Wednesday, July 24, 2013


If parents didn't have enough to deliberately worry about, this headline from the Huffington Post certainly must have given some of them pause:

         Falling TV Injuries A Growing Problem For Children

Doesn't that give you an image of Wile E. Coyote meeting his fate from the Acme Television Company? On the other hand, the headline could be taken to mean that kids aren't able to watch Spongebob Squarepants because of the injuries suffered by falling TVs.  

I hope the latter is the case. Otherwise, we can look forward to Congressional hearings allowing senators to show off for the voters back home by grilling representatives from Samsung: Shouldn't you make it impossible for TVs to fall down? 

This kind of non-news reminds when the news media were ginning up the possibility of a nuclear attack from North Korea a few months back. Remember when we were on the brink of annihilation? Then the Boston Marathon bombing happened, and phfft -- no more war!

If the falling TV story is true -- and since it's on the internet, it must be -- I can only put it down to mass attempted suicide from watching television news recently.

Reporters were lined up outside St. Mary's Hospital for three weeks before whatshername gave birth. Having a baby is an event that happens to roughly 360,000 other women a day, or 15,000 a second. Yet the world's news organizations wanted us to be fascinated this time because it happened to a very rich couple whose jobs mean less to the public good than the guy who picks up the garbage outside their gate. 

All this birth really meant was that for the first time William wasn't using a royal rubber when he and Kate were in the act of sexual congress -- or would that be sexual parliament? And while reporters were speculating on the sex of the caliph-to-be, I was hoping for twins, just to there'd be a 21st-century man in the iron mask to hide away in the Tower of London. 

The recent heatwave certainly gave reporters a chance to strut their stuff. Here in New York, following the obligatory shot of a digital outdoor thermometer, they all did their hard-hitting man on the street interviews:

REPORTER: What do you think of this weather?
PERSON: It's hot, man.
REPORTER: What do you do to beat the heat?
PERSON: Drink a lot of water. That's all you can do.

Cut to an interview with the Mr. Softee guy.

REPORTER: How's business?
MR. SOFTEE GUY: Busy. Always busy when it's hot.
REPORTER: What's the big seller?
MR. SOFTEE GUY: I dunno. Chocolate covered vanilla, maybe.

Cut to video of kids in the parks frolicking in the sprinklers.

REPORTER: Having fun?
SHY KID: Yeah...
REPORTER: Pretty hot, hunh?
SHY KID: Yeah... 

Cut to video of working stiffs on construction sites, operating jackhammers, followed by polar bears in the Central Park Zoo eating frozen fish. They could run the same video from last year or the year before or from 2003 and no one would notice the difference. Rinse and repeat for nine days straight. It's hot out here. Back to you, Liz.

The CBS News team decided to kill two stories with one stone. During an interview with a scientist on its morning network newscast, we learned that the jet stream had trapped the Northeast under what was described as "a giant dome" of heat. This was the perfect opportunity for the onscreen caption UNDER THE DOME -- which is also the title of CBS' big summer series created by two Steves named King and Spielberg. The crackerjack graphics people did the same thing on the evening news broadcast. 

So you can imagine my non-surprise when I caught a promo for this week's Under the Dome -- the series, not the caption -- featuring CBS News reporter and substitute anchor Jeff Glor in his dramatic debut. That's always the right move when you want to boost your journalistic credibility. 
Edward R. Murrow could show today's reporters how to conduct an interview.
A psychiatrist could go dizzy analyzing this photo.

Much has been made of Charlie Rose's anchor job on CBS' morning newscast. His baggy eyes certainly add gravitas, an increasingly-rare commodity these days. Yet the ad-lib chat he shares with co-anchor with Norah O'Donnell is as comfortable to watch as an actor who suddenly forgets his lines. Whether this is a product of waking up early or a side-effect of his 72 years is difficult to discern.

Charlie Rose suffers the effects from
another late night out.

Or maybe not. The other day, they had just run a home video of two divers who nearly played Jonah to two humpbacked whales jumping out of the ocean. Charlie's reaction was similar to that which would be made by your grandfather: "It's fortunate that there's... technology today... that photographs things like that." 

Yeah, Charlie, it's known as a CAMERA! You know, that thing you stare at for two hours every morning.

I've got to try knocking over my TV soon.

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