stuff like this starts to appear more regularly on the page.
Mind you, a few things happened this Christmas, some good, some bad. I will get about discussing the good, bad and indifferent at another time, but first we are going to go back for just a second and review the list I had posted earlier. Just how close to actuality did the list get this year? Well let's take a look shall we;
Money - I actually didn't rake in all that much cash this year, the only money I got was $20 from my grandmother that she gives all of the grandkids.
Groceries (when don't I eat after all?) - This was one of the more theatrical productions of the Christmas holiday. Anyone who knows how I shop knows that I shop on the cheap. Well my mom wanted to get me groceries but didn't know what to get so she offered to take me grocery shopping a few days after Christmas. The trip to the store was hilarious. She didn't understand me shopping for the cheapest hot dogs, or buying chili to go with tortilla chips because it tastes good and is cheaper than salsa. At times she was just throwing stuff in the cart because I wouldn't pick it out myself. Other times she would suggest stuff and I would end up telling her that it would never get eaten and would thereby be wasted. Prime example, she wanted to buy me this bacon type product that apparently you can put in the microwave. I have a pack of bacon that has been sitting in my freezer for like 2 years now so I had to fight with her not to buy it because I would probably never use it. Other times she would pick stuff like some multiflavor cheesecake that was in the freezer section. I looked at it and it was $7 and I said we are not spending $7 on a dessert, I could have ramen noodles for like 2 months on that. It was a most entertaining trip to say the least, my mom trying to spoil me and me being all frugal.
Pogo membership - Nothing here, though I did win two more wall papers from Pogo, one was with the Happy New Year badge, the other I won on a token spin while chasing that horrid Carnival Blackjack badge this week.
TV shows on DVD such as - I received no DVDs this year so we can ignore this section entirely
- Aqua Teen Hunger Force (season 2 and beyond)
- West Wing (Seasons 2-7)
- Homicide: Life on the Streets
- Drawn Together (season 2 and beyond)
Rhapsody downloads - Also something that I did not receive, though to be honest, I doubt anyone in my family actually knows what these are, this would be a little too techie for them.
A female (preferable breathing, but not mandatory) - This always ends up on the list and always ends up not happening, though given the number of family members that are squeezing out more kids and others having relationship problems, I might rethink ever putting this on the list again, as the more I see of this whole coupling thing, the less and less I am liking it.
My own radio show - To my knowledge, the radio station didn't give me this and I didn't see any offers in the mail or email from other stations, so I guess this didn't happen either.
A day of nothing but sleep - I didn't get one of these, but I did make it a sport of lounging quite a bit. On Christmas morning, I was the guy sleeping until after 10am. That was awesome.
Gift cards (Target, Wal Mart, Barnes & Noble, Giant Eagle, Borders, Best Buy) - I actually got 4 of these, a $100 gift card to Best Buy from Lynn, a $25 gift card to Radio Shack from Phil who sometimes will sit in for Lynn on the radio show, and 2 $25 gift cards to Barnes and Noble, one from my mom and one from my uncle Fred, who had my name in this year's name exchange on Christmas Eve.
Lottery tickets (winners only please) - I got $7 of lottery tickets which won $6, I cashed them in for more tickets and the new tickets didn't win anything.
Shoes (size 9 1/2) - I got two pair of shoes which meant one of the first things I did when getting back to my apartment was to throw out a bunch of shoes that had holes in the tread or on the side. I must have had like 5 pair of shoes that I couldn't wear anymore but was holding onto for some sentimental reason that I can't figure. Now the garbage man can hold them for landfill purposes.
Haircut - I did get a haircut the day after Christmas, it was one of the few things I did that I would consider productive during my vacation.
Massage - Nothing here, but as a side note, when I am relaxed my neck tends to pop quite loudly as the stress leaves my shoulders. I think every day of vacation my neck cracked at least once.
Penguin tickets - No Penguin tickets, but I am looking forward to New Years Day when they will be on national TV playing a game outside in Buffalo when they take on the Sabres.
A maid - Nope
Books (too many to list here, so inquire within for more info) - This was a place I did better than expected. I got three books (plus the two gift cards). Mind you I still had books from work I could read so I wasn't hurting for reading material, but I also got "Blaze" by Richard Bachman (aka Stephen King), "The Quickie" by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge and "Bone Lake" by Drusilla Campbell. I also got a book of Sunday New York Time Crossword puzzles (thankfully the answers come with the book) and another of the few accomplishments of vacation was finishing reading "Mr. Adams's Last Crusade" by Joseph Wheelan which was a biography of John Quincy Adams that focused on his life in the House of Representatives after his time as President of the United States. To my knowledge it still isn't on bookshelves, I was reading an advance copy sent to the station. It should be available in Feb if memory serves me correctly.
Socks - Yes, I received a package of socks.
Underwear - I also got this, though I hate to disappoint the ladies out there, but they are just tighty whiteys, no cool boxer action for me so I will not be doing any underwear modeling on the page any time soon.
Dress shirts - I did get one dress shirt and also a sweatshirt, which is fine, I am coming to like sweatshirts more and more these days. As I type this I am lounging in a sweatshirt and non Christmas related boxer shorts.
Pants - I got one pair of dress pants and one pair of jeans.
Yes, this is the clothing portion of the list
Neckties - No ties, though I really don't wear them all that much, this was more of a list filler than anything else.
A new zipper for my leather jacket - For the second straight year this made the list but didn't happen. Luckily I have a fleece jacxket I can wear under my leather jacket until I get off of my ass and get my coat fixed. I am way lazy in case you didn't notice, otherwise this wouldn't be on the list for two straight years.
Washington Post subscription - No newspaper subscriptions WaPo or otherwise. I did raed the paper semiregularly on vacation which is odd, because I almost never buy one when I am not on vacation, I just rely on online versions of the paper, yet during vacation I had a hard copy of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette in my hands just about everyday, including Christmas morning when I bought one at Sheetz, where they were also giving out free coffee Christmas morning. Yummmm, free coffee!!!!!
Bed sheets (twin) - I got a set of twin sheets for my bed.
Stamps - One book of stamps, by the time I use them I am sure the postage rate will go up again. You may think I am kidding but before I left on vacation I found unused .37 cent stamps in my apartment or two postal rate hikes ago for those keeping score at home.
Combo Lo Mein - No combo lo mein but duirng the grocery story run I did pick out in the Lipton Noodles and Sauce section of the store two Asain side dishes including Beef Lo Mein. Not sure if it is any good, but it was on sale (1 dollar a pack, again with the bargain shopping) so I grabbed some.
A good Philly Cheesesteak - This is another of those things that will just never happen but has to appear on the list out of principle. There are cheesesteaks and then there are Philly Cheesesteaks and all imitators need to take two steps back becaue they just aren't the same.
Vaccuum cleaner - This was probably my big gift and one of the reasons I haven't blogged earlier this evening, as I was putting the vacuum cleaner together. I had a brief brain cramp not understanding why it wouldn't suck stuff up until I realized that it might have something to do with the tube that runs from the base of the vacuum to the filtration unit (it is a bagless thank god) wasn't connected. I had a brief "Oh my god I am as dumb as my ex girfriend who thought that if you microwaved one hot dog for a minute, you microwaved 10 for 10 minutes" kind of moment, thankfully that has passed and the vacuum works wonderfully now.
Someone to take about 15 lbs away from my gut - The fat fairy was a no show, maybe next time I will jam my fat under my pillow and hope for a quarter or something.
More hours in the day, as long as they aren't work hours - I wish this would have happened because then I would still be on vacation.
