Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Day After Sandy; Comic Book Men

It's the day after Sandy and even though we still have power, it feels as if we're cut off from the rest of the world. We've been very lucky here in Jackson Heights, Queens. No blackouts or damages, but much of Manhattan has been devastated. Last night we were flipping through cable and local channels, watching transformers explode, streets flood, and hospitals evacuate. Tweet after tweet announced electricity going out, stretching from lower Manhattan into Chelsea. It was like following the course of the outage as it moved uptown.The subways are flooded and probably will not be back in service for at least a week. Everything seems to be shut down, while I have gotten FB posts and hundreds of Tweets, I've gotten no emails for hours.

Lately I've developed an addiction to courtroom shows but they are all pre-empted due to disaster coverage. I suppose I enjoy Judge Judy and Judge Joe Brown, etc. for the same reason I like Hoarders  I can watch it and say "At least I'm not as bad as that. My house isn't that cluttered and I would never loan money to such a creep." When I was little and if I stayed home sick I would watch game shows (Sale of the Century, Snap Judgement, etc.) in the morning and cartoons like Speed Racer in the afternoon. It's interesting that the only game shows still around on broadcast TV are classics like Let's Make a Deal and The Price Is Right. Of course at 3:30 we all watched Dark Shadows. When I wasn't sick, my sister and I would run home from school, turn off all the lights, draw all the shades, and try to scare ourselves to death with the supernatural melodramatics goings-on with Barnabas Collins and Dr. Julia Hoffman.

Which leads to this week's Comic Book Men on AMC. The central plot was a Halloween prank with the guys investigating ghosts in the basement and scaring each other as we used to do with Barnabas and Dr. Hoffman. The important part occurred when a customer brought in his Thundercat figures to sell (The customer was a pretty hot guy, BTW.) This led to a discussion of everyone's favorite childhood cartoon series. Kevin opted for the conventional Superfriends, but Walt offered the unusual choice of Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space. He said the space villains intrigued him. That's pretty lame. I'm a little bit older, but I do confess I did watch Josie and her troupe both before and after she got lost in space and picked up that annoying Bleep thingie.

My favorite would probably be Frankenstein Jr. and The Impossibles. Superheroes were really my thing and so were supervillains. This shows was stocked with them. Batman was on at the time and there was a colorful baddie every week. This cartoon consisted of one Frankenstein Jr. segment and two for the Impossibles. I didn't understand why Frankenstein got the top billing if he had only one cartoon and his co-stars had two. Anyway, the Impossibles were a trio with superpowers disguised as a pop band. Every week they faced two different wonderfully bizarre characters--these included the Bubbler, Mother Gruesome, the Twister, the Paper Doll Man, and my favorite, Televistron who could shoot you with a ray gun and you'd be teleported into a TV show. Frankenstein Jr. was a robot version of the classic monster built by a boy genius Buzz Conroy to fight evil. It was fun and silly and well-drawn as compared to the Thundercats crap of the 1980s. Today's cartoons seem to be returning to the high production values of yore.

Last week on Comic Book Men, Ming and Mike lost a bet and had to recreate the wedding of Reed Richards and Sue Storm of the Fantastic Four. Very funny.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Amazing Race 21: Episodes 4 and 5 Catch-up

The past two weeks have a bit crazy so I've fallen behind, loyal blog reading public of 30, in my vital mission of recapping reality shows. I went to my place upstate with my friend Diane where we watched Esther Williams and Van Johnson in Easy to Love and three episodes of Dark Shadows (it was a festival of bad art), then I caught a bad cold and there was a little hurricane called Sandy.

Project Runway ended (Dmitiri or Boris or Vladimir or whatever his name is won), I tried to DVR the first episode of Project Runway All-Stars and the latest of The Fabulous Beekman Boys, the damned thing didn't do it. Fortunately, it did get The Amazing Race. Episodes four and five both took place in the same city in Bangladesh which shows that the producers are still trimming the budget. But they are also trimming extraneous scenes which is a good thing. When they began in Indonesia not every team was shown opening their envelope and we didn't waste any time viewing the rush for the airport ticket counter. Once they all got to Dhakka, the first task was to repair a damaged bus. The Sri Lankan twins make the most noise, while Mutt and Jeff trailed behind.

