Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Observations from a grumpy old man

Manti Te’o has been dealing with all the fallout — and jokes — about his online girlfriend of three years who never really existed. He’s a top athlete at Notre Dame. I always thought it was only nerds who had imaginary online girlfriends.

To prove he was the victim of a hoax, Te’o has asked Steve McGarrett to look into the matter along with Inspector Clouseau, Miss Marple and Dick Tracy.

Interesting week for athletes. Lance Armstrong admitted to doping while Te’o was just a dope.

Landing the interview with Armstrong was big for Oprah Winfrey because her OWN network hasn’t been a big force in cable. The interview increased the viewership beyond just Gayle and Stedman.

“American Idol” executive producer Nigel Lythgoe told TMZ that the competition show would struggle to survive without Ryan Seacrest. Take that Brian Dunkleman.

Oxygen canceled the reality show “All My Babies’ Mamas,” a look at rapper Shawty Lo, his 11 children and their 10 mothers, after protests about the subject matter. Realizing all ideas for TV shows aren’t good, Animal Planet canceled “Hey, That’s My Puppy You’re Hitting” and the Food Network nixed “Road Kill Meals.”

Neil Armstrong took step for dreamers

Over the Moon.JPG One of the questions I often get asked is whose autograph would I like to have of the many celebrities I’ve interviewed. That’s an easy question: Neil Armstrong. He will always be one of my generation’s greatest heroes.

When I heard of his passing today, I flashed back to that July day in 1969 when I watched the fuzzy images from the moon showing Armstrong taking that one giant leap for mankind. The fact that Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were walking on a distant world was more than one of the greatest scientific accomplishments in history.

It was proof – especially for a 15 year old who wanted desperately to be an astronaut – that dreams could come true. Humans are only bound by the laws of physics and time. Otherwise, the options are limitless.

Sadly, it became clear early in my life that I didn’t have the right stuff to be an astronaut but was better suited for the write stuff. It was through writing that I got to do something I never thought would happen. I got to meet the entire crew of Apollo 11.

Back when I was working at the newspaper in Bakersfield, there was an annual business conference that attracted the biggest names in sports, entertainment and politics. Each year, the staff was assigned stories based on the beats they covered. Obviously, I got the entertainers.

Armstrong, Aldrin and Michael Collins were at the event one year — I am pretty certain for the 25th anniversary of the moon landing. After all the the assignments had been passed out, there was no one left to cover the trio. That would have been a tragic oversight and I volunteered.

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