Who can you trust?: Part IV

Okay, I’ll concede waiting for “the writer” to correct a mistake that is more than 12 months old is like leaving the porch light on for Jimmy Hoffa.

So, the Kristen Welker era of “Meet the Press” is underway. It started with an in-depth interview with — the 45th President of the United States, Donald John Trump.

Ohhhh — kayyyy. I am just going to say this diplomatically. He wouldn’t have been my first choice if I were booking MTP guests. A Week 3 or 4 guest, perhaps, in the Welker era — but not Week 1.

Usually, when a major national news program (i.e. “one of the Sunday shows,” an evening newscast, etc.) changes anchors, it’s a good idea to book an interview with the incumbent POTUS instead of a predecessor — even if the predecessor (a) makes headlines for better or worse and/or (b) makes another run for The White House — and have that interview air during the anchor’s first broadcast. With that, let’s hope we see President Joe Biden as a guest really soon. The AP reported Thursday, September 14, an invite’s out to the incumbent; Welker echoed the same in the introduction to the pre-taped Trump interview.

After the Trump interview and the usual roundtable segment, we see Welker in a closing monologue — expressing gratitude to viewers; mentors; all the direct MTP competitors, which are now moderated or co-moderated by women; NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, who, as Welker noted, started blazing her trail in the male-dominated world of all-news radio in Philadelphia (Welker is a Philly native); and the late Martha Rountree, the original MTP moderator and co-creator of what has become the longest running television program of any genre.

Parts of Rountree’s Peabody Award acceptance speech from 1952 were the focus of the MTP Minute, the weekly flashback segment of the program.

So, to summarize the hour, while one could have wished for a better guest to start the Welker era, one could not have hoped for a better punctuation to that hour.

Now for another view. After all, it is only fair I bring up — “the writer.” Let’s see what he wrote about Welker’s maiden voyage…

[Checks his site and skims over these stories dated September 18, 2023: Female anchor in Philly goes bald, takes on certain media companies CEOs, an update on Nexstar and DirecTV, the dismissal of a Pittsburgh anchor, a consumer reporter’s social media claim she was robbed, “the writer’s” fall collection for ’23, an “all about me” story from Scranton (considering its positioning near the fall collection, oh the irony), an on-air blooper from New Orleans, readers’ reactions to Friday’s Danelo Cavalcante story (story itself is serious — so I’m surprised this is positioned this low), a fashion police story out of Nashville (to put it mildly), an oops award contender from Atlanta (again, to put it mildly), a mismatch in an online story out of Virginia (it was about student athletes at Hampton University being anything but students; a “National Night Out Against Crime” logo was somehow attached to the story, hence the mismatch), apparent goofing off in NYC, NewsNation hiring a meteorologist, and Miami’s mayor’s confrontation with a reporter from The Miami Herald.]

…annnnd — nothing at all about Week 1 of the Welker era? To be fair, in a Friday, September 15, article, he did acknowledge Welker’s first guest as MTP moderator would be Trump.

Also to be fair, “the writer’s” top story about Aziza Shuler (the aforementioned female anchor in Philly going bald) is actually a good read. “Shuler’s parents struggled with drug addiction,” he reported in the top story. This meant Shuler was not born in a hospital but in a woman’s jail. By the age of five, he reports, Shuler, “was forced into the foster care system, where she was abused physically and sexually.” Just before her teenage years, Shuler found out she had alopecia.

The article’s so good I will go ahead and link it here.

But back to Welker, Trump, and Rountree. Not even the slightest of critiques of Sunday’s program in today’s (9/18/23) update? I wish I were surprised. I’m not. If “the writer” watched Sunday’s MTP and saw the aforementioned MTP Minute, he must’ve realized, to borrow one of his favorite phrases, he still has toothpaste to place back in the tube.

Here’s the sad thing. Last month, in a YouTube video, he openly admitted he made a mistake. Just not that one. I’m linking the admission at the end of this paragraph instead of embedding it. Content warning: In the background, there’s an image of a nude woman and a snake. The image appears to be Richard Avedon’s classic photo of Nastassja Kinski; the female model’s private parts are strategically out of the camera’s view. Still, if you’re easily offended by that, don’t click on the following sentence. Otherwise, click here for the mea culpa.

