Tuesday, December 29, 2009
I received a copy of "End the Fed". It's written by Ron Paul, a member of the House of Representatives from Texas.
"In the United States, the central bank is the Federal Reserve, the instrument by which our money and credit are constantly manipulated..."
"I've written this book to explain why I think the system of Fed domination must come to an end..."
In chapter 2 he begins to explain the origins of the Fed.
As I am reading, I'm keeping in mind that his opinion is that the Fed has faults.
He states that the gold standard does not allow for credit without limits.
After going through the chapter, I realize that I didn't learn why the Fed exists "in plain English". Maybe it's because I haven't thoroughly studied finance. Early into this book, I'm ready to strongly suggest you take your time reading it so you can try to understand what is being presented and put it into perspective for yourself.
He recollects some of the financial history during the 1900s of the United States of America. Included is his perspective on money during his life. No matter how you feel about his postions, agree or disagree, to know the events and history of what helped to shape his feelings is interesting.
In chapter 4 he recalls the creation of the Gold Commission. Which I was not able to find a lot of information about on the internet...and that seemed very weird to me. Maybe when I get over to my branch of the local library...
Paul believes that "If...we had returned to our senses in 1981, the problems and grave dangers we now face could have been averted."
Chapter chapter 5, Conversations with Greenspan, is nice and meaty...he starts swinging hard:
"...Greenspan...visited the House Committee on Oversight and Reform...
"Most of his testimony was designed as an attempt to protect his reputation and to explain away his shortcomings a Federal Reserve Board chairman. His testimony was pathetic. He made the point that the computer programs that they were using to anticipate...problems were not well designed...
"History will show that Greenspan, during his years as Fed chairman...planted all the seeds of the finanacial calamity that erupted..."
As I went through the book, it caused me to have a lot of questions about finances and how the government perceives what is in our best interest. I will need time for study to try to answer all of the questions I now have about it all. There more I read, the more I want to pause and learn about...
This book is not difficult to understand. But unless you are involved in financial markets daily, you will need to take your time to understand what Paul is presenting.
I also intend to seek out other opinions of this book: they will be interesting, and might help me to formulate my own opinion that I can explain and fully support.
"End the Fed" is published by Grand Central Publishing. It's available in hardcover, paperback (large print available), Adobe ebook, CD audio, and downloadable audio.
A podcast, and an excerpt, are available at http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/books_9780446549196.htm
His MySpace page is at http://www.myspace.com/ronpaul
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Mike Tauber was kind to send to me a copy of his book, "Blended Nation: Portraits and Interviews of Mixed-Race America".
He took the photographs and conducted the interviews.
It is co-produced by Pamela Singh who holds (a Master's in International Finance & Economics from Columbia University and) a BA in social psychology from Connecticut College.
"Through a series of soulful photographs, personal vignettes, and poignant essays, Blended Nation...explores the experience of being mixed-race in twenty-first century America. As much a work of art as a piece of literature, this book profiles the fastest-growing demographic group in the United States, encouraging both contributors and readers to consider the place, practice, and experience of race in modern society...
"...Through portraits and interviews with mixed-race children, adults, and families, Mike Tauber and Pamela Singh literally invite their subjects to lend their faces and voices to a discussion of race in America. By allowing contributors to offer their own, and often differing perspectives, the authors create an immensely rich collection of thoughts, opinions, and unanswered questions such as: What happens to the identity of those individuals who are a quarter this, a half that, etc. who don’t visually correspond to any particular group when it comes to race, ethnicity and ancestry? Where do they fit? What box do they check? Most importantly, why is this even considered an issue?...
"...several contributors confess how they always felt ‘too black to be white and to white to be black’..."
It's a great "coffee table book": 11 x 11 inches, 140 pages...
As I began to read the book, initially I felt hesitant to review it "too much": I immediately felt that the story of each individual would be unique. As mine is...
