My thoughts on Keith Olbermann’s ouster

Back in 2003 I went to see the “Tell Us The Truth” tour. Steve Earle, Billy Bragg, The Nightwatchman (Tom Morello), Boots Riley, Lester Chambers, and Mike Mills joining forces to raise awareness about the dangers of media consolidation and the FCC’s recently increased “media ownership cap” which allowed individual networks to control a larger percentage of the national market.

Flash forward to today. Media giant Comcast buys control of MSNBC, which then promptly fires Olbermann, their highest rated host.

Tom Morello’s words from 2003 seem particularly prophetic today.

A few massive corporations will soon control all we see on TV and print and radio, there’s a very narrow number of gatekeepers, and that can be very destabilizing for a democracy. Ten years ago, 50 corporations controlled the major media outlets. Now it’s down to six, and everybody loses except the super-rich at the top.

My vacation

It’s been a busy few days. I drove to Connecticut to my little sister and brother-in-law’s Tuesday (the 12th). Due to the traditional late start, I didn’t roll in until 4AM Wednesday, which meant that Wednesday was basically a recovery day.

Thursday was DaveCon. I rode the train into NYC from CT, met up with all my a.f.l. pals and had a fabulous Late Show experience. Then we shot the Tony Mendez Show (starring Tony Mendez) and off to dinner. Tony joined us at dinner and, as ballet season hasn’t started yet (he’s a huge fan), this year he stayed all evening, eating, sharing behind-the-scenes gossip and shouting “no more pictures“. A more in-depth DaveCon trip report is in the works. (DaveCon photos, here)

Friday I again rode the train in and met Traci, Helen, and the no longer yella Brady for pie. Due to some bad directions I was a bit late and missed Micah and David Yoder. Helen and Traci were headed to see the new Trek movie at the I-Max theater and Brady was bound for points unknown. I headed out to shop and sight-see by bike. Once I got going I was so totally overcome with, and enamored by, the rush of slithering through traffic that I lost sight of everything else. I weaved my way up the East side, through Harlem, into and around Central Park then down through the theater district and Times Square. Basically the only stops I made were to grab a hot dog, a pretzel, a banana, a slice of pizza, etcetera, devour it, and jump back on the bike. Finally, spent, I made my way back to Grand Central Terminal. I thought I could take my bike on any off-peak train and so I bought my ticket and boarded the 8:04 train to New Haven. Along comes the conductor and informs me that no, I have to wait for the 8:35 train, so, dejected, I get off the train and wait. Not a big deal, Grand Central is a wonderful place to pass some time, I was just tired and ready to head ‘home’.

Saturday and Sunday were spent hanging with the family and the doggies and a wonderful home-cooked meal, complete with a Vermont Mystic Apple Pie (thanks, sis, and Danny, for finding the pie).

Monday was another day of riding in NYC. Pie for breakfast then another train ride into the city. The weather was a bit cool and threatening-looking so the wind breaker put in an appearance (all day). I was a bit more successful in my shopping endeavors, and had a delightful lunch/snack in Chinatown. I had some sort of mystery cake; a dense sponge-type cake, covered in crushed nuts and filled with banana creme. This, a cup of tea and a big slab of fresh-baked bread set me back the princely sum of $2.10. (Cycling Manhattan photos, here)

I really can’t overstate how much fun I had. DaveCon was, once again, everything I could hope for (well aside from not getting the tour or photo-ops at Dave’s desk. Curse you, Kevin Spacey! And a pox upon you too, “Survivors”).

Cycling in Manhattan was, quite possibly, the most fun I’ve ever had. Weaving and slithering through traffic I felt, quite literally, like some kind of super-hero. I really do love New York.

Special thanks to all those involved for making it the trip of a lifetime (you know who you are).

Tuesday I drove back home and got to see Pennsylvania by daylight for the first time. It’s a lovely state. I’m thinking of relocating to Sugar Notch, PA.

Oh, and Kevin Spacey? You’re still on ‘the list’.

