Friday, November 20, 2009
What's amazing to me is that we never seem to run out of stuff we really no longer want. My dresser was literally bursting with clothes- it had been a while since I had cleaned it out. By the time I was done, I had literally stuffed half of the dresser's contents into the bag to be given away.
I don't know why I was holding onto to probably a dozen sweaters that hadn't been worn in five years or more. I gave away a couple of perfectly good pair of sweat pants. There was nothing wrong with them, except for the fact that I haven't worn them in years. You know the routine... You get a couple of new pair for Christmas, and the old ones suddenly get shoved to the back.
My weight has been known to rise and fall over the years. That, no doubt explains why I have at least a half-dozen pair of khaki shorts in assorted sizes... Or at least I did. If I ever get that small again, I'll reward myself with a new pair.
After I finished with the dresser, I went into my closet and examined the bar that is drooping with shirts and pants. I suddenly found my enthusiasm waning at the thought of wading through that morass, and immediately decided that chore could wait until the next time - which should be any day now.
Do you ever wonder whatever happens to all that stuff you give away? Some of it goes to rummage stores, but much of it - especially the clothing - gets sold in bulk by the pound to be recycled into rags and for other industrial uses. Ten years ago as a news reporter, I visited Rocky Mount, North Carolina to cover the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd, which devastated that town. As people across the country responded to the disaster, the town was INUNDATED with old clothing. Tractor trailers full of it. Perhaps five percent of it was used by the townspeople, with the rest piled ceiling-high in a warehouse. It really became more of a liability than a help. So the next time you want to respond to a disaster, keep that in mind and write a check!
As for your rummage, save that for the folks at Goodwill and Purple Heart. I am always more than happy to take a tax write-off for my junk, but I'm even happier to have more room in my dresser and closet!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
The county is now facing a 400 million dollar deficit for next year, and it's pretty much run out of options for finding that kind of cash. Eighty percent of the county's budget goes to salaries for county employees, including cops, firefighters and teachers, and the county is going to have to ask all of those workers to forgo pay raises for a second year in a row.
These kinds of pay freezes have become commonplace in other jurisdictions, as well as in the private sector, but it's almost unheard of in Montgomery, where employee unions have ruled the roost for too many decades. As I've written before, this is the kind of power that can develop when there is no level of bipartisanship within the ranks of elected officials. Montgomery County does not have a single Republican in power at the local or state level, and now we are paying the price for the myopia of our voters. I'm not arguing that the GOP has better ideas, just that diversity and moderation is underserved here.
The Washington Post has an op/ed piece today that makes an excellent argument to County Executive Isiah Leggett and School superintendent Jerry Weast to hold the line on pay hikes and cost-of-living increases, but it will be a mighty struggle for them to hold off the unions that have run roughshod over taxpayers for too many years.
I say all of this despite the fact that my wife is a county schoolteacher. We certainly could use the money that a pay raise or a COLA would bring in. But we need fairness more than we need money. As the Post points out, others are learning to make do with less. Montgomery County workers need to join us.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I'm not going to bother commenting on the fine handed down by the NFL. They don't want their owners tarnishing the league. OK, whatever. However, Adams' gesture is no different from any gestures I've been giving to the television nearly every week of every football season since I was 10 years old. Sometimes, the opposing team is the recipient of my wrath... sometimes the referees... and sometimes, even the Redskins.
I personally do not find the finger to be all that offensive. Actually, I think its a quite effective tool at getting a message across! And if an 86-year-old man like Bud Adams wants to flip a few birds, by golly, I think he's earned that right! So Bud... These are for you!
Two articles of note in today's news are conspiring to open up my "bad things" compartment. First, Fed chairman Ben Bernanke is giving a pretty glum assessment of where the nation's employment picture is heading. Bernanke says "the best thing we can say about the labor market right now is that it may be getting worse more slowly."
And from that broad assessment, we go to another article that points specifically to my profession, journalism. A new study finds that fewer than half of Americans say they would be willing to pay for news online, and that those who would pay - would only cough up three dollars a month for it.
