Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

I’ve caught the World Cup fever, and the only cure: more vuvuzela!  And it looks like I am not the

only one.  President Clinton has World Cup fever too. Check  Bubba celebrating the US victory over Algeria with Carlos Bocanegra and an oat-soda.

Today is the day.  No matter what the outcome when the United States takes on Ghana in the first knockout round of the World Cup, the game will be a tremendous experience, as pretty much the entire nation will have our eyes and hearts trained on a television set around 2 o’clock, eastern time.  The fact that we all – Red and Blue Americans – came come together behind the Red-White-and-Blue is a rare thing nowadays, and something to be savored.

These games have been so thrilling.  I watched all 90+ minutes of Wednesday’s US/Algeria match, and was disheartened as time waned by the notion that US Soccer would again be denied a chance to mix it up in the Sweet 16, especially after so many missed opportunities and poor calls.  But then Tim Howard made a great save and immediately fired the ball like an outlet pass in basketball to Donovan, and the fast break was on, culminating in Landon’s put-back goal after the Algerian goalies made yet another incredible save on yet another close range kick from Clint Dempsey.  I went bananas, as most of the country did, from what I’ve gathered.

What an amazing sporting event, with these electric finishes.  But, in the immortal words of Marty McFly in Back to the Future: Part III: “Why do we have to cut these things so damn close?”  I don’t know if I can handle another nail-biter; I’m down to my knuckles already.  Let’s get out to a lead for a change today, OK fellas?

And as I’ve mentioned in my previous post on the World Cup, Rivers Cuomo, front-man and driving force behind the great rock band Weezer, is not only a huge soccer fan, but a personal friend of Mr. 91′, Landon Donovan.  Anyway, Cuomo and Weezer wrote a song specifically in honor of the 2010 US World Cup squad called “Represent”.  It has become something of an anthem for our boys.  The new video is below, and it will get you fired up.

So get fired up.  This is gonna be a tough match: the “Black Stars” of Ghana are no joke.  But our team has a touch of destiny about it, and hundreds of millions of people 100% behind them.

So they’ve got that going for ’em.

U-S-A! All.  The.  Way.

The Monday Morning Punter, as you may know, is in reference to one of the only two occasions where the foot actually touches the ball in the misnomer that is American Football.  But for this month, picture the MMP like a bad-ass  goalie as he launches the ball like a freakin’ mortar across the huge field – Tim Howard will do fine for this mental exercise.  Yeah, I’m pretty into the World Cup.

Now I hardly know shit about soccer; never played the game, but greatly admire it from afar.  My sports were Football and Basketball.  And it is my familiarity with these two sports that always gave me an appreciation for the tremendous athleticism required to play Soccer; what it takes to run back and forth like a Basketball player on a field slightly wider than a Football gridiron.  But it’s not all about just running.  These cats have some hops, the way they get up there to head that ball, and balls, the way they risk those heads.  (I couldn’t play Soccer, because I’d be too busy screaming in a high pitched voice, “Not in the face!”)  The agility on display in this game is incredible, as the players weave themselves and the ball through a gauntlet of adversaries.  And I find it fascinating the way all these body parts are flying around and firing out, everything but the arms and hands.  It is all beautifully spastic.  And this all leads to some real rough moments and some pretty gruesome injuries.  Soccer players are kind of bad-asses, expect for when they flop about like Vlade Divac or Manu Ginobli (it’s probably not a coincidence that some of the NBA’s best all-time floppers hail from countries where Soccer is big.)

Another big reason for my appreciation for Soccer is that lots of my friends not only played and play the game, but are really good at it; back in the day they won a lot of games .  At Masuk High School, my alma mater, the Panthers were a force to be reckoned with, as we dominated southeastern Connecticut, and were in the mix for States.  Big Ups to my boys – Kenyon, Jeff, Dave, Lex, Chris, Tony, among others – who anchored those great Masuk teams of the mid 90s, from the time they were freshman or sophomores.  My college friends had mad success too: Nasty Nate, Jimmy, and Prah kicked ass in central PA for the Mifflinburg Wildcats; and the twins, Ben and Dan, brought home a New Jersey State Championship for Princeton High School.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not following club teams, nor do I have a favorite MLS squad.  This little crush only comes around every four years.  I’ll never be full-time Soccer fan because, like most Americans, I simply don’t have any more room in my life for another sport.   I have a hard enough time keeping up with the ones I already follow, especially since the NFL pretty much has a hold of at least a little of my attention all twelve months of the year now.  It’s just like the Olympics: most people dig the Swimming and Snowboarding and Track & Field, but they are not following the box scores  after The Games.

