Ann Curry Shows NBC What Class Is

June 28, 2012

By Adele

This morning Ann Curry announced her departure from Today, and they actually let her speak for a whole 2:10 uninterrupted minutes, which may be a record.

It happened at about 8:55 a.m., after Ann had gamely logged her 2 final hours as co-host.

Ann said she’s staying with NBC to do news, and it’s unfortunate the ingrate network will still reap the benefit of her journalistic skills.

Speaking of journalism, Today is right on track to realize it was already down the crapper long before Ann became co-host. Immediately after Ann’s heartfelt farewell and a commercial break, they switched gears by launching Savannah Guthrie’s hour with cake-decorating with Martha Stewart.

On the other hand, earlier they had let Al Roker talk to popular authors Charlaine Harris (the Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood series) and Janet Evanovich about summer reading, and let them mention 6 or 8 books apiece, although the last few got one-word recommendations for the usual reason — more commercials.

(Evanovich recommended Anthony Bourdain’s Medium Raw. She said she loves him, but hates him for being a better writer than she is.)

It was a feeble attempt to raise the bar on content, but too little, too late.

I hope Ann is just staying on while she considers other opportunities, and the day comes soon when she leaves NBC’s stinking corpse to rot.

(We’re also pissed at NBC for stupidly canceling Kathy Bates’ Harry’s Law, its second most-watched drama, behind Smash, but ahead of Law & Order: SVU.)

Talent and quality mean absolutely nothing to those people. They’re worse than Travel Channel.

Meanwhile, CBS, here we come!


‘Today Show’ Producers Have a Death Wish

June 26, 2012

By Adele

It’s like watching a slow-mo train wreck on the Today Show. Ann Curry somehow manages to carry on with grace while NBC execs continue to crap on her good name rather than take responsibility for their own failures in the ratings.

And now it seems they’re seriously considering the vowel-challenged Hoda Kotb to be Matt Lauer’s new sidekick.

REALLY??!! Can anybody even pronounce “Kotb?”

Thanks to NBC, Hoda’s image is of a middle-aged mid-morning drunk who dresses like she thinks she’s a hot 25-year-old.

Just the type to play Matt Lauer’s straight man — NOT.

And where does that leave Hoda’s booze-buddy, Kathy Lee Gifford? Will they pull Regis Philbin and his creepy perm out of retirement and prop him up beside her?

The people at Good Morning America must be dancing for joy. NBC is as hard-pressed to find a decent morning host within its ranks as the Republicans are for a presidential candidate who doesn’t make you hurl hairballs.

Giving Hoda more prominence will be the kiss of death to the Today Show — and it will be well-deserved.


Ann Curry Not Today Show’s Problem

June 25, 2012

By Adele

I’ve been watching the Today Show since I was a kitten, and it’s been going downhill for years. But this hatchet job on Ann Curry is the last straw. Can you say…

Hello, Good Morning America!

You know things are bad when I’m driven into the arms of Oprah’s BFF, Gayle King.

Reportedly, they’re paying Ann Curry $10 million to take a mid-contract hike, blaming her for Today’s sagging ratings.

But the NBC suits seem conflicted on how Ann is single-handedly destroying the show. They do agree she makes a dandy scapegoat.

To stroke Matt Lauer’s massive ego, Ann has dumbed it down and smiled through cringe-worthy drivel they keep throwing at her. I’d like to see her go back to serious news. She’s more of a Christiane Amanpour type anyway.