In essence, Americans believe they have a God-given right to free access to news - and really, who can blame them? The cost of news coverage has been borne by advertisers for hundreds of years, and consumers have never had to worry about that burden.
But because of the internet, ad dollars have been splintered into tiny pieces, and the news business model is irrevocably broken. The degradation of the news business is well underway. We've all heard about the sorry state of newspapers. Just this past week, the Washington Times began to brace for a new round of cuts, and the Washington Blade - DC's voice in the gay community - shut its doors after 40 years in business.
And then there's broadcast news. Many - if not most - local TV news operations have made significant cutbacks in recent years. Some stations have discontinued weekend newscasts altogether. More radio stations are dumping their news operations every day, and many of the newsrooms still operating are doing so with much fewer resources.
With less competition, those news operations that are still in business are suffering from a lack of competition, leading to a new level of mediocrity in reporting that is being accepted as an industry standard.
And this is not just happening at a local level. Network broadcast operations are making severe cuts as well, finding ways to sound and look healthy in hopes that the consumer won't take notice.
The sad thing is that most consumers WON'T notice - at least for awhile. News on the internet seems to be thriving. The problem is that most of that internet news is taken from the very same traditional media newsrooms that are in danger of collapsing.
You don't want to pay for your news? Just remember this truism, because eventually it will play out. You get what you pay for.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
I could not then, nor can I now understand why one bid was more than three times the estimate of the others, but I chose one of the other contractors, and have since scheduled the work. I thought nothing else about it, until I received this e-mail today.
Just checking in with you again to see if you made any final decisions on your deck repair. Please let me know if you want us to keep your file open still.
(Name blocked to protect the stupid)
Mr. 6,700 dollars wrote to see if I had made up my mind on a contractor. I decided to reply, and to let him know where his bid stood.
B__ - I have chosen a contractor from among four bids, but thanks for your interest. I should mention - in hopes this will help you - that your bid for the deck was more than three times the price of the other three bids.
Thanks again for the estimate.
Well, I expected to hear back from the guy - perhaps with an explanation for why his bid was so high. But I don't think he closely reaid his email... Here's his reply:
Thanks for getting back with me. Let me know if I can be of service in the future.
You know what? I don't think this guy has much of a future in home construction. Maybe he can find work as a purchasing officer at the Pentagon!
Monday, November 9, 2009
Ed and Willard were about as close as you could get to being "bad boys' on the radio back in the 1960's, which is to say NOT very naughty, but still very funny. As a boy, I knew them more through Willard's exposure on television more than I ever really did from their radio program, which was on the air during the afternoon and evenings. You can see and hear the Joy Boys, and learn much more about their careers here.
I really came to appreciate Ed once I arrived at WMAL, where he hosted a Sunday morning Big Band program, "Play It Again, Ed". I was fortunate to be Eddie's producer for two years - it gave me a chance to sit and watch a master at work, and to absorb some of his humor and professionalism.
Most people familiar with Ed Walker know he has been blind since birth, but I don't think anyone realizes how little that matters to Ed. When we worked together, Ed ran his own audio board, played his own commercials, and even cued his own records. In fact, he ran a tighter ship than most people who have eyesight. It was a wonder to watch him work, and it provided me with a valuable lesson - that the biggest handicaps people face are the ones we don't allow ourselves to overcome.
Working with a blind person was also a lesson in how the rest of us take things for granted. Eddie has a vast record library in his basement, and when I used to go to his house in Bethesda to help him prepare for a show or for a DJ gig, I would often help him gather his stuff. Ed would open the door and invite me in, and inevitably, I'd have to ask him to find a light switch, because it was always pitch black in there... Eddie had no need for lights!
One of my jobs was to drive Ed to public appearances, and more than once, I would miss an exit on the Beltway because he and I would be in the middle of a conversation, and he would "forget" to remind me to exit. Maybe Ed could have used a better driver!
Otherwise, Eddie is just like any other guy. He enjoys a good drink, a good smoke, and a pretty lady. More than once, Eddie would get a hug from a woman out in public, and he would make his own judgement of her looks with his hands - not in a lecherous way, of course! But after she'd walk away, Eddie would always ask, "How'd she look?"
