Directorial efforts from yours truly.
Author Archives: Ben Bowman
I directed this. Enjoy
* This will probably be the last blog until Friday. After working the overnight shift for two straight years, I have a pair of 9-5 shifts the next two days. I am looking forward to experiencing this “sun” everyone raves about.
* Faced with a total lack of decent “kickers” (those fun stories that end a newscast), I am forced to stockpile some emergency options. If you ever tune in and see any of the following items, it’s because I’m totally hard-up for anything amusing.
- This list of goofy holidays will come in handy year ’round. My birthday falls on National High Five Day. Awesome! High five!
- When the stock market closes every night, celebrate your newfound poverty by pressing this shiny blue button.
* One in seven British people think it’s okay to hit a woman for wearing sexy clothes. But don’t worry. The one British person who said that was Elton John, and he hits like a girl.
* Science finally tracks down the source of belly button lint. The researchers’ parents must be so proud. That’s gonna be one hell of a Christmas letter this year.
* Nashville is America’s manliest city. The least manly city? Pantywaist, Idaho.
* Drew Peterson to his step-brother: “How much do you love me?”
Step-brother: “A lot.”
Drew: “Enough to kill for me?”
But hey, such conversations are commonplace moments before a woman goes “missing,” right? They coulda been talking about anything. Maybe Drew was scared by a spider skittering across the bathroom floor.
* Men who have sex three times a week can decrease their risk of heart attack and stroke by 50%, while women who enjoy sex tend to live longer than those who don’t. And hopelessly single men who produce overnight news are being relentlessly hunted by the Reaper.
* Saudi Justice: Two guys deliver bread to a 75-year-old woman. Whippings and prison for everyone!
* College girls think college guys want them to get hammered with five drinks or more. They’re wrong. College guys want to enjoy a nice, slow, sober courtship with lots of hand-holding and flowers and love notes. (Obviously.)
* Apparently lots of people are walking out of “Watchmen.” It’s not for everybody. And it’s especially not for kids. If you are a parent who takes your child to a rated-R film, you deserve to have your children removed from your custody and sold as brides to Drew Peterson.
* Research: People quote films for the same reason they tell jokes. And people do bad impressions of Borat and Austin Powers for the same reason their jokes fail.
* Now the results of yesterday’s Movie Love/Hate Quiz.
1. “Boondock Saints” (HATE)
This movie is garbage. The brainchild of overalls-wearing idiot thug Troy Duffy (see “Overnight”), it’s the story of two brothers who go around shooting guns while their goofball friend provides unfunny comic relief and Willem Dafoe cross-dresses. This is a film beloved by frat boys who hate their parents and yearn for Ashton Kutcher to befriend them on Facebook.
2. “The Apartment” (LOVE)
Winner of Best Picture in 1960. It’s the story of a mild-mannered office guy (Jack Lemmon) who falls for the elevator operator (Shirley MacLaine). His shot at romance would be better if his apartment weren’t constantly in use by his bosses and their mistresses. Oh, and the elevator operator is already seeing somebody. It’s one of the greatest films ever made about urban loneliness and yearning. Funny, charming and romantic with one of the best last lines in movie history. (“Shut up and deal.”)
3. “L.A. Confidential” (LOVE)
It’s a mystery and a crime story with a top notch cast: Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey, Guy Pearce, Kim Basinger, David Strathairn, Danny DeVito and James Cromwell. Bodies start piling up in L.A. and the cops investigating the murders learn they can’t even trust each other. Brilliant acting and a fantastic script. I just rewatched this a few weekends ago and I fell in love all over again.
4. “The Island of Dr. Moreau” (HATE)
Watching this is like suffering from night terrors in an iron lung. An obese Marlon Brando presides over an island filled with animal-human hybrids. And then things get weird. The movie gets progressively worse as it goes along. Quite the feat for a movie that starts off so awfully. This is pure pain.
