Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Prepping in NYC

(Wall Street Financial District, NYC)
Working on the road is no big deal.
Working on vacation is more common than many people want to admit.
We all do it, right?

How many times have you taken vacation, but left someone at the office with your cellphone number, "just in case." Defeats the purpose of a vacation, yet we're all in this together, apparently.

I'm in New York with my family on holiday.
Tickets purchased way in advance, hotel reservations locked in.
The Friday before Christmas we learned a content distributor was interested in syndicating some of the shows we originate on The BizRadio Network.

So much for the Best-of Shows we'd put together of our favorite conversations with famous and interesting people over the past year.
No canned shows, all live.

If I were a stage actor, you would describe me as a "method actor:"
I have a set pattern of preparation for each day's show.
Lots of reading, lots of editing, lots of time.
So Christmas Eve found me prepping for The Day After Christmas, up in the hotel room.

I also discovered that the ill-fated Starbucks, next to the BizRadio Studios in the 55 Broad St. building, is a perfect place to begin the next day's show notes without disturbing (or becoming distracted by) vacationing family members.

(By the way, Mike Norman, they've been terrific to me in here. Maybe I just sound funny to everyone, and they find me marginally entertaining in a quaint sort of way, you think?)

Our hotel is an older one, and we're in a small room with no frills.
We figured we're just going to sleep and change clothes (same as Cruise ship mentality.)
Not even a mini-bar cooler.

That's okay if you're just knocking about the City, taking food and liquid refreshment on the fly.
When you're working on deadline, however, the rules change.
The requirements change.

Mini-bottles of water and a quad-pack of Red Bull from the corner Duane Reade drugstore and grocery. A box of mini-muffins and Granola bars for the cab ride.

Don't forget to leave a can of Red Bull chilling on the window sill...and don't forget to grab it before leaving each morning.

You'll hear the result in the show.
I'll see you in the morning on the Radio.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas in New York

Outings are so much more fun when we can savor them through the children's eyes.
Lawana Blackwell

This Christmas we took “the kids” to New York City.
There was much thought and planning that went into this decision.
In fact, we even had the trip paid for by the time October rolled around.

Taking your kids on vacation is quite different from driving over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house. One child is organized and methodical; one child is a mass chaos creative genius. They’re both a little anal in their own realms. Which made packing a bit of a nightmare.

Isn’t it interesting how your children are a blend of the best and the worst of both parents? My bride has been packing for this trip for two weeks.

Mentally, so had I, I told her (and I had.) But it was 11pm on the night before we left before the final case was zipped tightly shut. And it was my Bride’s luggage that had to be “rebalanced” for weight on the sidewalk in front of the airport.

I wasn’t really sure I even wanted to leave the house for the holidays. The past two Christmases have been tough, first recovering from cancer surgery in ’05, and then still dealing with the after effects of all that in ’06. I felt that I was the weak link in the family’s chain for holiday cheer.

Then there's that whole cold weather issue, and the idea of intentionally traveling to a part of the planet where snow plows and road salt are standard-issue for Winter just does not appeal to me.

The weather has been glorious.
Cold, yes, but the weather outside has certainly not been frightful.

What I didn’t realize, and have been truly blessed to witness, is the joy our kids are having, running up and down the crowded streets, seeing the sites, and sharing their experiences.

You see, we also invited along the significant-others in our children's lives.
They’re not kids.
At 26 and 22, they’re their own adults.
But the true joy has been in seeing them in their completion with their companions, and the happiness the couples are sharing.

I don’t know if they will still be “couples,” or something more permanent by this time next Christmas. That’s been a warm-fuzzy notion to contemplate, but it’s not up to me.

So this has been a magical Christmas for our family, which seems about to take on a new, extended form.

The excitement and delight in their eyes as we wander the streets of New York has been the best present my Bride and I could have ever given one another!

So from our house to your's, Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Day Before Christmas

It’s the day before Christmas, and all through the town, nothing’s not on sale—everything’s been marked down.

The red tags are marked by the store clerks with care in hopes that St. Nicholas’ minions will soon be there.

The brokers have been nestled, all snug in their cubes, with visions of bonuses for all but the rubes.

With Goldman’s latest earnings, and mortgagors stewing from the latest flap, they’re all settling down for a couple of days off from this crap.

When down on The Street there comes such a clatter…even MSNBC pulls a commercial to see what was the matter.

Away to the monitors, reporters fly in a flash, breaking into regular programming, and giving up some cash.

The moon on the crust of the cab-driven slush, gives luster to the lucre in the pre-holiday crush.

When what to their wondering eyes should appear, but the results of mini rate-cuts—not intended to be severe.