So I am gonna enjoy this spectacle that is the entire world coming together, and going bananas over The World’s Game.   The sights of the flags and crazy, colorful costumes, combined with the sounds of singing and, mostly, vuvuzelas (more on those in a bit), are all truly something to behold.  And finally, you have gotta love our own country galvanizing behind our Boys in Blue, as they try to kick the world apart.  U-S-A!!!  U-S-A!!!

Here a few other thoughts regarding the 2010 World Cup:

Far-Right Poltical Reaction –

It figures that certain far-right bloggers and commentators would get their myopic, xenophobic, moronic panties in a bunch over the inherent “Anti-Americanism” of Soccer.  What a bunch of jerk-offs.  These asshole see “Anti-Americanism” under their beds every night and in their Cheerios every morning.

New York City –

I was living down in the West Village back in the summer of 2002, when the World Cup took place, and was amazed and delighted by how often you would pass by a random bar packed full of people repping some nation, and cheering their squad in full throat at 9:30 on a weekday morning.  The crock-pot of cultures that is NYC has to be one of the most exciting places to be during the World Cup.

The Vuvuzelas –

By now everyone has heard about the plastic buzzing horns, also known as Vuvuzelas, that sound like gigantic kazoos, and created the sensation of being inside a bee’s nest.  They’ve been the talk of the tournament not related to the play on the field.  Most people seem to hate them, finding the sound very annoying.  Me, I don’t really mind them all that much.  For one, I’ve always been partial to droning sounds: I can easily sleep to the sounds of AC units, traffic, fans, and the like.  I’ve already has a nice little power-nap during the middle of one game; I of course didn’t miss any scoring.

But the biggest reason I dig the vuvuzelas is because of how much they seems to be pissing everyone off, specifically the powers that be like the players and commentators.  But that’s just the rascal in me.  “Waaaagh, the buzzing is bothering me!”  Shut the fuck up and do your job, Soft Serve.

Weezer’s Un-Offical, Official USA Soccer Anthem –

Weezer front-man, and Harvard-grad, Rivers Cuomo is apparently a huge soccer fan, so much so that the following  song is the second written specifically in honor of the US team, and its pursuit of our nation’s first World Cup.  Idon’t know about the last song from 2006, but this one rocks!  This is quintessential Weezer, blasting the power chords as they get us fired up for an improbable run at The Cup.  So enjoy this bitchin’ song and video, “Represent.”  If you really dig it, I’m pretty sure it can be had for free on iTunes until this Friday.

For whom The Bell tolls?  It tolls for thee, Slovenia, 10 o’clock est, Friday morning.  Keep talkin shit, and you’ll catch it but good you little punks!  U-S-A!!!  U-S-A!!!  U-S-muthafuckin’-A!!!!

Tomorrow is the big day: The Masters!  And I must say that I’m really excited about it.  First of all, although I’m not yet a golfer, I get all jazzed up about The Masters each and every year for a number of reasons.  The first major tournament of the season signals to me the unofficial start of Spring: after The Masters, a chilly-ass day is the exception rather than the rule.  Another thing that makes The Masters the preeminent tournament in golf is the familiarity that comes with it being held each year at Augusta National Golf Club (as opposed to the other three major tournaments, which change venues each year, for those of you who don’t know shit about any of this stuff.)  Even if you just having a passing interest in golf or The Masters, you know about the harrowing 11th, 12th, and 13th Holes, also known as ‘Amen Corner;’ you recognize the Sarazen Bridge, and President Eisenhower’s Tree and Pond.   So when you combine Spring in Georgia, with a pristinely designed and manicured golf course full of history, you get tradition, and some incredibly stunning scenes of natural beauty.  And now with HD, the Azaleas, Magnolias, and Dogwoods, exploding with color in their full Spring bloom against a backdrop of ancient Oaks on a big TV, are enough to give you an eyegasm.  Also, if you happen to have DirecTV, you get a few bonus channels of coverage for free, which is nice, that focus on some of the more noteworthy holes.  And, as a bonus, for all the tea-bagging, birther, GOP, freedom-loving, real Americans out there, y’all even get a nice little slice of the Antebellum South (Augusta National was built on a former plantations, still has no Female membership, had no Black membership until the early 90s but had all Black caddies until the early 80s.)

