Friday, December 26, 2008

The Perfect Partner-Or When the Monarch Flew the Coup.

I teased this story several months ago when writing about WTVN radio host Bill Smith.

Long before and, there was a much more "exotic" way to find the Perfect Partner.

One radio station in Columbus decided to do it the old fashioned way in 1976 because that was the only way to do it back then.

A little history. Popular Columbus radio personality Bob Conners had left WTVN in early 1973 to take a coveted morning gig at cross the dial rival WBNS-AM in Columbus. At first, his ratings actually improved over the previous host of the show. But as time went on, they had began to wane.

To many, the move from WTVN where Conners had held forth in the afternoon drive slot when he arrived in Columbus in 1965 seemed to constrain him. At WTVN, he had developed characters in his show. Two remembered by me were Sammy from Sammy's Bar & Grill and the Mailman. There was also a third character. The ever silent Jesse. The speaking characters visited daily. All were left behind when Conners jumped to BNS. Conners also had an opening and closing theme song for his show. That too was abandoned with the move.

I remember listening to Bob's first show on WBNS. It was anything but easy. First, the WBNS signal was a voice in the static at my house. Even though I grew up on the other side of Dublin, the BNS signal was so week that until the day signal kicked in, Bob and BNS was a voice among many voices.

WBNS also aired their news at 25 and 55 billing it as news 5 minutes sooner. As the newscast ended, WBNS played a closing sounder and a top or bottom of the hour legal ID. The music started cold. Bob's first song was a song I never really enjoyed. Roger Miller's Engine, Engine #9. No theme song, no Sammy, Mailman or Jesse. Just Bob and Roger Miller and a jingle after back announcing the song but before the commercial. Backwards from the way it was normally done.

When listening to Bob at WTVN, you knew he had seen the latest movie, had gone to the latest live performance, had visited the hottest spots in Columbus, had an in depth knowledge of sports and seemed to have read all the major daily newspapers of record. Bob always sounded like the go to guy for all things regarding the cool and current events.

At WBNS that all seemed to be gone. The show seemed more constrained and too tightly formatted. Bob never quite seemed to be what he used to be over at WTVN. Cool and hip while on an adult music based radio program.

That all was about to change.

A new general manager had ridden into town to take over the reins of the radio enterprise. The radio stations were overseen by the head of the co-owned but not co-located television station, Gene DeAngelo. Many in the industry thought the new hire was a final admission that DeAngelo had been spreading himself too thin and the radio stations needed someone on site.

Enter from Denver, Colorado Mike Jorgensen.

Jorgenson apparently also believed there was something missing from the morning show and he decided to fix it with.....a contest. A contest to in 30 days find Bob Conners a perfect partner. Someone from the everyday world could interact with Conners about music, community events and leisure interests of the target audience. To the left is a scan of a post card that was mailed to the people who responded to the on air promotion. Sort of a picture yourself next to Bob as his perfect partner. It was reported that more than 3000 people from every walk of life applied for the position. As encouraged by the promotion, people needed to respond before this opportunity was Gone With The Wind.

Over 1000 were interviewed in blocks of 6 in 15 minute increments. People were quickly weeded out, but a Central Ohio homemaker survived and had a 15 minute meeting with Conners.

According to area homemaker Dee Barrows, she thought the gig would never go any further. She told Columbus Monthly magazine a few months later that she was "sure he hated me." But she survived that round and eventually made a tape with Conners. And then another taping on January 29, 1976. An hour later, she got a call from Jorgensen announcing she had the job and debuted two mornings later on a Saturday morning dry run.

The following Monday, the show made its official debut. It seemed on the air to be rocky from the start.

Apparently behind the scenes the rockiness was also an issue. Barrows commented in reports that Conners would be sympathetic to her and helpful or withdrawn from her depending on the day. .

The show lasted all of three weeks. By Saturday the end of the third week Conners, no longer smiling as in the picture decided that he had had enough. Tired of daily debriefings after each show, Conners walking into manager Jorgensen's office with resignation papers in hand.

He then headed off to Aspen for a two week respite and skiing trip.

Clearly Bob wasted little time during his discomfort with the the addition of a morning coffee mate and submission of his walking papers. Within a few days of the announcement of his departure, David Drake's Citizen Journal media column headlined that Bob was headed back to WTVN where his personality and characters would once again be used.

