Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Let the Madcap Revels Begin ...

I suspect the debate over who gets custody of Michael Jackson's children and (more important, to some) his estate, will be a show against which even the late 'King of Pop' performances - on stage, on record and on video - will pale in comparison.

The contributions of such family friends as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson should certainly add a certain 'flair' to the proceedings.

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Friday, June 26, 2009

If You Haven't Seen This Yet ...

... then definitely watch for a re-broadcast, on Discovery or the Military Channel, of "Somali Pirate Takedown: The Real Story."
It documents the dramatic hostage situation aboard the Maersk Alabama, earlier this year, using re-enactments, Navy footage and eyewitness accounts of the extraordinary measures taken to keep Captain Phillips and his crew alive ... with a look inside the world of Navy SEALs, who put a sudden end to this modern-day pirate standoff.

Will We Ever Learn? ...

The uproar over a governor, his admitted extramarital affair, and the fallout from said admission, has me asking, Dr. Phil-like, "What were you thinking?"

The Associated Press and msnbc.com offer
this analysis of the events leading up to South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford's admission, Wednesday that he had secretly flown to Argentina to visit a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair.

The story includes a report that copies of e-mails allegedly sent by Sanford to his mistress, delivered anonymously to
The State newspaper. It was in the course of seeking verification of these that a reporter from that paper encountered the governor in the airport, and conducted a brief interview, setting-off a string of events that led to this week's press conference in Charleston.

"Efforts to authenticate the e-mails were unsuccessful," The State reported on Thursday. "However, Sanford’s office Wednesday did not dispute their authenticity."
By the way,
you can read the e-mails ... if you wish.

But here's where that Phil-like question comes in. Didn't the governor realize that he would be under scrutiny ... reporters and cameras everywhere, in both the actual and virtual worlds? He should know, by now, how things work ... he is a long-time and successful politician. Governor of the State of South Carolina, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, mentioned as a possible running mate for Mitt Romney's presidential bid in the last election, and named by some as potentially making his own bid for the Oval Office in the next election.

An already-high profile was raised even further in recent weeks by the SC legislature's override of his veto of new regulations on the payday lending industry, and his losing a court battle over his decision to refuse $700-million in federal stimulus money.

So people are watching, and taking pictures, and asking questions.

Since the days of Gary Hart, daring the press to follow him, then having that infamous photo on the deck of the good ship "Monkey Business" surface, we've had no lack of elected officials behaving in ways that discredit themselves, their office and the people they serve. In addition to Sanford, there's Rod Blagojevich of Illinois, John G. Rowland of Connecticut, Jim McGreevey of New Jersey, Don Siegelman of Alabama and Bob Taft of Ohio ... and that's just Governors since 2000.

(Want to get informed AND depressed? Visit Wikipedia's "list of major political scandals of the United States")

But I still find myself asking ... with no lack of precedents, did they really think they could behave in this manner, and no one would notice? Was it really that hard to do the right thing, in the first place ... at the very least, out of fear of getting caught?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Truth is Out There ... in Chavez County, NM ... I Guess ...

On this day in 1997, the Air Force released a report on the so-called "Roswell Incident," suggesting the alien bodies witnesses reported seeing in 1947 were actually life-sized dummies.
CLICK HERE to read the rest of the article from the New York Times

Whatever they heck they were, their crash launched one of the giants of American pop culture, in the late 20th-century and today. Just about all of us have seen, or heard, or said something - from the very serious, to the very silly - in connection with the Roswell incident.

And it won't go away ... bad news for the Air Force, but great news for the City of Roswell, and its Chamber of Commerce, as they welcome tens-of-thousands of visitors, and millions of dollars, every year.
By the way, if you haven't visited the International UFO Museum & Research Center in downtown Roswell, you should! And don't forget ... "The Bugs are Back!" The new Beetles Return to Roswell this weekend, for an annual gathering of vehicles "reverse engineered from UFOs!"

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Remembering a First-Rate Second-Banana ...

I can't even begin to count the number of times my late night included a "heeeerrre's Johnny!" Now comes news that the man who delivered that intro - and the promise of a funny and entertaining evening - has passed away.

"LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - Ed McMahon, the loyal Tonight Show sidekick who bolstered boss Johnny Carson with guffaws and a resounding “H-e-e-e-e-e-ere’s Johnny!” for 30 years, died early Tuesday. He was 86."
CLICK HERE for the rest of the story from the Associated Press and msnbc.com, which includes video and a slide show about McMahon and his career.

One way we can date ourselves is who we cite when comparing 'Tonight Show' hosts, youngsters compare Conan O'Brien to Jay Leno, while oldster compare them all to Jack Paar. Those of us in-between, compare them to Johnny Carson. With a style honed during his youthful days as a carnival hawker, McMahon took the job as 'second banana' to Carson, a man he once described as "one of the brightest, most well-read men I’ve ever met ... and the funniest ...”

That, coupled with his annual appearances backing-up Jerry Lewis on the MDA Labor Day Telethon, and his MANY appearances with Dick Clark on those Publisher's Clearinghouse ads, made him a household name and pop culture icon ... for example, one of the most frequently-repeated lines from "The Shining" is Jack Nicholson's lunatic spins on McMahon's trademark intro from "The Tonight Show."

Sadly, health and financial problems made McMahon's last few years fodder for the supermarket tabloids ... but those are easily dismissed, and quickly forgotten.

Me, I'll stick with the man at Carson's side, 'back in the day' ... he was great!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Maybe ... and Maybe Not ...

The self-styled 'Minutemen' may disagree with Brendan Brehan, who once wrote, "There is no such thing as bad publicity ..." Just take a look, for example, at the news coming out of Arizona.

Many of you have heard of these neo-Minutemen ... we have some right here in West Texas. The group takes its name from a citizen army, militiamen who volunteered to be ready for military duty at a minute's notice at the time of the American Revolution against British rule. It's a proud symbol, used by our National Guard, to sell war bonds, and appearing on our stamps.

Seems kind of different from these people hanging out along the border, watching for illegal immigrants ... and it seems A LOT different from these people now making headlines in Arizona.

According to
this report from The East Valley Tribune in Phoenix, "authorities say, Shawna Forde and two men dressed up as Border Patrol agents and broke into the southern Arizona home of a man they thought was a drug dealer, hunting for money or drugs to sell. They found neither, but killed the man and his 9-year-old daughter . the killings rocked an anti-illegal immigration movement that prides itself on being vocal but not violent, and added to a growing list of activists unafraid of using violence to advance their aims."

According to
this report from The Arizona Daily Star in Tucson, "Two of the people charged with the home-invasion murders, Shawna Forde and Jason E. Bush, led a small group called Minutemen American Defense based in Everett, Wash. Investigators say they carried out the attack as the beginning of a violent campaign to steal money and drugs from drug traffickers. The group planned to use its haul to fund its activities, investigators said."

Back to the Tribune's report, "several groups focusing on stopping illegal immigration formed in the past half-dozen years, and many were drawn to southern Arizona, the busiest corridor in the U.S. for illegal border crossings. While the movement has been largely peaceful, it seemed a matter of time before someone would be accused of resorting to violence."

But, the report goes on to note, not all Minutemen are created equal.

"After the killings, some of the movement's leaders quickly distanced themselves from Forde and her Minutemen American Defense group, saying they warned for months that she was potentially dangerous ... 'We knew that Shawna Forde was not just an unsavory character but pretty unbalanced as well,' said Chris Simcox, the founder of one of the original border watch groups, the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps."

Even before this story hit the press, Tucson Citizen columnist and blogger Mark Kimble suggested, "if members of the Minuteman Project spent half as much time patrolling the border as they do fighting with each other, this nation's immigration problems would be solved." He went on to write, "the Minutemen have never been a particularly well-organized outfit. They make some noise, send out some e-mails and figure they've accomplished something. A recent split in the group, however, is so nasty and complicated that the Minutemen may not recover."
HERE is the rest of Kimble's blog post, which discusses a split between the MCDC and still another group, the Minuteman Project.

So, does Brehan's quote about bad publicity hold-up? Maybe ... and maybe not. Before we decide, we need to consider the entire
quote ... "There is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Internet Uprising, 2 ...

Earlier this week, I posted this about the phrase "first true internet uprising" being coined to describe the protests underway in Iraq.

