Monday, August 30, 2010


The music drifts into my chest and eases the tension

The chants hum down my spine and clear my head

Every muscle needs the stretch and some shake at the poses

There may not be incense but my nostrils flare with its scent

Shiva and Buddha look down on me from seated positions on the wall

My freak out of the past month may only be gone for 90 minutes

But it's gone

Friday, August 13, 2010


Drought in Alabama, Lightening in Colorado.

I heard it was sunny here 300+ days a year. What I didn't hear was that there are rain showers every afternoon. Almost like clockwork. I could just about set my watch by the 3:45 raindrops. Oh, I don't mean to confuse anyone. I don't mean the cute little rains that LA or Hawaii has every day to cool things off.

What I'm talking about is that every afternoon, I look west to Pike's Peak. Ugly, nasty, black, terrifying wall clouds ominously crawl over the top of the Front Range. I can see the sheets of rain coming with them. These clouds bear down over the Garden of the Gods and lift like a groundswell full of lightening, hail, and torrential downpours -- crashing and cracking the entire way. Coming my way, I feel the wind. Lightening hits and the darkness passes over. Trees are bending near sideways. It sits over the house. The noise is deafening. Long trails of lightening strikes on one side and then another. Enormous rain pounds on the roof like a giant stomping. All of it together surges up over the hills and sweeps over the plains taking their gale winds and updrafts with them.

After an hour or so, the dark clouds break apart to grey and then to white, the sun shines through again to sparkle on the wet pavement and grass. And then it's over.
Til tomorrow.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Told Ya

Looks like I was right.

Michael Hastings' embed with the Army has been pulled. He also refused to comply with an IG inspection into the Gen McChrystal incident.

Well, can you blame the Army? I can't.

My issue is that it didn't have to happen. We provide embeds not for positive press but for accurate press. There are plenty of balanced pieces out there. There are plenty of negative pieces out there. There are plenty of journalists who understand how the military works.

Giving access provides context. When you allow a reporter behind the scenes and they know it is background for context, they know it isn't for publication. Not everything has to be available for public consumption. I'm not Julian Assange. I don't believe the world needs to know absolutely everything. And these two wars have been open to the press and to the public in a way like no other. It almost isn't fair that soldiers who are fighting can't act like themselves in their downtime.

I do however, believe, that the relationship is a two-way street. When you allow an embed into your unit. The unit must understand that the reporter isn't a unit member. He isn't a pal. If you don't want to see it on the front page or in headline news, don't talk to him about it.

I just hope the only casualty here is Hastings. Other war correspondents and units understand this relationship and it is working out.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Meet the Press - Colorado Springs & Leadership Pikes Peak

Sat in a Meet the Press panel today with the group Leadership Pikes Peak. The media present were: Tak Landrok, KRDO-Ch 13 Investigative reporter, who evidently has a reputation for no-holds bar news reporting. Sue McMillin, Gazette Local News Editor, who finds less information available with the use of social media and websites. Betty Sexton, an anchor on KKTV-11, who's theme was constant communication between news editors and anchors and interview subjects. Lastly, there was James Jarman, an investigative reporter from KOAA, News First 5, who felt that government is hiding something and it is the media's job to hold them accountable.

I've sat through a few of these panels before and most of their revelations weren't new, but there were some things that struck me as interesting.

1-- They thought the role of the media is to give information to the public and the public is supposed to act on that information. They were bewildered at some of the issues people turned a blind eye to or turned away from with the attitude that there was nothing they could do about it, particularly with crooked politicians. It does make a news reader ask: what am I supposed to do with this information?

2-- There seem to be an incoherent lack of understanding about how social media works. Twitter and Facebook are not the only forms of social media, yet these plus blogs, were the only ones mentioned several times by all panel members. I understand why considering these two are by far surpassing the competition. However, I think they are missing a major news audience and opportunity by not understanding this realm.

3-- The unity with which they seem to agree that 20 and 30 somethings don't engage in the news was disheartening to me, especially since Pew Research did a study proving that wrong. James did mention that they are engaged just in different ways rather than the traditional News at 6. I almost wonder if they are alienating that age group by thinking that all they want is Hollywood news. James even admitted to getting into the business because he read the news at that age. Are they confusing "that age" with teenagers or 20 and 30 somethings in college and starting careers who are interested in the news and reading/watching it? They are just doing it on smart phones and laptops. Hmmmm....

4-- Information has actually become harder to get because of social media and online resources. They used to get the police blotter or coroner's reports or other public records by having face to face interaction with people, but now with those organizations sending out information on Twitter or Facebook, it seems that those organizations feel that is enough information. Rather than let the journalist or reporter decide what information they need, the source is doing it for them. While in some ways, this is easier for snagging new tips, it's harder for actually investigating news. Therefore, the need to cultivate relationships with ongoing sources (i.e. law enforcement, government agencies, etc...) is greater.

5-- It is also harder to get public records. What used to take a day or less is now taking days or weeks. As always, stonewalling won't get the story squashed.

All in all, I thought it was rather informative, and I'll definitely attend the next one. I just wonder if they learned anything as well.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Mason Jar

I ventured out to explore today and had lunch at The Mason Jar - a cute little restaurant just outside the adobe block of Old Colorado City.

It boasts a legendary Chicken Fried Steak but I had a mouthwatering blackened salmon. It came with a salad and baked potato. I could have had mashed or french fries. One thing about a salad is the type of Italian dressing -- this was the good kind, not the cheap kind. The menu is American bar and grill. Portion sizes were perfect. The prices were reasonable.

But the best part of the meal had to be the cornbread. Now, being from the South, we know cornbread. And The Mason Jar could have any debutante from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, cheering Roll Tide! with that cornbread.

The atmosphere was nice with its Colorado log cabin motif. The entire dining room was designed for cabin comfort down to the items on the table. There are benches on the length of the long porch out front to sit and enjoy the breeze.

It was a busy lunch time but I never had to ask for refills on my iced tea, which of course was served in a mason jar. And although the girls were nice and efficient, they were not overly friendly or chatty. But then again, I am from the South so Bless their hearts. No doubt, I'll definitely be back.