Check it, Peons: Your CNN Humiliation Compartmentalized

Monday, July 30, 2007


I just returned from visiting the City of Brotherly Love with some truly amazing former CNN Peons. Not only did we visit the Betsy Ross House, play several games of "Never Have I Ever" over several glasses of wine, climb the Rocky steps, straddle a weird orange creature while drinking more wine, rub Brewster's belly, drink even more wine while dancing in the hotel room, read insane amounts of gossip rags, bypass the Liberty Bell and Philly Cheesesteaks...but we proved something I have known all along:

For all its faults and low salaries, crappy shifts and esteem-crushing ways, CNN gave me some of the coolest people in my life. It has been almost a year since I started this blog, and it has become exactly what I hoped it would be: a way for us to connect. Getting e-mails and stories from some of you that I haven't heard from in years has been fantastic. Seeing comments from you, and recognizing someone's sense humor behind the anonymous label always gives me a giggle. I guess I'm feeling sentimental this morning, but for the record, I wouldn't trade my stint in Peonhood for anything...

Okay, that's a lie. Maybe for a three-book contract with Simon and Schuster. Or a staff gig at The New Yorker.

But this is no time for literary fantasy--this is a salute to the former Peons in my life. I'm sticking with you like Tacky Finger. Lingering like the after-effects of Hard News Brunswick stew. Holding on like Lou Waters' Vavoom hairspray...

Lots of love to all of you.

It was Ohio.

(For the Inquiring Mind commenter, see the recently posted photo above. He's not the real Brewster, but a close approximation.)

Friday, July 27, 2007


I recently received an e-mail from a Peon Confidential reader who related a funny story about former CNN director Tim Hughes.
I want to preface this by saying he was one of my very favorite directors. He had a kick-ass sense of humor and an infectious giggle that made even the shittiest shift go by faster. I never once saw him in a bad mood...which is why this story is so great:

"We were doing that dreadful show (DELETED TO PRESERVE ANONYMITY) and a certain dizzy VJ was running camera. Poorly.
You know things had to be going bad if Tim was getting upset. After he'd had about as much as he could take he shouts over the PL:

"What the hell's going on out there, guys? The fuck?! We got Jerry's Kids out there or something?"

This same VJ, I might add, once forgot that her mic was open, and was trash-talking Tim... while he was directing. So he chimes in with:

"Huhh? Whaaaaat??!! You're gonna *learn* a piece of shit in a minute!"

I love ya Tim, wherever you are...

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Just read this from the Associated Press:

"If your friends and family get fat, chances are you will too. In a startling new study, researchers suggest that obesity is 'socially contagious' and can spread easily from person to person."

I guess the skinny, popular girls in high school had good reason to avoid the fat chicks. All this time I thought they were just rude bitches. It's disconcerting to find out that their attitude was in fact scientifically sound.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Well, we've all seen this coming. A couple months ago a Peon Confidential reader tipped me off that Campbell Brown was most likely going to replace Paula Zahn at CNN. The day has finally come. Personally, I'm not sad to see her go. She doesn't seem like an unpleasant person, but on the other hand, she didn't do much for ratings. And here's the thing: I've talked to plenty of PR people, producers, writers, graphic designers and other behind the scenes professionals at various networks who take the heat for lackluster ratings. I guess because contracts keep the anchors locked in, these behind the scenes people become targets when the ship is sinking. So they are reprimanded for not getting enough good press, threatened with removal from shows, and sets are rebuilt a couple times until the anchor finally gets a nasty surprise when contract renewal rolls around.

But instead of replacing Paula with Campbell Brown, maybe CNN should consider what a cable news titan once said of Paula Zahn's performance at FNC: "I could have put a dead raccoon on the air this year and got a better rating than last year."

Take note Mr. Klein. A dead raccoon would be a lot cheaper.

Monday, July 23, 2007


I just got off the phone with a relative of mine who lives in Canada. He said that as a way to make extra cash, he does porno quality control. (We are a very refined family indeed.)
What is this you ask? Well, he gets paid a buck a movie by a local Adult Entertainment Center to sit and watch porno (yes, I keep referring to it as porno, because I think it sounds funnier.) This is to ensure that no one has edited their own home movies into them...
I am NOT making this up.
Apparently, some people are so desperate for their 15 minutes that they will rent porno movies and spend the time and effort to add in x-rated footage from their all-inclusive honeymoon at Sandals resort in the Bahamas.
While this type of quality control operation may sound like a cushy gig, he says it gets pretty dull. So he sets up a couple televisions side by side, puts the DVDs on fast forward and plays the Benny Hill theme for his personal amusement.