The next challenge was a choice between sewing a mattress or banging out a crowbar thing. Naturally the Beekman Boys chose sewing, but so did alpha teams World Domination and the Chippendales. At the mattress sewing challenge, Chippendale dancers James and Jaymes brightened right up when Josh mentioned that he had been a drag queen and made his own costumes. Interesting. I had just finished reading Josh's memoir I Am Not Myself These Days in which he recounts his adventures playing Aquadisiac, a drag creation with goldfish swimming around in her plastic tits by night, and working in an ad agency by day, all while living with a drug addict-hustler. I'd say that was more life experience than most of the alpha teams have probably had. In addition, Josh is running a farm in Sharon Springs with Brent while he still holds down an advertising job. James and Abba, the rock and roll guys, went for the Fast Forward--a relatively easy job of rounding up dead rats--and won, Mutt and Jeff were eliminated.

In episode five, James and Abba were ahead the whole time, benefiting from the Fast Forward the week before, which was kind of unfair. They rarely put a fast forward in if they are not going to change cities. Usually there is some levelling event, like an airplane trip or park or a location that doesn't open until the next morning. James did receive some bad news at the top of the leg that his father had inoperable cancer. They came in first and Ryan of Team World Domination proved what a jerk he is. There I said it and I'm glad. It's not enough that Ryan and his love slave Abby are the only team who could possibly win $2 million for coming in first in leg one, he has to break the record set by Dave and Rachel last season of winning the most times. He opened up leg five by declaring this ambition. Then when he and Abby come in second at the end of the episode, he acted all downcast because they were only second and his dreams of being the most powerful Amazing Race contestant ever were dashed forever! (they can't possibly break the record now since there aren't enough legs left.) This caused poor Abby to tear up since she sweated bullets all day and thought she'd actually done a good job. But no, it wasn't enough for Mr. Super Alpha Male. He forced himself to smile and accept second place.

The Beekman Boys were almost eliminated having lost their way in trying to find a cab and then having trouble with building a gigantic scale with bamboos and ropes. But it turned out to be a non-elimination round   and they will make it to Istanbul nest week which we have not visited season seven with the accursed Rob and Amber. Since then I have visited Istanbul myself and am looking forward to this episode.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Final Presidential Debate

Mitt Romney's foreign policy manifesto.
Obama won the final presidential debate last night, but by holding his own and not looking nasty and snipy as he did in the second debate, Romney may have convinced enough voters that he's competent enough for the position. What a snow job! Mittens basically agreed with Obama on a lot of foreign policy issues--shaking the ol' Etch-asketch  and changing where he stood on many of them and drew the conversation back to the economy. If this were a drinking game and you had to take a shot of tequila every time the word "economy" was uttered, you'd need to go to the drunk tank and then visit Dr. Drew in Celebrity Rehab.

It could really go either now. It's all up to Ohio. At least that what John King was showing us with his nifty colored map on CNN. Wouldn't it be great if the votes went nothing like predicted? Even better, what if Obama lost the popular vote, but won the electoral college? Then we Democrats could say to Republicans, "Now you know how we felt in 2000, baby!"

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Amazing Race 21: Episode 3 and This Week in Reality TV

What does this comic book cover have to do
with The Amazing Race?
Just read the blog, fanboy!
This was a banner week in reality TV. Project Runway is nearing its conclusion (I've only watched the first 30 minutes of this episode.) Comic Book Men began again on AMC. There was a really good scene with a woman coming into the shop and discussing the Legion of Super-Heroes with the staff who were excited to debate which was the lamest legionnaire (Bouncing Boy) and the drawbacks of Cosmic Boy's pink uniform. They even brought up Bouncing Boy marrying Triplicate Girl and then one of the guys pointed out that she was Duo Damsel by the time they tied the knot because one of her multiple selves was killed in action (by Computo, the giant living computer BTW, see the illustration to the left).

