Boob Tube: We Are What We Watch?

The Boob-Tube: We are What We Watch — Aren’t We?Boob-tube

Okay, I’ll admit that some days I have too much time on my hands. Today I was looking for something to watch after the Reading vs. Crystal Palace FA Cup game and saw what some of the “talk” shows were offering. I got sucked into looking at several days of show blurbs and got to wondering at what these have to say about us and our society that we air our troubles in front of millions of strangers.


The Steve Wilkos Show: “Steve, Help Me Get Justice” — Ramon’s ex-girlfriend’s daughter accuses him of hitting and sexually abusing her, and he takes a lie-detector test in a bid to clear his name. (11.11.15)
— She didn’t press legal charges against this guy, and he expects to clear his name with a boob-tube lie-detector test?

Judge Mathis: The plaintiff says the defendant is so manipulative that she lied about being pregnant and made a fake ultrasound to trap her ex-boyfriend. (10.29.15)
— The ultrasound is fake? Huh? It’s “Photo-shopped?” It was made for someone else? She’s not pregnant?

Cheaters: “Juliet Anders” — Juliette’s boyfriend gets his sugar from another woman’s honeypot. (10.13.15)
— My, my, my.

Cheaters: “Tammie Everson” — Tammie’s baby daddy loves another woman. (2.19.15)

The People’s Court: “Your Dog Killed My Dog!” (2.12.16)
— ‘nuf said.

Dr. Phil: “My Husband Convinced Me to Sign a Postnup, but I Want It thrown Out!” — Karie says her husband bullied her i-make-you-afraid-lonely-insecure-dependent-indifferent-terrorist-nightmare-brain-washing-mind-control-tv-televisioninto signing a postnuptial agreement that entitles her to nothing if they ever divorce, but Michael insists he did not bully her and her cheating past made it a necessity. (11.6.15)
— They’re still married?

The Bill Cunningham Show: “It’s Me or Your Baby Mama!” — A future mother-in-law is out of control; an angry ex-girlfriend. (10.8.15)
— Probably.

Jerry Springer: “Sleeping With the Frenemy” — Jerrad wants his ex to break up with his boyfriend and come back to him; Holly’s friend inadvertently reveals that she had a one-night stand with Holly’s husband; Kristol’s long-distance boyfriend misleads her. (2.23.15)
— Poor Holly.

Maury: “Did My 55-Year-Old Husband Have a Baby With a 22-Year-Old?” — A married man denies a much-younger woman’s son; Chester thinks his wife is having sex with members of her own family; Bernard says he got a phone call informing him that his children’s mother was unfaithful. (10.13.14)
— I smell burning pants.

The Steve Wilkos Show: “Social Media Ignites Rage” — Tyler thinks his girlfriend Erin is leading a double life; Brenda calls off her wedding to Dylon because she claims to have proof he cheated. (11.6.15)
— I shudder at what proof actually is.

Hot Bench: “Show Me the Yorkie Money!; Ex-Girlfriends Clash!” — A liquor-store cashier hits hard times and neglects to pay for his purebred puppy; a woman hears her girlfriend crash her car while on the phone with her. (11.24.15)
— Talking on the phone while driving is dangerous.

Dr. Phil: “My Ex Is a Terrible Parent and a Danger to Our Children — Chris says his ex-wife, Kelly, allowed their 14-year-old daughter to be intimate with a 28-year-old convicted sex offender; Kelly points out that Chris was investigated by the state after his daughter accused him of physical and sexual abuse. (3.14.16)
— Does the host have something against his audience?

The Bill Cunningham Show: “I Don’t Care . . . I’m Having an Affair” — a man confesses that he is involved with three women; a man reveals his secret affair to his fiancée. (10.19.15)
— Ah, the truth comes out.

Jerry Springer: “Lesbians Come Out . . . of the Cold” — Derrick reveals a secret he has been keeping from the woman he has been seeing; lesbian stripper Diana is on a mission to break up one relationship and start a new one; Summer is a lesbian who cannot stop having sex with men. (2.20.15)

Maury: “Will the Test Prove You Cheated and Gave Me an STD?” — Maggie and her boyfriend, Juan, were both diagnosed with an STD, and a friend tries to convince her that Juan is a sex addict; Leeanthony’s girlfriend is furious when she learns that he thinks she cheated with his best friend. (3.15.16)
— No, it won’t.

