Friday, July 31, 2009

Reverend Ike

This morning's news broadcast had a report on the death of someone called Reverend Ike, who was the so-called "preacher of prosperity." I'm not really sure what that means; my guess is that he had some kind of "god wants you to be rich" message. He was one of the first people to become really famous as a TV preacher, so much so that Richard Pryor parodied him in the movie "Car Wash."

I wasn't too familiar with this dude before this morning's obituary aired on NY1, but as I was half-listening and brushing my teeth, an excerpt from a prior interview with Reverend Ike startled me. He was talking about his aggressive, confrontational preaching style, and he said, "I was the guy who came in your face." He may have said something after that to put it into context, but frankly I wasn't paying attention. I know, I'm 14 years old. But between that and the constant references to Puppetry of the Penis, NY1 has gone a little blue this week.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Pat's got a really interesting column on Mediaite today about the AP's new policy with regard to blogs, search engines, etc linking to its content. According to this New York Times article, the AP is now saying that "even minimal use of a news article online require(s) a licensing agreement with the news organization that produced it."

Pat thinks this is going a bit too far, and I agree. I am all for journalists getting paid for their work, and I dislike copyright violations as much as the next guy. (Yes, I pay for all my music.) But when a blog links to an article and cites the source, it drives traffic to the Web site that produced the article, thereby driving up site traffic and enabling the site to use those boosted traffic figures to sell more ads. It's free advertising, basically.

When I used to write for a web site that sounds like See En En, our editors were ALL over us to get our articles picked up on blogs, for that precise reason. So I'm not really sure quite what the head of the Associated Press is thinking on this one.

In other NY1 news this morning, the weather segments this week are being sponsored by a show/play/godknowshowtodescribeit called "Puppetry of the Penis" (which I'm told is about what it sounds like - fully naked men bending their members into funny shapes). But what makes their sponsorship hilarious is that the station announcer has to say, "New York One's Weather on the Ones was brought to you by Puppetry of the [BLEEP]."

It just reminds me of that King of the Hill episode where Peggy Hill, substitute teacher extraordinare, has to teach sex ed because the health teacher mysteriously becomes ill when that chapter comes up in the text book. So in order to prepare herself and overcome her mortification, she stands in front of the mirror practicing to say "penis" by going, "HA-pi-ness. Ha-PI-ness. PI-ness." Anyway, hats off to the Puppetry of the Penis people (or would that be socks off?). It's a pretty good gimmick.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

More about the Naked Cowboy

In yesterday's In the Papers, Pat mentioned an article in the New York Post about the Naked Cowboy, who is running for mayor. (Can you tell this is my favorite NYC story happening right now?).

The Post piece is pretty good -- and revealing (yuk yuk yuk). We learn that the NC is a devotee of Nietsche and Tony Robbins (I'm guessing he also reads Ayn Rand), regularly runs 10 miles a day to maintain his physique, and claims to make a ton of money from various pursuits including busking and licensing deals and even a brand of protein supplements. But what he spends this money on is unclear (underwear, maybe?), given that he lives with his girlfriend, claims to be able to fit his belongings into four boxes and obviously doesn't spend much on regular clothes.

Another fascinating political story happening right now is about Bill de Blasio, who is running for Public Advocate as a democrat. Due to a clerical error (apparently de Blasio's lawyer didn't fill out his TPS report correctly), he has been dropped from the ballot. Why, exactly? Because of a typo. His cover sheet said he had 131 volumes of petitions (to get on the ballot); instead he had 132. He's fighting the decision; we'll see what happens.

Also mentioned in ITP yesterday was a story about the Bloomberg lawsuit -- two former female employees are suing Bloomberg LLP (the company, not the mayor, though he founded it, obvs) for sex discrimination. It has to do with maternity leave (I can't remember the details and can't be fussed to look them up, but it was something along those lines).