MTV Music Site has [gasp] Music Videos!

If you remember and miss the days when MTV actually played music videos, this is great news (originally spotted at Gizmodo). MTV is making their collection of music videos available online. Right now there are a lot of videos unaccounted for, but they did just go online with this today, so hopefully it’s a work in progress.

Here’s one of my all-time favorites, “Learn to Fly” by the Foo Fighters. It’s got the Foo Fighters playing various roles (I’ll admit to being a bit disturbed by what a hot stewardess, the drummer, Taylor makes) and the boys from Tenacious D (Jack Black and Kyle Gass) appear as bumbling drug smugglers. Plus, it’s a great song. What’s not to like?

MTV Music – I want my MTV

Yet More Infomercial Idiocy

There’s an informercial that’s been airing for a few months now for something called a Shamwow which is apparently some sort of super-absorbent towel, or something. Anyway, at one point, the pitchman – a spikey-haired douche bag with a Janet Jackson microphone tells me:

You’re gonna spend twenty dollars every month on paper towels anyway.

I am? Goddamnit! What am I, using them to dry off after I shower?
Someone needs to put a stop to me and my conspicuous paper towel consumerism!
Honestly, I don’t think I spend that much on paper towels in an entire year.

Thanks but no thanks, Vince – you can keep your rags.

The Return Trip

In the time honored tradition of starting at the end and working back, I’m going to tell you bitch about my trip home. Just so you’re not totally in the dark, I will tell you that I went to visit my sister and brother-in-law in Connecticut and to NYC for DaveCon, to see The Late Show with David Letterman.

OK… so, I was supposed to fly out of White Plains, NY at 5:29 PM yesterday (Monday), change planes at Washington Reagan Airport, and arrive home at 8:49.

5:29 came and went. They kept coming on the PA and reassuring us that the plane was on its way and had just been delayed by weather. The plane finally lands and they promptly herd us out onto the tarmac, across a couple of hundred yards of said tarmac, and onto our plane. Everyone gets seated, the flight attendant does her little safety puppet show, then the captain comes on. The plane’s weather radar system is broken. They had hoped to fix it while on the ground but couldn’t, so we will all need to exit the plane, head back to the terminal, and make other arrangements. Melon Fever!

We are directed back to the ticket counter, where they have two people working; frantically trying to find all of us alternate flights while also taking care of everyone else who’s checking in and what-not. After many very tense minutes, they find me a flight connecting in Philadelphia which is boarding… right fucking now. So, I’m off to security, where, thanks to the fact that I’ve been outside on the tarmac, I now have to go through not just regular security, but the whole everything-but-the-cavity-search-shebangabang. I keep setting off the metal detector, in my haste I’ve forgotten the various items I moved from my bag to my pockets after I went through security the last time.

I gather up my crap, not even taking the time to put my laptop back into the bag, and run for my plane. I make it, they pull the steps away and close the door as I’m settling into my seat.

And then we wait, and wait… then wait some more. Finally we’re airborne for the short hop to Philadelphia.

In Philadelphia my flight to Dayton was (predictably) delayed as well. Late boarding and delayed enough on takeoff that they actually served us beverages while we waited to take off.

Anyway… by the time I arrived in Dayton it was nearly midnight. The good news (apart from making it at all, in one piece) was that they did manage to get my bag off of the broken plane and onto the correct plane, so my bag did arrive when and where I did.

All in all, a perfectly crappy way to punctuate what was, otherwise, a fantastic trip. More on that later.

My New Catch Phrase

The other night I found myself watching ‘Jackie Brown’ on TV. As this was regular-ass (commercial) TV, all of the profanity was dubbed over, with predictably hilarious results. One scene in particular grabbed my attention. Briefly, Samuel L. Jackson’s character, ‘Ordell Robbie’ angrily says; “Oh, I know who my friends are, melon fever.”

He called the man “Melon fever“! I’m going to start using that!

“Hey, melon fever, watch where you’re going!”

“What are you honkin’ at, melon fever?”

It just has so many practical applications.