Ramblings and Revolutions

I think, therefore I'm dangerous.

Culture Shock

Sometimes I feel like a Downton Abbey soul in a Sharknado world.

Where We Stand On The Issues Of The Day

1.) #TeamLlama

2.) #TeamWhiteAndGold

Obviously.

Call Me Skeptical, But…

… Whenever someone tells me “I’m one of the most honest people you’ll ever freakin’ meet,”  I tend not to trust them…

Just a thought…

If you’re looking for a great way to promote a cause or raise funds for your school, club or band, custom wristbands are a great way to go.

It’s Mardi Gras!

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

A Tough Week For Journalism

It has not been the best of weeks for those involved in the practice of journalism — or those of us who are recovering journalists, but still follow the industry from a distance.

First of all, Brian Williams was suspended from NBC News for allegedly exaggerating his experiences in Iraq during the war, and in his coverage of Hurricane Katrina.  Williams, a well-liked and highly trusted nightly news anchor, fell fast and hard from his perch, his credibility going the way of Humpty Dumpty’s shell.

Then came the news that longtime CBS reporter Bob Simon was killed in a car crash in New York. Ironic, considering the fact that Simon — who won 27 Emmy awards — covered wars and uprisings around the world from Vietnam to Iraq. Simon really was the fearless war correspondent that Williams tried unsuccessfully to portray himself as.

Then on Thursday, New York Times media reporter David Carr died after collapsing in the Times newsroom that evening. Carr, a fixture at the Times for nearly 15 years, and a consummate reporter and writer was only 58 years old.  By all accounts, he was a genuinely humble star, beloved by many throughout the industry.

As someone who’s struggled to craft many a story the best way I know how, I admired the work of both Simon and Carr, two elegant writers. Although I never met either one, their deaths seem personal somehow, like losing friends, I followed Carr’s Twitter feed (@carr2n), and he seemed to be down to earth. I’ m grateful the many tributes from friends and coworkers confirm that perception.

As for Williams, well, he had my respect too, even after the first questions were raised about his tales from the front. But by the time the Katrina story broke and other questions started being raised about his past, that pretty much evaporated. I wish him well, and I’m sorry to see him go, but he needed to. Journalism, in any medium, is all about credibility. Lose the public trust, and you have to go.

One of the worst parts of having worked in a newsroom is that once you’re out of it, there’s no one in your workplace to talk about the industry with. I can assure you Williams, Simon and Carr have been hot topics in newsrooms across the nation this week. Meanwhile, I sit among colleagues who aren’t the least bit interested. Not that they should be — it’s an industry that’s simply not relevant to their lives or careers. That’s understandable — frustrating, but understandable. But at the moment, it’s a lonely place to be.

That’s the reason for this blog post.  Thanks for reading.

 

I’ma Let You Finish…

Kanye West is at it again. The rapper took the stage last night at the Grammy Awards as Beck was accepting the award for Album of the Year.

Although West (wisely) left the stage without speaking, he made it clear in interviews afterward that his appearance was not a joke spoofing his infamous 2009 interruption of Taylor Swift at the Video Music Awards.

Once again, West believed Beyonce should have won the award another artist actually received.

I’ll leave the assessment of each singer’s artistic merits up to others. But I can’t help thinking if I were Jay-Z, Beyonce’s husband, I’d have a question for Kanye West.

“Dude, what is UP with your weird obsession with my wife?”

And I’d probably add, for good measure:

“In case you haven’t noticed, she’s capable of speaking up for herself.”

The Cost of the Final Frontier

The exploration of space is an amazing achievement for humankind. To realize that we have left the planet on which we live and explored what lies beyond its atmosphere is astounding, a dream men and women have had for hundreds of years. But it has not been without its costs.

The last week of January is not a good one for the U.S. space program.

Every astronaut death in the past 48 years has occurred between Jan. 27 and Feb. 1.

On January 27, 1967, Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee and Edward White died when their Apollo 1 capsule caught fire during a launch pad test,

On January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after launch, killing Richard Scobee, Judith Resnick, Elison Onizuka, Michael J. Smith, Christa McAuliffe, Ronald McNair, and Gregory Jarvis.

On February 1, 2003, the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated while returning to Earth, claiming the lives of  seven more astronauts — Rick Husband, William McCool, Michael Anderson, Kalpana Chawla, David Brown, Laurel Clark and Ilan Ramon.

That’s 17 Americans in all, lives lost in service to the desire to explore, to find out what’s “out there.”  Other nations, particularly the former Soviet Union,  have seen their own spaceflight-linked tragedies as well. A terrible price, to be sure.

Yet both the United States and other nations persist in sending people into space. Why?

Because it’s in our very nature to be curious, to go beyond the boundaries. It’s part of what makes us human.  Exploring space is the culmination of the legendary sea voyages that led to the discovery of new lands. It’s a choice people have been making since time immemorial.

So while we pause this week to remember all those who have lost their lives in our quest to explore the great vast beyond, we also note that they would want us to do what we’re doing — to carry on.

Per ardua ad astra — Through hardship to the stars.

 

The Great Blizzard of ’15!

So the East Coast is bracing for a gigantic blizzard, the first monster storm of 2015.

As folks Up North are buying milk and bread, and scrambling to get safely indoors ,  the appeal of living in Florida has never shined brighter.  Stay warm, Northeast friends, and stay safe.

Of course, you can feel free to remind me of this snarky little post when hurricane season rolls around….

R.I.P., SkyMall

Darn you, Internet, you’ve killed another beloved artifact of the pre-digital age!

You’re responsible, with your in-flight wi-fi, for the death of the SkyMall catalog. Yes, the company that gave you the opportunity to order litter box disguising furniture and Yeti statues for your garden is no more. The parent company filed for bankruptcy Friday.

So now what will we do on those flights to St. Louis, Charlotte or Seattle? How will we be able to imagine life would be like with that amazing motivational poster in our office that says SUCCESS! Or the garden without the handy-dandy lights, gnomes and grill cleaners? How will we pass the time in the sky between airports?

Did anyone ever actually order from SkyMall? Maybe, but that’s not the point. Especially after the advent of AirPhones in the seatbacks, the key was that we COULD order if we wanted to, not that we had to. And now it’s gone, off to that great seat pocket in the sky. Oh, wait….

The dream is gone. Sure, we still have Brookstone, and Hammacher-Schlemmer and the other companies that often advertised in the SkyMall book, but who else is going to aggregate all those fabulously impractical, overpriced products in one handy catalog that we can peruse while our seatmate dozes?

Ah, SkyMall, we hardly knew ye.  Farewell.

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