Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Dog Days of Summer

Amazing nuggets about fascinating people keep us going.

Posted By on Wed, Aug 24, 2011 at 11:58 AM

I was going to write a know-it-all column about Memphis game-changers and transformative big deals this week, but I ran out of gas and am going to California for a week on account of the heat.

Instead, I am writing a know-nothing column about celebrities, who are even harder to escape from than humidity.

The AT&T/Yahoo home page on my computer keeps me in the know about things I don't know, along with occasional helpful tidbits from my colleague and office neighbor Greg Akers, who knows stuff I don't.

One day this week I logged on to see "Kardashian Wedding Video Revealed." I am pretty sure that either Kim Kardashian, whoever she is, or the addicted and addictive Lindsay Lohan ("Lindsay Lohan Wears Pippa-style dress") have been on my home page for the last 357 days in a row. So the discovery of the Kardashian wedding video did not exactly seem like the discovery of, say, a new galaxy or dirty pictures of a congressman.

I asked Greg why Kim Kardashian is famous. He scratched his head a minute and said she's Bruce Jenner's daughter.

"No way," I countered. I know who Bruce Jenner is because he won the Olympic decathlon about 40 years ago. He has muscles, a square jaw, and a shag haircut, and Kim Kardashian has nice cleavage, black hair, and black eyes.

But Greg stuck to his guns and looked it up and Bruce Jenner is her stepfather, which is close enough for me.

In addition to taking over the internet, celebrities have taken over the libraries, once a reliable escape to another world.

On the nonfiction "new releases" shelves of my favorite haunts, this is what is on tap this week: Scott Brown, who came out with a book about 15 minutes after he became a senator; Bristol Palin and, separately, Sarah Palin, the gold standard for celebrity; Suze Orman, who always has a tan and knows how to get rich; Joy Bauer, who has a diet although it doesn't look like she needs one; Laura Ingraham, whose book jacket offers this funny: "On Facebook, it's like you're trapped at a reunion forever"; Sheryl Crow, who writes recipes as well as songs; La Toya Jackson, keeping the flame alive; Jillian Michaels, who harangues fat people ("Want to know what's holding you back? Absolutely nothing but you") and looks like she could kick Suze Orman's ass; Meredith Baxter, an actress I vaguely remember, but not to worry because "for the first time she is ready to tell her story"; Ashley Judd, who I forgot; Glenn Beck, who publishes more than Newt Gingrich; and Katie Couric and Larry King, who relate stories and insights from other celebrities.

I haphazardly and half-heartedly keep tabs on these folks by channel surfing on my television newly equipped with AT&T U-verse. If they are not being interviewed or interviewing someone else, they are making guest appearances on sitcoms or reality shows. I spotted one whose name I forgot on a home-improvement show last night. I plan to ask Greg about him as soon as his name comes to me. My last celebrity lifeline is ever-reliable People magazine, which I read at the barber shop while having my hair cut. It takes exactly the same length of time to browse the magazine.

Sometimes celebrities horn in on the local news, as Natalie Maines and Eddie Vedder did when they came here to celebrate the release from prison of the West Memphis 3. I am betting they will write a book about it, or at least a song.

And there are going to be a lot more opportunities when WMC-TV Channel 5 goes to its expanded news at 4 p.m. to replace Oprah. No way they can fill all that time with rapes, wrecks, and robberies, talking heads, and anchors reminding us to stay inside and drink plenty of water when it is 97 degrees outside.

Note to out-of-work college graduates: This is a good time to become a celebrity. Memphis, and my chosen business of media in particular, needs more of them. We are not going to stave off extinction with in-depth reports about parties being unable to reach an agreement about school consolidation, the "challenging" market for investing, the perennial quest of Tiger football to get better, or transformational real estate deals.

Not when Kim's wedding video is out there and Lindsay's got a new dress.

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