Wednesday, October 27, 2010

ABC Again...

Once again, I'm pissed at ABC.

As I'm sure some will remember that back in August I wrote a blog post about how incredibly angry I was at ABC for making a decision to take off their regular daily programming in order to run old reruns of General Hospital just because an actress who played a character named "Brenda" years ago was returning to the show.  (

As bad as that decision was, today's was far worse. For absolutely no understandable reason whatsoever, ABC decided yet again to take off all their popular, regular daytime programming in order to run old reruns...this time under the guise of showing "fan favorite" couples.

I tried to call ABC in New York to complain about this absolutely horrendous decision, but of course was unable to get through to a human being. After making my way through a catacomb of various automated messages, I first got through to a line that simply rang for over 10 minutes without anyone picking it up. Next I went through the maze of various machine voices to be taken to yet another machine that told me how much ABC valued my comments, but then disconnected me before I had an opportunity to leave any. Next I worked my way through a different path of machine voices and instructions and finally found my way to a receptionist to whom I explained my issue. She said she would put me through to programming, but instead she just switched me to that same automated line from before that "values the comments" that it won't record.

Now even more angry and frustrated, I called back yet again, I followed the same machine path that had gotten me to a receptionist before. First, I explained to her that I did NOT want to just be put through to that same recorded comment line that doesn't take comments. I told her that I wanted to actually SPEAK to a PERSON who could explain the rationale behind this horrible programming decision. I further explained to the girl that I had worked in television and although I understand the decision of the network to occasionally air reruns on various holidays when they feel that people would either not be home, or would not want to watch television (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, Labor Day, July 4th...hell, I'd even possibly accept it on Groundhog Day) it makes no sense for today. I wanted someone to explain to me the significance of the 27th of October that makes it "couples day" on ABC, necessitating the running of six year old episodes.

Ari's Wedding - 10/27/84
Now, on a purely personal level, the date of October 27th has some "couples" significance to ME, as it just so happens that today would have been my 26th wedding anniversary, but I highly doubt that commemoration of my long-ago wedding had anything to do with this horrible programming choice. Besides, if they really wanted to do some sort of couples commemoration, they should have had their editors go through their old episodes and put together an actual historical montage that traces that couple's background…then perhaps broadcast it on a day that has some sort of accepted couples-related significance. Valentine's Day? Sweetest Day, perhaps? Instead, for reasons beyond any rational understanding, they chose to simply air old reruns at the end of October, containing characters that are long-gone and in some cases even DEAD, on the pretense of doing some sort of fan-pleasing favor? It makes no sense whatsoever.

What are they thinking at that network? Don't they even think to have anyone read the fan message boards for their shows? If they had, they would know that the fans absolutely do NOT want to see episodes that are years old and no longer have any significance. And frankly, if ABC does NOT have someone reading those boards, the question then becomes why not? Why would a programming executive not want to know the opinions of their show's most devoted fans when making these kinds of decisions? The only conclusion I can draw is that they really couldn't care less what the fans think...and that's a sad statement.  Another sad statment is that in the end, that receptionist too ended up putting me back to that same 'won't-take-your-valued-comments' line.

Once I realized that there would be no getting through to the network, I decided to call the local affiliate, even though I logically knew that this was completely a network decision and not something the affiliate stations would have any say about.  But I thought that perhaps they could at least give me the reasoning and as the
network wouldn't let me vent to them, I decided I'd vent locally. When I got someone on the phone from WISN, I was finally able to talk to actual people.

At first this receptionist started to blow me off too, and simply read me the announcement that they had received from the network explaining WHAT they would be doing, but not why. But then when she actually heard what I had to say, she said got very pleasant and said that she agreed with me...and then she connected me to someone in programming.

The programming guy also was somewhat non-receptive to what I was saying initially, but by the end of the conversation, he was completely agreeing with me and we had a very nice conversation. He said that he agreed that it was a terrible decision, but that unfortunately the affiliate had no choice but to do what the network directed. He then said that personally he thought that all programming decisions should be made the in the Midwest instead of in New York City...