I've started watching The Fabulous Beekman Boys on the Cooking Channel. I saw all of season one on Netflix on my Kindle Fire, now the Cooking Channel is running season two. They are up to the third or fourth episode where Josh has to fly to California for his advertising job and Brent meets with a chef who has been on Top Chef to sell his caramelized hot sauce. (Six degrees of separation in the reality TV world: Top Chef-Beekman Boys-Amazing Race) Meanwhile, I'm reading I'm Not Myself These Days, Josh's memoir of his days as a drag queen by night and an advertising art director by day (I found it at the Claverack Library book sale, the same place where I bought those three sci-fi collections for a few dollars.)  To top it off, the third episode of the Amazing Race in which Josh and Brent the Beekman Boys are contestants, was a real knuckle-biter.

Before I give you my impressions of this week's TAR, let me just observe that Josh and Brent have become an omnipresence (I just made up that word. Take that, Lewis Carroll!) in my warped pop-culture universe. Two TV series and a book in addition to meeting them in person. It's like I'm looking into their lives at four different times as if in a sci-fi novel. The Amazing Race must have taken place a few months ago, season two of Fabulous Beekman Boys was last year and Josh's book is probably 10 to 15 years in the past. Plus their Facebook page puts them in the present.

Team World Domination in a loving embrace. (just kidding)
This week's Amazing Race starts in Surabaya where the first four teams get the clue and have no idea where they're going. It takes eight people to figure out they need to get a cab to find a restaurant where they have to serve 20 dishes at once without dropping anything. During the interviews, Ryan of Team World Domination crushes his girlfriend with his bicep with loving mock violence. Josh points out the race has divided into super competitive alpha teams and "regular" people who are just trying to get by. The Beekman Boys appear to have a strategy of quietly and efficiently completing the challenges so they don't appear to be a threat. Last week, they had very little screen time, meaning they were not flashy or screaming at each other (unlike on their Cooking Channel show where they bicker all the time.) They have moved up from 7th to 5th place, so their under-the-radar M.O. is serving them well. This helps them this week, they are on the first train out of Surabaya after the restaurant challenge and the four other teams ahead don't feel worried about them.

In the next town, the roadblock is a choice between wearing a heavy lion dancer costume and marching in a parade or having eggs fried on a coconut on top of your head. The first four teams go for the lion costume and Josh and Brent, being farmers go for the eggs. The Chippendales let slip some Freudian innuendo when they laugh about squeezing together into a tiny rickshaw. ("It looked like we were on a honeymoon," giggles one of the Jameses.) Team World Domination wins again--I'm beginning not to like them--and they get a free trip to Fiji, the first travel prize of the race. I prefer it when the team you don't expect to win triumphs. When it's a young athletic couple taking all the prizes, it's gets kinda predictable. The Beekman Boys stay in fifth place and appear to have enjoyed the egg experience. They are having a good time, unlike the next four teams.

The real drama starts when the "stragglers" arrive on the second train. One of these four teams--Mutt and Jeff, the Sri Lankan twins, Mr. and Mrs. Monster Truck, the Barbies--will be eliminated. You'd think it would be Mutt and Jeff, the TAR fans who've applied seven times, who are always dangerously at the bottom of the pack. This time there's a double U-turn and you just know these two are going to get it. Mr. and Mrs. Monster Truck fulfill their destiny by U-Turning Mutt and Jeff who, not knowing who is ahead or behind them, uselessly U-turn the Monsters who have already made it to the finish line by this time. While the ill-fated duo are completing the second part of the roadblock by having the eggs fried on their heads, the Barbies get utterly lost thanks to a bad rickshaw driver. It turns into a close race to the finish with the Barbies      just losing to Mutt and Jeff. Boy, are those guys lucky. But their good fortune won't hold out too much longer as the number of teams shrinks.

Monday, October 15, 2012

How We Digitally Live Now

Last Friday morning my husband Jerry and I were sitting at our separate computers when there came a loud cursing from his study. The Internet connection was out. It wasn't the router or the modem. I picked up the telephone to call Time Warner Cable, no dial tone. All the TVs were out too. No MSNBC. It was a total communications blackout. A call to TWC on my cell resulted in a recording saying there was an outage in our area. It was like being in the Dark Ages, how would I view time-wasting videos of Jack Benny and Carol Burnett on YouTube? I also had theater reviews and other pieces of vital information to email. After doing what I could offline and still no restoration of the magic communications lines, I went to the Starbucks with my laptop, bought a mocha Frapaccino, and found a seat. This was no mean feat since the place was packed with displaced surfers of the information superhighway. Jerry says it's always crowded in there. No one was talking to each other. Everyone was intent on their own computer, making phone calls on their cell, conducting business.

