The Los Angeles Times is reporting today that the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday launched formal investigations into pay-for-play practices at four of the nation's largest radio corporations, the biggest federal inquiry into radio bribery since the congressional payola hearings of 1960.
Their first clue: excessive airplay of songs by Jessica Simpson. Their second clue: excessive airplay of songs by Ashlee Simpson. Their third clue: ANY airplay of songs by Lindsay Lohan.
Shall I continue???
Two FCC officials with direct knowledge of the matter confirmed that the agency had requested documents from Clear Channel Communications Inc., CBS Radio Inc., Entercom Communications Corp. and Citadel Broadcasting Corp. over allegations that radio programmers had received cash, checks, clothing and other gifts in exchange for playing certain songs without revealing the deals to listeners, a violation of federal rules.
The FCC's action comes amid New York Atty. Gen. Eliot Spitzer's pay-for-play probe, launched in 2004, which has alleged wrongdoing by both music and radio companies. In February, Spitzer sued Entercom, alleging that high-ranking executives had implemented scams to trade cash for airplay of songs by such artists as Avril Lavigne, Liz Phair and others.
Entercom has denied the allegations. The other three radio companies are also under investigation by Spitzer, who has shared his evidence with the FCC.
It's about time someone figured out what the hell is motivating radio stations to play such tripe. Kiss my grits Britney Spears.
Note to the ladies out there: If a strange old man rings your doorbell and offers to feel you up for free, best not to let him in. Call me CRAZY but he may be some sort of pervert.
Reuters is reporting today that a 76-year-old man claiming to be a doctor went door-to-door in a Florida neighborhood offering free breast exams, and was charged with sexually assaulting two women who accepted the offer, police said on Thursday.
One woman became suspicious after the man asked her to remove all her clothes and began conducting a purported genital exam without donning rubber gloves, investigators said.
The woman then phoned the Broward County Sheriff's Office and the suspect fled. He was arrested at another woman's apartment in the same Lauderdale Lakes neighborhood on Wednesday, a sheriff's spokesman said.
The white-haired suspect, Philip Winikoff, carried a black bag and claimed to be visiting on behalf of a local hospital.
"He told the woman that he was in the neighborhood offering free breast exams," sheriff's spokesman Hugh Graf said in a statement.
At least two women, both in their 30s, let him into their homes and he fondled and sexually assaulted them, the investigators said.
Winikoff was not a doctor, Graf said. He worked as a shuttle driver for an auto dealership.
The Adventures of Faux Fetus and the Mechanical Vagine
It's one thing to read it, QUITE another to see it. Holy scary! Scary Toy Clown already did the work, so I'll just direct you to the post.
It contains excellent blog footage of Noelle, a lifelike, pregnant robot complete with faux fetus and fully operational plastic vagine.
According to the Associated Press, Noelle is being used in increasing numbers of medical schools and hospital maternity wards. The full-sized, blond, pale mannequin is in demand because medicine is rapidly abandoning centuries-old training methods that use patients as guinea pigs, turning instead to high-tech simulations. Apparently, it's better to make a mistake on a $20,000 robot than a live patient.
Noelle can be programmed for a variety of complications and for cervix dilation. She can labor for hours and produce a breach baby or unexpectedly give birth in a matter of minutes.
She ultimately delivers a plastic doll that can change colors, from a healthy pink glow to the deadly blue of oxygen deficiency. The baby mannequin is wired to flash vital signs when hooked up to monitors. The computerized mannequins also emit realistic pulse rates and can urinate and breathe.
As much as these stories inspire, they also make me feel like doody. After all, I am several years older than Ms. Viswanathan, and all I've got to show for myself is this stinkin' blog.
According to the Associated Press, 19-year-old Harvard University sophomore Kaavya Viswanathan's debut novel is on the shelves at last. It wasn't supposed to come out for another three weeks, the AP reports, which is why the author herself was surprised to stumble across a display in her college bookstore.
"I started to hyperventilate, and I burst into tears," said Viswanathan, who has signed a two book deal with Little, Brown and Co. reportedly worth about $500,000. Viswanathan has also sold the movie rights of her first novel to DreamWorks.
Her 320-page book titled "How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life" tells the story of Opal, a hard-driving young woman who earns all A's in high school but gets rejected from Harvard because she forgot to have a social life.
Of her newfound success, Viswanathan remarked: "I mean I always wanted to be a writer eventually, but I wasn't ever really thinking like in terms of this young . . . I mean I always fantasized about when I'm 30, I'll go become a British citizen and win the Man Booker award."
Krikey. Girl's got an agent, a half-million dollar book deal, and probably a Range Rover to boot. Now she wants a freaking Booker Prize.
When Smug imagines herself at 30, she dreams of working in government so she can thwart Viswanathan's dreams of becoming a British citizen and winning the Booker.
Sadly, I will probably not be in government, but instead will be standing in line at my local Barnes & Noble, waiting to get this young woman's autograph on a copy of her prize-winning new novel.
Today's issue of The Guardian online warns: Ignore bloggers at your own peril. Bloggers and internet pundits are exerting a "disproportionately large influence" on society, according to a report by a technology research company. Its study suggests that although "active" web users make up only a small proportion of Europe's online population, they are increasingly dominating public conversations and creating business trends.