The pictures are gripping. I find myself closely studying the features of each person. I am intrigued. Then, I see the picture of someone whose facial features, in my opinion, look exactly as mine. And, I see that they are a member of the Blackfoot tribe...like I believe I am! I'm not sure what to do or think about that...
I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was when I read the statement from an African-American male who married a white woman...that his family had disowned him. I guess I can still be amazed that some could/would do that. (There are more of those incidents recounted in the book.) I was raised by my great-grandparents until I was nine years old. I don't remember if, when I was a child, I ever knew if there were any people who did not want me around. I suspect my great-grandparents, a White woman and Black man, did all they could to shield me from that. From my teenage years on, I remember incidents of others not wanting me around...
One woman profiled in the book stated that she has identified her heritage as "hybrid" on forms. I wish I had thought of that...I hope I can remember it.
During my formative years the difinitive and accepted term for the times was "Black". And that's what I became. I have nothing against the term African-American, other than it doesn't describe me: I am of African decent, but an American citizen. I can live with "American-African"...
Depending on who has said it, and how they meant it, I have accepted "Negro" as well as "Colored":
When I was in high school in West Germany, 1978-1979, I lived in a dormitory. I played American-style football on the school team. There was only one person I'm aware of who would allow some of us...who were Black...to stay with her on the weekends. I remember being prepared by some of my teamates as I walked to meet her for the first time: "...Now...you need to understand...she's an old white woman...kind of set in her ways...she don't mean no harm...Mrs. Case is just the way she is..."
Mrs. Case, a white woman, would feed us and make sure we were OK and safe. I don't know what her past is, but Mrs. Case described us as (her) "colored boys": "...my boys will be over this weekend...you know, my colored boys that stay with me." If you ever took the time to get to know Mrs. Case, you would realize that...this is the only way she ever knew and understood as to how refer to us. For whatever reason, she didn't use "black" on "negro". In her defense (which I will always be), maybe because (to her) those terms were demeaning/derogatory/antagonistic. Who knows why, and it doesn't matter why. I expect something in her past led her to use the terminology the way she did. We could tell by her actions that her use of the term "colored" was intended and meant to be used with much love and affection, and we accepted her support. We listened to her heart, and not her words...
(In an episode of Barney Miller, a character refers to Harris as "Colored". Yamana says: "I'm colored. He's black..." That was he first time I've ever heard someone Asian described that way. He's not wrong; until then, I never knew he was right.)
I proudly proclaim to be a "mutt". I can imagine it causes some distress for some of my family members, but it's the term that I am VERY comfortable with for myself. Sometimes my nose is cold and wet, I might bite, and when music makes me happy I will "wag my tail".
Like their daddy, I like to describe my kids as "a mess": they are Black, White, Italian, Jewish, Chinese, Philipino, Mexican, Native...and those are the ones I know of! (Including the kids...)
Sometimes I feel I need to have a doctorate to know what really is the absolute correct word to use in discussions like this. I shall always demand that the answer to the question of race be "human". After that, I need access to a dictionary, and a thesaurus...as well as an anthropologist.
As I look at the photographs in the book all I can think of is how beautiful these people are. Well...that and I'm trying to figure-out which of the women are single. (As if it might matter to me...)
I was thinking about who I wanted to share this book with, and inform about it. One thing I thought of that is kinda funny to me is that I'm beginning to feel a little sorry for some people in my life: "Oh...you poor thing...you're ONLY white...what a shame..."
I don't know enough about my lineage. I've never met my father, and I'm not absolutely sure about all of the different types of ancestors that I have evolved from. That situation will contiue to grow for humans in general: only with meticulous record keeping will some...and I expect it to be very few...be able to trace and detail from which their family came.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
"Stations that have dedicated their format to NPR news attract an audience with median age 52. That is almost exactly in the center of the Baby Boom generational cohort.
"The jazz stations are aging at a faster rate. With median age of 55...
"...half of the classical audience are not Boomers, rather they are Seniors on Medicare.
"Education is the most powerful predictor of listening to public radio, but the continued aging of the public radio audience shows the influence of generational cohorts."
