Friday, April 20, 2007

Take a Cell from W. D. Griffith When Parenting

There isn’t one all-encompassing answer when situations like the recent shooting at Virginia Tech happen. However, prophylactic protection for such random acts of violence begins at home, and it’s the duty of all parents to participate.

The causes of such situations are rooted in many different aspects of life. Mental health is one of them. Mental health is certainly real and an issue in both children and adults. But there are many other factors at work; proper parenting from day one is the most important.

If a child doesn’t feel loved by his parents, it has a dramatic affect on the child. He/she will never have the ability to love. Subsequently, such people will mimic those relationship aspects with their children.

Parenting is also involved in teaching respect for everyone and the opinions of others regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or body type. Children tease other children, but it can certainly be minimized by teaching what is and what is not proper respect for others.

Active participation in a child’s life by both mother and father is essential. Every child must learn specific roles or traits from a man and a woman. If the child doesn’t receive any one of these numerous characteristics, an instinct jones will cause them to seek until they find. A prime example is that one girl that you knew; you know the one about which I’m speaking. She’s the one who lacked a strong male influence in her life, and probably the one with whom you know a lot better than the other girls in your class.

Children’s thoughts and feelings need to be respected and validated. Telling a child that he/she is wrong without an explanation doesn’t work. Essentially, it’s nothing more than rejection. Positive reinforcement works indefinitely. Negative reinforcement creates a cycle passed on through generations of intolerance.

Proper parenting also involves teaching children how to deal with their problems, no matter the size or circumstance. If you come from a family that sweeps problems and issues under the carpet, your children will again mimic this attribute in their lives unless the cycle is broken. Hear no evil, see no evil, ignore, repeat is not a healthy way to live life and not a healthy thing to teach children.

Respect for diversity is a hot topic right now, and for good reason. It is the golden rule, it’s the second part of the Great Commandment (Mark 12: 29-34), and it’s the proper way to live your life and teach your children how to live their lives.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not throwing stones. I have no right because I’ve made mistakes. I can assure you that I will make more. However, recognition of those mistakes, learning from them and breaking the cycle of intolerance must be the cornerstone for building the next great generation.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Idiots Have Their Places In The Newsroom

A career telling the story of others’, as you might expect, brings you in contact with thousands of people over the years. As such, it doesn’t take long to figure out the world is teaming with idiots.

Becoming jaded is, in part, a resultant defense mechanism of the profession. You simply have to become hardened to horrible things that happen to good people as well as seeing good people do horrible things. Having a front-row seat to the world in which you live isn’t always as good as it sounds. Tragedy happens. I’ve seen it; women get raped, children die horribly by accident and purposefully at the hands of another, and psychos walk into offices and start shooting. I ain’t talkin’ bout no puppy-kitty love-in fest feature story.

The idiots are the part of the profession that keeps us all grounded. They are the ones who distract us after weeks of telling the detailed story of a woman who straps her children in the car and drowns them. They are the ones who give us stories to tell while having a tall frosty, and they also help us dissipate any journalist-on-journalist flap that happens daily (“Just jazz it up a bit with some nats.”)

There are several variations of idiot, and we love'em all simply because they make us laugh.

THE DAILY IDIOT: This is the most common. He’s the one who calls the newsroom on a daily basis to either talk or complain about something. Most of the time this person is lonely and wants to talk to someone.

One South-Carolina hot August day my buddy receives this call.

“Yeah, uh….is this the newsroom?”

“Yes sir, how can I help you?” (side note: it’s 5:30 p.m.)

“I see you guys doing stories on how to keep cool. Well, I just got out of the shower and had a towel wrapped around me but didn’t have anything else on. I walked past my fan, and that blew right up my towel. Boy, that sure is keeping me cool. Just wanted to let you guys know.”

“Thank you, sir. I’ll pass that along.”


THE STUPID IDIOT: This person simply doesn’t think before speaking.

“Hey, what newspaper is this going to be in,” he asks the photojournalist who is shouldering a 35-pound Betacam, schlepping a 15-pound metal tripod, and wearing the photog equivalent of Batman’s Bat Belt.

For those not in-the-know, a huge Betacam with mentioned accessories looks nothing like a standard 35mm still camera.


“Channel 4”
“Yeah,….uh, is this Channel 4?”

“Yes sir, how can I help you?”

“Hey, does my kid have school today,” the caller asks the wet journalist who picked up the newsroom phone after coming in from his 5 a.m. snow-coverage liveshots.

Silently the journalist waits for more information. Silence…..silence……silence……nothing except the caller saying, “Uh, hello.”

“I’m not sure,” says the journalist.

“My kid’s school said that channel Foe would tell us if we had school or not.”

“What is my name,” asks the journalist.

“How should I know your name,” says the increasingly frustrated caller.

“How should I know if your kid has school if you don’t tell me which school he attends.”

Again back to those not in the business. This happens 1000 time every single time we have a threat of snow.

For Part II of the Idiots Have Their Place In The Newsroom series, we’ll explore several more types of idiots who help keep the newsroom running smoothly.

On a completely different note, I’ve noticed through my blog tracking stats (which tracks IP addresses, by the way) that someone is googling my last name and “Greenville Hospital System” in an attempt to find my blog? STOP IT!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Study: U.S. Population Finds Insensitive and Thoughtless Slurs Thoughtless and Insensitive

Yes, I too am jumping on the blogarazzi free-speech wheel of contemporary racial linguistics.

What the hell is going on? Why isn’t the media focusing on the actual issue at hand, the patently racist remark by Imus producer, Bernard McGuirk? His comment that refers to the Rutgers University women’s basketball team as “jigaboos” is by far more offensive and true as defining of a racial slur compared with the thoughtless and insensitive comment by Imus.

