Greatest Show

Television 1 Comment »

I am really thinking about buying a big screen, high-definition television, one of those monster things that illuminate the better part of the house, one that you see on display in the store and your breath catches in your throat, one that you can nickname “The Monolith”. Sure, watching football would be fantastic. I purchased the NFL package so that I could watch all the Green Bay games, so a HD would almost be a logical acquisition. I imagine that things like The History Channel would look great in HD. An archaeologist unearths a rare artifact that has not seen the light of day for thousands of years, and in HD, I would see ever little details, almost as if I was side-by-side with this world-renowned scientist in the ancient ruins. No, neither of those are the reason. There is one show that I believe warrants the cost of high-definition, repainting the walls of the room a neutral color, and creating stadium seating. That show is Dateline. The portion of this newsprogram that is HD worthy, To Catch a Predator.

The entire premise of the program is to catch grown men that attempt to arrange sexual liaisons with underage girls. BEFORE WE GO FURTHER, PLEASE READ THE DISCLAIMER.

Disclaimer: Sex with minors is wrong. Under no circumstances should a grown man have sex with a young girl. I am not condoning the actions of online predators. Such behavior is unacceptable and wrong.

We clear? If you’re not sure, read the disclaimer again.

We’re on the same page now? Is your outrage in check? Are you ready to continue?

To Catch a Predator goes around the country and invites these predators to a house where they believe they will be meeting a young girl alone for the purposes of sexual activity. (If your blood pressure is rising, read the Disclaimer again.) The young girl is a “decoy” who invites them inside the house has them sit down, relax, and after a few minutes of conversation Chris Hansen appears.

The look on the faces of these guys is priceless. That’s why I want a HD set. Then the litany of crap that these guys spew, and the look on their faces as they try to explain away the unexplainable… priceless. Some guys recognize Hansen immediately and fall apart. Some guys try to freeze their face and talk to this strange guy who has just entered the room.

Sometimes, Chris Hansen looks like he is trying to restrain himself from leaping across the room and strangling the perpetrator.

After Hansen has gone through a few questions, he lets the men leave. Outside is a squad of police. Supposedly, sex offenders have a few hard time in prison. Let’s face it, everyone has a mother, some have sisters, aunts, cousins, daughters, etc… No one likes someone who would take advantage of their loved ones. Well, the police usually look ready as all hell for an excuse to kick the ever-living crap out the guys leaving the house. Quite frankly, I couldn’t imagine what it would look like if Dateline cameras were not there filming. We’re not talking about guys who are going to get much “benefit of the doubt”.

OK. Maybe I’m mental, but this is television at its best. I could watch this crap all day. I’m sorry, but watching scumbags stutter and stammer and try to talk their way out of the situation… DAMN!!! Have you every just watched someone lying to you? Don’t you just stare in amazement, thinking to yourself, “Do they actually think that this line of shit their feeding me would fool anyone? I’m getting stupider listening to this.”

I wonder if they could ever bring in guest hosts. Imagine Mr. T hosting.

Additional Links
Predators by the Pool
Predators with some video modifications
Predators and Pool Tables
Twice Busted Predator
The Predator with No Face

Rationalization

Personal Comments Off

Have you ever made excuses? Have you ever made excuses for someone else? Did you ever have a friend whose behavior you had to explain away to someone else? Did you ever have to consider that friend as “just the way they are”? You or your friend may be involved in the process of rationalization.

When a person engages in this process they usually justify their actions to themselves. “I had a good reason.” “You just don’t understand.” I’m sure you can fill in the appropriate qualifiers.

What process does the person who continually excuses this behavior go through? Are they rationalizing rationalization? Sounds like a slippery slope.

You can’t choose family. If you choose to deal with them, you will likely have to cope with this process in some form or another. It may be for your own piece of mind, or it may be for their well being. What happens when you cannot cope any longer?

Example: You have a relative who continually misses appointments. They constantly claim that their “mind was elsewhere”, or “things are just crazy for me now”. You know, for a fact, that they simply put it lower on their list of importance and simply ignored the appointment. You’ve made excuses in the past, both to others and to yourself, but now you’ve reached a point where you can no longer stomach this form of behavior. Confrontation is useless. For lack of a better term, they are they way they are, they are not going to change. Making an argument will only serve to elevate your heart rate and perhaps cause you a headache. What can you do?

Anger – Sadly, this is a dead end street. It will only lead to depression as you are unable to change someone else’s thought process.

Tit for tat – Show them what it feels like. Also a dead end street. You have never acted in such a manner before, in fact, you used to make excuses for this form of behavior. Your actions will be an obvious ploy. Useless.

Acceptance – This brings you right back to where you started.

It appears that it is impossible to convince someone else to stop rationalizing, especially if the condition is chronic. The only way to stop this behavior is for the person that rationalizes to recognize that is a problem. However, when you are knee deep in your own justification, why should you change? You’re not the problem.

The Spirit of Radio

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Lately, I’ve been listening to a decent amount of AM radio. These are the reasons:

1. I’m disgusted with FM radio. The personalities, the music, the lack of any form of quality whatsoever… I can’t stand it. Sure, maybe I just don’t like much of the new music that is going over the airwaves these days, but I’m not sure that is a bad thing. I hear enough bad music at the gym. There is nothing that is enticing me to turn on FM radio, much less travel to the record store.