So he goes on for ten minutes about how he goofed on a story on Scripps. Yet still — no admission about who the first female MTP moderator really is? As of this writing, this mistake is more than one year old.

You know what’s sad? When would there be a correction from that mistake from late August of 2022? I asked that question in the comments to the YouTube video — and, of course, my question got deleted. Gosh, was it something I said?

Let’s consider another video if “the writer” labels me a hater. Content warning: The nude woman/snake image is visible again; also, “the writer” uses adult language. So again, I hotlink here instead of embed.

Doug’s Place’s final take on this entire MTP matter (or so I hope; if you see a Part V, I was pushed into writing it): There’s a fine line between “hater” and “critic.” Read the definitions of both words in the dictionary for yourself. “The writer” would have to write more factual errors and fail to correct them before I hate him. Any further typos, subject-verb disagreements, etc., are things we just may have to live with. To be fair, however, spot-checks of recent posts indicate his writing is getting better.

So if he is improving his writing, should I stop calling him “the writer” and start calling him the writer or use another noun? For failing to correct a year-plus-old mistake, of course not. “The writer” is still “the writer.”

Wait, wait! Let’s go back to the Shuler story for a moment. Near the end of it, he writes, “As shallow as TV news has gotten, it is great to see someone with such dept.” Dept? I think he left off an “h” — and the “h” is still off as of Monday around 10 a.m. Central. Maybe his writing is not improving?

Regardless of your writings, if you’re going to be a one-person truth squad, make sure your facts are straight. “If NBC puts Guthrie on MTP, it gives the show a female host, which would be a first,” he wrote in late August of 2022. Guthrie being Savannah Guthrie. We know by now Guthrie’s still on “The Today Show” — and that’s never been part of the quibble. We also know by now who the first “female host” really was.

Doug’s Place has attempted to correct the record more than once — in public posts here, in two e-mails to the one-man truth squad, the aforementioned YouTube comment, and even this Instagram post pinned @dougmorrisgames.

Results: Not even the slightest “whoops!” from “the writer” as of this writing. Going forward, if there ever comes a day when “the writer” needs my reaction to a development in the media industry or a quote from me for any of his stories on his website, I promise you my response will boil down to two simple words.

“No comment.”

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Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes (that Geof approved)

If you knew Geof, you knew he loved hockey. You knew he loved his Boston Bruins. But closer to home, he loved his UAH Chargers.

When he was color commentator on the radio, it was great to see him be big brother to many players on the team. Many players came from Canada and other faraway places to play in Huntsville.

Geof also shared that passion and love of the Chargers through a website he founded — UAHHockey.com. He was so passionate, he was part of the reason the Chargers stayed in existence in 2011.

But fast forward to the pandemic. In 2020, UAH announced the end of the men’s hockey program and the men’s and women’s tennis programs. After a short comeback, another announced closure due to funding issues and the lack of conference membership.

Today, the UAH hockey team lives on as a club organization. It’s easy to say it’s better than nothing. But there is always hope the Chargers can return to D1 competition.

Geof’s UAHHockey.com has evolved as well — into ChargerHockeyJournal.com. When his professional responsibility became too much, fellow Charger fans picked up where Geof left off. Those UAH fans proposed the change in branding from UAHHockey.com to ChargerHockeyJournal.com. Geof not only blessed those plans, he secured the domain.

It’s still hard to imagine life with Geof. He was the life of our party. As of this writing, his next birthday would be less than one month from now. A present would’ve been bought with delivery plans made by now.

To all at ChargerHockeyJournal.com, please take care of the website and the best of luck in your future endeavors. May the Chargers return to D1 competition someday. Even from The Perfect Place, Geof wants to see UAH defeat Bemidji State.

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Some insight on “Insight”

A particular episode of a classic weekly series was recommended by YouTube recently. I’ll get to that in a moment. But first, some notes about the series itself.

“Insight” was a religious-themed anthology that aired in syndication for more than two decades. Its host and creator was Father Ellwood E. “Bud” Kieser. The 71-year-old priest, who also worked on movie projects, passed away in 2000.