That protest over the results of Irean's national elections not only continues today, but has grown, in both the actual and the virtual worlds.

According to
this report from the Associated Press on msnbc.com, "it's not just young, liberal rich kids anymore: Whole families, taxi drivers, even conservative women in black chadors are joining Iran's opposition street protests. They say they want something simple: their votes counted and their voices heard. What they will settle for — or push for — is a far bigger question."

Also joining is a growing number of protesters in the virtual world, as well ...

According to
this report from msnbc.com's Alan Boyle
and Suzanne Choney
, "as international media outlets are being pushed off the streets of Tehran, the burden of reporting on Iran's post-election crisis is falling increasingly on online channels ranging from blogs and video sites to Twitter and Facebook. The Iranian government raised the stakes in the Internet battle on Wednesday by spreading the word that online users could face prosecution and even execution for 'incitement.'"

Earlier this week, NBC's Richard Engel compared Iran protest-related "Tweets" on Twitter to combat radio messages ... he's right. Here's one page of Tweets under the #iran hashtag from yesterday ... heady stuff ... to say the least ...

Chameleah: Info for people of #Iran to find a secure outlet to let their voices be heard. #tehran #iranelection http://bit.ly/vE5Wn
less than 10 seconds ago from TweetDeck
mjemmer: RT @DominiqueRdr: Robert Fisk witnesses Iranian military keeping the special forces away from protesters. http://bit.ly/OZ5aF #iranelection
less than 10 seconds ago from TweetDeck
kenshane: RT @janflora: EVERYONE RETWEET NYT publishing sensitive names of Iranians on Twitter Get them to stop! #NYTfail #iranelection
less than 20 seconds ago from TweetDeck
clotilde_souper: RT @MitraJoon Rob Fisk Live frm Iran (Australia) reporting.He is on streetsconfirms police acting partly on protesters side #iranelection
less than 20 seconds ago from web
IranPussInBoots: Khameni site still down. They're taking the vids off youtube as fast as they're going up. #iranelection
less than 20 seconds ago from web
SteveMelito: #IranElection - Here's hoping, once again, that today is the day the religious fanatics in Iran will fail and fall
half a minute ago from web
iran88: URGENT RT from Iran: Tell protesters in Enghelab to go towards 7 Tir sq. and join the rest (not Azadi sq.) #iranElection #gr88
half a minute ago from TwitterFox
AdrienneVergara: RT Man covered in blood from protests (picture) http://bit.ly/gPKTQ #gr88 #iranelection
half a minute ago from web
PooYaKasha: RT Unbelievable! pro-ahmedinajad ralley is photoshopped http://bit.ly/NpibJ #iranelection
half a minute ago from web
Marilyn_Res: from @DailyDish "Lots of fake Mousavi sites created 4 counter intel.THESE ARE FAKE: http://www.mirhoseyn.ir/ ,www.mirhoseyn.com" #iranelection
less than a minute ago from web

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Return of Big 2? ...

FOLLOW-UP: According to a comment attached to this post, the return IS official.

KMID-TV has not referred to itself as "Big 2" for a loooong time. But unofficially, among the general public, you still hear people refer to what was once Midland-Odessa's premier television franchise, and most recognized brand. And the phrase is still used by those of us who belong to the largest media group in the Permian Basin, the Big 2 Alumni Association.

But now, maybe the official stance is changing, going back to what is still in use among their viewers. Below is a screen shot from their website.

Weigh-ing On the Subject ...

Bringing more than most of you can to the table for a discussion of weight, I find myself siding with the AMA in their move opposing efforts by advocacy groups to make obesity "a disability."

According to
this report from msnbc.com and the Associated Press, "the American Medical Association has taken action to support doctors' ability to discuss obesity with their overweight patients. Under a new policy adopted Tuesday, the AMA formally opposes efforts by advocacy groups to define obesity as a disability."

I don't have a problem with the phrase "disability." Rather, my concern is whether we water-down that phrase through over-use. I'm speaking here of cases of obesity that arise from our habits, rather than cases of obesity caused by medical conditions over which the individual has no control ... in which case, a designation of "disability" might be applicable.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The "Baghdad Girl" ... so, then what happened? ...

