Me Versus Pumpkin, A Television Showdown

Over the past few years, I may have expressed the opinion that the over the top reception given the yearly influx of pumpkin flavored food is a little ridiculous. Soon, my thoughts on the matter will reach more people than ever.

Black and white TV, in color (CCbySA2.0 housing works thrift shop)

CBS News contacted me a few days ago and we discussed the pumpkin situation. They were looking for someone who was sick of “the pumpkin thing” to interview. There was some talk about bringing me to New York to do an interview in their studio. I felt like that was pretty silly, but it wasn’t my money, so I was fine with it.

In the end, they asked if I would meet their correspondent in a pumpkin patch. I agreed to do that. Looking back, agreeing to meet strangers on a farm in the middle of nowhere was out-of-the-box for me. You could even call it risky. Is this really a major media outlet wanting to talk to a small-time blogger or is it something worse?

Sure, it could be something worse. But when they asked if I was available on Friday, I decided to chance it. I didn’t have much else to do besides laundry.

And so today, I am off to a farm to be interviewed about pumpkin and its frenzied fans.  Or, perhaps I am meeting strangers at a farm so they can kidnap me. Either way, I’m going to write about it here throughout the day.

I’m going to update this post from my phone to let you know about this silly adventure. Check back periodically to see what’s going on. I’ll post pictures and thoughts as this unfolds. If you’ve got questions, post them in the comment section (you can even sign in with Facebook or Twitter) and I’ll answer you.

If the updates suddenly stop, please contact the authorities. Also, if you could have a bake sale or maybe a dunking booth to raise ransom money, I’d appreciate it.

9:00 – This thing seems pretty silly. With all that’s going on in the world, we’re going to spend time discussing pumpkins on the news.

But what I think will be funny is the comment section when they put this thing online. I’m pretty sure people will lose their minds and rip me up for saying anything bad about pumpkin flavored food. The thing is, what I say doesn’t really matter, does it? I don’t think Starbucks is going to say “that guy thinks this really effective marketing we’re doing is too much, maybe we should stop”. With that in mind, I’m just going to go on and issue my statement on the matter – “Take a breath. It really isn’t a big deal. I’d like to suggest that you take me as seriously as I take me.”

9:45 – I get a call from the producer on the story. “Hey Rob, Michelle is just going to drive herself there. Can you get there early and shoot all the b-roll stuff? I tell him I’m not Rob, but I can be there early. He says “cool, thanks” and hangs up.

A minute later he calls back to ask me if I can get there early, then apparently realizes that I must sound like Rob.

If this is a kidnapping, it isn’t a good one.

So I’m going early. 12, instead of 1:00.

10:00 – Heading out. Getting some gas. OMG, what if they have pumpkin spice gas?! Wouldn’t that be awesome?

I really need a sarcastic font.

When you see this interview, the orange shirt was specifically selected by my wife. Irony is not lost on her. Actually, not much is lost on her.

11:40 – OK, I’m here. Pumpkins grow in the middle of nowhere. How stereotypical. The farmer looks disapproving.

A bunch of pumpkins lounging around in the dirt. Typical.

So I’m here. The camera guys are here. No reporter, no producer.

12:10. Things are happening. The reporter and producer are here. The producer is wearing flip flops. I should have been a producer.

Quiet on the set

12:30 – and we’re done. I’m starving and all they have is pumpkin muffins. I’m going to find food.

Another update to wrap things up when I get home.

3:15 – I’m back. Did you miss me?

So, the interview went well. I had them laughing and had a good time doing this. That said, I reserve the right to freak out and tell you later how things were edited out of context and that I’m pissed off depending on how this thing turns out when they finally show it.

I’m still surprised at the trouble they went to for this interview. This farm is next to nowhere. There were two camera guys wiht a truck load of gear, a producer and a reporter. Most of the time I don’t need that many people to get me talking.

Near the beginning of this post, I referenced how silly it was that we’re going to talk on the news about what I think of pumpkin spice with all the other, mostly awful, stuff going on in the world. As it turns out, I had no idea how right I was.

“Wait”, you say, “you’re right so often, how is this any different?” Well, you’re right, I am correct about things so often that I lose track of the frequency of my correctness. But in this case, it was really weird how close to home I was.

In my phone conversation with the producer this morning, he said the reporter had to do this story and run because she had a story on the evening news tonight. As we were preparing for and wrapping up from the interview, the producer and reporter were talking about this other story that both of them were working on for tonight. It seems that they both were involved in the coverage of the tragic church shooting in Charleston, SC. The producer had actually spoken to the shooter’s friend shortly after the murders…the guy who was arrested by the FBI today. They discussed getting the video from that interview for tonight’s broadcast. So they pulled these people off of the story of a guy who may have saved nine lives by speaking up about what he knew to come talk to me in a pumpkin patch. Very weird.

