Friday, November 11, 2005

Birthdays & Jellicle Cats


As of 5:07 on the 12th, I wil be another year older. I'm not sure how I feel about that. Life just seems to be speeding by - it has for the last few years, and I'd heard that wasn't supposed to happen until I get "old". Einstein had some theory about the faster something moves - the slower it grows. So, perhaps if I speed around, I won't age as fast? :) Many of my friends tell me that I am a charmed one, yet all of the good luck & success in the world doesn't make anyone live forever.

Blah blah blah...

Anyone out there seen the musical Cats? My fiance & I just watched the video. It was his first time (I have seen it live a few times) and we both enjoyed it. Lots of folks criticise it for not having a plot, but it's silly to say that of course. The plot is simple, but it's there - obviously so. The topic? Life & death - who get's to ascend to the Cats version of Heaven & be reborn, etc. It may be a bit out-there, but it's a coping mechanism for that mortality anxiety. I might not buy it myself - but the dancing is awesome.

Be happy

Sunday, October 30, 2005

New Digs

Hi everyone - well, the dwindling few who still come to check out my blog. I've been away from blogging for a while because I got engaged (yay!), and then moved (stressful, but still yay!). And, of course, I've been busy working at tpt (hectic & yay).

So, what's everyone been reading lately? I've been charging through Jane Austen. She's pretty hilarious, and it's funny how - although the language is different - people still talk about the same things, money worries, relationships & shopping.

Anyone see Serenity? If not, it's good - so go see it!!! Now, I just can't wait for Derailed, and the new Harry Potter.

More later...

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Need for PBS

Here's a great article about why we need PBS. read on, if you have the time...

Sacramento Bee

While we wait for the fights in Congress over funding public television to move to the Senate later this summer, let's step back and look at the broader picture.
Last week, the House restored $100 million proposed to be cut from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting budget, which helps fund public TV and radio, and the usual vague and self-serving chatter dominated the news.

But we're going in the other direction. We're going to ask the basic questions: Should public television exist? And, if so, what should it be?

The first part is easy. Of course. Here's why:

Television is unique among all entertainment media, among all media, in our society. It is show business, and it's a public service (in theory, anyway, when it does news), and it's a commercial entity. All at once. Meanwhile, its commercial nature is different from everything else.
Movies, for instance, make money by getting us to watch them. CDs by getting us to buy them. Theater, books, even the high arts, make money _ if they do at all _ by drawing the public in.
Television makes money by selling our attention to advertisers. It needs first to attract us, then to have us in the right mood to be persuaded by commercials.
Radio is in the same ballpark, but with the exception of talk radio, it's just a middleman. Radio takes music someone else makes, packages it with chat and weather, and serves it up alongside ads.

Television businesses _ the networks, the studios, the cable channels _ make their own shows designed to attract the viewers they package and sell to advertisers.
Ignoring for the moment the increasingly complicated nature of the relationship between commercials and viewers (thank you, TiVo and video on demand), the point is that commercial TV shows, by their DNA, are designed to play either blandly in the middle (think network sitcoms) or to niches of people with strong feelings (on subjects ranging from science fiction to golf to politics).

In other words, if you don't offend viewers, advertisers can sell products on your shows. Or if you get viewers shouting anything from "Go Tiger" to "Right on," advertisers can sell them things that match up with their beliefs and affections.

So here's the problem. Commercial TV shows are designed with that in mind. Networks and studios have it ingrained in them to make shows that make advertisers happy, not shows that are challenging or, simply, great entertainment. Sometimes it happens anyway, but rarely. Instead, commercial TV stays in the middle or on the edges and away from the complicated, unpleasant or unpopular.

That's how PBS is different, and special. PBS does real science and detailed nature shows. It does Shakespeare and smart, non-violent mysteries, serious documentaries and children's shows unconnected to action figures or brightly colored cereal.