I got to thinking about other things that would be funny if they were edited into a porno:

1.) Celine Dion's performance of AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long".

2.) The intro to "The Facts of Life".

3.) Clara Peller's "Where's The Beef?" commercial.

4.)The Solid Gold Dancers.

5.) Three Bongs and A Tootie

Friday, July 20, 2007


A Peon Confidential reader (who shall remain nameless) has been reading something other than Peon Confidential. She's been reading the Anderson Cooper book, "Dispatches From the Edge." While we were enjoying a boozy lunch, she explained that one line in the book stood out. It was a line in which Anderson referred to his field producer, John Murgatroyd.
She asked if this was the same John Murgatroyd that many of us once goofed off with, in between TelePrompting gigs and cheap meals of corn and rice from the Hard News Cafe.
Because this particular Chardonnay-loving Peon Confidential reader had a big crush on that particular John Murgatroyd back in her VJ days.
I'm fairly certain VJ Murgatroyd and field producer Murgatroyd are one in the same.
If not--can someone please let us know?

But it also got me to thinking:
We're all anonymous here on this blog. (Well, except me.)
Anyone else feel like fessing up to a long lost crush? Someone who got your loins stirring whilst floor directing? Your heart fluttering whilst script ripping? Made you moist whilst attempting to get your parking validated?
Give us the lovelorn details, if not your name...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


This post is for all of you out there who are having a shitty day. If you're constipated or if you've just been dumped. If you found a toenail in your coffeecake. If you found another toenail floating around in your coffee. If you are hungover from a bender with your friends. If you are hungover from drinking all by yourself in your crappy apartment. Your crappy apartment from which you are about to be evicted in three days.
Consider this--it could be a lot worse.
Read on:

Associated Press
CARBONDALE, Colo. - Doctors thought the strange, bleeding bumps on Aaron Dallas' head might be from gnat bites or shingles. Then the bumps started moving....It turns out there were five active bot fly larvae living beneath the skin atop Dallas' head.

"I'd put my hand back there and feel them moving. I thought it was blood coursing through my head," Dallas told the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. "I could hear them. I actually thought I was going crazy."

Dallas said he likely received the larval infestation while on a trip to Belize this summer. Bot fly infections are not uncommon in parts of Central and South America.
Adult bot flies are hairy and look like bees, without bristles. The larvae, which are about one-third the size of a penny, were living in a pit 2- to 3- millimeters wide. They were removed Thursday.
"It was weird and traumatic," said Dallas, of Carbondale. "I would get this pain that would drop me to my knees."
After a specialist told him he might have shingles, Dallas tried different creams and salves. But the pain only got worse.

"When I saw him again, it was pretty obvious something else was going on," said Dr. Kimball Spence, who could see the spots moving on Dallas' head. "There's an open pit. You see a little activity, not necessarily the larvae, but a fluctuation of the fluid in the pit."

Dallas' wife, Midge Dallas, teased him about it.
"I told him, 'I will love you through your maggots."

See--constipation isn't so bad, is it?
If I ever get a poodle, I'm naming her Midge Dallas.
If I ever become a Vegas showgirl, my name will be Midge Dallas.
If I ever need to check into a hotel under an assumed name, it will be Midge Dallas.
Basically, if there is ever a time when I can utilize the name Midge Dallas, I will seize that opportunity like a ripe plum.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Over the weekend, I received a flattering e-mail from a new Peon Confidential reader with some words of advice:

"Your blog is hilarious...but you should post more gossip about the anchors. What's Anderson Cooper like? Is he as cute in person as he is on TV? What about Rob Marciano? Who's the worst person you've ever worked with? Who's the best?"

Well, dear reader, here's what I know:

-ANDERSON COOPER: Very attractive and polite. I attended a Christmas party for the "360" staff held at Tenjune, which trust me, is a much cooler venue than any other CNNer would come up with. He recently invited his whole staff over for an all day gathering at his Hamptons home. I know you want dirt, but I don't have any. He's a really good guy.

-ROB MARCIANO: Never met him. (Sorry!) Cute though.

-WORST PERSON I'VE EVER WORKED WITH: She was an anchor. She was blond, bitchy, cruel and vain. She was stupid, greedy and had terrible taste in clothes. She made my life miserable and to this day when I think of her I make a face like I've just sniffed gorilla shit. Sound like a bunch of people you know? Well, actually, it is. Take your pick.

-BEST PERSON I'VE EVER WORKED WITH: Bill Hemmer. Sweet, knowledgeable and was incredibly kind to my mom. Sat down and talked with her for twenty minutes and treated her like a queen. In my book, that makes him a superstar.