I have heard through my financial journalism homies that Bloomberg can be a tough place to work, but I had not previously heard about sex discrimination. Anybody who used to work there and might be reading this have any thoughts? I'm very curious - it'll be interesting to see how this story develops.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Taking the cupcake

Last week, NY1 had a story about how some bakeries in Brooklyn are defying the recession with brisk sales of cupcakes.

This got me to thinking - is it just me, or are cupcakes EVERYWHERE now? I don't understand this trend, and frankly, I don't much care for it. I have zero use for cupcakes. And yes, I am female. It's just that my sweet tooth has never been that prominent. I am one of those bitches who can have one small square of dark chocolate and be perfectly satisfied. (Before you go hatin', please be aware that I am deeply in love with cheese, potatoes, pasta, Mexican food, potato chips and all kinds of other fat-making foods, so I have my battles, too.) But yeah, I've always thought cupcakes were way too sickly sweet and a big fat waste of calories.

Also, maybe I'm wrong but they seem to be a big hit with the hipster set, and I'm also aware that making fun of hipsters is basically cliched at this point, but they really are irritating.

Finally, while I'm not opposed, per se, to the success of mom n' pop bakeries, I've seen a lot of cupcake-only ventures springing up (okay, by "a lot" I mean two, but that's just in my neighborhood) and I can't help but feel that it's just a fad and wonder about their long-term prospects for success. And from a purely selfish standpoint, I would rather see businesses that were useful to me (a couple of Citibank ATMs would be a start) instead of bakeries that sell something I have zero interest in eating.

But I'm not alone in my bizarre cupcake vitriol. This chick from the Village Voice agrees with me, at least...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Walter Cronkite

Most of my posts this week have been on the silly side, so I haven't gotten around to mentioning the death of Walter Cronkite. This is obviously a sad time for journalism, but it's prompted a lot of interesting reflection in various media about how journalism has changed and the state of journalism today.

One NY1 report noted that at its peak, the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite drew 20 million viewers a night. 20 million! That is more than all of the big three combined get nowadays.

Also in that above-linked report, NY1 interviewed NYU Professor Mitchell Stephens for his commentary on Cronkite's position in society when he was still the evening news anchor. Full disclosure: I worked with Stephens at NYU, where I am/was an adjunct professor (I haven't done it in awhile but hope to again). I was a TA for his class. He's a great professor and has done a lot of interesting work examining the history of news and the changes over time in how people get their news. So I was psyched to see him on NY1.

There was also a very interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about journalism in the Cronkite era vs today. The author argues that journalists like Cronkite and Ernie Pyle -- arguably the greatest wartime reporter who ever lived; if you haven't read his WWII reporting, do so at once -- would draw a line between covering a story and getting in the way of national security when they were covering wars. Today's journos, as evidenced by a Mike Wallace comment during a PBS interview, are so obsessed with staying objective and being removed from the situations they are covering that they would be willing to compromise national security, or so the writer argues. I'm not 100% sure that I agree -- I think the journos I know have more common sense than that -- but it's an interesting and provocative argument.

Anyway, RIP, Walter.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Naked Cowboy on the Road to City Hall

Oh. My. God.

The Naked Cowboy is ON NY1. Dominic Carter is interviewing him on "The Road to City Hall!"

Dominic, to NC: "This is the first time I've interviewed someone who's not wearing any clothes."

NC: "You're welcome."

Words utterly fail me.

Vote for Pat!

So the Huffington Post is running an online poll to determine who is the hottest male anchor in NYC. Our beloved Pat Kiernan is one of the contestants, and right now his ranking is... low. He's not even in the top five!

To be fair, that pic is not the best. But still, he deserves a higher ranking. Go over there right now and vote for Pat!

He's got some in-house competition, with NY1 transit reporter Bobby Cuza currently occupying the #5 spot. I wouldn't throw Cuza out of bed for breaking wind, but I have to say he's no Pat.

By the way, I learned this via Pat's Twitter feed. You probably already follow that, but if not, he's on @patkiernan.

Happy voting!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Dan Eaton Band

I have been sitting on this scoop for some time.

