Friday, April 29, 2005

Drury Looks at SMS Reject

I've been reminded that John Sellars was one of the finalists for the presidency at Southwest Missouri State. That's not mentioned in any of the Drury materials. Hopefully our local news media will pick up on it.

From what we're told, Sellars was well-received when he interviewed at SMS. In fact, many thought he'd be very good there. Perhaps he does have the inside track, as we speculated earlier.

Drury Announces Presidential Finalists

Waiting until the next to very last minute, Drury University has finally announced the names of the three finalists to replace retiring John Moore.

All three finalists will visit Drury next week, beginning Monday, May 2nd. Details will go up on Drury's web site later today. Here's a preview from a leaked news release:

Three finalists have been chosen by the Drury University Presidential Search Committee. They are:

  • John Sellars, Senior Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y.
  • Janet McNew, Provost and Dean of the Faculty, Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, Ill.
  • Sharon Smith, Dean of the Schools of Business, Dean of the Faculty of Business and Professor of Management Systems, Fordham University, New York, N.Y.

“We are thrilled and very impressed with this group of finalists,” said search committee chairman John Beuerlein. “Each one of these people brings wonderful skills and talents to the table, yet each has his or her unique strengths. It’s an exciting group.”

Each candidate will spend two days on campus. Sellars will visit on May 2–3, McNew on May 4–5 and Smith on May 6–7. Each visit will include meetings and discussions with students, faculty, staff, alumni and community and civic leaders, and President John E. Moore, Jr.

“Each of these candidates has already learned a lot about Drury through the search and interview process,” said Beuerlein. “These visits will give them a chance to experience Drury in person, to meet some of the people they would work with, and to feel the very strong sense of community that is one of Drury’s unique features.”

Each finalist has already been interviewed twice by the presidential search committee. Before interviews began, the committee reviewed about 80 applications, narrowing the field to 11. Following the campus visits, the committee will recommend one candidate to the board of trustees, which meets May 12 and 13.

Nice to see that two women are among the finalists.

Janet McNew served as acting president at a church-affiliated small, private, liberal arts university when its president died from cancer. She is from the southeast, but has been in the midwest since 1979. From 1979–1993 she was assistant, associate and finally professor of English at the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minn. McNew has been at Illinois Weslyan since 1993. She has written extensively on university administration and dealing with difficult situations, especially at private liberal arts colleges. Drury is facing some difficult times and her leadership may be beneficial.

Sharon Smith has been at the Jesuit university of New York since 1990. Her academic and professional background is largely east coast: Princeton University and Rutgers University, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and AT&T. Strong business background which could be beneficial for fundraising and Drury's business school. But will she be happy in Springfield? Smith has three degrees (Bachelor's, Masters, Doctorate) from the same institution in the same field, economics. Some might find that troubling.

John Sellars has close ties to Missouri. He received his bachelors degrees from Central Missouri State University, continued his education at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he received the master in public administration and the Ph.D. Post-graduate studies include the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University and the Strategic Planning and Higher Education Marketing program at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. His bio specifically mentions the need for presidents of private universities to do fundraising, something at which John Moore was very, very good.

Sellars has an extraordinarily deep understanding of how private universities operate and succeed, an expertise born not simply of personal success but also his scholarship in the field.

Does this give him an inside track?

It will be interesting to see how the local media deal with this, given the recent search for a new SMSU president and another for Springfield public school superintendant. It will also be interesting to watch how Drury spins the search decisions.

James Guckert Gets Pissy

Poor man. No one seems to want him at the party.

The New York Post has the latest on the former prostitute turned news plant:

DISGRACED former White House reporter/male escort Jeff Gannon can't believe no one has invited him to tomorrow's White House Correspondents Dinner. "It seems to me to be odd to exclude the one person who has brought more attention to the White House press corps than anyone else in years," Gannon tells PAGE SIX's Jared Paul Stern. "Probably many who would want to extend such an invitation already assume I will be in attendance." Gannon, whose real name is James Guckert, quit his job with the conservative Talon News earlier this year after his fake name, lack of journalistic qualifications and male escort connections came to light. The dinner usually features several stars and sensational guests such as Paula Jones to liven things up. The sub-par star lineup this year includes Robert Duvall, Burt Reynolds, Randy Quaid, Ron Silver, Patricia Heaton and Anne Hathaway.

(via ailes)

'Lou Grant' Actor Mason Adams Dies at 86

He was also the voice behind the Smucker's jelly commercials.

The Associated Press has details:

Adams died Tuesday of natural causes, said his daughter, Betsy.

His distinctive, often fatherly voice was first heard in 1940s and 1950s radio serials, including "Batman" and "Pepper Young's Family." But he did not achieve fame until being cast as Charlie Hume in "Lou Grant," a spin-off of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" that ran from 1977 to 1982.

Adams earned three Emmy nominations for his work on the series.

He had small roles in several films, including "F/X" (1986) and "Houseguest" (1995), and worked steadily on stage in his later years. His last theater role was in the Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's "The Man Who Had All the Luck" in 2002.

He was also famous for his work in television commercials for J.M. Smucker Co., voicing the tag-line "With a name like Smucker's, it has to be good."

Adams was born in Brooklyn and received his master's degree from the University of Wisconsin.

My brother-in-law works for Smucker's out in California, so I have a fondness for anything connected to the company. But I always loved hearing Adams voice on anything he did, which included a number of documentaries not mentioned in the AP story. The voice was distinctive and always had a sort of jovial, everything-is-OK quality to it, even when Adams was delivering serious, dramatic lines.

