Tag Archives: NBC

The final word on Travel Channel (unless I think of more)

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an entry on the blog about TV travel shows – how terribly uncreative and bland most of them are, in Britain and here, and how so many people still write to me about my show, Stranded, after four years.

Boy, did that stir up a hornets’ nest. I never expected so many of you to be that interested, frankly.

Well, anyway, there have been several developments since then. So here, quickly, before we all grow bored with the topic, is an update.

First, the blog generated another avalanche of belated support for Stranded from fans – bless you all; I only hope that level of allegiance spills over into the documentary I’m shooting currently – and also a steady level of disgust, apparently, with Travel Channel for canceling it. Not something that was intended, by the way, but I totally understand. There’s a general malaise out there these days. As TV viewers, we feel shortchanged by network executives who, after finally getting around to producing a decent show for once, axe it again almost immediately before it’s built an audience. Personally, I am still grieving the loss of Journeyman and Better Off Ted. Damn you, NBC and ABC respectively.

When it comes down to basics, my problem when I was filming Stranded was that I wanted to make an intimate travel experience that I shared with the viewers, revealing the ups and downs of a guy voyaging around the world alone, surviving on the kindness of strangers and exploring other cultures, other perspectives on life. Whereas the production company wanted to make a whiz-bang fast-paced adventure show.

Right there you can see the issue. Those two don’t go together well, and so the series behind the scenes became a constant battleground, with me on the one side seeking to make programs about people and cultures, and the producers on the other hand insisting on having lots of bungy-jumping and snowboarding and whatever else. I wanted spontaneity and living by the seat of your pants-type stuff; the producers insisted on planning everything down to the last detail, leaving barely any room for anything real to happen at all. In truth, I thrive and come alive in spontaneous situations. That’s my forte; it’s where I excel. So of course excessive planning was claustrophobic for me. I was forced to be an actor and often made to do three or four takes to ‘get a shot right’. Ultimately the American audience sensed the fakery and pretense of it all and tuned out.

At its core, the show was a great idea that could have worked – in fact, it did work to an extent, in that, when I got my way and did what I wanted to do, it was refreshingly different and very funny – but in the end it died as a result of too many unwanted cooks jumping on board and messing with the ingredients. There was also someone working with us who had severe anger issues and who could be a ferocious tyrant at times. That attitude, I noticed, seemed to generate so much fear and unhappiness among the staff and crew that the show felt doomed almost from day one.

In respect to Travel Channel, the general drift of the conversation seems to be, “What were they thinking, getting rid of one of their best shows ever and replacing it with one dopey series after another?” But since I don’t watch T.C., I honestly can’t comment on how dopey their recent series are, if at all. Then again, when you’ve experienced the cringing torpor induced by most travel shows over the years, you can understand anger mounting at a network when something really good and refreshingly original makes it into the schedules, only to be allowed to die on the vine.

A former executive from Travel Channel (and there are a lot of them these days, from what I hear) wrote to me commiserating with viewers’ disappointment that the show wasn’t better supported at the time. “I don’t think it ever got its due,” this person said. That seems to echo many people’s opinion. The email additionally assured me that there was no bad blood between me and the network at all, that was just a bad rumor. Most of the original management team and others had gone, so how could there be? Well, that’s something, at least.

One extra fascinating little snippet: it seems the show was axed in the end, not because of lack of devotion by viewers, but because it told the truth about the various locations, especially the bad ones. I didn’t know this, but apparently no travel network can allow that. Travel shows are exercises in PR, pure and simple. That’s why they’re so bland. If the producers want to go back and film in the same locations in future, they need to appease the local tourist office at all costs. That’s what killed Stranded: the perky little bugger was just too honest for its own good.  Of course, I’m kicking myself now. I wish I’d lied about everything – we’d be in season 9 by now.

So there you go. Who would have thought people would still remember? Not me, that’s for sure. And certainly not Travel Channel.Then again, with so much lame retardo rubbish being thrown at us on TV nowadays, as networks increasingly across the board try to pass junk off as entertainment and hope we don’t notice, maybe it’s not so surprising.

TV Swami – he proud and teary-eyed at fans’ support.

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At last, the faceless yes-monkeys get what’s coming to them.

networksI confess, nothing in this world brings a sparkle to my jaded eye on an overcast Monday morning in Los Angeles quite like hearing that the television industry is in trouble, with ratings in the toilet, executives being canned, and advertisers fleeing like kids from a burning orphanage.

It feels so right somehow. Like justice, or something.

The Wrap website today features the first part of a series of articles about the decline and predicted extinction of  TV as we know it. It’s worth reading.

TV executive

Out of work TV executive

Speaking as someone who’s worked in TV on both sides of the Atlantic and been forced to deal with ghastly weasels who call themselves producers, as well as slimey, two-faced network executives with zero scruples or backbone, it gives me the greatest pleasure to witness karma at work as these rats are slowly, year upon year, flushed from the plush, carpeted, five-star drains they’ve been cowering in for so long and out into the open job market.

Television is changing for good. Having destroyed their industry by flooding the schedules increasingly with cheap, annoying, sensationalist and ultimately no-quality product, the suits are now finding – surprise surprise – that viewers are drifting away, searching for something more productive to do with their time, taking advertisers, and therefore budgets, with them.  

Howard Stern this morning declared the end of TV as we know it, blaming a string of lousy and misguided executive decisions that focused on pandering to the mindless youth demographic of this country rather than producing quality shows. And he’s right.  HBO and a couple of other cable networks are the lone wolves in the quality TV department. Everyone else has thrown in the towel. (Need an example? See Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami.)    

My next door neighbor is on the board of HBO. He’s an incredibly smart man. If the rest of his colleagues are like him, it’s no wonder the network is thriving.

Sadly, he’s an isolated case. Most executives are not that astute. Usually, when we see these people sitting in their fancy corner offices making multi-million dollar deals, we assume they got where they are because they’re brilliant at what they do, when in fact, all too often, the exact opposite is true.

