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:



February has got to be the suckiest month of all, at least to those of us that live in cold climates. It's the one time of year that I seriously think of moving to Southern California. I hate it more every year. Why do people live in climates like this? It's insane. I say this, even after an awesome day of snowboarding on Saturday. I mean, you could live in California, and still be able to drive a few hours and go snowboarding. Then return home where its warm!

Even the holidays in February suck. Groundhog Day, Valentines Day, and President's Day. First one you celebrate a rodent, who ALWAYS sees his shadow. Second one is just to increase the profits of card, candy and flower companies. And the third is known best for cheap prices on cars.

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Still to come, Ricky Martin

OK, that's my cue to go to bed. I've been sitting here working on the computer with the Olympic closing ceremonies on. Not really paying much attention, just noting periodic cheesiness. A band of marching clowns playing YMCA. Some ridiculous looking ice fishing skecth. I missed the guy who ran on stage during some speech when I went to the bathroom. But hearing Still to come, Rickie Martin just before a commercial break, finally has made me turn it off & go to bed.


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TV Lawyers

These personal injury lawyers that advertise on TV are the biggest slimeballs going. The best known locally is James Sokolove. You see his ads mainly during the noon news, or during daytime TV. Targeting all the soap opera watchers. If I ever needed a lawyer he'd be the last guy I'd call. Looks like a dick.

They are ambulance chasers. Whatever the hot buzz is in the media about bad medicine or dangerous products, they are on the case. Asbestos poisoning, Vioxx, securities fraud. Anything you want to sue somebody for, they're there to help, collect their 33%, and add to the country's litigation madness.

Here's a website urging lawyers to advertise on TV because "TV advertising reaches people with serious injuries IN BED at home or in the hospital where they don't have access to the Internet or Yellow Pages." Gee how "equal-access" of you. Just dial 1-800-HURT-911. Very clever.

And here's an even better one. This may be related to the above. A blog about lawyer advertising. This post warns about the costs of redoing your billboard or other advertising campaigns if one of your partners is suspended or disbarred and you have to change your firm's name. It suggests that if you think you may have been caught doing anything wrong, you might want to hold off on advertising for a while. The post ends with "The moral of this story is that when advertising, always be on your best behavior and make sure that everyone in the firm is." Then I guess if you weren't advertising, you could behave as badly as you wanted?

I don't have much use for lawyers period, but these guys are the scum of the earth.

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Shit work I've done for cash

As requested, another post about my day job.

I could fill a whole blog with crappy shit that I've been forced to do by clients or bosses during my life as a designer: having to use crappy photos for political or budget reasons; having some senior marketing dufus come up with a "brilliant" idea that he forces me to do, that is really the most idiotic thing I've ever heard in my life; clients who say they want something "edgy" but are terrified of doing anything they haven't seen before. On and on and on.

Every day, the life of a designer is filled with compromises. Usually I grumble a bit, argue why some other solution would be better, and then "do what the client wants," while trying to save the thing as much as possible from completely sucking. I can generally live with the results, even if most of the shit I do these days isn't award-winning. It pays the bills. As a former creative director used to say. "If 5% of the work you are doing is cool, then you are doing OK" Basically I feel that most of the cool work I've done is stuff I've managed to sneak by when somebody wasn't paying attention.

So looking back over the past year to find the worst example of shit I've done for money, there was one particularly horrifying job I worked on (for a client I would never work for again, so I could care less if they see this). It was during a slow period last fall that I agreed to be an interim art director for a couple weeks at a local business magazine.


Turns out it was one of these "all-advertorial" magazines. For those of you not in the business, "advertorials" are those little sections in the middle of "real" magazines that are really ads designed to look like a special editorial section of the magazine. They are totally bogus, but like stadium naming rights, are here to stay. Most legitimate magazines label them in very small type at the top "special advertising section"

But there is a particularly awful new breed of magazine where every article in it is bought, written by, approved by, art supplied for free by, or somehow else completely controlled by the company the story is about. To the average dope, they may look like a real magazine, but to anybody with a brain in their head, the real purpose is pretty obvious. In general these rags are horrible looking.

