Friday, August 7, 2020

News feeds and other fairy tales

 I get news alerts on my cell phone and my iPad. I don't know what set me up to receive them. On my computer I get news links from Pocket. I did not sign up for that either. Usually those links come from Slate, the New York Times, the BBC,  and similar unbiased news sources.

Today on my iPad I received an alert to an article entitled "Why Trump is losing." I had no interest in reading the article. I notice that the articles and links that come from these services all seem to run in a certain vein.

 "Why Trump is losing" strikes me as news analysis.  I spell news analysis o-p-i-n-i-o-n. I would say that even if it said "Why Trump is winning" -- but these stories newer seem to say anything remotely like "Why Trump is winning." It is not "news."

Perhaps the title should have been "Why Trump appears to be losing." That would make more sense. 

First, we need to look at how the questions on the survey were worded. "Would you vote for Joe Biden if voting for Trump would mean that everyone in the world would die a long, painful death?" Maybe they don't go that far, but that is probably closer to the truth than it is to fiction.

Second, we need to consider these surveys tend to over sample Democrats and under represent Republicans. Surveys have a problem now. Many people have no time with survey takers.  Survey takers have resorted to voluntary participation -- "Have your voice heard. Take this survey." That defeats the randomness of surveys. You can probably find surveys in Cosmopolitan that show that 3 out of 5 married American women have three male and two female lovers. Is it true? Maybe for the readers of  Cosmopolitan, but not for the population at large. Even the groundbreaking study into human sexuality in the 1940's, the Kinsey Report, was found to have conducted many of its surveys with prison inmates -- not exactly a representation of public morals.

Third, we need to consider that people who express support for the President legitimately will be in fear of losing their jobs, being assaulted, or worse.

I do not agree with the infatuation of public opinion polls in the news media. The only poll that should be widely covered is the poll taken on a particular Tuesday in November. Everything else is manipulation.

Monday, August 3, 2020

...or to put it another way

Written by Boudleaux Bryant, this was the biggest hit for Bob Luman. Luman was in the army when this made it to number 7 on the Billboard Pop Chart in October, 1960.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Facing the inevitible

In the film, I Remember Mama, Oscar Homolka plays the curmudgeonly Uncle Chris. Later in the movie Chris's nieces are called to say their last good byes before he dies. After he dies, his niece Marta, the Mama of the title played by Irene Dunne, wants her daughter Katrin, played by Barbara Bel Geddes, to see the the now deceased Uncle Chris. Marta tells Katrin,
I like you to know what death looks like. Then you are not frightened of it, ever.
Mama (Irene Dunne), Uncle Chris (Oscar Homolka), Katrin (Barbara Bel Geddes)

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

And now a word from our sponsor

Normally I avoid commercials like the plague. However, there is one that I make a point of watching every time it comes on, be it on TV or YouTube.

There are three versions of this. I usually see the shortest. Recently I saw that there was a longer version. I just discovered this one that is even longer.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do

Friday, July 24, 2020


Britain instituted a mandatory mask requirement for business patrons today.  It is really encouraging to see that at least one citizen took the mandate seriously.  This is that citizen.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Oh come on now.

My oldest granddaughter has liked to dance since she was old enough to stand. You could see it coming. A good tune would come on. She would stop what she was doing. Her face would get a look of "Hmmm, what is this?" Her shoulders would start going in circles, one going up as the other was going down. Then the movement would work its way down her body and find its way its way to her feet. She would improvise some dance steps and spin in circles.

One time I managed to get a video of her doing her dance while grooving to Sinatra's I've got the World On A String. It was so cute I wanted to share it on Facebook. The video had no sooner uploaded when I got a message saying that the video contained copyrighted material and could not be shown.

While disappointed, I had no real problem with that. The video was forty seconds long and while there was indistinguishable conversation in the background, the song was clearly heard. It is intellectual property and they have to draw a line somewhere.

Rick Beato is a music producer in Atlanta, Georgia. He also teaches college courses in Music. He has a web site,,  where he offers many resources for music education. He also has a YouTube channel where he offers many different videos for the musician or anyone interested in music. He has technical discussions. He has a series called "What makes this song great" where he disects famous recordings and explains what makes them work. While you may not be interested in every video he has done, you are sure to find something to catch your interest.

