- Community - What role does community play in this square mile. How do residents interact and socialize? Is community involvement centered at the school, the barber shop, the cafe or the home?
- Family - What is the role of family in this square mile? What is it like to live, grow up or raise a family in this square mile?
- Work - How do people earn a living in this square mile?
- Food - How is food a part of the culture in this square mile?
- Future - What is the future of this square mile?
Recently in Television & Radio Category
and you ain't got a buck,
in London you're a goner.
Even London Bridge has fallen down,
and moved to Arizona,
now I know why.
Would you and your family like to travel to the UK and act as ambassadors for Midland?
Would you and your family like to swap lives with a British family from the Wirral (your sister city) for one week?
Would you like to live in a British family's home while a British family lives in your Midland home?
If you are at all interested or would simply like more information then please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are looking for families from Midland, Texas who will get the chance to have an all-expenses paid trip to the UK where they will spend a week living in the Wirral which I believe you are twinned with or have a friendship with?
The family we choose will get to act as US ambassadors for Midland and will get to see how the other half live by living the life of the British family they swap with for a week. This will include swapping houses, jobs, children will go the local schools/colleges, they will get to meet the community and experience the local culture as a whole.
We are looking for fun families who would be available for a week between the dates of 16th April and 31st June and would be interested in being on television.
[Lyrics from "London Homesick Blues"...but you knew that]
Also, if you're wondering if I'm embarrassed, making such a big deal over an insignificant-in-the-cosmic-sense-of-things TV show, the answer is no, I'm not. I'm a blogger, and that's how we roll.
- The show will undoubtedly depict casualties in graphic fashion. What will be the effect of such scenes on viewers with family members or friends who are in actual harm's way?
- The doctors will surely be able to save some lives in the show. How does that play with viewers whose loved ones weren't saved? And when the inevitable medical failures occur, is there a "multiplier effect" for the grief and trauma of those who suffered loss in real life?
- Are there ethical implications of having actors portraying soldiers and being paid many times more than the salaries of those men and women in the military who are not acting but serving in the same roles?
- If the story lines play out true to "Hollywood" form, there will be subplots involving "foxhole romances," and dark humor. Will those things trivialize the real life-and-death drama of the ongoing war? And while there's no doubt that humor is a healing and strengthening technique even in times of intense stress, does it matter that such humor is originating from a writer's imagination? (I don't know if any of the show's writers have served in the military, and specifically in Afghanistan. That could make a difference in the answer to some of these questions.)
- Will the show's writers be able to keep their personal opinions about the war out of the story lines, or will Combat Hospital be a vehicle for propagandizing a specific political viewpoint? And if the program promotes an agenda or perspective that's the slightest bit at odds with American military goals and strategies, how might that feed the enemy's own propaganda machine and morale?
And here's how out of touch I am: I didn't even know Michael was no longer on "The Office."
- Chelsea Kane & Mark Ballas - Chelsea is terminally cute, and has a wonderful on-floor personality. I think she's athletic and coordinated, and danced much better than her early scores indicate. Top 3 finisher, if Mark's weird choreography doesn't sink her.
- Chris Jericho & Cheryl Burke - OK, this guy's a shocker. Great personality, great moves, and apparently highly motivated. Humble for a professional wrestler. I like his chances; he could well be another Emmitt Smith, but at least a top 3 finisher. (As an aside, I wish to go on record as saying Hollywood could do a lot worse than to recruit actors from the pro wrestling ranks. The Rock has established himself as a potential A-Lister, and Paul Levesque (aka Triple H) turned in a surprisingly nuanced performance in The Chaperone. I'm not a pro wrestling fan, but I'm beginning to be a fan of pro wrestlers as actors.)
- Hines Ward & Kym Johnson - Another very likable and motivated guy. Kym is a great partner for him, and I think he's a top fiver.
- Kendra Wilkinson & Louis van Amstel - Playboy bunny with self-esteem issues. Go figure. And yet...she's not a bad dancer, by any stretch. Top seven.
- Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy - Kirstie made a terrible impression during the cast introductions, and, frankly, everyone thought she would be this season's Cloris Leachman...you know, the obligatory "oh isn't she so brave for trying this" celeb. But Kirstie is a hoot, and is working her butt off (literally?). Big fan base (no pun intended), and I think she'll be a top fiver.
