Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"...Remember When Reading This, Though, That I Defend, To The Death, Your Right To Warn People That The Rights They Still Enjoy Have Been Stripped Away..."

I have a request.

That's coming along shortly.

First, though, I have a question.

Have I suddenly, unknowingly, been teleported to some alternate universe?

Because, apparently, I'm no longer living on the same plane of existence as a number of folks who roam the highways and byways of the news site comments sections and/or social media such as, in particular, Facebook.

Folks who are lamenting, bemoaning and/or rebelliously protesting the "taking away of their rights" by the Federal Government.

And, in particular, of course, the current wheelhouse occupant of said government, Barack Obama.

Admittedly, there has been a lot of chatter, of late, on the subject of trying to get a handle on the out of control toboggan that is gun ownership, but, there is always a lot of chatter about that.

And assorted other things we assume/take for granted as citizens of the land of the free.

When last I checked (and I checked first thing this morning just to be totally up to speed), I can still drive a car, I can still go where I want, I can still look forward to being eligible for, and receiving, Social Security and Medicare in another four or five years.

And, if'n I want to, I can, in a number of places, some actually on the legal side of the line, purchase a weapon without fear of reprisal and/or concern that some modern day Mao or Adolf is going to have his/their goons show up at my front door in confrontation/confiscation mode.

Hell, I can even buy bullets for the damn thing at Walmart.

So, I have to confess to being confused, at best, about the increased volume of the alarm bells being sounded as "our rights are being stripped away."

Which brings me back to the original query.

In what world am I living?

Because, frankly, I can't speak for theirs.

Or for yours.

But, here in mine, everything I was able to do last week/month/year, I'm still able to do this week.

And I'm not seeing or hearing anything, beyond the usual falling sky warnings from that wacky Chicken Little club, that makes me genuinely concerned that I won't be able to do those things next month or year.

So, assuming that I have, in fact, not been surreptiously transported to the "all is well, chill out, dude" nebula and am still, in fact, an inhabitant of planet Earth and a citizen of the U.S of A, may I now make that request?

If you're one of those panic button pushers, would you, please, with all due respect, either show me some specific right, liberty and/or privilege that you have lost in the last, say, five years.....

or, and again I say with all due respect.....

...will you just shut the hell up?

All that chatter is making it hard for me to concentrate on mat framing my copy of the Bill of Rights.

While I clean my Bushmaster.

Thank you.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

"...Imagine How Lame It Would Be If We Also Had To Keep Depositing Quarters..."

Old joke.

You can pick your friends.
You can pick your nose.

But you can't pick your family.

Actually, less an old joke than an old axiom candy coated with inevitability.

And nowhere is that most ancient of accurate axioms more apparent than social media.

In particular, the mosaic of modern meddling, musing and meandering invented by that uber-billionaire in the hoodie, Mark Zuckerburg.


A friend, peer and colleague of many years posted the following on his FB page yesterday and I found it both insightful and not just a little ironic.

I didn't join Facebook to discuss the virtues and vices of Democratic and Republican politics. I didn't join to discuss the pros and cons of gun control. I didn't join to respond to incessant app requests. I didn't join to 'like' pages created by people I don't know and/or have never met. I didn't join to ask people to support my causes, or to support anyone elses' cause of choice. Most importantly, I didn't join to read comments written by people I consider peers and friends filled with judgemental, vitriolic rage, indignance and occasionally even unadulterated hatred.

I joined Facebook to stay connected to those who I hold in high regard personally, professionally, or both. I joined to share the joys of their lives and careers, and to be supportive and caring in their times of need. I joined to make funny, light hearted comments and to just I hate what this place has become...a dumping ground for anger, hate & personal agenda. I had a pretty good life before Facebook came along, and I'm pretty confident I'll still have a good one after it's gone. For now, I think I'll spend a lot less time here.

This friend, peer, colleague is, by both profession and nature, an articulate and thoughtful guy. He, in fact, makes his living articulately and thoughtfully crafting and assembling words.

So, I couldn't help but be struck, as I read his expression his feelings of, obviously, frustration, irritation and, I'd hazard, more than a little let down, by both the insight and irony resulting from said reading.

Facebook, by design, intent and, if nothing else, accident, is nothing more, or less, than the 21st Century, state of the art spin on the primal, human predisposition to gather together in groups of two or more and communicate to one another the observations, occurances and/or opinions each of us, as primal humans, possess at any given time in our time here on the mortal plane.

