Professor Media Matters

I am a media professional with 6 years as a TV producer and reporter, and college professor in the field of Communications. I am also a Conservative with a passion for pop culture. This will be my attempt to put the "me" in media. It will be my take on movies, TV, books, magazines, newspapers, the Internet and all that is the worldwide media.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

MY FIVE CONSERVATIVE FAVES

As a conservative Christian, I avoid the main street media because it has a blatant liberal bias. So as a result I rely on conservative talk radio and Internet sites for my news and analysis. Here is a list of my 5 favorite conservative radio talk show hosts:

1. Hugh Hewitt. Listen to him frequently. I Met him a while back in Sacramento. Appreciate his wisdom and his Christian faith.

2. Rush Limbaugh. Don't get to listen to him every day. But he is the master of the humorous political parody, and of succinctly telling it like it is.

3. Laura Ingraham. She is no longer on in the Sacramento market and I miss hearing her program.

4. Sean Hannity. I don't watch him much on the tube, but I do enjoy his high energy, fast-paced radio program. I really like tuning into his show when there is a scandal brewing.

5. Tie between Michael Medved and Dennis Prager. Hardly ever get to listen to their programs. But when I do, I am always impressed with their passionate defense of Judeo-Christian values in America.

Here are my five favorite conservative Internet sites:
1.      Hotair.com. They provide original content and links to other pundits and reporters. It is a great clearinghouse of solid conservative information.

2.      DrudgeReport.com. The granddaddy of Internet news sites. Matt Drudge broke the Lewinsky story. He is a must check at least several times a day.


3.      Instapundit.com. This site leans more libertarian than conservative. But I like the variety it provides and the snippets about each article it links too. Plus Instapundit has a great sense of humor.

4.      BigHollywood.com. This site was started by Andrew Breitbart before he died. It looks at Hollywood and politics from a conservative viewpoint. Believe it or not, there are conservatives in Hollywood.

5.      Lucianne.com. This is another clearinghouse site. One of the first I ever got hooked on. It was founded by Lucianne Goldberg. You may remember her from the Lewinsky scandal. She knew Linda Tripp.

Monday, August 20, 2012

TV TOP 10

The end of summer is near and a new fall TV season approaches. This is a good time to make a list of some of one's favorite things. So here goes. My list of my top 10 favorite TV programs for 2011-2012 season:

1. The Price Is Right – Drew Carey has taken over from legendary host Bob Barker and made this game show his own. You can tell he is having fun and those of us in the TV audience have fun right alongside him. Plus my wife and I like to compete against one another. And my son loves to say “Come On Down!”

2. Big Bang Theory - This sitcom is very funny, with a great cast. This would probably be number one if not for the fact that it is often not very family-friendly.  Note: Often the humor or storyline is overtly sexual in nature, and that doesn't appeal to me.

3. Little People, Big World -It is my favorite reality show, though my schedule often causes me to miss it. This is a neat family with unique challenges. And I like how their faith is treated with respect. No longer in a weekly format, the Roloff family appears on TLC in hour-long special updates only.

4. America's Funniest Home Videos - It makes my son laugh and that is the greatest feeling in the world. And I laugh, too.

5. Dallas – I am finally getting the soap opera fix I have been blogging about. The revamp of this 80’s drama has been successful and suspenseful. It is good to have J.R. back to his old ways. I was in high school when the show was originally on three decades ago and never got into it. This time around I am enjoying the Ewing clan cliffhangers. Note: this is not a family show. TNT allows some offensive language which is disheartening. Make sure your children are safely in bed when you view.

6. Bristol Palin: Life’s A Tripp! – I love the Palin family! Bristol and her son Tripp are a delight. And I love the bickering between Bristol and her younger sister Willow. Willow needs her own show. I am thankful for pro-life people on TV. The only things I would wish for are more cameos from Gov. Palin and her adorable son Trig.

7. Wipeout - This competition program another reality show that is a favorite in my household. The humor from the hosts is endearing. And watching the contestants fall off various objects is good for a laugh or two as well. Watch out for the Big Balls!

