one ever sunk to THIS DEPTH OF SADNESS. Quilts are fine. Cats are fine. But wearing quilted clothing festooned with cats when you are over the age of six is not fine. Note the description underneath one particularly loathsome item called THE CAT DANCING BLAZER: "Think of what will happen when you wear to work a blazer with wild cats dancing all over it!"
I know what will happen. Hordes of co-workers scratching out their fucking eyes, taking it as a sign to update their resumes and find a new job so they won't have to work in an environment where women wear quilted Cat Dancing Blazers.
On top of everything else, the website reccomends trolling QVC for Quacker Factory and Bob Mackie cat-themed merchandise.
Now, I've heard of Bob Mackie. A sad victim of downmarketing his brand name ala Halston. Once he designed stunning Oscar gowns for Cher, then later sold the use of his name to adorn velour sweat suits for sloppy, errand-running nobodies.
But this Quacker Factory was new to me. And I count my blessings that I remained ignorant for as long as I did. As soon as I clicked on the Quacker Factory link, my eyes were accosted by the most unbelievably vile, horrific shit I have ever seen. This type of ugliness should be outlawed. Surely on some visceral level, it is unhealthy. Surely accidents are caused by drivers being blinded by the ugly.
Plus, these Quacker Factory lovers supposedly "quack" at each other when they recognize another Quacker Factory outfit.
No joke.
These women will be milling about at a strip mall or gossiping in the breakroom and start quacking at each other.
I'm no fashion icon. However, I would like to put forth this notion:
If you're wearing an item of clothing that inspires another person to quack, you should remove that item immediately and burn it.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


A side note about late-night floor directing:
During commerical breaks, it was often like a variety show. Floor directors who were bored shitless would offer up entertainment for two minutes. Since you were standing there in a studio, and all the important types had already gone home, it seemed appropriate. A friend of mine used to sing lounge versions of Loverboy's "Everybody's Workin' For The Weekend" and Billy Ocean's "Get Out Of My Dreams (Get Into My Car)". He'd also do Broadway production numbers where he'd scoot across the floor, hands artfully punching the air, shouting, "BIG MOVES! BIG CHOICES!"
This friend was a polite, perma-necktie guy who many deemed an ass-kisser, since he was the only VJ invited to a couple of anchor parties. Plus he received a 20 dollar Barnes and Noble gift certificate for Christmas from Joe Kinstle when the rest of us got a big fat helping of nothin'. (This is what mass poverty does to a workplace. Lack of a 20 dollar gift certificate was MORE than enough to create outrage amongst employees. A free package of half-eaten Ho-Hos could inspire bitchery.)
But I knew better than to call him an ass-kisser. He just played the game better than the rest of us.
The other thing he did better than the rest of us (while floor directing) was this dance, the Boris Yeltsin jig:

So if you're celebrating Mardi Gras today (and I hope you are) consider infusing your Second Line dance with a few patented moves from a past Russian president who truly had some fierce rhythm. Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Heidi Collins is a beautiful woman.
Heidi Collins spends her days delivering the news, not organizing bake sales.
Will somebody please alert her hair stylist?

Monday, February 12, 2007


Today I'd like to sing (or maybe just hum) the praises of a former VJ who shall remain anonymous. It isn't because he parlayed his bootcamp stint into a great career within the company. Quite the opposite. No, it's because he managed to squeeze everything out of his work experience in a way that most of us hapless, broke VJ's could never imagine.

This guy was working a shitty overnight shift, just like me. Most people glumly accepted this fate and just bitched and moaned until they got a shift change or a promotion. Not him. He knew that life was to be seized and savored. Not even Ted Turner could deter him. He was a charmer. And on this lousy, soul-crushing shift, rumor had it that he was sleeping with two women. One blonde and one brunette. Both hot.
But no, I'm not talking about a threesome.
It was sex in shifts.
Most curious was that sex with these hot women regularly occurred on his waterbed.
How anyone could get one hot woman (let alone two) to have sex with them ON A WATERBED in the late 1990's is a mystery. Women will put up with sub-par decor in their boyfriend's apartments, but since 1982 most of us have drawn the line at waterbeds.
Not these women. He'd pretty much wake up in the bed with one of them, then on his evening break he'd go sleep with the other one. He'd come back to work stoned and spent. Then he'd get someone else to do his work. Then he'd flirt with girls. Then he'd sleep. Then he'd watch TV. In the morning before leaving for home, he'd flirt with more girls.
This man was seriously living large on a $20,000 a year salary. He was the P.Diddy of VJ Land.
This was the sweet life he led for several months. He was fired only when he chose not to show up for work one day and instead attended Jazz Fest in New Orleans.
He assumed that one of his co-workers would cover for him, but neglected to tell her that. I guess not everyone appreciated his "joie de vivre" like I did.
What I found inspirational, our boss found fireable.
Captain Waterbed remains one of the only people I've ever known to be fired as a VJ.
And that is a true mark of distinction.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


