Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Pink Collar Profession?

A recent article in the University of Texas alumni magazine, The Alcalde, brought up an interesting bit about broadcast news. According to the article, 70 % of students in the U of T journalism school are female, and female-dominated newsrooms are becoming the norm nationwide. While I certainly couldn't find much additional research backing up these claims, it does seem to be reaffirming what I've seen myself.

In the newsrooms I've been in, there are usually more women than men. In the journalism classes in which I've been a student or a teacher, I can't think of one time the men outnumbered the women. In my masters program, it was the same. Girls, girls, girls. Why?
This week I posed that question to my students in a discussion forum, and got a firestorm of a response. It's sometimes hard to get any responses, so I was thrilled to hit upon some controversy. While they idealistically believe the best person should always be hired for the job, most seemed to agree it was about the money.
Here are a few reponses that I thought were interesting:

.....So I e-mailed (blank) a reporter from fox 16 news, and she totally thought that it made sense that women would be coming into the field of journalism due to the fact that they are just so excellent at multi-tasking.

.....I agree with (blank) when she said that men look for the big money dollar job. I know I would like that. Some men feel that they do have to "bring the bacon home" and know that journalism isn't the best option for big bucks. It's all an ego thing. Men just like to be the provider. Thats probably the most logical reason why there are not many men in the field.

.......Seriously, it goes to the money and ego aspect of it. I believe men would rather not work in this field than have to answer to a woman and make as much as or less than women in the newsroom. That's not the case for most but I know when I worked at a TV station in Monroe, LA that was the case for a couple of the new reporters and was a reason one of the anchors left, he couldn't stand having a woman for a boss.

........One of the most important is probably because journalism isn't a field where most people make tons of money. Most everyone wants a job where they can earn a substanial amount of money per year. Men in this society are still seen as being the provider for their family. It's sort of the macho type of thinking but it still happens even in 2008.

...... I really don't feel like it matters who is presenting the news, if they are competent to do so. I think what should be looked at instead is the age factor. Why do people leave the profession at that age? What things could be changed within the industry to raise the level of retention? The fact that there aren't many anchors over the age of 40 could be because they are taking jobs off camera that pay more, but are still working in the industry.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

They are just bigger up here

Remember Ralphie's icicle excuse in the classic holiday movie "A Christmas Story"?

The very first bullet shot from his prize Red Ryder BB Gun ricochets and knocks his glasses off. He steps on them, breaks them, and runs in his house telling his mother an icicle fell off the garage and destroys his glasses.

I never understood how that excuse could work until I saw the icicles up here in Minnesota. Some of the icicles are the size of a small child. It's very feasible one of those falling chunks of ice could do some significant damage to the person who happens to be below.

The purple house is the Tabaka House, which was my house during the month-long Christmas event. I'm sure I'll be in here a few times this summer, too. Here are some Dr. Suess-inspired icicles hanging off the Atwater house--which is the home of my adversary this summer. (More on that to come).
So here, it's wise to watch where you walk. It could knock your eye out, for sure.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Taste the Hasenpfeffer

Dave and I had Easter dinner with the Henseler family, and we had a great time.

My friend Paula wanted me to bring a Southern dish, so I did--Shrimp & Grits. It turned out okay, and people seemed to like it.

But right beside the turkey, ham, and green bean casserole sat a dish Dave and I did not recognize.

Hasenpfeffer means "roast rabbit," so I timidly opened this new dish.

It was quite a joke, and we got several laughs from it. Might be something to try at your table next year?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

I'm dreaming of a white Easter... ....

All week long the weather teased us.

In the beginning of the week, the ice started breaking up and the Minnesota started clearing:
By midweek, temperatures were still in the 30s, but the sun had made a big difference in the landscape. The river cleared and the snow left behind a muddy mess. Our bald eagles took full advantage of the weather, and you could often see groups of 3 soaring above the river. It's truly a beautiful thing to see. Animals were out and about. Here's a groundhog who let me get close enough to take his picture:

Then, Spring came. And left us more than 6-inches of wet, sticky snow . It's perfect for snowmen, which is different than usual. Most of the snow so far has been too powdery. I guess, considering the season, you could make a snowbunny?Kids all over the Metro area are hunting eggs today in the snow. It's definitely a different Easter. At my Grandmother's house, we cousins played softball after the eggs and Easter dinner. I'd be safe to bet that won't happen here. I hope the snow goes away soon, but there are several people here who are actually sad to see the snow leave.

