Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Facebook and Phone Etiquette

Can someone please help me out with manners for Facebook and cellphones in terms of the following issue: How long should you keep someone's contact information in your cellphone? How long do you keep someone as a friend on Facebook...even if you have no point in hearing from them or stopped hearing from them for months? Are there "rules" for the removal of info/former friends?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The passing of George Michael

Washington D.C. and national sports broadcasting legend George Michael recently passed away at the age of 70 from leukemia. I remember back when I was growing up, staying up late Sunday night to watch George Michael's Sports Machine on Cleveland's WKYC TV 3 at 11:30. I especially tried to catch it on the last Sunday of the month and the last Sunday of the year was a really "can't miss" show due to the plays of the year. Below is typical of what you would get in one of the segments. The Sports Machine was a well-produced show that was upbeat, fun, and didn't need the "attitude" of other current sports shows to get you to watch. Michael always said the "tape is the star." In a typical half-hour show, you would see tons of highlights and so little of George.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Report the Facts. Respect the truth.

Channel 3 in Cleveland followed up the Fox 8 story about the Chippendale dancer with this effort from video journalist Carl Bachtel. If you can't see the video here, please go to wkyc.com and see the story. It's at least more tastefully done than the one on Fox 8. At least Carl didn't get a shot of himself in the bed.

Yes, this is a top 20 news market!

I grew up watching what is now Fox 8 in Cleveland. It seemed to be the most likeable station. They hire hometown talent and do a good job on sports. Many fine reporters and anchors have moved on from Cleveland to even bigger markets. Kelly O'Donnell, Martin Savidge, and Vince Cellini to name a few. With people moving on to bigger jobs, you would think that the journalistic standards in Cleveland are pretty high. Then, stories like these have to air...

The fact the guy is a Chippendales dancer has so little to do with the story but the reporter made it a big part of the story. The tight shot of him "travelling with a six pack"????

This aired during the five o'clock hour on Monday, December 21st. I wonder if I was the only one who felt uncomfortable seeing this on the news.

I wonder what the perception would be if a woman had done this story. Hmmmmmm...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

More unreal Obama news

Who comes up with this crap? Unbelievable.


WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's deliberate approach to decision-making and a fascination with science is raising some eyebrows and drawing the logical question.

Is Barack Obama Washington's Mr. Spock, the chief science officer for the ship of state?

Actor Leonard Nimoy, who has portrayed "Star Trek's" Spock for more than 40 years, tells The Associated Press that Obama's precise, logical approach may be "somewhat unusual for a politician." And that may be a compliment.

Obama's Spock-like qualities have drawn critics who say he's too technocratic, too deliberative and lacking in emotion.

But it's all good for the geek set who like the idea of a science president.

The president's science adviser, John Holdren, says Obama "is genuinely and intensely interested in science and technology in a way that goes beyond their practical relevance to meeting national goals."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Adam Lambert controversy

The Adam Lambert controversy heated up this week after his controversial performance on the American Music Awards. I have several thoughts.

1. While he isn't saying he's sorry, he is admitting his performance "got carried away"...i.e. he admits he was offensive. It's as close to an apology as we will get. Furthermore, he admits he should have revealed to network executives during rehearsals that the simulated sex and other garbage was what he was going to do. Again, not quite an apology but as close as we will get.
2. Yes, his performance aired around 11 p.m. which is past kids' bedtimes but that shouldn't excuse someone from performing a simulated sex act on tv.
3. While I think he has a point that his sexual preference factors into the attention, I don't think that if it was a male performer with a woman or a woman performer with a guy simulating oral sex on-stage, there wouldn't be as much attention. I have to disagree with Adam on that. There would still be controversy.
4. Adam Lambert is not Elvis Presley. There is no comparison here as mentioned in the article....talentwise or shock-wise.
5. While he says Janet Jackson grabbing her crotch didn't get any attention, keep in mind Janet's brother Michael did it YEARS ago and has become a signature move. While not all that "family like or wholesome," it's not exactly over the top as simulated sex onstage.
6. On a network morning show a couple days later, Lambert performed and promised that his appearance was more "family friendly." Hey, either be one way or another in terms of your act. This is where Adam is right in terms of parents having responsibility with their kids. I just think it's rediculous to try to appeal to everybody, including families, if some of your act includes the raunchiness that we saw on the AMAs.


NEW YORK (AP) — Adam Lambert admits he got carried away with his sexually charged American Music Awards performance, but he's offering no apology.

The glam rocker from "American Idol" said on "The Early Show" that his performance would not have caused as much controversy if he weren't openly gay. He also said there were other "adult" moments on the show that caused no outrage.

"I admit I did get carried away, but I don't see anything wrong with it," he said Wednesday. "I do see how people got offended and that was not my intention. My intention was to interpret the lyrics of my song and have a good time with it."

Lambert kissed a male keyboard player, dragged a female dancer around by the ankles and had a dancer simulate oral sex on him while performing "For Your Entertainment," a song with a sexual edge. ABC received many complaints about the performance and that network's morning show, "Good Morning America," canceled Lambert's scheduled appearance on Wednesday because it said it couldn't trust what he would do.

"The Early Show" on CBS, perennially third in a three-network morning show race, happily gave him a platform and milked it — interviewing him, having him interact with fans and asking him to sing. One of the show's hosts, Harry Smith, tied the flap to rock history, noting that camera operators were only allowed to shoot Elvis Presley from the waist up during a network TV appearance generations ago.

Lambert admitted he didn't rehearse some of the more risque elements of his award show performance — a point that particularly upset ABC, which said it was taken by surprise by what he did. In the future, he said he'd try to get these issues cleared before the show.

But he noted that Lady Gaga smashed whiskey bottles during her performance, Eminem rapped about rape and Janet Jackson briefly groped a male dancer.

"Janet Jackson, crotch grab," he said. "I haven't heard one peep about that."

He said that "if it had been a female pop performer doing (his) moves that were on the stage, I don't think there would be nearly as much of an outrage."

"I think it's because I'm a gay male," he added.

Offered a chance to apologize, he declined. He said he didn't consider that there may have been children watching because his American Music Awards performance came at nearly 11 p.m., and that it's a parent's job to monitor what their children are watching on TV.

"I'm not a baby sitter," he said. "I'm a performer."

Asked what he'd do differently if he had the chance, Lambert said, "I would sing it a little bit better."

"I guess I have a tendency to divide people," he added. "Apples and oranges — you either like it or you don't."

"For Your Entertainment" is the title cut and first single from Lambert's new album, which went on sale Monday. He didn't perform that on "The Early Show," opting instead for the songs "Whataya Want From Me" and "Music Again."

He said before performing, "Parents, this is appropriate, I promise."

Lambert took questions from fans surrounding CBS' midtown Manhattan studio, including one who said she had traveled from Japan to see him. None of the questions were about Sunday's performance.

His mother, Leila Lambert, came on stage between his two songs, and was asked what she thought of her son at the American Music Awards.

"I was a little taken aback," she said. "But, you know, I just went with the flow. It's all good."

Friday, November 20, 2009

How NOT to fire people.

According to BusinessWeek, here are the top ten things to not say or do when letting someone go. I won't call out a particular boss who fired me but I'm amazed that he nailed five out these ten.


The Top 10 Comments to Avoid Uttering

Here are 10 things you should never say when terminating an employee:

While these comments may not be evidence of an illegal motive, they may produce anger that results in the employee's visiting a lawyer to determine whether a viable claim exists.

1."This was a job elimination and had nothing to do with your performance." Do not say this when a discharge had everything to do with an employee's performance. Your desire to protect an employee's feelings -- or your own -- can later be used as evidence of pretext if the employee brings a discrimination claim.

