BlatherWatch once again ventured into the belly of the beast- this time, it was nautical but nice.
We boarded the Argosy cruise boat, the S.S. Quivering Thigh Wednesday evening in Kirkland for what we expected to be a tedious, yet boring holiday karaoke sojourn on Lake Washington with local talkers and avid listeners of KTTH, the "other right meat" of Seattle talk.
We weren't expected or disappointed.
BlatherWatch hadn't planned to attend, but we kept getting seismic rumbles all day of an Entercom programming massacre ala The Buzz which would drastically change KTTH. Entercom, known for its warmth and humanity, apparently saves their massacres for the holiday season. We hoped to get some info from the horse's mouth, instead of the horsesass.org where we usually get our best stuff. Of course we were recognized right away by Dave Boze (m-f, 5-6a) and thoroughly busted.
The action, (if you could call it that with all the poli-wonky 50-somethings and socially challenged X-ers) was on what we called the Poop Deck because of the right-wing detritus that piled up as the evening progressed. Michael "Party Hardly" Medved was there, with the dazzling Dr. Diane wearing the same size dress as she wore when she was a cheerleader in high school. Mike Siegel was there, raring to get down.
As you can imagine, we were electrified with holiday comfort and joy.
The night got started with Medved producer and once-a-week morning host and MC Dan Sytman (Sat. 6-8a) singing an irreverent parody of that old Christian carol, "It's Getting to Feel A Lot Like Ramadan," offensive to anyone with a soupçon of sensitivity, but, with a couple of notable exceptions (more of them later) there wasn't anyone who fit that description. There were the requisite perennials about the made-for-talk-radio "controversy" over the nonsectarian "happy holidays;" and a few hilarious remarks with barely concealed glee and self-righteousness about those peaceniks held hostage by Iraqi insurgents.
BlatherWatch has always accused Sytman, based on his terse talk style of being humorless. It may be Stockholm Syndrome, trapped on that vessel surrounded by dittoheads on their best behavior, but he was pretty funny. He had good comedic timing, and he sang, for the most part, in tune. We laughed. His material, of course, was right-wing drivel meant to pander to the choir- not unlike one of those Bush "Town Meetings" whose participants are screened carefully to include only toadies and True Believers. Like on the radio, it was liberal baiting, except there were no liberals- or so he thought.
Sytman introduced Boze, who loomed over the audience and said he'd once turned down a $400 offer to sing a karaoke song, "I'd rather be in the Seventh Circle of Hell." It was a sentiment shared by BlatherWatch, especially as we descended circle by circle with karaoke krooners interspersed with speechifying by the attending talk stars.
Meanwhile, trouble was brewing. A woman, ironically named Delilah, was complaining to Cruise Director Dan Neal that the comedy material was offensive and she wanted her money back. Poor Delilah Britton. She's a social worker who'd read an Argosy brochure about a "holiday karaoke cruise." She'd given tickets to her karaoke-loving sister Wendy for a birthday present and the two of them had innocently expected a pleasant evening singing the Wind Beneath My Wings, or some such. Instead, they were stuck on this "ship of fools," with a crowd they considered openly racist, bigoted, homophobic, and pro-Walmart.
The evening raged on. Mike Siegel (m-f, 6-9a) got up and filled us with holiday cheer talking about throwing baby-rapers in the slammer and throwing away the key. Michael Medved, looking a little uncomfortable amongst these down-home glitterati, spoke of songs that might be sung on an Air America karaoke cruise such as White Flag by Dido, in honor of John Murtha, the brave Congressional militarist who spoke outloud what's on the minds of so many in the Pentagon. Or John Lennon's Imagine which we've heard Medved excoriate before as the apex of liberal naivete and a Democratic policywhite paper.
As it turns out, Mike Siegel, 60, fancies himself as a bit of a Negro. After self-describing as a "reverse Oreo, white on the outside, black on the inside," he launched into James Brown's "Uptight," with his "hair" flying, and all the little hunch-fisted shoulder shimmy shrugs and "Yows!" you'd ever want. He wasn't bad at it, and was definitely a credit to his race- which is white and Jewish- and the only black man in the crowd pretended he didn't see it. Mike's a sex machine and the Godfather of Talk, as Sytman described him, but after all these years, we think he maybe oughta give it up or turn it loose, as we used to say in 1969.
BlatherWatch harkened to the kindred spirits at the Britton sisters' table, as did Director Dan who lavished free cruise tickets and trinkets on the sisters. Neal, a school teacher and an out gay man, said he wanted them to experience Argosy cruises "when it's not like this." He handled it well and they were much obliged.
Wendy Britton, it turns out, was not just any liberal, but a founder and former president of Seattle Atheists. The irony by that time was piled on so thick that BlatherWatch came to the conclusion that it was Divine Intervention that brought these two to this evening. Wendy Britton got up, bravely forsook her rehearsed karaoke numbers and sang "Imagine." We were proud of her and though there were a few boos, the crowd was polite- somebody even held up a lighter.