A running rant about bad television, crappy products, horrible service, mindless politics, corporate and government ineptitude, moronic media, marketing overload, public idiocy, stupid entertainment, etc. Here's what's annoying me today:


Feeding Frenzy

For over a week, it's been all Imus, all the time. This is such a frenzy, and there are so many double standards and such hypocrisy on all sides here, that it's impossible to even make a judgment or know where to start.

While I wouldn't call myself a fan of Imus himself, I am a regular listener of his show. Sure he's a craggy fossil, and often clueless about even his own opinion, but somehow, I find his show entertaining. Hey, I often like Andy Rooney too.

The nappy-headed hoes comment was stupid and offensive, but is it any moreso than the everyday putdowns that drive his, and most other radio talkshows? To me it was just his attempt to be cool. The term is regularly tossed out in hip-hop music, and he probably just threw it out, both to be funny, and to appear more with-it than his resemblance to the Old Man of the Mountain would suggest. As with many radio hosts that are double the age of their listeners, he often uses terms he doesn't fully understand in a pathetic attempt to be relevant.

But with all the offensive language that is regularly heard on the airwaves, whether it's in hip-hop music, talk radio, or on Comedy Central, who would ever guess that this one offhand remark could become a week long, 24-hour news story, and would potentially end his career? In a world where there are often no boundaries, how is one to know when one has been crossed? As William Hurt's character in Broadcast News says: "It's hard not to cross, they keep moving the little sucker, don't they."

The bottom line is that if Imus is fired over this, the real right-wing hate mongers like Rush Limbaugh better be fair game too, as well as the pushers of hate-filled music and comedy.

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This is Not a Sales Call

Quick tip: If you answer your phone, and the caller says "This is not a sales call", chances are 100% that it's a sales call. It's very similar to the rule regarding anything that comes out of George Bush's lips. For instance: "This was not a political decision" means "Of course this was a political decision"

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Not the Happiest Place on Earth

I just had to run down to the Liberty Tree Mall to get some clothes for my upcoming trip to The Happiest Place on Earth. I stopped to get a bite to eat at Subway because I was starving, and it was the first place I saw. Behind the counter were two Registry worker types that obvious weren't following the Jared diet and really hated their jobs. The minute I started to order, I knew I didn't want to eat there. These two women were just miserable. Big ugly pouts on their faces. I ordered some pre-named sandwich that looked yummy in the picture, so I didn't think I would have to make a lot of decisions. "What kind of bread?" "What do you want on it?" "Do you want it toasted?" All with a big scowl. I guess I gave all the wrong answers because I ended up with the most disgusting sadwhich I've ever had in my life.

Rule number 1 of marketing a chain: You can spend a fortune to market yourself as a friendly, healthy, fast food alternative, but if the customer's experience is a boilded bag of chicken microwaved on soggy bread, and the customer service is akin to the RMV, than all your marketing dollars are wasted.

Here's a visual of my experience. Was going to use this as the top of post photo, but it was just a little TOO disgusting.

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I hope he checked with Katie

White House spokeman Tony Snow was just diagnosed with a recurrence of Cancer that doesn't sound too good. I wish him well. He's got the toughest job in America, as chief spokeman for The Idiot. I just hope he has checked in with Katie Couric before making any career or family decisions. If you saw the interview with John & Elizabeth Edwards, you know it's now Katie's job to decide what is appropriate behavior and what people should think.

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Most ridiculous co-branding example of the week.

I could do a whole blog on the stupid shit I see at the grocery store. Who thinks up this shit? What marketing moron actually came up with the idea to print Trivial Pursuit questions in the frosting of Pop-Tarts? How can such a retarded concept be born? Sure dual-branding is epidemic. There is Scope in my Crest, Downey in my Tide, and every kind of trade-marked cookie and candy bar imaginable in my ice cream. It's just the next step in the conspiracy to stretch the toothpaste aisle (or in this case, the toaster pastry aisle) another 10 feet. But who the fuck is going to buy a package of Part-Tarts in order to get in a quick game of trivia at the breakfast table.

As I've said before: All marketing people are idiots. As several commenters previously pointed out: Brand managers are a few steps dumber.

