Thursday, February 24, 2011

2.24.11 Bee-otch of the Day: Glenn Beck

Name: Glenn Beck
Age: 47
Occupation: right-winged radio jerk
Last Seen: New York, NY
Bee-otched For: getting canned in Ground Zero (no, not that Ground Zero)

Despite being #3 in the talk radio ratings behind Rush and Hannity, Glenn Beck has been getting canned in a lot of big cities. 

First, he got canned in his home base of New York on WOR a few months ago because of low ratings. Then, it was his former flagship WPHT/Philadelphia that canceled the show a few weeks later.
Now, Glenn Beck's radio empire is tumbling once again. This time, it's (surprise) MADISON! 

Yep! Madison's the latest market to shitcan Beck's three-hour steaming pile of shit. Mid-West Family's WTDY 1670 just announced that they're canceling Beck's show for a local host, Kurt Baron for one hour and a new show, America's News Network for another. The x-band station only aired Beck for two hours per day, and it was two hours too much. 

I wonder if the canceling of Beck was due to the protests in the city stemming due to governor Scott Walker's screwjob towards the unions. Then again, their ratings do suck at a 1.5. The town's liberal talker, Clear Channnel-owned WXXM/92.1 The Mic is at a 2.9 in the last Arbitrends. 

However, bear in mind that Beck's syndicator, also Clear Channel does own WIBA 1310, which also airs Rush and Hannity. I wouldn't be surprised if they yank him over there. 

But, nonetheless, he's gone in a town that doesn't need him. Don't let the door hit him on the ass. 


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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

2.23 Bee-otch of the Day: Matt Hanlon

Name: Matt Hanlon
Age: 48
Occupation: General Manager, Citadel Broadcasting West Michigan
Last Seen: Grand Rapids, MI
Bee-otched For: hiring another has-been

It's been 10 years since Citadel Broadcasting hired former AOL executive Matthew Hanlon to take over their Grand Rapids cluster, and talk about disaster. 

Not only did he screw over Howard Stern by moving his show to what is now 1340 WJRW - and eventually Citadel corporate out of Las Vegas was the ones who gave him the ax on all their stations - but good 'ol Matty Poo decided to get the best of the worst to work for him. Over the years, he's hired the likes of failed Seattle jocks Ron and Don, ousted WGRD wuss Michael Grey, failed Chicago Sports dweeb "Huge" Bill Simonson and his biggest hire, Kevin Matthews, who came BACK to WLAV by way of Chicago. 

But now, Hanlon's made another hire, and talk about laughable: Brian Vander Ark. 

Yep! The Brian Vander Ark, aka the lead singer of washed-up 90's rockers The Verve Pipe. 

Vander Ark is a local boy, born and raised in Holland. But it was his East Lansing-based band The Verve Pipe that made him a star. It was their 1996 major label debut Villains that was the group's only major hit, spawning several rock radio hits such as "Photograph", "Cup of Tea" and the title track. But it was their one and only pop hit "The Freshmen" - released when I was a Sophomore in high school - that catapulted them into the hearts of eventual soccer moms. 

Of course, like many other post-grunge bands like Everclear, The 'Pipe ended up in an identity crisis, especially for their self-titled second major label album. It only produced one single "Hero" which was only a modest rock hit in the sea of metal bands such as KoRn, Rage Against the Machine and Limp Bizkit. Their 2001 album Underneath didn't fare any better and was dropped by RCA Records. 

Oddly enough, The Verve Pipe are still together, although Vander Ark and drummer Donny Brown are the two sole members from their original lineup. Their last album, A Family Album came out two years ago, and it was a children's album. 

Vander Ark does record as a solo artist, but with a local indie label called Second Motion. So far, he's released two albums. 

But now, the Verve Pipe frontman has a new gig: he's the new midday guy at classic rocker 97 WLAV. His show shares the last hour of Kevin Matthews' morning show at 9 a.m. (also heard in Lansing on 94.9 WMMQ) but from 10 a.m. til noon, he flies solo on WLAV only. 

Now, I'll admit that some of the songs from Villains are good (and I'll admit to having the album), but working for a doofus like Hanlon and working alongside the likes of Bill Simonson and Michael Grey will further damn his reputation as a serious rock artist. Hell, I read about a country artist named Kenny Roberts aka "The Jumping Cowboy" who was signed to Decca in the 1950's but was dropped by the label. One of his problems was the fact that his records didn't get much promotion, and one reason why was because he was stuck doing a kids show on what's now WWTV 9&10 in northern Michigan. In a way, going to work in local radio's a white flag for any rock artist; just ask Greg Kihn or even that Canadian dude who did "Go For a Soda". 