But we all know that this year’s Masters is extra special, and we all know why: Tiger, Tiger Woods y’all!

The whole world will have their eyes fixed on this year’s Masters to see what happens.  Literally hundreds of reporters from dozens of media outlets worldwide have already descended upon little ‘ol Augusta, Georgia.  Of course this is more than a little ridiculous because all that is really gonna happen is that Tiger is gonna hit a little ball with a big stick, walk after it, and do it again.  I mean, it is not like Jamie Grubbs and Rachel Uchitel are gonna pop up from under The Hogan Bridge and demand that Tiger, “answer we, these questions three,” in order for him to pass over Rae’s Creek en route to the 12th green.  (But Jocelyn James, she of the very freaky Tiger texts, will be dancing at a strip-club in Atlanta, 100 miles from Augusta; so he’s got that going for him…)

The real thing everyone will be looking for is how Tiger will handle the scrutiny and pressure at what is ordinarily one of the most scrutinized and pressure-packed tournaments of the year.  The Masters is also an event that Tiger has dominated since turning pro, with 4 titles and numerous top-ten finishes.  Tiger’s length is tailor made for success on this course – pun very much intended.

Personally, I am very much looking forward to testing my abilities as a pop-psychologist regarding Tiger when he tees off Thursday at 1:42 pm.  Playing pop-psychologist is one of my favorite pastimes, because I fancy myself as someone who knows a thing or two about the neat little tricks the mind can play on its owner.  I think that Tiger has been striving towards this robotic version of human perfection in a sport that has a minuscule margin for error, a sport in which even a momentary loss of focus can result in disastrous consequences on the course.  My theory is that no matter what Tiger does on the golf course, this Terminator image of him has been shattered – an image he and his sponsors worked hard to cultivate – and that will affect his legendary focus and, ultimately, his golf game.  Because, regardless of how many tournaments he wins, regardless of whether or not he surpasses the great Jack Nicklaus in terms of major titles, Tiger is just another entitled jerkoff, who can’t keep his dick in his pants.  I dunno, I just think that this fact cannot help but be constantly gnawing at the back of his mind, which I believe will affect not only his game this week; but, more importantly, I feel that it will affect his overall drive and desire to be the greatest golfer ever..who just happened to engage in unprotected sex with a litany of random women, with a lovely wife and two young children at home.

So here’s my prediction:  Tiger doesn’t even make the cut. Remember that you heard it here, from the Monday Morning Punter.

And finally, I find it endlessly funny that Tiger chose to make his return to golf at The Masters, because masterbation would have saved Tiger a world of trouble.

UPDATE: So Tiger shot his best first round ever at The Masters, with a 4-under-par 68, and is making me look like an asshole, and a shitty pop-psychologist.  Dick!

While brevity is not one of my strong suits, I shall try to keep my commentary on the last half of the summer short and sweet – so short and sweet, in fact, that my observations and opinions on some noteworthy events from the last half of the summer shall be presented in the form of little poems. Enjoy the shortness and the sweetness, but take some wet-naps: they’re sticky.

July 18th: The Dark Knight opens world-wide.

Heath Ledger’s creepily awesome performance

In The Dark Knight was great;

Makes me hope that the Dead can see what’s going on down here…

…Except for when I masturbate.

July 24th: Barack Obama speaks in Berlin, in front of 200,000.

Obama is admired around the world;

And somehow this is bad to think?

Perhaps they’re putting stupid,

In water half the people drink.

July 29th: A 5.4 earthquake hits the Los Angeles area.

The Earth shook below

The Hollywood Hills.

How long will it be

Till the Big One that kills?

