Enough of the “Gates!”

I was watching the ‘news’ yesterday, while sitting at my desk. I know, I know. I have to stop. One, there is no ‘news’ anymore and two, it sucks. Not the ‘news.’ The people spewing it from their blow holes. The exaggeration, the moral outrage, the inability to articulate a logical though without interjecting personal feelings into informing the public of the day’s events…

But that’s not what bugged me about it. Like all ‘news’ organizations today, all the ‘news’ channels churned up something about nothing and made huge you-should-be-angy mountains out of non-existent mole hills. Rather than talk about the inauguration, a celebration of peaceful American power transfer (in this case, it didn’t transfer far) that should resonate to the whole world, every news organization was all abuzz about Beyonce’s lip-syncing to a pre-recorded version (HER recording, by the way) of the Star Spangled Banner and came up with quaint little story headings for it: “Beyonce-gate,” “Anthem-gate,” and “lip-gate.” Each news organization even had little graphics for their horribly unoriginal headline writing.

Witness the extent that the ‘news’ organizations in this country have fallen to the ranks of junior high school, muck-racking, boiler room pamphlets: This same day, a certain Secretary of State was testifying before both branches of Congress about a terrorist attack, record cold swept through the country, causing deaths and accidents (even to those who are STILL homeless and without power because of Hurricane Sandy), and Congress was also deciding on whether to raise the debt ceiling limit. My disgust for what ‘news’ organizations have become is a topic for another post. Believe me, I’ll have more than 1500 words for that article!

But, why must everything be a ‘-gate’ when something is considered a scandal? The word was meant to convey a far-reaching scandal. It was born after the Watergate scandal of the 1970’s break-in at the Watergate Complex where the Democratic Party had its headquarters (which makes me wish that the break-in had occurred at the Big Fucking Scandal Complex instead). We’ve had so many ‘-gates,’ they don’t mean anything more and the addition of ‘-gate’ just makes the organization using it look like a bunch of old idiots. You’d think that with a rush in this society to try to seem young and hip, they’d find a better way to mean “newsworthy item that may or may not be a scandal, but we’re going to shove it down your throat anyway, because our viewers are big, dumb idiots who don’t  know any better.”

Since 1972 (during the Watergate break-in), there have been over 150 different ‘newsworthy’ events that have been dubbed a ‘-gate’ by news organizations. A sampling:

Tigergate – Tiger Woods’ infidelities led the press to call Tiger’s boning of other women a scandal, heightening the titillation, rather than just calling the whole thing a guy who got caught cheating.

Bountygate – New Orleans players were given bonuses to hurt other players. Cronkite would probably have called it rule breaking.

Slutgate – Rush Limbaugh’s comments that a young woman was a “slut” caused a stir. We would have just led Rush back into his pen and shut the GATE.

Nipplegate – the Super Bowl half-time malfunction, if that’s what you believe. Except no one saw it (there was a big metal pasty) and you couldn’t see it unless you stopped it and played it back slowly. Which is what every news organization and outraged citizen did for days on end.

As you can see, using ‘-gate’ doesn’t make it any more serious than if you called what it really was: a major fuck up where someone got caught doing something they weren’t supposed to be doing. It’s time to retire the ‘-gate’ add-on and exercise our minds a little and replace it with something that doesn’t add unneeded weight to a story that wouldn’t have been worth the back page of a newspaper 10 years ago.

That is all for today.


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Oh, Hello There Sunshine! No, I Can’t Play Today

It’s ironic that after what seems like a month in the proverbial freezer here in Southern California (and yes, I DO know that our lows of +/- 35 degrees and high’s of +/- 55 degrees were the envy of some of the nation), the sun came back with the vengeance of Mr. Chow finally being let out of the Mercedes in “The Hangover,” beaten down the cold temps with a crowbar of sunshine and warm temps!