A victory in the fantasy football playoffs would be nice - This didn't happen, in my two leagues I finished 4th and second, 4th in yahoo which means my 10-4 regular season was all for naught and second in the bar league which means I at least made a couple of bucks as second place paid out $139.50.
Recipe for a good hot garlic sauce for chicken wings - No recipes for wing sauce, but someone who listens to the show did send Lynn and I some presents and one of mine was a cookbook for all things Campbell's soup.
Home cooked food ( I could serious dig on some chocolate chip cookies, but I am trying to not be too picky) - I did get cookies to bring home with me, which I am not taking to the radio station, they can have my box of chocolate covered cremes but they don't get my cookies. Actually I ate quite well while at home; turkey, carrots, mashed potatoes, cheesecake on Christmas Eve, ham, corn and baked potatoes Christmas day, pork chops and steak fries on another vacation day and last night was homemade beef stew so plenty of home cooked eats here and probably an extra 5 pounds for the fat fairy next year.
Towels - No towels, but these are an easy snag for me, especially with everyone running after Christmas specials seeing as how they apparently didn't make enough money before Christmas. I have bad news for you Lee, if you thought the early Christmas stuff was bad, I was shopping a few days before Christmas and they had already rolled out the stuff for Valentine's Day.
Sims 2 for PC - This is one of those things where evidence of my family's non techiness comes into play. I got Sims 2 Nightlife, which is an expansion pack to the game, the thing being that without the game, the expansion is of little use. Now some people would take a gift like this back to the store and try to get their money back or credit at the store or they would bitch and moan that it wasn't what they wanted, but not me, I don't roll like that. It is all about the thought, I know that this wasn't purchased as some sort of slight against me, and chances are I will end up buying Sims 2 at some point anyway, so tis can sit on my shelf for now and I will get to it when I have the chance, but I will never take a well intentioned gift back to the store simply because it didn't suit my needs.
Greendot card uploads - I don't think anyone in my family knows what these are so the chance I would get anything like this is slim and none.
And that kids is the story of the list. For the record, I know I didn't pull an Asshat out during vacation, that would go to our illustrious House of Representatives who decided that it might be a good idea to pass a resolution to confirm the fact that Christmas is important. After reading about JQ Adams time in the House of Representatives, to see our elected representatives waste their time on garbage such as this makes me want to scream. This doesn't just go out to all of those who voted in favor, this goes out to those that voted at all, as casting a vote on something this ridiculous goes to show just how much you really don't deserve your job. I can think of plenty of things the House can be spending their time on, affirming Christmas is important isn't one of them. Thus the largest ever issuing of Asshats, 391 in all that voted either yea, nay or present is handed out to this most dubious of groups.
Seasons Greetings Indeed!!!!!!
I am back from Christmas, as soon as I get things squared away on this end of things I will go about the duty of commenting on everything I missed in my absense. In the meantime, I often talk about the view out my studio window, with the West End Bridge off in the distance.
Well, that being the case on a clear day, I don't know why, but I found this shot relatively cool on a day not so clear
By SADAQAT JAN and ZARAR KHAN, Associated Press Writers 18 minutes ago
Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday by an attacker who shot her after a campaign rally and then blew himself up. Her death stoked new chaos across the nuclear-armed nation, an important U.S. ally in the war on terrorism.
At least 20 others were also killed in the attack on the rally for Jan. 8 parliamentary elections where the 54-year-old former prime minister had just spoken.
Angry supporters rioted in the southern port city of Karachi after her killing, firing shots at police, setting tires and cars on fire and burning a gas station. One person was killed north of Karachi in the violent aftermath of the assassination.
At the hospital where Bhutto died, some supporters smashed glass and wailed, chanting slogans against President Pervez Musharraf. Musharraf blamed Islamic extremists for her death and said he would redouble his efforts to fight them.
"This is the work of those terrorists with whom we are engaged in war," he said in a nationally televised speech. "I have been saying that the nation faces the greatest threats from these terrorists. ... We will not rest until we eliminate these terrorists and root them out."
In the U.S., a tense looking President Bush strongly condemned the attack "by murderous extremists who are trying to undermine Pakistan's democracy." White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said Bush spoke briefly by phone with Musharraf.
Musharraf convened an emergency meeting with his senior staff, where they were expected to discuss whether to postpone the elections, an official at the Interior Ministry said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.
Nawaz Sharif, another former prime minister and leader of a rival opposition party, demanded Musharraf resign immediately and announced his party would boycott the upcoming election.
The attacker struck just minutes after Bhutto addressed thousands of supporters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, 8 miles south of Islamabad. She was shot in the neck and chest by the attacker, who then blew himself up, said Rehman Malik, Bhutto's security adviser.
Sardar Qamar Hayyat, a leader from Bhutto's party, said at the time of the attack he was standing about 10 yards away from her vehicle — a white, bulletproof SUV with a sunroof.
"She was inside the vehicle and was coming out from the gate after addressing the rally when some of the youths started chanting slogans in her favor. Then I saw a smiling Bhutto emerging from the vehicle's roof and responding to their slogans," he said.
"Then I saw a thin, young man jumping toward her vehicle from the back and opening fire. Moments later, I saw her speeding vehicle going away," he added.
Bhutto was rushed to the hospital and taken into emergency surgery. She died about an hour after the attack.
Hours later, her body was carried out of the hospital in a plain wooden coffin by a crowd of supporters. Her body was expected to be transferred to an air base and brought to her hometown of Larkana.
A doctor on the team that treated her said she had a bullet in the back of the neck that damaged her spinal cord before exiting from the side of her head. Another bullet pierced the back of her shoulder and came out through her chest.
She was given open heart massage, but the main cause of death was damage to her spinal cord, he said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
"At 6:16 p.m., she expired," said Wasif Ali Khan, a member of Bhutto's party who was at Rawalpindi General Hospital.
"The surgeons confirmed that she has been martyred," Bhutto's lawyer Babar Awan said.
Bhutto's supporters at the hospital exploded in anger, smashing the glass door at the main entrance of the emergency unit. Others burst into tears. One man with a flag of Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party tied around his head was beating his chest.
"I saw her with my own eyes sitting in a vehicle after addressing the rally. Then, I heard an explosion," Tahir Mahmood, 55, said sobbing. "I am in shock. I cannot believe that she is dead."
Many chanted slogans against Musharraf, accusing him of complicity in her killing.
"We repeatedly informed the government to provide her proper security and appropriate equipment including jammers, but they paid no heed to our requests," said Malik, the security adviser.
As news of her death spread, angry supporters took to the streets.
In Karachi, shop owners quickly closed their businesses as protesters set tires on fire on the roads, torched several vehicles and burned a gas station, said Fayyaz Leghri, a local police official. Gunmen shot and wounded two police officers, he said.
One man was killed in a shootout between police and protesters in Tando Allahyar, a town 120 miles north of Karachi, said Mayor Kanwar Naveed. In the town of Tando Jam, protesters forced passengers to get out of a train and then set it on fire.
Violence also broke out in Lahore, Multan, Peshawar and many other parts of Pakistan, where Bhutto's supporters burned banks, state-run grocery stores and private shops. Some set fire to election offices for the ruling party, according to Pakistani media.
Akhtar Zamin, home minister for the southern Sindh province, said authorities would deploy troops to stop violence if needed.
Musharraf, who announced three days of mourning for Bhutto, urged calm.
"I want to appeal to the nation to remain peaceful and exercise restraint," he said.
Sharif arrived at the hospital and sat silently next to Bhutto's body.
"Benazir Bhutto was also my sister, and I will be with you to take the revenge for her death," he said. "Don't feel alone. I am with you. We will take the revenge on the rulers."
