Best Reveals from PBS’s Genealogy Roadshow

1.     “Now you contacted The Roadshow asking whether you might have any African or Indian ancestry in your family background. And the reason you asked is because–”

“Because I’m the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan in my area.”

“Normally we at The Roadshow don’t do pedigree searches for racist organizations, but your case was particularly fascinating. Both DNA and family history research clearly reveals that you are 6.25 percent–or 1/16th–African. How does that make you feel?”

Shit–now I gotta lynch myself!”

“Lynch yourself?!  Being part black is no reason to stop living.”

(Tying rope around his neck) “After all the white women I’ve banged, it just wouldn’t be right.”

2.     “Congratulations, your great-great grandfather invented gerbiling.”

3.     “Now, looking at the 1840 census shown here, you can see that your fourth great-grandmother, Judith Linton, is listed here as living in New Orleans. Scrolling to the right, can you read what it says under ‘occupation’?”

“Two-bit whore?”

“Two-bit whore. So the good news is–well, at least she wasn’t a one-bit whore, at least not in 1840. By the 1860 census, however, she was living in the poorhouse and couldn’t even give it away.”

4.     “Tracing your family history back over numerous generations, we found that your great-great-great-great-great grandfather was an orangutan named Koko. And this is a picture of Koko here from his days in the circus… Now, prior to twenty years ago, subhuman genealogy was all but impossible. But today, with recent advances in genetic science, we’re actually able to break it down and tell you what part of your ancestry is gorilla, what part chimp, what part orang, what part howler monkey, and what part Irish. Looking only at the subhuman side of your family, you can see in this pie chart that you are 12% gorilla, 28% chimp, 30% orangutan, 15% macaque, and–and this was surprising–15% bush baby. We at The Roadshow have never seen such diversity before.”

“It’s like a big melting pot.”

“Or a village cooking pot full of bush meat.”

“It’s great getting in touch with your roots like that.”

“Or tree branches, in your case.”

I’m Not Rock-Worthy

I recently saw a TV documentary on Joseph Stalin. Yeah, he was bad, yeah he was brutal. But at least the movie of his life can be scored with a thrash-metal soundtrack.

Not everyone can say that. I certainly can’t:

“Alan Brech graduated from the University of Florida’s English Department–where he shredded it!”  [crashing guitars howl and wail]

No, that’ll never work. I’ll never get a hard rock soundtrack to accompany the “story” of my lame suburban life. ‘Never happen, as the grunts used to say back in the world’s most rock-n-roll-worthy war, the Vietnam Conflict (even if most of the actual participants listened to country, soul and Asian folk).

Ironically, while much of the really great early rock music of the 60’s and 70’s was anti-war, now the most rock-n-roll thing is war. According to everything I’ve seen on TV–and that’s quite a lot, thank you very much–war fucking rocks. Advanced weapons systems rock. Dangerous missions rock. Heavy casualties really rocks!

But not every great thing rocks. It’s not that easy. Take Tolkien, for example. Yeah, it’s great, and yeah it seems like it should rock. But it doesn’t. Put a rock soundtrack on anything from Tolkien and the result is corny stupidity causing internal cringes of embarrassment that are the exact opposite of rocking out.

Many a near-great Zeppelin tune has been marred by an unfortunate reference to Mordor and Gollum. Ok, it was only one song, but look how it cast a pall over all their other stuff.

And poor Rush. Poor, poor Rush…

Or opera. I don’t like it but for people who do it must seem great and powerful–just like rock–so what could be a better marriage than rock and opera? Wrong again. Tommy can’t hear you and none of us are listening anymore either.

It’s debatable whether Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart really rocked or not. Yes, Falco made a good case in the abstract, but no one has yet attempted to score a visual portrayal of WAM with rock music. It’s doubtful whether it would work for anything other than his mental breakdown scenes.

Because mental breakdowns rock.

Apparently many things we despise and fear–war, mental breakdowns, crime, stress, addiction, hopelessness, maybe the Orcs from Tokien–really rock.

Butterflies, not so much, 1968 notwithstanding. A bird chomping down on a butterfly with butterfly juice squirting out in slow motion–yeah, that would rock.

So choose your soundtrack and live it well.

Morning Joe = Howard Stern Show?

Summary/overview:  One cool guy surrounded by an uptight upper-middle-class co-host and a technical staff that sometimes messes up, with guests and part-time panelists that are either geeks and freaks (male news guys) or babes and milfs.(female news dolls). Female co-host has a lovely engaging laugh but does not cheaply bestow it on the “boys’ humor” that often threatens to undo the whole show. Of course, her disapproval makes their humor all the more funny, supposedly.

Joe =  Howard.

Mika = Robin.

TJ = Gary Dell’Abate.

Steve Rattner = Beetlejuice

So far, pretty obvious.

But even Joe Scarborough’s conservatism in a sea of liberal MSNBC-people is similar to Howard Stern’s philosophical position on his old radio show, for Howard was the nagging family guy in a sea of single sex freaks, and Howard was always telling his freaky guests to be more responsible and to grow up and be careful. Yes, Howard was a conservative–a social conservative! (Relative to his melieu.)

Another similarity between the two shows is the imperious, dictatorial atmosphere on the set during airtime whereby everybody is apparently in fear of getting fired by the host or co-host for any kind of reason.

There are numerous other similarities in style and format: the rock music interludes, of course: the idea of a public forum where even conservative guests (celebrities in Stern’s case) will be deliberately put outside their comfort zone; the selective releases of too much personal information about the host, co-host or panelists’ private lives; repeating the 6:00 AM broadcast at 8:00 AM, etc.

Mike Barnacle = Fred

John Heileman = Arte Lange

Willie Geist = Jackie the Jokeman Martling

Louis Burgdorf = Stuttering John

Donnie Deutsch = Ralph

Brian Shachtman, Bill Karins, and Brian Sullivan = latest intern to be abused

But, I gotta say, the romantic photographs of Joe and Mika–soaking in the sunset, napping in the park together, the one with the foot-massage, etc.–that’s original. Howard and Robin never did that when they had a TV show. Howard’s wives would have prevented it.

Television Begins its Campaign Against the Internet

(redundant text for google)
From Television to its Long-Lost Viewers: Come back, hither, away from that fucking internet!
Barbara Eden for TV: “See you can’t get this kind of shit on the internet, and even if you could, it wouldn’t make sense without a lot of TV!”
Old fashioned bitch-slap scene: “Get your ass back in front of the TV” (spoken by the Powers that be)
Barbara Eden (as the American public): “I can’t take the ads and the lack of actual sex anymore!”
America, we’ve heard your input so we’re bringing back bitch-slaps to television!

(c)2012, Alan Brech