Dan Rather, Meet Jamie Lynn Spears and Robot Chicken

Like It or Not, You're All Fodder for the Latest Edition of NSFAQ (Not-so-Frequently-Asked Questions)

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As a service to real readers, Media Guy fields imaginary questions about the media landscape from nonexistent readers. He does this every few months in deference to his very busy actual readers -- saving them the trouble of writing in with questions they simply don't have time to ask. Herewith, the latest batch of NSFAQ (not-so-frequently-asked questions):
Bird Brain: Hey, Microsoft, can I get a biscuit with that?
Bird Brain: Hey, Microsoft, can I get a biscuit with that? Credit: Cartoon Network, a Time Warner Company, All Rights Reserved


OK, so given that its bid to buy Yahoo has failed -- for now, at least -- Bill Gates says that "at this point, Microsoft is focused on its independent strategy." What strategy is that, exactly?
Bloating up its bloaty bloatware with more bloat.

Hey, that's not fair. I mean, look at the Zune -- the, um, iPod killer. Microsoft just announced that it has 800 downloadable episodes of various TV shows in its newly expanded Zune store. That's not so bloated.
You're right. How smart of Microsoft to "launch with what we've got," as Chris Stephenson, general manager of global marketing for Zune, told Variety last week. It's so cleverly counterintuitive -- minimalist! -- to offer a mere fraction of Apple's offerings. And how wonderful that Microsoft still clings to its bizarrely complicated pricing scheme with its own currency, so that you have to pay, for example, 160 Microsoft Points (roughly $2) for an episode of, say, Cartoon Network's "Robot Chicken."

Wait, 160 Microsoft Points for "Robot Chicken"? Could I just pay, like, 50 Microsoft Points for, say, a thigh and a couple of wings? I'm not sure I can finish a whole "Robot Chicken."

ERROR: RPC_S_UNSUPPORTED_TRANS_SYN
1730
0x6C2

What?
The transfer syntax is not supported by the Remote Procedure Call server.

Huh?
Never mind.

OK. Hey, I saw that celebrity weekly OK just paid for exclusive pictures from 17-year-old Jamie Lynn Spears' baby shower. Any advice for the Spearses as they continue their never-ending quest to cash in on their pathetic notoriety?
1) Call Annie Leibovitz, stat! 2) Offer to have Jamie Lynn photographed giving birth while draped only in a silk bed sheet -- while cuddling inappropriately and holding hands not with the baby's daddy, but with Jamie Lynn's own daddy, Jamie, who should stare meaningfully off into the distance, Billy Ray Cyrus-style. 3) Sell (autographed) celebrity afterbirth on eBay. 4) Create a line of limited-edition celebrity-umbilical-cord-inspired friendship bracelets to be sold at the Kitson boutique on Robertson Boulevard in Los Angeles. 5) Sell exclusive story of "Baby's First Heartbreak" for $250,000 to OK when Jamie Lynn's spawn is snubbed at the playground by Suri Cruise.

So Dan Rather's still crusading against CBS News, amending his lawsuit last week to allege that his bosses' scapegoating of him made him "too hot to handle" and unemployable elsewhere. Too hot to handle? How so?
Well, in the actual words of Rather from his wankerman -- er, anchorman -- days, hotter than a Times Square Rolex! Hotter than the devil's anvil! Hotter than a New York elevator in August! Hotter than a Cadillac's bumper in July! Hotter than a freshly forged horseshoe! Hotter than a Laredo parking lot!

Oh, how I miss Dan's Ratherisms.
God, me too, buddy. Me too.

Speaking of hotness, I saw the news that Monster.com founder Jeff Taylor is launching an obituaries site called Tributes.com with more than $4 million of backing. Really? Obits are a hot media niche? I can't quite wrap my head around that.
Well, I can't wrap my head around the fact that -- seriously -- Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal is a lead investor in Tributes.com. In other words, a 77-year-old grandfather who continues to bet big on a dying medium -- newspapers -- is seeking to directly profit from ... death. Is that not so perversely poignant as to be blatantly tragic? Who's writing the script for media moguls these days? Shakespeare?

Kafka, I think. Hey, who's gonna win "American Idol"?
Well, according to DialIdol.com -- the website that monitors busy signals of the call-in voting numbers to figure out which contestant is ahead -- David Cook, David Archuleta and Syesha Mercado are splitting the vote virtually in thirds, with just a few points difference between them. In other words, this race is tighter than Willie Nelson's headband!

Another Ratherism? Dan really said that on the air at one point?
Yeah, about the 2000 Michigan Republican primary.

Wow. Speaking of primaries, I enjoyed the New York Post cover headline the day after the North Carolina and Indiana Democratic primaries: "TOAST!" just below a picture of Hillary Clinton. Will she get the hint?
Not a chance. The thing is, working-class people -- the honest, hard-working people who make our nation great -- really like toast. They eat it for breakfast! They eat it with bacon and eggs and a delicious glass of orange juice -- from Florida, which, by the way, is a state that Hillary Clinton won! Hillary knows that while a certain other candidate, who is out of touch with the working class, is probably more enamored of fancy croissants -- or, gah, organic cranberry-bran muffins -- ordinary people just like toast! Ergo, she simply must continue the fight to the finish, even if the toast -- and the Democratic party -- gets badly burned.
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