Letter to a friend

 goofy picture of Wesley Nathaniel Potts with some pumpkins

goofy picture of Wesley Nathaniel Potts around Halloween 2007

Dear Wes

I don’t want to write this letter not because I have any bad feelings, in fact it’s the opposite, I only have good memories of all the stupid things that you me and my brother got into when we were all still in high school. The main reason I don’t want to write this though is that I have to admit to myself that you are not here anymore. You’ve only been gone a couple of weeks but it feels a lot longer that; probably because the last time I saw you was almost 3 years ago now. I regret that I never tried to reach out and talk to after that, I thought we’d have more time to talk, and I got busy with graduate school I know it’s hard to believe that your little brother is getting a masters degree. It seems like such a long time ago when I was practicing with my crutches to walk in high school graduation. I’m being so mad that weren’t there in case I never apologized to you I’m sorry I realize you were busy working for something to make time when you could.

Remember all the games of Madden that we played? You always beat me most of the time you were better at it I guess. Except once when I won by 60 or some ridiculously high margin, you probably like me when you would do something like that are also I wouldn’t keep playing with you. I remember us through that one when in your face so much for the next couple days that you beat me up in another pointless fight that we all used to get into just from a heck of it. I remember when we first started playing Madden I get so mad that I was losing that I quit I have time and everyone always got mad at me for giving up eventually I learned though largely because of you that you should just take your beatings, at least in video games anyway.

I remember when we all started hanging out together and I was in middle school I cried whenever you guess what hit me, eventually I wanted you to pick me up and throw me on the couch just for fun. Now I think about it punches didn’t actually hurt at all, especially when you compare them pain that I am in because you’re gone. I guess that’s the last punch you will ever give me. In time I guess I’ll grew to appreciate that one to because in a way toward death has been hardest death that I’ve had to deal with. Up until now the only person who I’ve had to say goodbye to was my grandfather he was 94 and had lived a good life you were only 26 it’s going to be harder to let you go.

As I’m writing this I find myself thinking more about the time when we lost contact with each other and why that was. I guess it started when I started going to college and contact you were in Philly at that point and I figured you had your own life separate from the stupid ventures we had when we were in high school. As for me I guess I made a bit of a hard disconnect my life in high school and my new life in college, I hardly wanted anything to do with anyone from my high school even people like you that I consider family. I’m a little bit ashamed of it now in light of what’s happened. In your memory I will try and keep in contact with our friends back at home so I don’t feel so bad anymore.

I remember when my brother and I used to get in fights and tell each other we needed the other one, you laugh and say “you know that one day and soon you’ll have heart-to-heart conversation just the two of you and then you come to appreciate each other”. I remember thinking at the time six years ago “yeah right like that will ever happen”. As it turns out it just happen to years ago just after my niece was born, I thought to myself my God Wes was right I told my brother about my memory of the conversation between the three of us that he remembered it to I guess you were smart in the both of us. Although you and I are not related by blood I will always consider you my older brother. I will treat your family as if they were mine for as long as I live.

My Eternal Thanks to you, Wesley Nathaniel Potts until we meet again. I almost forgot happy birthday!
Your brother
Gabriel Michael Brown.

Posted in Personal

The Blacklist is back with vengence.

The Blacklist came back after its two week hiatus which made me and a number of Blacklist viewers very, very, very, very…angry. There are only three more episodes left in this season which means that the Blacklist has a few story lines to wrap up after this week. There are questions like why is Reddington helping the FBI, why does he take great pains to protect Liz, and what exactly is the Berlin organization that Liz’s sort of ex-husband belong to? They have paid off every story line that they set up to this point so there is no reason to believe that they won’t pay off these. In this week’s episode, the plot between Liz and her husband finally came to a head. When Liz confronted Tom and asked him, with tears in her eyes, “Why would u do this to me? I loved you.” And when he doesn’t give her a satisfying answer she proceeds to break his thumb with pliers.  The two then fight with Tom winning and leaving Liz handcuffed to a stairwell banister. Reddington maintains a close eye on Tom as he has done throughout the entire season, again protecting Liz. However, the episode ends with a cliff hanger of Liz opening a safety deposit box apparently belonging to Tom. In the deposit box it has a photo that we didn’t get to see. The last thing we see is Liz with a look of shock on her face before the credits role. It is a typical Blacklist cliff hanger. I am excited for the last three episodes in season one. You can see the latest episode on HULU.

