Thursday, December 15, 2005

Satellite radio, part 3

Yesterday morning I was listening to a local sportstalk show (no I haven't ditched terrestrial radio entirely, nor will I) and heard a hilarious spot stating that "some things should remain free, and radio is one of them." The announcement was "brought to you by the 11,000 radio broadcasters of America."

It was so cheesey my words cannot do it justice. But hearing this on terrestrial radio does give credence to my belief that satellite radio will continue to increase in subscribers and popularity.

Radio station owners/managers are worried, with good reason.

Freedom of choice

I remember when one of my friends, some years ago, said he was disconnecting his cable TV and getting a satellite dish. On my first visit to his home after he made the switch it was easy for me to see why he arrived at that decision. The local cable company had around 50 channels. Not only was there a superior picture quality on the satellite service, but it also provided MANY more channels. Newer networks such as the Game Show Network, Noggin, PBS Kids, and the Discovery Health Channel were available, as was just about every cable TV channel in operation. I remember thinking to myself, “This is wonderful. People don’t have to be at the mercy of their local cable providers, who tend to add and delete channels as they please.” Plus, if you could see the southern sky, you could install a dish and receive their service. The local cable company no longer had a monopoly on service. Since I believe in capitalism, it follows that I also believe competition is a very healthy thing for the consumer.

This concept is also applicable to the medium of radio. I reside in the Phoenix metropolitan area which is a top 20 market. Even with that ranking, there seems to be a lack of diversity on the radio dial. If I want to hear classic country, acoustic jazz, or Jack FM, I’m out of luck, even though these formats exist on terrestrial radio in various other markets. However, with my Sirius system, I can tune into whatever type of music suits my mood at the time. Commercial-free music is just icing on the cake. If I want to listen to adult standards with no top-of-the-hour news breaks, I just tune to stream #75 (Standard Time). If I want classic country, I listen to The Roadhouse or WSM on Sirius, or Hank’s Place or America on XM. Bottom line, if I want it, I’ve got it. Even the most diverse musical tastes can find what they want on either service. Everyone who listens to satellite radio is no longer at the mercy of the program directors of their local terrestrial radio stations. And talk radio? Take the names I listed in an earlier post and add numerous other voices from the political left and right, plus different experts in home improvement, advice, electronics, podcasting, and many other areas of interest. Then throw in a mix of world news from overseas sources and I challenge you to ever be bored with the programming on either satellite service.

Do I listen to the above, or do I stick with terrestrial radio and suffer through infomercials for the duration of a weekend?

The presence and availability of satellite radio may even have the reaction effect of local program directors being more thorough with programming terrestrial stations. A potential win-win for the listeners would be for the larger broadcasting companies to eliminate their “cookie-cutter” programming.

Next: The "forgotten" listeners of smaller markets and the folks who make their living on the road.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Satellite radio, part 2

I will disclose that I am a subscriber to Sirius. I do have DirecTV at my house which also gives me the luxury of listening to XM's music streams. Why I chose Sirius over XM came down to just a few factors. I enjoy the NFL, and being able to listen to all the games for no extra charge was appealing to me. Add to that the availability of the Sirius NFL Channel (all NFL, all the time!) and my hook was baited. I also am a long-time listener of the Dave Ramsey show. Sirius was the first satellite provider to carry his show, and they always have made the three-hour program available in its entirety. XM did pick up the Ramsey show, but shortened it to either two hours or one hour for a time. (XM has since resumed carrying all three hours.) As it was evident Sirius was more committed to Ramsey's program, that was just another factor that swung me to Sirius. However I have nothing negative to say about XM and if they had the NFL, I may have chosen their service.

I also am not an employee of, nor an investor in, either service. (Not an investor as far as I know. I could look closely at my IRA funds and see whether either company shows up. However I think I have established my neutrality about the two companies.)


Recently Geogal was listening to the Hugh Hewitt show. During one segment, Hewitt had a conversation in which he stated his belief that satellite radio would not catch on. (I must admit this is hearsay on my part. I did not hear the piece myself and I didn’t find any type of corroborating entry in Hewitt’s blog.) While I enjoy reading Hewitt’s blog and catch his show when I am able (more on that later), I have to disagree with his stance on satellite radio.

One only need look at the different names who are migrating to satellite radio. Howard Stern seems to be the first name many recall, but there are others. National Public Radio fans will always have fond memories of Bob Edwards from his “Morning Edition” days. Since his sacking by the NPR powers that be, Edwards now holds forth on XM. So for the listener who does not care for the replacement host(s) on “ME,” just purchase XM equipment and a subscription, and you can again enjoy Edwards’on-air style. Depending on your political persuasion, you will undoubtedly find several national gabbers with whom you will agree, regardless if you have Sirius or XM. A glance at the Sirius and XM programming lineup includes names such as: Tony Snow, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Phil Hendrie, Michael Reagan, and Dr. Laura. Granted, all of these talents are heard on terrestrial radio but they seem to have no difficulty or objection to also being available to satellite listeners.

