Zwicker Revisited

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Back on January 20th, I had mentioned that I started getting calls from Zwicker and Associates for some unknown reason.

Well, as Paul Harvey used to say, I now know the rest of the story.

See, occasionally when dealing with telemarketers, I like to change tactics sometimes and answer the phones. Yesterday was one of those days.

First, I got a call from Superior Heating out of Oldsmar. I’ve told this company on numerous occasions that I’m a renter and thus can’t make decisions as to which company to use, but that only seems to be an excuse for them to call back whenever they feel like it. As I was explaining this to the caller, I got hung up on, so I wrote an e-mail to the company asking to be placed on the Do Not Call list.

Good things happen when you answer the phone, sometimes. But then, it got better.

A few minutes later, I get the call from Zwicker, looking for someone with the last name of Bradford. This just in: my last name is NOT Bradford.

I laughed and said, “You’re not even close, buddy!” The caller apologized.

They spent over two months hounding me, and their information turned out to be almost a decade old as to who had the phone number I currently have.

Like I said, good things happen when you answer the phone.

Blasts From My Past

I’ve been having an odd E-Mail problem lately, although it looks like I have solved it.

Long story short: I have two major E-Mail accounts through GMail. One of which I used prior to 2010, then I made another at some time during 2010 when my E-Mail had been hacked, and I had the “brilliant” idea of just creating another. I use brilliant in quotes because now, many years later, I doubt my wisdom.

To keep up with both accounts, I just have mail from the old account forwarded to the new account, and I use both E-mails interchangeably even to this day. If I sign up for something online, I can use either one.

A few days ago, I started getting old E-mails in my new account that date back to late 2011. How did I solve this problem? I went into my older GMail account and disabled the POP and IMAP settings, and did nothing else. This seemed to do the trick, as I am no longer getting these strange E-Mails from half a decade past.

So, I leave this blog entry on my site for my future reference, and perhaps yours if any of you out there have this kind of trouble.

Debating Over Debates

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Back when there were 13 GOP candidates, back sometime in 2015…

I was reading yesterday that Hillary Clinton wants Bernie Sanders to “change his tone” if he wants a debate in New York before that state holds its Democratic primary on April 19th. Of course, this is likely a stall tactic by Clinton not to debate.

I’m going to make a bold prediction today: assuming it’s Hillary vs. Donald Trump in the fall, I would not be totally shocked if no debates were held in the fall for the first election year since 1972. There’s no rule or law that says the candidates have to hold debates, mind you, which explains why these debates are an “exclusive club” that frequently only allows the two major parties to debate, and not the smaller supplemental parties such as the Libertarians.

Why? Assuming things stay relatively the way they are now, Trump and Clinton would have a lot to lose if the debates degenerate into the gutter brawls the GOP debates have degenerated into at times. Plus, say publicity breaks bad against Hillary over the e-mail scandal she’s currently involved in. Why risk Trump catching her in a “gotcha” moment, and there are plenty of mines in that minefield if that scenario plays out.

On top of that, Donald Trump isn’t too eager to hold any more GOP debates now that the Republican field has shrunk to three, probably for the very same reasons. Last night, I saw on CNN that Ted Cruz issued a challenge to an impromptu debate (straight outta WWE) to Trump for a debate on tonight’s CNN town hall. However, I didn’t see anything as of the time this blog entry went up that Trump accepted such as a challenge.

Maybe Trump will surprise us all and accept? Who knows.

Ted The Ladies Man

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Pardon me for laughing (and overlooking the consequences this will have on his family), but I’m finding the whole Ted Cruz sex scandal somewhat hilarious. Why? Because it was Ted’s staff who started all of this needling with Donald Trump to begin with, so Trump fought back and is now (in Cruz’s view) a coward for doing so.

Not only did Trump’s camp seem to have knowledge of Cruz’s womanizing, but so did Marco Rubio’s camp, as did Carly Fiorina and her allies, as did the activist group Anonymous. But no, let’s just blame Trump’s people, for reasons known only in Ted’s foul little mind.

Do I feel bad for Cruz’s family? Yes. For him? Heck, no! The political arena is not for the timid. If there is dirt to be found, someone will find it, unless you have money to burn for bribes. Ask Gary Hart. Ask John Edwards.

The only thing left to discover is how this effects the GOP race going forward, with the Wisconsin primary coming up a week from tomorrow night being the first piece of that puzzle. Can Trump get to the 1,237 delegate majority he needs to get the nomination, or will chaos erupt in Cleveland in July?