From a wiley new chairman, in his pocket a hankie…they know in a moment it must be Ben Bernanke.

More rapid than beagles, his Fed governors have brayed,

“A half-point, a quarter, three-quarters,” they’ve prayed.

“Now Krosner and Mishkin, Vice Chairman Kohn, Mister Walsh,” says Ben, “all these rate cuts will come out in the wash in the end.”

“Tell Boston and Dallas, New York and St. Lou, we’ll save the economy and stop inflation, too.”

To the top of the markets, from here at Broad and Wall, we’ll evaporate anxiety, yes, dash away all!”

As lemmings before a wild market will fly, when they meet with an obstacle, climb a wall of worry to the sky.

So up to the exhanges the traders they flew with a bag full of ammo from the Fed governor’s brew.

And then in a twinking, faster than a level-2 trade, the markets responded to the changes Ben made.

As traders withdrew and the stocks turned around, down the industrials came with a choke and a bound.

Money passed through their fingers like charcoal and soot, and trading slips and electronic orders were tramped underfoot.

The bundle of rate cuts did the dollar attack, to that even the OPEC princes wanted out of that pact.

Ben’s eyes, how they twinkled, his bald spot gleamed like a lamp; his actions, however, betrayed all his vamps.

His droll little mouth was drawn up in an “oh!” as he observed how his changes were ebbing the flow.

A stump of a stogie he held in his teeth, while the steam from his ears encircled like a wreath.

He had a pinched face, with an expression of anguish, as he watched from the Fed as the markets extinguished.

Ben’s visage was darkened, not a jolly old elf… as the economy reacted in spite of himself.

With a wink of an eye, and a twist of his head…Wall Street wondered anew what there might be to dread.

Ben spoke not like Greenspan, but continued to work, fielding questions and pundits and talking heads and some jerks…

And laying a finger on the side of his nose, he let them all know they were “number one,” I suppose.

He sprang to the Fed, gave the governors a whistle, and into an FOMC meeting they flew like a missile.

And we heard Ben exclaim as they met out of sight…

“Just wait until next year.”

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Tales from On the Road

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…at least the kind of Christmases I like to recall: Brilliant sunshine, with crisp, bracing mornings, and glorious afternoons that end in a blazing display of orange, reds and purples against an ever deepening sky.

That’s Christmas in Southeast Texas.
It’s an anomaly for most Americans this time of year.

For example, I am writing this from the C-terminal at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston on the Sunday afternoon before Christmas.

Our flight to New York has been delayed for a couple of hours because the Ghost of Winter storms past has decided to terrorize the landing strips, thus throwing into chaos the airports around the country that are dependent upon incoming jets from New York to meet the connections of travelers here.

Given some of the horror stories I’ve heard over the past few weeks—and especially last season—things are pretty laid back here today. The family sitting across from me took advantage of the down time to update arrangements in Columbus, where they’re heading. My son is over-joyed that he can watch the Texans-Colts game in a nearby Sports grill, and the Clanton women are conscientiously committing commerce elsewhere in the concourse.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

There was quite a bit of discussion that went into our decision to take on The Big Apple in December. My vote was for a Western Caribbean Cruise (nothing says “holiday” to me like 80-degree highs and tropical sun in December.)

This is the kind of one-horse open-sleigh in which I like to travel this time of they year.

There’s a group across the concourse that’s getting on a jet to Las Vegas. While not a big fan of the lights, glitter, casino’s and gambling, there is a certain appeal to avoiding Jack Frost nipping at your nose by escaping to the Nevada desert.

They should be calling the flight anytime now. For the sake of my diet, I hope so.

So far, I’ve ingested a bag of delicious Airport popcorn, left-over Popeye’s chicken from my daughter, a bottle of spring water, and an entire bag of Dot’s chocolate covered almonds, plus a Xanax for the security check-in.
Those people have never been nicer.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Trains, Boats & Planes...and Taxes

Here's a classic case of addressing the symptoms and not fixing the cause: The Transportation Dept. has decided to limit the number of flights in and out of New York’s three airports because of flight safety issues, and a desire to address the congestion in the area.

Never mind that the FAA’s air traffic control system is antiquated and results in more flight delays than too many planes in too little airspace.

The government is also piling on the bureaucracy by creating a New York Air Traffic Czar to coordinate the limits of traffic during peak hours…and opening up military airspace to ease the congestion. Why don’t they just launch a couple of AWACS to manage the aerial traffic jams?

Transportation people say these are temporary measures to allow the government two years in which to upgrade systems and improve the air traffic control technology. Okay, I guess we’re stuck with this albatross, but could I please make a suggestion for filling the New York Air Traffic Czar position: John McClain.