July 29th: SIRIUS and XM satellite radios merge after over 17 months of government review. It took less than one year to approve the Exxon/Mobil merger.

SIRIUS and XM

Could finally unite,

In spite of the Radio’s

Political fight.

August 7th: Brett Favre is traded from the Green Bay Packers to the New York Jets.

I woke in the morning,

And Favre was a Jet.

If only I’d placed,

That 100 to 1 bet.

August 8th: John Edwards admits to having an affair with his videographer.

Affairs in remission,

Are not all that bad,

According to Edwards,

The Cad of All Cads.

August 8th: The Opening Ceremonies commence the Games of the XXIX Olympiad.

The Opening Ceremony,

Was remarkably done.

China showed what can happen

When working as one.

August 13th: Michael Phelps wins a record eighth gold medal in a single Olympics.

Phelps upon winning, 

Eight medals of gold,

Is a Hero of Heroes,

His feats to behold.

August 15th: Mike and the Mad Dog (Chris Russo) officially end their historic, 19 year run as one of America’s preeminent sports-talk teams.

An end of the era that was

Mike and the Dog on ‘The FAN’.

Now Chris leaves for SIRIUS,

To be the one Man.

August 24th: The Summer Olympics conclude with the Closing Ceremony. The United States finish second in the gold count with 36, to China’s 51.

Hats off to China,

And all their medals of shining gold.

And not too bad for Team USA,

All of whom play without being told.

August 27th: Barack Obama accepts the Democratic nomination for President of the United States.

For people who say,

“Well what will he change?”

Please pay attention,

It’s not all that strange.

September 4th: John McCain accepts the Republican nomination for President of the United States.

This convention is nonsense;

Its delegates creepy.

Social fluff and no issues,

Put me to sleepy.

September 4th:The 2008 NFL season officially kicks off with the Superbowl Champion NY Giants hosting the Washington Redskins.

Football has started,

Our Nation’s true past-time.

Now 31 teams hope for

Better than last time.

“Convinced that the people are the only safe depositories of their own liberty, and that they are not safe unless enlightened to a certain degree, I have looked on our present state of liberty as a short-lived possession unless the mass of the people could be informed to a certain degree.”–Thomas Jefferson to Littleton Waller Tazewell, 1805

I hope everyone reading this had a wonderful holiday weekend. And to the rest of the world not down with the Monday Morning Punter: I hope y’all had a pretty good weekend as well.

We will start the Television Edition of the MMP’s ‘Summer Reading’ list with an examination one of the more ubiquitous and controversial sources of news coverage these days: 24-hour cable news networks. In spite of (or perhaps because of) the dominance and influence of the major media corporations, television is still a hugely powerful medium when it comes to delivering news and information. Whether or not it’s all bullshit, TV news coverage is still how the vast majority of people get informed on events around the world or around the corner. And specifically, 24/7 cable news is becoming increasingly more significant as viewership wanes for the traditional 6/6:30 nightly news.

History

Back in the early 80s Ted Turner and his rag-tag, little network-that-could, CNN, began broadcasting news 24/7 from its Atlanta headquarters; becoming the first network in the United States to do so. A little over a decade later CNN came of age as a major news outlet after it was the sole network covering the initial bombing phase of Operation: Desert Storm. (There is a fantastic HBO film about CNN’s historical scoop called Live From Baghdad, starring Michael Keaton and the lovely Helena Bonham Carter. Check it out.) In 1991, while CNN was making broadcast history in Baghdad, it passed the big three networks in ratings, and cable news was born. This subsequently launched CNN into the major media stratosphere, paving the way for its acquisition by Time Warner in 1996.

At around the same time CNN was being acquired by Time Warner, two competing cable news networks were about to toss their hats into the ring. In 1996 both the Fox News Channel and MSNBC launched their respective 24-hour news networks.

After achieving “fourth network” status in the early 90s, and having previous experience in the 24/7 news business overseas, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp gave birth to the Fox News Channel on October 7th, 1996. Republican strategist Roger Ailes was picked to lead the network. (It should be noted here that at one time Ailes was in charge of America’s Talking, which later became MSNBC, who then passed on Ailes for leadership of the new network.) FNC really brought a modern graphical overhaul to its presentation of news coverage, with lots of bright red, whites, and blues highlighting summations of the current topic at the bottom of the screen in bullet-point format. Fox News quickly ascended to the top of the cable news mountain by the turn of the century, and is still the highest rated cable news network (and 6th overall amongst all cable networks.)