Plus, do classic rock fans like the Verve Pipe? If there's any radio station in Grand Rapids that wouldn't have a problem playing their music, it's Channel 95.7. I just don't see a station playing Eric Clapton, Journey and Foreigner spinning "The Freshmen", especially since The Verve Pipe was booed to tears when they opened for KISS back in the 90's. 

In all, this is another way Hanlon wants to kiss the ass of Grand Rapids, only to fall flat on his ass. Hell, look at his retarded New Years ball drop: thousands of people loitering downtown Grand Rapids, mostly little girls with no pubes yet and their moms listening to emo rock. Thanks, but I'd rather be inside and warm in a bar. To me, having Brian Vander Ark doing a show on WLAV is like Art Alexakis hosting a metal show.
Everclear, on the other hand, is another story in itself. 


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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

2.22.11 Bee-otch of the Day: George W. Bush

Name: George W. Bush
Age: 65
Occupation: former president
Last Seen: Texas
Bee-otched For: being to scared to travel

Awwwww, are you too chicken to travel, Dubya? Too scared that you'll face the same punishment that you gave the people at Gitmo? 

It's true: George W. Bush is afraid to travel abroad because he could face serious charges for allowing water torture to the detainees at Guantánamo Bay. In an interview with Matt Lauer while pimping his book Decision Points, Bush verbally said that he allowed the torture to happen because lawyers told him so.
Now, another set of lawyers are telling him "not so fast". 

Before he was to go to Europe this past month, several human rights lawyers threatened legal action against the former president for allowing torture. Bush is now learning that going above the law is not a good thing to do. 

Folks, it sickens me that we once (key word: once) we elected this dipshit to run our country, and it was into the ground. Not only did he cause way too many Americans to file for bankruptcy and lose their homes because of tax breaks for the rich, but he made America a laughing stock because of his stance on torture and the lack of human rights. Even sadder, the current Democrats in office haven't made any attempts to imprison the former president or even impeach him when he was in office. 

It's sick that Bush is a free man, even after what he's done. I'm glad that Europe gets it when it comes to Democracy. I wish that he can fly abroad so they can catch him and toss him and his cronies like Dick Cheney into PMITA prison where he belongs. 

But once again, you get what you vote for. 


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Monday, February 21, 2011

2.21.11 Bee-otch of the Day: The Republican Party

Name: The Republican Party
Age: 157
Occupation: right-winged jerks
Last Seen: Washington, DC
Bee-otched For: creating chaos
I remember that scene in Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story where people in France protested over taking away a day off and Moore asked why us Americans can't do the same. 

Well, it took a riot in Egypt to transpire over to the great state of Wisconsin, but we're doing it now.
Last week, newly-elected Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) announced a bill that would remove benefits from state employees. The bill would remove collective bargaining and force them to contribute more towards health insurance and their pensions. Part of it is due to a $3.6 billion deficit the state has. End result: strike.
Over 100,000 people have stormed the state capitol of Madison to protest Walker's proposed legislation, and the 14 members of the Democratic senate have fled to Illinois to prevent a vote from occurring. On Monday, the city's schools are expected to stay closed due to the striking. 

Even worse, the media is also paying attention to the fact that the Tea Party Express has arrived in Madison, and its lead spokesman, Joe the Plumber even told the people that people need to work hard for their money and not cry over it. Needless to say, the city doesn't need more BS from a group who feels that the middle class in America is in the same boat as a crackhead on a seedy street corner. 

Sadly, Walker isn't the only governor whose state is in financial hot water. Our beloved governor, Rick Snyder (R) is also proposing making some changes to the state's union laws that would take more money away from workers and use that to fix the state's $8 billion deficit. 

Ah, yes, let's attack the unions. You know, the people who have pushed to prevent people from being overworked and underpaid, weekends off, holidays off and so on? Back in the olden days, rich folks had to pay 90% of their income while the working class paid less. Now, in too many cases, it's the other way around. 

