Tuesday, August 28, 2012

"...Who Dat? Say Dis Is Anyting Mo Den A Day Off Work...?"

If it bleeds, they say, it leads.

Apparently, that holds true for big blows, as well.

As Isaac shows up to dampen the neighborhood,  the locals are going through the preparations that are pretty much second nature to them.

It's, literally, one of those "comes with the territory" things.

And, having lived there through my junior high, high school and college years, I can testify that nobody down there takes these storms "lightly" and everyone has a healthy respect for what's involved and what is necessary to deal, as best as can be dealt.

That said, those same locals also know the difference between distraction and disaster.

Media, on the other hand, not only doesn't know, they obviously don't care.


That's the "responsible media" spin.

Here's a little something a little closer to reality.

Isaac's top winds are expected to be in the 85-90 mile an hour range.

While, say, folks in Ohio might be heading for the underground shelters in a case like that, the hale and hearty who call New Orleans home know that 85-90 is in the "heavy spring winds" category when it comes to hurricanes.

And as far as comparisons to the 2005 megastorm that killed 1800 people are concerned, to paraphrase the famous old Lloyd Bentsen slam of Dan Quayle, "...we know about Katrina....we lived through Katrina..and Isaac...you are no Katrina".

Is it possible that heavy rains will cause heavy flooding?


Or that 85 mile an hour winds will take some shingles on an unexpected fly by?


But, "killer track" and "crash" ashore and all that other sensationalistic, over the top, national media hyperbole does nothing but add stress, worry and/or fear to a situation more in need of calm support.

Once again, shame on you, "respectable media".

Just like news of killer hurricanes, your Chicken Littling might sell papers.

But like killer hurricanes, it really blows.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

"...Of Passion Plays...and Play Doh...."



Glance at the words quickly and you might easily confuse one with the other.

And they are, actually, connected in a way you might not immediately realize.

Allow me.

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Film director Tony Scott was buried on Friday at a Los Angeles cemetery as local media reported that the suicide note he left behind contained no mention of why the "Top Gun" maker would take his own life.
The Los Angeles Times said on Friday that the note, along with other letters left by Scott before he jumped from a Los Angeles bridge this week, did not mention health problems.

The Times cited law enforcement sources as saying officials may never determine the reason behind Scott's suicide.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

LOS ANGELES (AP) -Randy Travis has tangled with the law yet again — in a way that certainly seems less dramatic than his previous run-ins.

After allegedly getting involved in a dispute between an estranged husband and wife, Travis was cited Thursday night for Class C simple assault, Plano police spokesman David Tilley told the Dallas Morning News. The offense was described to People as "similar to a traffic ticket."

The woman involved was Travis' fiancee, the country star's lawyer told TMZ, while Tilley told other sources she was Travis' girlfriend. The estranged couple were reportedly arguing in a church parking lot over visitation of their son, and the singer eventually stepped in, winding up with torn clothes and "bloodshot" eyes after the incident, TMZ said.

Travis' two most recent arrests, including one earlier this month that saw him taken into custody naked after his car was driven off the road, involved alcohol. One involved a church parking lot.

He's currently out on $21,500 bail in the Aug. 7 incident and facing charges of DWI and retaliation after allegedly threatening to kill the cops involved in that arrest.

Reading the ongoing adventures (trials and tribulations, potato, patahtoh) of celebrities in our culture, people who are often "idolized", so to speak,  a couple of similar threads run through the fabric of consideration here.

First, there's that thing about not worshiping false idols.

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

Then, in each and every instance where an "idol" exhibits an assorted failing or frailty, there is an inevitable, if disappointing, conclusion.

They are all, after all is said, done, glamorized and/or reported as breaking news, only human.

False idols.

Feet of clay.



Glance at the words quickly and you might easily confuse one with the other.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

"...The Irony Here Is That John Once Caught Holy Hell For Comparing Himself To Jesus...."

As a professional writer, not to mention a typical movie/TV, et al, viewer, I've always been a fan of the twist ending.

From my earliest kids days enjoying Rod Serling's "The Twilight Zone" and the stories of O. Henry to the exploits of Perry Mason, the sudden "ah-HA!" moments in film and television and literature have always been a source of enjoyment.

