MONDAY, MAY 4 This week of stupid food news, multitasking bus floozies, and triumphant hometown talent kicks off with the United States Supreme Court, which once again turned its attention to what is proving to be the defining event of the human era: the split-second exposure of Janet Jackson's nipple during the halftime show of the 2004 Super Bowl. Details come from the Associated Press, which reports the Supremes today directed Philadelphia's 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to consider reinstating the $550,000 "indecency" fine imposed on CBS by the Federal Communications Commission following the broadcast of Jackson's so-called "wardrobe malfunction." Of course, this is the same court of appeals that last year shot down the fine, citing the FCC's failure to apply identical standards to words and images accused of being indecent. (As the AP reports, the FCC has typically issued fines for indecency only when the questionable material was so "pervasive as to amount to 'shock treatment' for the audience." But since the flashing of Jackson's nipple lasted only nine-sixteenths of one second, the appellate court ruled the incident should have been regarded as "fleeting.")
Undeterred, the FCC appealed to the Supreme Court. And last week, the Supremes narrowly upheld the FCC's right to threaten fines against even one-time uses of curse words (i.e., fleeting indecency) on live television. Which brings us to today's return of the Case of the Briefly Exposed Celebrity Nipple to Philly's 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, where CBS is hopeful judges will uphold their ruling that the split-second nipple flash was not and could not have been anticipated by the network.
TUESDAY, MAY 5 Speaking of totally important news: Today, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden visited a Virginia hamburger joint, where the president ordered a burger with "spicy mustard, something like that... Dijon mustard, something like that," and all hell broke loose. The opening volley of Dijongate came from Fox News' Sean Hannity, who devoted a special segment to "President Poupon," featuring footage from the classic Grey-Poupon-in-a-limo commercial and a million-dollar closer: "I hope you enjoyed that fancy burger, Mr. President!" Even better: the outcry from the wing-nut right over the mainstream media's conspiracy of silence regarding Dijongate. ("Why is Fox the only news outlet brave enough to report the facts?" went the wing-nut line of thinking.) Thank you, President Obama, for insisting on your curatorial quirks (a medium-well burger with only mustard? If you say so...) and inspiring a truly post-postmodern nonmedia nonfrenzy. (And confidential to Sean Hannity: Nothing that's mass-produced in individual-serving packets and given away for free at airports and sporting arenas can be classified as "fancy.")
WEDNESDAY, MAY 6 Speaking of ridiculous food stories: The week continues with what history will remember as the Great Oprah Chicken Riots of 2009, which commenced with yesterday's announcement on The Oprah Winfrey Show promising a free KFC dinner to anyone who downloaded a coupon from Oprah.com and continued with today's hordes of hungry coupon-bearers making headlines and blocking traffic outside the nation's KFCs. "Restaurants summoned extra help to keep pace with the crowds, yet some customers waited an hour and a half as the chain gave away millions of the meals," the Associated Press reports. "Stores ran out of chicken on Tuesday and Wednesday... There were isolated reports across the country of customers becoming upset at KFC stores as they waited." Eternal morals: Never underestimate the power of Oprah, chicken, or a nonproverbial free meal.
THURSDAY, MAY 7 Nothing happened today, unless you count the release of this statement from KFC headquarters: "We are so sorry, but due to the overwhelming response to our FREE Kentucky Grilled Chicken™ meal coupon, we can no longer redeem the free coupon at this time. But we will honor our commitment to giving you a free Kentucky Grilled Chicken meal... [We will issue] a rain check for your free Kentucky Grilled Chicken meal at a later date, plus a free Pepsi with our compliments. Your participating KFC restaurant will provide you with the form you need."
FRIDAY, MAY 8 The week continues with the riotous cavalcade of dancing bellies, robotic comedy, avant-garde oxygen deprivation, screechy judgment, and awe-inspiring carving of air hosted by yours truly tonight at Chop Suey, where the third-annual Stranger Gong Show went down in front of a roaring crowd. Walking away with top honors, a ton of prizes, and $300 cash: Airpocalypse, Seattle's most impassioned air band. (How did an effing air band beat all of the night's other amazing acts? By driving the audience into worshipful hysterics and inspiring the judges to bestow straight 10s, that's how.) Relegated to second place but claiming first in Last Days' heart: Cartoon Capers, whose act involved a table with an aquarium full of water at one end. The act commenced when one of the men submerged his head in the aquarium while the other stripped off his shirt, lay back on the table, and began eating cereal off his concave chest. This cereal-eating involved pouring cereal from the box, pouring milk over the cereal, eating the milky cereal with a spoon, then sucking up the remaining milk with a long straw. When the cereal eater was done with his first serving, he poured another: cereal, milk, spoon, straw, the whole process again. Throughout all of this, the other guy's head was underwater. After two and a half minutes (!), the cereal guy stood up, the other guy pulled his head from the aquarium, and the act was complete. The properly awed judges gave the act almost straight 10s, marred only by judge Jen Zeyl's title-denying 9, which came with a wisecrack that was easily worth $300: "I loved it, but you really could've taken the time to slice a banana." Humongous thanks to all of the night's amazing acts, and see you next year (with a bigger stage and fewer screechy judges).
SATURDAY, MAY 9 "I thought my threshold for bus behavior was pretty high," writes Hot Tipper Tania. "I dealt with the dude clipping his toenails on the 49 and tolerated the woman using baby wipes to clean her armpits on the 12, but here is where I absolutely draw the line. Today, I was on the 15 headed toward First and Denny when I realized the woman sitting across from me was jerking off the guy next to her under his jacket. Did I mention this happened at about 1:30 in the afternoon and the bus was PACKED? At first I thought shooting looks at the "couple" would be enough to make them reconsider their actions, but I was so wrong. To my absolute shock and horror, when the woman's phone rang, she wiped her primary jerking-off hand on the seat in front of her, switched hands, and continued jerking him off without skipping a texting beat. When I got off the bus, I took a bath in Purell." Dear Hot Tipper Tania: Thank you for surviving and sharing and proving the old adage "Recessions make strange bus hookers."
SUNDAY, MAY 10 Nothing happened today, unless you count the triumph of Seattle's Garfield High School and Roosevelt High School jazz bands, which claimed first and second place, respectively, at the 14th annual Essentially Ellington competition tonight at Lincoln Center. Hurrah for all.
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