5. “Waiting for Guffman” (LOVE)
A Christopher Guest mockumentary on par, if not surpassing “Spinal Tap” and “Best in Show.” The story of community theater in Blaine, Missouri. Imagine every awful elementary school play you’ve ever sat through. Now recast it with adults who have no clue about their lack of singing/acting chops. It’s like if “American Idol” put through all the delusional whack-jobs from the earliest auditions, then sat back and watched the fireworks. Endlessly, ruthlessly funny.
6. “Catwoman” (HATE)
Just a total train wreck of a film. Halle Berry plays superheroine Catwoman. Because she is so feline, she has to do things cats would do, like hissing at dogs, drinking cream, chugging whole cans of tuna, rubbing catnip all over her face, devouring sushi in one bite, purring and shrieking when rained upon. Benjamin Bratt is her love interest and he sizzles on screen with the intensity of a moist towelette. The villain is the ever-hammy Sharon Stone, whose world-domination plot involves cosmetic cream that melts people’s faces off. There is nothing good about this movie. Nothing.
7. “Gattaca” (LOVE)
A prescient film about the ability to genetically customize your children. In a world where success is scientifically assured for some, how can a man born without those advantages push through the barriers he should be unable to cross? Here’s how good this movie is: I think Uma Thurman is an awful actress. Yet she’s in this movie and I love it. Plus, it features Jude Law as a spoiled brat – a role he nails every time out. A great movie about the pursuit of a dream against impossible odds.
8. “Little Miss Sunshine” (HATE)
Pretentious garbage. This movie attempts to make you happy by shoving an obese little girl at you. Her mom is the difficult-to-watch Toni Collette. Her brother is this mopey jerk who refuses to speak. Her uncle is Steve Carell, who also took the mopey pills and hails from the Robin Williams school of “show ’em you’re a serious actor by growing a beard.” It’s a bunch of annoying characters in an annoying bus headed to an annoying finale. People like this do not exist in real life because people like me would push them face-first into wood chippers upon our first encounter.
9. “Donnie Darko” (HATE)
More pretentious junk. Jake Gyllenhaal is a mopey kid who runs around and… you know what? I’m not even going to bother with a synopsis because the movie is that lame. It’s one of those movies your friends say is “deep,” but they’re mistaking clutter for depth. Fun fact: before “Donnie Darko” came out, no one was emo. Now everyone is. Blame the movie.
10. “The Departed” (LOVE)
Martin Scorsese. Jack Nicholson. Matt Damon. Mark Wahlberg. Alec Baldwin. Martin Sheen. Leonardo DiCaprio. Guns. Gangs. Shocking murders. Cracker Jack dialogue. Great soundtrack. Cat-and-mouse battles for power. Best Picture of 2007. People who dislike this movie should be fitted with cement shoes and catapulted into Lake Michigan.
* Today I was reminded of two things:
1) Monday mornings are awful for news. I spent a ridiculously long time looking for stories today. There is just nothing out there. On a normal weekday morning, I might find value in one out of every ten stories I read. On Monday mornings, that number is more like one out of 30. I scraped the bottom of the barrel to fill today’s show.
2) I write best in silence. The newsroom was loud today, and every bellowed statement derailed my train of thought like that scene in “Lawrence of Arabia.”
* Vanilla Ice apologizes for “Ice Ice Baby.”
Upon running a portion of this today, Zoraida and Rob spoke about how much they loved Vanilla Ice. Between this and their undying affection for “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Unnecessary Sequel,” I’m starting to question their judgment. It won’t be long before we learn their diet consists entirely of aerosol cheese and beef jerky and they spend every weekend at monster truck rallies.
