Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Okay, I have to apologize in advance for posting another item that isn't directly to do with NY1 but rather the commercials. BUT - this is too crazy not to mention.

A couple of posts ago, I blogged about the guy in the Slap Chop commercials and how I hate him because he looks like an overgrown fratboy with a crystal meth problem.

Well - I was right! He is indeed no good at all! Because apparently, the Sham Wow guy -- as he is commonly known, since he is also a pitchman for that product, which is some kind of highly absorbent towel -- was recently arrested for beating up a hooker.

Slap chop, indeed! I hope he never gets another TV pitching job again.

Onto NY1 news - Pat's back! And a better week was enjoyed by all...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

MTA Meltdown

If you've been watching NY1 over the last few days (and of course you have), you'll no doubt have noticed the huge amount of coverage that the MTA's budget meltdown and proposed doomsday fare hikes have gotten. It was the lead story on The Call Tuesday night, the NY1 Wiseguys debated it on the Road to City Hall, and the main news broadccasts have referenced it every three minutes or so.

And while it SUCKS to suddenly have to pay 25% more for a subway ride - at the precise moment when people can ill afford to do so - I'm going to come out and say that I don't think the $2 per fare/$87 per unlimited monthly pass fares were sustainable.

People, you get A LOT when you buy a Metrocard. You get to travel all over the city, all night long, 24/7. You get to cover huge distances - you can go from the Bronx to Coney Island, from Harlem to the Airport, for $2. You get to take superfast express trains when you're traveling long distance, and if a train that you're on breaks down, you don't have to get off the train and take the bus, because they can just re-route you along the other track since we have the dual-track system. And on several subway lines, you get clean, shiny new trains.

In short, New Yorkers, you just don't know how good you've got it, even with the fare increases. How do I know this? Because I just spent two years living in London, which has a public transport system that is downright apalling by comparison. It's twice as expensive for shorter distances and even more for longer distances, since you get charged for how far you travel. There are no express trains and there's no dual track system, so if you're on a train that breaks down (which you are, frequently, if you live there), you have to wait for them to drag the train out of the station and then you have to just get off and find another way to get where you're going and the whole subway line's service gets suspended. Oh, and it CLOSES. Every night. No trains past 12:30 on weekend nights and even earlier on week nights. The trains are also much dirtier and smaller, which means they're way more crowded. I swear, the MTA could hike the fares up to $4 and it would still be a dream by comparison.

So that's my $0.20, though Curtis Sliwa would undoutedly disagree with me.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I knew it was going to be a long week. First of all, hi, Weather? It's late March. You can stop being 30 degrees now.

But I really knew it was going to be a long week when I flipped on the TV Monday morning and saw Kristin Shaughnessy sitting in Pat's anchor chair. Not that there's anything wrong with The Shaughn; she's a fine broadcaster. But In the Papers is just not the same without PK. I know Pat has to go on vacation sometimes, but I always feel a little let down when I turn on the TV and he's not there. (Perhaps I should look into getting a life).

Also, when Pat's out, Kristin fills in for him, which means one fewer correspondent, which means Roger Clark has to pick up the slack on the serious stories. So no goofy antics.

See? Everything's more boring without Pat.

Friday, March 20, 2009

It sucks to B. Madoff

Today's installment of "In the Papers" is worth watching just to hear Pat's imitation of Ruth Madoff alone. But he also mentions a column in the New York Times by Clyde Haberman, which chronicles the saga of a poor fellow whose name is B. Madoff (no relation - the a in this Madoff is pronounced like "apple") and is listed as such in the New York City phone book. This guy apparently has not gotten a moment's peace since the whole Madoff saga came into public focus.