-SMARTEST, COOLEST, LOVELIEST PERSON I'VE EVER WORKED WITH: Ralitsa Vassileva. CNNI anchor. Politically savvy, professional, very personable and a sexy babe too.

I'm happy to throw these questions out there for other readers to respond anonymously.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Perhaps Friday the 13th isn't so unlucky after all.
I just read that the Energizer battery company (known for its battery-powered pink bunny) will buy Playtex (known for gentle glide pink tampons) for about $1.16 billion.

This could make for some very interesting new products, don't you think?

Thursday, July 12, 2007


There are many days I wake up and feel like a complete loser.
I manage to get through the day by taking solace in the little things.
For example:

1.) I am not responsible for the creation of the Squirrel Circus

2.) I have never dated anyone who referred to any part of my body as my "lady ham" "sugar walls" or "beef curtains". (Actually, now that I think about it, I'm probably wrong about the last one. But I think it was meant in jest.)

3.) I don't own any music purchased from a TV infomercial

But today, I stumbled upon a dork-infested goldmine. I have bookmarked it for when I am feeling particularly useless. A woman named Pam Johnson-Bennett has a blog about cats. Fair enough. That's a reasonable endeavor. By the looks of it, she is very successful in her field. But what got me was a post called "Is Your Cat's Litter Box Big Enough?"
The responses were unbelievable.
These people take cat love to a whole new level. A level filled with lunatics.

When I was a kid we had a cat called Big Ed. (He's pictured above with my mom.) He was a tough mother fucker, and we loved him. This cat took his shits out in the woods, wouldn't come home for days at a time, and when he did his ears would be torn up from fights. We rarely bought food for him because he hunted and ate whatever he could find. There was a mutual respect between us. I think if Big Ed had to live with some of the people who responded to the litter box post, he'd have figured out how to use a shotgun pretty fast, and then casually slipped out the back door when the police came around.

A sampling of these litter box responses:

-Help! About once or twice a month, my cat will leave me a little kitty tootsie roll way outside her clean cat box. Sometimes there is a little streak leading up to the tootsie roll, but usually it is just on its own. The other day it was on my bed...

-Kitty may be constipated and is "wiping" to remove the offending "dingleberry."

-Also try trimming the hair around your kitty's rear-end. I keep Harley trimmed because he has long, dense hair and it sure helps. I use cuticle or mustache sissors.

-I have to take my baby in twice a year for an "anal expression" because when she poops the anal sacs don't get squeezed (because she doesn't have a lot of hard poops -- mostly semisoft) and so they fill up and get uncomfortable

-I went to Wal-mart and bought a childrens sandbox and filled it with 10 5 gallon containers of kitty litter. B.B. loves it. The bad part is the dining room table and chairs had to go. Oh well no comes to see me anyway.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


A Peon Confidential reader brought something to my attention recently. She informed me that former CNN phenom Susan Rook is now a commercial photographer. With a a flurry of my stubby fingers, I Googled her and found this:

While the pictures are attractive enough, I must quibble with her description of "family". Note how she writes, "Family…always there…our source of love and hope."

Obviously, her Dad never yelled at her when she was nine because he was drunk picking her up after a birthday party and scratched his Peugeot due to his impaired driving skills...Don't see the connection? Why, the scratches were my fault because had Dad not been forced to pick me up at the party, there would be no scratches on his car...ah family...always there...our source of love and hope.

On the other hand, I do agree with one of her quotes: "Families are relationships that make us who we are."
No denying that, I'm afraid.

Cheers, Dad!

Just found this SUSAN ROOK SHRINE
It hasn't been updated since 1997, but I don't care. It's reassuring to know there is a shrine to Susan Rook.

Monday, July 09, 2007


I just read this item:

"BERLIN (Reuters) - German police broke into a darkened apartment fearing they would find a dead body, after neighbors complained of a nasty smell seeping out onto the staircase.

The shutters of the apartment had been closed for more than a week and the mailbox was filled with uncollected mail.

But instead of a corpse, they found a tenant with very smelly feet, asleep in bed next to a pile of foul-smelling laundry, police in the southwestern town of Kaiserslautern said on Sunday."

To my apartment dwelling pals in NYC--it's going to hit 95 degrees today. We are right in the middle of flip flop season. Sweaty feet slapping around all over the pavement...
Don't let this happen to you.
The embarrassment of being awoken by the NYPD banging open your door, only to be confronted by the stench of your feet could be compounded by:

1.) The inevitable NY POST headline. Picture bold letters that scream-

2.) If the writers of "LAW AND ORDER" decide to do a "ripped from the headlines" episode about your lax hygiene. The opening dialogue before the theme music kicks in:

1st cop: "Huh. At least it wasn't a homicide."
2nd cop: "If my feet ever stunk like that it would be. My wife would kill me."