“Insight” had a list of guest stars which read like a who’s who of Hollywood. Ed Asner was in four episodes. Other guests: Mark Hamill, Nichelle Nichols, Jack Klugman, June Lockhart (I’m typing this on her 98th birthday), Martin Sheen (from? Dayton!), John Astin, just to name a few.

I specifically remember watching this episode not long after its original airing…

…in which the aforementioned Astin guest-starred as a one-armed man struggling with loneliness. I can remember Astin’s character’s smoking and his conversations with the kid like it was yesterday. (Scary I can remember that particular episode and I can’t remember what I had for lunch last Tuesday.) Also among the guest stars in this episode: Astin’s then-wife, the remarkable Patty Duke, who passed away in 2016.

But — that’s not the episode YouTube recommended I watch. YouTube and you likely know I’m a game show fan. So YouTube recommended I watch the “Insight” episode which was a parody of a game show. It was a darkly-themed game show.

The faux game show was titled “All Out!” and starred Johnny Mitchell. The show put four contestants in a series of three challenges. Each new challenge is darker than the previous one and, obviously, played for higher stakes leading to the top prize of $100,000 in cash — a staggering amount for the mid-1970s.

CONTENT WARNING: Because the challenges get darker and darker, I’d recommend not watching if you’re not in the right headspace. To be fair to Paulist Productions, this episode was brilliantly written, edited, produced, and acted. Still, at the end of this post, I’m providing a hotlink instead of an embed to be on the safe side. Okay? We good? Onward.

Some notes…

\ Johnny Mitchell was played by Bob Hastings, who hosted a real-life game show. Hastings was the original host of the Las Vegas-based, nationally syndicated “Dealer’s Choice” — until a reported controversial on-air comment resulted in his dismissal. Further, Hastings’ over-the-top hosting style on “Dealer’s” wasn’t much different than Mitchell’s hosting style on “All Out!” Fans of “Dealer’s” point out Hastings was “playing the part” of a game show host — which may have also contributed to his dismissal. In any event, TV favorite Jack Clark hosted the rest of “Dealer’s” run.

\ “Room 222” and “St. Elsewhere” fans, watch for Eric Laneuville, who — mild spoiler alert related to the above content warning — played the part of a son of a contestant struggling on whether or not to go for the darkest challenge of them all.

\ “All Out!”, as was the case of many other episodes of “Insight”, was recorded in the famed CBS Television City — the same former home of “The Price is Right” (the game show recently vacated the premises for Glendale), “The Carol Burnett Show,” the first reboots of “Family Feud” and “Card Sharks” plus many other television favorites.

\ The contestants’ desk, as a YouTuber points out in comments, were used in the unsold game show pilot “Countdown.” No, we’re not talking about the legendary UK letters/numbers game show, which would start about seven years after this episode aired. USGameShows.net called it “an intriguing mix of ‘Name That Tune’ and ‘High Rollers.'”

…so — with that, here’s the link to “All Out!”

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Who can you trust?: Part III

Time for a follow-up to this original post.

I’m only hotlinking this time because of recent developments and to, hopefully, help “the writer” see the error of his ways.

First, let’s revisit this erroneous post. It’s bad enough “the writer” based this article on rumors and not a lot of facts. At least he called the rumors as search. It would be nice of “the writer” to include actual ratings data in the story.

To the best of my knowledge, “the writer” never corrected this misstatement from late August of 2022: “If NBC puts Guthrie on MTP, it gives the show a female host, which would be a first.” In the months since, I’ve googled his website domain and the proper noun Martha Rountree. As noted before, Rountree was not only the first female host of “Meet the Press”; she was the first MTP moderator. Nothing turns up in the Google searches of “the writer’s” domain address and Martha Rountree. Thus it’s concluded his website issued no public retraction — and that’s a shame.

Fast forward to this weekend. On the June 4th, 2023, edition of “Meet the Press”, Chuck Todd announced he was leaving the program but staying with NBC. While Todd is not immediately leaving MTP, his eventual successor will be Kristen Welker, who will become the second female moderator in MTP history — not counting any interim or substitute female moderators.