And with that, the concept of the Perfect Partner was indeed.........gone with the wind.

As a footnote to non Columbus readers, Bob remains at WTVN and is fondly called the Morning Monarch. He returned to his old afternoon slot for just a few years and by 1979 was appointed host of the morning drive show with the departure of John Fraim. He has held that slot since that time and often maintains the status of Columbus's most listened to radio host.

Growing up, Bob Conners was one of the radio hosts who made an impression on a younr man growing up in Central Ohio.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Rockin Christmas Courthouse

Found a diamond in the ruff this past weekend.

Diana and I went to Olgebay to see the Christmas lights. As usual, the display didn't disappoint. And we found the secret to not waiting in a long line to finally get to the park. Get to the park before 5 pm. No 2 hour wait from the freeway to the light show.

Cinderella's coach was one of about 80 displays set throughout the park. Really nice show.

But the true diamond in the ruff was the Guernsey County Courthouse.

We had exited the freeway on the way back home and was looking for someplace unique to eat. We drove up SR 208 to downtown Cambridge and as we approached the center of town, the Guernsey County Courthouse was in the midst of a light show animated to music.

First, this is one of the traditional looking courthouses found in the county seats of most cities with a gothic style of architecture. These courthouses are truly a beauty. But to see the light show so well done on this structure was a sight to behold.

The music is mostly Mannheim Steamroller and Trans Siberian Orchestra music. Perfect for light animation and coordination.

O'm always a fan of the little guy and the little town. Large cities and those who were blessed with wealth have always had the muscle to pull something off. Things small often struggle to find a niche and when they do, find it difficult to curry the resources together to make it work or pull it off.

And while I'm not a fan of grading on a curve, when the Camgridges and Guernsey Countys of the world put together a show as good as this one, they deserve an extra measure of appreciation for a job well done.

Here's a Link to the local newspapers video of the show. Some of the lower light effects cannot be seen well on this video, but watch the whole video to the end and enjoy a really neat way to celebrate the holiday season.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

End of Short Evenings

I am not a fan of evenings being dark early. I begin to notice the change in August an as the summer turns to fall and then to the holiday season, my mood begins to change and not for the better. And while I love the crisp weather and the beautiful fall colors, the fact that it gets dark around 7 and during November it begins to creep closer to 5 pm over runs all the advantages that fall is in this area.

Thankfully, beginning tomorrow, we begin to get brief whisps of extended daylight in the evening. And althought mornings will continue to shorten into Janaury, we've turned the corner on longer periods of darkness in the evening. I can't wait for this change to be discernable to the eye a few days after the new year.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Any reader of this blog knows I frequently write about people in radio who have touched me or left an impression. Most of those writings have involved people who left those impressions and memories when I was very young. This writing involves someone who I still see on a somewhat regular basis.

One of the most gifted and talented people I've ever met is Chuck Adkins.

Chuck's first love is the broadcast world. Specifically radio. Chuck has a smooth delivery, a quick wit and his listeners have always loved his work. Chuck has hosted oldies, top 40 and big band formats with the air name Chuck Howard.

Chuck is also blind. Like in can't see a thing blind. Two glass eyes blind. Zip, nothing, nada. He will never even see something as bland as blurred images or light.

Yet this gifted man can operate an audio board better than many sighted people. I watched in amazement as I "showed" Chuck the new control room at WOSU recently.

We met on a Friday evening. We went through what each input represented, levels and other control room activities. After an hour Chuck had it mastered. And I do mean mastered.

For whatever reason, Chuck's opportunities in commercial radio have been limited. I can't explain why. Clearly he has no problem navigating the audio console. He has a radio voice and could easily fit in as a host for many formats.

Versatile, friendly, hard working, talented, flexible, keen ear for what's important for today.

Yet the calls do not come.

Maybe someday some professional broadcast group or program director will see this blog and fill an opening with Chuck. Until then, some station some where is missing out on a great talent.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Rationing Paperclips

My friend Mark uses a line to describe companies that are in financial problems: "Things are so tight they are rationing paper clips." Well according to an article in USA Today last Friday, it appears General Motors is doing just that.