Even as he closes in on his eighties, Ed is still working, hosting the old-time radio show, "The Big Broadcast" on WAMU Radio in DC. I run into him every couple of years, and he's always ready with a dirty joke or a piece of industry gossip, along with a big smile and a firm-as-ever hansshake. The Radio Hall of Fame is lucky to have him!
Congrats and thank you, Ed!
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Even the traditional retailers are getting in on the act - They don't want to lose any more market share to the likes of Amazon, and consumers are benefitting as a result. Wal-Mart and Target are currently engaged in a pricing war for books and DVDs, and I have already made several purchases for the holidays (My poor kids have to "suffer" through both Christmas and Chanukah) - and made them all with free shipping, to boot.
If you are like me, you care enough to send the very best - as long as you don't have to pay full retail. And so, in the spirit of giving, I want to share a great tip with you. It's a website - Dealnews.com. I've been checking it a lot lately - at least once a day. What's so great about Dealnews? It's an aggregator - one that doesn't favor any particular retail operation. The name of the site says it all - It's continuously updated news about great deals that can be found online, on everything from car tires to pizza... From blouses to hard drives.
See? I knew those places were still good for something!
Friday, November 6, 2009
Harsh words. It's never easy to see anyone outside of Adolf Hitler to be called essentially evil - especially when you're discussing an entertainment product. Football is a pastime... a luxury. Snyder is not a political dictator. He owns a football team, and he hasn't broken any laws, as far as I can tell.
But still, as a Redskins fan, I am heartened by Riggo's words - essentially because it ensures that the frustration of Redskins fans are being heard and felt in Ashburn. It's bad enough that the Redskins stink on the field, but it's even worse that we rarely receive any sense of feedback from the team's management. Dan Snyder simply does not acknowledge the fans who buy Redskins merchandise, fill the seats at Fed Ex Field and watch his team on television. John Riggins' voice is too big to ignore, and he knows that.
here. Blache praised Dan Snyder for being a kind human being, and as someone who has done plenty of good deeds for Blache personally.
I respect Blache for speaking up, but I don't think he's helping the boss' cause. First of all, Blache is never ever going to win over Redskin Nation by attacking John Riggins. That was a losing battle from the moment Blache opened his mouth. Blache's comments also failed to address many issues that directly relate to fans - from restricting tailgating, to lawsuits against season ticket holders, to banning fans from bringing signs to games, to barring TV stations from interviewing fans on Fed Ex Field property. The Redskins have an awful relationship with their customers, and Blache's comments addressed none of that.
Not that they should have. It's not Blache's job to address the way the team does business off the field - But considering that Blache is the only person from the Redskins' management to speak out, his comments put a spotlight on the team's biggest public relations problem - a glaring lack of communications skills.
In speaking out, Blache broke his own self-imposed media blackout. He decided a month ago that he was not going to speak with the media for the rest of the season - something that senior coaches are not allowed to do under NFL policy. In fact, the Redskins had to get a waiver from the league to accomodate Blache.
When Blache did speak with the media, he did not take any questions from reporters - a move that only served to weaken his statement. If Blache's words can't stand up to the scrutiny of a few questions from the media, how valuable can they be?
I hope Riggins continues to speak out. At least to this Redskins fan, his words speak louder than the team's actions.
Well, today, there's good news! The traffic lights are fixed! And to celebrate, guess what the county is doing? It's providing free commuter bus service again today! More money down the drain! But it's OK... This is Montgomery County, where the streets are all paved with gold!
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
One of my current projects is finding a contractor to replace the railing on our deck. The current rail is 13 years old, and truth be told, it needed to be replaced probably 7 or 8 years ago. See the picture - you'll see I'm not kidding! I've been told the railing is made of untreated wood, and really should never have been used. We have a "model" home, which we've learned is both a blessing and a curse... It's a blessing because everything inside the home was decorated to the nines. It's a bad curse because everything else in the house was installed on the CHEAP! But I digress...