Getting Ready for this morning’s BizRadio Network Listener Appreciation Breakfast in The City Club in downtown Ft. Worth…festivities commence at 8:30…

We left the traveling ensemble of the BizRadio Network Orchestra in Centerville…again…Well, there were no menu’s on the tables at Woody’s BBQ. And the Baritone Sax player got riled up about it, and when he asked the cashier, Flo, about it, she said the old menus had expired, and no one had written new ones on account of the Hollywood writers’ strike that they were observing.

So when we got ready to pay for our ribs and bean lunches, Ernest, the bari-sax player, refused to write a check…joining the striking writers’ picket line. The bus driver had to get involved…and let’s just say the next thankful of gas we ever buy in Centerville will probably have to come from the carwash and laundromat across the street.

The House is sparing more than 20 million of you/us from the alternative minimum tax this year, acquiesing to Republican demands that the $50 billion in tax relief not be offset with any other tax increases. Guess they've forgotten than when the government lowers taxes, revenues actually go up.

The AP reports, "on the last day of legislative business this year, the House voted, 352-64, to "patch" the so-called AMT, ensuring that millions of middle-class households — some with incomes as low as $75,000 — will be sheltered from the bite of the AMT."

President Bush is expected to sign the patchwork bill into law.

Memo to Congress: Why don’t you people just fix this thing once and for all?

Instead of worrying about what some over-paid athlete brat is pumping into his veins, or fretting over what goes on in bathroom stalls in airports, why not do some real work, eliminate the AMT, and while you’re at it, simply the stinking tax code into something that will fit on a 3 X 5 post card.

Did you earn money? Yes or No.
What’s 10%? Send check.

Kill withholding, kill the arcane tax code that kills off a forest a year to print, and let's git ‘er done.

Our "Freak Show Story of the Year" award is going to go to solo mariner, Pete Bethune, who is planning to circumnavigate the globe in a biodiesel-burning trimaran, the Earthrace.

The first 15-km of the trip will be powered by biodiesel produced from his own fat, removed by liposuction. Yech.

This is going to produce a whole new genre of excuses for people… “Not tonight dear, I don’t have the energy” will take on new meaning.

Finally—Time Magzine’s Man of the Year is a fella credited for bringing stability and status to his country…through intimidation and martial law.

Congratulations, VladimirPutin; obviously the check (and attached ransom note) to Time Magazine cleared.

I like what Mitt Romney said in commenting about this…that if Time picks leaders like Putin, who’s next: Raul Castro?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

Can't find help on Aisle 17?
You're not alone.
Come to think of it, you may be.

Retailers seem to be holding back on seasonal hiring this Christmas. According Challenger, Gray & Christmas, as quoted in a story in Fortune this week, 509,000 retail jobs were created in the October-November period.

While a half-million jobs sounds like a bunch of people working hard to serve you better, that number actually represents a 9% drop from this time last year. And unless there is a big change this month, the number of temporary jobs created by retailers this year could shrivel for the first time since 2001.

I believe that will prove to be the case, from personal observation.

Cutting seasonal employees is one strategy for holding the line on expenses during the lean times…but that tactic comes with an unintended consequence: short-staffed stores lose shoppers when the customer service wears as thinly as their patience. In fact, a record number of shoppers are walking out of stores because they couldn't find a sales clerk to help them.

America's Research Group, which regularly surveys about 1,000 consumers to get a read on holiday sales trends, says nearly one-quarter of those surveyed have walked out of a store without buying anything, because there was no one to help them—that’s up from 22% during last year's holiday shopping frenzy.

Here’s a true story from the front lines…we went into a department store last night to return some pants that were bought by remote control, and not surprisingly, did not fit. (Buying by remote control is where you go into a store an purchase an article of clothing for someone who is not present to guarantee the fit.) Happens to me all the time. I am either mistaken for a college student sized individual, or a heavy-weight wrestler, apparently, by the varying sizes of clothes that make it home.

Anyway…into the store to return some items, and purchase some hiking boots for the Christmas journey next week…and do you think we could find help in the shoe dept.?

I realize it’s all about Santa Claus this time of the year, but if Santa had to depend on customer service at some of these retailers, he’d never make it around the block on Christmas Eve, let alone around the world. We found a pair of boots we liked…but only in sizes that would compliment the clothing for the aforementioned heavy weight champ.

What to do? My enterprising Bride finally took it upon herself to check out the interior storage behind the shoe department façade, where boxes and boxes of shoes were stacked to the ceiling, grouped in numeric order according to style…sort of like a Dewey Decimal System for footwear.

Shoes, boots, sneakers and flip flops (it is no longer PC to refer to this type of footwear as a “thong,” as folks will immediately visualize your form in a completely different type of couture.) Nothing to be found that we were looking for, unfortunately.