Of course, I was/am a big fan of "Lou Grant" which presented a not-too-far-from-the-truth look inside a big-city daily newspaper newsroom. The show presented dilemmas faced in real newsrooms, including turf wars for certain stories, what to do about stories that might upset advertisers, what to do with breaking news, etc.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Something I Wish I'd Written

Ezra Klein is a 20-ish junior at UCLA who writes a blog I enjoy. He has a post about the 1967 movie Guess Who's Coming to Dinner that I wish I'd written.

Spencer Tracy, the father, and Sidney Poitier, the husband-to-be, are talking about the chances for Poitier's potential children (and Tracy's grandchildren). The father believes that they'll have none. His daughter, according to Poitier, believes they'll all be president. But his daughter is a naive, flighty girl and even Poitier admits that he doesn't share her optimism. Instead, he jokes, he'll settle for Secretary of State.

Poitier's bride was supposedly utopian for believing mixed-race kids could ascend to the presidency, and Poitier himself was kidding when he said they could become Secretary of State. The whole thing was about how slow progress was likely to be. And yet the movie was made in 1967. Accept its timeline and assume the couple had a child the next year. That kid would be 38 right now. The last Secretary of State was a black man, the current one is a black woman. The brightest star in Democratic politics, and the most oft-mentioned for a future presidency, is a half-black, half-white Senator named Barack Obama.

Seems to me we've done pretty good.

Damn, I wish I'd thought of that.

Suspected Terrorist Kept Out of U.S., News Media Ignore Story

Media Matters is reporting that the mainstream media (MSM) largely ignored a report that a member of the delegation of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah was denied entry to the United States after the delegation member's name appeared on a national watch list for alleged terrorists.

The US Department of Homeland Security found the name was on a government list meant to screen out possible terrorists. But the issue wasn't raised as part of the coverage of Abdullah's visit with President Bush in which they "spent a lot of time on the terrorism issue," according to Condoleezza Rice.

Wouldn't you think the Bush administration and the news media would want to promote this as demonstrating how well DHS screenings are working?

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Ain't technology grand?

I wish I'd known this back when I worked in news.

Because it's a bitch to transcribe a phone call, here's how to record it painlessly.

21st Century Racism

What would you think if your boss said "We can't right all the wrongs of the Civil War; we've got to quit hiring all these black people"?

Or how about "Black people are a lost race. It can't be said publicly, but it should be. They don't listen." Would you think your boss racist?

The feisty broadcast executive running Meredith Corporation's television division is alleged to have made the above statements during his short tenure with the company. Meredith publishes Better Homes and Gardens, among other magazines, and is based in Des Moines, Iowa. I lived in Des Moines for many years and always thought highly of the company, which did a lot for the community and for area journalism students.

Meredith hired Kevin P. O'Brien, a former Cox Television executive, in 2001 to turn around its faltering television division. In three years, he more than doubled profits. The company fired O'Brien last Oct. 29, announcing that he had violated the company's equal opportunity employment policy. O'Brien has challenged the accusations and has claimed the company fired him without cause.

An article in the Des Moines Register has additional details:

O'Brien was also accused of being sexist, having harassed women who worked at the television stations he ran, according to court documents.

Female anchors at one of the stations he operated were told to dress more provocatively on air.

"Reporters were told to hoochie it up," said April Nelson, a former health reporter at WGCL in Atlanta.

Reporters were sent to a salon where their hair and makeup were made more dramatic. They also were encouraged to wear "cleavage-revealing clothing," Nelson said.

Meredith owns KCTV in Kansas City:

Ratings soared at KCTV in Kansas City, which last November became the No. 1 10 p.m. newscast for the first time in more than a decade, according to the Kansas City Star. But some viewers rebelled against the changes on the newscast, which the Star described as "an in-your-face nightly spree of crime, accidents, sexual perversity and wild video."

That fit O'Brien's style, some said.

"He's a bigger-than-life kind of guy," Vacar said.

O'Brien and Meredith are in mediation in an attempt to reach a settlement out of court.

Are Neckties Out?

Andy Rooney has a
commentary on neckties at that got me to thinking.

Rooney notes:

The other night, John Roberts, substituting for Bob Schieffer on the CBS Evening News, came on camera without a necktie. Two other correspondents on the same broadcast, Allen Pizzey and Wyatt Andrews, also appeared with open shirts and no ties.


For a lot of men, wearing a necktie is one of those relatively unimportant social conventions that contribute to a civilized day at the office.

When I was younger (junior high, high school) wearing a necktie was for special occasions. The football team would all wear ties on game days. Church services, weddings, funerals, awards day, concerts...those were reasons to wear a tie. And sometimes a suit or sport coat.

College was pretty much the same. And in the first few jobs I had working in the broadcast media, a tie was more of a hindrance. Except in sales and the newsroom. All the guys wore ties in those departments.

Where did this convention come from? I watch pre-1960 movies and television programs and it seems like every man wore a tie, no matter what his job. Photos and movies from the depression-era also show most men wearing ties. Why? Evidently many men still wear ties even for leisure activities. Why?

I think I'll ponder more on this.

Yahoo VP Predicts the Future of Music Radio

Yahoo! Music VP/GM David Goldberg foresees a log of good things for music consumers and Internet radio.

In a speech last week Goldberg said of Internet radio, "What's very clear is that we're still early on in what is a pretty big opportunity."

But in his vision of the future of music, CDs will be replaced by a purely digital world of on-demand and subscription services; and music will no longer exist on broadcast radio!