I wound up spending all afternoon at Starbucks. It was weird. I pictured a future where no one works in an office, the population gathers in cybercafes and lounges, sipping coffees and lattes as they virtually connect with their co-workers. Everyone will have thousands of friends through Facebook and followers through Twitter, but few flesh-and-blood friends. Hey, that's not so different from now. But I still won't get a flying car like on The Jetsons.

Another thing I've noticed in my own digital dealings: Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn have become competitive rather than just for pleasure. When I first got on these social media platforms, I thought "This is going to be fun. I can write all kinds of silly stuff about what I had for lunch and what movie I saw last night." Now it's become a race to see how many likes you get and you feel like you've failed if you get less than 1,000. There are marketing strategies on the right time of day to tweet and which words to use in order to draw the most hits to your blog (I must have been sick on the day of that class.) The phrase "social media" is a misnomer, it should be called "self-promotion media." The joy has sort of gone out of it because it's become a business tool instead of a mechanism for what I used to call being busy (meaning the exact opposite. An example of being busy would be to chat about Golden Girl reruns instead of filing a vital report). I have to stop worrying about the number of pageviews and just concentrate on having fun, then the page views will follow--to paraphrase some self-help business model.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Andrea Saul Strikes Again: Romney Campaign Takes Back Mittens' Softening on Abortion Quote

Brief follow up to yesterday's blog: No sooner were the words about softening his abortion stance out of Mitt Romney's mouth during an interview with the Des Moines Register than his trusty spokeswoman Andrea Saul shook the Etch-a-Sketch and put out a press release "clarifying" what Mittens said. The statement basically imparted that if Romney is elected he will support any pro-life legislation. So first he's pro-choice as a Mass. governor and Senate candidate, then he's pro-life in the Republican primaries, supporting a personhood for fetuses amendment. Then he takes it back a little by saying he doesn't see himself supporting any restrictions on abortions, then his campaign says yes he will. Obama needs to point all this out in the next debate.

The polls are shifting because a lot of middle-of-the-road people are disappointed in Obama but they couldn't stomach Romney. Now that he at least look moderate they are drifting over him. Bad news.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Swing Voters: Now They Pay Attention

I admit it, I'm a terrible loser. I don't enjoy watching the political shows now that things are not going my way. All is gloom and doom amongst the liberal media since President Obama's lousy debate performance last week. Romney did an excellent selling job of himself as a moderate and Obama let him get away with murder. Polls are tightening up. What I find incredible is that there's a whole huge chunk of the electorate which hasn't been paying attention until now. That's what Mittens is betting on. He's thinking that among the 60 million who watched Debate One are folks who haven't been listening to his hard-right positions on Medicare, taxes, abortion, etc. and those people are saying to themselves, "Oh he's not so bad. Those Democrats and that damned liberal media must have been exaggerating like always. Now I can vote for him, get a job at Staples, and still have gay marriage, abortion rights, and civil liberties."

Just today Romney said he wouldn't change anything about abortion laws to make them more restrictive even though he told Mike Huckabee he was in favor of a personhood amendment and had on many occasions said he opposed Roe V. Wade. The only thing Obama has right now is defending Big Bird and unemployment falling below 8 percent. Why didn't he punch back at the plastic man? He'd better rally or we could have phony Mitt and Queen Anne and those five Pat Boone sons to stare at for four years. The VP debate on Thurs. will not matter even if Biden knocks out Ryan.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Amazing Race 21: Episode 2: The Iceman Cometh

Whoever is editing the Amazing Race this season has been taking too making speed pills. This week's episode didn't have that much action, but it had more cuts than a Martin Scorsese film. We begin in Shaghai and the contestants learn their next leg is in Surabaya, Indonesia. That's the city in the song "Surabaya Johnny" by Kurt Weill which Lotte Lenya and Bette Midler immortalized. ("I was young, I was just 16 then/When you come up from Burma one day....You've got no heart, Johnny/But oh I love you so much"). Everyone but the Monster Trucker couple gets on the same flight. While they giggle over their supposed coup of landing an earlier flight, we learn that the wife was the widow of the best friend of the greenbearded guy.

