Now to…

* Man, it was one of those days today. I normally spend an hour and a half digging up news stories, but today, I couldn’t find much I liked. I spent two hours, and even then wasn’t too happy with what I had. I dug really deep into my bag o’ tricks. I mean, sure I pulled out the awesome story about how some people are getting drunk on vanilla extract (35% alcohol, thank you very much), but we were light on legit news.

* I had an argument with Zoraida today over the house explosion in Munster. Last night’s script called it a “massive explosion,” but Executive Producer Wendy doesn’t like the word “massive.” So I changed it to “mysterious explosion.”

After the soundbite, we ended with a line about how police didn’t know what caused the blast. But Zoraida felt my earlier use of the word “mysterious” made the later sentence redundant. I told her I could drop the “mysterious,” but the word “explosion” needed some kind of adjective. So she agreed to use “mysterious,” but suggested I change the last sentence to something like, “Authorities are investigating.”

A word about the phrase, “Authorities are still investigating…” This is a phrase news writers use when they’re trying to kill time and they have nothing to say. Sometimes, there’s not enough news to fill our allotted time. So we employ totally useless phrases to eat up the clock. Of course authorities are still investigating. Investigators investigate. That’s their job. It would be like adding the phrase, “The people involved are still breathing” at the end of every story.

Here are some other examples of completely useless phrases you will hear in newscasts…

“This just in to our newsroom…”
“He’s said to be in stable condition…”
“A dramatic development to tell you about…”

And finally, the worst segue phrase of all time: “Now to…”

Seriously, I should start a drinking game revolving around the use of the phrase “now to.” Every time you hear “now to” in a newscast, do a shot of vanilla extract. You’ll be hammered before the first commercial.

* Didn’t we just rebuild the whole Borman Expressway? Why didn’t we think to elevate it so it wouldn’t be underwater for a week? I mean, it’s like they dug a trench a mile deep and dared Poseidon to do his worst.

* Since when did the Mac guy from the “I’m a Mac/I’m a PC” commercials get his own MSNBC show?

* Why is there a link to this slideshow of the AFI’s 100 greatest movies across 10 genres list on the NBC5.com front page? That list came out in June. Where’s the link to my blog? I demand front page placement! And pizza. Management still hasn’t ponied up on the pizza.

* As I try to polish up this blog and get home, our internet access has suddenly ground to a halt. Great timing.

* Welcome to the post-9/11 world, where a rosary is considered a “gang symbol.”

* Stupidest idea ever: Social networking for babies.

* Final score – Wilt Chamberlain: 20,000.  Fidel Castro: 35,000. (Note to self: grow beard, become dictator for life.)

* I’m sure Sarah Palin is a nice lady, but when her e-mail account got hacked, we got to see some screen shots of her messages. She’s one of those people who uses CAPITAL LETTERS for EMPHASIS. That drives me nuts. When we write our scripts here at NBC5, we write them in caps and it feels like I’m yelling all day.

* Restarting this blog, I’m walking a fine line. I’ve been told to be creative and funny, but I supposedly represent this station. As such, I have to be careful about saying anything about any public official. And then I see NBC5’s Carol Marin’s column for the Sun-Times about the goofiness in Springfield and I feel confused. I mean, there are some shenanigans going on in the political world and we all know it.

Does this blog represent my opinion… or the opinion of the NBC5 collective? We’re not the Borg from “Star Trek.” We’re individuals. When I write my newscast, I’m impartial. When I’m at my desk, I think Obama and McCain are both equally peachy. But when I hit that voting booth, I’m going to pick one side or the other. Maybe I’ll write in Mike Gravel just for the hell of it. I think I’d have an easier time writing this if I weren’t censoring my opinions of certain public figures. Just sayin’.

* On the way out the door, Executive Producer Wendy looked at me and said, “Nice triceps today.”  Oh, Wendy.  The triceps are nice every day.  I just keep them covered so my female colleagues don’t faint at their sheer mass and piercing definition.

* Oy. After a day like today, I’m gonna go home and curl up with a nice bottle of vanilla extract. Did you hear it’s 35% alcohol?  It is.  I heard it on the news.

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One response to “Now to…

  1. Well Ben, I, for one, am happy they let you back into Cyberspace. I don’t know how long it will be before they kick you off again for offending some high ranking official or being too honest, but I’ll enjoy reading your antics every day until they do.

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