Monday, June 30, 2008

Road trips for you?

The New York Times ran several opinion pieces last weekend about gas prices. We liked this one by Michael Paterniti. It's about the Great American Road Trip.

So what are your thoughts on that? Is it truly a rite of passage? Are you going on one this summer, or did you have to give one up?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Imus is at it again...but who cares?

I saw the headline about Don Imus’ latest racial flap yesterday, read a little bit of the story that followed ... well, enough to get the gist of what happened, and I instantly had a reaction: I simply shrugged my shoulders and said “Eh...”

I could care less. In fact, I even chuckled a little bit. Not because racism or offensive language is funny, at least not in this context, but because I really don’t get the point of even getting upset about it anymore.

As my favorite gossip queen Wendy Williams always says – it is what it is. Nothing to see here folks.

Yeah, I know it’s a huge contrast from what I felt the last time he spouted off one of those racially charged comments. And I still stand by what I said in the aftermath of that incident.

I just feel like the point was made, action was taken and even though he’s back on the air, he's forever marked his place in history for the ignorant racially insensitive comments he made. He's forever tainted. Case closed.

In fact, part of me, only a small part, could actually consider his claim that he was only saying what he said out of defense for black people, not to attack them.
Call me dumb, na├»ve or just plain ol’ bamboozled, but I actually could see his point, if that is the truth, and the irony of it all is what tickled me.

I mean, if Imus truly was making the comment to point out another case of racism, it’s comically ironic that he gets ragged for being racially offensive.

On the other hand, if he was foolish enough to put his racism back on display after all the hell he caught the last time, he's just proven once again that's he's an idiot hell-bent on self destruction.

It’s like he’s reached that point where you just wanna say “Gramps, just sit down and hush.” Either that or he’s once again found a way to inject himself back into the media spotlight, which ultimately means more ratings, big bucks or whatever else.

Whatever ignorant comments he makes at this point are irrelevant – nobody should care.
And I’ve given him enough attention in this post, so I’ll just once again shrug my shoulders and say “eh…”

What do y'all think? Or are you saying "eh..." too?

Ode to George Carlin, former Barksdale airman

By now, everyone has probably heard that George Carlin has passed.

I found this interesting, though:
Carlin was stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base in the 1950s, serving in the 376th Bomb Wing's 376th Armament and Electronics Maintenance Squadron, and working part-time as a disk jockey at radio station KJOE, whose other staffers included Wolfman Jack.

Exhibiting the rebellious streak that would run through his life, he received three court-martials and numerous disciplinary punishments, according to his official Web site. He received a general discharge in 1957, and 20 years later was able to return to the area to perform at the Municipal Auditorium telling nothing but Barksdale and Shreveport jokes to fill an hour of stage time. Read the story in full here.
I also didn't know that his "Seven Words" routine led to a key Supreme Court ruling on obscenity. I mean, I knew about both of them but I didn't know they were intertwined. My favorite class in college was Communication Law and Ethics. I don't know why, but the legal system related to communication law is fascinating to me.

Anyway, I just wanted to share this.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Race and rights -- what can be more controversial?

I guess abortion and war. Maybe. But people around here love to talk about race -- even if they don't really do it.

For instance, when someone hears me say I had to cover a shooting, they always want to know if the victim was black or white. Today someone was trying to describe the patrons of a night club to me as "urban." Do they mean city dwellers? I think not. The list could go on...

Here's a story from the middle of the Pacific that I thought was interesting. Being a Native Hawaiian myself, I think about this a lot. Being a journalist myself, I'll withhold my opinion.

But does anyone out there care? In northwest Louisiana, folks tend to think of things in black and white, regardless of the influx of Hispanics and Asians. (Some contend Hispanic is an ethnicity that can be grouped into the black or white races. Thoughts on that?)

Do you think the U.S. government or anyone else should be held responsible for actions (now) dead men took more than 100 years ago against people who are no longer living? (Congress apologized for it in 1993.)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Remember when ... "Inflation woes :0("

In preparing to write a new post, to remember how to write HTML to link to a Web site, I came across this post from just a little more than six weeks ago. I thought I would re-publish it, just for kicks -- and to see if anyone's thoughts have changed.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Inflation woes :0(

So, I was pretty irritated today after I went down to the Coke machine to buy a 'pop' (yes, I still call it such even after four years of living in Louisiana). I was SHOCKED and annoyed when "1.15" popped up on the window instead of the machine moving to get me a soda for $1.10. I wonder if this is due to gas prices?

I was already thinking about blogging about gas prices because it hit me hard the other day when I stopped to look at the price of gas. "Are we REALLY paying $3.47 for gas?" I said aloud. Now, I doubt I'll ever be asked to give my opinion about gas prices, seeing as how I drive a Corolla and probably wouldn't be targeted for interviews by newscrews. So I'm giving my opinion here.

Even though I fill up less often and pay LESS for a tank of gas than others, I still think $3.47 (or whatever today's price happens to be) is OUTRAGEOUS. But I'll still keep pulling my debit card out when I need to fill up every two weeks or so. Hey, I don't complain much about gas because I know I really only fill up about once per pay period unless I'm traveling. But I DO remember when I traveled to Las Vegas on my way to Louisiana and thought $2.05 was a good bargain for gas in that city in February 2004. Once I made my way into the desert, the price dropped to $1.65 and I was intrigued by the change after just a few 100 miles on the highway. Oh, and at the time, I had a 22 gallon tank in an old 1993 Chevy Caprice Classic, so I THOUGHT I had it rough then!!!