Walrus Research "designs, conducts, analyzes and interprets audience research – especially for radio."
Friday, December 18, 2009
After receiving a copy of "Burying Don Imus: Anatomy of a Scapegoat", I received "The Cool Gent: The Nine Lives of Radio Legend Herb Kent" from the distributor.
As I began to read the preface, because I'm a radio personality, I immediately appreciated that the book is written as if he's reading it to me.
"...what this book you're holding is about--the story of a little guy who wanted to be on the radio since he was a whippersnapper, finally gets in, succeeds greatly, crashes, recovers, and rises to the top of radio again..."
(I have a huge feeling that this roller coaster-of-a-ride story is going to sound very familiar to me...and give me some deja vu.)
"Be warned...this book contains adult situations, graphic language, sexual content, and strong drug and alcohol references..."
(Now, I wonder if he and I ever worked...and/or partied...together.)
As he begins the first chapter, he states that he...like me...never knew his father. And now I have a feeling that as I continue through the book I'll be seeking other incidents that I can relate to, and have experienced. He describes his lineage of having some native ancestry (as do I)...again I'm drawn to having more of a personal connection with the author than being able to just read the book. I'm not sure what my response will be if I get to the end of this book and find that we are distant cousins, or something like that...
At the age of five, he recalls what can be defined as child abuse. Before you assume what may have happened: stop...and don't. What did happen put me a little off balance, but after being aware of events that have happened to members my family (and some friends), I wasn't surprised at all. (I've always hated leaving my children with others. I have always recommened that people don't. Later in life, you might be thankful that you didn't...or regret that you did.)
Kent mentions that one Christmas he received a radio. (Every so often I remember that I did, also.) He also describes building crystal radio sets, receivers with tubes, and more. As I read his descriptions I can sense his excitement about it, and I wish I had done so. Maybe I will...
This book can elighten a lot of people about a lot of things. You can read about how things were in radio broadcasting...which may help you to understand why things now are the way there are. The path some had to take to get into radio. And what we radio personalities had to, and do, go through for our profession. Some of what we think about in regards to the craft of being a disc jockey, and personality...
Half-way through the book it is appears that rest will be filled with stories with rooted in Chicago. Which is fine...it's just that I need to prepare to expect everything upcoming might be of more interest to someone who lived in that area at that time, or now lives there.
He tells a lot of stories about artists, events, and record companies. And how they relate to his personal life. But he will not discuss his one and only marriage. Due to what has happened in my personal life around marriages and engagements, I guess I don't have a problem with that. But, I wish he would have given some information about why he didn't want to talk about it: I guess I don't need the details, but how about an idea about why he won't reveal any details? (For example, there are details I don't want to share because it could involve others in legal problems that they have never been tied to.)
There are a lot of things that Kent writes about that I can surprisingly relate to: activities relating to personal relationships, professional stuggles that affect personal health and safety, and challenges to basic survival.
Kent has been inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records for having the longest career as a DJ.
After reading the book, I found I was correct in my initial assumptions of this review: (with the exception of being in the Guiness Book of World Records) there's a lot about us that's very similar. I would love to spend a week with him and record our conversations about radio and life...where we could compare stories, and debate subjects and issues.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Thanks to the University of Minnesota Press for providing a copy of "Burying Don Imus: Anatomy of a Scapegoat".
The author, Michael Awkward, is a professor in the Department of English Language and Literature, at the University of Michigan.
When I became aware of this book, I was excited to review it. I've been in radio broadcasting since 1979, and somewhat of a fan of Imus.
In the covering paper jacket of the hardback book, is written: "...Awkward privides the first balanced, critical analysis of Imus's comments..."
In the preface: "This book explores why so many...felt that Imus's symbolic burial was utterly necessary.."
In the first chapter is a nice two paragraph setup of the career and caricature (if you will) of Imus. It's probably good that Awkward did that, because some who have attacked Imus didn't understand what he has done, and what he does: the style of his programs which have been very consistent...and acceptable in the past (until being fired from MSNBC).
