Thoughts on things from the news, TV, radio, and daily life that hit home with me.
|This blog will chronicle my thoughts, feelings and ideas about various items in the news, on TV or radio, or real experiences that cross my path from day to day, touching me deeply in some way. Some will be funny, some sad, some serious. Please note: since this is my second active blog, the system won't allow comments to be sent to me in the usual way. Please send me your comments as an email and I will include them here.|
|A Jericho Update
To those of you who have read my earlier comments about the CBS series Jericho (see blog entries 4 and 5), I have an update for you. CBS has cancelled the show again. The final broadcast TV episode airs this coming Tuesday, March 25th.
HOWEVER - there is still hope - a move. For those of you who are interested, whether you’ve watched it yet or not, please visit http://www.jerichotimes.com/ and read the updates there. Then write or email CBS and all cable networks you think appropriate, and urge them to arrange for the series to move to a cable network. The updates on the site I listed above indicate there is enough opening in the plot line of the final broadcast episode to allow the series to actually continue its storyline if that opportunity can be arranged.
There is a historical precedent backing up the idea. In the 1980s, the series The Paper Chase, based on the highly rated movie of the same name starring the late John Houseman (who reprised his role as Professor Charles W. Kingsfield in the TV series), began on a broadcast network. It ran for one season or less, but was picked up by two networks in succession: the old CBN, and then SHOWTIME.
So, this can be done. And I, along with the 10 million estimated viewers of Jericho (estimated by CBS as the number of viewers the show had), sure hope it becomes a reality and that this wonderfully written, wonderfully acted drama series can continue for quite a long time..
| I promised an update after Major League Baseball’s Ford Frick award winner was announced this month. That time has come. The award winner was announced on the 19th. It was Dave Niehaus, the broadcaster for the Seattle Mariners for the last 31 years. If the award were based strictly on the public voting record, Joe would have had it hands down with his 82,000+ out of about 122,000.
I want to thank all of you who voted for Joe, and to let you know that we will be waging the same fight next year at this time, and that we would deeply appreciate your support in the same way at that time.
Joe’s son, Kim, said more than once in recent interviews following the announcement that the family was very deeply moved by the number of people that had turned out to help in the effort to get Joe into the Hall, and he wanted to make sure that all of us knew how much this effort had touched them as a family. He also said that Joe would have been equally moved by that outpouring of support.
I will, of course, let all of you know when the voting is open for next year’s nominations, and I hope you will be able to help us again.
Again, a sincere thank you for your help in this effort.
| On the NBC evening news one day last week, they told the story of a mother and daughter who had fled Afghanistan a while back and come to the United States. What makes this such a notable event is how strongly they feel about the U.S. and what it should mean to the rest of us.
I don’t remember their names, but that’s not important here. What is important is that the NBC news broadcast showed the two of them near the end of their citizenship ceremony, and what it meant to them. That’s right, they became U.S. citizens. Such a seemingly simple act, but one so important to them that the final act of the ceremony, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, brought tears to their eyes. You saw the tears and the way they fought to finish those special words despite the way their crying tried to distort their facial expressions.
Are you wondering why I said this should mean something to the rest of us, and what I mean by that? It’s simple. Amazingly simple. This mother and daughter saw the true meaning and experience of real freedom for the first time in their lives. It showed in their faces, and their tears. And that immediately made it obvious to me how the rest of us take that same freedom for granted. That freedom that these two take so seriously that we assume will always be there for us.
That’s our problem. And it’s a nationwide problem. It doesn’t discriminate. Race, education, income level, don’t matter. Nor does any other criteria. We all take it for granted. We need to take a cue from this mother and daughter and take a closer look at how fortunate we are to be living where we do, and stop taking those freedoms for granted. Those same freedoms that they, and other legal immigrants have such a deep, real respect, admiration, and gratitude for. They know how precious those freedoms are. And we need to make sure we do what we can to help preserve them.
Can’t think of how you can do that? There are ways to do that that are simple, yet so important. Among other ways, you can:
Make sure you vote. Take seriously your right to help choose those who will run the country, your state, your city or community. Many elections are won or lost by really small margins, sometimes less than 10 votes. Think your vote doesn’t count? Look at the fact that you and just a handful of others who currently think that could change the outcome of an election when the difference is that small if you all voted.
Even if you don’t like a confrontation our military forces are involved in, you can support THEM. I’m not telling you anything new with this idea, but that doesn’t take anything away from how deeply they will appreciate that support.
