Monday, December 17, 2012
I guess it's been a little longer than usual since we talked. I'll take the blame for that, but I have been busy. It's nice being close to you and Grandpa and I promise to bring you guys flowers before Christmas. I don't know where to begin this letter, but I figured it would be easy to talk to you. You always said that you were from the "old school," and it sure seems like this world could use some of that. It's no secret that I haven't been much of a fan of Christmas since you passed. It just feels like a reminder of the fact that you're not here anymore. A little selfish, but sometimes you can't help how you feel.
After this past Friday, I am sure there will be a few people who feel the same as me. I am not sure if you know or not, but a group of innocent elementary school kids were killed by a lunatic. Teachers did their best to protect them, but there wasn't anything that they could do. I remember when you would walk me to school from time to time. Back then I don't think anyone would even consider something like this happening. The small town removed their Christmas decorations and have been trying to make sense of the madness. I don't know if they will ever be able to.
I am not sure you would like the world that we live in now. Schools have plans in place in the event someone goes crazy and starts shooting. The only plans the used to need were tornado and fire drills. I remember begging you and grandpa for G.I. Joe toys and now kids beg for Facebook accounts and cell phones. I forgot, you probably don't know what Facebook is. It was meant to be away for people to interact with each other, but these days it seems more like a place for people to act more immature than school kids.
I remember you watching the news when you woke up and before you went to bed. These days the news is reported faster by the average person with a cell phone than any television network. I know, it's pretty scary. I don't think you would like the news. Negative stories seem to sell more and it feels like we don't care about "feel good stories" anymore. We are constantly being told about the economy being bad, wars around the world, and now children being massacred. I don't know if you would watch. Reporters frantically tried to track down parents and friends of dead children to get a story. I work in the media and have never been so ashamed. Human decency sometimes takes a back seat to better headlines. When did that become the norm?
You would say that "it's a shame," and you would be right. I don't know if it's the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary or the time of year that made me think about my childhood. I remember walking the streets of Cincinnati and we went to stores and were happy to have simple things. I am not sure that the new generation understands what simple things are? The world has become a place where we are judged by our material possessions. I am not sure that people know how to treat each other anymore. I remember you used to talk to everyone when we were out. I never understood why, but when I was at your funeral I met the lady who served you your cheese coney for lunch and the grocery workers who knew you from Kroger. It's sad, but I am not sure people in the world talk to strangers very much. People now a days would rather judge them without really getting to know them based solely on the way they look.
I remember we always tried to buy you knew clothes but you never wore them. I realize now that you always felt like there wasn't anything wrong with what you had. You wouldn't like the fact that we are judged by how good or bad we look. It's a shame. I am willing to bet that kids are more confused than ever. I had friends from all walk of life. Some were poor and others were rich. We were just kids and how we looked wasn't really a top priority. We played with sticks, we laughed, were home before the street lights came on, and sometimes we fought. We disagreed. We fought and we made up. We were occasionally bullied, but never once thought about shooting or killing the bully. Times have certainly changed.
You and grandpa put up with a lot. I remember the only time in my life that He spanked me. I must have really been bad because he was too much of a gentle giant to ever raise a hand. You wouldn't like today's world. People don't discipline their kids the same. Parental experts will tell you how to punish kids properly, and who knows they might be right. I am no expert and neither were you, but the world was a lot safer and kids understood the concept of respect when the "experts" minded their own business. Maybe there is something to be said for picking a "switch" from the backyard.
It is certainly a different world. There are people who are considered celebrities for reasons we will never know. When people need attention they post videos of themselves regardless of how ridiculous they look. You never even used your VCR. The world is different and even though you wouldn't like it, I would sure give anything to have you in it. I wish everyone would've experienced the simple joy that a little boy felt riding the bus with his grandma. The time spent together being worth more than any toy or materialistic thing. Coming home has made me a better person. I look at the world through eyes that have become more humble. I don't know why that is, but I have learned to be less judgemental. If I can, so can anyone.
Mom seems to be well and Diana is taking things day by day. I don't think I will ever look at the holidays the same. A little boy I met a couple of times lost his battle with cancer recently. He had this thing about paying it forward. I have been trying to do that. I hope you are proud of who I have become. I am certainly not perfect, but I haven't grown up yet. Seeing the city reminds me of all the good times that we had. I would trade all the presents in the world for one of those days. I might even make a video and post it on You Tube. It wouldn't mean much to other people, but it would generate a million hits from me alone. You probably don't understand what I am talking about and that's OK. We could learn a lot from the "old school." They certainly have plenty to teach us if we just take the time to listen and pay attention. Listen. Now that is an interesting concept.
I don't know if I have ever told you thank you, but I meant to everyday. I hope you and grandpa are in a good place. Please feel free to look in on me time to time. I have a pretty good life. I am still the little boy who walked to the bus stop at the end of Ferdinand Place. The little boy who ate two cheese coneys on a plate and begged for a quarters to play video games. The little boy fought with his sister, cut your grass, and somewhere along the way learned a little bit about responsibility. I am not fine, but I'm doing OK.