I even liked "The Sixth Sense" although I was, hand to God, the only person I have ever met who, once again, hand to God, figured out the much ballyhooed "surprise ending" about six minutes into the movie.

Years of Serling and O. Henry and Erle Stanley Gardner fine tuned my imagination, I imagine.

Meanwhile, what you will find shortly, in the spirit of my lifelong affection for the genre', is a twist ending.

Which, by its nature, means that you won't be expecting the outcome.

(CNN) -- Mark David Chapman, the man convicted of killing former Beatle John Lennon, has been denied parole for a seventh time, according to the New York Department of Corrections.
He was last up for parole in 2010, when he was told his "discretionary release remains inappropriate at this time and incompatible with the welfare of the community," according to the state's Division of Parole.
He was also denied parole in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008.
Chapman, 57, is serving a sentence of 20 years to life in prison and is being held at the Wende Correctional Facility in Alden.

He is in protective custody in a single-person cell, corrections spokeswoman Carole Claren-Weaver said, and is allowed out three hours per day.
Since his transfer from Attica this year, Chapman has reapplied to participate in a state program called "family reunion," which allows inmates to spend more time with family members.
Chapman has not had an infraction since 1994. It is not clear whether he currently has legal representation.
The British singer-songwriter Lennon was gunned down outside his Manhattan apartment on December 8, 1980.
Anyone and everyone in my life who has known me more than six months knows the special place in that life held by The Beatles.
It was the arrival of the Fabs on Ed Sullivan in February 1964 that had this thirteen year old coaxing, pleading, demanding that parents hit the street in search of the Holy Grail of its time, a copy of their first American LP, "Meet The Beatles".
It was the sound of their songs and the resulting impact on that newly minted teen psyche that resulted in an avalanche of hints, requests, demands that a guitar be somewhere in the vicinity of a well worn plastic pine tree come morning December 25th. An avalanche, by the way, that made Ralphie's time treasured campaign to score the Red Ryder BB gun look like a tiny whimper in the wind.
It was the impact of their songs on the culture, not to mention their effect on every female on my teen age radar, that inspired me to form, join and/or be a part of every garage band that I could find a way to form, join and/or be a part of.
And it was the senseless killing of John Lennon in 1980, he at the age of 40, me at the age of 29 that yanked me irrevocably out of whatever youthful innocence I still possessed and planted me firmly, squarely and harshly into the reality of the way life really works.
Mark David Chapman killed more than just one man that December night. He killed an icon. And more than one childhood.
Mine, for sure.
Today, reading that Chapman has, once again, been denied parole for the murder he not only committed but, from moment one, freely acknowledged, I found myself treating the story as so much "so what else is new", having long ago become accustomed to the every couple of year cycle of "application/review/Yoko requests denial/fans demand denial/application rejected" that Chapman's pardon process has become. At the end of the particular article I was reading, though, a fellow reader's comment caught my eye and, for the first time in over thirty years, I was sparked to think about it from a slightly different skew.
A skew that inspired me to write what you're reading right now.
The commenter, clearly not a fugitive from any Mensa meeting nor likely to steal any thunder away from this year's crop of Rhodes Scholars, made, in his own rhetorically redneckian fashion, a point that, despite my best efforts to combat with logic, calculation, even rock and roll sentimentality,  I couldn't in good conscience either refute...or deny.
It went something like "....if Chapman had killed John Nobody in 1980, he would have been out years ago....there's a different set of rules for the rich...."
Truth be told, my instinctive reaction to that observation surprised me.
I agreed.
John Lennon was an important part of my life and the lives of many of my generational peers at a very impressionable time in our lives and, as a result, remains an obvious and unforgettable thread in the fabric of the lives that we have woven since.
But he was, at the hard rock core of it, no more, or less, than simply a human being like myself...or you...or Mark David Chapman.
And if Chapman has been as exemplary an inmate as reported, if he has been, in the eyes of those who are qualified, rehabilitated to the extent that he is deserving of a chance to re-enter society and make some substantive contribution, then, as contradictory as it is to every primal emotion that I possess, not to mention every attitude I have had about the guy since December 8, 1980, I can't be true to my own sense of justice and fair play and not say he should be given the chance that any other convicted killer would be given in our system of justice.
Simply put, if he is to be kept in prison any longer, it should be because of what he still does in the light of what he once did.
Not because of who he did it to.
And if he has become deserving of another chance, he should have it.
I don't have to be reminded, or told, that advocating the release of John Lennon's assassin is a no brainer method of stirring a shit pot the size of the Dakota.
But justice is justice.
Whether it satisfies our personal needs for revenge and retribution or not.
Or it simply isn't justice.
And the bitch of all of this......
...is that, in my heart, the same heart that once beat wildly while I played along, sang along and pretty much lived along with the culture and life changing backbeat put down by four young guys from Liverpool, I think there is, at the very least, one guy who would understand what I'm saying here and agree with me, suggesting it might be time to start talking about freedom and forgiveness.
John Lennon.
How's that for a twist ending? 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