"We hope that 10 years from now almost no one is accessing Yahoo services on a PC. It needs to be in my living room, in my car, on my cellphone. This will affect the change in replacing the CD, as well as moving music off of broadcast radio, which is also what we believe will happen.

"We really want to replace broadcast radio for music discovery. We believe music will migrate off of terrestrial radio to the services we are offering because we can deliver the music consumers want, when they want it, where they want it," he explained. "CDs will be replaced by on-demand subscription services. 'Personalization' and 'community' features will be key ways we'll be able to deliver the right music to people at the right time, on devices, on a global basis."

But Goldberg also says there's work to be done, particularly in the matter of sound recording royalties.

"We really need to focus on harmonizing the rates for music access across all different forms of radio experience. There's no reason that terrestrial radio should get music for free, that Internet radio should pay this very high rate, that satellite radio and cable radio pay some place in between -- music is music, the radio experience is the radio experience, and the fact that we don't have as much political clout as terrestrial broadcasters shouldn't matter," Goldberg said. "It's a matter of fairness -- and I believe artists should get paid for their music getting played on Internet and terrestrial radio.

You may read a recap of Goldberg's speech here.

A Bush War on the Press?

Alterman says yes. Your mileage may vary.

Eric Alterman writes in the Nation

"Journalists, George Bernard Shaw once said, "are unable, seemingly, to discriminate between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilization." How odd, given the profession's un-equaled reputation for narcissism, that Shaw's observation holds true even when thecollapsing "civilization" is their own.

"Make no mistake: The Bush Administration and its ideological allies are employing every means available to undermine journalists' ability to exercise their First Amendment function to hold power accountable. In fact, the Administration recognizes no such constitutional role for the press. White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card has insisted that the media "don't represent the public any more than other people do.... I don't believe you have a check-and-balance function."

"Bush himself, on more than one occasion, has told reporters he does not read their work and prefers to live inside the information bubble blown by his loyal minions. Vice President Cheney feels free to kick the New York Times off his press plane, and John Ashcroft can refuse to peak with any print reporters during his Patriot-Act-a-palooza publicity tour, just to compliant local TV. As an unnamed Bush official told reporter Ron Susskind, "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality--judiciously, as you will--we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors...and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do." For those who didn't like it, another Bush adviser explained, "Let me clue you in. We don't care. You see, you're outnumbered two to one by folks in the big, wide middle of America, busy working people who don't read the New York Times or Washington Post or the LA Times."

Generation Rx

A new drug culture emerges.

From Daily News Central:

"'A new category of substance abuse is emerging in America: Increasingly, teenagers are getting high through the intentional abuse of medications,' said Roy Bostock, chairman of the Partnership. 'For the first time, our national study finds that today's teens are more likely to have abused a prescription painkiller (Vicodin, OxyContin, Ritalin, Adderall, Tylox, etc.) to get high than they are to have experimented with a variety of illicit drugs including Ecstasy, cocaine, crack and LSD. In other words, "Generation Rx" has arrived.'"

The end of analog TV?

December 31, 2006. . .unless Congress does something.

That's the date Congress established in 1996 for a complete switch to High Definition Television. Expectations were that consumers would buy new sets with digital tuners and analog signals would no longer be necessary. Those expectations were wrong.

Broadcasters did not leap at the opportunity to spend millions of dollars converting stations to digital. Manufacturers did not manufacture digital receivers other than big-screen, high-priced units. In fact, under current law all sets won’t have digital tuners until 2007.

Congress can ignore the end-of-2006 cut-off if fewer than 85 percent of households have digital television sets. But will it? Will the viewing public stand for all those analog television sets becoming obsolete instantly?

Michael Rogers has written an interesting article about the dilemma over on MSBBC.

Big Media Hall of Shame

The folks at Free Press are trying to determine the one person who has done his or her utmost to make the media the abomination it is today.

They've got a video highlighting five nominees, and are asking you to vote for one of them. The winner will be announced on May 14 at the National Conference for Media Reform in St. Louis.

Monday, April 25, 2005

What Liberal Media?

Those who still believe the news media are liberally biased just aren't paying attention. For months Republicans have been threatening to use "the nuclear option" to prevent Democrats from using a filibuster to block judicial nominees from Senate confirmation. "The nuclear option" refers to changing Senate rules, and was coined by former Senate GOP leader Trent Lott.

The Hill quoted Lott using the term in a May 21, 2003, article: "'I'm for the nuclear option,' said Lott. 'The filibuster of federal judges cannot stand.'" And a June 25, 2003, Roll Call article quoted Lott saying of the nuclear option: "I am an advocate of that ... The Democrats are going to stop this or we are going to have to go nuclear."

As Media Matters for America notes:

But since Republican strategists judged the term "nuclear option" to be a liability, they have urged Senate Republicans to adopt the term "constitutional option." Many in the media have complied with the Senate Republicans' shift in terminology and repeated their attribution of the term "nuclear option" to the Democrats.

(see the link for multiple examples of this shift)

This isn't the first time the "liberal" media have conveniently followed the GOP lead in changing terminology when the public has reacted negatively to a GOP-invented term. Bush and company consistantly referred to a plan for "private accounts" to replace Social Security until the public indicated it didn't like the idea. From then on everyone was to refer to the plan for "personal" accounts.

I like Atrios' idea:

If I were the Dems, I'd start insisting that it be called the "fetus destruction option." Or, maybe, just for giggles, the "David Broder fellatio option."

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Newt Corrects Another Mistake

Newt Gingrich has officially apologized for statements he made on Fox Television that terrorists involved in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks entered the United States from Canada.

