You Were Looking Live…

Jayne Kennedy and Brent Musburger, 1/6/80
I was a first grader at Anona Elementary in Largo, Florida in early 1978. My grammar teacher, Mrs. Phelps, had given us a bunch of newspapers and told us all to find words with three syllables in them in the text. Somehow, I found a sports section of the St. Petersburg Times, and a column about what sporting events would be on in a recent weekend that had gone by.

I definitely knew about Howard Cosell by that time. But my eyes spied the name of Brent Musburger, then one of the top broadcasters over at CBS. Perfect for my use, or so I thought. Musburger has three syllables, but I got dinged by Old Lady Phelps because I had used a common name. I briefly protested the dinging; aren’t names words, I wondered?

When thinking about Brent’s work now that I’m an adult, I often call him the Geraldo Rivera of the world of sports. Some people think I mean that as some sort of dis at Musburger, but when you think about their careers, Geraldo and Brent are eerily similar to each other. They each rose to prominence in the 1970’s, and were household names by the next decade if you watched TV back then with any regularity. They’ve also each had some moments in their career they probably would each regret. Geraldo had that thing with Al Capone’s vault that wouldn’t open in the allotted broadcast time. With Brent, you can probably go back to The Human Fly the CBS Sports Spectacular had back in 1975. (A guy on the fuselage of a plane? How is THAT a sport?!?)

Brent’s firing at CBS back in 1990 and retirement tonight on ESPN are each incidents with no real explanation, just a lot of mystery. He does have his new satellite radio venture over at VSIN in Las Vegas, so in my many ways, he’ll be emulating one of his former colleagues, Jimmy “The Greek” Synder.

Folks (see what I did there?), I wish Brent the best in luck in his future plans. Hope he does some podcasts or writes a book, as I bet he’s got some war stories over his career worth reading or hearing.

Three No Trump

I’m very tempted to comment on the whole kerfuffle over one of President Trump’s more recent executive orders on refugees immigrating to the United States. As many of you saw over the weekend, that turned out to be a bit of a mess, and I want to give that a few days to see how that story progresses before making comments on it. There’s much more to that story then what meets the media eye, hence my precautious nature. Plus, I think something bigger is going on than just this one issue.

What I have to say this Monday morning is this: as Trump’s first term marches on, watch three US senators very closely. Keep an eye out on John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Marco Rubio, the Republican senators from Arizona, South Carolina, and Florida respectively.

Maybe it’s all the years I’ve watched reality TV, but I always try to keep my eye on small alliances inside big groups. That’s usually where power lies, or where power dies. If these three powerful Republicans (who’ve all been dissed by Trump at one point or another in the past two years or so) turn on their President, it turns the GOP 52-48 advantage in the US Senate into at least a 51-49 disadvantage, plus whatever trigger effects would subsequently take place, possibly leading to some sort of coup in the Republican Party.

Just my tip of the moment as things continue to evolve. I don’t claim to be a political expert, just someone who is watching these relationships evolve.

Flashback: “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse

I thought Amy Winehouse was going to be a much bigger deal than she wound up being.

She had the perfect modern day voice for the retro lyrics arranged for her on that Back To Black album she had that was a joy to listen to. (It’s still the last physical CD I have bought, my purchases ever since have been downloads.)

“Rehab” wound up being her biggest hit, but also the moral for own life’s story, passing away at age 27 back in 2011.

The 20,000 Point Pyramid

While I went out to take care of Harry yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed the 20,000 point mark. Later in the day when the session ended, it finished over the same mark for the first time ever.

No, I’ve never played the market, though I held Walmart stock when I worked as a janitor in Charlotte for one of their stores in 1999 and 2000. When my days in North Carolina ended, I sold my stock holding (a little over one share) when it got to $60 a share. Now, the same stock is currently worth $66.89 after being worth north of $70 for most of 2016.

