Brain Spoon

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brain spoon n. 1. A device used by 4th century Quirinalian monks to exact revenge for crimes deemed monstrously immoral. The device consisted of a large scoop with razor sharp edges, fixed to bellows and a hollow tube, through which was poured a mixture of vinegar and molten metal intended to soften the skull, thereby facilitating cranial penetration and extraction of brain sections. 2. Any device which causes extreme pain in the craniocerebral region.

And now, for The Best of Wayne Moon, you'll have to weed through this mangled Myspace site that will need to be reconstructed after their attempt to keep up: Wayne Moon on Myspace.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

School To Work

In 1974, I was appointed Captain of the Audio Visual Unit. I might have refused the position, but I needed the job…mostly to take my mind off Chrissie Darlington, who sat next to me but only had eyes for Jimmy Cooper. Also, I was in sixth grade, and the world was a difficult place. I had to wear special shoes and no one was laughing at my Richard Nixon impression anymore. So I took the job. My responsibilities included assigning film projector duties to my team of students, which required assessing the personalities and technical proficiency levels of each team member and matching him or her to a film or filmstrip.

Early in my tenure, I designed a t-shirt logo. On the day I wore the shirt to school, Chrissie’s smile lit up the classroom. I like to pretend she was experiencing almost anything other than derision. Undeterred (and perhaps obliviously), I earned a degree in Communications, which, over the years, I have put to use as Captain of the Audio Visual Unit at several large organizations. And by the way, Chrissie and I have been happily ma -- okay, you probably guessed that life doesn't happen that way. Someday maybe I'll accept the fact that this isn’t sixth grade anymore.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

I Won't Spring Forward

Gaining back that lost hour this weekend reminded me of the power of sleep. It's time to step up and refuse to set our clocks ahead in the spring. It's an hour of sleep I can no longer afford to lose. How about you? Let's abolish Daylight Savings Time.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Learn to Play Your iPhone

I made this while recuperating from a nasty cold...

Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Death of NJ Journalism

Yesterday, it was reported that NJ’s Gov. Christie has announced more details of his plan to trim 1,300 jobs from the 63,500-person executive branch workforce, including 129 jobs at New Jersey Network. The plan calls for NJN to be privatized. “The state doesn’t need to own its own television network,” Christie said in his budget address. I guess that sounds reasonable. But what if that statement was phrased like this: public media should not be subsidized by the government. Maybe you agree with that too. Why don’t Bob McChesney and John Nichols? Here's why not:

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/2/4/robert_mcchesney_and_john_nichols_on

McChesney and Nichols talk about their new book, The Death and Life of American Journalism. They maintain that journalism should be seen as a public good. With the collapse of the business model that supported journalism over the past 150 years, they advocate for public subsidies to sustain an independent, uncensored, non-commercial, non-profit news media sector. They argue that currently the resources don’t exist to allow for online journalism, and competition for ad dollars undermines the integrity of an online news system. Also, “new media” is in many ways simply commenting on “old media,” and there is so much less “old media” being produced. Also, the majority of news is coming from corporate news packages.
So what can be done? The authors say that, first, we need to open the dialogue to get citizens thinking about how they can become part of the solution. We’re losing a generation of young journalists, so use AmeriCorps as a model. They suggest a News AmeriCorp: send young people into community stations, develop sites in underserved areas, school radio stations, etc. and provide “supercharged” funding to make it happen akin to European models. And look at the tradition of US subsidizing a free press: the first 75 years we subsidized the postal system, which was largely intended for the distribution of newspapers. In today’s dollars, those subsidies equal $30 billion. That’s the kind of subsidies European countries spend on their public media today. That amount equals about 12 weeks of what we’ve been spending on the war in Iraq, or 5% of the first bank bail-out. For that investment, we might indeed avoid that kind of bank bail-out situation when citizens are informed. It’s a relatively small amount when considering what’s at stake. The Founders meant for freedom of the press to come into play when needed. Citizens must act now to prevent the situation where the vast majority of news information is packaged by power elites. And we can start by reminding our legislators that the government of New Jersey should continue to subsidize NJN, at least to be an alternative to the only other news outlet that covers the entire state. That would be radio station NJ101.5 FM, whose respected news department shares its airwaves with reverb-enhanced talk radio performers and their lockstep, biased callers. Also, NJN is public affairs, emergency information, a source for the arts, history, and much more. To expect the network to survive through the kindness of viewers like you and corporate funders in our current economic environment is foolish. Tell your legislators to save NJN.

Monday, February 15, 2010

New Government and Old Cake

I love chocolate cake, with its sweet, spongy consistency. Too bad about its off-putting color, which I tend to ignore. That reminds me. Remember those reports issued to NJ's new governor by that transition team last month? I’ve just had a few moments to look it over. Sometimes it takes me a while to soak in new information, so bear with me…I’ve got a few questions. The first report I cracked open was the one written by the Department of Environmental Protection subcommittee, chaired by former Sen. Marcia Karrow (R-Hunterdon). The report kicks off with a healthy dose of skepticism about whether or not the DEP will even survive.

"The department has failed to fulfill its own mission statement of protecting our state's vital natural resources while taking into consideration economic vitality."


Does that mean the DEP has failed to protect our natural resources? Should I stop typing and call an ambulance? I am feeling a little woozy, which usually happens after I eat all this chocolate cake. But now I’m thinking it’s the arsenic I just washed it down with. Hang on. I just read the second half of that quote. Apparently, the DEP's mission statement emphasizes considering our economic vitality. Maybe the report means that the DEP has failed to consider what protecting our natural resources would do to our economic vitality. Well, that makes me feel better. The report continues:

"As policy makers, it is important to realize that baselines have shifted."


