Saturday, May 29, 2010

Non-Fiction: Pat Sajak's Personal Website

Alright, I need to put the fiction on hold for a moment. I have information that I feel should be shared. It is publicly available, but I don't know if it has been publicized properly. I hadn't heard of it until last night. Those of you who know may have already guessed. I speak of

Yes, that's the personal website of this guy:

I have long had a minor fascination with Pat Sajak. In my few moments of seeing him in the last 5 or so years, he seems to have moved to a stage of charming jadedness. He has hosted my generation's prototype of the vapid gameshow for as long as anyone can remember. In my childhood memories he is emotionally involved in the plight of his contestants, living a muted version of what they are going through. I don't know if that's accurate, but it's what I remember.

Now he seems detached from and bemused by the action around him. His hysterical contestants are like puppy dogs who, if you let them get their crazies out, should calm down eventually. The moment of modern Pat Sajak that has stuck with me happened near the conclusion of yet another episode of Wheel of Fortune. The game had ended for another day, and as they went to one last commercial break, Pat kept us watching with this line:

"Don't go anywhere, Vanna and I have something moderately amusing to show you when you get back."

Emphasis mine. Honesty in marketing. That gets big points from me.

Now on to the man's personal website. We open up to a photo of Pat in a director's chair, wearing a suit, one hand casually thoughtful on his chin. We are greeted with a witty message and a menu to choose from. We have "About" "From Pat" "Media" "Projects" and, I can barely wait for this part "Other Interests"

In About we get a timeline of Pat's life. This includes his career in radio and tv, some military service, a still-going marriage, and frequent references to his good looks. In "From Pat" we learn of some theatrical side projects Pat has done, as well as a discussion of how Pat likes to write political commentary for several websites. He has a short, light-hearted discussion of the standard flamethrowing that happens in the comments section of every political article, which includes this gem:
"There’s also often some version of, “Why do I care what a stupid TV game show host thinks?” Well, I find it hard to argue with that question, but it leads me to this question: Why do those people bother reading what a stupid game show host thinks before they decide he’s too stupid to care what he thinks?"

Excellent point, Pat. If these people were really dismissing your opinions because you're a game show host, they would have done so before reading the article. It is, as you rightly point out, your opinions they are dismissing. Glad to have that cleared up.

Moving on to "Projects," we find our friend Mr. Sajak is quite the entrepreneur. Just a TV game show host? Hardly. The man has a broadcasting company, a record label, a stake in a minor league baseball league and a company, Big City Deals, that seems to be an attempt at Groupon for the Wheel of Fortune watching demographic. Big City Deals is currently defunct, but promises to come back bigger and better. The broadcasting company produces two radio stations. While I have not listened to either, I encourage you to check out WNAV's hilariously busy website. Let your eyes feast on 18 different small-type, auto-scrolling menus. It's not about how you say it, it's how much you can say in a small space with as many unnecessarily moving elements as possible. The only thing missing: site fish tank. It really ties the page together.

As for Bojak Records, it exists entirely to produce the work of Jude Johnstone, an airy female singer-songwriter. [Insert speculation about affairs and blackmail]. Ms. Johnstone is currently touring the Southwest. If anyone goes and sees her, please let me know what you think. I'm intensely curious.

My readers, once in a while culture, circumstance and the English language come together to create a sort of absurd perfection. Something you never would have thought of on your own, but once introduced, it contains the sublime and the ridiculous like perfectly cut puzzle pieces in an otherwise sloppy world. 

What I refer to is a passage you can find under the tab for the Anne Arundel Medical Center under the tab for Pat's "Other Interests." The passage is this: 

"The Breast Center—where the latest technology and highest level of care are geared to the physical, mental and spiritual needs of each patient—was born in the Sajak Pavilion."

Allow me to distill this down to its essentials: the Breast Center was born in the Sajak Pavilion. It goes on to say that it has gotten so large it will be moving into a new home soon. It doesn't get much better than that folks.

Do you like hyperbole? Then you will love this sentence:

"It’s a hard to imagine a more uplifting experience than visiting George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens in Virginia."

After reading that sentence, I immediately claimed that I could think of 100 in one minute and at least ten that happened today. My buddy Keith said. "So could I. Easy. And it wasn't even that good a day."

The last thing I need (NEED) to tell you about are Pat's puzzles. I enjoy a good puzzle, and because Sajak hosts a puzzle show, this could be... no, wait, never mind. They are the traditional type of puzzle in which one assembles pieces to form a picture. The pictures we have to choose from are all, what else, photos of Pat Sajak. There are nine to choose from. In the second one, he's passed out drunk. Because you can choose any of three levels for each puzzle, that's 27 Pat Sajak puzzles to occupy yourself with. I've done two. For the first one, I completed it and nothing happened on the page to acknowledge my achievement. Even the timer kept running. The second time, however, I was rewarded with this message in all caps which I will reprint verbatim: 

I can't escape the idea, speculative as it is, that Sajak always saw a greater trajectory for himself. That his career would be big, meaningful, powerful. That Wheel of Fortune would be a stepping stone, not a plateau, which despite his intense efforts, he can never really escape.

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