"...Watson, Come In Here. I've Just Logged On And Germany Is Tweeting..."

Every now and then, I wonder how it felt to experience some new and revolutionary to the times.

Like the first train ride.

Like the first phone call.

Or the first airplane flight.

And, every now and then, something comes along that makes me realize that I already know that feeling.

Researching some behind the scenes stats for the various blog sites I author, I realized there was one link I hadn't previously clicked. It was labled "audience" and it, obviously, was a tally of not only the "how many" visit the blog(s), but also the "from where".

Here's a one day stat list of how many and from where for just this blog.

United States 96

Sweden 13

Canada 4

Germany 2

France 2

United Kingdom 2

India 1

Over a hundred people from seven different countries on the planet dropped in to read what I had to say on that given day and the resulting feeling surely has to be similar to that experienced by those who marveled at their first phone or their first train ride.

Pretty heady..and pretty cool I don't mind telling you.

Not to mention that, clearly, I've long underestimated the considerable good taste of the Swedes.

"...Uuuuup....Caught You Laughing...."

Let's talk stupid.

KINGS POINT, N.Y. (AP) — A professor at the United States Merchant Marine Academy faces dismissal for joking about the Colorado movie theater shootings in front of his students, including one whose father was among the victims.

According to an internal personnel document obtained by The New York Times ,Gregory F. Sullivan was suspended from his tenured position as humanities instructor for telling his classroom before showing a documentary: "If someone with orange hair appears in the corner of the room, run for the exit."

James Holmes, the suspect in the Aurora, Colo., mass shooting, has dyed his hair bright orange.
The professor had just turned down the lights to show the documentary and was preparing to step out for a few minutes when he made the remark.

Shashi Kumar, the institution's academic dean, called the joke "notoriously disgraceful conduct" and recommended that Sullivan be fired. The internal document said Sullivan was informed on Aug. 10 that he had 10 days to contest his dismissal.

The document also said Sullivan had been unaware that the father of one of his students was killed in the shootings. It said he immediately apologized to the student after being told of his loss. He also offered apologies to the entire class and the administration.

By the time I had read this far, two names had come to mind.

Albert Einstein.

Forrest Gump.

The latter having once observed, "two things are infinte: the universe and human stupidity...and I'm not sure about the universe."

The former, of course, having offered us, "stupid is as stupid does".

The professor in question obviously had a momentary attack of Snooki-ism. (Regular readers here will immediately wonder why I didn't take this opportunity to add my usual, predictable shot at any and all things Kardashian here. Suffice to say I'm whimsical. And dont particularly like to be considered usual and predictable).

And, sure, let's just call what he said what it is.


But fire the guy?

If stupid was a termination offense or a disqualification for being hired in the first place, we wouldn't have to be decide who to send to Congress.

Because there wouldn't be any Congress.

The still open wound (absolutely no stupid pun intended here, deans and deanettes) of the Aurora killings still, obviously and rightly, has nerve endings at a red zone level of sensitivity.

Time really does heal, though. I was just a kid when John F. Kennedy got shot in the head on a Dallas street and the idea, then, that anyone could ever make a joke about such a catastrophically horrific event was, literally, unthinkable.

November will be one year shy of fifty years since that happened.

And just the other day, I heard somebody commiserating with a friend who was having a bad day by jesting "...other than that, Mrs. Kennedy, how was the motorcade?"