The earlier flight turns out to be a mistake for Mr. and Mrs. Monster. The four-hour layover in Hong Kong puts them behind everybody else (The Hong Kong airport isn't so bad and the landing is spectacular because you come in right off the water.) When they finally get to the first clue, they are dead last. The gates to the event don't open until the next morning. Unlike with most overnight challenges, the teams have to chose numbers instead of racing to the gate. The task turns out to be racing bulls on a motorcycle. You don't even have to beat the bulls to get the clue, just finish without breaking your neck.

Here's where the speed freak editing comes in. We only see some of the teams perform this challenge. The production team evidently decided to concentrate on only a few contestants. We don't even get to see my favorites--Josh and Brent, the gay goat farmers who I met at the Hudson Farmers' Market (see yesterday's blog). One minute they were waiting for their turn at the bull race, joking about being on a diet so they go faster and the next minute they're at the next clue.

Anyway, Team Rock pulls ahead, but get lost along with Amy and Daniel who gave away the pitstop clue last week and the chance for $2million, Mr. and Mrs. Monster, the Barbies (there's always some Barbies on every season), and Mutt and Jeff. The Chippendales, the Sri Lankan Twins, the Texas team, Team World Domination, and Josh and Brent get to the next task first--operate a kiddie ride while blowing up balloons and twisting them into animals and hats.

Everyone flies through the event and Brent astutely observes, "The gays know how to make balloons." But Mutt and Jeff get stuck. Fortunately, Team World Domination falls behind (I want Amy and Daniel to catch up because of their mistake last week.) This time the first-place prize is the EZ Pass or whatever it's called when you can skip a task and go straight to the pitstop.

The next task is a roadblock--either haul ice or arrange fish. The twins beat the Texans, who are their best friends all of a sudden.The Chippendales and Team World Domination are next but we never get to see the guys with their shirts off. Josh and Brent are fifth which is a great improvement from last week's seventh place. Again one minute the Beekman Boys were reading the clue, the next they were at the finish line. I bet they would be good at hauling ice since they have do all those chores on the farm.

The episode ended sadly with Amy and Daniel coming in last all because they had the bad luck of getting a bad cab driver. I really felt badly for them because they were so close to coming in first last week and being in the running for $2 million. Next week is the double U-turn and hopefully Josh and Brent who are flying under the radar will not be seen as a threat, so no one will put the whammy on them.

Not such an exciting episode this time.

Meeting the Fabulous Beekman Boys

With Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge, The Fabulous
Beekman Boys and  Amazing Race contestants,
at the Hudson Farmers Market
After last week's premiere episode of The Amazing Race, I fell in love with the gay goat farmers Josh and Brent. While listening to their intro story (two  Manhattanites chucking the city and moving to a farm in upstate NY), I said to myself "That sounds familiar." Later in the week, I realized this was more than just a gay version of "Green Acres." One of the Racers is an author and I had come across his memoir "The Bucolic Plaque" in a book store a while back and I remember thinking "That sounds interesting, I'll have to read it sometime." In addition, they mentioned on TAR their farm was in Sharon Springs, NY and I'd actually been to that town. A few summers back, my husband Jerry, some friends, and I went to the Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown and we had dinner at the American Hotel in nearby Sharon Springs. The meal sticks in my mind because this was the first time I had encountered a $40 entree. And this wasn't even in Soho! I didn't order it, but still...There was a NYT article about the new cardiac-inducing tariff cropping up on menus. So to me, Sharon Springs will always be the home of the $40 entree. (BTW, the opera was enjoyable)

Getting back to the Racers, during this past week I discovered that not only are these guys on my favorite reality show, but they also one of their own--The Fabulous Beekman Boys (the estate they bought is called the Beekman) which is in reruns on The Cooking Channel starting this past Thursday. This series premiered on Planet Green (which I don't even know if I still get in my cable package) and details their lives on the farm with Brent, a former VP with Martha Stewart, staying upstate all week, while Josh, a best-selling author is in the city working in advertising and coming up on the weekends. I found the first season on Netflix and have seen the first few episodes on my Kindle Fire. The second season, plus a Christmas special is on Amazon Prime ($1.99 per episode), but I guess I can catch up with these segments on the Cooking Channel. They overlap with the last half-hour of Project Runway which is almost finished, but then there's Project Runway All-Stars. I'll have to DVR the middle-of-the-night repeats.