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Who Wants to be a Pedophile?

That should be the new title of Dateline, since the show (which was always fake news in the worst sense of the term), has become nearly 100% Chris Hanson standing at the kitchen island confronting potential child molesters. The show is on now as often as Who Wants to be a Millionaire was a few years ago when that was briefly a ratings juggernaut. And its on all the time for the same reason as Millionaire-because it too is a ratings bonanza.

For the brief time I can stand to watch it, I don't know if I am more repulsed by the slime that come through the front door looking for their 12 year old dates; or by Hanson emerging from the back room to confront these loosers, as if being a pompous blowdried news anchor gives him licence to play cop, detective, judge, and social worker. The show has no more social value than Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader, and probably less.

And now the spillover has affected MSNBC, which has become the repository for endless reruns of the show, and now has Joe Scarborough, (who I was actually starting to enjoy, if only because its fun to hear Republicans bash Bush) nothing but a shill for the show. If Olbermann starts pushing it, I'll be done with him too.

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Why Al Gore No Longer Sucks

How things change. Six years ago, I so couldn't stomach the man, that I purposefully threw my vote away and voted for Ralph Nader (It's OK, I live in Massachusetts, it's not like it could possibly have made any difference). One year ago, I wrote this. Today, as I look at the possibility of a Hillary vs. Romney match, Al Gore suddenly looks like the best of all possibly worlds. A smart, experienced, relatively moderate (he was once considered a Conservative) senior statesman, who was not only one of the first mainstream politicians to vocally raise alarm over the environment, but was also virtually the only prominent politician of either party (other than maybe Pat Buchanan) to loudly object to the Iraq war, and call it nearly exactly as it would pan out.

While Obama may indeed make a viable presidential candidate SOME DAY, with only 2 years experience as a Senator, I find it appalling that he is being seriously considered. Especially when the country can see what damage an inexperienced president can do.

As far as Hillary or Romney go, both are such phonies, and would be such awful candidates that I could not see myself voting for either under any circumstance. Shockingly, Al Gore seems like the country's best hope at this point.



Lost in the Hallmark store

Shopping for a Valentines or other card for the wife is just excruciating. I pick up one card after another & they just all suck. Mushy ones with full page poems are enough to make you puke. Funny ones are even worse. It's all pablum. I just stand there and reject each one the instant I pick it up. Now being a supposedly creative guy, I should just make something up myself, but I have a real hard time being creative in my spare time (possibly because I have no spare time!) so a day before V-Day I'm at the mercy of Hallmark.

I do feel for the people whose job it is to think this shit up day after endless day. Talk about creative burnout! It would be enough to make someone go postal! "Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, If I have to write any more shit like this, I'm going to blow you all to Timbuktu"

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Are Bostonians ALL Complete Idiots?

First off, as a graphic designer, who has had to work with more than my share of marketing people over the years, I will state plainly that ALL MARKETING PEOPLE ARE IDIOTS. In fact, I've been working on a project for one all day today, which is why I didn't catch onto all of this Mooninite business till late this afternoon.

Clearly it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that strapping battery powered devices to bridges all over a city, might be cause for alarm by somebody!!

But how in hell did it take the entire apparatus of local, state and national government, and the mainstream media until 5:00 PM, after a full day of shutting down bridges, tying the city in complete knots, and blowing up electronic cartoon characters to figure out what was going on here. Seems like there were clues all over the place. I mean, there are pictures of this thing all over the internet, and the thing has been set up in 10 other cities for two weeks. Are Bostonians just particularly ignorant?

The most comical point in the whole day for me was Channel 7 blurring the finger (3 light bulbs) of the Mooninite so that no viewers would be offended. I'm just offended to live in such a completely nutjob society.

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Stop Mixing Sports and Politics

While I'm not a huge fan of sports talk radio, there are times, like during a Patriots or Red Sox playoff run, or immediately after a meltdown, that I enjoy tuning into WEEI. But the last thing I want to hear, two days before the biggest football game of the year, is right wing politics. Seems, lately that's all I get. Three times this week, I tuned into Dennis and Callahan to see what they were saying about the Pats, and all three times, they were trashing Hillary or Obama, and barely talking sports at all. Even today after last night's debacle in Indianapolis, they are talking politics when I turn them on.