So I've been collecting estimates from builders, and they've generally been coming in within a couple of hundred bucks of each other - with one MAJOR exception. Builder X has sent me an estimate that is more than THREE times the cost of all of the others. THREE times! I thought perhaps that he has made a math error, but I added it up, and yes - he apparently wants to charge me nearly $7,000 for a job that others are asking $2,000 for.
I started to wonder whether he wanted to price himself out of contention - that for some reason, he didn't want the job... But then he dropped me an email to make sure I had received his bid. In fact, he was the only contractor who has followed up his initial visit.
A question... Do you think I should let the guy know that he has grossly overpriced himself, or should I let him hang? Very odd...
It's time for the Democrats to come to grips with the reality that last year's election of Barack Obama was a cultural phenomenon... a media moment... the coronation of a rock star. The election drew people to the polls who have never voted before and may never vote again. They were not voting for a party - they were voting for a brilliantly marketed brand name - Barack Obama. The fact that he is a Democrat is besides the point, and any politician who thinks he can use the Obama name to win an election is a fool - just ask Jon Corzine.
I won't bother picking through my navel lint to search for a cause for my long break, either. If I did that, I'd likely never blog again... Therefore, I shall offer a quick recap of life, and then hopefully resume where we left off back in the summertime!
I had a very busy summer, working nearly full time at my various freelance gigs - in fact, for a while there, it almost felt like the good old days when we were truly a two working-parent household. It felt - gasp - normal! The family also enjoyed a 10-day vacation in California and Las Vegas, thanks to my favorite hobby of creative frequent-flyer mile collecting!
Of course, with the economy being what it is, it was fairly inevitable that life would raise its ugly head and kick me in the arse. Early last month, ABC News Radio essentially scrapped its DC bureau, and laid off eight full-time employees. I am still technically an ABC freelancer, but since all the people I used to fill in for no longer have jobs, it's kind of hard to say when or if I'll be getting any more work there. It's a real bummer, too, because I had a lot of work lined up at ABC between now and year's end that is now gone.
But life goes on... I still have my other gigs. I'll be on the air at XM next week, hosting "The Press Pool" on the POTUS channel - Sirius 110, XM 130 - and I have some other stuff lined up at both XM and WMAL next month. I also auditioned yesterday for another freelance gig that could keep me quite busy if I get it... More on THAT later (hopefully)!
Oh - and before I go on - a shout out to my friends on Facebook - you've certainly seen plenty of me these past months, and our daily visits will certainly continue. I think you will find this blog to be somewhat more sober than my flights of fancy on Facebook. I don't "do" unhappy topics over there - except the Redskins, of course!
And now... The Rest of the Story!
Monday, July 13, 2009
Saturday, July 4, 2009
I must plead guilty to a little sloth in recent days, as the boys have been away at camp, and the missus has been home with school out for the summer. What has really been occupying my time, aside from work, has been Fifty Hand Deuces Wild Video Poker.
That's right - Fifty hands at once! It's a nifty little game that I've been playing in casinos for several years now. But for some stupid reason, I've never taken the time to learn how to properly play the game. If you take the time to learn the strategy, and practice, practice, practice, you can actually have a decent chance of breaking even. And considering that the missus and I are heading to Atlantic City in a few days, I figured this would be the opportune time to bone up on the game. I've been spending hours at the computer, learning to hold on possible flushes while rejecting two-pair combos. It's not hard to learn... It's just hard to remember everything - so I've prepared a cheat sheet!
Of course, I have no reason to be inside at the computer - not with the weather being as gorgeous as it has been recently. I cannot remember a cooler start to summer. It's the 4th of July, and I am sitting in front of an open window. The high yesterday was 76 degrees, and it's not supposed to get above 85 in the foreseeable future. Didn't anyone tell the weather Gods this is DC in the summertime? Even without blasting heat, we're supposed to have insufferable humidity - but it's like early spring out there! I've even seen pictures of my kids up at camp wearing sweatshirts! If this is global warming, I say BRING IT ON!
