Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Hey I know this song

What is this song?

It's on my iPod... OH YEAH! That's Brothers Martin! On NBC!

That pretty much was the conversation as Sara & I watched TV last night. I heard The Brothers Martin featured on some NBC show I couldn't name.

I don't know, but I still get a kick out of hearing one of "my" bands on TV.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

State senator sues God

He's suing God. Like a 12-year-old with nothing better to do that show how smart he is, Ernie Chambers is suing God.

I've been known to be a know-it-all. Like the time in grade school I intentionally switched the order of the last two planets on a quiz. I wanted to make a point that Pluto and Neptune's orbits cross, so Pluto's not always last. (That's when Pluto was still a planet, you whipper-snappers). Or the geography test where I correctly said the Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World) is in New Jersey. Look at a map. It's in Jersey waters. Once again, I made my point.

Now Ernie Chambers is doing it. And it's just as juvenile.

This is the same guy who once wanted to authorize capital punishment for Santa Claus, Martians, and for state senators named Ernie Chambers.

Did I mention he's not just a state senator, but the longest serving in Nebraska?

His amendments on the death penalty were there to make a point. He opposes the death penalty, and wanted to make a statement about what he felt was the arbitrary nature of who's sentenced to death.

Well he's at it again. This time he seeks a permanent injunction against God for floods and tornadoes.

His point isn't to take God to court. Just wanted to clear that up.

The national pundits who see the story on the internet will assume that's his beef. He's a liberal atheist who's sticking it to Christians. But that's not really the case. This isn't one of those "in God we trust" suits.

True, Ernie's never one to miss a chance to toss intellectual grenades at flocks of the faithful, hoping the ensuing shrapnel will pierce the fluffy pelts of the thin skinned. He loves nothing more than to see Conservative Christians get bent out of shape protesting him. So including God in his lawsuit is there only to bait Christians, who will in turn miss the point he's really trying to make.

At issue was a Nebraska judge who would not allow the words rape and victim to be used in a rape trial. So the victim sued.

Senator Chambers isn't against frivolous lawsuits. In fact, he pretty much supports the right to sue over almost anything. I tend to think that's his point here. He's ticked at his fellow lawmakers who tried to restrict so-called frivolous lawsuits.

He could have sued Santa Claus or Martians. But with term limits, his time in the spotlight is almost up. So what better than to sue God.

I'm sure the following isn't an original thought, but once in court, so help him, how will God swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Keanu, Rush, and Me

So I didn't really meet Keanu Reeves, but he did walk past me during the USC-Nebraska football game last night. So did Rush Limbaugh.

I guess Will Ferrell was there, but I didn't see him. He's a USC fan. Nebraska's answer -- Larry the Cable Guy. Makes me proud to be a Cornhusker ;)

We also interviewed Terry Bowden on our pregame show. You can add him to the list of famous football guys we met -- Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Chris Fowler, Sean Salisbury, and some radio guys who it turns out were probably the most appreciative.

Photos forthcoming.

Friday, September 14, 2007

A reporter, not a personality

Some get into TV news to become a personality. They hope to parlay good looks and some news experience into a job on the E! channel or somesuch.

They're the ones more worried about the "me roll" than the "b-roll". (B-roll is the TV term for video footage that will go with soundbites to make a story).

Tonight I had a chance to get some "me roll". I interviewed not one, but six broadcasters from ESPN tonight. That's Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Chris Fowler, former Minnesota Vikings QB Sean Salisbury, and two radio guys (who turned out to be super gracious). They're all in the area for the big USC-Nebraska match-up.

But the guy whose interview will make my story truly a tale worth telling isn't on TV. He's the stage manager, who happens to be from North Platte and graduation from the University of Nebraska.

If you wanted proof I'm a reporter, not a TV personality, there you have it. The story, not the reporter, comes first. It's a lesson I learned early, but sadly it takes other years to learn.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Journalism horror stories

Sometime I need to share some journalism horror stories.

Like the co-worker who always wanted me to ask federal officials about the latest hot button state policy issues. He never did get it that U.S. Congressmen don't vote at the state capitol. I had to tell them they were the guys who went to Washington, so no one cares what they think of the legislature's school funding bill.

And it gets much worse. Much. Worse.

But a good rule of TV news is to tease the viewer, making them stay tuned for more. So that's what I'll do now... leave the good stories for another time :)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Don't you know you'll destroy people's lives?

"Don't you know you'll destroy people's lives?"

The young man, probably only a few years removed from his high school days stormed out of his place of employment.

"I'm going to need to see some credentials," the haughty young man said.

