Thursday, March 31, 2016

Slut Control

Cakes and I watched the Trump town hall last night on MSNBC. Trump and Chris Matthews got into it several times.

About 10 minutes in, I turned to Cakes and said, "Trump sounds like the drunk guy sitting next to you in a bar."

When it was over, we turned the volume down on the TV, we talked about what Trump said about abortion. He claims to be Pro-Life and abortion should be illegal. Matthews said, "if it's illegal, should there be penalties for women who get an illegal abortion, Trump said "Women deserve 'some form of punishment' for abortion.

Matthews asked, Jail? Trump hesitated, "yes". Matthews asked, "What about the doctor? should there be penalties?" Trump, realized he was getting into deep water, began to back off, but he endorsed penalties for doctors, then backed off again, then he backed off on penalties for women and tried to change the subject to the Catholic church's positon on abortion, he questioned Matthews about his Catholic faith, Matthews said, 'yes I'm a Catholic, I look to the church for guidance on moral issues, not the law." Trump pressed Matthews to no avail.

Then Matthews asked Trump if the man involved with the woman getting an abortion should be held responsible as well. Trump said "No."

There you have it. Men are not responsible, not for the pregnancy, not for anything. In short, it's the slut's fault she got pregnant. Guess what? Trump is no different then Cruz or Kasich on abortion, he's just more clumsy or maybe he's more honest. Personally I don't think he cares one way or another, the Pro-Life people are just another reliable voting bloc for Republicans.

When you drill down on the political side of the Pro-Life position, it's really about control of women. The Republican politicians don't really care about abortion, it's an emotional issue that gets them votes.

The Right to Life movement's long term target is contraception. Before Griswold v Connecticut you couldn't buy a condom in New London, Hartford or any other part of the state, know when that was decided? 1965. 

Condoms  used to have "For protection from disease only" printed on them. You know why? So these people could pretend that condoms weren't used for birth control.

Does anyone seriously think that any so called Pro-Life politician in this country with a 15 or 16 year old daughter knocked up by an unacceptable partner wouldn't get his or her little girl an abortion, legal or illegal? If you think they wouldn't, you're naïve or as dumb about sex as Bristol Palin. 

Women are 52% of the registered voters in this country and I have no idea why you put up with this nonsense. The majority in this country agree with Roe v Wade, are you going to let a noisy, catered to minority take away a right women and men fought for, for so many years. Whether you like it or not, people have sex, women get pregnant and abortion is going to happen, legally and safely or illegally. It always has.  

You need to vote for your best interests. You need to vote every time there's an election. You need to vote on every level, local, state and national.

Pay attention and vote.

Monday, March 28, 2016

More from Tom Micklin

My friend from First grade at Lincoln School until he died unexpectedly just a few weeks ago, Tom Micklin was not only a baker, candy maker and musician, Tom was an extremely talented photographer, here is some of his work...

You can enjoy more of Tom's work at

The Riviera Gig, Part One

Looking out the kitchen window on a Monday morning, I saw the old man talking to the neighbor across the street. At dinner that night I found out I had a job.

I was 15, a sophomore in high school and a brand new part time employee of the Riviera Restaurant and Lounge. My schedule was interesting, I had one day a week locked in, Sunday. The day began at 5am and ended at 10pm or whenever I finished mopping and buffing the banquet room floor. I usually got home around 11. 

That first Sunday began in the back kitchen of the restaurant. The back kitchen had a long stainless steel counter along one wall, a huge butcher's block, a deep sink, a 6 burner commercial stove and with two ovens. The other side of the back kitchen was taken up by a walk in wet cooler, a dry cooler and a dry storage room. Pots and pans hung on the walls. The assistant cook, he'd be a sous chef today, was a young guy named Gary. Gary was about 21. He was short, rough looking and had scars and fresh burns up and down both arms and Band-Aids on two of his fingers. Gary, lit a cigarette and said, "Let's get to work."

We changed into cook whites. "Get 6 cabbages, 4 of those big onions and a bag of carrots out of the cooler, I'm going to teach you how to make Cole slaw, these god damned people love that shit." We made Cole slaw for the next half hour. I covered the pans of slaw and put them back in the dry cooler.

Next Gary had me get 30 pounds of potatoes, I dropped them into the peeling machine, put them in huge pots and covered them with salted water, "Turn the burners on about an hour before we open the brunch room. I'll come back later and show you how to mash them in that big fcking mixer."

We got the peas, beans, carrots ready. We did a big pan of baked beans. Then we did the meat. The Riviera did all their own butchering, the wet cooler had 1/4s and halves of beef hanging in it along with boxes of chickens, turkeys, hams and fish. We prepared two giant beef roasts, 2 hams and 5 chickens. "All you do with them god damned roasts is rub 'em down with salt, blacken them a little with coarse pepper, put them in the oven about 8:30, hams go in at the same time." The last thing Gary had me make was the tossed salad, "Gotta be fresh as possible." he said.

Gary left me alone, he had to help with the breakfast crowd in the front kitchen. He came back every 20 minutes or so to see how I was doing. The brunch opened at 11. With Gary's help everything was done on time. I hauled all the food downstairs to the brunch line and set it up with the help of Margie the waitress. 10 minutes before the doors opened, I ate a roast beef sandwich. Gary sent me up to change into a clean cook's shirt and apron. For the next 4 hours, I served brunch to the after church crowd. When brunch was over, I hauled every thing back up stairs, washed the pans, took care of the leftovers, took out the garbage. I wandered into the front kitchen. Gary made me a hamburger and fries, I ate it sitting on my stainless steel counter in the back kitchen. It was only three in the afternoon and I was exhausted.

I spent the next 2 hours making ground beef out of the kettle of meat scraps in the cooler, "Better than you can buy." Gary told me.