- Mike Catherwood & Lacey Schwimmer - Lacey got to the finals with Kyle Massey last year, but poor Mike is beyond her capabilities. He'll be gone after tonight. And it's a shame, because he's a likable guy, too.
- Petra Nemcova & Dmitry Chaplin - Supermodels typically don't do well in DWTS and Petra won't be the exception. Her tsunami-related backstory will get her some fan votes, though, and she doesn't suck at dancing, so she'll be around a couple more weeks.
- Ralph Macchio & Karina Smirnoff - Ralph's the mystery man. He certainly wowed the audience with his first two dances, but the second one wasn't great, and the judges called him on it. I don't know whether he can continue to measure up week after week. I'll leave him in the top five, but he could squeeze into the top three.
- Romeo & Chelsie Hightower - You're probably comparing him to Kyle Massey, but he's no Kyle. He doesn't have the personality to get the fan votes like Kyle did, but is probably as good a dancer. Gone in six weeks.
- Sugar Ray Leonard & Anna Trebunsakaya - I had high hopes for Sugar (as Bruno calls him), but, sadly, he's this year's David Hasselhoff. TKO in three. (And it's a shame because we really need to see Anna every week. IYKWIM.)
- Wendy Williams & Tony Dovolani - She's not quite as annoying as Niecy Nash, but every bit as dramatic. Can't judge her fan base, but based on her dancing, she'll be the second one to go.
- Chelsea Kane - Finals - #3
- Ralph Macchio (8)
- Chris Jericho (5)
- Hines Ward - Finals - #1
- Romeo (7)
- Kendra Wilkinson (6)
- Kirstie Alley - Finals - #2
- Petra Nemcova (4)
- Sugar Ray Leonard (3)
- Wendy Williams (2)
- Mike Catherwood (1)
I don't want to waste a lot of pixels on the guy, but I can't resist responding to his statement during an interview conducted over the weekend that he's "tired of pretending [he's] not a total, bitchin' rock star from Mars." Actually, he might be surprised at how many of us do believe he's from another planet, but it's probably not accompanied by the sort of adulation he expects.
Got news for you, Charlie: the total fraction of the world's population who gives a flying fritter about anything you do is so infinitesimally small as to be unmeasurable. It probably rounds to zero. It's the little flagellum that waves weakly on the very tip of The Long Tail.
Your professional niche is inconsequential. All the sitcoms in Hollywood could vanish overnight and the only impact would be an instantaneous uptick in Society's collective IQ (which, granted, would be immediately reversed by the inflow of "reality" programming).
Plus, there's the inconvenient fact that what you're doing isn't even acting. You're playing, what...an immature-but-aging philanderer with a substance abuse problem? How is that acting, even in your universe? You should be thanking your lucky stars every day of your life that someone is willing to pay you a boatload of money to be yourself.
Because, frankly, yourself is sort of getting on our nerves.
Tune in around kick-off, assuming I'm up from my nap by then.
In memory of the world's first "fitness guru," here's a YouTube video of the first episode of his television show, which began in 1951 (one of the few things on the net that was broadcast before I was born, by the way).
Link via Neatorama
We may mock his fashion sense and manic sincerity, but the fact is that many of his ideas have stood the test of time and have been scientifically validated.
As Vinh observes, the Blu-Ray picture is exquisite...when it works. But in my experience, this technology is still not ready for prime time on too many levels.
It is ironic that the one person who really, really seems to want to go home can't do so. Bristol is obviously uncomfortable in this setting - and who can blame her? She may be the only "celebrity" in the history of the show who isn't actually a celebrity: she's not an actor, entertainer, athlete, or politician. Her public appearances have been limited to sitting on stage with her famous mom, or to giving talks to various groups about preventing teen pregnancy. In short, she's a perfect candidate for a show like DWTS, but one who is all too rare.