So, when states like Michigan and Wisconsin have budget shortfalls, guess whose pocketbooks they go after? The people who teach our kids, pave our roads, nurse the elderly and so on, and not the people who find ways to cut back on staff, send jobs overseas and don't give their employees raises in 10 years while giving them excuses. Yep, that's it. 

Didn't I read somewhere that the richest people in Germany wanted higher taxes back in 2009? What about us Americans? Why can't people like Bill Gates or Warren Buffett plunk down 90% of their incomes to help keep the economy moving and growing? Instead, they treat money like it's theirs and only theirs while the average American contemplates paying either the electric bill or the heating bill this month. 

But, that's what people get for not voting. Scott Walker only won the governorship of Wisconsin by only 120,000 votes while Snyder won by 600,000. I voted Democrat this past election because as a citizen of the United States, I want to help President Obama fix the mess left-over by not just Bush, but his dad, Reagan and other people whose visions aren't up to par like FDR's. 

And as long as the Republicans run the house and the governorships of several states, it ain't happening. 


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Thursday, February 17, 2011

2.17.11 Bee-otch of the Day: Rick Snyder

Name: Rick Snyder
Age: 52
Occupation: governor of Michigan
Last Seen: Ann Arbor, MI
Bee-otched For: giving the state sticker shock
If the governor of Michigan has his way, people in this state may end up getting shocked at the checkout counter of their favorite supermarket. 

Governor Rick Snyder is pushing a bill through the now Republican-run legislature in this state that no longer requires grocery stores to put price tags on items. Instead, the prices of most items will be represented by a sticker on the side of the shelf. 

Right now, Michigan is only one of two states in the country that has this law, passed 35 years ago. The other state that does this is Massachusetts. Now that most grocers and other stores have scanners, it seems to be worthless to have stickers on each item, right? 

According to a report cited by Gov. Snyder, businesses lose $2 billion annually just by forcing their workers to slap labels on products. In his State of the State Address a few weeks ago, Snyder said, "In today's world of scanners, barcodes and automated inventory systems, we are simply adding an undue burden on retailers and consumers. It's bad for business, and it's bad for consumers."

Several smaller grocers in this state love the idea, including Phil Deering, the owner of Deering's Market in Empire, a town of slightly under 400 20 miles west of Traverse City. He told the Leelanau Enterprise newspaper that in the Winter alone, he and his staff spend eight hours a week holding a price gun, and it quadruples in the Summer when tourists come and visit the nearby beach or Sand Dunes. Bear in mind that Deering's is a small store - I was there a few years ago and I guesstimate that it's only 8,000 square feet, give or take - that adjoins a bar. It's also worth noting that Deering's has been in business for over 60 years and its founder - Phil's father - still works in the back room doing some of the pricetagging. Many Traverse City grocers - Tom's, Oleson's, Maxbauer's and another Deering's - all are related to Deering's.

Phil even told the paper that not slapping on prices would free up their time, keeping shelves full and even helping the customers on the floor instead of being out in the back.

But of course, there's the fact that no sticker on the item means that customers might be forgetful on how much each item costs. Many analysts - myself included - believe that one fear regarding the new law is that once somebody goes up to the counter and the scanner zaps the wrong price, the customer's screwed. Trust me. A few weeks ago, I bought some shampoo at Walgreen's and I warned the cashier that the second bottle was 1/2 price. Thankfully, the manager came and refunded my cash.

Another thing to think about is the fact that not all stores have scanners! Gordy's Market on Division near 44th in Grand Rapids, for example has two checkout aisles and they don't have 'em. Thankfully, they have tags on everything. I don't think that another Spartan Store in town, D'Amico's have scanners either. Then again, grocers that have scanners do love them since they can keep track on what sells and what doesn't.
But here's another problem, and it's for the employee: what if this law passes and it allows store owners and managers to cut hours, or even worse, cut staff? I was once a stocker at a grocery store years ago, and when business slowed down, my hours were cut. I know, and it sucks.

Personally, I think that Snyder's proposal is more for the stores and their owners and not the consumer. This new law allows them to save their own money while in some cases, the customer gets screwed over at the checkout. As somebody pointed out on a news site I visited, this is big box grocers like Walmart and Meijer getting into the pants of Gov. Rick. More money for them, and less for the consumer and even less for the poor sap who works in retail.

But once again, don't blame me, I didn't vote for him.