Your loving grandson
Friday, December 7, 2012
There was a time a few years back when it was a true privilege to be able to "crack a mic." I still believe that it is. This industry was hard to get into. Stations ran fast and furious and clothed entire families with their logo t-shirts. We broke the artists we wanted and shelved the ones we didn't. As an industry, we were on fire. The cool thing about radio was the fact that everyday people could talk to who ever was on the air. One phone call to request a song or to weigh in on a discussion and you became part of it. Something that is hard to do with television. Radio is show business. The stuff between the records, the events, and the fact that we are the link between the everyday person and the stars. It's a cool job and I get excited talking about it still.
People rarely get to see the people behind the music and the microphones. On the record side, the people who "push spins," constantly travel. They take calls day and night. They are always feeling like they are in the middle of a closing vice because the industry needs the next hit. They get pulled in a thousand different directions and sometimes are greeted with "what can you do for me now," instead of "thank you."
When the microphone gets shut off it's a different story. We all work more than 4 hours a day and our job does tend to become out lives. People believe that we make a million dollars a year when in fact, most are grossly underpaid. Some of us have lived in 5 cities in four years and others are "lifers" in the same place.
There are those of us who are paid substantial amounts of money to literally read from a piece of paper and then there are those who sweat it out for next to nothing for the love of the game.
In 2008 the radio industry really started cutting back. Fewer people and lots of job loss. Nearly every company is guilty of it. Many do not realize that radio is a advertising business. People hate commercials, but if we don't sell enough then we don't make money. Simple formula. Radio companies made massive cuts a few years ago and they have continued. The record industry has suffered for awhile as well. Napster didn't revolutionize the industry. It mostly hurt it. I-tunes is doing the same thing. People somehow developed this attitude that music should be free or close to it. We don't buy Cd's anymore. We download songs. The record industry to is shrinking. Leaving both sides with one dreadful thing in common. Fear. We all work realizing that it could all go away at anytime. That is the reality.
We have the honor of being let into people's everyday lives. We are ,if nothing else, disposable. It's hard for people to see what our world is like. There are plenty of haters. People who either used to work in the industry or those who never got the chance. We are sometimes told that we suck. There are always those who don't mind letting us know that they could do better. They tell us we aren't as good as the person we replaced. In some cases they are right, but it doesn't mean that we don't try to win them over day after day even if it is an exercise in futility.People think they know us because they hear our opinions, but the truth is they do not. They don't see the long hours and the difficulty that some of us face. They don't realize the fear that looms of job loss that we all face. The radio is now sounding different all the time and it's not because of the music.
It sucks that the world is the way that it is. People say that the radio DJ is a dying breed and I couldn't disagree more. The industry is changing, but not dying. There is Internet and satellite, but when most of us get in the car we listen. We listen to a group of individuals who truly love what they do. Strip away the fear, glamour, and change and you will find love. There are those of us who knew they wanted this when they were kids and others like myself who found it while looking for a path to walk. It is truly something that gets inside and doesn't. We have no "off season," and the best of us continue to provide new content daily without the benefit of writers.
We develop a connection with people from all walks of life. We are granted the power to influence their opinions,lifestyle purchases, relationships, and what they might be eating for lunch. We come together to help those in need and we also simply just tell you what the song you just heard was. I wish that there were more like us. A group of people who truly love what they do. It is a job that is not easy to walk away from. It is not always glamorous. We are not all rich. Rude comments can sting. We are believers that our industry will see good times again. Whether by age, boredom, corporate decision, or personal choice we will eventually turn the mic off for good. All of us will remember the lives we touched along rhe ride. This is the greatest job in the world. We get to talk and are privileged that you take the time to listen.
Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel,Catherine Zeta-Jonesm and Dennis Quaid seems like a solid cast, but this movie centered around soccer just doesn't score.
A former soccer star who's fallen on hard times starts coaching his son's soccer team as a way to get his life together. His attempts to become an adult are met with challenges from the attractive soccer moms who pursue him at every turn. Sounds like fun, right? It should be. Gerard messed up his marriage and now wants to win back his wife and son. Biel is the ex and Noah Lomax is the son. I can't say I hated it, but I just didn't like it.
The problem is chemistry. I just didn't see any between Biel and Butler. The best romantic comedys have amazing chemistry between leads. Cruise and Zellwegger in Jerry McGuire, Roberts and Gere in Pretty Woman, and even Gibson and Hunt in What Women Want. Chemistry is the biggest problem with Playing For Keeps. Butler is great with the kids and it isn't miserable to watch, but you are left not really caring how it works out.
The story may have more appeal to soccer fans, but that's it. This time I suggest watching an old favorite or just see Twilight again. Playing for Keeps just doesn't score.