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Posted in The Blacklist, TV

Wikileaks and how they listed the veil on US government…and made them very angry.

Wikileaks is a non-profit journalistic organization that aims to bring more transparency to governments around the world. Their slogan is “We open governments”. The best way to describe Wikileaks is the sunshine law on steroids. What a sunshine law is, is a law that is intended to create greater transparency from all agencies of the government by making sure all meetings and information about those meetings are made public. Basically a media outlet, for example the New York Times, just has to file a Freedom of Information Act request and most likely the government should give them the documents they are seeking. However here’s where the steroid part comes in, Wikileaks publishes classified information that governments don’t necessarily want made public. They obtain this information from people with high level security clearance within the governments they are reporting on. The best example is the Iraq War Logs that were published on the Wikileaks website in 2010; the Iraq War logs which added 66,081 civilian deaths out of 109,000 recorded deaths. Which prompted the Iraq Body Count Project to raise their total deaths by 15,000 bringing their grand total to approximately 150,000, roughly 80% were civilians. It was the biggest leak in US Military history. The documents were provided to Wikileaks by Private First Class Bradley Manning who is a trans gender person, male to female, and who now wishes to be called Chelsea Manning. She was sentenced to 35 years in prison but would only have to serve a third of that which brings the sentence 11 years and 8 months or 140 months. Counting good behavior and other considerations she could be released in 8 years. Wikileaks has effectively lifted the veil over all governments and as a result it’s founder and editor in chief, Julian Assange, is currently living in Ecuador on asylum from the US and Sweden. His organization has helped find asylum for famed NSA leaker Edward Snowden who is currently living in Russia on a one year temporary asylum.

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Posted in Important figures in media history

Important things about the practice of Journalism.

What follows is a few of the key elements in journalism. The process of journalism is a simple one in theory but a hard one in actual practice. I say this because anyone in theory can become and to a certain extent is a journalist, mostly due to websites like Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. Anybody can post about their experiences, events they’re doing and share links that they think are cool. However, good journalism has certain standards and practices that go along with it. First and foremost is our obligation is to the truth not to any sort of personal agenda that we want to achieve. An idea that strongly relates to the truth is the idea that journalists should trust but verify which means if a journalists gets a tip from somebody they should always check it out. A common quote that’s thrown around in journalism classes is “If your mother says she loves you, check it out” which basically means don’t trust one single persons word, go to multiple people and see what their views on the event were. Another important factor in journalism is avoiding conflict of interest. The best way I can’t illustrate this is a quote by Andrew Rosenthal, “I don’t care if you fuck an elephant, just so long as you don’t cover the circus”. In nicer terms that means if I’m part of an organization such as the Kiwanis club, I wouldn’t cover an event that my branch is putting on for the newspaper because I have a bias as to how the story is perceived. I may try to spin events more than a reporter coming in from outside the organization.If you want more information on the ethics of journalism and good practices click here.

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Posted in Important figures in media history

Pramface, a great British comedy.

