The Rowdy One

Saturday, September 23, 2006

NBC: Madonna mocking Christians OK, Bob the Tomato saying "God loves you" NOT

I just want to make sure I have this straight. NBC is okay with airing a program where Madonna mocks Christians by stretching herself across a tacky, flashing cross covered with light bulbs while wearing a crown of thorns.

But, its stringent programming standards demand that any references to God be removed within the children's show VeggieTales, which NBC now airs every Saturday.

Kevin Reilly, an executive at NBC, told reporters that NBC did not see Madonna's mock crucifixion as "inappropriate." That very same week, NBC spokeswoman Rebecca Marks told the media that VeggieTales had to be edited "to comply with the network's broadcast standards."

So, the same standards that permit an individual faith to be flagrantly mocked, prohibit that same faith from being presented positively in any way. The network even insisted that the VeggieTales signature sign-off, "Remember kids, God made you special and he loves you very much," be edited out.

Just to recap, Madonna on tacky, glitzy cross OK. Cartoon vegetable telling kids "God loves you" not OK. On Monday of this same week, NBC debuted its new program "60 On The Sunset Strip" where the first plotline was built around a sketch called "Crazy Christians." All this, of course, from the network that brought the public it's short-lived, but wildly offensive "The Book of Daniel," a show that's whole premise mocked Christianity.

Call these just the latest signs that our culture -- and most certainly Hollywood -- is ever increasingly hostile to Christianity.

NBC has yet to air the Madonna program. Click here for info from the AFA on how you can tell NBC what you think of these nonsensical programming decisions. Or, drop Mr. Reilly a line at, by phone (818) 840-6046, or by fax at (818) 840-6630.

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KU's family-unfriendly policy requires ticket even for babies

University of Kansas football has joined the big time. The program is alongside perennial top football programs such as Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas ... sadly for KU fans like me, it's only on par with the Big 12's football elite in that it charges for babies to attend its football games.

See that KU clad baby to the right? If he wants to attend a KU football game, it'll cost his parents an extra $35.

The absurd policy isn't new (it's 3-4 years old), only the publicity is. A front page story in Lawrence's local paper spawned an Associated Press piece that was then picked up by media outlets across the country, including ESPN's home page.

KU's athletic department says it's all the baby gear -- the diapers, bottles, toys, etc. -- that can take up extra seats that led to the policy. Now, in a packed house in Norman, Okla., or Lincoln, Neb., that is almost a legitimate excuse. But for a university that only has visions of a packed house, it seems to be offering just one more excuse to stay away.

It's professional team up the road, the Kansas City Chiefs, pack its 78,000+ house every regular season game. Yet, somehow, that franchise finds a way to permit fans under three to attend at no cost.

Years ago before the policy was enacted, my wife and I brought our then 15-month old boy to a KU football game for free in one of those back-breaking, baby-strapped-to-your-body devices. If the ticket office had asked me to pay for a seat for a child that wasn't going to use one, I think I would have taken a pass on attending. Not a great outcome for a university that could use all the fans it can gather.

On the Lawrence Journal World's opinion page, one clever KU fan suggests tongue-in-cheek that perhaps KU should begin charging pregnant women -- and perhaps all women -- extra to drive added revenue.

"We are all too aware of how much space pregnant women require to move about and, obviously, they could conceivably block the view of our most treasured Jayhawk game," he writes. "In fact, perhaps we should just charge all women double for the price of a football ticket, as many of them may be unaware of their current pregnancy status."

For the record, fans under 2 can get in free to see Big 12 Conference rivals Missouri Tigers or Kansas State Wildcats. Letting KU's top rivals best it in family-friendliness should be enough by itself to overturn such a lame policy.

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Monday, September 04, 2006

The Best of Billy Joel? I can't take it anymore ...

"Rock and roller cola wars ... I can't take it anymore."

In 1989, Billy Joel dramatically closed the hit song "We Didn't Start the Fire" with this bold cry. I have a passionate plea of my own: "Billy Joel greatest hits albums ... I can't take them any more."

With the release of "12 Gardens" -- a two-disc live greatest hits set -- Joel has now released 20 discs worth of "best of" material in either live or studio form in the U.S. since 1981.

Now, I like Billy Joel. I have all of his studio releases on CD, and I've seen him in concert 3 or 4 times over the years. But, geesh. 20 discs? If someone purchased them all -- plus the original studio version -- they'd own "Only The Good Die Young" eight times. It's a good song. But once.

I believe Joel now has topped Chicago's rabid penchant for releasing "hits" albums; Chicago must have at least 10 CDs with the jazzy little ditty "25 Or 6 To 4" on it. Whatever that song means. But I digress.

Two of Joel's 20 discs are a two-CD set titled "The Essential Billy Joel," released in 2001. I guess that makes the other 18 of 'em non-essential. That's good to know.

Billy, seriously. You haven't released a new studio disc in 13 years, and all but four of those 20 discs have flooded the shelves in that span. I'm voting with my pocketbook by steering clear of most of them, but what's next? One of those miserable discs where other artists mangle your best songs on a "greatest hits" -- a la the Led Zeppelin tribute "Enconium." It almost never happens that someone's cover of a song is better than the original. Just say no, Billy.

This greatest hits blitzkrieg brings another song from Billy Joel's 1989 "Stormfront" album to mind -- Shameless.

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