Monday, November 15, 2010

TV Fare

I deviated from my normal practice of watching a recorded version of CBS Sunday Morning by watching it live yesterday, meaning I had to sit through (actually lie through, as I was in bed at the time) all the commercials. Fortunately for me (not for CBS), there weren’t too many of those distractions, but I was struck by how often the ads hyped record albums.

It’s not uncommon for Christmas albums to be promoted this time of year, and there were a few of them, but the ads were not restricted to Yuletide offerings. They encompassed a variety of performers and styles, from Eric Clapton to Andrea Bocelli to Susan Boyle, Norah Jones and Bruce Springsteen. There even was one for Jackie Evancho. Jackie Evancho? This 10 year old is apparently a singing sensation, a crossover soprano, who finished second in the fifth season of America’s Got Talent. Who knew? I’ve never really watched more than a minute or two of that show, though Gilda and I do tape and watch Dancing with the Stars (which brings me back to one of my favorite subjects, politics—from the outset I predicted Bristol Palin would go deep into the show because there was no way her mother’s supporters wouldn’t be phoning in their support of our country’s #1 unwed teenage mom. I’m almost tempted to call in myself to vote for anyone but Bristol, who, I must admit, has been rather game but really pretty lame as a dancer).

Back to the record albums. Older people, I believe, are still buying albums, as opposed to downloading from iTunes and the like, so it made sense for the ads to show up on a program that attracts an older demographic (what a relief to see something advertised on a newscast other than a product for incontinence, erectile dysfunction, diabetes management or some other condition of aging). For the next five weeks we all need to inure ourselves to the onslaught of holiday songs, in stores and promoted on TV. Of course, my cheeky comment on this phenomenon is that I’m waiting for a Christmas album from Matisyahu, the Orthodox Jewish reggae singer. That, to me, and not Jackie Evancho, would qualify as a crossover singer.

Maher and Moore: While riding the exercise bike this morning I watched last Friday’s Real Time with Bill Maher—guests included author/director Nora Ephron, documentarian Michael Moore, CNN’s Jessica Yellin (there’s something comical about a political correspondent having a last name that sounds like someone screaming, the typical way politicians talk these days), defeated senatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, Dem.-PA, and ex-Ark. governor, now perennial GOP presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee.

It’s always comforting, reassuring, to hear famous people express the same thoughts that meander through my mind and sometimes make their way into my blog. For example, Nora Ephron wondered why it is that middle class people don’t understand that millionaires should pay more taxes? Why aren’t they supporting Obama’s push to repeal the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy?

Because of the “lie” they were told that anyone can become a millionaire, said Moore. Just in case they achieve millionairehood, they don’t want to jeopardize their good fortune. I guess that’s why so many people buy lottery tickets...

Broadcast live, Real Time provided a painful memory when viewed Monday. Commenting on Obama’s countenance after the election, Maher said the president “looks like a broken man. He doesn’t look like it’s made him angry. He looks like the Dallas Cowboys, like he’s given up on the season.”

Ouch! Having watched the Cowboys dismantle the NY Giants at the Meadowlands yesterday, I can only say that football, like politics, is a sport with infinite comebacks. Some recent (last 62 years) examples—Truman, Nixon, Clinton and today’s NY Times profile, Dick Armey (

Comeback Trail: I had studiously avoided the comeback trail being blazed by George W. Bush on all the talk shows with the release of his book, Decision Points. But there he was, our 43rd president, with his coyishly smiling wife, Laura, being interviewed on CBS Sunday Morning and I was too lazy to get off the bed (Gilda, on the other hand, chose that moment to seek breakfast downstairs). I could fill volumes with my analysis of his analysis of his eight years in office, but I won’t.

I can’t resist, however, pointing out both Bush and Obama have recently voiced their everyman qualities by noting they pick up the poop their dogs leave behind. Too bad we (Americans and other nationalities) have to do clean up for the mistakes they both have made in office.