Archive for the ‘media’ Category

The Midwest In A Global World

Jim Russell posted a link to Dick Longworth’s interview on Chigago Public Radio about his new book called, Caught in the Middle: America’s Heartland in the Age of Globalism. Dick seems to be thinking about a lot of the things I have since I came to Pittsburgh more than 4 years ago. The entire center of the country seems to be slipping off the global map and losing it’s vital connections to the world, right at the moment it needs them most.

The world only seems to be flat for those regions that are interested in actively embracing it and doing everything they can to stay actively linked to it.

Jim posted this on Rust Belt Bloggers.

Professor Pausch = Captain Pausch

You might remember Randy Pausch, the computer science professor diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer whose inspirational final lecture has, well, inspired a lot of people.

Since I originally wrote about him, Randy has since been on Oprah, among other things. Though that particular milestone probably wasn’t on his famous list of things to accomplish, one of the other things became a little more attainable.

J.J. Abrams, director of the newest incarnation of Star Trek (a movie that co-stars Pittsburgh native Zachary Quinto), heard about Randy’s long-held wish and made him an offer:

So, I just wanted to put the invitation out there — that if you had any desire to be in the film (can’t promise you role as CAPTAIN, but… we could do SOMETHING!), it would be my honor and pleasure.

Like any good fan, Randy took J.J. up on the offer – you can read about his adventure on his blog (you’ll have to scroll down a bit for it).

Pittsburgh Family gets Reality TV Technology Makeover

The Zaharkos family from Allison Park is getting a home technology makeover from My Home 2.0. This appears to be some sort of reality show/promotion for Verizon that is swooping in and giving families technology makeovers. You can stop by for the block party and be part of the reveal. Kind of like Extreme Home Makeover but this is all about technology.
My Home 2.0 Block Party – The Zararkos Family
Saturday, November 17, 1-4pm
Concord Drive & Chase Place, Allison Park, PA
The Zaharkos family really needs one as you can see from this video. They have 1 computer for 11 people – Mom Zaharkos admits she is afraid of technology so it will be interesting to see what happens when technology takes over their home.

Perils for Pedestrains on Pittsburgh

Perils for Pedestrians is a monthly tv show that airs on the DISH network, public access and (thankfully) the internet. This months episode is all about Pittsburgh.

–We talk with the head of Bike Pittsburgh;
–We learn about Friends of the Riverfront;
–Free Ride recycles abandoned bicycles;
–The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission looks at transportation issues;
–A study at Carnegie Mellon University examines the history of pedestrian crashes.

I have watched part of this episode and I am eager to see the whole thing. I am thrilled to see anyone advocating for more pedestrian safety. Especially since Pittsburgh is #14 on on the Forbes list of most sedentary cities. This video is also great because it shows off some of the great things going on here in Pittsburgh.

A difficult choice

Yes, that’s a Planned Parenthood logo, and no, I don’t mean that kind of choice.

The Post-Gazette reported yesterday that WDUQ, the only radio station I listen to, was pressured by their Catholic masters to refuse underwriting from Planned Parenthood of Western PA:

Duquesne ordered WDUQ (90.5) to stop airing a series of underwritten messages from the reproductive rights and health-care education group, saying that Planned Parenthood isn’t aligned with the university’s Catholic mission and that the station isn’t required to accept donations.

That is, of course, true. It is also true that I am not required to continue sending WDUQ the ten dollars a month I have been giving them for years.

Much of this is personal to me. Not in the sense that I have ever directly used Planned Parenthood’s services; I never have. They refuse no one help, but I have never needed it.

I was raised Catholic, and spent kindergarten through eighth grade in Catholic school. I was not in a position to do much thinking about what we were being told until second grade, but from then on it was a hell. I spent six years being told that it was sinful to believe the conclusions my mind reached and the directions of my conscience. It was self-evident to me that there was no God watching us, that prayer was a waste, and that the dogmatic positions of the church, especially on the sorts of things they argue with Planned Parenthood about, were idiotic. Saying this meant punishment, not saying it meant feeling cowardly: was it any surprise I trouble for my teachers?

In the midst of writing this it seems ironic that my greatest blow-out with the higher-ups at my school (I will not give the name, except to say that it was called the Carlow College Campus School, and sending your children there should be considered child abuse) put WDUQ more or less on my side.

When I was in eighth grade I heard on Morning Edition one day as I was getting ready for school that it was National Condom Week. This was the early nineties, when the public had finally started to catch on to AIDS, perhaps thanks to the HIV awareness episode of Mr. Belvedere several years prior. I went in to school and shared this information with everyone, as I was in eighth grade and thought that the idea of a week for condoms was pretty awesome.

