Sodbusters Go Hog Wild in Chicken Wind, PA

Morris Crimpanfortis begins to doubt his prowess when it comes to pitching his sister Noreen on TV show concepts. He realizes that more pizazz is needed to stand out from the teeming masses. He comes to the strange and wrongheaded conclusion that walkup music will make a difference. Morris cautiously approaches Jonas Cider, whose band the “Sodbusters” plays nightly at the Grilled Canary, one of those raunchy clubs over in Chicken Wind, PA. They meet at the Five-Points Highway Diner for peach pie and sweet iced tea. Morris lets Jonas know he would never EVER set foot in a place like the Grilled Canary, and the negotiations go downhill from there . . .

TO: Jonas Cider, Bandleader

FROM: Morris Crimpanfortis – General Manager, WXX-TV

RE: Your Thoughts on Something

TRANSMITTED VIA FACSIMILE (with no guarantee of receipt)

Hey Jonas, this is me, your old pal Morris Crimpanfortis:

I just had a thought: some of my pitches don’t seem to be achieving the greatest impact with the higher-ups, and I’ve come to the realization it has to do with presentation. As such, I’m looking for a little more pizazz to make my pitches stand out in the crowd, something that will offer an added punch.

A Long Way from Chicken Wind, PA

Jonas, I know that your band the “Sodbusters” performs at the Grilled Canary over in Chicken Wind. Before I begin, let me make something abundantly clear: I don’t know the first thing about what goes on inside of that seamy establishment and i never have, nor never will, set foot in that unsavory “joint” (as some would call it). I’m not holding anything against you, but if you and your colleagues agree to write and perform music for me, I want it under a different moniker. In other words, I clean break from the Canary, is that understood?

May I offer a suggestion? Why not rename your group the “Spobusters?” It does not deviate that dramatically from the name you’re currently using. In fact, if you analyze it, it’s kind of a clever play on words. The term Sodbusters, of course, refers to farmers who plow the land and turn the soil. I understand why your bandmates wear ripped and faded apparel that caters to the American agriculture base. I just can’t see your typical farmer with that many tattoos. Can I ask that you dress a little more formal when it comes time to performing my music? And I don’t want to see any leather vests exposing bare, flaccid guts hanging over bulging belt buckles. I don’t want to see beards shaved like checkerboards, nor do I want braided nose hairs, or turkey bones through nostrils, or pierced eyelids and definitely no tattoos showing portraits of disgraced politicians.

Back to the name “Spotbusters.” See, we’re in the communications biz, and we call commercials “spots.” So you have a little media thing going on, an inside reference (I think that those in the know call it “inside baseball”), and then you have me, looking for my first show concept to hit paydirt. See, once I become a known commodity, I’ll be on Easy Street from here on out. It’s just getting past my sister, who is the gatekeeper of the programming vault. Family members seem to be my toughest critics. But I’m willing to give this music a shot to see if it loosens things up.

A Little Less Volume – Please?

Now, about your music. I heard you at a community fair last summer – NOT INSIDE THAT ESTABLISHMENT, THE GRILLED CANARY! Believe me, you were loud. You were so loud, I couldn’t concentrate on the game I was playing. I think I was throwing baseballs at stacked milk bottles, trying to topple them. I missed every time, and the people behind the counter and those waiting in line jeered at me mercilessly and made fun of me and mocked me. The booing would have been worse if not for your excessive volume. So I thank the Sodbusters for minimizing the catcalls that were directed at me.

Also, the musicians will perform as the house band on the set of my new game show, Place Commercial Here. Whenever contestants appear stumped and fumble for answers, the house band will perform what I call “Kidding around Music.” I don’t exactly know how to describe it. But I am confident that you, Jonas will know precisely what I’m talking about. Of course, if the contestant comes up with the correct answer in record time, the band plays “Look at Me” music, and if the contestant loses it all, the house band will play “The Get It Next Time Blues.” I think you may want to enlist the services of a tuba player for that.

