Monday, June 29, 2009

If I Could Sing Even a Little, I'd Put This on YouTube.

Addendum: I showed this to my wife and said, "I wish I could sing."

"You try," she said. And that's all she said.

Another addendum (or I could go back and change it all to addenda):

I told E. that I recorded each of my little snippets twice and picked the better one. She thought about this: "You are not completely tone deaf," she said. "You can carry a little bit of a tune." She thought about that for a minute. "A little bit of a tune," she said.

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Michael Jackson, India and Globalization

India Michael JacksonImage by Current News Stories via Flickr

Media Studies colleague Vamsee Juluri explains:

But the coming of Michael Jackson to Indian television was also the equivalent, for good or for bad, of the empty bottle of cola that falls from a plane into a remote African village in the movie The Gods Must be Crazy. Michael Jackson was not just a pop star for us; he represented the world beyond India we had only heard about as well as the possibility of catching up with it. Michael Jackson was the first symbol of aspiration for a generation that went from denial to obsession about it almost overnight. In the 1980s, bootleg VHS copies of Thriller went from home to home, even as we sought to work hard and study and buy into the first signs of consumerism that had started to appear. By the 1990s, with economic liberalization and the rise of satellite television channels like MTV India and Channel V, Michael Jackson, his music, image, and charisma all became a part of India, like globalization itself, culminating in his 1996 Mumbai concert and his now poignantly never-to-be promise to return.

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I Continue to Guide Young Minds

A former student on his way to Frisco writes:

hey doc
we have to reschedule to tuesday. my truck is in a shop in Santa Cruz right now. brakes went out today.

And I reply:

Tuesday just as good. On the road with George. You need a dog and occasionally to pick up hitchhikers, whose folksy wisdom you quote in the book based on your travels.

Oh one other bit of wisdom. I was talking Friday with a prospective adjunct who said the economic bust has really hurt the independent film business, that he now advises would-be movie makers they should certainly use all the wonderful new cheap tech to make their movies -- but do it for its own sake, since the product will never be picked up, distributed, marketed, seen by anyone other than friends and family.

Yah, I said. I always tell my students if they want to succeed as journalists, marry money.

And he replied: Tell them if they want to marry rich, they must *date rich*.

Sometimes the truth hits you like a blow.

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Lost in the Shuffle: Democrats Do This Kind of Thing with More Animal Joy, Less Angst

Fanne Foxe (born Annabelle Battistella on February 14, 1936 in Nueve de Julio, Argentina) was a dancer best known for being involved in a 1974 sex scandal surrounding Arkansas Congressman Wilbur Mills, until then one of the most powerful members of the House of Representatives. (In 1972, he was a contender for the Democratic nomination to be president.) Mills was having an affair with Foxe, who was then working as a stripper.

On October 7, 1974, the two of them had been drinking and were driving near the Tidal Basin in Washington at around 2:00 AM. The park police pulled the vehicle over, and Foxe attempted to flee the scene and jumped into the Tidal Basin.

The incident attracted much publicity, and eventually led to Mills' resignation two months later as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. He was re-elected to his congressional seat in 1974, but he did not run for re-election in 1976.

Foxe continued working as a stripper, changing her stage title from "The Argentine Firecracker" to "The Tidal Basin Bombshell." She published a book, The Stripper and the Congressman and eventually returned to Argentina.

-- from Wikipedia

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Annals of Man (Cont.)

A trip to the BMX track goes wrongImage by robpatrick via Flickr

I just slipped and fell down moving boxes of books, and I skinned my knee. I'm not going to clean it off till my wife gets home so she can commiserate.

I didn't cry. Later on at the ballgame, I will buy myself candy, possibly a stuffed animal albeit a *manly* stuffed animal.
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Sunday, June 21, 2009

We Go Birding and Eydie Gets Sick. Damn You, Birds, Damn You to Hell

O'Reilly Really is an Asshole, or Content Analysis is Our Friend

:en:Russ Meyer and :en:Roger Ebert in :en:1970...Image via Wikipedia

I read on that is not just for the Frat 'n Hooters crowd, so I go there, and I find a link to Roger Ebert, who I think of as a somewhat-overrated movie reviewer, and I follow that link to what he thinks of Bill O'Reilly and I find it thoughtful and persuasive.

What are TV shouters telling their viewers? They use such anger in expressing their opinions. Who are they trying to convince? They're preaching to the choir. Their viewers already agree with them. No minds are going to be changed. Why are they so mad? In a sense they're saying: You're right, but you're not right ENOUGH! I'm angrier about this than you are! Viewers may get the notion that there's unfinished business to be done, and it's up to them to do it.

He links to a summary of an Indiana University study that adds it all up.
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wisdom from the Ivory Tower

Me ..Image by l_RaDaR_l via Flickr

A colleague recalls when a dean told him that you really never know someone until after they are tenured.

Lady Demosthenes

Location in Alameda County and the state of Ca...Image via Wikipedia

E. was at Oakland city council till 1 a.m just so she could speak out, claiming her right to be on the city's "golden handshake" list, which would give her a nice incentive to retire sooner rather than later. The program is just one facet of Oakland's efforts to get out from under an $80 million deficit. She should have been on the list but wasn't because of clerical error. You know bureaucracies. Once something is written down, it is reified: It can't be changed. You aren't you. If you were you, it would say so right here.

So she waited six ten hours to speak to council for 90 seconds explaining why she should be on the list. Her reasons were sound, her logic impeccable. It will make no difference, but she spoke up, and her speaking up made us both feel better.

I was at home for the first part of this ordeal, figuring she'd be done by 9. But by 10, no Edith and no word. I was not worried, but I was concerned. That's a long day in her cowboy boots, which she wore to make herself taller. And no lunch nor dinner, she had told me about 6.

I went to the Burger King drive-through and got a couple Whoppers, and we had a little picnic in the lobby outside Oakland city council a little before midnight. No ants, just politicians.

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Old Habits and Dying Hard

Geese flying over Lake Merritt ChannelImage by kukkurovaca via Flickr

Happily, I am back to my old habit -- which the events of the past semester interrupted -- of driving E. to work, parking our car and walking home past Lake Merritt. I wish I'd taken the camera this morning.

In spring and early summer, sometimes you see geese and goslings. Today next to the lake I saw a whole ... clutch? clump? I saw elder geese standing by while the little ones -- their stubby wings as flightworthy as thumbs -- huddled together next to the lake.

That's the lesson of warm blood. It's good to get close.

But then they/you/me grow up.

There were about 20 of the brown little dandelions, as fuzzy as mold. E. told me that when you see so large a group of young geese and only a few adults, that's because the stronger geese seize the offspring of the weaker geese and create a little tribe of ours and everybody else's. So somewhere bereft parents honk plaintively, instinct rewarded and then thwarted.

Still, I wish I had a picture of the babies and their bandit parents. Mother Nature's a Rorschach, isn't she?

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Monday, June 01, 2009

Ten Songs About Newspaper Journalism (Thank You, Paste Magazine)

This is what I'd call a file post. I'll come back later and listen.

Good Advice to Journalism Grads. (Good Ain't Always Pretty)

Barbara Ehrenreich talks sense to Berkeley journalism grads.

How do you think it feels to be an autoworker right now? And I've spent time with plenty of laidoff paper mill workers, construction workers and miners. They've got skills; they've got experience. They just don't have jobs.

So let me be the first to say this to you: Welcome to the American working class.