The London Free Press ran a short piece that says the apology came after Canadian Ambassador to the U.S., Frank McKenna wrote Gingrich telling him, "none of the 19 hijackers entered the U.S. from either Canada or Mexico, information confirmed by former U.S. attorney general John Ashcroft and the 9/11 Commission investigating the attacks."

In an April 19th appearance on Fox News Channel, Gingrich said: "Far more of the 9-11 terrorists came across from Canada than from Mexico."

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

End of the 20th Century

A number of leading intellectual and/or cultural lights have gone dark recently. Saul Bellows, Susan Sontag, Hunter S. Thompson, George F. Kennan, Arthur Miller, Johnny Carson, Prince Rainier. John Powers at LA Weekly has written a thoughtful article on the cultural cost of all who've fallen.

If the new century began for most of us on September 11, 2001, the 20th century may well finally have ended with all these high-profile funerals. One by one, the individuals who defined the last sixty years of American culture have been vanishing from the landscape. And this sudden sense of an ending has been reinforced by the equally abrupt disappearance of the men who once read us the headlines about our national life: Brokaw is retired, Rather was chased from his chair, Jennings has lung cancer and Koppel is calling it quits at ABC. Small wonder that you now hear yearning for the supposedly good old days when the anchorman was a colossus. George Clooney is even directing a movie about Edward R. Murrow.
The entire article is worth reading. Who today is comparable to any of these individuals? Are we too cynical to ever have such greats again? Now there's an idea that will fester in my mind for a few days or more.

This is a Hoot!

When someone is tapped to become the next pope, their name changes to something holy sounding. Should you be chosen to fill John Paul II's PointyHat, what will your pope name be? Go here to find out.

I typed in Doc Larry and came up with "Pope Monstrous Dick II." Modesty prohibits me from confirming the accuracy of the name. (But my wife just rolled her eyes. She's Pope Offensive Jeff XII, BTW.)

Oh, and unlike the Catholic church, the site does allow females to be named pope. Or to get pope named. You can enter a female name and it will generate a pope name. Got it?

By the Numbers

Andrew Tobias notes:

The Dow is now about 5% lower than it was five-plus years ago when President Bush was selected and we went to more or less total right-wing Republican control. (This is not to tar all Congressional Republicans as rightwing; but you will not find moderate Republicans in the leadership.) In that same time, we have also lost the good will of much of the world and added 35% to our national debt.

But at least we got Bin-Laden.
Makes those private social security accounts sound good, huh?

La radio Española de la lengua viene a Ozarks

The Ozarks gets its first all Spanish-language radio station.

Beginning April 30th, KQMO-FM will become the first radio station in the Missouri Ozarks to provide full-time Spanish-language programming.

For the past four years, KQMO has been programming Spanish-language radio on the weekends, in conjunction with Frank Soriano of Monett, under the logo “La M Grande”. The weekend programming has been well-received, and will now be expanded to full-time programming.

“The weekend programming has been so successful”, said Dewayne Gandy, President of Falcon Broadcasting, “that we felt it was time to take the plunge.” “We’ve done a lot of research, and the growth of the Hispanic community is phenomenal. Census figures in Southwest Missouri and Northwest Arkansas indicate up to 40-percent of the population is now Hispanic in some counties.”

The state of Missouri has posted a 92% growth in Hispanic residents, and since 2002, McDonald and Barry counties have already doubled those numbers. Since 1990, Hispanics in McDonald county have increased 1577% and Barry county 1024% due to increased employment opportunites.

Soriano noted, “my advertisers in the Ozarks will now be able to reach the Hispanic marketplace all week long, instead of just weekends. We’ve built a relationship between the station the listeners, and feel it’s the natural choice to expand the programming.”

The latest census data available is from 2002, when estimates indicated as many as 38,000 Hispanics living in the Missouri Ozarks, and even more in Northwest Arkansas. KQMO will be the only station reaching this market.

The music format is called “Regional Mexican”, and the station will also develop more local interest programming, including community events, news, and features such as the successful call-in shows with INS representatives. “The weekend programming will continue from our downtown Monett studios,” according to Soriano, “and we’ll add programming from local sources, plus CNN en Espanol and other new programming.”
KQMO broadcasts at 97.7 FM from a 450-foot tower south of Jenkins, MO in Barry County. Its signal stretches from Springfield to Bentonville, Arkansas.

Para los que hablan español, consonancia a 97.7 de abril el 30.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Rice squashes terrorism report

Joel Wendland has an article at about the latest State Department's annual report called "Patterns of Global Terrorism."

The annual publication tries to provide the definitive international picture on terrorism. It is mandated by law to be a full and complete annual report on terrorism to Congress. It is supposed to be specific. The law requires the report be published before April 30th.

But this year, regardless of legal mandate, political squabbling in the administration and fears that continued increases in terrorist activity might undermine Bush's claim to have made the world safer caused the report to be scrapped.

Bush officials blamed faulty methodology by the National Counterterrorism Center. Others in the department hinted that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice ordered the report scrapped because 2004 statistics continued to show growth in terrorist activity.

This development follows hard on the heels of the experience with last year’s report on global terrorism. When it was first published, the 2003 report appeared to show a drop in terrorist activity, bolstering Bush's claim that war had reduced terrorist activity.

Bush took the report on the road to boast as part of his campaign stump.

Unfortunately for him, his glee was short-lived. Weeks later the report had to be revised showing that terrorist activity had actually increased dramatically.

