Invasion of Five Things About Media and Technology Right Now

(Part 9 in the continuing series I name after classic monster movies for some reason. Here’s part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, and part 8.)

  1. Everything is “BREAKING NEWS” on the cable news channels now. And if it’s not labeled that way, they’ll label it “DEVELOPING NEWS” or “UPDATE” or “WE’RE CONTINUING TO FOLLOW….” One of the channels even uses “BREAKING TONIGHT,” which works as both a con to make you think the news you’re about to see is new without actually lying to you. “Hey, we didn’t say it was ‘breaking,’ we said it was breaking tonight!” The networks keep the “BREAKING NEWS” and “LIVE” on the screen all the time, even if what you’re watching isn’t breaking or even live (even during taped segments the channels will often keep “live” in the corner). I wonder if viewers know they’re being manipulated in subtle ways?

When everything is “BREAKING NEWS,” nothing is.

2. It’s the same on social media, in a way. Every single tweet you get is like a little breaking news update, whether it’s news about a mass shooting or a recipe for brownies. I was scanning Twitter the other night (I know, I know) during the horrible events in Dallas and realized I had to get off because all of the news, all of the rumors, the links, the videos, the opinions, the hot takes, the replies, the retweets…it’s all just too much. It’s exhausting mentally and even exhausting physically. Somehow, the more information we take in the less clear things are.

As I’ve said before, I’m not sure humans were made to experience things at the speed of social media.

3. I was watching All The President’s Men on TCM the other night. I wonder if today a reporter would take a selfie with Deep Throat in the garage and post it on social media? The hashtag would be #followthemoney.

4. “We don’t want to speculate…” – people who speculate.

5. Sometimes I’ll be channel surfing, and without warning I’ll find myself caught up in a House Hunters marathon for three hours and I don’t know how it happened.

Locked In

It hit me the other night, around 1:30am.

There’s a moment when summer just “locks in,” when it’s not simply “oh, it’s summer but the temperatures are still bearable and it’s more spring-like, and you might even need a jacket on some days.” It’s that moment when you realize the humidity is starting to affect you, and you know you’re not going to close the windows until Labor Day (or later) comes around. That happened a couple of nights ago. I was tossing and turning because of the humidity, staring across the room, wondering if I should get up and get out my fan. I didn’t and eventually went to sleep but I’m digging out that fan this weekend.

I’m also sending out The Letter this weekend. THIS IS MY VOW TO YOU. I have envelopes and stamps and everything. I finished writing it this morning and I’ll mail them on Saturday. Again, I thank you for your patience.

Have a great Fourth.

Thanks Dad(s)

I never really knew my father – he passed away when I was still a baby – so I’d like to thank all of the other dads who helped raise me:

Sheriff Andy Taylor
Ward Cleaver
Rob Petrie
Mike Brady
Lucas McCain
Tom Bradford
Charles Ingalls
Tom Corbett


I’ve been looking over some past birthday posts (like 49 and 46) and I always seem to say the same thing, that I spent my birthday the same way I do the other 364 days of the year – writing, reading, watching movies, eating foods I love – only with more alcohol.

How did I spend number 51? The way I do the other 364 days of the year – writing, reading, watching movies, eating foods I love – only with more alcohol. Specifically, Sam Adams Porch Rocker, a new summer brew.

At least I’m consistent.

Old Ripped Jeans and New Cargo Shorts

That could be a country song.

Shorts season has arrived. I’ve been dreading the warm weather and now it’s here. I’m not a shorts guy. I like cold weather and hot drinks and long pants and jackets and closed windows. But it’s June and this is what I have to put up with, so I went to Target and I bought two new pairs of shorts. They don’t have a huge selection there – I think in general they skew younger – so I had to buy cargo shorts with lots of pockets. I’m not a cargo-shorts-with-lots-of-pockes sort of guy, but I can deal with them for three months.

And these aren’t just pockets. According to the label they’re “TECH POCKETS!” That’s right, these things are so modern and high-tech (they use Velcro) that you can keep things inside beyond your wallet and keys, like your smart phone and iPod. I’m just going to keep my wallet and keys in them, maybe a small notebook. I just hope that I’m not breaking any laws by using low-tech things in my high-tech shorts.

The buying of the shorts came at a good time, actually. My jeans wore out. I don’t think I’ve had this happen to me in years, a big hole opening up at the knee and the rear disintegrating. Are Levi’s not made the same way? I walked around the past week with the knee hole visible and getting bigger, the white shredded threads very obvious. But then I figured, hey, don’t all the cool kids wear jeans with holes in them? I remember there was a time when you could actually buy brand new jeans with the holes already in them, in case you weren’t sure if the jeans would wear out themselves but you still wanted to look hip.

Is wearing jeans with holes in them still a thing, or am I dating myself?

Suddenly it was an episode of Dr. Phil

At the supermarket this weekend:

Clerk at register (eyeing a bowl I’m buying): “This is a good size bowl. I bought one this size for my son for his cereal.”

Me: “I bought it for ice cream. Nothing healthy.”

Clerk (not laughing at my line): “This is just like the bowl I took with me when I escaped my abusive father.”

As people on the web say a lot…that escalated quickly.

I need to write a book titled Strange Things Always Happen To Me At The Supermarket. Because strange things always happen to me at the supermarket.