2. "We have carried you for many years. It's just not possible to continue to do so during these difficult times." Don't trash the past. It is not only insulting to the employee, but it may be inconsistent with the employee's prior evaluations. Remember, pretext alone wins cases.

3. "We have no choice but to terminate your employment." There are always other options. Why not tolerate mediocrity a little longer? Termination need not be the only viable option, so don't suggest that it is.

4. "You have no one to blame but yourself. You just did not try hard enough." Hold employees accountable, but don't impugn their integrity. When employees feel personally attacked, they fight back.

5."This is just as hard for me as it is for you." There are few absolutes, but it is absolutely true that it always harder to be fired than to fire. Don't ask an employee who is looking at unemployment to feel your pain.

6. "This is not the right job for you. When you get the right job, you will thank me." That may make you feel good, but it will make the discharged employee bristle. The "thank you" may come in the form of a complaint.

7. "I am sorry, but you are fired." You may mean: "I am sorry we have come to this situation." The employee may hear that you think you are wrong. It's not a good time to have a conversation about the meaning of "I am sorry." Avoid apologies, even though you may genuinely feel badly.

8. "I know how you feel." Unless you have been fired recently, you don't know how the person feels. If you have been fired recently, now is not the time to share that experience.

9. "You will always be a part of the corporate family." Trust me. This will make the fired employee think: "Oh, good. Will I still get the newsletter after I sue you?"

10 "Pardon the e-mail, but you are fired." This may not be unlawful, but it's gutless. And it invites the angry employee to go for your gut.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Badly in need of p.r.

This is the city of Toledo's dog warden, attempting to defend his reasoning for euthanizing a large number of dogs instead of pushing for more dogs to be adopted. Check out what he says are signs of a "good dog."

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Great editorial in The Blade

Today's Toledo newspaper, The Blade, has a great editorial on high school education and No Child Left Behind. I am seeing the results of this teaching at the college level. Too many students are unprepared in terms of reading and writing skills. This has to change!


Diluting academics
TO ENSURE that schools meet the federally mandated goals of the No Child Left Behind law, some states have set easier academic standards to measure student achievement. So, while the schools may meet the federally mandated goals of the 2002 statute, their students are falling behind in what they ought to be learning.

That was the troubling conclusion of a blunt report by the Department of Education in an assessment of how state achievement levels can be undermined when tougher standards are applied. "We're lying to our children when we tell them they're proficient, but they're not achieving at a level that will prepare them for success once they graduate," said Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

His agency compared state achievement standards to the more challenging standards behind the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress. The findings include 31 states with fourth-graders who rated proficient in reading when they would have rated below basic on NAEP.

Seventeen states claimed eighth graders proficient in reading when they also scored below basic on NAEP. And another 10 states deemed fourth and eighth graders proficient at math when NAEP scores indicated that they, too, would have rated below basic.

The Obama Administration says the report, which shows stunning disparities in academic standards among states, bolsters its argument for all states to adopt the same tougher standards for what students should know. And while the federal government can't impose those standards on the states, it can encourage them - with millions of stimulus dollars in grants - to accept a set of uniform standards being developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.

The good news is that every state, with the exception of Texas and Alaska, has signaled an interest in better preparing children to achieve and succeed in a global economy by already committing to the higher standards.
That way, advocates say, no matter where children live, the educational achievement bar won't be determined by their ZIP Code.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Age

Having just celebrated a birthday and had a 20th class reunion, some interesting things happened. First, my reunion was a blast. In a class of 410, 150 people showed up for our reunion. Great turnout. It could have been higher. People knew a lot about what I was up to based on my Facebook page. That was neat.

Also, in 20 years, everyone goes their different paths. Many are married with kids. Some got married and are now divorced. Some are in a different part of the country. Either way, we all were pretty good with each other in talking and relating to each other's struggles and successes.

Now, here's another side of age. I am in a Doctorate program at BGSU. I am at least ten years older than almost all of my colleagues. Instead of going straight from one degree to the next, I worked in the real world. I think it helped me mature mentally and experience things that you just can't learn in class. Anyway, in some of my classes (at Kent and BG), I notice how I get the "old man" treatment. I mean, he's the "old man" in here, what does he know? That is such a powerful motivator. I think it can be more powerful than positive reinforcement. Thankfully though, the treatment for the age difference isn't as bad as it could be. There are just a handful of people who seem to have an issue with it.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Children and the Media


So this young boy, Falcon, is at the heart of a national story about an eccentric family. The family has been making the rounds of the national media talk shows on cable and broadcast networks.
The result?

I don't know who is more guilty...the media for putting this fool (the father AND his family on tv) or is the guilty one the father for putting his family out there like this?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Turn it off!

Why don't more people understand there is etquette with having a cellphone? I walk away from people if I am on the phone. I don't want to "invade their space" with my conversation. I hate it when people leave their phones in church, in the theater, wherever there should be silence. Check this video out of Hugh Jackman onstage while a cellphone is ringing.








Friday, September 25, 2009

The lunacy continues.

I cannot believe people actually listen to this guy. Even if this was fake, it's in very poor taste.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What?


Not often do I see funny animal videos that I want to post here but my buddy, Mark Williamson has this on his Facebook page. I watched this a few times because I couldn't believe the goat is actually saying, "Wwwwwwhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaatttttttttt???"

And here's another goat video, with a goat yelling for its Mommy.

Friday, September 11, 2009

What is going on?


Republican Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina has gone from nobody to "hero" status in many people's minds because of his uncivil actions during the President's speech a couple nights ago. Wilson apologized after the speech saying his emotions got the best of him.

I can't imagine going to a nationwide conference for Wal-Mart or Apple and heckling the C-E-O as he talked. I would get booted out of the conference.

The sad part is that people are calling Wilson a hero. Why? Because he openly called the President a liar? If he would simply read the proposed legislation, he would see that illegal immigrants would not get coverage. Secondly, he makes his own party look foolish when the President calls the GOP out for saying instead of trying to kill it, why not try to improve it?

And maybe the worst part of making a "hero" out of Wilson, we are saying to children and others that this behavior is acceptable.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Speaking to school-kids

The President will be giving a speech aimed at school-kids this Tuesday at noon. The goal of the speech is to set goals, stay in school, and get good grades. However, many irrational people think that the President is using his post as a bully pulpit to indoctrinate children.

I want to address the "concerns" put up by the conservative movement:
1. He will indoctrinate children. Simply go to the White House website and see what the speech will be about as well as the supporting material offered to teachers.
2. This doesn't fit with the curriculum. Ok, neither do pep rallies and various other situations that students get pulled out of class for.
3. Students/people should be able to think for themselves. I agree. But saying that you want to view the video with your child at home doesn't exactly promote free thinking. And furthermore, what about the teachers being able to think for themselves instead of having superintendents just banning the speech altogether.
4. Our school doesn't have the bandwidth to watch the speech online. Well, had responsible administrators checked the White House website, they would have found out that the speech will be broadcast on C-SPAN.

Here's the simple solution. (sarcasm) If a parent is afraid little Johnny will be harmed by Obama's "do well" message, all mommy has to do is write a note to get Johnny out of class so he can put on his tin foil hat and help mommy make up more "palling around with terrorists" or "Obama wants to kill seniors" myths to float around.

I just wonder how far the "fear factor" from the fringe right will continue to push until someone with common sense will step in and say, "ENOUGH!"

With the anniversary of 9/11 approaching, I wonder if this outright hatred (for Obama) would have existed had Obama been President at the time of the attacks and he had to address the nation during school????

AMEN! The panel from today's Meet The Press got it right!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

This is too much.

