We’ve all heard of a dying boy asking for one final wish. So what do you do when his one wish is to have sex with a woman?
In Australia, the answer apparently is: hire a prostitute. “He did engage in the act and it was everything he wished it to be,” the boy’s psychologist reports. “He was very, very happy and only slightly disappointed that it was over quickly.”
News release of the day: “An open house and demonstration of Esperanto, the international language, will be held January 3, 2002, at 7:00 pm, at the Arts Council of Northeast Tarrant County, Bedford Boys Ranch, in Bedford, Texas. All are invited to attend and learn more about Esperanto, a politically and culturally neutral language that is intended to be a common second language without replacing anyone’s national language. Classes are scheduled to begin Thursday, January 10, 2002, and will meet weekly through May. Registration for classes may be made at the open house or by contacting Phil Dorcas at 817/858-0689 or by email at email@example.com.”
Received in the mail yesterday:
“Dear AT&T Digital Phone Service Customer: We missed the date for mailing your November bill!…We’re continuing to fine-tune our new billing system and have delayed mailing your November bill in order to prepare an accurate bill. Your November bill that you should have received in November will now arrive in mid-December. Don’t worry!” It’s always good to get a letter like that on Dec. 28.
New census data released today. (And yes, we are devolving into a AJ Hammer-and-census-based blog. Not what you signed up for, eh?) My sorry home state of Louisiana is one of only four states to have lost people from April 2000 to June 2001. (The other winners in that number: Iowa, West Virginia, and North Dakota. Some fine company.) Texas, in contrast, gained 336,811 people.
(I love the fake precision of census estimates. It’s not like the feds stationed themselves at every state line, counting U-Hauls as they rolled past. They’re guessing. But they don’t say “about 335,000 or so people.” They say 336,811, exactly, precisely. In related news, I will be getting exactly 7 hours, 42 minutes, and 14 seconds of sleep tonight, will consume exactly 512.4 calories at lunch, and am now boring 97.3 percent of my readers.)
Back in October, shortly after I’d arrived in Japan, I made a throwaway reference to A.J. Hammer, former video introducer to the world. (The complete reference: “P.S. A.J. Hammer, ex-VJ on VH1, now has the job of introducing movies on Northwest flights. Not sure if that’s a promotion or not.”)
For the last two months, I’ve been surprised how many people have found this site by searching for “aj hammer” at Google or elsewhere. I had no idea the man was so, um, popular.
Anyway, someone left a snippy comment on that months-old entry today:
FYI, AJ Hammer is the personality used by Northwest to introduce their features (it is not “his job”). Mr. Hammer has been on FOX TV for the past 18 months as well as “Hollywood at Large” on Court TV and NBC. Northwest is a side project much as American Airlines in-flight is a side project for the members of Good Morning America. Northwest Airlines is an industry award-winner for its in-flight entertainment.
Jon Mycka, @In Flight
Thanks, Jon Mycka, for clearing that up. I was under the mistaken impression that someone paid money to perform a task could be described as “having the job” to do so. I see now that I was mistaken: clearly he is introducing The Score to an audience of disgruntled passengers as an act of charity, his small way of contributing to the larger, grail-like cause that is Northwest In-Flight Entertainment. Perhaps a better way of phrasing it might be: “A.J. Hammer, ex-VJ on VH1, now has the honor of introducing movies on Northwest flights.”
And it was clearly inaccurate of me to suggest, however subtly, that the career of “Mr. Hammer” might have taken the proverbial eight-foot dive in a five-foot pool. You are right, Jon Mycka: he does work for Fox and Court TV.
Sure, the Fox job might not be a network job — it’s a job at WNYW, the New York Fox affiliate. And sure, his job there (if one may call it “a job”) is host of the “A.J.’s Beat” segment on WNYW’s morning show, “Good Day New York,” a job apparently so insignificant it doesn’t merit a mention on the show’s “personalities” page, or anywhere else on its site.
And yes, his Court TV gig may just be as Hollywood at Large‘s “contributing host.” Which would mean he’s not quite as big a star as the show’s “celebrity/host” Wendy L. Walsh, whoever she is. I’m sure she doesn’t even get out of bed for less than $10,000; it’s natural for Mr. Hammer to accept second billing on this unwatched show behind such a tsunami-force celeb. (Ms. Walsh is apparently such a convincing ringer for a legitimate journalist that she’s played one in the movies at least five times. Who could forget her stunning turn as “Reporter Outside Courtroom” in The Cable Guy?)
I’m sure that, in sum, those are all steps up, careerwise, from hosting a bunch of big shows on a popular cable network. And you even skipped many of most noteworthy post-VH1 accomplishments, such as his role as “celebrity spokesperson for the nationwide media tour of Milton Bradley’s new Planet Hollywood: The Game.” And when I learned, from his Court TV bio, that Mr. Hammer’s “picture is featured in the coffee table book Heartthrob, A Hundred Years of Beautiful Men,” I knew that this was not a man to be trifled with. Please accept my heartfelt apologies, Jon Mycka, if I have impugned your airline, your sterling history of in-flight entertainment, or your liege, Mr. Hammer.
(Oh, and by the way: your airline sucks. Worst in America, by a fairly wide margin.)
Interesting AJ Hammer factoid: until he achieved stardom at a NYC radio station, he was known on the radio as AJ Goldberg (presumably his real name). He made the switch in October 1990. MC Hammer’s Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em was released in Feburary 1990. This likely means that AJ Hammer chose his name because he thought there was some magic in the two-initials-plus-“hammer” motif. Why he has not gone the route of his namesake (namely, bankruptcy and a name reduction to just “Hammer”) is unclear.
If, like me, you’re a fan of Mark Kozelek and his on-again, off-again band the Red House Painters, check out the limited edition web-only live album Sub Pop’s selling. Mark typically makes drowsy, sad, gorgeous music (think Low, Spain, or American Music Club); he’s also made a specialty of covering bad songs in radically altered ways. (This live album includes his version of AC/DC’s “Rock and Roll Singer,” which is transcendent. RHP’s 1996 album, Songs for a Blue Guitar, had great covers of Long Distance Runaround [Yes], Silly Love Songs [Wings], and All Mixed Up [the Cars, which made its way into a Gap holiday commercial last year, probably because of its “Little Drummer Boy” backbeat]).
Sub Pop also wins the prize for e-commerce’s best way of warning people their holiday shipment may be late: “NOTICE: Due to the unfortunate birth of our lord jesus christ…”