Friday, October 30, 2015

RNC (not the same as the GOP) throws a tantrum at CNBC over debate moderation


So the crybaby RNC (in a letter  from Reince Priebus) to NBC News, suspends its agreement with NBC to host a candidate debate in February 2016.  The RNC “whines” that the CNBC moderatora asked offensive questions, like essentially whether Trump was becoming a comic book character.   (That’s all right, even college student and inventor Jack Andraka has made the comics, so Trump has good company.)  Let’s put Trump in a space suit and see how well he survives on Mars.  Another topic was Ashton Kutcher's favorite:  fantasy football.  Well, we used to play fantasy baseball with cardboard stadiums as kids.



The letter conceded that the NBC news division doesn’t exercise direct control over CNBC content. (I worked for NBC in information technology 1974-1977, and would work there again.)


Fox compared the debates to the New York Mets and pitcher Jacob De Grom’s loss in the second game in the World Series to pesky Kansas City hitters, link here  and said the CNBC moderators got a “bipartisan drubbing”.  Fortune’s account of the not-so-good-news is here.

But GOP campaigns may well revolt against the RNC, just as they fight each other, with a meeting in Washington on All Saints Day, here.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Josh Hartnett (Minnesota born actor) interview shown on NBC4 in Washington


Cat Greenleaf interviewed actor Josh Hartnett on NBCWashington, apparently sitting in front of a NYC brownstone, with his dog. Subject: "Growing up famous".



Hartnett now starts in the Showtime series “Penny Dreadful”, a series based on British Victorian-era “Pulp Fiction”.

I met him at an IFPMSP function when I was living in Minneapolis.  Sometimes he came to functions at Bryant Lake Bowl (half incognito) on Lake Street in the city’s Uptown area.  I think he would remember me (and what my books are about).

I first saw him appear in the film “Halloween H20” in 1998, when he was 20, graduated from high school in St. Paul MN.  I’ve seen him in “Virgin Suicides”, “Black Hawk Down” and especially his breakout role “Pearl Harbor” in 2001. Also favorites of mine were "Wicker Park" (in Chicago, maybe for Cubs fans), "The Black Dahlia" and "30 Days of Night" (the latter near the North Pole, with a bizarre ending).

According to Wikipedia Hartnett has been involved in Democratic Party activism, with some emphasis on climate change and green issues.

I’ll have to check this Showtime series soon, which can be watched on Hulu.

Picture: Uptown area of Minneapolis, across street from Bar Abilene, near Landmark Lagoon and Uptown, 2011 (my re-visit).

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

"The Forever Family" on ABC 20-20 presents the rehoming of disabled adopted children



ABC “20-20” on Friday night, with Elizabeth Vargas and David Muir, presented “The Forever Family”, a story about the practice of “rehoming” adopted children who had been disabled (sometimes from overseas) and presented uncontrollable behavior problems for adoptive parents. The link for viewing (must log on to a cable provider) is here.

Specifically, the episode told the story of Arkansas State representative Justin Harris and wife Marsha, evangelical Christians south of Fayetteville AR, who had three sons of their own, and then built onto their house to adopt children, which they felt was a morally driven (and personally risky and costly) mission from God.

 Against the best wisdom of adoption agencies, they adopted three sisters from a troubled background. The oldest presented severe problems and was removed, but the couple still tried to keep the two younger kids, moving their own sons into their own bedroom.  They even put monitors on the girls’ rooms.  But they got into a legal bind where they could not give up the kids without being prosecuted, but used a legal loophole to “rehome” the kids to someone who stepped up.  Later there were reports that the girls wuld be sexually abused.

The girls had been diagnosed with RAD, or "reactive attachment disorder". In recent years, a few states have passed laws against "rehoming" but the practice was technically legal at the time it was used as described in this episode.
 


The episode presented adoption specialist Jan Wallis and foster parents Craig and Cheryl Hart.

