Showing posts from June, 2012

Driving Into Hell

There was a point last night when I realized I was driving into hell and couldn’t do a thing about it.

Thirty minutes earlier I was having beers with friends at an outdoor bar. Temperatures in the Washington DC area had broken records … 103 in DC, at or near 100 in the suburbs. At 10pm it was still 95 at that bar in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The region was under a thunderstorm watch but nothing had happened yet. The air felt odd as I returned to my car and I instinctively knew the storms were coming so my plan was to quickly stop at a McDonalds drive-thru in Germantown on the way home before the rain hit.

As I arrived at the golden arches I noticed two things: the line was seven cars deep and the air was suddenly completely still. I had about ten seconds to decide whether to become car eight or to skip it and get back on the Interstate. A sudden burst of wind made the decision for me.

In the thirty seconds it took to get back onto Middlebrook Road the wind went from calm to 60 or 70 m…

Here We Go -part 2

Continuing the train of thought from my previous post ...

Within an hour of the release of the Supreme Court's decision on the health care law this morning, I received 16 emails pitching guests with reactions to the decision. Thirteen were from 'experts' who disagreed with the outcome and the rest praised it.

As soon as the news broke I checked two news web sites to see if I won a bet I made with myself about their coverage. I won! The msnbc site called it breaking news and the article almost seemed to have been written by a Democratic Party spokesman. The Fox news web site had nothing more recent than a speculation pieces written hours earlier. They are both so predictable. And some people dare to call either of them 'news'? And I heard that CNN initially posted the wrong headline. Fail.

So the very same people who are whining about this Supreme Court decision forgot that a Supreme Court decision made it possible for Bush to become President even though he didn…

Here We Go

The next Presidential election is 132 days away but the ads have already begun; and I am already tired of them. How ‘bout you?

The political conventions are months away … the Republicans meet in August in Tampa and the Democrats meet in September in Charlotte. Why bother? We already know who the candidates will be. Chances are you’ve already decided which one you’re voting for.

One of my media jobs involves those Sunday morning public affairs radio shows you probably never listen to. Politics might seem a logical topic choice but I usually focus more on local day-to-day issues like education, health, volunteerism, bullying, poverty, quality of life, transportation and the arts. My five radio stations are in Washington DC and we have enough politics here as it is. But because I am a producer, host and interviewer, I receive a few hundred emails a week with guest pitches. I delete nearly all of them. The spokespeople they want me to chat with usually represent extreme points of view, so…


Who comes up with this stuff?  I actually busted out laughing in the middle of a restaurant when I saw this on my iPhone, while standing up waiting for carry out.  Enjoy.

An Impact

Have you ever thought about what impact you will leave or have left on the world? Are you here and then gone? Or is there a purpose to your existence? Do you know what that is? Will you leave your mark? Does it matter?

Pretty heady stuff for a 600-word blog post, I know, but this is on my mind tonight. I think that many people get to a point in their lives where they wonder why they are here. It seems to be a boomer preoccupation but other generations consider this too. And many people don’t. I’m not making any judgments.

I do believe that each of us has some kind of impact, whether we try to or not. We affect our family, our friends, maybe our co-workers. Some people are lucky to have a positive impact on people they don’t even know. Some people have a negative impact too.

Even though I whine about the current state of my life, I know I am blessed. I have led an incredible life so far and for the first 45 years of it I didn’t really care that much about my reason for existence or if …

Political Observations

Political season is here. It’s a time we can celebrate the freedom we have to elect our government. It is also a time to endure the obnoxious political ads.

I heard this statistic the other day: 46% of voters have already decided to vote for President Obama, no matter what is said during the campaign, and 46% have already decided to vote for Mitt Romney, regardless of any messages in any ads. The entire campaign will be about the remaining 8% of undecided voters.

Both campaigns are likely to spend a record amount of money on advertising, trying to convince that 8% to vote their way. I’m pretty sure George Washington didn’t spend any money on his campaign.

Bonnie Raitt’s comment during a recent concert: “We’re having an election this year. Actually, an auction.”

Each candidate will blame the other for the economy and everything else that is wrong right now, even though the President, no matter who he or she is, can’t actually control those things.

Boomers like me might remember that t…


My thought of the day (mostly because I don't have anything else to say today) ...


How does so much drama creep into our lives? Many of my friends have troubling, complicated or depressing things going on in their lives. Is that coincidence or am I a magnet for people with drama? Probably a little both is my guess. I have some drama in my life too, although I really want to simplify it. Drama is fun on stage or television but not in day-to-day life.

One friend's mother is going into hospice care and will likely die within months or even weeks. That is a dramatic struggle for him but there is even more drama involved in dealing with work responsibilities at the same time.

Another friend is trying to save his marriage long-distance and both work and the miles are conspiring against him. I feel his pain and wish I could help but all I can really do is be a sympathetic listener.