Actually, credit for this scoop goes to NY1 reader Heather, who unearthed this little nugget: NY1's Dan Eaton, he of "Cooking at Home" fame, has a band! And guess what - they're abysmal!

They appear to be based in Rochester, NY. You can catch them at such upcoming appearances as the South Wedge Farmers Market show on 8/6 and the The Keg (German House) on 8/13. Their music features such lyrics as, "we are walking in a postcard, 360 degrees around, we're walking in a postcard, full of light and smells and sounds" or my personal favorite, "Death is colorblind."

According to his Myspace page, "Eaton’s songs have a rooted quality, sounding like classics the minute you hear them. People throw around REM and Tom Petty comparisons, but Eaton’s music is his own."

I cannot IMAGINE, based on listening to the Myspace page, who on earth would compare these guys to REM or Tom Petty. At the very, very best, they sound like your average suburban white-man-blues bar band. I don't think these guys would have been good enough to even win the NY1 Music Video Star contest. Stick to cooking, Dan!

Though as Heather pointed out, "I wonder if he opens his shows by saying 'I'm Dan Eaton and I'm glad you're heeeeeeeeeeeere."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

In the Papers

Today's In The Papers was amusing for two reasons. First, I loved hearing Pat talk about the Dirty Projectors, which he mentioned when discussing a photo of the band that appeared in the New York Times. He just thought the photo was cool; I'm not sure he knows who the Dirty Projectors are, but it wouldn't surprise me. He's pretty pop culture savvy, though I'm guessing maybe not an indie rock guy.

The second amusing thing was Pat's reference to another New York Times story, which discussed a new study by scientists that claims that when used properly, the withdrawal method is almost as effective at preventing pregnancy as condoms. Pat seemed just as dumbfounded by this information as I was, so his delivery was pretty funny, as was his explanation of the withdrawal method, which he described as when a man exits "before the big finish." He does have a flair for describing awkard things in a way that's suitable for television...

Naked Cowboy as mayor?

This morning, NY1 reported that the Naked Cowboy is planning to run for mayor. If Marion Berry can get re-elected as Washington DC's mayor after being caught on camera smoking crack with a prostitute, then I guess stranger things have happened. Still, the Naked Cowboy is really annoying.

But it reminds me of the time that Sharpton was considering running for office (mayor/governor/president - I really don't remember which). My friend made a comment on the absurdity of it, and while I technically agreed, I did have to admit that it might be kind of fun to elect him, just to see what the hell he'd do every day. (We did not actually vote for him in the end.)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Too many Dicks... and not enough Franks

A funny postscript to my post last week about the Sotomayor hearings and how there aren't enough ladies on the court. I think the plight of women on the Supreme Court can best be described by Flight of the Concords: Too Many Dicks on the Dance Floor.

Another thing I learned by watching NY1 this morning is that today was the 40th anniversary of the moon landing. Which reminded me of another funny thing - the Onion's Our Dumb Century story on the event: "Holy Shit, Man Lands on Fucking Moon." Sorry, couldn't find the link for that one.

And finally, on decidedly LESS funny news - Frank McCourt died today. You can watch Budd Mishkin's "One on 1" interview with him from several years back here.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


So it turns out that Annika in the anchor chair was a false alarm - Pat is indeed in this week. That said, I have to give props to Annika for her new 'do, which looks great on her.

I caught a few minutes of the Road to City Hall last night. The coverage focused pretty heavily on the Sotomayor confirmation hearings. NY1 has dutifully sent its crack political team to DC to cover the story, which is kind of interesting. I guess the fact that she's a NY native is the local angle they're pegging it to.

Anyway, the questions were, in my book, fairly yawn-inducing, with the Senators adhering faithfully to their party lines. Schumer fawned sycophantically and didn't ask any tough questions, while the Republican senators asked dumb idealogical questions that don't have much to do with whether she's qualified to sit on the Supreme Court. The Alabama Senator asked something like, "What is yer position on farh ahrms" (that would be fire arms, for those who don't speak redneck) and John Conyers of Texas (my home state, which I am lately at a loss to defend) repeatedly asked her about the "wise Latina" comment.

