Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

As I write this, 2007 is coming to a close and the the beginning moments of 2008 are waiting just offstage.

I can't say 2007 was good, bad or indifferent. Many good things happened, while there were also some disappointments and setbacks. Overall, the good outweighed the disappointments.

I'm looking forward to 2008 to see some changes. I will work to make them positive. It's a fresh slate and a new beginning.

To you and yours, Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Are You Suffering With The Ghost of Christmas Past?

With some planning and a budget, you can avoid Christmas bills lasting all year long.

If you'd like to know more, reply to this message.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

What Every Child is Thinking

Remember as a child the long wait for Christmas Eve and the arrival of Santa Claus?

Maybe if we work hard enough, we can make the spirit of Santa come true.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Tis The Season

Isn't it more fun the closer the holiday gets?

Saturday, December 22, 2007


On Friday afternoon December 21, 2007, a legend hung up his headphones and turned off his mic for the last time.

WLW radio afternoon host Gary Burbank retired after many years in radio, 27 of them at WLW radio in Cincinnati.

I've not been a regular daily listener to Gary for many years. I think they spoiled his show when they attempted to syndicate it in the 90's. They homogenized it to make it a national show, and his wicked sense of humor for things local and identifiable to Cincinnati and the general region were lost. For me it lost something magical.

Another blow came when producer and sidekick Doc Wolfe left the show the first time. They riffed off each other in a way that few teams can do. Their work together was marriage made in radio heaven. Even when Doc returned, that initial magic was gone. It just wasn't quite the same.

But thankfully, my thoughts didn't represent the personal likes or dislikes of Cincinnati radio listeners. Gary was a brilliant on air winner in the Queen City. He was consistently a ratings leader in Cincinnati and had a strong regional listenership due to WLW's blow torch signal.

And while not a regular listener to his daily show, I did keep up with some of his characters, wit and bits on his Weekly Rear View show that aired until recently on local station WTVN. The show was a few hours of the best of his bits from the week before.

Living in the Columbus area, about 120 miles from Cincinnati, we were blessed to have a strong signal from WLW. When Gary arrived at WLW, I was splitting my listening between local station WTVN and WLW.

At the time, WLW was a laid back full service station. Gary was hired to replace James Francis Patrick O'Neill. O'Neill was a very popular but predictable host. While I'm not sure why JFPO left WLW, Gary was the host hired to replace him. I wasn't impressed.

Not only was O'Neill predictable but was also a gentlemanly on air figure. From the old school of radio. His radio bits, while cute, didn't have the depth, bite or personality that Gary brought. From his ongoing spoof of soap opera "As the Stomach Turns" to detective Bentley Brussell Sprout and his sidekick Bacon, JFPO weaved together a morning show of music, local and NBC news, Lt. Jim Stanley traffic sports and his periodic bits.

When Gary came to town, he turned the heat up on the morning show. Not being one to recognize radio genius, I thought Burbank as a replacement for JFPO was a train wreck. Maybe the contrast between Burbank and O'Neill was too sharp. To me it just didn't feel right.

I sort of felt vindicated in my thoughts about Gary when about 2 years later, Gary was moved to afternoons. In the radio world, the morning drive spot is the jewel time period. I viewed the move to afternoons as a slap to Gary and it probably meant he would not be at the station much longer.

Boy was I wrong.

Gary flourished in the afternoon. WLW was going through a metamorphosis and Gary quickly became a centerpiece of that change. His characters and bits were allowed to come alive in afternoon drive. They just felt better in the afternoon rather than mornings. And I quickly became a fan.

I can't remember if the characters were in his morning show, but afternoons were filled with Gilbert Gnarley, spoofs of Cincinnati television news hosts Al Schottlekotte and Norma Rashid (referred to as Al Waddlebody and Normer), the seasonal soap opera like spoof of the Cincinnati Bengals "All My Bengals" and of course Earl Pitts. Gary even lifted "Pat" the spokeslady for Purex in the 80's and used her sappy "Yes" for many shows. Many more came and went through the years.

By 1984, Gary was not only a Cincinnati legendary radio host, but his listenership was growing regionally. I remember standing line at the Pizza Villa in Delaware listening to others in line talking about Burbank and his show. Columbus radio didn't have the bits and humor that Gary brought to the airwaves. And Gary's show had people talking. Even the Columbus Dispatch did an article on his show about that time.

Through the years, Gary's show quit playing music and became three hours of original humor. I simply can't fathom the amount of time and effort it took to put together that many hours of live humor. Even when Gary originally moved to afternoons, his then 4 hour show would repeat many of the bits. A bit that aired during the 2 o'clock hour would likely repeat during the 4 o'clock hour as the audience turned over.

I missed Friday's live version of the show. Thankfully it has been podcast and I've managed to listen to the closing hour.

Gary, a tip of the hat and a genuine thanks. Radio will never be the same.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My Goal for 2008-Goals

Have you ever noticed a baby trying to take their first steps? They want to so badly, but simply can't let go of that piece of furniture or wall.

That's very much like me with goals.

Don't get me wrong. I operate with a purpose and a certain amount of direction. But I've never been able to focus in and make something work or nudge something along.

Part of the problem I believe is I have a great deal of difficulty focusing. But with new tools and methods, if I can't overcome that shortfall, then maybe I can manage it better.

