29 August 2003

Monumental Droppings

Until now, The Mainframe had successfully refrained from exploring the Ten Commandments Monument controversy.

That will continue.

But, before doing so, I wish to extend to you, my savvy reader, a sliver of the debate as seen through the eyes and ears of the fine people down South.

Lessons in email etiquette and grammar notwithstanding, you will find a little something for everyone in the comments sent to this fine station's website.

The Industry Strikes Back

Earlier this week, I posted a letter to the editor of a TV Station from a Broadcasting professor lambasting the Local TV News industry.

Herein is a rebuttal from a General Manager to Mandell's comments:

Response to 8/25/03 article "The Ten Little Secrets Of Local TV News":

I feel sad that Ted Mandell actually is teaching our future journalists.

His occasional honest discovery is simply overpowered by the other self-importance drivel and misdirected sarcasm. This whole thing sounds more like the e-mails I get from shut-in viewers with emotional problems, complaining about the President preempting Guiding Light. It certainly isn't instructive, and really just deserves a big "duuh!".

Local news isn't really very innovative any more; I'll give you that, but it certainly hasn't "rotted" for the past 20 years. Surely Mr Mandell is aware of the myriad ways that people get their information today - and the effect that's had on broadcast viewing, not to mention Local News viewing?

Those reporters and anchors (and producers) that he makes fun of are really just doing their job as best they can, inside the parameters laid out for them. If anyone should be faulted for the state of broadcast newscasts, it should be the GM's and News Directors who haven't taken the time, or had the guts, to create new and innovative approaches to news delivery. On the other hand, that's a tough call for an advertising-supported medium competing in an increasingly monthly fee-based business.

Bottom-line pressures are intense, because the audiences are being splintered, and broadcasters earn their living via accumulating large audiences. The economic models are different between broadcast and cable/satellite news nets, and that is causing lots of scrambling as we try to find our way in the 21st century...but we will find it, just as sure as we'll find better ways to do local news.

Mandell sounds like a person who actually believes that a perfect newscast model exists, and that we're all somewhere on the bad/good continuum toward it - and probably going backwards. What I believe is that our local newscasts are a pretty good reflection of what our society is, or what it tolerates (or both) and they'll be as different five years from now as society is different then. Who should set the bar for what a really good newscast looks like? Who determines the acceptance? When is it too raw?

How much teasing is too much? For broadcast, I believe it's the audience
that makes that choice. However, just as a pure majority choice can create some ugly societal outcomes, total dependence on audience preference would probably leave us with Jerry Springer news.

We need professional standards in news gathering and presentation, and that's where Academia best serves journalism. Rather than sarcasm aimed at the working folks, how about our academics taking the time to work with broadcast managers? That should make something happen in newsrooms, and maybe rather quickly.

Tom Long
WRGB, Albany/Schenecdady/Troy

27 August 2003

=W= Update

One day after releasing me from my funk, I find more good news regarding the boys of the Flying W.

Rick Rubin and Weezer? A match made in Heaven.

Read more about this production supergroup here and here.

26 August 2003

The World has Turned and Left Me Here

Have you ever been in a music rut?
You know, where no music really inspires you, or moves you, or just plain rocks you?

Well, I've been in a music rut for a few weeks now, and for the longest time, I couldn't shake it.

Until tonight.

Then I popped in the Blue Album and recharged my batteries.
Sure, it's arguably my favorite album of all time (and definitely holds the most influence in my life as the first to truly open my eyes to a whole new world). But, it's also one of the few records that I know can kick me out of a serious funk and help me to find the love in music.

So the question is: What album inspires you? Defines you? Helps you to break out of your personal music funk?
(Leave your comments in the aforementioned link below)

Letter to the Editor

A nice little diddy that I came across and wish to share with all of you.
To set it up, this is an actual letter to a TV station in Indianapolis from a "concerned" viewer.

Sharp writing that rivals a Simpsons episode.