The above names are all affiliated with large syndication companies. Evidently these different radio syndicators had no objection to adding their lineups and talent to the programming available on the two satellite providers. Hewitt’s show is also syndicated (by Salem Broadcasting). In contrast to Hewitt’s view, I believe that within the next year or two the entire Salem lineup will be on at least one of the satellite services.

In part 3, freedom of choice!

Economic development goes into orbit

I interrupt my thoughts on satellite radio to point out this news item.

In 1992 I produced a radio news series about economic development in southern New Mexico. I recall most of what the leaders of the different communities said about attracting new business but none of them could have anticipated this.

If the proposed spaceport actually flies (no pun intended) it will be a boon beyond comparison.

Monday, December 12, 2005

And so it begins, my thoughts on satellite radio

Not that I meant to put it off for this long, it's just that the holiday season creates other demands of one's time. (Sounds like a good excuse, I'll go with it.)

However my timing now seems apropos given the media coverage of Howard Stern and his transition from Infinity Broadcasting (terrestrial) to Sirius (satellite). I am not a Stern fan nor am I enamored with any "shock jocks." Yet Stern's move, I believe, is indicative of something major. The real beginning of the emergence of satellite radio as an accepted medium. Satellite radio gaining mass appeal. Satellite radio being something the average Joe and Judy can afford and actually use. Just look in any news publication and you will see articles about XM and Sirius systems being one of the "hot" electronic gift items this Christmas season. No matter that neither services has yet turned a profit, satellite radio is here to stay.

Can you flash back to 1979-1980? Something called cable TV was starting to be available in major cities, not just rural, isolated towns. No doubt there were people back then who thought: "Why would anyone pay for television when they can get it for free?"

Cable TV caught on like few expected. I predict radio is now in the same metamorphosis.

Are you unfamiliar with satellite radio? Crutchfield has a good primer here.

In part 2, I will outline current trends that support my belief about the future of satellite radio.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Signs of sanity

Picked up my tree-killing news medium this morning and was greeted with this story.

Full disclosure: I am a graduate of New Mexico State. I am a proud Aggie. Yet I was never a fan of these "money games," as some people labled them. Others of my ilk would refer to these contests as "prostitution." According to the powers that were, these games would yield a significant amount of money to the football program and the athletic department. Playing against big-name opponents would also bring additional recognition to NMSU.


As you may suspect, I didn't buy it then (these games began around 1989 or 1990, IIRC) and I still don't believe these games are beneficial. (Save for the contest in 1999 which saw my Aggies beat ASU in Tempe.) What does it do for the morale of the players to get the stuffing beat out of them by schools such as Texas, Alabama, UCLA, etc.?

And what of all this money? It might buy top-of-the-line training equipment for the guys of the gridiron, but years of these big payouts never has resulted in a consistent winning team.

I don't care if it costs 300 grand. Kudos to the NMSU athletic director for making a move in the right direction.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The exciting life

Drop off little one at school. Clean house. Do laundry. Pick up little one at school. Cook evening meal.

An apt description of my life yesterday.

I should count my blessings, though. While it may be a bit cool here this morning (about 32 degrees), at least it's better than living in, say, Minnesota. Feel free to read Lileks' thoughts about frigid temps.

At least a summertime temp of 105 never caused anyone to skid off the road and overturn.

Time to return to my composition about satellite radio. I will begin posting the chapters within a day or two.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

More sarcasm directed at Hollywood

Just a few minutes of writing before I take Geoana to school and engage in serious work (house painting).

So the E! network is going to revive "The Simple Life," with the qualifier that Paris and Nicole won't even have to see each other.

Feel free to look at my post below about Tinseltown's lack of originality reaching new lows. It just got lower.

C'mon people! Let it die! It's just "The Simple Life." It's not "_______________"

(note to self--insert name of quality television show above, once you can think of one)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Add this to the list of problems I never anticipated....

Routine afternoon yesterday. Pick up Geoana from school, bring her home, start cooking the evening meal. No problem, right?

But I didn't count on having a rooster on my roof.

Don't believe me? I thought not, so I made sure to snap a few pictures for posterity.

Of course, then I had to face of issue of how to get poultry off my roof, as I don't want it strutting around in my backyard. Throwing rocks at it didn't work. Neither did taking the garden hose and shooting a stream of water in the bird's direction. Finally I went inside and took my Daisy BB/pellet rifle (a Christmas gift from my father when I was about 12 or 13).

For you members of PETA, I just aimed at its legs. My purpose was to scare it away, not finish it off. (And, since little Geoana was outside with me, I did not want to traumatize her by wanton killing, plus I was not in the mood to deal with rooster carcass.)

One shot.

That shot did everything the rocks and water could not. Not only did that rooster fly off the roof, it flew all the way across the street and into one of my neighbor's front yards (cattycorner). Mission accomplished. I sure hope it got the message.

Haven't seen it yet this morning.

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Monday after........what?

As expected, many people hit the stores last Friday (Black Friday). Not me.

