Madcap Media

May 19, 2003
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Radio, TV and (sometimes) newspaper people can have, shall we say, unique personalities. They're fun to invite to parties, but you wouldn't want them living with you.

So, a quick check around the dial (and printing press) reveals some tidbits that will be fun to talk about at parties, but you shouldn't spend too much time on.

WOOD Radio 1300 AM owner Clear Channel is giving the venerable Grand Rapids station the boost it needs: equipment upgrades are in progress, which means listeners won't lose the signal, even in Montcalm County.

Yes, Greenville residents, Gary Allen, John Matlak, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity will tell you what they think (and don't) Monday through Friday. North and South, West Michigan residents won't miss Griffins, Whitecaps or other events.

Look for the boost by mid-June.

**The printing end of things comes from none other than the venerable Washington Post. Each year the Washington Post's Style Invitational asks readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting or changing only one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are the 2002 winners:

—            Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

—    Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

—    Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of having sex.

—    Girafitti: Vandalism painted very, very high.

—       Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

—    Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

—    Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit).

—        Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's, like, a serious bummer.

—        Glibido: All talk and no action.

And, the winner of the Washington Post's Style Invitational:

—       Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an a------.

  • And now it's TV's turn. For commuters coming to Grand Rapids from points west on I-96, TV-13's Weather Ball couldn't be placed better. It's perfectly aligned with the highway so that the ball's gleam appears dead ahead for eastbound drivers as they crest the ridge between the Walker and Alpine interchanges.

Drivers headed west onto I-96 from U.S. 131 can see the ball, too. But the view is to the left from a long, high-speed, three-lane, left-hand curve featuring dual exit ramps as drivers also jockey for position where two highways merge.

So … best stay on the ball by keeping your eyes off the ball.

The ball also is intermittently visible to drivers coming south on U.S. 131 from the vicinity of Fifth Third Ballpark. But it's just not the same as the old days when you could view it from all over downtown.

For one thing, the weather orb seems to have color problems. From Monday through Wednesday last week — rain and shine alike — it was red. Well, actually, it was kind of a hot pink.

By Thursday morning it had lost one of its neon ribs and was flashing a bilious blue. Maybe that's a computerized call, something like "Help! Fix me! Fix me!"

At any rate, it does seem to need some work.

  • Finally, there is the sales side of media. Last Wednesday's Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce Small Business Celebration featured Business Journal columnist and sales guru Jeffrey Gitomer.
    The North Carolina-based chief of Buy Gitomer Inc., by all accounts, gave a very entertaining and informative performance during the morning seminar. In fact, his brashness caught many of GR's conservative folk off guard. Even his "uniform," complete with his name over one pocket and "Sales Maintenance Crew" over the other caused tongues to wag.

"It's not every day you come to the Amway (Grand Plaza) and get greeted by the janitor," said one wit. "Yeah, he must have said 'a--' 1,700 times and 'you suck' 10 times," added another.

Ah, only in the world of sales do people say this with a smile.

  • Best line of the day may have come from Business Journal photog Jeff Dykehouse, who is bald by choice. "When I was with Jeffrey I had at least three people ask if we were related," Dykehouse said. "What? Are all bald men related?"

Gitomer, it should be noted, is not bald by choice.

  • Now, in honor of World Trade Week, here's a global trade conundrum in the U.S. Senate for you.
    In their struggles over the tax cut bill, the members of the World's Greatest Deliberative Body have given reluctant support to President George W. Bush's call to stop twice-taxing stock dividends.

But in the process — ostensibly to replace that revenue lost by the U.S. Treasury — the Senate proposed a new double tax. The revision would force Americans working abroad to pay income taxes not only to the foreign country in which they earn income, but also again to the United States.

That's a brilliant inducement for corporations to refrain from sending staff to overseas plants.

The Senate apparently also hopes to rake in some booty from Americans who choose to migrate to other countries. It proposes to tax them on unrealized capital gains — money that so far they haven't received on securities they have yet to sell.

This could set a precedent.

Might Form 1040VVC (Very Very Complicated) one day exact a tax on Unrealized Earnings for the Next Fifteen Federal Fiscal Years?

And then what about unrealized capital losses?           

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