8. Wheel of Fortune -The best game show on TV. Even my 2 year old loves it and can follow along. And I love the banter between Pat and Vanna at the close of the show. I know, I'm a geek.

9. Family Feud hosted by Steve Harvey - We are game show junkies in our house, with lots of hours logged on the GSN network. Of all the Feud hosts on that network, Harvey shines brightest. His gestures and smirks are priceless. It makes us laugh as we play along. Survey says!

10. Special Report with Bret Baier - The best news and political show on TV.  The round table at the end is the best part of the program. I don't watch it as much as I used to but feel good knowing it is there when a big story breaks.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

ABOUT ME...

25 Things About me...
1. I tried to water ski when I was a teenager but I could never get up on them. I have never attempted snow skiing.
2. My mom's maiden name was Marilyn Monroe.
3. I love to read conservative political non-fiction books.
4. I went to Japan when I was 13.
5. I really do think, overall, that George W. Bush was a good president and a godly man.
6. I was a TV travel reporter and producer for PBS for 7 years.
7. My wife was born in Texas.
8. All of the birthdays in my immediate family have a "2" in them.
9. I love to make up silly songs and sing them to my son, Parker. He loves it, too.
10. I miss Kathie Lee Gifford on “Live.”
11. My sister has recently overcome uterine cancer. God is good.
12. I love the low prices at Wal-mart.
13. I am not a tween, but I do like the Jonas Brothers music.
14. I once got kicked out of Disneyland for not wearing socks.
15. My family went to a Gov. Palin rally during the election and she twice acknowledged us during the speech.
16. I won $700 on a slot machine in Lake Tahoe. The entire amount went to my dentist.
17. My wife is a genius and solves all my computer problems.
18. We have a Sunday morning before church chocolate chip pancake tradition.
19. I was supposed to interview Regis Philbin on the day after 9/11/01, but of course all flights were cancelled and so we never got to meet.
20. I have worked as a DJ at multiple country music radio stations.
21. I am horribly inept at video and computer games.
22. I strongly supported the war in Iraq and the global war on terror.
23. I hit an over the fence home run in a Little League playoff game.
24. I once sank two free throws at the end to win the game in Junior High basketball.
25. I got rid of my life-size Amy Grant poster when I met my wife.

Friday, August 17, 2012

PRANKS FOR NOTHING

(This column was revised from a previous venue.)
I used to work for a well-advertised business in California. TV advertisements for this company run multiple times daily. In addition to the TV exposure, the business has a uniquely memorable phone number. So between the TV ads and the easy to remember phone number, the company gets a lot of business. And a lot of prank phone calls.

For a time it was my job to check the voicemail for messages. We usually got about 10-15 prank calls a day. And on the weekends, when the office was closed, we would get a ton of prank calls. (Real cowards!) I checked messages one evening, and of 42 messages, only 5 were legitimate business calls. That means we got 37 PRANK PHONE CALLS in less than 24 hours. That is pathetic.

Now you might think that most of the pranksters are youngsters. And many of them are. Their cheesy calls for pizza orders and attempts at humor are annoying, but not the end of the world. More of the young people calling, though, with a hankering for a prank these days are using violent and sexually suggestive language in their pranks. This is disturbing. When an 9 year old voice leaves a message either in person or on the machine that is of a distinctly sexual nature, something has gone terribly wrong in this child's life. I know kids, especially teenagers, need a chance to rebel. And prank phone calls are probably one of the safest ways for kids to do that. I understand. But when the prank phone call is stuff that I, as a 44 year old male, wouldn't even say in public, then I think there's a problem.

You might also think that all of the pranksters are young. You'd be wrong. I was repeatedly shocked at how many adult voices leave nonsense and derogatory messages on the voicemail. Sure, I got a few heavy breathers. But the business also got random death threats and extremely graphic descriptions of bedroom behavior. Don't these adults have better things to do with their lives then to leave anonymous nasty messages? I am embarrassed for them. Maybe they think they are being funny or clever. Trust me, when you leave a prank message as an adult, you are only being pathetic.