I know she's homesick, and appears to not really covet the spotlight, but there is some incentive for her to stay on the show as long as possible. The celebrity paychecks increase the further into the season they get, with those who make the final show pocketing a reported $350,000 for the season. I'm sure Bristol isn't hurting for money, but I would also guess that being able to earn a third of a million dollars on her own would be an affirming accomplishment for any young woman in her circumstances. As an advocate for a specific social cause, the publicity she's gaining is simply priceless. And, finally, the longer she remains, the better paid is her dance partner, Mark Ballas (the professionals earn a reported $5,000 per episode).
Strange as it may be, while she has no chance of winning, Bristol has a shot at making the final three. Her skills aren't that far behind those of Kurt Warner, and I think her fan base is much larger than Kyle Massey's. So, we could be headed for an all-female DWTS finale, with one of those finalists being the longest of shots.
I'm not sure who comprises Bristol's fan base, but I disagree with some who think it's Tea Party support that's keeping her on the show. What do you think?
The scan appears to be a promotional flyer, on heavy card stock, and it highlights the group's appearances on the era's Big Dogs of Texas radio: WBAP (Fort Worth), KPRC (Houston), and WOAI (San Antonio).
The "Bewley" in the name refers to Bewley Mills, a flour company. What was it about flour companies that made them sponsors of musical groups on the radio?
According to the group's website, at one time the Chuck Wagon Gang was Columbia Record's second highest selling artist, behind only Xavier Cugat and just ahead of some upstart hillbilly named Johnny Cash.
An interesting tidbit is that even back then, musicians assumed different names for their public personae. In the case of the CWG, Dad was Dave Carter, and he was the father of Anna (real name Effie), Rose (Lola), and Jim (Ernest). I have no idea who Cy is...perhaps the announcer?
In my hand, if I pointed it just right
You oughta heard what come to me at night
On that little transistor, my big sister's radio.
So many DJs from so far away
You oughta heard the records they would play,
On that little transistor, my big sister's radio.
Tommy Castro's song, Big Sister's Radio (from his most excellent album, Painkiller), paints a picture of a time and practice that's probably quite familiar to those of us who grew up in rural areas during rock-and-roll's "Golden Age" (I'll let you figure out when, exactly, that was). I have fond memories of sleep outs in our back yard, under star-filled West Texas skies, listening to the same kind of transistor radio described by Castro ("...one speaker...one dial").
Depending on weather conditions, we could pick up border-blaster stations from just across the Rio Grande (XERF, XELO), Fort Worth (WBAP), and of course, everyone's favorite, KOMA in Oklahoma City.
KOMA was cutting edge rock-and-roll, and I was oddly mesmerized by the incantation of the exotic places where various dances, concerts, and drag races were taking place...such as Lawton, Hutchinson, Enid, Elk City, and Liberal. I could only imagine how cool those places were. (And, to paraphrase Paul Simon, reality could never match my sweet imagination.)
Anyway, these memories were resurrected by another item from Debbie's mom's collection of memorabilia, which I introduced yesterday.
I haven't been able to find much about Monte Magee. On this site, there's a reference to his being a radio personality from San Antonio, and in a catalog of copyright entries, under Musical compositions, there's a reference to a 1938 song entitled In that old fashioned way where the music and words are attributed to a Monte Magee. That year is consistent with the dates of the other items in the memorabilia collection, so I assume it's the same guy.
Now, in case you're wondering, 1938 was WELL before the time I was listening to KOMA on that little transistor radio, and I somehow doubt that the DJs of my time were wearing suits and classy striped ties. But I'm sure some kid, somewhere - perhaps in another area of rural Texas - was held in thrall by Magee's voice and music.
So based on one performance, here's my revised ranking:
- Jennifer Grey - I nailed this one, even if I did misspell her name. She turned in a beautiful and emotional waltz that had Carrie Ann in tears (which, admittedly, isn't all that unusual). Grey has enough grace and skill (and the right partner in Derek) to continue being the front-runner.
- Kyle Massey - Big surprise (to me anyway). The kid can not only dance, but is eminently likable and has great showmanship. He's now in my top three.
- Brandy Norwood - Another surprise. She appears to have a strong competitive streak and the talent to back it up. Another top three competitor at this point.
- Rick Fox - Much better than expected, with grace and fluidity that can be attributed to Cheryl's expert coaching.
