Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Potholes in the road to pundithood

I got home late last Thursday and didn't even think about my scheduled appearance on North Town News Magazine until later... after the program would have aired. I mentioned this to my wife. She was not amused. "It's not like you're on TV everyday," she pointed out, accurately.

I immediately began my motorboat imitation. "But -- but -- but you saw the interview already on YouTube...." It was a losing battle. I set the DVR to grab the Friday rebroadcast.

I got home Friday and my son said he'd looked at the show and I wasn't on. So I looked: He was right. It was the Dorothy Brown/Dennis Fleming show; that show was supposed to air on November 5.

I wrote to Avy Meyers, the host and proprietor of NTNM, to inquire. He looked into it: Apparently the show ran as scheduled in the suburbs, but CAN-TV in Chicago apparently substituted the Brown/Fleming show.

Why? My guess is that someone at CAN-TV must have seen my interview. (And so can you, if you follow this link.) Actually, this was not my worst TV appearance. The worst was the time I got picked for the tug of war on Bozo's Circus: I mumbled so badly that Ringmaster Ned thought my name was "Jeff."

Anyway, Mr. Meyers has spoken with the powers that be at CAN-TV. Inasmuch as the others on that show, Brian C. White of the Lakeside Community Development Corporation and Cliff Carlson, Editor and Publisher of the Irish American News, were fine guests, CAN-TV has decided to show the program this week (click on image to enlarge):

And as for my appearance? Well... it is close to Halloween. Viewers may take one look at me... and figure it has something to do with the holiday.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Too connected? The Facebook experiment -- Day 2

From the comic Daddy's Home by Tony Rubino and Gary Markstein.
That link will take you to the source of the image, but I actually
read the comic in print in this morning's Chicago Sun-Times.

I had 21 new emails when I signed on this morning, all Facebook related. The good news? All of my kids have 'accepted me as a friend.' My daughters even 'tagged' me with family photos they'd long since posted on their own Facebooks.

The bad news? One of my nieces seems to be involved in a "flame war" with a high school classmate of hers... over a boy... and there seems to be some collateral damage on my "wall." And, also, I might add, some rather coarse language. But I'm not entirely certain what of this is visible to the world at large. For her sake, I would hope that none of it is... or that I can figure out how to delete it. I have solicited the assistance of one of my sons in this regard.

I have also learned that Facebook status updates must be no more than 420 characters -- at the current exchange rate, I believe that comes to three "tweets." Thus an old dog learns new tricks.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sticking my nose in Facebook

From Real Life Adventures by Gary Wise and Lance Aldrich.
This image was obtained from UClick GoComics, but I read it
back in August -- in print -- in the Chicago Sun-Times.

It's not that I haven't been aware of Facebook. My kids have been on it for some time. Occasionally I'll find new horror story about Facebook -- or something funny about Facebook and email them or post it here. (In the latter vein, I'd suggest that this link is worth following. If you're in a more serious mood, consider this ABA Journal Law News Now story from early September, in which Martha Neil reported that the Florida Board of Bar Examiners has announced plans to search applicants' social networking sites, such as Facebook, "on a case-by-case basis, focusing on those who have demonstrated problem conduct in the past.")

My kids' involvement with Facebook has provided me with one consistent reason why I have not plunged in previously. The kids told me I'd have to apply for and be accepted by each child as their "friend" -- and I have only recently been assured that my requests would be given due consideration. (Even now, no absolute promises have been made. So I'm still worried about how I might have to cope with rejection.)

But... I've tried to keep up to date on the subject, reading and only partially understanding articles like this one, from the June 22, 2009 edition of Wired Magazine, about "Facebook's Plan to Dominate the Internet -- and Keep Google Out." In the article Fred Vogelstein reports that "the Google-Facebook rivalry isn't just going strong, it has evolved into a full-blown battle over the future of the Internet—its structure, design, and utility."

Who knew?

And, in the meantime, it isn't just Facebook that has passed me by. Something called Twitter seems to have caught on -- although more, according to this August 25, 2009 article in the New York Times, with businesspeople than college students. I might have imagined that "micro blogging" amounted to something along these lines:

From the web comic Luke Surl.com

I asked my kids about Twitter and they were all nonplussed -- leading me to conclude, until I saw the New York Times article anyway, that Twitter would be just a passing fad. And then I read in Bethany Krajelis' article for the September 2, 2009 Chicago Daily Law Bulletin that the Illinois Supreme Court had "signed on to Twitter."

On Twitter, as I understand it, people -- or courts -- sign on to post and others may choose to enlist as "followers." Oprah gathered tens of thousands of followers for her "tweets" in a single day. If I sign up to tweet and somebody signs up to follow me and if I also sign up to follow that person, who's following who? Aren't we then just going in circles? I suppose I'll have to figure all this out next.

But one crisis at a time: I have now successfully signed on to Facebook. *Shudder* One thing only is certain about this brave new experiment in social networking: From tonight on, Facebook will not be as "cool" as it may once have been.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dennis Fleming NTNM interview

(Continued from page one.)

FWIW profiled on NTNM

When "Saturday Nigh Live" debuted a generation ago, Belushi, Akroyd, Radner, et al. were referred to as the "Not Ready for Prime Time Players."

I have now learned an important lesson in life: Not only am I not ready for prime time, I do not appear to be ready for cable access.

Let's put it this way: For years people wanted to find out 'who killed Vaudeville?' If cable access dies anytime soon, I know who will be blamed.

Avy Meyers, the host of North Town News Magazine did the best he could, under the circumstances.

Have I sufficiently lowered your expectations? If so, then you are free to watch the following clip from North Town News Magazine.

In Chicago, this interview will appear on CAN TV Channel 19, on Thursday, October 22 at 7:30pm and again on Friday, October 23 at 2:30pm. Evanston residents can watch on Cable Channel 6 on October 22 at 8:00pm.

NTNM also airs every Monday at 6:00pm in the following suburbs: Arlington Heights, Bartlett, Des Plaines, Glenview, Golf, Hanover Park, Mt. Prospect, Park Ridge, Prospect Heights, Northbrook, Schaumburg, Skokie, Streamwood and Wheeling (on Channel 35) and Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, Lincolnwood, Maine Township (unincorporated Des Plaines), Mission Hills (Country Club Properties), Morton Grove, Niles, Palatine, Rolling Meadows and Wilmette (on Channel 19).

Other guests appearing on the October 22 show are Brian C. White of the Lakeside Community Development Corporation and Cliff Carlson, Editor and Publisher of the Irish American News. They'll be on during the first 20 minutes of the show.