Make your voice heard. How? Your elected officials are supposed to be representing YOU. But they can only do that if you tell them what you think. It’s easy to find out the phone numbers, email addresses and snail mail addresses of your elected representatives. Something bothering you about some government decision, or pending one? How your tax money is being spent? Speak up. Call them. Write them. Fax them. Send them an email. The only reason all those lobbyists for the special interests can get away with persuading our elected officials to choose their side on an issue is because many of the rest of us are not exercising our rights and standing up to those same officials and telling them what WE think they should do. If we all did that, those lobbyists, like the ones for the oil companies or big corporations wouldn’t stand a chance.
Help put government back in the hands of the people, where our founding fathers said from the start that it belongs. Get involved.
| After posting my recent entry about Tony Michaels, I received an email from him with an update that needed to be shared with all of you ASAP.
Please check out the website I listed in that article as soon as possible. Tony has changed jobs and he didn’t expect the website to still be up and running this long.
Secondly, please pray for Tony. He has recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will be undergoing surgery next month, and would appreciate any prayers for his recovery.
I hope all of you can find the time to check out the site before it disappears. You’ll only know what you would have missed if you get there before it is gone.
| For those Christians who would like to have some reinforcement and encouragement for our values, and others who would like to know more about a Christian’s thoughts about and approach to the events of daily life, below is one site you should definitely check out.
Tony Michaels was a news director, sports director and morning radio personality on Cincinnati radio stations for almost two decades. The following is a quote from the introductory statement on his website. I could find no better words to say this than those: “Tony was one of the very few secular broadcast personalities who openly admitted his Christianity and was willing to express those viewpoints in his commentaries, when appropriate.” He had short 1 or 2 minute commentaries that aired a couple times each morning.
When you first go to the site URL I have put below, you’ll see a split page. The side to which I am referring is on the left - his OMOs, or One Man’s Opinion pieces. Click the “enter” button at the bottom left of the page.
On the resulting page, just above his photo, you will see “Listen To An OMO”. Turn your speakers on, and click on the MAGNET part of the speaker image - the square part of the speaker icon. LISTEN CAREFULLY so you don’t miss a word. To me, this is one of his best, and I’m glad to see he uses it as his example. Remember that he was given only a minute or so for each comment on the air.
If you would like to read other OMOs, which I certainly encourage you to do, you have a number of choices. Simply scrolling down that page will allow you to read the most recent ones, in reverse order with the most recent one first.
Or, if you look above his photo and the words “Listen To An OMO” and “Recent OMOs”, you will see six black squares. Point your cursor at any of the squares and you’ll see a short description of what OMOs are contained in the group that square represents.
Enjoy as many as you like. And feel free to let both Tony and myself know what you think of them. I think you’ll see for yourself that he isn’t afraid to be known as a Christian, and that he’s not afraid to say what needs to be said. I’ve found that many of them, even on that very first page, are just as applicable today as they were when he did them on the air in 2002. You’ll find plenty to read; remember, he was doing these opinions for a decade.
I’ve never met him in person, at least not yet. It’s something I would certainly consider an honor. I just want others to know the person he is, and the solid, Christian values he tries to pass on to others in this day and age when those values are needed even more than ever before.
God bless you, Tony Michaels. I hope you are back on the air locally soon, and with us for many years to come. Your voice is just what we need at this time in our world.
|For anyone that is interested, or curious:
On Thursday, 12/13/2007, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution honoring Joe Nuxhall as a baseball legend, devoted family man and civic-minded individual.
And on Friday, 12/14/2007, 33 senators reccommended to the National Baseball Hall of Fame that Joe be admitted.
The final decision will be announced on February 19th.
| Joe Nuxhall was the youngest major league baseball player of all time. His pro career began in 1944 at age 15, with the Cincinnati Reds. He was in the 9th grade. He had to ask permission from the school principal to go to the Opening Day baseball game. But he could pitch with the best of them, and he did.
After 16 years on the mound, "Hamilton Joe" moved to the Reds' broadcast booth in 1960 at age 31. Still, when there was batting practice, you found Joe on the mound. When they needed someone to hit balls to the fielders for practice, you found Joe at the plate. Yes, he had been one of those seemingly rare pitchers who was also a danger (to the oppostion) at the plate.
I don't remember his inital partner in the booth, but not long after the move he was paired with Al Michaels, who now broadcasts network sports. When Al moved to the network, Joe was partnered with Marty Brenneman. The two would become household names to Reds fans over the ensuing 44 years, to Joe's retirement in 2004, after a 60-year career in baseball, which obviously included broadcasting the glory years of the Big Red Machine. Everyone knew them, often seeing them at the local Kroger store (for whom they paired up again in a series of fun loving commercials). Fans referred to them strictly by their first names. No one needed the rest. When anyone mentioned "Marty and Joe", everyone knew to whom they were referring.