Howard, the head cook, came back, he went into the cooler and brought out two bottles of Grain Belt beer, handed me one and said, "Good job, we only got dinner to do and we can wrap this shit up for today." Howard showed me how to cut steaks off the beef hanging in the cooler. With his help, I cut T-bones, porter house and filets. I breaded fish and got chicken ready for the deep fryer. By 6, I felt like the back kitchen was my domain. I learned later Howard was only 40, he looked 60. Me? I was tired, sweaty, dirty and maybe a little proud of myself.

The restaurant closed at ten, the staff had a couple of drinks while I mopped and buffed the floor of the banquet room. I finished in time to have a beer with them, by the time I changed my clothes and got out of the restaurant it was almost 11. I had put in an 18 hour day, it took a half hour in the shower to get the food smell off me. 

Next, Catering.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The "20 Amazing Steps" to a Bad Night!

                       Interested in having a bad night? It's easy. 

1. Drink two Jack Daniels, rocks with a splash.

2. Make a really spicy, home made pizza.

3. Wash the pizza down with a half a bottle of Zinfandel.

4. Go to bed and sleep on your right side.

5. Wake up at 2:45 with a reoccurrence of your adhesive capsulitis caused by sleeping on your right shoulder.

6. After waking up from the shoulder pain, realize you also have massive stomach acid from the spicy hot pizza and the red wine.

7. Stumble down to the kitchen, crush two tums, wash them down with a glass of milk.

8. Put another tum in your mouth and suck on it while you let the dog out to pee.

9. While the dog pees and you exercise your shoulder, you freeze your ass off standing on the porch in a t-shirt and underwear.

10. Go back to bed. Your cold leg accidently touches your wife's warm leg.

11. Wife gets pissed and groans something, you don't understand it but it sounds nasty and mean.

12. A half hour goes by, stomach begins to settle down, shoulder still hurts.

13. After an hour, still awake, you notice the stomach acid has battled back against the antacid.

14. Get up again, now wise to the temperature, put on a sweat shirt, sweat pants and socks. Head back downstairs.

15. More antacid, more water, the dog pees, you pee.

16. Wide awake at 4 in the morning, sneak back upstairs, grab your Kindle and make a bed on the sofa.

17. Wife comes downstairs and asks if you're okay.

18. You tell her absolutely not.

19. Wife gives you a kiss on the forehead and goes back to bed.

20. Read a chapter and half, fall asleep and wake up at 7:50, fresh as a lily on Easter morning.

Happy Easter...


Saturday, March 26, 2016

I should have kept them all...

The other day I wrote about picking up some handy skills while I was growing up, writing about it piqued my interest in the old cars I owned when I was a kid. I wondered what they'd be worth today.

Hagerty Insurance, specializes in old cars, everything thing from one-off hot rods to classics. Who would better know about the values? Hagerty's website has an interactive program to evaluate your car. Just for fun, I did a few of my old cars.

Hagerty defines Excellent as a concours example of the car, perfect in every detail. An excellent car would have every nut and bolt the same as when it rolled out the door of the factory. Every number must match. (I know a guy with a perfect '68 MGB, he's the car since '69. At the National MG show a few years ago he was pushed into 3rd place in his class because the car had a non-stock exhaust clamp on the resonator. The judges are relentless experts.)

Average is a car with few flaws, excellent paint, interior and mechanicals. You can have a non-stock exhaust clamp on an average car.

1950 Ford Tudor sedan with overdrive. Excellent condition $30,000, Average $22,000

1951 Chevy Belair 2 door hardtop. Excellent condition $33,000, Average $24,000

1954 Ford Sunliner 2 door hardtop. Excellent condition $35,000, Average $26,000

1957 Chevrolet Belair 2 door hardtop, Power Pack stick. Excellent $70,000, Average $55,000

1968 Mustang Fastback GT, 302 V8. Excellent $50,000, Average $41,000

1969 Plymouth Road Runner, 2 door hardtop, 383 V8, Torque Flite. Excellent $77,000, Average $50,00

1970 Porsche 911T Coupe. Excellent $110,000, Average $89,000

1959 Porsche Convertible D. Excellent $206,000, Average $180,000.

All my cars would have been average, except the Road Runner.

Both Porsches had non stock exhaust systems. The Mustang had non-stock paint.

There are alternatives...

John Steele is a retired Disney accountant with a small shop in North Hollywood, he builds flawless reproductions of Porsche Speedsters, Coupes and 505s.(James Dean died in a 505 Spyder) The cars are perfect. I priced out a Convertible D. He would build it, exactly like the one I owned, same color, same interior for just under $40,000.

The builder's personal car? A '59 Coupe, silver with dark blue leather interior powered by a Subaru engine with 300hp. It has air, cruise control and all the modern goodies, priced in the mid 40 range.

Fun to think about.

Friday, March 25, 2016

A Milliennial's Viewpoint

                Millennial Ann Friedman wrote an op-ed this morning in the LA Times, her topic?

                                     "How to handle baby boomers at work"

                      I read it 4 times and it took me all 4 reads to realize she was serious.

"NEVER say, 'This is so easy.' Recognize that baby boomers have a lot of fear and anger about technology, and tread gently."

Ann, Ann, Ann, Ms. Friedman, my first brush with technology was college registration in 1963. My class choices were put on a punch card (best tech we had at the time) the class assignments were organized by a mainframe computer, printed and we picked them up in the admin building. It would have been nice to have them emailed,  But Va Shiva, the baby boomer who invented email was a toddler at the time. Ray Thomlinson the pioneer programmer, who first used the @ sign for electronic communication was a member of the generation born before the baby boomers.

When I started working after college, believe it or not Ann we had an IBM computer in our accounting department and we soon added another. I don't think anyone was afraid of the technology, at least not that I can recall. Even the ancient woman who was the head "book keeper" liked the speed and convenience the huge and clunky IBM box provided.

"it's important to never assume that your baby-boomer colleagues, born between 1946 and 1964, are unfamiliar with new technology. It's far more likely that they've read about it, tried it once and decided they hate it."