Unforgivable insenstivity in 1963.

Pretty funny in 2012.

All of this, and none of this, is intended to imply that the equally horrific taking of lives in Colorado will ever be funny.

At least for another fifty years or so.

In the meantime, the professor, placing foot in mouth with an exquisite burst of perfection some Olympians wish they had taken to London, said something unfortunate.

Totally insenstive.

And pretty stupid.

But it would be pretty stupid to cut a good teacher loose because he suddenly succumbed to a momentary weakness, a craving for the taste of foot.

So I hope they don't fire the guy.

Because that would be stupid.

Still....another name comes to mind.

The French essayisty Albert Camus.

Who once said, "Stupidity has a knack of getting its way....".

For a French guy, Albert had a pretty good grasp on our political process, didn't he?

Can't call him stupid.

"...Seeking Escape From The Shadows Requires Giving Up Hiding In Them..."

There is a more insidious toll being taken here.

More in a moment.

(CNN) -- Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is suffering from "serious depression -- deep, deep depression," his longtime friend and former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy told CNN Friday, a day after meeting with Jackson at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

"Jesse is getting the help he needs and he needs to make that his priority," Kennedy said about the Illinois Democrat who is undergoing inpatient treatment for bipolar depression at the famed facility.

Jackson, 47, has not been on Capitol Hill since late May. In early June, his office released a statement saying that the congressman, who has served in the U.S. House since 1995, was taking a leave of absence because he was suffering from a "medical condition."

Jackson's office released a statement last month, attributed to an unidentified doctor, that said the congressman was "receiving intensive medical treatment at a residential treatment facility for a mood disorder."

Though exhaustion was initially suspected as the cause of Jackson's treatment, his father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, later said the issue was "something much deeper, much broader, and it lasted much longer."

"He is suffering from a behavioral symptom, and that is depression, which doesn't allow him to really work to his maximum capacity," Kennedy said.

Kennedy, who himself has been treated for depression, predicted that Jackson will address his constituents within a couple of weeks "about what his intentions are as to whether he's going to continue in public life or whether he is going to continue to focus on his long-term recovery."
Jackson's office has remained open for constituent services.

Noting that mental illness tends to carry a stigma in the United States, Kennedy said he understood why Jackson had not initially addressed the matter in a public forum. "The fact that Jesse didn't talk about this as a mental illness early on is reminiscent of most Americans' experience: if you have a mental illness, you don't talk about it."

In addition to sharing a longtime friendship, the two Democrats both hail from high-profile families and both have suffered mental illness. Kennedy, too, underwent treatment at the Mayo Clinic.
Jackson is the son of the famed civil rights leader, and represents Illinois' Second Congressional District, which includes parts of Chicago. Kennedy formerly represented Rhode Island, and is the son of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts.

In addition to struggling openly with addiction, Kennedy has battled bipolar disorder, and has used his public persona to advocate for others with mental illness. He introduced legislation in the House that became law in 2008 forcing insurance companies to cover mental illnesses as they would physical ailments.

In March, Jackson decisively won a heated primary despite being the subject of an investigation by the House Ethics Committee. The panel has been examining allegations that Jackson or one of his associates offered to raise funds for disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama.

"There is no doubt that the stress in his life, particularly because he's under investigation, clearly perhaps precipitated this," Kennedy said. "Many of us have genetic predispositions to cancer, heart disease or, in this case, mental illness, but they often get triggered by environmental factors. In mental illness, stress is an environmental factor and clearly, I think, has been a factor in his succumbing to this outbreak of his bipolar disorder."

Blagojevich, convicted on multiple corruption charges, started serving a 14-year prison sentence in March.

Given both Jackson's occupation and his role as the son of one of America's more controversial figures, it is inevitable that the easy, knee jerk reaction to stories of his treatment for depression are going to be met with, at best, skepticism and, at worst, outright derision and contempt.

The "comments section"s of the blogosphere are already screamingly abuzz with the predictable blurbs about "faking it", "looking for a way out", "feigning distress so as to elicit sympathy from any judge/jury that might be in his immediate future".

I composed that last, generic example, by the way.

