CSotD: Don’t Stop Believing! (Okay, do.)

Let’s start with Arlo and Janis (AMS) so we can have an easy explanation: Your thermometer is right there and the weather app is taking information from wherever your town reports weather.

In our case, we suspect it’s the airport, which is on a hilltop and therefore never in agreement with temperatures anywhere else. So I ask Alexa for the weather before heading out in the morning, then I look at the indoor/outdoor thermometer readout on the shelf and then I get into the car and see what it is reporting.

Then I get to the park and find enough wind coming down the Connecticut River that it’s a few degrees cooler anyway.

Arlo used to echo my midlife crisis, but now he’s starting to echo the fact that we’re turning into a pair of old coots.


Speaking of Mornings in the Park with Suzi, today’s Rhymes with Orange (KFS) got a laugh not for the joke itself, which is a good joke, but because we see geocachers all the time, since there is a cache deep in the bushes at the edge of the off-leash zone.

Hidden under a plastic poop.

Hey, if it weren’t deep in the bushes, we’d have found it ourselves, without a GPS app.


Meanwhile, Prince Valiant (KFS) demonstrates the appeal of a truly happy ending. We could use a lot fewer aspiring political figures and a lot more happy brewers, or, as Samuel Johnson put it:

Hermit hoar, in solemn cell,
Wearing out life’s evening gray,
Smite thy bosom, Sage, and tell,
What is bliss? And which the way?

Thus I spoke; and speaking sigh’d;
Scarce repress’d the starting tear;
When the hoary sage reply’d:
“Come, my lad, and drink some beer.”


Today’s Vintage Sunday Juliet Jones (KFS) from 1964 brings to mind something I guess you have to be an old coot to remember: When Howard Cosell stopped covering boxing over the brutality and corruption of the sport.

Cosell’s breaking point came in 1982, at the end of a period of horrors of which the main event was the death of Kim Duk-koo, when, as this story explains, he broadcast a 15-round supposed “championship bout” that was clearly over early.

Eighteen years earlier, well before anyone began imaging the brains of damaged boxers, Biff had voiced the central point:

Because all I know is the ring, I go right on getting my brains scrambled until — some day — there won’t be anything to scramble.

I used to enjoy the fights, because what was on the networks was the best of the best. But then cable began showing club fights from LA, featuring poor kids who had crossed the border to try to make a little money getting the hell beaten out of them by other poor immigrants.

The truth had been there for decades. Slapsy Maxie Rosenblum was an ex-fighter who made a living as a bumbling comic figure, and, in the 1940 classic “City for Conquest,” Cagney’s boxer gets a warning in the form of a punch-drunk ex-pug reduced to mopping the gym floor.

Rosenblum even appeared in Rod Serling’s 1955 classic, “Requiem for a Heavyweight” as a cautionary example for the title character.

All of which makes me wonder how the networks decided to return boxing to their sports lineup.

(I’m kidding. They’d broadcast gladiatorial combat if the ratings were good
and the law didn’t interfere.)


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Stephen Collins)

(Jeff Stahler – AMS)

Speaking of sports, this Juxtaposition comes together because Lindsay Rhodes, former anchor of NFL Total Access, had football guru Ian Rapoport on her podcast the other day, and, after some insider broadcasting chatter, they began to talk about what they’d been watching during the lockdown.

Rapoport, who can quote any NFL executive and rattle off the current stats of any player in the league off the cuff, was like the characters in Collins’ cartoon, unable to name multi-episode shows he had binge-watched, like “The Chess One.”

Which, as Collins suggests, is an indicator of just how disposable all these highly-praised, highly-watched shows really are.

My take is that I don’t mind watching entertaining crap but I don’t pretend it’s anything else, even though my mother will never forgive me for having referred to “I, Claudius” as “Upstairs, Downstairs in Bedsheets.”

Hey, Suetonius was entertaining crap, too. And one of the highlights of my college seminar.

The second half of the Juxtaposition was an insightful discussion between two highly successful broadcasters about (Green Bay quarterback) Aaron Rogers’ stint guest-hosting Jeopardy.

They agreed that it’s a balancing act that requires you to be faithful to the flavor of the show but also to maintain and project your own personality and your own take on the job, and not simply do an impression of Alex Trebek.

Now I have to go watch a few episodes with that in mind.


Switching from broadcast-journalism-shop-talk to print-journalism-shop-talk, here’s a really depressing Twitter thread, in which Adam Weinstein posts an ethical objection to USA Today taking money to run a full-page ad on its front page that looks like actual reporting.

I strongly agree, as have several people in that thread.

There is already enough doubt about the accuracy of the “main stream media” without proving their point by taking bribes to publish fiction on your front page.

But his outraged post merely demonstrates how easy it is for people to miss the point: Though he even magnified and posted the (inadequate) “Advertisement” disclaimer, a horrifying number of people responded by pointing out that it’s an ad for an upcoming film.

Or by finding it funny.

And apparently having no problem with it.

I’m appalled by Gannett allowing greed to overcome basic ethics, but I’m more appalled by how little it matters on the street.


Finally, to end on a redeeming note, Guy Badeaux has reprinted a profile from the Irish Times of cartoonist Martyn Turner on his 50th anniversary there.

Does he get many complaints? He doesn’t know. The woman who once fielded the calls at the newspaper told him that if he had “done a cartoon on the church, she used to call in sick”.

That’s all the feedback you need.

One thought on “CSotD: Don’t Stop Believing! (Okay, do.)

  1. Back in the early days of the Internet, I used to give orientations to the students in my department. One of the places on my tour was a weather site (anyone remember downwind.sprl.umich.edu?). I looked up the local weather, then said “see how much easier that is than actually going over to the window and looking outside.”

    That was back in the days when my work space had a window. A window that opened, even.

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