Joe's involvement with civic activities, kids, you name it, was well known too. He definitely enjoyed giving back to the town that had stood by him through his 60-year career and beyond. He even led the Chicken Dance at Cincinnati's Oktoberfest this year.
“The Old Lefthander” died at 11:00 PM EST Thursday, 11/15/2007 at 79, following a bout with pneumonia which came after his latest round of chemo for lymphoma. He was to have undergone surgery on Friday, 11/16/2007 to receive a pacemaker.
I was one of hundreds of ordinary fans who waited in line for hours a few evenings later at Joe's public visitation. I got there as soon as I could after leaving work, yet by then the line already had at least 150-200 people in it. It wound through the courtyard adjacent to the building like an endless snake. I knew I wouild be there for hours, and what that meant. Standing on my feet for that long a time always makes my back just about kill me. And the longer I stood, the more intense the pain always became. But that afternoon I could have cared less. I just plain had to be there, no matter what. That was one place I, and quite a few hundred more of Joe's fans simply had to be. When I finally made it to the other end of the line, Joe's brother Kim commented how the famly was simply so wonderfully bowled over with the number of people that had come to pay their respects. I told him, "Just remember, Kim: what you see here is a mere fraction of the fans around here that have supported, and loved Joe through all those sixty years. And all of us are the better for having known him." Kim thanked me for my kind words, and said that Joe's family will most certainly never forget what it felt like to find out how very much Joe was loved and respected by so many. He said that knowing that had already made it easier on the family. And THAT was something I liked knowing. I coiuld barely walk at all as I left that night. Yet I have never once regretted putting myself through that much physical pain for that long a time. It was a very small price to pay in order to have the very important opportunity to say thank you to the man that I, and my late wife Linda had admired and respected through most of our lives. And I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Joe's trademark phrase for the end of every Reds radio broadcast was, "This is the Old Lefthander, rounding third and heading for home. Goodnight, everyone." This past Thursday night Joe rounded those bases one last time, and truly headed Home.
Father, thank you for all the joy, laughter, tears, and especially the wonderful excitement that You brought us throughout Joe's years on the field and in the booth. Be with his family, friends, and his countless fans as we say goodbye to a Cincinnati sports icon. In Jesus' name, Amen.
As one Cincinnati official said today, "Joe was an example to today's generation of what a man of good character should be." A statue of Joe in his classic pitching stance welcomes fans to Cincinnati's Great American Ballpark. That, and his classic closing line, in lights along the top of the ballpark, greet all who come to see the team he loved being a part of for 60 years. Tonight, in Joe's memory, the ballpark will be dark, but the lights will shine forth on his statue, and his closing words will break the darkness with the brilliance of their light.
Rest in Peace, Joe.
You will be sorely missed.
For those interested in finding out more about Joe's life and career, visit WCPO.com.
|... as I'd thought for years it would be.
Ever since February, 1967, well, maybe August, 1968, I'd been trying to come to terms with the way I'd felt about my mother, and the way she'd handled things - scratch that - controlled things in my life from June, 1966 through mid February, 1967.
The events of that time aren't important for this entry, or to make my point.
The point is, I tried for years to get myself to forgive mom for what she did. But progress to that end went at a snail's pace.
But this morning, all those prayers of "how do I do this?", and "help me do this, Lord" were answered.
As part of his sermon this morning, Pastor John said, "Forgiveness is letting go of the pain", and "Forgiveness is letting go of [your] chance to get even." Before his sermon was done, I'd quietly said, "I forgive you, mom." Why?
Letting go of the pain was something I'd longed to do from the start. And as for getting even, I'd never had any thoughts of that. There was no point in it.
Pastor John is right. Frogiveness will set you free.
Thank you, Pastor John.
Thank You, Father.
| I'm sure we've all seen and heard the news items, sometimes local, sometimes national, about people who have attacked or killed others, often family members, or themselves. And certainly about one of the most drastic versions of that, the murder-suicide. And one of our first thoughts is something along the line of, "I'm glad no one I know would do anything like any of those", or "I'm really glad nothing like that happens around here". What we never remember or think about at those times is another well known statement: there's a first time for everything.
I said in my other blog that last Monday, August 6th, I went to the Catholic funeral for the sister of a coworker of mine, Dave.That standing on my feet for the hour and a half service really kicked off my Fibromyalgia as I left the church, and that it basically lasted the entire day and into the evening.
What I didn't say was that the reason for that funeral fit one of those big news stories we've all heard.
His sister and her husband had four children. Two daughters in their 20s, and two younger children, a boy and a girl. The parents were in the process of getting a divorce and had just recently agreed to share custody of the two younger children. The father had recently moved out of the house.