Ho, in case you don’t understand, is a gender slur aimed at half of the world population. Jigaboo is racial slur aimed at the entire black culture of the United States.

So there, the line is drawn. On which side do you stand? Are you accepting of ho and not accepting of jigaboo? Is there a difference?

The mass market, in general, would say that there is a difference. Call any woman a ho and you might get a verbal lashing, maybe a slap. Call a man of the black community a jigaboo and the odds are that you’re about to get an ass whoopin’.

[Chorus] Hooooooooo (Ho) / Youza Hoooooo (Ho) / Youza Hoooooo (Ho) / I said that youza hooooo (Ho) - [Repeat 1x] ~Ludacris

[Chorus] I can't believe that she's real... (it was a ho-down) / The way she makes me feel... (another ho-down) / If you knew what I knew... (it was a ho-down) / You would be down in there too... (another ho-down) ~Nappy Roots with The Barkays/Skinny

Why aren’t these people being boycotted, fired, or at least suspended for two weeks? Where are Al and Jesse, and why aren’t they banging on the doors of the company presidents? These types of lyrics are incredibly more damaging than anything Imus said, true? What the hell is going on, I say again. Should efforts not be put where they are most effective?

Look, I’m all about teaching and acting cultural harmony. Honestly, I am. And as a matter of fact, I will not tolerate it within any situation over which I have at least some control. But I’m not going to form a skirmish line outside the neighbor of the intolerant bastard who made the comment.

McGuirk is the idiot. He’s the one who should be fired.

Does Imus deserve a two-week suspension for the ho comment? Sure, that’s fine. Taking into account the context of his radio program, my comment is actually more along the line of “whatever”.

I do have a piece of advice for any of those people who are not on the Rutgers basketball team but are yet still offended by the Imus comment. I suggest that you boycott everything NBC, CBS and General Electric. Go ahead, show’em who’s the boss. You may even want to call the advertisers and complain.

However, I believe that once you realize how such a boycott would take away some of your creature comforts, I bet that you might see a slight tip in the scale of your moral judgment.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Flippin' Cool

I'm not going to be one to post with content of other blogs, but I couldn't let this one pass by because the photos were just so darn cool. The information comes from Danger Room - Wired News
F-22 stealth jet may be about as useful for fighting insurgents as a snowboard in Baghdad. The plane may cost nearly $120
million a pop, making it one of the most expensive fighters of all time. But hot damn, does that thing look bad ass when it's going transonic.

Those are clouds forming around the jet, by the way. The plane's near-supersonic speed changes the temperature and pressure of the air around it, causing ambient moisture to condense. Clouds naturally follow.

Pictures on the left: Richard Vogel, AP/Yahoo News. High five: L787. Two more pics on the right, one courtesy from the Air Force (via Op For),
the other from the AP...

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Has The Moon Exploded?

Growing wiser is a perk of growing older until you realize that reality sometimes sucks.

I think reality is the problem that I’m facing, but I don’t know how to further define my issues. I don’t feel good, but my cold and my fractured/sprained ankle are only physical aspects of present maladies. Being a wise and insightful physician of life, I’m diagnosing myself with flu-like symptoms of the soul.

Something is missing is the phrase that keeps ruminating through my person, which is basically a sign of depression. I don’t think depression is what it is. I started digging deeper yesterday into what it is, exactly, that seems to be missing. I found that my former life is missing, or I miss my former life, which ever it may be.

One aspect is the physical part. I’m a bit broken at present. I have a cold that is greatly exacerbated by Spring allergy season. My ankle is horribly sprained, slightly fractured, and I now hobble like the elder who wears his waist at his chest. My hair is thinning, graying, and certainly receding. I have a small patch of strange-colored skin on the side of my head, which makes me automatically think I have skin cancer. And my shirts and pants seem to be shrinking. I blame the shrinking on the washer and dryer versus poor diet and lack of exercise. Some might call that a hitch in my wisdom.

Physical aside, I know that there is something else. My adventurous spirit and passion for spontaneity and lust for the different are all exhibiting strangely as if the moon no longer had gravitational authority over the tide. The power of my moon is missing.

I miss my friends, those who I used to frequently define as part of my personality. I miss the G-man, who died almost a year ago. I miss Uncle Ted, Otis, GROB and our regular adventures. These people made me laugh, and I don’t seem to laugh any more. I miss spur-of-the-moment escapades. I miss gathering with others without having to have a reason. I miss the inspirational connection and shear force that my moon brought to my life.

I’m not sure why I’m unable to adjust to these changes in my life. I have a good life; I have a wonderful daughter and a great wife. Of course there are marital issues from time to time, but it is a marriage, ya know. These things happen.

I believe in God and the power of prayer. I believe that the Lord will take care of the needs of family and me. I have good job and I’m pretty good at what I do. My household income allows enough money to pay the bills and have some fun. I have great friends, although they are a bit more absent than I would prefer.

I am also a member of a men-only small group at my church. Theses guys, I believe, would do anything they could for me if I were in need, but I’m missing a connection with them. I can’t seem to form a bond like I have with my other friends. I think it’s because I fear their judgment of who I am. It’s my fear of their judgment, mind you. I don’t think it actually has anything to do with them.

As with any parent and husband, my life revolves around the sun. In this case, the sun happens to be the two other women in my life. I’m constantly doing something for one of them, or something to improve our living conditions, or planning something that will make one of them happy. But I feel as if I’m running in place. One project ends, the list of others awaits. One bug killed is no different than the another waiting beyond the shadows for the shoe of death. In between, things break and need immediate action. Eight billion inconsequential decisions need to be eternally made, seemingly by me.

I wouldn’t give up any of it for anything, ever.

Why does it feel like I’m always working a job? Where did the laughter go? Why am I sounding like Otis?

What happened to my moon?