As expected, many people in this country ate turkey last Thursday. Not me. (Had steak instead, one of the best I've ever ingested!)

I did relax and spend time with Geogal and Geoana, which I think is the whole point of the Thanksgiving holiday. Who could ask for more?

Got the first cold weather (at least as we here in the desert know it) yesterday. There's just something refreshing about wearing long pants, long sleeve shirts, and jackets. Not to mention turning on the heater and throwing a blanket on the bed. Now I can drink coffee all day long and not feel guilty. And I can look at the webcams of Anchorage Alaska (we visited AK this past summer) and be reminded why I live where I do.

You're welcome to look at the webcams too:


ACS webcam

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

And they wonder why box office is flat

Saw this item in my morning newspaper:

LATEST: JENNIFER GARNER, KATE HUDSON and LINDSAY LOHAN have emerged as the front runners in the race to land the coveted role of JEANNIE in the upcoming movie adaptation of TV series I DREAM OF JEANNIE.

(warning--sarcastic comment ahead)

Gee, I'll be first in line to see that one.

When are the suits in Hollywood going to learn that originality is still important? I believe it was shortly before the release of "Million Dollar Baby" that Clint Eastwood said in an interview he was disgusted with the studios, saying most of the movies nowadays fall into three categories: remakes, sequels, or adaptations of TV shows. He's still right.

Didn't the poor box office of "Bewitched" (just to name one) say anything to the creative heads?

How about my queue in Netflix? Let me list some of the movies I've recently rented. Rio Bravo, The Producers, Saturday Night Fever, Remember the Titans, My Favorite Year, Westworld. Notice a pattern? I don't think any were remakes. Sadly, I hear "The Producers" and "Westworld" are currently in the remake process.


Message to Hollywood: Keep putting out garbage, and I'll keep renting classic movies. I haven't even scratched the surface of all the movies I want to see.

Monday, November 21, 2005

No, it's not just Monday blues...

...but why am I so irritable today?

Go get the mail. Nothing but bad news it seems. Can't remember the last time I sat at the table opening mail and yelling "You want a piece of me?!!"

Glad I took a few minutes, made a couple of phone calls, and engaged in some rational thinking before sitting down to write today's blog. I'm better now.

Truth be told, the weekend was all right. Good football games (both college and pro) and spent Saturday night enjoying this eating establishment with Geogal.

Also found this site, which had my attention last night. At least there's something that can be done about these insipid chain e-mails.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Radio--In a State of Constant Change

Not that anyone who works in the radio business or anyone who is a fan of radio should be surprised by today's title.

As noted in one of last week's entries, I took a road trip to San Diego. One of my longtime pleasures of visiting Southern California is taking out my radio and listening to a more interesting variety of stations than those that are available in many other radio markets. Adding to the radio stew of Southern California is the stations that broadcast from the other side of la frontera. Most notably XETRA. I remember my first visit to the area in 1991. One of the first things I did driving into the Riverside area was to tune the AM dial to 690. Back then they had a sports-talk format, which lasted until about this time last year. Now they play adult standards as 690 The Lounge. I took a listen to them on this recent visit and was suprised to hear that the format would soon be changing. A quick search led me to this Orange County Register article (registration required).

So it's going to Spanish.

End of an era. (And I wasn't even around when they were playing rock music.)

On a related matter, during the drive to and from San Diego, this was the first true long road test of the Sirius Starmate receiver I purchased last month.

The verdict? Perfect! I'm hooked. No more losing the signal during an interesting program. No more commercials or news to interrupt my music. I can pick whatever kind of music that fits my mood. I think Geogal agrees with all these points.

In future entries I'll blog more about how satellite radio is going to be a true competitor (IMHO) for terrestrial radio.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

One more before the road

Will be traveling (with the family, thank goodness) out-of-state for the next few days. So, this entry will have to suffice for the next few days.

Undoubtedly Geoana will want to bring along her two Barbie dolls together with the singular Ken (now that's a fortunate plastic guy!). It's actually a Prince Ken to go along with Cinderella Barbie. Since his trousers are currently amongst a large pile of other toy remnants, he resembles an 18th century version of Zapp Branigan.

Caught the spectre of Steve Philips masquerading as the Yankees' general manager in a "fake" news conference this morning on ESPN. I was silent. Maybe even stunned.

Makes me remember when the show "Blues Clues," a favorite of Geoana, made a change to their format and created a segment of the show called "Blue's Room" in which the previously animated and barking Blue changed into a puppet and could speak English. When Geogal first saw it, she was eerily silent. I asked what was going on. She replied "I just don't know what to say." We both agreed that "Blues Clues" had jumped the shark at that point.