As a rule, the quality of discourse in the aforementioned comments sections tends to expose an aruable lack of primary school education, not to mention anything even resembling sophistication. (Ya'll is morons and you know you who is).

But, I digress. (I let myself git off the subject).

Patrick Kennedy is correct in his assertion that the stigma of mental illness still, regrettably, inhibits too many people from coming forward and seeking the treatment that might dramatically improve the quality of their lives.

And no reasonably compassionate human being would deny Jackson his opportunity to seek, and benefit, from just that kind of treatment.

The problem, dear Brutus, is that his treatment, or at least the ongoing story of it, not only fuels the fires of those who already want to put torch and flame to both the political and judicial processes, it also inflicts damage upon those innocents who really do want to get past the stigma and seek treatment.

Because Jesse Jackson, Jr. might not be crying wolf.

But he might be.

And that makes it even harder for those whose howls of unhappiness and torment are very real.

And very treatable.

That's depressing.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

" Damn It, You Accuse Me Of Not Being A Law Abiding CItizen One More Time And I'll Shoot Your Ass...""

There's really only one thing absolute when it comes to talking about gun control in this country.

It's a waste of time talking about it.

Because those who justify the free access to weapons for anyone and everyone by wrapping their justification in the Bill of Rights simply turn stone deaf any time the words "gun" and "control" appear in the same sentence.

So, this piece won't be using the terms "gun" and "control" in the same sentence.

Except for the last two sentences.


(CNN) -- The gunman who killed two others before police ended his life in a shootout near Texas A&M University had been battling mental health issues on and off for years, his mother said.

Police say Thomas Caffall, known to his family as "Tres," killed a constable and a bystander and injured four others Monday before police fatally shot him.

Attention, hard core right to bear arms Americans, please allow me....
Guns don't kill people. People kill people.

And in this instance, just as in Colorado, we're obviously talking seriously disturbed people.

Here's a thought, though.

Laws, rules, regulations and all the other limitations that we are asked to obey are not now, nor have they ever been, about denying reasonable, rational American citizens the freedoms that we all enjoy.

They are about the lowest common denominator.

The speed limit is set at 55, not because you, being a reasonable and rational American citizen need to be told to drive at a reasonable and rational speed, but because Mr. or Mrs. Lowest Common Denominator would drive 155 if they weren't obligated, by law, to drive 55.

And even then.

Noise ordinances are in effect, not because you, being a reasonable and rational American citizen need to be told that your sound system shouldn't be rattling your next door neighbor at midnight, but because Mr. or Mrs. Lowest Common Denominator wouldn't give a rat's ass about blasting said system at said stroke of twelve if they weren't obligated, by law, to turn that shit down.

And even then.

Reasonable and rational regulations that might, at the very least, make it much more difficult for disturbed types to easily get their hands on weapons shouldn't be objectionable to any reasonable and rational American citizen.

I'll go you one better, though.

Refusing to even hear a reasonable and rational discussion about how that might be accomplished by knee jerkingly waving a flag in one hand and an assault rifle in the other is an unconscionable act of selfishness, an abuse of the freedoms that others have sacrificed so much for us to enjoy and, in some measure, a complicity in any and all killings that might have been avoided, had such discussions actually helped to bring some sanity to the situation.

And if you're part of that hard core clan, you should be ashamed of yourself.

But you won't be.

Deaf very often is accompanied by dumb.

And please notice that I honored my promise not to use the the G word and the C word in the same sentence.

Not that it would have mattered if I did.

You stopped listening to me mid way through the first sentence.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

"...Oh, Wait...Maybe It's For The Same Reason They Put That Litttle Sprig Of Parsley On The Plate In The Restaurant..."

Here's a thing.

This picture, courtesy of a friend/fellow broadcaster, is pretty typical of the average radio station today.

The other day, a civilian visitor to my own station/studio looked around and, very insightfully, began the following exchange.

"Wow, those are pretty good sized speakers hanging there."

"Yes, they are"

"Tell me...don't the speakers automatically cut off when you turn on the microphone?"

"Yes, they do."

"Why is that?"

"Because we don't want the sound coming from the speakers to bleed into what is being said into the microphone. And it could cause the noise of feedback."