A few months before Fox officially launched, on July 15th, 1996, MSNBC officially began airing news, interviews, and opinions. The collaboration between Microsoft and NBC created the MSNBC network in an effort to reach a younger, more tech-savvy generation of news viewers. From the get-go, the MSNBC internet site was heavily integrated with the network. But in perhaps an ironic, unintended consequence of this focus on the burgeoning medium of online news, MSNBC.com has by far outperformed its television parent; as it is currently engaged in a fierce battle with CNN.com for top online news site honors. After being mired deep in low ratings, and approaching its 10th anniversary in 1996, columnist for the New York Post (like Fox News, run by Murdoch’s News Corp), Don Kaplan clowned MSNBC by writing: “the running joke in TV news is Fox and CNN are news channels with websites, but MSNBC is a website with a cable channel” While still lagging behind both ratings leaders Fox and CNN, respectively, MSNBC has managed to turn a corner and seems to have found its niche in the world of 24/7 cable news coverage. And the future looks bright for MSNBC as they have seen a steady incline in the ratings amongst the coveted 25-54 demographic.

So that’s a brief little history on how the three cable news networks came to be, and how people like Keith Olbermann, Bill O’Reilly, and Lou Dobbs became household names and lightning rods for criticism

Bias

We’ve all heard about the “liberal media bias” from conservatives when describing newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post. (The basis for this argument is that most reporters would describe themselves as leaning left or voting Democrat, and not on their actual reporting itself.) And we’ve all heard liberals screaming about the “conservative agenda” put forth by the Fox News Channel. CNN and, now MSNBC in particular, often find themselves the targets of conservatives for a perceived liberal bias on their part. It might surprise some to learn that both MSNBC and CNN have been accused of a conservative bias as well as the typical liberal criticisms by media watch-dog groups like Media Matters. Of course, the Fox News Channel has never been accused of leaning left in any way. Really? What about that liberal pit-bull Alan Colmes?

What NOT to watch

I think you know where I’m going with this. For the love of God, and all that is good and true in this world, please, I implore you, a thinking American citizen, whatever you do, DO NOT watch the Fox News Channel if you want an honest source of information. If you are in the mood for a little entertainment or a good chuckle then, by all means, tune in.

One of the catchy slogans Fox News has adopted, “We Report, You Decide,” should most definitely be changed to the more accurate, “We Decide, Then Report.” And another one of their self-described subtitles, “Fair and Balanced,” is the equivalent of Amy Winehouse calling herself, “Clean and Sober.”

I could go on and on about the clear conservative agenda being pushed by Fox as manifested in the bullying, blow-hard, Bill O’Reilly, harping on meaningless, socially divisive issues like his crusade against a perceived ‘attack on Christianity’; or the hilariously mismatched pairing of Hannity and Colmes – respectively, one a dashing and eloquent conservative pundit, the other a little Gollum-looking, spineless whipping boy, meant to personify the caricature of a bed-wetting liberal; and I could continue on about how the president of Fox News since its inception, Roger Ailes, is a stalwart supporter of the Republican party, and was media consultant to Presidents Nixon, Reagan, and H.W. Bush. But all you really need to know about the Fox News Channel can be found here:

Fox News airs altered photos of NY Times reporters

and here When Fox News is the Story

After Fox “News” doctored actual photos of reporters who had the audacity to write a factually correct piece about how both MSNBC and CNN are closing the ratings gap with Fox, how anybody can watch this shit and honestly call themselves an intellectual is beyond me. It kind of makes you wonder if there is anything else they might have slanted to the right. Hmmm? It may not be fair or balanced, but from here on out if I find out that you, my faithful reader, watch this propaganda passed off as news, be you friend, family, or otherwise, I will simply have to conclude that you, my friend, are a moron. Sorry. You’ve been warned.