Some people argue that with cable, there's news everywhere and plenty of documentary channels. First off, have they seen cable news? If it isn't political hacks screaming, it's Scott Peterson and Michael Jackson and whatever will be the crime of this summer that gets legal hacks screaming.

Why? Because they are commercial news channels, they need to attract viewers so they can sell their attention to advertisers, too.

As for those documentary channels on cable, they, too, are more commercial than science. They're owned by the same companies that own CBS and ABC, and they have the same pressure to keep their financial picture growing, which means drawing more and more viewers.
So they turn to fluff and reality and pseudo-documentaries following bounty hunters or detectives or celebrities. The Learning Channel _ it was going to teach us _ changed its name to TLC to do what it now calls "Life. Unscripted." Which means wedding videos and makeovers. A&E used to stand for "Arts and Entertainment." Now they say it means "The Art of Entertainment" so they can run docudramas and schlock like "Dog the Bounty Hunter." Even Bravo, which still has its moments, is also doing "Battle of the Reality Show Stars."
That goes for the kids' channels too. Networks like Nickelodeon _ which, to be fair, run bighearted shows like "SpongeBob SquarePants" and "Dora the Explorer" _ are still driven by commercial needs. Those shows are designed to sell children food and toys, and would not stay on the air if they didn't do that well.

The only thing left, the place not doing cheesy, mean-spirited, finger-pointing reality, celebrity junk and headline-of-the-week movies is the network responding solely to the public. PBS.
That doesn't mean it's responding to every member of the public with every show, but the goal is to give America series, movies, documentaries, science and art it can't get anywhere else. Yes, we need it.

That brings up the second question: What should it be? No doubt every person has a different answer because everyone wants the shows they like and the subjects that matter to them. Me, too. So here's what I want.

I want it smart. Don't dumb down the science and round off the challenging ideas. Tell me about the string theory in physics, about the origins of matter, about the exploration of Mars. Show me the animals and minerals and vegetables that make up this planet, take me to places I can't go, tell me what is happening to this Earth that is our only home.

Take long, thorough looks at history. Tell me about our wars, our music, our games. And show us some high art. Tell me about paintings and dance and theater. Not necessarily every day, and, honestly, I'm not sure how much dance I need, but enough, so I'll understand it a little. I want to think about art because I want to understand the human soul. I want to think about being alive.

And here's what I want even more. I want it to challenge power. This is an elected democracy, and the people in office have an obligation to tell the rest of us what they're doing in our name. Left wing, right wing, bat wing, I don't care. Congress and the courts and the president should be challenged.

I'm not saying trash them, but ask questions. They should have answers. If they don't, then we know we have good questions.

And I want it to challenge powerful companies and utilities and individuals. If you buy the notion we should all live moral lives, that we should love our neighbors as ourselves, then we can ask private industry and influential people to do that, too. Besides, they can take care of themselves.
And you know what all of that sounds like? It sounds like "Nova" and "Nature" and "Scientific American." It sounds like Ken Burns on "Baseball," "Jazz" and "The Civil War." It's a lot like "Frontline" and "California Connected," "American Masters" and "Independent Lens." It's "Mystery!" "Masterpiece Theatre," "The American Experience," "Sesame Street" and "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer."

Public television is a civic trust. It's the last outpost in the calamitous media world not directly serving someone's quest for money or power or ego. It is far from perfect, but it's still a unique, profoundly valuable enterprise and we are all better off because it's there.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Way to Work Together, Kids...

Finally, some good news in the recent battle for public television $$$.

"Thursday, June 23
The House of Representatives has voted to restore $100 million in federal funding for public broadcasting. 86 Republicans joined 196 Democrats and 1 Independent in supporting an amendment put forward by Representatives David Obey, Nita Lowey and Jim Leach to restore the FY 2006 CPB funding level to $400 million. "

It's nice to see that a very worthy cause can make people overcome their own party for the common good. Now, if they could put people first in some other areas...