So — how does “the writer” report this? Well, for starters, dare I say, he buried the lede. The top story is unrelated bait to his Patreon (less said the better, apparently) — followed by some nonsense in Houston, some online cruelty on the Mississippi coast, modern-day letters to the editor, a meteorologist’s relocation from Buffalo to the aforementioned Houston, a typo out of Nashville, “raucous cheering for winning an Emmy for coverage of a mass shooting” (words from “the writer”, not me), and the story of a young news network dropping the ball on coverage of a separate mass shooting. All of this is more important than the upcoming end of the Chuck Todd era at MTP? Really?

In any event, we finally get to the Todd story. I’ll give “the writer” points for the punny headline. But I also have to give the writer deductions for burying the lede and not correcting the major mistake from late August of 2022. Would it kill “the writer” to write something like this?

“As this website continues to hold the world of journalism accountable, accountability is a two-way street.

In late August of 2022, this website published the following erroneous statement. ‘If NBC puts Guthrie on MTP, it gives the show a female host, which would be a first.’ This website has since been proven wrong on more than one count.

Obviously, Savannah Guthrie is staying put at the weekday ‘Today’ show while Welker moves on from weekend ‘Today’ to ‘Meet the Press’. Moreover, this website has since realized Welker will become the second female moderator in the long and storied history of ‘Meet the Press’.

Martha Rountree was not only the first female moderator in ‘Meet the Press’ history but also a creator of the program, which debuted in 1947 on the NBC television network. Rountree, who served as moderator of ‘Meet the Press’ for its first six years on NBC, died in 1999 at the age of 87.

This website deeply regrets the errors and apologizes to the staffs of ‘Today’ and ‘Meet the Press’. This website also apologizes to the family of Martha Rountree.

This website owes you, the reader, an apology. All of you deserve better. The strive for better starts now.”

Now, will we get this kind of an apology from “the writer”? A typo out of Nashville and a weather anchor’s relocation from one market to another seem more important in “the writer’s” world than anything related to MTP. So, I’m not going to hold my breath on this one.

ADDENDUM 06/06/23: To be fair, “the writer” was on his job the day Tucker Carlson and Don Lemon were dismissed from Fox News and CNN, respectively. He provided breaking coverage and followed up with more coverage in the aftermath. Noticeably, that hasn’t happened since news broke Todd is leaving.

ADDENDUM 06/07/23: Presented without further editorial comment.

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You’re a fake, baby. You can’t conceal it. Part V.

(Update on Esther Bea from Part IV. As of this writing, no response from her or the real lady who’s been victimized by Esther’s swiping.

I’m kinda wondering when this series will end myself. ‘Til then…)

Fake profiles aren’t limited to Facebook. Against my better judgment, I returned to online dating late last month. I will not name the app. It’s one you’ve probably never heard of.

I thought this app would lead to a different, better experience. Unfortunately, I’ve experienced a lot of the same nonsense on this app that I have on the apps you have heard of (Match, Bumble, Tinder, eHarmony, etc.).

That said, on this app, a lady from, supposedly, the town of Pickens liked my profile just today. She immediately wanted to move the discussion to Instagram — since she claimed she’s there more often.

The lady’s face is adorable and I let her know that. With a beautiful face, you’d think her IG page would be filled with selfies, right? WRONG! Just one photo, one profile pic, one fresh IG story, an archived story and that was about it for content. Alarms started sounding — but onward with conversation.

Erica Butler claimed to be in her mid-20s and an assistant principal at St. Joseph Prep in Pickens, Mississippi, located in Holmes County. She also claimed to relocate to her present position from Houston, Texas. Smart cookie, you say? Not when you consider she expressed the school’s name as “st Joseph prep” in chat. Alarms sounded louder.

During a lull, apparently because Erica had to take care of business, I pulled out the iPad to google “St. Joseph Prep” in Pickens. I found one in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, easily. But nothing turned up for a St. Joseph Prep in Pickens. Alarms sounded louder.

When the conversation resumed after her supposed break, Erica told me she was stressed out. “Our students are having a fundraiser and the deadline is at 3 so we’re desperately trying to find a buyer for our last shirt,” Erica messaged me on Instagram. Every last shirt must go?

