(AS GEOCITIES.COM/TBTHO) OCT. 25, 2000
DEC. 1, 2013 MY MISTAKE
However, real jobs arent bestowed by rich people, either, as Henry Blodget points out in this article. Entrepreneurs may start businesses, but its customers who keep the businesses running. Middle-class customers, mostly.
Nowadays those customers have less to spend. The middle class is being taxed more than its share while the top 1% gets all the breaks, in the hope that those riches will trickle down to the rest of us. But the trickle is dammed up. America's companies are currently being managed to share the least possible amount of their income with the employees who help create it. Corporate profit margins are at all-time highs, while wages are at an all-time low. ...America's richest entrepreneurs, investors, and companies now have so much money that they can't possibly spend it all. So instead of getting pumped back into the economy, thus creating revenue and wages, this cash just remains in investment accounts.
Blodget reiterates that rich people dont create the jobs. We're all in this together. And until we understand that, our economy is going to go nowhere.
NOV. 27, 2013 A BRIGHTER FUTURE
NOV. 25, 2013 JOIN HANDS, THEN
So on that day when John F. Kennedy was assassinated, where was my pastor? Rev. John C. Wagner was in the South, demonstrating for civil rights. In particular, he was supporting the efforts of black Mississippians to worship together with white Mississippians in Methodist churches.
NOV. 14, 2013 WALK THIS WAY
NOV. 11, 2013 EIGHT THOUSAND SUICIDES A YEAR
On the front lines, our soldiers are at risk from the enemys weapons. When they return home, theyre at risk from their own minds.
If this is a typical week, wrote Nicholas Kristof in Time magazine last year, about 5 American soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan will be killed.
But today is Veterans Day. This is the day when we express our thanks not so much to the brave active-duty servicemen but to the veterans.
And if this is a typical week, by Sunday about 154 of these former soldiers will kill themselves!
Thirty times as many die after they come home. Thats a far greater tragedy, isnt it?
The figure of 22 suicides a day comes from a 2013 Veterans Adminstration report, based on 2010 data. Another 2013 report, this one from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, says 45% of those who served know a veteran who has considered suicide, 37% know a veteran who actually went through with it, and 30% have considered ending their own lives.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette quoted former Marine Sgt. Theo Collins, president of Duquesne Universitys Student Veterans Association. Some of the life-changing experiences that combat veterans go through on a nearly daily basis while they're deployed, those lead to medical conditions. They come back from incredibly stressful environments; then they're instantly back home in the civilian world where you're expected to put on a happy face and move on.
Former Steeler Rocky Bleier, who was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for his service in Viet Nam, noted that advances in battlefield medicine are allowing more wounded soldiers to come home alive. But then they must struggle with scars both visible and invisible. The despair of post-traumatic stress can take months or years to set in. We thank them, but we don't go home with them. It's not enough to say, Thank you.
NOV. 6, 2013 COPY EDITING
Im mildly annoyed when reporters split their writings in ways that make it difficult for readers to follow. Perhaps its because of my background in broadcasting, where poorly constructed sentences must be avoided because listeners have no chance to go back and re-read them.
For example, from an article this morning about local election results:
You definitely do what? We eventually find out, at the end of the sentence. Better:
A columnist wrote this about a local alcohol tax:
I would have begun with a cohesive statement, Money is running through the countys coffers like a river of wine, and only then followed wine with the parenthetical booze joke.
Heres one more example:
What did you say? His sports agency uses that talks? I had to read the sentence again to figure it out. A-Rod added lawyers and talks went south are separated by too many other words. I would have arranged the sentence in this easier-to-comprehend order:
Newspapers are having a hard enough time keeping readers; dont force the readers to work harder than necessary.
OCT. 30, 2013 WAR OF THE MEDIA
Tonight marks the 75th anniversary of a famous event in radio history. But did the public really react in the way weve been told?
The radio networks had begun presenting daily newscasts in 1930. Newspapers saw this as a real threat to their business, and within three years a Press-Radio War had broken out. The American Newspaper Publishers Association convinced the wire services, including Associated Press, to stop providing news to broadcasters.
Instead, the Biltmore Agreement established a Press Radio Bureau as broadcasters sole news source. The PRB was to deliver only enough material for two short newscasts per day, one before 9:30 AM and the other after 9:00 pm. No news story could air until it was 12 hours old and the newspapers had had the opportunity to print it. However, occasional news bulletins of transcendent importance, as a matter of public service, will be furnished to broadcasters, as they may occur at times other than the stated periods above. These bulletins will be written and broadcast in such a manner as to stimulate public interest in the reading of newspapers.
Not all radio stations went along, however, and the Agreement lasted less than a year. In 1934 CBS established its own independent news division, to be followed by other networks.
But newspapers still fretted about radio stealing their market share, which brings us to this date in 1938 my father's 29th birthday. That night, Orson Welles aired The War of the Worlds on CBS, presenting the story as a series of dramatized news broadcasts that a few listeners thought were the real thing. The newspaper industry saw a public relations opportunity. See? We told you radio news couldnt be trusted. Those irresponsible broadcasters have spread panic across the nation! The New York Daily News headlined, Fake Radio War Stirs Terror Through U.S.
This article from Slate debunks that idea. Only 2% of the nation was listening, and there was no widespread terror not even in New York, which the broadcast depicted as under attack by invading Martians.
Why do we keep retelling the panic myth? For both broadcasters and regulators, War of the Worlds provides excellent evidence to justify their claims about media power. ...But the myth also persists because it so perfectly captures our unease with the media's power over our lives. ...Its ABC, CBS, and NBC invading and colonizing our consciousness that truly frightens us. ...Today the Internet provides us with both the promise of a dynamic communicative future and dystopian fears of a new form of mind control; lost privacy; and attacks from scary, mysterious forces.