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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

2.16 Bee-otch of the Day: Blarney Castle Oil

Name: Blarney Castle Oil
Age: 78
Occupation: oil distributor
Last Seen: Bear Lake, MI
Bee-otched For: supposedly wanting to burst open an oil-soaked flower in my old hometown
Although I haven't lived there in over a decade, there's still a place in my heart for old Elk Rapids, MI. And it's not just because it's the home of Short's Brewing Company. 

Elk Rapids ain't much if you're living in the big city, but for its 1,700 souls, it means a lot. The town only has one traffic signal, one grocery store, three banks, one hardware, two druggists, several restaurants with a Subway as its only fast food joint, an old one-screen movie house, several antique and knickknack shops, a few churches and three gas stations. 

But if Blarney Castle Oil has its way, that number will go up to four. 

Not long ago, Blarney Castle - which has numerous gas stations all throughout northern Michigan and south to the Grand Rapids area - bought some land at US 31 and First Street in Elk Rapids, right across from the long-abandoned Super Tool plant. They were telling people for a while that they had no plans at the time to do anything with the property, but now, they've come to a decision to build an EZ Mart in the village. 

The proposed station would be 5,000 square feet - the biggest gas station in Elk Rapids - with a deli, plus five self-serve bays with a pump at each side, totalling 10 pumps. It would also employ 14 total people.
There are major concerns regarding the station, including the fact that there's a wetland area next to the property, and the concrete would ruin that area. Plus, there's concerns regarding the fact that it would have an impact on the town's three other gas stations. 

Elk Rapids' other stations are a Speedway, a Shell and an unbranded station that's owned and operated by the town supermarket, Village Market. Store owner Rick Young even released a statement to the news blog regarding the proposed EZ Mart: 

"I think they are good competitors. They have a station over by our Rapid City store. I don’t really think they will affect us much. They will get the 31 traffic. We depend on the locals to keep us going. They will provide a few jobs, which we need."
-Village Market owner Rick Young

Village Market Gas is the only gas station in town that's home-owned since Young lives in nearby Kewadin. The Shell's owned by Traverse City-based Schmuckal Oil while the Speedway is owned by Houston, TX-based Marathon Oil.

A public meeting was held yesterday and the village will hold off any decision until they study the area more closely. They want to look at everything from accident history of the area to police info about the area of the proposed station. Who knows? Maybe the station might force the village to add a second traffic signal.

But, there's one major reason why I'm not fully in support of the new station. You see, Blarney Castle is in cahoots with several oil companies. They own 97 gas stations. Of those 97, one is unbranded, two are affiliated with Spirit (a virtual unknown in the gas world), four are Shell, 14 are Clark, 19 are Marathon and 21 are Mobil. But get this: 31 OF BLARNEY CASTLE'S GAS STATIONS SELL BP FUEL. As a matter of fact, their flagship station in Bear Lake is a BP, and some of the stations they own are the sole stations in their respective town. And yes, they're with BP.

The question is, why would ANYBODY want to open a BP station now that the company's reputation's in the crapper thanks to their massive oil spill last year? True, like I said, BC does deal with other brands. But, Elk Rapids already has a Shell and like I said, Marathon already owns Speedway. So, that leaves BP, Mobil or Clark (most Spirit stations seem to be old and ratty). Somehow, I can't picture a 5,000 square foot convenience store with a deli affiliated with Clark, a company with a penchant of having their locales being the size of a broom closet. Yes, there's many bigger Clark stations, so never say never.

As for Mobil, I wouldn't necessarily call them the lesser of the two evils between them and BP, either. Remember, they're technically called ExxonMobil now and tragically, they're still cleaning up the Valdez disaster that happened 23 years ago. Plus, they're the most-profitable company in history thanks to rising oil prices. While everybody and their Dutch uncle filed for bankruptcy in 2009, ExxonMobil was dressed like a whorish Broadway dame from the 1930's singing "We're in the Money".

In all, I have a sick, sad feeling that this station will be built. Then again, Rick Young is right. People who truely love their communities will support the smaller guy, no matter the price. Let the folks who don't give a true damn about Elk Rapids zoom by the town while treking on US 31, surpassing everything. After all, Elk Rapids isn't a one-street town. Maybe while some guy from Toledo is filling up his oversized SUV at the BP for $3 per gallon, the local guy is paying $1.50 at Village Market Gas. It's true! One day during the holidays this past year, Village Market Gas sold gas for only $1.499 per gallon as a thank you present to the community. 