And here are some suggestions for NBC to salvage Today

  • Cut the inter-cast banter. They should take a backseat to the news.
  • Tell the cast to SHUT UP and let guests answer interview questions (Meredith Vieira was the worst; nobody could get a word in).
  • Present actual news. Too often, what comprises a “story” is nothing but reiterated teaser fluff. You make viewers wait and wait…and wait to FINALLY see stories, but too often our reaction is, “That’s IT?”
  • Speaking of teasers, cut the BS “Up next, but first…,” and “Straight ahead, after this…” The delays are maddening, and you usually pull a bait and switch and don’t even show the next freaking story next. Say a story is “coming right up” and mean it, damn it.
  • Don’t imply you’ve got a live body there, and then air some stale canned footage from last night’s Brian Williams newscast.
  • Accept that 2-3 minutes is not enough time for an interview. When you cut everybody off in mid-sentence for more stupid commercials, you reveal your priorities—and they’re not with interesting content.
  • Screen out everyday yahoos who speak in monosyllables. They’re the interviews from hell.
  • Cut the stupid, obvious questions. We KNOW how somebody who’s lost a limb or a child or survived a catastrophe feels. You don’t need to ask.
  • Just say no to celebrities in their own minds, like Octomom, Kate Gosselin, and the Kardashians. They’re only “famous” because faux-news organizations like you keep them alive.
  • Discontinue cooking segments unless the chefs have enough time to actually cook a recipe viewers can follow.
  • Fire your panel of so-called “professionals” Nobody gives a flying f**k what Star Jones or Donny Deutsch think about anything.
  • Cut that hour with Kathy Lee Gifford and Hoda whatsits. They give washed-up, middle-aged drunks a bad name.

Ann Curry, take the money and run. You were too good for those self-centered rat-bastards. When GMA mops up in the next ratings sweep using Today as a Swiffer, you’ll have the last laugh.


Microsoft’s Next-Gen Doorstop – Surface

June 19, 2012

By Karen

Yesterday Microsoft introduced a tablet computer to beat Apple’s iPad. They call it Surface, and it comes with a thin keyboard that doubles as a cover.

Why isn’t it named Wall, to go with Windows?

I wish my iPad had a keyboard, though. On-screen typing stinks, so when I need a keyboard, I use my netbook.

I do love my iPad for being always “on” so I can play games, watch videos, and surf the ‘Net on the fly. It’s also my e-reader because my Nook’s e-ink display is too dark indoors.

Microsoft might have a winner with Surface if it didn’t run Windows — Windows RT (ReTweet?) — apparently a watered-down version of the unreleased Windows 8, which you will be able to get on pricier, heavier Surfaces.

After torturing users forever with the “Blue Screen of Death,” unintelligible messages that all mean, “Your software crashed and we have no clue why,” and the nonstop torrent of updates and security patches, if we’ve learned anything, I hope it’s that Microsoft sucks at running computers.

And since the Surface will be entirely a Microsoft product, instead of their typical strategy of ruining some third-party manufacturer’s decent hardware with their crappy software, this venture seems to have “Fiasco” written all over its…surface.

Microsoft’s playing coy on pricing, and interestingly made no mention of battery life — sidestepping two basic user deal-breakers.

When I bought my tablet last year, I passed on Android models and paid nearly triple for the gold standard — iPad. But it’s been as close to brilliant as these things get.

I’m still trying to shake Microsoft’s brainwashing to fully embrace my iPad’s ease of use, but I can say it’s never driven me to the utter frustration and despair Windows has — in nearly every version back to MS-DOS.

Surfaces are supposed to go on sale this fall, which in Microsoft-speak means probably sometime in 2014. While a Surface won’t have the heft to prop a door open, once it craps out inexplicably and often enough to make itself useless, you can probably wedge it UNDER a door.

Here’s a review from CNET.


Trying to Keep Up with Bourdain

June 18, 2012

By Karen

After so many years of following him as relatively obscure, niche cable star, with Cats Working the worldwide destination for the scoop long before he became a fixture at Eater and Grub Street, it’s gratifying to see Anthony Bourdain finally reach critical mass. Lately, it seems, you can’t swing a cat without hitting him.

I must be recovering from my Bourdain overload, because I must confess that all his new endeavors are piquing my curiosity like a fresh catnip mouse.

Once again, Travel Channel has suspended No Reservations in mid-season, but Tony’s kept himself busy shooting The Layover (in Paris and Dublin he’s tweeted — Yes!!) and making the media rounds to talk up his new shows on CNN and ABC (both of which are still unnamed) and his upcoming graphic novel, Get Jiro!, in general release July 3.

Before I again make the mistake of letting some good links stack up and go stale, here are my latest for whatever Bourdainiac readers I have left…

Tony wrote an extremely uncharacteristic and personal guest blog for Bon Appetit about his father’s influence on him. Pierre Bourdain died of a heart attack at age 57 (Tony will be 56 on June 25). It’s illustrated by many new-to-us childhood photos, courtesy of Tony’s mother Gladys.

Bloody Elbow got a lengthy interview with Tony and Ottavia, published as part 1 and part 2. We learn that one of Ottavia’s favorite snacks is tuna packed in oil with pickled onions. Lupetto the cat probably can’t begin to compete with her tuna breath.