I'm so sick of this discussion. Am I the only one who doesn't think it's that controversial?

At any rate, I hope she sails through. We need some more vaginas on the court. This country is, what, 50% female, if not more? This is the kind of imbalance that is entirely commonplace in the highest levels of government, corporate boardrooms, etc. It's pretty damned ridiculous that in This Day and Age, after all this time, the country is still overwhelmingly run by men. If you ask me, the court could benefit from a wise vagina.

Okay, I promise I won't use that word in this post, or on this blog, again if I can help it.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I'm back, again.

Jesus, do I still have the right to call this a blog? Sorry to my regular readers (hi Mom, Heather, Beth, Alexia) for not posting for so long. I went to London for work for a few days, and then still didn’t have time to get a cable box for days after. I finally got a brand spanking new one, though. After the requisite trip to the Time Warner DMV (which was as much a pain in the ass as I’d expected – some woman was screaming at a poor customer service guy and had to be calmed down by security), I walked out with a shiny new box, several channels I didn’t have before and a $25 a month break on my bill, thanks to the nice lady at the DMV –er, TWC customer service window. Yay!

Anyway, I’m obviously behind, and a LOT has happened in my absence, so I’m going to do this in bullet form. And it’s still going to be overly long.

So let’s get to it:

• The mess in Albany finally got cleaned up! It’s about time, clownz. So apparently Espada has decided to be a Democrat again, and has been rewarded for his assy behavior with a promotion (taking over the Senate leadership position from Malcolm Smith.) What? Whatever. An edition of “In The Papers” noted the New York Post’s “Sleazy Does It” headline, which pretty much sums up the whole affair.

• We have a winner of the NY One music video star contest! It turned out to be the KO Chicks after all. Check out their awesomely low budget video (and irritatingly catchy tune) here:

• I know this is more than a week old by now, but if you haven’t seen it, you must check out the In the Papers from Friday, July 3, in which Pat gets a little risqué! Pat read a newspaper item about that poor teenage girl who heard her mother’s cries from her bedroom and then burst in to “help” her, only to find that the cries were actually sounds of a more, uh, amorous nature (the mom was hanging out with her boyfriend). Pat read from the story, in which the teenage girl claimed she thought her mom was being harmed by a “bad guy”, and then wryly noted,
“But he wasn’t a bad guy – it sounds like he was actually pretty good!”

• This is a true story: Weekend before last, my boyfriend and I decided to take a walk over the Brooklyn bridge back into Manhattan, since it was such a warm and beautiful night. But we decided to make a pit stop before setting out. We happened upon a Marriott Hotel in Downtown Brooklyn and decided to do it there. And that’s when we stumbled into some parallel Alice in Wonderland universe. First, there were the little people. Hundreds of them. Dwarves/little folks in the lobby. At the bar. Hanging around outside. EVERYWHERE. It was clear this was some kind of convention.

But that’s not all. There was also some low-rent beauty pageant going on, so there were also tons of tall, extremely thin women in extremely spangly evening gowns. Everywhere you looked, you either saw a very tall pageant contestant in full regalia or a dwarf/little person. Anyway, I’d have known about this convention if I’d watched “In the Papers,” in which Pat read from a New York Daily news story about how the Little People of America had decided to have their annual convention in New York City.

But in his report, Pat made the mistake of referring to the convention attendees as “midgets.” Obviously he did not watch Tara Lynn Wagner’s report about how one of the convention’s agenda items was a campaign to get the FCC to ban that word. Oops!

• And finally, Friday’s morning edition featured Roger Clark on a skateboard. Just when you think they can’t find new ways to humiliate him, they manage to find some new, ever more embarrassing thing for him to do.

This week is bound to be more tame – Annika Pergament in the anchor’s chair this morning, which means Pat’s on vacation. Boo!