He rebutted suggestions that he could gain political capital from her demise, announcing his Muslim League-N party would boycott the elections and demanding that Musharraf resign.
"The holding of fair and free elections is not possible in the presence of Pervez Musharraf," he said. "Musharraf is the cause of all the problems. The federation of Pakistan cannot remain intact in the presence of President Musharraf," he told a news conference.
"After the killing of Benazir Bhutto, I announce that the Pakistan Muslim League-N will boycott the elections," Sharif said. "I demand that Musharraf should quit immediately."
Hours earlier, four people were killed at a rally for Sharif when his supporters clashed with backers of Musharraf near Rawalpindi.
Bhutto's death will leave a void at the top of her party, the largest political group in the country, as it heads into the elections.
Pakistan is considered a vital U.S. ally in the fight against al-Qaida and other Islamic extremists including the Taliban. Osama bin Laden and his inner circle are believed to be hiding in lawless northwest Pakistan along the border with Afghanistan.
The U.S. has invested significant diplomatic capital in promoting reconciliation between Musharraf and the opposition, particularly Bhutto, who was seen as having a wide base of support in Pakistan. Her party had been widely expected to do well in next month's elections.
Had the PPP either won a majority of seats or enough to put together a majority coalition, Bhutto could have recaptured the job of prime minister.
Bush, speaking briefly to reporters at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, demanded that those responsible for the killing be brought to justice.
"The United States strongly condemns this cowardly act by murderous extremists who are trying to undermine Pakistan's democracy," said Bush, who looked tense and took no questions.
The U.N. Security Council also condemned the assassination.
Pakistan was just emerging from another crisis after Musharraf declared a state of emergency on Nov. 3, and used sweeping powers to round up thousands of his opponents and fire Supreme Court justices. He ended emergency rule Dec. 15 and subsequently relinquished his role as army chief, a key opposition demand. Bhutto had been an outspoken critic of Musharraf's imposition of emergency rule.
Educated at Harvard and Oxford universities, Bhutto served twice as Pakistan's prime minister between 1988 and 1996.
Her father was Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, scion of a wealthy landowning family in southern Pakistan and founder of the populist Pakistan People's Party. The elder Bhutto was president and then prime minister of Pakistan before his ouster in a 1977 military coup. Two years later, he was executed by the government of Gen. Zia-ul Haq after being convicted of engineering the murder of a political opponent.
Bhutto had returned to Pakistan from an eight-year exile on Oct. 18. On the same day, she narrowly escaped injury when her homecoming parade in Karachi was targeted in a suicide attack that killed more than 140 people.
Islamic militants linked to al-Qaida and the Taliban hated Bhutto for her close ties to the Americans and support for the war on terrorism. A local Taliban leader reportedly threatened to greet Bhutto's return to the country with suicide bombings.
At the scene of Thursday's bombing, an Associated Press reporter saw body parts and flesh scattered at the back gate of the Liaqat Bagh park, where Bhutto had spoken. He counted about 20 bodies, including police, and could see many other wounded people.
Police cordoned off the street with white and red tape, and rescuers rushed to put victims in ambulances as people wailed nearby.
The clothing of some victims was shredded and people put party flags over their bodies. Police caps and shoes littered the asphalt.
Hundreds of riot police had manned security checkpoints around the venue. It was Bhutto's first public meeting in Rawalpindi since she came back to the country.
In November, Bhutto had also planned a rally in the city, but Musharraf forced her to cancel it, citing security fears.
In recent weeks, suicide bombers have repeatedly targeted security forces in Rawalpindi, where Musharraf stays and the Pakistan army has its headquarters.
I am not much of an ecard guy (I tend to delete them out of a virus riddled fear that comes with some of them), or for mass mailings so consider this your Christmas Greetings one and all. Call me lazy if you will, but it's just the type of guy I am. Rather than go through a diatribe of well wishes for all, I think I will borrow from an email that was sent to me and leave the actual translating to yinz. Merry Christmas everyone!!!!!!!!!
Pittsburgh Christmas Carol
Yinz better wahtch aht
Yinz better not paht
Yinz better not cry,
I'm tellin yinz hauscome
Santa Clause is commin' dahntahn
He's makin' a list
He's checkin' it aht
He's gowen find aht who's nebby an at
Santa Clause is commin' dahntahn
He knows if yinzes a jaggoff
He can see inside your haus
He knows if you've been workin' hard
Or sittin' on your caach
Yinz better wahtch aht
Yinz better not paht
Yinz better not cry,
I'm tellin yinz hauscome
Santa Clause is commin'
What is frightening is that this
is perfectly understood by those of us
that have grown to love the Burgh.
Oh but where to start? I am not at a loss for words, but rather a loss for a starting point. Once I get an actual amount of momentum going, I am quite sure that a steam of consciousness will follow allowing me to fill up the page, so to speak.
I guess I could pick up on my last real entry, not the blog saying I was going to do a blog, but the one before that. I kind of left everything hanging in the balance, unless people followed along in the comments to the entry. I would request an appearance of Peabody and Sherman and the Wayback Machine,
but I imagine by now they are resting comfortably in a retirement village in Florida, just biding their time and waiting for the end to come.
Anyway, when I last left the blog, I had mentioned that I had two fantasy football games in progress, one in yahoo and one in the bar league. I was winning both, but both games were relatively close. As it turns out, I ended up losing in the yahoo league, Adrian Petersen ended my hopes of a fantasy title there, I am now relegated to the 3rd place game. In the bar league however, which I find more important because it involves money as opposed to pride (try buying milk with pride, just doesn't work all that well) I held on for a 6 point win, meaning this weekend will be for the league championship. Regardless of how it turns out, I will end up making money this year, but the difference between 1st and 2nd place is $93 dollars, so there is a definite fiscal advantage to winning as opposed to being the runner up.
Some things I didn't touch on, not that I meant to ignore them, but just didn't think about it at the time were the hockey league and the office pool. Well, hockey was pretty much a bad week for me, going 2-7-1 as I did, I have once again fallen out of the top 6 and reside in 7th place. and the overall record has fallen to 45-49-16 after 11 weeks of play. I am thinking now might be a good time for me to get all pouty and stuff so that I might increase my chances of winning. After all, it seemed to work in the office pool, so maybe it will work with the hockey team as well. Yeah, about that office pool that I moaned about a few weeks back, saying that I really didn't have a chance because there wasn't enough time left in the year for me to catch up, we are dow to the last two weeks of the season for picking games, and I am now just two wins behind first place. I went 10-6 last week, which was tied for best in the entire pool, so I gained a little ground, more so on the ineptness of my competition than me displaying a vast array of intelligence far surpassing my corporate counterparts.