I’m old enough to remember when the DJIA was under 1,000 in the 1970’s, and the stock market “flash crash” on Black Monday in 1987, where markets lost roughly 25% of their value in one day.

To see the Dow at 20K deserves pause. Both the Democrats and Republicans will take credit for it, of course. Enjoy it while it lasts, because you never know what the future will hold.

A Word From The ASPCA

It’s a slightly foggy morning where I live here in Florida. I’m waiting a couple of hours for the threat to die down completely before I take Harry to the local Petco for his quarterly nail trimming. 

Speaking of the devil…

I tend to watch Fox News if I’m at home during the day, and they sometimes run those ads for the ASPCA. There must be some philosophy that they have that those ads have to make everyone feel bad if they don’t own a pet or something

It’s always soft violin music, close ups of sad pets. I’m not saying that there are pet population problems in parts of the country. It’s logical it exists. 

I’m just saying they could make their ads a happier place. Show the happiness of pet ownership as opposed to the sadness of not being an owner. 

Next week, I will have owned Har for two years, taking care of him on and off since 2010. Generally, he improves my daily mood, making me feel better about myself. There are days he tries my patience, but you have to take the good with the bad in all of life’s elements. 

Not everyone can own a pet. If you can’t, that’s life I guess. No need to make everyone cry their eyes out over a commercial. 

The Story Of Hot Beef

You’ve probably heard the adage that rules were made to be broken, right? That seems to be true everywhere, and my little community in Pinellas Park isn’t immune to that axiom.

I got a knock on my door Friday morning from someone I didn’t recognize in an unmarked truck. It was a serious breach of etiquette in my neighborhood, as no soliciting is allowed. But, with the concept of not enforcing rules that my HOA seems to have, the reality of the situation is that the rule is closer to, “No, there will be soliciting.”

(By the way, the no-soliciting rule only applies to physical soliciting. I get calls from A/C repair companies all the time, and they specifically mention the complex I live in when they pitch me.)

As soon as the guy starts mentioning chicken and steak, I knew this was what I call the “hot beef” scam. Knowing how our complex doesn’t like the hassle of me alerting them that there are solicitors on the prowl, I cut the guy a break and just let him go without incident. The meat seller sped off, not stopping at any other house in the neighborhood other than mine.

These companies with their unmarked trucks usually put vague ads in the papers of the bigger cities in the country looking for drivers, careful not to divulge what their job specifically entails when you call up their number. It’s usually a building in an industrial part of town with a bunch of trucks for employees to drive in, and the meat they sell is usually not USDA approved. My guess is it’s from Mexico or some other Central American country where labor is cheap enough to export it out to the United States so that a “money mark” here can buy it, thus turn it for a profit.

Employees are just as much as prey to the scam as are the owners, as they are the ones risking arrest for carrying the contraband, but again such an arrest is probably more a theory than a reality. I nearly fell for this scam looking for work twice in the 1990’s, in two separate big cities: here in Pinellas County and Atlanta, Georgia. All I can say is the scam was a bit elaborate in Atlanta than it was in the Tampa Bay area, and that’s how I fell for it twice.

The moral of the story is: if someone is selling you meat from a truck, it might give you a case of indigestion in more ways than one.


The Storm Of The Moment

Watching the tribal ritual of NFL Football yesterday also brought much talk of a weather system moving into central Florida that afternoon and evening. This system was not your normal cold front, moving northwest to southeast across the area: this brought a high risk of severe and tornadic weather, or so said the national severe weather office based in Norman, Oklahoma.

A high risk of severe weather here in Florida is unheard of, said the local meteorologists, as is the non-hurricane type of storm vowing to do that much damage. The last time I could remember a storm with that much promise was the No-Name Storm of 1993. Sure enough, the CBS station stopped airing the Pats-Steelers game to cover a radar-spotted tornado heading for Longboat Key, well to my south, not too far from Sarasota.