Wikipedia attribution link for image by Brandon Rush from Fayetteville, AR, under Creative Commons 3.0 share-alike license.  I was in the area several times between 1979 and 1987.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

"Brain Surgery Live" on NatGeo happens while patient is conscious, to treat Parkinson's


The National Geographic Channel aired a two-hour special “Brain Surgery Live with Mental Floss”, with Bryant Gumbel hosting, link here. The program showed progress during brain surgery at the Cleveland Clinic (Ohio) where the patient, a 49-year-old electrician remained conscious during the two hours where surgeons probed with electrical stimulus to cure Parkinson’s Disease, which had suddenly surfaced after he left the Navy.



The broadcast showed the anatomy of the brain, and explained that the folds increase surface area for “computing power”.
 
The surgeon is also an accomplished pianist, and the surgeon (standing 6 ft 5 in) explained that the skills in playing piano and doing fine surgery are similar.  One lead surgeon was female, and only 6% of all neurosurgeons are female now.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Newseum in Washington DC has new exhibit on how TV networks covered the Vietnam War


The Newseum in Washington DC has a new exhibit on the 6th floor on Reporting the War in Vietnam, including an 8-minute short film that shows the way network broadcast media presented the War, with some emphasis on CBS and Walter Cronkite.  I visited the exhibit today after the AUDSWalk nearby.



The Vietnam War was the first war to be regularized “televised” into American living rooms almost every day after about 1966.  At first, the press was somewhat supportive, and the Army looked upon the presence of war correspondents as increasing the pressure on the enemy.  But then some networks, especially CBS, began to show misdeeds by troops, including the burning of Vietnamese villages (as well as My Lai).  At one point, Lyndon Johnson even called Walter Cronkite and said that he (LBJ) was disappointed by the press’s lack of complicity.

After the Tet Offensive, on January 31, 2015, reporting from the networks became more “sober” with emphasis on casualties but less homage to the bravery of soldiers, many of whom had been drafted.

The public began to resist the war as casualties mounted.

It would be a good thing if the Newseum presentation covered the issue of the military draft and deferments more.  But this side of the war probably didn’t get as much coverage from the networks as did the War itself.  On campuses, it was the cause for great controversy.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

CNN airs detailed update report on "DC Mansion Murders"


CNN aired a special report Tuesday night on the “DC Mansion Murders” of the family (including one housekeeper) of Savvas Savopoulos, with the most up-to-date account of the May 2015 incident link here. It was hosted by Pamela Brown.



There have been many detailed accounts (an ABC account was reported here June 16) which are quite graphic and need not be recounted here.  CNN had a shorter report in June but this new one is much more detailed and longer (one hour). But one mystery is why still, five months later, only one suspect, Darron Wint, has been arrested, identified from DNA on a pizza slice.  The circumstances do suggest an extreme personal vendetta.  One criminal forensics expert said she could not explain why DC Police have not arrested more suspects.  It would seem unbelievable that any accomplice would have gone along with all the horror.  DC does not have the death penalty, so the maximum would be life in prison without parole for each count.

There is a bizarre story in the Observer about other immigrants from Guyana and a company in Queens NYC that appears to be the same company.  It has not been connected to the case by major media yet but might somehow have a connection, link here. It is possible for politically motivated acts to become “personal” (look at the Middle East), and in the past extreme Left-wing rhetoric (like back in the early 70s passing my ears at meetings) has sounded “personal”.  But Wint (born in Guyana), according to credible mainstream media reports, has a history of disturbing behavior and temper in the workplace and in personal life, unrelated to political or religious beliefs.  CNN did allow Wint’s former attorney to speak in his defense.

The area remains calm and the house is boarded up.  People will walk their dogs by it. It is curious that the Embassy of Finland consulate residence on Woodland Drive (about 1500 feet away) has a similar architecture and an address a few blocks down that is a permutation of digits (3021 vs 3201).

Monday, October 19, 2015

OWN presents "Belief": "Love's Story" makes it very personal (Episode 2)


Tonight, I tried Episode 2 of Oprah Winfrey’s “Belief” on her OWN network, called “Love’s Story”. The link is here. There are detailed journals at the sublinks.



The episode presented four challenging situations.

