A Sterling Man By No Means

Like many of you these past few days, I’ve watched the Donald Sterling controversy play out. Mr. Sterling is (and in the immediate future, it is likely this will be a “was”) the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team. Over the weekend, some rather vile and racist recordings were unearthed as Sterling was having conversations with his mistress, a V. Stiviano. The outrage was immediate, and the justice was robust. Sterling is now banned from operations from his franchise for life, and should be excused from ownership rather quickly by a jury of his fellow owners.

There are many questions I have about this controversy, the same questions being posed on social media and old-style media (i.e. television, radio, and print). The one question that will likely go unanswered now that a resolution has been found is this: the NBA must have known Sterling’s leanings (and loathings, as it turns out) for quite a while, but yet they didn’t act until now. Why?

To me, it was very reminiscent of the Aaryn Gries/Big Brother 15 controversy of ten months ago, although Sterling’s drama played out on a much larger scale than the surreal landscape of reality TV. Critics of the show and of the controversy (that was going to play out regardless of Aaryn’s appearance on it, they had two other contestants with somewhat racist views that didn’t get nearly the media attention Gries did) petitioned the show sponsors. Once that happened, the protests hit a brick wall, almost as if the sponsors replied: “Are you serious? It’s a reality show! Quit wasting our time!!!”

Sterling was by no means as fortunate to have the sponsors in their pockets as CBS was with their summertime reality show last year. Knowing a clusterf*ck when they see one, sponsors left the Clippers in droves on Monday. As for Sterling, I hope he remains the eyesore in sports history he currently exists as now. There is no room for him in the world of sports, and perhaps the human race. He may have his millions, but he can never buy the class he does not have.

The Trip To Iceeville

I haven’t been doing any monthly excursions to the bank as of late, but this month I had some bankable spare cash to dispose of on Friday.  Off I went around Pinellas Park to the Shoppes At Park Place. For those of you who have been out of the Tampa Bay area for a while (and I know some of you who read this blog are), the Shoppes is an outdoor mall where Pinellas Square Mall once roughly stood.

Stopping at the Super Target (or is it just a very large Target?), I went in and had myself an Icee. Icees are much like Slurpees, except they cost about a quarter more. Back in the days when there were an abundance of K-Mart stores nationwide, you could get an Icee there, as they were usually located past the check-out counter. Side note: my dad would always call a K-Mart a K-Mark store, so one day I corrected him as he drove me to the store on Missouri Avenue just north of Largo High School.

“Dad, if the store was named K-Mark, there would be a big K at the end like the K at the start of the display.”  My dad looked me and chuckled, saying I was absolutely right. He didn’t do that too often, so it was nice to score a point where I could.

Back in the present day, I inhaled my Icee in a few minutes, strategically pausing every now and then when the onset of brain freeze appeared imminent. It was a nice retreat, but something I do sparingly, as I have questions about the health standards at some of these fast-food establishments.

Apparently, I’m not the only one out there feeling this way.

Flashback Friday: “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie

What I remember about this song is it was the first song I heard for what seemed like forever on MTV before it climbed the charts in 1983, giving David Bowie another number one hit to go along with his 1975 chart-topper, “Fame.”

I didn’t know a lot about the 1970’s version of David Bowie, didn’t know a lot about his androgynous persona of that era. I just loved the opening 32 beats of the song, “Aah, aah, aah, aah….”  Great little hook to get the tune started.

Talk to you next week.

Flight 370 Fatigue

It is not my intention in this particular blog entry to sound callous, but the whole Flight 370 saga is really starting to bore me.

We hear pings!

Wait, the pings we heard yesterday were a false alarm.  Sorry.

A piece of metal washed ashore somewhere on the Australian west coast! Stand by! Breaking News!

Wait, that wasn’t from Flight 370. Sorry.

Breaking News! The search teams may have found something!

Wait, they didn’t find anything. Sorry.

You know, there are other things going on in the world, people. Like Russia sticking its nose wherever they can in the Ukraine. Or that event in Nevada at the Bundy Ranch nobody seems to want to talk about. Or the events the past week commemorating the Boston bombing that did get a little attention.