The weathercasters at WTSP, Channel 10, apologized profusely, but if I ran a TV station, football or no football, I would have done the SAME THING. Saving lives by alerting people to danger takes a higher precedence than a football game, even one that decides who goes to the Super Bowl.

In my neck of the woods, we were spared any damage. I prepared for the storm as if it were a hurricane, bringing in all those objects in the front yard that could go flying. And so, on life will go. Better to be safe and take precautions than to do otherwise.

Falcons And Patriots And A Super Bowl, Oh My!

If you’re a sports fan, you know already that Atlanta and New England’s NFL teams have a date in two weeks to decide the 51st Super Bowl winner in Houston. 

Both teams were the Vegas favorites, and each of the two games were won today with little trouble. 

Not having seen who the betting favorite is at the time of this writing, I would think the Patriots would be a favorite in the range of three points. If the Pats got more points, something close to six to seven, the Falcons would be an attractive bet. 

Tom Brady goes to his seventh Super Bowl. Prior to his career starting, no other quarterback had played or won any more than four. By any standard, and even with his share of controversy, he’s an all time great. 

I also wonder how many more times he will grace the gridiron should he win his fifth Super Bowl. It must be tempting to retire on top.

I’m also very happy for Rich McKay, son of John McKay, the first Bucs coach. Rich helped engineer Tampa’s only NFL championship in 2002-03 as their general manager. Now, he goes for a second title as the Falcons GM. 

So many stories, and I’m sure the media will hype the game to the hilt. Because, don’t they always?

Alternative Facts, You Say?

Well kids, this is going to be a bumpy ride, if the first two days of Trump’s administration are any indication of things. 

Kellyanne Conway just scared the bejesus of me, and I was a Trump voter! I saw a clip of her debating (for the lack of a better term) Chuck Todd on Meet The Press earlier today. 

Conway appears to have coined a new phrase that will likely be used repeatedly over the next few years: alternative facts. I wasn’t too pleased to hear that. 

A fact is something that can be proven beyond any doubt. As I type this blog, my heart beats. My fingers move across a cell phone technologically advanced enough to transmit these thoughts onto the Internet in blog form. Those are facts, things that can’t be in dispute. 

Tone of the argument aside, Mr. Todd is correct that alternate facts cannot exist by definition. Alternate opinions CAN exist. But Todd didn’t use that terminology.  Conway did. 

I found it all a bit embarrassing, and a bit of a blunder for the Trump team. Stay tuned. 

Aircheck: ABC/NBC, 8/30/1983

The last man to date to set foot on the moon, Gene Cernan, passed away on Monday at age 82. I’ve personally read his book, and seen his documentary on Netflix, and was stunned to hear the news on FNC that afternoon. Hearing him eulogize John Glenn a few months ago, I thought “Geno” was still in good health, hence the shock.

The logical piece of tape (as they used to say in the old days) would be to show you footage of his last mission, Apollo 17 in 1972. That was the first night launch in the history of American manned space flight, and the only one up until 1983. Then, along came the night of August 30th of that year, and the flight of the Space Shuttle Challenger.

The footage shifts between ABC and NBC. Lynn Sherr and the aforementioned Gene Cernan call the action on ABC (which uses the polygonal superimposed countdown clock), while Linda Ellerbee and Don Lind did likewise on NBC (using the clock chroma-keyed in).

Lynn wrote a beautiful piece that covered her experiences on the Alphabet Network with Gene covering the various aspects of the shuttle missions. Worth reading if you have a moment. Sadly, I never met Gene, but he always seemed to carry himself well, and represented the fraternity of the 12 man to land on the moon with aplomb. 

Morning Again

I choked up watching President Trump being sworn in. It’s a moment I’ve never experienced before watching a “transfer of power” from one President to the next. 

Trump’s inaugural speech was blustering against the profession of politics. Probably long overdue. 

Everything else I can say, I think I’ve already said in the past year or so. I think I will enjoy the rest of the day. 

There is promise once more in America. Let’s hope for the best.