2. I’m getting older. Perhaps something happens when you pass the age of 30, but I noticed that radio listening is part of an older generation. Before there was a television in every home (much less a television in every room), people listened to the radio. Boxing used to be broadcast over the radio. If you didn’t go to the ballpark in the olden days of baseball, you didn’t see the team in action.

3. I’m a musician and writer. The last reason will take up the bulk of this article.

Television rules the roost. There is no question about that. We have changed from an aural society to a visual society. The nature of education and teaching has changed to incorporate more visual imagery than every. Books are even making their way to screens. The history of tomorrow will be stored in newsreels and dramatizations, not passed down from a speaker around a fire.

Television, by its nature, requires less active participation from the audience. There is no need to visualize descriptions, nor is there much need to stretch your imagination. The image is there, you don’t have to make one up. For example, if you read a book, no matter how well a character is described, there is a process that must create that character in our mind’s eye. If you read the same description to a group of 10 and then had a police sketch artist draw each person’s description, there would likely be 10 different pictures (with similarities, of course).

The radio causes us to utilize our mind’s eye. If we are listening to the description of a game, we have to make the field in our mind. If we are listening to a commercial of two guys drinking beer, we are likely to picture our favorite watering hole.

Personally, I listen to National Public Radio (NPR) a good deal of the time. I started listening to it because they broadcast the BBC news. A British take on foreign affairs can be a nice alternative to US broadcasts. While this attracted me initially, I came to enjoy the various stories and radioplays. These usually consist of human interest stories, but can range from the humorous to the painful. Here’s a fantastic example from This American Life. Around the 8 minute mark is the beginning of a different take on the dysfunctional relationship that exists between Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble. I’ve also become a huge fan of A Prairie Home Companion.

It’s very unlikely that shows like this would ever make their way onto television. First of all, the cost to hire actors, cameramen, cameras, etc… would probably be too high. Second, and joined with the first, is the fact that there probably isn’t a huge audience for this type of programming, so there might not be an outlet. Granted, This American Life has a program on Showtime, but as you can tell, certain stories would probably be cost-prohibitive to place on the air.

Back to my original point three. Because I write and because I enjoy using my ears (as a musician), there is something about the spoken word on radio that is entrancing. That and the fact that I really don’t enjoy too many programs on television.

The Passion of the Knicks (Part 2)

Sports Comments Off

104-59?
One-hundred and four to fifty-nine?
The Celtics scored one-hundred-four points, and the Knicks only scored fifty-nine?
ONE HUNDRED AND FOUR TO FIFTY NINE?!?!?!?!?

It is truly not the Knicks of the 1990’s. If this had happened in the days of Anthony Mason and Charles Oakley, the score of the game would be secondary. The lead story would be the body count cause by these two basketball men of pride.

I really don’t give a damn that the Knicks beat Milwaukee and Utah. I’m not going to be suckered this year. Every year, there is always a glimmer of hope, some shorter than others, but every year, I get suckered back into watching games only to have my heart shattered.

2005
Larry Brown becomes coach of the Knicks. He won a championship with the Pistons, and took them to the finals the next year as well. He can bring defense back to the New York Knickerbockers. He can utilize Stephon Marbury to his fullest potential. Oh… it will be glorious. Was it? HELL NO!!! For the first time, the Knicks were not just loosing, they were boring as hell to watch. They didn’t care, and don’t anyone out there tell me, “You’ve never played in the NBA. These guys want to win, and they’re giving it their all every night.” BULLSHIT!!!! The fans were asleep in the stands following the lead of the players that were asleep on the floor. You could tell when players would break off scripted plays for hail-Mary like attempts at the basket.

Damn it. Give me something to root for. I can live with an underdog, but not an underachiever. Fine, you’re going to loose to the best, but damn it, look like you’re trying to pull the upset. By “trying”, I don’t mean throwing a God-damned hissy fit like a six-year old that didn’t get the Barbie Doll she wanted. Christ Almighty!!!

2006
Larry Brown is fired. Lord only knows what happened behind the scenes. It must have been something very bad for Larry Brown to leave over $40 million on the table and accept just $18.5 and don’t tell me he just didn’t want to deal. People will deal with a hell of a lot for $20 million. There isn’t much people won’t deal with for $20 million.

Isaiah Thomas takes over as coach of the Knicks. They actually show some signs of life. They’re not great, but they are a team I can root for. I can look at them and say, “They’re trying. They’ve got heart.”

Isaiah gets a contract extension. The Knicks promptly leap into the toilet bowl.

2007
At best, the Knicks have to strive to reach the level of mediocre.

<pause>

I cannot switch allegiances. I’ve always been a Knicks fan, and for better or worse, I always will be. I’ve tried to get behind other teams, to enjoy their winning ways, or at least their valiant attempts. (Don’t you wish the 2005 Pistons were in New York uniforms? Damn… that was a team I could root for.) Nevertheless, the success of any other team only reminds me of the abomination that is the New York Knicks.