- Audrina Patridge - At first glance (and second, and third...) she was the typical early-exit eye candy that has generally been reserved for the supermodel genre, but she defied expectations with a very good performance. She might be this year's Pamela Anderson, although not as nasty.
- Kurt Warner - Warner has potential and he's just a really, really nice guy. Perhaps the fan base will carry him until he sharpens his dancing skills.
- Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino - I thought the judges hammered him a bit unfairly; with less than a week to prepare (vs. three weeks for everyone else), he did just fine. He's more likable than I expected, too. That's still a lame nickname you got going there, dude.
- Bristol Palin - Palin was a pleasant surprise: not wonderful, but not sucky, either. Considering her complete absence of experience as a performer, she may have turned in the best routine. That said, she's got a long way to go, and won't be a real contender.
- Florence Henderson - I predicted a surprise from her...and did she ever deliver! Unfortunately, it had nothing to do with her dancing, but, instead, her salty language and, um, friskiness. In fact, she flashed her "abs" (and other things) in a hilarious but vaguely disturbing challenge to The Situation. Her dancing was mediocre at best.
- David Hasselhoff - The Hoff was significantly less charming and adept than I expected. He's showing his age, or, rather, his mileage.
- Michael Bolton - Dancing skills suspect; charm absent.
- Margaret Cho - My only other accurate prediction. She was awful, although, surprisingly, a good part of that was due to the terrible routine cooked up by partner Louis van Amstel. Cho was probably cast as this year's Kelly Osborne, plagued by self-esteem issues, but I don't think she's nearly as sympathetic a character.
So, there you have it. Feel free to keep this as a scorecard for next week, and judge for yourself the accuracy of my observations and predictions.
- Bristol Palin - She will be this year's Kate Gosselin, painfully inept through no fault of her own (and without even the on-camera experience Gosselin brought with her) but kept alive for a few weeks by sympathetic women who can't stand Levi Johnston. Exit week: 5
- Michael Bolton - An old guy who tries to sound black when he sings, and sometimes succeeds, but he'll still dance like a white guy. Exit week: 2
- Rick Fox - Continuing in the tradition of sucky dancing basketball players, Rick will nevertheless hang around longer than reasonable 'cause the chicks dig him. And guys dig Cheryl Burke, his partner. Exit week: 6
- Margaret Cho - The comedienne who is not only not funny, but also can't dance. Margaret will be really sad to find out how many Christians watch DWTS. Exit week: 1
- Jennifer Gray - Nobody puts Baby in a corner (you knew that was coming, right?), and Jennifer is still cute as a bug. I'll bet she can still channel the spirit of Dirty Dancing, too, and Swayze's ghost will give her a boost. Plus, her partner is Derek Hough, and that's good for at least three extra weeks. Exit week: 10
- David Hasselhoff - The Hoff has the charm and wit of George Hamilton, and is probably spryer than the Sun God, so if he can lay off the burgers and Jagermeister, he'll be a contender. Exit week: 9
- Florence Henderson - She's no Betty White or Cloris Leachman...thank goodness! Everybody's sexy grandma will surprise us. Exit week: 6
- Kyle Massey - A 19 year old rapper. Really? How quaint. Exit week: 3
- Brandy Norwood - She bears a slight resemblance to disco queen Donna Summer. I don't think Donna could dance, either. But somebody's got to stick around past week 6. Exit week: 7
- Audrina Patridge - Who? Exit week: 1 (I'm pretty sure they'll drop two people right off the bat, to ease our pain.)
- Mike "The Situtation" Sorrentino - "The Situation"? What kind of stupid nickname is that, for pete's sake? It might as well be "The Yogurt," or "The Garage Door Opener." Still, I'm told he tests well with the core audience - young straight girls and young gay guys. I'm guessing he's got some moves. Exit week: 9
- Kurt Warner - Much as I respect Mr. Warner, he's going to bring an end to the tradition of football players who do well in DWTS. He's another old (relatively speaking), banged up white guy, and he's just too nice to get down. Heck, he may even be a Baptist. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Exit week: 5
Oh, and you want to know who wins? I dunno, but I think the top 3 will be Jennifer Grey, David Hasselhoff, and Mike "The Lame Nickname" Sorrentino.