Kath and Kim

Kath and Kim

Look at the way Ben Silverman brought NBC to its creative knees with a string of appalling shows that were cancelled either during or, if they made it that far, at the end of the first season, never to reappear: Kath and Kim, My Own Worst Enemy, Knight Rider, Crusoe, Kings, Life, Lipstick Jungle….

Ghastly, every last one of them. Who on earth would ever think we’d want to sit and watch this trash? Oh, wait – Ben Silverman did. This is the trail of devastation he left behind him when he left.

My own experience of working with TV people confirms that they’re anything but the geniuses we have them down for. Most are faceless yes-monkeys, slaves to focus group findings and marketing surveys, whose main aptitude seems to be for manipulation, deceit and lying; everything else – judgment, creative ability, decisive action, vision, etc; stuff that really matters – is either secondary or non-existent.

A TV executive has one main priority: to keep his job as a TV executive and not get fired for making bad decisions. That’s it. If a show’s a hit, claim it as your own; if it flops, keep your head down and move on to the next thing. To hell with what’s actually good and worthwhile or what raises the bar and advances the medium.

So I applaud the dire prospects of the TV industry. And I absolutely love that the fall-out is taking many of the yes-monkeys with it.

Now, having said that, I will hand the baton jubilantly over to Josef Adalian at The Wrap for his analysis of the devastation that is taking place.   

“Network TV may be a cyclical business — but for bruised and battered broadcasters battling the worst economy in a generation, there’s little evidence to suggest a bounce back is in the cards any time soon.

If anything, things could get a lot worse before they get better. Some observers are even beginning to question whether there will ever be a turnaround, predicting that business model which has sustained broadcasters for close to 60 years has begun an irreversible decline.

The latest blow: A disastrous upfront advertising market that saw revenues plunge an estimated 15 percent from last year, dropping from $9.2 billion in 2008 to around $7.8 billion, according to estimates by several publications….”

Read the FULL article HERE.

TV Swami – he say YES to the demise of television, even though he’ll have nothing left to review on the BBC if it crashes.

www.cashpeters.com   

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Not fat enough yet? NBC can help.

Today is not only Casual Friday but also, checking out my calendar, I find it’s Grave Disappointment Day as well.

On Grave Disappointment Day there’s no blog, sadly. Traditionally it coincides with the Swami taking his car in for its 15,000 mile service even though it only has 11,000 miles on the clock, due to some silly contractual clause in the lease, which means he has to sit in Starbucks for hours filling in time rather than doing something constructive. Writing nonsense, for instance.

Sorry. There’s nothing I can do. Blame Audi.

But I’m not abandoning you entirely. Let me keep you entertained with an item of modern stupidity.

The Huffington Post yesterday featured a clip from The Today Show, in which Matt Lauer interviews a dietitian about exciting ways to feed a family on a road trip.

However – and here’s where the idiots in society start cheering – she advises them to eat a whole bunch of food that is recognized as being thoroughly unhealthy for them, if not artery-clogging – from Taco Bell and McDonalds, for instance. Rather than emphasize nutrition, she concerns herself only with calories. Fabulous.

For a country where a large proportion of the population has large proportions, bordering on being clinically obese, it’s one of the most delinquent pieces of mass programming I’ve seen in a long while and makes me want to hold both sides of my head and scream.

It’s HERE. Enjoy.

www.cashpeters.com

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Just what I love – a night of the long knives.

No Swami today. Sorry, guys.

Whaaa?

Hey, I said I’m sorry! But I have things to do. One of which is to put up a bunch of audio features on my website so that you can listen to past reports I did for Marketplace.

I’m in the final throes, last legs, dying moments of my radio “career” right now. It won’t last much longer. So I thought it would be nice if fans of the pieces I made for public radio could track down archival material after I’m gone. This is my version of the George W. Bush Library, only in my case I’ve actually done things I can be proud of. 

NBC Universal TCA PartyHaving said that, if I were writing a blog post today it would be to celebrate Ben Silverman being ousted at NBC. As the guy who oversaw the unnecessary revivals of American Gladiators and Knight Rider, as well as cancelling one of the best dramas NBC ever had – Journeyman– plus being responsible for truly terrible shows like Parks and Recreation, My Own Worst Enemy, and the upcoming five-nights-a-week Jay Leno Show, a disaster in the making, he was long overdue for being fired. Although in PR Knight Riderterms, he’s not being fired at all, he’s found another job and is going to that, because firing him would suggest that whoever hired him in the first place had made a huge mistake, and that would never do.

Indeed, the guy who really should be fired is the guy who hired him – Jeff Zucker, the big cheese at NBC Universal, who began as a researcher for their Olympic coverage in the 80s and rose steadily through the ranks when maybe, perhaps, for the good of all concerned, he should have stayed a researcher. Zucker, in the mind of many critics, is responsible for NBC being at the bottom of the network pile right now and continuing to languish.

But will they junk him? Oh good grief, absolutely not. Once these people get their feet under the desk, however mediocre they are, their big-time friends protect them like they’re an endangered species. Zucker is going nowhere.

Besides, he’s not alone. TV executives make lousy decisions and waste millions of dollars all the time and are never held accountable. For example, my innovative and fascinating little TV travel show, which had a legion of loyal fans, was cancelled in 2006, to be replaced by a bland, toe-curlingly awkward sports show hosted by Drew Carey. Which sports show? What was the title? Answer: nobody has a clue. It pretty much tanked, leaving Carey to move on to The Price is Right

In those circumstances, wouldn’t you have fired the executive who made such a rubbish and ill-conceived move? (That and many more, I might add.) But no, it won’t happen. The bad decisions continue at these places. Or rather, they do, until one day the roster of catastrophes is so great that someone has to be blamed, and publicly. And that’s what’s happened at NBC. 

That’s why Silverman is out finally. For the record, here he is, praising Leno and saying how great the atrocious Parks and Recreation is going to be.

And here he is in a hotel room singing a made-up song very, very badly.

On that ground alone, I’d have fired his ass. They say he’s being replaced with a worthy substitute. Hopefully, it’s someone with vision and artistic credentials, someone who’s created great shows, understands writers, is bold and daring and willing to consider bright new innovative ideas….let me see now….