On Veterans Day, Diana and I were off on a little day trip. We decided to head up north and cross over into Canada. Why not travel to a foreign country when you're only about three hours away? It's fun crossing the border and using currency different than your own.

We made a stop at the Windsor Casino and played a few pulls on the slots. A little extra blow money that had been saved. Let's say we earned some additional Canadian money while there. In addition, I decided to cross the street and head down to the water front aslong the Detroit River and look across the body of water to review the Detroit skyline.

It's sort of weird standing in one country and looking across the river to see you're just a few hundred feet away from the shores of another. Especially since the country you're standing in is so similar to your own.

It's like looking across the Ohio River into Kentucky or West Virginia, only instead of a state border, it's truly an international border. Somewhere on the surface tension of the water is a line that represents the divide between the United States and Canada. You just can't see it, but it's there.

So what does Windsor, slots and Canada have to do with rationing paperclips?

Well looking directly across the river was the silver skyscraper that serves as world headquarters to General Motors. There was a time when I would have given just about anything to work for the worlds largest automobile manufacturer. At one time you could count on a good salary, generous benefits, lifetime security......or so it seemed. Only these days, few people dream of working for GM. Now there is less retirment security, pay raises for non-union employees have ceased as have matching contributions to employees 401-k vehicles. As noted above, things are so bad, they are essentially rationing paper clips.

Maybe that's the wrong the attitude for me and countless others to take. Maybe the great working people should be looking to work for these very troubled American nameplates and be part of the turnaround team. For at one time, GM, Ford and even Chrysler were looked at as the shining examples of the United States manufacturing might. And maybe they could be once more.

At one time, not only were GM and Ford synonymous with prosperity, but so was Detroit. Yet as you can see by the picture of the office building with no windows, prosperity has long left the motor city. Literally, you can look into a window and see sky on the other side.

Even the neighborhoods of Detroit have seen decay that at one time probably was unthinkable.

I was recently reading an article of how Detroit was trying to transition itself from motor city to a next generation of prosperity city. Yet, I've got to wonder if the Big 3 do go down in the current financial crisis, will it ever recover to continue its climb from the depths of decay.

It was really sad to see a city that was once an icon of America's might and meaning so down on its luck.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


If you live in Columbus, Ohio you readily recognize one of the major features of the region. The Scioto River meanders through the area.

For most people, in their minds it begins at the Columbus Zoo and courses through downtown Columbus. In places, it is deep and wide enough for boating and skiing. Downtown, the Riverfront is being primed to become a focal point for daytime and evening activities.

Yet few people realize that most rivers, whether mighty and wide or simply as large bodies of water begin as a trickle somewhere many miles upstream.

Today we journeyed to the headwaters of the Scioto River on the Hardin/Auglaize County line. We arrived just before sunset on a chilly and blustery November Sunday. The sky was a dull gray. So gray the navy could hide destroyers and battle cruisers in the sky if needed. We experienced the evidence of winter earlier in the trip while driving through the high point in Ohio, Bellefontaine. That area had a thorough dusting of snow. A noticeable chill was in the air.

The river, according to a sing begins as a small drainage ditch in a farm field. Although the sign claims it marks the beginnings of the river, the ditch continues for some distance back into the field. I'm not sure whether the sign marks the official point where the river begins or it's placed there to satisfy those of us who are curious.

There is a farm road that runs parallel with the ditch/river. We attempted to drive the road, but the past few days have been rainy and the road, while appearing solid had a soft and slimy mud covering on the surface. After traveling what seemed to be almost a mile, I decided to turn around.

The ditch/river didn't seem to be getting smaller and the slimy mud coating on the farm road surface began to become deeper and slipperier as we traveled. I had no desire to get stuck in the middle of a farm lane and Diana was getting impatient with the journey. It was a combination of dinner time and fear of getting stuck. Since the journey to the area is not that far, I decided to wait on better conditions to follow the ditch/river to it's initial trickle.

The last official state sign that memorializes the river is on a bridge on State Route 385 about 1/2 mile away from where the marking sign above is located. While this isn't the first time we've been to the area, this is the first time we've seen the sign in the pictures above.