Jesus, you Millennials are snarky little shits. I had a computer in my office in 1975, yes it was a crude, early DEC, but I used it via a dial up line to send and receive information across (amazing as it must seem to you) the entire country. Imagine that.

"In a boomer-majority office, it's often necessary to ignore mild but routine sexism, cautioned many millennial women. Remember that some boomers joined the workforce before anti-harassment policies were created. For sexist transgressions that seem too small to take to HR, millennials may want to establish a group text thread — a safe space for venting."

Ah yes, I remember those days, some boomer men did take their cues from the older workers and treat women badly.

You have to remember Ann, we boomers were the ones who got rid of a hell of a lot of the sexism and workplace discrimination and we're rather proud of that.

Why focus on the "old codgers" who may call you sweetie or honey from time to time, you may want to take a long, hard look at the vicious little dicks of your own generation. You know who I'm talking about, the guy with the goatee who's laid back and pleasant at work and spends much of his non-work time attacking you and other women anonymously on line. Gamer-gate comes to mind.

“There are people there who want to learn things like social media but don't have the confidence.”

Really Ann? It takes confidence to learn social media? I use it all Ann. It takes about two minutes to learn how to use most of it, not a big achievement.

What's hard to learn is face to face communication, like sitting and talking in complete sentences, making a presentation to your co-workers without technology as a support system. It is a basic and essential skill. You guys spend too much time looking at your phones.

Here's a tip, it's hard to close a deal if the only way you can communicate is via text, email or social media. Look people in the eye, it's really hard if you haven't done it. Human interaction takes practice and confidence. You can do it, give it a try. Another tip, you might want to talk to the old guy down the hall who has been doing it for years. Maybe even have a face to face lunch with the older woman in your office who has carved out a career, while putting up with things and situations that would make you weep. Talk to them, drop the hip façade, when you do.

Some of the best advice I've gotten in my life was from people who grew up with only one phone in their house. They even wrote and mailed letters. Think about that.

What you have, that our generation didn't, is the ability to communicate instantly. It's nice, convenient, but not that big of a deal. When I was in college and went to the student union to have coffee, we actually talked to each other. I imagine it's difficult today to discuss the ass kicking exam you just finished taking in International Econ via text, snap chat or twitter.

On a personal level, take a minute and think about the BS artists who use electronic dating services. A jerk on the web is the same jerk you meet at a party or in a bar. Sooner or later you have to actually communicate face to face. It's valuable skill Ann, work on it.

What I love about you guys is the fact you are pretty much color blind, open and welcoming people. Then again, you can be racist, homophobic bastards when you hide anonymously on social media.  

I have Gen Z grandchildren who think you guys are a bunch of slacker, Luddite, old school slugs, so watch out, they're coming for you.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Things You Learn by Osmosis

Farmers have to be handy, my Grandfather John was that and very innovative too. Reflecting back on him, I truly believe he could have been a mechanical engineer. His handiness rubbed off on my Dad, he could, in addition to being one hell of a salesman, fly airplanes, wire a house and one day over the noon hour built an airplane for his whiney son out of the front end of a coaster wagon, a plank, a couple of two by fours and an orange crate. It stunned and amazed my friends as we raced down 8th Avenue Hill. My Mom's Dad, a Judge by profession, but he really preferred carpentry. R B and my Dad built our cabin at the lake. His first lesson to me, "measure twice, cut once". The second, "let the hammer do the work."

Some of this stuck with me,not a lot, but enough to get me by. When I raced go karts, I could rebuild the engines and maintain them myself, same with boats and motors. Those skills came in handy when I had to do deck repairs on my sailboat, change the water pump on the diesel and rebuilt the propeller shaft. When we put a family room in our first house, I did the grunt work and hired a carpenter to finish the job.

When I was 19, my Dad had taken a '59 Porsche in trade. It was a Super 90, Convertible D model, a Speedster with a taller windshield and roll up windows. The closest qualified mechanic was 100 miles away, the closest dealer with parts was 225. My old man sold it to me for what he had in the car, $1350. When the car was new, it sold in the US for a tick over $3,000. I got a really good deal. I drove to Fargo to talk to the mechanic, he gave me the address of the Porsche Owners Club of America. I joined for $5.00. My 5 bucks got me 4 newsletters a year. I ordered a Porsche Shop manual for 15 dollars, expensive considering my part time job paid a buck and half an hour.

The first thing that broke on my Porsche was a left front wheel bearing. I had taken a hard right at around 40 miles an hour and heard a crunch and a grinding sound. Being my grandfather's grandson and the fact I needed the car to get to work and school I couldn't wait for parts. I got out my shop manual, pulled off the left front wheel, the brake drum and there was the broken bearing. I borrowed a micrometer, measured it (just to make sure the manual was correct) and headed to the John Deere parts distribution center. The John Deere guys let me rummage around in the bearing department, I measured about 50 bearings and found one that would fit. 90 minutes later I was back on the road. I had noticed the car need new brake linings while I had the hub off, no rush. I ordered the parts and did the job a couple of weeks later.

I drove to Brainerd Minnesota for a regional sports car race. I spent the weekend talking to the Porsche guys, I learned a lot. It paid off when the clutch went out on my car. I drove to the Volkswagen dealer with a slipping clutch. I had them drop the engine. I went into the parts room and bought a VW Transporter clutch and pressure plate and installed it myself. They put the engine back in the car and I was on my way. The Transporter clutch set up was what all the Porsche racers used. If I had ordered the Porsche parts it would have cost me over 200 bucks, the VW parts, stiffer and stronger, cost less than $100. including dropping the engine and putting it back in.

The best "farmer innovation" I ever did on my Porsche happened on my way to the lake, the belt that ran the cooling fan broke. I drove into a farm, got a piece of manila rope from the farmer, soaked it in water, put it on the pulleys wet, The engine heat dried it, it shrank and worked well enough to get me somewhere I could buy a new belt. The wet rope repair was a trick I learned on the farm. After that I always carried a spare.

