Friday, May 30, 2008

Joan Blondell on The Finally Friday Freakout

This is story. A story of a soldiers who lost themselves after coming back from war. The name of the song is Remember My Forgotten Man. This is a song about a woman who lost her man to that war and wants him to come home. The fellas that did come home had all kinds of trouble re-integrating back into society. Some had PTSD, some serious depression and others didn't have access to healthcare, jobs or a home.

I could be referring to some of the news stories about today's returning veterans but this scene looks at World War 1 returning veterans trying to survive during the depression.

This is the final classic scene of Gold Diggers of 1933. It was made during the depression, (the 1929 depression before this one and 9/11). And yes, it was a "fun" movie about folks wanting to put on a Broadway show during hard times. But there was a message in this music.

No one was expecting this ending. You don't have to see the whole movie to get a sense of how powerful the imagery and the presentation makes you take a step back and go, "Whoa, what was that?" Soldiers that fought in World War 1 were promised certain things that they did not receive coming home. More things change the more they stay the same.

Joan Blondell is the blond who had a long and wonderful career in show business. She had stories to tell. So sit back and get a sense of how music, storytelling, dance and great cinematography work together.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bug Girls and Persistence of Vision

Virginia DeBolt wrote a post on BlogHer The New York Times placing a technology story about women in engineering and science in the fashion section.  More recently there was an article by Elaine McArdle, that I read online via The Boston Globe, that offered the premise that women are not interested in science and technology jobs. 

My understanding of the the article's bottom line is that women scientists prefer human connections and don't care for the isolation or the inorganic world that most male scientists tend to work.  Sound familiar? It does to me. Exchange the words science or engineering for computers, blogging, automobiles, sports and you hear the same old song.

What has that got to do with the photo below of Isabella Rossellini?  Isabella was working on an project for the Sundance Channel. What she was really doing was experimenting on producing video for mobile and portable devices. The topic Isabella selected was how certain insects have sex. If you are interested there is an interview of Isabella on the Wall Street Journal Digital Network on YouTube.

Isabella as a bug at the Sundance Channel

At my last count there were 89,000 links in Google on this project. Do you want to hazard a guess as to how many of those links make any reference to Entomologists? Or Entomologists who blog? Or Entomologists who blog who are women?

Not as many, I guess. I did not count each of the 89,000 links because it got depressing how easy it is to get attention by using the letters "p" "o" "r" and the letter "n" in conjunction with any person, place or thing.  When it comes to sex we can see it, there is a relationship to the topic and you don't have to expend a lot of effort to try to convince people, usually male, that women are participants and stakeholders. 

There is not the same kind of persistence of vision when it comes to women and science.  There is an imbalance in between the truth and the perception. So, here is a small drop in the bucket to those women (and some men folk) who on a regular basis blog about bugs, insects, and other beings of the multi-legged persuasion.

BugGirl is a good place to start you authentic journey into insects and the humans that have active relationships with them. I would say that her blog is a recognition that humans do not live independently from insects. You learn things like how people run scams with insects. She also has links to real bug movies like Return of the 17-year Circadas.

InsectaPodcast is an entomological podcast created by Anna Fiedler and Jake McCarthy at Michigan State University. This is the place to come to if you want to know about contemporary bees and their issues living in a managed environment. If you had affection for Marvel Comics The Wasp you'd might like to hear Dr. Elizabeth Tibbles explain how in the battle of supremacy why it is good to be the queen:

Anna How do they determine which queen is the dominant queen?

Elizabeth So they determine dominance status by having intense battles where they grapple w/ each other, so they’ll stand up on their hind legs and it kind of looks like they’re boxing, and then sometimes they roll around and try to sting each other to death, and the winner is the dominant. But after dominance is established, they become very non-aggressive towards each other, so they don’t keep fighting for their whole life. It’s established, and then the winner stays the winner.

You don't have to have an mp3 player to enjoy the goodness, text transcripts are available.

Finally,  Kelley over at Bugs for Thugs is an Entomologist who photographs insects, birds and other small squishy things. Kelley also has a recurring feature that invites folks to post questions such as "Are bugs getting smaller?" or "How do you control household pests?" I like her non-toxic answer for permanent non-living relocation for her specific situation.

Science She-Ro of The Day: Today is Rachel Carson's birthday. She was a biologist and a writer who most famous work, Silent Spring, detailed in the 1960s the wide use of poisons and pesticides without any consideration to their effect on the environment and human beings. Rachel asked humans to become aware of what we are collectively doing on the planet. She inspired or instigated much of the modern environmental movement.