Now a case could be made that a low IQ makes for entertaining sports talk, but in my book, that certainly doesn't translate to political talk. If I want a dose of right wing politics, I'll tune in Jay Severin. I certainly don't need to hear it from the sports bozos.

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It feels drafty in here

Bush's Secy. Of Veteran Affairs: “I Think That Our Society Would Benefit” From Reinstating Draft...

Then of course he clarified "of course I don't support the draft"

But mark my words, it's going to happen. Plenty of talk lately about increasing the size of the military, but the draft is the elephant in the room. No one dare mention it, except maybe McCain. But with the mess Bush has made of the military and the state of the world, it's inevitable. It probably will be left to the next Democrat president to do it, thereby forcing the Democrats to get the blame for it, but it's coming down. And to my Republican friends, who like me, have a kid that will probably be just the right age to be affected some day, just rememberer that you twice voted for the bafoon that is the cause of it.

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Police Fundraising Scams

It's the time of year when everyone comes out of the woodwork to try to separate me from my money. Thanks to the Do Not Call List, we no longer have to put up with telemarketing from businesses. But charities are another story. Once you donate to one, you are fair game for all forms of questionable charities to haunt you at every opportunity.

And nothing pisses me off more that the obviously phony, or barely legitimate, police and fire fundraising calls that I get constantly the last couple years. While it always annoyed me a bit to be hit on by my local police and fire department (what do I pay exorbitant property taxes for), I nevertheless would always donate $25 dollars to my local police and fire department.

But when I started getting calls for The New England Firefigher's Association, The American Police Officer's Association etc., and was confronted with high pressure assholes on the phone, I made a blanket policy that I would no longer give a dime to any police of fire group that call me on the phone. Sure, I'm probably tarring the legitimate calls with the scam calls, but I don't have any way to figure out who is legitimate and who is not, so that's just the way it goes. And even the most worthy charity shouldn't be haunting people for donations on the phone.

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I'd Cry Too...

If my son had screwed up his country and his world as thoroughly as W has. I really feel bad for 41. He's obviously been in agony over this. Has known all along where this was going. But the man is loyal to family, even above country. It's a friggin shame. All W had to do was take one ounce of fatherly advise from the man who may not have been the best President in modern times, but was certainly the most qualified. But no, W only took advise from a higher father. That has got to be the most telling of all quotes this dunce has uttered.

I think W has all of his mother's genes anyway, not his Dad's.

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Balloons and Assault Rifles

This has shocked me the past several years. At the annual holiday parade in Beverly there are dozens of vendors pushing carts filled with balloons and stuffed animals. You got everything from Dora the Explorer to Lightning McQueen to Santa Claus. But between the giant inflatable candy canes, and the stuffed Dumbos, are a display of toy assault rifles. Seriously. I'm not talking about little squirt guns or even cap guns. I'm talking three-foot long plastic rifles with scopes, clearly labeled "assault rifles". Unfortunately the photo I snapped doesn't show the wording but trust me, it was there.

What the hell is up with that. What could possibly be the justification for selling toy assault rifles to kids at a holiday parade? They have them every year, so somebody must be buying them. But before I ask "what parent would buy their kid a toy assault rifle at the local Santa Claus parade," I do have to hesitate & picture at least a couple of the parents I have seen picking up their kids at my sons kindergarten class and think. "Oh, yeah, I guess that kind of parent just might." Here you go junior. Go stand behind the mailbox & pretend you are picking off Santa.

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Colors Named After Vegetables

Sometimes when I'm doing home improvement projects myself, I don't know my ass from my elbow. In this case, I don't know a friggin avocado from an artichoke.

Was going to take advantage of the relatively warm weather today and start to paint my shutters. After going through our usual obsessive-compulsive color speccing (I tend to be a little gay when it comes to picking colors for the house. Am worse than the wife, actually), and testing on the back side of the garage last spring we settled on Benjamin Moore color # 2141-10. Or since everybody has to be fucking Martha Stewart these days, Artichoke. But sometime between last spring, when we picked the color, and last weekend when I went to buy the paint, I transposed vegetables in my mind & went to the paint store and plunked down $75 for two gallons of Avocado paint.

