Which images may be disturbing?

Today I watched more television than I typically do. The bulk of the afternoon was consumed by a glorious victory by my Cleveland Browns. It was nice to share the sweet peanut butter flavored ambrosia with my boys. Today’s contest against the Dolphins was broadcast on CBS. This network uses its NFL games to promote its other programming. This presents a problem. Much of the programming they are promoting consists of crime dramas and murder mysteries. Hence, fictitious and gratuitous gun play, violence and human corpses are splashed across the screen.

Watching sports can be a great bonding experience with my young boys, so I’ve learned to keep a remote near at hand so I can change the channel when the body count in these promos gets too graphic for our kids, the oldest being seven years old. Way back in the day I remember there used to be a safe harbor concept where adult themes were only presented in the evening after it was assumed children would not see it. This afternoon at about 3:15 I was not quick enough on the remote and we were treated to the image of a dead Santa. Gee, thanks CBS. That was a conversation I wasn’t looking to have with my kids.

This was still sticking in my craw when later in the evening I was watching Sara Palin’s Alaska. Sarah and her father were caribou hunting to put food in the freezer. I can’t really think of anything more wholesome.  A father and daughter spending time together and respectfully harvesting the bounty laid before us.

But guess what? This program was slapped with a warning that the images we were about to see may be disturbing and viewer discretion was advised. So let’s compare and contrast.

  1. Gratuitous violence against humans for entertainment – OK any time for any audience. Even if we off Santa.
  2. A family hunting together to put food on the table – possibly so disturbing we must be warned so we might protect ourselves from the horror of it all.

Once again, I’m left to wonder how we got to this point.

Jackie Gleason was a band leader?

Jackie Gleason is probably best remembered for his comedy. Specifically, most will know him from The Honeymooners. But I don’t really remember his character Ralph Kramden romancing Alice with a little seductive music.

The real-life Jackie Gleason, however, made some very smooth music meant to put the little lady in the right mood. My hat is off to Jackie. Apparently the man could not play any instrument or even read or write music but that didn’t stop him from leading an orchestra that made best-selling albums. That’s something I aspire to.

And that brings us to tonight’s LP to digits project. Gleason released an album called Jackie Gleason presents Velvet Brass. Here is the liner notes tease –

Sensuous, sophisticated…a new musical concept that embodies the luxurious richness of velvet and the masculine brilliance of bright burnished brass.

The album consists of jazz and pop standards of the day. I decided to let my software automatically detect the tracks on this pass at digitizing. It didn’t go so well. I don’t know of the false endings or the popping and hissing threw it off. In any case, you are getting a two-for one deal here. You’re Driving Me Crazy and Skyliner just kind of ran together.

And just because I’ve liked this song by various artists for many years, here’s September Song. Never mind the pops and scratches, somehow I think it adds authenticity to the experience. Just imagine your date is on the couch, pour yourself a scotch and drop the needle on your record player.

The rarity of silence

I’ve watched some of the coverage of Benedict XVI as he visited the UK these last few days. Is has been pleasant and uplifting to see the enthusiastic crowds. It seems the dire predictions of an ambivalent England were proved to be unfounded.

I was surprised not by the enthusiastic crowds, but by the absolute silence that was observed in several occasions after homilies and also Holy Communion.

It seems as though we cannot get through a moment of silence without a ‘Whoooo!” or other interruption at most public events these days. On several occasions during the Supreme Pontiff’s visit there were extended periods of still silence among 80,000 or more.

Benedict encouraged the youth assembled at Westminster to find quiet moment of reflection in their lives.

“Even amid the “busy-ness” and the stress of our daily lives, we need to make space for silence, because it is in silence that we find God, and in silence that we discover our true self.”

We all would benefit from finding both in a few moments of true still silence.

Grade School Quiz

I recently posted a picture from third grade. Darn I was a dashing young man in that school monogrammed tie. But that’s not the purpose of this post. I realized looking back on those days that I can’t actually recall with 100% certainty the names of all of my grade school teachers. I even have a head start with some, because several had the same first name…Sister Mary (Saint’s Name Here). So the research department at MatthewK.com commissioned the following poll. If you would like to brag, use the comments below to name them all.  In other words, show me your work.

The Foibles of Unfriending

I’d not be at all surprised to find that there are armies if doctoral students studying the dynamics of relationships that are primarily based in cyberspace. These anthropologists of digital societies have a lot to work with, no doubt. Today I’ve been sorely tempted to unfriend (or is it de-friend?) an individual on Facebook. This person’s only offense is a strong habit of posting pleas to help a certain social cause. It is not even a cause that I am particularly at odds with, but the sheer volume of material shared is just off-putting.

Matt Keough | Create Your Badge

The problem with unfriending someone is the friend suggest feature. In the real world friends drift apart and there is rarely a formal declaration. You might perceive that an individual has changed or have become more distant. That person can just hush up, slink away and that is that.

But Facebook will “out” you. there have been several occasions when I’ll see a suggestion to friend someone  I am ABSOLUTELY certain I’ve already friended. This happens when that person has unfriended you without your knowledge.

I can understand why someone would unfriend me. Political views, religious professions and other wedge issues can alienate folks. Personally, unless someone is particularly condescending to opposing viewpoints, I think it is interesting to read other opinions. If for no other reason than to hone a counter-argument if one is ever needed.

In any respect, I’m curious. What would it take for you to “unfriend’ someone on Facebook?

(I’ve decided not to unfreind the individual mentioned. Really, how hard is it to just scroll past something that does not interest you.)