Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mexican American Dream

How has the notion of the American dream changed for the new generation of Mexicans in the United States?

The Takeaway, talked to Gustavo Arellano, a Los Angeles Times opinion page contributor and author of Ask a Mexican, a humorous and highly irreverant weekly syndicated column.

Van Morrison: Still Going Strong

Anthony Mason had a conversation with rock legend Van Morrison on CBS TV's "Sunday Morning," March 8th, posted to YouTube in two parts.

Turn the sound down!

Turn the sound down!

Also see: Astral Weeks Revisited

A Dollar A Pound

Most people can picture the dollar ($), pound (£), yen (¥) or the euro symbol (€) - but what about the Indian rupee?

That's harder... because it doesn't have one. You just put an 'Rs' for rupees alongside a currency amount.

India wants to change that, and their government has launched a public contest to design a new symbol, which in turn is designed to establish an idenity for the currency of the world's largest democracy, 2nd most populous nation a burgeoning economic power. The problem: India’s many languages could make choosing a symbol difficult. In graphic terms, typeface designer Erik Spiekermann explained why to presenter Claire Bolderson.

From the BBC World Service March, 10th.

Countdown Bombs No Spin Zone

Keith Olbermann's long running on-air feud with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly continues with another attack on the man and his message. But does Olbermann's sarcasm sabotage the substance of his "fact checking?"

From MSNBC's Countdown, March 11th.
For a definition of
SCREED go here.

Sweet Dreams

People who sleep less than six hours a night are more prone to abnormal blood sugar levels, possibly putting themselves at risk for Type 2 Diabetes.

A six-year study of the relationship between sleep deprivation and illness by the University of Buffalo (NY), suggests people who sleep less than six hours a night are headed toward major health problems, and possibly more restless nights.

From the Osgood File on CBS Radio, March 12
Illustration: HESS DESIGN WORKS - the work of Mark Hess

Friday, March 13, 2009

Communication Breakdown

Two worlds collide in the "green room" at Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Jimmy Kimmel appears late night on ABC TV and 24/7 on YouTube.

Remixing The Bard

In Elizabethan England, "bard" William Shakespeare played to the "lowest common denominator", wrote sexy & politically provocative dialogue and "borrowed" heavily from what his contemporaries thought of as "classic" themes.

In other words, he wasn't anywhere near as boring, profound, prescient, stuffy, classy or original as perceived in high school English classes.

Fast forward to the present, dragging the tragedy "King Lear" along: Author Christopher Moore has turned it into a modern comedy called "Fool."

From NPR's Talk of the Nation, March 12th.

Close Call: Near Crosswind Catastrophe

Here's why you never want to land in a crosswind...

Spectacular amatuer video captured a Lufthansa A-320's landing attempt at Hamburg, Germany on March 1, 2008.

From with thanks to Cheese Factory contributor Dan McGrath.

Black Hole Sun

Artist's rendering of orbiting supermassive black holes. Credit: P. Marenfeld, National Optical Astronomy Observatory.
You don't believe we're on the eve of destruction?

From CBC Radio's Quirks & Quarks, March 7th

Go To Jail, Go Directly To Jail

Do Not Pass Go.
Do Not Collect $200.

The man who made off with billions was told to forget the penthouse and report to the big house for swindling thousands out of billions.

Formal sentencing happens in June. The effective penalty: life without parole.

Madoff's victims commiserate with Katie Couric:

From the CBS Evening News, March 12th

Meanwhile in Iraq, the perp got 3 years for this:
McGruff the Crime Dog - National Advertising Council

Creat idea, Dog!

But don't you chew

on my blue suede shoes.

Okay, McGruff?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Hulu!

Can two rival networks with openly hostile cable news channels find love, peace and happiness together online? So far, yes.

NBC & Fox joint venture celebrates one-year of streaming full length TV shows March 12th. It has attracted lots of viewers and some big competition since it started. Jeremy Hobson looks into Hulu's future plans.
From APM's Marketplace Morning Report, March 12

Would you care for a chocolate tax?

Bad news chocolate fans, a doctor from Scotland is waging war on your favorite flavor for all things fattening.

David Walker, a family physician from Lanarkshire, says chocolate should have a vice tax, like alcohol and cigarettes, because people are eating so much it's contributing to obesity-related health problems. It should be made more expensive, to encourage them to eat less of it. And since the U.K. has universal national healthcare at government expense, his argument makes this political issue, not just a dietary one.

Dr Walker says consumers can buy chocolate with enough calories to match the total daily recommended intake for men and women for just £2.50 ($3.45 USD). And he's worried that people think nothing of eating a £1 ($1.38 USD) box of chocolates containing 2,000 calories in one sitting.

From BBC World Service, March 12 - Host: Shelagh Fogarty
Photo: Mike Myers as Fat Bastard from Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

Dueling Vodkas

Jessica Gollohor reports a battle of the vodkas in Russia was no contest, and really about political perceptions & power struggles.