I should note that I think I had my first bout of Alzheimer's this evening. It was quite shuddering at the time, but I have regained my wits for the time being. As most of you know, it is not uncommon for me to take afternoon naps, usually between jobs, but once you establish that pattern, it becomes hard to break, even when I only have to work at one place of employment. Wednesday was the last time I had doubled between both places, but after getting off of work Wednesday night, I came home and as I am want to do from time to time, I hopped on the computer before bed. Mind you, I got out of work relatively early, about 12:15am or so because business has died down with the college students away. I spend most of my shift cleaning stuff, scrubbing the dishwasher, wiping down walls, cleaning burners off of the stove, just basically bullshit tasks to keep me busy and collecting money. Anyway, I get home and decide I will work on the newly released pogo badges on Wednesday. The games this week were Canasta, Aces Up and one of my choosing, plus an additional Aces Up badge that I am working on from the premium level of badges. thus by playing that game I was accomplishing two tasks at the same time. I settle in and begin playing Aces Up, the weekly badge being to remove 2000 cards. Given there are 52 cards in a standard deck, if you win the game, it takes roughly 40 hands or so to complete the task, so I set about getting that done. I finished it, and saw that the Canasta badge was to score 25000 Canasta points. Each game of Canasta is to 5000, so it basically means if you beat your opponent or the computer 5 times, you'll have the badge. Me being the antisocial sort that I am played the computer. Plus is the added fact I can almost always kick the computers ass, I figured how long could 5 games of canasta actually take? It didn't seem like all that long and sure enough I had completed task number two, leaving just the challenge of my choosing as the only badge I needed for the week. I sorted through all of the challenges that I haven't completed, hoping to find one that I would be rid of in relatively short order and I see one for Candy Cruncher 2, which is get exactly 250 tokens once in a jackpot spin. To get a spin, you must complete 3 consecutive boards in the game, so I make a deal with myself that I will play for one spin, if I get it fine, if not, I am calling it a night and grabbing a quick couple of z's before work in the very early morning. Well, I got the badge on my first spin, so now I am all happy, all three weekly badges done in one evening's worth of work, but when I looked at the clock, it was approaching the 4am hour, which is just about the time I roll out of bed to get ready for work at 5am. So instead of sleep, I just plodded off to the shower and began the morning ritual that results in keeping dozens of Pittsburghers entertained via their radio. I roll into work Thursday morning and immediately head for any sort of high caffeine beverage that will keep me awake. I think I put down for large mugs of the stuff prior to the radio show starting at 9am, thus keeping my eyes sufficiently pried open for the course of the show. Next up was Christmas shopping. As much as my body was saying "Matt, find a bed and sleep!", reality was saying "Matt, tomorrow is the last day you see Lynn before you both go on vacation, you need to buy something!" Damn that reality, damn it to hell. I had to make a slight detour to my apartment, to pick up some cash for my shopping extravaganza. I figured I would get Lynn's gift, Sam (her son) his present and if I saw anything for my mom and her husband, I would get that as well. I had planned on getting Sam The Simpson's movie, since he collects the TV seasons on DVD, but consulting with Lynn beforehand alerted me to the fact that someone else was already getting it for him, so that plan was out. Instead, I opted for the Transformers movie, though I don't know if he will like it or not, I don't have much of a bead on his interests. Lynn I had a pretty good idea of what to get, I know she is a fan of 24, but that she became a convert after the fact, so finding the first season on DVD seemed to be a no brainer on the "Matt you are so freaking cool scale" as it would allow her to watch episodes that she missed. I also tossed in a corkscrew set, seeing as how I know she likes an occasional glass of wine, this had the stand and pourer and everything with it. Go me on being two for two on the cool gift ideas. By the time I make it back from the shopping extravaganza (I also picked up some gifts for my mom and her husband, including some really cool bamboo placemats for the dinner table for just $1.99 each @ Bed, Bath and Beyond, a store I could just get lost in I might add), I realized that not only haven't I slept, I haven't eaten either. So first order of business would be the acquiring of nourishment. I was going to stop in at the place I work, but they had a crowd in their for the Steeler game, as it was a big night in sports for our little hamlet yesterday, and a productive one to boot.
Yesterday saw the Steelers play the St Louis Rams. The Steelers entered the game tied for first in their division at 9-5 with the Cleveland Browns, but they hold the tie breaker, having beaten Cleveland twice this year, so a win would go a long way to helping their playoff chances with just two games to to go. Pittsburgh won, 41-24, meaning that they can clinch the division title with a win next week, or a Cleveland loss in either of their last two games. They can get at least a wild card spot if Tennessee loses, so they have definitely improved their chances at the post season. It is often said that to wish someone luck they should "Break a leg", well I can't speak for how much luck is involved in that sentiment as technically my championship game in fantasy started with that contest, my opponent had Torry Holt from the Rams, who got him 5 points. In my wisdom, I opted to play Willie Parker this week, thinking that he leads the NFL in rushing and for the first time in three weeks he will be running in good conditions, as the Rams play indoors rather than out in the elements. What should happen on Willie Parker's first carry of the game and my first play in the fantasy championship game? He breaks his leg. Luck, we will have none of that here.
The Penguins also played last night, winning against Boston in a shootout 5-4. The game was most memorable not for the way it was played but because for the first time in his young NHL career, Sidney Crosby actually dropped the gloves and got into a fight. I don't mind the drop the gloves stuff in hockey, I am not in favor of the cheap shots that take place, and I mean you Chris Simon, but the actual two guys getting under each others skin though the course of a contest until they finally just square off mano y mano, I don't mind that at all. Makes for good TV.
So where was I? Yes, at one point I was looking for food. Okay, so I decide that I am going to just order from Larry and Carol's, the pizza place I used to manage back in the day, rather than make something to eat. I ordered a steak wedgie and fries, and since it would take about 15 minutes to make, I meandered over to my watering hole to pass the time and watch some of the game while it was cooking. For those that don't know what a "wedgie" is, it has nothing to do with the cook picking his underwear out of his ass, but rather it is a medium pizza dough lightly cooked, and then the meat of choice and cheese is places on half of it, in this case grilled steak, and then the empty side is folded over it, creating a semi circle of goodness and it is placed back in the oven to brown the dough. When it comes out of the over, then you open it and add your requisite toppings (for me that was lettuce tomato and onion), close it and you are done.
While the cooking of the food was taking place, I was waching the first half of the Steeler game on one TV, while on another the Pitt basketball team was playing at Madison Square Garden against the Duke Blue Devils. I have mentioned previously in the blog that the basketball team was off to a good start, they entered last night's contest with a 10-0 record and were ranked #11 in the country, but Duke was also undefeated at 10-0 and they were ranked #6, and early on i didn't look good for Pitt, as I had heard from some friends that Pitt was down 14 points in the first half. Well, as I settled into wait for my food and enjoy an alcoholic beverage, someone says that Pitt and Duke are in overtime. I look to the TV monitor and they did in fact come back and the game was just entering OT when one of Pitt's starting guards, Mike Cook would land funny on a drive to the basket and end up tearing his ACL, ending his season. Not a good way to start overtime. Still Pitt was managing to trade baskets with Duke despite being shorthanded, then freshman starting center DeJuan Blair fouls out of the game. Again not fortuitous as Blair was having a monster game for Pitt, racking up 15 points and 20 rebounds. With about 16 seconds left in the OT and Pitt trailing by 2 points, they bring the ball up court and with less than 5 seconds left, Levance Fields hits a step back three point shot and Pitt upsets Duke 65-64.
Now I go get my food and plod into my apartment. Till I finish eating it is approaching midnight and I do manage to sneak in a few hours of sleep, not nearly enough but some and head back to work for 5am this morning. Lynn and I did our gift exchanges, she got me a $100 gift card to Best Buy and dark chocolate covered espresso beans (so I can be more wired than I am) and after completing some production work at the station and gathering up all of my stuff (I took wrapping paper to work and wrapped her gifts prior to the show) I made it home this evening and fell into my bed around 4pm. When I woke up is when I had the Alzheimer's moment (there was a point to this remember, or are you suffering from it as well?) as for the briefest moment I literally could remember anything. Not the hard stuff, like the quadratic formula (x is equal to the opposite of b plus or minus the square root of b squared minus 4ac all divided by 2a)
but simple stuff like my name. I literally knew nothing for a moment, then pieces started falling into place, and I start panicking that I am not ready for work and it's 9, not realizing that it is 9 in the evening versus 9 in the morning, or the fact that it is Friday and I don't work Saturday mornings. It was like someone went all Etch a Sketch on my cranium while I was sleeping, and when I woke up it was a completely clean slate until I started redrawing the preexisting lines. Scary stuff, hope that doesn't happen again.