Well, one down and 88,999 more posts to go before the balance is restored.  Something got's you buggy? Put it in the comments.

This post also appear on BlogHer.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Koko Taylor on The Finally Friday Freakout

I was a hard core Funkateer. I didn't want to hear blues music or anything that sounded like it. I damned near died of shame when my mother put on Isreal "Poppa Stopper" Tolbert and cranked up "Big Legged Woman with a Short, Short Mini Skirt". You can listen to that song if you want to but you have been warned.

I was strange kid. I could listen to classical. I liked the story telling kind of country music and yes, I watched "Hee-Haw". Didn't have a choice, really. We only had three channels on television and our UHF was kind of permanently fuzzed up.

Anyway, it took many years and more life experience before I was able to hear the craftsmanship, the humor and the power of blues music. It hit me while I was trying to write something. I had the radio on and I heard this voice say something about "these aren't my pajamas, this isn't my toothbrush, why do you smell so good; is there something going on?"

Huh, what did he say?

Koko Tayor sealed the deal with Insane Asylum with Willie Dixon. That thing slapped me upside the head and said "Hello, it is time don't you think?" I couldn't find a video of that but this ain't bad. This is a video from the 1960s Koko Taylor on lead and Little Walter standing tall in the background (I think) peeling off a slice of "Wang Dang Doodle".

As for this gloomy Friday of a weather wacky week in California all I can say is "Nuts". It was roasting on Monday and Tuesday. The Santa Ana winds were kicking fierce on Wednesday and we had thunderstorms Thursday and Friday. We are not use to having four distinct seasons in one week.

I'm looking for Peace. Peace be still.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Citizenship 101 For Bubba

This is an emergency educational intervention post. Bubba needs me to give the the straight skivvy on citizenship.

I put the diversionary blame really on Ding who wrote a guest post on Bitch Ph.D, she got me riled up. I wanted to write about the STEM educational movement that seeks to add science, technology, engineering and math and de-emphases or remove/reduce liberal arts and non-tactile education. Oh well, some other time.

Kathleen Parker wrote an opinion column in the Chicago Tribune and the column was syndicated to other publications about The Bubba Vote. This is an extract from her commentary:

"A full-blooded American" That's how 24-year-old Josh Fry of West Virginia described his preference for John McCain over Barack Obama. His feelings aren't racist, he explained. He would just be more comfortable with "someone who is a full-blooded American as president."

Whether Fry was referring to McCain's military service or Obama's Kenyan father isn't clear, but he may have hit upon something essential in this presidential race.

Full-bloodedness is an old coin that's gaining currency in the new American realm. Meaning: Politics may no longer be so much about race and gender as about heritage, core values, and made-in-America. Just as we once and still have a cultural divide in this country, we now have a patriot divide.

No, we have a seriously uninformed young man. I don't know where to begin with Kathleen's problems. Never mind, I got to get Bubba squared away first. I feel for him, He might have been one of the first group to graduate under No Child Left Behind. You know, teach to the test and not to cognition? Maybe, maybe not.

Dude, I can help on this one! Check it; you can't become President of the United States unless you are a born citizen. Really. It is in the U.S. Constitution, Article 2, Section 1. There are no exceptions. There is no quota or minority set asides.

There is also no DNA test to measure how American you are or if one person is more American than another. Yes, I'm telling you straight up they can nab you for paternity but there is no way to determine American citizenship via a blood test.

Over at Obsidian Wings:

If I wanted to get into bloodlines, I might note that Barack Obama's grandfather fought in Patton's army, or that he's related to Dick Cheney and Brad Pitt. But I don't. American values are not passed on by blood. They are not found in anyone's DNA. Barack Obama was born and raised here. He doesn't "have to study" American values

So if that was the thing bothering you then rest easy. You can now evaluate the candidates based on merit and not blood type. What else am I forgetting? Oh yeah. Now I know you are concerned about citizenship and the appearance on one person having more citizenship than the other.

Here is the thing Bubba, once you become a citizen you have the full rights and responsibilities of being a citizen. No more and no less. So Bubba, sweetie you can't be more of a citizen than I can be less of one no matter what Kathleen and the other people tell you.

It is written in the 14th amendment of that ole pesky Constitution that guarantees your right to guns and to practice your faith. So long as you respect my right not to have a gun, and not to practice your faith. I got my own. It is like grilling meat with barbecue sauce versus putting it on after you grill your meat.