I think people can be drawn together by mutual love or mutual hate for something. If I ever met a girl who hated Jimmy Buffett, I’d probably ask if I could impregnate her right there on the spot. It makes me happy when people take a stand on an issue. Give me a list of movies you love and movies you hate. Then I will know if you would be worth resuscitating if you ever collapsed in front of me. Examine this list of polarizing films. Circle “love” or “hate” next to each and I will reveal the results tomorrow…
1. “Boondock Saints” (LOVE/HATE)
2. “The Apartment” (LOVE/HATE)
3. “L.A. Confidential” (LOVE/HATE)
4. “The Island of Dr. Moreau” (LOVE/HATE)
5. “Waiting for Guffman” (LOVE/HATE)
6. “Catwoman” (LOVE/HATE)
7. “Gattaca” (LOVE/HATE)
8. “Little Miss Sunshine” (LOVE/HATE)
9. “Donnie Darko” (LOVE/HATE)
10. “The Departed” (LOVE/HATE)
* Musicians bag all the chicks because they are more attuned to emotion in your voice. Bret Michaels lands chicks because… I dunno… silicone is attracted to herpes?
* Lesson learned the hard way: When you click on a story titled “Sex toys for seniors,” you get what you deserve.
* Women who pay too much attention to their performance during sex could be inhibiting sexual desire — and that lack of desire increases self-consciousness. So chill, ladies. And if you want to feel better about your performance, call up a fumbling novice like me. By comparison, you’ll seem like Jenna Jameson.
* Octo-Mom’s publicist quit and called her “nuts.” What was your first clue?
* 37% of Americans have never moved away from their original hometowns. I find this incredibly depressing.
* Who wants to buy Bill Clinton’s iPod filled with sucky songs? Seriously. Not a winner in the bunch. (We let this man lead us for 8 years? With this playlist?)
* Elsewhere on the Clinton beat, Hillary spent the weekend totally failing at diplomacy. Not the least among her gaffes, giving her Russian counterpart a button supposedly labeled “reset.” Actually, it was the Russian word for “overcharged.” If we wanted someone to traipse around the world and make us look like total morons, we would have changed the Constitution to allow the previous administration to stay on.
* If Barbie were life-sized she would lack the 17-22% body fat required for a woman to menstruate. Would this matter, seeing as how she has no vagina?
* Note to those of you who are not funny: Stop trying to be funny. You are failing. Everybody knows it. That glassy-eyed silence you encounter when you attempt a “joke?” That’s how you know you’re not funny. You have a better chance at getting a laugh by being totally serious and straightforward. Also, people will hate you less.
* America has 11% fewer Christians today than a generation ago. Probably because after “The Dark Knight” was passed over for a Best Picture nomination, they became convinced God must not exist.
* I caught “Watchmen” on Friday night. Very violent. Very long. One of the most awkward sex scenes ever. I’d say all the action scenes worked better in the movie than the book. But a lot of the characters’ motivations were clearer in the original graphic novel. I liked it, but didn’t love it. Still, it came as close to capturing the book as you could ever get in a film. $10.50 well spent.
* Dora the Explorer is getting a makeover. She’s essentially moving to middle school. We’ve only seen the silhouette of her new figure; the full version debuts in the fall. But the new Dora has longer hair and a miniskirt. Quite the upgrade from her stupid bowl cut and cartoon gut. (Seriously. Half the pictures of the current version show a beer gut hanging out below her T-shirt.) If the new Dora is anything like the girls I went to middle school with, the only thing she’ll be “exploring” is new ways to reject the funny, intelligent guys at the Christmas dance.
* Optimists live longer, healthier lives. I find this hard to believe. An optimist is someone who doesn’t wear a seat belt because they believe they’ll never be in an accident, and if they are, they believe they’ll land on a teddy bear-shaped cloud made of chocolate and wishes and dreams.
* Welcome to the New Economy™, where 700 people apply for a high school janitor job. (Interviewer: “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Applicant: “Standing over vomit with a handful of sawdust, wondering where my life went wrong.”)
* People are e-mailing news organizations pleading for an end to the bad news. Look, folks. We don’t make the news. We just report it. Thousands of people lose their jobs every month. We’ve all seen our investments lose half their worth. Shockingly handsome news producers are stillsingle despite flaunting their absurdly honed senses of humor on blogs every day.