I have some sympathy for this guy. My work phone number just happens to be one digit removed from that of a US senator. (Apparently this is true for lots of people at my company, because the Senate's exchange is exactly the same as ours, except we are in area code 212, not 202.) This has led to lots of phone calls from cranks, including people who get mad at me when I tell them they've dialed the wrong number. I'm so used to it by now that when people call me looking for Senator Soandso, I immediately say in my most professional and polite voice, "I'm sorry, you've dialed a 212 area code. Senator Soanso's office is in area code 202." Some person I spoke to today found this very helpful - so helpful that he told me I had a pretty voice, and wanted to keep chatting.

So stay strong, B. Madoff. The non-Bernie one, that is.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Pat has a blog!

NY2 Post

Thanks to informed New York Two reader Beth H, who pointed out to me that PK actually has a blog! How did I not know this?! Anyway, you can check it out here:


The current batch of posts includes a great interview with PK from the Village Voice; you can find that here:


And in said interview, PK mentions a time when he and that kooky Roger Clark did a duet of Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” on air, which the VV had the good sense to link to as well:


In said interview, you learn that Pat gets up at 3 AM (and I thought I had it rough getting up at 5!), that he frequently inserts very subtle jokes into his ITP segments (such as the time he noted, when reading a story about how men buy SUVs to compensate for anatomical shortcomings, that he drives a compact car) and that if the sometime game show host could host Match Game ’09 could pick his dream team, it would include Katie Couric, David Letterman, and Miss Teen South Carolina (you may remember her from the disastrous “some people out there in our nation don’t have maps” and “I personally believe that US Americans…” interview).

Speaking of Pat’s sidekick Roger Clark, what’s up with all the serious stories they’ve had him doing lately? Are they short-staffed or something? To give credit where it’s due, he’s actually done a decent job of them. Thing about RC is, he seems like an extremely affable and decent guy, but he’s not always the most professional and smooth correspondent that’s ever been on television.

This is generally okay when he’s doing the sillier bits and engaging in his goofy repartee with PK, but sometimes you just want him to, I don’t know, do better. Like maybe not say “It’s amazing, Pat, it’s amazing” a dozen times in a single segment or actually get through a sentence without saying “basically.” But the last couple of days, when he’s been assigned some serious stories, he’s actually risen to the occasion and looks like a real news anchor and not a goofily endearing fraternity brother who stumbled by accident into a news job. Well done, RC, well done.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Slap happy

Sorry for the radio silence. I've actually been watching NY1 for a couple of days now, and I have to say that for once, there hasn't been much to comment about. ITP has been pretty straightforward, Inside City Hall has been informative but a little sleepy (no NY1 Wiseguys), and even Roger Clark has been filing reports on serious stories and not getting run over by robots or mauled by adorable puppies at a local animal shelter.

So once again, I'm forced to write about the commercials. The one that's really been making my blood boil lately is for a device called the Slap Chop. It's basically a plastic, cylindrical thingy with blades; you put vegetables in it, put the cap on, and "slap" the cap to chop your vegetables. It sounds harmless enough, but the pitchman is the most irritating person on earth. He looks like some overgrown frat guy who took too many steroids and maybe laced them with a little crystal meth. He's wearing a wireless headset and practically shouting at you about the stupid Slap Chop while demonstrating it in the most irritating manner possible. Frankly, I'd like to slap(chop) him in the balls.

Okay, I'm hoping NY1 starts being kooky again, because I don't really want to write more about the commercials (though there are so many offenders... I haven't even mentioned Ridex yet).

Friday, March 13, 2009

In the Papers

Today's "In the Papers" (ITP from here on out) was EPIC.

I love this segment - and indeed, I love Pat - entirely because of his droll recitations of what's in all the major New York Papers each day. Often, Pat will play it completely straight, but every once in awhile he can't suppress his opinions, and it's hilarious.

Today what set him off the most was a story about a golfer who finished a tournament in his underwear because he had shot the ball into a muddy sand trap and had to retrieve it, thereby muddifying his clothes. So he stripped down to finish the game, saying that he had no other option. "But of COURSE he had an option!" Pat exclaimed, his voice rising a couple of octaves. "Ugh." I don't know why this offended our favorite upright Canadian anchor so much, but it cracked me up.