I'm a lousy mechanic, but I learned enough to keep my car on the road.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Two Story Brick on North Illinois and a few memories from our get together in Cambria

The two story brick was built as the home of WIBC radio in the 30's. When the company moved to new facilities on North Meridian street in the 80's the old two story brick was donated to Butler University by the Fairbanks family, Butler housed their student and public broadcast stations there for years. I wonder if anyone connected to the Fathers and Families Center in Indianapolis has any idea of the old buildings history.

Tom Cochrun and I started at WIBC, Indianapolis the same week in 1969. Tom was hired by Fred Heckman, the storied news director of WIBC. In anticipation of the interview, Tom got his long hair cut. The interview went well, Fred hired him. When the interview was over, Fred said to young Tom, "Get your hair cut."

I left KQWB in Fargo to go to WIBC. My first job there was the all night show. From Midnight to 5, I did everything, played the music, did the news, weather, sports, you name in it, I did it. When I arrived at WIBC my news experience was "rip and read", as in tear the stories off the AP wire and read them. I soon found out I had to have News Director and morning drive anchor Fred Heckman's 5am,5:30am and the 10 minute 6am newscasts, written and ready. Fred gave me a crash course in broadcast journalism. It took a month of poking and prodding by Fred to get my news writing to an acceptable level, another month before he passed out a complement. I wrote those three newscasts a day for a year. Fred’s guidance gave me a foundation, I was later able to put to good use when I built news departments, hired news people and directed news/talk radio stations. Thanks Freddy for training me and kicking my ass when it needed kicking.

WIBC was a national trendsetter, one of the first major market radio stations to embrace the changing demographics and to redefine what adult contemporary radio would become.

The WIBC vison came from a young General Manager named Jim Hilliard. Jim came to Indy from Philadelphia where had built and programmed legendary Top 40 station WFIL. For whatever reason, Jim took me under his wing. He would get to the station early in the morning (6:30) a couple of days a week and go over air checks of my show. He taught me what I could do better and more importantly, what not to do. Those early morning teaching sessions with Jim gave me a foundation I could build on as I moved on in my career with Fairbanks and other companies. Jim worked me hard, 5 all night shows a week and a midday show on Sunday. I’d get to the station at 10 at night and usually get home between 10 and 11 the next morning. Jim had enough confidence in me to have me do fill in for our morning man Gary Todd when Gar was on vacation and then my eventual move down the hall to WNAP FM to do mornings and later on to program our stations in Boston.

Jim had a lot more confidence in me than I had. Until I got to WIBC/WNAP I wasn’t even committed to radio as a career. Jim taught me to see my possibilities and gave me the confidence and encouragement to make a commitment to broadcasting. Everybody worked hard for Jim, he made it so damn much fun, the long hours and dedication he required were well worth it.

Working at WIBC and WNAP was an honor, a privilege and one hell of an education. So thanks for that and so much more JCH.

We had some tremendous talent in that brick building on North Illinois. The great Chuck Riley, Orly Knutson, Gary Todd. Fred and Lou Palmer anchored either end of the day in the newsroom. Young guys like Tom Cochrun and Bruce Taylor doing reporting and occasionally anchoring. Tom and Bruce moved on to successful careers in television news. One of the reporters was a classy old guy named Bob Hoover. You could imagine him with a press card stuck in his hat. Hoover had been a broadcaster for so long, he had covered John Dillinger in the early days of radio news. Bob Hoover was a walking talking history book.

WIBC had a nationally recognized Farm Director, Harry Andrews. Harry did the bulk of his Farm Reports in the early morning hours, beginning each broadcast with "Howdy Neighbor". Harry was a Purdue University grad, a school with a very good program in agriculture. Interesting thing, Harry's degree from Purdue was in drama. Harry played a character on the radio who was an expert in agriculture, he certainly wasn't. He was so good at it, the farm community didn't notice.

We had a great mix of old pros and young kids at the station. When I arrived at WIBC, Sid Collins, the voice of the Indy 500, was the Sports Director. Paul Page was a young police reporter. Paul replaced Sid on the 500 broadcasts and later did the Indy 500 race on ABC TV for many years.

WIBC was the flagship of Indiana University sports, the Pacers, the Racers (with a young kid named Wayne Gretsky centering a line) and later the Colts. Those sports broadcasts were anchored by legends like Jerry Baker, Joe McConnel, Bob Lamey and later a kid named Kevin Calabro. Today Kevin is "the" sports guy in Seattle.

We did traffic reports, the reporter was Deputy, then Sergeant, then Lt. and later Marion County sheriff Jim Wells. We had a young mayor in Indianapolis named Richard Lugar. Mayor (later Senator) Dick Lugar was a regular guest on the WIBC morning show.

Down the hall at the Buzzard, WNAP FM. The talent level was scary. WNAP had broadcast hall of famer Cris Connor, Major Tom Lewis, Tom went to be the top meteorologist on TV in Washington DC. Old friend Mike Griffin was a mainstay of the WNAP staff in those early days. Mike said the other day he was astonished at the music we played, he remembers it as much hipper than it was. Sugar-Sugar, right Mike? Mike moved on to become one of the owners of the Panther Indy Car racing team. Fresh from the Navy, Charlie Kendall did nights. Charlie went on to a programming career at some of the finest stations in the country, WMMS, WBCN, WMMR and WNEW. The list of WNAP talent is long, guys like Buster Bodine, Psycho Billy Cadillac and so many more opened the mic at WNAP.

I did mornings at WNAP for a year and a half and then moved onto Boston. I couldn’t have made the move without my WNAP experience.

The two stations at 2835 North Illinois in Indianapolis became the foundation of the Fairbanks Group of stations. Boston, Dallas, Philadelphia, later Kansas City, Tampa and Palm Beach. We were the best.