The two brands vying for market share are named after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev.

Za Vas! (To you!)

From PRI's The World, March 11th

Any Color You Like

Global Map depicting average skin color of indigenous peoples

You know the word racism. How about colorism?

It's the term is generally used for the phenomenon of people discriminating on the basis of skin color variations within their own ethnic groups. And while colorism has diminished since the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S., pigmentocracy (a socioeconomic hierarchy based on colorism) still exists, here and elsewhere.

As part of a continuing series produced by The Color Initiative , reporter Philip Martin says Skin Whitening Is Big Business in Asia.

From PRI's The World, March 11th

There's A Little Yellow Pill

He won an Oscar: Best Supporting Actor. It was accepted by surviving family members, because Heath Ledger died from legally prescribed drugs whose combined risks were unknown to him. It happens... 600 Americans die every day.

The FDA calls them ADE's (Adverse Drug Experiences) including:

1) an undesired side effect like those you hear in disclaimers at the end of commercials
2) the lack of a desired effect, i.e. the drug fails to do what it’s supposed to do, and
3) paradoxical effects where a drug may actually aggravate the condition it was supposed to treat.

You'd expect the Food & Drug Administration would want to know about ADE's, and they do... for animals. If you Google "ADE drugs" (without the quotes) the first site that comes up is that of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine Adverse Drug Experience Reporting program.

Fortunately, humans reading this can go to PharmaSURVEYOR, a site which allows you to examine the side effects of commonly prescribed drugs, to search for the likely culprits for ADE's you experience, or to examine interactions of drugs you take.

Create a safety survey of your own drug regimen.

It's Free. No log in required.

Sports: Shocker at San Juan

The Netherlands defeated the Dominican Republic 2-1 in an 11 inning thriller at San Juan, Puerto Rico Tuesday, March 10, 2009.

Dutch Dismay Dominicans
From NPR's Day To Day, March 12

Where was A-Rod's cousin when his country was getting shot up by the Dutch?

"Who thought Holland had so many talented baseball players?
I thought they were famous for their dikes."
-- Craig Ferguson, The Late Late Show, March 12th

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I Dig Rock 'n' Roll Music

If your favorite local single-genre station doesn't dig deep or wide enough to satisfy your electic tastes, try DIG.

"Uninterrupted quality music with depth."

From the Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Aretha says: You Better Think

Is It Ever Wrong to Do the Right Thing?

That's the question residents of New York Mills, MN ask in this year’s "Great American Think-Off” philosophy competition.

Whether amateur, professional or philosopher king, the town’s residents want to hear from you... before the deadline: April 1st.

From PRI's Here & Now, March 10th

Angry Chimp Plans Revenge

Does the similarity between chimps and humans extend to premeditated crime?

Consider the nature of zoos and jails as you listen to Charles Osgood from March 10th.

The Osgood Files are heard weekdays on CBS Radio.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Your Own Personal Jesus

NIH says your brain thinks Jesus is a regular guy. And he says: 'Right back at ya. You're the man!'The National Institutes of Health report human brains respond to God as if He were just another person.

Is that proof that you can have a personal relationship with Jesus?

Not so fast!

The same study suggests our capacity for religion is relatively recent and developed as the human brain evolved its capacity for complex social interactions. Score one for Darwin.

Reach out, touch faith.

From NPR's All Things Considered, March 9th.

So... What If God Was One Of Us?

Any entry level guitar player knows you can play a whole lotta music with just a few chords. Some pretty good guitar players have even written songs about how much mileage you can get out of 3 or 4 of them.

Entertainment writer Marc Hirsh noticed that, too.

One pervasive sequence he labels the "Sensitive Female Chord Progression," lets you sing Joan Osborne's "What if God was one of us?" over the music of Sarah McLachlan’s “Building a Mystery” and many other tunes by potential Lilith Fair headliners.

Everybody sing as Hirsh and host Robin Young prove they have no future in musical theatre.

From PRI's Here & Now, March 4th

He's not paranoid, he's found a sinister baroque plot!

Thanks to Rob Paravonian.

It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere

Monday, March 9, 2009

Media Animals: Watchdogs, Lap Dogs or Sheep?

The era that defined Wall Street is finally, officially over. Michael Lewis, who chronicled its excess in Liar’s Poker, returns to his old haunt to figure out what went wrong.

"Where Were The Media As Wall Street Imploded?" Good Question.

David Folkenflik asks, looks for answers and raises more questions.

From NPR's Morning Edition, March 9th.


News Dissector Danny Schechter gets in CNBC's face.

Danny blogs too. Prolifically.


From MSNBC's Countdown, March 9th


From MSNBC's Countdown, March 10th with guest host David Schuster

This is your brain on Public Radio

Maybe because they get a foothold pretty early.

