Linkedin, Listen Up by Ron Steinman

 

LinkedIn, Listen Up by Ron Steinman

In planning this piece, I thought of several other titles, such as:

“Now Here This, LinkedIn.” Or, “LinkedIn, You Got to be Kidding.” Maybe: “LinkedIn, You Can’t be Serious.”

I joined Linkedin not to find work but to get a glimpse of what some of my old colleagues or even my contemporaries, whatever age they may be, were up to in the rapidly changing life we lead. I did not join the social media site to get a job, or to seek employment. Nevertheless, job openings come my way.

Now and then I cross-pollinate, meaning when I post on one site I post on many sites. When I blog, I automatically post on Facebook, though of all the social media sites I, abhor it the most for it is so obsequious, fawning, sycophantic and self-serving. I also sometimes post intentionally on Linkedin. I call myself a slow blogger because I almost never post on consecutive days and sometimes do not post for weeks. It takes too much effort and too much energy. And I wonder if anyone really cares.

I will not name the companies that are offering the jobs I will now cite because I want to protect the innocent. They don’t know me from a speck of dust. Yes, an algorithm is at work. I feel sure that a real person would know better and, knowing who I am, knowing my profile, background, and age and that I’ve spent my life in broadcast news and as a documentary filmmaker, would not make the following offers. But I am not certain. Anyway, here are some of the positions LinkedIn believes are for me collected over several months. By the way, the best offers are the ones that say, “Positions you may be interested in.” Here goes in no special order.

Designer. Sr. Development editor. Content producer. Sr. writer sports and/or money. Sr. web editor. Head of copy and editorial. Line producer. Intern. Intern. Intern. Communications executive. Staff writer. Among the big names offering jobs there was NBC Universal, Getty Images, Facebook, A+E, Sirius Radio and the Wall Street Journal. It makes me feel wanted.

I am sure that Linkedin helps many people connect and secure jobs. But for me, it is irrelevant. On Facebook, even though I have to tolerate much that is cute and filled with petty, overbearing philosophy and opinion about everything, I do not have to or want to suffer the endless round of silly and always useless job opportunities on Linkedin that I do not covet.

So, maybe I should smile just a bit and, in the end, blame it all on robots. I mean, why not because at least for now who else lacks the depth of feeling of a person but a robot. I think.

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“Dolce Vita Confidential” by Ron Steinman

Dolce Vita Confidential by Shawn Levy, 464 pp. W.W Norton & Company, Inc. $27.95. Review by Ron Steinman

In the early 1960s I worked on several documentary films for NBC News that took me to Europe. Over the many weeks abroad, I always spent some time working in Rome. I remember vividly the nights after shooting and dinner. We would wander over to the Via Veneto, Rome’s busiest and most fashionable good time street. After a few drinks while looking for a celebrity or two among the so-called beautiful people, and sometimes after a late snack of Roman pastry and an espresso, we would walk back to our hotel to get a night’s sleep and prepare for our next day’s activity.

Those markedly innocent nights, especially in the warm Rome weather when sitting on the Via Veneto in the hustle and bustle of the city’s nightlife, were just that — innocent. I knew much of the role Italy played in the world’s popular culture. but I took that history for granted. Because today we spend most of out time in the present, we often forget the past and its impact on how we think, how we act and if it is in us, and we have the capacity to do so, how we create. Case in point is the remarkable part Italy played in our artistic life in the last century, especially the years after World War II and how the world of cinema, of literature and fashion still resonates today even if some do not recognize what it has given us.

Now comes a new book, “Dolce Vita Confidential,” by Shane Levy, Norton, that puts 1950s Rome into perspective. Replete with solid history and enough gossip to fill even an incurious mind, Levy writes with ease, expertise and with confidence about an important era and the men and women, the power brokers, producers, writers and directors who masterfully created art forms that have influenced much of movie making in the 20th Century and into the 21st. The worlds of film and fashion dominate the book. Levy even has time for critical appraisals of many of the movies cited in his work.