I wonder if anyone has ever done a scholarly study on the changing content of prank phone calls. I bet it would be a fascinating study. And I would guess that the content has become much more graphic over the years. It brings a whole new meaning to using the phone to reach out and touch someone.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

BLOGGING ABOUT BRONCOS, BENGALS AND BEARS OH MY!


When you write a blog day after day, you hope that your efforts are being rewarded with readers. So far, this blog hasn't really taken off.

However, I also have a blogging outlet at FootballNation.com. It has been a blessing from God to have a creative outlet that people are actually reading. I hope it can continue. Please check out the two columns of mine they have posted thus far:

"NY Jets: Mark Sanchez Channeling His Inner Tebow."

"Dallas Cowboys: Orton Brings Drama to Big D."

Or you can always just go to my Contributor page.

My wife and I love the NFL football season. Hopefully this year we will love the season even more as we follow along on FootballNation.com. Join us!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

TOP 10 REASONS NOT TO FILL OUT A JOB APPLICATION CORRECTLY

As my job hunt continues, this is a humorous look at what not to do:

TOP 10 REASONS NOT TO FILL OUT A JOB APPLICATION CORRECTLY

10. You don't want to get a good job.

9. Two words: state lottery.

8. You've found your life's calling flipping burgers under the Golden Arches.

7. Your Great Aunt Ophelia died and left you her lucky monkey's paw, so your future is set.

6. You get mail from Publisher's Clearing House regularly.

5. You think, why bother, I'll marry money.

4. You figure, everyone else has their own TV talk or reality show, someday soon, I will too.

3. Yur'e a terabbl speler.

2. You get your Social Security number mixed up with your phone number.

1. The employer might recognize your name from TV's "America's Most Wanted."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

PERSONAL TESTIMONY

During this period of unemployment I have been applying for a number of ministry openings. Many of them require that I submit my personal testimony in writing. This is what I have been including with my application:

I grew up in a Christian home and have had the opportunity to attend church and learn about God all of my life. I accepted Christ as my personal savior at age 7 while at Jennings Lodge church camp.

My faith was an important part of my life throughout my teen years. I had the chance to develop my ministry and leadership skills as president of my church’s high school youth group. I continued my walk with Christ while attending a 4-year Christian college.

In my professional life I have grown in my faith under the wise counsel of two Christian supervisors, most notably Anne Jeffers, who was my mentor and boss during my 6-year tenure at Corban University in the 1990s.

Currently I attend Trinity Life Center church in Sacramento, California. I have been active in drama ministry at Trinity.

Since 2009 I have also served as a Board Member for Pregnancy Support Group (PSG), a non-profit ministry that is committed to providing positive alternatives to abortion. We actively seek to lead men and women in crisis pregnancy situations to a life of sexual abstinence until marriage, and to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

I desire to return to full time ministry.

Monday, August 13, 2012

HEBREWS 11:6

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and the He rewards those who earnestly seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

A week ago I wrote a blog post about trying to make a decision and needing God's wisdom. It was a ministry opportunity that included a financial risk. As I was praying, a song came on the radio -- Britt Nicole's "Walk on the Water." As I mentioned in the previous post, the lyrics seem to indicate that our faith required some risk taking.

Yesterday, the guest speaker at church preached a similar message. That our Christian faith should be "dangerous." Danger in the sense that we are always trying something new...taking risks.

So we need to take risks. But first we have to have faith. That got me to thinking. Do I even have faith? Do I even possess enough faith to live up to Hebrews 11:6? Do I demonstrate enough faith to please God?

I tried to think of times in my life when I have demonstrated faith. I had a hard time coming up with examples. Sad but true. The one thing in my life that routinely requires me to demonstrate faith is when I tithe.