Do you really want to hear about some guy who rescued a puppy from a gutter? Seriously? You’d rather hear about Gutter Puppy than your fellow humans being pushed to the brink? I mean, if you want to be ill-informed about the world at large, that’s your right. And that’s why we have Fox News Channel.
* Today’s show was a lot of fun. At least three tapes mysteriously vanished right as we went to play them. Who needs video on a television newscast? Not us.
* When you break up, you might think it’s funny to post pictures of your ex on Craigslist inviting random men to call him at work and talk dirty to him. And yeah, it is kind of funny. But it’s also a felony.
* Blog reader Helen tips us off to the male girdle (or “mirdle”). I think there’s a 75% chance Rob wears one of these.
* If you have a stupid name, first curse your parents. Then curse Facebook because they will doubt your stupid, stupid name.
* Facebook is about to become more like Twitter. Awesome. Because it’s not like we already have Twitter for that.
* Executive Producer Wendy quote of the day: “I’m still looking for the social networking site where everybody leaves me the f*** alone.”
* Looking for a recession-proof business? How about restaurants with scantily-clad waitresses? ABC News calls them “Breastaurants.” Why didn’t I think of that? I must be slipping.
I have been to a Hooters just once. The food was awful and we somehow drew the token mid-40s waitress. There was no reason to return.
* “Watchmen” comes out today. I’m pretty psyched. I read the book last year after seeing the movie trailer. Almost all the reviews have been brutally negative (except four stars from Ebert). The book is incredibly detailed and layered, so it will be hard to cram it all into a movie. There is nothing quite as sad as a potential blockbuster that ends up as a blocksucker, so my fingers are crossed.
* 25% of people over 18 are living with a parent or in-law. That strikes me as ridiculously high. “Living with my parents again” ranks just below “get eaten by piranha” and “contract SARS” on my list of things I want to do.
* A website that will do my homework? Awesome! It’s in French? Lame!
* Prince Charles is the world’s best dressed man. Better luck next year, Judah Friedlander.
* Remember the guy who flipped out on that Canadian bus and cut some guy’s head off and put the victim’s tongue in his pocket? Yeah, that guy was “not responsible” for the murder.
* Don’t you hate it when you go to kiss your girlfriend and she bites off your tongue? Is this normal for couples? I am unfamiliar with the ways of love.
* The world’s fattest man is pimping his 1989 Chevy Astrovan so he can be driven around Mexico. He plans on staying in the van 24/7 (seriously). Manuel Uribe and his wife are planning a trip to the beach… where he will be harpooned.
* There are 10 secrets you shouldn’t keep from your doctor. I have a rule with my doctor: He doesn’t ask me about my body, I won’t ask him about his.
* President Obama goes nowhere without his teleprompter. What’s up with that? The President of the United States sticks to the script but Zoraida won’t?
* Everybody’s freaking out because Obama suddenly has a little gray hair. I like how it doesn’t occur to people that maybe he dyed his hair during the campaign. It’s like dating a really hot chick and as soon as you get married, it all falls apart. Barack’s in the White House. He doesn’t have to be polite or anything. He doesn’t have to look good. He got the job. There were stretches of months and months where Bush didn’t get a haircut. His hair kept growing out on the sides so he looked like one of those British judge wigs. Look however you wanna look, Mr. President. Waterboard your critics.
* There’s a woman who calls Rob’s phone all the time and leaves nasty messages about how much she hates us. Today, we ran one of her voicemails on the air and we got a tremendous response…
“Regarding the caller who said Rob Elgas is an idiot, get a life, lady. She’s the idiot – if she’s that offended, why does she keep watching?”
“Yes, You both are complete idiots! You are not funny and too politically opinionated. My wife and I only watch your broadcast to see Andy, who is not an idiot. You are the only local news on at 4:30 and we turn you off promptly at 5 am to watch WGN. We only wish Andy would join them.”