Personally, I couldn't agree more.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Two of these things are not like the other...

There is a small, local, free paper that is distributed throughout the Sheboygan County lakeshore area.  It's a cute little paper that usually has a lot of ads for interesting, local small businesses that can't afford the advertising rates of the Sheboygan Press.  It also has an excellent calendar of local events.  I generally try to remember to read it when it comes out every week.

This week as I was paging through I saw a full-page ad that really annoyed me... 

My issues with this ridiculous ad start with the fact that, as I titled this post...two of these things are NOT like the other.  One can EITHER put "God" and "the Ten Commandments" into government (there's no "BACK" here...they've always been excluded) OR one can put the Constitution "back in government" (I was unaware it had LEFT).  Personally...I choose to reverently KEEP the Constitution in government which means keeping it the way it is; absent "god" and codes of ethics handed down thousands of years ago from nomadic tribes living in what is still one of the most barbaric regions on the globe to this day.

The other serious issue I have with the ad is that the tiny little print in the lower left says (in barely legible type) "Paid for by Smthof Manor".  Now...I did NOT just make a typo..."Smthof" (which is NOT a word, nor is it in all caps implying an acronym).  Perhaps the Beacon made a typo though, I haven't been able to reach anyone at the Beacon to inquire, they seem to not answer the phones at their offices.  However, a web search for "Smthof Manor" finds NOTHING.  The "group" that paid for this full-page ad in the Beacon has absolutely no way to trace them to anything, or anyone.  Sort of like the other innocuous sounding "groups" like "American Crossroads", the "American Future Fund", "Americans for Prosperity" and other so-called "Super PACs" that are currently pumping millions into every race across the country.

Though there are still 11 days left before the election and the figures are therefore incomplete, it is clear that many millions more have been spent by special interest groups in this election cycle than in the 2006 midterms.  Thanks to the recent Supreme Court ruling that now allows the sources to not be disclosed, this year only 45% of sources have been named compared to 90% in 2006 according to the Washington Post.  This provides demonstrative proof as to who was being honest back at the State of the Union address when President Obama predicted that this is what would happen and Chief Justice Roberts shook his head, arrogantly pursed his lips and said "That's not true."  Well...clearly it WAS true Mr. Chief Justice, and you're either a liar or were just wrong...which is it? 

At any rate, contrary to what the folks at "Smthof Manor" (whomever they may be) believe, neither "god" nor "the 10 commandments" were EVER part of the Constitution, and never will be as long as we KEEP the Constitution in our government. 

I wish that I had the money to be able to run a full page ad of my own in next week's issue of The Beacon.  It would simply say: 
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" 
Paid for by an American

But I really don't think that they'd get the point because as much as this anonymous "group" with the nonsensical name would obviously like it otherwise, they can't have their "god" and middle-eastern moral codes in the document that contains that passage, because two of those things are not like the other. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Desperately seeking photographer...

Quite some time ago I came upon a certain photograph taken in New York City on September 11, 2001...

I don't even remember how I got the photograph in the first place, as I obtained it at some point during my "brain tumor years", which of course makes the search that much more difficult, but I am desperate to find this photographer.  It is very important to me to find this copyright holder because I need to find out what s/he would want in order to grant me the rights to use a slightly altered version of it for the project that has become my life's obsession.  There simply is NO other shot that could possibly be as perfect for my needs than this amazing photograph.

The search has been going on for almost a year now, since shortly after the brain surgery, and so far I haven't been successful, but I'm still hopeful. 

At first I didn't even know where the photo had been taken from, even though that unique statue made it a remarkably identifiable spot.  I could tell that the shot was likely taken from New Jersey or somewhere else across the river from lower Manhattan, but the statue was unknown to me, so a good amount of time was taken up just trying to find that.  Little by little, slowly but surely, I kept plodding along trying to find more information that could lead me to the photographer of this remarkable photograph. 