He also agreed with a story decrying British firm Willis' decision to re-name the Sears Tower, which it bought, to the "Willis Tower," dissing the new name with a disgusted-sounding "whatever."

He also went off on a photo of the octo-mom, Nadya Suleman, buying diapers. "I don't know if you've bought diapers lately, but that looks to me like a 20-pack!" he groused.

Much of the rest of it was all Madoff, all the time which is pretty much how ITP has been this whole week.

I just realized that, by blogging about In The Papers, I'm doing a roundup of a roundup. How meta!

Anyway, you can watch today's ITP here:


Monday, March 9, 2009

Biz report - new tagline?

First of all, sorry for the radio silence last week. I was going to post about how I would not be posting because of my upcoming vacation, but then my computer exploded roughly two hours before I had to leave for the airport. My computer is fine (it did not literally explode), and my vacation was nice, for whatever that's worth.

But back to what Homer Simpson calls "stupid reality." This morning I got my first dose of NY1 in several days (they do not, unfortunately, have NY1 in Mexico). As I watched the Fortune Business Report, it made me realize that despite the increasingly grim, depressing and hopeless news that the anchors are dishing out, they still sign off every report with the perky tagline, "Have a great day!"

It strikes me as a little tone-deaf in These Economic Times. Perhaps they should update it. Maybe, "This is Milanee Kapadia with the Fortune Business Report. Remember, you still have your health", or, "I'm Annika Pergamet with the Fortune Business Report. Please don't kill yourself; it's only money!"

Any other suggestions?

Monday, March 2, 2009

It's all storm, all the time on NY1 this morning, with the station's poor correspondents sent to various parts of the city to stand outside and freeze half to death all morning for a story with little in the way of new developments beyond the school closings. Kristen Shaughnessy's in some hellhole in Queens, Roger Clark is in Brooklyn and Michael Scotto (who looks about 12 in that knit hat) is on the West side. 

Scotto must be pretty pissed that after a plum assignment in Tokyo, his first assignment upon his return is to cover this crappy story. (Quick aside- I thought his series in Tokyo, on how that city is handling environmental issues, was pretty interesting, and I'm duly impressed with NY1 for sending him over there and not slashing travel budgets in These Economic Times).

There have been a couple of humorous items this morning, including a hilarious story about Staten Island Chuck, the aggressive groundhog who bit a chunk out of Bloomberg's finger on Groundhog Day. Apparently there is talk that this was a political statement on the part of the groundhog, and some silly person has gone to the trouble of making T-shirts depicting Chuck in the iconic Che Guevara pose. 

There was also an amusing item from In The Papers, with PK referencing a Daily News story about dumb things that air travelers have tried to take on board. PK's favorite was the passenger who tried to get on a plane with a gasoline-powered chainsaw. 

Another funny thing I saw was actually a commercial - I can't believe I forgot to write about this in the last post. It's for a wedding venue called Grand Prospect Hall, which, judging by the commercial, looks like the kind of place where you'd have your wedding if you are the daughter of a Russian mobster. 

The bulk of the commercial consists of various images of the extremely garish and tacky rooms at the venue, accompanied by a cheesy string-based composition that gets increasingly urgent until it builds to a crescendo, at which time your television screen explodes into a veritable visual orgy of images and colors so over-the-top tacky they make Liberace look like a study in tasteful nuance. 

Just when you think the tackiness has reached a maximum, the commercial cuts to a shot of the owners, an older couple who are dressed in keeping with the establishment they own. The wife is wearing a spangly red sequined sweater and jacket twinset; in some Eastern European-sounding accent, she declares, "We make your dreams come true!" Well, I guess if your dreams are to get married in a room festooned with neon lights that change colors every so often, then yes, they probably do.