This is why I actually did a quick entry saying that I was going to do an entry, I would never have had the time to write all of this down at work, and some of it has happened since I mentioned I would be blogging anyway, so in essence, it is even longer than I thought it would be.
Kudos to the funniest headline of the morning.
Not so kudos to finding out that this came in second it the quotes of the year. Second? I demand a recount. Next time I criticize my own typing I just have to remind myself that I have never used the line "everywhere like such as" in any way, shape or form. Is that a prepositional phrase that we never covered in English class?
Speaking of voting, Lynn read another story about the horrors of voting machines and how they can be tampered with during the show today. It is not often that I disagree with her, but this is one of those instances where I did. The article basically said that the state of Ohio can't speak to the security of touch screen machines so they are planning on switching to optical scan machines. Meanwhile Colorado said the optical scan machines are no good either. To all of this I said balderdash so to speak. Basically any system of voting can be tampered with, regardless of how "secure" it is. I brought up the fact that the '60 election between Nixon and Kennedy there were allegations of election irregularities in Chicago that may have cost Nixon votes. Do I think Nixon actually won? No, but the idea that we are trying to build a scapegoat for everytime an election is lost by saying the system was fixed doesn't do us any good either. For as much as people want to say that the current voting machines can be hacked, I asked anyone who could in fact hack a machine to call the show. Having a bunch of techies sit behind closed doors and try to figure out a way to break into a machine is one thing, the practical application of that ability by most of the people that work the polls on election day is quite another. My call for tech support received no replies, as I expected, then again maybe I should have called India for that. The funny thing is this is all fallout from the 2000 election, and guess what kids, electronic machines had nothing to do with that. You really want to know why John Kerry lost in 2004? He was a fucking awful candidate!!!!!! Given how unpopular Bush was in 2004, I could have run Lamb Chop and gotten 175 electoral votes and probably won at least two of the debates.
I do need to add to my change meter as well, not a lot mind you, just 7 cents, but as the meter approaches its two year anniversary on the page, it now sits at $33.55.
Check that, while looking for a link for the funny headline, low and behold another appeared. The military parlance of a target rich environment is officially in effect.
Anyway, lastly we do have an Asshat to give away from last week. The winner and new Asshat champion is Mitt Romney, for his long winded speech on religion the other day. Being a Mormon means you always have to say you are sorry in Republican circles, so there is Mitt talking about his faith during a press conference. The thing is, I would have had much more respect for him if he would have just shown some stones and said my faith is a private matter and to be honest, it is none of your damn business, but instead he decided to pander to the James Dobson set of the Republican party, all but begging for there votes by showing he was Christian enough for them, even if he was a Mormon. I don't know if his effort will win him one vote in Iowa, but it will win him an Asshat on this blog, so congrats Mitt, job well done.
I am all settled in for a long winter's nap, but since it isn't technically winter yet, I guess I will blog instead. After all, it has been a few days, which means something had to have happened, and lo and behold, it has.
First, it is going to be a nail biting fantasy football evening for me. My two teams both lead their respective games in the playoffs, but not by the largest of margins. In Yahoo, I am up by a mere nine points, but my opponent still has Minnesota's Adrian Peterson playing this evening. Given the year AP has, I am thinking a loss may be in the offing. In the league where I am vying for money, things are a little safer, but far from secure. I have a 13 point lead, my opponent has Robbie Gould, Chicago's kicker, going tonight. If by chance I lose, I am using my vacation time to go to Detroit and kick Jon Kitna square in the nutsack. Allow me to explain......
As part of our weekly lineup, we are allowed to play one quarterback. Because our rosters consist of more players than we can start (rosters have 25 players, 11 of which play on any given week), most of us carry multiple players at most of the positions on the field, This is to cover bye weeks during the season, you still have someone who can play, even if it isn't necessarily your first option. I am currently carrying two quarterbacks, Jon Kitna and David Garrard on my roster. Coming into this weekend, I was unsure of which to play. They both had their advantages and disadvantages. Kitna plays for a team that is very pass happy, has good wide receivers and has a tendency of throwing for good yardage on a weekly basis. The bad side is, he tends to turn the ball over more frequently (turnovers are a -3 in the point department), he gets sacked a lot as Detroit has problems with pass blocking, his team is on a 5 game losing streak and he was playing a very good defense in San Diego. Garrard comes into the week with plusses and minuses as well. He plays on a very good football team, has only thrown one interception all year and has shown to be a good game manager during his first season as starting quarterback for Jacksonville. His minuses are his experience in big games, he was playing against the NFL's #1 defense in Pittsburgh which hadn't lost at home all year, the conditions looked to be bad, cold and windy with rain changing over to snow during the course of the game, and his team tends to run the ball more, thus taking attempts away from him. It was very much a mental coin flip, and one that I chose poorly on by picking Kitna. Garrard would throw for over 200 yards and three touchdowns against only one interception. 21 fantasy points in all, a very nice game from a QB. Kitna would throw for more yards, 302 in all, and throw for 2 touchdowns himself, but he also threw, let's play Sesame Street and count them, 1.....2......3......4.......5 ah ah ah interceptions, thereby nullifying 15 points. I would be a lot less nervous tonight if I had those points back. A win and I make money this year, a loss and the best I can do is only lose $7 or I could be out my full entry fee of $100.
Sorry, combo lo mein break. I ordered in tonight, just me and the noodles and two egg rolls, yummm!!!!!
Anyway, I am getting ready for the show this morning, Lynn is off tending to her ailing father on Monday and Tuesday this week, and I am listening to our simulcast of the Channel 4 Action News from 5am to 7am while trying to get some work done. About 45 minutes into the newscast I hear a story about a research study that X% of people look up their name on the internet. Also people look up the names of friends from school, boyfriends/girlfriends, and people they are dating. Yes kids, news flash bulletin, people look stuff up on the internet. I know, it comes as a shock to you, personally when I heard this I was floored, because I doubled over with laughter at someone calling this news, but I saw it on TV so it must in fact be true.
This is just one of the problems I have with our programming lineup. I have never understood why we simulcast something that can be seen on TV. People that can watch the news and want to will before they will listen to it on the radio and those listening I know have to be frustrated everytime they do a segment like "Video of the Day", which they obviously can't see on their radio.
It is not my least favorite show that we carry however, that would be saved for Monica Crowley. I have little use for full mooners of any persuasion, but she goes above and beyond the call. I swear she can't do a segment of her show without mentioning the word Clinton, either in regards to Senator Hillary Clinton or former President Bill Clinton. That being said, when I am there on Sundays and we are carrying her show, I have taken to making a game of it and seeing how long it takes her to say the C word. I think it gets her all tingly down below or something, because two weeks ago it took all of 8 minutes, this week, less than 2. Damn that is fast, even for me. It isn't just that she talks about them, as a right wing hack and them both being from the left side of the aisle, surely they will come up in passing conversation, but she interjects them when they have nothing to do with the conversation. Prime example, she is talking to a author about a book he wrote regarding the relationship between former President Ronald Reagan and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. What does Monica ask the author you may ask? "Are Margaret Thatcher and Hillary Clinton similar?" When the author goes on a long explanation that in fact they may be presumed similar is some ways, that was apparently the wrong answer because Monica ended the interview. When Mike Huckabee, who is a former minister, was asked about fellow Republican candidate Mitt Romney's Mormon faith, his answer wasn't elusive, it was Clintonian. It's actually embarrassing that someone would be that much of a one trick pony and have a nationally syndicated radio show, but there is in fact no accounting for taste.