Then using information that I literally received in a dream, I finally found the statue...

Actually...I think this shot is also amazing
 From the original shot, I couldn't make out anything on the statue, but it looked to me like it was likely military.  I was so surprised to learn that it was not an American military monument, but rather commemorated a horrifying event from World War II that I hadn't even known about.

In April - May 1940 almost 22,000 Polish doctors, lawyers, teachers, priests, police officers, writers, journalists and other public servants as well as members of the Polish military were rounded up by Stalin's forces, marched into the Katyn Forest and executed.

Nazi poster calling Katyn "the forest of the dead"

Incredibly moved by this story, this new information just made the picture that much MORE perfect for my needs and simply intensified my obsession with finding the creator of this photograph.

Now that I had the name of the statue, I had a better search phrase to use in my hunt to seek out the photographer of the shot I needed. 

Eventually I found a few very similar shots and started sending off letters to the credited photographers in the hopes that one of them was the photographer I was looking for. 

One of the photos was by a photographer named George Draney in Washington, New Jersey.  Clearly Mr. Draney was at the same location at ROUGHLY the same time.  However, his credited shot was obviously taken a bit later than the one I was looking for and from a slightly different angle.  In the shot I'm so obsessed with the South Tower is just starting to collapse and the North Tower is burning, but still his the North Tower had just collapsed as well, leaving just the smoke.

George Draney Photography

Unfortunately, Mr. Draney didn't have a web site, nor even an e-mail address that I was able to find. Only a phone number that constantly went unanswered, without either voice mail or even an answering machine.  So I sent him a letter via snail mail and kept my fingers crossed.  I found myself very hopeful that maybe I had found the photographer I was looking for.  But, alas...about a week after I mailed off my letter, I got a phone call from Mr. Draney and he informed me that the shot of his that I had found was taken when he first arrived on the scene.  He hadn't been there at the time the photo I was looking for had been taken.  Mr. Draney said that when he arrived there were "about 20" other photographers on the scene and he didn't know any of them, but that he would ask around and if he found anything that may be helpful to me, that he'd call me back.  I haven't heard anything back from him and don't really expect to. So, the search continued.

Next I came across another credited shot...same location, again later than the shot I was looking for. 

This one looked to me like it might have been taken much later in the day, as I think the red coloring has to do with the sun being lower in the sky.  I sent an e-mail to the credited photographer for this shot, but have gotten no response so far.

So once again, the search continued...

Next I came across what I consider to be the most promising possibility yet.  Also clearly later than the shot I was looking for as in this one the North Tower has JUST gone down, the angle of the shot is practically identical (but the squad car has been moved outside the crime scene tape).

This photographer had a number of really great shots from 9/11 on his page (see them here), and even an e-mail link asking for feedback.  I was SO hopeful.  I fired off an e-mail immediately inquiring if he was the photographer of the shot in question, which I attached.

I got a mail failure message. 

I assumed that perhaps it was rejected because of the attachment, so I sent another inquiry without an attachment...which also failed.  Now I've found a different e-mail address for that same studio, and I'm sending off an inquiry to that address today.   If that one fails, I'll try a snail mail to the studio. 

Keeping my fingers crossed....

NOTE:  If anyone has any suggestions that could help further my search, I'd be more than glad to hear them. ( - Please put "TOWER PHOTO SEARCH" in the subject line.  ~ Thank you

Friday, October 8, 2010

John Lennon ~ October 9, 1940 – December 8, 1980

People say I'm crazy doing what I'm doing
Well they give me all kinds of warnings to save me from ruin
When I say that I'm o.k. well they look at me kind of strange
Surely you're not happy now you no longer play the game

People say I'm lazy dreaming my life away
Well they give me all kinds of advice designed to enlighten me
When I tell them that I'm doing fine watching shadows on the wall
Don't you miss the big time boy you're no longer on the ball

