Orientation And Inspiration

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Yesterday was Orientation Day at my new job.

It is so refreshing to see smiling faces among my soon to be co-workers as I sat out in this main hallway waiting for the orientation to begin. A lot of my recent jobs reminded me of one of my favorite movies, Glengarry Glen Ross, where optimism had its moments, but gloom was everywhere. Not so here at this location.

So far, this job reminds me of when I worked for a few months back at Home Shopping Network in the late 90’s, back when their call center was in St. Petersburg and not scattered across the country as they now do it. I’m also happy it’s not a telemarketing job as I mentioned recently, but a customer service job.

A lot of the boiler rooms in the Tampa Bay put up so many barriers and deceive their employees so often, one wonders if THEY are the prey of the owners, and not the people they’re attempting to fleece. If you can do the job, they may or may not have a dress code, which for strictly a phone job I often found ridiculous. One company I attempted to work for three years ago found a new way to screw employees by fining them for a variety of misdeeds.

Anyway, I shouldn’t beat a dead horse. It doesn’t look like I’m going to have any of those kind of problems at this new place.

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Back On The Force

Good fortune has come my way today in the form of a job that actually allows me to venture out of the house.

Today I went up US 19 in Clearwater (around where the old Tri-City Plaza is, part of which is getting torn down and rebuilt) and visited 24-7 InTouch, a company that handles customer service queries for various American businesses, including some big names. Let’s just say it’s full-time work, and enough to keep me busy thru the upcoming holidays which are fast approaching.

It’s nice to see companies hiring around here for something other than the high-pressure rat race that is telemarketing, something I’ve had some bad experiences with over time. I’d rather make a few honest bucks as opposed to dishonest ones.

Another ongoing theme to be discussed in the time ahead on this blog, though I may have to pull my punches a bit on this matter. Hope you all will understand. if you’re curious about it, it should be linked on the left side of this page.

The World Serious

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All right, a quick show of hands here. How many of you had Kansas City and the New York Mets in the World Series this year at the start of the season?

Not many of you, I reckon.

When I watch sports, I always seem to enjoy the finales more when two teams are squaring off that haven’t won a championship in a while as opposed to teams that are in the hunt every year. The exception to that rule for me is the Super Bowl, because that’s not a best four out of seven series, it’s one game for a championship.

I think it will be a very good series, even if it stretches into November, which it will likely do. The Mets have great pitching and a hitter named Daniel Murphy who’s hitting everything out of sight. If he can stay hot as he did in the NLCS against the Chicago Cubs, the team from the NYC should have an easy time of it.

The Royals were a base hit away from sending the seventh game of last year’s Series to extra innings, or a home run away from winning it. I have great respect for the Royals, with ex-Ray Ben Zorbist on the team after being acquired from Oakland in a trade.

My pick, just for entertainment purposes: the Mets in five games. Thinking the Royals will win tonight, then the Mets will win four in a row, just like the 1969 World Series went against Baltimore.

Rest In Peace, Stanley

I’m very saddened to learn tonight that Stan Major, who I’ve mentioned on this blog many times, has recently passed away, according to his son Chris. I figured something might have been up for a while now since his blog hadn’t been updated for over a month, but it could have been computer problems or whatnot.

He was simply the best talent I ever had the pleasure to work with, and sometimes in life you don’t know what you have or have had until it’s long in your rear view mirror. (He had to be, he put up with me. Just a joke, Stan!) He was also the best talent Sun Radio Network ever had, and looking back it is no small wonder that a little over three years after he left SRN, the network folded. But that’s just my opinion.

It should also be mentioned that he also had runs on some of the great Miami talk stations (WINZ and WIOD standing out) along with other major US markets too numerous to mention (including WDAE in Tampa), and as a newsman for NBC over a variety of TV and radio programs. He also served NBC as a war correspondent during the Vietnam War, once getting to interview Bob Hope for the NBC Monitor program.