We've been to other river origins. Like the Olentangy, the Great Miami, the Wabash and the Sandusky. Each have there own unique places of beginning. In later entries, we'll try to capture so photos and post what we note.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Ok, So When Was He Here?

As most of the readers of this blog know, I enjoy things that are ironic. Here's another example of one I've found.

Rene Robert Cavelier Sieur de La Salle was a French explorer and was believed to be the first European known to have seen the Ohio River.

Exactly when he was at the River depends on who the person responsible for the Historical Marker Signs in West Virginia is at the time.

According to two signs within 5 feet of each other in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, it could have been twice. But only if La Salle had lived to be over 100 years old. It could have been in 1669 or 1769 depending on which sign you believe is correct.

History books say La Salle's visit to the Ohio River took place in 1669. La Salle was murdered by his followers in 1687 after they mutinied while seaching for the mouth of the Mississipi River. Seems La Salle has mistakenly landed in Texas when he thought he was in what was to become Louisianna. The fellas just weren't too happy that their destination was several hundred miles away.

Which means the sign that says Point Pleasant is in fact correct and the one that says Ohio is not.....unless La Salle made a posthumous return trip in the late 1760's.

Another Beautiful Fall Day

With Indian Summer upon us, Diana and I embarked on a hike along the trails at Chestnut Ridge Metro Park.

We chronicled our trip to the Hocking Hills a few weeks ago, but found something interesting yesterday.

Many people think that beautiful fall colors are only available in Vermont, Upstate New York, the Smokey Mountains or even close by in the Hocking Hills. Yet, the Columbus Metro parks offer some of the most beautiful views in our back yard.

The pictures below are pretty much just randomly placed and won't necessarily follow the story line.

Chestnut Ridge has long been a favorite place for us to get away close by and enjoy nature at it's finest. First, the trails offer some workout as, there is a slow but steady pitch to get to the top of the ridge.

Located at some of the first few bumps that begin the formation of the Applachians and between Carroll and Canal Winchester on the back roads, it's close by yet reminds one of places much further away.

These are just a few of the great photos we got to take as well as enjoying a great walk with Mother Nature and the joy of getting out and getting some excercise.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Song Of India

One of the neat things about the internet is that I can track where (geographically) and how someone got to this blog. For example, I've seen visitors from my own hometown as well as visitors from New Zealand, South Australia, Australia and Chile as well as locations across the United States..

One person, and I have no idea who it is or was, recently used a Google search looking for the theme song for former WBNS radio host Irwin Johnson and landed on this page. I could respond personally if I knew who he or she was, but I don't.

But I do know the answer to the reason for the Google search.

Irwin Johnson, known better locally as the Early Worm because of his morning wake up show used Tommy Dorsey's "Song of India" as his theme song.

For many years, Johnson as the "Early Worm" ruled morning radio Columbus. I don't know when he began that reign, but it continued through the 50's and possibly into the 60's. I don't remember listening to Johnson, but everytime someone mentioned great radio announcers in Columbus, the either the name "The Early Worm" or Irwin Johnson would be among the first to be rattled off.

Tommy Dorsey was the leader of a Big Band when Big Band's were all the rage in the 30's and 40's. Tommy brought to the forefront the talents of Jo Stafford and a scrappy young male vocalist from Hoboken, New Jersey Frank Sinatra.

Like The Early Worm, Dorsey's theme song for openning and closing his national radio programs was "Song of India".

Who knows. Whoever initiated that search may search once again and find their answer.

Update: In reading some old archives of the Columbus Citizen Journal, Irwin Johnson worked for WBNS from 1940 to 1969. When he retired, Bill Hamilton filled the morning show slot.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Columbus Day Hike

On Columbus Day, Diana and I decided to head for the Hocking Hills to enjoy a day outside. Ohio often is overlooked as a place to find natures beauty, but the Hocking Hills region competes with some of the best places to see scenery and enjoy the outdoors.

It was a beautiful but warmer than normal fall day and the fall colors were coming into view. The air was fresh and that special aroma that is uniquely fall was in the air.

Our first stop was Ash Cave.

Ash Cave is the largest recess cave in the state. The photo you're seeing was taken from the top rim of the cave. In wet weather, a small water fall drops from the top rim 90 feet to the small pool below. The floor of the cave is sandy, giving an almost beach like feeling.