So I just got things all set up today, pulled out the primer & started painting. Color looked a little bright, but since it was just the primer, and was still wet, I didn't worry that much about it. Got through the first shutter & it still looked wrong. It looked more like something I'd dip my nacho chips in, or worse yet, something I'd see after having many too many margaritas with my nachos, than something I'd want to hang on my house. So I check the top coat can & it looked pretty much the same. Then I dug out the test can from last Spring & sure enough, it was supposed to be Artichoke, not Avocado. God damn $75 down the drain because I remembered the the wrong fucking vegetable.

Now the paint store says to bring in the cans & they'll see if they can turn Avocado into Artichoke, but I figure I'll just end up with pukey looking Asparagus or something.

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7-day Weather Forecasts

Weather forecasts are a pretty dubious enterprise as it is. Seems that two days ago, Thanksgiving was going to be a warm sunny day, and now it's going to be a washout. But many of the stations now seem to be doing 7-day forecasts. 7 days out there is a snowball's chance in hell of them getting it right, but that's besides the point. Like all else in local news, this started with a marketing consultant. At Channel 7, the marketing tie-in is obvious. Who cares if there is a 1% chance of them getting it right? Why pass up the chance to be able to reinforce the brand by saying Seven on 7 every time you give the weather. Now by this logic, Channel 4 would be doing only 4-day forecasts, but there must also be a page in the consultant's handbook that says you can't forecast any fewer number days than your competition, even at the expense on not being able to reinforce your brand.

I'm sure somewhere, there is a Channel 10 attempting to do 10-day forecasts. And I wouldn't be too surprised if somewhere down the road, Fox 25 jumps on the bandwagon & attempts to do 25-day forecasts. Hmm, you don't think that with Channel 7 taking over the news operation at Channel 56, they would have the balls to go for a 56-day forecast do you?

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If it airs, you must despair

He's back! Just when you thought television and publishing standards could get no lower, OJ has been given yet another public forum by his enablers in the media. This one is truly despicable. He has a new book titled, incredibly, If I Did It, Here's How It Happened. The book is being published by the shameless Judith Regan who will also interview the deranged lunatic in a two part special on the equally shameless FOX network. Everyone involved here sucks: OJ, the media, anybody that watches or buys this crap, and certainly any advertisers that support it. I'd guess that they won't find any, but I won't be too surprised (I've overestimated corporate ethics many times before) to hear some corporate lowlife that would support this bile. Say, like News Corp, the parent company of both FOX, and the publisher Harper-Collins? There is just no depth to how low this guy and his enablers will go.

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Icy Martinis and Bad Fish

OK, enough politics for a while. Back to more important things.

Like why can't the new trendy martini restaurant in my town figure out how to make a martini that isn't full of ice chunks? Any why are they only half full?

It's not like we get out to trendy martini bars very often with two little kids. Maybe we aren't up on all the trends. Like we know it's correct to serve red wine in a much oversized glass, so it can breath (or some such nonsense), but when did this become true of martinis? And it's not like this was an oversized glass. It was just a much undersized martini.

And what's with the ice chunks? This restaurant, Mandrake in Beverly, is very cool, great atmosphere, and has been open about a year. We tried it out when it first opened and had the exact same experience with the drinks. Gave them a pass because it had only been open a week. But by now, I'd think they should know how to make a martini correctly. I mean, I wouldn't expect a perfect martini at a beer joint, or at the 99, but when you have a martini menu, you should be able to make a fucking martini without shards of ice in it.

And then there is the tuna problem. I am a bit of a tuna snob. Tuna can only be cooked one way: RARE. The best tuna dishes I've ever had were cooked by a chef named Brian Kilroy who worked at the late, great Love Noodle in Salem, and then hopped around to several other restaurants on the North Shore. It was perfect every time. Seared, sliced, and served over asian noodles and vegetables in a killer soy wasabi sauce. If you ordered it any other way than RARE, he would refuse to make it. He was the Tuna Nazi.