I cannot believe stories like this are on somewhat mainstream online news-sources like Yahoo News. Michelle Obama's hair doesn't matter. What's next? Commentary about her nail polish? Why does the media get so fixated on little things? I wonder where the feminists are when stories like this make the news. When stories like this "break," I feel like the women's lib movement has been set back a few decades.

Why Michelle Obama's Hair Matters
By JENEE DESMOND-HARRIS
Jenee Desmond-harris Wed Sep 2, 5:15 pm ET
When the First Lady attended a country-music event in July without a single strand of hair falling below her jawline, the blogosphere exploded with outbursts ranging from adoration to vitriol. Things settled down only when her deputy press secretary clarified that there had been no First Haircut. In the aftermath, a didactic post on MichelleObamaWatch.com proclaimed that anyone "familiar with the amazing versatility of black hair" would have known that the new summer look was simply "pinned up." Many Americans have dismissed this hair hubbub as simply more media-driven noise - like the chatter about Michelle Obama's sleeveless dresses, J. Crew cardigans, stocking-free legs or, for that matter, recent (shocking!) decision to wear shorts in the Arizona heat. But for African-American women like me, hair is something else altogether - singular in its capacity to command interest and carry cultural baggage. The obsession with Michelle's hair took hold long before Inaugural Ball gowns were imagined, private-school choices scrutinized or organic gardens harvested. It's not that she's done anything outrageous. The new updo wasn't really all that dramatic a departure from variations we've seen on her before (the "flip-out," the "flip-under," the long-ago abandoned "helmet"). Still, her hair is the catalyst for a conversation that begins with style but quickly transcends outward appearance and ultimately transcends Michelle herself - a symbol for African-American women's status in terms of beauty, acceptance and power.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Erin Andrews Effect

Over the last few months, I have been posting infrequently on this blog. I've been taking summer a little easier. Also, I hadn't been checking the tracker that keeps the count of visitors to my blog. Recently, after posting an item about Billy Mays and Steve McNair, I looked at the sitetracker and saw that my blog had a huge spike in "viewers" through July and early August. Previously, the highest number of people stopping by my blog had been 545 in October of 2008, leading into the election.

In July, last month, 3,225 people visited my site. This month, 955 have already clicked on.

The reason?

In August of 2008, I posted a few thoughts about female sports reporters in locker-rooms covering sports and included a photo of Erin Andrews. I took the photo from a Google image search. I see that whenever an image is linked to a blog, that link is referenced on websites if an image gets used. So, in July, when the story broke about Erin Andrews being videotaped nude in her hotel room and people were looking all over the internet for photos, the thousands that came to my website probably were looking for the nudie pics.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

More lunacy from the right.

It's one thing to be "out there" but at least be informed. As has been stated many times, illegal immigrants will not have coverage. I have never seen so much misinformation on one issue have such a hold on so many people. When you have people who resort to yelling Hitler's name at meetings, that should give an indication of the level of intelligence and media literacy of some of the people that are present.

Furthermore, Barack Obama has been President less than nine months! Where were the cries of over-spending when Bush was in power and we were blowing money on rebuilding Iraq? This woman states her husband is working two jobs and doesn't have health care. She is arguing against reform that would help her husband. Ugh!

About time!

These town hall forums on health care been out of control for too long. Democrats have been taking punch after punch from these loonies who show up packing loaded guns, shouting insults, and bringing Nazi-themed signs. When will it stop? Finally, at least someone had the guts to stand up to one of these crazies...and it was Barney Frank of Massachusetts.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Real World


An interesting moral dilemma has crept up in the world. Former Tennessee Titan quarterback Steve McNair was shot dead in a murder-suicide by the the woman he was having an extramarital affair with. The Titans plan on honoring McNair by retiring his number. McNair was married with children. I wonder how many Titan fans truly feel that retiring McNair's number is a good thing considering the way his life ended.

Can you imagine how McNair's family feels?...especially his wife and kids?


Billy Mays died a couple days after Michael Jackson passed away. Originally, it was reported that Mays died of heart disease. Shortly after he passed, it was announced that commercials with Billy Mays and his booming voice and hand gestures would continue to run. Now that it has been revealed that his use of coccaine contributed to his heart disease, I wonder if his spots will continue to dominate commercial time.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Search for yourself, part three!

So, the Cleveland Indians traded Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee today to the Philadelphia Phillies. On Indians Owner Larry Dolan's page on Wikipedia, it says:

Larry Dolan has 6 children, among them Matthew and Paul who work for his law firm, Thrasher, Dinsmore & Dolan. Dolan has said his children will eventually assume ownership of the Cleveland Indians in his place. In June, 2009, Dolan suffered a mild heart-attack, and, disapointingly, didn't die.

His nephew James Dolan owns the New York Knicks of the NBA and the New York Rangers of the NHL. Neither him, nor his nephew, know how to run a professional sports team properly, and should both sell them before its too late.

Larry Dolan has made the Cleveland Indians the first MLB franchise to trade the reigning Cy Young Award winner in back-to-back seasons.

In July of 2009, Larry Dolan traded Ryan Garko, Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee, and Ben Francisco for a slew of no-name players. The moves were widely perceived to be a big "Fuck You" to the fans in Cleveland.

Time and time again, it's proven that Larry Dolan is a cheap ass, and refuses to put money into the Cleveland Indians.


****If you didn't know, Wikipedia allows users to edit content and entries on its website, making it a "community encyclopedia." Obviously, the entry for Larry Dolan is a little off.

Search for yourself, part two!

I got an e-mail response from the online internet company that had the erroneous info posted about me. Here's what it says:

Hi, David.
Thank you for writing to ZoomInfo.

At your request, your web profile has been removed from ZoomInfo. We apologize for any inconvenience.

ZoomInfo is a specialized web search engine similar to Google but focused on finding information about companies and professionals. The information found in ZoomInfo's search results comes from corporate websites, press releases, SEC filings, and other public websites."

(next two paragraphs refer to how long items stay on the web and searches)

Jackie
Product Support

***********First of all, I want to thank Jackie and ZoomInfo for taking action to correct this. It's sad that a legitimate online service has to be used by someone playing jokes.

The link on my (now deleted) profile went to the school district website. Given what Jackie says about how they get their information, I could easily assume that someone who has access to post material on the website did this. I hope not. Some people can be extremely juvenile. Furthermore, it would be one thing if this was an isolated incident but but the person who replaced me at my former job also has the same thing posted about them.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Search for yourself!

Out of boredom, I sometimes find myself Googling myself or my family members every once in awhile. I'm amazed at the number of Strukels that are around the country.

Yesterday, I discovered something that I think you can benefit from. Someone created a fictitious entry of me on a business profile website almost a year ago and listed me as the past Head Custodian at Aurora High School. Now, I did work at Aurora for six years but I sure wasn't the "Head Custodian." I sent an e-mail to the website asking to have my name removed permanently, which the website says will take 24-48 hours.

I'm glad this wasn't something more serious or worse than "Head Custodian." Anyway, it strikes me as funny that someone would waste their time making up a fake profile of me online.

Lesson learned: it doesn't hurt to look for yourself online every once in awhile.

It's over!

Today is Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's final day as the c-e-0 of that state where you can see Russia from. Thankfully, she is stepping down. Unfortunately, it probably will not be the last we hear from her. She continues to use her Twitter account and rumblings of a book deal are in the works.

I try to keep an open mind on almost anything. However, I cannot believe it when I hear the words, "she appeals to the conservative base." I worry about the base of the GOP if Palin is who they like.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

How?

Sarah Palin: Up Among Republicans?
July 08, 2009 1:04 PM

Data analysis can be a subjective thing; so it is with today’s USA Today and Gallup coverage of their joint poll on Sarah Palin.

USA Today’s p.1 piece says Palin’s resignation “actually has boosted her a bit among Republicans.” Gallup’s analysis makes no such conclusion.