What TO watch

Forget for a moment that I lean towards the left (I am left-handed after all.) Instead try to think of me first and foremost as someone who is very open-minded and welcomes new and opposing ideas. If you know me, you know that I love to argue. And one of the most effective ways to argue one’s point is to get intimately familiar with the opposing stance. Also think of me as someone who spends a lot of time watching these various cable news channels as I speed along the Information Superhighway, passing the on and off ramps of various media exits. Please keep all of this in mind when reading the following recommendations.

If you are going to watch cable news, and you haven’t already, please make the switch to MSNBC. From the perspective of journalistic integrity, I have found that MSNBC, along with CNN, present their regular news coverage very subjectively and void of the editorializing often found in Fox’s coverage, be it from their anchors or the carefully worded summations beneath them on the screen.

MSNBC has really surged forward as of late, and much of that success can be attributed to a fervent interest in a historical primary season, and now a presidential campaign that will result in a new leader taking charge of our nation. MSNBC has a stable of political heavy-hitters amongst its anchors and correspondents such as Chris Matthews, host of Hardball, former White House correspondent and Press Secretary agitator, David Gregory, Joe Scarborough, host of Morning Joe and a former Republican congressman, Pat Buchanan, former advisor to Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Reagan, and conservative/libertarian Tucker Carlson, to name a few. Judging just by some of names on the preceding list, one can surmise that MSNBC strives to present both sides of the political spectrum.

And finally, if you need any more reason to make MSNBC your cable news source, know this: they are partnered with some of the most trusted and respected print media outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Newsweek.

Morning Joe

If you have the luxury of spending a little time in the morning watching television, and you are looking for some perspective on the news making headlines, please avoid the banal network morning shows with their cooking segments, shitty concerts “live from the plaza,” and the countless rube tourists jostling for camera time behind the jolly weatherman. Instead, head on over to MSNBC and grab a cup of Morning Joe, hosted by conservative pundit and former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough. The lovely Mika Brzezinski co-hosts Morning Joe, and provides the liberal viewpoint, along with the hysterical Willie Geist, who supplies the witty comic relief.

This show is great because the crew gets a head start on the day’s early news as they analyze and discuss it in a relaxed, round-table format. The core that is Joe, Mika, and Willie are often joined by pundits and journalists like Pat Buchanan (does this guy ever leave 30-Roc?), Mike Barnicle and Andrea Mitchell. Even the Big Man himself, Jack Welch, former GE CEO, stops by now and again. While I often find myself disagreeing with a lot of Joe Scarborough’s political views, I have nothing but the utmost respect for him because while he is conservative, he is also a free-thinker who has no problem criticizing this administration and his own party when he feels they are not acting with the best interest of America in mind.

Again, if you are up at 6am, and have a little time to watch television, and want some good information, have some Morning Joe with your morning joe.

Countdown with Keith Olbermann

Now that it is summer, and re-runs and reality dominate network primetime, it is the perfect time to discover a wonderfully informative and entertaining program. I highly recommend watching Countdown with Keith Olbermann at either 8 or 10 pm, or least TiVo it. (When our programs are on at 8, we watch Keith, while recording the other show, then fast forward through the mindless network commercials. DVR or TiVo technology is the type that I now cannot imagine life without). I should mention that this show is often blasted by conservatives for its liberal perspective. I will concede that Keith may lean left; but most of his ire is not so much directed at conservative ideology in general as it is on an administration that has used conservatism to hijack our government while pissing on our Constitution and waging an unnecessary war for profit. Keith is also an unabashed critic of Fox “News” and their obvious water-carrying for an administration whose policies have made the average American less secure, less prosperous, less informed, less free, and more fearful. Can you blame him?

But Countdown with Keith Olbermann is no less an honest program covering the current events in politics and news in spite of a perceived liberal bias from its host. You may remember Keith from his days as an anchor on SportsCenter, as part of the legendary duo of him and Dan Patrick. The sarcastic wit on display in those days, as Keith read the highlights, is out in full force on Countdown. But nevertheless, the stories he covers are the big, national stories of the day (as opposed to the often local, fringe stories The O’Reilly Factor focuses on in a clear effort to spread fear and the far-right’s political agenda.)