Independent analysis of the report and of terrorist activity showed that terrorism had reached a 20-year high, as Rep. Henry Waxman (CA) charged in a letter to then-Secretary Colin Powell.

Revisions were made and the report was buried.

The 2004 report is said to have contained documentation of as many as 675 "significant" terrorist attacks, not including attacks made on US troops in the main front of the war on terrorism (Iraq), says a Knight-Ridder story.

This is about 5 times more than in 2003, which recorded terrorist activity at a 20-year high.

As Wendland also points out, the Bush administration used the war on terror as part of his campaing to win reelection in November. Bush boasted of the war on terrorism having made the world safer.

The 2003 State Department report contradicted that claim. And the 2004 report evidently contained enough damning evidence of the fallacy of Bush's claims that it can't be released.

The Bush administration claims the methodology was faulty. From the Knight-Ridder story:

Another U.S. official said Rice's office was leery of the methodology the National Counterterrorism Center used to generate the data for 2004, believing that analysts anxious to avoid a repetition of last year's undercount included incidents that may not have been terrorist attacks.

But the U.S. intelligence officials said Rice's office decided to eliminate "Patterns of Global Terrorism" when the counterterrorism center declined to use alternative methodology that would have reported fewer significant attacks.

So I guess if you don't like the way the numbers come out, find a different way of counting. And make sure no one is allowed to see the original numbers to decide for themselves whether the numbers represent anything.

Add this to the continuing staged and fully orchestrated "town hall" meetings and it is evident Bush and company are not open to alternative viewpoints. A sad attitude for our government to have.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Adobe + Macromedia = ?

The tools that many of us use in one way or another to make stuff are about to be from one company. Adobe announced they're going to buy up Macromedia. Personally, I think Adobe is the best for some things, Macromedia for others. I hope the best of both survive. Or better yet, something even better comes out of the merger.

Read the press release for a few details.

Good luck with that

A California man has petitioned the federal govermnet to rename the San Franciso Bay Area’s Mt. Diablo. The name, he says, is offensive to his personal religious sensibilities.

Art Mijares applied to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names for the change and suggests naming the mountain Mount Kawukum, which he believes has American Indian roots.

The name Kawukum first surfaced in 1866, when a church group tried to change Mount Diablo's name for reasons nearly identical to Mijares', according to San Francisco Bay area researcher Bev Ortiz.

"We abhor the wicked creature to whom the name is appropriate, and spurn the use of the name for anything noble or good on earth," proclaimed the Congregational Church of San Francisco in its newsletter of the day.

The church proposed Kawukum, spelled then as Kahwookum, "a word learned from an unidentified Indian living at the base of the mountain," Ortiz wrote in a history of the mountain's name. "Despite the fact that church members could not communicate clearly with their consultant, they presumed that 'Kahwookum' meant 'Everything seen' or 'very nearly Pilot Mountain.'"
Now, Mt. Diablo was named through a linguistic accident when English-speaking newcomers mistakenly assumed the word "monte" to mean "mountain." A Spanish military expedition had given the name to a willow thicket near the mountain.

Evidently since the mountain's current name resulted from a mistake we might as well choose another name that may or may not be of American Indian roots, without bothering to determine what, if anything, is the meaning of the new name. Assuming, of course, anyone other than Mr. Mijares really wants to change the name.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Ball magnet

The Sunday News-Leader's front page includes an article about concerns over flying bats and foul balls at Hammons Field during Springfield Cardinals games.

Seems a couple bats have flown into the stands, hitting fans. The backstop net doesn't stretch from dugout to dugout, leaving several seats exposed. The backstop net also doesn't stretch over the infield seats up to the skyboxes as it does in some ballparks we've been to.

My wife and I went to a Southwest Missouri State Bears games last spring, sitting almost directly behind home plate in the handicap section. A foul ball took a line drive right over the backstop net right at our seats. I leaned left, my wife ducked. The ball bounced off her right shoulder, bounced off the girder beam behind us, and into the seats in front of us where some lucky little-leaguer got it. Hammons Field staff came by immediately to see if my wife was OK and offered to get ice for her shoulder. We laughed about it.

When friends came by we chuckled and mentioned the possibility of a lawsuit--completely joking, of course. Our tickets had a disclaimer that, according to a personal injury attorney quoted in the article, would likely have prevented us from collecting anything from Hammons or SMS.

My wife proudly showed her bruise at work the next day and we joked about the odds of a foul ball finding its way to us, and light-heartedly complaining about not getting to keep the foul ball.

Then we went to another game this year. Same section of the ballpark, two seats to the right. My wife was getting hot dogs (one of the best parts of any baseball game) and sodas when another foul ball found its way to our seats. This was a pop fly with a high arc, leaving plenty of time to get out of the way. And the ball landed right where my wife would have been sitting. This time we got to keep the ball.

I have no idea what the odds are of being hit by a foul ball. But what must they be when considering that my wife and I have only been to two ball games in Hammons Field, and sat in two different places behind the net? Do you think John Q. has something against us?

This "news" story brought to you by...

This article at caught our eye:

Bush Supports Indecency Standards for Cable, Satellite

President Bush said Thursday he supports the concept of indecency standards for cable TV and satellite.

In remarks before the American Society of Newspaper Editors convention in Washington, the president also said parents share a responsibility over the kind of programming they allow in their homes. "But I don't mind standards being set out for people to adjudge the content of a show, to help parents make right decisions," he said. "Government ought to help parents, not hinder parents in sending good messages to their children."

President Bush said that in a free society, the marketplace makes decisions. "If you don't like something, don't watch it, and presumably advertising dollars will wither and the show will go off the air," he said. "But I have no problems with standards being set to help parents make good decisions."