Respect the differences and appreciate the similarities. Sara at Syndicate & Hague also wants you to know that:

If you think that people don’t deserve the same rights and privileges that you have because you’re afraid of a level playing field, you need to really think about what that means. It means you don’t think you’re good enough, it means you’re insecure about your position in the world, and it means you are petty and exploitative and just plain mean.

I can put my mind to ease knowing that you have now been informed of essential information you should have gotten in civic class except that you didn't because it was cut out with music, art and non-competition sports. So I want to leave you with a few Civics resources (this ain't got nothing to do with cars, just so you know)

For the little shavers you might have them check out Ben's Guide to U.S. Government where they can learn about Citizenship, the rights of citizens and the responsibilities of citizens.

If you home school or you are a teacher you can take advantage parts of the McCormick Tribune Interactive Freedom Museum where test out what you know versus the facts. You can also listen to podcasts about the topic.

There is a lengthy commentary by Thomas Lindsey at Inside Higher Ed that put a wee bit more thought into Becoming American and what colleges and universities can do to help..

I am a contributing editor at BlogHer and it is rough writing three separate post a week.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Chambers Brothers on The Finally Friday Freakout

On the mellow side of the freakout this week I'm going with The Chambers Brothers and People Get Ready. After the events in China and Burma I can't ring this gong hard enough.

Californians are you listening? I know you are concerned about how you are going to fill up that SUV or mini SUV but you might want to stock up on canned food and batteries. Lay in a supply of books cuz you will not be able to video game you way out of relief when our ticket gets punched for the earthquake express.

Over at the U.S. Geological Survey you can get a look all those magnitude 4.0+ and higher quakes that have been rumbling around the world. Guam got on the hit list, China is still having aftershocks after their 7.9 and Japan had one on May 2nd.

The Red Cross has information on emergency preparedness in case of an emergency. For you multimedia folks who don't want to read text you can view an animated movie on what to do at

The Los Angeles Fire Department has an online booklet on earthquake survival and preparations. And you certainly can go to the FEMA web page on being prepared.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Language of Political Speech and Power

I've been reading the posts about Hillary Clinton, the language she used and the shades of intended meaning about her remarks. Maria Niles covered this aspect in her post. Beneath the surface of her remarks there is so much more going on.

Let me state flat out that I do not know or specialize in social linguistics, public relations or have a clue on how to run a political campaign. But I do know when something is said but another meaning is intended. And that always leads me to questions. I'm not trying to prove or disprove anything. I guess what I am attempting is sharing a process of how I feel about this incredible turn of events concerning Hillary Clinton's public image.

I found a few possible answers in an unexpected place. In March 2008 I attended Media Re:Public conference. There were many speakers at the conference but the one relevant to this topic was given by Professor Manuel Castells, Annenberg School of Communications, University of Southern California.

My understanding of the major points:

  • Power relationships are foundations of Democracy. Whoever has the power has the ability to define the relationships, goals and aspirations of their society.
  • Power is constructed by two factors coercion and the construction of meaning in the minds of people. The closer the "leader" demonstrates that his or her vision is a match for the society as a whole or that there is a connection between the hopes and aspirations of that society then the greater the support the leader will enjoy.
  • Here was the tough one for me but it makes sense. The feelings and emotions of the members of society is a source of power. Harness that power (or play a very sophisticated version of "rope a dope", my words not his) and you will have the support of the members of society. You get the power.

You can harness power by fear or by envisioning a better world. If you can convince enough people to feel or experience a connection with you or your ideas you are in business.

So what happened in Hillary's statement? I think it was a verbal demonstration that she had the power. And Hillary implied intentionally or accidentally that her power emanated from a specific demographic group (Caucasian working class males) to validate that a certain socio-economic group supported her; and by extension you can too. And the opposite message, i.e. "You don't want some smart ass college kid walking in here, you don't want to be confused with facts and figures. I understand you, how could he? He is the other."

Unless you are not from that specific racial or socio-economic group. Here is a quote from The Republic of T:

Perhaps no one in the Clinton campaign understands this, so let me make it plain. Black folks can hear that dog whistle too. I guarantee that in Black homes across America, where two or more are gathered and listened to that interview, one turned to the others and asked “You all heard that, right?” And the answer came back, “Mmmm hmmm,” followed by a collective sigh.

Over at The Centretarian blog there is this:

The only reason she remains in the race is to illustrate 'white people' will not vote for the 'boy' who dared challenge them. After she wins West Virginia she will crow and cackle over the proof white people will not vote for Obama. She is masterfully orchestrating racist sentiments for her own political advantage just like Wallace, that other Democrat, did. Lift the screen and under the elitism charge, is Wallace's ravings about thoughtful intellectuals. When she refused to say whether Barak was a Muslim she was a cynically cute as George at his worst. By the end of his life I think Wallace regretted what he did. Also he lived in less enlightened times. He can more easily be forgiven.