His name, apparently, is Jeff Gaspin.

Hang on, let’s take look a look at his background….oh, what a surprise – he’s an accountant!

So another four years of doldrums for NBC, then. Will these people never learn?

 

TV Swami – he say NO to NBC pretty much for the foreseeable future.

www.cashpeters.com

Buy Cash’s book, Naked in Dangerous Places, HERE.

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No more hookers for my dentist. Not on my dime.

I went to bed last night feeling awfully guilty. I’d been watching Brian Williams’ splendid documentary about how Obama and his staff run the White House, and Obamasuddenly realized something important, not to say devastating.  That successful people, the movers and shakers, the elite power-brokers in this world, don’t sleep in late, watch a lot of TV, and take long naps, the way I would do if I’d just been elected President – they actually work.

Hard.

All day.  

Without bunking off to go buy deoderant at the store or download movies from iTunes or to Skype friends and chat. It was quite an eye-opener and a whole new world. When did people at the top become so industrious all of a sudden?

Anyway, today, as a result, I woke at 5.15 and, instead of doing what I usually do at that time – roll over and go back to sleep ’til 8.30 – I sprang out of bed and got going. (Now, of course, it’s 7.50 and I’m worn out. But I’m thinking to myself, “What would Obama do?” He’d stay awake and write his blog. So that’s what I’m doing.)

Also, one of my friends in England emailed me with a problem. She’s got toothache. Bad, multiple kind of toothache, all down one side of her mouth. Everything hurts. And even though she’s paying her dentist a fortune, he can’t seem to pinpoint the problem. 

Dentoskeptics might say, “But of course he can’t.”

As anyone who knows me will tell you, I don’t trust dentists any more than I  trust doctors.  We place way too much faith in their opinions and so-called expertise, in my view. And because we do, they exploit our goodwill and gullibility and  pressure us into using their services. 

My dentist, for example, spends a disproportionate part of his income on hookers in Vegas.  I know this for a fact. And Vegas hookers don’t come cheap. I know that for a fact too – don’t ask me how. But to afford that kind of quality lay, my dentist needs to work almost as hard as Obama does. Which means he needs to find lots of mouth problems to fix.

Four years ago, I broke one of my teeth. On the left side here at the bottom. (I’m pointing.) The thing snapped in half while I was eating almond ice cream. It was very alarming, and left a huge black hole. Naturally, my dentist looked at it and pulled a face. “That’s terrible,” he said. “It’s going to take a lot of work to put that right.”

A lot of work, eh? Hm.

This would consist of several stages over a period of a year: extract the tooth; sew up the gum; repair the jaw with a bone graft; insert a titanium bolt; and prepare and fit an implant.

Total cost: $5,000. At 2005 prices! That’s…hang on, let me calculate…. my lord, that’s about 4.8 blow-jobs I’d be paying for right there. 

Well, truth is, I was busy. So as a short-term measure, I told him to glue the broken half of the tooth back on for the time being, while I remortgaged my house. “You have three months,” he said, “before this gets serious and has to be treated, otherwise your jaw could snap.”

My jaw could snap????  

At first I panicked. Then I came to my senses. Maybe he’s wrong, I thought. He’s only a dentist, after all. Maybe there are other ways to deal with the problem. Holistic ways he’s not telling me about, because they’re cheap and he’d make no money from them.

So, with the help of a friend I set about researching this, looking for alternative treatments. And we were surprised. We discovered a whole bunch of stuff that we’d never heard of before, stuff I’ll share with you here. Maybe some of it will resonate and you’ll start exploring this for yourself. 

  • Stress factors. The nerves in your teeth are directly connected to the various organs of your body. (“Your knee-bone’s connected to your thigh-bone…” – remember? Most dentists and doctors have to learn the lyrics of that song before they’re allowed to practice.) Everything in the body’s interrelated. So if you’re having gum or tooth problems, then it might be because of stress, worry, or other internal issues elsewhere that you need to fix before you start playing with your teeth;
  • Killing bacteria. Decay and gum disease are caused by bacteria. So if you kill the bacteria, you kinda stop the decay dead in its tracks, right, and save the tooth? That makes sense to me. And…
  • …what kills bacteria? Oh, all manner of things: ordinary baking soda, coconut oil, grapefruit seed extract, vitamin E in castor oil (from a bottle, rubbed on at night); and a little spray called colloidal silver (microscopically tiny particles that penetrate the pores and act like a nuclear blast to germs). It was worth a try anyway. So I started using all these methods in rotation.
  • Proper cleaning. First off, I bought a Water PicWaterpicBefore I went to bed, I  filled the reservoir with warm water and, on alternate nights, put in ten drop of grapefruit seed extract or a tablespoon of baking soda, then flushed out my gums, aiming the jet around the broken tooth especially, so that the healing water could penetrate the pores.   
  • Change toothpastes. I discovered that ordinary commercial toothpaste contains glycerin. What glycerin does is form a strong coating around the teeth to protect them. So strong is it, that it takes around 22 brushings to scrub it off again. Which sounds good, but apparently germs getVicco trapped inside the coating, and these germs can cause tooth decay. Forgive me, but isn’t that the opposite of what you want? Suspecting a conspiracy within the dental industry to get more patients, I switched to Ayurvedic toothpaste, which is natural and doesn’t contain glycerin.  
  • Deal with emotional issues. Turns out that the tooth that snapped is directly related to the liver, and the liver is where your body stores residual anger. Seems that if you’re deeply angry about something, then the overflow could cause pain in the teeth and lead to root canals and decay. So I also started meditating and working on that.
  • Swishing. Then there was oil-pulling, or swishing. See my post the other day. That kept my teeth ultra-clean and made them whiter.

And that was it.

Sounds like a lot, right? I guess many people would rather just hand over $5,000, make a horny dentist very happy, and get it over with. But not me.