Yesterday, three girls were playing in the sand and admitted it was just like beign at the beach.

We decided to walk the trail to Cedar Falls. Unfortunately it was about this time that we discovered the battery in the camera had called it a day and we were not able to take more pictures. However, I have some photos of the falls from a previous trip two years ago.

The signs on the road say the trip from Ash Cave to Cedar Falls is two miles. But our hike through the woods convinced us the trail somehow must be longer. Upon our return home, we learned the trip was three miles each way.

First, after a fairly easy start, the trail does become more ambitious. Not impossible, but if you're out of shape, you know you've been exerting yourself on the trail. We arrived at Cedar Falls about an hour and a half after our start. The photo seen was taken slightly over two years ago after a rain storm. Queer Creek was thundering over the drop into the pool below.

While we were there this time, there was no water spilling over the cliff. Unfortunately, the photo was taken with a cell phone from a distance that didn't make for a clear picture. Note to self, remember to keep the battery charged in the digital camera. The area is quite scenic and peaceful. Unlike nearby and better known Old Mans cave, the Cedar Falls and Ash Cave areas can provide some solitude and quiet in a scenic environment if that's what your seeking.

After exploring the are briefly and taking a short breather at one of the picnic tables, we gathered up our courage for the trip back to Ash Cave and the car.

It was really a neat day.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Legendary Station of the Year

I was in the Nashville area this past week for some training (Dave Ramsey Certified Counselor Training) and stopped to snap a shot of the WSM-AM radio tower along I-65 just south of town. The unique Blaw-Knox designed tower was a beacon for all to see.

At the time the tower was erected, it was the tallest broadcast tower ever built. Of course with todays radio towers going over 2,000 feet, the WSM tower is tiny compared to them.

When the tower erection team was finished, they headed to Cincinnati, Ohio to erect a similar tower for WLW radio.

For years WSM has long been known as a powerhouse and innovative force in broadcast radio.

So you're asking why I have an interest in WSM?

Just out of high school in 1973, I took a job with WRFD AM in Columbus to run their Sunday morning public affairs and church programs. Since WRFD was a daytime only station and could only begin broadcasting at New York City sunrise, the sign on time varied from 6:00 am during the summer months to 7:15 in the winter.

On my way to the radio station, I would listen to the radio in my car either to local station WTVN (Ed Eppley) or nearby WLW (Nick Young) during the summer months as they were still playing contemporary music on my way to the radio station to begin the broadcast day. However as the days grew shorter, my trip to the station began around 6:30. By 6:00 am WLW had made the transition to religious broadcasts and WTVN followed at 6:20 am. As I was going to be listening to my fair share of God's word over the next few hours in my job, I began to seek out stations from around the nation on the AM band that I could listen to that were playing music. The only stations that were playing music at that time were country themed stations such as WWL out of New Orleans and WSM out of Nashville.

Frankly, at the time I hated country music. But not so much as to avoid listening to a boring public affairs program or some fire and brimstone radio minister (they all seemed to be based in Texarkana, Texas) giving me a trip tik on my souls destination. If you were looking for anything other than fire and brimstone preachers or the a topical discussion on the school lunch milk program, you were limited to these 50kw flame throwers and the voices of Patsy Cline, Buck Owens and Jim Reeves. A little Bluegrass may have been sprinkled into the mix too. Oh, and WWL's King Edward Cigar time checks.

Remember, this was before FM radios were widely available in automobiles. And the FM stations were largely duplicating their AM sisters or playing elevator music.

So having listened to this legend of a radio station made it really neat to see the tower that brought not only the Grand Old Opry and other assorted country tunes to my ears.

To add to the unique find, while in the Nashville area, I learned WSM was named legendary station of the year by the National Association of Broadcasters. Based on its history, that was a long time coming.

While leaving town on Saturday I listened to the solid gold sounds of country music. My music tastes have mellowed and it was fun to listen to the country gold tunes stream from my cars speakers. As I got closer to home and the sun had left the horizon, WSM was streaming threw the atmosphere with the sounds of that Saturday evenings Grand Old Opry program.

Yes, WSM truly is a Legendary Station.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day

I cant' think of a better way to celebrate Labor Day than to chill out. And that's what we did.

