Channeling Rachael Ray

January17/ 2000

. BobLee explains his recent hiatus.  …Many of you already know “Rachael Ray”.  I am equally confident that most all of you SHOULD know this delightful reigning princess of The Food Network… For the past few weeks Swagger has been in search of “answers” and has been spending even more time than usual in the upper channels of his cable box…  Whether you are a hardcore Swaggerophile or a sporadic SSays reader, you need to “Read More”… 

   As we approached the 500 mark in commentaries, we felt it was time to do a complete soup to nuts maintenance check on Ye Olde Website.  We brought her into the garage and lovingly dismantled her, checked all the stress points, relubed where needed and, most importantly, we wanted to be sure our compass headings were dead on.   

   BobLee gets asked a lot “how do you produce a column?”  Sometimes the clever reply is the classic Michaelangelo line about carving the statue of David.  “I take a big block of granite and chip away everything that isn’t David.”  The truth is … picking a subject is the primary hurdle. From subject to completed column is usually 90 minutes to 2 hours.  In conferring with other writers, invariably the columns a writer thinks are “home runs” get caught on the warning track and “just trying to move the runner into scoring position” ends up as triples or the occasional “inside the park HR”.  So long as the swings and misses are rare, one cannot hope to out guess the writing gods.

   Our recent column on “Misery In Missouri” was one of our all time favorites (and many of you expressed delight in reading it).  It was a “classic”.  But it was not about Bunting, Baddour or Amato so it did not attract even the average number of viewers.  We accept that those topics are the limits of interest for some of you.

   As research for this column and SimplySwagger, I routinely lurk on various sports fan forums and check out the political commentary shows. (OK, you are all saying “DUH, you silly goose!”).  In early December, I found myself becoming “bummed out” over what I saw happening in both local sports and in politics.  They are mirror images of each other.  Regardless of “current conditions” the prevailing behavior of Tar Heels, Wolfpackers, Liberals and Conservatives never changes.  As the fortunes of “competitions” ebb and flow, the happy faces/frown faces trade back and forth but the basic combative nature never changes. The broad-brush baseless animosities, namecalling and Blue vs Red silliness survives.

   Since the goal line stand in Kenan on October 9, the fortunes of UNC and NCSU Football have taken dramatic turns.  Arrogant Tar Heel loons are doing “cannonballs” into their infinity pools of pomposity while Wuff loons search high and low for the newest conspiracy snatching their assistants away. The Lunatic Fringes of both fan bases exhibit absolutely predictable behavior.   There is a reason that cockroaches prefer the dark and damp … hookers and drug dealers lurk in alleys … and fan forum posters hide behind anonymous names.  Spend time reading any assortment of forum threads and you feel like you just spent an hour in a bus station toilet stall drinking a dirty glassful of very sour milk and you can’t spit it into the sink quick enough.

   Equally predictable are the political commentary TV shows.  A prime example is The Capital Gang on CNN … this is a 3 against 2 yell-athon with “lefties” Mark Shields, Margaret Carlson, and Al Hunt versus “rightwingers” Bob Novak and Kate O’Beirns.  I don’t watch this show regularly and am not sure why I watch it at all … these shows are simply soap operas with ugly people.  Each episode is EXACTLY the same regardless of what is happening in America or the World.  You can miss it for 6 months or 6 years and not skip a beat.  I tried an experiment … …  I had TeamSwagger’s Technical VP, Kid, TiVo a recent episode of The Capital Gang.  She gave me the debate questions and I wrote the comments for each panel member … my on-target % was higher than Peyton Manning’s QB rating.  It was stale bread and moldy cheese.

   Internet fan forums and political “crossfire” shows are here to stay along with kiddy porn and Paris Hilton.  The nutritional value of each is zero. The only difference between fan forums and a hog lagoon is that, to my knowledge, Wendell Murphy has never owned a fan forum.   

     Alas and alack … BobLee Swagger can not change sports fans or political junkies. However, I refuse to let this website ever become as boringly predictable as fan forums or political talk shows.  I do not want a reader to leave this site wanting to spit out sour milk or moldy bread.  So where are my “role models” to emulate? 

   … Enter Rachael Ray, Samantha Brown, Paige Davis, John Ratsenberger, Xhibit and their buddies on the cable “feel good” shows.  

   Rachael is this delightful 30-ish “girl” who does “30 Minute Meals” and “$40 A Day” on the Food Channel.  Samantha Brown gives tours of luxury hotels on The Travel Channel.  Paige Davis is the “Trading Spaces” diva  … Xhibit is the MTV’s “Pimp My Ride” rapper … and John Ratsenbarger (Cliff Claven from Cheers) is “Made In America” on The Travel Channel.  I defy anyone to watch any of these shows and not come away feeling just a little bit better about yourself and your world than you did before you watched it.  That’s what we are striving for here. If your terminal cynicism prevents you from enjoying these shows, then may God have mercy on your sad tortured soul.

   Have you ever rediscovered old high school or college “papers” you wrote.  Reading such usually makes you cringe over both the style and substance you exhibited at that stage of your life. Almost without exception I am quite satisfied with each column in our archive.  It is important that the “product” that made this website successful continue to be the template for our future.

   As we go forward, there will be both silly satires and thoughtful essays.  It is likely that regular BobLee Buddies will usually agree with Swagger’s take on various issues, but that has never been a requirement for “membership” here.  Our deepest fear is that any commentary on here be “boring” or takes on the strident rancor of a fan forum rant.  

Resolved That:

  • The material presented here must be entertaining and interesting to the reader demographic we are targeting.  If you are not “entertained” then you are either not our intended audience or you are having a really bad day.
  • Satire and obtuse intellectual humor created our audience.  We are satisfied with the “type” of reader we have now.  We do not strive to be all things to all people. People who don’t “get” our commentaries should not bother visiting here.  By the same token … like-minded friends of current readers are missing out if not being invited here via Tell-A-Friend.  We know we have an audience, we don’t know it’s limits.
  • Every commentary appearing here is intended to either make you smile or make you think.  When we accomplish both you can bet those columns will appear in the next book. (planned for Spring 2005)
  • The Johnny Appleseed Objective = Each SSays column brings a bit of whimsical pleasure to you and leaves you saying “I’m glad I took the time to read that”.

   We are still tinkering with a revised publishing schedule for each website.  If you have a complimentary subscription you will receive each column as it is published.  If you are a random reader, continue to ‘lurk” every few days.

   The F-150 SwaggerMobile just turned 100,000 miles and we intend to see it turn 200,000 … we likewise expect to post well over 1000 commentaries on this website.  Do you think there are enough bizarros and squirrels to keep generating column fodder for us? 


Swagger’s Stumper

In “Life of Riley”, what was “Riley’s” first name?

Extra Credit … supply names of Mrs Riley and next door neighbor


   Will Bobby Cremins send Rick Majerus his “flip flops”?

   Catch “The Punisher” on video … a Steven Segall type action/gore movie without Segall.

   Favorite Movie Trifecta last week … within 24 hours … Green Berets, Roadhouse, AND Casino.  BLS has now passed 20 viewings of each.  I never realized that James Woods played Sharon Stone’s pimp!

   Did you catch the incoming Syracuse AD’s interview during the Cuse vs GaTech game … Yikes … Memo to Paul Pasqualone – don’t buy any green bananas, you are toast.  

To all of you nice folks who wrote to make sure “Hey BobLee, Are you OK?” … Yep, I’m fine and very appreciative of your concern.  

[email protected]

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