The format and title of Countdown is meant to ironically highlight the varying emphasis that networks place on covering social and celebrity stories alongside “hard news.” The program counts down from five, the top stories of the day, leading with, and devoting the most time to, the biggest national news at #5, and then finishes with the nonsensical celebrity voyeurism news of the day at #1. Speaking of which, what possible value is there in bringing the American public the sordid details of a divorce between a very former model and her uber-cad of a husband? I cannot imagine giving less of a fuck, but somehow, I know all about it. And I need to take a shower.

So please, give Keith and his Countdown a chance. I promise you will find the show both informative and entertaining. And if you are coming from a conservative perspective, don’t worry, Keith and MSNBC won’t turn you into al-Qaeda, and you can still keep your flag pin on your lapel.

Arbitrary Commentary

  • Maybe people would be less inclined to climb the walls of The New York Times building, in New York City, were those walls not covered in a gigantic fucking ladder!
  • Our man Andy is still going strong on I Survived A Japanese Game Show, as the Yellow Penguin team pulled out its second straight victory over the reeling Green Monkey squad. Big ups to Belinda for her efforts on the tricycle. Poor Darcy was eliminated for the second and (apparently?) final time. You gotta hand it her though; she was tough little fighter. Andy has been fantastic so far, excelling in the competitions as well as the social maneuvering. Keep it up, Homie! And thanks to Andy, the MMP

    has received a huge amount of traffic from people searching for ‘Andrew Kelly-Hayes,’ as my site is one of the first that is recovered when he is Googled. Thanks, Big Man!

  • And finally, since I’ve mention Bill O’Reilly, I just couldn’t resist. The video below is a behind-the-scenes look at just what ol’ Billo was actually seeing on that teleprompter. Hahahahahahaha. I just LOVE this guy!

One week from tonight a reality television star will be born. Next Tuesday, June 24th, at 9 o’clock, I Survived A Japanese Game Show premieres on the ABC network. Our man Andy is finally coming to primetime!

But before I introduce you all to the man, the myth, the legend that is Andrew Kelly-Hayes, I would like to take a moment to delve a little deeper into what this reality show is all about. By now, most of y’all have seen the commercials for I Survived A Japanese Game Show or have heard the word of mouth. What is clear from these ads, and the water-cooler talk, is that the major concept behind this latest reality offering involves running 10 young Americans through the gauntlet of bizarre and hysterical challenges that Japanese game shows are famous for. What has not been made all that clear, however, is that the other major hook in this show is how these 10 contestants navigate through a totally foreign land and culture, as they live and compete together. The early buzz on the show is that the “house mother,” Mamasan, is quite the pisser, and has been described as a “pot-stirrer.” This I like. The fact that some of the show will be devoted to the contestants’ day-to-day in Japan, all under one roof, is fantastic; especially because that will allow the force of nature that is Andy’s personality to come shining through the television, regardless of how the show is edited. Speaking of the editing process, I don’t envy the guy who is in charge of that; for I am sure that there will be some priceless gems from Andy that will inevitably end up on the cutting room floor.

So now it is time to properly introduce Andrew Kelly-Hayes to you, my faithful readers. Let me start by telling a little story of how we all met this character who became one of our dearest and most loyal friends. It was in early September and the first weekend of the Fall semester way back in 1998, that we threw a legendary, 12-keg, toga party at our off- campus house on Warren Square. We had people manning the door in order to maintain proper crowd control, as well as enforcing the toga dress code. A few hours into the revelry I noticed that a barrel of a man, toga-clad, and sporting a silver helmet securely strapped to his chin, had taken up a post, checking people at the door. My initial reaction was the same as some of my friends, “Who the fuck is this guy, making himself quite at home?” My next thought was, “And what is up with that fuckin’ helmet?” I never really did figure out the whole deal with the helmet. But by the way that Andy bounds through life, like a runaway freight-train, it is probably a good safety precaution. Years later, when Andy visited me in Connecticut, and we went out one night to Toad’s Place in New Haven, he tried to enter the club with his helmet on. While the bouncer seemed cool enough with the unusual headwear, Andy was rebuffed by the police officer at the door. So Andy did the only thing he could do: he checked his helmet with the coats. You should have seen the look on the coat-check girl’s face. I think her exact words were, “This is a new one.”