In actual fact, I rather enjoyed experimenting. It’s highly empowering. Especially since, when I returned to have an X-ray three months later, it turned out that there was no visible deterioration in the tooth. And when I went back three months after that, the tooth had actually started to heal. My dentist was stunned. “But how?” he gasped, concerned that he might not be getting a decent blow-job again for a while. “What are you doing to it?”

When I told him, he just laughed. Thought I was crazy and said so. Coconut oil? Baking soda? Conspiracy? Ayurvedic toothpaste? And even if they did work, then he was pretty confident that most people were too lazy to go through such a rigmarole. Which is probably true.

Long story short: I’ve continued this regime of mine for four years now and I’m still fine. Not only do I not have a wretched implant in my mouth, but it would seem that the two halves of the broken tooth have somehow fused back together, because they’re still in there, stronger and healthier than ever. Plus, and best of all, I saved five grand.

Of course, everyone’s different. One size doesn’t fit all, so you can’t just duplicate what I did; you have to find what works for you. But who knows, somewhere in among these wild discoveries might be the seed of something important that will undermine our reliance on these money-hungry professionals in  future and put the ball back in our court. 

It’s what President Obama would do, I feel sure, if he had acres of time on his hands and wasn’t running a country and appearing in TV documentaries.

 

The NBC White House doc gets five magic carpets out of five.

TV Swami – he say YES.

Not read the disclaimer at the top of the page yet? Please do.      

www.cashpeters.com

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Why doctors will never find a cure for cancer. You read it here first.

Er…because it’s not in their financial interests to find one? Just guessing.

It’s becoming increasingly evident, to me anyway, that we must try to heal ourselves as much as possible. Some health gurus, such as Andreas Moritz [see UPDATE below], are now saying that cancer is simply the body’s final way of telling us, after many previous attempts failed and the signs were ignored, that we have done wrong by ourselves, endured too much stress, a toxic diet, poor attitudes, lack of sleep, and so on, and the day of reckoning has come. If he’s right, then maybe it’s time to stop with the nonsense and get our system back into balance – or pay the price. Cancer’s message is very straightforward, he says: there will be no more warnings. The next step could be fatal.

I’m nothing to do with healthcare for the most part. I have no dog in this fight, other than a book I wrote about miraculous healing, which I recommend to anyone interested in avoiding disease or recovering from its effects. Otherwise, I’m just a regular guy. But I hear it more and more about doctors. That they want to keep us returning to them, not only for the good of our health, but so that they can maintain their income. A dead patient is not a profitable one.

Same with drug companies. You’re only valuable to them if you’re still breathing and able to buy their overpriced products. So cancer victims are frequently subjected to the most horrible and barbaric treatments, from chemo to surgery, treatments that work for some, but can also tear down the cell structure of the body, extending their life in many cases only a few months or years. Harmful medications are prescribed routinely, despite bringing on horrendous side-effects. Doctors Taming the Beast Within Final Coverattempt to suppress the symptoms, they don’t go in search of the root cause. Why? Because that’s not their job, it’s ours. It’s up to us to figure out why the body is staging this act of rebellion we call disease and then tackle the issue at source, making any changes necessary to our lifestyle and habits, preferably with trained help and advice. There’s a lot more about this in my book Taming the Beast Within: A New Weapon in the War on Candida, since more and more people are coming around to the view that Candida and cancer are connected. One leads to the other.  

I believe in science. I have great faith in doctors, and admit we’d be lost without them. But when it comes to my own body and what happens to it, I am the final authority. It’s down to me. The buck stops here. I take full responsibility.

I was reminded of this as yet another prominent person – E! News host Giuliana Rancic – yesterday announced that she’d been diagnosed with breast cancer. Always sad to hear. But even sadder was that she announced she was going straight into surgery this week to deal with it. And who told her to do that? Why, her doctor, of course! Probably scared her half to death in the process, poor woman.

The book I mentioned above, by the way, has proved to be one of the most popular and enduring I’ve ever written, so I’m giving it a little more prominence today. It’s called a little book about believing; The Transformative Healing Power of Faith, Love, and Surrender.

It looks to some like a religious book. It’s not at all. But it is highly informative, entertaining, energizing, and filled with hope and tips for making your life better.

Further details about the path to healing and what it might take to get well can be read in this blog post.

*

farrahaging

Cancer has become one of the biggest blights on the modern world. It’s also one of the most widespread. We all know people who are living with it or who have died from it. My own mother, for example; kidney cancer took her down in a matter of months. Like the actress Farrah Fawcett, she relied very heavily at the time on God to step in at the last minute and save her. With enough prayer, she figured, there might be a reprieve. But he didn’t and there wasn’t, and now she’s gone.

As it is, various truths are surfacing about cancer that go contrary to conventional medical practices. It may surprise you to learn that I’m not a doctor. That’s why there’s a big old disclaimer at the top of the page. I’m everyman. A guy whose mother died from a horrible disease when she probably didn’t need to. But here’s what I’ve learned in my own life. Maybe you’ll take something useful away from it.

1) 80% of cancers heal themselves if we leave them alone. This is the Andreas Moritz view. As soon as we’re diagnosed, he says, we leap in there and start fighting it. But here’s the shocker: fighting cancer the traditional medical way may actually help spread it and kill you anyway!

Sometimes the best reaction to such a diagnosis, apparently, is to relax into the experience. Eat right, meditate, do yoga, change your thinking, educate yourself about holistic treatments that oxygenate and alkalize the body (one guy in Canada achieved encouraging results using cannabis resin), and generally bring the body into peace and balance so that the immune system is restored to good health and can do its job, which is to heal you.

In that scenario, your goal as the patient would be to nurture your immune system so that it, in turn, can nurture you. Actually, this applies whether you’re sick or not.

2) Cancer is often a reward; it’s just not the kind of reward you like. There are health practitioners out there, the more advanced-thinking ones, who don’t subscribe to cancer being a disease at all, but believe that in many cases it’s merely a harsh reminder from the body that you’ve been doing something wrong for the longest time, and now you need to get straight, pal, or pay a hefty price.