"Oh...tell me...when you guys aren't talking on the microphone and you're answering phones or looking up things online, I notice you keep the speakers turned way, way down."

"Yes, we do."

"Why is that?"

"That's so that we're able to concentrate on the web sites or hear the person we're talking with on the phone."

"Oh...so, tell me..."


"If you can't hear the speakers at all when you turn on the microphone..."


"And you keep them turned way, way down the rest of the time...."


"...then why do you need pretty good sized speakers hanging there?"


Sunday, August 5, 2012

"...Speaking Of The Olympics...Why Isn't InBreeding An Event Yet?..."

First things first.

I did not write the following piece.

It was written by a young lady named Taylor Bigler.

Taylor Bigler is the Entertainment Editor for a website called The Daily Caller.

The rest is self explanatory.

If you thought “Toddlers and Tiaras,” the reality series about little girls on the beauty pageant circuit and their horrifying stage mothers, was the lowest that reality programming could possibly get — you would be wrong.

“Toddlers and Tiaras” is so successful that TLC (which formerly stood for The Learning Channel, mind you) gave one of its stars, Honey Boo Boo Child and her family, their own series called, natch, “Here Come Honey Boo Boo.”

If you are unfamiliar, Honey Boo Boo (real name Alana Thompson) is a six-year-old beauty pageant contestant who, when she isn’t dancing on stage in pounds of makeup and fake tanner, drinks “go-go juice,” a blend of Mountain Dew and Red Bull given to her by her mother.

After watching the 30-second “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” trailer, a dose of “Toddlers and Tiaras” might actually serve as a palate cleanser.

Critiquing the ever growing ranks (read: ever spreading virus) of reality shows, is an exercise in futility.

Because America is now so gol durn total caught up in gittin' their freak on that any "review" of these shows is gonna be a grain of sand on the beach (or spittin' in the ocean, as it were).

So, no critique here.

And no REview.
Just a little PREview.
And a sense within myself that, one way or another, I have done a good deed today.

By letting you know that Honey Boo Boo is coming.

Or warning you that Honey Boo Boo is coming.

And no thanks, or payment, is expected or necessary.

Although, Honey has the right idea.

A dolla makes me holla, too.

"...Up Next, The Latest On The Kriss-TINE Stoo-ART Scandal"....

Sign of the times.

Traveling from the radio station where I do mornings to the production office where I do afternoons, I was listening to the station when something both funny and, at the same time, poignantly sad crossed my radar.

A regular two minute feature, generating from CMT Radio, the audio sibling of the internationally broadcast Country Music Television, aired, one of those "celebrity update" things that you hear on most stations these days, usually nestled comfortably in amongst the consultant approved recipe of large doses of Chesney and Urban (and bears, oh my) and the repeated (and repeated...and...) suggestions that the quality of your life would be immeasurably improved if you would

a) buy a new car
b) lose weight
c) buy a new car
d) eat more fast food
e) buy a new car

Most days, and most times, those little "here's what happening in country music" kinds of things go in one of my ears and out the other, not so much because they aren't informative (which they can be) or because they're not interesting (which they manage to be now and then), but because I spend a lot of time in the day immersed in the very same culture about which they are offering up said information and interest and I simply, instinctively, just tune it out.

Think professional construction worker who doesn't really much notice the sound of jackhammers.

This particular broadcast, though, caught my ear.

And tickled my funny bone.

For an entirely wrong reason.

The voice offering up the latest dish/scoop/poop on the various and sundry comings and goings of the various and sundry Shelton/Lambert/McGraw/Chesney and Urban (and bears, oh my) adventures was, first of all, clearly the sound of a relatively fresh (read young), youthful (read very young) and new (read inexperienced) female, very clearly doing her best to very clearly read the very clearly written text of the very clearly constructed script in front of her.

Radio being a medium of sound and not sight, of course, there was no way for me to determine her exact age but, based on all the aforementioned very clearlys, I could probably hazard a guess.

My guess would be twelve.