Personally, I wouldn’t mind some non-violent chaos. Wait, isn’t that an oxymoron?

Aircheck: WFLA, 8/27/1999

Today’s aircheck comes from WFLA and the late 1990’s. The host is the controversial Bob Lassiter, who is in open phones as this recording goes, taking calls in rapid style fashion. The language and sarcasm here is a bit raw and biting, as befits Bob’s style.

The big story in the Tampa Bay radio business, as Lassiter is fond of discussing on the air as part of his shtick, is that Mason Dixon got booted from another Clear Channel station, 95.7 FM, which then had the call letters on WMTX. WFLA is (currently) and was at the time also a Clear Channel station, which would put many other talk hosts in an uncomfortable position, but Lassiter seems to excel at talking shop regardless.

His last show on WFLA (or any station as a host) would air on December 1, 1999, passing away nearly seven years later in October of 2006. There hasn’t been anyone like him on the radio in this market since.

Flashback: “Sleep Walk” by Santo And Johnny

You can consider this another “Better Call Saul” inspired selection, kind of like “Find Out What’s Happening” by Bobby Bare one week last year. (I’m pretty sure the show used a remake of the song as opposed to the original, but I’m sticking with the innovators for the purposes of this post.)

This tune is a true work of art. Hard to believe that it topped the charts in 1959, it sounds a bit more current than that.

Have a good weekend, everybody.

Fox News And Family Values

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A few more primaries came and went Tuesday night, and the Republican field continues to be muddled with a clear leader but no clear nominee, with a decent possibility of a stalemate continuing to loom when the GOP convention meets in Cleveland this summer. Speculation continues to run rampant that Donald Trump may have the most delegates, but yet may not be the Republican nominee when all is said and done.

As many of you know, Mr. Trump has also been embroiled in a controversy with Fox News, most notably with show host Megyn Kelly. To be honest, I don’t understand the allure of the right-leaning cable news outlet who frequently claims to be fair and balanced, but yet has hosts like Bill O’Reilly who enhance their reputations on the backs of today’s newsmakers, despite their own flawed characters.

My personal theory about those who claim fairness and balance is that what they wind up doing fails to measure to the reputations they aspire to. Just like how many on the right love to spout family values when a few of their own families fail to have any such ideals. My advice: the best way to teach lessons about such values is to do so by living your lives in quiet dignity, setting your own unspoken example. If you have to talk about values and ethics, you probably don’t have either.

As for Trump, he will either be the new President in a little less than ten months or he will not, with the GOP perhaps engaging in their own “rescue mission” much to the dismay of many. He doesn’t impress me any more than the other candidates do, and I don’t think my life will change significantly no matter who we elect. They are just different heads and bodies within the same “suit” of American leadership where parties simply don’t matter as much as the media would have you to believe.

 

Brussels

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It was another day when I spent most of the morning yesterday watching CNN and MSNBC, trying to find every morsel of news about another terrorist attack hitting another part of the world that had not been hit previously. This time it was Brussels in Belgium getting hit, with attacks on their main airport and their subway system that left several dead, the numbers ever changing, the reactions of world leaders endlessly pontificating why it happened, and how it happened.

It reminded me (and I’m probably not alone in this) of a similar Tuesday morning on a late summer day nearly 15 years ago when 9/11 happened, another day I woke up and saw the world change right before all of us.

While all of this is scary to watch, I don’t think we should be afraid of what terrorists do. As I’ve said many times before, they can’t kill all of us with any one weapon, though they may try. Whoever survives these attacks (or the next ones, wherever on whenever they occur) will bring these people to justice, and won’t rest until they do.

That being said, I’m sure these attacks will be used as a reason for freedoms in Belgium and other parts of Europe to be traded away for better security. I tend to think Ben Franklin was right a few centuries ago in that you can’t trade liberty for security, and the argument is full of flawed arguments. Then again, he did not live in our time, with enemies who only reveal themselves as they attack.

It’s also a growing concern for my family. My mother is visiting Europe in the summertime (one nation specifically that I don’t want to publicly mention), though it is a nation that I don’t think is on a terrorist hit list by Muslim extremism. Then again, I thought Belgium was one of those safe nations when I woke up yesterday, something that can no longer be said.

God bless the people of Brussels and the nation of Belgium during this trying time for their people.

Not Your Typical All-Star Game

There’s not too much out there that surprises me that can be found on YouTube, but on Sunday night I found a clip from user John Mongani I’ve always wanted to see: footage of the last Chicago All-Star game in 1976.