Bill Maher got it right when he said that there’s no real mystery to why there’s an increase in cancer. “It’s in the food, people!”  Toxin-, sugar-, and chemical-filled food, as well as smoking, stress, drugs, lack of sleep, etc etc etc. – lead us on a downward path and deplete the body. We know this, we just so often choose to ignore it.

3) Conventional medicine asks the wrong questions and does the wrong things. I’ve heard this said many times. Cutting bits out of your body, blasting you with radiation, cramming you with drugs – it’s what doctors automatically do; they treat the symptoms.

What they don’t do is go back to basics and treat the cause of the symptoms, by asking: “What is this disease trying to tell you? What have you been doing wrong all these years that you’ve driven your body into a state where it actually has to get ill before you’re willing to listen to it? And how are you going to correct this pattern so that the body can heal itself?”

And since there’s no money to be made from letting the body heal itself, it’s straight to surgery, pills, chemo – stuff that benefits the medical profession financially, but that in a lot of cases can do waaaaay more harm than good. Do you realize how many people die at the hands of doctors every year? The percentage is HUGE

Whenever I see a high-profile cancer sufferer on TV – Patrick Swayze, who was in a terrible way for a while; Dr. Randy Pausch, the Last Lecture guy who died; and dozens more – I always see that they’ve rushed to have radiation treatment or had huge chunks of their body cut out by doctors. Chunks that may be  really necessary to their recovery, but which they don’t have any more.

I even heard that actress Christina Applegate had both her breasts cut off just in case she contracted cancer in the future. I mean, yike! If that’s true, how insane is the faith we, as a society, place in men in white coats? At what point did we all get brainwashed into believing that doctors had all the answers?

4) Conventional medicine will never find a cure for cancer. Are you crazy? D’you have any idea how many hundreds of thousands of people, would be put out of work if a cure were found? The billions of dollars that would be lost? How many institutes would have to close? As long as cancer thrives, so will big business and the millions who leech off it.

It’d be the same story if Jesus returned, as so many Christians believe he will, and started telling evangelicals that most of what they teach and believe is, in actual fact, an ugly contortion of  what God wants, and not even remotely related to what’s good or right. D’you think they’d rush to give up on their rigid beliefs, close down churches, shut down those ghastly, hypocritical, money-grubbing  TV networks they have? Not a chance. They’d simply find a way to crucify him all over again.

I don’t care how much you donate to charity or how much research is done, or how many trials the drugs companies carry out – I bet a 100% cure for cancer will never be found. Look how much money has been poured into research already, and yet cancer is more widespread than ever.

5) Alternative treatments may provide an answer. The mother of a friend of mine defied five sets of doctors, each one of whom advised her to have a tumor removed from her breast. Instead, for five years, she went down the holistic route with all kinds of treatments – Asian mushrooms, Essiac tea, coffee enemas, stuff modern doctors laugh at and decry. But, according to her (and her doctor, too, years later), the tumor became benign and shrank and the cancer healed itself.

Three little stories to back up what I’m saying:

1) An elderly friend of mine told me recently of a pact she made many years ago with a woman she’d known since childhood. Both these women found they had breast cancer around about the same time, and both were tormented by what to do about it. While the other person was scared and submitted to the full cancer treatment program that her doctor threw at her, my friend refused it. She simply ate better food, relaxed more, and abstained from stress and worry and fear. Above all, she refused to concede any ground to the cancer, but more importantly to the medical profession. And guess whch one of them’s alive today. The other woman died a long time ago; the treatments killed her. My friend, on the other hand, is just fine. The cancer simply went away, she tells me.

2) I met a young lawyer at a party last year who told me that her brother had been diagnosed with stomach cancer and was told he could die within months. On finding this out, instead of submitting to fear, he did the uncommon thing – he told family and friends, “Let’s never mention this again.”

“So how is he doing?” I asked her.

“Well, the family freaked out, of course. We all did. But we wanted him to get treatment. Instead, he bought a dog, had lots more fun, changed his diet, and just relaced more. And now he seems fine.”

3) Finally, there’s a big-name movie actor who is currently suffering with blood cancer. I only know this because he happens to be the longtime friend of a friend. But he doesn’t want the industry to find out, so I’m not going to give his name. However, for a couple of years he submitted to standard medical treatments for this condition, only to find that the treatments were breaking down his body more than the cancer was. In effect, his doctors were kiling him. So he took back control and began investigating alternatives.

And in the end, d’you know what helped him turn the corner? Hash oil. Cannabis, basically.

There’s a movie called What if Cannabis Cured Cancer? Following the information contained in it, this big-time actor a few weeks ago began administering strong doses of hash oil to himself on a nightly basis, and you know what? Already he says he’s on the mend. He looks better and feels better, and for the first time senses that he has his life back in his own hands.

These are just three stories; there are many more, some of them featured in my book, along with a ton of fascinating information, all of which has shown me at least there’s a lot more to this cancer thing than we’ve been led to believe. Over the years, the National Cancer Institute has apparently spent $105 billion looking for a cure for cancer. All that money wasted, when in truth the answer may well be staring us right in the face. Simple message: find the root cause and tackle that, don’t merely work to suppress the symptoms.

*

Anyhow, that’s it. My ten-penneth.

I have to say, though, that, as I watched the TV documentary Farrah’s Story a while ago, about the dying days of Farrah Fawcett, all of this was buzzing through my mind. If only she hadn’t gone to doctors. If only she’d tried other ways. I just wish these people invested more in alternative treatments that are out there, and knew that they don’t have to rush into surgery, and that, indeed, by letting doctors treat them in conventional ways, they may in fact be accelerating their own demise.

Very sad.

By the way, if you haven’t already please read the Disclaimer above.