“I love the chemistry between Rob and Zoraida. As a matter-of-fact, I hate when either one of them are on vacation. This is the only station I will watch in the morning. And for the woman who called in complaining about the pair, she’s probably just jealous because Zoraida is pretty and I’m sure that lady isn’t.”
“Rob Elgas is bright, energetic, and refreshing. Zoraida Sambolin is a little bit of a stick in the mud but tolerable. Love Andy of course.”
“Why doesn’t someone explain to the caller she has this button on her remote that can change the channel if she is unhappy?”
“This is the first time I saw ZERODI SAMBO with no confident. She cant take anything negative about her she showed how unstable she is she is just a little girl ! SAMBO grow up !!!! Your not as hot as you thing you are !!”
We got dozens more e-mails. Most very positive. Zoraida, predictably, was upset that we wanted to do this. But hey, we got a bunch of e-mails telling us how awesome we are. That’s worth 23 seconds of tongue-lashing from a bitter old witch.
I don’t know anything about this woman. She’s probably just a very nice old lady who smokes four cartons of cigarettes a day, and the intense nicotine dosage has rotted out her ovaries. Faced with the prospect of never having children, she took to raising dogs. Because of her enormous heart, she chose to raise the animals no one else would – Bolivian rage hounds. This pack of dogs would sneak out of her home at night to pick fights with other neighborhood animals, including the beloved poodles of this woman’s next door warlock. The warlock, intent on revenge against the old lady, cast a spell on her that forced her to hate all things joyful. So when the final segment of our 4:30 a.m. newscast rolls around, and we shoot humor from a fire hose, the old lady’s curse forces her to call Rob and complain. And in her spare time, she might hollow out babies for Scott Hamilton to wear as shoes, but that’s just speculation on my part.
* Those e-mails will be good for the NBC5 softball team. Having support from friends and family can improve an athlete’s performance. (Props to my dad, who often showed up just to watch me sit on the bench for 8th grade football.)
* Don’t panic, but the United States is going to collapse next year. Wait. That’s a big deal. You can panic.
* The secret to a happy marriage involves having sex three times a week, kissing four times a day, cuddling three times daily, sharing two hobbies and having at least two romantic dinners every month. Or you can be like me and enjoy the consolation prize behind Curtain #2.
* Wanna know how to answer 10 tough interview questions? When I get to be in a supervisory position, I’m gonna rig a time bomb under every applicant’s chair and start screaming, “Red wire or blue wire? Cut one! Cut one or you’re gonna die!”
* Should men cry? You’re kidding, right? Tear ducts on men are as useful as nipples.
* Things like this make me not want to travel abroad. Toilet-themed restaurants? We already have those in America. We call them Taco Bells.
* Free throw percentages haven’t changed in 50 years. Weird. I thought Shaq would’ve been enough to drive it down singlehandedly.
* Here’s what to do if you get laid off. Step 1: Buy a gun. Step 2: Get creative.
* Barack Obama wore a bulletproof suit at the inauguration. And he can shoot lightning from his fingertips.
* A week from Monday, I think we’re gonna launch the blog on the Mothership. Don’t worry. I’ll leave a link behind so you don’t get lost. Next week is going to be a little crazy, since I have to spend two days off this shift for training purposes, so you may only get a blog Monday, Tuesday and Friday. That Friday blog might be up in the air, since I will have been awake 24 hours by the time my shift ends that morning. I will do what I can, friends.
* Drew Peterson may be willing to box his girlfriend’s ex. The best part will be the weigh-in, when we get to see ol’ Drew in his skivvies. Of course, those weigh-ins get pretty testy. Usually a lot of trash talk. I expect Drew to say something along the lines of, “I’m gonna hit you so hard, you’ll fall down and I’ll smother you with a pillow and put you in a giant tupperware tub and drive you out to the middle of nowhere and bury you and tell everyone you just ran away.”
Seems like something he’d say.