While I am on the rant of full mooners, I ran across something on a friend's page the other day that I would like to address here. I will not name names, because first, I am not about calling people out like that on this page, if they say something that I disagree with, I will mention it to them and be done with it and second, it wasn't the entry itself that was what was troubling, but rather the comments that followed it. What spurred on the comments was a bit about an unwanted instant message that was received by them from a guy, who had less than stellar intentions. I can understand how that can be troubling, personally if I receive IMs from people that aren't on my messenger already, it goes to instant ignore, but to each his or her own. That being said, this brought out the whole slew of female man bashing in the comments section. To the women who find this type of thing clever I say then start fucking women instead or go die in a fire. Certainly we can all come up with our own horror stories of the opposite (or the same if that is you preference) gender. I don't use my ex girlfriend and her unique skill of putting a bullet in her chest as the measuring stick to label all women psychopaths, if you are female and I don't like you, trust me, you have earned that without any broad generalizations needed.
I did take time this weekend to call on Doug and see how he is doing since being fired from the station. He is doing as good as can be expected I guess. It looks like he will be taking a couple of weeks to himself before throwing himself back into the fray that is radio. There haven't been any more layoffs yet, but the ax is still looming. I think I have enough stuff stored away that should I need to move on, I can and over 11 years experience can't hurt in any regard.
The part time gig is working out even better than I expected. I am tired on those days that I double, but other than that, all is good. Heck, I was expecting to make $8 an hour to start, when in fact I am making $8.50 instead. I will have to wait and see if this is in lieu of getting a raise after 30 days or not. there is something about paying a dishwasher $9 that just strikes me as a little much for that type of work, but if they start cutting me checks for it, i am not handing money back. The students have left, so they will be closing for winter break on Saturday and reopening on Jan 3rd, which is fine with me, I have radio vacation time scheduled then, so it works to my benefit to not have to stick around for the break to wash dishes.
Well, I better get scooting, my lo mein is getting cold and I have fingernail biting to yet get underway for tonight's football game. Before I go, a moment of silence for the porn industry, where it seems they are losing money, because much like cooking, people are finding it cheaper to make and view at home.
Update on previous blog entry, and it is a good update at that.......
Report: Saudi king pardons rape victim
43 minutes ago
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has pardoned a female rape victim who had been sentenced to 200 lashes for being alone with a man at the time of the attack who was not related to her, a Saudi newspaper reported Monday.
The case had sparked international outcry. In a rare criticism of its Mideast ally, the White House had expressed its "astonishment" over the woman's sentence. Canada called it barbaric.
Saudi Justice Minister Abdullah bin Mohammed al-Sheik told al-Jazirah newspaper that the pardon does not mean the king doubted the country's judges, but instead acted in the "interests of the people."
"The king always looks into alleviating the suffering of the citizens when he becomes sure that these verdicts will leave psychological effects on the convicted people, though he is convinced and sure that the verdicts were fair," al-Jazirah quoted al-Sheik as saying.
The victim in the case, known only as the "Girl of Qatif" after her hometown in eastern Saudi Arabia, was in a car with a high school friend in 2006 when they were attacked and raped by seven men.
She initially was sentenced in November 2006 to several months in prison and 90 lashes for being alone in a car with a man with whom she was neither related nor married, a violation of the kingdom's strict segregation of the sexes.
The woman, who was 19 at the time of the rape, has said she met the man to retrieve a picture of herself from him because she had recently married.
The court more than doubled the sentence last month to 200 lashes and six months prison in response to her appeal.
President Bush expressed anger at the sentence earlier this month, saying he wondered how he would react if it had been one of his daughters. But he said he had not made his views known directly to the Saudi king, a U.S. ally.
The Justice Ministry has defended the sentence, saying the girl was having an illicit affair with the man.
Al-Sheik told al-Jazirah newspaper Monday that the king was the only official who could issue a pardon, and he did so despite the government's view that the Saudi legal system was "honest" and "fair."
"The king's order consolidates and confirms what is known about the Islamic courts," said al-Sheik. "Efficient judges look into different cases and issue their just verdicts and those convicted have the right to appeal."
The seven men who were convicted of raping both the girl and the man were initially sentenced to jail terms from 10 months to five years. Their sentences were increased to between two and nine years after the appeal.
I often joke that those that come here are more informed than others (at least the ones that come here and read the page, as opposed to waiting for pictures). That being said, while doing my show prep this morning, I came across this on the CNN page. Let's put aside the obvious fact that this really isn't news and should have no place on a news page, it is just a product video, nothing more. Instead, take a look at the date the video was added to the CNN page, Dec 10th 2007.
Why is that important you may ask? Because we have already covered that ground here (actually on 360 but it was one of the later blogs that did transfer), in fact we did it on Oct 9th 2006, a full year ago. With the video evidence .......Thanks for playing CNN, we have some lovely parting gifts.
Well, it looks like I have the place all to myself. Not my apartment mind you, but rather the radio stations plural. carol is off again this week, which means I can either call a cab and come in in the morning or go the cheap route and pull an all nite shift. Tonight it will be the all night shift, thank you very much. The novel thing is, usually there is someone working the FM station whose job it is to monitor all three stations, basically just to make sure they stay on the air. The thing is, our FM station is doing its Christmas charitable endeavor this week, a campaign for Make a Wish that involves live broadcasts on location during the day and the part timers that would are pulled in to run the board during those broadcasts, leaving no one to run the board in the evenings. The result is there is no one here and they are relying on the automation to run all three stations. Good luck with that I say, I know how much the automation screws up our station, putting it in place to run all three is just courting audio disaster, but I suppose it saves a couple of pennies.
Anyway, I didn't come here to bitch about radio, I did that in the last entry thank you very much. rather, let's get back to the business of blogging, which I have been neglectful in.
I guess I will begin in the realm of sports, because they have been good around these parts recently. The Pitt basketball (ranked #9 nationally) remains undefeated after a couple of close games, a 6 point win against crosstown rival Duquesne and a 1 point win at Washington after it was ruled that a last second shot was actually released after the buzzer preserving the victory for Pitt.
Likewise the football team ended its season on a positive note, something I don't say about Pitt all that often when it comes to Pitt football, but they pulled a huge upset, defeating West Virginia 13-9. WVU went into the game ranked #2 in the country and, with a win, would have been playing for the National Championship in January. The loss ended the title aspirations for WVU and sent the Pittsburgh fans into a frenzy here in Pittsburgh. Mind you, Pitt-WVU is a rivalry to begin with. It is called the Backyard Brawl given the relative closeness of the two schools, separated by only 60 or so odd miles, and this year marked the 100th meeting between the two schools in football. I don't know what they joke about in West Virginia when talking about Pitt, but here, we tend to use a lot of redneck, incest related insults when referring to our football rivals to the southwest. Prime example was a joke I told while at work prior to kickoff of the game;
How does a mother in West Virginia know her daughter is having her period?
Her son's dick tastes funny.
Yes kids, there is no love lost in these parts when it comes to the West Virginia folks.
Anyway, after Pitt won, a horde of students watching the game (it was played @ WVU) poured out into the streets to celebrate, apparently losing sight of the fact that Pitt's record for the year was only 5-7. Still the mob was unruly enough that we locked the doors at work and wouldn't let anyone in, which is good because the mob opted to set fire to a car outside the bar and block traffic in the street, forcing the police to come out en masse, though their presence did little to curtail the revelers. I snuck out the back door at work after my shift, opting not to challenge the masses, but rather avoid them.