And here’s what people have been saying about the book:

Gripping. I couldn’t put it down. A book that even true skeptics can believe in!” – Len Richmond, director of What if Cannabis Cured Cancer?
“An extraordinary book with a life-changing message” Andreas Moritz, author of Cancer is Not a Disease.
“A remarkable first-hand exploration of the faith-healing phenomenon” – Dr. Brian G.M. Durie, Aptium Oncology, Inc.
“This book is surprising, challenging, eye-opening, sensitive, touching…I’m running out of words. Just get it and read it.” – Caroline Lehman, author of Through the Moon Gate 
‘”This is an important book for the issues it raises…I highly recommend it” – Jeffrey. D. Rediger M.D., Harvard Medical School

www.cashpeters.com 

[UPDATE: December 6th 2012] It’s being reported that health guru, and the author of Cancer Is Not a Disease, Andreas Moritz has died. I’m having trouble believing this. At first, I thought it had to be a prank, but I can’t find anything anywhere to contradict this news, so increasingly it’s seeming to be true.

The cause of death is mysterious. His family is not releasing the reason. It’s being suggested that he may have been assassinated by the pharmaceutical industry. He’d received death threats, apparently, and was constantly at war with drug companies over their products. So I guess that’s possible.

But, conspiracy theories aside, if he died of cancer, as many are also supposing, then that would surely indicate to the doubters that, all along, Andreas Moritz was exactly what they were claiming he was – a quack, whose homespun anti-cancer protocols (and he had one involving maple syrup and epsom salts) sold lots of books, but don’t actually work. That could lead to his estate being sued. 

In any case, for now those who were closest to him are playing it safe by saying, “He ascended towards the light” or some such vague New Age mantra, without offering details. It’s a cop-out that has left a lot of his followers disappointed, if not outright angry.

A lot of what Andreas said and wrote about healthy living made perfect sense to me. I’ve adopted his practices here and there over recent years and felt nothing but a great benefit. So I don’t judge him on that score. I shall just remember him as a generous and incredibly passionate and knowledgeable man in the field of health. Someone who was kind enough to give a positive review of my book about John of God, and who helped thousands of people on Curezone.com to deal with their own health problems.

He was a valuable human being and he made a difference. We should all be lucky enough to have that said about us when we die.

R.I.P., buddy.

[UPDATE: November 25th 2013]  The cause of Andreas Moritz’s death has finally been revealed, apparently. Paul Nison, a raw food expert who knew Moritz and his family, issued a statement attached to a video on YouTube. Here’s what he says:

“A couple of months before his transition, Andreas was exposed to insidious mold inhalation. This, with time, created complications that led to heart valve failure, which stemmed from his childhood “severe arrhythmia”. Understandably, Andreas refused to have invasive surgical treatments or procedures, living by his deep-rooted beliefs and supported by a calm, inner knowingness that his time on Earth was completed.”

So now we know. Mystery over. And a lesson learned: avoid mold.

 

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A Casual Friday treat. To you with love.

It’s Casual Friday here on TV Swami.  Where I come from, that means you quit work early – in my case before you’ve written anything – and do something more fun instead. And because we live in a world where everything’s take take take, I thought I’d buck the trend by giving for a change.

TV viewers in Britain are backward, we all know that. After a hit show has been broadcast in America, they don’t get to see it for ages. The tape has to be unspooled off the machine in New York, packed in a box, and mailed to London, where it can sit for days waiting for someone from the BBC or ITV  to pop down the post office, pick it up, cycle back to the studio with it, unwrap it, watch it for rude bits just in case, then spool it onto a machine, cue it up, and on and on and on….honestly, it’s a whole rigmarole. 

As a result, they don’t get to see fresh new 30 Rock episodes when we do. In fact, I believe NBC has fixed it so that foreigners can’t watch their rerun website Hulu.com either, preserving the sanctity of copyright so that shows don’t blow their load in foreign markets too soon.

That’s why, if you’re foreign, you’ll be glad you stopped by TV Swami today.

Last night was the finale of the third season of 30 Rock. Jack Donaghy has finally tracked down his biological dad and found to his surprise that it’s Alan Alda. Not only that, but Milton Green, the character Alda plays, has been looking for his biological son too, not out of love but because he needs a kidney. So Jack does what any truly self-serving  TV executive with love in his heart and a full Rolodex would do – he ropes in Elvis Costello, Cyndi Lauper, the Beastie Boys, and a bunch of others for a charity video.

Therefore, as your Casual Friday treat, especially for people overseas not fortunate enough to live  between these great shores and see TV shows when they’re made rather than years later after we’re done with them, here is the Give a Kidney Now song, courtesy of the Huffington Post, from last night’s season finale of 30 Rock.

Enjoy.

 

The 30 Rock third season has been spectacular and gets five magic carpets out of five.

TV Swami – he say YES.

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Squeeze Joan Rivers and what comes out?

I think we may be done with Joan and Melissa Rivers. I’m speaking on behalf of all of us, I hope you don’t mind. But this pair of spoilt, attention-grabbing monsters, who last week contaminated Celebrity Apprentice in a way previously unimaginable, have mopped up the last few remaining drops of any goodwill I might have had for them, and now I wish they’d leave the stage. Turn, go. We’re done.

Melissa always seemed to me like an over-nurtured brat anyway, sheltering beneath the umbrella of her mother’s showmanship. Having apparently found that big-time comedic talent skipped a generation, she comes across as unnecessary, a superfluous human being, a celebrity we’ve squeezed onto the D-list as a temporary measure while we’re drawing up the E-list. She’s Joan Rivers’s daughter and crutch, and as such is favored and indulged by TV producers in ways she wouldn’t be if she’d just wandered in off the street – but isn’t that it? The sum total of the Melissa Rivers experience? 

Furthermore, the recent Apprentice episode in which she was fired showed a truly sour, unpleasant side to her character. A side I somehow knew would be there.

Things don’t go your way? Throw a tantrum. Outplayed by your opponents? Then storm off and curse and threaten and fuss and be thoroughly objectionable, so that all eyes are on you, milking the maximum amount of air-time out of your woes, simultaneously guaranteeing that viewers are going to like you even less than they did before.  

That said, her departure from the show was a highlight, for her outrageous display of childish petulance, but also, and mainly, because it made us realize that she’d finally gone. Phew. Quite a relief, that.

Joan, on the other hand – well, it’s hard to dismiss this woman so readily. If she is the tree-trunk of this relationship, then Melissa is a mere twig.