I'll ditto that for ESPN's latest lame attempt at entertainment.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Monday at random

Gutbuster of the morning, from's D.J. Gallo:

Headlines That Are Probably In Newspapers This Morning

Baton Rouge: "Saints game poorly attended due to fear of Tom Benson attacks"

Phoenix: "Cardinals games poorly attended due to presence of Cardinals"

New York: "Vinny Testaverde euthanized"

Philadelphia: "Eagles succumb to locker room cancer"

San Francisco: "Rodeo cowboy Pickett fails to lasso Giants, but arms headline writers with tons of lame wordplay options


And kudos to the Eagles organization, who finally had enough of T.O.'s attitude. I would like nothing more than to see the "team" concept return to team sports.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Some downtime

Due to a recent out-of-town journey, with two more coming up this month, this blog will be sparse during November. Just as good anyway, as I have little to say right now.

Caught this while checking my Yahoo e-mail. The 20-year time capsule is a nice idea but I harbor strong doubts that I will have the same e-mail address in 2025. Actually, I think by then e-mail will have evolved into something else that won't require whatever the PC will morph into by that time.

20 years. Let me just recall my world in 1985. Saving my money to purchase a rack stereo system (remember those?). Along with the requisite turntable, it had dual cassette decks. Also had an aux jack where one could add something called a compact disc player in the future. My mom and dad also purchased their first VCR, a two-head device with a wired remote. No cable TV in this house. (No way would my father have paid for additional TV channels, as he asserted most programs of that time were garbage anyway.)

Back to the present. The rack system became garage sale/landfill material years ago. No longer have any way to play my vinyl records. The only way me or Geogal can play cassettes is on one small system purchased a few years ago (with 3-disc CD) or on two vintage Walkmans. Still use VHS to record and play back programs, but that will likely go the way of the audio cassette as soon as our household obtains TiVo and a DVD recorder. Cable is yesterday's technology. Have had DirecTV for close to five years now.

I could go on, but I think I have made my point.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Just as sports has its place, so does humor

I'm in a very down mood today. Not because the Astros lost, but due to a tragedy that occurred within our community involving people with whom we were acquainted. Violent and senseless. Many questions will never be answered. To protect the privacy of the people involved, that is all I will reveal.

"Kicked in the gut" is perhaps the best way I can describe my feeling. To be sure, I've felt it before but that in no way removes the mental anguish I am currently experiencing. So, I do my usual routine of getting online and reading my normal sites, both blogs and print media. Then I decided to turn to James Lileks. The Bleat gave me some chuckles, then I found one of his Star-Tribune columns, which had me howling for a few minutes. Afterward, I felt just a little better. A little.

Please, PLEASE do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that death and destruction, particularly when they hit close to home, can just be "laughed off," nor should they. But in certain situations appropriate (read: gentle, positive, sparing, and healthy) use of humor can be helpful. It's another way those of us who struggle through things in this world can cope.

No more sports blogging (at least for now)

So the baseball season is over. Turns out my prediction was more accurate than first thought. But I am still happy the Astros finally went to the Series.

As a child, I remember my surprise when learning that the Super Bowl was only one game, winner take all. I recall wondering: "What if one of the teams just has an off-day that day?" Now I can look at this Series and say to myself: "Even in a series of games, a team can slump." Is that a fair description of the Astros and Angels, or are the White Sox just that good?

Probably a little of both.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

I was wrong, and man, am I happy!

Look at this entry's title.

And I was wrong in another sense. From the post below, the Astros lost that playoff series to Philadelphia in 1980, not '81.

Houston (the city and the team) deserves every moment of this.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


I probably jinxed it anyway.

This is what will happen: The Cardinals will win the final two games, then we will see a repeat of last year's Series in that the Cardinals will fail to participate in the games. Expect a four-game sweep by the White Sox.

What took place last night at Minute Maid Park is not as visually dramatic as the ball rolling through Bill Buckner's legs, or Steve Bartman reaching for the foul ball, but it might just as well be.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Not Just Yet!

It seems most of the sports prognosticators (actually all of the ones I've heard today) are expecting the Astros to go to the World Series. After all, they have already won three games to the Cardinals one, and the team from Houston seems to possess one of the best starting rotations outside of The Bronx.

Before I jump on that bandwagon, let me write with the point of view of someone who's familiar with Houston professional sports. I'll wait until that final out before I start celebrating. Now I am aware that many Astros fans will want to pummel me for making such a comment. But remember history. I believe it was 1981 (I am typing this off the top of my head, before the first pitch of tonight's game.. so forgive me if I'm a little off) when the Astros and Phillies went head to head for the right to go to the World Series. Close, but no cigar. Excitement all around Houston, but the Phillies won the playoff and went on to win it all.

I also recall the old Houston Oilers, who were one of the more average NFL teams for most of the 70's, but in the early 80's they were kept out of the Super Bowl at least twice by Pittsburgh. Then the club moves to Tennessee and misses the Vince Lombardi trophy by about 2 yards. (OK, a touchdown would likely have sent the game to overtime, but I think you get my point.)

I have several family members who probably know many true long-suffering Houston baseball and football fans. Those folks likely will understand my caution at this time.

By the way, I won't be watching any of tonight's game. I actually haven't seen any of the games so far, and I don't want to jinx it..........

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Winning and Losing

It’s happening in Boston.

And New York City.

And as of Tuesday it’s now happening here in the Valley of the Sun.