So, whatever happend to Raghda Zaid, her blog, and all those cats?

In March of 2006, I offered this post about Zaid and her weblog, "Baghdad Girl."

"When one tunes in the news, and that news turns its attention to the Iraq War, the lion's share of space and time seems to go to the more extreme elements on either side of the issue ... if it's not the swaggering bluster by the war's proponents, it's the shrill denunciations by it's detractors," I noted at the time. "In the midst of all that sound and fury, is there a place for a 14-year-old girl, a weblog, and lots and LOTS of cats? Maybe there is ... just ask Raghda Zaid, the Baghdad Girl. It's not an in-depth analysis of the problems in Iraq ... nor does it offer solutions. But maybe ... just maybe ... it's also a hint of the sense of normalcy that we all - proponents and detractors alike - must certainly hope and pray will someday return to that country."

Three years later, there is still that hope, and that prayer ... and a renewed determination from the Baghdad Girl.

Monday, June 15, 2009

"The First True Internet Uprising" ...

That phrase was coined this afternoon on NBC Nightly News as Brian Williams and Richard Engel examined how Iranians - defying efforts of the state to block the internet and cell phone use - used Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to transmit information about the protests taking place on the streets of Tehran today.

This is a story of special interest to both the news producer AND the news consumer. We have seen - and even participated in - examples of news coverage through social media ... but it can be a gamble, and it's hard to imagine a case where the stakes are so high as they are in the streets of Iran right now.

Watch the video, say a prayer, go online, and speak your piece.

An interesting sidenote is the number of hashtags that have popped-up for Iran-related Tweets on Twitter. The include #iranelection, #tehran, #iran , #iranrevolution , #CNNFail (about that network's coverage of the developments in that country) and #nomaintenance (about Twitter's plan to go down for maintenance later tonight).

Go Fly a Kite! ...

... in honor of scribbler, revolutionary, inventor, community organizer, politician and party animal Ben Franklin, who is believed to have flown a kite on this day to test the nature of lightning.

According to historian and biographer Car Van Doren, "The episode of the kite, so firm and fixed in legend, turns out to be dim and mystifying in fact. Franklin himself never wrote the story of the most dramatic of his experiments. All that is known about what he did on that famous day, comes from Joseph Priestley's account, published fifteen years afterwards but read in manuscript by Franklin, who must have given Priestley the precise, familiar details."

But what a great story, what an inspiration ... if you've never volunteered at your local elementary school's science fair, you should ... it's a great place to capture some of the same spirit that prompted Bon Homme Richard to hoist his kite into the stormy Pennsyvania skies.

HERE is a good account of the more elctrifying details of Franklin's life and work, from ushistory.org

HERE are instructions on how to make a kite like Franklin's, from pbs.org (the event marked today was NOT his first experiment with a kite)

Letting GM Have Their Say ...

As I have noted here before, I remain a 'Chevy guy.' So why not devote some space to what General Motors has to say about the bailout, the bankruptcy ... and the future.

They are among those adopting a different tone about where we are, and where we go from here. In that campaign, the automaker acknowledges that the old way no longer works, admits their role in all this for adhering to the old way, and gives us a brief glimpse of the new way.

I like it ... and I also like their use of the Pittsburgh Steelers among the list of those who have found a new way to restore the old glory.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Socker Soccer Night, 6

... and that WAS the final score. The Austin Aztex U-23 come from behind to defeat the West Texas Sockers, 1-3, in sort of a reverse of the Sockers' come-from-behind, 2-1 win, Thursday night, over the visiting Rio Grande Valley Bravos.

NOTES ... Could playing back-to-back, consecutive-night games like that have had an impact on tonight's game? ... Tonight's was certainly the strangest-sounding game of the season, so far, with the Mex-Tex Family Fiesta (with it's own announcements and music) going on in another part of Grande Stadium ... the July 3rd game against the Houston Leones, and the July 4th game against the El Paso Patriots will feature fireworks after the game (the Sockers are run by the same people as the Rockhounds, which put on GREAT displays) ...

ONE SOUR NOTE ... Next season, we're moving back and up, away from the front row. It is so hard to enjoy - and, sometimes, even see - a game with all the kids crowding the front railing, standing in front of you, squealing for mini-soccer balls, and t-shirts and bags of peanuts from "P.K." and "Screwball" ...