Mandrake's tuna appetizer was cooked correctly, but it seemed like it was prepared between a few hours and a few days before it was served. Yuck.

So while we will probably give Mandrake another chance at some point, it is on a 6-month probation for shitty drinks and stale tuna. One of our other favorite North Shore restaurants, Finz in Salem is also on a 1-year tuna probation for the bland, overthick, seared on only one side slab I got there this summer. Rare tuna is good, but a two inch thick piece of raw fish with no flavor is not.

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Why are all my friends Republican?

Here is just a sampling of comments from my Republican friends after Tuesday's big thumpin'. For some reason I tend to have many more Republican friends than Democrats. They are all terribly misguided, but I can't seem to do anything about it. This doesn't even include the most anti-liberal, FOX News talking-point spewing, illegal alien fearing (although safely ensconced in alien-free Marblehead) Republican nut-job buddy, who I nearly came to blows with in a bar on the eve of the Iraq war when I correctly predicted just about everything that has happened over there. I have yet to hear from him, but have no doubt that there will be no change in his no-holds-barred anti-liberal tirades.

Anyways, here's a sampling of emails from the others.
  • I suggest you start the process of getting your pistol permits to carry concealed weapons now. The Democrats are in power and as bad as Massachusetts is now, it will only get worse. May the dear lord take pity on Massachusetts; I almost puked last night listening to Ted Kennedy introduce the Devil. In fact, I couldn't listen; I turned off the TV, kissed my children and started battening down the hatches. This is Jericho.

  • These guys are in over their head. Just wait a few years after we've paid higher taxes and on the surface a few social/ education programs look a little better (as might the economy) We'll also have a deficit of 4 billion instead of 2. By the time his or Murray's term is over (Patrick is out of here if a Democrat is elected into the Oval Office), it will be 1989 all over again, our economy will be in the tank and more people will be out of work. Not to mention the criminal pardons. Cranky, you will rue the day you decided to go back to the dark side.

At least one is only a wishy-washy Republican.
  • You know I voted for Healey but to be honest, I held my nose while doing it.

In addition to this, my brother-in-law persueded (certainly with some help of the race card) his normally Democratic 85 year-old mother of all the scarry things that could happen if Patrick was elected & drove her to the polls so she could vote against the Dems.

Jeeze, I need to do something about my political circle of friends. I guess this is the perils of living in the suburbs. But if you judged me by my friends and relatives, you might think I lived in Mississippi, not Massachusetts.

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I can't get rid of my Kerry cookie

On a day of almost uniform good news: Democrats taking control of the House, and possibly Senate. Rumsfeld resigning. The end of the Romney error. On a great day for a liberal-leaning news junkie, my web browser, and MSNBC is playing dirty dricks on me. Every time I go there I am greated with the above banner from two weeks ago. The day when our dufus Senator stuck his foot in his mouth and gave rise to the insecurity and fear of every Democrat that, just like the Red Sox, they were going to find a way to blow it in the bottom of the 9th. If I refresh, I get the current good news, but every time I go back to get any updates, I'm greeted by Senetor Dufus again, and for an instant think yesterday was only a dream.

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Election Night Blogging


  • Exit Poll Question:
    Do you think Mitt Romney would make a good President
    No: 70%

    Do you think John Kerry would make a good President
    No: 68%


  • Joe Leiberman is complaining that people are calling to complain that they can't find his name on the ballot. He's listed 5th


  • John Henning looks like a giant standing next to Sarah Underwood on Channel 38. He's certainly a giant intellectually in comparison.


  • I'm really surprised to hear that Deval Patrick is only the second black Governor in the history of the country.


  • This is weird. Joe Scarborough is flipping out at Chris Matthews for agreeing with Howard Dean that he's too partison. He's really pissed.