I leave you with one of the concepts Professor Castells mentioned in the video. He said it takes four times the effort to get people to hear something other than what they believe. Maybe it is time to be more aware of what is being said and act accordingly. No more excuses.

Other Resources:

In the International Journal of Communications, Professor Castells has a full article on Communication, Power and Counter-power in the Network Society. This will open as an Adobe PDF in your browser window.

Brian Leirer has an interview with Amy Gershkoff on micro-targeting and politics.

Over at The Angry Black Women there are a group of comments that express very specific emotions on using fear and race as a demonstration of power.

CE Gena Haskett also a Contributing Editor at BlogHer.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The DiVynls - The Finally Friday Freakout

Life and death. Then you got death. And then there is La Petit Morte. That is great if you have someone to help you get there and back.

Not everybody does. This is when you have to take matters into your own hands. For some this is a no brainier and for others they gotta jump over a half dozen cultural and religious hoops.

Yes, this is about solo sex because this is National Masturbation Month. Ten digits and one body. Yours. I recently wrote a post over at BlogHer about it. I was really trying to find educators and sexologists or just women folks that were writing honestly and non-salaciously about the topic.

All I initially came up with was a boat load of trolls and spammers. I know folks are out there writing about. If you are tuned into certain social networks you know about them. But what if you are not?

Anyway I asked the question where do you go if you want to know more about technique, fantasy, video, statistics. I got one, Literotica.

So I'm going to toss out a few more but this is not over.

Lemme see, if you can mix activism with pleasure we could all do our part by visiting Masturbation for Peace, and from the looks of things this could be a full time volunteer effort.

A women friendly store Babeland has toys for interested (adult) boys and girls. They have a sex information page and on one of those pages somebody asked the question of Rachel and Claire is there something more I could be doing? They also have a blog where they keep up with the doings in there neck of the woods.

Good Vibrations in San Francisco is the promoter of National Masturbation Month. They also have products, DVDs and other resources to help you motivate yourself in times of need.

You can start with Good Vibes Magazine which is a collection of fiction stories, real life journey and tips on what to do if you really want to do it.

Vibrator Museum is what it is a photo listing of how your dear grandma, great grandma and great, great grandma plugging into the infinite when there was a need for speed. Not all of the gizmo where electrical powers, check out the hand cranked devices.

Slate Magazine also has a text article on the History of the Vibrator. Good Vibrations also has photos and text on the Ancient techno wonders of pleasure.

We can't leave sexual representation just to the sleazy. What am I saying. I know I'm going to get x amount of friends of Beevis finding the need to respond.

So there you have it, a too brief listing of safe places to go and see. Oh, hey these are not safe for work. You do know that right? Keep that dude in Japan in mind 700,000+ hours watching whoo-ha at work. He wasn't fired, just demoted to working for $80 US a week.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Torey Malatia Talking About Vocalo

On March 27th I attended Media Re:Public forum that was held on the campus of the University of Southern California, Annenberg School for Communication.

The actual folks that created the forum was The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at the Harvard Law School.

Truth was I got in on a mercy ticket. I also thought the forum would be different than what actually occurred. More on that in a future post.

Anyway I went to a number of sessions and of course I brought old faithful. In this video, Torey Malatia is talking about a new project that is being created. My understanding is that it will be a social participation portal. The name of the project is Vocalo

Contributors can create content that can be uploaded to the site. Some of that user generated content could be ported over to the radio station and once folks get digital that content could also be displayed on a digital channel of the radio station.

There are a number of concerns I had that I wished I could have asked him about.

He mentioned that there are segments of the population that basically has no relationship with public radio and that group sees no need to develop one. He did not mention race but he did mention class as a possible reason for the disconnect.

I wouldn't disagree or agree but I think it is also a matter of content. There has been a systematic homogenization of public radio for years. I do like many of the programs but NPR and American Public Radio does its best to sound like every one is exactly the same with the same wants and needs. It is Lake Woebegone. (No disrespect intended)

Er, no. There is no room for non-pasteurized content or people. And if you don't connect with the multiple communities that a radio station services why should I listen?

I'm getting off track again. Where was I? Oh yeah, Another question I wanted to ask Torey about the decision not to be transparent about the connection to the radio station.

Hey if you are going to fling words like "social networking" then you really have to understand that you gotta be up front from jump street. Hiding your connection to NPR will do you no favors.

