Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Colonel takes Miami

Ken at TruckFriend of the blog Ken "Colonel" Corn is spending the week in Miami as the sports media community falls all over itself fawning over pampered millionaires at the Super Bowl. When the good Colonel isn't battling the elements, dodging nutbags or teaching his pet starfish how to dry out in the sun, he's agreed to keep of us abreast of all the festivities. Say Hello, Class...

DAY 1 -- The Weather ...

This is special correspondent Colonel Corn coming to you LIVE (well as live as you can get here at Viewfinder Blues) with the latest on Super Bowl XLIV from sunny Miami, Florida. Only it ain’t sunny here today. It has been a toad frog strangler (that means rain’in like hell in Southern) all darn day. It rained so much that the teams had to practice on an inside field at the Dolphin’s training facility instead at the University of Miami where they were scheduled to practice today.

But who cares about what the teams did on this rainy Monday? The Blues readers want to know about TV stuff. Well, I got one word that will strike fear into every photog’s heart, HUMIDITY. Yea, it wreaked havoc on me today. The first time I fired up the tape machines in my satellite truck this morning, they refused to work. Both editors gave me an ERROR-1 HUMIDITY. I had to run the A/C for an hour with the decks open before they would cut tape.

Next was the blasted camera. Because I ran the A/C so hard, when I took my camera out for a live shot, it rolled over and died. The lens is full of fog and the tape will not roll. I got it to do the live shot, but other than that, it’s just a fancy boat anchor. So I had to have the A/C cranked for the decks, but it screwed my camera. I can’t win. I should put my camera in the cab of the truck from now on to keep it acclimated.

Speaking of the satellite truck, well, without getting too technical, let’s just say I had a few problems there as well. But, all my shots made air, even if one of them was the wrong aspect ratio. Isn’t everyone 16 x 9 now? I thought the sports guy looked like he lost a lot of weight.

I know I am rambling on, but I have one more thing I have to share with you. The News business is a small world. To illustrate this, I have a little story to tell. After checking into the hotel, I set out on foot to find a bite to eat. I walked because a thirty foot big box truck is kinda hard to maneuver around most parking lots. I found this Cuban joint next to the hotel. When in Miami, eat Cuban. Inside I found a fella sitting by himself with a WWL hat on his head. I introduced myself as being from WWL’s sister station in Charlotte. I sat down and told him I was on loan to WWL for the Super Bowl.

“I am too,” he said, “I actually work for channel 9 in Baton Rouge.”

“Channel 9,” I said, “you must know the Turdpolisher!”

His lower face cracked open in a big smile and I knew the answer.

So here is a shout out from Bob May to Rick: Bob said to tell you, you are a short little f@#$%&r.

LIVE from Miami, I’m Colonel Corn for Viewfinder Blues.

DAY 2 -- The Whack-Jobs ...

This is Special Correspondent Colonel Corn reporting from Miami (well, actually I’m in a town called Miami Gardens, but we wouldn’t let that like fact get in the way of making my intro sound good) where it is Media Day at Dolphin’s stadium. For those of you not familiar with Media Day, here is a brief explainer. Media types like me get to mingle with the players. Some players have their own booth as if they are on display at a convention or something. The “lesser known players” (yea, I heard a reporter actually call them that in a live shot) just walk around hoping for a cameraman to stick his glass in their face.

So, did I get to meet Payton or Drew? No. I was out in the parking lot setting up the satellite truck. Truck operators don’t actually get to participate in the events they cover. Instead of hob-knobbing with famous NFL stars, I walked over to the Wal-Mart next door and found a killer deal on Hawaiian shirts. Slinger will be proud of the orange shirt with yellow flowers I picked up for eight bucks!

I get back to the truck about the time my crew started screening tape. I expected to see video of a ton of players I would have loved to have met. But, no, they didn’t shoot players. They shot some guy from the Daily Show wetting his shirt and hair with a spray bottle. He was joking about the humidity here in Florida but what the hell does he have to do with the Super Bowl? They also shot video of a Telemundo reporter with a halo over her head. Her name was Angel, get it? She interviewed players then we interviewed her. What is wrong with that picture? Maybe I’m working for that cable network with the slogan: “Characters Welcome.”

Also, I’ve got to tell you about the Media Party the NFL put on out at Miami Beach (also a city not part of the metropolitan area of Miami) late in the evening. The party was on the beach! They had a live band with dancers dressed up like cheerleaders. They provided free food and free booze. The NFL puts on a kicking party. The dancers/cheerleaders started a line dance and we all joined in. Later, I saw my co-workers walking away from the bar with a beer in each hand and two more tucked up under their arm pits. Yee Haw!

Parking for this event was non-existent. So we had to park several blocks away and hoof it to the beach. This turned out to be a wonderful hike. I do have one question for all the women in Miami Beach. Do shoe stores only sell flip-flops or striper shoes? Every woman I saw either wore those cheap flip-flops you find in the surf shops or platform high heels so tall they made ballet slippers look more comfortable to wear. Nothing in between. Sunbathing on the beach by day, dancing at clubs by night. What a life. Here’s to you ladies of Miami Beach.

This is Colonel Corn trying to catch my breath in whatever town that is not Miami for Viewfinder Blues.

DAY 3 -- The “Who-Dat” Nation ...

This is very special correspondent (I’m very special because I’m working for free) Colonel Corn reporting from Fort Lauderdale Beach, Florida. The Fort is only a stone’s throw away from Dolphin’s stadium. In fact, the Colts management got the golden boys a hotel right on the beach. The Saints are in downtown Miami. I think I would rather wake up in the morning to a colorful sunrise over the ocean than to pillars of cold concrete and tinted glass. But, I have no room to talk. I out by the airport in a motel painted bright orange. My view is of a McDonald’s parking lot and a Denny’s. And, I’m sharing a room with an engineer from Arizona. Oh, how far television news has fallen.

Today the “Who-Dat” nation arrived at the Fort Lauderdale airport decked out in black and gold. The first fan off the plane (because you know he was riding in first class) was none other than CNN’s political guru James Carville. That’s right. He waltzed into baggage claim with his Marti Gras shirt on and a smile so wide the glare from his teeth was brighter than the usual glare from his head. Our camera was drawn to his grin like moths are drawn to light.

The chanting fans quickly took back the spot light from Carville. All the photog and reporter had to do was stand there and let the story come to them. No shortage of camera hogs in Florida today. I saw one guy rip open his jacket in striptease fashion to expose his NFC Champions t-shirt to the lens. How disturbing.

After the parade of “Who-Dats”, we pulled up stakes and headed for the beach. Archie Manning waited to re-live the good old days for any news crew that would listen. Once we had his face on tape, it was out to the beach for LIVEs.

Once the six came and went, my crew jumped in their news unit and split. Off to shoot another story after shooting two already today. Somebody has to collect enough video tape to fill the five hour pre-game show on Sunday. Five hours? Hurricanes don’t even command that much air time.

I was off the clock. Go back to the motel and watch CSI reruns? No way. I’m standing on the sand watching the huge container ships floating around out on the horizon and smelling the salty air. I didn’t leave the beach until midnight. What did I do for five hours in Fort Lauderdale? I’ll never tell.

This is Colonel Corn reporting with sand between his toes in Fort Lauderdale Beach, Florida.