They are sort of the bastard stepchild of custom publishing, a slightly more legitimate branch of marketing where businesses will publish a marketing brochure disguised as a magazine. Starbucks had one for a while that was pretty cool looking. While those are still pretty dubious as far as having a legitimate editorial mission, at least they are professionally designed and produced for the most part.

So anyway, the above is a spread from the issue of this rag that I worked on. The red circles point out all the reasons why to someone who loves magazine design, this was such a stench-inducing job to work on.
  • 1: Every feature in the entire 120 page magazine must follow this exact grid

  • 2: Story is a 100% puff piece bought by the subject company, and either written by, edited by, or approved by the company it is about

  • 3: Cheesy use of "vignettes" is required in all features

  • 4: For some stupid reason there is a full line space after each paragraph, which looks ridiculous

  • 5a: Every piece of art in the entire magazine is either supplied free by the client (aka, the subject of the story) or royalty free stock art. The art budget is $0. Note first use on the page of businessmen-shaking-hand partnership cliche photograph.

  • 5b: Hard to make out, but there is a second businessmen-shaking-hand cliche in this cheeseball section icon, which is repeated 34 times in the issue.

  • 6: Bio of the whore who wrote the story

  • Not labeled: Had to chase this client down for nearly three months to be paid

If you have made it this far, and still care about this subject, first, get a life, second, here's a link to another blog that talks about this particular magazine, and its ilk.

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Come work for us (for nothing!)

As a freelance graphic designer with a pretty steady client base, I fortunately don't have to rely on the help wanted ads on Craigslist, Guru, and other job posting sites. Thank god!! I well remember the days of being a starving artist.

My first real job was is the art department of a certain alternative weekly newspaper. Well, actually my first real job was making signs for a department store, but I don't like to talk about that one. I'm sure one of my regular readers will fill you in on the clown mask I used to put on when I got home from that job it made me so crazy. SickOE, please keep in mind this is a public forum.

But anyway I digress. The newspaper gig was a great job and a great relief from making signs for toaster-ovens, especially for the partying and perks that went along with it. But I made shit. I think I made $12,000 a year full time when I started. The basic philosophy of the place was "this is such a cool job, that they should be paying us to let them work here." And it certainly worked for them.

That attitude is alive and well on the job posting boards today. Why pay for a professional to design your logo, when you can find somebody to do it for $250 bucks. It's really a depressing commentary on what the perceived worth of graphic design (and other creative work) is, if the rates offered for our services on the boards are any indication. Here is a sampling of what people think creative work is worth in Boston today.

  • Magazine Seeking Artists and Writers Compensation: Selected articles will receive $20 for every submission.

  • Need Outdoor Location Photos: There is no $ budget at all for this job. What we can offer is visibility and credit/advertising on the well trafficked site

  • $100 to anyone who can paint/draw/photograph something cool.

  • Corporate Logo Needed: Compensation: Less than $250 (This appears to be the going rate for a corporate logo on Guru.com)

  • Drawings of famous philosophers needed (Nietzsche, Freud, etc.): Compensation: $30 per picture

  • I need a student or someone willing to work for free/trade to design a rock star flash site for my business: Compensation: Not sure yet, maybe some food? coffee? small stipend? a hug?

  • Seeking a design for our corporate logo, Timeline is one to two weeks, more if needed. We have already selected the colors, images and art for the logo (gee leaving a lot of creative to the "designer") Compensation: start at $160

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Greg Brady is creepy

For some reason I had on a 70's music infomercial on for a while tonight. In addition to learning that I could get a digitally remastered version of Billy Don't Be a Hero, I also realized that Barry Williams (aka Greg Brady) is the creepiest of former child stars. I guess I always thought this, but never had a blog to write it down before. Think about it. Danny Bonaduce and Leif Garrett may be more fucked up, but I don't think there is anyone else you has the creep factor of Barry Williams. Maybe KC, of KC & The Sunshine Band, but I think Barry has him beat by quite a bit. Maybe it adds to the creep factor thinking of him hitting on his TV mom Florence Henderson. Ahhhhhhgghhh!

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Powerball Madness (again)

It's another record jackpot in the Powerball, which no doubt means it will be the top story on the local news tonight. A little free advertising for government-sponsored gambling. More encouragement for the lowest in society to go spend their welfare checks on a 146 million-to-one shot of hitting the jackpot.