Closet ageist sardonicism aside, I was willing and ready to concede that every wizened and grizzled voice of experience was once an unwizened and ungrizzled voice of inexperience very deserving a chance to learn, grow and wiz and griz when the aforementioned funny bone tickling occurred, sufficiently funny, in fact, as to provoke a literal and audible outburst of laughter on my part, something that, what with my being all wizened and grizzled and all, takes more than just a minor league ha ha to make happen.

In the course of a very non-life changing, but very clearly "info-tainment" worthy story about Taylor Swift's current dating life, said life currently, reportedly, filling up her dance card with the name Conor Kennedy (18 year old son of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.), said young and fledgling twelve year old radio girl offered up this tasty tidbit along with the main meat of the moment....

"...the Kennedy family all seems to be very supportive of Conor as well as being very fond of Taylor....sources say that even Conor's grandmother and matriarch of the family, Ethel Kennedy, has met and likes Taylor....do we hear wedding bells?..."


Let's cut appropriate slack and not chastise the kid for dragging us through cliche number six in the gossip columnists handbook (the "wedding bells" thing). She, hopefully, was only the messenger and not the author of the message.

And let's continue slack whacking at the kid's overcompenstion for inexperience in her continued e-nun-ci-a-tion of ev-er-y syll-a-ble in her copy so as to be sure and sound pro-fess-ion-al.

But here's where the rubber left the road, the feces hit the fan and the funny bone got smacked up side the...well, funny bone.

The young broadcast "professional" didn't hestitate, or miss a beat, as she blew right through her own remarkable pronunciation of the name of the Kennedy matriarch.


With the accent/emphasis on the THELL.

Cue outburst of laughter.

Hey, I do radio. I'm human. I have done/bobbled/had my share of stumble words and/or twisted tongues.

We all make mistakes.

That said, I am not currently the broadcaster employed as the voice of an internationally broadcast radio feature who doesn't know how to pronounce the name Ethel.

Whether its attached to a famous face or not.

And, come to think of it, Tina Twelve missed "Ethel" by a mile...

...and nailed "matriarch"?

To paraphrase my friend Jenna...

"she so funny".

Some might think it mean that I'm taunting Tina for her slip of the tongue.

But it wasn't a slip.

It would have been a slip if she said "Saylor Twift" or some other mangle as, through no fault of her own, a cat had been fighting her for possession of her tongue at the moment.

This was a flat out case of "she just assumed it was pronounced "ee-THELL"

With the accent/emphasis on the THELL.

And that, for me, is what makes this whole thing funny, a little sad...and a sign of the times.

It's bad enough that the culture really does seem to be for all appearances, on a, so far, successful
mission to dumb all of us down.

But now the dumbness seems to spreading in both directions.

Those of us a little more experienced in life can't help but be a little disheartened by that.

Just ask ee-THELL

With the accent/emphasis on the THELL.

You know...from the kenn-NEDDIE family.

She's the matriarch.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

"...A Few Words About Even Fewer Words..."

Time for today's verbosity on vocabulary.

With a little value added alliteration attached.

It strikes me as, at least, poignant and, at most, tragic that in a culture that has evolved from face to face interaction to top of head to top of head interaction (you have to picture two people texting each other in the same room and the visual will come to you in a flash), our "communication" with one another seems to be increasing....while our skill with the language seems to headed south for the winter...and all other seasons.

Admittedly, I come into this discussion with an obvious prejudice.

I love words.

And the ability that the human being has to use them.

And, to paraphrase Olympia Dukakis in "Steel Magnolias", the spoken word, and our ability to accessorize, are the only things that seperate us from the animals.

But in that wacky, zany way that life has of zigging when we're anticipating zagging, our vocabulary skills seem to be more about waneing than they are accretion.

Say what?

Say huh?

The deterioration of our vocabularies stems, in some part, at least, I think, from the increase in our impatience.

Another of those delicious life ironies.

The faster things move, the quicker machines get us there, the faster and quicker we want them to move and go.

Give us patience...and give it to us right now.

Then, there's textspeak.





And yet another life's impish ironics.

LOL is the radically truncated acronym for "laugh out loud". Yet, shortened though it may be, it could be shortened even more.

By not using it at all.

Because it's superfluous.

If something is funny to someone, you shouldn't have to add LOL to it. If something is not funny and you add LOL to it, you just look stupid.

