Category Archives: Orange Is The New Black

Hot Camelot Air

Dallas

Fifty years ago today, the nuns at St. Giles school told us we were to go home when class started after lunch. I had no idea why.

I did know Sister Caelin seemed sad.

When I got home, I found my mother obsessively vacuuming the same spot on the living room carpet. Looking closer, I realized she was crying. It was the first time I ever saw her cry.

I wondered if I was in trouble.

The TV was on. Ma never had the TV on during the day. Simpler times, you know. TV watching was for night time, after work and dinner, school and homework, and all the day’s chores had been completed. Ma noticed me standing there, staring at her.

“Mike,” she said, dolorously, “President Kennedy is dead.”

Then I cried.

Dealey Plaza

Dealey Plaza Today

I knew who President Kennedy was. He was the boss of America, a man bigger even than Chicago’s Mayor Daley, a fact I was just starting to wrap my mind around.

I knew Mayor Daley could tell my Dad what to do. It was very difficult for me to grasp that someone could tell Mayor Daley what to do.

That night, I was sorely disappointed to learn that regular Friday night TV programming would be suspended in favor of wall to wall assassination coverage. I found it very unfair.

As the weekend went by, I came to understand the gravity of the killing of a president. I also came to understand how fragile all our hierarchies, relationships, and systems were. I saw Lee Harvey Oswald get whacked by Jack Ruby. I tried to get used to saying President Johnson.

Johnson

The President?

I began to get that everything in this weird world — save the world itself — was temporal.

In these more hyper-sensitive, more protective days, a lot of parents might advocate shielding seven-year-olds from jarring news like the murder of a president. Kids have plenty of time to grow up, they might say. Kids aren’t prepared for that kind of reality.

To which I’d reply, no one is prepared for that kind of reality. And, I’d add, the weekend of John F. Kennedy’s assassination was the first and most effective introduction to the real world this little kid could possibly receive.

I have a lot of issues with the things my parents did and didn’t do in raising me. But the fact that they never shied from telling me the unvarnished truth about world affairs or family secrets wasn’t one of them.

For that, I thank them.

And On And On And On And….

The WFHB soap opera continues. As recently as Sunday, for instance, acting general manager Cleveland Dietz was pondering what he might do with the rest of his life.

Now, he knows where he’ll be spending his days at least through the end of the year. This week Board of Directors president Joe Estivill as well as regular Board member Richard Fish have approached Dietz, asking him to remain on the job through December 31st.

Estevill/Fish

Estivill & Fish

The Board will vote on the extension at Monday’s meeting.

Meanwhile, insiders are certain the board will start the entire GM search process over again, meaning the community radio station won’t have a permanent boss until April.

Which is ludicrous.

This latest development, following the withdrawal of controversial choice Kevin Culbertson earlier this week, would mean WFHB will have gone almost an entire year without a general manager.

A state the size of California can pick its governor in less time. And, in case the Board doesn’t know it, California is bigger with a far vaster budget, and hundreds — perhaps thousands — of departments, bureaus, and offices. Plus, the job pays a hell of a lot more than WFHB will pay its future leader.

This whole “national search” business is a pretense the station can no longer afford. WFHB is a community radio station; its leadership should come, naturally, from a local pool of people numbering a minimum of 200,000, if the latest census figures are to be believed. If the Board can’t find a GM in that crowd — which, by the way, includes the students and faculty of a major university — they’re not looking hard enough.

In fact, the three finalists for the job from which Culbertson was plucked include a former GM of this very station and a proven fundraiser for non-profit organizations. Even if the anti-Chad Carrothers sentiment is deep enough to preclude him from ever getting the job again (a situation that, too, is ludicrous), why can’t the Board fall back on Dena Hawes?

The argument against her that she has no media experience is a red herring. Hawes can raise dough. That should be of paramount concern. Jim Manion can continue to run the Music Department and Alycin Bektesh can keep News humming. They’re both good at what they do. WFHB needs a top dog now. People with money burning holes in their pockets just might begin to wonder if this rudderless ship is worth investing in.

The Board Monday ought to commit itself to finding a general manager within a month. That’s it; 31 days. It can be done. Big organizations, corporations, and even governmental agencies do it all the time.

The Board would do so if it was smart. My guess is when Tuesday midnight rolls around we’ll still be looking at an April target date.

Word Trivia

Do you know what a snowclone is? Neither did I until just the other night, when I came across it somewhere, somehow.

It’s something you and I probably have used a dozen times recently. In fact, if you’re a fan of narrowcasting comedy-dramas, you likely have watched Orange Is the New Black. The title of that Netflix production is itself a snowclone.

From "Orange Is the New Black"

OITNB

Here’s the definition, according to Know Your Meme®:

Snowclones are a type of phrasal templates in which certain words may be replaced with another to produce new variations with altered meanings, similar to the “fill-in-the-blank” game of Mad Libs. Although freeform parody of quotes from popular films, music and TV shows is a fairly common theme in Internet humor, snowclones usually adhere to a particular format or arrangement order which may be reduced down to a grammatical formula with one or more custom variables. They can be understood as the verbal or text-based form of photoshopped exploitables.