While we say hello to this wonderful weather, we say goodbye to Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. I was an early admirer of Palin when the nation met her just before the GOP Convention last year. I thought she was plain-spoken and easy to look at... a diamond in the rough, to be sure, but someone who could excel on the national political stage with the right amount of seasoning.
I wish Palin had gone back to Alaska after the election last fall, and worked as hard as she could to focus on her job., and then perhaps run for the Senate, so she could start to earn the bonafides she would need for the future. But I think she fell in love a bit too much with the national stage, and I believe the conservative wing of the GOP saw her as a beacon among the ruins of the Republican Party far too much to allow her to be absorbed back into the wood work.
Palin continued to be overexposed at a time when she should have been giving the spotlight a break. Then, the Letterman saga came - that wasn't her fault, at first... but she way overplayed her role as a victim, and turned what should have been a positive into a negative.
Now, she is resigning. If she is doing this to make a run for President in 2012, she is going to regret it. Whoever runs against Obama is going to get creamed, and Palin doesn't need to do this to raise her public profile. However, friends of Palin say they think she is getting out of politics - that she's simply had enough. If that is indeed the case, then I will truly admire Sarah Palin once again. Most politicians cannot kick the addiction of power and adulation. I hope Sarah Palin can.
Onto less weighty issues... One of our favorite summer pastimes has been living vicariously through our children, who are away at Camp Airy. I don't know whether parents have become more protective, or whether camps see this as an effective marketing tool (probably both), but it's become commonplace for camps to post photos of campers on a daily basis on their websites, so parents can go on-line and see how their kids are enjoying camp. Robin and I both on onto Airy's site every day to look for our boys. Here's Spencer (in front) with his fellow cast from "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum"...
And here is Brad in his most common camp habitat - the Arts and Crafts pavilion. He's the one in the right corner - his good bud Evan is sitting across from him:
The boys don't write very often - if we hear from them three times during the month they are away, that's a lot. But I did receive something else interesting in the mail yesterday... My new driver's license!
I was due to re-up for a new license this summer, and I had been preparing to make my once-every-five years sojourn to the MVA. But when my application arrived in the mail, it included a flier offering to let me renew my license by MAIL! All I needed was to have my optometrist fill out a form confirming I had had an eye exam in the past year, mail in the form and presto - license by mail.
I'm not sure how secure our world is that I can get a license with a picture that's five years old in the mail, but if it saves me a couple of hours at the MVA, I'll take it!
Monday, June 29, 2009
The offer arrived in a black envelope. Not a cheap flimsy cheap drug store model, but the heavyweight, expensive stationary store variety. The promotional card informed me that I have been invited and pre-selected to receive the EXCLUSIVE Visa Black Card.
But wait, there's MORE. The promotional brochure informed me:
For those who demand only the best of what life has to offer, the exclusive Visa Black Card is for you. The Black Card is not just another piece of plastic. Made with carbon, it is the ultimate buying tool.
The Black Card is not for everyone. In fact, it is limited to only 1% of U.S. residents to ensure the highest caliber of personal service is provided to every cardmember.
And there were bullet points, too!
- Limited Membership
- 24-hour Concierge Service
- Exclusive Rewards Program
- Luxury Gifts
- Patent Pending Carbon Card
And my favorite:
- Annual Fee $495
Yes - that's right. For 500 bucks, I can pay with plastic that's not even plastic, but CARBON!
Having been wooed with the marketing, I took a harder look at the nitty gritty. The current APR on the card is 13.24 percent... Not too bad, but still nearly twice the rate of my current credit card. But while the $500 annual fee allows me a level of exclusivity, it does NOT buy me much trust. If I make one late payment, the APR jumps to 29.99 percent!
Of course, these expenses are just the price one must expect in order to belong to such an exclusive club. After all, just one percent of Americans are being sent this offer. The small print says Black Card membership is limited to one percent of the US population, based on the 2000 census. That number is 281,421,906, which means 2.8 million people are being offered this credit card. Doesn't sound so exclusive to me, somehow...