It turns out kids can distinguish right from wrong and social rules from moral rules far earlier than previously believed. Robert Krulwich and Jad Abumrad tell how they got down on the floor for a closer look.

From WNYC's Radio Lab & NPR's Morning Edition, March 9th.

He has a PhD in Horribleness

Aspiring super-villain Dr. Horrible (Neil Patrick Harris) wants to join the Evil League of Evil and win Penny, the girl of his dreams (Felicia Day), but his nemesis, Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion), stops him at every turn in this three-part musical.

From the mind of Joss Whedon.
His current TV series "Doll House" airs Friday at 9 ET/PT on Fox.

I am the Lizard King. I can do anything!

Geico Gecko, Gordon Gekko.

Gordon Gekko, Geico Gecko.

Now tell me, please.

Who's the real lizard?

Mad Hatter

Sports Commentator Bill Littlefield, host of NPR's "It's Only A Game," finds Economic Hope In Old Junk, Er, Memorabilia.

From the WBUR News Archives, February 25th.

What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas

Yeah, we know. We have to live with all the consequences even after you go home.

But having spent years and megabucks to create that party all the time image, the same people and politicians behind the ad promotion are shocked, appalled and all self righteous about President Obama's comment that this isn't a proper junket destination for companies being bailed out by taxpayers.

Andrew Kiraly was born and raised in Las Vegas, and in the words of one critic "he's still recovering." He writes columns in his capacity as managing editor of alt-weekly Las Vegas CityLife, audio commentaries on Nevada Public Radio, and "life.sentences" on his own site.

Here's Andrew's take on what Vegas should do next.

From Nevada Public Radio.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Guitar Track

Q: Who invented the modern solid body electric guitar?

Leo Fender, Les Paul or Paul Bigsby

A: It's complicated. But Maury Povich ran the DNA, and the test results are back.

Father Of Solid Body Electric Guitar

From NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday. March 8th.

Seth MacFarlane is one funny guy

See more from the creator of "Family Guy."
Don't make me use my nunchuks.

Penny Lane... sounds like my portfolio

Before it was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange, Citadel Broadcasting traded for one cent a share.

Literally a penny stock.

The company that bought out ABC Radio...
By the way, that sound you hear is the late Paul Harvey, spinning.

Learn a new word


I heard "screed" used to describe Gov. Jindal's response to President Obama's address to Congress. But that guy had more time to recover.

Is Amaretto an eye color?

I was on a bus in Las Vegas: Route 107 northbound. It doesn't run through the best part of town.

It was the first bus I took when I got here many more years ago than I ever intended to stay. And on that first ride, I noticed a school to train casino card dealers was all boarded up... but the sign that proclaimed "Your Future Starts Here" was still intact.

It's Vegas, baby... a town with a lot of mixed messages.

A normal run on the 107 makes you wonder whether fellow passengers have more teeth or tatoos. This run wasn't normal.

She stumbled a little while cramming everything back into the oversize purse from which she'd just scavenged exact change and plopped down next to me. Looking a little dishelved and frustrated, she went back to her bag and pulled out a netbook.

"Those are very popular," I said.

"You mean Acer?" Her face still directed toward the screen.

"Don't know about the brand. I mean the class of computer, netbooks. All over the world."

She made a quick calculation, and decided I probably had more teeth... or a least if the tatoo count were greater, not all of them were applied in prison. And as she turned to face me, the late winter sun shone on her face, and through her eyes.

"You must get this all the time, but you having amazing..." She was waiting for the obvious, but I threw a change up "... eyes."

"Huh?" They weren't an ordinary brown, more of a burnt orange tone. "What do you mean?"

"The color... Not really amber. It's kind of an aged whisky or licquer. Something you'd serve from a cut glass decanter."

"Thanks," she smiled. (Good teeth, too.) "You are the first person to ever compliment my eyes." Her face lit up a little brighter, this time from the inside. "Usually I hear I have a great chest."

"They've never seen you in this light, or as a whole person."

We had a nice conversation on the rest our ride. She went on to the terminal. She watched me get off a few stops before, a fat guy twice her age who hadn't shaved in four days, wearing a hoodie with a few bleached out spots and a crumpled baseball cap with clown hair sticking out at odd angles.

Not exactly shining armor. But you always remember your first.

Like I said: It's Vegas, baby... a town with a lot of mixed messages.

And if you meet Dee Saronno, tell her a knight said hi.

Basketball Joans

Two chicks walk into an NBA "presentation"...

No joke. Listen to a feminine perspective on all the hoopla that grew out of what began as a pretty straightforward 48 minutes of professional basketball.

Robin Young & Shira Springer talk smack 'bout the show biz behind the new "total fan experience" that is 21st century pro sports.

From PRI's Here & Now Friday, March 6th.