Not Everything That Sounds Like A Slur Is A Slur, Trigger Happy People Of Rochester

Rochester's WHEC Channel 10 decided to slip a little racist reference to Dr King in close to his birthday. This aired 1/4/19 @ aproximately 5:30 pmListen as the newscaster decides that Martin Luther King should be referred to as Martin Luther Coon King and keeps it moving the other day. I have already asked for an explanation from WHEC about this:

Posted by Alan Majors on Saturday, January 5, 2019

The audio isn’t great here, but what you’re listening to is a guy getting himself fired and thrown under the bus by his employer for what I personally feel is not a very good reason.

A television meteorologist is out of a job one day after Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren and City Council President Loretta Scott called for his firing for making a racial slur during a broadcast. An executive at the station, WHEC (Channel 10), apologized to viewers on the air during an evening broadcast Monday.
During a WHEC weather forecast on Friday that showed a live shot of the city’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park, Jeremy Kappell appeared to call it “Martin Luther Coon King Jr. Park.”
The station’s vice president and general manager, Richard A. Reingold, confirmed Kappell’s dismissal in a statement Monday.
“As a result of that broadcast, meteorologist Jeremy Kappell is no longer with News10NBC,” Reingold said. “We believe strongly in holding our reporters and anchors to the highest standard.”
Kappell, who had been WHEC’s chief meteorologist since October 2017, said Monday evening that the incident had been “a simple misunderstanding” that arose because he “jumbled a couple of words.
“I know some people did interpret that the wrong way. That (“coon”) was not a word I said, I promise you that. If you did  feel that it hurt you in any way, I sincerely apologize,” Kappell said in a four-minute video statement he posted on his Facebook page.

General manager Reingold said during an interview that the complaining from the mayor and Councillor didn’t factor into the station’s decision to terminate Kappell, a line which would be much easier to believe had he then gone on and answered the obvious question of whether or not he felt the mistake was actually an intentional act. If you can’t answer a question that simple and important yet you’ve still fired a guy, there’s either interference involved or you personally were looking for a reason to get rid of him.

Obviously if he did it intentionally he should be gone and never hired again, but what seems to be getting lost here is just how difficult talking for a living is. There’s a reason that blooper compilations exist, you know. If you talk long enough, eventually you’re going to make a mistake. And sometimes, like in this case, the mistake is going to be an unfortunate one.

Do me a favour. Think long and hard about the words “king”, “junior” and “coon”. Say them all out loud a few times and really listen to how they sound. Once you’ve done that, think about all of the times you’ve gotten tongue tied in your life and ended up mixing parts of your words together. It happens so often that there’s a word for it. It’s called a Spoonerism, and although they’re absolutely used on purpose for comedy, it happens every day to all sorts of people completely by accident. If you trip over king and junior, you’re probably getting coon. It’s almost unavoidable. And you can clearly hear Kappell correct it immediately, so quickly that I’m willing to bet most people didn’t even notice it until the big to-do was made. This is clearly something that a fellow whose line of work is generally managing a television station should be taking into account before making a decision and opening his mouth, but I guess that might be too much to ask.

Again, unless there’s more at play here than we know about, this firing is absolutely ludicrous. If we need to fire everyone who ever makes a mistake, we’re all going on a big ass vacation because everyone in the world is out of a job as of right now.

Bell’s Everything Tracking Is Back And Very Slightly Less Creepy

It appears Bell is taking another crack at the tracking every customer’s every move thing that went so well a few years ago. And though the end result still sounds like a whole lot of garbage from a consumer point of view (there’s still nothing in it for customers aside from ads the company thinks you’ll like more), it’s at least not as much of a surface level privacy nightmare as the last one. All that basically means is that you’ll have to opt in instead of out and that Bell claims not to be selling your data to third parties directly, but hey, it’s something, I guess.

Canada’s largest telecommunications group is getting mixed reviews for its plan to follow the lead of companies like Google and Facebook in collecting massive amounts of information about the activities and preferences of its customers.
Bell Canada began asking its customers in December for permission to track everything they do with their home and mobile phones, internet, television, apps or any other services they get through Bell or its affiliates.
In return, Bell says it will provide advertising and promotions that are more “tailored” to their needs and preferences.
“Tailored marketing means Bell will be able to customize advertising based on participant account information and service usage patterns, similar to the ways that companies like Google and others have been doing for some time,” the company says in recent notices to customers.

