Media Casserole

A Few Helpings Of Glop Scraped From The Infotainment Highway.
By Tom Danehy

JUST TO SHOW you how nice we are here at The Weekly, we watch TV, read magazines, and listen to the radio for those people out there too busy to do so for themselves. And now here is our semi-regular Media Update, the appearance of which coincides with a really slow sports week:

Danehy • I was listening to the Bert Lee Show the other afternoon on KTKT (990 AM). Lee is probably best known as the Voice of Icecat hockey. (Yes, hockey has a voice; it just doesn't have a brain.)

The show is on weekday afternoons on KTKT. I don't know when it starts, but this one seemed to go on forever. Mr. Lee was speaking on the issues of the day, I think. But somehow he managed to touch on a failing infrastructure, welfare moms, bad schools, the decline of communism, Roberto Alomar and teachers' unions--all in one sentence. You can't really tell by hearing somebody speak, but I don't think he had any punctuation in there, either.

He ended his speech about how bad things had become in America by asking this question: "What would you rather have: a thousand dollars, a thousand krona, a thousand francs, a thousand guilders or a thousand marks?"

It may have been a rhetorical question, but just in case it wasn't, my answer is: a thousand dollars. According to my calculations, 1,000 (Swedish) krona are worth $153.85. The same number of (French) francs are worth $195.21. Of course, if we're talking Belgian francs, that's $31.92. A thousand each of guilders, marks, or Swiss francs would each be worth a few hundred dollars.

I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he was asking whether we'd rather have $1,000 or $1,000 worth of guilders, francs or marks. But even then, it makes no sense. A thousand dollars' worth of francs is still worth $1,000. What's the point?

Then he took a call from a guy who said he had the solution to the lousy choices voters have these days. This guy says that he signs up to vote, goes and gets his ballot, then just stands in the ballot box doing nothing for several minutes and turns in a blank ballot.

I swear I've voted behind that guy the last eight elections!

Anyway, I've always wanted there to be more local talk shows. It's been a long while since I've been able to stomach the big fat idiot, Rush Limbaugh, or his successor, the infantile G. Gordon Liddy, where the "G" stands for either "Goofy," "Grandstander," or "Gnazi," in which the "G" is silent.

Whether Mr. Lee's show is the answer, I'm not certain. I'll give it some time and check back with you later. In the meantime, Bert, tell that caller he can pick up his ballot and just go drop it in the box without lingering in the booth. See, when it's counted, the computer won't know that he stood in the booth for a long time. It's kind of an empty gesture.

That way, he can get out of the way and let those of us who want to register our disgust by voting for the lesser of two evils (or writing in Sparky the Penguin) do our thing. Just a thought.

ENTERTAINMENT Weekly magazine (yeah, I'm the Tucsonan who subscribes to that) says there are 22 gay characters on prime-time TV. Unfortunately, they didn't name all 22, so we're left to guess. All I could come up with is Chuck Norris on Walker, Texas Ranger, and Fran's boss on The Nanny.

(By the way, whoever you are there at EW who took the time to count them, please take care of yourself. As long as you're alive, I'm not the most TV-obsessed person in America.)

All of this arose after the controversy over whether the title character on Ellen would come out of the closet. It was an obvious ploy to raise sagging ratings, but it died out pretty quickly.

In the early episodes of that show, Ellen was always kissing guys, but as the actress gained control of the show, she vetoed "dating episodes," effectively painting the writers into a corner. One writer said, "Imagine Seinfeld without sex. There are just so many driver's license episodes you can do."

They're going to have to make a decision soon. Personally, if I were writing that show, I'd have Ellen be straight and have everybody else be gay. Then Bobby would step out of the shower and Pam would faint....

LOCAL RADIO BULLDOG John C. Scott has sure found a bone to chew on. As the local, state and national elections neared, he decided to devote a week to whining about the creative deal the City Council came up with to keep Janos' restaurant in its current location.

Scott used the story to whip up a frenzy among his loyal minions (we're using the 14th definition of "minions" here, the one which means "tiny group of disgruntled small-businessmen"). He had everybody outraged over the deal in which the City of Tucson would buy the lease for the Stevens House (where Janos is located) for $700,000. Janos Wilder would pay off the lease over the next 15 years (plus interest) in exchange for his promise to remain in that location.

The City gets the Stevens House and all of its money back (plus some), the Tucson Museum of Art gets to use the $700,000 to expand, Janos gets to stay put, and the downtown area gets to remain the home for one of the most famous restaurants in the country well into the next century. Where's the downside?

John, you want to chew on something, chew on Vicki Cox-Golder. Just do it on the radio, so we won't have to watch. TW

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