The Steve Wilkos Show: “We Didn’t drug Our 7-Month-Old Son” — Taken from his parents, a 7-month-old boy is found to have eight different types of narcotics in his system. (11.13.15)
— Where did he get the money to support his habit?

The Bill Cunningham Show: “Did You Take the Bait and have Sex With My Roommate?” — Lie detector tests settle the score for a woman who thinks her man is sleeping with her roommate, and a woman who thinks her husband is cheating. (10.21.15)
— Take the Bait? did you try to get him to do this?

Jerry Springer: “Catfight Fever” — Aaron admits he hooked up with his fiancée’s stripper friend; TJ hopes an apology and a song can prevent women from fighting; Dave cheated on the woman he says he loves. (2.18.15)
— Be careful of your own friends.

The Steve Wilkos Show: “DNA: Young Mothers Need Results” — By process of elimination, Bryanna concludes that her ex-boyfriend is her baby’s father, but he and his family feel otherwise. (11.12.15)
— By process of elimination? How many candidates were there? What does this lead us to believe about Bryanna?

Boob-Tube OverloadGo read a book

I’m sorry. I just can’t stomach any more. I just hope I never get to the point where I actually watch one of these shows.


Thanksgiving Week

Thanksgiving Week – Nine Days

My wife, Diana or Di, to her English family and Charlie to the rest of us is still teaching. This year she had the whole of Thanksgiving Week off. A good week to relax and veg-out.

Saturday – relax, watch college football, and fix spaghetti for dinner.

Sunday – as above, but pro football and took Charlie to have a mani-pedi.

Monday – relax, we went to MNF dinner at Mike and Sandy’s (nice tradition as Mike and I have been doing this for somewhere around thirty years).

Tuesday – took Charlie to her “pain management” doctor and had one of her “heavy” meds dosage reduced—less med in the same number of pills for the same cost.

Wednesday – one of Charlie’s good, retired friends came over to visit for several hours and I then took Charlie to another doctor’s appointment.

Thursday – the two of us had a quiet Thanksgiving dinner together: turkey, mashed potatoes and peas. Her brother called and was quite chuffed that he had prepared a good batch of roast potatoes. I’ve found that a 16-pound turkey has plenty of meat for the two of us for dinner and several days of leftovers—oh, yes, gave the cats a bit of turkey, too.

Friday – quiet day with leftovers and football and Charlie grading English class essays (7th & 8th grade). When I see her doing this I give quiet thanks that I was able to retire when I did.

Saturday – basically a copy of Friday except I started out watching Premier League “football”—Go Arsenal!

Sunday – should be a copy of Saturday except for the angst of Charlie having to go back to work tomorrow and the Grey Cup is on this afternoon.

The above list is not an exhaustive one. There was grocery shopping to do, including the purchase of cat and bird food. Clothes washing, dishes, general cleaning, etc. that needed to be done. The gardener came by yesterday and the front yard and backyard gardens are beautiful, if lacking in summer flowers.

Charlie finished reading the latest Aloysius Pendergast book, Blue Labyrinth, by Preston and Child. She is now on the patio reading Relic and drinking her second cup of tea. We actually have dark clouds overhead so, maybe, we’ll get some of that promised rain this week. (Maybe, even today.)

I’m a half-dozen chapters into Heritage of Cyador by Modesitt and it promises to be a good read.

I’ve written the first eight chapters of my book, two more full chapters and two partial chapters farther on in the story. My goal is a hundred thousand words but I’ve got more story than that in my head and will have to do a “bit” of trimming.

Downloaded Annie Lennox’s new album, Nostalgia, marvelous. I’ve got 18,000+ songs and tunes on iTunes and have music playing in the house most of the time—on Apple TV and playing through our stereo. (Still waiting for Diana Krall’s Wallflower.)

The OC Register is again a no-show today—haven’t had a copy delivered since Thursday a week ago, but I still get their emails. The LA Times hasn’t missed a day or been late. (This really bugs me as the Times does not cover Orange County high school football. It’s playoff season now.)

School Teacher Alert

—and anyone else who has ever had a “pointy-haired” principal or boss: Today’s Dilbert (with apologies to Scott Adams).

Principal: Would you like some feedback on your (teaching) performance?

Teacher: No.

P: You’re supposed to appreciate feedback because it makes you feel valued.