Wailing, gnashing of teeth, and even some torn garments. All over the state of various professional sports in the given area, whether it is regarding a player or an entire team. Scott Bordow’s column gives a good argument for folks in the Grand Canyon State to be dysphoric.

How quickly we forget the pleasure. How long we hold onto the pain.

It still seems not so long ago that the Diamondbacks defeated the Yankees in game 7 of the 2001 World Series. One of the most dramatic and exciting endings of recent memory. One that gave the Valley its first top-tier world championship.

But the fans here seem to dwell on the woes of this past season regarding the ‘Backs. Me, how about a “Don’t fret, they’ll get better. Their day will come again.” Too optimistic? Perhaps, but it’s still better than the aforementioned emotional pain. I can always recall the World Series victory.

I used to live in Houston and I still root for the Astros. But they have never won a pennant. Never been to the “big one.” As any long-term Houston resident can attest, professional sports suffering just comes with the territory. (At least the Rockets won back to back titles in the 90's, before Air Jordan came out of retirement the first time.)

Winning is nice. Winning feels good. But sometimes it’s just fun to go to the game.

I plan to attend several D-Back’s games in 2006. Regardless of where they are in the standings. While I’m at the ballpark, I can look at the 2001 World Series title sign as long as I want.

No losing record will ever take that away.

Monday, October 10, 2005

I'll admit it

...I turned 40 last week.

It's not as bad as I would have imagined it some years ago. Truth be told, I am more satisfied with my life overall now than when I turned 30 (the throes of graduate school and low-paying work), or even 20 (wondering what the @*!! to do with my life).

And I don't have any gray hair. At least none that's visible.

Plus, I have my four-year-old daughter Geoana, who is next to me as I type this. Perhaps she keeps me younger than my years. Just finished playing a game of Chutes and Ladders (she cheats when daddy's not looking) while watching The Incredibles.

But I did realize within the past day or so that in 10 more years, I will be able to join AARP. Then I was reading James Lileks' column, which contained this segment:

"Not to say that young people were always avid consumers of newspapers. I do not recall the Fonzie-wannabees of my high school ripping my paper from my hands so they could read what Jack Anderson had to say about ABSCAM. (If that previous sentence made sense to you, you may now head off to Denny's and present your AARP discount card.)"

And I understood the whole thing!

But I still don't feel old.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Sunday Sports and Leisure

It's October. Randy Johnson won't get to "stick it" to Curt Schilling in a head to head pitching matchup this postseason. Johnson gets booed out of Game 3. Hey, he wanted to play for the Yankees. Let him deal with the New York media and the New York fans. Neither is as kind as the variety you'll find here in sunny Arizona.

My beloved Astros sent the Braves packing, again. :) :) :)

Temps are cool today. Only in the 80's. Hey, that's cool for the Arizona desert.

Making some red beans and rice for the evening meal.

I'm not sure this day could get any better...

Monday, September 26, 2005



The die is cast.

Last Friday was my last day at my job. The place where I labored for seven years. Two houses, four vehicles, and one child later, it was time to call it a day.

Just time for a sabbatical as I am exhausted. A hiatus from formal employment, but the work will not end. Geogal and I decided for me to step out of the workforce for a short time. However, I will consequentially be spending more time with Geoana, who is one year short of kindergarten.

I'm ready for it. Changes can be frightening, but only if we let them. Changes also can be the best things we encounter. Or perhaps they are just the open doors to allow the positives into our lives.

Monday, September 05, 2005

As Summer Draws To A Close

Go ahead, be one of the many who will roll their eyes and wonder why I give my attention to these “trivial” matters. I am willing to admit it, particularly now.

I enjoy sports.

Not all of them, mind you. I have no use for hockey (probably the result of being raised in Texas in the 1970's, when football really ruled). The NBA holds no interest for me, and I wasn’t interested in college basketball until I was actually in college and our team began a rise to prominence (Go Aggies!).

But baseball had my devotion from an early age and I played in little league for three years. I later learned the game of football and was a fan of the NFL contests in my later teens. Why am I mentioning all of this now?

The answer to why I am interested in certain sports and why I anticipate the start of the NCAA and NFL gridiron seasons is twofold. First, there is the anticipation that summer is coming to an end. While people in many parts of the country and many school-age youngsters bemoan the slow termination of this season, I enjoy it. It means the end of Arizona summer heat is in sight. I always look forward to the summer temps when we’re in March and April, but by the end of August I have had enough. Seeing the football games on Saturday and Sunday are my Pavlov bell for the beginning of autumn. Second, with the effects of Katrina dominating the news over the past 7 days, sports does provide a necessary and needed relief. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying that the tragedy in three southern states is less important than college students breaking each others’ bodies on a 100-yard area of turf. But in our day of numerous 24-hour news channels, continuous finger-pointing, and doomsaying, sports can give many people a temporary respite from the evils of this world. That’s fine, as long as the respite is indeed temporary. Everyone needs a breather occasionally.

Don’t call me callous or heartless. My heart breaks every time I see video out of any of the affected areas. I gave to relief effort yesterday, and I will be giving again today.