I'm quite sure I will live to regret this, but I'm afraid I will have to say no to the Black Card. As big as it is, my ego is simply not big enough for this card. If you'd like to join, let me know and I'll put in a good word for you!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
I am still trying to come up with a "take" on Jackson's death. My sister, Jill, has already plastered Facebook with 3 or 4 quick hits expressing her sadness. It's probably a gender thing, but I cannot be sad, per se. I mean, it's obviously sad whenever anyone dies, but in a way, Michael Jackson's death almost comes as a relief to me. It's the end of a freak show.
There will be those who demand that Michael Jackson's talent be remembered with respect, transcending his personal foibles and troubles. Perhaps that will be the case someday, but it certainly isn't today for many people. Michael Jackson was a child molester, just as clearly as OJ Simpson is a murderer. It's kinda hard to look past that. He spent tens of millions of dollars to keep his victims and their families quiet, and it almost seems inevitable that stories about Jackosn's private life will come flooding out into the media any second now. It's tough to see how Jackson's legacy as a popstar will be able to rise above all of that.
Jackson's "Thriller" is the best-selling album of all time, but I have always preferred the "Jackson Five" Michael Jackson... the one who sang "I Want You Back" and "I'll Be There" and "ABC".
Child stars are too young to have tarnished legacies.
Robin and I stopped by the local Post Office and bought a bunch of three-cent stamps to use with our outdated ones, and Robin also bought a sheet of "Simpsons" stamps to send to the boys, in hopes that their cartoon value will somehow prompt the boys to want to write home (She's dreaming, but I indulge her...) I also now know that the ONLY "Forever" stamps are the ones with the Liberty Bell on them.
So now you know. And so do I!
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
I just finished watching a live news conference concerning yesterday's tragic Metro train crash in Washington, hosted by D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty. What an exercise in frustration!
Nearly half a dozen people spoke, from Fenty to Metro's General Manager, to the Chairman of Metro's Board of Directors and DC's Fire Chief. Between those four, there was very, very little new information released. We did learn that Metro has set aside $250,000 to help bury the dead, and we did learn the names of some of the people who died in the crash, but for the first half-hour, we mostly heard either old information - stuff we had heard in the hours after the crash - or we heard Fenty and others thanking each other for the hard work they had put in for the previous 24 hours. Essentially, these public servants were kissing each others asses for doing what they are being paid to do - their JOBS.
This is not a new complaint of mine. It's been a pet peeve of mine ever since I was a cub reporter covering deadly boring hearings on Capitol Hill... Hearings that largely consisted of Senators thanking their esteemed colleagues from South Carolina for having the courage and fortitude to hold hearings on whatever subject the hearing happened to be about.
But back to the rant at hand... The worst part of this news conference is that there WAS real news to be reported, but it came from the last speaker - Debbie Hersman, the National Transportation Safety Board member overseeing the investigation into the crash. She had real and new and compelling information, including that the striking train was operating under automatic control when the crash took place, and that the operator apparently DID try to use the emergency brake.
In the news business, this is what we call burying the lead. The NTSB board member should have gone first, not last. She had, by far, the most important information to present. However, if she had gone first, the TV stations carrying the 5:30 pm news conference in the middle of their newscasts might not have stuck around to hear Mayor Fenty and others kissing the backsides of their colleagues. So instead, the politicos kept us all waiting around so they could make their political points before mucking up the news conference with real NEWS.
So tacky and so sad.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
Then there's the matter of moving stuff again. I have discovered that we have been moving some materials that have already been moved twice without being used. Case in point - Yesterday, I moved a box containing two gallons of Elmer's Glue. I recognized the box, because I had moved it from her PREVIOUS school last year, to our home last June, then to her old school last August, and back to our garage again yesterday. Will I dare move it to her new school again in eight weeks? How about most of the hundreds and hundreds of Scholastic books that Robin has somehow amassed over seven years of teaching. Her new students will not be literate, so am I really going to be moving a dozen cases of books that will only return home again in the (hopefully way, way, distant) future?
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Those lyrics come from a song called "Traces of Love" by a group called "Classics 4" - a song that USED to play on WMAL way back in the day. And it's only fitting because WMAL's chief engineer, David Sproul, recently uncovered a folder full of photos from the radio station "back in the day", including many that have not been seen for years. He was kind enough to share them with me, and I am delighted to share a select few of them with you!
