Friday, January 12, 2007

What's going on? News & notes

I wanted to pass along an article I read on Radar Online about CNN Headline News personality Glenn Beck.

You may remember me saying that my brother-in-law-to-be, Paul, is a producer for The Glenn Beck Show, which airs weeknights at 7:00 pm on Headline News, so I may have a personal reason for turning you on to the stylings of Mr. Beck. Beck is a political commentator and satirist who doesn't take himself too seriously; he is best known for his stint in talk radio, which is where I first heard him here in the Tampa Bay market.

At first he comes across as a smug, pompous ass (sorry, Paul) but I've realized that Beck is an acquired taste, much like his radio contemporary, sports talk king Jim Rome. Rome dispenses this advice for new listeners to his program: you won't like it at first so give it a couple of weeks and let the style sink in and then judge whether you like it or not.

Same is true for Beck's show. He has scaled down his smarminess since the show debuted back in May, which may be a direct factor in his rise in popularity in a crowded cable news market, but he still has an air about him that rubs some people the wrong way. Bottom line is he is honest, candid about himself and his beliefs (read the article to find out what religion he belongs to), and is not afraid to ask tough questions of his guests.

From Janice Dickinson to Iraq and Keith Ellison to the devastation in New Orleans, Beck covers it all with his unique style. Check the show out and see what you think, but remember give it a couple of weeks to get used to it.

Oh, I thought I'd include a picture that my sis sent me from Glenn's Christmas party. I hope she (or he) won't get mad at me for posting this photo- I guess I'll find out at the wedding in June!

Let's not talk about that shirt, Glenn.

Dick Wolf takes "ripped from the headlines" a bit too far

The king of courtroom drama has never met a sensational headline he didn't want to shoehorn into one of his tidy little L&O McFranchises, but this time he may have crossed the line.

The murder of noted indie film actress/director Adrienne Shelly last November was a tragedy in many respects. Ms. Shelly was a 40-year old mother with a 3-year-old daughter, a happy marriage and a burgeoning directing career. But on November 3rd, 2006 she was found hanging in her bathroom, the victim of an apparent senseless suicide.

Days later new information led to the arrest of a suspect in the possible murder of Shelly, who rose to indie fame in films like "The Unbelievable Truth", "Trust", and "I'll Take You There". Police believe a 19-year-old illegal immigrant working construction in the building got into an argument with Shelley, hit her in the head, then staged her to look like she had hanged herself out of fear he would be arrested/deported. Well, yeah, genius, that's what happens in this country when you strike a petite 40-year-old woman when she politely asks you to keep the noise down so her toddler can rest (pure speculation on my part about how it went down.)

Now comes word that Wolf plans to use the case as a template for a future episode of Law & Order: Special Crime Scene Investigating Unit Courtrooms Division, or whatever the hell he's calling the latest bastardization of his franchise now.

Look, Dick, it was one thing to bring in washed-up loser Chevy Chase to play a certain booze-drenched Apocalyptan filmmaker who goes on an anti-Semitic rant after a traffic stop (yeah, we get it), or another lame plot about two celebrities who adopt an African baby, then the husband winds up dead (watch out, Brangelina!)

But now to dredge up the fresh tragedy of the Shelly murder for the sake of entertaining your masses is just uncalled for. The woman is barely 3 months deceased and you already want to rake her story through the muck? Couldn't you at least have waited until next season?

I know 17 seasons is a long time to be on the air, and with like 8 different incarnations of the series it MUST be a bitch to come up with new & interesting story lines every week. Just please do us all a favor an stick to unbelievable wackos and sadistic serial killers and leave the real headline-grabbing stories for Court TV. Or your excellent real-life crime series on MSNBC, Crime & Punishment.

Barry Bonds guilty of using....amphetamines

It wasn't the news that everyone has been waiting to hear but bad boy Barry Bonds failed a test for amphetamines last season. 2006 was the first year in which baseball has decided to test for the pick-me-uppers that have been used by players for decades to help speed up recovery time, both from injury and the fatigue caused by the long season.

First time offenders are given a slap on the wrist and normally no one would know about a failed test. But this being Barry Bonds, whose every move is followed closer than the President's, word got out that the Giant with the giant skull used 'greenies' to help him rebound from a brutal 2005 campaign.

To make matters worse the slimy slugger told reporters that he didn't know what they were, he just grabbed them from teammate/scapegoat Mark Sweeney's locker. Nice, Bar. Nothing like trying to take down a teammate when you get busted for doing something stupid & illegal; way to "man up."

Add this transgression to the growing list, along with the "flaxseed oil & arthritic balm", a.k.a. the "clear & the cream" fiasco; his trainer, Greg Anderson, going to prison numerous times in order to protect him, and two writers facing prison time for not revealing their sources in the BALCO leak and you've got a guy who despite being on the threshold of breaking the most hallowed records in sports is also destroying the credibility and fabric of the sport as well.

Imagine if he gets to that magic home run #756 (he's only 22 homers away) and yet he is eventually found guilty of taking steroids. You think Mark McGwire was big Hall of Fame snub? Imagine baseball's embarrassment when its all-time hits leader (Pete Rose) and all-time home run leader are not enshrined in the museum devoted to baseball history.

Time to revise the Hall criteria, gentlemen, because pretty soon there aren't going to be any players left to induct.

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