Archive for the ‘media’ Category

50 Years Ago This Summer

It just dawned on me that friends who’ll celebrate their Big 5-0 birthdays next March, April, or May were conceived 50 years ago this summer when, as Johnny Rivers once sang “ Everybody kept on playin’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’”. 

 

It was, of course, The Summer of Love !

The Day I Met George Romero

When I learned of George Romero’s death, it reminded me of the day I met him.

In 1977, I was working as an on-air personality at WKTQ-AM (13Q) in Pittsburgh. My friend, Patty Bernesser was serving as an associate producer for a new George Romero movie and one afternoon she invited me to visit the set of “Martin” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077914/,    the story of a teenager who believes that he’s a vampire. The set was George’s mother’s house.

Of course, I knew who George Romero was. “Night of the Living Dead” had scared the crap out of me. I was especially haunted by the scene of the little girl eating her dead father’s arm. It was chilling.

When I moved to Pittsburgh, I lived in an apartment complex in the North Hills off of Cemetery Lane across the street from the cemetery where some of the zombie scenes had been filmed for “Night of the Living Dead”. Such was the power of that movie that on certain nights, when the clouds were scuttling and the moonlight was bright, I’d feel the hairs on my neck stand up as I drove down Cemetery Lane.

I found George Romero to be a laid back, gracious guy. He was easy to talk to and was amused when I told him about my Cemetery Lane experiences. I don’t recall the specifics of our conversation but I think he addressed his concept that his movies weren’t about the zombies but more about how ordinary people reacted to the situations.

As it turned out, one of the subplots of “Martin”, the teenage boy who feared he was a vampire, was that he made calls to a local talk radio host and anonymously shared his concerns. Given that I had on-air experience, Romero asked me if I’d like to play the role of the talk show host in the movie. Wow!  Never, in my wildest dreams, had I ever thought I’d be offered a role in a George Romero film.

Unfortunately, due to commitments I had with my full-time job, we weren’t able to coordinate recording and filming schedules.  Someone else ended up with the role of talk radio show host. So, I blew my big shot at being in the movies.

But,  I’ll always have Pittsburgh!  And fond memories of George Romero, the man who was not only nice enough to offer me a movie role but who also lodged that frightening image in my head from “Night of the Living Dead”.

May he rest in peace.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks Chicago Cubs & Cleveland Indians For A Great World Series

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I’m a fair weather baseball fan. I don’t really start paying attention until the playoffs begin in late September. But that’s not always been the case. I grew up in New England and was a die-hard Red Sox fan for the first 20 years of my life.

So, for me, the backstory of this year’s World Series with the Cubs’ Theo Epstein verus the Indians’ Terry Francona was even more compelling than each teams’ World Series drought story.

As far as I was concerned, both teams represented themselves well on the field. There was no evident prima donna behavior. Both sides acquitted themselves as well-disciplined, undaunted professionals and set a great example for all of us watching the games unfold.

I’ve never lived in Cleveland but I have lived in Chicago…twice. My wife, on the other hand, has never lived in either city. So I was a bit shocked when she started becoming angry at me when the Cubs were losing and I was expressing a “May the best team win” attitude. It felt like the anger that a Clinton supporter would encounter at a Trump rally.

In the end, though, Game 7 was everything a fair weather fan could ask for: nail-biting moments, exciting turnarounds, dramatic comebacks, extra innings, and a one run victory.

So, my thanks to both teams. The Indians have nothing to be ashamed of. Terry Francona has built a terrific team. And, to the Cubs, congratulations on your long-awaited victory.

Confessions of a Fair Weather Football Fan, January 2016


carolina_panthers_logoAs it does every year around this time, the NFL season has just gotten started for me.Broncos

Don’t get me wrong. I like football. I just don’t care about the NFL until post-season. The same is true for baseball. It wasn’t always this way.

I was raised in a small New England village with a great baseball field about 100 yards downhill from our back porch. Between the ages of 5 and 13 , during the daylight hours when I wasn’t in school, doing homework or participating in organized sports at another venue, that’s where you’d probably find me with the other guys from our neighborhood playing baseball in Spring and Summer or touch football in the Fall.

When I was growing up, New England didn’t have an NFL team and the Jets didn’t exist, so the New York Giants was my default team of choice.

In later years, I lived in Pittsburgh where I became a Steelers fan. But now, although, I’ve lived more than half of my life as a resident of New York State, I’m not emotionally committed to the Giants or the Jets. I may, at times, like certain NFL teams more than others but I’m not passionate about any of them. I’m a fair weather fan.

Which is why the NFL season started for me last weekend. Now that “the wheat is separated from the chaff”, “the cream has risen to the top”, or whichever metaphor you choose to use to describe the process which brought the contending teams to the playoffs, I’ve gotten interested.


I would have preferred to see New England play the Panthers in Superbowl 50. Nevertheless, I’m planning to enjoy the SuperBowl’s emotional ups & downs, and to watching some amazingly gifted athletes and their coaches perform under pressure. The commercials and the halftime show will be fun, too.

Watching the playoff games has been inspiring and educational for me even if I am just a lowly fair weather fan and neither of my preferred teams made it to the Big Game.

Republicans and Democrats

“Country people tend to consider that they have a corner on righteousness and to distrust most manifestations of cleverness, while people in the city are leery of righteousness but ascribe to themselves all manner of cleverness.”-Edward Hoagland

Could this be a good explanation of what’s been going on in American politics lately?

 

The Curse of the Mainstream Media

‘Democrats have their own SuperPAC, it’s called the mainstream media.’- Senator Marco Rubio  (October 28, 2015 Republican Presidential Candidate Debate)

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Anyone who’s ever worked at one of the broadcast television networks knows that their staffs are composed of a hodgepodge of political (and a-political) opinions.  The only agenda is to be relevant and interesting to the 18-49 year old American adults who advertisers yearn to reach. There’s also the news division’s quest, which they take very seriously, for journalistic integrity.

Here’s something to consider. By definition, doesn’t’ “mainstream media” mean that it resonates with the majority of people; the actual mainstream?

Of course, the reason that “mainstream media” is such a tempting target for these politicians and for demagogic radio and TV personalities is that the audiences to whom they are pandering tend to be fringe groups; outsiders who perceive themselves as special, unique and superior to the majority of their fellow citizens. Therefore, media who represent the values and attitudes of those in the mainstream must, somehow, be tainted.

And who, actually, are the “mainstream media”? Are they just the ABC, CBS and NBC television networks and their cable news subsidiaries? Is Fox News a member of the “mainstream media”? What about Facebook and Twitter? One could argue, given their vast audiences and news dissemination services that they also belong in the category of “mainstream media”.

So, the next time you hear someone attack the mainstream media, it might be worth asking yourself exactly which fringe group that person is trying to impress.

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