Our success all began with Jim Hilliard. And Jim, I would be remiss not to say thanks for dragging Geo out of Canada, he has been my colleague and friend for so many damn years I can’t even remember when it all started. One thing I do remember is sharing an office with Geo, no windows, no ventilation and we both chain smoked Marlboro Reds in those days. The Duffy Twins would open our door and the smoke would just roll out into the hall. We must have smelled like ash trays, lucky the smoke alarms didn't go off. Maybe they did.

It seemed everybody in that old brick building was a character, we even had an engineer named Will Fix.

Don’t get me started on the sales department...they were crazier than we were. Yance, Johnson, Seeley, Shelton, Cooper, guys know who you are.

It was a special time in broadcasting and in my life. Special friends too.

BTW, growing up in North Dakota, until I got to WIBC/WNAP, I didn't realize I had listened to Jim, Gary and Chuck on Winnipeg's CKY when I was a kid driving around in my car. I later found out Geo was working behind the scenes at CKY as well. Small world.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

KIngs-Bruins at Staples Center

Notes from the Kings-Bruins last night...

SoCal has a population from all over the world, not only was the crowd at Stapes diverse, there were one hell of a lot of Bruins fans at the game. Rough estimate, 10-15% of the crowd were wearing Bruin's gear. The Massholes were chanting and taunting the Kings fans.

The suite level has indoor and outside seating, we sat outside. There was a family sitting in front of us, Mom. Dad and two kids. The fan was the little girl, maybe 9 or ten years old, she had on an Anze Kopitar jersey and never took her eyes off the game. Her brother looked bored, she was a fan.

The best kiss on the "Kiss Cam" (a Lakers invention from the Show Time days) was from a chubby, white haired, old couple. The kiss was movie quality, so much so they needed to get a room.

In the 19 years Cakes and I have been a couple, this was her first NHL game. She's been to one baseball game, the 7th game of the 1997 world series, hasn't been to one since, even when we lived a 1/2 mile from Fenway Park.

We left home at 5, got home at midnight. It was worth it. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Foreign Relations

Ulla got in the back seat of my car, she turned to Ricky and said, "Give me a cigarette." Rick shook a Marlboro Red out of the box, Ulla took it, Rick lit it. Ulla took a long drag, she French inhaled, settled back in the seat and relaxed. I watched her smoke in the rear view mirror. I listened as she began to unload her troubles, it came out in a torrent of frustration and anger. She talked non-stop on the way to the University, on the walk from the parking lot to the to the student union. We were early for the lecture, we had time for coffee, Ulla never stopped talking. For a girl who seldom talked in school, Ulla had a lot to get out.

Ulla was our Foreign exchange student my senior year in high school. She was usually dressed in black or other dark colors, Ulla wore glasses with heavy, black frames. Ulla would not look out of place in hipster Brooklyn in 2016. Ulla was from Finland and for her year in the US, she lived with a local minister and his family. The minister's daughter, a year younger, may have been the most uptight girl in our school. The standing joke was the only time she'd ever been kissed was when she played Marian the Librarian in the Music Man.

Lucky for Ulla, as seniors, we had events and activities that were "seniors only". This enabled Ulla to escape the minister and his family who as she said, "we're constantly dropping to their knees in prayer."

Ulla loved hanging around with normal American kids, we smoked, we drank, we loved rock and roll, thought a lot of our teachers and parents were idiots and we swore like sailors. We were just like her friends at home in Finland. Imagine that! I think we left her with a favorable impression of America and when she thinks of us, we bring a smile to her Finnish face. I hope she tells stories about the Kegs Drive In, cruising and just hanging around with a bunch of American teens in the 60's.

I related our experience with Ulla to our sales rep in Seattle, she had her own Exchange Student story. Her family hosted a sophisticated girl from Paris in their suburban Seattle home. The young Parisian was an only child, her parents were both lawyers. The girl was model thin, dressed like she stepped off the pages of a French fashion magazine. Her lifestyle in Paris was typically French, she walked everywhere. She stopped on the way home from school at the butchers, the bakery and the vegetable market. She and her parents would have a light healthy, late supper, talk, read and go to bed. She drank coffee and wine. In suburban Seattle she seldom walked, ate fast food and pizza after school, had a big supper and then snacked and watched TV with her American classmates. The young Parisian gained 27 pounds during her year in Seattle. Her parents barely recognized her when she got off the plane in France.

We had a Dutch foreign exchange student when I was a sophomore in high school. Hans was a great guy, big, funny and he wore ties and sport coats to school. Hans was another smoker and drinker. Hans was astonished that American kids couldn't drink beer and wine at home or in bars. Hans was a world class bull shitter and he would go into a liquor store at 16, dressed in a tie, coat and hat and come out with the goods. Hans was disgusted by American beer and I don't blame him.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

A Memorable Boston St. Patrick's Day

There once was a group called the "New England Broadcasters Association" or NEBA. If you were a broadcaster from any of the New England States you could join and did they ever.

The best NEBA party of the year was the annual ST. Patrick's Day party. It was so big, broadcasters from all over the country made plans to be in Boston for the NEBA party.If you celebrate St. Patrick's Day American style, (an excuse to get drunk on a week day) The NEBA Party was exactly what you were looking for.

One year in the 70's the Party started at noon at the old Bradford Hotel in the theater district. Corned Beef, cabbage, boiled potatoes and carrots, plenty of beer (not green) and Irish Whisky.

The entertainment? Carmel Quinn and Dennis Day. They both looked like they were made up by an undertaker...

20 odd years later, my St. Patrick's Day went like this, lunch with a friend of mine at a Japanese restaurant (?) the food was good, but the conversation left a lot to be desired. I listened to 2 hours of complaints about her marriage. Around 3 we met a couple of friends for drinks at Daisy Buchanan's, an hour or so at Daisy's and we were off to the NEBA Party, held this year at a blues and barbeque joint. (?) The band, I can't remember their name, was okay. The food was pretty good, I had ribs and brisket, I think.

