A Farewell To Ginger

Me and the dog I grew up with, Ginger, sometime around 1976.
Me and the dog I grew up with, Ginger, sometime around 1976.

It was March 2nd, 1984, a Friday afternoon. I had come back home from Largo Middle School to close out the week and was looking forward to the weekend, particularly taking a nap.

When I got home, I was greeted by some sad news from my mother, who told me that the family dog, Ginger, had passed away that morning or afternoon. I was going to spend the rest of the day over at my aunt’s house across town, while my father would bury Ginger meticulously in the back yard.

My parents let her roam free in the backyard of the house I grew up in, surrounded by a fence ever since I could remember. I’m told that she wasn’t the first pet the family owned, as a cat named Finnegan was the initial family pet, dying in an auto accident when I was too young to remember, thankfully. My classmates who lived nearby no doubt thought that Ginger was a force to be reckoned with. When someone came over to the house she didn’t recognize, boy did she make a fuss! WOOF, WOOF, WOOF!!  Sometimes she would open the screen door and run around the neighborhood, and I’d be the one that would have to chase her down. She was too heavy and big to pick up, so I had to yank her home by the collar, pausing every now and then to keep her from choking.

Ginger hiding in the grass..
Ginger hiding in the grass..

The evening before I gave the pooch a long, tearful hug. I knew somehow that this was the end of the line for her. She had eaten a lizard and had gotten sick from it, and was now too sick to move, lying down in a hallway from the living room to the backyard.

She was a valued member of our family growing up, and did what she could to protect me as I grew.  So as the 30th anniversary of her passing approaches on Sunday, I find myself thinking about her, which is not a bad thing.

As long as you remember, you never forget.

Turning The Corner

Sporting the new headphones, February 20, 2014.
Sporting the new headphones, February 20, 2014.

Let me update you all on my transcription business:

To say business is booming is an understatement. The turning point came last week when I purchased noise canceling headphones. Before that I was using earbuds that I was with my iPhone, and alter earbuds I had with a blackberry. The headphones I recently purchased that you wear over your head old-school style and they a drastic difference.

Instead of capturing 4 to 5 minutes of audio in hour, I’m capturing 7 to 8 minutes an hour. In the world of transcription, that’s a huge difference. A 30 minute project no longer takes me six hours, but usually now takes me less than four. The quicker you get through jobs, the more money you make, its that simple.

I have made more money this week working the first two days of it then I ever had in any week prior to this. My grades have improved, and I’m very pleased that this transcription business is proving to be economically viable.

My next goal is to get a USB foot pedal device transcriptionists use. Once I get that, but should improve even more. Words cannot express how happy I am to find work that I actually enjoy doing. If you can’t find work you enjoy, you’re doing the wrong things. It took me a long time to find something I enjoy, but I think I have found it.

The Night Time Is The Right Time

Like many sports fans across the country, I stayed up last night to watch the end of the Daytona 500 which due to rain got pushed back to Sunday evening.

As many of you know by now, Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the race, repeating his win of 10 years ago back in 2004. Dale’s got a lot of fans across the country, and I’m sure they had a few brewskis into the night last night.

But if I were working in NASCAR, I would be pushing to start these races not in the afternoon, but at around 6 PM or so at night, just as the sun is setting, just as the night is starting. As many of you sports fans know 6 PM is usually when they start the Super Bowl or thereabouts, so of NASCAR wants to treat the Daytona 500 like the Super Bowl why not start the event like the Super Bowl does?

If NASCAR did that, I’m sure they would get very good ratings from their television audience, and the event would be right up there with the Super Bowl, the Oscars, as the American Idol finals as the most watch television events of the year, whether it be sports or entertainment related.

Just trying to help one of my favorite sports out.

Flashback Friday: “Life In A Northern Town” by The Dream Academy

This was one of the songs that I knew was going to be a hit the first time I heard it in late 1985.  Didn’t go all the way to #1, but peaked at a respectable #7 in February of 1986.  Covered since by a country band named Sugarland, but I’m still fond of the original article.

Have a good weekend…

When Breaking News Is Not News

Yesterday, I was reading online about the protests in the Ukraine that have turned so deadly.

I went to the various cable news stations, looking to see whether or not they covered it. To my surprise, none of the channels are interested in covering the story at all.

It seems to me if the story happened 20 years ago, CNN would be all over it. Now, it barely gets a mention. A favor to Russia, perhaps, during the Olympic Games? I wouldn’t doubt it.

But if so, it’s a sad commentary on the state of cable news. Too many stations covering too little things.

Games, Games, And More Games

The most talked about pair of eyes since Kim Carnes did that song about Bette Davis back in 1981.
The most talked about pair of eyes since Kim Carnes did that song about Bette Davis back in 1981.