Socker Soccer Night, 5

Dang! Aztex U-23 score 39 minutes into the second, then score again one minute later. Meanwhile, Austin's keeper is stopping everything that comes his way, once with a MAJOR assist from the side post if his goal. 1-3 may end up being the final score.

Socker Soccer Night, 4

Eighteen minutes into the second half, the Aztex U-23 even-up the score on a strong kick from Groce, that streaked past Socker keeper Leif Craddock. Some good moves by the Aztex' keeper have prevented the Sockers from adding to the score.

Socker Soccer Night, 3

Forty-one minutes into the first half, and the Sockers are the first onto the scoreboard, after a great strike from forward Jose Munoz. They lead the Aztec U-23 by a score of 1-0 ... a lead they take with them into the locker room at the end of the first half.

Socker Soccer Night, 2

Thirty minutes into the first half, and there's been lots of running, a few exciting moments on both offence and defense, but no scores.

Socker Soccer Night 1

A very hot day has given way to a warm-but-comfortable evening for soccer as the West Texas Sockers take on the Austin Aztex' U-23 squad. Fans of both teams are in the stands, and all are looking forward to tonight's match.

Guess They're Waiting on the Results from Florida ...

TEHRAN, IRAN - Iran's state news agency reported Friday that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has won re-election, but his main reformist rival also claimed victory. The dual claims came even before the close of polls on Friday. Official results were not expected until Saturday.
CLICK HERE to read the rest of this report from the Associated Press and msnbc.com

It's an election we should be following, here in the States ... "Iranians packed polling stations from boutique-lined streets in north Tehran to conservative bastions in the countryside Friday," we are told, "to to decide whether to keep hard-liner Ahmadinejad in power or elect a reformist who favors greater freedoms and improved ties with the United States."

All this comes less than a week after parliamentary elections in Lebanon, which The Economist called "
A Win for the West" and a speech from U.S. President Obama that received a generally-positive response from Muslims in many parts of the world.

And where 'hardball may not work, maybe futbol will ... According to this report from soccernet.espn.go.com, "The U.S. soccer team might go to Iran in November for the first match between the nations in a decade. USSF president Sunil Gulati said Wednesday the game could be held in Tehran on Nov. 14 or 18."

A New Look ...

KOSA-TV/CBS 7 has rolled-out a new look for their station website, and I think it looks MUCH BETTER, navigates well, provides good online support for on-air product, and introduces some neat new features ... such as the CBS News 'Eye on the Nation' headlines widget, and a feature that allows you to localize your KOSA story archive search by community.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

... and Good News Out of Odessa ...

"It won't be long before the big hamburger is back in business," according to this report from the OA's Geoff Folsom. "After being closed for more than a year, JoJo's Drive Inn at 3506 E. University Blvd., could reopen next week, its new owners say."

The building, shaped and painted to resemble a giant hamburger, opened forty years ago, and the family and I have been looooongtime fans. We've missed it this past year ... looking forward to stopping in, later this year.

Sad News Out of Monahans ...

"The residents of Monahans are saying farewell to a favorite restaurant and local landmark," according to this report from KOSA-TV. "The Big Burger and Coca Cola Museum has attracted people from all over the country but its the people of Monahans who are going to miss it the most."

It's one of those "If you ever go to ... you gotta ..." kind of places, and that's how the family and I were introduced to Big Burger, years ago. We will miss it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Parting Tribute for Mr. Baiza ...

In May, I offered this tribute to educator Randy Baiza, as he departed Midland for a job with the Andrews ISD. Now comes word, another accolade may be coming his way.

Last month, I cited this report in the MRT, that Baiza has been in education some 23 years - 13 of those in Midland, including a decade at Washington Math & Science Institute (a district-wide magnet school), where he was principal.

Now comes another tribute, of sorts ... this report from the MRT's Ruth Campbell notes that Midland ISD is expected to have two exemplary campuses this year in state accountability ratings, according to predictions from district staff. Official state accountability ratings are expected July 31.

If those projections hold up, one of those exemplary campuses would be Washington Math & Science, where Mr. Baiza served as principal until the end of the 2008-2009 school year. And this would be Washington's second designation as an exemplary campus, having achieved this status two years ago (and just missing it last year).