If given permission, Bell will collect information about its customers’ age, gender, billing addresses, and the specific tablet, television or other devices used to access Bell services.
It will also collect the “number of messages sent and received, voice minutes, user data consumption and type of connectivity when downloading or streaming.”

“Bell’s marketing partners will not receive the personal information of program participants; we just deliver the offers relevant to the program participants on their behalf,” the company assures customers.

It’s interesting that Bell’s entire justification for such a massive data grab essentially seems to boil down to well, Facebook is doing it, so why not us, completely ignoring the fact that Facebook isn’t having the best time at the moment. This really isn’t a great look for a company that isn’t exactly well known or beloved for its treatment of customers, to put it mildly.

I hope customers are savvy enough to ignore this program to death. Failing that, I hope Bell does absolutely everything right so I won’t have to write about the inevitable data breach or the part where Bell gets caught doing things they say they’re not doing.

A Miserable Day For Childhood Steve

2019 seems to be getting off to a rather 2016-like start on the celebrity death front.

Mean Gene Okerlund and Super Dave Osborne both died today. Both were 76 and awesome in their own ways.

Mean Gene is the best wrestling interviewer I’ve ever seen. He had a way of making bad promos decent and good ones better that we could really use in wrestling today. Even in the era of big personalities that he worked in, he always seemed to know how to react and stand out just right and just enough to be useful and memorable. He could also be pretty subtly funny for a guy whose job it was to be a straight man. I feel bad for all the kids today cutting promos to themselves and their friends. They don’t have an easy starting point like “Well ya know somethin’ Mean Gene!” to fall back on the way we did.

Also, have this video of him interviewing The Crusher, because it’s hilarious. Wrestling today needs more Crushers and more Mean Genes.

Speaking of hilarious, even though it was kind of a one note joke, I can’t think of too many times when Super Dave Osborne didn’t make me laugh. Everything from “Saskatchewan seal skin bindings” to him cursing out Mike Walden and the assistants after he’d been maimed always brings back happy family memories for me.

That last one isn’t great quality, but I’m glad I found it because it used to be my sister’s favourite when she was little. I’m pretty sure somewhere my mom still has an old VHS tape of her dancing along to it on TV.

We’re All Getting A Little More Bob Cole

I’m still no fan of the way Rogers has treated Bob Cole, but at least there’s been a wee bit of good news on that front. He’ll be sticking around to call an additional six games, winding things up on the final Saturday night of the season by calling Leafs vs. Canadiens. I still wish he was doing the playoffs, but this is about as close to as it should be as we could have hoped for.

Bob Cole was never going to go out quietly. That wouldn’t be his way.
But as the clock was ticking down on his 50 years as the voice of hockey in Canada, he thought the end was coming a week from Saturday night at Scotiabank Arena.
But then Scott Moore was pushed out as boss of Rogers Sportsnet and Cole’s farewell tour, orchestrated by his employers, was suddenly extended by six games — with the perfect ending for the brilliant broadcaster, the last Saturday of the regular season, Hockey Night In Canada, Toronto at Montreal.
What could be better than that?
“Whenever it ends, it ends,” said Cole in a lengthy telephone interview. “We had it finalized, then it wasn’t finalized.

“I never wanted to make a big deal of any of this. I never wanted a (farewell tour) of any kind. All this attention is kind of crazy to me. It’s not me. I’ve never been one of those guys who knew how many games he’d done or kept any records of those kind of things. I just liked what I did and I loved the games and I still love them and love doing them.
“I never thought about how long I would do this job or when retirement was coming or counted the days to retirement. But I’ve been humbled the last while, the way people have reacted all across Canada.”

He doesn’t want any good-bye parties or pity parties. In fact, he wishes he wasn’t going anywhere at all.
Retirement wasn’t his idea. It was pushed on him, almost taken away, and then there were so many good feelings that it was extended.
“All I do is go to work and I’ve enjoyed every day of it,” said Cole. “I don’t know how I’m going to feel when it’s all over. If I had my way, I’d just keep on working.”

If you have time, read the whole story. I especially enjoyed the part about how he got his start, even though something like it could almost certainly never happen today and that makes me a little sad. I’m not sure who the modern equivalent of Foster Hewitt would be, but no way in hell you’re talking your way anywhere close to the guy let alone spending two hours in his office getting compliments and advice.

As Opposed To What?

