Thursday, July 29, 2010

"talk" radio, other b.s.

The mainstream media is biased - that is what everyone says.

Especially when it tells you what you don't want to hear.

I understand why people think it, and even believe it, but all the same it's insulting.

Do not count me among the Mark Bellings and Jessica McBrides of this world, opining unapologetically to anyone who will bend an ear.

Ask Mr. Belling or any of his ilk what code of ethics he adheres to. He will probably laugh. He answers to no one. He is an entertainer. He spins marvelous yarns, part fact and part fiction, but extremely hard to unravel.

This is my code.

"Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist's credibility. Members of the Society share a dedication to ethical behavior and adopt this code to declare the Society's principles and standards of practice."

This is a job I don't take lightly.

Talk Radio "personalities," bloggers, columnists serve a different purpose. Don't confuse the news-gatherers with the news-ponderers.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The singer

Karen is a women I met one night in a bar.

It was Karen's 50th birthday.

A lot of people I know don't celebrate birthdays. But every birthday has been special for Karen, since she was diagnosed with breast cancer nearly three years ago. She's a breast cancer 'survivor,' she told me.

Karen was looking every bit the part of birthday girl in a zebra print halter dress when we met.

While she was waiting for her turn at the karaoke mic, she bore to me the tragedies of her life.

Before she was diagnosed with cancer, her brother and father had also been diagnosed. Her father died when she started chemotherapy. Her son, just a teenager, also had problems: spinal muscular atrophy.

"You have to have faith," she told me with conviction.

It was hard to imagine her sick and undergoing the draining chemotherapy treatments as she stood before me, vibrating with life. Her skin was sun-bronzed and blue eyes twinkling.

We continued to talk: I had no where to go and she had things to say.

She told me she liked singing -- always has.

Afraid to seem impolite for not contributing to the conversation, I finally spoke.

"I do too," I told her, "Just preferably in my shower."

She laughed, sending her wavy chin-length hair bouncing with cartoonish liveliness.

I was pretty sure Karen was of the opinion everyone should karaoke — especially those who had never done it before.

She's done it many times.

"And sung in weddings," she said.

Her voice is her gift, she told me. Her God-given gift. In that it was a gift from God, she felt duty-bound to share it.

I tried to imagine such a thought coming from any place other than the tummy of a hungry ego — but she seemed genuine.

I write for a living, which is, theoretically speaking, my "God given gift" but I certainly don't feel duty-bound to share it; or that it would be a disservice to mankind if I did not write articles about school board meetings and karaoke competitions.

"You never know when you are going to do something that could touch another person," she told me. "You could inspire people."

Why I dumped Facebook

This article was published after I dumped Facebook, but it very nicely articulates the behaviors that I want to avoid.

WASHINGTON: Americans are increasingly obsessed with Facebook and many young women check their page even before using the bathroom in the morning, according to a poll.

Thirty-four per cent of the women aged 18 to 34 surveyed by Lightspeed Research for Oxygen Media said checking Facebook was the first thing they did in the morning, even before washing their face or brushing their teeth.

Twenty-per cent admitted they sneak a peek at Facebook during the night while 26 per cent said they get up in the middle of the night to read text messages.

Thirty-nine per cent of the 1,605 social media users aged 18 to 54 surveyed for Oxygen Media, a service of entertainment giant NBC Universal, in May and June described themselves as "Facebook addicts."

Fifty-seven per cent of the women aged 18 to 34 said they talk to people online more than face-to-face and 31 per cent said they feel more confident about their online persona than their real life one.

Sixty-three per cent of the young women said they use Facebook as a career networking tool, but 42 per cent said they did not think there was anything wrong with posting photos of themselves visibly intoxicated.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


i love you my little blog, but i predict you will be disappearing in the near future.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Because everyone likes it when I write about personal stuff like drugs

Not everyone believes in mental illness.

Anxiety, depression, paranoia -- these are merely the makings of the human mind.

Take deep breathes, try yoga, just "think positive".

"Suck it up, Sally!"

But it's really not that simple.

As someone whose been dealing with this over the past 10+ years, I've experienced the benefits and the drawbacks of getting medicated. But most of the time I took it for granted and led a life that has been even-keeled and successful enough.

Weaning off the medication (I'm on month two of 30 mgs now) made me reflect on what life can be like without it.

It's true that medication alone, is not the answer. There are other considerations.

If you are a person who can't deal with a lot of stress, getting into a high stress career would, naturally, not be the best option for you. Pursuing that lifestyle, an otherwise chemically-balanced person might find that they "need" medication to deal with it.

So the stressful world that we as humans have created is much to blame for the pharmaceutical windfall resulting from the sale of anti-stress and anxiety medications.

The same is true for anti-depressants.

But don't tell me they aren't needed -- that chemical imbalances are an imagined phenomenon.

Really? Then maybe hormonal imbalances aren't real either? Ever hear of PMS? I think there are a lot of women (and men) who would disagree that hormonal imbalances have no impact on a person's ability to function.

I have a deep desire to be med-free. But that desire might not be enough to ever make it happen -- lest I live my life with a magnified and unyielding version of PMS.

I believe there are things I can do to make it possible for me to manage my stress and depression -- improving my coping skills, exercising more (the natural way to produce endorphins) and refraining from lifestyle choices that could compromise my ability to manage stress and depression. In that case, my stress and depression would largely dictate my life.

Or I can compromise. Try to do what I can and supplement my efforts with an appropriate but not excessive amount of medication.

But unless you've truly experienced real depression, a deep, sometimes life-ending despair with no clear origin, you'd best not make broad generalizations.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Y is a very good question

I ventured over to one of the two local YMCAs today to see what they have to offer. The last time I'd visited a Y was when I was in fifth or sixth grade so it's been a while.

A discounted membership at the Y is one of the few perks my employer affords so I thought I better at least check it out. It would be about $16/month cheaper than my current gym membership.

Meeting me at the check in desk was a very nice woman named Sheila. She gave me an abbreviated tour of the facility. I told her I didn't have children, so she need not educate me about all of the kid-friendly amenities the Y offers.

As we navigated the maze of gyms, studios, and locker rooms, I imagine my disdain was palpable as I bore witness to as assortment of conduct violations -- a pint-sized Y-member darting down a hallway, dripping chlorinated water all over the floors, some t'ween members assaulting a vending machine in a lobby area -- surely this was not civilized society.

I shuddered.

Picking up on my discomfort, the kind woman said:

"Perhaps you'd be interested in the other location," she said. "It's adult only."

I'll check that one out tomorrow.