She sent me this image…

…and she told me proceeds benefit the school’s special education department.

I asked if there’s a website for this fundraiser (while conveniently hiding the fact I googled this school and couldn’t find it).

“No, it’s just a little fundraiser the kids wanted to do at the beginning of the year,” Erica messaged me on Instagram.

Beginning of the year?!?!?! When did this fundraiser start? Just after January 1, 2023? Just after the first day of the academic year — going back to 2022? Either way, you’re down to one shirt and you’re sweating bullets over it? Really?

As the alarms sounded louder, I just went with it — just to see how much more nonsense Erica would spew. After further discussion, I flat out asked how I could order.

“All orders go through my boss,” Erica messaged me. She later gave me her boss’s number in the Instagram chat. Knowing Pickens is in the 662 area code, I was anticipating her boss’s digits starting with said 662 area code.

Nope. Erica gave me a number that started with an 832 area code — one of four area codes for the aforementioned city of Houston. Yup, I thought, we’ve got a falsehood here somewhere.

“832 area code? That’s Pickens?” I asked.

“Give me a second let me get his office number,” Erica messaged. And — moments later — Erica’s meager Instagram presence — is no more. She self-destructed her profile. #AnotherOneBitesTheDust

Circling back to the image, what’s alarming is there was no contact information for the school (“662-###-####”). What’s also troubling is, to put it in TV graphics terms, the “Upper Lower” of “Please Help Our Special Education department.” Notice how the first letter in each word of the phrase is capitalized — but “department” is all lowercase. The “Upper Lower” of “ST. Joseph k-12 Shirt Raffle” across the top is just as alarming as “st Joseph prep” in online messaging. Neatness counts, as any good educator would point out.

There’s also no secure web address listed. Per Erica, “All orders go through my boss.” Well, if that’s really the case, what if the boss is out of the office due to illness, a possible business trip, or even a family emergency? Do T-shirt sales suddenly halt in the boss’s absence? Her story, to be fair, would’ve made a bit more sense if we could order shirts through — wait for it — the aforementioned special education department. The public, myself included, would need a phone number starting with a 662 area code, instead of someone’s cell number that didn’t start 662, to order a T-shirt in this fundraiser.

In this writer’s opinion, it was obvious Erica was after me for more than “only $35”. As for Erica, the lady in her mid-20s, was she genuine? Were her selfies and Instagram stories original work or did she steal them from someone else? Since I only saw them for just a few hours and conversed with her in the span of only two hours, I can only assume the images and videos were of her making. One of her selfies had a big monitor reading “Welcome to 9th Grade English” — an apparent upgrade from my days in the classroom with chalkboards. If the image is legit, maybe she’s really a teacher and not the second in command of a school. And if she’s really working for a school district in Houston as a teacher, did she just commit violations of the acceptable internet use policy? If she’s really in the 832, no wonder she closed her IG account after my area code question.

Sometimes, you don’t need to be tech savvy. Just a little common sense, detection of context clues, and the right questions win the day.

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You’re a fake, baby. You can’t conceal it. Part IV.

I didn’t mean for this to become a miniseries. But — it’s time to call out another fake.

About two months ago, Esther Bea reached out and wanted to get personal on Facebook. She, like other fakes, asked about my professional and personal life, called me by terms of endearment instead of by name, etc. All the while, the “fake alert” vibes sounded loud.

Esther wanted to take our Facebook Messenger chat one day to a phone chat. But, of course, she was short a few bucks. So, obviously, she wanted me to buy her a Vanilla Card. The “fake alert” vibes sounded louder.

I downloaded one of Esther’s Facebook images, ran it through a Google Images search and found out it wasn’t original content. She stole it from someone else. What else is new?

I even confronted her in Facebook Messenger — asking why she stole images.

Whereas I got vulgar responses from other fakes, leaving Facebook in a huff soon after that, Esther replied, “Am sorry babe.”

She later promised she wouldn’t steal images anymore.