Say to your listening community - NPR wants you. I'm going to give him a freebie. Find out where the local poets hang out. Commission them to create content for the site. Make it clear they own their own stuff and give them a running start on how to podcast for you.

Boom. Content and word of mouth marketing in one swoop. Then do the same for the painters, the gardeners, the low riders and anybody who has something to say and has been waiting to be asked.

Just a thought.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Can't We All Get Along? MSM and Bloggers #973

So, there are some writers and journalists that really hate blogs? I'm shocked, shocked. I'm temporarily violating my promise of not writing about sports because I really don't know anything I could write or contribute about the topic.

I have never been invited to participate in sports and from all of the cultural messages I get professional and amateur sports has got no use for me either. Fair enough. But diss blogging? Now you are in my neck of the woods.

Look, I understand the guy's frustration. I hate going to crappy blogs. Just as I hate wasting money on crappy articles, newspapers and magazines that are "phone it in reporting" and inaccurate. But just as I would not hold his writing in judgment because of the letters to the editor he might received he shouldn't hold a blogger totally accountable for the trolls and anonymous posters who will say anything to get a rise out of someone.

Hey, they have phone screeners at talk radio stations, right? Isn't there a seven second delay on live television shows. So I should blame the shows for an occasional idiot who gets through?

In blogging as in print media there is a spectrum of publications. I don't buy the National Inquirer. Some folks do. I buy computer magazines, some folks don't. I don't lump all print media as being the same and I wish to hell that journalists/television news performers would learn to do the same.

Buzz, baby bust out of L7. Find you a sport person you trust that can lead you to the quality sports blogs that have good reporting, civil comments and a fair exchange between writers and participants.

Or stay off of the Internet, seriously. Don't stress yourself out and get all worked up over something you don't understand or respect. Stick with print, it's working for you, you seem to have a lot of readers who like your work.

Deep breaths. It is ok. For now.

Other Views On The Topic:

Citizen Journalism Training from SPJ

I want to let folks know that there are some opportunities for citizen journalism training that are happening around the country. The Society of Professional Journalists is having, I guess you could call them, workshops/seminars in how to use journalism techniques in blogs and vlogs.

Citizen Journalism Training

The price is right and the topics are timely such as (from the web site) :
  • Journalism ethics. The new-media landscape is rife with dilemmas for anyone wanting to report accurately, fairly and outside the bounds of special interests.
  • The basics of media law. The same longstanding laws concerning libel, slander and access to people and information apply to 21st-century news-gatherers.
  • Access to pubic records and meetings. Public information can add substance and value to every news story. But knowing where to look for it can be tough.
If I can swing it I think I will attend. I'm pretty sure the conversation will be from the top down but I do think there are some intersections between journalists and bloggers that are common ground. Finding information, being accurate in what you write and being transparent. We want the same things. Honest, we do.

But I don't want "journalists" telling me that they are more legit than a good blogger who does his/her homework. Not after the boners that are spilling out from the professional side of the fence. Don't make me recite the long list of hack jobs like the L.A. Times and Sean Combs, that so-called debate with ABC's Gibson and Stephanopoulos, or the lack of questioning of those "military advisers" who all said the same thing at the same time. Y'all got played big time on that one.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Teddy Pendergrass - The Finally Friday Freakout

Yes in-deed, it is Friday evening and it was a long day. But I just got back from dinner with a friend who made me have a margarita with salt on the rim and dinner. I feel much better.

Now she was lusting after the waiter, on account he was a tasty treat. I dunno. I wanted the full meal kinda man. Someone like, oh maybe this guy:

Ladies, (and interested men folks) go fetch some Two Buck Chuck and enjoy the dulcet tones of Teddy Pendergrass. I would love to find out where folks are finding these videos. I thought anything from the late 70s - early 80s were impossible to find.

I know some of the stuff is coming from Europe, or lost time checks from local dance shows. I don't where this one came from but it is a beauty. It so perfectly captures what Teddy did to an audience. Now I'm thinking this is from Europe because the ladies are way too quiet.

Status Report on The New System

Well it is stable. Trying to find the serial numbers and software keys to unlock programs I bought. I had a bad habit of not always printing out those kind of receipts. Cheers to Tech Smith for making it easy for me to re-install Snag-It.

The others I got to dig up proof that I purchased the products. Well the video freeze out is almost over. Soon as I get the serial number of one of my video editing programs I'll be good to go. As an added bonus cuz I don't want Teddy singing by his lonesome lets do this; presenting Miss Barbara Mason followed by the Three Degrees

Remember, if you are going to upchuck the Chuck, Stay Home!