Hey, remember when I had a blog here?

It was part of my secret plan not to post at all in 2012, just so all five of my readers (OK, three) and all eight of my spam bots would miss me and the anticipation would become more fevered than the line outside one of those British boy band concerts on Black Friday.

The other day a friend asked if I had a blog, said she would totally read it. “I did.” I said. “No one read it.”

That was a little awkward.

I don’t know what to do with this, but I don’t want it to vanish into the Internet ether. So. Looking back on some of this, especially the fake news, a fair amount sucks, but some of it’s not bad.

I’m applying to grad school. Guess I should mention that.

On a serious note, my grandfather died last year. That’s him and my grandmother, below. I posted that pic elsewhere and people came out of the Interwebz woodwork to say I look like my grandmother. My mom always said that. I refused to believe it, because my face was too fat and I wasn’t pretty like her and also, my face was too fat.

Then at the funeral, my grandmother’s surviving kid brother (as opposed to her non-surviving brother, I guess?) showed up and brought his wife. His wife looked at the photo, then looked at me. Said, “You look so much like your grandmother!”

I thanked her. Then decided to at least consider believing it.

My grandparents the day they were married/the last day I posted on this blog.

My grandparents the day they were married/the last day I posted on this blog.

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Coco vs. The Chin: A Look Back at a Late Night Fustercluck

Remember early 2010? That was when the Internet brandished its pitchforks against Jay Leno and rallied in support of the embattled Conan O’Brien, who was being demoted only seven months after taking over The Tonight Show. At the time, it seemed so clear-cut to me: Conan was good and Leno was bad.

Thanks to a really in-depth look at the whole fiasco, I can see a few more nuances. That in-depth look comes courtesy of Bill Carter of the New York Times in his book, The War for Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy.

While all this unfolded, I was pretty angry at NBC for trying to have it both ways, and the book just adds to my feeling that this was their fatal error. If they weren’t prepared to let Jay Leno go to another network, why tell him he was retiring in five years? If they weren’t prepared to let Conan do the same, then why promise him the Tonight Show in five years? By scrambling and trying to put Leno on at 10 (9 Central, which is my time zone of residence), they just hurt them both and never really gave Conan a chance to get out from underneath his predecessor.

It actually wasn't time.

Full disclosure: My brother and I grew up watching Conan. My brother liked it first, and in a typical big sister way, I wanted to like what he did, because my brother seemed like The Coolest Person Ever. As I’ve gotten older, my sense of humor has definitely developed to be a lot more like Conan than Jay. As far as the two men are portrayed, Conan comes off as manic but funny, while Jay Leno comes off like a workaholic joke machine, always pumping out jokes, be they funny or not. Leno also hates to be seen as the bad guy, and his team insists he’s not nearly as manipulative as the angry college kids made him out to be. He’s not my cup of tea at all, but I can’t find anything in the book that suggests he’s flat-out evil, either. Sure, he should have either spoken up earlier about how he wasn’t riding off into the sunset or just plain move on, but he’s far from the only one who screwed up in this situation.

One constant point the Leno side brings up is that Conan wasn’t doing well at all in the ratings. That’s true, and it’s hard to know how much was the bad lead-ins vs. not being a good fit. It’s hard not to think that NBC would have given him a little more time to settle in had Leno not still been on the payroll, though.

Another thing Leno did right was play the network game better. He had a pay-and-play clause in his contract, which meant he both had to get paid and had to be on the network a set amount of time. That’s pretty much unheard of in the business. Meanwhile, Team Coco failed to get a time slot guarantee in Conan’s contract, which meant NBC was perfectly within its rights to try to bump The Tonight Show to 12:05 and put Leno at 11:35. This doesn’t come across as a very well-thought out plan, more a last ditch effort to once again not pick a side. Few people in the NBC hierarchy come off well at all here, notably Jeff Zucker, who comes off like a bumbling prick.

The book came out in late 2010, and with the benefit of hindsight, it seems like The Tonight Show may have just been too mainstream for Conan. At his best, Conan is a little edgier and darker and out there, and that’s not going to play well to a lot of audiences. I like humor that makes people feel a little uncomfortable, because life seems a little uncomfortable, but obviously that’s not going to work for everybody.

Also mentioned in the book are other late-night hosts, including Fallon, Letterman and Kimmel. It’s interesting how similar Conan and Letterman seem, with the notable exception that Conan has managed to eliminate the self-loathing enough to have what seems like a functional personal life. Letterman comes off as brusque and kind of a jerk, but also incredibly hard on himself. Conan has those moments, too, but Conan wasn’t the one who matter-of-factly told a studio audience that someone tried to blackmail him with the threat of going public about affairs he’d had with members of the Late Show staff.

So, a funny thing happened today...

This is way too long already, and I haven’t even touched on some of the stuff, like how Team Coco was reluctant to bring Sarah Palin on the show after she publicly called out Letterman. That further upset already anxious executives. Just read the darn book. It’s on Amazon for less than $11, and might be at your local library as well. If you’re a pop culture and entertainment industry nerd like me, I think you’ll love it.

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Making Fun of Cosmo, December 2011

So a few months ago, I got an e-mail offering me a one-year subscription to Cosmo for $5. At most, I buy one issue a year, laugh at how ridiculous it is, and that’s it. But then uh, my finger slipped, and I subscribed.

I’ve gotten a few issues now, and wow. Some of it’s mindless and relatively harmless fluff. A few things, though? Are either borderline harmful or just completely and utterly stupid, more so than other lady mags, which at least seem to occasionally try to NOT insult your intelligence.

