Archive for September, 2012

The Network Evening Half-Hour Newscasts Leave Out a Lot

September 27, 2012


Every night I record the NBC Nightly News,  the PBS NewsHour, and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  At one time I thought that if I watched one of the mainstream network newscast that would be enough to keep me basically informed. I have since learned that is not the case.

With just a half-hour –  well less than a half-hour because of all the commercials – the NBC evening newscast just can’t do the job.  For  instance, tonight there was nothing about the UN meeting going on in New York. The PBS NewsHour did have coverage, and last night on the Daily Show, Jon Stewart had a very informative interview with Jordan’s King Abdullah II on how the Arab Spring is affecting the Middle East.  There were some laughs, and the king got some himself; after all, it was the Daily Show. It was, though, a serious interview. Watching the NBC Nightly News definitely was not enough.

60 Minutes Does it Again

September 24, 2012

I have been watching 60 Minutes since the first program aired in 1968.  It is heartening to see that it remains so effective after all of these years.  Tonight’s interviews with President Obama and Governor Romney gave me the best insight into these two candidates for President so far, especially in the case of Governor Romney.  After observing the president for almost four years, I feel that I know him pretty well, but I didn’t feel that I knew his challenger.  I feel I do know him better now. 

Who will win? If the election were held today, I think the president would keep his job. Anything can happen between now and November 6th.  The debates could make the difference. We’ll get a better idea about that in ten days when the first one will be held. 

The Refreshing Winds of Fall

September 22, 2012

The number two reason that I like Fall is that the Schwob  School of Music at Columbus State University cranks up and greatly enhance my lifestyle with incredibly excellent live music performances.  (The number one reason is the obvious one: the oppressive summer weather segues into refreshingly cooler  days.)

iPhone pic I took of standing ovation for CSU Wind Orchestra. Some iPhone pics turn out quite well for me, but this one took a lot of Photoshopping and still isn’t too good, but at least it puts you there. It sort of reminds me of some of the first color pictures the Ledger-Enquirer published a long time ago. Wonder when the paper published its first color picture.

There were two super concerts in the past few days. The Jazz Band got things off to a swinging start. Thank goodness the Jazz Band concerts were moved from the Studio Theater to the much classier Legacy Hall.

Then came last night’s Wind Orchestra’s richly toned “Across the Pond” concert.  Except for Loch Lomond and a few strains of Danny Boy the British music was all  new to me. Thankfully, even though is was relatively contemporary wind orchestra music, it was melodious and not discordant. It was great! The students playing it have to be some of the best in the world.  No doubt having a world-class conductor like Jamie Nix is a major reason they perform so well.

And to put icing on this week’s musical cake, we get to enjoy the outstanding CSU Philharmonic Concert tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 22, at 7:30 p.m. in Legacy Hall.  We’ll get to hear Maurice Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe, Suite No. 2, followed by Sibelius’ Symphony No. 5.  With Paul Hostetter conducting, we’ll no doubt get a musical night  to remember.


Why the Year’s Muscogee Teacher of the Year has Special Meaning for me

September 17, 2012

Hardaway High Band Director Vincent Sneed, MCSD Teacher of the Year, being congratulated after his talk to the Rotary Club of Columbus

Since the teacher who probably influenced my life the most was a high school band director, I was heartened by the featured speaker at Wednesday’s Rotary Club of Columbus meeting.  For the only time that I know of, a high school band director was named as the Muscogee County School District Teacher of the Year.

Vincent Sneed is the director of the Hardaway High School Band.  He told Rotarians that while he wants his students to apply themselves to play their instruments well, he emphasizes the importance of their caring about and serving their fellow human beings.

Sneed, who speaks a number of foreign languages, told about his many travels in the world. He said when he finally got to Africa, he visited Ethiopia. He said when he settled in his hotel room, he noticed someone slid a message under his room door. It warned him not to go out on the street because it was too dangerous. He would be  stabbed and robbed. When he ask the desk clerk about the warning, he told him not to worry about it, just don’t speak to anyone.  After he went outside, in no time at all, a man approached him and asked him for some money for food. He gave the man some money.  Others did the same thing and he gave them money, too.  One old woman who approached him said nothing, just pointed to he baby girl’s mouth and held out her hand. He gave her some money, too.

When he flew back to the United States and his plane landed in New York, he got into a taxi and the driver told him his meter was broken and the trip would cost him $75.  Sneed knew he was being scammed.  He said he reflected on how a lot of Americans really don’t know how fortunate they are, and don’t really understand people of different cultures overseas.

When he had told his students he was going to Africa, some said he shouldn’t because it was too dangerous, that people would shoot darts  at him. He said when he got back he tried to help his students better understand what Africa is like today.

When he finished his talk, the Rotarians gave him a standing ovation.

As I said, this was special because a band director greatly influenced my life.  I was in the legendary Bob Barr Jordan High Red Jacket Band.  He was a very inspiring man, who really cared about his students. He helped me get started in broadcasting. And it was also special because my son Rick played trumpet in the Hardaway Marching Band and French horn in the concert band. He also had an outstanding director and teacher. David Gregory led that band to impressive heights, including coming in first in a marching band contest in Allentown, Pennsylvania in 1976.  Hardaway represented Georgia in the bicentennial band festival that featured bands from the 13 original colonies.

Tnanks to Vincent Sneed for continuing a great tradition.


September 11, 2012


Since a couple of readers of my blog asked me why I haven’t posted anything for a while, I guess I’ll take the time to post something.

Moving and settling into my new digs have taken most of my attention for the past few weeks, and doing  things like going to Savannah for a weekend has also played a role in my lack of blogging. I have been doing some really short Facebook posts. It’s a lot easier to post things on FB. 

Both of the Republican and Democratic nominating conventions took place since the last time I posted. The event that stood out the most to me  was the speech by former President Bill Clinton.  He is probably the best political speaker to  come along in the last thirty years.  He knows how to phrase sentences in a direct, simple, human, and highly effective manner. He lied about Monica Lewinsky when he was president, but he didn’t lie about anything that I know of when he spoke last week. He appears to have gone to great lengths to get his facts right.  

What’s interesting, also about him, is that he apparently has been forgiven for his personal trespasses during his last years in the White House. He has an approval rating  higher than either President Obama or Governor Romney.   He is still  “the comeback kid.” 

The speech that stood out  the most to me at  the Republican convention was the improvised comedy routine performed by movie star Clint Eastwood. The image of his talking to an empty chair representing President Obama remains the most vivid one  of the GOP gathering. Economist Paul Krugman said Eastwood symbolized the Republican base:  old white men. 

When Pat Hart and I co-ficilitate a current affairs class called “What’s Happening?” for the Columbus Academy for Lifelong Learning for the Fall Quarter we are going to ask class participants to anonymously write down who they think will win, not who they hope will win.  We’ll compile the percentages to see how well they guessed when the election is over. You’re invited to do the same thing here. Just click on the “comments” button and write either Obama or Romney, and we’ll see how close our prognosticators come.