We take requests …

Some blog-friends of mine asked that I include the following, and I’m happy to do so … best wishes to Orien Rose.

Blogging for Orien Rose

Orien Rose is a miracle. She is a nine year old girl who, just over a year ago, was in a horrific boating accident. There was skull, facial, and brain injury. Really bad stuff. Tomorrow morning, Tuesday, June 24th, she is having surgery, and we are looking for as many people on this earth as possible to simply think of her, and send positive energy.

You should see her now; have a look at this article (http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080621/NEWS/806210333/-1/COMM) from the other day. Orien is an exuberant and hilarious kid, and the interviewer doesn’t even mention how she burped the entire alphabet for him.

If she were doing only half as well as she is, the doctors would still be baffled by the speed and thoroughness of her recovery.

She is alive, well, and burping today due to teams of skilled and dedicated paramedics, doctors, nurses, and therapists, the fierce dedication of her parents, and the power of community. Orien Rose has been prayed for by Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and Santeros, she’s received energy from witches, Reiki masters, and anyone willing to simply hold a positive image in their minds for a moment.

Tuesday morning she faces the final hurdle: Replacement of the missing portion of her skull; a coordinated effort by neurosurgeons, plastic surgeons, and infection control specialists. AND by the people who’ve been sending her positive energy of myriad forms for this past year.

Orien, her father, asks that people put a reminder on their alarm clock. A reminder to just think about Orien Rose when you wake up. They check into Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, R.I. at 6:30 AM (eastern time) and the procedure begins an hour or so later, and it will go on awhile, so whatever time you get up will be fine.

You can read Christine’s blog (http://moonfinderbeams.blogspot.com/) about Orien Rose’s progress, and their progress as a family.

Feel free to repost this on your blog, or link here, or write your own version in your own words (or all three).

Oh! And now that I think of it, if you do go to Christine’s blog, leave her a comment. I’d like to see her blog crashed by the spike in activity.

Thank you for being part of this very real miracle.


I spent a fair amount of my childhood watching Harvey Korman on television and in films. He was never the lead role, but he stole every scene he was in, whether it was a Carol Burnett sketch, a scene in a Mel Brooks film, or playing the Great Kazoo on The Flintstones (“Hello, dumdum …”).

Now I know what people (usually older people) mean when they say “they don’t make ’em like that anymore.”

Looking upon the current state of entertainers today, they sure don’t.

In loving memory …

And if you really want to laugh, go to the last :45 of this clip

I don’t want this blog to be about just posting the latest YouTube clip, but take a look at this (you can skip to 2:10 to see the part that everyone will be talking about):

Sometimes one of these clips d’jour highlights a point or two that’s been rattling around in my head.  In this case, the clip fascinates on a couple of levels …

1) If I ever were to produce a political television or radio show, I’d really like to try to institute a policy that stated that no one would be booked as a guest whose opinions we already know.  No spokespeople, no aides, no Matalin/Carville, no dopey radio hosts.  I don’t want to hear from anyone who’s job it is to pre-determine answers to pre-determined questions.  I realize that these shows don’t work this way, and screaming heads prevail in the fight for ratings.  I get it.

And I know that Matthews is partisan himself, as a former Carter speechwriter, but I really don’t think I could listen to this Kevin James character, no matter what he’s talking about, for more than 10 seconds without jumping out a window.

Maybe I should just tune into NPR and shut up, but jeez, I’d so much rather listen to reasonable people say less exciting but more intelligent things.

2) It is refreshing to hear a moderator basically stop the flow of the show and call someone out.  Think about how often some bozo says something stupid and everyone on the panel lets it go, or just doesn’t notice.  I don’t watch Matthews very much but this one scores a few points.

More at 11.

Doesn’t get any better than this …

Hail Friedman!

As I’m sure that I will comment on Friedman regularly here, let me just say flat out that I’m a fan. Not a blind disciple. Not a lemming. Just a fan of his work for his clarity and his talent for making very complex concepts very easily understood.

I haven’t heard anyone else say it, so let me be the first: Welcome back, Tom!

On Sunday, the most reasonable voice in American letters returned to his semi-weekly column in The New York Times. In his first column of the year Tom Friedman writes:

My own totally unscientific polling has left me feeling that if there is one overwhelming hunger in our country today it’s this: People want to do nation-building. They really do. But they want to do nation-building in America.

They are not only tired of nation-building in Iraq and in Afghanistan, with so little to show for it. They sense something deeper — that we’re just not that strong anymore. We’re borrowing money to shore up our banks from city-states called Dubai and Singapore. Our generals regularly tell us that Iran is subverting our efforts in Iraq, but they do nothing about it because we have no leverage — as long as our forces are pinned down in Baghdad and our economy is pinned to Middle East oil.

Friedman’s focus on the petro-fascism theme, which he also discussed on Wednesday, is endlessly fascinating for a number of reasons.

