Defining a TV Icon

A celebrity of the past died recently. I heard him referred to as a “television icon.”

What? I looked him up. He was on TV for less than ten years. Sorry folks. That doesn’t make him an icon. I’m not saying he was a bad actor–I wouldn’t know. I’m not saying the program for which he is best known was bad–again, I wouldn’t know.

But I do know he was not an icon.

These people are television icons:

  • Bill Cosby (no matter how you feel about his alleged crimes, he’s still a TV icon. That can’t change)
  • Walter Cronkite
  • Dick Van Dyke
  • Mary Tyler Moore
  • Lucille Ball
  • Bob Newhart
  • Andy Griffith
  • Carroll O’Connor
  • Oprah
  • Betty White

These people are not:

  • Alan Thicke
  • nearly all of the cast of Friends
  • Alan Alda
  • Ted Danson
  • Kelsey Grammer
  • Jon Hamm
  • Bea Arthur
  • Anyone starting our in this millennium–they may be PENDING icons, but they’re not there yet.



Looking Back

I was leafing through an old note book and came across an exercise in which I was asked to describe my perfect work space.

Bare windows with blinds to close at night. Bare wooden floors. Pale apricot walls. A desk. A great chair.

Laptop computer.

Great audio system. A rocking chair in front of the windows.

I work there whenever I can. My dream schedule–work 7am to 3pm every day. No other people around.

How do I feel working here? Good. Productive. Fitting inside my skin.

Welcomed. I feel welcomed.

I guess it’s still a work in progress.

National Joy Germ Day

Today is National Joy Germ Day. It’s a day specially designated to spread joy. The day and the phrase Joy Germ is the brainchild of a woman named Joan White.

I have actually met and worked with Joan White. When I first started working in local TV, she had her own advertising agency—Joan of Art. In 1981, she came up with the concept of Joy Germs, renamed herself Joy Germ Joan and started infecting the world with a positive mindset. Today there are Joy Germs in every state, in Europe, and in Africa.

In 1981, I was a cynical, callow youth. I thought it was a ridiculous concept, although a couple of my colleagues at the TV station embraced the idea.

Ever wish you could go back in time for a do-over?

Happy Joy Germ Day! Try to infect everyone with whom you come into contact with happiness.

National Trivia Day

It’s National Trivia Day. Here are ten bits of useless information.

  • One of Adolf Hitler’s nephews came to the US, joined the navy, and fought his uncle’s army in WWII. His descendants live on Long Island.
  • Former President Bill Clinton once correctly answered three questions about My Little Pony on the NPR radio show Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me.
  • Taylor Swift won more awards at the 2010 Grammy’s than Elvis Presley did in his entire career.
  • The Germans have a word for emotionally based overeating: kummerspeck, which translates to “grief bacon.”
  • 666 isn’t only the Mark of the Beast–it’s also the sum of all the numbers on a roulette wheel.
  • Horses can’t vomit.
  • A pheromone in male mouse urine that stimulates sexual attraction in a female to that particular male was named Darcin—after Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy.
  • 111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321
  • Obsession for Men, by Calvin Klein, is used by photographers in the wild to attract big cats into camera range.
  • Forty is the only number whose letters are in alphabetical order.