Monday, April 21, 2008

Me and Dan Rather

Dan Rather came to Rowan University on April 11, 2008 as part of the school's 41st celebration of the Hollybush Summit. That was the event in 1967 where President Lyndon Johnson met face-to-face with Soviet Premier Kosygin. It was a pretty big deal during that time (Cold War) for those two to sit down together.
Rowan - then known as Glassboro State - was selected as a meeting site because it was halfway between NYC and DC. The school had just a few days to get ready and was quickly thrust into the spotlight.
As part of the anniversary of the Summit, former CBS anchor Dan Rather was brought in to moderate a panel on nuclear proliferation. He also took the time to teach a class for our students, including some of "my kids." It was great. He was great. All Dan Rather haters can just shut up.
I heard him speak at the IRE convention in Denver in 2005 and he was great then, too. I found him to be smart, well-spoken and really quite humble. He gave my kids good advice. Here are some of my notes:
The ability to write is the most important skill for a journalist

"You have to read books."

A journalist is an honest broker of information for the people at home.

"If I'd been a better speller I might have stayed in newspapers."

Be accurate. Be fair.

News is what someone somehere doesn't want you to know. All the rest is advertising.
"Look it up in the dictionary."

Journalists don't need to know everything, they just need who to ask or where to look it up.

(He is speaking entirely without notes.)

In terms of ethics, listen to the inner voice that says "you are going too far."
After the panel, I weasled my way into a reception and got to chat up Dan one-on-one. In the pictures, I alternately look like I am pushing him or about to hug him. Hee.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

My column about sex with: high-priced hookers, the McGreeveys and horsies

Clearly, I lead a dull life. This may be because I am the single mother of a high-energy toddler who runs around all day and wakes up all night. Or it could be because I never had sex with: a high-priced prostitute, an aide to former N.J. Gov. Jim McGreevey, or a horse.

Let’s talk about the call girl first. “Kristen” from the Emperor’s Club VIP used her Jersey Girl smarts to charge $4,300 for sex with former Gov. Eliot Spitzer of New York. Now he is no longer governor. And millions of people are listening to her songs on her MySpace page. I admire “Kristen” for thinking she is worth that much. But Eliot, really, $4,300?? I balk at paying $19.99 for

What the heck did $4,300 buy exactly? It sure wasn’t discretion. Let me tell you what I would expect for $4,300: George Clooney, in the dark suit he wore in “Ocean’s 11,” feeding me chocolate-covered strawberries. He would laugh at my jokes, rub my feet and come around to my point of view that Hillary Clinton would make a better president than Barack Obama. Of course we would make sweet, sweet love but it actually would cost NOTHING because George would be so enamored of me. See? This is a good fantasy and it cost nothing.

Apparently it cost nothing (except for perhaps his pride and self-worth) for a former aide to Jim McGreevey to announce this week that he had threesomes with McGreevey and his ex-wife. Dina Matos McGreevey says “no way,” Jim McGreevey and the aide say “way” and I am left befuddled. I think I am going to go with Dina on this one, if only because Jim has already proved himself to be a liar, liar, pants on fire.

I know people have threesomes – I watch cable TV, but it all seems like a lot of effort.

Take the “swingers lifestyle” for example. One drawback of being a tired single parent is that I often just flip to whatever is on TV and am too dopey to change the channel. So there I was, watching Showtime or HBO or some other premium channel that I have since canceled because "The Wire" over (sob!) and there was a documentary all about swingers. Let me try to express my opinion of some of the people featured: They are not attractive.

No. Nope. Not. At. All.

See, if I had the time, energy and inclination to “swing,” I would want to do it with supermodels and hunky actors. These people in the documentary looked like the dude at the car wash and his woman.

There were also all these rules. For instance, one couple only dated other couples. What? Dating once you are married? I thought that was the POINT of being married – to never, EVER have to date again. And not only does the couple need to get along, each couple has to get along with EACH OTHER – enough to have sex. Now really, when does that ever happen? The couple’s other rule was that they had to begin the evening having sex with each other, then they switched to the other couple and then they came back again to each other again at the end of the night. Whew!

At least they were not having sex with a horse. Another show that caught my tired attention recently was a movie on the Sundance channel called "Zoo."    It about farm animals and the men who … love them. Except one of the men, who was from Seattle, died in 2005 after having sex with a horse. Yes.

The movie "Zoo" is all arty and blue-toned and not at all graphic. The men talk about their love of horses and there are shots of men in silhouette walking to the barn as music plays. I was horrified anyway – but kept watching in that car-wreck way.

I am not alone. When the story was first published in the Seattle Times, it became the most clicked-on story on the Web site – for the whole year. According to Editor & Publisher, this was partly because the story was a link on the Drudge Report website.

All of this proves that I live a very dull life, indeed. Thank God.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

When an Airplane Doesn't Fly

Ten years ago, I wrote a memorable newspaper article about a prostituion sting along a highway in Central Florida. The highway hookers carried flashlights and lured men who were driving by, looking for some, um, companionship. An undercover sting nabbed ten men, one of whom was in his 70s and walked with a cane.

My kicker to the story was about how one "customer" asked the undercover hooker for a sex act called an "airplane." No one knew what that meant, but we all had a good laugh. Today in class, I had my students read the story as an example of a short, but amusing tale written on deadline. They figured out what an "airplane" was in about 5 seconds by Googling it. (No Google in 1998). Here it is. (See Definitions 3, 4 or 5)

Let me just say that this act seems quite complicated and involves at least three people. Oh my! Thank God my students are over 18. I had NO idea what it meant!

Where In The World Has RandomReality Been?

Hi faithful readers,

  As you can see, there was a lengthy gap in between posts. One reason: ear infections. Actually, four of them. In a row. My Little Dude has been quite miserable. Poor little guy. So he is not sleeping, I am not sleeping and therefore, not posting. He is on yet another antibiotic and we are going to see the ENT. I predict ear tubes in his future. Aiiie.