Let’s take December’s issue, with the lovely and talented (and Photoshopped) Adele on the cover. I got in this mail and immediately my eyes went to “When He Shouldn’t See You Naked.” I thought the following:

– When you’re touring the Mormon temple in Salt Lake City (Pentecostal churches are totally cool with it, though).

– When you’re in the middle of a supersensitive airborne plague, and anyone who is ever naked dies a slow and painful death within minutes.

– When you’re playing Strip Twister on Opposite Day

The real answer, though, lay in an article titled “Seduction Secrets French Women Know.” I assume it means covering your naked man in a Mediterranean diet of olive oil, fish and poultry, as is the Cosmo way.

This next part isn’t really Cosmo’s fault. Well, probably not. It’s a perfume ad for Jean Paul Gaultier “Le Male.”

I think something went wrong if this is supposed to be sexy. This guy is styled and posed like the long-lost brother of Mango from Saturday Night Live more than anything else. I can’t really judge the scent either. I leaned it to sniff the perfume strip once, and this appeared out of a glittery pink mist.

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Futures

At night I often feel like an Onion op-ed:

I’m Going to Drift Off to Sleep Now vs. No, You Have to Pee

How have you been the last nine months, nobody? I can’t seem to quit this blog and let it vanish into the Interwebz either, so….

The other day I got a call from someone wanting to know if people in my profession can predict the future. I told her I had another call.

I’ve changed my voicemail message at work now. “Hello, thank you for calling. I can’t come to the phone right now. Please press 1 to speak with the future or 2 to speak with the past. For the present, please press 0, or just stay on the line.”

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Cuts Force Media to Reduce Coverage That Destroys America

My job as a reporter is nearing its end, so I thought I’d draw attention to a major yet unreported problem with media today.

Media companies are being forced to reduce coverage that destroys America at record levels due to layoffs and cost-cutting measures, a survey revealed today.

The Poynter Foundation reported that of all the layoffs in the last quarter of 2010, 34 percent came on the We Hate America/Things That Scare Old People beat. The beat that suffered most after that was the Typing Obits and Honor Rolls and Shit beat, at 19 percent.

Courtney Jennings, 32, of New York City is now serving coffee after a large New York paper let her go right before Christmas.

“I was just finishing up my six-part series on how the military really isn’t all that great when my boss gave me the news,” Jennings said as she picked up half-empty sugar packets from the floor. “I had so many ideas, too. Next up I was going to write another article all about how Obama is my Lord and Savior and is never wrong about anything, ever. After that, I was thinking of glorifying some movie about teenagers who like to go down on each other when they should be in church.”

Los Angeles Times managing editor Tom Everton said his newsroom has dropped half its staff in the last five years.

“Unfortunately, we have to make some hard choices in this day and age,” Everton said. “We used to be able to write mean things about Ronald Reagan while also carrying a trend story on the rise of transgender beauty pageants. Now, it has to be one or the other, and half the time the swing shift cops reporter has to write the article on a 30-minute lunch break while scarfing down an expired pimento cheese sandwich from the vending machine.”

Eighty-three-year-old St. Louis resident Beatrice Van Brunt said she still wasn’t pleased with her local paper’s coverage in general.

“I saw this article about a stay of execution for some monster who killed and raped two little girls,” Van Brunt said. “Why does the liberal media love criminals so much? And why aren’t they talking about how this monster is from Mexico? He probably stole some of our jobs before he got to the killing part.”

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Blowing off cobwebs.

Well, hi. I don’t want to say “howdy” like WordPress because that reminds me of my high school boyfriend. The one who went to Texas A&M and said, “Howdy” and “Gig ‘em” too damn often.

This is not about my high school boyfriend, though.

It’s about how sometimes you (OK, me, although you can come along if you really want) have to leave something familiar and safe but stifling to get to something good. There is no safety net, necessarily.

I have to step off the ledge and into the water and sink down and trust my body to propel itself back toward the surface. Trust my body will know what it’s doing even when I don’t, that there is something out there or within me or both that will guide me.

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Mock Teen Sex Scenario Shows Dangers of Fornication

VERNON, TEXAS – Students in Ms. Nina Foreman’s tenth grade health class got a lesson today in the dangers of teen sex with an elaborately staged mock teen pregnancy demo held in the high school auditorium.
“The purpose of today is to open your eyes and close your legs,” Foreman explained before the scene began.
The scene opened with two members of the high school’s Purity Club laying on a bed, fully clothed and far apart from each other.
“Wow,” said “Annie,” played by junior Devin Lowe. “I cannot believe we just did that awful thing.”
“Me either,” said “Steve,” played by senior Corey Madden, who then reached into his back pocket and pulled out something.
“Is that a condom?” asked Lowe. “Because condoms are only like, 45 percent effective and make your skin turn green.”
“Oh no,” replied Madden. “It’s the vow of purity I took when I registered for kindergarten. I carried it around with me as a reminder. Oh, gadzooks! What have I done? I have sullied your purity, sweet Annie!”
The two began weeping, and the rest of the scenario showed Annie becoming pregnant and cast out of the family home by her grieving parents. A girl dressed in all black who may have been portraying a lesbian or feminist or something drugged Annie and attempted to take her to the local abortion clinic by force, but a caped Madden rescued her at the last moment. The two then went to church and got married, saving their future child from growing up to become a homosexual.
Principal Don Leland said the school normally stages a mock drunk driving accident, but decided to take a different tact this year.
“We don’t know for sure that students will have access to alcohol on prom night,” Leland said. “But we do know they’ll have access to each other’s genitals, and frankly, those are a lot more dangerous.”

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