Well — it’s been two months — and she’s still stealing images from the same other lady. So — let’s call the fake, shall we? Observe my comment I just posted on Esther’s Facebook page.

And now — compare on Eva Lovia’s Facebook page. You should be able to see an image of Eva at a microphone. It’s the image that Esther clearly stole.

It was best for me to hotlink Eva and Esther in one remark on Esther’s page.

Let’s sit back and watch some sparks fly, shall we?

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You’re a fake, baby. You can’t conceal it. Part III.

I’m on a roll, folks.

A fake Facebooker pretended to be from this area. I won’t say the exact town. But let’s just say I was so ready to call her bluff.

She, like others, never called me by my first name. She only addressed me by “sweetie”, “dear”, or some other term of endearment. Too soon, I say. At least three other fakes have done that — and should be tips to you as well.

Nevertheless, early one Monday morning, I called her bluff. “How about we meet for dinner tonight at (local restaurant, name of which is intentionally deleted)?” I asked her in Facebook Messenger

“Yes we can,” the fake said.

“What time tonight?” I asked.

“Maybe 7,” the fake responded.

Now from there, the fake might come up with all sorts of excuses to bypass my invite. Maybe even ask for a Vanilla Card for gas money.

Before she could, once we unofficially made the date, she already fell into my trap.

Right after her “maybe” response of 7 p.m. for a dinner date, I responded with a “laugh out loud” emoji and an image. The image was a particular portion of the restaurant’s Facebook page clearly listing its hours of operation. More than one restaurant in this area is closed all day Sunday and Monday. The restaurant I designated just happened to be closed on Monday.

“Every real person in town knows (the restaurant I designated) is closed on Mondays. You fail. You’re a FAKE!”

The fake responded with insults and expletives. But wait — there was more.

I also told the fake just in recent days I had written extensively on Facebook profiles and shared these links from this website.

The fake called me an a–hole and self-destructed her profile soon thereafter.

Hard not to hum the chorus line of “Another One Bites the Dust”. But she’ll just reload, snarf images from someone else, and try to steal someone else’s heart, and money, again.

Don’t let it be you.

So, as a public service, here are a couple of YouTube videos that have helped this writer along the way. May these help you, too.

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You’re a fake, baby. You can’t conceal it. Part II.

A follow-up to this recent post is in order. A special hello to ScamHaters United on Facebook is also in order. I hope you’re finding this information useful. Even if you’re not in the group, I hope you find this information useful.

In busting fake profiles on Facebook, I’ve looked for context clues. So when a stranger friends you, ask yourself this question. Does the Facebooker’s photos match the Facebooker’s (alleged) city of residence? Here’s what I mean by that.

One recent fake claimed to be from Oxford, Mississippi — one of the unique towns in all of the southeastern United States. If she’s in Oxford, I wondered, how come her profile had zero images of her at Ole Miss football games or any other sporting events? No images at all from campus, The Grove, The Lyceum, Walk of Champions, etc. No images at all from the historic downtown area and vicinity. There were images of her and results of turkey hunts in cold weather environments — but that was it.

For those outside of Mississippi, please understand I’ve lived in the Hattiesburg area, about four hours south of Oxford, for more than three decades. I’ve only visited Oxford twice in as many years for conventions. Prior to the conventions, I’ve worked with colleagues who are proud Ole Miss graduates. So I’ve learned a thing or two about Oxford from them and the conventions.

“You’re in Oxford, right?” I asked the fake in Messenger while we were making small talk. “Yeah,” she said.

It was pop quiz time. “You have 35 seconds,” I challenged her in Messenger, “to name five restaurants in downtown Oxford — starting NOW!” That would give her five seconds to read the pop quiz question and the remaining 30 seconds to quickly type and list restaurants, right? Given the timing of everything, I’d allow for spelling errors.

Well, no reaction for the longest time. She apparently spent 20 seconds googling “restaurants in downtown Oxford, Mississippi”. When 20 seconds elapsed, I typed, “Tick tock!” — hinting she was running out of time. By the time she typed “Ajax”, just one correct answer, her full 35-second time limit had elapsed.

My reaction: “A true Oxonian would quickly name five restaurants in less than 30 seconds. Thank you for proving to me you’re not a true Oxonian. You’re a fake.”