Anyway, I can see that a lot of you have stopped by to keep up with this today. Thanks much!  If everything stays on schedule, they’ll run my interview on Wednesday during the CBS morning show, between 8 and 9. I imagine that I’ll be able to get a link up here shortly after that. Of course if something big happens, like a volcano erupting, I will probably get moved up to a more prime spot.

But seriously, they took me way out of context.

Guilt Comes In To Focus

In reporting on crime stories, media outlets commonly show photographs of involved parties. When a photo depicts a suspect along with people who’ve done nothing wrong, the identities of the uninvolved folks are protected by blurring their faces.

It is important to keep uninvolved parties from being associated with acts they had nothing to do with.  But these altered pictures look to me as if they are saying “here is the guilty party, among some decent, hard-working innocents”. This “guilty party” effect is so powerful that I believe that it can make innocent photos appear far more sinister than they actually are.

Allow me to offer an example. Read the rest of this entry »

Oscar de la Renta’s Secret

People of a certain age can tell you what they were doing when President Kennedy died. I was two when it happened, so I’m clueless about what I was doing when that sad news broke.

I remember it like it was yesterday, which it was. (image via

But I remember where I was when I learned that fashion designer Oscar de la Renta passed away.

When I think about it, the moment comes back to me, like it was yesterday, which it was. While we were watching Monday Night Football my wife said “hmm, Oscar de la Renta died”. I said something intelligent, like “oh”.

Maybe I should have said more, like maybe “his poor wife”, “did you know that in Spanish his name means Oscar of the rent?” or “we should probably send a card” but there was an incomplete pass and I forgot to say any of those things. Read the rest of this entry »

Art Criticism: How About That Putin Fella?

I don’t criticize every piece of art that I see, or even every piece of art that needs criticism.

I should clarify that. I don’t criticize every piece of art that I see, or even every piece of art that needs criticism, as far as most of you know. After spending a day with me, you’d know that I have something to say about most art. I save my written critiques for truly special works.

There really isn’t art that is more special than the pieces created for an exhibition honoring Russian president Vladimir Putin’s sixty-second birthday. These paintings, produced by artists who chose to remain anonymous, depict Putin as a Herculean character taking on modern issues facing his nation. I’ll be discussing my impressions of these pieces for your benefit. I’m also hoping that my criticism will help the artists who produced these paintings be better artists by Mr. Putin’s sixty-third birthday.

Painting One

(artist unknown, photo credit – BBC)

The first painting depicts Mr. Putin fighting Terror. He is literally in a fight with Terror. Putin doesn’t care for metaphors; when it is time for a fight, he’s going to fight. Read the rest of this entry »

How To Defeat The World’s Largest Virus

I’ve got a cold. Last night, no cold. This morning, a cold.

Who knows where these things come from? I wasn’t near anyone who was sniffling or sneezing. Everything was fine. And then, at 3:26 a.m., I had the start of a cold.

I wonder, in Nancy Kerrigan’s immortal words –  “Why? Why?”

I have a theory. Read the rest of this entry »

I Am A Candidate For Mayor Of Toronto

Rob Ford, mayor of Toronto, greeting a nun at ...

“Every girl crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man” – ZZ Top(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not a fan of politicians. No matter what end of the spectrum they purport to represent, in the end, they represent the people who paid to get them elected. They represent those who contributed in proportion to the amount paid.

A few years ago I dipped my toe in politics. Some of you may remember that I ran for president against Donald Trump. I announced my candidacy. A few weeks later, the Trump campaign went into a tail spin. A week later, I drove him out of the race. In just over a month, I vanquished one of the richest men in the United States.

Today, I come before you to announce that I am a candidate for the office of Mayor of Toronto, Canada.

We all know that fine city is currently being run by a Mayor who is short on sense, but has plenty of vices. Mayor Rob Ford has admitted that he has smoked crack, but claims he is not addicted to it. Yeah. He’s the one human on the planet who hasn’t become addicted after smoking crack.

There’s also talk of sexual harassment, physical attacks, drunk driving and prostitution. Just in the past few days he’s made some unfortunate sexual references and bowled over an elderly woman. Surprisingly, those last two were not in the same incident.

He’s got to go.

Dispensing With A Technicality

I’m certain that my lack of Canadian citizenship is the first issue that came to mind for many of you. That could be a deal killer. But before we throw me out of the race prematurely, let me argue that my opponent, Mr. Ford, is not much of a Canadian citizen either. Read the rest of this entry »

An Open Letter From The US To Kim Jong Un

Dear Kim Jong-un,

Kim Jong-Un clapping

Hi, it’s us, the US… (Photo credit: petersnoopy)

Hey, we wanted to drop you a note about your country’s threat to “…exercise the right to a preëmptive nuclear attack.”

You know, we’re all down with countries looking after their own interests and borders. It’s cool that your country does that. Maybe you’ll be upset by us saying this, but we do that sort of thing too. Our methods are a little different, but our nations are alike in that general respect.

Ah, respect. That’s pretty important to us both as well. Do you know why we respect you? Because of your choice of Dennis Rodman as your friend and favorite basketball player. Read the rest of this entry »


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