Because I am unemployed right now, money is tight. But money has always been tight. Chances are money will always be tight. That is just the nature of life. So tithing is always a risk. There is always uncertainty about paying the bills and wondering if that tithe money could be better spent elsewhere-- my son needs new shoes. The car tires are fraying. Our bathroom tile is bulging. Yet God commands me to give Him ten percent of my income. And I want to be obedient. I want to earnestly seek Him. So I do it. And in doing so, I exercise my faith.

I am grateful for that one area of my life where my desire to be obedient allows me to display faith. But faith is definitely a muscle that needs more exercise if I want to live up to Hebrews 11:6 and please God.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

MY TEN EVENTS IN HISTORY

My friend Dave Logan died this week. He may be better known as the courageous conservative blogger, Thirdwave Dave. That’s how I came to know him, as we never met in person. In his honor I am re-posting a blog challenge he thrust upon me a while back. We will miss you Dave.

OK, I have been summoned by Mrs. Media Matters and ThirdWaveDave to play a game of tag and name the ten events in history I wish I could have witnessed in person. This seems like an overwhelming task, one where you risk seeming silly and superficial if you don't pick "significant" events. In any case, reluctantly, here I go.

1. Either inauguration of Pres. George W. Bush as the 43rd President. The second time may have been sweeter.
2. In the audience when Pres. Ronald Reagan said the immortal line that changed the world, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."
3. An early crusade of the Rev. Billy Graham when it was clear the Holy Spirit had anointed him and God was blessing his ministry.
4. When Christ uttered "It is finished" and the Temple curtain ripped in two.
5. Backstage at the 1992 Grammys when my favorite artist of all time,
Amy Grant, was nominated for 4 major awards and she performed live on the telecast.
6. Any day in the 1950s when I could have met both of my grandfathers.
7. On the set of ET: The Extra Terrestrial during the bike flying sequences and the goodbye scene, so I could see cinema magic being made.
8.The January days of 1998 with Matt Drudge when he had the Lewinsky scandal and blew the story wide open, permanently damaging the Clinton presidency.
9. Sitting near Rosa Parks when she decided she was not willing to give up her seat on that bus.
10. Any day on the set with Regis Philbin during the Live with Regis and Kathie Lee heydays.

Friday, August 10, 2012

NOTABLE QUOTABLES

There are a couple of new releases I want to see in the theater: the new Tommy Lee  Jones movie, Hope Springs and the new Jennifer Garner flick that comes out next week. That makes me think of some of my favorite movies, and my favorite movie quotes. Here is my list. I am a child of the 70s and 80s, so most of them are from that era. Let me know if you agree with my selections and send me your faves as well.

"I want my two dollars." - Better Off Dead.

"May the Force be with you." - Star Wars. When we played Yahtzee as a kid, it was "May the 4s be with you."

"I feel the need, the need for speed." - Top Gun.

"Goose, you big stud, take me to bed or lose me forever." - Top Gun.

"I'll get you my pretty. And your little dog, too." - The Wizard of Oz.

"Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!" - The Wizard of Oz.

"I'm melting. I'm melting." - The Wizard of Oz.

"We're walking. We're walking. Stop." - Dave.

"Luke, I 'm your father." - Empire Strikes Back.

Too many to mention from Steel Magnolias. Have to watch it again so I can get them down verbatim. But Julia Roberts, Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis and Dolly Parton all have notable quotables in this film.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

SONG OF STRESS

I wrote my very first praise chorus a while back. I don't know how to post audio on this blog. And you don't really want to hear me sing anyway. The lady who sits in the pew in front of me at church every week turned to me one Sunday after service and said "Thank God you don't sing in the choir!" So you'll just have to trust me that it has an original tune to it.

When I'm angry and I'm stressed
then I must remember I'm blessed.
I'm blessed just to worship the Lord.
(repeat this section one time)

The Lord for all He's done for me.
He's saved me for all eternity.

When I'm angry and I'm stressed
then I must remember I'm blessed.
I'm blessed just to worship the Lord.

Oh yes I will worship the Lord.

