When We Think We’re Reading A News Article, But Really It’s Advertising

Please click the link below to read the first item on the Columbia Journalism Review post.  It’s especially important if you’ve never heard the word “native” used to describe something on a news site. For the owners of media outlets, often the real issue is generating enough ad revenue to stay in business.  Newspapers and magazines are losing money, and even the more ethical publishers are getting desperate. It’s discouraging when people fail to question what they read, see or hear.  Most young people aren’t taught to engage their critical thinking skills, and that laziness can stay with them for … Continue reading When We Think We’re Reading A News Article, But Really It’s Advertising

Bart’s Comics, John Philbrook

If you haven’t discovered the adventures of Bart and Mark, your life is missing something.  You can follow them on Twitter (username @BartsComics) and on Facebook.  Today’s cartoon appears near the middle of this post. I find this particular cartoon touching because it reminds me of the message on an Ephemera button worn by my dear friend, John Philbrook. It said CUT THE CRAP. I’M PSYCHIC. John’s button disappeared one day when he was at work (his jacket was left in a place that wasn’t very secure, and the button was on the jacket). He asked me to find a … Continue reading Bart’s Comics, John Philbrook

Workplace Sexual Harassment

There’s an excellent opinion piece in the Oct. 20 New York Times.  A link appears at the end of this post. In 1981, my mother did clerical work in a community college department which counseled students on career choices.  The college offered job-training classes, including auto mechanics.  The classes were all co-ed. There was a problem with male students harassing the one woman in the auto mechanics class.  The female student had reported the abuse to her instructor, and he responded with conventional “wisdom.”  He told her to get used to it or give up on the possibility of working … Continue reading Workplace Sexual Harassment

The Gymnast, 2006 Movie

If you’re looking for an excellent LGBT-themed movie to rent, I recommend The Gymnast, Ned Farr’s 2006 character study starring Dreya Weber and Addie Yungmee. The Gymnast is one of those gems that plays at film festivals, wins several awards and then disappears.  That’s one of life’s injustices. The two central characters, Jane and Serena, engage in introspection and learn through experience.  It’s a thinker’s film, besides being beautifully photographed. The end credits note that The Gymnast is dedicated to David De Simone, who played Jane’s controlling husband.  He passed away soon after completing his work on the film. The official trailer appears … Continue reading The Gymnast, 2006 Movie

Another Sidewalk Disruption In The Castro

I won’t try to recall how many months the residents, merchants and visitors in the Castro neighborhood were expected to be patient with noise, dust and general chaos while construction workers widened the sidewalks and installed bronze plaques honoring LGBT persons in history. During that time, a Twitter pal of mine in Brazil posted photos from his visit to the Bay Area.  The pictures in the Castro showed him posing next to open trenches and orange barricades. The noise, dust and general chaos have resumed, albeit on a smaller scale.  This time it’s a different project under those new sidewalks, … Continue reading Another Sidewalk Disruption In The Castro

It’s Also National Pasta Day, But I Digress

In California, we’ve been living with a drought for the past few years. Climatologists have studied El Nino conditions in the Pacific Ocean for months, cautioning us that the predicted rain may not fall in the right places to refill the reservoirs.  We still don’t know what to expect, but this week the northern part of Los Angeles County had flooding from a severe storm.  That wasn’t what anyone with good sense wanted. The drought in L.A. is still going strong.  One massive storm doesn’t correct the problem, although it causes the obvious new troubles.  Even with carefully spaced events … Continue reading It’s Also National Pasta Day, But I Digress

S.F.P.D. Shooting, 8th & Market Streets, Oct. 15

Yesterday afternoon, a helicopter hovered a few blocks away from my building. I hoped nothing bad had happened.  Often, a news outlet or the Police Department will fly a helicopter for non-emergency purposes, and most of us in Downtown San Francisco have learned not to panic. After the noise continued for awhile, something upsetting turned up on Twitter.  SFPD Officer Grace Gatpandan (username @OfficerGrace) warned the public to avoid the area around 8th and Market Streets, due to “police activity”. 8th & Market is a busy area.  The Main Public Library and a Holiday Inn are close by, and new … Continue reading S.F.P.D. Shooting, 8th & Market Streets, Oct. 15

San Francisco Sheriff’s Race

San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi will be up for re-election on November 3, with two other candidates running for the same office.  Many voters are uncomfortable with Mirkarimi because of scandals involving the Sheriff’s Department and an incident in Mirkarimi’s home shortly before he was sworn into office. It’s impossible to know whether any of the Sheriff Department scandals on Mirkarimi’s watch — including the death of Lynn Spaulding after she went missing at S.F. General Hospital — could have been averted if a different candidate had been elected Sheriff a few years ago. A moral argument can be made … Continue reading San Francisco Sheriff’s Race

First Rate Memoir by Amanda Knox, Waiting To Be Heard

Waiting To Be Heard Amanda Knox Harper Torch Trade Paperback $15.99 Most people in the United States and Great Britain have probably heard of Amanda Knox, and strong opinions fall on every point of the spectrum. In November 2007, a college student from Great Britain, Meredith Kercher, was murdered in Perugia, Italy.  The crime was committed in a home she shared with others, including an American, Amanda Knox.  Ms. Kercher’s future was taken away from her, and we should always show respect for her memory when discussing this topic. One way to show respect for a murder victim is to … Continue reading First Rate Memoir by Amanda Knox, Waiting To Be Heard