To The Readers Of Ugly Betty News

Regular Shoot The Moose readers (both of you), bear with me a minute.

For those of you who got here by searching for Ugly Betty News, I owe you an explanation for that site’s sudden disappearance, and I wish I had a better venue from which to provide it.  But, it is what is it.

So, here is what happened.  On February 16, I was informed by the company for which I wrote Ugly Betty News that they were severing my contract, per the terms.  I found out later that the company had nixed the entire Entertainment department, which was sizable.  We were locked out of our blogs, so there was no chance of properly saying goodbye.  I was able to post a couple of tweets about it, so SOME of you might have gotten word what happened.  I wanted to send out a mass email to the biggest regular commenters at the site, but unfortunately, most of you posted with bogus email addresses (as you probably should).

The next day, the UBN domain no longer pointed to UBN, but to the replacement site for all the Entertainment channel blogs.

And that was that. 

It sounds so clichéd.  The last post I made at UBN was a revisiting of the possibility of Liza Minnelli appearing on Ugly Betty (as we now know, that isn’t going to happen).  Had I known that it would be my last post, I would have said something more profound.  I would have said goodbye.

This is how ghosts must feel.

Ironically, the cancellation of Ugly Betty had been quite good for Ugly Betty News, business-wise, up until our own “cancellation”.  The readership there spiked to record levels on  the day of the show’s cancellation announcement, and it didn’t decline much after that.

We – you and I – did an amazing thing.  We built an informative fan/news site which featured intelligent discussion minus the mean-spirited gossip.  It was a long shot from the beginning. I worked my butt off, and you guys kept coming back and bringing your wonderful thoughts to the comments.  We were part of a larger Ugly Betty community, which WE helped will into being (notwithstanding the ship wars, but even that was done with the context of a greater Ugly Betty community.)

We were seen as a conduit between fans and the show.  Ironically,although the many in the cast read UBN,  I NEVER had any contact with the producers, until right before UBN got axed, and I’ll be doggoned if I didn’t give Mr. Horta my b5Media email address, which is no longer valid. Was he going to invite me to the wrap party, or issue a cease and desist?  We’ll never know 🙂

After all those years of work, once I got the sad notice, I decided to check and see just what I (we) had done.  I hadn’t checked in many months, but typing in the phrase “Ugly Betty spoiler” on Google returned Ugly Betty News as the number one result (with many more links in the top 15).  Beating out EOnline.  Beating TVGuide.  Beating Entertainment Weekly.  Even beating Wiki-freaking-Pedia, who is always number one on every search for anything.  Many other search terms revealed the same result.  All this with NO help from the network.

(This is where I get to say: ABC, your media relations with bloggers SUCKS, more than any other network.  You seriously need to revisit your asset access policy.  We had the number one Ugly Betty site in the world, we proved our professionalism time and again, and you refused, to the end, to treat us like “media”.  It boggles the mind.  Your loss.  There, that feels better, although I guess blogging for ABC is now out of the question 🙂 ).

So, I’ll be fine.  If I choose to seriously blog again, I know how to do it now, thanks to the wonderful people (I’m looking at you, Arieanna) who gave me a chance and taught me the ropes.  Who knows where I could go?  Politics, parenting, cooking, travel, maybe even entertainment again.

Regardless, I am almost over my period of mourning, so watch out, world.

So, to the faithful readers of Ugly Betty News I say thank you for all your wonderful contributions and readership.  As the show itself winds down, we have to go through another long, sad goodbye.  But, I’m glad we get to have that.  I am sorry that UBN just disappeared on you.  Had I had any control over the situation, it would have been done differently.

I will miss you, dear readers and commenters, most of all.  But, we will meet again, somewhere, somewhen.

Sincerely,

Tom Landers

Writer – Ugly Betty News

(PS, if you want to hang out here, I intend on ramping up the post frequency at Shoot The Moose again.  Slartibartfast IS Tom; I am who I am, pseudonym or not.  Many of you, I think,  will be surprised at my personal life.  I don’t fit the mold of the typical Ugly Betty blogger.  BUT, you’ll get to meet my family, find out about life in Nashville, and get some good recipes.  I WILL be posting about Ugly Betty as well – reviews, not recaps – since I no longer have contractual restraints.   Because, regardless of the business side of things, UBN was always a labor of love.)

Jerry Lewis I Ain’t – But Please Help!

Yes, I have lots of news to pass along, and, I’ll be doing that shortly. 

But first, I’d like to ask your help with a project I’m doing at Ugly Betty News.  b5Media, the network to which UBN belongs, is sponsoring a “Blog-a-thon” to raise money for two different charities.  The Entertainment Channel is raising money for The Actors Fund.