This is a picture of the WMAL News team, circa 1995. I'm the guy sitting behind the wheel of "Cruiser 630". Back in the day, I was the station's morning drive "man on the street", and I had to end each report with "John Matthews - Cruiser 630, OUT!" It was a little embarrassing, but my boss told me people would sure remember me. They sure did. (It was still embarrassing)
This is Pat Anastasi and Dorothy Jones in a picture from approximately 1983. Pat was, at the time, the Assignment Editor at WMAL, and Dorothy was the house mother of the newsroom, although I'm quite sure she had a better title than that. I think she was officially the "Editorial Director". Anyway - I chose this shot because this is what the WMAL Newsroom looked like when I started there. Note that Pat is sitting at a manual typewriter. We did have some IBM selectrics, but about half of the people in the newsroom were still breaking their fingers banging out stories on three-copy carbon paper when I started out at WMAL.
Yep - WMAL was a station with a lot of PULL back in the day. This is Morning Show producer Janice Iacona in 1985 with then-Vice President George H.W. Bush. Bush was a big WMAL listener, going back to his days at the Director of the CIA and as a Member of Congress. I also met Mr. Bush once when he visited the station for a news interview.
This past weekend, I went to a reunion of old WMAL News team members - people who were at WMAL when I arrived in 1982. It was quite nice - and a little novel - to be the youngest person there! Marge Kumaki, who was a reporter/anchor at radio 63 back in the day, says she always thought I looked like I was 15 years old. I can assure you I was MUCH older than 15 when this head shot was taken in 1995 or so...
Oy. Sometimes looking back can be painful! Look at that punim!
Monday, June 15, 2009
Krispy Kreme fires back; suit moved to federal court
By: William C. Flook
Examiner Staff Writer
06/14/09 8:31 PM EDT
The running feud between Krispy Kreme and Fairfax County over a ruined sewer system has moved to federal court, and the doughnut maker wants a trial by jury.
It’s the latest legal meandering in a protracted dispute that’s recently garnered national attention, and chuckles.
Fairfax County last month filed a $19 million lawsuit against Krispy Kreme, alleging that years of dumping waste at the company’s Lorton plant clogged and corroded the system’s pipes.
Krispy Kreme, in a U.S. District Court filing last week answering those charges, laid the blame for the damage at the county’s feet.
The county operated the sewer system despite “faulty design and construction,” and knew that sewage would become stagnant over time, “thereby creating conditions that have caused the corrosion to the metal and the failure of the system,” Krispy Kreme alleged.
The neglect led the sewage to become anaerobic, or without oxygen, leading to a buildup of sulfuric acid, Krispy Kreme argued.
Fairfax County’s lawsuit, first reported by The Examiner, charged that the problems originated from “excessive quantities of highly corrosive wastes, doughnut grease and other pollutants” dumped since 2004 at the Furnace Road doughnut plant.
The county claimed to have at one point run a closed-circuit camera along a pipe to document the buildup of goo, only to get the camera stuck. It said Krispy Kreme ignored the $2 million repair bill.
A Fairfax County spokesman declined comment, citing a policy on pending litigation. Krispy Kreme spokesman Brian Little did not return a call for comment. In May, Little called the lawsuit “completely groundless.”
Friday, June 12, 2009
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
There is one other news item that, sadly, is also drawing some laughs. Through a spokesperson, Chastity Bono has announced that she is, after years of consideration, going to transition and become a man. I heard my friends discuss this on the radio this morning and have a good ol' belly laugh over her decision to become "Chaz Bono". One of the hosts went so far as to say "I thought she already WAS a man".
Look - you can think transgenderism is misguided and wrong if you want - but to mock and laugh at someone's personal life decision is both cruel and disrespectful. Chastity Bono never asked to have a public persona. She was born with it, and has dealt with it her entire life. There is no way this transition was going to be allowed to take place privately, so it took enormous courage for Chaz to go forward with it at all. He is getting by with his life the best way he can.
How can you laugh at that?