Yet there is more sports to talk about, I should become a reporter or something. I haven't even gotten to the fantasy stuff, crikes this could be long. remind me to never take a week off again. After a bad start to the season, the Penguins have righted the hockey ship to a certain degree. There are currently 7-2-1 in their last 10 games, making the overall mark now 15-12-2. Currently they are on a 4 game road trip, three in western Canada against Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver and then a game back here in the states against Philadelphia. For the first time in their history, the Penguins won all three games in their western Canada swing, winning two of the games in shootouts.
And finally, the Steelers where things are so so with the professional football franchise. They are undefeated at home and abysmal in road games, yet they still have a two game in their division with three games to play, so chances are they will make the playoffs, which is when I might start paying attention to them, for now I have my fantasy teams to worry about.
Speaking of which, I have two weeks worth of updates to get out of the way. Let's start with the office pool, something that I have considered myself pretty much out of a few weeks ago. I still question my chances, but at least I haven't quit on it, going 11-5 two weeks ago picking games and an even better 14-2 this week. I have cut the deficit down to just 4 games now, but I only have three weeks to make up that difference. For the season I am now 134-74 picking games this year.
Yahoo football, I lost last week 131-75 and for the first time in ages, I am no longer in first place, instead dropping to second overall. This week however I pulled out another solid win, 129-80 to complete our regular season 10-4 and enter our playoffs as the #2 seed.
In the bar league, last time I had wrote I had clinched a playoff spot, but where I would be was still yet to be determined in the seeding process. A win would give me the #3 seed, a loss and it would be up to everyone else to determine just where I would enter the playoff bracket. the only thing I did know was that I would not get a first round bye in the playoffs, as only the 1 and 2 seeds get those. Well as luck would have it, I lost the last week of our regular season, as did everyone else that could have taken the #3 spot from me, so it was a no harm, no foul sort of loss. I ended the regular season there with a 7-6 mark, and this week marked the first week of our playoffs. The thing is, a loss this week and there is no way I could win money, we only pay out for the top three teams. A win and I would at least have a chance to play for money, whether that be ultimately in the championship game (with a second win) or in the consolation game for third place (with a loss). Well, I would like to thank the patriots for beating the Steelers in that regard as Wes Welker contributed to my winning effort with 20 fantasy points in a 131-76 win. Up next is a matchup against the #2 seed, who lead the league in points scored this year, having both Ladanian Tomlinson and Tom Brady on his roster, and he posted a 10-3 record during the regular season. We played each other once during the regular season, way back in week #2, a game I lost 134-126.
Lastly fantasy hockey, where I remain in 6th place, going 5-3-2 two weeks ago and 4-6 last week. For the season I am now 43-42-15 overall, which I guess is okay, I wish it were better, I am just 4 ts out of 7th place and missing the playoffs, but I am also only 8 points away from 4th place so it is safe to say everyone is still pretty bunched up at this point.
I should update the change meter, I haven't done that in a while. Adding to the total will be another 26 cents so we now sit at $33.48. Come Jan. the change meter celebrates it's two year anniversary on the page. Cake and ice cream for everyone, provided you have cake and ice cream in your home to eat. Me, I will probably have ramen noodles to celebrate. For now I will just have them for dinner and leave you to other more interesting pursuits than my blathering.
I am not sure how to begin this blog entry. It has been a while since I blogged, not because there hasn't been anything to say, those that live here would confirm that, but it has been a matter of trying to get a handle on all of the things that have taken place.
I have blogged at length about my radio career and how much I enjoy the business, and that hasn't changed but this past week has show just how much of a cruel mistress radio can really be. As easy as it is to just turn the thing on in the home or the car and expect moise of one form or another to come out, behind the scenes there are far more things that take place. It is equal parts technical, people and numbers and this past week, numbers reared their ugly head.
On the numbers front, radio is driven by the 2 R's, ratings and revenue. An ideal shows scores high in both numbers, it has adequate listenership and generates considerable revenue for its station. Not so ideal but workable is to score well in one of the two numbers, if you have high ratings, then there are listeners out there, but for whatever reason converting those numbers into dollars is problematic whether that be an ineffective sales staff or targeting an audience that is unwilling or unable to part with their dinero. If you have high revenue but not high ratings, you have what is best called a loyal listener base, those that listen to your show tend to spend their dollars on your specific advertisers, but it leaves very little margin for error.
The worst is when you have low ratings and low revenue and surviving that dubious pairing is at best problematic, at worst, impossible. It is that sad convergence that reared its ugly head Monday at the radio station. Let me be the first to say, the station I work at has never been one of the powerhouses of the market. It tends to fall somewhere in the #17-#20 range in the market, depending on the ratings book. Mind you this is a far cry from when I first started there 11 years ago when the numbers were so small that management was happy if they showed up in the book. I don't attribute any modest climb to my employment, only making a simple statement of fact. Still, it makes for little margin of error to lay out significant amounts of cash on a signal whose audience isn't the largest. Those places where money is spent need to be able to turn the station an adequate amount of cash in order to continue. I am lucky in that working with Lynn, we tend to have the highest ratings of any show on the station (we tend to do double or better the station's overall rating, which is measured from 6A-6P) though again this isn't me taking credit, just stating a fact. Lynn has a decent number of loyal listeners and as well, a significant number of loyal advertisers. It is not uncommon for Lynn to be doing 8 or more live reads (commercials read during the show by the host as opposed to pretaped spots) in a three hour show as well as a decent number of advertisers that want their spots to run in her show.
Doug, who I mention probably more often than Lynn due to my apperances on his show, doesn't pull the same numbers, in either ratings or revenue. That being said, I will be one of the people who could say that I enjoyed his show. When I first got into radio, back in August of 1996 as an intern, I would often come to the station in the mid day/evening slot. Mind you, in those days we were a sports talk station, and air shifts consisted of just doing sports updates 3 times an hour. My job, as being an intern I was not on the air, even doing those updates, was to do production work, cutting commercial spots from network feeds, doing interviews and cutting them for sound and research for our high school football pregame show we did on Fridays. When I would climb into the car to go to work, I, like many people would click on the radio. My commute usually consisted f listening to Doug on the way to work, even though at the time he was working for a different station. In December of that year, I was actually hired as an employee of the station, and again I was stuck with evening shifts, allowing me the opportunity to listen to Doug while on my way to work. Doug's show would air then from 3P-6P and usually my shifts at the station would start at 7P and run until 1A when I would take the station off of the air (we didn't go to 24 hour programming until we switched format to talk). Funny thing was, when we switched to talk, Doug's station switched to sports talk, blowing out all of their local talent, save for Doug's show, which moved to the 5A-10A slot. Meanwhile we went all talk and 24 hour programming, meaning a lot of my shifts ended up being overnight shifts listening to Art Bell. The saving grace of that shift was when I got done, I could leave the station and listen to Doug do his morning show. As we tried to identify ourselves as more of a talk station, we would hire Lynn (who coincidentally, had worked at Doug's station prior to them switching formats) in an effort to get our station a "name" and give our station a local perspective as well as the national shows we were carrying at the time. Eventually, Doug's station let him go as well, finishing of their switch to all sports and our station picked him up, giving us a second local host. We eventually would add Jerry Bowyer, giving us three local hosts and that was when I would get my first break, going from part time to full time status. But here it is, little old me, now not only a fan of Doug's, but through some unpredictable set of circumstances, working at the very same radio station as Doug. I would work with Jerry for about 5 years before he asked to first be switched to the afternoons, having 7 kids at home and a number of other commitments outside the station, Jerry wanted to be able to sleep later than 4am, which is the usual time to climb out of bed to host a 7am show. When the switch was made, Doug became the morning host and for the first time in my radio career I was now working directly with a guy who I had listened to regularly on the air. There is a ego rush that goes with that that is very hard to describe, being able to actually sit directly across the glass from someone in the business that you idolized. What was even better was that Doug liked the work I was doing for him, asking regularly for input into the show. It was in many ways a dream come true. Doug and I would only be together for a year or so, Jerry would leave the station to take a gig at a Christian talk station on the FM dial, and once again our lineup would be shuffled, with Doug moving to afternoons and Lynn being shifted to mornings with me. Probably one of the most flattering things that ever happened to me occurred then, when both Lynn and Doug wanted me as their producer, Lynn asked the program director to keep me in mornings for her show, Doug asked to have me moved to afternoons to continue working with him. Here are two people, both names in the market with a combined 50+ years in broadcasting and they both want you. Rather than make me pick, the program director made the call, saying that I would work mornings with Lynn and Greg would do Doug's show in the afternoon. To be honest, I am glad he made the call because I am not sure I could have, nor would I have wanted to.