It was nice to get to connect with him one more time through our respective blogs. He gave my blog a bit of a boost, and I appreciated the gesture that he thought enough of me to do that.

Rest in peace, Stan, and I hope you enjoy meeting all the people up in heaven who’ve “invaded” your dreams as you mentioned in your blog entries.

Bubba And The Nielsens

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Back in the 90’s, someone who I went to school with who I met at, of all places, the 2001 Odyssey nudie bar off of Dale Mabry in Tampa, asked me if I was Bubba The Love Sponge. The person I went to school with wound up being a dancer there, but I didn’t ask to see her in her birthday suit. Just didn’t think it would feel right.

In retrospect, I probably should have lied. Would have made my dollars go a little farther that night, among other things. Sometimes I think I’m too damn honest.

In fact, I’ve never crossed paths with Bubba, truth be told, though we work (or in my case, worked) in the same business.

I wrote about eleven months ago about Bubba going to work for Beasley Broadcasting, and how I was skeptical of the whole deal going smoothly. Sure enough, reports have surfaced recently about how Bubba is now on the receiving end of a lawsuit from the Nielsen company that puts together radio and television ratings. They claim that Bubba was going to participants in the Nielsen surveys through acquaintances, offering $300-$400 per month to give his ratings at his new home at 98.7 WBRN in Tampa a boost.

Needless to say, payola for higher ratings is a big time no-no, but not the first time it’s been attempted in the history of radio. Back around 1960, there was a big scandal involving big name DJ’s such as Alan Freed and Dick Clark that they took bribes to play certain records. The allegations ruined Freed’s career, while Clark sold interests he had in record companies to preserve his clean image.

I haven’t listened to Bubba’s show in a while, as there seems to be about a law of diminishing returns with him. I also wouldn’t be shocked if Beasley terminates business with him at some point ahead. I almost feel sorry for him, but if you engage in fraud, there’s prices to be paid.

Tribal Rituals

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I spent most of Friday night not watching the sixth game of the Blue Jays-Royals American League Championship Series, but watching something of a bit more personal interest to me: a football game between Largo and Clearwater on the local cable sports channel, Bright House Sports Network.

The two rival schools have been playing each other since 1932, but hadn’t met in a regular season game on the gridiron, for one reason or another, since 2006. Before I went to Largo from 1985 to 1989, this game was usually played Thanksgiving evening, but was always the last game of the regular season for both schools. That changed in the late 1990’s with districts being realigned either every two or four years.

Largo had a great run on top in the districts they were placed in. From 2005 to 2014, they had made the state playoffs every year (winning nine straight district titles from 2005-2013 on top of that), with the Packers one game away from the state championship in 2007 and 2008, losing each year to the very talented St. Thomas Aquinas High School out of Ft. Lauderdale. Some Aquinas alums you may have heard of: tennis legend Chris Evert, Brian Piccolo (of “Brian’s Song” fame), and some guy named Michael Irvin among a host of former athletes who’ve made it to the top levels of their respective sports.

Clearwater’s football program is on the rise, going 0-10 two years ago, coming into the game 6-1 on the year. A win by the Tornadoes put them in the playoffs, and would likely knock Largo out of the playoffs at the same time. Largo’s defense put up a tough fight, but with the offense completely bewildered by a much faster Clearwater defense, it was just a matter of time before the Tornadoes grounded and pounded the Packers into submission. After leading 3-0 at the half, Clearwater added a couple of touchdowns and claimed victory with a 17-0 win at Packer Stadium.

The final score really didn’t matter to me. I kind of thought Clearwater had the talent to win, and the desire and motivation to end their playoff drought which went back to 2003.

I wondered in the era of social media and the Internet if anyone cared about high school sports anymore, and if the new technologies had sort of given teenagers a “bunker mentality” when it came to school social functions. I was pleased to be wrong: BHSN showed the Largo bleachers early and often, showing a packed house until the outcome of the game was no longer in question.

Who says school spirit is dead?