As those of you who know me are aware, I still work in news even if I have left CNN's clutches.
What I love about my present place of employment, is that unlike CNN (and most of Manhattan) it is comprised almost exclusively of actual, homegrown New Yorkers. I am one of the few people in my department who was not born and raised here.
I know New York mythology is often created by the misfits who moved here and created a new scene, a new version of New York to suit their fantasies, ala Andy Warhol, Madonna or Truman Capote. I respect this of course, as it gives the city its vibrant sense of reinvention.
But sometimes I feel like the locals are getting shortchanged. In most other cities, the locals are acknowledged as the fabric of the culture. Whereas here, it is these types of enterprising outsiders and their invented scenes that people often point to when describing life in New York City. Not always of course, but often. Too often for my taste.

So for this reason and many others, I'm glad I work with born and bred New Yorkers. Plus I get to hear great stories about each of the five boroughs. Whenever someone walks through the door, they usually have a story ready to spill. You'll hear stuff like:
"Sorry if I stink. I couldn't shower today because Ma was marinating a pig in the bathtub. Block party on Saturday."

It's reassuring too, because I'll hear stories that I had previously thought were just a figment of some Hollywood producer's imagination. Classic stories of uncles playing dominoes outside on a sweltering summer day, kids stealing signs from defunct Brooklyn breweries, grandmothers chasing "little punks" away with a broom.

But the best story I've heard in ages was on Friday. It seems a co-worker of mine was over at a pal's house on Staten Island. They were downstairs in the den area. He goes to use the little bathroom, and notices two metal handles coming out of the ceiling above the toilet.
He says to his friend, "What the fuck are those handles for?"
His friend says, "I had those put in there myself. They're for when you're taking a really big shit and you need to lift yourself up a little, you know? Like when it's a really hard shit. Sometimes you need a little extra help."

Now, I'm not sure why, but it gives me a warm feeling to know that in an undisclosed Staten Island location, there is a home with custom-made shit handles.

Monday, February 05, 2007


As all the VJ Bootcamp graduates know, there was a much circulated, much watched and even more beloved Blooper Reel at CNN. There were probably several, but the one I'm writing about is recognized as THE classic reel. It includes such favorites as The Executive Producer scratching his ass in the newsroom and The Anchor pointing him out on air, The Janitor repeatedly pushing his trash can into the bump shot, and The Sports Guy raving about a baseball game in which a player got "three homos".
But much like the mafia in its prime, the existence of said tape was often denied.
Well, through a hush-hush dead drop in a dark parking lot, I have laid my grubby little hands on it.
Let me tell you--it does not disappoint. And soon all of you will be able to point and laugh at these clips of unsung CNN history.
I just need to get the tape transfered to DVD, and figure out how to upload and post video. This may take some time, as I am not the brightest individual. Both my SAT scores and ability to watch back to back reruns of "The Golden Girls" are proof of the vast, Grand Canyon chasm between me and any MENSA member.
In the meantime, if you have a favorite blooper, or if there was a blooper that you were part of, e-mail me the back story, and I will post it along with the link.
And the best part about of all this is that Bob Saget will not be hosting or providing "funny" sound effects.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


While the following post isn't CNN related, it is media related, and thus fair game here on Peon Confidential.
I attended WNBC's Blogger Summit last night and discovered that:

1.) Bloggers REALLY enjoy free shrimp. I guess people in general enjoy free shrimp, but I've never seen a roomful of people react in such a delighted way over free shrimp before: "Look there's the shrimp!" "Have you tried the shrimp?" "This is great shrimp." Really, it bordered on fetishistic behavior. The free shrimp was also much discussed during the forum and after the forum. And now, the free shrimp is being blogged about.

2.) An audience full of bloggers will boo when Perez Hilton is mentioned. I suspect this is because: A.) He makes ludicrous amounts of money for drawing boogers (or is it coke residue?) on celebrities and B.) His grammar is poor.

3.) Bloggers do not remove their name tags...even after the summit while drinking non-WNBC provided booze at the Channel 4 bar. I understand there was networking involved, but I think we should all strive to network without looking like jackasses.

4.) Bloggers are unimpressed by free baseball hats. One blogger in particular suggested to a WNBC employee that it would have been better if they gave out free sweatshirts, "you know, with a zipper up the front." If I had been that employee, I would have suggested that she buy her own damn sweatshirt and shove the free hat up her ass. This is probably why I am not a WNBC employee.

5.) The Conan O'Brien studio is much smaller than it appears on TV. This should come as no surprise, and is a common occurrence. Consider Tom Cruise, Lean Cuisine meals and The Mona Lisa.