There's an old Chinese Proverb that goes something like this: "The faintest ink is sharper and longer lasting than the brightest mind." I guess what it's saying is despite your concerns, lack of a clear picture or path forward, it's still best to write it down. Get it on paper. That's the first step and I will be taking it.

As I begin the process of mastering this challenge, I'll keep you updated on how it's going, the problems encountered and the successes enjoyed.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Odd Couple

I couldn't pass this up.

I was browsing through the local B. Dalton store at the mall today and found this collection on the shelf.

Who would have ever thought that behind the lady behind the scenes to destroy a President, Ann Coulter, would be sharing the same space with said President Clinton?

You could say for the time being, they are together 24/7. I wonder if Hillary knows?

Actually, I thought the pairing was a prank by an employee of the store to get a laugh, but in reality, the pairing happened because the books are of the same genre and alphabetically, Coulter follows Clinton.

White Death

A popular radio host in this area refers to winter storms as the White Death. Well, the White Death hit Central Ohio this today.

We made it to the mall and finished our holiday purchases. As I looked over the parking lot I wondered how many people who made it out shopping, but would have called in complaining why work hadn't been called off if it had been on Monday!

Friday, December 14, 2007

The President Born in a Gas Station

for 18 years, I lived in Delaware County just a few miles from the county seat, Delaware.

Delaware most favorite son became a President of the United States. In one of our most odd elections, Rutherford B. Hayes was selected by Congress to be the President after losing the popular vote by almost 300,000 ballots.

All that marks Hayes boyhood home is this marker sitting in front of a BP gasoline station on East William Street just east of the main downtown intersection in Delaware.

After growing up, Hayes spent most of his adult time at his Speigal Grove home in Fremont, Ohio not far from Lake Erie.

Odd Christmas Trees

For some reason, this year I've noticed Christmas trees that have been, shall we say, different.

Try this one. I saw this one at a Wal Mart store in Port St. Lucie Florida. An artifical lit palm Christmas tree. I guess it works is a tropical climate.

The next odd tree was this one in Statesville, North Carolina at the JR Cigar and
sundry store.

It's John Deere yellow with John Deere ornaments.

Finally, this upside down tree in the Macy's store at the Eastland shopping complex in Columbus, Ohio proved to be the ultimate in Christmas tree gymnastics.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Joseph Sangl is FIRED UP!

I've been reading a blog by a gentleman by the name of Joseph Sangl. I really enjoy reading it. And I've learned some little insights and. for lack of a better word, tricks to assist me on my financial journey.

I bumped into Joe's blog sometime last summer or fall while doing a search on financial guru Dave Ramsey. While doing my Google search, I found a link that said something like I Want to Meet with Dave Ramsey. I followed the link and found Joe's blog.

Now Joe wrote on his blog he wanted to meet Dave Ramsey in person. Guess what. He set the goal, announced it to the world, did the steps necessary to make it happen and he met Dave one afternoon in Dave's radio studio.

Joe, like me is into financial responsibility. Unlike me, Joe has made this his own personal evangelistic outreach. He quit his job to make his livelihood. As he likes to say and write, he's FIRED UP. And I must agree.

I've never seen, read or heard anyone as passionate about this mission and message (or as Joe says crusade) as Joe. You can see his story at this link.
Go to the 18:50 mark if you're not interested in hearing the music and seeing only Joe.

Through the years, I've had heros. Joe has quickly become one.

I hope you enjoyed his video. More than that, I hope he inspired you to take the first steps to believing that there is financial hope in your future.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Christmas Light Displays

Over the course of the past week, I've had the opportunity to see three different Christmas light displays. These aren't just lit houses with neighbors competing to see who can blow up the local electricity transformer. They are huge regional displays that you drive through.

The first display we saw was in the Charleston, South Carolina area. This was a great display. Many of the displays were dimensional providing a perception of depth. The neat thing about the tour was the weather was moderate and nice. We roasted Marshmellows over an open fire, walked some paths that had displays and drove through a long lit row of great light displays.

Friday evening, Brian and Abby joined us for a tour of the light show at Alum Creek. To me this has always been a great show, but after the Charleston display, was something of let down. Don't get me wrong. For a local presentation, it's still pretty nice. But Charleston spoiled us.

Saturday evening, we drove with Brian and Abby to Wheeling, West Virgina for the Festival of lights at Oglebay Park. After waiting 90 minutes in a massive traffic jam we finally entered the park. It was really nice. But again, it was not as well done as the Charleston show. The major difference is the light show is spread out over a wide area, and the lights are not as dense as they were in Charlestons. Still, it is a great show to visit and enjoy.

Tonight was a special treat. We listened to a collection of old time radio shows featuring their past Christmas's. The tapes were from radio station WDLR and the station at one time aired the shows from the mid 70's to the mid 90's. When the station decided to pitch the tapes, I salvaged them and we began listening to them when traveling over the holidays. The listening to the tapes became something of a family tradition over the years that Brian and I continue. The tapes featured classic holiday shows from the likes of Edgar Bergen who is shown at left with his daughter Candice. Also featured was Red Skelton doing skits, Raymond Burr in a holiday drama, Fibber McGee and Molly, Amos and Andy, Henry Aldrich, Jimmy Durante as well as Phil Harris and Alice Faye.

It nice to hear these old shows and how they used verbal details and sound effects to create the mental images the listener imagines as you listen to the shows. They are great fun and a great way to make a long drive more enjoyable.

Sunday, December 2, 2007