More than half of the internet users on the continent are passive and do not contribute to the web at all, while a further 23% only respond when prompted. But the remainder who do engage with the net - through messageboards, websites and blogs - are helping change the national conversation, say researchers.
"We're seeing this growing," said Julian Smith, an online advertising analyst with Jupiter Research and author of the report. "The strongest part of their influence is on the media: if something online suddenly becomes a story in the local press, then it matters."
Although unprompted contributors are generally younger and more vocal than the wider online population, they are increasingly important as opinion formers and trend-setters. Mr. Smith says businesses, media organisations and advertisers reading blogs should be wary of making assumptions about their wider significance, but that their muscle cannot be ignored.
"They're not representative of the larger audience, but what they're saying does matter," he said. "It's a good straw poll - a snapshot of the verbal conversations going on that we can't measure."
"That's exactly right," said Glenn Reynolds, author of An Army of Davids, which explores the explosion in web punditry. "Bloggers and blog-readers are 'influentials' - the minority that pays attention to events outside of political and news cycles. They also tend on average to be better off, better educated and, more importantly, employed."
There are now more than 35m blogs around the world, according to search engine Technorati. While most bloggers only write for small audiences, they can sometimes achieve wider fame or become the focus of consumer campaigns.
Companies like McDonald's, lock manufacturer Kryptonite and computer firm Dell have all fallen foul of internet buzz in recent years. Because search engines like Google can allow grassroots campaigns to become highly visible, industry insiders agree decisions can be shaped by a small number of activists.
"It's always been the case that vocal minorities are listened to by media organisations, brands, advertisers and marketers - normally because they're thought to represent a wider swath of opinion," said Tom Coates, a technologist with Yahoo! and prominent blogger.
"TV and radio programmes are censored or pulled on the green-inked letters of a few hundred people, products removed from shelves because of less than 100 complaints.
"On that basis, these figures start to sound like a pretty large number of people, and probably a much more representative sample than perhaps before."
Mr Reynolds admits the idea of small groups being able to pressurise wider decisions is nothing new, but those who ignore online buzz do so at their peril: "You can bury your head in the sand, but very quickly you'll look like a very old-fashioned company."
One cannot turn on the television these days without being barraged by advertising, within programming as well as between programming. Reality shows are far and away the biggest offenders, but product placement is also beginning to infiltrate dramas and sitcoms across the network and cable landscape.
At long last, the backlash has begun. According to the Independent, the Writers Guild of America is fighting the trend with satire. Richard Gillis reports:
In a viral campaign Trump is satirised as "Subservient Donald", played by a lookalike whose only role is to act as the mouthpiece for advertising messages bought and paid for by corporate America. Visitors to productinvasion.com, a website launched by the Writers' Guild of America, west coast division (WGAW), are able to write their own script, which the virtual Donald will happily recite. Unusually this service comes free of charge.
Burger King reputedly paid $2m to host one episode of the show. The contestants were set a challenge based around promoting the merits of the company's new product line. Another episode was devoted to marketing a range of perfume endorsed by country singer Shania Twain. A spokesperson for Talkback Thames said there were no similar arrangements for placement in the UK version, in accordance with BBC regulations.
Productinvasion.com is the hub of a viral and media campaign being waged by the WGAW, which represents writers of entertainment and news programmes in America, and the Screen Actors' Guild, the trade union for on-screen talent.
The rules in the UK are under review. The chairman of the Writers' Guild of Great Britain, Graham Lester George, suggests the issue may soon rise up the agenda. "My greatest concerns are whether this will this distort the way TV programmes are conceived and written," he says. "Will the product placers try to exert subtle or even unsubtle editorial control? For example; if a car dealership were to sponsor programmes, would it veto a gay kiss, or insist that creationism be seen as plausible as Darwinism?"
I know this will be too much information for most of you, but I don't really care. It's Monday; it's gorgeous outside; I'm stuck behind a GD desk doing bullsh*t as usual; and my f*cking breasts feel like they are about to explode.
PMS is a total bitch, and I swear to God, it gets worse EVERY month. It never used to be like this. A little cramping, yes; a little weepy, maybe. But in the past few years, my PMS has evolved into an entirely new breed of monster. It brews quickly, like a summer storm, but does not pass for days. My entire body becomes heavy; I feel water-logged, oversaturated. I want to scream every time my shirt brushes a nipple. I want to pop my tits with a pin, just to make the swelling stop. The blood in my abdomen churns hot and viscous, like melted wax. My mind clouds over. I am spent. Useless.
As if Mondays don't suck enough. Please let this day be over! I want to run to the Lake and dive in. I want to let my hot swollen body sizzle in the cool water while I eat ice cream and drink a dirty martini and all the world goes on around me but I don't have to go back and be a part of anything until I feel human again.
But I can't. I have to work. And then I have to buy groceries and make dinner. After that, there is laundry. If I'm lucky I'll have time for a cocktail and a chapter of my book, but probably not.
I suppose this is nature's way of driving women to reproduce -- torture them with PMS until they say Uncle.