But instead, we get all Flight 370, all the time.

If this happened in 1994, CNN would probably have given it about a third of the airtime it’s giving such a story in 2014. But alas, this is just my guess.

The media of 1974 that helped break open Watergate would have been on the Malaysians like a pack of rabid dogs. Again, just my guess.

It just seems the media of the here and the now just wants to prolong the story for all they can, for ratings more than likely. It’s beyond sad. It’s depressing.

RIP Dave Wagenvoord

I have learned tonight from multiple sources that Dave Wagenvoord, who owned WTAN AM 1340 in Clearwater where I once worked, passed away this morning, April 21st.

There is a “rest of the story” to Dave I don’t believe I’ve told.

One day, I was doing my board operator duties at Sun Radio Network sometime in 1990’s, a few years after my firing at WTAN, but I forget the year. Naturally, I was a little curious about what they were doing in the SRN offices, how could I not be? But Dave saw my face, and gave me a wave, and I gave him a wave back. I held no grudges over what happened, although my board operator duties kept me from talking to him that afternoon.

Wagenvoord continued to (with a brief hiatus in the early 1990’s) run WTAN until the day he died. The last of the “mom and pop” stations going up against the corporate machines such as CBS and Clear Channel’s that are all over the dial in every market in America.

I know others in the media field may have issues with how Dave and Lola ran the station, but now is not the time for those issues. Hope he rests in peace.

West Bound And Downed

The Florida Hotel in Orlando, FL on a drizzly Friday morning. April 18, 2014.
The Florida Hotel in Orlando, FL on a drizzly Friday morning. April 18, 2014.

The trip to Orlando is now in my rear view mirror, a memory getting more and more distant with the passing days. But I enjoyed the hell out of my roughly 48 hours there.

I do have one piece of advice to any of you travelers out there: never get a hotel room near an elevator, especially in this day and age. Call it a downfall of civilization if you must, but we had a lot of people who were experts at public speaking near our room, because they engaged in it nearly 24/7 the two nights I was there. If I had one suggestion for the Florida Hotel, it would be to put signs by the elevators reminding people to shush late at night. Then again, if the hotel patrons all decided to not follow such a rule, what would the hotel do to counter that?

Speaking of the downfall of civilization, I see a lot of people sitting in the lobby, or at the mall, just sitting on their IPhones, IPads, PSP’s, Androids, banging away on their screens. Now, I do resemble this remark myself (posting a lot of pics on Instagram and some video on Vine), but it was fascinating to watch how playing with your phone or portable gaming system has replaced human conversation. No one asked me where I was from, outside from store employees.

The TV cable system is better than mine at home, most if not all the channels were available in HD, including the Rays games on Sun Sports. Having a mall to go to with an expansive food court was also a huge plus. Got a haircut there Thursday morning at the Hair Cuttery store, and afterward spent some time in the huge mall dodging all the ladies hawking wares such as lotions, phone accessories, and whatnot. I’m pretty good at dodging such salespeople, so they don’t bother me.

The hotel is about seven miles west of Orlando Airport, so you hear a lot of accents there. English accents, Spanish language accents, Scottish accents. If you go down to the lobby during the day, you might catch a bunch of women in red uniforms. British Airways stewardesses, I assume? They have a flight list at the lobby like you would see at an airport, and you see flights going to the UK, Charlotte, New York, and other parts of the world.

Needless to say, I’d absolutely recommend the place if you have the budget for it.

Flashback Friday: “She Bop” by Cyndi Lauper

It wouldn’t be right not to mention Cyndi Lauper sometime during the year of 2014.

The year of 1984 was very good to her, as she rose to pop prominence on the strength of her “She’s So Unusual” album. “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” was the biggest hit, with the ballad “Time After Time” gaining equal success.

“She Bop” was my favorite song of the album. A nice, uptempo song with a new wave kick to it.

Have a good weekend, folks.

On Location

On top of the Howard Frankland Bridge that connects Pinellas County to Tampa.  April 17, 2014.
On top of the Howard Frankland Bridge that connects Pinellas County to Tampa. April 17, 2014.

