Dispatches from the Control Room – November 21

“More pathetic.”

So says NBC5’s Web Czar as he takes my picture to add to the blog. Come on, Marcus. If I looked any more pathetic, my name would be Nick Nolte and I’d be having my mugshot taken.

Anyway, expect to see me on this page, looking haggard, worn and unshaven. That is sure to increase the popularity of the blog, if only among my coworkers, who will point and laugh and forward the picture to one another with snarky comments. No one else reads this.

* Actual conversation in the newsroom yesterday…

“We should do a web poll about people’s favorite Thanksgiving song.”

“Great. What are some Thanksgiving songs?”

“There’s Adam Sandler’s turkey song. That’s all I got.”

“There’s ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ by Arlo Guthrie.”

“Never heard of it.”

“Hey, Ben, what are some other Thanksgiving songs?”

Me: “There are no other Thanksgiving songs.”

“Great. Let’s do a web poll.”

Expect us to run an Arbor Day song poll whenever that holiday rolls around.

* By some miracle, we have Thanksgiving off. One thing they don’t tell you when you start working in television is that you can forget about spending holidays with your family. TV bosses think you’re sitting at home, desperately craving local stories about celebrities dishing out food at homeless shelters. Nothing else happens on Thanksgiving or Christmas.

If you want to play the “No News on Major Holidays” drinking game, write these stories on your calendar and take a shot every time you see the story on the holiday assigned.

New Year’s Day – Video of fireworks and parties the night before. New Year’s resolution stories. (Take two shots if the story involves quitting smoking or losing weight.)

Super Bowl Sunday – Big TV sales. How much tickets are selling for on eBay.

Groundhog DayPunxatawny Phil. Take two shots if a local rodent is featured as well.

St. Patrick’s Day – Dyeing the Chicago River. The parade.

Easter – A church service.

Tax Day – How to get an extension. Post offices that are open late.

My Birthday – Nothing. Not even a mention.

Memorial Day – A parade. A politician laying a wreath at the tomb of the unknowns. People at the beach.

4th of July – Fireworks. Fireworks safety demonstration showing a mannequin getting his hand/head blown off.

5th of July – Last night’s fireworks.

Labor Day – People at the beach.

Halloween – Trick-or-treaters.

Veteran’s Day – Same stories as Memorial Day, but without the people at the beach.

Thanksgiving – A parade. Celebrities working at homeless shelters.

Day after Thanksgiving – Shopping.

Hanukkah – A story telling you what Hanukkah is, copied from Wikipedia.

Kwanzaa – A story telling you what Kwanzaa is, written by someone who’s never celebrated it.

Christmas EveNORAD’s Santa Tracker.

Christmas – Celebrities working at homeless shelters.

New Year’s Eve – Year-in-review stories.

Every year. The same stories. I don’t think anyone watches local news on major holidays. Even the loneliest people would just watch sports or a DVD or something. Nobody cares about celebrities working at homeless shelters… unless Tom Cruise jumps on one or something. It would make financial sense to give your news employees the day off and play video of the Yule Log all day.

This is my long-winded way of saying I’m happy I get to spend Thanksgiving with my family. (But I do have to work Thanksgiving night at midnight, so my enthusiasm is muted.)

Have a lovely and restful Thanksgiving. Remember to avoid telling your family members what you really think of them. Just keep eating.

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