I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go

Ah, people asking questions lost in confusion
Well I tell them there's no problem, only solutions
Well they shake their heads and they look at me as if I've lost my mind
I tell them there's no hurry
I'm just sitting here doing time

I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go
I just had to let it go
I just had to let it go

Happy 70th Birthday,'re sorely missed

Christine & Samantha...silly, pretend "Witches" on TV

That Christine O'Donnell found it necessary to do her silly "I'm not a Witch...I'm you" commercial is one of the things from this campaign season that bothers me the most.  Primarily because it put my religion (and therefore myself) in a pretty twisted spotlight for a time and made it completely acceptable for pundits and politicians alike to make fun of the faith that I've been practicing for over 30 years.  Also deeply disheartening is the fact that it is now VERY obvious that the country is still FAR from ready to have someone from an alternative religion viably run in an much for the "no religious test for elected office" bit in Article VI, paragraph 3 of the Constitution. 

As far as O'Donnell herself is concerned, this ridiculous, ignorant media whore who has been making appearances on television for many years (since LONG before she had any actual, viable reason to be there) now has those very self-aggrandising appearances (along with the numerous utterly asinine things that routinely came out of her mouth during them) coming back to bite her in the ass (thanks to Bill Maher) now that she actually DOES have a viable reason to be in the spotlight...namely running for the United States Senate (a position for which she is VASTLY unqualified...I don't think I would be AS offended by her if she was running for the House).  

This silly little Sarah Palin clone didn't need to tell ME that she's not a Witch.  The ridiculous things she said in her "I dabbled in Witchcraft" statement about "having a picnic" on a "Satanic altar" with "spatters of blood" on it was a dead giveaway that she was a complete liar. 

First, I have to say that the word "dabbled" has always annoyed me when used in combination with religion, just as I'm sure it would annoy the followers of any religion if it was used in conjunction with their faith.  Personally, I would never say that I "dabbled" in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism,'s insulting.  I was raised in Catholicism, but then went on a search for spirituality in my teenage years, as many do.  During that time I visited churches and studied various religions.  I read the Bible, the Torah, the Koran, and other religious texts...but I would NEVER insult those faiths by saying that I "dabbled" in Protestantism, Evangelicalism, Mormonism, and even Judaism before I found my way home to the faith that is right for me.

Second, the blanket association between Witches and the "Satanic" is highly offensive to many, as "Witches" and "Satanists" are (for the most part) different things.  To many, the word "Witch" is a title, like "Priest", "Minister", etc.  Have I heard of people that have called themselves a "Satanic Witch"? Yes, of course.  But more often I've heard them call themselves a "Satanic Priest", which of course does not make them the same as a Priest of a different faith.  Incidentally, I've met many more individuals that called themselves a "Christian Witch" than I have of the "Satanic" variety.

The third thing that was a dead giveaway about the fact that she was "not a Witch" was her complete ignorance on the subject.  An actual Witch would NOT allow anyone to "picnic" on their ALTAR, any more than a Christian Minister would bring a date to eat off the altar of his church.  Nor would there have been "blood" on it.  Frankly, if any of this fairy tale is true, she likely should have immediately called the police if she actually saw a "Satanic altar" covered in blood.  All this idiocy combined with the fact that she's clearly not intelligent enough to even do the kind of study that would be necessary for her to actually practice the Craft (unless we're talking about the silliness of "The Craft" movie, which is where I personally believe O'Donnell got her information) makes it clear that she is "not a Witch", nor could she ever be.

Also, if she wanted to do the whole "I'm not a Witch" thing...doing it wearing all black with a black smokey background was NOT the way to accomplish her goals...nor is the crazy look in her eyes while she's saying it.


No, you're NOT me, Christine, because I AM a Witch, and the people who are the most certain you are not ...are the Witches, but we weren't going to vote for you anyway.

Monday, October 4, 2010