While its story didn’t provide numbers, USAT tells us it was referring to the fact that 15 percent of Republicans surveyed said their view of Palin had become more favorable because of her decision to resign, vs. 12 percent less favorable. (Using decimals the difference actually rounds to 4 points.)

One problem from my perspective is that this difference among the 316 Republicans surveyed is not statistically significant at the customary 95 percent confidence level (nor indeed at 90, 85 or even 80 percent confidence). Another is that a different result shows a 9-point drop in the number of Republicans who want Palin to be a major national political figure - a result that, by contrast, is significant.

***********************************************
The above is from ABC News. Ok, so Sarah Palin announced on July 3rd that she is quitting her post as Governor of Alaska two and a half years into her first term. BUT she says she is not quitting. How?! She said in her press conference that she didn't want to be a lame duck governor and take trips and just cash a paycheck...you know, do what's best for Alaskans. If this is true, why didn't she resign while she was a vice presidential candidate traveling around the country???? She couldn't have been on top of her job as governor as she was stirring up fear at Republican rallies and bumbling her way through her only debate.

Furthermore, how can anyone seriously see Palin as a legitimate candidate for President? She showed as little command of the moment of her resignation as she did during her interview with Katie Couric and her debate with Joe Biden. Citing the constant complaints and attacks is a copout. If she can't hack criticism at this stage of her political "career," what makes her think the criticism will be any lighter at a "higher calling."

Meanwhile, Palin's number of Facebook friends continues to skyrocket.

Hey, if you are a Republican, PLEASE get off the "she's on our side" mentality and really ask yourself, "is this the best candidate our party can put out there?"

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Thoughts on Michael Jackson


It's amazing that the above video is 19 years after Michael Jackson's Thriller album came out. He still had it going on then in 2001. Jackson still had game. Listen to the crowd and how loud they are. They drown out the music at times.

After Thriller came out, Bad was a pretty good follow up, but nothing he did would touch the success of Thriller.

As he got older, Michael's looks, his "strangeness", sexual abuse claims, and his being a recluse took over the headlines.


Random thoughts:
-I had a classmate in junior high who wore his Thriller jacket to school and it got stolen. I felt badly for the kid.
-There's no way, if I ever have kids, that I will nickname a child "blanket."
-I am stunned that Michael's death crashed wikipedia and Twitter. Also, Amazon.com sold out of every Michael Jackson cd. That truly is a measure of Jackson's super-stardom.
-It's strange that it took death for Michael Jackson and his music to be so relevant again.
-Regarding the last two points, I think whenever Madonna or Prince pass on, a similar effect will happen but not to the same level as what happened with Michael. Are there any others that their deaths could have a similar effect?
-I will remember that I was in the BG Student Union when I first saw the news on CNN and then a classmate confirmed that he died before my class started in East Hall.
-I wonder how long will it take for bootleg or undercover footage of his last rehearsals to be leaked.
-I wonder if it's really true that Michael weighed 108 pounds at the time of his death.
-Being that I was seven years old when Elvis Presley died in 1977, I didn't experience the hysteria around his death. So, just to live during this is a unique experience.
-Will Jordan Chandler, the boy who Michael Jackson paid $22 million out of court in 1994 to settle sexual abuse claims, make any appearances in the media?
-I wonder how show business will ultimately remember and honor Michael Jackson.

Monday, June 22, 2009

See that guy picking up litter...

that might as well be singer Chris Brown. Picking up the litter...not the actual garbage itself but.....nevermind.

Anway, today, Brown, in a plea agreement, pleaded guilty to assault charges for the alleged beating of Rihanna. In the deal, Brown will serve about 1,400 hours of "labor oriented service." He also must go to a domestic violence counseling class for a year.

I don't know if the two will stay together.

In other couples news, Jon and Kate of Jon and Kate plus 8 filed paperwork today to have their marriage dissolved. I know, previously I said I wouldn't watch the show. I watched tonight. It was one of the more uncomfortable hours of tv to watch. Jon said he was looking forward to an "exciting" new chapter in his life...while acknowledging it will be tough not being there everyday with the kids. At one point, he thought out loud, "What's going to happen if I get a job and have to move away?" Kate was obviously more affected by the break up than Jon. The lack of communication between the two, especially in front of the kids, was so obvious. The family all went out to a Sunday brunch for Mother's Day. Jon and Kate sat next to each other. Kate talked and tried to make the event as pleasant as possible. Jon was quiet the whole time.

And yes, they said the show will go on.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Who is to blame?

From Yahoo! comes this article about an amazing failure rate at a Chicago school. You have to wonder about the bias of the writer when they say "the school board claims that written notices were sent." It paints the board to be as guilty as can be.

Tough times at South Side school
A Chicago school made an alarming announcement this week. Close to 60% of its students won't graduate from the eighth grade. The startling figure sent lookups on "Myra Bradwell Elementary School" spiking. An article from CBS 2 Chicago explains that many in the community are wondering who to blame for the students' failure. Some are pointing fingers at the parents, while those same parents are claiming they didn't receive any notice that their children were struggling (the school board claims that written notices were sent).

Monday, June 15, 2009

Breaking News!!!!

Wow, I had no idea! Yahoo! News has released this earth-shattering study.

Survey: Family time eroding as Internet use soars
By BARBARA ORTUTAY, AP Technology Writer - Mon Jun 15, 2009 2:45PM EDT

NEW YORK - Whether it's around the dinner table or just in front of the TV, U.S. families say they are spending less time together.

The decline in family time coincides with a rise in Internet use and the popularity of social networks, though a new study stopped just short of assigning blame.

The Annenberg Center for the Digital Future at the University of Southern California is reporting this week that 28 percent of Americans it interviewed last year said they have been spending less time with members of their households. That's nearly triple the 11 percent who said that in 2006.

These people did not report spending less time with their friends, however.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Not really how it happened.

Knowing someone who has mental illness has made me so much more sensitive to issues regarding mental health, especially in the media. I detest hearing things like, "he's/she's mental" or "they're schizoid." I don't think the people saying them really know what it's like to have those symptoms or have interacted with someone who struggles with mental illness.

Yahoo! has an entertainment section called "omg!." It usually has gossip and photos of stars at their best and worst times. Recently, a photo of Susan Boyle was posted and the caption underneath it mentioned her checking "into a mental health facility." See how Yahoo! showed it below.



Susan Boyle, who shocked the world with her beautiful singing voice, had everyone talking once again when she failed to win "Britain's Got Talent" and then checked into a mental health facility.

****Now, I highly doubt Susan stood on the steps of the facility and belted out a song as it appears here in the photo. The way the photo and caption are paired together, it's inferred that the photo was taken as she checked into the facility.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Enough!

Now that the Obamas' dog has gotten in and out of the spotlight, what useless Presidential news is the media picking up on? His diet! Stories like these are helping drive the media away from the media and following the news.


CAPITAL CULTURE: World hangs on Obama's every biteBy JOCELYN NOVECK, AP National Writer Jocelyn Noveck, Ap National Writer – Tue Jun 9, 12:07 am ET
At the bustling Pi pizza restaurant in St. Louis, the staff has come up with a new mantra: "It's just pizza!"

Just pizza, and yet still, they marvel, customers are happy to wait well upward of two hours at peak time for a table. That is, ever since news came out that Barack Obama loved this pizza so much during a campaign stop, the owners were invited to recreate it in the White House ovens.

"We tell them it'll be two to four hours, and they say, OK!" says owner Chris Sommers, who traveled on his own dime to prepare the presidential meal in April. "This has been our own private stimulus package."

Pizza from St. Louis, pancakes from Pittsburgh. A juicy burger or a chili half-smoke in D.C., soul food in Chicago. Our new president eats something and the world wants to eat it, too. We've always cared about the words that emerge from a president's lips, but has there ever been such attention to the food that enters them?