One thing led to another and I became the "boyfriend" of a Lipstick Lesbian I knew, my function was simple, keep guys from hitting on her. Our party had now grown to 8 or ten people, including two sisters from Brighton who latched onto the seriously drunk Kevin. Kev was at the point in the evening where all he could do was grin. My friend Tommy fell in love and disappeared with a TV reporter.

At the Cantab Lounge in Cambridge, I sat next to a retired bus driver at the bar. He hated the band and kept yelling for them to "turn that shit down".
He thought my lesbian "date" was the best looking thing he'd seen in years. He asked me if I was "tapping" her. Before I could answer, she jumped in and said, "Wouldn't you like to be, pal?" I just smiled at him. Somebody bought me a shot of Bushmills, I slid it in front of the old bus driver, he thanked me and slammed it. He told me, I was a "lucky man".

The Lipstick Lesbian and I lost Kevin and the sisters somehow, Tommy was gone with the TV lady and Billy wandered off. My unhappy friend and her husband had left hours ago. It was just the two of us.

Somehow we caught a cab to get back across the river. Lipstick couldn't drive so she stayed at my place, I loaned her a t-shirt to sleep in, we crawled into bed and said, "We can snuggle but keep your hands to yourself."

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

We're in a Drought, Dammit!

 The average Southern California household uses 174.3 gallons of   water a day. This guy uses 27,000 gallons a day....He's Movie and Music mogul and philanthropist David Geffen

This is why...his house in Beverley Hills.

That's not counting the water used in his house in Malibu...

Or on his yacht Pelorus...

David Geffen has done really, really well for a college drop out from Brooklyn. Asylum Records, Electra/Asylum Records, Warner/Electra/Atlantic, Geffen Records, Geffen Film/DreamWorks SKG.

Geffen does wonderful charity work, Geffen UCLA Medical School, NYU Medical School, The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York, the David Geffen Theater in Los Angeles.

Geffen is one of the 400 richest Americans and may be the wealthiest gay man in the United States. So please David don't be an asshole and join your whiney neighbors in Beverley Hills in their protest of the water surcharges for using too damn much water, pay it, you can afford it.

Better yet, cut back on the 27,000 gallons you use a day for chissakes!

Thank You!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Stunned and Amazed by The Cakes

My Executive wife Jan, better known as "The Cakes" started on a journey last year to create her own business. Her dream, "All American Fair" is blinking on hold for the moment, the investment to do the business right, to make it what it can and some day will be, had to be put aside. I won't get into the reasons, but I will say, Venture Capitalists are short sighted.

So now what?

Cakes is a marketing professional, she's been a corporate officer at one of the largest furniture retailers in Southern California, she's worked on the manufacturing level marketing to the world's biggest retailers. Cakes has worked for an advertising agency, while there, she and her team produced a video for a local hospital, it won a Regional Emmy award. She's good, damn good.

So now what?

Cakes, her friend and colleague Barbara met in our upstairs office one day. They discussed their skills and contacts. They bounced their ideas off me, they listened to me and hopefully discounted most of what I said, as well they should. They did their research and they they came up with a plan. That plan created Moonstone Marketing and Media.

So now what?

Without a design staff and a computer genius by her side. Cakes went to seminars and web design classes. In 6 weeks of 12 and 14 hour days, she taught herself the skills, skills she needed and never had to learn in her past.

She learned the "front end" and the "back end" of web design, she learned "SEO", she learned how to secure platforms for ecommerce. Cakes learned to link social media to each other and make them work, bringing the various platforms together to make something bigger and stronger than the individual platforms. While Cakes was learning, Barbara was on the street looking for potential clients. Together they went to meetings, sales pitches really. They came back with reams of notes, notes that helped them create presentations to fulfill the clients needs.

So now what?

Her first client is a friend of mine, he had a terrible web site, no social media and a great concept. Cakes created a new site and in turn it created a new image for his services and his business has skyrocketed. So much so, he is starting to complain, a little anyway, about how busy he is. A few weeks ago he offered her an override on new business, she took it.

Barbara's background is in health care, Moonstone now represents a local pharmacy group, a high quality home health care service and another home nursing client focused on post surgical needs and individual services.

Moonstone has a new client in the human resources field. They represent a large commercial printing business. They are ready to close a financial services client. Next week they are making a presentation to 40 non-profit senior citizen services organizations.

Cakes works in the office upstairs. Yesterday, she was up at 7, at her desk before 8. She spent the day designing and writing for her clients, she was on the phone with them. She was still doing it at 7 last night. She worked in yoga pants, a fleece pull over and her pink slippers all day. She seldom took a break.

What did she accomplish? She designed and wrote 4 targeted electronic flyers and sent them out to over 100 targeted potential clients. She designed thank you cards for a client and started another design project. She took an introductory letter I wrote for Moonstone, rewrote it and sent it out.

She exchanged over 20 emails with a client and then on the phone walked the client through a painful conversation of why the client had to change the clunky image she had created herself and used for years.

I am stunned by Cake's energy, creativity, at how tenacious she is and the laser like focus she has.

She is on hell of a woman. I am so proud of her and completely amazed at what she has created in such a short period of time.

Moonstone is close to breaking even in 6 short months...know anybody who needs marketing help? They could put her over the top!

I don't think I need to mention I love her very much, do I?

Monday, March 14, 2016

What Betty said...

                                        Election Confession
hrc shouting

You know how sometimes you’re faced with a really hard choice where the pros and cons seem even and you just can’t make up your mind? And then you flip a coin, and while your quarter is spinning in the air, you realize which outcome you’re rooting for, and that’s how you make your decision?
That’s how picking a candidate for tomorrow’s primary has been for me this year. I like Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both a lot and would happily vote for either one in the general. I’ve donated small sums to both candidates, watched most of the debates and followed their campaigns closely. Both are great candidates, IMO.