Although my first reaction to this crazy freshman was apprehensive at best, in a matter of hours, Andy had ingratiated himself with our crew; and 10 years later we are happy and proud to call him our friend. Andy has that special way about him: upon meeting him, you wonder if you had known one another in a previous life; because when you meet Andy, he acts and treats you like he’s known you for years. Andy doesn’t have time for that getting-to-know-you bullshit. It’s quite refreshing. He’s the consummate “people person;” and he’s always looking to lend a helping hand. Friends of our friends became Andy’s friends, and remain so.

Over the next few years of college, Andy was at the center of some of the funniest stories you will hear. And in the years since, few things bring me and others more joy than to recount these hilarious events over a beer or two or ten. Here are some of the highlights:

Next week will not be the first time Andy has appeared in a reality show. During college, he was a contestant on the MTV program called FEAR, in which 6 people must complete a series of tasks, or “dares,” over the course of two nights at a haunted location. Andy, of course, stole the show. In the first clip, Andy is charged with investigating a bathroom where a man was killed. Notice the way Andy comes flying through the door after he completes his dare, and almost knocks over the dude standing near it.

As Egon Spengler, Ray Stantz, and Peter Venkman will tell you, what Andy meant to say was, “I’ve got my PKE, bitch!” confusing the Psycho Kinetic Energy meter with the more common EKG, which is an acronym for the electrocardiogram that measures the electrical activity of the heart. Close enough; and funny as shit!

And in this second clip from the show, Andy is solely responsible for psyching up his fellow contestant, convincing him to follow through with his spooky task, and thus helping the kid win his share of the prize money. Like I said, Andy is all about helping other people.

When we in Jamaica, on spring break, after swimming naked under the glass-bottomed boats that frequented the little cove surrounded by a few bars and restaurants, Andy proceeded to run naked up the stairs carved into rocky cliffs, and continued his lap through the ‘Pickled Parrot’ establishment as the patrons cheered him on. From my vantage point, from atop a cliff, as Andy ran through the throngs of people, triumphantly swinging his swim-trunks like a Steelers “Terrible Towel,” it looked like they were doing The Wave as he passed them by. The crowd continued to cheer as Andy finished his streaking by leaping off the highest cliff of the cove. The crowd fell silent as he fell the forty or so feet, still swinging his shorts; only to erupt in a roar of cheer when he safely splashed into the clear blue water below. Classic. Absolutely classic.

Andy is also quite renowned for his dancing skills as well. For a big man, he is remarkably light on his feet. We all will never forget that time at Leon’s Bar when Andy climbed atop a pool table to perform the “Buffalo Bill” dance from Silence of the Lambs; and then proceeded to fall flat on his face on the dismount, pants still around his ankles. “And you wanna be my latex salesman?” And then there was our wedding; where Andy was tearing up the dance floor like a whirling dervish right before tearing up his pants after performing an impressive split.

So there you have it. This has been just a small slice of the Andy pie; and the stories above merely scratch the surface. And like the following bios on him regarding the show, while I hope to capture his essence, I know I hardly do him justice:

” Andrew Kelly-Hayes, a 28-year-old radio sales consultant from Boston, MA. With his hilarious stories and off-the-wall energy, this flip flop-wearing funnyman could be a long-lost Belushi brother. Whether he’s schmoozing old ladies at Bingo, harassing strangers while on “Smile Patrol” or joining his college cheerleading team to meet hot girls, Andrew has a reputation for being a nut.”

“Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, Andrew Kelly-Hayes is your typical resident funny man. This radio sales consultant has a degree in journalism and communication and is one big ball of energy and humor. He always has a hilarious story up his sleeve to tell an unsuspecting stranger, whether its old ladies at Bingo or hot cheerleaders in college. Indeed, Andrew’s reputation as a nut goes a long way.”

Besides being a really funny, outgoing, fearless guy, he’s also very intelligent, and one of the sweetest, most caring and loyal people you will ever have the pleasure of knowing. So set your TiVos, people, because Andy is coming to primetime. I hope y’all are psyched for the show. And here’s hoping he wins the whole fucking thing, and the 25,965,000 Yen.