“Is that real?”

* Weird day today.  Everyone was on edge.  Executive Producer Wendy was storming around in a dress, declaring that winter was never going to end and she was sick of her winter clothes.  Zoraida kept leaning on me to leave her out of the blog.  And when Zoraida tipped that snow was in the forecast, Andy nearly leapt across the desk to throttle her.  Yes, tempers are running high in the old NBC5 newsroom.  You know what would fix that?  Pizza.  I’m talking to you, news manager-types.  Pizza or revolution.  Your choice.

* Even the stories were weird today.  You’ve got the six teenage girls who beat up a fellow student over what she wrote about them on MySpace… and they taped the half-hour beatdown.  Then there’s the Antioch woman who came after police with a samurai sword.  We also have the Cook County Jail inmate who escaped the hospital by beating his guard with a crutch.  With so many bizarre things happening today, I’m liable to end up meeting some hot chick who’s totally into me.  I know… crazy, right?  (For the record, if that ever happens, I’m leading my newscast with it.)

* In looking up that Antioch story, I learned that Google News has a surprising number of hits for the search term “samurai sword.”  I would like to live in a world where I allocate just as much time in my newscast to samurai sword stories as I do to weather (about 25% of my show).

* Your tax dollars at work: A government report found that we’re paying millions for a few bureaucrats to live the high life.

The highlights…

  • An Agriculture Department employee fraudulently wrote 180 convenience checks for more than $642,000 to a live-in boyfriend over a six-year period.  Some of that money was blown on gambling.  Let this blog serve as my official application to serve as a wealthy live-in boyfriend gambling addict.
  • A postmaster charged $1,100 over 15 months for two online dating services.  One of those was the Ashley Madison Agency, which is basically a website that hooks up married people looking to commit adultery.  That explains why the cost of stamps keeps going up.
  • At the State Department, one credit-card holder bought $360 worth of women’s lingerie for use during jungle training by trainees of a drug enforcement program in Ecuador.  Really?  Now that’s the kind of drug enforcement I can get behind.

* Hope you enjoyed having a job.  Robots are about to steal 3.5 million jobs in Japan.  And if you think your boss won’t toss you in favor of a toaster he doesn’t have to pay health coverage for, you are sadly mistaken, my friend.

Remember, robots are everywhere, and they eat old people’s medicine for fuel.

* A Texas high school teacher takes her student out to get a tattoo of his last name between his shoulder blades.  That’s good teaching.  But seriously, kid, why do you want your last name tattooed on your back?  So you won’t forget?  I once knew a fat, bald dude who got a gargoyle tattooed on the back of his neck.  Why not just write the words “Don’t hire me” in Sharpie across your forehead?  Read this and other job hunting tips in the new book, “Career Advancement the Charles Manson Way.”

* The NBA says 60% of its players are declaring bankruptcy five years after retirement.  Wow.  It would be fun to squander a few million bucks, but I’ll just take the short route and remain a journalist.  We make virtually nothing.  Seriously.  Every other Friday, the entire NBC5 staff gathers under the general manager’s window and we wait for him to toss out the loose change in his pockets.  One Friday, I caught a whole quarter.  I used it to buy just enough gas to heat some water and boil my shoe.

* Science tells us that how you look determines whether you’re perceived as a one-night stand or a long term partner.  And more often than not, the researchers say your perception is right.  Men perceive hot chicks as open to a one-night stand.  Women feel the same way about masculine men.  But women are more attracted to the less masculine men, because they predict he’ll be less likely to stray.  Fascinating, no?  I resolve to take a belt sander to this ruggedly masculine square jaw of mine so I look more girly.  That should solve all my problems.

* America says its favorite book is the Bible.  Second place was different for men and women.  Men chose J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” and women selected Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone With the Wind” as their second-favorite book.  America’s least favorite book? “The Big, Big Book of Stains: Scratch and Sniff Edition.”

When Rob read that today, he asked on the air, “Is that true?”

Zoraida looked at him like he’d just started gargling mayonnaise.

No, Rob.  That was a joke.

Like I said, weird day.

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