But then again, the village's people always band together when big business proposes coming to town. When Walgreen's proposed opening a store two years ago, the village fended them off. It's also a reason why there's no McDonald's in town. However, the sole hardware store in town is Flint-based Gilroy's, who bought out locally-owned Hometown Hardware over a decade ago after its owner decided to sell all of his stores to help fund the local New Hope megachurch near Acme. Elk Rapids' two other hardwares couldn't compete with the buying power of Gilroy's and shuttered.

In the end, it's up to the village if they want another gas station, especially if its brand is one whose ignorance killed 13 people and countless wildlife. Over 200 million gallons of sludge infested Gulf waters, and just the other day, I heard that more oil is washing ashore.  

Good luck, Elk Rapids. If you want more oil, it'll be blood.


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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

2.15.11 Bee-otch of the Day: Justin Bieber

Name: Justin Bieber
Age: 16
Occupation: Canadian
Last Seen: California
Bee-otched For: getting the smackdown on Grammy night
Looks like I can start loving the WWE again. 

On last night's Monday Night Raw, the host of this year's Wrestlemania was announced, and it is WWE legend Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. For the first time in seven years, The Rock appeared live on that show to address the WWE crowd  at Anaheim's Honda Center that he was ready to layeth the smacketh downeth.
But it almost turned into a royal bleepfest. Of course, Rocky was one of its biggest stars back in the late 90's/early 2000's Smackdown era. Back then, shining up something, turning that sumbitch sideways and sticking straight up you candy ass was A-OK with the WWE censors. But with their decision to go to a more family-friendly direction, one brief mention of the word 'ass' was muted for about two seconds, but then, the censors had a change of heart and gave The Rock the TV-14 treatment he deserved. Probably for the first time in years, the words 'ass' and 'bitch' were unbleeped during a WWE TV show. 

Of course, one reason for The Rock appearing on Raw was to announce that he has a match at Wrestlemania with the reason why the WWE has gotten so family-friendly: the extremely wussy John Cena. Yep! If The Rock beats the snot out of Cena, looks like the Attitude era could be making a big comeback after years of pussying out to people who haven't grown pubes yet. 

Needless to say, this is a great move on the WWE's part since it had been rumored that Justin Bieber was going to host the event. 

Yep! When The Rock mentioned that rumor on stage, a lot of people booed the idea of Biebs hosting Wrestlemania. If he did, we would probably start seeing the WWE go in a TV-G direction. 

So, will the WWE go full-blown TV-14 again? Who knows? After all, one main reason for the TV-PG direction is because of Linda McMahon's failed and pricey senate run. It was also to shove wool in the eyes of who critique the company for the deaths of Chris Benoit and others. So, the world may never fully know at this point. Only Vince McMahon knows for sure. 

But, back to the Bieb. It's true: even though he's had quite a good year, he's proven that he's not totally #1. Case in point: his little documentary Justin Bieber: Never Say Never debuted in second place at the weekend box office with just over $29 million. #1 was the Adam Sandler/Jennifer Anniston/Brooklyn Decker lovefest Just Go With It, beating Bieber by just a million bucks. One reason for the blowout is probably due to the fact that not all movie theatres are equipped with 3D yet, and Never Say Never is in 3D. 

And thank you Justin for naming your movie - and your song - after a much-better tune from Romeo Void.
But there was insult to injury Sunday night at the Grammy Awards when Bieber shockingly lost the New Artist Trophy to Esperanza Spalding, a jazz musician who sings while playing an upright bass. She has sold only a fraction of her debut record (technically, it's her third), Chamber Music International, in comparison to Bieber's My World. I've seen her on Letterman, and Justin doesn't have the talent to carry the case her bass is in. It does show that the people who vote for the Grammys do have some great musical tastes, when when the big winner this year is some annoying so-called Country band I could care less about. 

In all, it'll be over for Bieber sooner or later. He can't be 16 forever and his fans will soon grow pubes. True, he'll turn 40 and will pull a "remember me?" tour like New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys are doing right now. Tragically however, the next teen idol of the moment will come and he'll go as well. 

Hey! Maybe he'll turn into a pedophile like Hornswoggle, who loves kissing 13-year-old girls, giving them chocolate and grabbing their asses. Somewhere, Chris Hansen is probably planning a visit.

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