On a particular morning a short time ago, one of the older daughters arrived at the parents' home. About 10 or 15 minutes later, the father arrived to pick up the two younger kids as had been prearranged. But in that 10 to 15 minutes, the older daughter had entered the house, only to find the two younger children shot, one with an X marked on the chest. Shortly thereafter, she found the mother, the gun nearby. She had killed her two youngest children, then herself.
The following morning at work, we (my programming group) received an email from our manager, titled "Very Sad News". Below that title and above a copy of the news article about the incident, he typed a short message. It began with "This is Dave's sister..." and ended, after telling us that funeral arrangements would be passed along when they were available, with the statement that "Dave will not be in until further notice".
A few days later, in the email that gave us the funeral details for Dave's sister, our boss said that Dave would appreciate our support at the funeral.
The funerals for the two children were held on Saturday, August 4th, separate from the mother's, at the family's request.
Monday, the day of the mother's funeral, about 9:12 AM, I realized I hadn't seen the usual emails that morning between group members arranging car pooling for the drive to the funeral. And it started in just over 45 minutes, at 10:00 A.M.. My guess was they had made their arrangements verbally this time. I made a quick walk around the two rows of cubes that housed our group, and found no one there. Then, on my way back to my cube, one last member of the group walked past me. I caught her, and asked her if she was going to the funeral. She said yes, and said I could ride with her. We walked in just as the service began.
Following the service, we made it a point to stick around long enough to express our condolences to Dave. It was obvious that he appreciated our being there. And as we walked back to my coworker's SUV, remembering all those empty cubes at the office, I was thinking, "He got his wish. Everyone was there." Knowing that made dealing with the breaking tone in Dave's voice moments before a bit easier to bear.
It was a couple more days before Dave was back at work. And I sure didn't blame him.
| I graduated from Anderson High School in 1966. We had our 40th reunion just last year. To date, my class has lost about 25 members, for various reasons. We lost 7 in the Vietnam War, quite a few, including one pair of twin sisters, to cancer of various types, and a small number (less than 5 I think) to suicide.
I was touched by the loss of all of them, of course, because I knew them all. But this afternoon it hit really close to home.
My two best friends in high school were Dennis Atkinson and Donald Loheide. For most recent years, Dennis, his wife Pat and son Matthew have lived in Colorado, where they were both teaching, and Don and his family lived in Georgia.
Flash back to 1964, 65, and 66. Dennis and I had been inseparable since 8th or 9th grade. Outside of school, we were often both at his house, or both at mine. Don, his parents and younger brother Richard (who later became a teacher at Anderson and died of cancer some years ago) moved to the school district before our Junior year began in 1965. It took no time at all for us to become a trio.
These two showed how deeply they felt about our friendship in the help they openly offered throughout 1966 to Linda and I when my parents were trying to keep us apart for the 5 years it would have taken me, then, to finish college. Two more loyal friends no man could ask for.
Back to the present. I had an eye appointment this afternoon. My eye doctor, who happens to be an Anderson classmate of ours, and also a member of our class' reunion committee as I am, told me that he found out just today that Dennis had died. That Dennis' sister Diane had called and left him a message. There was no other information in the message, but Howard will try to reach Denny's sister, and I will try to reach Pat. Thankfully, she and I have talked on the phone in the past so hopefully my name won't be totally foreign to her. I want to let her know I understand her pain after losing Linda to death myself in 1980, with as close as Denny and I had been, and to find out, if she's willing to tell me, the cause, date and time of his death. I can't afford to go there for the funeral; indeed it may already have taken place. I don't yet have a time frame here.
I've felt numb since Howard told me the news about 4:15 P.M. this afternoon. I still feel an emptiness, and will for quite a while. Howard is going to get our reunion committee together for a (way - ) overdue "after reunion" meeting. One of the subjects we'll talk about will undoubtedly be recent changes in the status of class members. And it's going to be kinda hard to deal with hearing Denny's name in that discussion. Maybe more will be added here later. It feels like doing this helps me deal with his passing...
Update. I called Pat about 9:00 P.M. tonight, 7:00 P.M. her time in Colorado. She gave me the details, and we had a nice warm discussion about how we each lost our spouse. She appreciated my sharing with her as it let her fully realize that I understand her position.
Dennis died from a very rare form of melanoma. By the time he found the lump behind his ear, it had already spread. He fought it for 2 1/2 years, including three surgeries, a year of radiation and a year of chemo. He finally went into the rapid breathing stage, and his heart gave out at 4:00 A.M. on June 15th, 2007.
I called Howard back and filled him in so he would not have to disturb Denny's sister. We immediately agreed that we're both at least a little more relaxed now that we know the when and how of this. We have closure. For many of our classmates who have passed on, we don't know those things. It's nice to know them on this one.
Rest In Peace, Denny