SoCS: Oscars

Because the Oscars, the film Academy awards, are this weekend, yesterday on the radio I heard two film critics discussing the nominees. It was also a call-in show, so there was a host and callers offering opinions, too.

I usually do watch the Oscars, but this year I have seen very few movies, so I don’t have any basis to have an opinion about who should win.

Some years, I have seen more of the films, although some films are never shown in my area. We aren’t a big metropolitan area and our only arthouse movie theater closed, so we don’t get the opportunity to see some of the more limited release movies.

One thing that was interesting was that there was very little that both critics and callers agreed on. I remember especially the discussion of Roma. Two callers and one of the critics found it very moving and meaningful and the other critic thought it was boring. Being a critic, he had watched it three times, trying to see if there was something he was missing, but he never found it.

If even critics, who watch movies for a living, can’t agree on a film, there is no way I can predict anything about the Oscars. I will likely still watch. If nothing else, I will get to hear performances of the nominated songs and see lots of spiffy clothes.

Do you watch the Oscars or have any predictions to give?
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Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is “critic(al).” Join us! Find out how here:  https://lindaghill.com/2019/02/22/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-feb-23-19/

SoCS: avoiding ads

I try to avoid as many ads as possible – and to ignore the ones I can’t avoid.

Most of the television I watch is through DVR, so we can skip by the commercials. I use ad-blockers on my computer, although I do still wind up dealing with some. (I’m looking at you, Words with Friends.) I nearly always listen to public radio, which only has brief sponsorship messages and the occasional ad for local concerts, which I like hearing about anyways.

Ironically, the ads I see and hear the most are those that stir controversy, such as the recent Gillette ads highlighting toxic masculinity. I’m sure I will see some of the Super Bowl ads in the coming week. The most inventive ones tend to make the news programs. I’m not sure if or how much watching I will do of the game. Football is not really my thing. I prefer baseball. Even though it does have ads every time a half inning ends or there is a pitching change…
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Join us for Just Jot It January and/or Stream of Consciousness Saturday! Today’s prompt is “ad/add/AD”. The pingback link is here: https://lindaghill.com/2019/01/25/the-friday-reminder-for-socs-jusjojan-2019-daily-prompt-jan-26th/
More information and prompts here: https://lindaghill.com/2018/12/31/what-is-just-jot-it-january-2019-rules/


SoCS: a musical controversy

There are radio stations here in the US that play Christmas or holiday music 24/7 for weeks before Christmas.

At least, that is what they say they do.

A lot of the music they play is secular but related to Christmas, being about gifts and Santa Claus and such. Some is more winter-themed than Christmas or New Year related.

There is a musical controversy this year about one piece that is often on the playlist, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”

This is definitely one of those pieces that is not related to Christmas at all. It is a winter song though, so some people have conflated it with the holidays.

It is a decades-old song in the pattern of a man/woman duet and is familiar and typical and pleasant enough – if you don’t pay attention to the words.

If you do, as I did last year, you quickly realize that the sub-text – scratch that, text – is pretty creepy. The man, who is trying to get the woman not to leave for home, is trying to get her drunk, with the possible implication that something else has been put in her drink. He is also trying to make her think that she owes it to him to stay and do whatever. (This is a generally family-safe blog, so I won’t speculate on his expectations.)

In recognition of the loaded nature of the song’s text, some radio stations have pulled it from their playlists. Others and some people are adamant that it is just flirting and should be left in the mix.

I adamantly agree with those who want it kept off the air. In these days when consent is part of the conversation for intimacy, a song that flies in the face of that is not a good example for behavior. It is especially hurtful to pretend this is an example of Christmas music. Christmas is about true joy, love, and peace, not coercion and trickery.

I’d rather hear “Silent Night” or “Joy to the World” or any of the dozens of other carols that truly evoke the Christmas season.
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Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is “musical.” Join us! Find out how here:  https://lindaghill.com/2018/12/07/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-dec-8-18/

Radio segment on Alice Parker

In September of 2014, The Smith College Alumnae Chorus (SCAC) had a choral homecoming event with composer/conductor/choral arranger/champion of choral singing Alice Parker ’47.

I was pleased to take part and to blog about it here and here, with related posts here and here.

Yesterday, the SCAC posted this link: http://nepr.net/news/2015/12/15/at-90-its-still-all-about-the-melody-for-hawleys-famed-alice-parker/ on Facebook from the local NPR affiliate, featuring interviews with Parker and other musicians and clips of her work, all in under five minutes.

Alice will soon turn 90 and the celebration is on!

disaster preparedness and the radio

Four years ago, my hometown was among those affected by record flooding caused by the remnants of tropical storm Lee adding ten inches of rain to ground already saturated by Irene a few days prior. We were grateful that no one in our area was killed by the flood, largely due to the fact that people followed evacuation orders. However, there was a lot of damage with some homes and businesses lost permanently.

Since then, emergency preparedness has gotten more attention from government and the media, especially in September which is designated as disaster preparedness month.

One of the most important things to maintain during a crisis is effective communication. This is an area, though, where sometimes lower tech is more vital than high-tech.

Although our home did not flood, we were without electrical service for four days, which also meant no telephone or internet service. We would listen to the radio for information and it was very frustrating to get only very limited information on-air with the directive to go to their website for complete information.  Those of us who most needed that information did not have internet available. I can hear some people saying that we should just use our cell phones, but a)  the majority of people in our area don’t have cell phones with internet access, b)  with no electricity, it’s difficult to keep cell phones charged, and c)  during emergencies, cell networks often fail due to increased traffic.

Battery-operated, hand-cranked, or car radios are a better tool than the internet for reaching people who are affected by floods, ice storms, and other emergencies that result in loss of electrical service. Disaster preparedness plans should reflect this.