Ian and Larissa Murphy, as evangelical Christians, are challenged when, before marriage, Ian is severely brain-injured in an automobile accident. He seems to be slowly recovering speech in the episode.  I understand the strict idea of reserving sexuality until after marriage.  But would I be willing to even start an intimate relationship with someone disabled?  This will sound crass, but the answer for me is no.

The second segment of the hour presents two Hassidic Jews in Brooklyn, NY, Yermi Udkoff and Rena Greenberg, who enter an almost arranged marriage which defines their entire new identity.
 
The third part presents Jordan Richter, who grew up in California as the only son of a couple with drug issues.  He was emotionally neglected but had become a competitive skateboarder.  At around age 20, he looked for something to give him love and meaning and found the practice of Islam.  The episode shows him joining the Hajj.   The grand mosque with the Kaaba at night, with the green colors, is spectacularly shown. It's not clear from the show whether he has his own family, or whether the kids he is playing role model for are another family's.
 
The last part shows two former enemies in northern Nigeria: Christian pastor James Wuye, who had lost a hand and had it re-attached after a battle, and Muhammad Ashafa, former enemies, preaching forgiveness to their constituencies.  This had come from a reverse persecution of Muslims by Christians rather than from Boko Haram.
 
My own experience of God is connected to my perception of how the Universe (or multi-verse) must work.  The law of karma is usually impersonal, but in rare times it gets very personal.  That could be true of the Hajj, or of being born again. Yet, I cannot simply surrender my own self-defined purpose.
   
Wikipedia attribution link for map of the Hajj, by Ascetic Rose, under Creative Commons 3.0 Share-Alike License.  Second picture is mine, Red Hook in Brooklyn at night. Feb. 2013.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

"A Case of Affluenza" on ABC 20-20: privileged teen gets oly


Friday night, Oct. 16, ABC 20-20 covered “A Case of Affluenza”, with re-watch link here. This is the case of Ethan Couch, sentenced to only ten years’ probation after driving “drunk” near his family home in theft. Worth, TX area (fact pattern ) and causing an accident killing four and involving 14 people.



At trial, a psychologist apparently started the “affluenza” defense by claiming that Couch’s privileged upbringing caused him to become unable to link consequences to bad choices.   In my own experience (working as a substitute teacher in the mid 2000’s, and then meeting people at suburban churches where income levels are high and a lot of parents have high-achieving teens in high school and college) this just seems totally silly.

The case has brought up the social justice issue of a “double standard” of justice for rich and poor, which might even seem sharper now in light of the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

HBO's Project Greenlight is back, with Matt and Ben, and a controversial winning director Jason Mann making his own movie "The Leisure Class"

   
After many years of hiatus, Project Greenlight is back, with a series on HBO.


On September 13, 2015, HBO aired a new pilot  (“Do You Want to Direct this Movie?”, 42 minutes) for the 2015 contest, where the team (led by bulked up Matt Damon and Ben Affleck) interview the top 20 candidates, in a VIP suite in a downtown Los Angeles hotel.  It seems like a Saturday morning.

The candidates had to submit three-minute short films.  This time around, there was no writing contest, only a directors’.  Will there be a screenplay contest in 2016?  I wonder.  If so, an announcement would probably happen about the time of the Oscars.  At least that's how it was in 2004.
 
The winner would get a $3 million budget to direct a “broad comedy” for HBO, called “Not a Pretty Woman”, which includes a black hooker and white pimp.  (Please, bring on “Hustle and Flow”.)
Some of the contestants were teams, and clips of many shorts were shown (like “Living with Jigsaw”). Jason Mann, tall and gaunt with a crewcut, gave a bizarre interview in which he seemed to waffle on wanting to do the project.  But Matt and Ben got intrigued, and probed him with questions that would have seemed more appropriate for my own film.  I felt like they were doing the interview for me!

Mann’s short film had been “Delicacy”. Don’t know if this was in DC Shorts or submitted to it.



The team felt that Mann was the best filmmaker, even if risky, because he would change the comedy into something darker, more eclectic, more political, and less commercial for a broad audience with investors concerned about ratings.  But they can’t resist, and name him the winner at the big event in LA.