T: How does listening to you belittle me about things you don’t understand make me feel valued?

P: Well, I don’t know. It must be an indirect thing.

P: Maybe we should just try it and see how it feels.

T: Whatever.

P: I don’t actually watch you (teach) work, so I’m mostly guessing about the things you do wrong.

P: I accuse you of being slow and disorganized!

P: Is it working yet?

T: Yes. If that makes you go away.

I don’t know if this accurate for your current situation, but, if you’ve been a teacher long enough, you’ve had at least one, and maybe several “pointy-haired” principals. (I know I have. I, of course, won’t mention any names, but, if you’ve taught with me, you will probably name the same ones.)


Charlie’s sister, Tricia, has confirmed that she’ll be here for Christmas. (She lives in England.)

Sunday Morning Company
Sunday Morning Company

The cats are keeping me company: one on the back of my chair, from which position he sometimes washes my hair, and the other atop her castle.

And, as I look around at all I possess and think on all I am thankful for one thing stands out: Charlie, without whom nothing else seems to matter.

And, one more note, Charlie reports that it is now raining.

California Politics—Follow the Money $

Money in Politics

Mid-Term elections are coming up in another week—Tuesday, November 4th, 2014 and we are currently being bombarded by, what seems to me at least, an obscene number of ads. These ads appear on almost every street corner, in newspapers and magazines, on radio, television and the internet. All of these ads take money. This money is contributed by individuals, organizations and corporate entities.

Seal of California
Seal of California

These individuals and others do not contribute money out of the goodness of their hearts but because they hope to get something from that contribution.

Many individuals spend their own money to get elected. Why? Ego? Impose their own standards/beliefs upon others? Think they’re better/know more than others? Gain an economic advantage by voting for things that they think will help them and those like them? (Yes, I know I’m a bit cynical, but haven’t you ever had these thoughts about, at least, one politician?)

Organizations, through their individual members, contribute money to further their own aims. The Democratic and Republican parties funnel millions of dollars to election and re-election campaigns in every state and (nearly) every election. Unions (teamsters, teachers, electricians, etc.), associations (nurses, doctors, dentists, etc.), the ACLU, LLPs (limited liability partnerships-many of them lawyers), etc.

Sometimes you will find an organization contributing money to opponents running against each other. Perhaps, the organization wants to influence the winner, no matter who that is? (Yeah, I know, more cynicism, but can you really believe they do it out of the goodness of their hearts?)

“California” Money

For the current election in California the California Secretary of State’s (Debra Bowen) office maintains a website delineating those organizations and individuals who have spent a large amount of money trying to influence the November 4th, 2014 election. This is the Cal-Access website. It contains quite a bit of information on who and what groups are spending money trying to influence the election.

By clicking on the link to the Top 10 Contributor Lists you can find the Top 10 Contributors to Statewide Ballot Measure Committees and the Campaign Finance Data for All Ballot Measure Committees as well at the same data for individual candidates.

Proposition 1 – Water Bond. Funding for Water Quality, Supply, Treatment, and Storage Projects.


Proposition 2 – State Budget. Budget Stabilization Account. Legislative Constitutional Amendment.

18 individuals and groups listed for supporting and none listed for opposing the above propositions. (Remember, this does not mean that no one opposes these propositions.)

Proposition 45 – Healthcare Insurance. Rate changes. Initiative Statute.

For: Consumer Watchdog Campaign, California Nurses Association, Kathryn Taylor, Consumer Watchdog, Thomas Steyer

Against: Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Wellpoint, Inc. and affiliated entities, Blue Shield of California, Health Net, Inc., UnitedHealthCare Insurance Company

Follow the money: could it be that the healthcare/insurance industry doesn’t want the state Insurance Commissioner to veto their increases of rates and charges?

Proposition 46 – Drug and Alcohol Testing of Doctors. Medical Negligence Lawsuits. Initiative Statute.

For: Consumer Attorneys of California and its sponsored committees, Kabateck, Brown, Kellner, LLP; Brian S. Kabateck, Robinson Calcagnie Robinson Davis, Inc., Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP, Shernoff, Bidart, Echeverria, Bentley, LLP

Against: Cooperative of American Physicians IE Committee, The Doctors Company, Norcal Mutual Insurance Company, California Medical Association Physicians’ Issues Committee, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., and The Hospitals

Follow the money: maybe the lawyers do want more lawsuits for larger amounts of money and higher fees, and the doctors and insurance companies don’t.