Joanie’s showbiz career has been nothing less than a  phenomenon. And she’s not done yet. By some miracle of determination she’s still going, still working, still creating, still selling, after…well, how old is she now? 200? I lose track. Of course she’s a laughing stock for all her ridiculous plastic surgery. Some genius with a scalpel has taken Joan Alexandra Molinsky, a rather ordinary woman from Brooklyn, born of Jewish Russian stock, and turned her Korean – that’s some feat. A Korean, moreover, who looks like she failed the audition for Jim Henson’s Dark Crystal.

And, oh sure, the scratchy voice sounds like it could give out any second, and the mind may not be as sharp as it used to be – I saw some of her later red carpet shows on E! and there were times when she appeared disoriented and hysterical. Though that could happen to any befuddled grandmother who wandered onto the set of a popular TV show and started assailing celebrities. Shortly after, she lost the E! show and moved to TV Guide Channel. Then this gig ended too. Honestly, I’m not surprised. If she could just shake off that albatross Melissa somehow, she’d do so much better, I think. 

However, all of this is entirely forgivable in my eyes when you’re an icon and still giving it everything you’ve got. 

What’s not forgivable is her “performance” on Celebrity Apprentice after Melissa got kicked off. That tarnished her image forever. On the one hand her brat of a daughter is darting about giving orders, rubbishing her fellow contestants, swearing, refusing to be interviewed, being a terribly bad sport. Meanwhile, on the other, her ma, a stiff-faced bullet with rigid hair, is lobbing mouth-grenades at poker player Annie Duke and Playboy Playmate Brande Roderick, the girls who dared defeat her daughter.

Voice almost breaking under the strain, she called Broderick a “stupid blonde” and yelled insults at Duke: “I’ve known your kind for 40 years in Las Vegas. You’re a Nazi and a piece of shit.” Or somesuch nonsense. Adding that, “poker players are trash.”

Then she quit the show altogether along with Melissa, though that may just be a display of trunk-twig unity for the cameras, a face-saver, mother hen protecting her wounded, disgruntled little chick, and we’ll see her return this coming week.

But how telling all of this is, and how much more we’ve learned about Joan and Melissa Rivers than we would from their resumes 0r any concocted PR blurb. In that sense, Donald Trump and producer Mark Burnett have done us a massive favor. They exposed mother and crutch for what they really are, stripping them down and laying them bare in ways that no amount of cosmetic tampering can ever hide or disguise. In so doing, by the way, they also secured a pick-up by NBC for the show which, having faced cancellation a while back, is now heading into its tenth season.

The spiritual guru Wayne Dyer asks: “What comes out of an orange when you squeeze it?” The answer of course is orange juice. Why? “Because it’s what’s inside.” Well, same goes for us. Anyone can be nice and cooperative and put on a decent front when things are going well. It’s when things go belly-up, when people are “squeezed”, that you really find out what’s inside. And so we witnessed with Joan and Melissa Rivers last week.

So much effort goes into the presentation with those two. Joan especially. But truthfully what’s the point? What is the point of striving so hard to be beautiful on the outside if all the while you’re ugly on the inside?

 

Celebrity Apprentice gets four magic carpets out of five.

TV Swami – he say YES.

www.cashpeters.com

Naked in Dangerous Places video. Click here.

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Drop everything! We’re forming our own army.

It’s rare I feel strongly enough about a show to actually fear for the life of it, but that’s how I am with ABC’s Better Off Ted right now.

Superbly written, acted, produced, entirely original, daring, envelope-pushing, and setting a new standard for “funny as hell” – in any fair and just world that would be the perfect combo to guarantee the extended life of a new series. It certainly worked for 30 Rock. But that’s because 30 Rock had Lorne Michaels and a bold NBC management behind it, so it lived on long enough to become a cult hit.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case with Better Off Ted, which is still a nervous fledgling fighting for survival, and I’m not sure the weaselly suits at ABC  have the balls to stick with it. Currently, my spidey sense tells me that this genius of a sitcom isn’t doing well enough and could be cancelled.

Why? Because it’s simply too good for us. Fact.  

The premise is easy enough: Ted is a good-looking, smooth-talking, moralistic R&D guy at a big immoral corporation, Veridian Dynamics, one of those sprawling faceless global leviathans that makes everything from “pills that look like candy” to “hurricane-proofing for dogs.” His days are spent locked in battle with his boss, Veronica – played by Ellen Degeneres’s husband Portia di Rossi – an ambitious, feisty blonde with a viper’s tongue and both eyes of the tiger. She would never settle for just one.

Half the fun of the show is seeing these two locked in battle, negotiating the tricky problems that go hand in hand with introducing new products to a world gone mad. Last night it was a solar-powered microwave oven that is perfectly safe until it’s exposed to sunlight, at which point it kills anyone using it.

The week before, it was money-saving sensors that reflect off a person’s skin as they enter a room to automatically turn on lights, elevators, water-fountains. Only one flaw: the sensors don’t work on dark skin, which means the building is full of black clerks trapped in elevators and black lab technicans unable to go home because the doors won’t open. The solution Veronica comes up with is ingenious: she hires a white intern for every black person, to walk behind them everywhere they go. 

Now, please, tell me that isn’t funny, daring, and everything else I said!   

And because it is, I think it’s doomed.

I’ve said this before: too many viewers now are poorly-educated, lazy, and dim. They want straightforward humor. Slapstick, fart jokes, and sometimes witty banter, but only if it’s accompanied by strange facial expressions or lots of manic gesturing.  That’s why The Simpsons does so well. Oceans of stupidity, bright colors, and movement.

What doesn’t do so well is stuff the audience has to think about. Where they have to put two and two together and stick with something – a joke, a situation, a story arc – ’til it pays off, and do so without the help of a laugh track. When TV executives in the 1950s invented the laugh track it was because they understood the mentality of their viewers – those unaccounted-for millions who make up the audience figures, and who are basically content to sit idly in an armchair all night with a six-pack and a bag of doughnuts, watching almost anything that’s put before them, as long as it has bright colors, explosions, emergencies, shouting, running about, a sappy “you’re perfect just as you are” kind of message crowbarred in two minutes before the end, and can be squeezed in between bathroom breaks. 