In the elevator, Mann tells Matt and Ben that he wants to shoot on film, not video, and wants to fire the writer.

Picture: View from the bar of the Angelino Hotel on the 405, my visit to LA, 2012.

During the interviews, Damon and Affleck had mentioned that they realized diversity in casting matters (that’s going to be a problem for my own screenplay now, “Do Ask, Do Tell: Epiphany”).

 The also talked about screenwriting as a profession, the idea that movies need to hire professional writers even for very original stories from authors.  It seems like they set up these interviews for me.
Then, it seems that Mann talked HBO into doing his own script, “The Leisure Class” (based on another short film script by Mann) instead.

On Oct. 11, PG aired “Picture’s Up”.  In shooting the film, Mann runs into a Beverly Hills ordinance not to shoot after 9 PM.  The staff tries to get signatures from homeowners for an exception.  Mann is faced with rewriting a lot of the script to make the story work during the daytime.  The story concerns a man trying to marry into a wealthy family, and seems to be more like a satire (on class and privilege) than conventional comedy.


Friday, October 16, 2015

"Rebirth: New Orleans", by Learning Matters, traces the rebuilding of the school systems through charters after Hurricane Katrina


Rebirth: New Orleans” (2013) is a one-hour documentary directed by John Merrow for Learning Matters and PBS, tracing the painful renaissance for the public school systems in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

By the end of the year, the city and state decided to replace much of the old public school system with public charter schools.  Some of the schools are connected to KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program).

Quickly, the discipline codes at the schools (demerits for small infractions in dress or behavior) became controversial.  They tended to result in expulsions.  Slender, articulate young Sci School principal Ben Marcovitz defended the policies but then changed his mind.

One interesting rule in (KIPP)  charter schools was that every kid learned to play a musical instrument.

Another development in the charter schools was the Circle of Courage for underperforming students.
 
Charter schools tended to hire a lot of graduates from Teach for America, who were often white and middle class.  Some teachers had trouble connecting with students.  Danny Hoffman would start a class by asking the students what they knew, and that seemed to be the wrong approach.  Late in the film, Danny relates his being let go at the end of the first year (when the normal term was two years).

The remaining public schools were, however, often in even worse shape.  Charter schools had about 7% special needs kids, while regular schools averaged 15%.

The film (on Netflix) made me feel I was spending a fall Friday morning working as a substitute teacher myself.  I did have trouble with classroom management with low-performing classes, and with being expected to enforce rules that didn’t make sense.

One interesting observation was that teachers and principals greeted students as they got off the bus or entered the classroom.  We were supposed to do that as subs, at least in lower grades, and I was rather uncomfortable with that.  But it does send a message that everyone should have a chance.

The official site for the film is here.



I visited New Orleans myself in February 2006.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Major league playoff game in sports bar (between Rangers and Blue Jays) looks like kids in a backyard


I was sitting in a True Food restaurant with a vegan supper as the seventh inning of the American League ALDS  (from Toronto’s Rogers Center, artificial turf and all) played on a screen above the bar, on TBS.

It was a little hard to tell what had happened in the top of the seventh.  A routine throw back from the catcher to the pitcher had nicked the batters bat, rolling away and allowing a go-ahead run to score, putting Texas ahead of Toronto 3-2.  The umpires spent ten minutes checking the rules on this one.
Fans started throwing stuff onto the field, raising the specter of a possible forfeit.  And Toronto played the game under protest.

But in the bottom of the seventh, "the wheels came off" with three consecutive infield errors on routine plays by the Texas Rangers.



If that wasn’t bad enough, the next batter hit a pop fly which the Texas second baseman misjudged and allowed to fall into short right center field, allowing the tying run to score. But the craziness continued as the runner from first was forced at second, a rare play.

In Dallas, sportwriters provided a requiem for what had happened so far.