The Actors Fund is a nonprofit, national human services organization that helps entertainment and performing arts professionals in theater, film, music, opera, television and dance through a broad spectrum of social, health, employment, and housing programs that address their essential and critical needs.

It’s a good charity, and one I’m proud to be associated with.

My part in this:  I am posting one post per hour for the entire 24 hours. (Thank goodness for timestamped posting).  You can help in one of two ways.  You can send me a guest post – it just has to be at least 2 paragraphs and about Ugly Betty – or donate money to The Actors Fund .  Ideally, $1 per post, but anything you can give would be appreciated.

And make sure to visit Ugly Betty News often today – I’m a little crazier than normal over there.  Have you ever tried what’s essentially a filibuster about a TV show, one that’s in its offseason?  I’ll be reading from the Ugly Betty phone book soon. 🙂

I’m only 1 post short of having the required 24 for the day, so one guest post will put me over the top.  Everyone who guest posts is entered to win $30 (which will buy a couple gallons of gas!)

Thanks for all your help.

What’s New

I don’t want to talk about Obama and Wright anymore.*  I just don’t.  I’m letting it go for now – November is a long way away, it’ll keep.  I refuse to go through all this angst, strain friendships, and give bomb-throwing partisans reasons to fire away,over something that I can’t do anything about right now anyway.  So, I’m done with it, for now.  Y’all do what you’re going to do.

 In other news, my children are turning my world upside down. 

 My son decided to follow in my daughter’s footsteps, and got in trouble at school for bullying ad fighting.  Y’all must think I’m the worst parent ever.  Anyway, after getting his story, his friends’ stories, the stories of two different teachers and one principal, I have come to the conclusion that Zaphod gave into peer pressure.  He is very vulnerable to it – he has always been overly concerned with “what his friends think”.  Doesn’t excuse what he did, but it does explain it somewhat.

He’s also way behind in taking accelerated math quizzes, which comprise most of his grade in math.  The kids are expected to take them on their own, and they are judged on how many skills they master.  Because he hasn’t been taking the tests, the best he can do is a “C”for this six weeks.  Neither of my kids have ever gotten below a “B”.  I can hear you laughing now, but it’s not the grade that upsets us, it’s the lack of effort.

My kids also have begged me NOT to take them to Disney World next year.  This breaks my heart.  They would rather go to California.  They want to pan for gold, then maybe go to Disneyland.  Gold country is in northern California, right?  I keep telling them, California is a huge state – you can’t see the northern part AND the southern part in one trip.  Maybe they have some kind of gold panning in southern California.

One thing I know for sure: we have to do SOMETHING Disney next year.  I have a Disney Visa, and my points I’ve built up over the years expire in 2009.  Maybe I’ll find a way to sneak away with Lintilla to Epcot. 

Trillian wants her own bathroom now.  No big surprise, really.  She’s been trying to steer us to remodel, and we keep telling her we can’t afford it. 

This post from Aunt B really, really brought home to me the awesome responsibility I have.  And I don’t mean to my daughter, I already feel the full weight of that.  At my “other gig”, I do entertainment and celebrity reporting.  I won’t talk about how large my readership is, let’s just say it’s beyond my wildest dreams.  (Amazingly, I’m still the slacker in my channel).  Most of my readers are young women, from about 15-25.  Let’s just say there are a LOT of them.

I can’t sit and complain about how the media portrays beauty, I am the media.  I am required to post red carpet photos and the like.  The photos I choose to display, the comments I make about those photos, and my commentary all have an impact.  The show I write about is probably the only body-positive show on television today, so at least I have a head start.

I can only hope and pray that I have the wisdom to always do the right things for these girls and women.

*Those of you who only read me here might ask, “When did you talk about Barack Obama?”  I haven’t here, but I’ve been all over the comments at other folks’ blogs.

Attention, Grammar Nazis

I need your help.  Now that I’m slowly being taken seriously as a writer by 15 year old girls and representatives of major media outlets alike, I probably need to start writing with better grammar.  Most of the rules I learned 30 years ago I still remember; I’m just lax in my usage.  I use way too many commas and semicolons, and I’m overly-fond of using “Apparently”, “Anyway,” and “So,” to start my sentences, especially at the start of paragraphs.  These are things I can correct by paying attention.

Yet, one thing I cannot remember is the proper usage of “farther” and “further”.  I pretty much use them interchangeably, and I know that isn’t right.

When is each appropriate?  Can you give me an example of each?

Thank you – I do not have a brain that allows me to pay attention to detail.  If I can return the favor (maybe one day writing a flowery love sonnet for you), let me know.