Anyway, while Doug's show was shifted to the afternoon, Doug always did a couple of things that kept me involved in his program. One was the holiday shows, where he would invite all of his former producers to sit in with him. Since I had produced his show, I qualified for that duty, and it served a purpose in that on holidays, getting calls into a show can be problematic at best, this allowed him the ability of talking to people that he knew without relying on listeners to call in to move the show along. The second and more impressive on me, was the Friday shows, the Doug and the Group efforts. These would occur most Fridays and involve Doug and three of his friends and we would all sit in and to the blathering that comes requisite with doing radio. The fact Doug put me on that list, as a friend, as opposed to the holiday shows, meant more to me than I can possibly describe on this page. I have put some of those shows on this page from tie to time, because working with Doug has always been a pleasure of mine. he was the touchstone in reminding me that what we do, while we can be informative, should at first be fun, that those of us with jobs in radio are blessed in a way, we get paid not to do any form of manual labor, but instead to talk. Who wouldn't want to have fun doing that? How much fun is it to come to work and just be miserable all of the time? With Doug, having fun was never a problem.
I will tell a story (I would say a quick story but I know how I ramble on) and it is one that some of you have read before, but it goes to show the fun Doug and I had working together. One of the things about the show was that we never talked about what we would talk about prior to the show, everything was very much spontaneous and off the cuff. Doug and I might spend some time together prior to a broadcast having a cigarette or two, but never did we talk about what would be talked about on the air. The only talking we did in that regard was just before going on the air, Doug and I each had a TV in our respective booths and prior to show time (and sometimes during commercial breaks) we would talk about stuff on TV, usually involving the wardrobes of the local TV news people that were finishing up their morning newscasts at 7A, just before we would go on the air. We would talk about the relative hotness of Trisha Pittman, or how Krista Villareal's clothes once again resemble Doug's curtains. Anyway, as we are sitting down to get ready for the show, Doug pulls my attention to a TV preacher who is on doing the whole "healing" thing, which involves a person who suffers some unknown malady and the preachers doing some form of "Praise Jesus" and the whole do you accept your savior routine, followed by smacking them on the head and them falling down, only to stand up immediately afterward and claim they were cured. One such lady, a very heavy set black woman with large breasts came up to the preacher and she proceeded to talk about all of the pain that she is suffering from. Al the while we are getting closer and closer to show time, literally less than 2 minutes before air time. The preacher starts his routine, a combination of sermon from sermongenerator.com and hand gestures resembling something out of a Bruce Lee film. All of a sudden, he does the smack to her forehead claiming that the woman is healed. She does the requisite tumbling to the altar with aplomb and proceeded to get up and start jumping up and down claiming that she is in fact healed. The thing about this particular woman is that, since she was heavy set, her bouncing up and down lead to parts of her anatomy going in directions that they normally wouldn't, including her breasts, which were going all sort of willy nilly, and if she would have been wearing tassels, it would have made Sikorsky proud. That being said, the clock is clicking down to show time, and I just happen to say in Doug's ear "You know, while God was in the neighborhood, he might have went about fixing her bra". We laughed for like the first 20 minutes of the show, the audience completely not in on the joke, we tried to explain it, but it was something that had to be witnessed to be believed. It was that type of just complete inanity that we approached most of our broadcasts, just go in and have fun for three hours.
By now, you have to be wondering where this long diatribe is going. If I may continue, Doug's contract with the station is due to end on December 31st, and while those of us don't have to go through this progress, those that do have contracts then have to sit down with management where they go over the 2R's and the sides haggle out some sort of agreement regarding a new contract, or they part their separate ways. Doug's meeting with management was on Monday, and according to the paper (I refuse to speculate what went on behind closed doors) no new contract from the station was forthcoming from management for Doug. This could be for a number of reasons, not high enough ratings, and inability to sell the show, the show becoming stale (many of Doug's stories were some of the same stories he has used fr the last odd number of years) or it could have been stubbornness from Doug's side of the table in negotiating, I don't know, I just know that when no contract was forthcoming, Doug opted to make Monday his last day.
This trickles down however, because a subsequent email from management suggested that they would no longer run any radio station for more revenue than they could bring in. I get the business side of the equation, but it also sends the shockwaves through the station of who else will get the ax. After all, Greg and I are both full time producers and with only one radio show now as opposed to two, either one of us could get the ax as well as some sort of cost cutting measure and management has been particularly quiet in regards to whether or not anyone else will be let go. To our program directors credit, he is trying to keep both of us, arguing that there is more than enough work for both Greg and myself to do, which he is probably correct in making that assessment. Lynn has said that she would put in a good word for me if needed, but I don't want to put her in that position. Heck, there was even slight buzz amongst some of the employees that I should replace Doug as a show host. While I appreciate the sentiment and have no doubt that I could host a show if asked, I am not sure that even if offered it would be a position I wanted, knowing that it would come with built in resentment of those people that were and are fans of Doug and would then blame whoever took over that spot for his release from the station. Not that I think management is even thinking in that regard, this was more just some sales people talking amongst themselves during our First Friday thing we do every month. I doubt management is thinking anything beyond what type of sattelite programming can we get for the least amount of money and let the issue rest there.
Amazing that I haven't spoken of anything fantasy, asshat or change meter related, but that hasn't been on my mind the last few days, the only thing has been whether or not I will show up for work and have a job at the end of the day. For those looking for the other things I do with this page, I am sure they will be back in due time, they just aren't my primary concern these days.
It's back, the second annual Christmas list blog. Why you ask? Simple, I am a greedy bastard.
The 2007 version of the list. Some will look similar to last year, other stuff will be new,
Groceries (when don't I eat after all?)
TV shows on DVD such as
- Aqua Teen Hunger Force (season 2 and beyond)
- West Wing (Seasons 2-7)
- Homicide: Life on the Streets
- Drawn Together (season 2 and beyond)
A female (preferable breathing, but not mandatory)
My own radio show
A day of nothing but sleep
Gift cards (Target, Wal Mart, Barnes & Noble, Giant Eagle, Borders, Best Buy)
Lottery tickets (winners only please)
Shoes (size 9 1/2)
Books (too many to list here, so inquire within for more info)
Yes, this is the clothing portion of the list
A new zipper for my leather jacket
Washington Post subscription
Bed sheets (twin)
Combo Lo Mein
A good Philly Cheesesteak
Someone to take about 15 lbs away from my gut
More hours in the day, as long as they aren't work hours
A victory in the fantasy football playoffs would be nice
Recipe for a good hot garlic sauce for chicken wings
Home cooked food ( I could serious dig on some chocolate chip cookies, but I am trying to not be too picky)
Sims 2 for PC
Greendot card uploads