Lose the Lawyers

I strongly recommend that you DO NOT hire an entertainment lawyer to negotiate your contracts relative to my offer. I do not know what your agreement is for performing at the Grilled Canary. Did I explain that I know NOTHING about what goes on inside of that highly questionable establishment?”

Well, the ball is in your court Jonas. Ask me, this is a great way to literally clean up your act and jump into the legit side of the entertainment biz.

Let me know OK?

Pitch #6 – “Place Commercial Here”

Morris dumps his sister’s memo atop the littered floor of the will call office of the Graphite County Opera House. Morris is steamed. Who does Noreen think she is, questioning if he receives and reads faxes? What kind of a backwater manager does she think he is? He’s further hacked off because he’s on the verge of pitching one of the most important shows ever to his sister. It involves repurposing commercials and the concept is destined to raise audience levels and revenue projections to an all-time high. Before Morris gets a good head of steam, he realizes there’s one aspect he should research before calling Noreen that may make the concept null and void. But he ignores these doubts and calls her anyway . . .

Pitch #6: “Place Commercial Here”

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The Ornate Plumbing of Silt Ridge’s Gilded Past

Morris Crimpanfortis is down on his pinstriped knees, the sleeves of his heavily starched white shirt rolled up, as he performs his periodic chores around the Graphite County Opera House. Today, he’s scrubbing ornate fixtures in the grandiose men’s room off the main lobby. There are additional elegantly apportioned men’s rooms in the opera house on various levels. In fact, there are a lot of fancy men’s room throughout the municipality of Silt Ridge, reflecting the great wealth of its industrial past. Morris wrings out the worn sponge in the rinse bucket and pauses. He has a breathtaking epiphany: what about producing a documentary that showcases the ornate men’s rooms of the Graphite County Opera House? Then he has another thought: what about expanding the scope to include the men’s rooms in other establishments of Silt Ridge? And if that’s not earthshaking enough, why not make a series out of it instead of a one-off documentary? Morris has his enthusiasm short-circuited when he thinks about something that will potentially doom the project before it gets off the ground . . .   

TO: Morris Crimpanfortis V

FROM: Morris Crimpanfortis V

RE: The Lost Elegance of Silt Ridge’s Men’s Rooms


You can say i scour the landscape for new programming concepts. Well, as you will soon find out, i scour more than the landscape. And sometimes it really pays off!

Someone’s Gotta Run with This

The sleeves of my heavily starched white shirt are crisply rolled up. On my hands and knees, I scrub the floor tiles alongside the stateliest men’s rooms fixtures in America. A programming note suddenly strikes me: has anyone thought about doing a documentary on the fancy men’s rooms in Silt Ridge?

This downtrodden burg might not make people mistake it for Manhattan, but one thing makes it stand above the rest: its colossal collection of historical and classical men’s rooms fixtures. We are talking magnificent works of architectural splendor, tall, imposing and fashioned out of chiseled granite, onyx, quartz and marble. To put it in perspective, if a guy happened to keel over while relieving himself at one of these splendorous behemoths, the fixture could presumably double as a coffin – that’s how spacious they were.

Ornate Porcelain Fixtures Flying Off the Walls

In the opera house alone, you have the long lineup of twenty-four grand fixtures in the off-lobby men’s room. There are additional ones over on the first floor East Wing, plus everything on the Upper Grand Tier, Grand Tier, Dress Circle, Orchestra Terrace, plus more serving the Orchestra and Platinum Circles. Then there’s the whole raft of dressing rooms. Plus, there are so many different kinds of marble:  Carrara marble, white Himalaya marble, French red marble, yellow marble, Spanish Gold, green marble and Galaxy Jade – and don’t forget the pink marble in the men’s room on the exclusive upper, upper balcony. My self-imposed cleaning detail regularly includes men’s rooms that have not been used for decades. But whenever the opera house goes into service again, the restrooms will be ready (Verona handles the women’s side of things).

Then, when you consider some of the other establishments in town, there is the great configuration over at the movie theater where you have ornate fixtures circling around the fluted columns. Over at the Five-Points Highway Diner, the fixtures are individually carved out of granite into likenesses of former city councilmen. Maybe it’s the age of this town, or because of the industrial wealth gleaned from its rich coalmining history, but I don’t remember men’s rooms like these in Burbank.