I first donated to the Sanders campaign as a protest: Like Sanders himself, I suspect, I didn’t think he’d come this far. My small donation was a way to show support for his consistent message about the corrupting influence of money in politics, a hope that an early groundswell of support for Sanders would buy his issues a seat at the table and shift the conversation in the primary leftward.
That’s not a knock on Clinton, BTW; I’ve never bought the notion that she’s a DLC Democrat at heart. I think her beliefs are similar to President Obama’s (in other words, a bog-standard center-left Democratic governing philosophy) and that they are consistent. There wasn’t a great deal of difference between the Clinton and Obama platforms in 2008, and there aren’t now either.
But I’ve noticed in past primaries that a candidate with a strong message can shift the conversation. Even that odious phony John Edwards put poverty more firmly on the agenda back in aught-eight with his “Two Americas” focus. Bernie’s message about creeping plutocracy couldn’t be more timely and urgent, and to his great credit, he has made it central to Democratic politics throughout this primary season.

Even so, just before the actual voting started, I was leaning a bit toward Hillary because I thought she was more electable, having withstood the wingnut shit storm for 25 years, formidably faced down the partisan witch hunt over Benghazi and forged strong, deep and long-standing ties with establishment figures and core constituencies of the party. But I still wasn’t sure.

I’ve followed the Berniacs vs Hillbots clashes at this blog and elsewhere, and I resolved not to allow the behavior of overly enthusiastic supporters color my opinions of the candidate, and that remains the case. But my coin-flip moment has been playing out as the voting takes place, and now I’m ready to admit it, to myself and to you all: I want Hillary to win. I’m going to vote for her tomorrow.
This realization started to dawn on me when she got edged out in Michigan. It’s not that I wanted Bernie to lose, but I was disappointed that Hillary didn’t win. I was disgusted with the media spin about it — not the valid analysis about trade, etc., and how that might have driven Rust Belt voters to the Sanders camp but the crap-fest about whether HRC was once again losing to a man who excites the youngs and whether the country wants to try something new instead of this tiresome, ambitious woman.

Well, after 229 years of the Oval Office being a men’s only club, a woman would be something new, even if we’ve known this particular woman forever. I’m not going to deny that’s a huge part of my support for HRC. I want a woman in the White House, damn it. And we’ve got an incredibly qualified one right in front of us.

It wasn’t that big of a deal to me in 2008 since I supported PBO over HRC. It seems more urgent now. In the 2008 primaries, my mom was a Hillary supporter, not just because Hillary is a woman but because my mom was a big fan of the Clintons, who were of her generation. Mom was no PUMA; after Obama won the primary, she voted for him in 2008 and again in 2012. She thought he was a great president.
But she never got to see a woman win the White House. And that sucks. I don’t apologize for believing that breaking this barrier is incredibly important. For myself. For my daughter. For all the women who came before us and will come after us. It’s not everything, but it’s not nothing either.
Anyhoo, as I said, I like Bernie too, and if he wins, I’ll work my ass off to make sure he prevails in November. My husband is going to cancel my Hillary vote by voting for Bernie tomorrow, and I will even remind him to do so. But it turns out I’m with her…and I have been all along.
PS: I realize the graphic up top is controversial because some people thought the quote implied that Sanders’ line about “shouting about gun control” was sexist. I don’t think Sanders is sexist at all. But I do like the sentiment in the quote, which is generally true.

Betty Cracker, Front Pager at Balloon Juice

Friday, March 11, 2016


The Oklahoma House has voted to do away with the state's training and licensing requirements for people who want to carry their guns openly. Here is a verbatim transcript of part of the debate:

"Is it a good idea to let anyone carry a gun, even if they don't know how to use it or even where the safety is?" asked Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman.

"The key word is 'let,'" said Coody. "Somehow we've gotten the idea that the government has to give us permission to exercise our freedoms. That is totally antithetical to me."

The bill excludes felons from open carry, but not people under protective order. This caused some concern, even among gun-rights supporters, and may be addressed when the bill reaches the Senate.

Rep. Mike Brown, D-Tahlequah, noted that the state requires people to learn to drive to obtain a driver's license, and asked why a person shouldn't be required to learn how to operate a gun before carrying one in public.

"Because driving is privilege," replied Coody. "The Second Amendment is a constitutional right."

"But what about my safety?" Brown asked. "Doesn't the government have a responsibility to protect me?"

"No," replied Coody.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

A couple of things...

I read this morning, believe it or not, the Republican held Senate passed a bi-partisan bill to fight Opiate Addiction. It passed unanimously. High fives all around and then they voted not to fund it. Only 5 Republicans voted to fund the bill, a bill they authored and passed.

Niggers, wops, spics, kikes, greasers, queers, chili shitters, jungle bunnies, bohunks, micks, round heads and wet backs. I heard all those names and more growing up in the "good old days". I heard those words out of the mouths of professionals and out of the mouths of the unskilled, so yeah I'm on board for PC.

Oh, and I remember when I first started working in the late 60's guys thought nothing about calling women they worked with, sweetie, doll and baby and on occasion gave them a little slap on the ass as they walked by the desk. I have no nostalgia for the "good old days".

I'll leave you with this note from the dearly departed Molly Ivins...

"One function of the income gap is that the people at the top of the heap have a hard time even seeing those at the bottom. They practically need a telescope. The pharaohs of ancient Egypt probably didn't waste a lot of time thinking about the people who built their pyramids, either."

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

RIP Sir George

In my career in broadcasting, I was fortunate to meet some very interesting people, some famous, some infamous and some not famous at all, but never the less, they were all interesting, especially this man.  One the best afternoons of my life was lunching (and drinking) for most of the afternoon with Sir George Martin, the producer of the Beatles.

Martin had little or no contact with the world of rock music when he signed and then produced the Beatles for a division of EMI/Capitol Records. His boss told him "to see what he could do with these boys".