Forty years ago, the NFL and college football were different places. Back then, NFL teams would play at least six preseason games beginning in late July and stretching into September before the fourteen-game season began. Whoever won the Super Bowl (and prior to 1967, the NFL championship) would play a seventh preseason tilt against a team of NFL rookies, as well as the two teams selected to play in the Hall of Fame game that year.

Imagine being a good enough collegiate player to be drafted into the NFL back then, and being told that in your first NFL game, you get to play against the Super Bowl champions. Then you’re told there’s a catch: you wouldn’t be playing with the NFL team that drafted you, but with fellow collegiate all-stars from across the country, most of whom you’ve probably never played with. It was certainly no surprise to find out that the NFL champs usually won these games, even if they were held in the preseason. The collegians only won 9 of the 42 games, tying twice, and losing the last 12 games.

This ’76 game looked like a real train wreck. The Steelers had scored every way conceivable (a safety, three field goals, a touchdown with a missed extra point, and a touchdown with a made PAT) and held a 24-0 lead by the time the clip starts. An intense thunderstorm rolls into Solider Field, the kind of storm that would get both teams off the field quickly under today’s more safety conscious officiating. Once the players and refs left for safety, fans invaded the carpet, tearing down goal posts on either side. Needless to say, there was no point in continuing, so the game was halted there, and the series scrapped thereafter.

All Traffic, All The Time

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On top of the Howard Frankland Bridge on I-275 North, April 17, 2014.

We’ve all had days where we wished we had stayed in bed as the day developed, and I’m no different. One of those days in my life was one of my first days at the Sun Radio Network and it’s flagship station out of Brandon, Florida, WEND back in 1990.

I was one of two board operators in Clearwater working simultaneously one Friday in December of that year, with one board op handling the calls and commercials for SRN, and the other taking SRN’s feed and getting commercials on and off three times an hour. The boards were right next to each other, but if you ran the local station, you’d need headphones, as the WEND signal would be on a seven second delay. During the overnight hours, there was just one board op running both boards simultaneously, with 10 second “sweepers” (brief promotional messages) thrown in with automation.

As many markets across the country did then (as they do now), there were also traffic reports to keep listeners who may be in their cars updated on local road conditions. WEND used an aggregated service that was then known as Metro Traffic for such updates, and I’d tape a few reports to be aired on a slight delay at various points during the shift. Most of the time the reports were given live, which is how things got interesting this one afternoon.

Metro Traffic didn’t just provide updates for our station at the time, but for most of the stations in the Tampa Bay area. On this one day, I thought I had potted down (turned off) Metro and went on to one of my other tasks, ripping and classifying copy from the United Press International wire. A few minutes later, I’m being urgently alerted that the Metro Traffic pot was still up, and that traffic reports meant for other stations in the area were being broadcast on our air!

The reason why this was doubly embarrassing for me was that the reporters at Metro use different names on different stations, so “John Smith” reporting for WEND would be using the name “James Jones” doing a similar report on another station or stations. Making that kind of error got everyone’s attention, so when everyone in management knows the rock you pulled you get put on a lot of people’s s*** list rather fast. I had inadvertently made fans of talk radio in the Tampa Bay area more aware of Metro’s inner workings.

I sat in front of the board the rest of the day thinking, “All right, so what else is out there that can I do for a living?”

The good news is I didn’t get fired that day, and managed to survive there until the local station was bought by Sonny Bloch, moving to Brandon in 1992. Over the next four years, I’d work for WBDN over in Brandon at times, then for them again when they moved back to Feather Sound in Clearwater shortly before the station went all-Spanish in 1996, remaining that way these past two decades, still broadcasting today as WLCC.

The lesson: pay attention, and when you think you’re paying attention, pay attention some more.

When Harry Said Hello

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The latest shot I have of Harry, March 19, 2016. Again, it’s a little blurry, sorry about that.

A few days ago, my cat Harry jumped on my bed after saying what I thought was “Hello!” to me. This left me a bit befuddled. Did he actually say what I thought he said, or did I hear what I wanted to hear?

I’m of the opinion that cats know a few of our human words, though sometimes they can act like they don’t, or maybe it’s not acting or some kind of intuition. When I see Harry in a seemingly grumpy mood, I will say to him, “Treats!” As in, would you like some Temptations snacks?

Sometimes I say the word slowly (ttttrrrrreeeeeats) to let him understand me, but there are other times where I say it at a regular clip, and he’ll perk right up towards me, as if to say “OK, let’s go!”

Just find it funny sometimes, how cats understand our language, and/or act like they do. I’m sure many of you have animals with the same characteristics.