Remember, we all have to take care of ourselves, too.

Friday, August 26, 2005

The Valley's Sad Sports

The Suns let Joe Johnson get away. The Diamondbacks are in the throes of another poor season (but they are winning a few more games than last year). Now tonight I am watching a Cardinals preseason game.

My prognositication: The Cardinals will just add to this year's litany of professional sports disappointment for the Grand Canyon State. Some sports pundits are picking them to win the NFC West this season. Sorry, but I have to disagree. New uniforms, a new logo, and Kurt Warner just aren't enough to turn the franchise around.

Still, I am looking forward to football season. At least most of us don't expect much from the Cardinals, so the losing seasons are never much of a surprise.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A Choice I Make

Tired this evening. Spending time with Geoana. Watching my favorite Roger Moore Bond flick on AMC. Get the dry cleaning, return the video rentals. Just tired.

Scanning some of the blogs, I came across this one regarding the National Geographic Channel's documentary "Inside 9/11." (Hat tip to Betsy Newmark, via Michelle Malkin's site). No matter how well-made it is, I won't be watching it. I still occasionally have nightmares about the 9/11 attacks and they seem to intensify each anniversary date. I cannot give my brain additional "bad dream fuel."

Apparently I still have not learned to cope with the horrid events of that day, and I was two time zones away from the attacked areas. Maybe I never will.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Finally, a new entry!

Back from a time of little blogging! I’ll attribute the minimal content of this blog recently to two factors: My increasingly-tiring full-time job (which is in a field completely unrelated to the print media, or of writing of any sort) and a short trip to California.

Upon returning home, I did start perusing the tree-killing news carriers that arrive in my driveway every morning. In Monday’s (8/15) paper there was an article by AP television writer David Bauer that just deserved a blogosphere response. While Bauer is obviously nostalgic about the “old days” of TV network news, he overromaticizes the impact of the nightly network news anchor. As I am nearing the age of 40, let me disclose that I never, at any time in my adult life, made a regular habit of watching an evening network newscast.


I hit early adulthood while in college, and watching any TV on a regular basis simply wasn’t a pattern I or any of my acquaintances followed (save for Monday Night Football and other NFL games). I wasn’t inclined to keep up with the news during those years anyway. Toward the end of my college days CNN was the ruler of the broadcast news media, and I watched it along with most everyone else. Then I began my radio news career and TV news functioned as almost something of an enemy. Fast foward to the present day and my TV news comes mainly from the Fox News Channel and 2 or 3 local newscasts.

Bauer compares Brokaw, Rather, and Jennings to father figures but for me that is pure folderol. Particularly in the case of Rather, whom I am more likely to compare to the quirky, oafish, or even slightly insane great uncle that the whole family tolerates only out of blood obligation.

The last sentence is the most telling: “No one fills dad’s empty place at the table immediately.” In my household, the meal has ended and the family has left the table.

Time to see what’s on the satellite dish.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Return the spectrum to the public?????

An esoteric topic, but one which nonetheless interests me, is the switchover to HDTV. I recall hearing some years ago that 2006 was the deadline for the switch from analog. Not long ago I was perusing some message boards in which some speculated that the date would be moved ahead, most likely to 2009, but some saying it would even be as late as 2015.

Now I read this, which gives credence to the 2009 theory. Yet there is a quote from Kyle McSlarrow, who opposes keeping both analog and digital signals on the air, stating his concern about keeping the airwaves available for public safety organizations.

Pardon my ignorance, but is there really a pressing need for public safety organizations to have more availability of the radio-TV airwaves? Do not the peace officers in this country have some of the best technology in the world with which to work?

"Public safety organizations" is, in my belief, a red herring. It's all about money.

Speaking of which, I was in Sam's Club last Saturday and saw this, playing "The Incredibles."

Bring on the switcheroo! Just another excuse for me.....

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Brits, The Blogs, and My Brain

While the tragedy in London is still being investigated, analyzed, and digested, I have taken a closer look at some of the blogs I frequent. Of particular interest to me was RadioEqualizer, who had this post on how many local and national talk hosts are off presently (must not be a ratings book period). While he makes several good points, I must disgree with his assertion that: "Hosts who care about their audiences should cut trips short or do remote broadcasts today."

As a former radio man myself, everyone behind the microphone deserves a certain amount of time off. Granted, many of the fill-in hosts are less than desireable, but we still live in the real world, where professionals need down time in order to recharge one's creative battery. If I'm in Hawaii on a 2-week vacation, I'm away. Radio is what I did, but it was not who I was. Maybe that's one reason I am no longer in the business.

I don't miss it.

I would put the British Union Jack here, but I don't know how to paste an image into my blog. Yet.

(The change in font size is due to Blogger's somewhat poor software, which will not let me convert this text from small size to normal size, as you see above. The disadvantage of using a free blog site....)

