Saturday, November 05, 2011

The Saint of Crank

Frumpy, cantankerous, and wry. A personal hero. Rooney's reluctant brilliance and hand-chiseled rants first made me think about the words they used on TV. His were always sharp - whether he was railing against long-held dogma or opining on the pleasure of a pencil. War Correspondent, essayist, loveable curmudgeon; Andy Rooney lived a life that cannot be repeated. That a creature as he succeeded in television its a testament to the medium's early promise. He'd have an eve harder time today, when the vacuous and statuesque are spoon fed their rejoinders by an army of feckless scribes. Still, his legacy lives within the hearts of millions who savored his weekly missives, if most especially, me. My fourteen year old daughter  knows who Andy Rooney is. I'm proud of that. Thank you, Sir, for showing me how it's done.  

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Snide Before the Fall

Crosby, Stills and Ass
You there, with the lime green top and industrial size fanny pack. That thing between your legs is my tripod. You may have noticed it's holding up my camera. In fact, I put it here on purpose - a safe distance from said holy podium and safely behind the seats. Look around and you'll see others like me. We TV types may travel separately, but we gather in packs - especially at events like these. See, sometimes a simple semicircle will do. No jostle, no bother, no rattling knobs like you. I wouldn't feel comfortable saying that to a stranger, but since your every pelvic thrust is causing my lens to wiggle, I felt it was something we could share. Is there not a coat rack in the corner with which you can bump and grind? The view may not be as nice, but you're far less likely to have, say, a hamstring sliced by a TV station key-chain over there. Nooo, that's not a threat - just the self-expressed fantasy of the cameraman whose glaring holes through your threadbare sweater. Are those Garanimals? Ah, there I go again, dating myself: a province I suspect you know well. Really though, can I ask you one question, you know, before I unsheathe my Leatherman and do something your morning rag and my next newscast will both be forced to lead with...

Where does one find a fanny pack that size? And what do you put in it? Your Lincoln Logs collection? I mean, I know you still photogs like to come heavy, but I've done live shots from hot air balloons with less hardware. Anyway, you may want to unbelt that mother and set her down real slow-like -- before the blood loss kicks in and you topple over on us all.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Lavender Crush

Sheeka Scrum
Keep your wretched Sex and the City sequels; we need a movie about the modern news woman. Take Sheeka Strickland. As a general assignment reporter, she dashes from palace to crack-house and back again in the course of a single morning. Why her lowliest notebook contains the kind of rare characters and gory story arcs those Hollywood phonies would trade their spray-tans for - and that's just the stuff she remembered to write down! Most of that data traveled straight through the wireless microphone she wields like a diamond-encrusted laser-sighted truth beam. Hell, I once saw her use it to make an entire Wal-Mart parking lot freeze - and that was before I told her the batteries were dead. Yes, Tinseltown would be wise to stop bedding bimbos and instead dramatize the lives of interesting women the globe over. And where better to start than a certain Ms. Strickland?

Yeah, I'm a bit biased. Sheeka and I have logged many a news mile together, broken bread in a half dozen counties, even picked through misery as family members strapped on sidearms. Of course the last time we saw Sheeka, she was picking bits of Hurricane Irene from her lipstick and swearing off Granola bars forever. Now it seems she's in the middle of another storm - a roiling cloud of fancycams, fishing vests and middle fingers all directed at one John Edwards. That's right, none other than the feathery worm himself is making cameos in The Sheeka Strickland Story and I for one have urged her to lock her trailer late at night. Otherwise, she may need more than a posse of photogs to have her back - something any of the lensers who've accompanied this pleasant vet into the fray would be more than glad to do. Hell, we might even take a bit-part in her upcoming know, provided we ain't gotta talk on camera.

We photogs hate that.