Painted Political Nudity. EVERYBODY PANIC!

* Congrats, Sox fans.  There is an evil part of me that wants to see the White Sox make it to the World Series and sweep the Cubs. 

* Thanks to the avalanche of baseball coverage, I had nine stories in my show today.  Nine.

* Can we talk about the naked painting of Sarah Palin at the Old Town Ale House?  It is disturbing on a number of levels, not the least of which is that the painter used his own daughter as the model.

It caused a few minor freak-outs in the newsroom this morning.  First, from Rob.

Me: It was in the Trib.

So the lesson there is, the newspaper is apparently a higher authority than a TV newsroom.  What if I found this story before the newspaper?  Then it wouldn’t be okay?

And then Executive Producer Wendy asked me if I obscured Sarah Palin’s naughty bits in our graphic of the painting.  First off, we’re talking about painted nudity, not actual nudity.  Secondly, even I (reckless as I am) am not stupid enough to show bare nipples and crotches on television.

But is there a double-standard here?  I mean, can I show the Venus de Milo on TV?  Her nipples are just hangin’ out there in three dimensions.  They could poke an eye out.  But the 2-D bathing suit area of a VP nominee is verboten?  I am confused.

Still, discretion is the better part of valor.  And anybody with access to Google can see anything they want.  (Did I mention the artist used his own daughter as the model?  *shudder* )

* Today we had a pair of Cubs playoff tickets to give away.  How to do it?  Executive Producer Wendy suggested we give it to the person who wrote the best e-mail.  But I thought that was boring.  We’d get endless piles of e-mails from terminally ill people.  There’s no way to verify that, and we just end up giving it to the person who has the biggest lie.

So my brainstorm was that we should have fans e-mail us an image – the most creative representation of the need for playoff tickets.  This was the stupidest thing I’ve ever done.  I ended up crashing our entire e-mail server.  The internet groaned under the strain.  We got about 2 e-mails every second.  Eventually, once I got more than 200 images, my e-mail account just stopped working.

We got a million pictures of babies in Cubs gear, dogs dressed as players (strangely no cats) and random pictures of Wrigley Field.  Ultimately, we chose this as the winner.  Congratulations, Colin Salsbury.  Enjoy the game.

Since this was my ill-advised brainchild, Wendy suggested I run over to Studio 5 to reveal the winner live on the air.  It was my first live television appearance since I walked behind John King at a White House press conference in 1999.  If I do say so myself, I nailed it.  TV is easy, kids.  And I didn’t even have a brilliant wordsmith like myself putting the words in the telepromter for me.

I smell Emmy.

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