Reading the book you will learn much about life in Italy before World War II as the precursor to the 1950s after the war ended. There are stories about romance, love, love affairs, murder, heavy drinking and drugs, divorce, and scandals galore. There are stories about Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor and the making of “Cleopatra.” We get insight into Anita Ekberg, Ava Gardner, Audrey Hepburn, Gary Grant, Tyrone Power, Gina Lollobrigida, Anna Magnani, Sophia Loren, and even King Farouk of Egypt, just to name a few of the players who grace these pages. In the world of fashion, the author has stories about Pucci, Valentino and Brioni, among others.

There are profiles of Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, Pier Paulo Pasolini, and Vitorio DeSica, Luchino Visconti and other great directors who changed forever how anyone makes films. Immediately after World War II, Italian filmmakers, often because of small budgets and a deep-seated social need, gave us films dominated by naturalism, realism and impressionism. In time small budgets gave way to bigger budgets. Major stars emerged. Movies were box office hits. But social commentary still dominated movie making even though life grew better for the average Italian.

In the mix is the often tawdry story of the growth and rise of the paparazzi, and the way those daring and sometimes unprincipled photographers changed forever how the world of popular culture was covered by the press.

In reading this book you will get profiles of the famous and the infamous, snatches of life before and after in 1950s Italy, plenty about life inside that world, all the bold face names you could handle, and hopefully, lead you on a journey to view the great movies of that era. It will be worth the trip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cellphone Takeover by Ron Steinman

Now comes a story that the youth of America (and probably everywhere) are more addicted to their cell phones than they are to known drugs such as opiates, alcohol, other hard stuff such heroin and cocaine and marijuana. The stories postulate that addiction to smartphones replaces those and other drugs not mentioned. The theory reads as if an academic has run amuck, written by a person who does not have enough to do. This falls into the realm that all things are possible but only when dreaming.
More people than ever, especially the young use their phones to connect to reality or what they assume is the world as they think it is as if it belongs only to them. That is nothing new. People now forgo personal connection, one on one, for what they get through social media where everyone is an open book.It is not personal. It is not connected to what is real. Instead, distanced by clicking on a keyboard via texting rather than looking in someone’s eyes to ascertain what is true or not. In searching for whatever it​ is people are looking for, they talk and talk, sadly without losing their voice.They use thumbs to text because their fingers never seem to wear out. Do other fingers work as well or does it not matter. Do folk these days have that much more to say than they did, say twenty or thirty years ago before the over-reliance on mobile phones? Or are people today so lonely and distressed they seek solace and sun — or darkness, if that is what they want — wherever they can find it? In the time when there were pay phones​ on every corner, I do not remember that people talked as much as they now do. Maybe they did not have a nickel for the phone or whatever it cost in each era to make a call.I know​ that in my family that every nickel, dime or quarter counted and the calls we made on the telephone for real money had better been made for good reason or we might suffer the​ consequences, depending on the mood of our parents.Today that no longer matters. Thus there are no penalties for the misuse​ or overuse of a phone.At least none are visible.There is simply avoidance because it seems​ to me that reality as once​ defined, is no more.

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Dog Story 3: Lacey Eats by Ron Steinman

Dog Story 3: Lacey’s Eating Habits by Ron Steinman

(On my Notebooks blog, I posted “A Dog Story,” 8/11/16 and “Dog Story 2, Lacey’s Routine,” 9/19/16. These are part of a work in progress called, “The Zen According to Lacey,” with photos of Lacey. Part 4, “Lacey’s Last Years” is coming soon.)