Once again, we headed to Lake Erie and parked our chairs in the grove of trees, enjoyed the sites, the people walking by us, the boats sailing in our midst and just chilled at the Marblehead Lighthouse.

The lake was the choppiest I've ever seen it. And the breeze was more than just gentle. But the skies were perfectly blue and the temperature modest. And the late summer bugs never showed.

I commented that I thought this was our best trip to the lake and lighthouse.

I can't explain it, but I am at my happiest and most content when there.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Passing the Torch

I've never been a fan of Ted Kennedy.

But I will have to admit his appearance at the Democratic convention Monday night displayed the grit of the man. While philosophically different than me, his speech, despite brain cancer and chemo showed the ability of people to dig deep and do something unique when it's important to them.

Tonight, Senator Kennedy talked of passing the torch to new generation.

Whether Senator Obama wins the White House or not, Senator Kennedy was probably correct. The torch has been passed in the Democratic Party. To a new generation. A generation whose ideas are quite different than those of their fathers and their fathers before them.

Some are quite unique. Others I'm not so sure about.

Senator Kennedy made a pledge to be at Senator Obama's inauguration in January. Again, whether this November's winner is Senator Obama or Senator McCain, my guess is with spunk and grit Senator Kennedy will witness the swearing in.

His appearance and speech tonight was both touching and inspirational.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Purpose Driven Debate

Well it was more a conversation like you'd see on a version of In the Actor's Studio with Rick Warren taking the place of James Lipton.

Both major party presumptive candidates Barrack Obama and John McCain took an hour to sit down with Warren. Each candidate was asked a series of mostly the same questions on a number of topics. Warren was skillful though not necessarily telegenic in handling the candidates and fielding the questions.

There was a lot of hand wringing from the more extreme elements from both political parties. Each are looking for a slash and burn forum to destroy the opposing candidate. In their view, if there isn't some blood flowing and a carcass or two left along the way, then a debate isn't worth it's time.

Warren pretty much promised things would be civil. And he delivered.

Pastor Warren did an excellent job of asking relevant questions without being divisive. Maybe this forum was good start to a better creating a better dialog regarding the hot button topics of the day.

I know, I know, there's a lot of money to be made and the power brokers of the divisiveness will not be giving that up easily. But maybe the seeds were planted to get to the destination without the need to sacrifice metaphorical blood along the way.

Warren was even handed and appeared to side with neither candidate while being open and friendly during the hour spent with each. And he often in an almost empathic manner when asking the tougher questions that can easily become divisive stated that he struggles in his own house of worship on these burning issues of the day.

Both candidates did a splendid job in the format. In general and depending on your worldview, each candidate could claim victory. Obama thoughtfully weaved his way through the questions. Yes, there was a gaffe or two. But overall, for what could largely be considered a stacked audience against him, he won applause for many of his responses.

Senator Obama for the most part did an excellent job of displaying that he is deeper than just being superficial. I felt more comfortable with him last night than I have at any time prior.

Of course the proof will be in the pudding and we'll see if he's elected and who he nominates for key and critical appointments.

And while Senator Obama did a pretty good job of presenting himself to a largely evangelical audience, it was Senator McCain who probably hit a bases loaded home run.

McCain has until last night been loathed by many rank and file Conservatives, especially the Social Conservatives and more strident Republicans. After years of being pummeled by conservative pundits and talk show hosts, McCain has been swimming against the tide with many who identify themselves with pure conservatism, social or otherwise.

Most of it began in the 2000 primary elections. But it has continued to this day. For example earlier this year, social conservative voice James Dobson declared that he would not vote for McCain under any circumstance. By July he said he was revisiting his decision, but still remains uneasy. Talk radio king Rush Limbaugh, while tempering his criticism in latter days, still is delivering a daily menu of why there is a lot to not like about McCain. Geez, with friends and allies like these?!?!

Many conservative bloggers and forum participants have realized that they maybe for the first time got to see the more basic John McCain Saturday. I watched one thread from a popular conservative web site as the debate unfolded this past Saturday. Most participants are singing a new tune. The transformation as I monitored that forum in real time as the debate went on was amazing. There was a discernible change in tone.

