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Political Correctness: Is It Evil to Ask a Question?

Stephen A Smith

ESPN has suspended “First Take” co-host Stephen A. Smith for a week. Why? For simply asking a question. For simply asking for more details before making final judgement.

it all started with the NFL suspended Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for two games over allegations he beat his fiancee. During the discussion and opinion portion of the story, Smith states, “In Ray Rice’s case, he probably deserves more than a two-game suspension, which we both acknowledged. But at the same time, we also have to make sure that we learn as much as we can about elements of provocation. Not that there’s real provocation, but the elements of provocation.”

That statement was interpreted by critics as Smith suggesting that victims of abuse might also be responsible for provoking it.

Please reread the statement. Smith made no implication that Ray Rice’s fiancee provoked Rice into beating her.

I don’t know anything about what happened with Ray Rice because I don’t follow football, and I don’t have instant access to all the news.

DISCLAIMER: Before I proceed I have to make this statement. I believe that anyone who beats another person, male or female, adult or child, deserves punishment. Restraint is always better than violence in all domestic issues.

Let’s look at the headline…”Ravens’ Running Back Ray Rice Suspended for Two Games Over Allegations of Domestic Violence.”

As a reader what are we supposed to think? “Ray Rice beat his wife.” In my opinion, Ray Rice beat his wife and probably deserve more than a two-day suspension for his actions. But at the same time, I don’t have any facts about the situation other than a reputable news source.

My question to you is this. Is asking a question in this situation a sign that you hate women or should I blindly accept the headline as gospel truth.

Did Ray Rice, out of nowhere, strike his fiancee? Was he drunk or one drugs? Is he a violent person by nature? Or was he provoked into violence? Personally, I believe Rice would more likely answer “Yes” to the first three questions than the last. But that’s not what this is all about.

I’m an absolute proponent of the first amendment right to say anything, no matter how true, false, outrageous or offensive the question is.

America is heading down the wrong road, when we start penalizing people for asking a question. Debate is how we get to the truth in any situation. The moment we shutdown the debate by punishing people for proposing an alternate view, that’s the moment we move toward a totalitarian society.

Abortion, environment, the Middle East. We’re a divided nation because we’ve shut down debate. You’re evil and no longer worthy to be heard if you disagree with me. There are issues in my life that I feel I’m 100% right about…the existence of God and beating innocent women is wrong. But I’m not so arrogant that my opinions can not be challenged, and I’m not afraid to be challenged either. You should not be either.

Comedy Central

Comedy Central Debuts New Improvised Web Series – CC: Social Scene

The six-episode weekly series, hosted by comedian Paul Scheer and directed by Rich Talarico, debuted last week on the Viacom-owned cabler’s YouTube channel and also is distributed via the CC.com website, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and Twitter.

The “CC: Social Scene” ensemble cast includes Lee Newton, H. Michael Croner, Lilan Bowden, Jacob Womack, Jeff Sloniker and Barak Hardley. The first show revolved around the theme “worst breakup lines,” with others slated to include “what washes up on the beach,” “oddest combos at the BBQ” and “beach hogs,” inspired by beach horror stories.

Nasim Pedrad

Saturday Night Live Loses Four Cast Members for 2015 Season

I love Saturday Night Live. I’ll get into it another time, but being live makes that show. It allows you to be timely which is a benchmark of SNL. As with every summer, it’s interesting just to see who stays and who leaves. Even better, when you leave…why?

Let’s go over the three featured cast members who where not asked back: Brooks Wheelan, Noel Wells and John Milhiser. The reason they are not back is simple, they were given a full season to make in impact on the audience and they failed to become memorable.

I remember Brooks Wheelan from two spots on Weekend Update but after that nothing. One really funny moment about his bad tattoo choices. The other I don’t remember.

John Milhiser’s highlight on the season was his talent show sketch with Lady Gaga. Loved the simple set up and execution that Milhiser brought to the sketch but I don’t remember anything else.

Noel Wells has the best shot to stay, seeing that SNL needs female cast members. Noel did a few funny impressions but that’s about it. Noel was unfortunately eclipsed by the entrance of Sasheer Zamata, who hit the bricks running and never looked back.

I’m sure all three are likable people, but I’ve heard all the stories about how hard you had to fight for screen time and Brooks, Noel and John just lost the fight.

I remember at the beginning of the season thinking that adding six new cast members was a lot, but it was probably a smart idea to give young comedians a chance to say they were on Saturday Night Live even if for a season.

To say that SNL can launch a career is an understatement. Just ask Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig. Nasim Pedrad is testing her wings starring in the John Mulaney (creator of Update’s Stefon) sit-com.

During the Television Critics Association preview, Pedrad said “Obviously there’s nothing like that show and I was lucky to be there for five years. At some point you have to leave, and I can’t think of a better reason to leave than for this particular show and this particular cast.”