The fake’s reaction: “What’s Oxonian?”

“Oxonian”, in case you haven’t connected the dots, is the demonym for an Oxford, Mississippi, resident. They base the noun on Oxonians in Oxford, England. In tennis terms, the fake committed a double fault.

I unfortunately have forgotten her name — but she has headed for the hills — just like the other fakes I outed.

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You’re a fake, baby. You can’t conceal it.

Doug’s Place Flashback: Remember this post?

Mary’s Twitter page is still active as of this writing, but no new tweets since 2018.

Meantime, this happened…

…Serra William of Kansas City, Kansas, friended me on Facebook today. In trying to make small talk with her on Messenger, I noted I’m a native of Wichita. The Kansas chat didn’t go very far. Neither did the regional initialism of KCK.

As we chatted, I realized she looked familiar. A look at another photo on her profile…

…made me recall the fake Twitter account of 2018. Getting some ten-year-old, but still valid, intel about fake online dating profiles from a YouTuber, I did a Google Images search of the above photo. The search lead me to a lady named Amber Hahn.

“Amber”. I remember the name “Amber”. She said the name “Amber” in that Twitter video from 2018 — even though the Twitter account indicated her first name was Mary. I “confronted” Mary about the utterance of “Amber”, and she quickly brushed me off.

So, guess what? I confronted Serra and asked, “Has anyone ever told you that you look like Amber Hahn, the internet personality?” (Honestly, folks, I don’t know much about the real Amber beyond that.)

Serra’s response: “No”.

My follow-up response: “These show up on Google searches…”

…and “these”, indeed, are a cross-reference of “Amber Hahn” in another visual search of Google. Notice how the photo of Amber in the light blue shirt at the top of the left column (complete with the circular yellow Buc-ee’s logo) matches the one of Serra in her profile pic in the earlier example image of this post.

Serra deflected confrontation as best as she could — changing the subject and asking personal questions such as my age, marital status, etc. Before things got too personal, I took a page from “Match Game”.

Doug’s Place Flashback: For those who’ve lived under a rock, the objective of the classic TV game show “Match Game” was to match celebrities’ answers to silly fill-in-the-blank questions. Celebrities would write their answers on cards, and, after the civilian contestant offered an answer, the stars would reveal their cards to the camera one by one. Depending on the version, the civilian would be awarded at least one point or some money (more likely the former) for each match.

So, based on that concept, I showed this to Serra…

…I then told Serra if she wanted to converse with me any further, she had to duplicate this effort to prove to me she’s real. She had to take a piece of paper, write down “HI, DOUG” on it, have that message in front of her mouth, have her hand also in the shot, and send that selfie back.

Has she obliged? As of this writing, no. She’s done a good job of waffling, though.

I don’t mind telling you I’ve pulled off similar feats with no less than seven other fakers. At least three tried to duplicate the “HI, DOUG” bit — but were quickly called out for sending fake images. I’ve been a web designer and social media manager for years. I can spot PhotoShopping and similar tactics a mile away. They end up heading for the hills while deleting their accounts after they were called out. Per Google Image searches, most of those fakes steal images from porn stars.

One fake managed to steal images from a real Facebooker who just happens to wear the uniform of our country (best to say nothing further about the real Facebooker). After this writer’s long and detailed investigation (about two or three months), the faker urged me to go to the store and buy her a Vanilla Card. From there, she’d probably borrow hundreds, even thousands, of dollars I’ll never see again.

“Before I go to the store and buy you a card,” I said in Facebook Messenger, “please explain why you’ve been stealing the images of (real person’s name intentionally deleted for said real person’s safety).” I accompanied my inquiry with a screenshot of the real person’s Facebook account, pinpointing to an image the faker clearly stole.

The faker’s response: “F**k u and go to hell.” The faker’s profile’s deletion immediately followed — likely per the faker.

Gosh, was it something I said and/or did? I’m so sorry I’m taking (potentially) ill-gotten funds away from your grubby little hands, Little Miss Faker.

If you believe my apology is sincere, I have ski resorts in Kansas City and Wichita, Kansas, I’d like to sell you.