Looking for a Host who is not Easily Distracted

As I start getting excited about mounting this show, I eagerly anticipate who I will get to host it. You have to be really careful the way you approach the person: “Hi, so-and-so. I’m really into men’s rooms, and I think you’d be ideal to host a documentary that showcases them in their classic essence.” My initial thoughts gravitate toward Hadley Codfaldt. But is someone with half a BILLION listeners going to want to put himself out there on a show about historically significant men’s rooms fixtures, no matter how tastefully done? How about Jonas Cider? I could get him off my back about co-hosting Anthracite Tonite while using the documentary as a nifty audition. But no, that would only play into his ego. Face it, the man is impossible to work with. That leaves only one remaining option: me.

I have to be very careful about pitching this to Noreen. I have to work up to it. If I hit her with doing a documentary about the men’s rooms of Silt Ridge, she will shut me down before I get a good head of steam. Hey, maybe I could do a joint partnership with Mayor Perry Quinnion. He is always hawking those inspirational posters. Maybe we could work up a poster featuring a montage of the notable men’s rooms in Silt Ridge, and have some uplifting comment that makes people feel good about themselves.

Visions of Syndication Bouncing off the Tiles

Then I really have a thought that blows the doors down: why not make a series of it? Who says we need to stop at Silt Ridge? Yes, Silt Ridge would be a good launching place, and we could open every installment from here, but then we travel throughout the magnificent countryside, showcasing the most historically monumental male-oriented bathroom fixtures on earth. I wonder if that would make a good title – “The Most Historically Monumental Men’s Rooms on Earth.” It does have a nice ring to it, and certainly it says it all. I’m sure that even Noreen will warm up to the project when all the ancillary merch and promo components are thrown in.

Then I start having serious doubts. My second thoughts run rampant. What if she accuses me of being one-sided and ignoring the women’s interests. But I have a comeback: I don’t know anything about the women’s side of things, as I have never before been in a women’s room.

The next thing is a budget. Daddy’s people always want a budget. Well, like everything else, I’ll just let the budget take care of itself.

I wonder how I’m going to pitch this to Noreen. Definitely, I’m going to have to get her on the right day.

When All Else Fails, Let the After-party Roll!

Noreen Crimpanfortis, Vice President of Business Affairs for Hyper-Citation, Inc. faxes a special memo to her wayward brother, Morris Bartlett Crimpanfortis, V, as he languishes in coal country. Noreen previously copied him on the all-network memo, commanding every decision-maker in stations across the country to stay clear of anyone who hints of a Kalabrashion connection. Noreen makes mention of the fact that the after-party for the Silt Ridge Midnight News, when put up on the satellite, has gained worldwide attention. Apparently, no one is watching the local newscasts, but they’re tuning in from all over the world to catch the extravagant after-parties, held in the lot out in back of the towering Graphite County Opera House. Noreen notices that there is a lot of property in back of the opera house, representing a lot of lawn to mow. Morris seemingly has a problem with his sister’s analytics, as the property in back of the opera house is still covered with snow. He wonders how he should respond to this. What if they resort to using snow blowers? The memo slips disconsolately from his cluttered desk to the littered floor, and he just leaves it there . . .  

TO: Morris Bartlett Crimpanfortis, V

FROM: Noreen Crimpanfortis, Vice President of Business Affairs

RE: You’d Better Start Paying Attention!



I don’t know if you’re going to see this. I don’t know if your fax machine works. I don’t know if the satellites are working. I don’t even know if you look at what comes across your transom. But if you do see this, I urge you to ACT on it and FOLLOW ALONG with what I’m trying to impart to you.

FIRST, you are surely aware that I have rang the ALARM BELL on yet another dastardly Kalabrashion takeover ploy. This one involves the fine folks at Kentucky Power Glide. You may have already seen the preliminary plans. It’s going to be really elaborate, one of the most elaborate ever, with this undulating sod bridge high above the Jersey Turnpike.

