The TV crawl and how it’s changed our lives. The World Beard Contest. And Donald Duck is a dirty, dirty duck (maybe)

This weekend, one of the world’s strangest competitions is being held. That’s right, it’s the World Beard and Moustache championships, where the heavyweights of the hirsute set meet to compare notes and ask each other questions. I’m guessing one of those questions is “Does your wife hector you about cutting the damn thing off already, too?

Seriously, I love these guys. To take this much time and effort into your facial hair, while you know the rest of the world is mocking you, just to try to win this competition, has to be admirable.

**This thought has been pinging around my cranium for a few days. Ever wonder just how much the bottom of the screen crawl/ticker thing has changed our lives? It was an ESPN innovation at first, so they could update fans on sports scores a lot quicker than the previous “:28/:58” every half-hour crawl they used to use. (anyone else remember the great “:28/:58” updates on ESPN? I would sit there waiting with breathless anticipation for the Rangers or Yankees score to come up.)
After 9/11, CNN and all the other news networks started using it, since there was so much news going on in the weeks after the terrorist attack.
Now, the crawl is everywhere, at all times of the day. And while it can be annoying to some (I dislike it once in a while), it’s completely changed how we watch TV.
I find myself reading the crawl on CNN just as often as I watch and listen to the main broadcast. I anxiously check the crawl for sports scores and get mad if I just missed the score I’m looking for. (“What, I’ve got to wait FIVE whole minutes for it come back on again?”).
It’s an innovation that has transformed TV, giving us the news instantly, as soon as we want it.
And I think it’s taken for granted. So I just wanted to say I appreciate the crawl. And I’m glad to be alive in 2011.

(This only tangentially applies, but writing about the crawl and the 28/58 thing got me thinking of one of my favorite Bill Simmons columns ever (back when he was still a writer, which he hardly is anymore). It’s an open letter to 1982 Bill, explaining the future of sports television. I laughed pretty hard at it.

**Finally, Donald Duck got exonerated this week. The lovable mallard apparently was charged with fondling a customer at Epcot Center in Florida last year, while taking a picture with her.
Well, OK, so he didn’t really get exonerated. He settled the case out of court with the woman he allegedly groped.

Donald, Donald, Donald. You know better than that. Touching customers is not nice.
If you’ve got to get handsy with someone, well, I’m sure Cinderella is free on Saturday night.


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