Friday, January 23, 2004



While commanding a car pool of nine year-olds this morning, a local public radio staion was soliciting for its semi-annual pledge drive. The announcer was reciting a litany of statistical factoids designed to paint a picture of fiscal burden that could only be lifted by...... lifting greenbacks from the listners's pocketbooks. "It costs $.24 a second to run this station" she intoned, leaving the extrapolation to truly mind boggling numbers to the superior intelligence of the public radio audience. A few more scary figures and pleas tumbled out of the speakers and then a voice in the back seat asked, "Are they going out of business?"

Quickly grasping the signifigance of the question, my head was plunged into the explanatory conundrum known as " The Smart-Ass Adult Answer" vs. "An Answer That The Young Man Will Understand". I disdained the former because it would only mean more confusion and more questions. And truth be told, I prefer watching adults scratch their heads and looking lost. No reason to open the can of worms about conservatives who deplore spending a nickel on NPR and PBS and liberals who would view the broadcasters as the last ouposts of truth in an increasingly right wing America. Besides, the car ride was only 20 minutes long.

But then I was faced with trying to explain the difference between a radio station that begs its listeners and the government for money and a radio station that begs for cash from purveyors of penile growth remedies and credit consolidation services. (And then there was the possibility he might grasp the correlation between a bigger penis and expanding debt. For that I was prepared to refer him to www.whitehouse.gov) I did my best to shed light on the difference between commercial and public radio, audiences and 'members' and how the free enterprise system had managed to accomodate both.

Luckily for me, the next passenger was at the ready and after buckling his seat belt launched into another subject of conversation that occupied the remainder of the ride. For once life provided a neat and tidy resolution while, as they always have, public broadcasting continues to go out of business on a semi-annual basis.

Hollywood slap dashes a typical focus group approved denoument to the Keaton/ Nicholson flic, "Something's Gotta Give". The mature woman decides against the relationship with the gentlemen in her life and utimately finds the rogue more desireable. It makes you want to puke for a number of reasons , one of which is that the movie is up to that point, genuinely entertaining and very well acted. The next time I'm at the grocery checkout and see a women's magazine that asks. "Where are all the good men?", I'm going to set fire to copies in the snack food aisle while downing a beer and pork rinds.


Talks are proceeding over the fate of Kashmir. With Pakistan and India close to war on several occasions, and in possession of nukes, I suggest these jokers get to the Winter Clearance sale at Banana Republic where there is plenty of cashmere for everybody.


Farewell to my good morning friend.

Sunday, January 18, 2004


Imagine a TV show where a poor, illiterate and seemingly uneducated dolt is invited to live with a wealthy Beverly Hills family on the condition that his/ her social faux pas, bewilderment and general ingnorance of their surroundings is presented to the world for its entertainment. CBS tried to sell this idea and was pretty much burned at the stake by TV as well as social critics for the idea of exploiting an apparently defenseless class of individual in exchange for ratings points.

Yet there is no hand-wringing, wailing or gnashing of teeth when it comes to a similar exercise utilizing individuals who are dumb as a door knob but happen to possess the great unequalizer, moohlah.

As usual, money cures all ills, social and otherwise. It ain't exploitation if the person being laughed at happens to have a trust fund in the eight figure range. It's exploitation if the object of ridicule lives on general assistance and calls a tin cracker box on wheels his home.

Yet, by canceliing the latter reality vehicle, CBS denied income to people who could truly use the bucks and decided instead to hand over checks to two baby lottery winners who probably use their six-figure earnings for tip money.

Duck hunting with Antonin Scalia and Dick Cheney sounds like a penal sentence imposed by a sadistic jurist. This would qualify as one of the most boring hunting trips ever conceived. Two fossils of political and social stripes who anxiously look forward to revisting the middles ages and a world of divine rule and primogenitor, blasting away at water fowl between moments of intellectual morbidity.

All that aside, this little get together smells more like a fishing trip that duck hunt. With the SCOTUS recently agreeing to hear the Veep's appeals over lawsuits directed at his handling (mishandling) of the administration's energy task force. In engaging in social trip, Cheney and Scalia imply a loud and bold noli me tangere to their critics and detractors. This is an act of arrogance impunity that is one more reason the Democrats need to offer a credible adversary in November.

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