Contrast that with this from a Washington Post story about the FCC ordering broadcasters to reveal sources of video news releases:
The Lautenberg-Kerry amendment follows a GAO recommendation to include on-screen disclaimers during the video news release, explaining the piece was produced by the U.S. government, Lautenberg staffers said. The GAO report said the administration had violated the law by using federal money to produce propaganda.

"The government makes these things," said Dan Katz, Lautenberg's chief counsel. "If they would identify themselves upfront it would be a much more efficient way of dealing with this problem."

The Bush administration's Office of Management and Budget disagreed with the GAO's finding.

I find this a bit hypocritical on Bush's part. He favors creating "standards" for "people to adjudge the content of a show", but doesn't think his agencies need to clearly disclose that they are the producers of a "news" story. Wouldn't such disclosure aid viewers to "adjudge the content of a show?"

I agree that broadcasters bear some responsibility in identifying a news story as a produced by some entity other than the broadcaster. And most ethical news operations will either not use the video news release (VNR), as they're called, or will identify it as the public relations piece it is.

However, as Deborah Potter points out in an article at, sometimes local broadcasters don't know they're airing a VNR:
The deception couldn't succeed, however, without an accomplice or two. That's where CNN and the local stations come in. Back when VNRs arrived in newsrooms by mail, it was difficult to confuse them with legitimate news. These days, video news releases are fed to stations by distribution services like CNN Newsource, which charge VNR producers a fee for the privilege.

Some news directors say that mixing genuine news footage with PR pieces on the same feed is a recipe for trouble. Bob Longo, news director at Pittsburgh's WTAE, which aired the Medicare video twice, went even further. "It is troubling, deceptive and disturbing," he told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "The piece was camouflaged deceptively as a CNN piece."

CNN insists the Medicare segment was clearly identified on the feed as a news release. But the network has since agreed to change the way it handles VNRs, by separating them from news stories on the feed, and letting stations opt out from receiving VNRs.

Of course, another problem is that stations are understaffed, making it difficult to produce enough content to fill the ever-expanding time devoted to news programming. As group owners continue looking solely at the bottom-line in an effort to squeeze as much profit as possible out of each station, news staffs will continue to shrink, increasing the likelihood that producers will use a VNR to fill up time.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Your ancestry might surprise you.

Want to find out who ALL your ancestors are? An ambitious project got underway this week to trace the genetic roots and migratory journeys of the human species. And you can participate.

DNA samples collected from indigenous populations, whose DNA contains key genetic markers that have remained relatively unaltered over hundreds of generations, will form the backbone of the Genographic Project because they serve as reliable indicators of ancient migratory patterns.

Members of the general public can also participate by purchasing a kit (U.S. $99.95 plus shipping and handling), and allowing their own results to be included in the database. Participants will be assigned a Personal ID number, allowing their personal results to be stored securely and anonymously.

[ ----- ]

"The more we can improve our understanding of the common origin and journey of humankind, the greater the possibility for all of us to see each other as members of the same family," said Ted Waitt, founder of the Waitt Family Foundation. "And with that awareness, we can find ways to live and work together on a global basis."
The DNA test kit can be ordered online through National Geographic.

Happy birthday, Mickey D's!

April 15th marked the 50th anniversary of when the first McDonald's was opened in Des Plaines, Illinois by Ray Kroc.

I grew up in a small town in Iowa, the county seat in farming country. My hometown now has a McDonald's, but as a kid we had to drive 30 miles to the college town to see Speedee. Back then you went to a window to place your order which was placed in a white paper bag. Burgers cost 15 cents. The guys working inside (and they were all guys) wore white shirts and white paper hats. The burger stand was white and red tile and the golden arches ran through the building, not just on the signage.

And you sat in your car in the parking lot to eat. I can remember watching from the car as peeled potatoes would be pushed through a contraption that cut them into french fries. It was also fascinating to watch the milkshake mix and syrup whipped up in the Multi-mixers, the big barrels of Coca-Cola and root beer, and orangeade bowl that sprayed orangeade to keep it mixed.

It was a special treat to go to McDonald's. When the government provided polio vaccine for everyone (BTW, the polio vaccine also just turned 50), my family went to the National Guard Armory to get our sugar cube with the oral vaccine. You weren't supposed to eat for 60 minutes after taking the vaccine so we drove to college town for a Sunday meal of McDonald's burgers and fries.

Eventually that stand added an enclosed area from which to place your order, remodeled the exterior to modernize the look, and finally moved across the street to a brand new building with indoor seating.

I remember making a special trip to see Ronald McDonald live for the first time in 1968. Ronald was introduced in 1963, portrayed by Willard Scott. Yes, that Willard Scott.

The original McDonald's menu was simplicity itself - hamburgers, cheeseburgers, fries, soft drinks, coffee, and shakes. I remember the menu expansions, including the Filet-o-Fish in 1963, Big Mac and Hot Apple Pie in 1968, and the Quarter-Pounder in 1973.

I remember several advertising jingles.

Grad a bucket and mop.
Scrub it bottom to top.
There is nothing so clean,
As my burger machine.

You deserve a break today,
So get up and get away,
to McDonald's.


McDonald's is your kind of place.
A clean and snappy place.
At age 7, my parents told me I could have anything I wanted for lunch on the day they checked me out of the hospital where I'd been for a month to battle a staph infection in my leg. After consuming all that hospital food, I said I wanted a McDonald's hamburger. I remember my parents finding that funny. I'm still not sure why.