Moments later Jose Bautista crushed a monster home run (like one of Harper’s) and then put on a bat flipping spectacle, that even businessmen objected to, here. Toronto would win the 3-1/2 hour game 6-3 (the seventh inning lasted 53 minutes, and ended just in time for me to get to my movie at Angelika.)  Somehow, I’m reminded of the fact that it was in Toronto in 2012 that Nationals role model teen player Bryce Harper indeed chided reporters about a “clown question” as to whether he would take advantage of Canadian law and celebrate a homer by drinking when he wasn’t yet 21.

The whole sequence reminded me of our own “backyard baseball” back in the 1950s, particularly 1958.  We had large lawns, and would invent softball games for two man teams.  With kids 10-14, a 140 foot fly ball for a home run over a wire fence wasn’t unreasonable.  But with two people on a team, that meant that if a runner was at first, he had to score if a ball hit the ground or he could be forced out even at the plate (not just the next base).  My father had said that in Iowa, the kids had invented a form of “cross out”, where throwing a fielded ball in front of a runner going to first made him out.

We even had a “league”, of individuals playing softball games in big yards.  Generally, you could be forced at the plate, so most runs were scored by homers (or a few balls hit into distant “outfield” corners), but final scores tended to be reasonable, averaging about seven runs total a game.
Later the need for a “league” would be replaced by chess.  (Playing with the White pieces is like home-field advantage.)

I also saw the second-base collision in the Mets-Dodgers game Saturday night.  Since the runner was deemed safe, it’s hard for me to believe that the suspension could stand, late-slide argument or not.

Wikipedia attribution link for picture of Rogers Centre, by Marcus Obal, under Creative Commons Share-Alike 3.0 license.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Little disagreement among Democratic candidates on CNN


The CNN Democratic Debate or 2015, hosted by Anderson Cooper in Las Vegas, featured Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, former Va. Senator Jim Webb, and former Maryland Governor Martnin O’Malley. Noticeably absent is Joe Biden, who has not yet announced whether he will run.
  
CNN’s main coverage link is here.

There was a question about Bernie Sanders’s application for conscientious objector status during the Vietnam War.  Sanders said he objected to the policy that led to the war, not to the men serving in it.  Warner said that what mattered now is whether a candidate had complied with the draft law as it was at the time, an interesting reflection. It’s also interesting, that as I recall, Warner had supported lifting the ban on gays in the military in 1993 but later went along with “don’t ask don’t tell” as an incremental step (link).

Both Sanders and Clinton spoke out for mandating paid family leave, although they were a little sloppy on the issue of whether it really should be mandatory.  Clinton said that there was a way to pay for it (probably with a payroll tax like what Washington DC proposes;  DC would include adoption and eldercare as well). Clinton said that California (where Fiorna is) had made progress, but I think that progress comes from the fact that all the big tech companies offer paid parental leave voluntarily.

Sanders was very strong on climate change, saying we risked leaving our descendants an uninhabitable planet.

O'Malley got a hard time over the police and treatment of African Americans in Baltimore.

Sanders gave Hillary a break over the email issue.


Dave Edmondson (formerly with GLIL in the 90s) has a lot of comments from the debate on his Twitter feed under #Demdebate, here


The candidates really did not differ much on gun control m -- even as Hillary gave him a hard time about it. Sanders, however, said that a gun shop that sells a weapon legally and does the required checks should not be held liable for what a gun owner subsequently does. Apparently he had voted against one of the Brady bills and against a bill enhancing gun-shop downstream liability.
    
But Sanders made the strongest statement on income inequality, comparing us to European democracies.  Vox points out that Sanders says "Wall Street regulates Congress", story

Webb got into an argument with Anderson Cooper when he went over time in talking about China (as if he were Trump).


Monday, October 12, 2015

Will Horton, leading gay character on "Days of our Lives", is murdered out of the script

  
NBC’s soap “Days of our Lives” has eliminated gay character Will Horton (now Guy Wilson), whose marital partner Sonny Kiriakas (Freddie Smith) had “left” him for Europe over Will’s childishly (and out of character) jealous behavior over baseball player Paul.
  
I actually missed the episode Friday, when I went to see the Malala movie in the middle of the day, and I had no idea this was coming.
  
NBC’s video link is here and the strangulation happens about 16 minutes before the end.  The commercial breaks are long and annoying (especially the Botox).