Maybe by seeing and hearing McCain in his own words vs those being filtered through the "jaw bone media" has given them a better perspective about who the man really is and what's in his heart.

The few that aren't, and that applies to the more strident from both sides of politics, likely wouldn't be happy with a fresh and dry diaper.

Thank you Pastor Warren for this great forum you moderated.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Voice Mail Hell

I was recently reading a blog that discusses poor customer service. The example given was a recent encounter with Verizon and their voicemail operated automated attendant.

I've got to agree, Verizon has one of the worst run mechanical secretaries I've ever run into. But it also seems to be a characteristic of most land line or cellular companies. You simply have a terribly difficult time getting to a live person no matter what company you are attempting to contact. Communications companies that find it hard to communicate.

Even more insulting is along the way they ask you to enter your phone number and then when a live person is finally on the line one the first things they ask you is your phone number. Excuse me, didn't I enter it about 20 minutes ago as I tried to navigate my way through the circuitry to finally talk to you?

And what about the company that answers with "Thank you for calling the XYZ. Hey, we hate these machines too, so to get you to a real live person.....yada, yada, yada." Anyone find it ironic that even though they hate the machine, they are using the machine? And admitting they hate it!

Pretzel logic.

If they hate the machine, then why use the machine? As Dr. Phil would say "Get Real!"

Evidently they like it enough to save the salary of whoever they would have to hire to man the phone and give assistance.

But they aren't openly saying that.

I guess by saying they hate it too, they are giving their callers what I would describe as a digital Oprah moment. Digital empathy. If technology improves, maybe their automated attendant will begin recommending new age books and have an interview with Tom Cruise too!

Oddly, that's the recording you get if you call them on their dime. Their 800 number. On your dime, if you call their local number with toll charges being your burden, you get an answer by the 2nd or 3rd ring and a delightful southern voice willing to assist you.

I guess you get what you pay for.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Leader of the Band

Diana and I attended the Ohio State Fair today. While at the fair, we stopped to listen to the All Ohio High School Fair Band.

The band has something of a special meaning to me, as two of very close friends of mine, Gene Oliver and Rob Luikart,had the honor to play in the band during the early 70's. For people in the high school bands and orchestras, it was considered an honor to be nominated and selected to play in the group.

Today while watching, the show had a slight change in the program. In the audience was former Ohio Governor and current US Senator George Voinivich.

The fair is a public relations treat for the Governor. And among the honors is the Governor has the chance to lead the Fair Band in playing Stars and Stripes Forever.

Voinivich once again was asked to take the baton and do the honors.

It was good to see the Senator and as always wonderful to hear the band play.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Great Father's Day

All I can say is what a neat Fathers Day. My son Brian aka Moose and his wife Abby treated Diana and me to a day of what Dad likes best.

We began the day with a late breakfast at the Hamburger Inn. I only have a photo of the back entrance, but this place is the real McCoy. They bake fresh their hamburger buns, the fries are from freshly peeled potatoes and make a variety of pastries. The back entrance takes you through the kitchen area, while the actual dining area also has the grill area where breakfast and sandwiches are made to order. I can't say enough about the place. This is one place where greasy spoon is truly a complement.
Next we were off to Marblehead to the lighthouse. I've written before about the lighthouse. This is truly one of the neatest places I've ever been. There is something about the lighthouse and the lake that remove all the toxins from your body.

The problem is, the toxin removal is an exhausting experience. We were only there for a short period of time and then we were off to Toledo.

Toledo is the home of another of my favorite restaurants. The place made famous by Corporal Maxwell Klinger on M*A*S*H. Tony Packo's.

I've always love the cabbage rolls and sausage made there. This weekend was no let down.The other neat thing is they have walls of celebrity and politician autographs....on hotdog buns.

Legend has it the hotdog bun signing began with Burt Reynolds in the 70's and continues to this day with everyone who is anyone that stops in Toledo leaving their autograph. Presidents, first lady's, presidential wanna bes, rock stars, crooners, big band artists, country singers. They've all been there and signed a bun.

We did a couple of other stops along the way, but these were the highlights.

Thanks to my neat son and his lovely wife. And to my wife Diana for joining us for all the fun.

It was truly a day to remember.