Gay TV characters may reduce homophobia

Three studies at the University of Minnesota found a significant difference measuring students before and after watching shows like "Queer Eye," "Will & Grace" and "Six Feet Under."

Hundreds of studies have supported what is known as the "contact hypothesis," which suggests that direct contact between majority and minority groups helps lessen prejudice.

The new studies led the researchers to develop what they call the "parasocial contact hypothesis," which suggests that a similar reduction in prejudice can be achieved by watching members of the minority groups on TV or in films.


Eszter over at Crooked Timber notes the interesting twist in some of us actually seeking out and making conscious decisions to view ads, and includes a link to the Honda "Cog" ad that I find fascinating. The point of the post is that many of us would pay attention to advertising if it was just more interesting.

And for Ron Davis over at Chatter, Joseph Jaffe has created what he thinks should be the next Nike commercial. Jaffe notes that many consumers (including me) were able to see the video of the amazing golf shot for the first time on his blog, demonstrating the promise of one-to-one marketing.

Where do you listen?

An analysis of radio listening trends indicates that, despite the significant adoption of satellite radio in cars, terrestrial radio's usage has been increasing in cars, while it has been declining in all other listening locations. (Terrestrial radio refers to the over-the-air signals anyone with a receiver may tune to.)

"At Home" usage of radio declined 14%, "At Work" listening has declined about 16%, "Other Locations" listening has declined about 12%, but "In Car" listening has risen by almost 3%. Details are available here.

Got a camcorder, eh?

One of the best things about living in Michigan was the availability of Canadian television on the cable system. I make a point of watching as much as possible when visiting my sister in Winnipeg. So I'm a little pumped by this news from Wired:

Former Vice President Al Gore's new cable TV channel will go live in August, promising to mix elements of the internet and TV. But the 24-hour cable channel, called Current TV, will be based in part on a 3-year-old experimental TV show from Canada.

ZeD is a late-night, arts-and-culture program from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that mixes amateur movies submitted through a website with independent film and studio-produced content -- the same model proposed by Current TV.

[ ----- ]

ZeD receives between 200 and 300 viewer-produced videos per day, has a production staff of 45 people and still finds it a challenge to find about eight minutes of viewer-submitted content for each 40-minute program.

ZeD allows viewers to shoot, edit and upload their own short-form videos to the show's website. If the editors like the films -- and they often do -- they buy them, and include them on the program, which airs on CBC five nights a week. Many more videos are published on the ZeD website.
For those with a message to communicate via video, Current TV has a contest.

Eric Rudolph's Ozarks Connection

The plea agreement for Eric Rudolph announced last week reminded me of some research I'm doing for a screenplay I'm writing. It led me to this 2003 article from the St.Louis Post Dispatch, linking Rudolph to the Ozarks:

Once considered a leading theologian in the far-right Christian Identity movement, Gayman is back in the news because his church gave shelter 18 years ago to the family of Eric Rudolph, who now stands accused of being a domestic-terrorist bomber. Investigators say Rudolph holds dear many of the beliefs of Christian Identity.


Gayman and his church attracted reporters in 1998, when Rudolph became one of the United States' most-wanted fugitives, and again when Rudolph was arrested in North Carolina on May 31. Gayman didn't like the attention five years ago, and he doesn't like it now.

"I'm a footnote on the national map," Gayman said by telephone last week. "We're just an autonomous group of Christians in western Missouri. To suggest that Eric somehow became contaminated when he was here is irresponsible."

The Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala., and the national Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith - two organizations that monitor fringe groups - say they believe there is a connection. Both report that the height of Gayman's national prominence was in the 1980s, when Rudolph grew to adulthood.

"Clearly, Eric has adopted a great many of the tenets of Identity, and we know through his writings that he adopted the theory that the Jews are the primary enemy," said Mark Potok, editor of the Law Center's quarterly Intelligence Report.

Potok said he believes "Dan Gayman had a significant influence on Eric's thinking. Gayman was among the important mentors when Eric was looking for what makes the world tick."


Gayman said Patricia Rudolph and two of her sons lived near the church from November 1984 until May 1985, when they moved back to Florida. Eric Rudolph was 18 at the time.

Gayman recalled Eric Rudolph as "very much a loner, a very quiet boy. He spent a lot of time with his mother, and he often went to see a friend in Arkansas. ... My regret today is that he never enrolled in our school while he was here. We might have had some influence over Eric."

But Tim and Sarah Gayman, the pastor's estranged son and daughter-in-law, said pastor Gayman considered Rudolph a potential husband for one of his daughters. In an interview in 2001 with the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report, Sarah Gayman said, "Eric used to date Tim's sister, Julie. Dan (Gayman) was just beside himself. He just thought Eric was great." Tim Gayman said, "My dad thought he was going to mold Eric into whatever he wanted him to be, but Eric had a mind of his own."
Dan Gayman achieved a measure of secular success, earning a degree in history at Southwest Missouri State College (now University) and becoming a teacher and later a principal. He has also been connected to The Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord, which had a compound on Bull Shoals Lake raided by the FBI in the mid-80s, and David Tate, a neo-Nazi who killed Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Jimmie Linegar in April, 1985, just south of Branson.

Springfield radio

According to traffic at the Forums, lots of format changes in Springfield radio. I have to admit I haven't listened to much local radio since moving to the area seven years ago. I found it far too bland, too similar. Yes, there are country stations, and rock stations, and oldies stations. I don't like country, and I find too much being played on "rock" stations mere noise. The oldies stations played too many obscure tunes. Still, Springfield wasn't much different from any other market.