OCT. 27, 2013 OFFICIAL REALITY
I always wanted to visit the Museum of Television and Radio so I could see again the vintage TV broadcasts from my youth. But now I don't have to. There's YouTube. I've added a link to the end of this article of mine.
In other sportscasting news, a reader of Ken Levines blog asked him whether, when hes describing a baseball game on TV, he watches the action live or on the monitor. Ive watched games ... where the announcers seemed clueless about what just happened.
Excerpts from Kens reply: I watch the monitor between each pitch. If the director is showing the manager in the dugout and I start talking about the flags in centerfield, I look like an idiot. [But during action] I generally watch the field. [The umpires] eyes are the only ones that count, really. So Ill glance to him to see if a ball is a home run or the outfielder trapped it, etc.
From my own experience in doing play-by-play on local cable 40 years ago, I agree. When a ball was hit in the air, it was often difficult from our makeshift press box to tell where or how far it was going, so I didnt bother to follow its flight. Instead, I looked to the fielders to see who was trying to catch it. Then I could describe it as a popup towards second base or a fly ball to center field.
The umpire's eyes are the only ones that count. After a base runner is called out on a close play, fans who saw it differently will insist, He was safe! No, he wasnt. No announcer would say that, because its contrary to the facts. Maybe replays will show that the runner should have been called safe, but the ump said he was out. So he is out.
When I used to broadcast football games, I watched the officials so I could report what officially happened. Nowadays here in Pittsburgh, I often listen to Bill Hillgroves radio call of Steelers or Pitt Panthers games, and he doesnt follow that rule. Bill tells us what he sees. Sometimes thats not the whole story.
An amazing one-handed catch along the sideline, and theyll move the chains! Its another first down for Cincinnati. Wait a minute. What, now theyre bringing it back? Theyre calling it incomplete? His analyst, who saw the head linesman waving his arms across each other and then waving them both at the sideline to indicate the receiver was out of bounds, has to tell Bill what officially happened.
They gang-tackle the ball carrier, and now the ball is loose! Its on the ground. Theres a big scramble. And Pittsburgh has recovered the fumble! What a break! This completely changes the momentum of the game. Wait a minute. Theyre giving the ball to Cincinnati? That's a terrible call. Pittsburgh clearly recovered the football! The coach has to throw a challenge flag on this one. His analyst, who noticed the linesman holding up his hand while marking the spot where the ball carriers forward momentum stopped, must explain that the whistle blew before the ball came loose.
Moral: Dont call them like you see them. Call them like the ref sees them.
OCT. 22, 2013 RETIREMENT CAR
I bought a new car this month! I've been driving this 2014 Subaru Legacy Limited for three weeks now. It has all sorts of luxury gadgets that Im still learning how to use.
I remember when many of these gadgets, like satellite radio and rear-view TV monitors, were undreamed of. Others, like cruise control and air conditioning, were expensive options back in the day, but theyre practically standard equipment now.
In the early 1950s, there was very little standard equipment. Cars came with heaters and ashtrays. Everything else cost extra. But fewer folks smoke nowadays, and now its the ashtray thats an optional accessory for an additional charge. (If I needed one, it would fit into the cup holder.)
When I bought my previous Subaru ten long years ago, I wrote on this website, This is the car that I may be driving until I reach retirement age. It depends on which of us wears out first. Im happy to say that I outlasted the car, though not by much.
Arthritis or something like it is setting in; the doctors havent given me a definite diagnosis yet. Its becoming more difficult for me to walk, especially up and down stairs, though I can cover three quarters of a mile on level ground before tiring. My fingers are weakening, so to break loose the cap on a bottle of water Ive learned to use a wrench. I appreciate my new car's 10-way adjustable driver's seat, which I moved as far back and as far up as possible so don't have to struggle to climb in and out.
I havent retired yet, but Im easing into it. This winter for Penguins hockey games at Pittsburghs Consol Energy Center, Im planning to work only about a dozen telecasts for the visiting teams' broadcasters. In past years I've worked three times that many for the home team's broadcaster, Root Sports.
I still have the usual number of college basketball games on my calendar, another dozen telecasts. Well see how all that goes, and next spring Ill decide whether I want to do baseball again. After all, this year I did manage to break the Pirates 20-year streak of losing seasons, so maybe my work there is done. Perhaps Ill just cruise around next summer in my fancy new car.
OCT. 16, 2013 BIG QUACKER
Yes, as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, theres a huge rubber ducky in the Allegheny River outside PNC Park. Its part of this months Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts. The bird is due to paddle away after this weekend.
Like everyone else, I walked over to snap a few photos. Thats the ballpark on the left, beyond the Fort Duquesne bridge.
OCT. 11, 2013 WE'RE NUMBER TWO
We televised another high school football game last week. After a lightning delay that lasted nearly two hours, West Mifflin defeated Elizabeth Forward to run their undefeated record to 6-0.
OCT. 5, 2013 ANIMAL ALREADY HAVE TICKETS
Perhaps youve heard the breakout single, Animal Already Have Tickets, from the alternative rock band Neon Trees. No? Well, for the band's appearance in Pittsburgh we almost promoted their song that way.
The event was sold out, so the promoter was trying to get additional revenue by selling stage passes. These would allow ticket-holders to see the performance up close, for an extra fee of course. The copy the announcer was supposed to read included these lines:
It appears that the copy had not been written to make it easy to read on the air. If it had been, it would have been punctuated better.
ALREADY HAVE TICKETS? GET YOUR PASSES