Rocci Fisch

Random Thoughts

Rocci Fisch watches what's out there and has a lot to say about it. "Random Thoughts" is a quick-read, running commentary column which features his observations about the news, pop culture and the media, zested up with Rocci's unique humor.

"Hot off the Presses"

November 25, 2012
  1. . . . announced a volunteer vendor in D.C. on K Street just outside the Metro hawking the newspaper “Street Sense.”
  2. . . . Boy, that’s a phrase you don’t hear much of these Internet days, when everybody reads their junk off their mobiles.  (They do have a website:  streetsense.org.)
  3. . . . But it was good to hear, especially for an (aging?) baby boomer.  Brought back the glory days of yesteryear.
  4. . . . How about a little “Extra! Extra!  Read all about it!
  5. . . . The newspaper, established in 2003, raises public awareness of issues facing the homeless and poverty in hopes of creating economic opportunities for those affected.
  6. . . . The articles themselves are written by the homeless and other volunteers and there’s some good writing.
  7. LINCOLN.”  The Steven Spielberg movie was discussed, among other things, on “Meet the Press” on Sunday.  Moderator David Gregory went to see it over the weekend. 
  8. . . . He gushed about it, was over-enthused, a walking advertisement.
  9. . . . “Lincoln, Lincoln, bo Bincoln bonana fanna fo finkin . . . fee fy fo Mincoln, Lincoln” – “The Name Game” – Shirley Ellis, 1964, on Congress Records.)
  10. . . . Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, with his outdated shaggy mop-top haircut, philosophized about the film, offering his analytical assessment of its significance in regards to race in America, the topic of the show segment and . . .
  11. . . . Of course, he had his own film to promote – “The Central Park Five,” about the 1989 arrest of five African-American men implicated in the rape of a female investment banker.
  12. Sunday morning talk has turned into a PR machine:  book plugging, movie plugging, self-plugging.  A pitch machine.  Anybody who’s got something to sell.
  13. . . . The hosts mention “the product” during their introduction as sort of another “credential” to justify and give credibility to the appearance of the guest on the program.
  14. . . . Shameless promotion.
  15. . . . Happens all the time. 
  16. . . . Who can’t write a book?
  17. Actor and Activist Ben Affleck was on “This Week With George” (as ABC likes to refer to the program starring Stephanopoulos) with Rep. Adam Smith (D-N.Y.) sitting beside him to, I guess, to offer credibility to the celebrity’s cause while both talked about the Congo and how Washington can help the war-torn African country.
  18. . . . Affleck’s HBO film about the situation was the topic of conversation and was quite serious.
  19. . . . It was still a plug and not a pressing news issue.
  20. . . . (By the way, is it The Congo or just Congo?  “This Week” used “The Congo.”) 
  21. . . . The actor  had a beard but it was much less bushy than the 70s one he sported in his other movie, “Argo.”  That one was much furrier.
  22. . . . The interview segment, which came toward the end of the program, was, again, at breakneck Stephanopoulos speed, as is everything he does on TV now. 
  23. . . . He had Affleck talking as fast as he possibly could and, by George, he kept up with the host. 
  24. . . . But it seemed out of character for the actor who seems to be a much lower-key guy who normally doesn’t race his speech. 
  25. . . . Another guest on the “This Week” roundtable segment was David Sanger, who is chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times.
  26. . . . His makeup made his face looksmooth and soft, just like a little baby’s fanny.
  27. . . . While watching “Week” I switched over to NBC and saw  watchdog/kindly pitbull/fast talker Rep. Pete King (D-N.Y.) who was on the competition (“Meet the Press”) and was, as usual, running off at the mouth  -- when isn’t he? – about approaching the fiscal cliff and everything else pending in Congress.
  28. . . . He’s got something to say about everything.
  29. . . . Then I switched over to “Face the Nation” where Bob Schieffer had on a buncha (4) authors whose books had all seemingly been read by him (he’s got time to do that?).
  30. . . . This was the second half of the now hour-long FTN which featured fiction writers:  Gillian Flynn, Alex Stone, Chris Pavone and David Baldacci.
  31. . . . In the first half were presidential historians Doris Kearns Goodwin (she wrote the “Lincoln” book upon which the movie is based);  Evan Thomas, Bob Woodward and Jon Meacham
  32. . . . I don’t  know if Schieffer said he had read all of their tomes.
  33. Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday visited a turkey farm.  
  34. . . . In the opening of the show Wallace ended up by teasing, “. . . and a Thanksgiving tradition, our “Power Player of the Week” has me dancing with turkeys.”
  35. . . . That segment had aired last year if I’m not mistaken.  Maybe it was their “evergreen.”
  36. . . . An “evergreen” in TV terms is (usually) a pre-taped program that’s not news-oriented, won’t be dated for a while and can be used (perhaps) more than once when the show wants to take a break on a holiday or, in dire circumstances, when the show originates out of its normal city and  there are technical difficulties which make it necessary to air something to fill up the dead air.    
