Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

Nadal Hasan, the army psychiatrist who killed 13 people at Fort Hood Texas in November, 2009 has written to ISIS asking to become a citizen of that group’s Islamic state. Can we now travel back almost five years and finally describe Doctor Hasan’s attack as a terrorist incident?

Isn’t the last weekend in August too early to be Labor Day Weekend?

August 20th was National Radio Day. I listened to the radio that day as I do every day. Why didn’t anyone on the stations I listened to mention that?

Would I be violating any trademark or copyright laws if I were to sell “Free Jessa” t-shirts?

Does the color of sprinkles make any difference in their flavor?

Why does Facebook think I need to see so many ads for Toyota RAV 4s?

So, I keep getting this robocall and the guy with a beautiful, sonorous, radio announcer voice that reminds me of my old friend and colleague Allen Shaw intones, “Don’t hang up! This is not a sales call.” What kind of call is it? I don’t know because that’s when I always hang up.

Who Review

I’m about as big a Doctor Who fan as anyone who doesn’t dress up in costume and attend conventions, so I watched tonight’s season’s premiere with the new Doctor, Peter Capaldi with great anticipation. I thought the acting was fine, but the script a little weak.

Every Doctor, when he regenerates emerges a little befuddled, but usually, by the end of the first episode, they have gotten themselves together. Peter Capaldi as the doctor seemed more befuddled than usual and befuddled for a longer period of time. As a result, I thought the premiere of the new season of Doctor Who was a little on the slow side. And, honestly, the dinosaur didn’t really add anything at all as far as I’m concerned.

But Clara was the real confusing one for me. During the Matt Smith era, we learned that Clara had existed through time for the purpose was of saving the doctor. She’s even shown once with William Hartnell’s first doctor. So, why was she so confused by Smith’s regeneration and so unaccepting of Capaldi as the Doctor?

I’ve been a big fan of Doctor Who since the program first appeared in America on PBS with Tom Baker as the Doctor. Like I’m sure everyone else, I like some Doctors better than others. Capaldi’s Doctor seems less approachable than either Smith or Tennant. I think it’ll take a while to warm up to him, but I’m perfectly willing to give him a chance. I do hope the next villain is more menacing and that the Doctor has a more direct role in resolving the next story arc.

Licensed to Drive

Back in June, on the anniversary of my high school graduation, I mentioned that I hardly remember anything about that supposedly milestone event. I also don’t remember the first time I kissed a girl. It must have been the first girl I dated and I don’t remember why we stopped seeing each other either. I do, however, remember taking my driver’s test; I remember that very clearly.

I was 17 and in dress rehearsals for a school play, so I had grey hair. I took the test in the family car, an ancient Dodge that can most kindly be described as a bomb! No steering wheel cover, no horn ring, no inside door panel on the passenger side, passenger door banged in, and the muffler was going, so it resonated inside the car rather obviously, even worse if I had the windows up. I had them down, all of them, in November, in New York.

Inspector gets in the car, checks my paperwork, looks at me and says, “How old are you? I told him I was 17 and since he didn’t ask why I had grey hair, I didn’t tell him. But he shoved his clipboard toward me and said, “Sign this!” so I did. Then, he noticed the steering wheel and asked if I could blow the horn. I said I wasn’t sure because I never had to. I blew it though, so he had to look for some other excuse. He noticed the absence of the passenger door panel and consequently the door handle. He asked, “How do you get out of this thing?” Wordlessly, I gave him the door handle. He didn’t ask for the handle to roll up the window, so I didn’t give him that. As I said, you could hear the bad muffler better if the windows were up.

I passed the first time I actually took the test. I always thought it was because the instructor wanted to be sure he never had to ride in that old Dodge again.

On top of all that angst, when the license came in the mail, the family car was parked in front of the house, but I walked to where I had to go that day, three miles away, because the car wasn’t properly insured for me to drive it. And the first girl I asked out once I had the license said yes, but her dad wouldn’t let her in a car alone with a boy he hadn’t met, so my dad had to drive us.