Credentials? I thought to myself I'm never asked to show credentials. I don't need them at the courthouse, or even with the governor. They know who I am. Maybe when the President came to town I needed credentials. But that's it.

He continued, "I didn't give you permission to take my picture".

"I don't need your permission," I replied. "I'm on public ground."

Some sonic wall must have intercepted my words. But I continued.

"I'm sorry I have to be here today, it wasn't my choice," I countered. "I'm only doing my job."

"What right do you have to be here?" His questions proved to be rhetorical. The landscaping employee had no interest in hearing any answers.

That's because ICE (a cool new name for the INS) had just visited his employer.

Turns out they arrested 19 workers suspected of being illegal aliens. Plus the boss went to jail too, federally indicted for hiring illegals and paying them under the table.

I understand the young man was frustrated. I wouldn't be happy to be working for such an operation either. But if you don't want the feds, and in turn the news media to show up at your door unannounced, don't break the law.

I'm just the messenger.

It often startles me when subjects of bad news tell me I don't have the right to report on them. It's even worse when public servants pull this. You'd be surprised. (Or maybe you wouldn't). In small towns, seems the idea of looking in a public court file or city council agenda nearly requires a court order. The vast majority of public employees I deal with are great. But there are those, who like the young man, ask what right I have.

There's a little thing called freedom of the press. Thanks to the NRA, people fight for their second amendment rights. But how many remember the first amendment? You know, the one that allows you to worship as you please, speak your mind, assemble and petition the government? Yeah, that goofy thing also gives me the right to report on your bad news. Sorry.

Will a small market TV station's minute and a half long report be someone's demise?

But while I could have laid out these arguments, the young man instead parked a company truck in the way of my camera position. Then he jumped in a second truck, laid down some rubber, and screeched past me, nearly losing control in the process. Civil discourse, to the last.


Don't you hate it when you click your car's remote, and the mailbox fails to open?

You mean yours doesn't work that way? Hmmm, mine does. Well, I guess I've never tried until today, but I sure thought it would work. Why else would I have pressed it?

It's kind of like those times I've been driving down the road, and suddenly feared I left my keys at home. You know, the ones right there dangling from the key in the ignition. D'oh!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

iPods killed the video star

Seriously, when did rock 'n roll die?

Apparently the ability to play instruments factors little into today's pop music, or so the annual MTV Video Music Awards would lead one to believe.

We didn't get to see a complete song from a single rock act. And those we did hear snippets from either peaked ten years ago (Foo Fighters) or will be quickly forgotten (Fall Out Boy).

There's really not a band even nearing the same level as U2 or Bon Jovi, let alone Red Hot Chili Peppers or Coldplay.

That's not all bad. A lot of arena rock and stadium rock bands of the past frankly stunk.

And there are tons of decent bands that either play regionally or rely on an internet fan base. They don't need label support, radio play, and heavy rotation on MTV. I think we're officially beyond that.

A killer live show coupled with a strong web presence is enough to get by. Not Aerosmithian fame, but not fleeting like some quickly forgotten flavor of the month.

I think of bands I like, like Mute Math, Anberlin, and Mae. I think these are bands that will put out more than an album or two (and mostly have). I think these are bands that continue to play for a while. I think we're going to see a lot of these mid-level bands, and fewer acts reaching U2's stratosphere.

(That's not a knock on U2, after all they are still my favorite band of all time).

But as Sara and I were talking during this farce on MTV, honoring videos no one has seen, the iPod may have killed the video star.

Of course, these things are cyclical. Britney certainly appears done. That turn of the millennium pop is out, thank goodness.

Hip hop certainly has proven its staying power, but it does feel very clean and poppy. When it gets too safe for suburban America, the tide could change.

So, as expected, the VMAs pretty well sucked. But then again, I loose all credibility when I suggest they should have graphics up telling me who these performers are. When you have to ask, you're too old.

We'll have our Fall Out Boys and My Chemical Romances, but for each of them we'll have a bunch of quality acts too. And those will be artists we don't have to shell out $150 bucks to see in an arena. So maybe the rock isn't dead after all; It's just gone to television purgatory.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

How Men Cope With Being Cast as Predators

"Our society, while declining to profile by race or nationality when it comes to crime and terrorism, has become nonchalant about profiling men."

An interesting statement made by The Wall Street Journal.

As a youth leader at church, this is something I can relate to. By virtue of hanging out with kids, will people think I'm some sort of predator?

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Are you ready for some football?

The season kicks off today! I think we'll celebrate with nachos, and yummy snacks :)