Congratulations to Mr. Baiza, and to the faculty and staff - and, most of all, the students - at Washington Math & Science!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Local Real Estate Makes National Headlines ...

The local real estate market has made national headlines ... though local punditz may want to apply their own insight, their own spin to the national story.

"Think that no real estate market is safe," Louis Jones asks in
this slideshow/report at kiplinger.com "Believe it or not, there are cities where home values have held their own. Their economies are well diversified, and their population growth has been slow, keeping unemployment low and speculative building to a minimum."

And #1 on that list is Midland, Texas. Four other Texas communities make the list, including our neighbor 'just up the road,' Lubbock (#10).

I'd be interested in hearing what YOU have to say about the local market - the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful of it all.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Sharing Your Video, Spreading Your Brand ...

By now, most news sites have a video component. But there's a difference in how that video is shared with others ... and how it's used to impress your 'brand' on other sites.

YouTube was a pioneer in employing shared video as a marketing/branding tool. Not only could you post links on on your websites that would direct your readers to a particular YouTube video on their site ... you could also copy-and-paste an 'embed' code that placed a neat graphic on your website, and played the video on your site ... and shared the YouTube brand with everyone that visited your site. YouTube has since taken that a step farther, allowing you to customize the appearance of the viewer you embed in your website.

Most local news sites have a video component. But there's a difference in how that video is shared with others. Among television stations ... KWES provides links AND embed codes, while KMID and
KOSA provide neither. Among newspapers, the MRT provides links AND embed codes, while the OA just provides links.

And while this does NOT affect the content of the stories produced by these news organizations, it does impact how we might share that product with others ... and spread those organizations' brand in the process.

Here's an example from major news website, msnbc.com, that IMHO does an outstanding job of branding its shared video, and encouraging readers to come visit their site again ... and again ... and ...

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Sometimes, 'Churching' Is a Human Rights Thing ...

'Churching' can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people in a lot of different places. Please take a moment to read - and share! - this post at West Texas Missioner for some insight into what it means to people on Christian mission in southeast Asia.

It's the latest installment of a long tradition of men and women of faith stepping forward to place themselves between the oppressors and the oppressed. In medieval Europe, one could seek sanctuary from secular authorities in a church. In early American history, the Society of Friends in Pennsylvania offered refuge to those escaping from slavery. In the 1960s, civil rights marches in the American South included women in habits and men in collars or yamulkes.

And now, it's happening - again! - in southeast Asia, where faith-based, non-government organizations (NGOs) are demonstrating God's love to victims of conflict and oppression. One of those organizations is the
Free Burma Rangers, which reminds us to ...
• Love One Another
• Unite for Freedom, Justice and Peace
• Forgive, and Don't Hate Each Other
• Pray with Faith, Act with Courage
• Never Surrender

Onward, Christian soldiers.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Local Bloggers Scooped! .....

I'm surprised we didn't read this first in what Jessica's Well calls the "super secret right wing blog astroturf network," but thank goodness there are still journalists of ... uh ... character out there ...
WASHINGTON, D.C. - President Barack Obama is going to try to cancel all American workers’ vacations for the summer!
Read the rest of the story in the Weekly World News

The Net Effect ...

Mosquito net treated with long-lasting insecticide? $10.00 ... Helping West Texans control one of Africa's biggest killers? Priceless ...

A Mission team from First Presbyterian Church-Midland will be headed for Uganda later this month. They will depart for Entebbe on June 18 and, according to team member Rev. Jerry Hilton, they need your help with 4 things:
1. Small bottles or tubes of NEOSPORIN.
2. Soft sided large suitcases or duffles ... on wheels.
3. Money for mosquito nets ... $10.00 apiece. Their goal is to provide 2000 which will be purchased in Uganda.
4. Most of all ... your prayers.

The efforts in Uganda by First Prez-Midland are part of an ongoing campaign - fought by a wide variety of individuals and organizations - against debilitating, even deadly diseases that plague the Third World. The fight against malaria, in particular, was documented in this article by Robert M. Poole, in the June, 2007 issue of Smithsonian Magazine. The article focuses particularly on former-President of the United States Jimmy Carter's efforts in Ethiopia, but it provides good insight into the mission and methods of this "crusade to eliminate malaria, an elusive and ever-changing killer" from the African continent.