To wax corny......I'm dreaming of a white Easter... Just like the ones I've never known.... where the treetops glisten... and children listen... to hear the Easter Bunny in the snow...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Godspeed Joel

Our friend and KTAL coworker, Joel, is now headed to Iraq for the 3rd time. He's been twice in the last 4 years. We know a few other soliders going with him in his unit, and we want them to know we are sending out prayers for a safe deployment and return. Joel has a wife and two girls who will be going through this whole ordeal, too.

In the spirit of good friends and coworkers--
Here's a picture of Joel and the KTAL gang & Alumni at my wedding reception. (a few others snuck in too) We had such a good time, and we were glad he was a part of it. Joel's the blond in the back. He looks like the commander he is. Godspeed Joel.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Spring Forward?

In honor of "Springing Forward"...

10 Things I've learned during a Minnesota Winter

(in no particular order)

Your chapstick can freeze.

Snowboots are acceptable anywhere and everywhere.

You don't have to hurry home to put your groceries in the fridge-- they are just fine in the trunk of your car.

It can snow while the sun shines.

DO NOT run your defroster in your car when it's -4 outside. (I now need a new windshield)

Keeping your car clean is a science--all a matter of timing, the forecast, and the line at the car wash.

Horizontal snow sucks.

Kitty Litter in the back of your car is a must. It adds weight and it's great when your car gets stuck.

You CAN really tell the difference between 7 and 17.

Never step down heel first.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Scandinavian Aisle

In all of my time at a grocery store, I'm used to the same scenario on the ethnic aisle. You usually have a smattering of Kosher goods and maybe a slightly larger selection of Asian foods. The Italian items will take up a big chunk of an aisle, and the Mexican-Hispanic food section is always expanding.

But, I've never seen a special section for Scandinavian foods. I'm not a foodie, but I do find this section rather interesting. There is a large segment of the population that is proudly Scandinavian, so a special section is justifiable.

A bit of history here: With the passage of the Homestead Act of 1862, hordes of immigrants swarmed into Minnesota for the land and the possibility of a better life. Contrary to popular belief, more Germans came to Minnesota than any other ethnic group. Nearly 45-50% of immigrants came from Germany to escape oppression from the government and the strict inheritance laws. There is ample evidence of their presence, in places like New Ulm or New Munich County. There's even a German language immersion school.

Norwegians made up the second largest ethnic group, and Swedes came in directly behind them. Their voices were and are definitely louder, and they established newspapers, societies, and churches that are still strong today. There is a brand of Lutheran church on every corner here. Other ethnic groups brought in respectable numbers--the Irish escaping the potato famine and the Bohemians, who are still centralized in communities like New Prague.
But, back to the food.... The vast majority of Scandinavian goods I've never tasted, but look good. I've had lingonberries, which look like red wild blueberries and taste like something between a cranberry and a blueberry... yum. They are especially good on Swedish pancakes, which are thin like crepes. Krumkake (think waffle cones), rosettes (think funnel cake crossed with wontons), and lefse (a tortilla-like potato bread) are also good during the holiday season.
However, the granddaddy of them all, Lutefisk, I can't imagine trying. Lutefisk is dried cod that is tenderized by soaking in lye. It is rinsed before cooking, but I've never met anyone who liked it. Most will tell me it's something their grandmother had on the table during family gathering or holiday. The younger generation doesn't seem that interested... and on this one, neither do I.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Happy Birthday to Texas!

When you work for a proud Texan, this is a shape you are no doubt guaranteed to see from time to time: I live and work in Minnesota, but it just so happens one of my bosses is a Texas grad and proud of it. So in honor of Texas Independence Day on March 2, 1836, he and his wife (who has an Aggie background) supplied the staff with molasses cookies in the shape of Longhorns and cowboy hats. Attached to the plate of goodies, there was a sign that read "In honor of Texas Independence Day."
Since I've almost always lived within an hour of the Lone Star state, it seemed almost normal that a bit of Texas pride seeped right over into the workplace. I've always been amazed that Texans are so proud of their heritage...
all that was missing from this celebration was a big batch of BBQ.