So, what do YOU think about these higher gas prices? Do you see inflation anywhere else around you? And, how about those oil companies? (Do you think, "Don't even get me started"? Please do!)
Posted by Stephanie Bemrose at 4:50 PM
Labels: gas prices, inflation

mahogani (the media goddess) said... wait until you go to a local convenience store and try to score a regular-sized candy bar .... it's a DOLLAR! (remember when they were 59 cents?)

my circle k cappucinos have gone up 30 cents as well (boooo)

oh and don't forget the $4 milk! sheesh ..

pretty soon we're gonna need government assistance for gas and groceries.

1:45 PM
Donecia Pea said... That's SO real mahogani, it's getting kinda scary.

And THANKS Stephanie for giving us small car drivers a place to rant about gas prices without getting chewed out for complaining by the SUV and truck driving folks, lol.

I know it could be worse, but for someone who used to be able to spend anywhere from $7 to $10 to fill up my now 7-year-old Honda Civic, these rising gas prices KILL me. I mean it really is all relative. For me, spending $35 to $40 a week to fill up hurts my pockets as much as spending $100 would for someone who can afford an SUV. It's just all bad.

But I've never made the connection between rising gas prices and that ever-rising pop machine downstairs. (Ummm, I'm a lifelong Louisianan and I've said 'pop' all my life, lol. In fact, so does my entire family.)

3:26 PM
Ashley Northington said... Don't even get me started!

Last week I paid $55.30 to fill up my solara and it didn't reach even reach the full line completely!!!

I looked up and saw my bill had climbed over $50 and nearly had a heart attack. It's getting ridiculous. Oh, and milk prices? I can't even risk it. Milk is now a luxury for me. I only buy it when I absolutely need it.

Everything is going up...except the 27.5-mile gas/driving reimbursement.
I read over this blog and thought, "Wow --- was I REALLY complaining about $3.47 for gas prices? I'd be GLAD to pay that today!"

And I also think that we are -- or at least I am -- very grateful that Gannett IS increasing our driving reimubrsement to match the increase in fuel costs.

So ... do you have any new thoughts on inflation woes due to an increase in fuel costs, food costs and pretty-much-every-service-in-the-United-States-that-depends-on-trasnportation-in-some-manner costs? Please discuss.

PS -- look at this, that JUST popped up on the News of the Day as I was editing this blog: Wholesale prices bolt higher in May. Well, yeah, duh!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The mixed count

Recently I've come across a couple of interesting media offerings that look at what it means to be mixed race. The topic has re-emerged in conversation partly because of the way the Census Bureau started counting people in 2000 and because of Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama. (Interestingly, he continually is referred to as the first black contender from a major party.)

An MSNBC report looks at the rise in number of people who identify as multiracial. There obviously will be some growth just because the feds now are paying attention.

Being of mixed race myself, I always like to hear what people think about the subject. Does how you look make you identify more with one of your parents' families than the other? What do people say when they find out you are mixed? Do they ask?

It is particularly interesting here in northwest Louisiana where a common question is "Are they black or white?" Obviously, that excludes quite a few other races.

Read the report and watch The New York Times video below and tell us your thoughts.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

We are as bloodthirsty as ever

I watched an ear explode Saturday night.
It took place during a mixed-martial arts fight between Kimbo Slice and James Thompson. The two fought in the main event of an Elite XC card on CBS.
Slice, who is an Internet legend for his backyard brawls, has become a spectacle in the MMA world. He won his first few fights, albeit against less-than-stellar competition, in spectacular fashion, all knockouts in the first round.
His fight Saturday was a different story. He was actually losing the fight going into the third and final round, when the unfortunate incident happened.
Slice's opponent, Thompson, had one of the worst cauliflower ears I've ever seen.
For those who don't know, a cauliflower ear is caused when the cartilage is damaged and fluid collects. The ear then thickens, and sometimes becomes unrecognizable.
While Slice was the reason people tuned in Saturday night, it was Thompson's ear that stole the show.
Every time Thompson ate a punch from Slice, his ear wiggled from the shock. A wiggling ear in slow motion is a sight to behold. My buddies and I were transfixed. We started calling Slice's punches "earwigglers."
Finally, Slice threw a right hook that caught Thompson square in his deformed ear, and it exploded. Blood spewed, and we all cringed in unison. It was spectacular.
I've been watching MMA since I was in high school, back when Royce Gracie, Dan Severn and Ken Shamrock were running the UFC, and I've never seen anything like that before.
We were all expecting Slice to punch it. Thompson's ear had a big bullseye on it, and it was just a matter of time before Slice exploited it.
After it was all over (Slice won by TKO in the third round), I started thinking about the spectacle that I just witnessed. Not the fight itself, but the experience of watching the fight in a crowded place with eight or nine friends.
It was akin to the scene in "Gladiator" where the crowd was rooting for death. Although the situation was not nearly that dire, we were just as bloodthirsty.
I'm not just the casual MMA fan. I enjoy the science the of the sport. My favorite fighters are B.J. Penn and Anderson Silva, who are brilliant technicians.
But like the casual fan, I love a good knockout, and I'm drawn to these circus acts, like Slice.
Let's face it, Slice isn't a top-level fighter. He's a brawler, who's milking his 15 minutes for all its worth.
The fact that I'm drawn to him, and so are millions of others, says a lot about our society as a whole.
It has been hundreds of years since gladiators fought to the death in the Coliseum. In that time, we've made astronomical advancements in every facet of our lives.
When it comes to our most basic, primal instincts, however, we haven't changed much. Although, we don't want to see anyone die, we certainly celebrate seeing someone knocked unconscious.