Unfortunately, we weren’t able to go to Hen Island this year, for a number of reasons. That’s sad, but it also means that I haven’t had a serious cribbage fix for a very long while. It eased the pain to see that the former ship captain’s house where we stayed in Tamworth, New Hampshire featured a cribbage board — and not just any cribbage board. This Brobdingnagian construct, with titanic pegs to match, was the biggest cribbage board I’ve ever seen.
Today NBC announced that Chuck Todd would replace David Gregory as the host of Meet The Press. The ratings for that venerable program have plummeted recently, with the show falling to third place among the Sunday morning talk shows.
I don’t know whether NBC thinks that Todd, by himself, can cure the ratings problem; the Politico story linked above suggests that other personality and ego-related issues might have been at play in the decision to dump Gregory. If NBC does think that Todd can boost the show’s ratings, however, color me skeptical.
I don’t think the problem with Meet The Press was David Gregory. I think the problem is that the show has stopped trying to engage in legitimate journalism and instead tries to set up phony verbal sparring and conflict about political issues because the producers think it makes better TV.
The Meet The Press of my youth was a sober program where a panel of three journalists asked questions of a figure who was involved in some notable issue of the day. There wasn’t any grandstanding. Now Meet The Press and every other Sunday morning public affairs program has a “roundtable” discussion section where two of the “panelists” are point-of-view advocates who spew their competing talking points and interrupt each other as they are doing so. It’s a waste of time to listen to the blather, and everybody knows it.
There are a lot of people who will never watch a Sunday morning news program no matter how glitzy and contentious it is. Why not just recognize that fact and return Meet The Press to what it was, and at least avoid offending thoughtful people who are interested in hearing what actual newsmakers have to say in response to legitimate questions?
Bread, thou art mine enemy!
I came to this galling realization by the confluence of two events. The first was seeing a photo of LeBron James after following a low-carb diet for the summer. He’d lost weight and looked great. The second was putting on a bathing suit for the first time this summer and passing a mirror.
So I thought, say, maybe I should check out this low-carb thing! I’m not saying that following a low-carb diet would make me look like LeBron James — we’re both from Akron, sure, but he’s a lot taller than I am — but the vast expanse of pulpy flesh I saw in the mirror certainly indicates I need to lose a few stone, pronto.
On a low-carb diet, you’re supposed to eat meat, eggs, and cheese. Check! You’re supposed to eat fruit and nuts. Check! You’re supposed to eat vegetables. Ugh, really? You’re not supposed to eat bread and crackers. Wait, what? Yep, I read it right — any wheat, barley, rye or gluten grain, whether in bread, pasta, or cracker form, is to be strictly avoided.
This sucks! I love bread and just about any form of baked goods. I crave crusty artisanal breads, steaming dinner rolls, flaky biscuits, stone-ground crackers, and crumbly muffins. Heck, I even like a plain piece of toast with a glass of milk. And having to avoid bread really limits the lunch-time options. If you eliminate sandwiches you’ve effectively cut out about about 90 percent of the available noon-hour venues. Following a low-carb approach in the white-collar world will be a challenge.
Ironic, isn’t it? Archaeologists and researchers believe that bread and beer are two of the crucial building blocks of the human march to civilization. Now we’ve got to avoid those two dietary items that helped to pull us out of the hunter-gatherer phase unless we want to look like bloated beluga whales. I’m going to try, but I’m really going to miss crunching through the crust.