Monday, January 30, 2006

So many topics, so little time

It is a creed of writers that the frequent challenge in putting pen to paper (or in my case, fingers to keyboard) is not a matter of what to write, but what not to write. Novelists, of course, can avoid this conundrum by making their tomes 500-600 pages but the journalist, short-story author, and blogger do not have this luxury.

Do I reflect on this piece about rethinking and reframing your occupation?

What about weighing in on what is happening in the Middle East, particularly with Hamas winning elections? No, I'll skip that one. There's about 300 other bloggers who will offer better analysis than I could.

For today I'll choose topic "C," a discussion I had with Geoana this morning before I took her to preschool. She watched an episode of "Rugrats" that dealt with the wonderful experience of receiving injections at the doctor's office. She wanted me to explain why shots were necessary and what they were all about. In my wise fatherly way I attempted to define the concept of diseases and how medications that are available to us in the present day keep her and I from contracting these illnesses. She must have been satisfied with my explanation as she then focused her attention on preparing to leave for school. I took just a moment and realized my little pride and joy is growing not only in the visible physical way but also in her mind and intellect are now in full gear.

I'll talk to Geogal about this, but I think it's time we start teaching the little one about the value of money and having her earn some.

Yes I am a proud father. And Geoana is actually pretty good about getting shots.

Friday, January 27, 2006

A former broadcast journalist weighs in

One of Hugh Hewitt's posts today delves further into the journalism trade. Although I have not worked in that field since 1993 I could not agree more with the increasing evidence that many news people, whether print or broadcast, simply do not do their homework.

And yes, I hold a BA in journalism from New Mexico State University. As one might expect I knew many other people in the program. Part of my educational experience involved actual news work for both the university-affiliated radio and TV station. I could spend several hours at this keyboard relating stories involving my peers and their lack of knowledge of a certain issue, mispronounced names, inability to ask the right follow-up questions, and utter laziness in the pursuit of news-gathering. No doubt some of these students were starstruck and more interested in appearing in front of the camera rather than paying the reporting dues. Certainly I made my share of mistakes but always attempted to use the errors as a learning experience rather than blaming others.

Add to this the decreased amount of time students are taught how to pursue a story to its full extent. After my graduation and spending some time working as a professional in the news business I was invited to be a guest speaker for a radio news class. Several of the students in that class also had involvment in print media and I asked them outright how much time the news-editorial (i.e. print) journalism classes devoted to actual news gathering. The answer surprised me: none. Those students said the classes were devoted almost wholly to writing, writing, and more writing. Picture these students being hired for a small to medium-sized newspaper and not knowing how to do the basic work expected of a serious journalist. Now you have what we are seeing today. Sloppy and superficial work.

How did he know the future?

I'm much better, thanks.

My mood swings like that at times. Which means I am just like the other 5 billion or so people on this planet.

All week long I have been reading the comic strip "Fox Trot" with the above question in my mind. Given the hoopla over James Frey's book for about the last two weeks, Jason Fox penning his "memoirs" smacks of absolute perfect timing. If I recall correctly, daily comic strips have a deadline of about 3-4 weeks before publication. (Any of my readers may correct me if I am wrong about this.)

Maybe I should ask Bill Amend about some stock tips.....

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Thursday blahs

Don't know why, just have the down feelings. You know the kind. Nothing seems enjoyable. Nothing to look forward to in the foreseeable future.

That sums up how my day felt today. I do have to say I am feeling a little better tonight. Pulled out a DVD of one of my favorite movies and watched it with Geoana.

In this internet age, it's nice to know that I am not a total loser for enjoying "The Parent Trap." (The original, not that piece of trash remake with a young Lindsay Lohan.) It appears there are plenty of people out there that also like the movie. I just recall that in elementary school, to admit that you liked "The Parent Trap" was a scarlet letter of total loserhood. Granted, there are a couple of scenes in the movie that are a bit corny, but overall it still works for me.

So, take a favorite movie, view it with your child, and let some time pass. Seems like a good depression remedy for me.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

This magazine is reporting on NBC???

Took Geoana to her weekly science class this morning. While she is learning about the earth around us, I go next door to the public library and peruse periodicals. Picked up the current issue of Newsweek and read several stories. But this one really gave me pause. Not only is the magazine part of the GE-NBC conglomerate, but the bulk of the article appeared to take on an optimistic, glass-is-half-full view of NBC's fortunes. One inaccuracy: there already are two cable financial news networks. Bloomberg Television is the other.

MSM's quality continues to head downhill.......

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Satellite radio, part 4

In the realm of politics there is a term known as “flyover states.” For the uninformed, this moniker is used to refer to any area of the United States that is not New York or California. And so it goes with broadcasting. Listeners in the metro areas of the East or West Coasts enjoy crowded FM dials with a particular variety of format options. Yet it is not so for those who reside in smaller urban areas, not to mention listeners in the rural sections of the U.S. This is certainly not a new problem for small-town dwellers wanting more aural diversity. Some years ago on a radio-related bulletin board a person who was raised in the town of Show Low, Arizona wrote how he and his friends would eagerly await sundown, when they could tune into the high-powered rock stations from Los Angeles and elsewhere. (Bear in mind this was in the 1970's, when AM radio was still dominant and Top 40 music was a common fixture on many of these “blowtorch” stations.) And why should people be confined to just a few formats when musical styles and tastes are becoming more numerous than ever?

I write with some experience regarding the rural area and having few listening options. Many years back I had a job which required some travel time. Often I would put up with weak, static-laden signals just to listen to a particular program or a certain type of music. Not to mention listening to a station simply because it was the only one to be received while on the interstate highways of Arizona or New Mexico. I also am a person who enjoys the random nature of radio, rather than one who is inclined to listen to an I-Pod or CDs while in transit. Some of my fondest memories of certain songs stem from having heard the tune while viewing the landscape through my windshield or enjoying the anticipation of arriving at a certain destination. My Sirius system will not take away that experience, rather it should enhance it.

When satellite radio was introduced to the market in 2001 I remember thinking, “Man, every truck driver will want one of those.” I haven’t seen any research showing the buying trends of Sirius or XM units, but I can’t help but wonder how many truckers now enjoy the benefits of satellite radio. And it is no accident that both providers have a channel specifically targeted to over-the-road truckers. And big-rig operators are by no means the only folks who spend much of their salary-earning hours behind the wheel. Traveling salespeople, delivery drivers, and members of several other professions log great mileage each year. All of these are potential customers for satellite radio. All of them different people with different musical and talk appetites. All will find something on the satellite radio dial to help pass the time. And don’t think the research nerds working for XM and Sirius don’t know that.

In part 5, how satellite will increase its market share and how terrestrial radio will adapt.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Yep, I'm still here

With the holiday activity and coming down with what I thought was a cold but now think it's a sinus infection, I've been away from the blog for some time. Just as well, I didn't have much to say and the fogginess of my mind would have had my written word appear somewhat foolish.

Best laugh in several days came yesterday, when I told Geogal all about the NFL head coach firings. She replied: "Was it the day to fire head coaches named Mike?"