The story will be more important than 1800 people killed by a mud slide in the Philippines, more Americans dead in Iraq, or even the Entwistle murder case. And the damn Powerball isn't even sold in Massachusetts.

So here's how it stacks up on the local stations tonight:

At 6:00:
  • Channel 4: Not quite the lead, but they got to a full report by 6:05 before the first commercial break.

  • Channel 7: Didn't get to the Jumbo Jackpot story until 6:17, but they did have the Olympics to promote. They also teased it before every commercial break.

  • Channel 5: Took until after 6:20, surprisingly AFTER the mudslide story.
At 10:00 Channel 56 had the story of Powerball Fenzy by 10:06

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Too much figure skating

Every four years, I have the same gripe with the Olympics coverage. Just too much damn figure skating. I have zero interest. I just watched the final race of the snowboard cross, a new event this year, that was just awesome. But now it's back to more figure skating.

Enough already. Give me more snowboarding.

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Who is this Michael Graham dufus?

As a moderate liberal, I must confess that I often enjoyed listening to Jay Severin, and I really miss hearing him on WTKK. I know he's back on at 7:00, but I'm not listening to the radio at the hour. Jay was my guilty pleasure driving home from the office.

This guy Michael Graham they have on now is completely unlistenable. He sounds like a moron. Standard anti-liberal boilerplate. Like some dumb loud fratboy who knows nothing, but has an opinion on everything. His callers sound far from the "best and brightest" that Jay claimed his to be. Honestly I can't say more about his show than that, because, like Rita Cosby, I can barely stand to listen to his voice for two minutes. He was fired from his last gig, supposedly over some controversy, but more likely just because he sucked.

Jay, on the other hand, is immensely listenable. When I first heard him, and many other times while a listener, I was horrified by some of his ideas, and his crude descriptions of certain liberals: Ted Kennedy is a "fat socialist pig" or a "pantload." Illegal aliens are "crimaliens" The Clintons are described in whatever crude and ugly words pop into his head. Any time the Boston Globe or any other media outlet criticized him, he'd spend the whole show trashing them. Often, he'd be so over the top, I'd have to turn him off.

Yet, just as often, I'd learn something new, or think about an issue from the other side. And many times I'd find myself agreeing with him. And he was at least somewhat unpredictable. Unlike Graham or Sean Hannity, you weren't always 100% sure where he'd come down a particular issue. And he usually had an original argument for whatever the particular issue was. Sometimes it was a complete nut-job argument, but if nothing else it was entertaining radio.

Wish they'd put him back on at 5:00.

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OK, Three posts on Quailgate is enough. Let's get off of politics for a while.

So, I was watching a story last night on the news about a case of Snow-rage. Somebody getting into a fight over a neighbor blowing snow in their driveway. I think the guy pulled out a baseball bat or something. Got me to thinking about the rage of rages in the media. Are there really more cases of rage, or is this just another way to package the news, just like Breaking News, and Alliteration Madness. Either way this is post-worthy.

Everyone knows about Road-rage. There was Rink-rage a couple years ago: Hockey dads getting into fights at their kids hockey games. There is Air-rage: Rage in airplanes. A quick search of recent news items finds the following types of rage:And a personal favorite: Grammy-rage: Paul McCartney allegedly going nuts and storming out of the Grammy Awards, because he got beat by U2.

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Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right

I'm real cranky today. This Cheney gun thing has brought out madness all around.

Cheney and the White House bunglers, as usual, look like complete buffoons. No more needs to be said on that side.

The mainstream press is blowing the whole thing way out of proportion, because they smell blood (literally). They are still trying to make up for being lapdogs, and NOT asking the right questions BEFORE the invasion of Iraq, when we really needed them too.

And then idiot pundits on the left, personified best by Paul Begala, just prove that as horrible as the Bush administration is, that the Democrats have no better plan, and might even be worse. I mean, how can you be so bad, that the country would have elected Bush and Cheney twice!

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See Scott Squirm

This guy has got has got to be the worst press secretary ever. I'm just watching the nightly episode of "Beat Up Scott" on Countdown. Olbermann fills about six minutes of air time every night, just showing the press beating this guy up. Tonight is particularly entertaining since the subject is Cheney's gun accident.