(Thank you, thank you for the applause for most lengthy and mixed-up metaphor of the year so far. Just wait, it’s only January 19th. I have a whole year to do this…)

But, I can’t go outside to play today. I KNOW! It’s killing me, too. Outside the fact that, when rolling over in bed this morning, my head decided NOT to follow my body and my neck therefore played peacemaker and took the brunt of the argument, I have a business to run.

Yes, that’s right. Even in this economy of job-killing high taxes and I have struck out on my own to help others with their social media management for their businesses. My company is called Total Engagement Media, and you can find it here. My consultancy works exclusively with South Bay businesses, a lot of which have a very poor social media presence for such a social place! It’s fun and a lot more work. The old days of working 8-5 and making a crapload of $$$ is gone. It’s now work, work, work! But, I do love it and hope to grow it large enough to not only pay for what I owe each month (i.e. rent, bills), but to afford the things that I WANT to do (i.e. golf, travel, find that ONE thing that makes EVERYTHING worthwhile).

But, before you say, “Hey Tim, everyone has to take a break once in a while,” I also have another time consuming enterprise that is a bit more near and dear to my heart. Cocktails & Movies combines my love for, well obviously cocktails AND movies. It was born of a time when 1. I actually had friends that liked doing things that I liked to do and, 2. Actually liked to go to the movies. The premise is simple: get a group of people together, have a fun social happy hour and then go to a movie. I can remember seeing “Borat” after two too many cocktails. I never laughed harder in my life. The greatest was the sideways glances from all the parents at the 7:30 pm showing of “Chicken Little” as we laughed not only at the movie, but the laughing reactions of the kids throughout the theater…

But, by the use of social media I have garnered a bit of a following in other cities and other countries, which will serve me well when I travel and create “Cocktails & Movies” events domestically and internationally.  Now, if I can just find a way to make THAT profitable.

After completing that last sentence, I took a step outside as staring at my overflowing recycling box was just too distracting. It’s gorgeous outside today. Now it just bugs me that it’s that nice outside. Why does Mother Nature need to test me like this? Why can’t the little balls in the lottery match MY numbers? Are they better than me?

Well, before this turns into a stream of consciousness diatribe about why I am in sweats at my desk looking out at the ladies walking around in short shorts and bikini tops, I’ll get back to work work. Please take a moment to check out Cocktails & Movies on Facebook and Twitter (@cocktailsmovies) and Total Engagement Media on Facebook and Twitter as well (@totalengagemedi).

Thanks so much for reading! Now, go out and play!

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Why Does Everything Have To Be So Real?

Running towards reality

Why does everything have to be so real nowadays? According to reports from CES in Las Vegas this week, the newest and greatest achievement is Ultra HD. That’s 4x times more life-like than your current HD TV. Why do we need this? Evidently, watching your TV and its crystal clear picture is not enough. You need to feel like you’re there; inside whatever it is your watching.  And if TV ratings are any indication, that means that you can find yourself sitting at Honey Boo Boo’s house once a week.

But, why do we want to watch things on our TV as if we were really there? Isn’t the point of watching TV (and for that matter, going to the movies) to escape reality? Going to work for eight hours a day, driving in traffic, eating lunch at your desk and dealing with sick co-works IS reality. Coming home, turning on the TV and escaping to a Pasadena apartment building filled with nerdy scientists and the hot neighbor, or following a former con-man turned CBI agent is what allows us to deal with the reality of life.

So, why do you want to view it without that filter of seeing it on TV or up on the big screen at the movie theater (where you can now see film in 48 fps (frames per second) making it seem like you are really there)? As for me, I don’t really WANT to be living in an apartment building in Pasadena. I like Hermosa Beach and the view from my living room. And I don’t really want to be a member of the CBI and solve crimes. I want the people on my TV to do that for me.

If I wanted to be part of the reality on TV, I’d try out for a reality game show. Until I feel the need to debase myself that low, I’ll continue to watch TV on my regular HD TV and go to the movie theater and watch movies with regular frame rates and avoid the 3D altogether.


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