Photography, notes, commentary and much more from former Reporter Online Editor Chris Stanley.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Vaccinations for the H1N1 flu (yes, the Swine Flu) will be given out starting next week to school children. I fully expect a pandemic of media coverage complete with multi-colored maps and hours of televised talking heads explaining why we shouldn't go around kissing pigs.
At least we will be spared the spectacle of watching TV footage of screaming children as they are injected with 8-inch needles by Nurse Diesel - this vaccine is to be administered through a nasal solution.
Drink orange juice, sneeze into your sleeve and avoid kindergartners (if you can).
I am constantly amazed (and even impressed) with some of the names my personal spammers have come up with while trying to entice me to purchase various relationship-enhancing pharmaceuticals from their 'safe and secure' online shops. Consider these for your next baby (or pet):
Wanetta, Drucilla, Davina, Maack (wasn't that one of the characters in 'Make Way for Ducklings'?), Delia, Larribeau, Bertram, Laurice, Johana Tombs, Vicki Ikysaxyr (you try pronouncing that), Afua Alford (bless you), Theaux, Emmaline Uxahao, Izola Lank, Yasmine Ripjasy, Raminta Tsopelas, Matilde, Utash, Aubrey Dumpe, Mando Xjhifo, and don't forget Floretta Michlich.
Apologies to anybody who actually has one of these names. You are ahead of the curve.
I don't follow the FOX show Fringe, but from what I gather it involves a group of Boston investigators that seek out the supernatural. But now I know, thanks to a tip, Thursday night's episode took place in Lansdale. Yes, Lansdale, Pennsylvania.
Of course, this is Hollywood, and in their eyes, apparently Lansdale looks a whole like the middle of Nebraska, corn and all.
The plot involved a mad scientist, a half-human, half-something else baby he had created but given up for dead, and some havoc this baby created while living in a zombie-like state underground in this fictitious version of our fair borough. It will take some more viewings to figure out what really was going on in this show, like why this investigator kept having flashbacks:
In this version of Lansdale, the police department was replaced by a sheriff. Unfortunately his car was swallowed up by the many holes the baby-mole-zombie thing had dug in the yard of his Lansdale home.
You might notice that the colors of the car are correct for the real Lansdale. Sources tell me this is because the producers of the show requested a photo of a real Lansdale police car, just so they could get the details right. Now if I could only find the corn fields, the sweeping midwest vistas, and say 'howdy' to the local sheriff in our suburban, un-corned version of Lansdale. The zombie thing I just might believe.
Saw the Phillies smash the Nationals Wednesday evening. Great game, great weather (despite a forecast for rain, which never happened), great grand slam by Jayson Werth. I know, it's just the Nats, but the Phils looked like a playoff team. Here's a video of the Harry Kalas tribute at the end of the game. It's great to hear his voice booming in the park, even if it's just a recording.
Eight candidates. Two inflatable sumo suits. One inflatable ring. This is how things are decided in Lansdale. Three newspapers produced videos, each very different. First, the competition: Allentown Morning Call
And finally, my own version. I wanted to do something different with this...I hope it succeeded.
As the North Penn teacher contract situation quickly heads nowhere, I am often asked what is going to happen next. Short answer - I don't know. One of the negotiators told me HE doesn't know, and he's sitting at the bargaining table.
Being in the media these days does not automatically give you a red phone hooked up to every meeting room and kitchen in the area. While there is more information out there than ever, public entities (such as municipalities, corporations, sports leagues and even the police) like to control the information that is out there, and thanks to the internet have the ability to do so. So where phone calls were once made to gather breaking news, now sources often simply tell us (and the world) to check their web page. They'll post something when they are ready.
Pro sports leagues are on the front lines of this movement. You can now get baseball news directly from the Phillies or the Red Sox, or whatever team you want (they're all similar sites under the auspices of Major League Baseball). You can watch football on the NFL channel. Take this to the extreme, and why would you need ESPN or ABC or the Daily News? If a team can control their own publicity and image, don't you think they will want to?
By the same token government bodies could go the same route, 'directly to the people.' The school board and the union post their positions every day on their web sites, and North Penn SD has even taken to writing a Q&A column, answering reader questions. Luckily for us, both sides have so far been very willing to keep up the conversation with the press. The district's new 'image consultant' may not like the tone of the conversation in the newspapers or our web sites, but an outside presentation of both sides is still a vital part of life in this community and this country. Even when things are not going well, openness and honesty and a willingness to be examined in a public forum are the best images any public entity could embrace.