I wasn't old enough to really remember Ron Ziegler, Nixon's press secretary during Watergate too well, but some days lately, Scott seems to be channeling him.

His answer to every question is "You'll have to check with [fill in the blank's] office", or "I don't have that information". He just stands up there looking like the Pillsbury Dough Boy, getting barraged by the press about whatever the day's particular scandal is. I'm not really saying this just because I hate Bush. He's completely over his head, and does not help Bush out at all. If anything, he helps the other side by being so bad, and letting the press corps get all riled up. I can't believe that any Republican would think this guy helps them out at all.

His predecessor Ari Fleischer was a master at handling the press, and stonewalling. He certainly had a more docile press corps at that point, but there was some tension during the run up to the Iraq War, and he just knocked the press right back to the ground when they even attempted to get tough.

Here's are a couple pretty funny websites devoted to Scott:
  • First one is an animated parody of a McClellan press conference.

  • Second one, is a site called We Love Scott McClellan. At first glance it seems to obviously be mocking him, but the more I read it, I'm not really sure. I think it might actually be a fan club. Can't really tell where the creator is coming from. Pretty funny to look at.

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Trigger Happy Cheney

Here's the story:
Cheney Accidentally Shoots Fellow Hunter

Comedians are going to have a field day with this one. Here are a few of the jokes I've read already on the web. Most of these are from here.
  • Cheney was just upset that the ducks weren't greeting him as a liberator

  • Cheney's blaming the hunter he shot for not alerting him that he was in his line of fire. "It's the intelligence, stupid"

  • Maybe if Cheney hadn't gotten all those deferments, he could actually shoot straight

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21st century smokers

This is bound to piss of some friends, but I was walking into the CVS today, and had to pass by the gang of CVS workers on their smoking break. What dregs of society. Banning smoking in public (a very positive development, libertarian leanings be dambed) has really created a new underclass. Or exposed one, at least. Look at the group of people smoking outside of Wal-Mart or whatever business you walk into. For the most part they are your typical lowlives. Anybody still smoking on a daily basis in 2006, really can't claim the title of "sharpest tool in the shed."

Now, I won't go any farther into the reasons why smoking is stupid. This blog isn't about being preachy. But if you are one of the group out there on "smoking break," every half hour and you aren't a welfare mother, you might want to think about how you are perceived these days.

Now to my several smoker friends, who hopefully aren't reading this. I'll give you somewhat of a pass, because most of you only smoke while you are drinking, which is a slight mitigating factor. But hey, it's 2006. You don't look like James Dean anymore, you look like a busboy at Denny's, and if you keep it up, you are going to sound like Johnny Most.

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Uh, yeah that sounds believable

So this is Neil Entwistle's cover story?

Neil Entwistle told police that on Friday January 20, 2006, he left his home around 9 a.m. to run an errand. Upon his return, he found the bodies of his wife and daughter dead from gunshot wounds. Entwistle told the sergeant that he covered up the bodies, grabbed a knife and contemplated suicide. Instead, Entwistle drove to his father-in-laws home in Carver to get a gun in order to shoot himself but could not get into the home. Neil Entwistle then decided to fly to his parents home in England.

At the risk of sounding like Nancy Grace, if he gets off on this one, his attorney is better (and more of sleazebag) than Johnny Cochran, and our legal system is more fucked up than I thought.

This is the next Scott Peterson story, so I assume everyone had heard about it. If not, read this.

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Bush's simplistic slogans

Who needs a coherent policy on anything when you can boil every issue, no matter how complicated or controversial, down to three or four words, that nobody could possibly be against, and slap them up behind W. Then morons watching the news can say, "Yeah, he really does have a plan for victory. Look, the sign says it." Or, "You know what? I am an American and I am favor of jobs. This guy is alright." Not, many people are gonna say, "No, let's break our promise to Grandma," or "No, I think our schools are strong enough already. Let's weaken them."

These signs have followed Bush everywhere, almost since the beginning of his presidency. You may not understand what the hell he is talking about, but all you have to do is look at the sign, to know he is your man. Promoting a policy for the Republicans is no different than selling fast food. I'm lovin' it.