Thursday, July 05, 2007


I was walking through Times Square, and there was a woman passing out free Mary Poppins fans as an advertisement for the Broadway production.
She was very pretty and sweet, sing-songing her offerings with a smile: "Free Mary Poppins fans! Free Mary Poppins fans!"

While some fanny-packed tourists accepted the fans graciously, a guy whom I can only assume was a New Yorker shuffled past and said,

"Man, fuck Mary Poppins. Mother fuckin' Mary Poppins can kiss my ass."

Chim-chim-cher-ree to you buddy. You're my kind of guy.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


A Peon Confidential reader e-mailed me last night with this heartfelt message:

"I thought of your blog on Sunday night at the movies. My friend dragged me to see Fantastic Four. But that's not why I thought of your blog. When that piece of shit was finally over, I went to the bathroom. There was a guy taking a piss at the urinal. He was checking his Blackberry with one hand and holding his dick with the other. Is anyone really that busy?"

In the words of CNN's Nancy Grace, "Thank you, friend." Your thoughtful e-mail underscores something that I've said before and I'll say it again: This type of dangerous multi-tasking has GOT to stop.

Monday, July 02, 2007


In honor of the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, when we all celebrate the history this fair nation, I'd like to share the following story. It seems that CNN's Kiran Chetry recently taped an interview with a developmental psychologist. With her usual brand of journalistic prowess, she came up with this:

Chetry: The other interesting thing is that we all were taught…you know, we learned the, the, the important lesson when we were little about Geor---was it George Washington chopping down the cherry tree? Or just being honest about things and how important it is, yet so often in life we see uhm that —well, actually it was Abe Lincoln because we say “Honest Abe”…

Guest: Yeah, sure.


Today's story comes to you from an Australian newspaper called "The Age". Serious news analysis follows this shocking tale:

"Defence lawyers for Kylie Louise Wilson, 28, said the mother of two "lost it" when her friend of six years, Daniel Peter Blair, went on a masturbation marathon on April 6 last year.
Brisbane's District Court this morning heard Mr Blair had showed up at Wilson's home, where he took amphetamines before having a shower.
Whilst in the bathroom, Mr Blair, 32, began pleasuring himself, before moving to Wilson's bedroom, where he rolled around naked on her bed and continued his lewd conduct.
He returned to the bathroom for more and was busted by Wilson, who was attempting to bath her three-and-a-half year-old daughter.
The court heard Mr Blair refused her repeated requests to stop, prompting her to fetch a knife from the kitchen which she used to stab him twice in the left shoulder.
Crown prosecutors said Mr Blair paused only to put on his shorts and flee outside to wait for police to arrive, but was again overcome by the urge.
"Despite his injury, it seems (Mr Blair) continued to masturbate while in the garage," the prosecutor said.
Police took him to hospital where he received treatment for the minor stab wounds.
Wilson pleaded guilty to one count each of unlawful wounding and wilful damage.
Her defence barrister, Mark Johnson, said Wilson regarded Mr Blair as a "tolerably decent person" when he was not using drugs, but had become "extremely protective" of her daughter under the circumstances.
"He was in and out and round about, doing this sort of thing all over the house, " Mr Johnson said.
Senior Judge Gilbert Trafford Walker accepted the Crown's submission that Wilson had been subjected to "grossly offensive conduct ... which in a moral sense amounts to extreme provocation."
He sentenced her to nine months' jail but ordered that she be immediately released on parole."

A few points:

1.) "Masturbation Marathon"

Do you suppose he prepared for this as a person would for any other type of marathon? Did he eat plenty of carbs beforehand and do stretching exercises? Plus, I'm picturing gangs of well-wishers with cups of water on the sidelines, cheering him on if he started to lag.

2.) "Despite his injury, it seems (Mr Blair) continued to masturbate while in the garage," the prosecutor said.

The man was bleeding in the garage, knowing the police were arriving any second and yet he still needed to beat off. Now, I understand that he took amphetamines beforehand. But I've taken amphetamines, usually to finish a term paper due the next day. I felt no such urges. I was certainly not distracted from any assignment about Marxism and the Industrial Revolution because I couldn't keep my hands off my snatch.

3.) I have no proof, but I suspect the defendant, Ms. Wilson, didn't shell out much money for her defence barrister. I posit this theory because I doubt many high-priced legal professionals would use the phrase:
"He was in and out and round about, doing this sort of thing all over the house."

I bet she was delighted to discover she'd hired Dr. Suess for her legal defence.