Dispatches from the Control Room – January 18

* Wow. Five comments yesterday. That’s some sort of record. I wonder how many were generated by spam robots trying to lure me into purchasing pills to enhance my manhood.

* Today got off to a miserable start. Despite the aforementioned prospect of pizza, I walked to the station in a sub-zero haze. When your eyelashes freeze together, it’s time to turn around and run for shelter, or at least set something on fire and hold it near your face. I saw idiots running around Michigan Avenue without coats or gloves. I foresee amputations in their futures.

Once I defrosted at work, I prepared to dig into a few slices of pizza. But first, we hit a major roadblock. It’s a little thing I like to call Computer Hell™. When any of us tried to log on to our PC’s, we’d see our desktop wallpaper, but no application icons. We couldn’t do anything for a good 15 minutes.

Once the computers unfroze, we started to work. But systems were failing left and right. We couldn’t make graphics. We couldn’t go online. We couldn’t check our e-mail.

Now, we’re a news organization. For us to deliver news, we kinda need to check to see if news is happening. But we couldn’t. Around this time, when it became clear that we’d get nothing accomplished today, pizza arrived.

As we ate pizza, we turned to the NBC IT Help Desk. It’s in India. So we called up some gentleman on the other side of the planet and explained our plight. He suggested we all log off our half-working computers. We did. Then we all had non-working computers for another 15 minutes. After an hour of telling this guy our newscasts were in jeopardy, he called a local IT guy and they hashed things out over the phone.

Around 2 a.m., I had a belly full of pizza and a functional computer. The panic subsided and the joy of crafting a newscast in half the time began.

All of this got me thinking, how did journalists function before computers… before the internet? Did they just sit around in giant reference libraries and call government officials for comment? Would the reporters sit in huddled masses waiting for the Pony Express to arrive with dispatches from the four corners of the Earth?

* Apparently, sex expert Dr. Laura Berman is going to be contributing to our morning newscasts in February. Our web staff has established the e-mail address bettersex@nbc5.com for viewers to send her their questions. This e-mail also sends copies to all the morning producers, so I hope people send pictures, too.

Executive producer Wendy wants me to come up with some stories for Dr. Berman to tackle.

Here are my early ideas:

“What is this ‘sex’ I keep hearing about?”

“Where does one find a person of the opposite gender willing to engage in these acts?”

“Does having a largely-ignored blog on a TV station website increase or decrease one’s potential for this act?”

That’s it. I’m spent.

* Shocker: One of the guys who got mauled by the tiger was drunk and taunting it. To quote Chris Rock, “That tiger didn’t go crazy, that tiger went tiger.” Good for you, tiger. Thanks for thinning the herd.

* Bobby Fischer died this morning. You can stop searching.

* I’ve lost a small fortune in the stock market swoon. So President Bush wants to give us $500. Yeah, that’ll make a dent. $500 barely buys you a bag of Doritos these days… especially thanks to our suddenly increased sales tax in Cook County.

Let’s talk about the CTA deal for a minute, shall we? Chicagoans already pay the highest sales tax in the country. Now we have to pay more. This, despite the Governor’s promise not to raise taxes. I’d go further (much further, in a red-faced rage sorta way), but station management urges me to remain an impartial journalist on this blog. So I have absolutely no opinion about Governor Blagojevich. No opinion whatsoever. He is doing neither a good nor a bad job.

But hey, now senior citizens will get to ride the CTA for free. I’m going to get a fake ID that says I’m 67 years old. At the rate this job is aging me, I’m pretty sure they’ll buy it.

* Zoraida told me the last segment of my show was boring today. What ever happened to being an impartial journalist, Z? Why can’t my last block be neither boring nor entertaining?

* At this point in the day, my shift is over. But I find myself combing the internet for more stories to post here. I’m hoping to wait out the cold. Maybe I’ll just stay in the newsroom until April or so.

* Tomorrow night, I will head to the United Center to watch my Pistons decimate your Bulls. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be the one dancing over the ashes of your once-proud franchise.

* A spell-check of this blog informs me that “internet” is not a word. Pardon my gibberish.

6 responses to “Dispatches from the Control Room – January 18

  1. NBC5MorningBlogReader

    Why don’t you post some pics of the studio and of HAL-9000 a.k.a Robosaur? Give us readers a real look at the bloody machine!

  2. Now, the Bulls are not my favorite team (I know, I know, how can I be a true Chicagoan?) Truth be told, I’m a huge Phoenix Suns fan. With that being said, I still think you should give the Bulls the benefit of the doubt.. they might pull out a win like they did back in the beginning of December when they beat the Pistons like 98-90 or whatever the score was.. they might still surprise you!

  3. That was a well-stated “impartial” opinion on the CTA deal & the governor. More importantly, though, go Pistons!!!

  4. First!
    I read your blog Ben, and as a bonus.. I’ll have you know-I don’t even work for NBC or any affiliates.
    You have a fan.
    Kinda scary?

  5. Wow 5 posts yesterday – word is getting out about this blog! Let me know how you did it so I can increase comments to the cubs blog this summer. Honestly, I just posted today to be number 5 – maybe we can break a record and get 6 people to respond to this blog. :-)

    Don’t make me comment on your ideas for stories for Dr. Laura Berman. I gave an idea but you didn’t like it. (ha ha)

    Have a great weekend!

  6. I know it’s been asked in the past, but where can you get pizza that early?

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