The Comedy Network says it will stream all 11 seasons of The Big Bang Theory, starting Saturday, Dec. 22. In the midst of its 12th and final season, the channel will air the series non-stop through the holidays, wrapping up on Sunday, Jan. 6.

I’m glad they announced this, because otherwise I would have had no idea that anything special was happening. Non-stop Big Bang Theory is pretty well all the Comedy Network does anymore.

I miss the days when you could flip to Comedy and no matter what time of day it was, there was almost always something decent on that you weren’t going to find anywhere else. Now it’s practically nothing but the same sitcoms everyone else is showing. If I do find something worthwhile there nowadays it feels more like an accident than anything else. It’s a shame, because Canada and the world are cranking out more than enough good comedy to fill a schedule.

And while I’m here, for the love of god, stop saying you’re “streaming” everything. I don’t know exactly when Bell made CTV start doing this, but it drives me nuts. You’re a damn TV station. If you’re putting stuff online that’s fine, but you are not streaming your programming through my old ass cable television. I’d be fine if they said something like watch it or stream it, but it’s all streaming all the time and it’s dumb.

Hey Google, It’s Time To Tweak The Background Noise Filter Again

Not sure about anyone else, but I’ve about had it with the new Best Buy commercials, the ones that say stuff like “hey Google, play my New Year’s playlist.” The damn things have set our living room Mini off at least four times already. And to make matters worse, it was four times in the same stupid night. Every single time it would try to play something on Spotify and we’d have to yell at it to make it stop. And it’s not just us. I was talking to brother Brad on the weekend and he said the ones where he works have been doing the same thing.

When I’m in charge, there’s going to be no more of this let’s intentionally try to trigger the technology business. If you slip a “hey Google” or whatever it is you say to Alexa into your commercials or radio station IDs, somebody is going to be legally obliged to hunt you down and kill you. End of discussion.

Pay TV Comes To Canada. Canada Yawns And Goes ON With Its Day

I didn’t think I was going to post this report about Pay TV’s impending arrival in Canada in 1982, but then it got to the part about costs and complications. Basic cable service could cost you around $8 per month, I was informed as I did my best not to spit tea everywhere. And say what you want about complications (I do feel for the people with those newer, fancier TVs with the built-in converters), but none of this has anything on Telefirst.

Cable TV just isn’t cutting it any more when it comes to home viewing options for Canadians. Thanks to Anik C, the latest Canadian satellite to be launched, a batch of new movie channels (among them First Choice and Superchannel) are coming, and their promoters are pushing them hard. But there’s a recession on and a subscription doesn’t come cheap, ranging from $25 to $50 per month. In this 1982 report for CBC’s The National, a skeptical Terry Milewski demonstrates the hardware and hears the pitch from companies that stand to get rich from pay TV.

If you’re wondering how rich they got, the answer is they didn’t, at least not right away. Only half a million people signed up for the original services, which was about half of what they were hoping for on the low end.

Black Inaccessible Mirror?

This sounds like a neat idea. I wonder if they’ve factored accessibility into it. Controlling it via remote is probably out, but assuming they actually took the time to code and label things properly, using the app could work. I hope they did take the time, because Carin loves the show and trust me guys, you do not want to upset Carin. She is a lovely person, but she will not hesitate to murder you and your poor accessibility policies. She will do so in a constructive way, but you will be well aware that you have been in a scrap and have lost.

Bloomberg reports that Netflix is planning to roll out choose-your-own-adventure programming for adults beginning with the fifth season of Black Mirror, which will feature an episode where viewers have to make decisions that affect where the plot goes. The popular science-fiction series deals with the terrifying implications of technology, so presumably, the decision-making will tie into the episode’s plot in a meta way.
Netflix has never before applied this interactive format to live-action programming intended for adults, although it has done so with children’s shows. For instance, the streaming site previously released Puss in Book, an animated special in which viewers at various points must make one of two possible decisions by clicking on their computer or hitting a button on their remote.

Here’s The TV Schedule For The 2019 World Juniors

TSN just put out the broadcast schedule for this year’s World Junior Hockey Championships. I’m going to stick it here for you guys and for me, because I have a terrible memory and I’m sure I’ll be needing to find it over and over again especially with so much going on over the holidays.

And would you look at that. I get a team Canada vs. Switzerland exhibition game on my birthday. That’s pretty alright.

By the way, does it bug anyone else that they call them the 2019 championships even though they start in 2018? That annoys me every year.