That’s not Better Off Ted, alas. You have to stick with it to like it.  You have to use your brain. You have to have a sense of humor that’s triggered by actual humor, not by a sign saying “laugh now.”

So, like some of my other favorite shows – Journeyman, Surface, and a wonderful little thing I loved called Stranded With Cash Peters – this one looks destined for the scrapheap.

Unless, that is, we do something to save it.

Making sure we tune in and don’t miss an episode, that’s one way. The old way. The old way that leaves people to make their own minds up – which we know is extremely dangerous and doesn’t work. Look at the 2000 and ’04 elections. One catastrophe after another.

No, this new way I’m thinking of is to form a small private battalion – you, me , and a few others, coalescing into an unarmed but brutal militia that goes door to door on Wednesday nights in every corner of America and makes sure everybody with a TV is glued to Better Off Ted. And if they’re not, we ridicule them. Ridicule them hard. And wherever possible make them feel small, using the only weapons at our disposal: our intelligence, superior sense of style, and wit.

Good, eh? So what do you say?   

The idea’s only at its formative stages yet – like solar-powered microwave ovens that kill people – but I think it might work. Are you in?

 

Better Off Ted gets five magic carpets out of five.

TV Swami – he say YES.

www.cashpeters.com.

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I’m not going to lie to you: we’re screwed

They’re showing an episode of new cop drama Lie to Me on hulu.com. Episode 6. A young girl has gone missing. In order to track her down, the main character in the show, played by Tim Roth, is given the job of striding around various houses and offices being quirky and unpredictable for an hour, as main characters in dramas have to be now, if they’re to compete with Hugh Laurie in House.  

Roth plays a human lie detector who uses body language and other psychological tics to tell if people are being deceptive. And we the viewers play a group of people who have to sit through sixty minutes of this stuff, of actors clearly acting and reciting words they’ve learned from a script, and try to pretend we’re enjoying it.

So unriveting is this show, in fact, that, leaving it to play in the background, I skip the visuals and only half-listen to the dialogue while switching to another screen and writing emails.  

I don’t know about you, but I’m finding dramas like this harder and harder to focus on these days. And it’s all the fault of reality television.

Such is the pervasive, even insidious presence of reality TV in our lives, from the good ones like Amazing Race  and Kathy Griffin, Life on the D-List (and even those are contrived to a certain extent), right down to the lowest of the low, such as I Want to be a Hilton, Keeping up with the Kardashians, Hey Paula, Kid Nation, and Sons of Hollywood – clunkers all – that anything less than real people on screen yelling at each other and facing constant rejection and upset in real environments (mostly Hollywood mansions), is starting to seem phony and dull and performed.

I’ve said this before, but actors need to watch out, because they’re going to be surplus to requirements soon. In fact, a word to Rachel Bilson and Hayden Christensen about their wedding: I hope someone’s filming it, my dears. You may need the income.

Luckily for us, TV networks are in a recession too, and since top dramas cost around three mill an episode to produce, and reality shows cost…I don’t have an exact figure in front of me, but let’s say fifteen bucks. And also since recent tentpole dramas that were supposed to be huge – Christian Slater’s My Own Worst Enemy, for instance – tanked badly in the ratings, the focus is shifting away from scripted tosh to less costly ways to keep us entertained. Or if not entertained exactly, then at least preoccupied, diverting our minds from how this ghastly economy is impacting our lives, which nobody wants to think about.

Anyway, according to ABC News today, when the fall season rolls around in September, one of the networks’ prime responses to the deepening recession will be a raft of programs about…the deepening recession.

Kelsey Grammer’s in one of them. He plays a Wall Street financier who becomes a nanny. Totally believable, that. Another is about young investment bankers who quit the world of finance to become something else. What that might be is unspecified – though unemployed and living under a bridge is probably the most realistic option. And there’s a sitcom about a Detroit car worker who’s down on his luck. Of course, if he were to move out of Detroit, his luck would change immediately and he would be a lot less depressed, it’s a terrible city. But I don’t think that’s part of the story arc.

So you get where I’m going here. TV is downsizing. Even NBC, to save money among other things, is about to replace its entire 10PM drama strand five days a week with Jay Leno’s new talk show. A bad idea? Sure. And believe me, I’ve told them a thousand times in my dreams. But one we’re stuck with. 

Interestingly, though, the crisis we see playing out on TV is a reflection, not only in content but actual substance, of what’s going on out here where it matters, in the real world.

Hard times like these are good for us. They’re cleansing. The tide of prosperity has gone out and it’s going to stay out for a while. That forces us to reevaluate our priorities. Losing your savings, being laid off from a job, getting thrown out of a house you couldn’t really afford because you overextended – all of that is traumatic and a major shock to the system, natch, but believe it or not, it’s a good thing. It helps you regroup, prioritize, clean out the cobwebs. You’re compelled to ask yourself, the way the networks are doing: what job do I really want? Where would I like to live in future, now that this unwanted and unexpected choice has been thrust upon me? Am I in the right relationship? Have I been happy up to this point or do I need to make changes? Was it wise to put Jay Leno on at 10PM, given how bland, uneventful, and anemic his talk show usually is?

All of this is a vital step towards a better life. So that when the tide comes back in again, and it will, you’re ready for the next stage. That’s why there’s no point complaining about it, or getting depressed, or, worse, taking it out on society by shooting up a post office or shopping mall, or whatever your plans were for today. Instead, get a grip. Make the big changes now, and when everything stabilizes again, you’ll be glad we all went through this. Trust me.

By that time, of course, Lie to Me will have been canned, as will that Kelsey Grammer sitcom probably, reality shows will represent 95% of all TV output, and the only memory our children’s children will have of these gruesome, difficult, depressing times will be that Jay Leno will still be on at 10PM and nobody can figure out a way to get rid of him.   

Lie to Me gets two magic carpets out of five for being slick. Otherwise…

TV Swami – he say NO.  

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