Of course, who could forget Bush's most infamous banner. The Mission Accomplished banner hung on the USS Abraham Lincoln, the night Bush delivered his speech announcing that major hostilities in Iraq were over. Let's see, that was about three years ago. Gee, the White House website seems to have gone to particular pains to scrub that banner from its page about that event. I'm surprised they still have the flight-jacket photo up there.

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What's this cartoon protester thing all about?

I usually like to think I'm pretty aware of what's going on in the world, but sometimes life is so busy that I just miss stuff. Like I have no idea what this cartoon protester thing is about. I've seen headlines on my home page, and caught two-second blurbs about it on the radio. But with two little kids, I rarely have time to see any of the national network news. I usually catch a few minutes of a right wing slant of the news on talk radio on my way home. I try to watch part of Countdown to get the leftward slant of the news. I watch the late local news, which mainly just covers car crashes and local scandals. So sometimes a week goes by, where all I know is the headline, and right now, this is what I picture when I hear cartoon protesters. Maybe I'm spending too much time blogging.

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A lot of alliteration from anxious anchors

You too can write headlines for Channel 7 news. It's a very simple concept. You have two formulas you MUST follow. Please don't try to think outside the box or you will be fired. Remember this is about marketing, not news.
  • Formula one: Headline must have two words that start with the same letter.

  • Formula two: Headline must have two words that rhyme.

  • Bonus points for headlines that follow BOTH of the above formulas
Keep this in mind, and watch. Rarely does a headline not follow this formula. If you are not in Boston, or watch another channel, this works too, but to a lesser degree. Channel 7 is the master. I'm sure Channels 7's clone in Miami has this mastered this just as well. They must have a full time enforcer of the policy.

Here are some example, all from the last couple of days.
  • Soap Opera Shocker (about an explosion on the set of a soap opera)

  • Dolphin In Danger (some stranded dolphins)

  • Kinky Closing (closing arguments in the dominatrix case)

  • Movie Mixup (DVD rental customers getting a porno movie instead of Finding Nemo)

  • Dealing with Demons: (a man trying to free his body and mind of evil spirits)

  • Predator on your Property: (about coyotes moving into the cities)

  • Hit by Hate: (about the New Bedford gay bar shooting)

  • Murder Mystery: (about the Hopkington murder now, but pretty much all purpose)

  • Eye in the Sky: (about a fish sculpture in Boston Harbor)

  • The Real Deal: (their consumer report series)

  • The Style File: (their fashion report series)
Haven't heard a bonus example, but I'll keep you posted. I know I have in the past.

Often they will have two different headlines for the same story that both follow the formula. It's like they came up with two headlines so clever they couldn't decide, so they ran them both. My personal favorite is for an upcoming story they have been teasing all week about people looking for food thrown out by restaurants. It's either Grub from the Garbage or Dinner from the Dumpster, depending on when you are watching.

It's really pretty funny to start watching for this, and guessing what they will come up with. It works nearly every time. But the fact that they are actually that focused on this again shows that its all about marketing, and not about delivering the news.

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Quark, you and I are through

This is going to be a bit of inside baseball for most general readers. Not sure how many people outside the publishing business even know what Quark XPress is. For the uninitiated, it is the software program that has been the standard bearer for producing newspapers, magazines etc., since the publishing world went desktop nearly 20 years ago. I have been essentially married to it since I started using version 1.0 back in about 1987. Do other people whose jobs center around the computer feel that way about the software program they use most? That you know it so well... know all its quirks (a favorite Quark nickname)... know what annoys you about it... how to manipulate it to make it do what you want. It really is like being married. Can't live with it, but can't live without it.

Anyway Friday, after whining (along with most other Quark users) for nearly five years and wasting half the day trying to uncover the reason for it's daily flip-out, I started to switch my largest job over to InDesign, the competing program by Adobe. It's a huge undertaking, because not only do you have to rebuild the entire job template from scratch, but you have to essentially learn a new language at the same time. InDesign, from all my experience so far does everything better, but also does everything different.