Most notably, you don’t hear a lot about it anywhere else. The recent debate about eliminating the gas tax goes right to the heart of this issue. As a Friedman reader, I view the candidates’ positions in relation to his writings on the topic (which make sense to me). When McCain and Clinton supported rolling back the tax, and Obama did not, it helped crystallize for me what type of president each candidate would be. It’s not the be-all, end-all, but it helps provide perspective.

Additionally, it highlights Friedman’s innovation mantra. I’m fascinated by his decision to see issues in terms of innovation – the heart of America’s strength. As a writer (and not a politician), he can afford to do this. Maybe I’m simplistic (or simple; or both), but I find it hard to argue with his logic. Innovation is our secret sauce, and we have been giving it away while we focus on smaller, pettier issues.

Can’t wait for the book, Tom. Welcome back.

Stage Right

Writer/journalist Malcolm Gladwell a couple years ago got up on a stage in New York City, at a get-together called The Moth, and regaled the audience with a story from his early years as a writer at the Washington Post.

Gladwell image

The Moth is a not-for-profit outfit designed to recreate the romance and mythology around the spoken story. Sounds noble enough.

Gladwell’s story recounts a contest that he and another young journo had to place specific, yet ambiguous phrases within the texts of their articles, for kicks. Gladwell tells his yarn with his usual easy charm and self-effacing style. The guy’s a pro.

The live telling made it onto a March 2008 episode of the radio program This American Life on NPR. From then on, you’d have thought that he recited the Gettysburg Address without crediting Lincoln.

You see, despite The Moth’s proclamation that its stories can indeed be tall tales, NPR did not include a strong disclaimer in its broadcast and people began to investigate the story as though it were written on a tablet.

Jack Shafer in Slate wrote a 3-page expose “separating bunk from fact” in the story. In “The Fibbing Point,” (props for the name) Shafer takes a magnifying glass to every sentence Gladwell uttered on stage. Everything from the hiring standards at the Washington Post to the consideration of Sydney as the location for a 1992 international AIDS conference comes under scrutiny.

Evidently, Gladwell EMBELLISHED a number of facts in his story. The horror!

Citing that such Fourth Estate pillars as Page Six and Gawker were duped, Shafer says that this is necessary because when the story went from the stage of The Moth to NPR, it “changed the equation.” But does this change of venue really make Gladwell more responsible for the truthfulness of the elements of his story? Of course it doesn’t. What we’re talking about here is whether NPR had an obligation to repeat the full disclaimer, or not.

But Shafer seems to think that Gladwell had the responsibility all along, (“Not once does he interrupt himself to say, You shouldn’t really be taking this seriously“) and must show contrition for his actions.

Some people on Gladwell’s blog have indicated that the quality of the story is based on its being true. One commenter, olegna, writes “This anecdote is not as funny when you realize it’s not true, and after hearing the story be told it’s clear you want people to believe relevant points in the story to be true.”

Look, I enjoy looking up the facts from films that are “based on a true story,” as much as the next guy. We’ve all Googled “Henry Hill” and searched “Frank Lucas” in Wikipedia. It’s fun to see how Hollywood takes the messiness of real life and works it into a linear screenplay. Why is Gladwell held to a higher standard than Ron Howard, or the Coen brothers?

Point is, when you want to scrutinize a story, you’ve got to consider the context of its telling. If Gladwell had written his tale in the New Yorker, he would have a responsibility far greater than when he is on stage talking (unpaid) to a few enthusiasts.

If you’ve not already heard it, take a few minutes and listen to the audio stream linked above. It’s also downloadable off the Moth Podcast section of ITunes. Warning: some of the events of the narrative may have been embellished, altered, or tweaked in order to make the story … funny. I trust you’ll enjoy it anyway.

Hey there!

As they say, write what you know.

First blog attempt here – hoping to build something I’m proud of.

My purpose, with your help, is to create a place where we trade, discuss and share opinions about the current state of media. That could mean all media, or whatever subcategory we may wish to focus on. Let’s see what develops.

Anyway, I’ll start by occasionally posting items, thoughts, etc. concerning the media landscape, and generally stuff I find interesting, thought-provoking and cool.

Since no one really knows me, I’ll share a selection of my taste, so you know where I’ll be coming from on my posts.

Favorite writers: Michael Lewis, Malcolm Gladwell, James Surowiecki, Thomas Friedman, and others that might be considered similar.

About me: I currently run sales for a division of a major media company, and consider this blog an extension of my professional communications. One of the reasons I decided to jump into the blogosphere is to create a hub where folks with the same professional interests as me can connect, discuss, share and occasionally inspire.

So that’s my rap. I’ll get to posting real entries soon enough, and will start to spread the word when I think I’ve got something worth your time.

Thanks – hope to see you back often.