Monday, July 04, 2005

A New (mid)Years Resolution

Since July 1 has come and gone, that marks the halfway point of 2005. I figure I can use the occasion to commit to blogging a minimum of three times weekly. I might as well make it realistic, as an everyday commitment would simply be too much for me. After all, I do work a full-time job, have numerous responsibilities as a husband and father, and have other interests away from the computer keyboard.

And, since I have returned from my summer vacation to Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, I now no longer have any type of excuse.

My current random thoughts? I have NO sympathy for Oprah regarding the whole Paris-store incident. I think it is amusing that this took place in France, long rumoured to be much more progressive than us "ugly filthy Americans."

So Tom Cruise and Brooke Shields are engaged in a battle of words over psychotherapy and psychiatric medication versus Scientology. Brooke, you go, girl!!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Nothing but more random thoughts...

It's amazing how many people I encounter in the course of a day who don't know what a blog is, or have even heard the term. C'mon, it's 2005, people!!!

James Lileks had a good piece today about journalism school. Hit it on the head I think. Not that I'm bemoaning my own degree, but I am using my writing skills today in areas I never thought even existed in 1990.

And perhaps that is the lesson, learn what you can because you never know where you might need it.

OK, last random thought for this post. Recently Geogal and I were watching a boxing match on HBO. Why then, in between rounds, are we treated to very up-close shots of the boxers in their corners, blood and all, plus some spitting? Personally, I want to see the curvaceous girls who carry the sign informing all in attendance what the next round will be. The ratings may just improve a bit!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

All good things....

Amidst the Newsweek debacle and the continuing debate over filibusters and Social Security, I chose to blog today on a really important issue. The end of the Star Trek production/factory/mobile and the final Star Wars film, both of which are taking place as I type.

First, the upcoming Star Wars flick. Maybe it’s a sign that Geoana’s watching a little too much of the idiot box when she hears “Darth Vader’s Theme” being played under the trailer for “Revenge of the Sith.” Even if she’s headed to bring another toy into the family room (better known as Geoana’s play area #3) she rushes back to watch the remainder of the trailer. And now her next coveted toy is a lightsaber. I thought we would only have to deal with these things if we had a boy.

I think I blew her mind the other day when I told her I was just a boy when I saw the first “Star Wars” movie.

In a few days I think I’ll get out my old Star Wars figures. It’s fun to be a dad.

What can I say about the end of the Star Trek franchise? Not much, as numerous other bloggers and columnists have already tackled the subject. I actually checked out sometime in the mid ‘90's, when I lost interest in “Voyager.” I never watched “Enterprise,” and I have not seen all of the episodes of “The Next Generation.” Maybe that’s when I really hit adulthood. Then again, maybe it just coincided with my enrolling in graduate school....

Saturday, April 30, 2005

From shame to pride

With the death of Pope John Paul II and the subsequent election of Pope Benedict XVI, the month of April was, for me, a time to reflect on my Catholic upbringing. I’ve made previous references to closely watching the ceremonies taking place in Vatican City and I’ve now reached a type of reconciliation with my past.

As with many young people raised in the church, I was active during my elementary school years, even reaching slightly into my junior high time. I attended C.C.D. and was an alter boy for about 2-3 years. Yet upon my entry into adulthood, I became bored (as did many of my contemporaries) with the entire culture of the church, along with the revelation that I now had a choice as to whether or not I attended. After my college years I became a Protestant for several reasons.

Being around other Protestants, I quickly began to feel a sense of shame about my Catholic upbringing. Some people were congratulatory, as if I had escaped the Gulag. Others were more direct about their hatred of the Catholic Church. Therefore I vowed to keep my spiritual upbringing quiet. Until now.

Seeing the outpouring of tributes and grief after the death of John Paul II and around the same time having a conversation with Geogal about how many Protestant churches ignore the importance of liturgy, I then realized the Catholic Church has many positives, even if its shortcomings have been under a media microscope for the past two years. These problems can be addressed and positive change can occur. But the basic mission of the Church is unchanged. And for that, I am proud to have been raised Catholic.

Speaking of the Catholic Church and the election of Benedict XVI, here is a column that is worth reading. (Hat tip-Hugh Hewitt)

Monday, April 25, 2005

Don't stop the music

A very OK weekend! No complaints! Geogal finally got her I-Pod Shuffle out of the box and working. She already has a playlist downloaded to the thing and was bopping around the house most of the weekend. Making me jealous, as I have yet to own any MP3 device.

Lileks had a great entry today about how retailers tend to decrease in customer service as they increase in size. Reminds me of the time I spent the better part of two years taking parts orders for Sears many eons ago. (Don’t laugh, I needed to eat.) I still remember the day Geogal told me it was OK to up and quit, after I had endured difficult supervisors and a litany of cranky callers one rough Saturday. I called that day “Liberation Day.” It was an annual celebration in our house for several years following.

Doesn’t a celebration call for a gift? Like an I-Pod Shuffle?

But a check of my mental calendar reminds me that Liberation Day is in September. Hmmmmmm, what monumental event happened in our household in, say, May or June?