The Undulating Sod Bridge: Quite a Sight

Don’t ask me, I don’t what they do to make it undulate. Nor do I fully understand why it even has to undulate in the first place. But I just know it adds to the excitement for motorists of seeing people mowing the lawn high above. Then, you have all the ancillary stuff, including the flying grass blades and dandelions. Well, you get the picture. I’ll be going back there to kick off the launch. I don’t think you’ll be needing to make a plane ticket, though I guess it’s within driving distance for you. C’EST LA VIE, Y’ALL.

Morey, I don’t need to tell you about the games the Kalabrashions play. They’ll smile at your face and shiv you in the back as cool as a cucumber, no questions asked. Their latest sham involves pretending to be friendly landscapers. Has anyone approached the opera house yet to bid on mowing? If so, I need you to REPORT THIS ACTIVITY immediately to me. The same goes if anyone else in that backwater burg of Silt Ridge has received inquiries about placing landscaping bids. Don’t take this the wrong way, Morey, but do people in that sorry neck of the woods even have lawns? Or is it just kind of the slovenly-weed-encrusted-moss bank mentality? Don’t listen to me; that was a low blow.

Diabolical Landscapers with Deep-Seeded Issues

But you, dear brother YOU it seems have a rather large target on your back. My research shows that there’s a substantial expanse of lawn in back of the Graphite County Opera House that you use for parking. How do I know this? Well, it seems that one of your enterprising techies on the Silt Ridge Midnight News has taken to streaming your pre-news tailgate parties and sprawling after-parties on the international satellite network. When, of course, the satellites work.

Don’t Forget about the After-parties

I checked the analytics recently, and there are millions . . .  MILLIONS of people tuning in to your tailgate parties and after-parties. Don’t get me wrong, NOBODY watches the midnight news. Those pathetic efforts are abysmal, by the way. But the parties? Wow Morey! You’re scoring some awfully big numbers. Father would be proud. WRONG! He can’t know a thing about this. How would that make his empire look, having a station known for its after-parties more than for the actual newscasts? NICE GOING, dear brother, your incompetence WINS THE DAY YET AGAIN!

One thing I did notice: the parking lot in back of the opera house is grass. I know it gets awfully beat up in the snow, but this is one more place where the Kalabrashions can score boffo points. If I were you, I’d really be on guard about nice people knocking on your door to take care of the lawn out in back. Can you envision the mayhem they can cause if they get the contract and then run roughshod during an after-party? What makes the whole thing worse is the satellite coverage. The WHOLE WORLD would be looking on as they took it to the Crimpanfortis family on their own territory. Oh Morey, even you must be able to see how detrimental such a scenario would be!

Therefore, dear brother, I ask you, I plead with you, I beseech you to please, please, PLEASE heed my warning and take the proper precautions when total strangers knock on the Will-Call Office door and ask to take care of your landscaping needs. REALIZE that you are staring into the eyes of the enemy, and take immediate action that will make the Crimpanfortis family PROUD OF YOU.

Heightened Alert for Smarmy Landscaper Bids

Instead of bombarding me with your constant and useless barrage of weak pitches, I seriously recommend that you focus the majority of your efforts on thwarting the enemy, thus keeping Silt Ridge pure and pristine, and free of the ravages of the cabal of Kalabrashion vultures.

But don’t, and I repeat . . . DO NOT produce a public service announcement warning fellow citizens about the imminent threat posed by the evil pack of landscapers. I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, Morey, but if there’s a way that a simple PSA could coalesce into a scalding hot mess, something tells me you would FIGURE OUT A WAY!

Grass-slaying Hyenas Get No On-air Love

Noreen Crimpanfortis, Vice President of Business Affairs for Hyper-Citation, Inc., orders this dictate for the higher-ups at the various TV stations across the country owned by her father, the legendary Morris Crimpanfortis, IV: under no circumstances are they to give any airtime, or mention any names of the salivating hyenas who want to take their empire down. In a scathing all-company memo, Ms. Crimpanfortis warns stations along the line to turn a cold shoulder on any requests for commercial airtime or news features. The Kalabrashion crowd will stop at nothing to get their evil brand of malice front and center in the public’s mind, so this will serve as a notice to be on the lookout when these seemingly innocent businesspersons who come knocking on your pristine corporate doors. If you have a lapse of judgement and hire one of the crews, it’s all on you; Hyper-Citation will try coming at the problem from fifteen different angles, but at the end of the day, if you ignore this memo, it becomes fully your deal to figure out . . .