Now as to why, I have had to take this drastic step:

Quark Xpress, for at least the last five years has become the suckiest software program on earth, and Quark the most arrogant company. What other program regularly corrupts files beyond repair, rendering a 50 page magazine file useless. Of course anybody who used Quark with any regularity has become so paranoid that they back up files, make duplicates, copy the files to another machine about every ten minutes, just because they know that eventually Quark is going to kill the file.

Five or so years ago, Apple moved its operating system to OS X, a system that required software developers to completely rewrite their software. Every other software company whose clients worked heavily on the Mac, had their software updated within six months to a year. Quark took nearly three years to come up with a release that was compatible with OS X, forcing users to either put off upgrading their systems, and therefore upgrading any other software they owned. Or to run a completely separate system in the background, a process that led to a whole host of other problems.

When Quark finally did come up with a new version three years later, if was so full of bugs, that many people still didn't upgrade. It crashes regularly, displays things on the screen that aren't really there, and many other problems too numerous to even get into.

Quark Inc. has also behaved like the arrogant monopoly that is was. Nobody (except me) ever bought version 5.0, because it came out after OS X, but wasn't OS X compatible. So 90% of users were still using 4.0. When Quark finally did come out with a new version that was OS X compatible three years later (6.0), they purposely put a block on it, so you couldn't downsave to 4.0. Essentially they were forcing everyone to buy the upgrade for every computer they owned.

So anybody that did upgrade right away had to deal with clients that were still on 4.0, and hence, couldn't open the files. Any users with a history with Quark know not to upgrade right away, because every new version they come out with is completely riddled with bugs. So users were in this classic Catch-22. Should I upgrade first, and have my client not be able to open my files, of wait, and have the opposite problem?

Over the past year, most of the publishing industry has been switching over to InDesign. I bought it about a year ago, and have been slowly learning it, and building jobs for new clients in it for six months. It seems like a great program. It may have its own share of problems, and Adobe is an even bigger monopoly than Quark ever was. But if nothing else, I no longer live in quite the fear I always did with Quark, that if I do something it doesn't like, it's going to destroy a week's worth of work.

So goodbye Quark. You were my first software love. We had some good times together. But now its time to leave your sorry ass behind.

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Too fast food

Dinner with the family at Bertucci's tonight. Kids like it cause they give them dough and crayons to play with, and they like the mac and cheese. It's a slightly better than average chain restaurant. Generally we avoid chain restaurants, but when you are bringing the kids, you are limited for options. It beats the 99, or TGI Fridays. It's about as high-end as you can go with a three and four year old. For mom and dad it's the illusion of a decent dining experience. Food is alright. Atmosphere is alright. You can get an alrightglass of wine. But there is always something that annoys me.

This is the second or maybe third time we've had this particular issue with Bertucci's. You go, sit down in the faux-elegant dining room, with faux-elegant lighting. Order some real italian-sounding dinner: trenette al bolognese (rather than spaghetti with meat sauce). You almost can pretend that you are at a real italian restaurant in the North end. They bring your alright glass of wine, your alright salad, and your dough balls. You just are getting settled in, and then within two minutes, your meals arrive. So much for the illusion of a real dining experience. You couldn't have gotten served at McDonalds that quickly.

And its not that the food tastes bad (although I always feel somewhat gross after eating there.) It's just a little unsettling to go out to a relatively decent meal that's going to cost you 60 bucks, and have the food thrown in front of you in two minutes. How can they get all the other details of the illusion right, and then screw up the pacing that badly. And, like I said, this is at least the second or third time, we've had this experience at Bertucci's.

Couple hours later:
You know, I have to strengthen my suckiness rating for Bertucci's. I feel like shit. And now that I think about it, I always feel like shit after eating at Bertuccis.

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Sportscasters doing the news

Has anybody noticed the trend more and more for sportscasters to turn into news anchors or entertainment reporters? It's been happening for several years at least in Boston. Maybe sportscasting is a dead-end job.

For the most part, I guess they aren't awful. No worse than the average local TV anchor these days. The only one that really bugs me is Ed Harding on Channel 5. I'm not sure I could even tell you what it is about Ed that bugs me. He didn't bug me particularly when he was doing sports. He didn't even bother me that much doing the morning news. But when they put him on the evening news too, it was just too much Ed. And why does he always point to the monitor behind him to introduce a story. And he gets too excited about things. He treats every story like it was a sports story.