In common English, that means you can take a familiar meme or trope and substitute words that make it into a whole new cliche. One of the earliest examples was If Eskimos have a million words for snow, then [some other folks] must have a million words for [something common to them].

BTW: the Eskimo trope is false; they don’t have a million or however many words for snow. Nevertheless, that cliched statement spread like wildfire a few years ago.

Anyway, Orange Is the New Black morphed out of the original fashion world pronouncement, grey is the new black, after many generations of variations.

Your Daily Hot Air

She’s Not There

Whyzit that the smartest females corporate media gives us are fictional? I had no idea who Piper Chapman was before I read her fabulous meme quote last night. At first I thought she was a real person and I started writing, “Here’s a female actor who isn’t a dumb blonde. This Piper dame seems to have the goods between the ears. How she ever made it in Hollywood or wherever they shoot Netflix things is beyond me.”

A couple of seconds-worth of research revealed PC is a character in the Netflix comedy-drama Orange Is the New Black, which I’ve never seen and I don’t plan to. No, not because I object to it in particular but because, y’know, it’s TV.

Schilling

Taylor Schilling: At Least She Plays Smart

Anyways, natch, no ambitious young actor would ever say anything like PC said in public because although we are free, free, free to gun down anyone whose looks we don’t like in this holy land, when it comes to expressing liberal-bordering-on-radical views, well, now hold on there pardner.

It’s okay to be Barbra Streisand and throw fundraisers for Hillary Clinton, who’s about as liberal as I am a thug rapper. That’s cool. But once you start messin’ w/ the Big Daddy-o in the Sky, you’re messin’ w/ your career, babies.

Oh, and you aspiring female opinionators can dream of filling the Rachel Maddow slot — TV needs a lesbian/intellectual/tough-talking/hard-core liberal, you bet. She’s a perfect target for Right Wing troglodytes to aim their hot little pistols at while she’s going on and on about commie things like facts and poor people. And, by the way, any double meaning you’d care to attach to my reference to hot little pistols there is perfectly expected. The “real men” of this holy land know what R. Maddow needs.

Maddow

… Aim….

So, I’m bummed that the following manifesto is merely script dialogue. Still, it’s worth a look:

I believe in science, I believe in evolution. I believe in Nate Silver and Neil deGrasse Tyson and Christopher Hitchens, although I do admit he could be kind of an asshole.

[A Pencil Aside: Hey, is this chick me or something? Carry on.]

I cannot get behind some supreme being who weighs in on the Tony awards while a million people get whacked with machetes.

[Pencil Aside 2: Oh yeah, she’s me. With long streaked hair, blue eyes and ladyparts. Carry on.]

I don’t believe a billion Indians are going to hell, I don’t think we get cancer to learn life lessons, and I don’t believe that people die young because god needs another angel. I think it’s just bullshit and, on some level, I think we all know that. I mean, don’t you? … Look I understand that religion makes it easier to deal with all the random shitty things that happen to us. And I wish I could get on that ride. I’m sure I’d be happier. But I can’t. Feelings aren’t enough. I need it to be real.

Trust me, there was some heavy sighing going on as I clacked this in. I’m still not going to watch Orange Is the New Black and I wish, wish, wish an actual person had said this. Like Piper Chapman sez, I need it to be real.

[h/t to Deanna Truelock]

Hot Rods To Hell

How full of shit are we? This full of shit:

Grimly tally the number of people who have been killed by terrorism in the United States since the State Department began keeping records in the 1960s, and you’ll get a total of less than 5000 — roughly the same number, it has been pointed out, as those who have been struck by lightning. But each year, with some fluctuation, the number of people killed in car crashes in the United States tops 40,000. More people are killed on the roads each month than were killed in the September 11 attacks. In the wake of those attacks, polls found that many citizens thought it was acceptable to curtail civil liberties to help counter the threat of terrorism, to help preserve our “way of life.” Those same citizens, meanwhile, in polls and in personal behavior, have routinely resisted traffic measures designed to reduce the annual death toll (e.g., lowering speed limits, introducing more red-light cameras, stiffer blood alcohol limits, stricter cell phone laws.)

Murrica, ya gotta love it!

Head-on Collision

Terror

The above passage is from the book Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do by Tom Vanderbilt, a neat little study of the psychology behind our cars and roads and everything else related to them.

They hate us, remember, for our freedoms.

The Boss

Who rules the world? You, the voter? The Prez? Carlos Slim Helu? Bruce Springsteen? Tony Bennett (see below)? Whoever it is that packs the most heat?

Forget ’em all. If you want to figure out who calls the shots on the third planet from the Sun, check out this fab Open Database website: opencorporates.com. OC monitors more than 55 million corporate entities around the globe, measuring their reach, gauging their influence, and illustrating the dense web the biggest of them has spun around us all. We seven billion are, after all, a bunch of buzzing flies trapped in the arachnoid mesh created by the likes of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and other archvillainous entities. (How about that for literary imagery?)

Dig: SMERSH and KAOS had nothing on, say, the Citigroup gang. And don’t even get me started on Monsanto.

From opencorporates.com

Citigroup’s Untangled Web

Now you know. Go there.

If I Ruled The World

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