"Well, White House cookbooks have always been popular — but no, there's never been this flood of interest before," says Eddie Gehman Kohan, editor of the "Obama Foodorama" blog (subject matter self-explanatory.) She sees a fusion of two potent forces: An escalating interest in food and food policy, and enormous curiosity in anything Obama.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Possible motive?

Sad news made the front pages this past Monday after abortion doctor George Tiller was gunned down at church Sunday. A new trend in news has been to follow the "fever" of the story through the internet as the USA TODAY article noted how both sides of the abortion issue were going wild on Facebook and Twitter.

In the (partial) article below, I can't believe the line "Police have not provided a motive for the shooting" was used. Ummmm, let's see, the guy was constantly harrassed and threatened....couldn't the reporter flat out ask if him being a doctor that carried out abortions had anything to do with his death????

Also, later in the article, there is this...."President Obama said he was "outraged by the murder."" What's the President supposed to say?


Late-term abortion doctor killed at church
By Marisol Bello, USA TODAY

George Tiller knew the dangers of being one of few physicians in the USA who provided late-term abortions His Wichita clinic was bombed in 1985 and has been repeatedly vandalized. He survived a shooting by an activist more than a decade ago. Opponents protested daily in front of his clinic, his home, homes of his staff and volunteers and almost weekly in front of his church.

On Sunday, Tiller, 67, was shot dead as he served as an usher at Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita. The killing was condemned by abortion rights opponents and mourned by abortion rights advocates as a devastating loss. Police have not provided a motive for the shooting.

"He was constantly harassed, threatened. The man never escaped it. ... He knew it would someday cost him his life," said Marla Patrick, who worked with Tiller on abortion rights issues as the state coordinator for the Kansas National Organization for Women.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Just Shut Up!

Who knows why Chris Brown feels the need to make stupid comments prior to the resolution of the charge that he beat Rihanna. Maybe it's just me but if that was me, I would be a lot more serious about my business than to joke about someone's black eye that allegedly came at my hands.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Gee, you think?

The following headline is screaming on CBS News' website...
"Jon And Kate" 8 Being Exploited?

Jon and Kate have their own reality show due to the eight kids. Why wasn't anyone asking this question then?

And now that Jon and Kate are being accused of having affairs, promos for the show and tabloid stories are everywhere.

Personally, I don't see the fascination in this. Capitalizing on their misfortune isn't something I'll take part in.

Friday, May 22, 2009

First Amendment

I am in a class at BG that deals exclusively with the First Amendment. The interesting thing is that "Freedom of Speech" has expanded to basically mean "Freedom of Expression." "Expression" can take on so many different meanings and can be seen in many debates today. Should you be required to wear a seat belt? Of course, it's stupid if you don't but should freedom of expression allow you to not wear it?

What about the kid who was suspended over going to prom at a different school?

What about the parents who wouldn't take their kid to get chemo?

Friday, May 15, 2009

See a doctor if...

Virginia Republican Congressman Jim Moran is introducing legislation to restrict advertising for erectile dysfunction between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. More specifically, he doesn't want to see any ads for guys who have problems with their plumbing between those hours. Moran says ads for things like Viagra aren't good for family tv viewing.

While none of the ads show any sex or are graphic in any other way, I wonder where public opinion will fall on this.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A follow up on speeches

USA TODAY had an article in yesterday's paper about what makes good commencement speeches.

Here are the eight criteria they listed for a memorable speech.
1. Inspire us...but lose the cliches.
2. Talk about yourself...but make it meaningful to us.
3. Make us laugh...but leave stand-up routines to the pros.
4. Practice...but don't sound practiced.
5. Make us think...but don't make us seethe.
6. Do your homework...because details matter.
7. Hope for a sunny day...but even then, have pity.
8. Finally, keep it short. Period.

So, summarizing all of these points, it sounds like the number one and overall rule should be: think of your audience first.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Current news topic

I often wonder if there is a line the media stand to the point where they (the media) will not make someone a celebrity.

Take the case of Tyler Frost for example. Tyler Frost is a 17 year old senior at Heritage Christian School in Findlay. He was warned to not go to his girlfriend's prom at Findlay High School. The Baptist school where Tyler has gone for the last 13 years is against dancing, rock music, and gasp, hand holding! Tyler went to the prom and was promptly suspended for the last two weeks of school and cannot take part in graduation. He can take his finals and get his diploma. Tyler's reward? He was flown to New York to appear on every network morning show today. WHY? He blatantly ignored the rules of his school. I think the media picked up this story as a way of mocking the school's rules. I think a good majority of people would say the school's rules are stuck in the past but that's what they believe in. We could say the same about the Amish.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Graduation speeches

What do you remember from your graduation?

I've been to two graduations in the last three days (counting today). At one graduation, the commencement speaker basically read what sounded like a term paper. It didn't help that the ceremony was in an old gym with poor acoustics. But anyway, at the end of the speech, the applause seemed more out of gratitude that it was over than for the content.

At the other graduation I went to, the speaker was definitely more interesting but went for 30 minutes and had eleven points he wanted the audience to remember. I liked this guy but I think asking the audience to remember eleven points is a lot.

Last December, at U-T's graduation, USA Today sportwriter and Toledo native Christine Brennan spoke and gave us words of advice from her father who said, "This ain't no dress rehearsal."

Looking back at my undergrad at BG and my Masters Degree at Kent, I don't remember either.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Horrible wording!

Read the story below about the break-up between Nas and Kelis, especially the first line. If you know what Kelis' song "Milkshake" is referencing, then you understand why the first sentence is so wrong.


LOS ANGELES – The milkshake has gone sour between Kelis (KEL-ees) and Nas (NAHZ).

Kelis Rogers filed for divorce Thursday in Los Angeles. She's expecting the couple's first child in July.

Documents show the couple was married in July 2003 and separated in April. Rogers is seeking to have her hip-hop husband pay her attorney's fees and spousal support.

She cited "irreconcilable differences" as the reason for the split.

Nas' real name is Nasir (NAH-SEER) Jones. He is considered one of rap's best artists and received a Grammy nomination for his latest untitled album. Kelis may be best known for her hit single "Milkshake."

His publicist did not respond to an e-mail message seeking comment.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Final Week

Hard to believe but this is the last week of my first year teaching at the University of Toledo. Of course, when the semesters are three and a half months long, time flies.

As many of you know, I taught high school the past seven plus years. The differences between being in high school and college are vast. For one, the students are held much more accountable on the college level. In high school, the teachers are accountable for the students' success and/or failure. Despite that, I still try my best to make sure each student succeeds. I set expectations high. I feel good when the grades I assign have validity. In other words, they are accurate. I feel comfortable knowing that those who got A's, worked hard for them and truly deserved them.

I have great colleagues in my department. They are very supportive. I know, I have said that a lot...but it's true. Often-times, the difference between making a job pleasant and it being a mere existence, is the people you work with. When you work with great people, you find yourself going to work earlier, hanging out with them outside of office hours, and whatever else.

Being on a college campus is an exciting thing. Having my own office is something I've never experienced before. That's why I almost always go back to my office after class just see it. My office is in University Hall, which has a tall bell tower. It feels like I have an office and teach class in a cathedral.

At the university, many things around Toledo are centered around the campus or what goes on here. It's hard not to go anywhere without seeing someone wearing a University of Toledo shirt or some kind of clothing.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Are you kidding me?

Apple had to remove an application from its iTunes stores that allowed users to "quiet" a crying baby on the iphone by shaking it????!!!!! At what point did someone say, "Oh, that's a great idea!"????? I can't believe this.