Will confronts Ben (Robert Scott Wilson) in the latter’s apartment.  Fearing Will has discovered that Ben is really the necktie killer, Ben doesn’t let him leave.

In recent episodes, J.J. Deveraux (Casey Moss) has turned around his life, gone undercover for the police, and become one of the show’s most likeable young adult characters.  And, about six months ago, suddenly he discovered chest hair. Now he’s old enough.

The Will and Sonny marriage had, in the effort to become politically correct for viewers, gotten a bit silly.


There is a video where actor Blake Berris (who played Nick, who also came to a horrible end) discusses Guy Wilson’s taking over the role of Will from Chandler Massey
  
Picture: Lemonade and food stands at Charlottesville VA gay pride, 2015.  Donald Trump would approve.


Update: Oct. 23

Ben told his dad Clyde Weston, in jail, "Killed them all, of course" -- words to that effect, just like Robert Durst on "The Jinx" (March 18, 2015). Yet Ben still carries on his act and gets $100000 private reward money for sacking Chad.

Now, JJ, who helped bust Clyde, wants to become a Salem police officer. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

ABC 20-20: Murder in Tennessee mountains, and Facebook "catfishing" in episode called "#Unfriended"

 
Facebook doesn’t seem to be able to enforce its “real ID” policy all the time, as catfishing happens.

ABC 20-20 on Friday told the bizarre story of a Facebook feud gone wrong in an episode called “#Unfriended”.

The subject was Jenelle Potter, who had Type 1 diabetes and lived at home in Mountain City, TN.
  
The ABC complete story on the episode is here

When Jenelle finally found a boyfriend, the Facebook battle erupted, and eventually the rivals were found murdered in 2010.


The bizarre story that follows includes “Catfishing” where it seems Jenelle concocted a fictitious CIA agent named “Chris.” The scheme fooled her mother Barbara.

Evetually, Jenelle and Barbara were convicted for their part in planning the murder, based on circumstantial evidence (which reminds one now of the Charles Severance case in Virginia).

Friday, October 09, 2015

"Heroes Reborn": Kring is back, but his concept strains credibility


NBC has provided a sequel to its popular “Heroes” series of a few years back with “Heroes Reborn”, which premiered on September 24, 2015.  Again, the main creator is Tim Kring.

The series focuses on the aftermath of a terrorist attack on Odessa, TX during a symposium sponsored by a company connected with the “Heroes” or “EVOS”, or random ordinary people with “powers”. Many in the general public blame the EVOS (without much foundation).  The attack seems to have been a nuclear detonation.

The attack is supposed to have destroyed the entire city.  The opening of the Pilot (“Brave New World”) shows demonstrators with Westboro-like posts saying “God hates EVOS”, as if homosexuality could be equated with arcane powers, although the people with powers in the series are straight (so far).

Episode 2, part of the same 2-hour premier, is called “Odessa”, followed by “Under the Mask” and (Oct. 8), “The Needs of the Many” (an almost Marxist idea).  In that episode, some “heroes” have been captured and placed in high-tech harnesses to harvest their abilities.

Odessa is about 20-miles west of Midland, part of the “Petroplex” in West Texas, about 340 miles or so from Dallas on I-20.  The cities are much smaller than Dallas and Ft. Worth.  I last visited the area in November 2011.

As in the original, the people with “abilities” are quite randomly distributed (maybe that would please Ayn Rand).  One of the nicest is a teen, Tommy (Robbie Kay), who shows how to make a flower disappear as if by magic.  (Objects go to whatever destination Tommy is pondering when he touches it, the ultimate telekinetic power.) Tommy has to fend off the high school bullies, who see “powers” as a way of escaping or cheating on the real challenges of manhood (as if it were like homosexuality).  But that poses another question: a teen who uses his powers smartly ought to be able to make himself popular with the right crowd in the real world.  There is an obvious comparison to “Smallville” and teenage Clark Kent (who could catch his own forward pass).  And there is also an analogy to super-smart or geeky teens (ranging from Mark Zuckerberg, who started Facebook at 19 and who some people believe is an alien, to medical innovator Jack Andraka, now a freshman at Stanford).