The Ten Little Secrets Of Local TV News
By Ted Mandell, The Indianapolis Star 8/12/03
Submitted by Pennie Westers
Dear Paula Anchorwoman, attractive, upbeat reader of our nightly local TV news:
The charade is over. It's time for your viewers to let you and your happy-face sidekicks in on a little secret.

We're not the naive, non-thinking couch potatoes you think we are.

While you smile and tell us about the dangers of eating peanuts for men with oversized prostates, let me give you a history lesson in local news.

After growing for 40 years and then rotting for the next 20, local TV news coverage has fueled this fear-stricken, head-buried-in-the-sod society of ours for long enough. It's time for an overhaul.

Local news coverage was established to inform the public as part of a Federal Communications Commission license to broadcast. It was not intended to be a sea of teasers, shameless self-promotion and smarmy personalities.

Let me whisper a few other secrets into your earpiece:

* Delivering a sentence with dramatic pauses and roller-coaster nuances does not make the story important. Just read the script and quit auditioning for the next local production of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night."

* The word "live" is a TV term from the 1970s and has no meaning in today's televised world. Neither does "exclusive." We also don't care if you "brought it to us first." No one is interested in hearing, "As we reported to you first last week." Quit bragging like an 8-year old boy.

* No matter how many double dopplers, future tracks and weather guarantees, the meteorologist is only correct about half the time. And zero-percent accountable. Those aren't weather labs. They are pre-fabricated weather models sent from a consulting company. The weather reporter can stare at the Vegas-sized bank of video monitors all day long, but that won't make him capable of predicting Mother Nature with the pinpoint accuracy you claim.

This just in, sky-view cameras don't show us anything at night except street lights.

* Speaking of accountability, teasing a story with a question -- Could your garage door kill you? Do you know what's in your sink drain? Is your child safe playing in your front lawn? -- is blatantly irresponsible and unnecessarily provokes fear in the viewer, at least until after the commercial when we find out there's really nothing to fear. Stop asking me questions. I'm tired of screaming the answers back at you.

* My city is not as dangerous as you make it out to be. The insistence in putting a beat reporter on the steps of the courthouse gives the daily impression that my neighborhood is full of rapists, thieves and arsonists.

We're tired of seeing the same slow-motion footage of a low-life leaving the courthouse elevator every night. Ninety-nine percent of the people in my hometown are law-abiding citizens. Quit magnifying the few criminals.

* There is no such thing as an anniversary of a murder. Move on and throw the old footage away. We don't want to see it.

* Every story in the world is not logically linked to another. These waves of child abductions, plagues of Internet predators and flocks of armed schoolchildren are nothing more than an ocean of local muck-diggers desperately seeking some connection of every horrific event to their own hometowns.

* Being "live on location" does not mean you have information to provide to the public. It means you have a satellite truck. Schools are closed at night. So are city halls and churches. What are you doing standing out in the dark? Hey, Belinda Standup, get out of the cold and back in the studio.

* The newsroom isn't live, either. The cat's out of the bag. You're not answering impromptu, probing questions from your anchor. You're just reading a teleprompter of prepared text -- usually written at a third-grade level.

* It's time to fire the pricey news consultant who has turned your 30-minute show into a clone of the other 150 newscasts he services around the country.

Inventor of the insipid three-day special investigative report every sweeps period, his idea of creative marketing is slapping a cheesy slogan on your news team. "Taking Action For You," "We're There for You," "Together Making a Difference" -- Thanks, but no thanks. I think I'll go it alone.

Mandell teaches in the Department of Film, Television and Theater at the University of Notre Dame.
- courtesy Grahme Newell

23 August 2003

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Read about my 2 Favorite Parks on these links:

Kauffman Stadium Grade: 84 (T-3rd)
Ah, look at the pretty fountains.