That's for outgoing, by the way.

Incoming responses could theoretically consist of LOL.

But again, since your sender is not in the room to hear your LOL, it seems a little contrived.


Speaking of....when did it become necessary to ask for affirmation of everything we observe/regard and/or comment upon?

IKR is the radically truncated acronym for "I know...right?" which is one of those things that seems to intimate camaraderie but really just comes off as needy.

"I know...you agree with me when I say that I know, correct?"

And let's not even get started on punctuation.

Most of the grandkids don't use what seems to be an obviously necessary question mark at the end of the IKR.

It's just ikr.

Well, wouldn't that sound like....

"I know....right."

Which is either very presumptuous, not just a tad superior and/or a whole lot of redundant.

And I know what you're thinking.

You're thinking...



It's enough to make you want to LOL.


"Which Came First....The Chicken?....Or..."

Freedom of choice.

Boy, there's three words that will light a fire you could see from space.

Here's something not just a little ironic, though.

It occurs to me that in the flames of the current "freedom fracas" there are, when the smoke clears, only two choices.

More on that in a minute.

First, let's briefly recap our story.

Dan Cathy, the president of Chick-fil-A, is pro-marriage, marriage, for his purposes, defined as the union between a man and a woman.

The gay community is red hot angry (tempted to say flaming mad here but suspect that the applicable side's sense of humor button is on pause right now) at Cathy's stand.

What has resulted is a Scriptually soaked, sexually charged reboot of the Hatfields and The McCoys that has manged to hold its own in the headlines even as Olympic gold is being won and the Colorado theater shooter is being judged as to how fit he is to be judged.

At the core of it, though, after all of the prurience, salaciousness and/or raw human drama is taken out of the picture, what's really going on here is simply a very clear difference of opinion.

Next to gun control (and boy, there's a tar pit that makes LaBrea look like Epcot), the whole issue of "gay rights" is about as messy a can of worms as you can pop the top on these days. (Reference to worms, btw, is simply intended as a traditional metaphor for a difficult issue or set of problems and is in, no way, intended to have any phallic connotation, hetero, homo or otherwise)

Personally, I'm resigned to the idea that there are no minds to be changed in either debate.

Now or ever.

Perhaps at some time, a long time from now, in a galaxy far, far away, there will be some kind of enlightening event that will tip the social balance but as regards human beings on the planet Earth, experience has taught me that when it comes to gays and/or guns there are two, and only two, boxes available for checking on the ballot.



Sociologists might argue that we are, in fact, in the midst of a great cultural upheaval, one in which the Chick fil A brouhaha is simply the latest salvo being fired in the great war that gays are waging to be understood, recognized and, yes, even accepted into the main stream of society.

Much like, say, blacks fought for and, in large measure achieved, their own societal acceptance in the 1950's and 1960's.

Here's the problem with that analogy.

Near as I can remember, the Bible doesn't have a lot to say about lunch counters, bus seats, public restrooms and who may or may not be permitted to sit, sit and/or sit in those assorted venues.

And the Constitution is just vague enough on the matter of color to be easily interpreted by either side as either side feels it necessary to interpret.

The Bible, on the other hand, is pretty clear (clear, of course, always being the slipperiest word on the slippery slope) about homosexuality.

And strict Scripturists can quote you chapter and verse...all while driving, texting and enjoying their bag of chicken tenders.

And that wacky old "right to bear arms" thing really belongs in a paragraph entitled "however your read this is cool with us".

So you can articulate a measured, reasoned and reasonable argument all day long regarding a common sense control of misused guns but the instant the bubbas hear the words "gun" and "control" in the same sentence, their brains go into a block mode in which all their ears can hear are the sounds of "America The Beautiful" while their nostrils fill with the delightful aroma of a bag of chicken tenders.

I profess no certified expertise in any subject that would qualify me to render an unassailable opinion on the future status of the homosexual community in the mainstream.

But I've lived in America for sixty years and in the American South for the lion's share of em and I'm here to tell ya....

In the land of the free, the home of the brave where freedom of choice sounds, at least, like a wide open buffet of options and opportunites, there are, when it comes to gays and guns.... two and only two choices.



God bless America.


Pass the chicken.