SEATTLE -- Public outrage over a game available on Apple's iPhone has caused the company to remove "Baby Shaker" from its iTunes store.

Groups that fight child abuse and advocate for victims of brain injury condemned Apple for approving the game's sale in the first place.

The game's premise -- quiet a crying baby with a vigorous shake.

The application was designed by Sikalosoft, which did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

"Baby Shaker" was deleted from its Web site Wednesday afternoon.

Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris would not comment about how many people downloaded the game before it was removed. Apple itself screens each iPhone application.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company has rejected apps that let iPhone users throw virtual shoes at President George W. Bush or watch clips from the "South Park" cartoon.

It has accepted numerous programs that simulate flatulence.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Unreal



Here is story in today's USA TODAY that blows my mind. I have always liked dinosaurs and the public has always had a fascination with them due to movies like Jurassic Park and others. This well preserved mammoth is too good to be true...but it is.

Discovered in 2007, the 1-month-old mammoth died suddenly, probably trapped in mud. "She was doing great, very healthy," says paleontologist Dan Fisher of the University of Michigan, part of the international team researching Lyuba. "She just had this terrible misfortune."

Lyuba appears in the May National Geographic and in Waking the Baby Mammoth Sunday (9 p.m. ET/PT) on the National Geographic Channel. She's perhaps the best-preserved mammoth ever discovered: Lyuba's skin and internal organs appear intact, as well as traces of mother's milk found in her stomach. The only damage to the mammoth, which is less than 3 feet tall, are bite marks from village dogs.

Covered in coarse hair, the woolly mammoth, Mammuthus primigenius, roamed Eurasia and western North America at least 200,000 to 10,000 years ago. Dozens of partly intact woolly mammoths have been uncovered from Siberia's tundra, but Lyuba exhibits remarkable preservation. "She's all there," Fisher says. Preliminary analysis by Fisher and colleagues suggests the clay and silt that swallowed up the baby mammoth effectively "pickled" her.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Judging a book by its cover

Last season, it was Paul Potts and his opera singing on Britain's Got Talent.

This year, it's Susan Boyle.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alNx5b3PC-E
Both are great performances. These are the kinds of things that make these shows worth watching. Here are folks who come from nowhere and have this amazing talent unknown to everybody until they walk onstage. What great magical moments! Very cool.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Would you do this?

This is definitely the strangest story I've seen since Ted Williams' death.


DALLAS – Nikolas Colton Evans had talked about how much he wanted to have a child, but the 21-year-old died after he was punched and hit his head on the ground in a fight. That would have been the end of it, if it weren't for his determined mother, a court order and a urologist.
Missy Evans has harvested her dead son's sperm and hopes to find a surrogate and one day raise her son's child. It's a decision that ethicists say raises troubling questions; one called the potential offspring a "replacement child."
Evans isn't concerned about what others might think. She says she is only doing what her son would have wanted.
"He would love me so much for doing this," she said.
Austin police say Nikolas Evans was punched during a fight on an Austin street early March 27 and then fell to the ground, striking his head. He died April 5. Police are still trying to identify the person who hit him.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Hidden meanings in stories.

Two stories from this past weekend caught my eye for hidden and what I consider unnecessary comments.

Race car driver Danica Patrick had a rough start to her season. Patrick crashed early in the Honda Grand Prix. The crash happened as the result of a pass or attempted pass by another driver. At the end of the story, the writer, Mike Harris of the Associated Press, wrote, "Patrick, the only woman in the field, ended her day in 19th and Matos was 20th. Each completed just 31 of 100 laps." WHY was it necessary to mention her being the "only woman in the field?"

My other story is about the tragedy in Graham, Washington, where a father shot his children and himself.

Here's the first sentence of the story from the Associated Press. "A father apparently shot to death five of his children, ages 7 to 16, at their mobile home and then killed himself at a casino miles away, police said Saturday."

My question with this story is how relevant is it that they lived in a MOBILE home? What if the family had been living in a one-story ranch house? Does the one-story ranch home get reported? Or do we associate mobile homes with arguments, guns, and violence?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Haunting in Connecticut

http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20270145,00.html?xid=rss-topheadlines
The link above is to an article in People magazine about the real Haunting in Connecticut on which the movie of the same name is based. The movie is about a family that moves to a house in C0nnecticut that used to be a funeral home. Several people died in the home during a seance and several more were "buried" in the walls of the house instead of at a graveyard.

I saw the movie today it's a good scare for a 90 minute matinee.

I have never been to a haunted house or at least not to my knowledge.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The "R" Word

I apologize to taking so long between posts. Teaching school can be a little time consuming. Anyway, I saw this online in today's Blade newspaper here in Toledo. I applaud this effort. I am glad that there are steps being taken to change buildings and organizations that use the word "retarded." It kind of deflates the argument of banning the "r" word when it is still all over many buildings and organizations.

Lucas County commissioners back effort to stop use of 'retarded'


"Recession" was considered a dirty word a year ago in some quarters. And no doubt there are octogenarian workaholics who feel the same about "retirement."
Yet there's another "R-word" - unfortunately, one more commonly uttered - that Lucas County commissioners want the public to know is especially hurtful and offensive to those with intellectual disabilities.

The commissioners proclaimed yesterday "Spread the Word to End the Use of the R-Word Day" as part of a larger nationwide campaign against derogatory forms of the word "retarded."
The national campaign, sponsored by the Special Olympics and spread through an online pledge at r-word.org, received recognition at schools and local governments from coast to coast.
Disabilities.

That proposal in Ohio Senate Bill 79 would require similar changes to all county boards of mental retardation and developmental disabilities."Words really are harmful, and they leave a lasting effect on people," said Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak, who introduced the county proclamation. "I think it's good to essentially remind ourselves to think before we speak."

Tuesday's campaign coincided with a state legislative push to rename the Ohio Department of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities the Department of Developmental Disabilities. That proposal in Ohio Senate Bill 79 would require similar changes to all county boards of mental retardation and developmental disabilities.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Stop the Jesus Halo pictures!




I saw the bottom image in an Associated Press article today on Yahoo! News. As an Obama supporter, even I am getting tired of the way some media folks are treating the President. There's a lot of criticism that some have "annointed" Obama as a "Messiah" to rescue us from the George W. Bush mess. That's one thing...but can the media stop framing pictures to depict Obama as Jesus? It's too obvious.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Duh.

On Entertainment Tonight, there was a long feature the blonde anchor from the weekend show hanging out with Octomom. Octomom was coming home with two of her babies from a doctor's appointment and the paparazzi were all over her large vehicle. They actually followed her into her garage and she had to call the police to clear them away. A helicopter was also following above. While the photogs were banging on the windows, she kept saying things like, "Geez, I'm just a mom. Leave me alone."

After the photogs were off her lawn, Octomom went inside where she let the Entertainment Tonight anchor cradle her child.

Uh, hello, if you want to be known as just a mom, don't let E-T in your home.

Monday, March 16, 2009

No reason for this

http://www.cleveland.com/browns/index.ssf/2009/03/video_shows_stallworth_after_a.html

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte Stallworth hit and killed a man with his car over the weekend. I'm not going to use the word "allegedly" because it happened. What hasn't been determined or released yet is whether or not he was drunk or whatever.

The Miami newspaper as well as the Plain Dealer website has posted video from after the accident that shows paramedics treating the pedestrian that was hit. This is so wrong. It's tabloid journalism.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Media Fascination

Can someone please tell me why with the serious issues facing this country...why the warrant out for Lindsey Lohan is still newsworthy?

Do we really care?

Will Octomom please go away? And please, Access Hollywood and TMZ, stop giving this woman the attention she doesn't deserve.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Hypocrisy

When George W. Bush was in office and Democrats criticized him, Dems were called unpatriotic.

