Friday, March 28, 2014

Just Wondering About Radio Ads and Noah

Here are some things that stop me cold in my tracks:

I wonder why an organization devoted to round-the-clock news, WCBS Newsradio 880, airs commercials that are creepy at the least and blatantly false and misleading in the extreme. I’m referring to all the radio spots about health claims (how’s your testosterone level?) and debt relief (what’s the size of your credit card balance?) and any number of other questionable ads. Don’t they vet the claims? You’d think the standards of an all-news radio station would be higher than simple talk radio which allows shills to promote gold and silver as hedges against post-apocalyptic  times.

I’m also curious as to whom exactly these ads are targeted at and how they match up to WCBS Newsradio 880’s actual audience. I’d have thought the radio station’s listeners were above average in education and income. Yet these ads seem to appeal to the lowest common denominator. 

Treading Water: Pictures of Russell Crowe dressed as Noah in the new Darren Aronofsky film Noah startled me when I saw him wearing pants and fingerless leather work gloves. But a little research on the Web revealed that gloves go back at least to ancient Egypt (here’s a graf from 
“History has a lot of facts of using the gloves in ancient times. They were popular and served as a protection of the hands in Old Egypt. The Pharaohs wore them as s symbol of their high position and women wore them to protect the beauty of their hands (they rub their hands with honey and fragrant oils and put on thin silk gloves). In those times the gloves were made as small pockets without holes for fingers. Then they were made only with one thumb (as today's mittens). Egyptian women used these mittens to protect hands while eating or working.”)

As for trousers, they seem to have sown up (I know it should have read “shown up” but I couldn’t resist the pun) about the time horses were domesticated enough to be ridden. According to a 2009 Reuters article (, “Horses were first domesticated on the plains of northern Kazakhstan some 5,500 years ago -- 1,000 years earlier than thought -- by people who rode them and drank their milk.” 

If Bible believers are to be believed, our world is just 5,774 years old, giving Noah plenty of time to fashion himself a pair of tight fitting pants instead of trampsing about in a bulky robe.  

I’ve commented before that I’m disappointed how few books I’ve read in retirement, but one I did read was David Maine’s The Preservationist, recently re-released under a new title, The Flood. It’s a psychological exegesis of the Noah story as explained through the eyes of the arkman himself and his family. It’s like The Red Tent, imaginative story-telling to fill in the blanks the Bible chose not to include, what Jewish scholars refer to as midrash. 

Interestingly, Maine names one of Noah’s unnamed-in-the-Bible daughters-in-law Ilya. She is Cham’s wife. Aronofsky casts Emma Watson as Ila, Shem’s wife. 

One of my favorite examples of midrash on Noah comes from an early routine of Bill Cosby. He imagines Noah arguing every time God proscribes another task. Finally, in exasperation over his recalcitrant subject, God convinces Noah to stop complaining by asking, “Noah, how long can you tread water?”  

Three Letters: Speaking of the Almighty, has anybody else noticed that with the departure of Tim Tebow and the signing of Michael Vick, the NY Jets’ quarterback controversy has gone from g-o-d to d-o-g?