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Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I am feeling puckish. 

Considering that Thanksgiving is tomorrow, I should be focusing on the positive aspects of life, certainly not those things that make me feel puckish. 

I would feel less puckish if there were some major aspects that we could all be thankful for tomorrow -- other than of course the things that we take for granted, such as our lives, our health and our families and friends. 

I would feel less puckish if there were more people working. 

I would feel less puckish if there were fewer families worried about losing their homes. 

I would feel less puckish if there were fewer soldiers fighting anywhere, for any reason.

I would feel less puckish if people could get on an airplane without strangers patting their privates.

I would feel less puckish if people paid more attention to what's happening around them than the lives of lame reality show stars or a televised dancing competition.

I would feel less puckish if people stopped freaking out because someone speaks a different language or wears something around their head because of a personal belief system. 

I would feel less puckish if maybe tomorrow everyone got into the spirit of that original Thanksgiving and what the occasion really signified -- instead of the football and tryptophan laced extravaganza into which it has morphed. 

Thank you. 

Amen, and pass the mustard.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


William is marrying Kate. 

In a curious case of deja vu, those who obsess about those kinds of things got an eyeful of photos, videos and news items posted all over the globe. 

The hype today following the engagement of Prince William to Kate Middleton was nearly overwhelming, given that this "news" really should come as no surprise to anyone.

This duo has been dating for nearly a decade, which considering their age bracket is a pretty long time in this day and age. But then given the roller coaster ride that William's parents -- Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer for anyone who has been in a cave for the last twenty years -- it's no surprise that the Brits chose to bide their time before formally breaking the non-news.

I mean let's face it -- Charles and Di's wedding was a spectacle that set the stage for what was supposed to be a fairy tale happily ever after -- and we all know how that went.
The whole family can't afford another public relations nightmare like that one again, especially since the entire "royalty" scene is one of the most oxymoronic expenses imaginable at a time in history when a whole boatload of people are doing without.

William will one day be the King of England, and maybe Kate might get to be his Queen, both titles that serve absolutely no practical function whatsoever except for the expenditure of money and whatever "news" their doings may generate. 

Haven't we got better things to do?

Amen, and pass the mustard.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I spent a few years of my life in the news business, and no lie -- journalism, good journalism, is something I value dearly. So imagine my dismay when I overheard some guy a couple of minutes ago blabbing about how he spent a bunch of years in broadcasting because he was a frustrated actor and "didn't give a shit" (his words not mine) about the news.

Stabbed me to the quick, I wanted to put out his lights. Dude, people have died in the pursuit of news. 

I know some who would probably join me in my imaginary lynch mob. That guy is exactly  the reason why many have left the industry. It's less about substance and much more about style, and not in a good way.

Journalism at its core demands an incredible amount of work, self-discipline and an ability to keep one's emotions out of the story in order to present the facts straight. That's hard to do as anyone knows, and there are a large number of yodels out there who don't check facts, hardly do any research and on many occasions just basically rework a story and then use the caveat, "according to reports." 

The internet has given rise to a host of "news" websites in which sometimes rank amateurs put up whatever they deem fit, and readers take a great deal of it as gospel. 

These ersatz "journalists" are in part celebrity hounds who like that their name is in print or that videos of themselves playing the part are on the internet for anyone to see. One site touts itself at the forefront of journalism and frankly much of what I see published there are reworked stories from other sources or verbatim press releases.

Being good at something means a lot less than being recognized these days: witness TV shows starring the Kardashians, the Gosselins and the Jersey Shore nitwits. All are recognizable household names, all are people who have done absolutely nothing of value other than just showing up on a lame TV show.  

Indeed, if you ask people who Daniel Pearl is, they will most likely give you a blank stare. It gives me pause. He earned his stripes.  The last photos of him are grisly reminders of how much those stripes cost him. 

Which is why I'm sending kudos to anyone who still considers himself or herself a journalist in the truest sense of the word, still duking it out in the trenches, not wasting time posing for group shots at cocktail parties. 

This is a pat on the back to some of my former colleagues who still carry the standard. 

You know who you are.  And that's the way it is. 

Amen, and pass the mustard.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


They are over, finally, though at some points I thought the elections would go on forever. This year more than some of the races were hotly contested on many levels, locally and nationally.

Watching the results last night, I found myself on pins and needles, particularly in my home state of Rhode Island. I would walk to the kitchen for a glass of water and the results would have changed -- with candidates flip flopping in status as the votes were counted. 

I noted curiously how much that flip flopping on the TV screen resembled some of the campaigns -- statements made, statements reworked, statements sometimes retracted. It was like watching a ping pong match -- a small little ball zooming by so fast that it was a blur some of the time.

I've covered such things in the past, though this time I was at home, watching the goings on in the background as the various talking heads spewed this and that, killing time waiting for the candidate to arrive. I saw a boatload of people I know, some notorious for showing up at these things year after year, backing their candidate du jour, a handful of them hoping for a handout.

Some things never change.

That said, I do hope for one change this time around -- that those same party goers who were dancing around and yelling the name of their candidate with arms upraised will take it one step further and continue their involvement. 

NOW is the time to give the candidate/winner your full support -- when the job actually begins. This is the tough part, in which the rush of a campaign is gone in the day to day drudge of getting the work done. It is not glamorous, it is not sexy, and it IS backbreaking most of the time.

But it needs to happen. As Captain Picard always told his Star Trek crew, "Make it so."

Amen, and pass the mustard.