* You can only have between 6-12 close friends. (Bonus item from the article: the wealthiest among us had the most friends in school.) Based on my number of school friends, I guess I should anticipate unemployment any day now.
* Dubious research! We enjoy experiences more when they’re interrupted. So the theory goes, you have more fun watching a TV show with commercials. The article says people report being happier when receiving a massage that’s interrupted. I will keep this in mind should I ever get “alone time” with a lady. Mid-deed, I’ll just get up and start reorganizing her closet or something.
* Goofball Colorado Congressman tells bloggers they’re killing old media and the change is “mostly for better.” Yeah. Who wants those stodgy old newspapers informing us and keeping an eye on corrupt politicians and corporations? Certainly not me.
* Who wants to see New York Governor David Paterson in really short running shorts? Not you. No! Don’t click there! I said not you!
* Bong Cat Update! The guy put his cat in the bong at least twice before. Some pot head out there is taking this theory to the next level, assembling giant bales of weed in his living room and putting his mouth on his chimney to calm the toddlers inside.
* Some moron legislator in West Virginia is attempting to ban Barbie doll sales. He claims they encourage girls to focus more on beauty than intelligence. Yeah? So? Don’t we want girls to be pretty? Maybe he doesn’t. (Let’s all guess why this guy doesn’t care about beautiful women, shall we?)
Besides, Barbie has a pretty awesome resume, including paleontologist, astronaut and President of the United States. Hell, I wanna grow up to be Barbie. Ken, on the other hand… that guy is a lazy jerk.
* Rachel Ray defends her FHM spread. Wait. Rachel Ray had an FHM spread? Can something be hot and creepy at the same time?
* Every time I visit NBCChicago.com, the “most popular” box always features something called “Trucking Duck.” I have never clicked on this story because it just looks to be video of some truck driver who drives around with a duck in his cab. What’s perplexing is that this story has remained in the most popular section since the site’s relaunch several months ago. Do we ever clear the decks on that tally or is this duck trucker story so compelling that it is consistently the most popular thing on the website? I’m not even going to link to it because that will give it needless publicity. I’m declaring war on you, Trucking Duck. And I have a hankering for foie gras.
* 5 reasons the smartest people have the toughest time dating. Because we spend more time on our blog every morning than attempting to talk to the opposite sex?
* From the Institute of Made-Up Science: the smell of rotten eggs turns men on. So roll around in garbage, ladies!
* GE CEO Jeff Immelt just bought 50,000 shares in our company to show his confidence. Bear in mind 50,000 shares of GE currently cost a grand total of $1.48, so it’s not a huge investment.
* Remember the minor league baseball player who was traded for ten maple bats? He’s dead. Guess the team with the bats ended up with the better end of that deal, huh?
* If you drive a mid-90s green Ford Escort, there’s a guy in Oregon who plans to set your car on fire. Cop quote: “I think this person really doesn’t like Ford Escorts.”
* If you’re buying a wallet from Wal-Mart, make sure you check to make sure it comes with its ten complimentary human teeth.
* Today, I finally diagnosed Zoraida. She has Terminal Honesty Disease. This morning, when interviewing an author, she came right out and said, “I haven’t read the book.” On other occasions, she’s read a story and declared on the air, “That story doesn’t make sense” or, “That’s not what we reported yesterday.” There is no cure for Terminal Honesty Disease. Please wear a purple ribbon to raise awareness.
* Working the night shift puts you more at risk for obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Coincidentally, dying from one of those things is the only way to escape the night shift. (I’m coming, sweet oblivion!)
* Men’s sex lives suffer as they get fatter. While manatee-shaped ladies have no shortage of suitors, I assume.
* “Kill my wife.”
“How much are you gonna pay me?”
“A thousand bucks.”
“Two thousand bucks.”
“Two thousand bucks… and a gift card to Westshore Pizza for $13.06.”
“When do you want her dead?”
* Based on the top 36 of “American Idol,” I think we can safely put Lil Rounds and Danny Gokey in the final. Lil wins.