BBC world News HD has been added to our cable lineup on Uverse in Irvine. I’ve spent the last few weeks bathing in its deep pool of content. This is not another CNN, Fox News, MSNBC. No! This is real news.
A friend of mine who’s roamed the globe the last few decades says the Beeb has its biases. No doubt. I’ll take that in return for actual news content.
For much of America the unrest in Kiev, Ukraine has just become visible. It’s been front-and-center on BBC since I’ve been watching. So have protests in Thailand and Argentina.
The unrest in all three of these Second World nations threatens to topple their governments or at the least remove their effectiveness to actually control what’s going on.
These are important stories, but stories not heard here where the conventional wisdom says viewers don’t give a crap about foreign news. That’s how you’re viewed–disinterested in anything outside the states.
Shouldn’t we know what’s going on around us? Can’t we be trusted to view stories which give the news context?
Getting the BBC is good news and bad news. The good news is I have less Benghazi, Bridgegate and Piers Morgan. The bad news is, real news is still thinly watched in America.
John Ramsey’s attorney says the “media onslaught” is “worse than it’s ever been.” The AP reports: “The intense coverage has Ramsey considering a move out of the country…”
A few weeks after JonBenet Ramsey was killed, I was in Boulder, CO with a full TV crew. We were there to tape interviews and produce ‘ins and outs’ for Inside Space, the show I hosted on SciFi.
With the university’s research into planetary science and space in general, and government facilities like NIST, Boulder was a perfect trip for our show.
Boulder was beautiful; reminiscent of what my friends in the late 60s would have envisioned for the future. The city was clean. Downtown was thriving with restaurants and shops¹. Every parking meter was also a bike rack (and some residents even rode their bikes in the snow).
Strangers often asked why we were asked why were there? When we answered, almost uniformly we were told how intrusive and awful it was to have the crews there and how Boulder didn’t want or need this publicity.
It’s not that the other crews were rowdy or disrespectful. They were just there and the story they reported was tawdry, reflecting poorly on what Boulder was trying to be… what it actually was.
I can only imagine how Boulder will react this time. Cable TV news and tabloids were nothing then compared to today. The pressure is greater. The crews will be more visible. The reporters will be more aggressive.
I don’t know what will come of the ‘suspect’ being flown in today from Thailand. All I know is, Boulder wishes it were already over.
¹ – One night we ate at a downtown brewpub. Though I don’t drink, I was proofed! Being in my forties, I liked that. I also had Jamaican Jerk Chicken so good, I can still taste it.
Nice to have you reading my prose. My website is here to be read, so you’re scratching my itch, so to speak.
Often I ask, why does anyone care? Are you a Geoff Fox stalker… God, I hope not. Is my life so interesting? Probably not. Yet on any given day, well over one thousand pages are read on this site by not quite a thousand people.
This has never been mentioned on the air at my television station (though there does seem to be a link to this site from their site). How do people find it?
I have logs. They are immense, taking up megabyte of space every month. Looking through them can make a grown man twitch!
I often look at an overview page. In fact I have a number of overview pages I look at and each gives me a slightly different insight into what’s going on here.
The page attached to this site says 236,238 unique visitors have been here so far in 2005, looking at 1,572,912 pages. That is the most misleading set of stats I can post!
Because of the way my pages are set up, one can sometimes count as two. And then there are the pages read by robots, scouring the Internet for who knows what. Some are friendly, like the search engine crawlers. Others… well I have no clue what they’re doing, but they pull down pages and images and take them somewhere.
A more accurate reading comes from a company I can’t mention (or maybe I can. I’m not totally familiar with my contractual agreement with them). They say, this year, there have been 435,466 pages read.
That’s a more realistic number, because it excludes robots and the like. I consider that an impressive number, 1,258 per day, for a personal website. Whether it is or isn’t, just humor me.
Recently, I’ve added another service which looks at this website. Among the things it looks at are referrals, to find out where viewers are coming from.
It didn’t take long to see Google is my friend! Less than half my daily traffic comes to my home page! The rest go directly inside, because they’ve been sent here from elsewhere.
What intrigues me are the search requests that bring people here. Enter “Blue Angels Video” on Google and this is your second hit! People come every day to see my Blue Angels video¹.