I enjoyed the Beekman show since it kinda parallels my life as a gay husband with a weekend place in upstate NY. But I don't have 30 goats or a cheese and soap business and I don't know Martha Stewart. But I do have to mow the goddamn lawn and spray for spiders. (Well, Jerry does the second thing mostly.) And I have a Martha Stewart cookbook (the recipes are HARD!)

As I learned more about the Beekman Boys, I saw they would be appearing this weekend to sign their new cookbook at the Farmer's Market in Hudson, which is right next door to us in Stockport. Always ready to meet an Amazing Race team in the flesh, I woke up at the ungodly hour of 10 AM to say hi. Both guys were very nice (see picture taken on my cell phone). Josh explained that he didn't let the monster truck guy push past him at the airport in the last segment. He was just obeying the rules of not cutting in line or ducking under the special Racers Only rope stanchion (is that how you spell it?) I had rushed over to the Spotted Dog Book Store to buy a copy of The Bucolic Plague which Josh autographed for me. As soon as I finish Cloud Atlas, it's first on my list.

I told Josh about The David Desk and he asked to link their site so here it is. Josh has two other books out I'm Not Myself Today, a memoir on his days and nights as a drag queen, and Candy Everyone Wants, a novel. I will have to download those to the Kindle.

I'm looking forward to tonight's Amazing Race episode now that I now so much more about The Beekman Boys. This is probably the most I've known about any TAR team since the despicable Rob and Amber who thankfully have not graced my TV screen since Rob resurfaced on Survivor.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pennsylvania's Restrictive Voter ID Law Suspended

While visiting my parents in Pennsylvania recently I saw a really offensive commercial. The ad showed a diverse group of people--white, black, young, old, Asian, male, female--holding up either a passport or a drivers' licence and saying "To vote in Pennsylvania, you need one of these." Some slick ad agency was making restrictive voter ID laws palatable, even reasonable by making it seem so easy to vote. In fact for those who do not have one of these forms of photo ID, it's been a bureaucratic nightmare. At least, according to several stories of elderly people who no longer drive, students, and minority people with no cars having to wait for hours to get their new cards from crowded PennDOT facilities with overworked and confused personnel.

Well, today that's all changed. A Pennsylvania judge ruled the law is temporarily suspended until after the general election. He didn't dispute the constitutionality of requiring a photo ID, but ruled that the state has not provided enough time to fairly implement it so there is not an undue burden on citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote. I believe that after the election there will be a review and theoretically the state will have enough time and training to make sure everyone who wants to vote can without undue hassle.

This just happened this morning and I was in Planet Fitness in Manhattan where they have numerous huge TV screens with closed captions. As I hit the 30-minute express workout area (as I do maybe once a month), CNN and Fox News were on screens next to each other, so I could compare coverage of this breaking story. No MSNBC for some reason at Planet Fitness, only the major broadcast channels, Fox, and CNN. I will have to complain about that.

Anyway, the story broke and CNN devoted about 10-15 minutes to it with reports from their legal reporter and interviews with political strategists on how this might affect the president race (P.S. Romney was going to lose PA anyway in spite of what the Republican State Senate Leader said about delivering the state to Mittens thanks to Voter ID). Fox was covering two murder trials, a planned sky dive from space with neat photography, reports on how bad the security was at the American consulate in Benghazi and the White House is covering up its prior knowledge of it. The news of the PA decision was confined to a headline on the news crawl at the bottom of the screen. After CNN had finished with the story, Fox finally got around to it about 45 minutes later with an interview with their legal expert, a judge (apparently retired). During the interview, not once did they mention the difficulties PA voters where having getting their IDs and how the state was placing an undue burden on nondrivers by not being fully prepared to issue all the IDs that would be needed in a timely and fair manner. The interviewed judge explained that there might be a possibility that some voters might be denied their rights and the anchor did not follow up be asking "What about these stories of four-hour lines and untrained staff at the Penn. Dept. of Transportation?"

I should get to the gym more often so I can compare and contrast coverage of these issues. It would be even more interesting if MSNBC were in the Planet Fitness mix.