Rick Beato

He has a number of videos where he ranks what he considers to be the best example of a particular element. His videos include The Top 20 Rock Guitar Solos of All Time, The Top 20 Rock Guitar Solo Outros of All Time, The Top 20 Rock Bass Intros of All Time, and many more.

Beato has done enough videos that he knows those artists who will be trouble to him. Some artists just do not want you to even think of their music when you are anywhere near YouTube. As such he does not have a problem with that. He will just avoid those artists or find a way to work around it.

He understands the concept of intellectual property. He has had videos demonitized, about which he doesn't really care. However he has had some videos removed altogether because the music publisher or group representative got their knickers in a knot.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

The Garden Keeps Growing!

And we're already deep into watering season. My work is cut out for me as my garden has been basically ignored for 2 years while I went through some health challenges. But the good news is that it's still there and plenty to do. Even when unattended, the garden keeps growing (most of it, anyway). I try to take the same shot of the Front Rhody Garden, which I planted first - shot from the front angle, the rest are from the side, you can see a stump in the right foreground with a birdbath or frog on it. 2011 ~

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

What happend to you?

When I transferred to California State University, Sacramento, in 1977, a friend and I were going to share an apartment. While I got the apartment, my friend ended up renting a room in a house nearby.

That house was owned by a couple who had a son about my age. The parents themselves had moved away or were on an extended trip. Most of the people in the house were also students at Sac State.

I spent a lot of time at the house. Another person who spent a lot of time at the house was Les, a guy who lived down the street from the house. Les was about two and a half years younger than I was. He was a friendly guy who had the bug to be a performer or public personality of some sort.

I was told that Les thought of being a stand-up comedian and had tried some of his routines on the denizens of the house albeit unsuccessfully.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Finally answering a question.

One thing about being involved with a blog for over ten years (The Table is over ten years old???), especially if you write about things from the past: one of the first pieces of research you have to do is to see if you already wrote about that subject.

That research on the table can take a while. It is not that the search function does not work (although it would be nice if we could search by author), but rather that there has been some good writing on the Table and you spend a great deal of enjoyable time reading things from many years ago.

I have an idea for a post, but in my research to see if I had already written about it I came upon a post I did to mark Jack Webb's ninetieth birthday (he now would be one hundred). In that post I discussed some of Webb's early radio work. One of the shows I mentioned was a program called One Out of Seven.

There was one particular episode that I thought would seem poignant today. While the subject of racism is discussed in other episodes, the first episode really speaks about it. As I said in 2010, this program is reminiscent of Marc Antony's speech at Caesar's funeral. The production sounds dated, but it is a sustaining (non-sponsored) filler program from 1946 --  meaning it was not something that management wanted to use a lot of resources to produce. This episode would have been just before Webb turned twenty-six. As a side note, the writer of the program, James Moser, went to Los Angeles about the time Webb did and became one of the main writers for Dragnet. Moser had just turned twenty-five when One Out of Seven was produced.

If you know Webb's voice and if you listen closely you can tell that all voices, except for the announcer's, are done by Webb.

In the comments of the Jack Webb post, Lady Red asked if old radio shows were available online. At the time I said that there were some sites but that you had to pay for them. That has changed over the years. One site to look at is This site has many things on it besides old radio shows -- you can easily spend a lot of time on it, but you can look up many old radio shows by name. You can also look up OTR but it might be hard to filter through all of the other things that come up.

Some shows from different genres on

Suspense -- Famous dramatic show
The Whistler -- West coast program about comeuppance.
Phillip Marlow -- Private Detective
X Minus One -- Science Fiction
Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar -- Insurance Investigator. Fifteen minute episodes from 1956 are the most popular
21st Precint -- New York based police procedural staring Everett Sloan
The Great Gildersleeve -- Comedy spin-off from Fibber McGee and Molly
Calling All Cars -- Early police drama. The dispatcher was Jesse Rosenquist, a real LAPD dispatcher. Back then dispatchers ended their dispatches with their name.
Behind the Mike -- A look behind the scenes of radio hoisted by famous early announcer Graham MacNamee.
Fibber McGee and Molly -- Famous comedy

The links provided may not be complete collections but should give you enough to get started. You can also search for more. Let me know if you need help finding more shows or resources.


I just realize that, of all things, I did not put a link for Dragnet epsiodes, the root of the post. Let's take care of that right now.

Friday, July 3, 2020