  37. . . . It’s a chance for the show producers not to have to worry about lining up guests and figuring out a program to do during a usually low audience-grabbing period.   
  38. . . . “Love . . . soft as an easy chair . . .” (“Evergreen” – Barbra Streisand, 1976, on Columbia Records.)
  39. . . . The “Player” was Sandy Lerner, the “mistress of Ayrshire Farm,” which specializes in sustainable farming and raises turkeys like the Indians did and which, according to Lerner, “taste better because of the lives they lead” on the free range.
  40. . . . She gives Wallace a walking tour in the fields to show off  her 1,300 heritage turkeys and asks the newsman to wave his hands like she’s doing and shout out “gobble, gobble” to the assembled multitude of tom turkeys.
  41. . . . (Let’s Turkey Trot  Little Eva, 1963, on Dimension Records.)
  42. . . . “Shoo-shoo, gobble-gobble diddle-ip . . .”      
  43. . . . Wallace just waved his hands and didn’t gobble.
  44. . . . This is what a moderator of a Sunday political talk show does.
  45. . . . PRIVILEGED.  Lerner sells her Ayrshire turkeys for $160-200 a piece to high-priced (obviously) clients.
  46. . . . At the end of the segment Wallace did join in with Mistress Lerner, waved his hands and and called out “gobble, gobble.”
  47. . . . What a sport.  I’m sure the birds loved it.
  48. . . . Earlier on in the show Lynn Cheney (Fox News analyst) and Kirsten Powers (“The Daily Beast”), sat side-by-side on the discussion panel between Bill Kristol and Juan Williams and looked like two Mrs. Santa Clauses, because they were both dressed in Christmas red.  After all, it almost is ‘tis the season.
  49. . . . I wondered if each was mortified because the other was wearing the same color.
  50. . . . Earlier, earlier in the show the first guest was Sen. John McCain (R- Ariz.), who talked about everything:  Israel and Gaza, Congress, the deficit, Benghazi, GOP losses.
  51. . . . What’s not to talk about?
  52. . . . Does that man ever take a break from being on television?  It’s Thanksgiving weekend, for crissakes.    Couldn’t he just stay home and eat?
  53. . . . If he did he’d still be talking with his mouth full’a turkey giblets.
  54. ANNOYING THING.  Showing “tweets” during discussion segments of the Sunday shows
  55. . . . ABC’s “This Week” does it during their roundtable, posting things people say during the discussion topics.
  56. . . . They’re put on the bottom of the screen and are hardly readable and full of @’s and #’s and abbreviated language and Internet lingo and slang, unprofessional.
  57. . . . Aren’t the shows so hip now?
  58. . . . Do I really need to know what Joe Schmo has to say about the issues while he’s picking his teeth in his Barcalounger?
  59. . . . Are tweeters representative samplings of the U.S. population that we should care about?
  60. . . . Sometimes they put up famous people’s tweets too, I guess, to show the diversity of the tweeters or that important people are watching the show.    
  61. . . . Diversify this.
  62. DOWN THE NILE.  Some are calling Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi the new pharaoh because he’s taking on too much power and issuing edicts.
  63. . . . Where’s Cleopatra?  Get her in the picture – or bring Liz Taylor back or Lindsay Lohan).  They’ll whip him into shape and show him who’s the boss.
  64. NOTICED.  The New York Post has physically – not virtually -- shrunk.  Smaller now and feels funny to the touch.
  65. . . . Newspapers are shrinking out of existence, a shame. 
  66. MOVIE:  THE SESSIONS.  Good one.  Helen Hunt stars as a sex therapist (Cheryl) and takes on a client (poet Mark O’Brien, played by John Hawkes), who has spends most of his life in an iron lung, the result of having polio.  He’s 38 years old, a virgin and wants to have sex.
  67. . . .  (He can live outside the tank, though, on a respirator for three or four hours with an oxygen tube.)
  68. . . . William H. Macy plays Father Brendan who Mark confides in and consults.
  69. . . . The subject matter is, some would say, cringe-inducing but the movie isn’t.
  70. . . . Therapist Cheryl gives six sessions, that’s it.  He takes four.
  71. . . . She jumps right into the therapy and disrobes, showing up and down frontal nudity more than a couple times in the movie. 
  72. . . . There’s no male nudity.
  73. . . . As the story progresses it becomes difficult for Mark and Cheryl to separate the physical from the emotional. 
  74. . . . The acting is great from all three and the other supporting players.    
  75. . . . The movie is funny, sad, poignant and leaves you thinking.
  76. SUBSTITUTE.  If the Twinkies go we still have TastyKake cakes and pies, thank God
  77. . . . I’ve always liked the chocolate cupcakes.
  78. HAREM SCAREM.  MC Hammer (remember him?) and South Korean singer/songwriter/dancer PSY wore harem pants when they danced “Gangnam Style” on the American Music Awards last week in a sensational  performance.
  79. . . . Justin Bieber also wore them at the festivities.
  80. . . . TV chef Giada DeLaurentiis said on the Today show in a cooking session that the drop-crotched pants are making a comeback.
  81. . . . UH . . . U Can’t Touch This” – MC Hammer, 1990, on Capitol Records.
  82. . . . The man’s 50 years old now.  He still has it.
  83. . . . Everything old is new again.

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