And what is up with him anchoring both the late night news, and the early morning news. When does the guy sleep? I wish I could remember where I heard this so I could link to it, but I remember reading that there was some focus group study that found that people like to wake up with the same newscaster they went to bed with. That it makes them feel comfortable. What kind of friggin logic is that. People want Ed Harding to be the last person they see at night, AND the first one the see in the morning? That's insane. But most of the logic behind consultant-driven TV news is nuts. I guess it works, because every local newscast in America pretty much looks identical (see my Breaking News post).

But they must be following that theory, because they make the guy work these insane hours, just so that can happen. They claim they did a nationwide search and found he was the best person for the job-both jobs. Well, I guess if George Bush is the most qualified person to be President...

Anyway, this wasn't meant to be a post on Ed Harding. Some of the less-irritating examples of the sportcaster turned news anchor trend are:
  • Scott Wahle used to do sports, and now does news on Channel 4

  • Gene Lavanche moved over to Channel 25 to do the morning news show.

  • Frank Mallicoat used to be sports director at Channel 56, but is now a news anchor

  • This week I even noticed Mark Ockerbloom the NECN sports reporter who recently moved to Channel 25 doing the newscast with Maria Stephanos (gee hope he can keep up with that mind)

  • Nationally there is Pat O'Brien who moved from doing NFL telecasts to become a tabloid television host, (and sexual harasser.)

And then, of course, there is Keith Olbermann, who, if you read my blog enough, you'll note I'm a big fan of. He got his start as host of ESPN's SportsCenter. His nightly show Countdown is for my money has the smartest, funniest, and best written (albeit somewhat left-leaning) news show on television.

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Prime time lineup as news

This bugs the shit out of me. Local TV news, doing news reports on their network's prime time lineup. Channel 4 just did a story on Boston connections to the new season of Survivor, which of course just had its season premier tonight on CBS. The Apprentice is always news on Channel 7. Ed Harding gets all giddy talking about the happenings on Desperate Housewives. When Barbara Walters has done some lame interview on 20/20, it's news at 11 on Channel 5. And of course there is always something important happening on American Idol that Channel 25 needs to waste five minutes of news time on. Hardly a day goes by when there is not a least one story that is nothing more than a shameless plug for the network.

It's just such an annoying, obvious attempt to plug the prime time lineup, as well as get "lead-in" ratings by advertising the story about the show during the show. It also costs them nothing to do, compared to the cost of sending a reporter out to get news.
Whenever one of these things come on, I just switch the station immediately.

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Further proof that Johnny Damon sucks

See what I mean?

This story came out hours after I wrote the earlier post about Johnny Damon. Great headline on Boston Dirt Dogs:

"Johnny Cash Gets Some New Wheels"

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More Breaking News

The bulletin, apparently official: A manhole cover has lifted in Watertown tonight.

This is an update to my Breaking News post of last week.

Double Breaking News tonight on Channel 7. First a car crash on the south shore. But the second one was a real breaker. Big news... full screen graphic...alert music...cut to the out of breath reporter. We've just learned there has been a manhole fire in Watertown tonight. Two manhole covers have "lifted," (guess it wasn't quite an explosion) 200 people are without power. I repeat, two manhole covers have lifted, 200 people are without power.

Now back to your regularly scheduled program.

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It's the hair, stupid

I haven't been listening to sports radio that much lately, so I don't really know how this is playing, but here's a prediction: Johnny Damon is going to become one of the most hated ex-Red Sox players in history. Following the money trail to the Yankees immediately placed him in the top tier. Showing up in New York, clean shaven and with instant Yankee attitude cinches it. Especially when he gained much of his notoriety here because of the look and attitude: The leader of the idiots.

He's still an idiot, its just that now his dopey comments, and his not-the-brightest-bulb-on-the-string persona won't be looked upon at as endearing. He'll just look like your typical Yankees asshole. And because he was one of us, he'll be hated even more. Look at A-Rod. We hate him more just because he was almost a Red Sox.

Will be interesting to see the reaction when Damon first comes back to Fenway. I think the more he absorbs the Yankee attitude, the more Damon Sucks will be heard around town this spring.

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