Tony reveals in this interview that he and I basically agree on NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s attempt to ban enormous sodas, and for the same reasons.

Tony did a personal appearance on June 9 in Brooklyn, and Food Republic captured the highlights. I learned that Paula Deen’s also a shill for Serta mattresses. Who knew, and why? Maybe they lured her in with their “soy-infused poly foam core,” which sounds like a concoction from Top Chef.

In case you missed Tony talking to Jimmy Fallon on June 8, here’s the video. Fallon completely overlooked the latest-breaking news that day, which was Bourdain’s ABC show with Nigella Lawson, and Tony didn’t bring it up.

And last, Tony talked to the NY Times about his gigs on CNN and ABC and publication of the graphic novel all hitting at the same time.


Why Stop at Limiting Sugary Drinks?

June 15, 2012

By Karen

I’m with the cats on this one. No human needs more than 16 oz. of any sugar-laced crap drink. Just ask Paula Deen, who credits her recent dramatic weight loss partly to no longer drinking sweet tea every waking moment.

Now they’re saying New York City could take the next step down the “slippery slope” by banning huge milkshakes and ginormous tubs of movie popcorn.

So be it.

Purveyors of unhealthy, oversized foods are just as evil as cigarette manufacturers. They know what they’re pushing can ultimately kill their customers, yet they try to get people hooked anyway.

Ironically, it’s the snack-makers who are on board with limiting size, putting fewer cookies or chips in a bag. But there’s nothing altruistic about it. They just want to screw consumers by charging the same for less product.

I mostly blame the fast food and restaurant industries with totally distorting our perception of a “reasonable portion.” Three weeks ago, I began the Weight Watchers’ regimen (stay tuned, I’m still gathering intel), and it was a needed wake-up call on portion sizes. Here are a few things I’ve learned:

  • 2 tablespoons of oil and vinegar CAN acceptably coat every bite of a pound of salad vegetables.
  • 3 oz. of meat or fish are enough when the rest of the dinner plate holds vegetables (and I’m not talking potatoes or corn).
  • 1/2 cup of JELL-O® fat-free, sugar-free pudding is just enough dessert.

Many of us were raised to clean our plates because “children were starving in China,” or “it’s a sin to waste food.” But as portions have grown and our thinking hasn’t changed, we’ve become chronic overeaters.

When dining out, I personally don’t need a serving that could feed a family of four for a couple of days.

I remember the days long ago, before McDonald’s went nuts with Quarter Pounders and Angus Burgers, when a full meal there was what they now package as a child’s Happy Meal. And I weighed about 90 lbs. soaking wet.

When Anthony Bourdain visits Singapore or Hanoi and orders a bowl of noodles, they don’t roll it out a 50-gallon drum like we would. But as American fast food crosses continents, populations in other countries are getting as fat as we are. It can’t be a coincidence.

So I say, let Bloomberg do his worst. And may it catch on. Many lives depend on it.


Bloomberg’s Got it Right on Sugar

June 14, 2012

By Adele

The only reason people have their knickers in a knot over New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s idea to limit sugary soft drinks to 16 ounces is that more than two-thirds of them are overweight or obese, and gallons of soda may have helped some of them get that way.

To keep from acknowledging the 800-lb. gorilla in the room (holding a Big Gulp), people are screaming that limiting drink size is a slippery slope. First, they segregated smokers into limited areas to pollute, then deadly trans fat got banned, and now sweet little sugar’s on the hit list. Where will it end?

Well, there’s nothing slippery about this. The 3 things I just mentioned can either kill you or make you so sick you wish you were dead. Since most people seek medical treatment rather than quietly curl up and die, self-inflicted ailments become another drag on the healthcare system.

If you’re too weak or stupid to realize a beverage loaded with sugar and served in a vat is too much for you, you need an intervention.

There’s absolutely no reason anybody needs to consume more than a pound of sugar-laced fluid in one sitting. Period. Show me somebody who does, and I’ll bet Richard Simmons would like to give them a body makeover.

I’m taking a stand on this because I know I represent all cats — and dogs — who want our owners to live long lives (so we don’t end up in shelters because you croaked).

You go, Bloomberg! Down with super-sizing!


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