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Image Hosted by Tonight on TDS, chef Jamie Oliver talks about healthy cooking habits and the upcoming season of his Emmy-winning series, Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution; and on TCR, CBS News correspondent (for the moment) and author Jeff Greenfield talks about tweaking the outcomes of historical events for his new book, Then Everything Changed. Meanwhile, Conan's got Jack McBrayer, Colin Quinn, and Hanson.
sausage grinder of snark

Something a bit different tonight (well, except for that being-well-within-the-media-mainstream thing) -- Jamie Oliver, promoting season 2 of his reality-'feed kids healthy stuff!'-show. Here's the promo:
Season premiere: Emmy award-winning series “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” returns for a second season on ABC, Tuesday, April 12, this time taking on the city of Los Angeles

Jamie Oliver, impassioned British chef, TV personality and best-selling author, will bring his Revolution to the nation’s second largest city — Los Angeles, California — and take on his biggest challenge yet when “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” returns for a second season... In this inspiring series from Fresh One and Ryan Seacrest Productions, Jamie attacks the problems of obesity, heart disease and diabetes in this country — where our children are the first generation not expected to live as long as their parents — and invites viewers to take a stand and change the way America feeds itself at home, in schools and on Main Street. The series’ first season was just named as a recipient of the forthcoming Television Academy Honors, exemplifying “television with a conscience.”

In the Season Two premiere, “Episode 201,” Jamie is raising the stakes for his Food Revolution by bringing it to one of America’s biggest cities, Los Angeles, but almost immediately has to rethink his approach when the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the nation’s second largest school district, slams the door in his face. Jamie’s first order of business — to win the support of the parents and teachers in hopes of appealing the LAUSD decision to lock him out of the school lunch program. He opens a kitchen in Westwood, where he hopes to provide educational tools to combat the obesity epidemic, and attends a school lunch convention, where he discovers a seminar advocating flavored milk in schools. Jamie stages a dramatic demonstration, but it falls short with the community, then attempts to create a healthy fast food menu in a local drive thru restaurant. Can the Revolution be saved?

There's more about that all over the place online. Here's the most substantial piece I've come across so far:
Shooting the second season of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution isn't looking anything like the cakewalk we predicted it would be. Even though the chef left the hardheaded lard-butts of Huntington, West Virgina, behind for Angelenos... he's still encountering resistance from L.A. Unified School District. Five out of five of the local high-school kids we polled said they wanted Jamie to remedy their cruddy burritos and spoiled veggies, but LAUSD remains stubborn on the issue, with a rep telling the L.A. Times, "Reality TV has a formula. You either have to have drama or create conflict to be successful. We're not interested in either." Well, the rep is right that reality TV is like that, but gosh. Why won't people just stop with all the nonsense and let poor Jamie save America from itself?

...But no way in hell is ABC abandoning its Emmy-winning show, so Jamie is hanging tough. Today, the celeb chef is opening a community kitchen to teach L.A. how to cook at no cost, which sounds like a great idea. But why on earth is Jamie putting this kitchen in Westwood, an affluent college neighborhood far out of most of the city's reach?

... as we all know by now, poor diets tend to plague poor neighborhoods at higher rates. Couldn't Jamie have found a space in downtown's Skid Row or tackled some of the stretches of South L.A. where new fast-food establishments have been banned to usher in healthier choices? And if he couldn't enter the schools, why not at least start his kitchen where LAUSD students actually live?

We certainly support the Naked Chef's efforts to bring revolution to L.A., yet we can't help but think starting a farmers' market in one of our many food deserts or helping the hungry would have been a better start than going where untold legions of wannabe actors might crowd his kitchen, starving for nothing more than screen time.

I watched the first episode last season & somehow never managed to catch another. I strongly suspect it won't be appointment TV with me this year either.
Jeff Greenfield, currently at CBS news, was supposed to be Colbert's guest a couple weeks ago. A quick check suggests there isn't anything markedly novel out there, so here's what I put together then:
Greenfield's been out promoting his book Then Everything Changed: Stunning Alternate Histories of American Politics JFK, RFK, Carter, Ford, Reagan . Here's Publisher's Weekly (via Amazon):
Speculation isn't history, but it's catnip to pundits and journalists like veteran CBS News reporter and commentator Greenfield (The Real Campaign), who can be excused for this romp into what ifs. He rightly says that alternative history's foundation is plausibility. And since he's read widely in the sources, his excursions into possible histories are decently anchored to the ground. In the first narrative, an actual failed attempt to assassinate JFK before his inauguration instead succeeds. LBJ takes his place, Guantánamo is wiped out by a rogue Soviet missile, and war with the U.S.S.R. is only narrowly averted. In the second narrative, Robert Kennedy isn't assassinated, beats Nixon in 1968, winds down the Vietnam War, and with no Watergate scandal, the cultural changes of the 1970s are averted. The third account has Ford winning re-election, but in 1980 it's Hart vs. Reagan, and Hart wins. Of course, there are other possible scenarios, which Greenfield doesn't discuss. And in these novelistic narratives, readers drown in excess, irrelevant detail (dinner menus, precise times of meetings, exact conversations)—all wonkish pundit stuff, and none essential to Greenfield's purpose. In the end, fun but insubstantial.
That 'stunning' in the subtitle annoys me, especially taken with this bit from Booklist (Amazon):
Inevitably, speculation plays a role in Greenfield?s accounts, but he bolsters possible scenarios with ancedotes, quotes, and oral histories, all of which are sourced at the end of the book. This reliance on sources is why Greenfield prefers that his work be called nonfiction, though some may disagree.
I don't care how accurately based-on his fiction is, I have a hard time believing I'll be 'stunned' by anyone's what-if fantasies. But then, this next is from the publisher's description:
A brilliant and brilliantly entertaining tour de force of American politics from one of journalism's most acclaimed commentators.

History turns on a dime. A missed meeting, a different choice of words, and the outcome changes dramatically. Nowhere is this truer than in the field where Jeff Greenfield has spent most of his working life, American politics, and in three dramatic narratives based on memoirs, histories, oral histories, fresh reporting with journalists and key participants, and Greenfield's own knowledge of the principal players, he shows just how extraordinary those changes would have been....

But what if it had gone the other way? The scenarios that Greenfield depicts are startlingly realistic, rich in detail, shocking in their projections, but always deeply, remarkably plausible. You will never think about recent American history in the same way again.

And if you'll honestly "never think about American history the same way" in the future, I'd submit that you've probably not spent a whole lot of time thinking about history in the past.
Here's what's up for next week:
Mon 4/11
Tues 4/12
Weds 4/13
Thurs 4/14
Foo Fighters
Gov. Deval Patrick
Tracy Morgan
Ricky Gervais
Mon 4/11
Tues 4/12
Weds 4/13
Thurs 4/14
Jamie Hyneman & Adam Savage
Ray Kurzweil
Morgan Spurlock
Caroline Kennedy
Mon 4/11
Tues 4/12
Weds 4/13
Thurs 4/14
Chris O'Donnell, P.J. Harvey
Gordon Ramsay, Hayden Panettiere
Anthony Anderson, the Kills
Alexis Bledel, Queens of the Stone Age
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