Another friend dealt with the divorce of her parents who are in their 70s, while struggling to start her own new career and education journey and her boyfriend just leaves, with no explanat…


This pretty much says it all today.  Cheers!

Dad’s Day

Every year near Father’s Day I write something here about my Dad. As I sat down to write something for this year I opened my post from last year to see what I said then. I really don’t have anything to add; this says how I feel this year as well as last year. My Dad died ten years ago but in many ways I see him every day – in the mirror, for example – or I hear his voice in mine at those times when I say something he might have said. So the rest of this post contains my random thoughts from last year, but they still ring true.

My Dad had a very successful career as an engineer, first with structural design, later electrical and for the last 25 years of his work life he did plumbing design. He was a very behind-the-scenes guy but his plumbing design work can be found everywhere in New Orleans, from the fountain next to Riverwalk to the drainage ditches on the Claiborne Avenue exit off I-10 to the restrooms, loading dock drains and fire sprinklers at Oakwood Shopping Center. Not bad for…


I saw Bonnie Raitt this week. Awesome show.

She’s on Rolling Stone’s best 100 guitarist ever and 100 best singers ever lists. She’s had hit songs and Grammy awards. She looks as good now as she did back in the day. Her voice is just as strong. Her style was and is a mix of blues, folk, rock and reggae. She’s 62 years old and doesn’t let the impression some people have of that number get in the way. Her show is rockin’, sultry, sexy and funny.

Here is one of her new songs, on her new CD, the first she’s released in more than five years. (This was recorded live at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival last month).

Here is another one:

And CLICK HERE to watch a feature report about her on CNN:

Random Musings

Do you ever “discover” songs on your iPod? I mean a song comes on that you didn’t know you had, one that sounds familiar or maybe the singer sounds familiar but you don’t remember downloading the song. Just wondering. Happened to me last night – a Bonnie Raitt song I didn’t know I had.

I love learning. On the agenda for the next year: Italian (I’ll try again), a musical instrument (guitar or piano are the lead candidates) and dancing (specifically ballroom dancing and/or salsa).

Yesterday I watched an interesting ‘reality’ show called The Pitch, which more or less plays off Mad Men with a modern-day look at contemporary advertising agencies. The ‘plot’ centers around two ad agencies pitching a client for their business. Aside from some fake drama, it is close to real. I’ve been on sales pitches with radio sales people and I have seen the blank stares of clients after you just showed them your best stuff, stuff that you thought would impress them. Ouch.

The letters in Clint Eastwood’s …


Science fiction was my favorite literary form for many years and one of my favorite sci-fi writers is Ray Bradbury. He died this week at age 91. You might be familiar with his novels like Fahrenheit 451 and Something Wicked This Way Comes or his short story collections like The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man. He also wrote screenplays, essays and poems. His work inspired television shows, movies and comic books.

Like many people, I call him a science fiction writer but he describes his own work as “fantasy”, which he says depicts the unreal, while sci-fi depicts the real. Interesting distinction. He also wrote detective mysteries in later years and was still writing essays as recently as a week before his death. He died during the ‘transit of Venus’. Hmmm.

I am both curious and inspired by writers and their lives. One thing that stands out in Bradbury’s life is that he didn’t go to college. Instead he spent all of his free time in libraries and claims to have read every b…

My Saturday

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here are 4,000 words describing slices of my day today.

Confidence Levels

One of my geeky hobbies is studying people’s confidence levels. When I meet someone who seems to be very confident, I want to learn how they got that way. I also want to know what balances their personality, what part of their persona is less confident. And I am curious if they were less confident at some point in their life. Does a person’s outward confidence sometimes mask inward insecurity?

Do you ever think this way? Do you look at confident people as role models for any part of your own personality? How confident are you in various aspects of your life?

I am highly confident in most of what makes me me, but that comes as a result of decades of study, thought and intentional behavior and attitude changes. I was quite the bundle of insecurity in my youth. My parents were generally supportive but one thing they taught me, curiosity, also led me to question many of their beliefs and expectations. As a result I often experienced conflict between charting my own path and living up to t…


The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.
- Unknown


Saw this on a friend's Facebook page today.  Sharing ...

Just Thinking About Stuff

Do you wonder sometimes how humans survive on Earth? That thought hit me tonight as I drove through torrential downpours while listening to tornado warning alerts on the radio. We are pretty much defenseless in the face of some unpredictable and uncontrollable weather events and other acts of nature. Yet we survive. Usually

I’ve been reading a book this week about Cherokees. We are a great country, now, but any study of our history in the 19th century will reveal that ‘we’ screwed the original population of this great expanse of land. The book is not a total bitter recitation of atrocities but it certainly does point out a few. Just sayin’.

A year ago at a party a girl asked me what are some things women do that annoy me. That’s an odd but interesting question to ask a man ya just met, isn’t it? We weren’t flirting with each other. We were just in a conversation with a third girl about the third girl’s relationship with her then current boyfriend. I did have an answer to the question,…