TO: All Network Personnel Including General Managers and News Directors

FROM: Noreen Crimpanfortis, Vice President of Business Affairs

RE: Shutting Down the Kalabrashions


Read this and react at your own peril. I am requesting you – no, check that . . . I am ORDERING you to refrain from giving the Kalabrashion jackasses one MINUTE of mention on your TV stations, including all broadcast, streaming and social media platforms. That means no mention in newscasts and definitely, NO SPOT BUYS.

Here’s the deal: it’s not like this has never happened before. Every time Hyper-Citation rolls out a new display, these arrogant jackals feel the need to throw their two-cents into the mix. Case in point: remember what they did in response to our spider web in Music City? They went on a multi-city tour and poured out dump truck after dump truck of live roaches into crowded movie theaters, concert venues and jam-packed shopping malls. Big joke, right? Hah-hah. I’m still laughing myself silly over that one. WRONG!

High-minded Cockroaches Dealing with Co-op Dollars

Those louse-ridden cretins are it again, counterfeiting another one of my father’s glorious testimonies to commerce, art, advertising and magnificent visual splendor. My family’s plans call for an undulating sod bridge high above the Jersey Turnpike to showcase the stellar qualities of the Kentucky Power Glide lawn mower line. You may recall airing multiple flights on your stations in the past. You scored some nifty co-op dollars off that little lash-up right? That paid the electric bills, and handsomely padded someone’s commission check. I’m not being smart here, I’m just reminding you where your loyalties had better lie. Where your bread and buttocks are buttered. You CATCH MY DRIFT?

The Kalabrashions have found a new way to draw attention to their devilish enterprises while attempting to drag us down in their malicious undertow. My sources tell me that they have galvanized a desperate campaign to turn lawn mowing into a horror show. Here’s how it works: they worm their way into a town, undercutting the competition – and you better not call me on the fact that I just made a pun – and act all cheerful and polite. They keep this mealy M.O. up for a few weeks, for three or four quality cuts – and then BLAM! It’s lights out.

Making Mincemeat of Lawn & Garden Parties

What do I mean by that? Well, they’ll show up uninvited and unexpectedly at lawn parties and outdoor weddings and they’ll turn on the charm in the most bizarre, disconcerting of ways: in this case it means heavily supercharged lawn mowers that have been distinctively customized to bring out the greatest levels of fright in the intended victim – meaning the stunned and frightened customer. It gets worse, because after tearing up the lawn and peoples’ sanity during precious outdoor events, they then take it to high school stadiums while actual GAMES ARE BEING PLAYED! I don’t have to tell you the mess that results when they take out their venom on artificial turf. It’s a blizzard of stems, with whirring blades converging RIGHT ON THE PLAYERS!

Free Airtime Going Forward a Definite No-no

So listen up people – and I’m especially talking to you, GMs, GSMs, AEs, News Directors, social marketers and brand managers – do not, and I repeat DO NOT give these salivating jackasses one IOTA of free airtime during the news or as advertising clients. They relish making their antics into news events. DON’T GIVE THEM THE SATISFACTION. If you must report these landscaping travesties, do so in a vague way. Make it seem like small-time antics, like this is kid stuff. Don’t – and I repeat DO NOT attribute these putrid indiscretions to ANYONE. And do not, DO NOT NAME NAMES! No harm, no foul – NO BIG DEAL, right?

I’m glad that’s all understood. But let this serve as sufficient warning: if I get wind of any of you attaching the Kalabrashion name to one of these grass clipping fiascos, your job status in the vaunted CRIMPANFORTIS TELEVISION GROUP will be severely in jeopardy. Coppice?

Now that we’ve cleared the air on this score, carry on. Please.