News anchor. Radio personality. Writer of dark stories and poems. User of incomplete sentences in lieu of comma-separated lists.
I’ve been in the broadcasting industry for longer than I care to admit, long enough to see that what it’s turning into is a completely different thing than what it was. No one knows yet if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I do believe radio will survive, but it won’t look like anything we expect. Content is still king.
I’ve been writing dark stories and poems since before I got into radio… so it’s interesting to note that I’ve had much more success in the broadcasting field than in the literary. Does this mean I should stop writing? No. My brain won’t let me.
In the meantime I get my jollies being the midday news anchor during the Bill Carroll Show on KFI. I'm a big Carroll fan, so this is juicy for me.
For fun I love good movies, good books and good television. And I love arguing about the definition of “good” when it comes to movies, books and television.
CHECK OUT MY PERSONAL BLOG
YOU CAN ALSO READ MY DARK STORIES AND POEMS
This blog may contain profanity and/or material considered inappropriate. The views expressed in this blog are the opinions of the individual writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of KFI AM-640 and Clear Channel Radio.
A public memorial for TSA officer Gerardo Hernandez was held at the LA Memorial Sports Arena. (11/12/13)
It’s getting harder and harder to find news on the cable news networks.
The shift has been going on for years. Cable news networks, founded on the idea of 24/7 news coverage, began to add long-form programming, interviews and political pundits to their schedules, squeezing out hard news.
Even Headline News Network has a lot less news and a lot more court and entertainment programming these days.
Jeff Zucker, the guy who runs CNN, is promising more shows and fewer newscasts at his network. There’ll be more programming like Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” and less live coverage of national and international events.
I dislike this shift but have to concede it’s about money. It certainly appears that doing more news doesn’t result in ratings, as CNN has been falling behind both Fox News and MSNBC in the cable news ratings race. Zucker can’t be blamed for having to bow before the media culture shift.
I'm thankful for the interesting people I've met in my life.
Luke the cab driver was the messiah. He was our savior. He drove the cab the night my mom had to call someone to rescue us from my stepfather’s latest rampage. Dear old stepdad would soon run out of steam and sleep the rest of it off, but in the meantime, Luke was there to drive us away.
We’d never met Luke before. He just happened to be driving the cab, that was all.
Luke was an old black man, thin, with gray hair and a deeply lined face. Or, at least he seemed old to me. I was all of seven. Maybe eight. Maybe ten. I don’t really remember… that was a time in my life where I’ve blocked lots of things out. There are whole chunks chucked away somewhere, some 40-odd years later. But I do remember Luke the cab driver that one night.
His cab smelled like a pipe. Well, he did, and the cab smelled like him. Not a musty smell, but rich and earthy, real pipe smoke, not like cigarette smoke at all, not the way my stepfather reeked of cigarettes.
I know there was conversation. I remember Luke being very concerned that my mom was so upset. She was never one for control. I don’t think she was able to tell him where to take us. So we drove around town for awhile.
There wasn’t a lot of town to drive around in. We probably made the same circles a few times while my mom cried and tried to answer questions without breaking down. There were offers to take us to the police station or even the hospital, but my mom would break down again and frantically beg not to be taken there.
I remember Luke offered to let me sit up front, and I very vividly remember him making a grand show out of how against the rules it was, but he offered, and I climbed over from the back seat.
Evening was coming in. There was still some light, and I remember the clouds… they seemed thick, and so random that the randomness of them was almost a threat. Not like rain clouds. But not not like them either. They were hard to read, like trying to figure out my stepfather’s mood when he got home from work. Maybe it would rain. Maybe it would storm. Maybe they would just sit there and make you anxious, and then finally blow away.
It’s funny the parts of memories I can pick out from the rubble of the stuff that’s been smashed and buried. I remember Luke telling me his name then, and I remember him talking about the sky. “It’s too bad there’s so many clouds,” he said. “Always like to see stars when I’m out.”
And he explained about constellations, in his own limited understanding of them. I later knew a lot more about them, but I remember him talking about how some stars were all bunched together and looked like things, including one, he explained, that was a “big ol’ spoon.” He thought that was funny, that God would put a picture of a spoon in the sky. “Woo, what was he thinkin bout?”
I was fascinated, and tried to make sure I’d remember to look up the next time the clouds weren’t in the way, threatening me to keep my eyes down and my mouth shut.
He told me how each twinkling star was a good soul who’d died and gone to heaven. He told me to try to remember where all the stars were, and if I saw a new one, that meant someone good had just made the grade, like a gold star on a school paper.
I asked him how old he was. He laughed and told me, but for the life of me I don’t remember what he said. But I remember him telling me that one day I’d have cracks in my face just like him, only he hoped I’d be doing something else than driving a cab.
But at the time, driving a cab with good ol’ Luke seemed like it would be the best job in the world. “Do they let cab drivers have partners?” I asked.
“No, fraid not. Cab drivin is a solo gig. But it gets me out of my room and sometimes I meet nice folk, like you.”
After awhile my mom seemed to be able to make more sense, and she told Luke to take us back home. When we pulled in the driveway I asked if I could stay with Luke and drive around with him some more. I was an awfully weird kid. And honestly, driving around with Luke sounded a lot better than going back inside, not knowing what to expect from the rain clouds.
Luke gave a big, hearty laugh, and I remember him telling my mom not to worry about the fare, that getting to meet a great little kid like me was all the payment he needed. And he got very serious when he talked to my mom, and I overheard him insisting she call him again if she needed to get out of the house, that he wouldn’t charge her.
I don’t know what it was that made me think of Luke this evening. But I did. And I went outside and looked up. I know there are no new stars, not really, not ones we’d ever see. But if there were, surely Luke the cab driver is up there somewhere by now.
Who knows who Luke really was. Who knows if he had a family, a wife, kids, grandkids maybe. And I never saw him again. But it sure is a nice thought that for kids and moms in trouble, hopefully there’s a Luke to come to the rescue, not by being a hero, not by doing anything else but his menial job, but by just being kind. By just pointing at the angry clouds and explaining there are stars behind him, stars that represent good people, kind people, people who deserve to have stars pinned to the sky as a reward when they’re gone.
Hell, if I had my way, Luke the cab driver, wherever he came from, wherever he went to, would have a whole damn constellation to himself. Maybe even the big ol’ spoon.
If you're alone, if friends aren't calling you back or if your family is far away, there is a way to get through the holidays without the loneliness squeezing your skull to the size of a peanut. Go find a soup kitchen, or some other place that helps out the less fortunate, and lend a hand.
It works like magic. It's just about the only magic there is.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is not only setting records for best November opening, it's also a marked improvement over its predecessor.
The first movie was an enjoyable, competent film, but its sequel is most definitely deeper, darker and more complex. Even so, the material is further elevated by an excellent cast, most notably Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Jennifer Lawrence, whose talents as an actress are not to be underestimated.
This is one of those rare instances when a sequel far surpasses the first. If you liked The Hunger Games, run don't walk to see this one. Apparently, everyone else is. And I confess to definitely being hooked for the third chapter.
I give it three and a half out of five overall, and four out of five for the acting.
A conductor breaks the news to his audience of the assassination of President Kennedy.