Throughout the chapter, Awkward does a great job of explaining the tone of the program before Imus was fired. If you don't know where Imus came from, you probably don't understand how he got to where he was/is.
Something arose early in the book that annoyed me. (And I expected it would for the rest of the book.) I believe the fault belongs to the publisher. To access a footnote: I had to go to the rear of the book, locate the "Notes" section, and find the note that relates to the chapter...c'mon! Put footnotes, that relate to the chapter I'm reading, at the end of the chapter they are in.
Awkward states that he does not agree with the explanation Imus gave about why the Rutgers womens basketball team should not be made fun of. I won't try to speak for Awkward...I think it's best that it be read from his book so you can find if you understand, and agree, with his position. Due to my personal morals, I will say that I can somewhat agree with Awkward on this.
I almost want to close my review here. With Awkward stating that the basketball team is "fair game", I think that alone should be enough for a lot of people to want to read the book.
Towards the end of the first chapter, he states: "My intention in the following pages is to continue what Imus...started: to consider his skit in terms of the broad 'conext [of] what happens on this program'...the responses to it...the art of comedy...I hope to demonstrate that the conclusions at which people arrived about the nature of the nappy-headed hos skit reflect a failure to consider the comedic context..."
And that is VERY important. In my professional, and personal, life...many things have not been considered in proper and reasonable context. To attempt to defend against misunderstandings and misinterpretations, effort intensive and time consuming framing has been needed to keep material clearly defined. Which, after doing so, depreciates the worth of the attempt at comedy and/or "the joke". Bad jokes happen. Get over it.
In chapter six, "The Appeal of Imus in the Morning", Awkward states he was never aware of Imus until the show was on MSNBC. (I've known about, and tried to study, Imus since I began my radio career.) Because of what I've read in the chapter, I can say that Awkward "gets it".
Awkward mentions his memoirs, "Scenes of Instruction"...which I believe helped him to be open to understanding the program and those of us who like it. (I haven't read "Scenes of Instruction", but I suspect that when I write my memoirs they'll have a similar tone.)
At the end of the book, some post-MSNBC incidents are noted: a comment Imus made about Adam "Pac Man" Jones, a joke by Bernie Mac (that the audience at a fund-raiser for Barak Obama did not appreciate), and D.L. Hughley agreeing with Imus (about the appearance of the basketball team).
Good book. If you were of the opinion that Imus was evil, is evil, should have been fired, and should not have a stage...this book could cause you to consider how attempts at comedy can be viewed, and what can be considered acceptable behavior and attitudes in certain environments by some.
From the press release at http://starz.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=1000
...the World Television premiere of Don’t You Forget About Me, a poignant search for Director John Hughes (shot a year before his untimely death) by a group of young filmmakers. The engaging documentary includes appearances by Kevin Smith, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, Andrew McCarthy, Alan Ruck, Kelly LeBrock, Justin Henry, Roger Ebert, Jason Reitman, and Richard Roeper. Don’t You Forget About Me premieres December 25 at 6:40 p.m. and repeats on December 26 at 3:00 p.m.
Big ‘80s Weekend: A totally awesome marathon of ‘80s movies beginning 12/25 at 8:00 p.m.
* · The Breakfast Club
* · Sixteen Candles
* · Weird Science
* · Fletch
* · Back to the Future
* · Lost in America
* · Weekend at Bernie’s
* · Real Genius
* · Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise
* · Parenthood
* · The Legend of Billie Jean
* · Don’t You Forget About Me
* · The Goonies
* · Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure
* · Fast Times at Ridgemont High
* · Porky’s
* · Scarface
* · Creepshow
* · Girls Just Want To Have Fun
* · Vision Quest
* · The Outsiders
* · Wildcats
* · All the Right Moves
* · One Crazy Summer
* · The Blues Brothers
* · Purple Rain
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Due to some recent feedback I've received about what I sometimes say, and how I say it, and where and when I do...I guess I gotta explain this for some people.