Lots Of Random Thoughts

Here are some random thoughts for your Thursday.

Things around my house are slowly getting around to normal.  For those of you who know me personally, sorry I went off the deep end lately.  I need to remember the number one rule of swimming: if you are drowning, stop flailing.

In my house, Jesus Christ is savior.  He does however, have a new assistant: Effexor.  Hopefully, my insurance will pay for it (right now, they are balking).

Lintilla is officially back to her job today.  This is her first day doing actual patient care, after 3 months of being away from it.  She promised me she’d take it easy.

Jesus’ other assistant is snow.  My kids were so excited to be out of school yesterday, they got along the entire day.

Lost in my own drama is the incredible story of my friend Mark Mills.  If you haven’t yet, go to Ginger’s site and read it.  When it comes to prayer, God may not be an ATM, maybe we can’t name it and claim it, but sometimes, I think, He uses prayer (and answers them) to remind us of His awesome power, if we will only bend our knees to Him.

You may not like Michael Medved, but this post is very wise.

Note to Tennessee liberals: YOU are supposed to be the “intelligent” ones.  Why do you allow your “lessors” to play you like a cheap violinevery presidential election cycle?  Lots and lots of people who didn’t know Obama’s middle name do now, because of your very vocal outrage.  It doesn’t matter if you are “right”, and that this is a dirty trick.  You guys better get out in front of the “Obama is in league with or will be soft on Islamists” meme, or you will lose.  I don’t care how outraged you are.

Update – Read this article  for context.

My ambition overcame my phobia last week.  I actually picked up the phone, dialed a number, and after a few days of phone tag, talked with a producer at NPR about an Ugly Betty story they are doing.  (No, they aren’t featuring ME, although they should – my task is to find fans in the LA area for them to interview).  It was during this conversation that I realised I have an “NPR” voice.  I don’t use it very often, but it’s funny how I have many different “voices” I can pull out like tools from a toolbox.

Can’t the Preds play defense anymore?

Finally…

I find it weird that our sexual attractions age with us.  Yesterday, while watching some commercial for this or that wonder-drug, one of the smiling faces was a partially white haired, fifty-something woman.  And it shocked me when the thought popped into my head:  “She’s pretty hot!”  Later, the news did a story on the MTSU poll, and it showed the students conducting the poll. 

Now, in my world, “college girls” and “girls who are pleasing to look at” were synonymous.  But yesterday, I looked at the young ladies and saw little girls.  To be attracted to them would make me feel like a dirty old man.  What the heck is happening to my brain?

That’s all I’ve got right now.

2008 Daytona 500 LiveBlog

No liveblog after all – sorry. WordPress.com does NOT allow IFrames. Shame.

BTW, if any of you reading this are non-wordpress.com blogs and want to host my Daytona liveblog, I’ll send you the embed code. Otherwise, I’ll just be watching like everyone else.

UPDATE: I’m hosting it on my old blogger site. If you’d like to be part of the liveblog, go here: Old SHoot The Moose

Bravo, Kevin

He doesn’t have comments enabled so I can’t tell him at his place, but this post by Kevin (the Homeless Guy) is outstanding.  A sample:

People in this part of the country can be deeply biblically religious, and they will either give thanks to God for being spared from the storm’s devastation, believing their faith saved them, or they will call on God for the strength to carry on after suffering greatly, as the storm devastated their lives.  There will be some who will lose their faith in God because He did not protect them, as they felt He should.  And, they may chose to no longer believe in God, and may carry a heart of anger towards God for the rest of their lives. 

But, is any of this really about God?   Is it really about us humans?   Do the natural forces of our planet act against our immoral tendencies?   God is sometimes said to be capricious – that there is no rhyme or reason to His actions.  But perhaps that is because we give God too much credit for what happens in our lives.  Do we succeed because God likes us?  Do we win against others in the competitions of life because God prefers us to others?

This is deep stuff, and many clergy struggle with these questions.  As I read the entire post, I found myself nodding along.  I have some minor quibbles on some of the theological aspects, along with a couple of philosophical questions (I think mankind is at once insignificant and of greatest importance to God -that whole triune things gets people every time).  But that doesn’t take away from how profound and eloquent Kevin’s post is.  Go read it.

On a related note, y’all (and you know who you are), LAY OFF the Union students!!!!  They are mere kids, they just survived a traumatic event most of us will never have to go through, and they are trying to make sense of it all.  Let’s discuss the philosophical ramifications of their saying that God was “with them and protected them” some other time.  I think criticising these kids,at this time, is of the suck.  Like you were some great philosophical and theological mind at 20 years old.  Give them a little leeway.  Later, ‘k?