* President Bush continues his “Hey, man, let’s see you try to be President” tour. It wouldn’t surprise me to see history treat him more kindly than the present. In years to come, we may yearn for those heady days when a President can look into a camera and tell terrorists to suck it. Or not.
* Remember yesterday, when I suggested that the newsroom machinery was gearing up for a winter weather blowout? Once those gears start spinning, you can’t really stop them.
Even though no one had a difficult commute into the newsroom…
and even though snow wasn’t blowing like it was supposed to…
and even though the blizzard warning was canceled an hour or two before air…
and even though today is only slightly colder than yesterday…
and even though a semi overturned and we had more stray cheese on the roads than snow…
…we still ran with the “Dear-God-run-for-your-lives” version of the story. We’re not alone in that. Our competitors also came on the air early. That was a decision made sometime yesterday. As it turns out, a wrong decision. But once a news honcho decides that the weather will be awful 12 hours in the future, the weather had better cooperate, or else we’ll pretend it did.
This runs contrary to the mission of a news organization. We should report, not manufacture. When we hear that two people were gunned down, we check it out. If it’s untrue, we don’t report it. And if it turns out it was a squirt gun that shot them, we don’t report that either. But if we hear whispers of a major weather event in the future, virtually nothing can pull us off our course. We had as much severe weather today as Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
* Since we decided to whip out the terrifying weather hype machine today, I unveiled my new SNOWMAGEDDON ’09 animation. It will make you wet your pants in fear. Expect a video on the blog tomorrow.
Speaking of video, I’ve added a new link to the top of this page. See “Ben’s Video Vault”? Click that to see highlights from our show. Looking back over the past year, I’ve gotten away with some pretty awesome stunts. Anything worth memorializing will end up there in the future.
* Yo’ daddy so fat… he can’t adopt you, so you must remain an orphan. (24.5 stone = 343 lbs.)
* The going rate for a 22-year-old girl’s virginity is $3.7 million. She’s not that hot, either.
* Yesterday, my best friend told me that the Jimmy Buffett-owned “Cheeseburger in Paradise” in my hometown of Kalamazoo, Michigan has gone out of business. I called them to confirm.
“I heard a rumor you were closing,” I said.
“It’s no rumor,” the guy on the phone replied.
“Why?” I asked.
“It was a decision made by the home office in Tampa. Basically just economics.”
“You guys haven’t been around long, have you?” I asked.
“Three and a half years,” he said.
“Wow. Time flies,” I said.
“Time flies when you’re having fun in paradise,” the man said.
Yeah. Sure. “Paradise.” A loud, garishly-decorated shack with overpriced food, echoing with the sounds of the pied piper of Baby Boomer burnout morons, Jimmy Buffett. No wonder it went under.
I’m sure the manager was trying to alert the home office of ways to improve, but Jimmy was like, “Hey, man, don’t worry about it. Have a piña colada and liquidate your 401K and invest in hammocks.” Moments later, the business went belly-up. Yes, the restaurant failed because it was run by a man as talented at remaining sober as he is at making quality music.
Next time I go back to Kalamazoo, I’m going to relieve myself on the ashes of Jimmy Buffett’s shuttered “paradise.”
(Previously: My love letter to Parrothead Nation.)
* You want a real job in paradise? How would you like $105,000/year to lounge around on a beautiful tropical island and stay rent-free in a multi-million dollar beach house? There is such a job.
* The frontrunner for NBC5 Father of the Year is Marcelino de Jesus Martinez, who sold his 14-year-old daughter into marriage for $16,000 in cash, 150 cases of beer, 150 cases of soda and Gatorade, several cases of meat and two cases of wine. What’s more, he called the cops when the 18-year-old would-be groom refused to pay up. You’ll never guess how the police reacted.
* Speaking of wonderful fathers, NBC Dateline gets a tour of Drew Peterson’s home.
* 41-year-old New York woman dies after all-night orgy. Know when to say when, kids.
* You might be a redneck if… you get married in a Taco Bell to a woman with the same last name.
* Amy Winehouse is getting divorced. More shocking: someone’s remained married to Amy Winehouse for the last several years.
* Sane people flee a crumbling California. Actors continue to flood in.
* The winner of a $500,000 raffle to help sexual abuse victims is… a convicted sex offender.
* Indianapolis Colts’ coach Tony Dungy retired yesterday. This is the guy you want your son to grow up to be. Superior in his career, steadfast in his faith, dedicated to his family, well-spoken and selfless. That’s the best case scenario. Worst case, your kid grows up to produce a local TV news show at 4:30 in the morning, living in a one-bedroom apartment and lost in the wilderness of bachelorhood.