Well, maybe this is a sign that there's reason to hope.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

21st Century Suburban Clones

So, one day my silly-musician boyfriend was playing a new tune on his guitar. Since he didn't have any words for it yet, he sang: "meowy-meow & woofy-woof" to it. That in itself is probably interesting enough to be it's own blog posting, but this is my blog, so of course I want to go on to write about me :)

As I was saying, he was having trouble coming up with words. So, I gave him the usual trite advice about writing about something that is important to him. The important things to Noel are usually social issues of some sort - usually liberal. (So no - no songs about me yet...)

ANYWAY, I spent 15 minutes on it and came up with these. Since we all know art is not created in 15 minutes, I know he won't use them - so..ta-da... they get to appear on my blog.

How's that for a long intro?

An acre on a cul de sac
Building debts you can't pay back
Where envy is everything
Individuality gets ignored

Cookie-cutter houses & cadillacs
2.5 kids, a dog, no real yard in back
Where commercials teach us happiness
Desire is dictated

Who cares who gets it first
Everyone gets it eventually
And it will get you nowhere
And nothing important

The "American Dream" leaves me comatose
My personal dreams - nobody knows
Where success equals sameness
No one strives to rise any higher.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

My Mixed Hogwarts House...

I always new Ravenclaw would be a good fit, I guess I wasn't aware I also had a soft, puffy side (other than my back-side) heehee
You're a Ravenpuff!: You are a very analytical and
ingenius person, someone that likes to invent
new things. The way you look at life is with
wonder, and sometimes you're even a little
naive. But people love you for that trait and
they feel the need to protect you from the
harsh facts of life so that you can retain your
innocence. You are very capable person and when
there is trouble people turn to you because
you're able to stay calm and collected. You
like balance in your life and you try not to
make many waves. Even still, if there is
something that you believe strongly in, you
will commit yourself totally to that cause.
Your weakness is that sometimes you can be
indecisive and perfectionist, especially about
little details and you drive people crazy
sometimes with these traits. With the
innocence of a Hufflepuff and the calm of a
Ravenclaw you will be loved in life!

Which Mix of the Hogwarts Houses are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Diversity is Priceless

If there is one thing that I am learning while working in the media field, it's that tolerance and diversity cannot be valued enough. Recently, PBS came under fire for one of the episodes in their series "Postcards from Buster" - an animated series that spun-off of the popular show Arthur. This series shows a rabbit named Buster traveling to different places, meeting people of different racial, religious & cultural backgrounds. The episode in question, involves Buster visiting a Vermont family that happens to have two same-sex parents. While many PBS stations have decided to not air this episode, Twin Cities Public Television will show it.

They are being very responsible by showing it in the evening first. This way, parents & care-givers can watch the episode first and decide if they want their child to see it at its regularly scheduled time. Here is a link to their statement:

I applaud their decision to show yet another example of the diversity to be found in America, and I am thankful that there are some organizations who won't be bullied by some loud voices because they recognize that those voices don't speak for all of us. Personally, when I have children, I would want them to be aware of all possible family types. Besides, there is no statistical difference between children of gay parents becoming gay verses a child of hetero parents becoming gay. If a family has love and support it has everything it needs.
It has been found that about 90% of sons of gay fathers are heterosexual (Bailey 124). It was also found that 90% of daughters of lesbian women are also heterosexual (Golombok 4). According to a poll taken by Northwestern University almost 95% of people expect children of homosexual parents to be homosexual themselves (Bailey 125).

Bailey, J. Michael. Sexual Orientation of Adult Sons of Gay Fathers. Developmental Psychology. 1995, Vol. 31 No. 1, 124-129

Golombok, Susan. Do Parents Influence the Sexual Orientation of Their Children? Findings From a Longitudinal Study of Lesbian Families. Developmental Psychology. 1996, Vol. 32, No. 1, 3-11