"Now rare in developed countries," the article notes, "the disease kills more than a million victims each year in the world's poorest regions. At least 300-million people worldwide are incapacitated by malaria infections. The disease's aches, fever, chills and other flu-like symptoms not only inhibit economic productivity but also suppress immune systems in its victims, making them more susceptible to tuberculosis and AIDS—both of which kill even more people than malaria does—and other life-threatening ailments."

The new nets being distributed in Africa add a high-tech twist to the old protective strategy: they not only block the insects, but also kill any that come in contact with the nets, since they have an insecticide (one with no apparent risk to humans) woven into the mesh.

And they cost just $10 apiece. Won't you help? Please leave a contribution at First Prez-Midland, on the northwest corner of A and Texas streets, on the west edge of downtown Midland.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Blame This Post on Drew's Cancer ...

C'mon, Midland's blogosphere ... stop blaming the liberals for everything. It's time to place the blame where it belongs, have some fun, and maybe do some good in the process.

"On May 20th, 2009, Drew Olanoff was diagnosed with cancer: Hodgkins Lymphoma," we are told on blamedrewscancer.com. "Ever since that day, Drew has blamed everything on his cancer. Losing his keys, misplacing his wallet, Twitter being slow, the Phillies losing, etc."

"Why? Because you have to beat up on Cancer to win... and you can help out."

"Blame Drew's Cancer for anything and everything you want. Tweet with the hashtag #BlameDrewsCancer and it'll come here. We'll keep a tally and hopefully when all is said and done and Drew beats Cancer, some nice company or companies will donate a dollar for every unique person who Blames Drew's Cancer to the American Cancer Society and the Make a Wish Foundation."

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A Good Beginning ...

The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien was off and running - quite literally! - last night, and I stayed up to watch the innaugural episode ... I'm glad I did!

Good humor (with help from announcer Andy Richter, and guest Will Farrell) great music (from both Max Weinberg and the Tonight Show Band, and Pearl Jam), and a VERY enthusiastic audience (I learned later that the emphasis for the first night's audience would be on 'regular people,' and that all celebrity ticket requests were declined).

Be sure to visit the
show's website for more background on last night's launch, which was especially entertaining for fans (like me) of Cheap Trick.

I Remain a 'Chevy Guy' ...

My first car was a VW Beetle, and a few years back I drove a Toyota Landcruiser ... the rest have all been Chevies. I love the line, and part of me hurts a little to see the parent company of General Motors declare bankruptcy.

From the perspective of one humble consumer, I have to wonder what's going on up there ... I mean, I've had nothing but joy from my Chevies. The Camaro was fun, the Tahoe was comfortable, and my old Silverado remains a favorite mode of transportation. So how can a company that produces a diverse lineup of good vehicles go bankrupt?

Of course, Chevrolet is just a part of GM ... which has produced its share of clunkers, as well. But even so, it became an American icon, and image of our nation and its industry ... which employed a few family members of mine, who left the farms of northern Michigan to work the assembly lines of southern Michigan. And when you travel the world, time and again, you see representations of America that include a Chevrolet.

The following report from NBC's Roger O'Neil gives voice to some of the feelings I've had since yesterday's announcement.

They're Ba-aack ...

From the local social media wires comes news that Black Gold is back in town, following the lives of those going "2 Miles Deep or 6 Feet Under!"

Bulletins circulating on local myspace pages say BG film crews are visiting The Field Office, a favorite watering hole of mine (seriously!) on the south side of the tracks near Midkiff, and The Detour (haven't tried this one, yet ... I'll get back to you) on S. Big Spring, both in Midland.

No buzz on the internet about a second season for "Black Gold" ... including their website. More later, maybe?

Monday, June 01, 2009

Politicians vs. Punditz

And THIS is just among the Republicans! Can you imagine what it will be like when it's time to start slinging it back-and-forth with the Democrats?

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Let the madcap revels begin!

And what do YOU think? Are there times when our race, our gender, our age, our background, our upbringing - whatever! - may give us a different perspective and more insight on some issues?