Setting the record straight

Ladies and gentlemen, your government.

* A morning of great enthusiasm quickly rolled into the swamp of sorrow today.  I found myself awash in a series of great stories: Clay Aiken admits the obvious!  Giant pig holds woman hostage!  PETA tells Ben & Jerry to make ice cream from human breast milk!  Slightly less goofy animal activists dress de-feathered chicken in a sweater!  Kid Rock to sell his own beer!  School nearly expels high school senior for keeping the box cutter he needs for work inside his locked car!

My giddy enthusiasm bubbled over.  I laughed aloud as I imagined the glory of my show.  And then the wheels came off.  Highlander Producer Carol called in sick for a second day.  Her replacement needed a few refresher tips since she hadn’t produced a show in four months.  We had a brand new writer filling in the empty spot, and it always takes time to learn a new system.  And then, there was the time-consuming “Name the Rocket” contest.

If you want to name a NASA rocket, click here. 

That took me all of two seconds to type.  But getting that same thing on the air is significantly more taxing.  I had to find the animation, send the animation to an editor and ask a writer to have the editor cut it.  I had to find the video clip where our editor had thrown together some footage of other rockets shooting into the air.  And I had to read no fewer than three e-mails to figure out what the heck we were promoting.  Oh, and I had to wander the desert wasteland of to find the link to the page.  Then, it turns out the editor didn’t send the video to the proper place in the computer, so I had to walk over and ask him to re-send it.  And then I had to write something compelling enough to convince people to get out of their beds at 4:55 a.m., wobble to their computers, turn ’em on, go to, enjoy the wild goose chase of trying to find the page, and then type “Butt Explosion” or whatever other genius name they want to slap on the rocket.

I mean, we spent weeks and weeks trying to get people to name the Shedd’s baby beluga and the best they could come up with was “Miki.”  Really?

Between a whale and a rocket, I can’t wait to see which phallic object we want our viewers to name next.

* Speaking of rockets, I invite you to watch William Shatner’s soul-deadening rendition of “Rocket Man.”  (Fast-forward to 52 seconds where the fun begins.  At 2:23, he splits in half.  At 4:09, we see Shatner #3.)

* With all the delays today, I didn’t start writing the blog until an hour after my show ended.  AN HOUR!  This job is veering dangerously close to actual work.

* Executive Producer Wendy wants each of the producers to come up with three Cubs-related guests to potentially join Rob at Wrigley Field Wednesday morning.  But I want to go home and avoid this task.  Submit your guest ideas in the comments below.

* Watch as Charlize Theron gets smashed and sings “Bohemian Rhapsody” on “The Tonight Show.”  The last time I saw her involved in something this awful, it was called “Hancock.”

* Life must be real exciting in Augusta, Maine.  That’s where two guys stole the hood off an ice cream truck.  Not the whole truck, just the hood.

* Thanks, Samantha.  Genesis’ “Paperlate” will be added to our morning music rotation.  It’s perfect because the newspapers always show up incredibly late to our studio, and then we have to fight the security guards to get our hands on one or two copies.  Whenever the paper comes late, you’ll hear that song.  (Oh, and my buddy Jill suggested Britney Spears’ “Toxic.”  That’s going on the playlist, too.)

Go ahead and suggest a song in the comments below.  We’re looking for something with a good groove, something upbeat and something with a quick intro.  Hard core metal and rap have their place, but a morning show ain’t it. 

According to one e-mailer, the “music during the show is AWFUL. (She has) been watching the morning news for YEARS and it keeps getting worse.”  Of course, her iPod is probably filled with Enya and Kenny G, so I don’t really care what she has to say.

* Back to the Clay Aiken story for a minute.  Nobody is surprised he’s gay.  Nobody.  When we ran the story in today’s show, that was the angle I took.  (“Wow.  Big whoop.  An obviously gay guy says he’s gay.”)  No sooner did we say the word “gay” than we got an e-mail from someone accusing us of being homophobic.  You really can’t win with these kinds of stories – race, religion, sexual orientation – the touchy topics.  The minute you try to talk about them, people blast us, assuming we’re taking a stance.

NBC5 sponsored the Gay Games in Chicago two years ago.  Every year, we have a float in the Pride Parade.  I’ve read dozens of e-mails from people who hate us because of those facts.

And now, today, when we feign surprise about Clay’s big announcement, we’re accused of being anti-gay.  As a journalist, I’m anti-nothing and pro-nothing.  I’m impartial.  As a blogger and a rational human being, I’m anti-stupid e-mails.

I don’t think anyone really cares that Clay Aiken is gay.  I just think we’re all annoyed that he tried to hide it for so long.  Now that the declaration is over, I can go back to not caring about him.  (Or does that make me homophobic?)

* In other news, Lindsay Lohan is dating a woman.  I don’t care about them, either.

3 responses to “Setting the record straight

  1. Hold on — Clay Aiken is whaaaaat???? Why? When?

    –Claymate 24998

  2. To tack on a suggestion to the comment: “According to one e-mailer, the “music during the show is AWFUL. ” — May I suggest “Old Man River”. I mean, if WLS-TV 7 ala news gingle composer Frank Gari can transform the “Eyewitness News” theme into a catchy electronic tune from the film “Cool Hand Luke”… I believe there are NO limits on what music can be used. Thoughts?

  3. … and yes, I am STILL continuously mistaken for Clay Aiken… now the tally is up to eight states, and four area WalMarts.

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