Rob Madeo writes this stuff.
rmadeo (at) gmail.com
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rmadeo All is forgiven, Brian Williams.
rmadeo Jimmy Carter is a far snappier dresser than Bob Dole.
So, somebody asked how long WNYT’s been using the same news set.
I was there when they debuted the current set, you know, the one with lots of wood and the faux control room in the background? It’s been there so long that I couldn’t even remember when it was new. I looked it up and the answer was surprising.
Here’s an article from the Times Union about the station installing the new set — in 1995!
That makes the set more than 20-years-old. If it were your kid, it would be in college — and at this rate, it might be witness to a third term with a Clinton in the White House.
After all these years, the set is looking shopworn, especially the background, which has clearly faded with time. If you watch closely you’ll glimpse the unmistakable white mop of hair belonging to Newt Gingrich, speaker of the House in 1995.
But the bigger question is this: what’s more important, the news set or the people sitting on it?
The answer is both, but not in equal proportion. You’re much better off having great anchors sitting on an old set than the other way around.
How long does a news set last? Let’s go back to the 1995 news story:
Neither Fenhagen nor the people over at Channel 13 would give even a ballpark figure as to what it costs to build a set, which usually has a lifespan of between five and 10 years.
Or twenty years.
Either way, it’s time for a change. You could get away with certain things before DTV and 50 inch screens. The old days of analog TV were much kinder to rough-looking news sets and wrinkly anchors. Now, something that’s faded looks faded.
I used this picture, taken at the Stewart’s in Selkirk, in a presentation about communication.
My point was that some things, no matter how simple, still need to be explained. Things like “DO NOT DRINK” the cleaning products.
I probably did not need to mention that this was in Selkirk, but what Glenmont person can resist a Selkirk joke? You see, people may think all of Bethlehem is snooty, but in truth, the town has its own pecking order.
- Slingerlands people look down on Delmar
- Delmar is scornful of Glenmont
- Glenmont considers Selkirk the other side of the tracks
- Selkirk folks joke about Ravena
We could also go back up the scale, but suffice to say, you think anyone above you on the list is a condescending ass.
What do the people in Ravena do? They disapprove of Coeyman’s Hollow. Coeyman’s Hollow? Westerlo. Westerlo? Medusa… and so on. You could draw a line all the way from the Capital Region to Arkansas.
Next time you generalize about Bethlehem, just remember this: it’s the Slingerlands and Delmar people who are contemptible, not the lovable crowd in Glenmont. But don’t get me started on Selkirk.
Look, when you get to be my age, you’re going to be subjected to all sorts of dire things. Like a colonoscopy.
A colonoscopy, as you probably know, is when they pass a camera inside you and have a look where the sun don’t shine. The good news is that you’re totally out of it during all of this, in fact, moments after sedation, you don’t care what they do to you.
Many people will tell you that preparing for these tests is an odious ordeal. They’re half right.
My prep required a day of non-solid foods capped off by a giant dose of laxatives. The first half, the liquid diet, was not so bad, but the second half was no walk in the park. In fact, a walk in the park that’s the last thing you should do after taking a giant dose of laxatives.
Here’s my delicious lunch of mango Jell-O and chicken broth. Good stuff.
And hey! I have some pictures from inside my colon if you’d like to see them. No?
Some of you are saying, “Whoa, Rob! TMI!” Nonsense. This is a routine medical procedure and you’d be crazy not to do it. Colon cancer doesn’t get the sort of high-profile attention as other health risks, perhaps because it’s not a very glamorous region of your body. This is nothing to be squeamish about — and it could save your life.
By the way, hats off to the doctors and nurses who do this all day long. You think you deal with a lot of assholes all day long?
What sort of backwards place is Bethlehem, anyway? Yes, backwards.
The Albany suburb is known for its excellent schools and well-heeled residents, the home to doctors and lawyers and such — but to that, I say, “WTF! Who closes the dump on a Friday?”
It’s not really a dump. The town transfer station collects your waste and dispatches it to landfills and recycling centers. This is not Albany, where you just put a ratty old couch on the curb and it disappears overnight. No, in Bethlehem you drag it to the
dump transfer station and pay them to make it go away.
De-cluttering a house is hard work, and lately my car has made many trips to a local storage facility and the
dump transfer station. Too many trips to the storage facility and not enough to the dump transfer station, if you ask me, but that’s another blog post.
So, if you’ve ever filled your vehicle with crap and found that there’s nowhere to put it, like in Alice’s Restaurant, you know what I mean. Except in this case it wasn’t Thanksgiving, the
dump transfer station was closed because it was FRIDAY.
Again, I ask you: what sort of backwards place is Bethlehem, anyway?
We’ve been looking at a lot of houses lately and noticed something interesting: people like putting flat screen TV sets over the fireplace.
Not to be judgmental or anything — because I would never do that — but one thing goes through my head when I see this in a house:
douchebag bad idea.
There are a couple of practical reasons not to mount the TV over the fireplace. The heat might not great for the TV, and ideally, a TV should be level with your eyes position so you don’t have to look up at it. That could be bad for your neck.
But there are less tangible reasons, too.
It used to be that the space over the fireplace was reserved for something special, like a piece of art or an antique that sits on the mantle. Let’s say you have a mounted moose head that you love. Where’s it going to go? Over the fireplace, of course. It sends a message about what you find important.
When you put the TV over the fireplace, it says that the most important thing in your life is the TV. And it makes your house look like a barroom.
So don’t be
a douchebag silly: find somewhere else for the TV. I know the fireplace thing is popular right now, but just because it’s popular doesn’t make it right.
The NY Times recently did a great feature called How to Start Running — but for many people, How to Keep Running might be more useful.
I’ve been at it since the early 1990s, never once on a treadmill and almost always before sunrise. It’s not getting better, unless you consider covering shorter distances at a slower pace as somehow better.
I may be long past my peak, but that’s OK.
These days, my runs are tracked on a GPS watch, but back in the day, I scribbled notes in composition books, noting my route, distance and time. Here’s a page from nearly 20 years ago:
Wow, I was really something. Today? Shorter and slower.
Running as a metaphor for life is a well-worn shoe. It’s usually invoked to speak of endurance and perseverance. The value of hard work in achieving a goal. But the sad truth is that it’s also about decline and decay and giving way to age.
But so what? I hope I run on the day I die, even if it’s just for a short distance. Even the most miserable run makes any day better.