This Week in Review

Obviously, the big news is the Democratic Convention. I must admit that I didn't watch a lot of the proceedings. It's become way too orchestrated, and there's absolutely no drama. There was a time that the outcome was in doubt, and even if that wasn't the case there were heated debates over the partie's platform. No more. There's just scripted speech after scripted speech.

Yet despite the fact that it's micro-managed for television, it doesn't work on the idiot box. There's a reason that the networks only showed a hour or so per day - it's boring TV! Why should they broadcast hours and hours that nobody will watch? Especially when the "highlights" will be repeated over and over on the news channels. Yet even the cable channels fumbled the ball. The most egregious error was when CNN cut away from Sharpton's speech - here was the first (and only) case where the speaker tossed aside the teleprompter and delivered an impassioned speech and CNN pulled the plug! There's no excuse for this - the whole reason we have 24 hour news shows is to get the whole story. There should be no time schedule. Larry King or Anderson Cooper can wait a few minutes before they begin their inane babbling.

It's also funny that these networks that survive on live sporting events cannot pull off any other live event. How many times did all three news networks have technical problems? How many technicians were mistakenly heard on the air? Will CNN have to pay a fine for letting the f-bomb fly? Will the Republican convention have a five second delay?

Still, there were some fine moments that came out of the festivities - namely the unlikely pairings of Michael Moore and Bill O'Reilly, and Sean Hannity and Al Franken. They all threw out their best punches, and took a few in return. The results - a tie. All four had their moments, and all four had to resort to their worst tendencies. And the Daily Show has fully emerged as the best political show on television.

What else happened this week? Well, it was a good week for new music, with new releases by Tommy Stinson, Old 97's, Badly Drawn Boy, and Sahara Hotnights. None of these albums will rank with the year's best, but they're all charming in their own way. The musical highlight of the week has to be Por Vida: A Tribute To The Songs Of Alejandro Escovedo. Like nearly all musicians, the legendary Escovedo had no medical insurance, and last year came down with Hepatitis C. Over 30 artists came together to cover songs from Escovedo's 30 year career - from family members (Sheila E, Javier Escovedo, Pete Escovedo) to alt-country superheroes (Son Volt, Jayhawks, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle) to singer/songwriters (Vic Chesnutt, Peter Case, M. Ward). Sure, there's some bum cuts, but unlike most of these tribute discs, this one is pretty listenable from start to end. Besides the high quality of most of the artists involved, the main reason this album succeeds is due to Escovedo's varied career. He started off as a punk rocker with the Nuns in the late 70's, and has since then evolved in and out of many genres.

The only other highlight of my life for the week is the news that I am now hated by the local pro-life movement. Starting this past Monday, a California pro-life group targeted Sioux Falls for demonstrations involving supposed images of an aborted fetus on the sides of a number of large trucks, and a small plane carrying a banner featuring a similar photo. I ranted about these people on my KRRO segment this past Wednesday, which resulted in my family's businesses receiving angry phone calls from "concerned loyal customers". Funny thing is, these calls came from a pay phone.

The funny aspect of this controversy is that the main point of my rant is that abortion is one of those topics that people shouldn't even debate, as you never change anybody's opinion. Hell, I'll just reprint what I wrote:

(July 28) Before I started composing this rant, I spent quite a few
hours internally debating whether I should even chat about the upcoming
topic, or whether the people I’m about to describe should get the boot.
There are certain subjects that should not be debated, as it’s extremely
unlikely that you’re going to change any opinions.
For example, fans of the Vikings and the Packers should never argue
about whose right, as it’s just going to culminate in hurt feelings. Same
with Cubs and White Sox fans, or Democrats and Republicans. David Lee
Roth versus Sammy Hagar. Jessica versus Ashley.
By far, the arguement that should always be avoided is the dreaded
abortion debate. Both sides of the issue feature people who are way too
emotionally attached to the topic...well, actually, it’s mainly one side
that goes overboard with the rhetoric. To these people, abortion is the
only political debate. They live and breath this controversy, devoting
their entire life to pushing their agenda. They latch onto any
politician who shares their viewpoint, no matter how big of a wackjob they are
otherwise. If a modern day Adolf Hitler came out as pro-life, they’d
still vote for him.
The main reason I try to stay out of the debate is that it’s too
complex of a subject to have a cut and dry answer. When exactly does life
begin? If you say conception, then you should almost go back a step or two
and proclaim each drop of sperm and every egg as life. If that’s the
case, then any form of birth control is abortion. Quick, dispose of that
condom before the activists discover that you’ve wasted some more
sperm. Plus, that means I’m a killer everytime I watch a Jenna Jameson DVD.
If it’s not conception, when do these cells constitute a human being?
There’s arguements for every single stage of pregnancy. Yeah, I know
that the pro-life crowd has these photos that supposedly “prove” that
they’re fully formed within hours of conception, but to me that’s about as
accurate as the reflection from the sun that resembles
anybody really knows what he looked like.
Again, I’m not here to debate this issue. I have my opinion, but I do
respect the opinions of those that don’t agree with me. So please don’t
fill my inbox with hate mail telling me that I’m going straight to
hell. I think I crossed that threshold decades ago.
But I do have a problem with people that go overboard in their
obsession. Those people who open “counseling clinics” with a hidden agenda
should be next to me in line to meet Satan. I think those people who focus
on only one aspect of Planned Parenthood’s operations should be burned
at the stake. And I think that every person who preaches about the
topic should be ordered to adopt a baby - preferably one from a low-income
family of color with some sort of handicap. Put your money where your
mouth is.
I suppose at this point you’re wondering who I’m kicking out of town.
Actually, I’m giving the boot to people who don’t even live in
Hudsonland. People who force their opinions on others who don’t even share the
same license plate.
This past Monday, my mother stopped at one of our restaurants to help
over the noon rush. This particular store is located a quarter block
from the busiest intersection in the entire state, and this particular day
was pretty typical. Traffic was backed up for at least a couple of
blocks, and entering and exiting our business required a bit of patience.
Suddenly, the entire store was jolted by the sounds of horns. Everybody
who looked inside was treated to the graphic images of what was
portrayed as an aborted fetus. Over the course of the next hour, this truck
(actually two trucks) passed by a number of times, and was accompanied by
an airplane flying overhead that displayed a banner similar to the
design on the truck.
It turns out that this publicity-obsessed demonstration was actually
from Southern California, as part of what’s called the Key States
Initiative by the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform. Monday’s demonstration was
just the beginning of a weeklong media blitz that at one point was
babbling away at one of KRRO’s sister stations Monday afternoon.
I should have known that this group wasn’t from South Dakota. If you
ever see an anti-abortion demonstration, it’s usually populated by people
with license plates from Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska. Sure, there’s
usually a few South Dakotans involved, but way too often they’re the
minority. It’s those idiot Iowegians that block the entrances to parking
lots, or rudely attempt to use the restroom in my office.
It’s time for these mostly white middle-aged zealots to stay in
Hicksville. How would they like it if I paraded down their streets with semi’s
advertising some of my crazy beliefs? I could have a loudspeaker
shouting “F the FCC” with a convoy of Howard Stern fans. Or maybe I could
paint the Vivid Video girls on a truck and proclaim my belief that
everybody should own porn. As Beavis would say, “yeah yeah, that’s not a bad
idea, Butthead”.


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