Pramface is a British sitcom produced by the BBC that is available in the U.S on HULU. Pramface typically runs about thirty- two minutes on HULU because it’s British their ad structure is a little different. Basically that means that the resolution of the plot is longer. The show centers around two teenagers (Jamie and Laura), who have a one night stand together at a graduation party at the end of the school year and end up having a child together. Jamie, who is two years younger than Laura, is very bland and sort of nerdy but a good guy at heart. Laura has big plans for her life after high school but they get derailed when she finds out she is pregnant. Jamie’s parents, Sam and Keith, are hardworking, blue collar people. Sam is the brains of the outfit while Keith is sort of an idiot. Keith is like a live action version of Family Guy’s Peter Griffin. Laura’s family is an upper class, white collar, dysfunctional family. Her parents are constantly talking about a divorce which serves to bring comedy because Laura is caught in the middle. The other two characters in the main cast are Mike and Beth who are Jamie’s best friends. There is romantic tension between the two of them although Beth really is attracted to Jamie, but doesn’t tell him because she doesn’t want to ruin the friendship. There of course is the daughter of Jamie and Laura, Emily. Emily doesn’t really do much in this show because she is a baby. She is the reason for a lot of the comedic moments and situations in the show though.

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Posted in TV

The five protections of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

The First Amendment of the Constitution is probably the most important single document with regard to the founding of our nation that relates to journalism. It guarantees freedom of the press which basically means that the government won’t or can’t sensor what the press reports. The press has an obligation to deal in facts and shouldn’t go around spreading miss information about people whether they are private citizens or public officials. Along with freedom of the press there are four other guarantees that the First Amendment gives citizens of the United States. The first one is freedom of speech which is basically any speech in the public arena is protected. For example, if I say I don’t like the government for whatever reason, the government cannot throw me in jail for treason. Having said that, a person cannot stand up in a crowded movie theatre and yell fire, when there isn’t one and use the First Amendment as a defense because you are creating mass panic and hysteria. Second is the freedom of religion which means anyone in the United States is free to practice the rituals of any religion they see fit without fear of discrimination by the government. It also means that the government shall not try to impose a single religion upon its citizens. This sentiment is most commonly reflected in the statement “the separation of church and state”. However, that doesn’t mean that public schools for example cannot have a Bible or a Torah for students to read. It just means that they cannot teach religion to students. Third freedom guaranteed in the Amendment is freedom to peaceable assemble. That basically means a group of people as long as they do not obstruct daily business in any way, can assemble in protest of something. This can be seen in the organization “The Dream Defenders” occupying Governor Rick Scott of Florida’s office. They occupied his office for two weeks in protest to the “stand your ground” law and the George Zimmerman “not guilty” verdict in the Trayvon Martin case. The organization slept in his office for two weeks and the governor’s office said as long as they don’t disrupt the office they can be here. The last of the five rights that the First Amendment gives you as a citizen of the United States is the right to petition the government with a list of grievances. It allows for among other things people to recall government officials.

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Posted in Important figures in media history

The Blacklist…watch it, it’s great trust me

The Blacklist is the best new network drama of the season. It is easily my favorite new show of the New Year and quite possibly the heir apparent to Breaking Bad for best drama on television. As I said in earlier posts, the Blacklist stars James Spader as Raymond “Red” Reddington, a charming, cunning yet ruthless criminal who decides to help the FBI for his own personal benefits. At this point in the first season with four episodes left, the viewer knows some things about the characters that the characters themselves don’t know like the apparent family connections between the two main characters Red and Liz. The show still has a great way of giving the viewer just enough of the continuing story lines each week to keep them at the edge of their seat. Also, they give the viewers a satisfying conclusion to each weekly storyline to keep them coming back. I remember saying the one character I had a problem with early on in the season was the character of Liz’s husband, Tom Keen played by Ryan Eggold. He came across to me as a little flat but now that they are beginning to answer questions about him and his purpose I see the subtle development in his character. I have come to appreciate both him as a character and an actor as the show goes on. The show also makes great use of music in certain scenes. In particular, there is a scene where the viewers are led to believe that Tom is having an affair with a character named Jolene. The editing in this scene is fantastic and is cut perfectly to the Dolly Parton song entitled “Jolene”. The other piece of standout music in the show is Johnny Cash’s song “When the Man Comes Around”. It is played in a scene where Red is systematically hunting the people who imprisoned him the previous week. Anybody who loves great drama should check out the Blacklist. The season finale airs on Monday, May 12th  on NBC. The five most recent episodes are posted on HULU plus and also the day after they air.

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Posted in The Blacklist, TV