As you can probably tell by the lyrics, I wrote this song when I was...yes, you guessed it, stressed. I tend to remember to sing it when I am in stressful times, too. It came to mind today as I was worrying about finances. The chorus helps remind me not to focus on myself or the stress, but on God. In that way it has been a big blessing. Maybe one day it can be a blessing to others as well.

Monday, August 06, 2012

TIMELY TUNE?

James 1:5 -- "So if anyone lacks wisdom he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault and it will be given to him."
I was praying while driving in the car the other day. Yes, my eyes were open. I have been trying to make a decision for days, maybe weeks now. I was asking God whether or not I should take a particular risk. A ministry risk that involved a financial risk. I am unemployed right now so there is a lot of financial risk-taking going on. As I was wrapping up my prayer, this song came on the radio.

So what are you waiting for
What do you have to lose
Your insecurities
They try to hold to you
But you know you're made for more
So don't be afraid to move
Your faith is all it takes
And you can walk on the water too.

It's called Walk on the Water by one of my favorite Christian artists, Britt Nicole. The lyrics certainly seem to imply that our faith warrants taking risks and that we shouldn't let our fears hold us back.

Can James 1:5 wisdom from God come in the form of a song lyric? A timely song lyric? I'm not sure. Evidence of my unsureness is that another week has passed and I still haven't decided whether or not to take that risk. And I acknowledge that not deciding is ultimately in fact deciding. I am willing to take the risk but don't feel like I have enough information yet. I guess I've been waiting for more confirmation from God that this is a wise risk to take. So far it hasn't come, so I haven't moved. Maybe I am waiting too long, wanting too much.

I'll probably pray about it in the car some more tomorrow. I'll let you know if any more timely tunes have something to add to the conversation.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

WE'RE UNDER A SPELL

Why are we a nation of such horabul spelurs? I used to teach college and it amazed and discouraged me how inept my students were at spelling. My students even messed up on simple words like "time" and "didn't" and others. Even on the computer people don't bother to use spell check. I am not a perfect speller, but I will take the time to look a word up in the dictionary if I am not sure of the spelling. It is not hard to memorize how to spell basic words. Unfortunately with our move toward texting, laziness is making abbreviating and purposely misspelling words to save time more common and more acceptable. I bet if we saw the private writings of our leaders and elected officials we would be appalled at their spelling. But except for the occasional spelling bee champ that we celebrate for 35 seconds once a year on the evening news, spelling has become a lost art that we no longer value. And in the long run I believe that will be a big  M-I-S-T-A-K-E.
(If I've spelled anything wrong in this paragraph, I will be humiliated. But don't call me out on it if I did because I'll just say I did it on purpose to see if anyone was paying attention and was a good enough speller to catch it!)

Saturday, August 04, 2012

LITTLE LEAGUE LESSONS

I played Little League as a kid. I enjoyed it but learned I was more of a sports watcher than a sports player. Who knew I would actually learn more about myself as a Little League parent than as a Little League player. Here are some observations I wrote from my first season as a Little League parent. They originally appeared in a different venue.

LITTLE LEAGUE LESSON #1
Today is my son's first Little League game. I haven't posted about baseball yet because honestly I wasn't sure if he would like it, or even if he would be able to do it. But he loves it. His coaches have worked with autistic boys before and they are great with him. I am really proud of him. I have said this before but I am his dad so you have to indulge me -- Days like today take me back to before he was born and then in the hospital and NICU. Doctors were doubting that with his brain injuries and Cerebral Palsy and all of his health concerns that he would even be able to walk or talk or sit or crawl. And now here he is thriving and playing Little League. I am crying as I type this. God has blessed us with a remarkable miracle.

LITTLE LEAGUE LESSON #2
I had a great moment as a parent last night. This may get lost in translation but here goes. My son had just scored a run. He was in the dugout with his team. He stood up and started jumping and wildly flailing his hands. This is a common behavior for him and many with autism. People sometimes mock him for it because they don't understand he has autism. And his therapists say it will eventually need to be phased out because it will inhibit his ability to learn and adapt. But in that moment I knew what that behavior meant and I am so glad I got to see it. That behavior said I am having fun. I feel safe. I am excited. For me I don't think I have ever felt more content than I did right then. And about 3 hours later I felt intense gratitude to God for that moment.