Like many of you, I’ve been spending most of the past week watching the Olympics from Sochi, Russia aired on NBC and its affiliated cable networks.

Would I be wrong to say that the Olympics have not gotten off to a good start in the United States? While I admit it’s hard sometimes to get going in the various sports included in the Olympics, and I’m not good at any of them, it just seems outside of hockey that we haven’t gotten any good breaks, especially at the extreme sports that we usually tend to dominate.

No, I don’t have a mouse in my pocket. I’m American, so I can use the word “we” when it comes to how the United States performs.

It hasn’t been the best of Olympics are NBC either between Bob Costas and his infected peepers and that abortion of an interview of Bode Miller by Cristin Cooper.

Was it really necessary to make Mr. Miller cry during that interview after winning the bronze medal? I didn’t think so, and I hope viewers feel the same way and voice those opinions to NBC for the good it will do them. Cristin is no Howard Cosell, and shouldn’t try to be.

Hopefully the final week will go better than the first ten days did.  The men’s hockey team is doing spectacularly well, besting the Russians 3-2 in a preliminary round game right in front of Vladimir Putin on the way to a perfect 3-0 mark in the round-robin phase of the tournament.  Please, don’t call it a “Miracle on Ice” if the USA wins gold.  Totally no comparison to the remarkable team of 1980 and what they did.  It’s comparing apples to bananas, not apples to oranges.

Flashback Friday: “River Deep, Mountain High” by Ike and Tina Turner (Phil Spector produced version)

The song is officially titled to Ike and Tina Turner, but Ike’s voice isn’t on this song. There is another version of the song by Ike and Tina, but the Phil Spector produced one is the most famous, hence why it is here.

If you don’t like this song, you don’t like popular music.

Welcome to the NFL

Michael Sam (number 52) whoops it up in the Missouri-Florida game this past fall.

While the Olympians are away in Russia, a quantum shift has occurred in the NFL, or is about to.

Michael Sam has not only declared his intentions to play in the National Football League, but he is also announced that he is gay.

The media, of course, jumped on this saying that Sam was the first gay player in NFL history. Not true. We probably will never know who the first gay player in the NFL was. How do we know that someone back in the 1930s playing in the NFL wasn’t gay? The same holds true for other sports. I’m sure there have been closeted gay baseball players, basketball players, hockey players.

In the statistically crazed world of sports, where numbers rule the roost, and the first of everything and the last of everything is recorded, I doubt it has occurred to anyone to keep track of such things. Speaking personally, I hope we never get to that point.

In the macho manly world of the NFL, having a gay player in its ranks is going to take some adjustment for the players. But sooner or later, this was bound to happen. Just like the color barrier was broken after World War II, we are now crossing the sexual preference barrier, and just like back then when there were crackers that said black people have no place in sports, some will say there’s no place for gay men in the NFL.

I’m not one of those people. I’m sure that the sports world will get past this barrier as it did the others.

RIP Shirley Temple


I am finding out this morning that Shirley Temple has died.

I don’t think I’m telling you anything new if I had told you about the career Shirley Temple had. Back in the era when the market would only have four or five TV stations on, Shirley Temple movies used to run here on Sunday mornings when I was a kid, which was some three decades ago.

One day, I was going on coming home from school about how great Shirley Temple was. I was reminded by my babysitter who was walking home that that Shirley was much older in real life now as opposed to the films I had been seeing several decades previously.

She was an icon to kids growing up no matter what time frame they did grow up, served our country well as an ambassador to Czechoslovakia and Ghana, and was one of the first women to go public about the terrible disease that is breast cancer. Nothing seemed to slow her down but time itself.

It is a sad day, but she lived a great life

Trials And Tribulations Of A Transcriber

Things I’m learning in the field of transcription that might interest you:

First: this is not as easy as it looks, or sounds. The files are either too soft for the human ear, or you have to put up with background noise because the file isn’t that dense so it sounds tinny.

Let me put it another way, it sometimes like the sounds Charlie Brown’s teacher would make. Wonk-a-wowk-a-wowk-a-woow.

If you get a file that sounds right, you’d think that solves the trouble, right?

But no! If the file is of good quality, another monkey wrench is thrown at you. You have to decipher an Australian accent, or an Arab accent, or someone speaking English with a Chinese accent.

It’s a tough way to earn a little dough, even with the best of headphones and the best of equipment.  Maybe I’m too much of a perfectionist and I should just settle down and learn to accept that not everything will be as perfect as I want. However, I used to be in radio, and poor quality is a pet peeve that has stayed with me long after I hung up my headphones.