Philadelphia Will Do breathes heavily over the Sexiest Newslady poll at FHM, the laddie mag. Three local finalists are Alycia Lane (CBS3), Erin O'Hearn (6ABC) and Kerri-Lee Halkett (Fox29). D-Mac's pulling for Rita Cosby on a write-in ballot.
But The Illadelph wasn't impressed. Deciding to do his own poll, he has added Jessica Borg, Maria LaRosa, Jade McCarthy and various thoughtful comments about wardrobes and physiques. 6ABC's Cecily Tynan doesn't make the cut, so she'll have to be content to count the $600,000-plus yearly salary that she reportedly pulls in for doing the weather, according to Philadelphia Magazine, whose editors didn't post this month's cover article, as usual, because they hate our freedoms.
Could our man love for George Clooney grow any deeper? I'm usually not too jazzed when a publicist lies, but it's hard to get too steamed about Clooney's idea how to foil the Gawker Stalker, which is Gawker's new celebrity sighting maps: have their pr guys and gals text message false reports. Clooney apparently wrote an email to several A-list mouthpieces:
There is a simple way to render these guys useless. Flood their Web site with bogus sightings. Get your clients to get 10 friends to text in fake sightings of any number of stars. A couple hundred conflicting sightings and this Web site is worthless. No need to try to create new laws to restrict free speech. Just make them useless. That's the fun of it. And then sit back and enjoy the ride. Thanks, George.
But are we sure Clooney actually wrote it?
For those of you who love free Mp3s, but wonder just who is behind the give-away, you have a friend in One Louder, who is crusading for fuller disclosure of what's being promoted and who's promoting it. The blogger named Jason writes:
It's no secret that if you run a music blog of any note, promotion companies will offer to supply you with the latest news, free CDs, tickets to shows, MP3 streams, contests and other wares. Who doesn't like free stuff? If you happen to already like the band, even better. You just want to help your favorite bands get heard. Everyone wins. So what's the problem?
Blogs operate under the premise of having an uncorrupted opinion, free of manipulation or avarice. Take away this independence and blogs risk becoming nothing more than press release mouths for corporations who have long recognized the value of uninfluenced, "nine out of every ten doctor recommends"-type advocacy. Promoters want real fans to talk up bands. Bloggers achieve what a PR release could never do, speak with the voice of a loyal supporter who promotes the music because it's good.
There's a term for this type of influence peddling: payola. But for bloggers, there's no cash exchanging hands directly. For some, the immediate payoff is ego building. If you're breaking the news (supplied by PR releases), going to all the hot shows (with free tickets), offering exclusive contests (with prizes supplied by promoters), then you are seen as an insider, a source. Do it well, build an audience and watch your site traffic numbers explode. If you get enough page views, why not make room for a little discrete advertising to help pay the server bills?
This is a grump after my own heart. Henceforth, he will disclose what's being pitched and by whom. He'll also fess up to any freebies he accepted. The comments suggest he hit a nerve.
An amusing list: 87 bad predictions from 2spare.com - or, as they put it, "Top 87 Bad Predictions about the Future." As opposed to predictions about the past. Anyway, such winners as Charles H. Duell, of the U.S. Patent Office, who said in 1899, "Everything that can be invented can be invented." This is up there with the Yale economist who predicted the stock market had hit its peak - in 1929. Or Variety, which predicted rock and roll's passing - in 1955.
Another list of winners: Best April Fools Day pranks. Must credit any list of 100 hoaxes that begins with the great Swiss spaghetti harvest. If you have RealAudio, you can watch this British classic from 1957.
One more -- the 10 weirdest keyboards. Love that Dick Tracy number.
A friend was saying how her connection was canceled coming back from the Final Four in Minneapolis last week. They just left her to spend the night on a couch at O'Hare. With a fever. Others are stewing about service. Sounds like it's time to listen to the CEO of RyanAir, Europe's most profitable airline, and make flying free!
Too late for your wi-fi prize, Philadelphia. Already wired for countrywide Internet access is ... Macedonia. The tiny Balkan country claims to have 95 percent of its rugged terrain covered for broadband access, thanks to contributions from foreign governments and corporate sponsors. This is a place that five years ago was going through a nasty civil war. I did 10 reporting trips there. The best hotel in Skopje served marmot for dinner. Tough little buggers.
The All-Spin Zones wonders on Americablog why some on left stay silent about the Feingold censure move and e-voting, and gets deleted. Thin-skinned.
Want to save the media? A vote for opinion journalism from Michael Kinsley in Slate.
QUOTED: Friedman at America's Hometown is pained by the Inquirer's Sunday report on Rep. Mark Cohen, D-Phila., who spends more of the public's money on books than do two high schools and two middle schools in his district:
youve got to give the man credit for having chutzpa. Why the heck the state even has a reimbursement program for these kinds of purchases is another issue. I feel sorry for the people of Logan and Olney who have to suffer through this kind of representation; a legislator so aloof and arrogant that he thinks this kind of profligate spending on reading materials is acceptable.