When George W. Bush was in office, Democrats criticized his spending and were met with deaf ears.

Now that Barack Obama is in office, why are Republicans so loudly objecting to having their criticism being called "unpatriotic"?

Now that Barack Obama is in office, why are Republicans laying into Barack's budge????!!!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Close call

So, we on Earth were apparently almost hit by an asteroid. Check the line I boldfaced in the article below. Is there really a communications satellite that is 24,400 miles long/tall???? Is this true?

Phew! Asteroid's passing was a cosmic near-miss

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) - An asteroid about the size of one that blasted Siberia a century ago just buzzed by Earth.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory reported that the asteroid zoomed past Monday morning.

The asteroid named 2009 DD45 was about 48,800 miles from Earth. That is just twice the height of some telecommunications satellites and about a fifth of the distance to the Moon.

The space ball measured between 69 ft. and 154 ft. in diameter. The Planetary Society said that made it the same size as an asteroid that exploded over Siberia in 1908 and leveled more than 800 sq. miles of forest.

Most people probably didn't notice the cosmic close call. The asteroid was only spotted two days ago and at its closest point passed over the Pacific Ocean near Tahiti.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

The Face of the GOP

Hey, at first, Sarah Palin couldn't be the face of the GOP. Then Bobby Jindal fumbled away his shot at it in his best Mr. Rogers impression. Now, the GOP wants this guy, the Marlon Brando look-a-like, to be the face of the Republican party? That's good news for Democrats. Thank you, GOP!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A legend is gone


I wish I could have bottled up the charm and many spellbound minutes Paul Harvey gave me listening in the car on long rides as he would tell great stories like these.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Winners and Losers for the week

Winner of the week: Lakewood Baptist Church members in Ohio
This is from WKYC.com in Cleveland.
LAKEWOOD -- Some kids in Lakewood went to bed on an empty stomach Friday night, knowing that they wouldn't eat again for another 18 hours. Three children, members of the Lakewood Baptist Church, are participating in an international 30-hour fast to raise money and awareness about children living in poverty around the world.

Church members lit 600 candles to symbolize the estimated number of children who die of hunger every 30 minutes. Eleven-year-old Sarah McKissock is one of the children going without food for 30 hours.

"It's unthinkable that so many children are dying," McKissock said.

During the fast, the kids will put together care packages for the needy at a food pantry and make blankets for children who are seriously ill.

What a great thing to do for people they don't know.

Yesterday, I volunteered at my church with the Fish Fry. I have always wanted to do volunteer work and this was a good chance to do something, to get involved.

Loser of the week: Kanye West
This has been reported in several media outlets. Here is US Magazine's version.

Kanye West's controversial comments during a Feb. 13 taping of VH1's Storytellers will be cut before the show airs this Sunday, Reuters reports. The rapper defended Chris Brown, downplayed Michael Phelps' controversial pot pics and slammed Radiohead during the show's three-hour taping on Feb. 13 in L.A.

In the style of Storytellers episodes, VH1 filmed West -- known for his outspoken personality -- as he played his songs in an intimate setting and shared tidbits with the audience about how they were written. His controversial comments ended up on the cutting room floor, but not for political reasons, executive producer Bill Flanagan told Reuters.

"Can't we give Chris a break?" West said to the crowd regarding Brown's arrest for allegedly beating his girlfriend, Rihanna "I know I make mistakes in life."

On a similar note, he earned applause for his support of other stars who have seen their share of scandal. "Michael Jackson, amazing," the hip-hop star said. "Michael Phelps, amazing. He's a real f---in' person. He makes mistakes."

Ok, ok, I know we are all not perfect BUT that doesn't mean that smoking pot, beating up women, and allegedly having sex with kids is acceptable because "we make mistakes."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Winners and Losers for the week

Winner of the Week: Eric Mansfield
Eric is a former colleague of mine from the TV world. He is an anchor/reporter for WKYC channel 3 in Clevleand. Eric used the release of the Rihanna photo as a news-story to see how this will affect attitudes towards domestic violence. Eric did the story without showing the photo. I appreciate Eric's sensitivity towards the issue.

Loser of the Week: TMZ.com
Congratulations to the tabloid website TMZ.com for putting the photo of Rihanna out there for the world to see. Doing this serves no newsworthy purpose. None. Her injuries have been described in the media. I have heard the "oh, we now have a face for domestic violence." What? Wasn't Nicole Brown Simpson good enough? The photos of her post-O-J beatings have been out there.

What kind of this standard is this setting for journalism? Where is the line drawn for not showing photos of victims?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Let it go!

Will somebody please tell the mainstream media that Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston stopped dating YEARS ago? Here's the latest to make the news courtesy of TVGuide.com.


Jennifer Aniston believes in hanging on to relationship mementos, even when the guy's just not into her anymore.

The former Friends star tells Marie Claire magazine that she can't bring herself to erase some of ex-husband Brad Pitt's voicemails. In fact, she has trouble erasing many of her past flames from her life. "I still have the cassette tapes of messages from my first boyfriend, my second boyfriend, my husband," she said.

Though it may seems strange, Aniston insists that saving the recordings is similar to keeping other lovey-dovey memorabilia. "It's like saving love letters," she said.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Thank you, program directors.

I saw on the news that several radio stations around the country have stopped playing music by Chris Brown as the charges of domestic violence loom above him. While he has not been found guilty in a court of law yet, Brown himself has pretty much accepted responsibility.

"LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - R&B star Chris Brown , who was arrested last weekend on suspicion of attacking a woman widely believed to be the pop star Rihanna , said on Sunday he was "sorry and saddened" about the incident, and was seeking counseling."

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Chris Brown and Robbie Alomar

Being this close to Valentine's Day, it's sad to see the news that has come out regarding the relationships of Chris Brown and Rihanna as well as the relationship of Robbie Alomar and his ex-girlfriend.

Chris Brown...If you haven't heard by now...Chris Brown allegedly assaulted his girlfriend, Rihanna.

Los Angeles (E! Online) – Earlier today, the Los Angeles District Attorney asked police detectives to dig up more evidence for their case against Chris Brown. The police are getting cooperation from Rihanna, and what she has told them so far is chilling. A source close to the investigation tells E! News exclusively that Rihanna has alleged to police that Brown choked her while threatening to kill her and, subsequently, she lost consciousness. They began squabbling after leaving Clive Davis' pre-Grammy party late Saturday. Shortly after midnight, things blew up. Brown pulled his silver Lambourghini to the side of a street in L.A.'s Hancock Park neighborhood. That's when, per the source, Rihanna grabbed the car keys and tossed them out the window, sending Brown into a rage. He tried in vain to find the keys, then came back to the car, put his hands around her neck and, according to the insider, said, "I'm going to kill you!"

The 20-year-old "Disturbia" singer told police that she lost consciousness, the source says, and when she awoke, Brown had fled.

According to the source, her right eye was blackened and badly swollen and she had hand prints on her arms. The responding officers were so concerned about her, they drove Rihanna to the hospital in their squad car instead of waiting for an ambulance.

Robbie Alomar did WHAT? I couldn't believe this when I read about this on Chris Hyser's (former WKYC in Cleveland producer) Facebook page.

NEW YORK – An ex-girlfriend of Roberto Alomar filed an explosive lawsuit alleging the former baseball star insisted on unprotected sex for four years despite having AIDS. The lawsuit, filed Jan. 30 and transferred to U.S. District Court on Wednesday, contains accusations that could not be corroborated but portray Alomar as someone who demanded sex without a condom despite showing obvious signs of HIV. Ilya Dall is seeking at least $15 million in punitive damages from the 41-year-old former infielder. Alomar spent 17 years in the majors and was one of the game's great second basemen.