NBC’s official site is here.

Update: Nov. 5

"June 13th Part 2" has a prologue where Hiro is forced to become an instant parent to keep two hero children separated. one grows up to be the teen Tommy.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Networks have less charismatic teams for MLB playoffs; what happened to home-field advantage?

   
Baseball has provided the sports bar and home entertainment Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

Visiting teams won both MLB wild card games with road shutouts. What happened to home-field advantage?

On Tuesday night, ESPN televised Houston at New York Yankees, where Dallas Keuchel stymied the Yankees, making them look helpless without getting the ball over 90 mph.  There was constant “weak contact” as well as swinging at bad balls.  The Astros had a 51-111 record as recently as 2013.


On Wednesday, on TBS, Jake Arietta mastered the Pittsburgh Pirates with a complete game shutout, for the Chicago Cubs (bringing us back to 2003).  I thought, the theme of the last movement of the Beethoven Op. 111 is an “arietta”.  But Jake looked absolutely unhittable.  Max Scherzer had no-noed the hard-hitting Pirates this year (and later the Mets).

There is a lot written about teams that didn’t make it – the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Orioles, and especially the Washington Nationals, who were plagued by distracting management controversies all year, questionable handling of the July 31 trades, and less than prime injury management.
  
Fox and ESPN, in the meantime, have less than the most charismatic teams to draw ratings in the playoffs.  But some will take exception to that statement, as the Mets are now the pride of people who live in Queens and Brooklyn.  Solid pitching and well-performing players account for their great year. Tyler Clippard, from the Nats, will be their boon. 

Pictures:  Yankess in 2014, Mets in 2012, my own visits. 

Monday, October 05, 2015

Anderson Cooper hosts documentary "#Being13: Inside the Secret World of Teens"


Tonight, Anderson Cooper hosted “#Being13: Inside the Secret World of Teens” on CNN, one hour, link
  
The documentary covered the way young teens use social media, especially Facebook. Data was collected from a carefully monitored sample. There is a paradox in the way teens use social media for “social combat”, compared to my use.  They accept the idea that you have to succeed in the real world of social hierarchy, but they believe it is reflected online (and idea right out of the movie “The Social Network”).  My use of social media is for broadcast (without a gatekeeper) and assumes I won’t compete socially in a conventional manner.  “Older” people may sometimes use social media the way I do.  So "online reputation" contains a lot of paradox for teens. 
   
One of the most surprising items was that not being tagged in a photo is seen as a personal affront by some teens.


Adults, however, might not want to be identified in photos as associated with certain others.
  
Generally, the more accomplished a teen is in the “real” world (of sports, music, drama, academics, scouting, church, almost anything that provides expression and recognition by others), the less superficial the attitude toward social media is.  But it is hard to be accomplished at 13 (except maybe in music), when teens are physiologically just turning into adults, with their brains still needing another decade to develop.

Friday, October 02, 2015

ABC 20-20: "Secrets of the Sale", especially for Mary Kay cosmetics and multi-level marketing


ABC 20-20 tonight offered a one-hour “Secrets of the Sale”, about sales culture and salesmanship in business.
  
Shark Tank investor Kevin O’Leary gives his five secrets here  no surprises.
  
Much of the episode focused on one multi-level marketing company, Mary Kay Cosmetics in Dallas – known for the pink cadillacs.  Sales people (usually women) can make big money if they can recruit enough distributors underneath them.  Like any pyramid, the lower levels may wind up with a lot of product in the basement. Multi-level marketing has a bad rap, like here

I can remember listening to a pitch for Amway in a New Jersey home back in 1970.
   
I can say that I personally am not cut out “psychologically” for this kind of endeavor, as I don’t like to recruit people or pimp other people’s products.  I like “objectivity”. The 2002 comedy movie "100 Mile Rule" made fun of this world.
  
  

But people often find this sort of opportunity can have enormous practical significance, if they have heavy family responsibilities and need to increase income, since salaries in conventional jobs have not grown well with the economy.