Thursday, September 16, 2010

Don't worry, TV will save us.

The new season of "The Apprentice" started tonight. I managed to sit through the first 3 minutes after "The Office" ended, which is 3 more minutes than I've ever seen.
This season, Donald told us that "I've had enough" of the economic downturn and he is supposedly determined to do something about it. So, he has decided to take 16 out-of-work professionals and pit them against one another in his little TV show contest, with the promise of making one of them his apprentice. Hence the name.
But, as is the habit around there, Donald is going to have to fire 15 of them in order to get to the eventual winner. Isn't that defeating the purpose of doing something about the unemployment problem? Waving a carrot in front of 16 people for 12 weeks and firing all but one doesn't seem to me to be doing very much about the growing unemployment problem. But it's probably good TV, and that's all that matters.
Meanwhile, new census numbers are out that say that 1 out of 7 people in America are living in poverty. That's up from the last time numbers came out, and I suppose it's about time for a reality-based TV show to finally step up and do something about it.
Anyway, it's sad to think that 14% of our population (43.6 million people) lives at or below the poverty level, which is the highest level since the 1960s and 1 percent higher than it was in 1998. Good times. The next time somebody uses the phrase "that's how the other half lives," you can correct them and say "that's how the other 86 percent lives." It's way more than half.
The 2009 poverty level was set at $21,954 for a family of four. Think about that, and put it in perspective. Four people living on $21,954 a year, minus taxes. That's poverty, folks. if you asked a bunch of people what they thought the poverty level was, I'd bet they would say something higher than $21,954 for four people, especially if they based it on what they earn and what they owe and what they want but can't afford.
Perhaps it will serve to put your own life in perspective or make you think about what you need versus what you want, and realize just how fouled-up people are who make 3 or 4 times that much and are losing their home because they can't make the mortgage payment.
We're spitting out kids at a great rate, running up debt and living for luxuries that our parents didn't have. I wonder if we realize what is really going on in the world? Sadly, not everybody has Donald Trump to care about us and put us on television. Thats a priviliege reserved for 16 lucky people.
Unfortunately, only 6 percent of them are going to find a job.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What channel is TV Azteca?

In stark contrast to yesterday's post about walruses in Alaska, we now turn our attention to foxes in New York.
Inés Sainz of the Mexican television network TV Azteca, claimed that she was harassed by players and coaches in practice and in the team's locker room last Saturday. From the New York Times:
The New York Post reported that during drills, Dennis Thurman, the team's defensive backs coach, purposely overthrew passes that landed near Sainz on the sideline. The Post also reported that linebacker Jason Taylor volunteered to join the defensive backs. Players also reportedly made sexually suggestive comments in the locker room after practice.
"I die of embarrassment!" Sainz wrote in Spanish on her Twitter account. "I am in the locker room of the Jets waiting for Mark Sanchez while trying not to look to anywhere!"
Really. She die of embarrassment. Tweeting from the great beyond. You'd think a reporter would be more careful with the language. By the way, it's interesting to me how many news stories start with a reference to someone's Twitter or Facebook page. Investigative journalism is now confined to sitting in a room and surfing the web.
I suppose we'll never get over our repressed sexual feelings. Men, when they get within 3 feet of a woman, start to act differently and talk differently. They don't act that way when the woman isn't very attractive, and it's interesting that TV Azteca would ignore centuries of inherited behavior and throw Ines into the breach. And equally as interesting that Ines would choose to ignore it to, by dressing provocatively in front of sweaty athletes. Maybe they thought she was a secretary.
Speaking of which, before yesterday, did you know who Ines Sainz was? Of course not. She's such a non-factor that when you search her name in Wikipedia, it redirects to TV Azteca. Check back tomorrow, I'm sure there will be a full page with her complete employment history - as soon as somebody figures out what that was.
So maybe ... just maybe ... she knew what she was doing? Of course, that doesn't excuse the boorish behavior of the children who populate the Jets' locker room. I guess acting like a bunch of kids is part of the NFL experience.
Is it necessary for her to go into the locker room? Men coach a lot of women's sports and I would guess that they don't get to go into the locker room until they get the "all clear" from some female assistant. I'd guess the same thing holds true for male reporters covering women's sports. If I had to guess, I'd say there is a double-standard going on, since women are not supposed to be the sexual deviates that men are. That's why I particularly enjoy the news stories where a female teacher has sex with a male student. I like to see balance.
The other thing I enjoy is when athletes engage in some heinous behavior and we are supposed to believe that they are somehow above all that. They're a bunch of mesomorphs who happen to be able to play sports at a high level. They don't have advanced degrees or years of training in some higher discipline. God knows what they'd be doing if they couldn't catch a football or run really fast. They're just dopey guys. Stop asking them to act like you act.
So, here we have a group of football players (some of whom are college graduates) who find that the best course of behavior when confronted with an attractive woman is to hurl footballs at her and make sexual remarks. Welcome to the fifth grade.
And welcome to the world of instant Internet fame, Ines. Your fifteen minutes are starting now.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I'm glad I'm not the walrus.

WASHINGTON – Tens of thousands of walruses have come ashore in northwest Alaska because the sea ice they normally rest on has melted. Federal scientists say this massive move to shore by walruses is unusual in the United States. But it has happened at least twice before, in 2007 and 2009. In those years Arctic sea ice also was at or near record low levels.

The population of walruses stretches "for one mile or more. This is just packed shoulder-to-shoulder," U.S. Geological Survey biologist Anthony Fischbach said in a telephone interview from Alaska. He estimated their number at tens of thousands.

Walruses have shoulders? If your name is Fishback, does destiny require you become a marine biologist? Anyway, check your local park, because walruses might be moving in soon. It's beyond me how anyone can contest the concept of global warming. All you have to do is check the polar regions.

During normal summers, the males go off to play in the Bering Sea, while the females raise their young in the Chukchi. The females rest on sea ice and dive from it to the sea floor for clams and worms.

"When they no longer have a place to rest, they need to go some place and it's a long commute," Fischbach said. "This is directly related to the lack of sea ice."

Loss of sea ice in the Chukchi this summer has surprised scientists because last winter lots of old established sea ice floated into the region, said Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado. But that has disappeared. Although last year was a slight improvement over previous years, Serreze says there's been a long-term decline that he blames on global warming.

"We'll likely see more summers like this," he said. "There is no sign of Arctic recovery."

Hey, what's a few displaced walruses as long as we can have industrial development, carbon monoxide and our wasteful lifestyle? Go ahead and dispute global warming if you want, but it's hard to dispute melting ice and displaced animals. Why is it that some people can't understand that?