Busch Stadium Grade 78.5 (T-8th)
Gotta love the Red Sea.
2 New Arms for the Redbirds

It pays to get spam mail from mlb.com.

This is the email I just received, hot off the wire:

The Cardinals added a pair of experienced arms to their
pitching staff on Friday night, acquiring right-hander
Mike DeJean from the Brewers and lefty Sterling Hitchcock
from the Yankees. St. Louis will send two players to be named
later to Milwaukee and minor league pitchers Justin Pope
and Ben Julianel to New York.

Read more about the trade here.

In other news....

....An 0 for 5 night after missing 3 games with flu-like symtoms, Pujols' streak was snapped at 30 games last night.
As if to add insult to injury, the Cards also lost the game 9-4.
Which just goes to show you how little Albert cares about the streak.
He's all about the team.

Re: Hiatus

So, it's been a week since my last post. I apologize for the neglect. I will tidy up here and there next week.
But for now, I'm happy to report that I won't be blogging until Sunday at the earliest.

Kirsten and I are finally getting away for the weekend and visiting Hot-lanta. It should be a fun-filled and packed 2 days of vacation.

In the meantime, I'll leave with this Week's Deep Thought:

Children need encouragement, so if a kid gets an answer right, tell him it was a lucky guess. That way, he develops a good, lucky feeling.
-Jack Handey


15 August 2003

The Hits Keep On Coming

Prince Albert is as it again.

Albert Pujols singled, doubled and tripled, extending his hitting streak to 29 games.

This time, instead of waiting the whole game to pad his streak, at least he did my heart the service of getting it on the second pitch he saw, roping a fastball to right field.

Entering tonight's game, Pujols is hitting .379 over the life of the streak. With that first hit, Albert passes Ken Boyer for second place on the Cards' all-time list, with Rogers Hornsby's 33 games the record.

Unfortunately he wasn't the only one crushing the ball tonight. The Phillies batted around in the first inning, ttagging 14 game winner Woody Williams for 5 runs on 6 hits.

That inning turned out to be the difference, as the Phillies takes the opener 7-4.

Notes: The Cards continue their series tomorrow against the Phils at 7:05 ET.
On the Mound: STL Haren [3-3, 3.74] vs. PHI Myers [11-7, 3.78]
photo courtesy stlcardinals.com

13 August 2003

Return of the Jedi

Gotta finish out the theme.

Does life get any better?
I spent the evening tonight watching my three favorite teams play their respective games, The Braves, The Cards, and the Royals.
Below, a brief look at all three games:

The Good
The Braves, adopted due to geography, exact revenge over the Padres with another gem by Hampton, winning 7-1.
Hot in the dog days
Tonight's win is Hampton's seventh straight and moves his record into double digit W's on the season. The Bravos remain the best team in baseball, with a record of 77-42.

The Bad
The Cards' bullpen blows another lead (albeit slim), with Pedro Borbon Jr. giving up the GW single to Randall Simon in the bottom of the ninth after 2 quick outs, losing 5-4 to snap their 4 game winning streak.
The Hits keep on Coming
Albert Pujols passes Lou Brock with another 3-run jack tonight, his only hit of the night.
Pujols: 1-for-4 | 3-run HR (34, 6th inning off B Meadows 2 on, 0 Out) | 3 RBI (108) | 1 RS | 0 BB, 0 K, 0 LOB

and, The Euphoric
The Royals jump all over the Yanks, shutting out the Empire 11-0.
Jeff Weaver has a rough outing, giving up 13 hits on the way to his 9th loss of the season. Torre isn't helping him out much, leaving him in to eat up innings and save his somewhat suspect bullpen.

The Ape's return
Great game for Kevin on the return to "Planet Appier", going 6.0 scoreless innings, giving up 3 hits, walking 1 and punching out 2.
Affeldt comes in to relieve Ape in the 7th, continuing his dominance since moving to the pen.
He doesn't dissappoint, going 2.0 innings, allowing 1 hit, walking 1 and ringing up 3.

