Useless info dept.

Count this as one of the posts in which I have absolutely nothing notable to say--but that's never stopped me or any self-respecting blogger before, so it won't now.

I'll grant you one tidbit of nearly-revealing quasi-factualness to start out; a truly personal insight to try and counteract the disappointment that's sure to come to those who happen to get to the end of this thing. Ready? Here it goes....

The one dream I ever had for a career, for a vocation in life, and that I continue to have, even though the chances of it happening now are slimmer than they ever were, was to be a rhythm guitarist in a recording and touring rock/pop act. That's the guitar I'd play, my dream guitar: an antique white Les Paul Custom. The closest I ever came, aside from American Legion shows in Peoria, was cutting a seven inch and piling in a van with my friends and our ska band to play a whopping two shows in Michigan. Pathetic as it sounds, it was one of the best, most enjoyable experiences I've had in my life, and it remains that way. While I've updated my gear, there are few opportunities for me to start to again realize some small part of the enjoyment this dream once gave me, and regardless, I do little by way of practicing. But as long as I still enjoy music, and my voracious appetite for music seems unlikely to taper off anytime soon, I'll still cling to the ever-dimming but undying dream of contributing to the art form that has brought me the most enjoyment.

So there's your maudlin confessional blogistry for you. Now for the pointless ranting and random shout-outs.

There's been a notable event that's been all over the news the last few days. It's inspired some impassioned debate, and I simply had to add my two cents. That's right; I'm talking about Katie Couric taking over Dan Rather's old anchor chair on the CBS Evening News.

You can say that this is hardly newsworthy, and you'd be right. But for my part, I am glad that Ms. Couric is taking this job. I haven't been a fan of the Today show for quite some time, and I agree with all the wags that have belabored the ridiculousness and vacuity of the format during the waning years of her tenure there. Yet I've always liked Ms. Couric, and part of me has wished that she would jump ship and resurrect her career in a more worthy setting. The recent trifecta of departing anchors presented a sort of perfect storm to make this particular event possible.

Let me make it clear: any claim that Katie Couric lacks the credentials or gravitas to helm an evening newscast is utterly ridiculous. Dan Rather was a doddering fool when he left, but his sterling, anchorly image persists nevertheless. The reason for that lies behind the word "image". The evening newsanchor is little more than a face that speaks. For nearly as long as there has been television, there has been haircuts with voices reading the news. Television, especially television news, has always been guilty of inflating their own importance, and nowhere is this more evident than in the tired, decaying image of the anchor. Anyone who has worked in television will tell you, Will Ferrell's Anchorman got it exactly right.

As for her credentials, as much as they are needed in a job that requires you to read about seven minutes of text five days a week, Ms. Couric's journalistic experience is well-established, diffused as it may seem in the fog of Today. For what it's worth, the same concerns were raised by the same worthless pundits when Brian Williams took over Tom Brokaw's job, and Mr. Williams just won a Peabody award for his coverage of Hurricane Katrina. So much for credentials. Much was made of Peter Jenning's disastrous first foray as the anchor of ABC Nightly News, and the fact that when he returned to the seat, his image had been burnished by the interim he had spent covering war in Beirut and terrorism at the Munich Olympics. What's forgotten about Jenning's initial flop is the fact that in his first go round, he was even more of a smug bastard than he was anyway. Beirut and Munich didn't make him less of a smug bastard, but it made it clear he'd been in the shit.

Belaboring this admittedly over-hyped event (and consider that it's just getting started!) runs the risk of embarrassing myself, but I can't help it. My first, or actually more like first-and-a-half attempt at attaining an actual livelihood had me angling toward a career as a TV cameraman. Television people are strange ducks, and that part of me has never left. Much as I can try to spout wise about the ridiculousness of the anchor image, my devotion to that image is made apparent by my obsession with it, and it is impossible and pointless to try to conceal it.

Shout-out time; as a result of my birthday, I have a brand new stack of books that I really should get around to reading:

  • Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold
  • The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  • Kornwolf by Tristan Egolf
  • Where Have You Gone, Vince DiMaggio? by Edward Kiersh
I recently saw The Libertine; Johnny Depp's performance is one of the best of his recent jag of excellent performances, and he carries the show, which was unexpectedly moving at points, but would you believe I wished it contained more debauchery? It's better than anything else out there, except perhaps Thank You for Smoking and Brick.

Destroyer's new record, Destroyer's Rubies, is characteristically dense, yet strangely more accessible than anything he's done. The same could be said for Neko Case's Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, which may actually be her best album yet, but I'm not entirely sure.

I'd hand out an asshole notice or two, but it's getting late.