Stranger are the off-the-wall requests. Some was here looking for “John Mayer Marijuana,” “inappropriate commercials,” “Who is the Monopoly guy?,” “Darlene Love on David Letterman²,” “Todd Gross WHDH³.” When Elena Demenieva does well in a tennis tournament, people come looking for her pictures (I took some excellent shots at the Pilot Pen Tournament in New Haven).
My favorites always have to do with “Carrot Top shirtless.” It’s a long story, but that’s a subject that has been dealt with here.
Over time, as this site has amassed an archive, the number of search engine hits has increased. Maybe this is a good time to remind myself, be careful what you write about. It’s around forever.
Not only are some requests weird, they’re from everywhere. It’s not unusual to look at the plots and see people coming here from India, Thailand or Peru.
So there you go. Maybe you find reading ‘me’ interesting. Probably not as interesting as trying to figure ‘you’ out.
The following list is ‘live,’ meaning what you see is current – not something canned when I wrote this.
I was on IM at 3:00 AM when a new window opened on my screen. It was a friend of mine. “I’m in Seoul,” he said.
“So, you’re a soul man,” I replied (using the cheapest joke I could think of. He’s in Korea for some sort of conference.
We didn’t chat for long, but he said I should go. It was the kind of place I’d enjoy… a country which resembles a gigantic Best Buy¹. I look upon much of Asia that way.
The guy in Korea is someone I’ve known for 25 years. During that time he’s traveled everywhere for business and pleasure, including a few years living in Europe and more living in Asia.
He travels enough that my daughter suspects he works for the CIA. I don’t think so, but it’s a good fable.
There aren’t many things that bring out envy in me, but this is one of them. I’m not sure I need to travel enough to get extra pages added to a passport – I’d just like to need a passport. I’ve been to England once and the Caribbean many times. That’s pretty much the extent of my long distance travel.
I’d like to visit Oriental Asia – China, Japan, Korea, the Malay Peninsula, maybe Thailand. Sure I want to come home with electronics and optics, but I want to see where it happens. Photos and videos I’ve seen of teeming Asian cities are enticing.
Quite honestly, I don’t know what I’d do once I got there!
Europe doesn’t hold quite the same attraction. I can’t say why. Maybe it’s Europe is so 19th Century and Asia is so 21st. That’s no more than a guess.
Helaine says I probably wouldn’t do well on a 24 hour transpolar flight. I’m not sure I disagree. That’s a long time to have your knees in your chest, sleeping sitting up. My Southwest Airlines miles won’t help. I certainly know this trip isn’t her priority.
My on-the-road friend will be back in the states this weekend. It won’t be long before he’s traveling again. He racks up frequent flier miles like they’re going out of style. Maybe next time he’ll shoot some photos.
¹ – His characterization. Obviously, he doesn’t know about the screaming match I once had inside a Best Buy. “Go ahead, call the police!” was one of the things I yelled. Need I say more?
Gil Scott-Heron said “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” I’m not sure this was what he was talking about, but based on what’s come out of London with the subway and bus explosions, he needs to rewrite the song.
The advent of cellphones with still and video cameras and the proliferation of fixed security cameras has changed everything. Not only did we see still images from the tunnels of the London subway system, we saw video too. It won’t surprise me if, as was the case in Spain, higher quality images from security cameras come out later.
The quality of the hand held cameras isn’t all that great, but it will get better with time. Actually, the quality of the video is inconsequential. The mere fact that we’re all able to be eyewitnesses is what’s important. We saw that demonstrated during the Gulf War when jumpy, pixelated videophones were the only live way out.
This trend of every significant human event being documented was even more evident in the pictures that came out of Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand during the December tsunami. With many of the cameras connected to the Internet, these photos are available immediately.
Today convenience store robberies… gas station fires… even police traffic stops are all seen on TV – and seen often.
How will this affect us? Recently, while watching a baseball game on ESPN, a fan ran onto the field. The cameras immediately left the field so as not to encourage others.
Will all of this coverage encourage more terrorism? It’s possible.
On the other hand, there are many who believe the major factor in turning public opinion away from the Vietnam War was the constant images on the nightly news. Could images of carnage stop the violence we saw yesterday in England? That’s possible too. Or it just might serve to galvanize the resolve of those targeted.
This will be much easier to judge in hindsight. All I can say now is, things have changed. This genie is not going back in the bottle.