Monday, April 18, 2005

Decreased stress

Geoana's birthday (and related party) have come and gone. Geogal's b-day is nearly here but no worries about a party (being an adult has numerous positives)!

While obtaining supplies for Geoana's party, I noticed that 6-packs of the popular sodas are nearly impossible to find. Is this another sign of the end times?

Spent Sunday afternoon relaxing and FINALLY watching the VHS recording of the Pope's funeral. (No, Tivo is not in my house just yet.) It's finally time to blog again.

Geoana really enjoyed her party. And the house is still standing. All in all, a wonderful weekend.

A delayed post

The following was originally written the evening of April 7. Before I was able to post it, Geogal unplugged the cable modem to use it for her work-related laptop. Since we are all awaiting the election of the next Pope, I still think it is relevant:


Finally am able to spend a few minutes here at the keyboard. I know, I know. No new entries for some time. Blame that on a heavy work schedule, work at home preparing for Geoana’s upcoming birthday party, lack of sleep, and Geogal getting over strep throat.

Did I mention high stress?

In the tradition of many bloggers it seems fitting at this time, as Pope John Paul II’s funeral will begin in a few hours, to write something meaningful and insightful about his tenure heading the Roman Catholic Church. I don’t know about the meaningful or insightful, but I can still share my random thoughts.

I was a geeky almost-teenager when he was elected pope in 1978. I was raised Catholic, and the election of the Pope was closely followed in our house. It wasn’t until many years later that I learned the significance of a man from Poland being chosen Pope. Now, with the benefit of over 26 years of hindsight, I believe I was witness to a major change in the papacy. Over this past week many writers and commentators recall John Paul II was the most-traveled Pope in history. My memories of him will be much more than that. I think he changed the papacy and the church in ways that are only beginning to be noticed. I believe history will recall him as ushering in modern era of sorts for an office that was stodgy, to say the least. Yet, he didn’t usher in any sweeping changes to the church, either in tradition or in canon law. But what an impact he had on young people. I heard testimonials from the twentysomthings of today who credit this pontiff for inspiring them.

I certainly cannot say the same about Pope Paul VI (no disrespect intended). Nor, do I think, will the Pope to follow quite measure up.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Lowbrow Blog Definition

Geogal returned home from the Big Easy none the worse for wear. Per her report one of the airplane trip highlights was attempting to explain to her attorney cohort exactly what a blog is. To better illustrate it, she referenced an episode from The Simpsons. Life imitates Our Favorite Family yet again.

Hmmm, could Arrested Development references be in the near future?

Monday, March 21, 2005

All the neurons are firing again!

Learned a valuable lesson the other evening. ALWAYS blog into a word processor, then paste it into the blog’s field, then post. As with many of my learned lessons, I learned it the hard way. Wrote (and lost) the last entry (twice!!) before finally getting the process right. Plus, the word processing software contains the ever-useful spell check. Even though spelling is not much of a problem for me, I do suffer from the occasional keyboard dyslexia.

I am finally feeling better. So better in fact, that I almost forgot to take my evening dose of antibiotic. A true sign of recovery if there ever was one...

I am in day three of being the single parent. So far, so good. The only incident involves a spill of grape juice on the carpet, giving the putrid surrounding light and dark stains a little splash of color. Geogal gets home tomorrow, then all should be right with this little world.

Monday, March 14, 2005

After the medicine kicks in.....'s time to start blogging! Since I just ingested some Motrin, time to hit the keyboard. So, time for more drivel.

Perhaps the reason newspaper writers dislike the blogosphere so intensely is the concept of dues-paying. There are a limited number of newspapers, and each of these periodicals has a finite number of column inches. And most writers in the larger dailies had to toil at the smaller gazettes, often for years, before obtaining their desired positions. Then what happens? The rules change!

Don't misunderstand me, I do not wish for the newspapers to vanish. You should know that I have a degree in journalism, I am just not using it to earn a paycheck at this time. I also admit that I enjoy reading the paper to which I subscribe, particularly with the first cup of coffee on a weekend morning.

My main argument is that editors and writers both need to increase their responsibility to their readership, which means balanced reporting (something I learned in my first freshman journalism class). I am well aware that bias and inaccuracies are not limited to the print medium.

And newspapers have a whole variety of uses.

Friday, March 11, 2005

First Thoughts

Geogal has been after me for a while to begin blogging, and finally I ran out of excuses. For the few people who will see this post, just understand it is merely my thoughts about a variety of issues, mostly culture, religion, pop culture (yes, it's different than regular culture), and some sports thrown in as well. Minimal politics, I promise. Two reasons: First, the political blogging is done very well in numerous other sites; and second, because I want to engage in blogging as a form of relaxation. Political blogging will only serve to increase my blood pressure.

I'll even try my hand at humor (a la James Lileks) and perhaps tackle the task of essaying (only rarely, at this point).

After so many years, the old journalism degree is finally put to some use!

It's late on Friday evening, and I am suffering from a combination of fatigue and getting over an illness-that-was-worse-than-the-common-cold-but-not-quite-the-flu. So........

More to come later.