Friday, August 03, 2012

PARKER'S POEM


I wrote this poem this morning about my son.  He was born with Cerebral Palsy, up to 50% brain malformation, a brain cyst, and developmental delay. At age 3 he was also diagnosed with autism. He faces a lot of challenges.  I wanted this poem to challenge people, including myself, who complain about how tough life is. My son doesn't complain. He just overcomes. This is a Philippians 4:13 inspired poem -- "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

When you think it can't be done
Just remember my son.
Born with half a brain.
A life destined for pain.
They said he might not walk
And possibly not talk.
We wondered would he crawl?
Or ever throw a ball?
But lots of people prayed.
Daily progress he has made.
And now at age of 6
He runs and throws and kicks.
Don’t tell me you can’t do it.
That there’s too much to go through it.
You haven’t met my son.
He’s proof it can be done.

I got excited when I finished this poem and posted it first today on my Facebook page. I probably need to stop doing that since I want to increase traffic to my blog. But I like this poem. I think it is inspiring. I think my son is inspiring.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

IT'S A WHEELY GOOD TIME

My wife swears I am strange. And she is probably right.

No, not because I constantly leave the toilet seat up. And I don't have some weird foot fetish. It's not like that.

I'm strange because I love the Wheel of Fortune. Wait, there's more to it. Just wanted to start you slow. Don't want to freak you out. I love all of Wheel of Fortune. It has been such a blessing to my family. Not only has it entertained us for hours. Or half hours. But I think it is also largely responsible for helping my special needs son learn his alphabet. Even as an infant, before his Cerebral Palsy and autism were completely diagnosed, it was the first TV program he would pay attention to. I think all the clapping and the bright colors on the wheel appealed to his sensory deprivation issues. He screams when people win the bonus round, cries when they don't, and still works "I'd like to buy a vowel please, Pat" into his daily conversations. It would be a fascinating doctoral thesis to study how Wheel of Fortune has benefited America's children by teaching them the alphabet, but even more specifically the special needs children of this nation. But that's  probably it's own blog post and I digress.

Back to why my wife says I am strange. I love Wheel of Fortune. I love all of Wheel of Fortune. But what makes me strange is that my absolute favorite part of Wheel of Fortune is the end of the program banter between Pat and Vanna. Look for it the next time you watch. It's the last part of the show before the credits and commercials. I've always liked Pat Sajak, even in his failed attempt at a late night talk show. He makes me laugh. I'm easy. Vanna White doesn't usually say much. She laughs at Pat's jokes, looks great and smiles approvingly. Not bad qualities for a wife to have, TV or otherwise.

At the end of every episode Pat and Vanna have 16 seconds to wrap up the episode and say (and wave) goodbye. I know it is 16 seconds because one evening they ended the show by telling us they had an average of 16 seconds every night to end the show. Other Pat and Vanna banter segments have included what the date on your egg cartons mean, what New Year's resolution Vanna made (and expects to break), and how Pat packs the school lunchboxes of all of his children. It's sweet, silly stuff. And I love it.

I'm strange that way.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

DRIVE-BY KISSES

(This idea, in a shorter version, first appeared in a different venue.)
I spend a lot of time in my car. At least once a week I find myself making a delivery or running an errand in the neighborhood where my wife works. So I have developed a romantic little gesture that she loves. Actually, we both love it. We call it the Drive-By Kiss. Whenever I am in her neck of the woods, I call her and give her 5-minutes notice. Then I call again when I make it to the parking lot. She meets me out front of her office building, and the make out session begins. OK, it's not quite that hot and heavy. But it is a nice way to add a little pizazz and romance to your day. And bring a smile to your wife's face. She’ll go back into the office and brag about you to her co-workers! Husbands, if you have the ability to work drive-by kisses into your routine, believe me, it pays dividends.