Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column that’s carrying a lot of take-out food guilt. Recently, we came home from a place with enough throw-away-able plastic to float the Queen Mary (whatever that means; our mom used to say that). Why do restaurants have to give you those nasty styrofoam boxes, 17 straws, 97 packets of soy sauce or plastic forks? Well, probably because they don’t have much choice (on the boxes, anyway). Unless we’re prepared to make clear that we don’t need all this stuff in the first place, that we don’t need it in a plastic bag, and that we don’t even need the box, we’ll never stop feeling guilty about all that packaging.But what, we’re supposed to show up at the restaurant to pick up our food packing our own container? Well, why not? We were reading one of our favorite columnists, Umbra Fisk on http://www.grist.org, and she had this little video with tips on chilling on the disposable crapola. One of them was to get this handy-dandy little “tiffin” set – a stainless steel set of containers with some wooden utensils that you can ask your favorite restaurant to pack with your favorite grub. Sure, it’ll take some work, but that’s better than bearing the guilt of having some poor sea turtle choking on the plastic plate from the moo goo gai pan you had 10 years ago.Anyway, you obviously don’t need fancy accouterments to do this – any container with a lid will likely do – but if you think the tiffin set is cool you can get it online at http://www.uncommongoods.com.***Being journalist types, occasionally people ask us stuff about, y’know, The Media. Recently, we were asked which TV news shows we watch – are we flaming liberals, eagerly imbibing every second of the Rachel Maddows and Keith Olbermanns of the world, or are we arch conservatives, cheering along with the likes of Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity? We don’t do any of those shows, we say. We like print journalism, and those partisan echo chambers leave us gasping for air. And we miss the old “Voice of God” anchors of the past. With Dan Rather, Ted Koppel, Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw all hanging up their Voice of God credentials a few years back, we’re left with namby-pamby whiners and wannabes and, it must be said, assorted nuts who would never have commanded an audience in “the good old days.”Anyway, here are just a few ideas we whipped up for some new style news shows that might get us back in front of the tube:- News Nomad (ABC): Equal parts “Great Race” and “Nightline,” News Nomad follows the story, literally, wherever it leads. With a posse of Gen Y geeksters in tow serving as a Greek chorus-cum-focus-group, our lean and shaggy correspondent (Ashton Kutcher?) travels the world sniffing smoke at the Vatican, joking with British troops in Mosul and helping build schoolhouses in Aceh.Tagline: Feeling the news where it happens- Animal Planet’s World Report (Animal Planet): Spunky Animal Planet surprises everyone with their entry into news with this digest-style show. Featuring sexy newscasters walking or playing with their healthy, well-groomed pets during the broadcast, APWP also features plenty of pet tips, plus the hip but avuncular “Farmer Dude” doing the weather from his designer ranch in Montana. Big bucks from the likes of Iams and Petsmart almost assure the success of this one.Tagline (with apologies): Mews you can ewes-The National Times (ABC): This “scripted news magazine” format breaks ground with segments featuring either completely false news stories or highly doctored versions of real ones. Hosted by disgraced journalists Armstrong Williams and Stephen Glass, The National Times takes the idea of never letting the facts get in the way of a good story – and running with it! A crack team of creative writing program grads supplants the traditional reporters and fact-checkers, and anchor slots go only to Victoria’s Secret models and recently retired NFL and NBA stars.Tagline: Give your brain a rest already!-Mr. & Mrs. News (NBC): A simple adaptation of reality show popularity contests such as “The Bachelor” and “Mr. Romance,” this limited series being tested by NBC will feature 20-somethings inhabiting roles such as “Dumbass Studd,” “Hunky Wonk,” “Amiable Bimbo” and “Vaguely Knowledgeable Minx” to determine which male-female anchor pairing plays best with the widest audience. Content ranges from puppies-in-baskets style featurettes to in-depth series about weight-loss pills and pilates regimens.”People are sick of having patronizing old white men leering at them with bad news about wars and stuff,” said NBC CEO Jeff Zucker. “Mr. & Mrs. News homes in on what people really want. Probably. Well, maybe, we’ll see, won’t we?”Tagline: Hard bods, soft news-The Warlord (MTV): Afghanistan is a fascinating country full of rival tribes, runaway opium and heroin production and a president who safely rules over roughly 7.3 acres of the country. In this scripted reality show, Dan Rather himself is ensconced in a heavily fortified compound outside Kandahar and given the title of The Warlord. Holding court each day, Rather – in flowing robes, smoking a hookah, scimitar in his waistband – issues fatwahs (sometimes even against CBS executives), sets poppy prices and oversees arms trades while leading a pack of potential regional warlords through a vigorous series of trials. Some news is thrown in along the way as well.Tagline: You’re Fatwah’d!***Speaking of The Media, we’ve seen a lot of grousing from folks (on Facebook, especially, where people like to grouse) about the coverage of the ‘Lympics. Some think Bob Costas is either too smarmy or too damn young looking (or both); others say there’s too much curling or not enough biathalon or enough already with the Lindsey Vonn and Shawn White coverage (or whatever). Anyway, what say you? Let us know at our fancy e-mail address: email@example.com.One complaint we’ve seen repeatedly is that NBC runs coverage of the big stuff from that day as if it’s just happening – even though we all know darn well that it happened earlier, and also know who got which medals. Is it right to act like this, or should they keep saying “as happened earlier today …” or something like that?We dunno. If it all gets too confusing, just read all the ‘Lympics coverage on our website. It’s all there! Just not, y’know, moving, per se.***Speaking of the ‘Lympics, we just received an e-mail from former Olympian Jana Hlavaty, who does her thing at the Keystone Nordic Center and who can teach you skinny ski like a madman or madwoman in no time. She also knows a thing or two about snowshoeing, and Jana says there will be an “easy and leisurely” Snowshoe Tour during the full moon this Friday. The deal is you show up at the Keystone Nordic Center at 6 p.m. to get your gear, and then head out for about an hour or so. There’s supper and dessert after the tour and the cost for all of that is only 40 beans. If you’re down with that, call (970) 496-4275 and get hooked up. Sounds like a good one.***Well folks, we’re tired and shagged out following this prolonged squawk. It’s Wednesday, which is Prince Spaghetti Day if you’re back in the 1950s or ’60s and are from the East Cost. If not, you have been deprived into thinking this is only Hump Day (or Haawwwmmmpps Day, as we like to call it). So celebrate with some spaghetti and camel-hump meatballs and enjoy whatever’s on the ‘Lympics tonight – even if it happened earlier!We out.
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