Sir George taught the Beatles about music, the Beatles taught him about music. They had mutual respect for each other, he was their guidance counselor, their teacher and co-collaborator.

Sir George said the thing he was most impressed with the Beatles was their desire to learn. He talked about John Lennon going from barely able to pick out scales on the piano, to playing beautifully on Beatles' records. He talked of their work ethic, constantly practicing, working on lyrics and songwriting. Martin taught them about musical structure, he taught them how a recording studio works, he taught them to channel their energy onto the tape.

He said none of it was easy, but it was always creative and as hard as they worked, for all the hours put in, day and night, week after week the songs were the reward.

We were all given the gift of great music by the Beatles with Sir George Martin by their sides all the way.

That afternoon was one of the best of my life.  And Sir George wasn't quite as "posh" as he seemed to be. I'll leave you with this.


Monday, March 7, 2016

Downton farewell and an Oddity

We watched the last of Downton Abbey last night...happy endings all around. The Executive Wife was happy with the ending and depressed because the show is over.

Here are a few of the online comments about the show and the character's futures.

Bates and Anna name their son Norman. They immigrate to the US and buy a small motel on the California coast.

During the "Red Scare" of the 50's Daisy is arrested by Scotland Yard for heading up a Soviet Espionage ring and dies in prison in 1991.

Mr. Barrow has taken over for Mr. Carson (Carson remains as "Managing Butler") Mr. Barrows hires a new Footman, the new Footman is gay. A romance ensues and there is another wedding at Downton, but not until 2013 when same sex marriage is legalized in the UK. Barrow and his long time partner become the oldest couple to marry under the new law.

In 1961, 86 year old Lord Grantham once again heeds the advice of his fellow club members, invests his dwindling fortune in 4 young musicians "who will change the world and culture"....Gerry and The Pacemakers.

      This is The Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus....

          If you remove the vowels from his name you get RNC PR BS

Thursday, March 3, 2016


I reconnected with an old friend a few years ago---the magic of the web made it possible. I met Tom in the first grade at Lincoln School for the next 12 years, Tom and I shared teachers, friends, lunches, music lessons, sports and plenty of fun, maybe too much fun. Our teen years were classic American Graffiti. We didn’t reconnect until we were old men.
Tom died of cancer yesterday, it was quick and over almost before it started. Other friends haven’t been as fortunate as Tom.
A couple of years ago, Tom told me a story about his days as a young bass player. Tom was a fine musician. In high school he played standup bass with a folk trio, he played in the school orchestra and tuba in the marching band. Bill Pond, the school band director had a big band and from time to time he called on young Tom to fill in on bass. Tom said it was strange to play gigs with a band made up of your teachers, parents of your friends, local insurance men, a radio station owner and other early to late middle aged guys. But Tom was making music, something he loved to do, a kid playing in a band with all these guys old enough to be his father. They’d pack their instruments in a caravan of cars to travel to the band’s gigs, Tom wedged in the backseat. Bottles of whiskey would be passed around the car and Tom was expected to drink his share and he did. Tom said he learned to love the music most of our generation hated, playing with those old guys gave him his love of jazz and most of all it was great experience for a teenage boy to be treated as a man by men. It was, as he said, an education.
At Lincoln School most of the kids were together for years. One of our group, Mary Boe has all our Lincoln School class pictures she brought them to a mini-reunion a few years ago. Looking at them, you notice that for five years we were all happy, healthy smiling kids. The 6th grade picture is different. In the 6th grade picture we look like kids in a co-ed juvenile detention center.
Our regular teacher, for whatever reason, was gone a few weeks after school started and we had a succession of substitutes and we drove them crazy.
We invented a classmate, Mary wrote his name in the attendance book, Frank Furter. The substitutes would take attendance, calling out Frank’s name, no answer, ever. Frank was the little boy who was never there.
Usually after our little friend Frank was gone for three, four days, the substitute would ask if any of us knew what was going on with Frank. One day she asked Tom (he was called Tommy at the time) if he knew anything about Frank. Sweet, innocent Tommy immediately said, “I think his Mom is sick.” The teacher bought it. Of course Frank wasn’t in class the next week and the sub would ask Tommy if Frank’s mother was still ill. Tom would frown and say, "I believe she is." 

We worked the scam for a couple of weeks and then the shit hit the fan. The principle, Leo LaBelle took over our class. Mr. LaBelle was an ex-Marine. All of a sudden we were all in Marine Boot Camp. Lincoln School was turned into Marine Recruit Depot, Parris Island by Leo Labelle. In our 6th grade picture, Mr. LaBelle is the only person with a smile on his face.
When Tom and I were seniors at Central we were in a Government Class together. It was boring, the teacher was boring and he had a short fuse. One night we were sitting at the Kegs Drive In and we decided to over-study our assignments for government class. We’d would go to the library and dig up incredibly arcane facts about the senate, house, Supreme Court, whatever we were studying at the time. Tom and I would craft questions from our fact gathering and at the right moment in class, one of us would raise our hand and ask a question of the teacher. Our questions were on topic, but very difficult to answer or explain, we asked questions that wouldn’t have been out of place in a graduate school seminar. We tied the teacher in knots. He hated to call on either of us. About halfway through the semester we really had him going one day, the teacher was so angry he broke his clipboard in half.
Tom and I were sent to see Dr. Patterson, the head counselor, her response? “Let me get this straight, you two were sent to me because you ask hard questions?” Dr. Patterson smiled and said, “Get out of here and put all that effort into something productive, please.” We didn’t take her advice.
One of my favorite memories of Tom, who as a 7th grader, decided he was going to be the manager of our Park Board Hockey Team. Our team played as Midgets and as Juniors. I can still see Tom standing next to Coach Peters. Tom dressed in a dark winter topcoat, scarf around his neck, papers under his arm, making notes on a clipboard for the coach. We were the only kid team with shot counts, minutes played because Tom recorded all our stats.
A great father to Anna, a baker and chocolatier. Ride that comet Tom.