“Yeah, had it not been for this show. Look, at the end of the day, these are two shows filming at the same time on opposite coasts. It wouldn’t have been practical to stay there,” she said. “I don’t think it’s that common to get this kind of group together, and having experienced working with John at SNL, I couldn’t be more confident in his ability to write and star in a sitcom like this, truly.”

Only time will tell if Pedrad can replicate Andy Samberg’s success with Brooklyn-Nine-Nine.

 

New Radio Station Website – KTSTfmAnaheim.com

As some of you know, I have a radio program on KTST 89.5 fm in Anaheim. On top of that, I’ve been able to attend some amazing events on behalf of the station. I love the show and hope to become a better broadcaster soon.

Anyway, if you’ve been to the website for the station, it’s old. It hasn’t been updated in years and it looks incredibly unprofessional.

The station manager has been kind enough to let me update the website. I believe in doing whatever it takes to look professional and fortunately with a website, it’s easy to look professional and a small cost.

The station website is live now and it only took a few hours to give it a nice professional look. Check it out – http://www.KTSTfmAnaheim.com.

This is also the reason way the Geek Lab site has been neglected. Be sure to tune into the Geek Lab Wednesday at 7:00 pm.

paranorman zombies

The Test of Patience

This week has been a huge test of my patience. My life is in the hands of other people/organizations and I’m helpless. I hate that I have to hand hold

We all want to feel like we have control over our own destinies. It’s the freedom that American was built on. I want the choice to determine my next step in life. I want the freedom to know what my family’s well-being is secure.

This week has been especially taxing on me personally. As you may know, while I’m working on my writing skills and taking classes, I’m driving for Lyft and Uber in order to make ends meet. Lyft has been a great company to work for, but I tend to make more money with Uber at the moment.

For Uber, I have to have records for my car and myself, uploaded to the website. Unfortunately, my insurance, vehicle registration and driver’s license, all expire in the same month. Uber sends me notice that I need to upload new documents. Fine, I have said documents. The problem is Uber’s website is the worst. I upload my documents as requested and days later, my account is de-activated. I notify driver relations and they tell me, I’m in compliance and they re-activate my account.

That is until next week, when the computer system de-activates me again. They want me to upload the documents, which I do. After notifying driver relations, they re-activate my account. Every time this happens, I lose a night of work. For four weeks in a row, my account is de-activated and this time it’s over a day for the problem to be fixed.

I call them, e-mail them, complain to them, but my fate is still left in the hands of incompetents. Uber is not the only ones, schools, doctors, insurance companies and the government. The government is the worst. They have need to be efficient and take your problem seriously.

At least with Uber, I have alternatives, but not with the government. If they make a mistake with your information, you’re screwed! If they change a regulation, they can hide behind the law. If they make a life-threatening mistake, you have no recourse or protection. These are the guys you want to hand your health insurance and medical well-being over to.

Sorry about getting all politcal. Now it’s time to get a little spiritual. There are only a few verses that I’ve memorized from the Bible.

Matthew 6:33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteous and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.

Alan freaking out because there's no place to stand in line.

My First Red Carpet – Part 2

Hope you had a chance to read the first part of my first red carpet experience. As an introvert, I found that this was a great stride forward for me personally and professionally.

Now we’re at the point of the night, where the stars of the movie, Obvious Child, began to arrive. I actually prepared questions all day for Jake Lacy, Gillian Robespierre and Jenny Slate. Also arriving was Gaby Hoffman, who was not scheduled to be there that night. Needless to say, I didn’t have anything for her.

Step 1 – Confidence (or at least pretending to have confidence)

Yes, smile. Shake hands. Be prepared. They are people just like you and they want you to promote their movie. Yes, I’m from a small radio station in Anaheim, but I’m ready to hold my own with these other video programs that I’ve never heard of.

Step 2 – Go over questions and remember backup questions.

This is a step that I didn’t prepare well for. You’ve got to anticipate various ways that they may answer the question and then have a question for that.

Now the moment of truth.

First to approach was Jake Lacy (The Office), who plays understanding boyfriend Max. Jake was the best way to start. He was incredibly friendly to me and gave great answers. Just as our interview was about to start, he was immediately pulled away to take a cast photo on the red carpet. He immediately came back, apologized and the interview began.

It was such a great interview, I hated to cut up this response to the question, “You play a nice guy in the movie, was that a difficult acting challenge.” Although the censored version made air, I included the bad words in the video.

Up next is Jenny Slate. Jenny was a tough interview. She appears to be a great person to know, just hard to interview. I felt like she was nervous to be there and a little out of her comfort zone. My worst question was if she did stand-up. She said yes, and I had no backup question. I cringe every time I hear it. It was all bad and I take responsibility for that.

Finally, interviewed Gillian Robespierre, the writer/director of Obvious Child. This turned out better. “Great way to pick it up, Alan.” “Thanks,” I replied wondering who was talking to me. I like to talk to the actual filmmakers more than the cast. They are the ones who put in all the hard work from writing and refining the script and finding producers to make the dream a reality. Then there’s trying to translate the vision in your head to the final product on screen.