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The music has magic; you know you can catch it

With 2022 nearing an end, this is a good time to revisit one of the year’s most popular video clips with a critical eye — and perhaps ear. You’ve seen this a zillion times. Let’s make it a zillion and one.

Now I begin with a confession. I’m one of 12 people who hasn’t watched “The Boys” — even though I do have Amazon Prime. From what I’ve learned, filming takes place in Toronto even though it’s an American production.

Speaking of “American production”, the “Solid Gold” parody was done reasonably well.

My only quibble: If this scene parodied a normal episode, a regular “Solid Gold” show would include a countdown of the top ten songs in the country. The parody’s graphic had “Rapture” by Blondie ranking at #24. “The Boys” should’ve given Debbie Harry and company *tons* more respect. “Rapture” was actually a Billboard #1 hit for the band. I’d gather Radio & Records — which was the standard for the charts on “Solid Gold”, Rick Dees’ “Weekly Top 40”, and other syndicated radio shows — echoed this back in the day.

While “The Boys” may have unintentionally lowballed “Rapture”, Harry did approve of Soldier Boy’s performance. “Holy (censored)! Epic,” she tweeted. Harry and Blondie had been guests of the real “Solid Gold”. Harry even guest hosted an episode and had George Burns among her guests.

Unfortunately, those who announced the real “Solid Gold” have passed from this life to the next. The original announcer, Robert W. Morgan — a legend in the L.A. radio market — was there from the “Solid Gold ’79” two-hour pilot special until 1986. His successors you’ve heard of — or at least heard their work: Chuck Riley, Charlie O’Donnell, and Dick Tufeld.
So — the team on “The Boys” had to find someone else. And — at least to my ears — that someone else sounded like…

…John Barton — the announcer and a producer on the ill-fated Vancouver-based game show “Pitfall”.

According to a recent report, Barton hosted the pilot for “Pitfall” under a different game format. Other reports indicate the pilot had celebrities and bore some resemblance to “The Hollywood Squares”. When the show went to series as seen above, Alex Trebek hosted. Trebek later called it one of the great tragedies of his life. He wasn’t paid for his hosting duties. Further, there were numerous reports a lot of contestants didn’t win the furniture, cars, trips, money, etc., they earned in playing the bonus rounds.

But back to Barton. I wondered — could Barton have lent his voice to the “Solid Gold” parody? It’s a long shot, I know. But if a 94-year-old Johnny Gilbert is still working on “Jeopardy!”, the antithesis of a tragedy for Trebek, anything is possible. Next thing you know, I’m heading to Amazon Prime Video and straight to Season 3, Episode 4, entitled “Glorious Five Year Plan”.

It started with a recap of the previous episode — filled with explosions, blood, gore, and expletives (read: things that would make a standards and practices representative at a broadcast network cringe — but are totally acceptable in the wild West nature of streaming). Then we go right to the proper episode. It starts with the “Solid Gold” parody along with additional scenes from certain home viewers’ perspectives.

The curious bug was biting. So — I fast-forwarded to the closing credits. I got as far as director, writer, and developer. And then, before I could see further credits (names of guest stars, further crew, etc.), the next episode instantly kicked in. Darn. The mystery of who announced the “Solid Gold” parody remains that — a mystery.

The episode’s cast listing on IMDb didn’t provide any help. Apparently, everyone who had an on-screen credit got listed on IMDb, including Jensen Ackles as Soldier Boy, who covered Blondie’s “Rapture”.

ADDENDUM 11/27/22: This WikiBin article indicates John Barton is no longer with us. He passed away in 2014. A friend brought this to my attention after someone else started a discussion about “Pitfall” — and the game show’s $100,000 set construction, expensive by early 1980s standards in Canada — on Facebook.

As I originally wrote, connecting Barton to “The Boys” was a long shot and I now have my unfortunate answer. WikiBin indicates Barton had a nice comeback after the nightmare that was “Pitfall”. May he continue to Rest In Peace.

I’d still like to know who “introduced” Soldier Boy. In the event you can provide some legit information about who really announced this “Solid Gold” parody, please feel free to reply.

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