Put less NPR-ishly, we just love to shoot the shit and/or dish the dirt with others.

At it's simplistic core, Facebook is nothing more, or less, than a telephone that requires a keyboard as opposed to a mouthpiece and speaker.

In fact, FB is, again boiled down, simply a modern twist on that communicative oldie but goodie.

The party line.

Those born after, say, 1960 will want to take a moment here to Google.

While we wait for you, the rest of us will jump on FB and check to see what's new.

Meet you back here in a few.

The most obvious difference between the party line of old and the party line of online is, in the case of the latter, you can "hear" each side of every conversation.

Providing both a fascinating futuristic spin on the original concept of multiple musers musing at once and, simultaneously, proving, once again, that there really is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

I have nothing but respect, and empathy, for the feelings expressed by my friend, as regards his disillusionment with what he thought he was getting when the modern day version of the telephone man came along and offered him access to the current day chit chat mainstream.

I totally understand his anguish at his senses being assualted by party liners waxing whiny about their political POV's, gun control cacaphonies and/or assorted nasties, nabobbings and/or neuroses.

Hell, man, for that kind of brain banging, all many of us need do is wait until this year's family Thanksgiving dinner.

And while we're at it, can I just throw in my own previously expressed lament that Facebook, more and more, seems to be misnamed, the more correct monniker, given the current face to puss ratio, being something like Petbook?

And then, of course, there's Twitter.

Do I really need to know that you just sent out for Chinese and you think you need to increase your fiber intake?

But that's another party line patter for another party line time.

I understand and, again, respect my friend's unhappiness with what he experiences a lot of the time on FB.

To paraphrase Jerry Lee, "whole lotta petty and pissy postin' goin' on".

Actually, come to think of it, that gives a whole new meaning to the term "going post-al".

Ar ar.

Bottom line.

Like any group, gathering and/or party line consisting of the various and sundry good, bad and/or ugly that makes up the race human, it's inevitable that Facebook, among other forms of reach out and touch, is going to be home to assorted good guys..and bad, profundity...and profanity, outreach...and outrage, tender talk...and trash.

And my friend's point, well taken, is nothing if not valid in that Facebook, in the most idealistic sense, could benefit in a major way from a thinning of that part of the herd that insists on wringing their hands in lieu of clasping anothers, peeing in the Cheerios as opposed to pouring on a little milk of kindness and rubbing salt instead of sprinkling sugar.

But Facebook, for good, bad or indifferent, is a place where one has the freedom to express oneself, well, freely.

And as a wise man once, and often, wrote, "the problem with freedom is that you have to give it to everybody."

As shared at the outset, I find my friend's thoughts to be both insightful...and ironic.

Insightful in the lament that given the chance to connect with one another, so often, sadly, the connection becomes less a means of increasing the flow of that which might heal and more a means of distributing the venom.

Ironic in that, assuming and conceding the analogy that Facebook is a high tech party line, my friend got on the line to tell everyone that he was weary and tired of all the pissing, bitching and moaning on the party line and was no longer going to get on the party line.

Instead of just hanging up.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

"Think Very Carefully...Do You Really Want A Smart Ass Disc Jockey Coming Into Your Cubicle And Telling You How To Make That PowerPoint Presentation Better...?"

Old joke.

Doctor, it hurts when I do that.

Well, then, don't do that.

New twist on old joke.

Coming momentarily.

I came across an article on the entertainment sites detailing a change in the writing staff of David Letterman's show.

The article used, of course, the word "shake-up" as opposed to "change" because, of course, change might be the correct word but lacks the hyperbolic panache deemed mandatory these days when reporting pretty much anything.

After scanning and/or speed reading through the information and validating my opening suspicion that said information would matter next to nothing to the average TV viewer, I scanned on down to that almost always guaranteed cornucopia of wit, wisdom and perspective...

...the readers comments.

Here are the first five comments posted.

The show is junk. Time to retire Dave.