Proposition 47 – Criminal Sentences. Misdemeanor Penalties. Initiative Statute.

For: American Civil Liberties Union, Inc., Open Society Policy Center, Hughes, B. Wayne, Atlantic Advocacy Fund, Munger, Molly

10 individuals and groups listed for supporting and none listed for opposing the above proposition. (Remember, this does not mean that no one opposes this proposition.)

Proposition 48 – Indian Gaming Compacts. Referendum.

Against: Table Mountain Rancheria, Brigade Capital Management, LLC through affiliated entities, Chukchansi Economic Development Authority, United Auburn Indian Community of the Auburn Rancheria, Riva Ridge Recovery Fund LLC

10 individuals and groups listed for opposing and none listed for supporting the above proposition. (Remember, this does not mean that no one supports this proposition.)

Follow the money: could it be that other Indian tribes (and maybe Nevada casinos) don’t want the competition?

Other Information

There is a tremendous amount of information available on this site. All state-wide offices, the Board of Equalization (what a name), the State Senate and Assembly are included. For much of that information you have to dig through several layers, but, if you are interested in following the money, it is well worth the effort.

Be sure to read the fine print.

There is plenty of information about the contributors cited above on the Cal-Access website. Other information is available if you just copy the name and past it into your browser or search engine.

Please, if you are going to vote, cast an intelligent ballot. Do not just rely on television advertising or on the biases of others (or your own biases). Vote to bring about the greatest good or the least harm.

California Flag
California Flag
In the interests of openness:
  • I am a lifelong Democrat, who on occasion votes Republican
  • I am liberal to moderate on social issues
  • I am conservative on most economic issues
  • I was a teacher in California public schools for forty years and, for most of those years, I was active in my local union
  • I am retired

POLITICS, n. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage. (From The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce)

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

In the April 16th, 2012 issue of the Orange County Register Michael Hewitt wrote about his reactions to the HBO production of A Game of Thrones (I’d provide a link to the article but the Register now charges for content.). I e-mailed my reaction to his story: Orange County Register Logo


I couldn’t help but chuckle at and sympathize with your reactions to George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones.

I read the first book in the A Song of Fire and Ice series several years ago after picking up a used copy in Camelot Books in Fountain Valley. I found A Game of Thrones to be well-written and interesting. I went back and picked up the other three books a short time later. The second and third books were ok but not as good as the first; the fourth was a great disappointment – nothing but tying up loose ends with, mostly, minor characters.

Last year one of my students, a seventh grade boy, was reading the fifth book, A Dance with Dragons, during our twenty minute Homeroom/Reading Break and I struck up a conversation with him about the series. Here was a kid reading fantasy at the same age I had discovered Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. He later gave me a copy of Dragons as a retirement gift (after forty years in junior high/middle school).

I took the book on vacation and was about halfway through when I discovered, in North Dakota, that I had left the book in Minnesota.

I understand the way you feel about the HBO series based on these novels. I am a fan of the genre and I can’t seem to get excited about the series. Some of the individual episodes are quite good, but something is lacking. I want to like it and look forward to what is coming – but it just doesn’t seem to matter. Maybe it just doesn’t equal what I have in my imagination, Jon and Daenerys sure don’t. The Rest? I don’t know.

Tolkien needed four books to tell his story; Martin needs six (The Winds of Winter), seven (A Dream of Spring) or more to tell his. What was really necessary was a good editor and/or publisher who was more interested in quality rather than quantity and money. The story and characters would have made a good trilogy with, maybe, some of the plot lines and characters transported into another storyline.

Who knows, with luck Martin will finish A Song of Fire and Ice as well as he started it – and in the not too distant and wordy future.

And his reply:

Thank you for your note, Joe.A Game of Thrones front cover

I was a big fan of Lord of the Rings as a kid; I read the books several times by the time I graduated from high school. But for some reason I never progressed beyond that in the fantasy realm. If I recall correctly, an attempt at the Gormenghast books did me in.

I hope Mr. Martin gets around to finishing his series. I gather his slow writing has become something of a joke in the fan community.

As for the show, it often seems that fans of books are let down when the characters that they pictured in their minds become “fixed” in real people for TV or movies. There is bound to be disappointment.

I hope you enjoy finishing the book when you get back to mosquito country.

Michael Hewitt