This was the event that ultimately, after some escalation, led to my somewhat early exit from Catholic education. I thank WDUQ for that gift, and for years of great radio programming. I am even appearing on an already taped program on DUQ later this month.

However, I support the mission of Planned Parenthood, and they and I support similar ends in politics and in society. My friends support Planned Parenthood, and some have gotten help there that they could not have gotten anywhere else. I dislike the people who oppose Planned Parenthood, especially the most vocal of them, the psychopaths who picket their headquarters.

So, WDUQ, which has given me a great deal while asking for little in return, takes the side of the Catholic Church, which I have every reason to hate. Doing so, they run up against an organization that does a difficult and necessary job.

On my way to work yesterday I saw a group of people standing at the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Allegheny River Boulevard with giant signs featuring photos of fake dead babies, liberally spattered with blood and gore, and I was pushed off the fence. I am unable to support anyone who takes the side of those people.

I canceled my WDUQ membership this morning.

Perhaps we could “deposit” it in the trashcan?

From a Post-Gazette editorial on a misguided recycling/deposit law that was never in danger of passing in the state legislature:

While freshman state Rep. Lisa Bennington, D-Morningside, deserves credit for trying creatively with HB 1839 to fund the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Fund, this flawed proposal should be canned if not bottled up.

Only one awful pun per sentence, please. For instance: “:Not a prayer: Religion can’t justify harmful acts under the law,” the hilarious headline to an editorial about the rape of a 14-year old girl. Now that is a good use of meaningless reflexive wordplay.

This is where I’m’a gonna be tonight

Do you like dumb jokes about local politics written by people whose background is in journalism rather than comedy? If you are reading my weblog posts, I think I can assume the answer is yes.

Tonight, at eight o’clock, is the premiere and closing, because people will need to go back to their real jobs tomorrow, of Off The Record VII, Pittsburgh’s best and only annual musical comedy written by journalists. The journalists in question here are the employees of the Post-Gazette. The employees of the Tribune-Review were invited to help, but they were all busy trying to cover up their boss’ divorce.

Call 412-456-6666 (three sixes are evil, but five sixes means fun for everyone) for tickets. You can find me by turning around in your seats and gazing high into the nosebleeds, because I can’t afford your fancy sixty dollar tickets.

Dexter and Pittsburgh

Last week I was telling a friend about the fact that two women had been found cut in half in garbage bags in Homewood. He response was “that sounds very Dexter.” Honestly, I had no idea what she was talking about – I assumed it was some reference to the cartoon Dexter’s Laboratory. Not wanting to admit to cultural naivety, I just changed the conversation. In the past few days I have seen some promos and now understand that Dexter is a show on Showtime. The show is about to start it’s second season and the first season received some great reviews.
According to Wikipedia – Dexter is “serial killer Dexter Morgan, who works as a forensics analyst specializing in bloodstain pattern analysis for the Miami-Dade Police Department.” The series is based on the book Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay.

Some Dexter Trivia:
Jeff Lindsay is married to Ernest Hemingway’s niece.
– Dexter’s girlfriend is played by Julie Benz who was born in Pittsburgh and attended Franklin Regional High School.

So it was serendipitous timing that I received an email today from someone at Showtime (who also has a fondness for Pittsburgh). There is going to be a promotion of sorts for Dexter in Pittsburgh (and in 14 other cities ) tomorrow.

Area fans can meet us at PPG Place, Downtown to pick up Dexter goodies
including a preview DVD with the first episode of Dexter season 2.
I suggest you bring your camera to capture the scene ­ should be pretty

We¹ve created a Flickr group so anyone who stops by can share their photos
with Dexter fans around the country.

All they would tell me is that something will be happening between 11am and 5pm tomorrow. I will stop by and try to take some pictures. If you are in the area snap some pictures and send them over to the Flickr group.

Fake News and the City

I’ll be the first to admit that I have a real problem when it comes to local news – essentially, I can’t get enough of it. For instance, you know those severe weather marathons that take up an entire’s evening worth of television as they highlight summer thunderstorms descending into places like Sligo and Vandergrift? While most people are so annoyed by them that they might take the opportunity to turn off the tube and say, read a book, I’m totally there on the couch with a tub of popcorn relishing every moment as I flip between Schwenneker and Verszyla. Needless to say, I’m on pins and needles with anticipation for the latest local news station to hit town – Channel 9 WURG, the fake Pittsburgh channel to be featured on Fox’s upcoming sitcom “Back to You” starring Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton.

Youtube Boobs

Sadly, the stat counter seemed to show that not that many people are very concerned about the important Youtube Man boob issue. This concerns me because the word boobs has always been one of the best ways to attract web traffic. Here is another video about the exploitation of women to get web traffic.If I was not here nothing important would be talked about.

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