Another milestone for this blog: this morning I am writing this entry from somewhere other than my home for the first time in its history.

I’m accompanying my mother over here at the Florida Hotel and Conference Center in Orlando as she takes part in a statewide dietician’s seminar. She usually takes one of her work friends, but this time I was asked to come along, and I thought visiting another big city would make good fodder for the blog.

The 90 mile trip or so was uneventful, as it was the first time I’ve been outside of the Tampa Bay area in a few years. I-4 was a breeze with a minimum of traffic to negotiate with when you have at least three lanes in your direction at all times. Arriving a little after 2pm, we thought there would be a wait to get to the room, but we were told at the desk that nope, we could claim our room right away.

The room itself is a few floors up, and the view is basically a side of the adjoining Florida Mall. I remember visiting the mall once back in the 1990’s off of the Orange Blossom Trail, but I don’t remember the hotel being there at that time, but it may have been. The mall is very spacious, reminding me of Tyrone Square Mall back in St. Petersburg, visiting there numerous times in my youth. Everything is on one level, no escalators or elevators to go up and down on. (When I was little, I hated escalators with a passion, but I eventually got over that fear.)

Today, while the maternal unit is attending her seminars, I’ve got a few things to do. More on that on Monday in part two.

The Great EBS Gaffe Of 1971

The date was February 20, 1971. All hell broke loose for a few scant minutes as radio stations were forced off the air (by agreement) so that one station in each radio market would be the sole broadcaster of emergency information.

A teletype operator by the name of W.S. Eberhardt played an incorrect tape during a test of Emergency Broadcast System. Instead of the usual EBS test and tone, some stations across the country aired the real deal, alarming radio listeners and board operators (no doubt) across the country.

I’ve done EBS tests in my radio career, mainly at WBDN in Clearwater. What you do is play one cart (short for cartridge, think of them as an advanced 8-track tape that plays audio for a few moments). You hit the cart once to activate the opening message, activate the tone for a set period of time, then play the closing message. Pretty straightforward, pretty hard to screw up.  The EBS has since been replaced by the Emergency Alert System in 1997 and is what’s currently used to dispense information in the event of an emergency.

You’ll hear the DJ for WOWO out of Fort Wayne, Indiana for the first six minutes of the clip, then WCCO out of Minneapolis for the remainder of the clip.

Flashback Friday: “Eye Of The Tiger” by Survivor

Thought we’d go with “Eye Of The Tiger” this week, which of course is from the third Rocky movie that introduced Mr. T and Hulk Hogan to the world, with T playing the arrogant Clubber Lang and Hulk Hogan donning the tights as a fictitious wrestling champion, Thunderlips.

I always thought this song had a hidden, but yet powerful message.

“He’s watching us all with the eye of the tiger.”

Who is the “he?” God? Perhaps a departed loved one, or friend? In the case of the movie, it was Rocky’s trainer, Mickey Goldmill, played brilliantly by Burgess Meredith.

Most of you know the movie, and it’s on Netflix this month for all you young whippersnappers.

Would You Like To Try For 15?

The Democratic Party is really starting to annoy this blogger.

Remember back on March 11th, when I was talking about how Alex Sink and her menagerie of phone numbers kept calling my home?

Well, I’ve been blessed to have gotten a 14th call from them since March 10th yesterday afternoon. Earlier in the morning, I went through the voice mail and deleted six messages from various numbers on Alex’s behalf, three each from two separate numbers, so later that day, they have the temerity to call again under the guise of some poll.

It was a recorded voice mail call, so I knew it didn’t make sense to yell at the people at the other end of the phone. But, after being reminded of how rude the Sink people were being last month, I went into William Shatner “KHAAANNN!!!” mode:


The pre-recorded voice failed to respond, naturally. Maybe I need to vote Libertarian this fall, or God forbid, Republican. David Jolly has to defend his newly won seat in November, and if Alex Sink is indeed the Democratic finalist, perhaps I need to remind people of what happened in March.

That is, if I’m still here in Florida.