I kinda enjoy being a curmudgeon sometimes. Most of my (professional) life I've griped, bitched, moaned, and whined for fun. When possible, turning the "joke" on the safest target: me. I try not to be one when in an environment that it would be, or is, inappropriate. But, sometimes my timing has been off...
I've tried to make it obvious that the curmudgeon-like characteristics of my persona and character is along the lines of Archie Bunker and Fred Sanford...if you take a deep look at them, they're not just rude or obnoxious for the sake of behaving that way: they are who they are because of what/where they have come from, and known...and what they currently know, and don't understand...they can be quick to judge and act based on portions of what makes them who they are. It doesn't make them bad people; right or wrong, they are just the type of people that they are.
(After the following stories that relate to what I said previously about Bunker and Sanford, I shall return to my curmudgeonly considerations below...)
When I was in high school in West Germany, 1978-1979, I lived in a dormitory. I played American-style football on the school team. There was only one person I'm aware of who would allow some of us...who were black to stay with her on the weekends. I remember being prepared by some of my teamates as I walked to meet her for the first time: "...Now...you need to understand...she's an old white woman...kind of set in her ways...she don't mean no harm...Mrs. Case is just the way she is..."
Mrs. Case, a white woman, would feed us and make sure we were OK and safe. I don't know what her past is, but Mrs. Case described us as (her) "colored boys": "...my boys will be over this weekend...you know, my colored boys that stay with me." If you ever took the time to get to know Mrs. Case, you would realized that...this is the only way she ever knew and understood as to how refer to our ethnicity. For whatever reason, she didn't use "black" on "negro". In her defense (in which I will always be), maybe because (to her) those terms were demeaning/derogatory/antagonistic. Who knows why, and it doesn't matter why. I expect something in her past led her to use the terminology the way she did. We could tell by her actions that her use of the term "colored" was intended and meant to be used with much love and affection, and we accepted her support. We listened to her heart, and not her words...
For a little while I lived in Rantoul, Illinois and became very active with the local citizen band (CB) radio community. One day some of us went to help someone erect a tower at their home. We were a mixed bunch of different kind of folk: male, female, young, old, black, white, etcetera. Later, the owner invited me to dinner.
After dinner, he said he needed to be honest with me, and we went to his bedroom so he could show me what was in his closet: his KKK robes. He asked if I were afraid. I said that I was not afraid of the robes.
Over more beer, we talked about why he was a member: it was his belief that there should be no mixing of heritages. I have never wanted to tell anyone what they can, and cannot, believe. And that was that. We remained as friendly as we could, and...because he continued to have me over for beer and meals...he was kicked-out of the KKK.
I've met some people in my professional life who I found to be privately, and when around me, greatly bigoted. It was VERY weird: the person was cordial, polite, and personable to those they had a business relationship with...but when Caucasians were not around, they let their true feelings show! "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"...
There have been times that some of the crap I've said when "on stage" was taken much more seriously than it was ever meant. It's happened so much I've asked family members and friends to not listen to my radio shows and comedy routines. I've always tried to make sure that it was very clear that I meant no intentional offense...because, if I ever did, I want it to be very clear that I mean to offend in the most harshest way possible.
There are very few I can openly joke with that know and understand I'm not "taking a swing" at anyone, and I'm just riffing...
Stern, Greaseman, Imus...we've all crossed that line with no malicious intentions, just collateral damage. Lenny Bruce...Don Rickles...Richard Pryor...Crosby, Stills, and Nash...The Dixie Chicks...Michael Richards...Peter Griffin...being creative involves errors in judgement and material in an attempt to try to get it to be what it should for the audience it is intended for. You don't know you've gone too far...until you have.
Having said all of that, I also remind everyone:
you chose to stay for the rest of the show (you could have left, but you chose to stay)...
"There are controls on your radio/television..."
and, you can continue to read the material, or stop reading it and move on to something else.