Bookmark This Blog

"Pace is all. Rhythm is master. Consistency is your friend."

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I'm Moving!

Just my blog ...

I've been having some technical difficulties lately with Blogger that I haven't been able to solve which has prompted me to make some changes. I am moving the blog to my website, Imitation of Life and will be writing there from now on.

Change your bookmarks and follow me . . .

Labels: ,

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Public Service or Sick Entertainment?

Recently, I was tipped off to an in-depth article in Esquire magazine that went behind the scenes of Dateline NBC's "To Catch a Predator." If you're not familiar with the prime time series you can get the lowdown here, but basically Dateline (hosted by Chris Hansen) teams up with an independent "watchdog" group to catch sexual predators in online chats with minors.

Then Dateline hires an actor to pose as the minor, talk with the offenders on the phone and set up an in-person meeting at a house leased by Dateline. The decoy house, as it is known, is wired with all kinds of microphones and cameras so not a single moment is missed when Hansen confronts the people who come to the house thinking they're going to have an encounter with a minor. After the interview, the predator is arrested upon leaving the decoy house by local law enforcement who have been previously informed by Dateline about who to look for, when and where.

While Dateline sells the show by saying they're helping to take dangerous people off the streets, I think the whole premise is gory. It provides the audience with the chance to watch someone be set up and humiliated, plain and simple. Although I have no sympathy for these criminals, I don't think it's the role of the news media to conduct sting operations involving sexual predators and then televise them as investigative reporting and a public service. I mean, if it was really about catching dangerous people then why aren't they arrested after engaging in the online sexual solicitation of minors? After all, that is the actual crime. Why the need for a decoy house? Because it makes for dramatic, some would say "good," television.

Well, that drama was turned up a notch when a man from Texas, a felony prosecutor no less, was involved in the online chat sting. Bill Conradt used very explicit language in chatting with who he believed was a 13-year-old boy and after several phone conversations Conradt agreed to a meeting. However, he never showed up. Dateline's actor called the man several times trying to entice him into coming to the decoy house, Conradt continued to say he would be there, but he never followed through.

Conradt had already committed a crime, so police, and Dateline, decided to confront the man at his home. This is where the waters get very murky. While it was necessary for the police to go to the Conradt's residence for the arrest, why was it necessary for Dateline to be there? Conradt did not take Dateline's bait to show up at the decoy house, so shouldn't their involvement have ended there?

Well, Dateline was at the house and so was the SWAT team. Once Conradt realized he was caught he decided to take his own life while still inside his home. Suddenly, the light began to shine very brightly on Dateline's "To Catch a Predator."

20/20 did a story involving the show and, like the Esquire magazine article, painted a very dark picture of the incident where Dateline didn't just tag along with police or conduct it's own independent investigation - 20/20 pointed out that there are allegations (from people who worked on that particular episode) that the show actually may have influenced police procedure. A former police officer who provided security for the Dateline crew even goes so far as to say that the arrests that are caught on tape are set up to give the most dramatic visual effect and not to insure the safety of the police officers themselves.

This all just doesn't sit well with me. Not only do I not see this show as a form of public service, but I find it dangerous that a camera crew can influence who gets arrested, when and where. (By the way, Dateline aired the Conradt story - SWAT team, ambulance, medical helicopter and all - weeks ago. Apparently they didn't feel any responsibility when it came to how things turned out. I mean, the guy was a criminal, he doesn't deserve to be treated like a human, does he? They certainly didn't air the episode to expose Conradt publicly as a threat to our children - he was already dead by then.)

There are so many facets to this story, and I've written so much already, that I can't possibly get into them all. However, I encourage you to read the Esquire article and really think about how far is too far? Are we really doing a service to ourselves or our children by watching these kinds of shows or are we being sadistic voyeurs who are feeding into the lowest of the low in television news and entertainment?

I don't want sexual predators anywhere near my children either, but I really don't think "To Catch a Predator" is the answer. After all, about 90% of sex crimes against children are perpetrated by someone the children know, so it's really more important to know about the people who your children come into contact with everyday rather than the random guy down the street or on the Internet. And if Dateline isn't providing us with any answers, then why are they on TV again?

Labels: , , ,

Monday, September 17, 2007


Just when I thought the "new stuff" was slowing down . . . Tonight my five-year-old son did this:

That's right - Homework. We have five worksheets to do this week and they're due on Friday. That's one each night and two on one night. (I wanted to start him off right, so we did two tonight.)

But aside from the technical/practical aspects (homework for him, of course, means homework for me), there is the emotional side. I mean, I was just getting used to him being a big kindergartener, a soccer superstar, someone who doesn't need me to open things for him at lunchtime - and now he's doing homework!!! Before I know it he's going to be graduating from college!!

How much more should one mother have to take?

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I'm a Soccer Mom

Well, it's official. I'm a true soccer mom (sans mini-van).

The soccer season started last week and my older son had his first game on Saturday. He looked so grown up in his uniform and cleats. I mean, I thought he looked so much older when I saw him off to his first day of school last week, but the shiny green jersey with the white #11 on the back - well, all his little boyness disappeared (possibly) forever.

He did great. It was organized chaos really, but he had lots of fun. It was great watching him interact with other kids and adults he didn't really know without my help. Time is flying by and even though I say I'm going to try and experience every moment, I find myself constantly amazed at how quickly things are changing and always feeling like I've missed so much.

But back to me . . . My son had practice tonight and I loaded up the car with water bottles, soccer ball, etc. and we headed to the field. He ran right out to his team when we got there and my younger son and I proceeded to kick the ball around off to the side. My little one got tired and so I went and got the two fold up chairs that I now keep permanently in the back of my car and it occurred to me - I have chairs in the back of my car; chairs to watch my son's soccer games and practices; I'm at soccer practice - I'm a soccer mom.

I looked around at all the kids running around, at all the parents on their blankets or sitting in their own woven, fold up chairs and I realized that I've become a "real" parent. Not that getting up in the middle of the night for feedings didn't count. Not that managing two kids in a toy store wasn't a wake up call. Not that doing homework didn't make me feel parentish. But tonight was one of those moments when it hit me like a ton of bricks. I am a parent - like my own parents who I still see through the eyes of a child - and it's crazy to think that I am that responsible, that old, that grown up.

So I came home and decided to have cookie dough ice cream for dinner. Where does that fall in the world of responsible parenting?

Labels: , , ,

My Three Words

image hosting

Labels: , , ,

Friday, September 7, 2007

Stop This War sent me notice about this video today. If you're tired of hearing the same lies over and over again, contact your congressmen and women and let them now that U.S. participation in the war in Iraq needs to come to an end. War cannot solve the problems in Iraq; it is merely putting off the inevitable and taking thousands of lives in the process. It's time to change course and bring U.S. troops back home to their families and friends.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Today's Three Words

myspace backgrounds

Labels: , ,