  • Flipping between MSNBC & CNN (and FOX Occasionally) and there is a definite difference on how they are presenting this. MSNBC is definitely making a better case for how the Democrats are doing than CNN (and of course Fox is)

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    Gee, that's big of you, Quark

    Just got this email from Quark, the page layout program that I ceremoniously dumped about a year ago. I no longer use the program, except for the occasional update to an old job that I haven't felt like converting to InDesign. Quark just came out with a new version that I have no intention of buying, and know next to nothing about. The email stated with great excitement, Important licensing change: Upgrade to QuarkXPress 7 and continue to run QuarkXPress 6. Yes, it’s true. Your license for QuarkXPress 6 remains alive and well when you upgrade to QuarkXPress 7

    Well, what the fuck, Quark. You mean that before this big announcement you were actually forcing people to disable the old version that they had payed $1000 for? When anybody who has ever used Quark knows that any new version will be so full of bugs that they will end up reverting to the old version for the two years it takes Quark to fix all the problems anyways?

    That's the bullshit that has caused everybody to abandon this company in droves. The fact that you set up the new release like that in the first place, and now consider it a big gift to your customers to let them keep using the old version shows that nothing has changed in Quarkland.

    I'm very happy to be through with you.

    [computers] [graphic design] [products] [publishing]

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    The "Things that Suck" Endorsement

    While I often take issue with Democratic leaders' ineptitude, and the party's adherence to political correctness and special interests, I want to make sure that for at least the next week, the picture under the "Things that Suck" banner is of the real menace, George W. Bush. Easily the most delusional, dishonest, and dangerous President in my lifetime, and arguably in our nation's history. The man who took the the unity of the entire country, and the support of the world after September 11th, and turned it into worldwide scorn.

    "Things that Suck" endorses any candidate in any race, in any district, in any state, who can in anyway help to put some kind of check on this evil doer. And if not impeach him (and Cheney), at least control him over the next two years. Unfortunately, in just about every case, this means voting Democratic. I say unfortunately because I see no positive or unified plan for dealing the mess caused by Bush from the Democrats either, and hold them responsible for playing dead for four years and allowing Bush and his cronies free reign. But right now, that's the only hope we have.



    Senator, You're No John Stewart

    You're a fucking idiot!

    Not happy having blown the presidential election, now you've gone and thrown Karl Rove a big sloppy wet kiss, just when there was finally a real chance of a Democratic victory.

    First you insult all members of the armed forces with your boneheaded comments that they are there because they are uneducated. Now there is probably a lot of truth in the argument that there are many people in the service right now, and therefore in Iraq, precisely because they didn't have many other opportunities in life including the opportunity for higher education. But you don't come out and put it the way you did, a week before the fucking election!

    And now, you are digging yourself deeper with this Clintonian denial that "I was trying to tell a joke about the President" Bullshit!! Sure Bush may be the dumbest president in our history, but it certainly isn't because of a lack of opportunity or education. He went to fucking Yale like you, asshole. You're now fabricating a whole bullshit joke explanation, keeping the story alive longer, and making people remember why they decided that it was better to keep the idiot in the White House than to have to listen to you for four years.

    And did you really call Rush Limbaugh doughy in an official press release? That's pretty funny. Maybe you are John Stewart.

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    New Leader in Boston's Worst Newscast Race

    There is certainly some heady competition in the contest for Boston's worst newscast. On any particular night all three 11:00 newscasts, as well as both 10:00 newscasts could just as easily take the prize. It's a vast wasteland. But the new kid on the block, Channel 38's 9:30 newscast has lately risen to number one with a bullet.

    It's just horrible. First off, who the hell designed the news set. Color scheme is so 1999. Tiny little desk the anchors stand at is just weird. Looks like they just went to Home Depot & loaded up on stuff out of the clearance bin. I think those are metal wall studs sticking out of the anchors heads. Even the widescreen TV that the weather is presented on looks like the weekly loss-leader special at Best Buy.

    The news script is just painful to listen to. Sara Underwood, while still somewhat of a babe, is so dumb she makes Maria Stephanos look like a Rhodes Scholar. It's especially awkward when she attempts to do serious world news (something that of course, isn't attempted too often.) The only possible positive is Jon Keller's political analysis. He's a certified geek, but head and shoulders above the likes of Andy Hiller on Channel 7. But then they force him to race through his commentary while a 38-second clock ticks away.

    It's just dreadful.

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