Sick of him making faces, showing his bad teeth, worst of all, NOT funny...
letterman hasnt been funny since the 90's
What writing? Lettermans pieces are pure pig swill. The only thing that comes close to funny is the top 10 list. By the way has anyone noticed that all 3 shows are identical? They come on with a monologue, have guests, then a musical guest, then end of show. How about a big change. Be like Barbara Walters say what you will. Go spend the day with the quest, at their home or vacation spot. Find out something about them. The guests on these shows are just promoting something. Book or movie, documentary.
I wish his liberal attitude and hiself would just go away. I was a fan for MANY YEARS GROWING UP IN iNDIANA, but I never knew he was so political and so much of a socialist. Yes, he promotes a socialistic agenda, easy when you have all the money he has. The Irony!
Assuming that these five commentators are civilians with no experience in writing and/ or peforming and are, in fact, simply your average everyday couch potato-ish flatscreen devotees, please allow me, on behalf of those who do have experience in writing and/or performing, to inquire...
Who the hell asked you?
Throughout my years in broadcasting, I have, as you might imagine, been subject to a fair amount of "input" from my audience at any given time. This is an inevitable, and expected, price of doing business when the business is offering up humor, entertainment, perspective, opinion, etc in the form of either print, radio and/or television.
And, in the same spirit that gun wing nuts exhibit when they spew "my rights" everytime their behavior is even suggested to be in need of a tweak, let me assure one and all that one and all are, without equivication, entitled to his or her opinion.
There is, though, a key distinction that deserves mention. Something that seems to fly far and high above the heads of the average reader, listener and/or viewer when it comes to the value of the two cents they so eagerly and, in their own minds, rightfully, throw in every chance they get.
Said distinction goes a little like this.
If you read something or hear something or see something that offends you, say a song with objectionable lyrics, then, by all means, if you must give in to the urge to prove that you alone are the lone voice of morality in a lost culture, give that jock a call and exercise your God, and Supreme Court, given right to express your indignation.
If the broadcaster at the moment is worth his or her salt, they will respectfully listen to your objection, thank you for your opinion and move on with their efforts to inform and/or entertain.
On the other hand, if you should then feel the need to critique the style, means, method and/or any detail of the overall presentation of said broadcast, then, please, with all due respect, please anticipate the possibility that what you will experience is the sound of a phone hanging up on you in mid sentence, preceded, possibly, by what you might incredulously suspect (and you would be right, by the way) was the sound of a voice on the other end suggesting that you accomplish the remarkable feat of engaging in sexual intercourse although you're the only person in the room.
Because, simply put, for those in need of things being simply put, those of us who broadcast are totally respectful of your opinion when it comes to content.
But, and, hey, this is said with all the love we can muster, when it comes to how we can "do a better show"...or "why don't we do this instead of that?"...or "why don't you play more music and talk less?"...we couldn't give a rat's ass about your opinion.
For a few reasons.
First, you're probably a civilian with no experience in writing and/or peforming, so, at what point did you suddenly realize that you were an expert on the subject or subjects?
Second, where can we listen to your show, so that we can return the favor and let you know how you can do it better?
For that matter, just let us know what it is that you are doing for a living, so we can drop by the office and point out how you can be more efficient.
And, third, and here comes the knockout punch, you crazy critiquers, nobody is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to read, listen or watch what any writer, broadcaster or performer is offering up at any given time.
The five "experts" offering their respective two cents's re' Dave's show are textbook examples of the point being made here.
If the joke offends you, then say so.
Better yet, if the joke offends you and/or you feel the whole show could use an overhaul, do tens of thousands of hard working writers, broadcasters and/or performers a much appreciated favor.
Spare us your expertise and change the channel.
Doctor, it hurts when I listen to that.
Well, then, don't listen to that.

"A Perfect Fit For The 'News Cycle'....A Story Worth Ten Words That Just Keeps Going Round and Round..."

Public service announcement.

For those  who missed the opportunity to see the entire, in depth interview Oprah conducted with Lance Armstrong and have better things to do with the precious time of their lives than watch the self serving and pathetic yammering of a sociopathic narcissist,  what follows is the "Cliff Notes" transcript.

Oprah-   "Good evening, I'm Oprah Winfrey. And my guest is Lance Armstrong. Good evening, Lance."

Lance-   "Good evening, Oprah."

Oprah- "Did you take dope to win all your races, lie about it from day one and act, in general, like a douche bag who considered himself God's gift to pretty much everything?"

Lance- "Yes."

Oprah- "I'm Oprah Winfrey, thanks for joining me. Good night."

For those who don't fit the aforementioned criteria, the DVD box set will be available in early March.

Including a special featurette...

"Sheryl Crow- 'What The Hell Was I Thinkin'?..."