Calls seeking comment from lawyers for Alomar and Dall were not immediately returned. Alomar lawyer Charles Bach told the New York Daily News the allegations are "frivolous and baseless."

Dall said the two began dating in spring 2002 and had unprotected sex for the next four years. She said that on several occasions during that time, Alomar refused to get tested for HIV, despite severe fatigue, sores on his mouth and throat, a constant cough and an infection of the esophagus that is associated with AIDS.

She said Alomar finally relented and tested positive for HIV in February 2006.

Absolutely sick

Sometimes, I hear/see things on the news that make me wonder how cruel people can be. I can relate to this story from WKYC in Cleveland in a couple of ways. First, when I was living in Cleveland, my ex's house was broken into and ransacked. Some small items were taken. Nothing big. Having your home broken into makes you feel "violated." But I was more worried about our dogs at the time. Thankfully, the dogs were alright. Secondly, I am a dog lover. I love my little Scottie, Bonnie. Pets add so much to life. I feel so much sorrow for the woman in the video.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Early winners and loses for the week

Winner of the Week: Neil Diamond

Neil was named the MusiCares Person of the Year at their annual charity fundraiser, which benefits musicians who have fallen on hard times. Diamond's career goes back to the 1960s is still going strong and is putting together a tour. How is this guy not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.?

Loser of the Week: Alex Rodriguez
A-roid admitted on Monday that he used "performance-enhancing drugs" in 2001 and 2003 with the Texas Rangers. Among the many excuses that A-roid has used, he has included: "I was pressured to perform" and the old teenager standby "everybody else was doing it." Nice role model.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The scary state of public education

I saw this article in today's (Sunday's) Canton Repository when I was home in Massillon.

How scary is this that teachers are giving students easy grades?


Why easy grading is good for a teacher's career
By Jay Mathews
The Washington Post
Posted Feb 05, 2009 @ 05:07 PM

New Jersey high school teacher Peter Hibbard flunked 55 percent of those in his regular biology class one year.

There were no failures in his honors classes, he said, but many of his regular students refused to do the work. They did not show up for tests and did not take make-ups. They did not turn in lab reports. Homework was often ignored.

“Still, the principal told me that the failure rate was unacceptable, and I needed to fix it,” Hibbard said. “The pressure to give grades instead of actually teaching increased.

“A colleague told me that he had no problem. If students showed up, they got a C. If they did some work, they got a B. If they did fair or better on tests, they got an A. No one ever complained, and his paycheck was the same. He was a finalist for a principal’s job.”

Sometimes teachers are so candid and wise I am compelled to quote them. Here is what Hibbard told me:

“The pop phrase is that ‘those who can’t do, teach.’ I would like any serious critic to spend a month in the classroom. It is easy when you are a guest speaker and don’t have to worry about discipline.

“But do the planning, maintain interest, do practice and review, write and grade a test or three, and then deal with the parents. In your spare time, maintain records, deal with teen angst and crisis, monitor the bathroom (I went to college for this?) and be available for extra help. ...

“The message comes from the top. When leadership backs good teachers, it is so much easier. When I have to justify failing a student who refuses to try, well ...”

Hibbard taught biology for 27 years. Before that he was a field biologist for the U.S. Agriculture Department and a lobbyist on environmental issues for the housing industry.

He thinks his experience in the field was invaluable. When he started teaching he could give students practical answers to the question, “Why do we have to learn that?”

Asked for solutions for the apathy and buck-passing he observed, he sent me seven ideas. Each suggestion is followed here by my “grade.”

1. PARENTS

Get parents involved, not in the grades, but in the learning. If Johnny cuts school or misbehaves, on the third detention, one of the parents must also be present. The time should not be “quiet time” but a session with a professional on behavior modification.

Grade: A (Many of us parents hunger for support of our desperate attempts to deal with teenagers. Those of us who are totally clueless can still use a taste of reality.)

2. EXPERIENCE

Since we cannot require teachers to gain more experience in their field, the school system should arrange for paid internships for teachers during summers.

Either colleges or school systems can do this.

Grade: B (This strikes me as expensive, thus unlikely, but worthwhile.)

3. SOCIAL PROMOTION

Do away with it. The federal government should set specific standards for knowledge and application. States may add to it but not teach less.

The committee that sets the standards should have equal numbers of teachers, administrators, college officials and business executives. Parents should have representation.

Grade: A (This is expensive, too, but essential. It is possible under our current system to miss half of the questions on some state achievement tests and still be judged proficient.)

4. PROTECT TENURE

I almost lost my job because I failed an administrator’s child who did no work and got in my face, assuming his parent would protect him. Good teachers must not be subject to political pressure for grades. It happens far too often.

On the other hand, unions and administrators must decide on a procedure that does not protect bad teachers.

Grade: C-plus (The problem is real, but enforcing tenure rules is not a solution. As Hibbard’s own clash with his principal shows, an administrator trimp even a tenured teacher.)

5. FUNDING

Funding must be reliable and consistent. In New Jersey, the budget is sent to the voters. They provide the students but don’t approve enough money to educate them.

Grade: C-minus (Reliable and consistent funding is a fine thing but impossible to arrange in a free-enterprise, nonrecession-proof democracy. So this is a pipe dream.)

6. AUTONOMY

Give teachers ownership of their program. Teachers should have sufficient collaborative time to decide how to achieve the goals, what books to use and what equipment is needed, within the budget.

Most people with any skills want to be told what the job is, but not how to do it. That is why I went to college and go back for continuing education.

Grade: A-plus (Harnessing the creative energies of teachers is the key to making schools work.)

7. PARENTS, AGAIN

Districts must set up programs for parents during the evening or weekend for those who want to learn how to help their children with school. So many parents tell me ... they understand their children’s frustration, but they don’t know how to help.

Teach study skills to both students and their parents throughout their school years.

Grade: A (My mother taught parent-effectiveness classes after she retired as a classroom teacher. They were very popular, and I wish more parents had the same opportunity to learn proven techniques.)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Phelps and Pot

The fallout is underway with Michael Phelps and his infamous bong. USA Swimming has suspended Phelps for three months due to the photo above. USA Swimming has also cut financial support off from Phelps for three months as well.

The Kellog cereal company has dropped Phelps saying that bascially his bong hit "is not consistent with the company's image."

The guy was smoking pot, which is not a "performance enhancing" drug.
I have several reactions to this whole mess. First, I am tired of people saying his smoking pot is part of the whole "experimenting" and "maturation process." Hell no, it is not! Not everyone smokes pot. It is so wrong to hear "experts" on tv try to dismiss this as "typical behavior" for someone who is "maturing."
Secondly, yes, smoking marijuana is wrong. Nothing more. Just because "everyone" smokes it, it's still not right.

Lastly, I wonder how great the person feels who took and leaked this photo to the tabloid. He probably got a nice check from it. It's sick that someone would look to profit from someone else's missteps.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Old stars, new stuff.


What is it that keeps older music artists still "in"? Bruce Springsteen did a great job with his half-time show at the Super Bowl. A few months back, I posted that Tom Jones has out new music. His new song "If He Should Ever Leave" is getting airplay around the world. Several tour dates are posted on his website, including a March 3rd appearance at the House of Blues in Cleveland. I saw him a few years ago at the House of Blues and he was amazing. He puts on a great concert.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Bruce Springsteen's Performance


What did you think of the halftime show? It didn't set the world on fire for me. I'm not a big Springsteen fan. It was ok. I'll say that much. People are talking about Bruce's "crotch first" slide into the camera. On the video, it is 3:43 in. While that is getting a lot of hype, I can't believe I haven't heard as much a peep about Springsteen's "hold his mic stand penis" move. This is 1:22 into the show! Hello!