Is that true? It’s a good thing that pitchers and catchers are reporting this week. They still have time to strategize about base-runners who might be meandering all over the place. But really, I’m concerned all this has something to do with putting our economic vitality ahead of our environment. Woozy again. I’ll pass on that third helping of arsenic and old cake. And read on:

"The department has driven economic investment out of this state often with policies that, ironically, provide little or no environmental benefit."


Is that true too? DOE policies have provided little or no environmental benefit? That stinks! Was I a fool all this time to think that DOE employees, my fellow NJ citizens, friends, and neighbors, were working every day to keep my surface water quality and freshwater wetlands safe? Weren’t they out there implementing requirements for transporting solid waste and for controlling air pollution from diesel-powered vehicles? I’d hoped DOE policies were protecting me from catastrophic accidents that could cause death or permanent disability beyond property boundaries of the scores of chemical plants and refineries that operate happily around me! I’ve long harbored panicky thoughts of hydrogen fluoride silently hitching a ride on the northeast breeze and wiping out my town. Are my fears justified? Anyway, those things I used to believe in a few minutes ago are a smattering of policies recently adopted or re-adopted, according to the DOE website. But until they get their economic priorities straight, why should I trust them? I don’t really understand half of the stuff in those policies anyway, so now I have to go with the Governor’s transition team and scrap the whole thing in favor of allowing open containers of other peoples' solid chocolate waste to rumble through my backyard, as long as it means more jobs for my neighbors and more grease for my local bürgermeister’s palm.

Next, I guess it’s time to explore the transition team’s recommendation regarding the transfer of our only public media outlet (or, as 101.5FM listeners think of it, that taxpayer-funded, state-owned propaganda machine) into the hands of some enterprising Murdochian who could turn a fair and balanced profit. Think NJN, Inc. Corporations have the same rights as individuals now, so there’s a whole new road to consider. Informed citizenry be damned! It would require a gutsy business model, and some creative writing and acting, to abandon in-depth, fact-based news, public affairs, and education programming in favor of an infotainment empire that has the power to fund elections, to change the nation, to be more in line with what people are watching on commercial channels. And if it’s done Right, viewer/citizens will never even notice the difference.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Curse of Celebrity 54

The list of celebrities whose corporeal selves cease at age 54 continues to grow as the bodies pile up. This grim phenomenon came to my attention the year that one of my personal favorites passed away. Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, died during his rest period after working out in his private gym. In my memory, I always linked his death at age 54 with two other celebrities who died at that age: John Ritter and Robert Palmer. The odd thing is, Adams died two years before Ritter and Palmer. And Adams was 49. But he looked older.

Okay, so my theory about the Curse of Celebrity 54 is flawed. Anyway, some celebs make it past that venerable milestone. But Michael Landon (or Eugene Orowitz, as my Collingswood neighbors still remember him) didn’t. John Ritter was just six days away from escaping the Curse. Last fall, I noticed when somebody named Jeff Beitzel, who had something to do with something entitled Real Housewives of Orange County, died at age 54. And just the other day, beloved Philadelphia sports director Gary Papa lost his battle with prostate cancer. He was 54. And will be missed.

I keep thinking: in my fifty-fourth year, am I going to dial 9 and 1 before going to bed every night so that at the slightest onset of demise all I need to do is hit one more 1? Or is that too risky? Will I move next door to the highest of high-tech emergency care facilities? Or save up so I can afford to have my essence transferred to a full-body robotic replica (with on-board neuroses filters)? Maybe the answer is to avoid any type of fame. Most likely that’s my best bet. But first, I should probably focus on making it to age 54…by ignoring the celebrity obituaries.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Dream of the Week

While working in a darkroom, I accidentally call into existence a shark with human emotions and self-awareness. It swims in a pool outside, and realizes that I am the reason it is here. It tries to kill me, but cannot escape the confines of the pool. Standing a safe distance away from the pool, my wife and I watch in horror as the shark evolves. It grows legs, leaps out of the pool, and runs toward us. We find safety in a nearby house, and lock the doors and windows. The shark rages outside. With the family who lives here, we hide, but they don’t believe a shark is chasing us. “Sure,” they say. “A shark with legs.” When the creature breaks through the wall, we run into a field. People are seated at an outdoor graduation. We sit in the crowd, hoping to hide amidst the others. The shark, seething with anger, shouts, “I’m looking for someone who worked in a darkroom!” The crowd stands and the shark catches sight of me. It runs through the crowd toward me. I attempt to reason with it. As I’m speaking, I notice Brett, the director of our public library, standing near the shark. From the podium, he picks up a hammer and a roll of duct tape, and gestures to me, indicating that I should use the hammer to knock out the shark, and bind it with the duct tape. At first, I don’t get it. In his zeal to make me understand, Brett inadvertently hits the shark’s head with the hammer, but the shark, engrossed in my discourse, and probably too large to feel it anyway, ignores the hammer tap. But now I realize what Brett has been trying to communicate. Stealthily, I pick up the hammer, and crack the shark’s skull. A comic episode ensues involving my attempt to bind the shark. It escapes, of course. Time passes. The shark lands a job, meets a woman, the workplace pays for travel and training. And the shark goes off to live out its life.