Jeremy hands the ball off to Leskanic, who finishes off the shutout with a scoreless ninth.

Sweeney's back
The Captain's 2-for-4, 4 RBI performance tonight help spark the Royals' dominance over the Bombers tonight, which surely exact revenge on his feud between he and Weaver.
All is not lost for Jeff Weaver.

The 40,000 fans attending the game tonight should give him a pat on the back. His 13-hits-allowed performance alone awarded every ticket holder with a dozen free donuts.

Me thinks the Krispy Kreme stores in the Metro area will be packed all week long.

12 August 2003

All is Right with the World

It's that time of year again.

Tuesday Morning Quarterback makes its triumphriant return.
The Empire Strikes Back

The Bad News...The Yanks blank the Royals 6-0 on 8 shutout innings by Mussina.
The Good News....Beltran's back.

Stay tuned for the final episode tomorrow on The Worldwide Leader in Sports.

Appier makes his home debut at his old stomping grounds.
A fun time for all indeed.

Tomorrow's Matchup: 8:05 p.m. ET @ Kaufmann Stadium (Live on ESPN)
On the Mound: NYY Weaver [6-8, 5.44] vs. KC Appier [7-8, 5.53]
26...and counting

Our man Pujols continues his torrid pace, hitting safely in his 26th straight game with a big night at the plate, 3 for 5 with 3 RBI and 3 runs scored, including a 3-run homer in the 1st inning.

Tino Martinez also hit a 3-run jack as the Cards waxed the Pirates 10-6 for their 4th win in a row.

Notes: Pujols' streak is the Cardinals' longest since Lou Brock's 26-game run in 1971. Rogers Hornsby holds the team record with a 33-game streak in 1922.
courtesy ESPN.com
A New Hope

The Star Wars metaphor is just too easy. A scrappy alliance of rebels (Royals) wage battle against the "Evil Empire", or the Bronx Bombers, whichever you prefer.

Game #1 result: Royals blast a franchise-record 11 double-sackers for a 12-9 win over the Yanks.

Tomorrow's Matchup: 7:05 p.m. CT @ Kaufmann Stadium

On the Mound: NYY Mussina [12-6, 3.35] vs. KC May [5-5, 3.65 ]
Your vote counts in 2004

The Berroa Rookie of the Year media blitz continues, courtesy of everyone's favorite Kansas City Star columnist, Joe Posnanski.

Hurry up and jump on board.
Deep Thought of the Day

The memories of my family outings are still a source of strength to me. I remember we'd all pile into the car - I forget what kind it was - and drive and drive. I'm not sure where we'd go, but I think there were some trees there. The smell of something was strong in the air, as we played whatever sport we played. I remember a bigger, older guy we called "Dad". We'd eat some stuff, or not, and then I think we went home. I guess some things never leave you.
-Jack Handey

Dubya - Now with Kung Fu Grip!

In case there were any who felt the real thing was a ridiculous Photo op, this goes a long way to supporting that theory.

11 August 2003

Hittin' the Links

Playing a Par 3 Course in my brother's hometown of Springfield, Mo. last week has sparked a new interest: Golfing with Kirsten.

Yeah, I know it sounds like a bad instruction video, but I believe this far-fetched little plan of ours may soon come to fruition.

KO and I have discovered a diamond in the rough, or golf ball in the rough, to help simplify the metaphor:
A little out-of-the-way par 3 course nestled in the Columbus metro-swallowed town of Bibb City, and couldn't be more perfect for what Kirsten and I have in mind.

We should play our first round later on this week. Stay Tuned.
An Angel in the Infield

If you haven't heard yet, my Kansas City Royals are wowing the entire league with their resurgence and rise to the top of the AL Central standings.
At press time, the boys in blue maintain a slim half game lead over the Chicago White Sox, and one of the main reasons for that is an "Angel" in dusguise.