As much as I might have mixed feeling about the interview that day, I’m proud of the outcome…Mostly (that’s the introvert talking).

Here’s the final product. Please comment and be gentle.

writers-block1

My Life Update – I Need a Job

I have not updated my blog in a while. For someone who is unemployed, I’m pretty busy. That’s right…unemployed once again. I left my job at Carrington Mortgage Services because I got to a point in my life where I just needed to follow my passions and not a paycheck. I may be paying for that one in the future.

After speaking to my wife, Laurie, I’m taking the summer to learn to write, write and find opportunities to write. It’s been quite an adventure. I’m taking two online courses at Irvine Valley College: “Beginning Writer” and “Write Like a Pro.”

I’m still keeping up my Secret City Geek Lab Blog and I’m starting to get into the whole world of movie reviews. I suggest seeing “Boyhood” next week. Read my movie review. It will astound you.

Speaking of movie reviews, summer is the time of film festivals. I attended the Newport Beach Film Festival, the Los Angeles Film Festival and will head into the Downtown Los Angeles Film Festival.

My goal this summer is to write, write and write.

Poker

PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker is coming to New Jersey

I’m so jealous. Please someone come to California. I need my fix of poker.

In July 2013, Resorts announced that it had reached an agreement with Rational Services Limited (Rational) to make the PokerStars and FullTilt brands available in New Jersey. PokerStars and FullTilt will offer both casino games and poker. That agreement continues and is pending regulatory approval.

“We welcomed the recent announcement by Amaya Gaming Group, Inc of its plans to acquire Rational which we expect will move the regulatory approval process forward. PokerStars is the leading world-wide brand in online gaming and we are looking forward to our future with them in New Jersey,” said Morris Bailey, owner of Resorts Casino Hotel.

“We are also thrilled to announce our partnership with Sportech-NYX Gaming, LLC (SNG) to make casino games available on the ResortsCasino.com and affiliated websites. SNG’s extensive knowledge of the online gaming industry combined with Resorts’ longstanding history of first-class land-based gaming will allow us to bring New Jersey online gamers a fresh, unique and user-friendly experience,” said Mark Giannantonio, President & CEO of Resorts Casino Hotel.

The ResortsCasino.com website’s offerings will include a rich variety of slot games, plus table games like roulette, blackjack and more. Planning for the significant launch of ResortsCasino.com has begun with the guidance of Mohegan Gaming Advisors (MGA). Managers of Resorts Casino Hotel since 2012, MGA’s partnership with Resorts extends itself through this joint venture as well.

“This is an exciting era of gaming in New Jersey and we are confident it will be another positive stepping stone in Resorts storied history,” said Morris Bailey, owner of Resorts Casino Hotel.

Alan freaking out because there's no place to stand in line.

My First Press Line

I consider these moments as growing moments. There’s a time when I have to rise above my shyness, interact with people and muster up some confidence.

As a pop culture reporter at KTST 89.5 fm, I covered the Newport Beach Film Festival. I learned to write reviews, correspond with filmmakers and get my writing out in front of the public.

Last Thursday, I got to attend my first real press line on behalf of the radio station. While it didn’t go perfect, I was able to get the job done. Good going, me.

The press line was for the Los Angeles premiere of the Obvious Child, written/directed by Gillian Robespierre and stars Jenny Slate (SNL) and Jake Lacy (The Office). When I was confirmed to be a part of the press line, I went over the list of people who would be attending the screening and started writing questions.

On the way to the event, I slowly started to psych myself out.

When I arrived, I got worried as I approved a packed press line and I didn’t want to be rude and squeeze in someplace. I’ll admit I started to panic. I hung back with the photographers. I was about to give up on getting any interviews, which would have been the worst result.

We waited about 30 minutes before anyone came, so I say outside the circle of photographer and heard them talking about Obamacare. I started to simmer at little, but one photography was kind enough to get me into the discussion. Then I was able to talk a little about the tough life of a photographer. “Hey, I’m one of the guys.”

Not knowing where to go, the photographers soon realized I only had an iPad for pictures. They did not take kindly to this, but I quickly explained that I was with “radio.” They immediately turned nice and told me where to go. Thank God for the kindness of strangers.

I was quickly directed to my spot on the red carpet…reserved for me, and away we go.  The publicist placed me between two television reporters.

My first interview opportunity was Nick Kroll. I did not know he was going to be there, and I had nothing prepared for him. Apparently, he was only talking to the high profile press, so bullet dodged.

Next up was Brett Gellman, another person I don’t know. I thought to myself, “This is my chance and if I’m going any interviews at all, do it now. Seize the moment, dammit!” I decided just to make it a quick one. I’ll post the interview soon.

So I got the interview and now I need to decompress. By decompress, I mean letting the next celebrity go by, which was Anna Camp from Pitch Perfect. Still, no idea who she was and immediately felt back, I let another opportunity slip away.

I think I was afraid of asking a really stupid question and embarrassing myself.

To be continued.

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