Things I Know

Don Pardo died. He was 96. Absolutely a household voice, although not a household name. Still, if you know anything at all about media, you didn’t just ask, “Don who?”

Arcadia publishing has made a success of publishing trade paperback books consisting mostly of photos of local areas. The series is called “Images of America.” The newest one is “Ithaca Radio” by Peter King Steinhaus and Rick Sommers Steinhaus with an introduction by Keith Olbermann. Ithaca NY is home of a highly regarded college curriculum in broadcasting at Ithaca College’s school of communications and one of the most professional college radio stations you’ll ever hear at Cornell’s student-owned and run WVBR. Because of that, a lot more successful broadcasters have passed through Ithaca than most radio markets of its size. I passed through Ithaca radio myself and I bought the book when it came out last week. If you worked in Ithaca radio or if you just follow the medium, I think you’ll like the book and, no, you won’t find a picture of me in it.

Two young Amish girls were kidnapped last week near Oswegatchie, NY. Fortunately, the girls’ abductors were arrested and the girls returned to their families. If like me, you’ve lived in New York most of your life and never heard of Oswegatchie, you may wonder what it’s near. It isn’t near anything.

If you’re interested in cars, as I am, you probably agree with me that the Woodward Dream Cruise and the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance should never take place on the same weekend.

A 1962 Ferrari 250 GT which was expected to bring a record price last week sold for only $38 million. A record price for a Ferrari 250 GT, in case you’re thinking of getting one for yourself or a friend, would be somewhere north of $52 million.

Things I Know

“Never wear sandals on a farm.” –Robin Williams. RIP Robin Williams. You made everyone laugh.

Frankly both Israel and Hamas are wrong in the current Middle East conflict. I’m not going to get into which side is more wrong, but with respect to the current issue, if you’re going to sit around firing rockets at someone, you should expect them to shoot back.

James Brady, President Regan’s press secretary, died on August 4th, at the age of 73. He was gravely wounded when John Hinckley tried to assassinate Regan. Bullets fired by Hinckley hit both Regan and Brady. Brady’s injuries were permanent. I didn’t know Mr. Brady, but I did talk to him on the phone a couple of times when I worked in the House of Representatives and he worked for Senator Roth of Delaware. After his shooting, Brady worked hard for and became a living symbol in efforts to pass stricter gun control laws. RIP James Brady.

There’s a radio commercial for B&H Photo, a huge camera and electronic store in New York. In it, his co-workers are planning a “surprise retirement party” for Bob. This suggests, at least to me that in addition to the party being a surprise to Bob, his retirement is also a surprise to him.

I was watching a rebroadcast of the 2010 Mark Twain Award ceremony, the one that gave the prize to Tina Fey. Jennifer Hudson is really talented singer. Still, In my opinion, nobody but Aretha should sing “Respect.”

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

The phrase “duck-billed platypus” is kind of curious to me. Is there any other kind of platypus?

Suppose for a second, that you only wanted to eat half a package of Keebler’s Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies. How would you get the plastic tray back into the bag without ripping the bag or breaking the tray or its contents? I know I could just eat the entire bag of cookies, and I am able to do that if I have enough milk in the house. However, I’m not supposed to.

I’m sorry, but I don’t understand the purpose of camouflage uniforms for baseball games. The uniforms are ugly, and besides, you can still see the ballplayers.

Why does the cost of renting a car have so little to do with the cost of the car?

I wanted to go sit on a beach for a week or two in October, but my wife can’t go with me because it’s a busy time of year at her job. I won’t go without her so the beach will have to wait. Where can the two of us go for a long weekend that’s not too far from New York City?

I don’t want to go to Florida in November because the weather can be iffy for the beach then. I would like to go in March, for baseball spring training, but vacation rentals and hotels are more expensive in Florida then. So the question would be, can we afford that?