When Lacey, my purebred Shih Tzu, was 11 she had a serious stomach problem that put her into an animal hospital for an overnight stay. The vet inserted an IV to feed her and hydrate her in his effort to keep her alive. She was in bad shape. I thought I might lose her but, stronger than I thought she was, she came through. Her vet recommended home cooked chicken and vegetables based on the simplest food that one could find on the healthy diet menu of, say, the steamed food column at some Chinese restaurants. Rather than ordering in every night, I started to cook for her and did so for most of the rest of her life.
Her menu included slow baked chicken breasts that I marinated for twenty minutes with a touch of sea salt. I placed the chicken in a tabletop oven, usually for twenty minutes until well cooked, but not dried out. Into the same oven, I put a sweet potato or yam and baked that for about forty-five minutes. Sometimes I baked an Idaho potato for one hour. I boiled broccoli stalks but never the florets. For some reason, she did not like eating florets. She never explained why. I boiled fresh carrots cut into small pieces. When everything was ready, I cut the meat, the sweet potato, and the Idaho potato. I served her both the Idaho spud and the sweet potato or yam without the skin, always in chunks but never mashed. She did not enjoy mashed food. After I cooked her food using no spice or condiments, I placed it on a large dinner plate, brought it to her spot in the living room where she attacked it with gusto. Friends of mine contended she ate better than I did. There was no argument from me. But she was Lacey and deserved every bit of warm attention I could give her.
In the morning after her walk, I gave her three noshes that I cut into small pieces. I put them on the floor. She enjoyed a snack called Snausages. She had a small mouth. I broke those in half. She usually ate those immediately. Then I took a handful of her dry health food that she sometimes ate, or whatever else she enjoyed, and put it in a small pile near her water. She usually went right to it and chomped away, slowly and deliberately. Sometimes she let me know she wanted more food by coming to me and staring. She did that as if she were sending me a signal by mental telepathy, something I believe all dogs do.
I admit I fed her table scraps. For some reason that got her taste buds going, making her want to eat her own food. I never gave her sweets, but if I had dry cereal, I gave her small desert plate and added a spoon of skim milk. The vet said that was good for her. She loved tomatoes, so when I ate one I gave her a few small pieces. She loved cheese. If I had a piece of Swiss cheese or American cheese — she not like cheddar because it was too crumbly– I gave her a few tastes of those as well. That always satisfied Lacey and she would then sleep through the night.

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Beware the Girls in Your Email by Ron Steinman

Beware the Girls in Your Email by Ron Steinman

We should count our blessings for what we experience on the Internet daily when we see email ads that offer sexual favors and good times, seemingly for pleasure and ultimately, as perverse dessert. The ads are relentless, offering what is clearly beyond natural. Nothing stops the advertisements from coming. We are so lucky. The ads propose a plethora of the mundane and the bizarre. For some reason, I am, as I am sure you are, in a rotation, much like a gerbil in a cage. Nevertheless, I have the power to kill these ads, which I do, but they are immune to death and they keep coming back. They exist to entice. They rise majestically from the ashes, putting the Phoenix to shame. The names of the women who purvey these services, though, are what impress me as lessons in how to use a dictionary, especially when I believe the offers come from countries other than the United States. For your edification here are just a few: Angelica, Betty, Patricia, Lillie, Beulah, Bonnie, Robin, Joanne, Melody, Tonya, Janis, Karla, Verna, Brandy, Vickie, Anita, Crystal, Stella, Doreen, Blanche, Ramona, Tiffany, Nicola, Hannah, Samantha, Katrina, Suzanne, Daniel, Alberta, etc., etc. The list goes on relentlessly. Read them and weep, giggle or shudder. A word to the wise, though, as the saying goes, never open any of these offerings, yes, for all the obvious reasons, no matter how tempting they seem. Do not eat the apple. Open at your own risk, and know the trap you may get yourself into, a trap without escape. I, for one, never open any of those offerings. Call it anything you want but consider that fear plays a big role. As an indulgence, admire the sellers of those wares for their sheer audacity but never touch. If you do, it will only result in burned fingers.

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The Soldiers’ Story: Audio Book

The Soldiers’ Story: Audio Book by Ron Steinman

Just letting my readers and followers know that there is now an audio book of”The Soldiers’ Story,” my oral history of the Vietnam War that has been continuously in print since 1999. Available from PRHAudio, BOTLibrary, at Facebook.com/PRHAudio and Facebook.com/BOTLibrary. It is also at Audible through its subscription service​. Seventy-six​ men tell their stories as read by Edward Holland. Running more than 13 hours, it is a powerful​ reminder of that war, the men who experienced it and those who survived to tell their stories, in their own words.

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“Death in Saigon,” Newly Published by Ron Steinman

“Death in Saigon,” Newly Published by Ron Steinman

At long last, “Death in Saigon,” my novel of love, drugs, murder and how life was lived by some on the edge in Saigon during the Vietnam War is now out in a new edition. It is an unusual view on the Vietnam War found nowhere else. With its new cover it is getting the wide distribution it deserves. Published as an eBook by KCM Publishing, it is available on Amazon as a download and a paperback so you can add it to your collection of books. Its new wide distribution includes Apple iTunes, Barnes&Noble, Google and Kobo and for retailers, Ingram Books.

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