Angel Berroa (pronounced An Hail) has electrified the growing crowds at Kaufmann Stadium all year, and finally a goundswell hath begun for his consideration for the AL Rookie of the Year.

Interested to see how this kid has helped the Royals? Read on and Believe!
Pujols Update

Just when I think that this kid can't do anything else to impress me, Prince Albert surprises me again. It's phenomenal the season Pujols is having, and his game-winning solo shot off the best closer in the game just adds another chapter in the already stellar saga of this young man.
With that homer, Mr. Pujols extends his hitting streak to a career high 24 games, with the final at-bat providing a little drama the last three games

I don't care what anyone says: Pujols for MVP!

06 August 2003

An Old Face

The Royals acquired Kevin Appier today after he cleared waivers from the Anaheim Angels.

We can only hope he regains his own form.

03 August 2003

Foreign Coorespondence

Good Morning.
I'm coming to you from our branch division in Springfield Missouri where I'm taking a 5-day "vacation" to visit our SW Missouri team, Casey and Nicole (My brother and his girlfriend).

I also met with other team members from the Missouri branch, namely (in order by height, shortest to tallest).
Aunt Suzanne, my mom Chris, my cousin's new bride, Amari, the aforementioned cousin Gavin, my dad Mike, and my uncle Jerry. Suzanne, Jerry, Amari, and Gavin come to us from the Moberly office, while Chris handles the original home office in Kirksville, with Mike manning the Kansas City branch.
Now that we have the exposition out of the way, a brief synopsis of our trip to Springfield.

Day 1 | Thursday, 31 July 2003 | 8:01 am
I say goodbye to the homestead before trekking off to Atlanta to catch my 11:23 flight to Kansas City. Since I'm secure in my masculinity, I can safely that I miss my girlfriend and our Zoe terribly already. What can I say? They're too damn cute. Seriously, I'm lucky.
9:20 am
Made good time to Hartsfield, plus with the conveinence of being a Delta customer, I made it to my plane gate in about 25 minutes upon arrival.
Things were looking up.
9:50 am
Settle in to put a dent in the book I'm reading, Moneyball. With a hour before boarding, the day seems promising.
11:10 am
Begin boarding Flight 1236. Looks like we'll take off on time.
11:42 am
Plane leaves gate 15 minutes late. We're not shocked.
1:10pm / 12:10 pm
Change watch to Central time. All time is Central forthwith.
12:20 pm
Plane touches down in Kansas City. Another death averted.
12:45 pm
Meet my mom in the pick-up zone. Not a "perfect pick-up, but damn close.
1:30 pm
Eat lunch at Cracker Barrel in Lee's Summit, Mo. (Mom's choice). Leaves little to be desired.
3:00 pm
Arrive at Independence Center in Independence Mo. Buy a Royals and Cardinals T-shirt (cause they're so easy to find in Columbus). Buy Kirsten a present.
5:30 pm
Leave for Kauffman Stadium to catch the Royals-White Sox clash at 7:00 pm.
6:00 pm
Arrive at game. Immediately head for our seats (Section 306, Row K, 1 & 2). Proceed down to field level to catch remnants of White Sox batting practice (1 HR). Head back to our seats. Stop to grab concessions and a scorecard plus pencil.
7:10 pm
First pitch: Called Strike for Kyle Snyder to Roberto Alomar.
10:57 pm
Final out: Royals lose 8-6 in 11 innings. A valiant effort, but the White Sox sweep the series in KC, pulling to within a game of first place in the AL Central.
11:10 pm
Dejected, we begin long trip south to Springfield.
2:00 am
Arrive at Casey and Nicole's. Shortly thereafter, fall asleep reading Moneyball.

Stay tuned for the rest of my trip...
Pujols By Proxy

Kirsten Says:
Being the kind, generous, and sweet girlfriend that I am, I've updated the "Pujols Watch" in Cory's absence. Enjoy.