But some of these format changes could be interesting and may draw me back to radio. I still don't like country. Nothing wrong with those who do, it's just not my cup of tea. But I do like local news and there may be an effort afoot to start competing with KTTS. I'm not holding my breath, but I would like it to succeed. Local radio, truly local radio, can do wonders with news. It used to be one of the main reasons to listen to a station.

Another interesting change is at Alice 95.5 FM. I've sampled their signal a few times in the last couple weeks and have enjoyed the variety of old, new, and everything in between. It's the closest thing to radio from my younger days I think I'm going to find. More to come on all this.

College kids

Speaking of the Hardy case...those crazy kids at Drury certainly had some fun with the case. As reported in the campus newspaper, The Mirror, on Friday:

"One of my buddies put on scrubs and covered his face in barbecue sauce and ran around in front of the KY3 van," junior Josh Deckard said.

Drury students have a sort of "fondness" for Drury Safety and Security personnel, never missing an opportunity to mock those charged with their safety:

"I was at the kitchen sink when I saw him run by my window," junior Katie Parrigon said.

"Thinking that security is everywhere, I called them and told the officer that I believe that I had just seen the man and security told me that they had another call and put me on hold. He came back from hold and asked for a description and I told him that the guy was pretty much naked and he had a gown. The officer asked about the gown. "


Later on Tuesday, Parrigon found herself talking to Drury security about Hardy and their attempts to capture him.

"I was standing by Smal-Mart and a security officer came up and we asked him if he was off to save the world," Parrigon said. "He said that he would need to get his bike first."

Students also provided "helpful" descriptions of Hardy:
"He had a body that looked like an anorexic woman," Parrigon said. "He had nothing for muscle except a funky butt."

"If SNL [Saturday Night Live] were to do a skit about this situation, that is exactly what the guy looked like. He was all cut up and scary looking," Deckard said.

But Heather Kelley praised the security officers in a letter to the editor:
While walking around campus Tuesday and Wednesday while the "crazy" man was (and still is upon writing this article) loose, I felt better knowing that Drury Security was there. They were very visible in their patrols and professional in the way they handled the fears of students.

Hardy Saga Continues

According to this morning's News-Leader, police have not yet caught Robert Hardy, who escaped from custody at Cox North early Tuesday, and made for some interesting times around the neighborhood, including the Drury University campus.

Police are being mum on exactly what happened, but say they "were 'absolutely not' withholding information because the escape was embarrassing for the department...."

Greene County Prosecutor Darrell Moore has an interesting take:

[Moore] noted that officers would have been right in shooting Hardy on Sunday, when he allegedly pepper-sprayed officers and bit one. Police said Hardy had a loaded .45-caliber handgun, knives, a collapsible baton and throwing stars.

"If they had shot him, it would have been a justified shooting," Moore said. "And I think the fact that they exercised restraint and tried to apprehend him without using deadly force is commendable and reflects well on their training."

In other jurisdictions, Moore said, "he would have been shot."
So the police couldn't keep a prisoner handcuffed to a hospital bed from escaping, have been unable to locate him for four days, but should be commended for not shooting him in the first place? Uh, OK, thanks.

Best. Video. Ever. Not.

I sort of hate to pass this along, but just can't help myself. This video should not be viewed by those with weak stomachs or who must limit their sugar intake. You've been warned.

And no, it isn't a parody. And yes, the guy is trying to raise money for charity. Read all about him IN HIS OWN WORDS.

Another radical in Hollywood?

I truly believe everyone has a right to an opinion and a right to voice said opinion. One thing you'll learn about me (if I keep this up) is I'm an advocate of the First Amendment in a big way. So I don't mind when Hollywood types speak out on whatever, including politics. It often makes entertaining reading.

Thus, we come to the deep thoughts of Pat Sajak. As I said, Pat has a right to voice his opinion. I just wish he was a little more informed. And could spell. Especially when a name's been in the news so much one shouldn't have trouble Googling to find it.

I awoke Sunday morning wanting to know what was happening in the Terri Shiavo saga...

God isn’t partisan

So Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist plans to join a telecast whose organizing theme is that those who oppose some of President Bush’s judicial nominees are engaged in an assault on “people of faith.” The New York Times reported yesterday:

As the Senate heads toward a showdown over the rules governing judicial confirmations, Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, has agreed to join a handful of prominent Christian conservatives in a telecast portraying Democrats as "against people of faith" for blocking President Bush's nominees.

Fliers for the telecast, organized by the Family Research Council and scheduled to originate at a Kentucky megachurch the evening of April 24, call the day "Justice Sunday" and depict a young man holding a Bible in one hand and a gavel in the other. The flier does not name participants, but under the heading "the filibuster against people of faith," it reads: "The filibuster was once abused to protect racial bias, and it is now being used against people of faith."
This is a disturbing change. We read of militant Muslims, of radical mullahs, of those who call for religious war against the U.S. Isn't Frist engaging in similar behavior?

Back in 1987, during the Iran-Contra Hearings, former Senator George Mitchell (D-ME) said to Oliver North "Although he's regularly asked to do so, God does not take sides in American politics." Worth remembering.

The search begins

I've been thinking about blogging for quite a while and, after encouragement from Ron Davis (he's referred to me as "Delightfully twisted...." in his blog), here I go.

Let's get some basics out of the way. The blog's title is an homage to one of my favorite bands, The Moody Blues. It also represents what I plan to do with this blog. Namely, search for meaning in news, media, pop culture, life. You will likely find both shallow and deep thoughts. And you're always welcome to comment.