Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Burning Gator Question

Why are there no Gators in Albany? It's no joke. Sunday's Times Union carried an editorial by Scott Powell of Rexford lamenting CBS' lack of coverage of his favorite basketball team, the Florida Gators:
Here I am, yet another weekend, at home with 44 college basketball teams playing on television today, none of which were the No. 1 team in the country. Each Saturday since the season has started, I check the morning paper to see if the Florida Gators will join Northern Iowa, Bradley, Creighton, James Madison, Cornell and a host of other national powerhouse programs on television, only to be disappointed. With anywhere from 20 to 30 games being televised each weekend, I have managed to watch the defending national champs twice.

So what intriguing matchup did we get to watch last weekend on CBS, while the rest of the country watched Florida at Vanderbilt? Army at Navy. I know there are 10 or 12 people in the Capital Region who were on the edge of their seats waiting to watch this classic of two 13-10 college programs . . .

This intrigued me a bit, so I sent off an e-mail to the local CBS affiliate, who advised me that it wasn't their decision which game to cover, they just took what was on the national feed. I haven't yet gotten around to asking CBS, but it's on my list of things to do. First, I'd like to know if the rest of the country really watched Florida-Vanderbilt while Albany got Army-Navy. If so, of course, the next question is: why?

Updates as they happen. Stay tuned - - or not, if you're out at a sports bar catching the next Gator game.

UPDATE (3/6/07) Sunday's Times Union carried a response to Powell's letter, this from John Furgele of Delmar:

Lastly, a writer from Rexford wrote in that he was dismayed that CBS would air an Army-Navy college basketball over the overlooked and No. 1-ranked Florida Gators. The reason for this was a simple one. When CBS won the rights to broadcast the Army-Navy football game, one of the provisions was that the network had to show one Army-Navy basketball game per year during the contract. Sometimes, to get one, you must take another, and that's the case here.

That doesn't, of course, necessarily suggest that Powell was wrong or even off base in his complaint. For one, it might have been possible for CBS to pre-empt some other game besides a one-two matchup. If it's only necessary to broadcast one game, that seems to imply the network can choose which one to knock off. For two, maybe this price of getting the Army-Navy football game isn't worth paying.

Still no word back either from the WRGB programming director or from CBS itself. Maybe I'll follow up with some more pointed questions.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Tigger Criminal Charges Bounce

Michael Fedelem will not be charged after all for swatting a 14-year old kid at Florida's Disney amusement park, so says the Boston Herald:
Criminal charges will not be filed against a Disney employee accused of hitting a teenager while in costume as the Winnie the Pooh character “Tigger,” authorities said.
The State Attorney’s Office announced Thursday that it will not press charges against Michael J. Fedelem. Prosecutors made the decision after reviewing a complaint from New Hampshire resident Jerry Monaco.
Curiously, neither the Herald article nor any other article I could find explain what caused Tigger to bat the kid to begin with. From that, I suspect there's some kind of understanding between Fedelem, the prosecutors, and Monaco.

Also no word on whether Fedelem will get his job back--or if he even wants it at this point.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

10 Words and Phrases For Bloggers to Avoid

Although we're well into 2007, here's a list of the top ten words and phrases I'd love to see fade from view both in the blogosphere and MSM in general:

1. Britney Spears. God but I am tired of Britney Spears. Since the beginning of the year I have heard more about Britney Spears and have seen more of Britney Spears (literally) than I ever, ever wanted. She has gone from pop princess to second rate celebrity to caricature. This calls to mind one other youngster who followed that path from stardom to weirdom and beyond. I guess there is an upside: at least Britney isn't fondling little boys. Yet. But she is hanging out with Paris. Anyway, enough said.

2. "Enough said." And it's slangier variant, "'nuff said." To be sure, anytime someone writes "enough said" you can be fairly certain that they've already said too much.

3. "To be sure." Intellectually gifted individuals can pull off using the phrase "to be sure" with relative success. George Will, for example, who earned a graduate degree at Princeton, can get away with it from time to time. Too often, though, using the phrase "to be sure" makes a writer sound like someone who really wants to be an intellectual, but very clearly isn't. In the way that if you have to ask how much something costs you probably can't afford it, if you have to ask yourself whether you should be using the phrase "to be sure," you probably shouldn't.

4. "Insurgents." I know there's probably nothing better to call the insurgents besides insurgents. Maybe irhabists? Secess? Anarchists? Extremists? I dunno. I just wish I didn't have to hear about them so often. 'Nuff said.

5. "War on Drugs." This term was coined in 1976 1971 (thanks, 6pence) by then- President Richard Nixon. OK. If you've been at war for 31 years and you haven't won yet, it's time to stop calling it a war. Or at least admit you've lost. (Maybe we should start calling it an insurgency instead.) If jackboot interdiction methods and ridiculously strict sentencing practices haven't worked (because, if the police are to be believed, the problem is worse now than ever), then maybe we should try something different for a while.

6. Nudity. Michelle Manhart goes nude in Playboy. Daniel Radcliffe goes nude in the theater. Darryl Delacruz goes jogging in the nude in a park near San Jose, CA. Pam Anderson and Sadie Frost go nude for PETA. None of this is really newsworthy. It's an odd comment on the fragile state of our collective sensibilities that a person can make national news just by taking their clothes off. I am hoping for the day when naked protesters are regarded as a bit touched perhaps, but not "shocking" in the least, and that their naked state might be mentioned in passing but isn't the news topic in and of itself.

7. Anything. Written. Like. This. This has got to be one of the most annoying practices ever. Stop. The. Madness.

8. Britney Spears. Yes, again. Hopefully the message gets through.

9. Gratuitous foreign words. I occasionally amuse myself by reading Anna Quindlen's editorials until I get to the gratuitous foreign expression. Usually it is within the first 80 words or so. Maybe this practice is supposed to demonstrate worldliness, or some sense of cosmopolitanism. Maybe its supposed to show that the author is very smart. I suppose, in one way, if both you and the audience know a foreign language very well and the foreign word expresses the desired sentiment or meaning far better than any English word you can think of then it would make sense to use it. Under any other circumstances, though, the practice is simply pretentious.

10. "Peace process." There is either peace, or there is not. Calling it the "peace process" is a way of getting everyone to feel good about peace when, clearly, it's still a disaster in progress. I'm all for peace. Anything short of peace is just negotiations.

This item linked at Outside the Beltway.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Fake Outrage Over Nudity on Lowell Public Access TV

Bostonist covers an incident that occurred on public access TV in Lowell, Massachusetts:

A man was offended at the sight of naked ladies cavorting during Lowell's late-night, cable-access New England Punk Goth Metal show. How come that never happens on our cable access?

Anyway, when the Lowell Sun spoke with the offended man, he described what he saw as "total, complete, nothing-on nudity."

Apparently "total, complete, nothing-on nudity" is worse than plain old nudity.

That was my thought, too. More in my comment at the linked post.