We even called another store, which was an epic exercise in patience and persistence. The only thing worse than looking for scarce salesclerks at Christmas is trying to get one to answer a phone in their department.

We ended up buying a completely different style, color, and brand by the end of the evening. One sales clerk did finally make his way into the shoe department.

He opened the door to the back storage room and said, “come on in and look around for yourself.”
Ah, customer service.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Paying Up and Paying Forward

An extremely rare document goes on the auction block in New York today… an early copy of the Magna Carta will go to the highest bidder in a benefit for the Perot Foundation.

What is the significance of this document?
Quick history lesson for you: The Magna Carta was first issued in 1215 by the English, and has greatly influenced the development of common law over the centuries, including the Constitution of the United States and our Bill of Rights.

It is not to be confused with a fictional character which was actually written-out of the third Austin Powers movie, a down-and-out ex-wrestler named Magma Carter

What kind of Christmas Bonus are you getting—or giving—this year? Try to top this one: The State Bank & Trust of Fargo, ND is giving its full-time employees $1,000 each and part-time employees $500 each.
There's one catch – recipients must use the money for people in need.

The bank calls it the "Pay it Forward" initiative. Bank employees cannot use the money for themselves, their families or families of other bank employees…and each employee must document their good deed with a video camera.
The deadline is June 30.

Wonder how many of these will show up on YouTube by next Summer?

Why do we wait until the end of December to display this kind of behavior? Seems to me the world would be a better place if we practiced such tactics 365-days a year.
Such a dreamer, me.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Final Old Lang Syne

(AP) Dan Fogelberg, the singer and songwriter whose hits "Leader of the Band" and "Same Old Lang Syne" helped define the soft-rock era, died Sunday at his home in Maine after battling prostate cancer. He was 56. Fogelberg discovered he had advanced prostate cancer in 2004.
Losses like these make my own battle with Prostate Cancer seem so insignificant. I think this story should underscore the importance of the simple blood test you guys can all have made in the doctor’s office. None of these horror scenes with the rubber glove up the tail pipe routine.

Frankly, if you have prostate cancer, and it’s first discovered through a digital exam—meaning, it’s a mass large enough to be detectable without the use of a microscope—you may have already lost some valuable time. While it’s tragic that the loss of a high-profile national treasure like Dan Fogelberg might move you, why not start the New Year knowing? And if you know, get the treatment that is there.
Prostate Cancer is managable; it’s curable; it need not be terminal. But you must know about it to beat it.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Steroids: Doping for Dollar$

It is said that power corrupts, but actually it's more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power.
--David Brin
My News/Traffic Producer, Jimmy the K, I think said it best this morning: “The economy is going to hell in a handbasket, and all Congress can worry about is steroids use in pro sports.”

Well, the Mitchell Report is out…and Roger Clemens is in the list of names with the dubious distinction of doping for dollars in major league baseball.

(I am pleased to note that no one on our team, not even our percussion section, was named in the roster of steroid users for performance enhancement.) Good think they didn’t test for anything else, though…

Here’s the question I have about this whole steroids mess: If it’s that prevalent in Baseball, what about the other major professional sports?

Those are some big mama jama’s playing pro football and basketball, too…and how surprised would you be to learn there’s not much padding beneath a hockey player’s uniform? Not making any accusations…but I believe the question is a valid one.

Secondly, someone here is lying.
Clemens says he didn’t use them.
Brian McNamee, the former Yankees trainer who said he poked him in the butt cheeks with a hypodermic full of ‘droids, says he did.
Did not.
Did so.
Who’s right and who’s wrong?

Maybe we should change the National Pastime to Dodgeball.
The notion fits in more ways than one...

Meanwhile, some team managers are talking about opening a Performance Enhancement Hall of Fame. They're going to need a big place.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

English-Only Law?

Should your boss be able to require English on the job?

Republican leaders in the House say absolutamendo, and they're jumping on the bandwagon for a bill that would let employers across the country set an English-only policy on the job.

Ay vamos otra vez!
Here we go again.

This is going to raise all kinds of issues, especially with border states…to the north, those who must also speak French to deal with the Francois Quebec cans…and of course, those in the southwest where hablamos Espaniol is as prevalent as speaking English. (Notice how you intuitively understood what I just said in that bilingual sentence?)

I am all for a national language standard.
It's tough enough getting around in some neighborhoods where the street signs are already being posted in foreign characters. C'mon, how do you expect me to find the dry cleaners?
If you're going to be an American--be an American. Speak American!

Seriously, we're only short-changing ourselves when we legislate restrictions in how we naturally communicate.

In fact, if you dumb-down the level of understanding between cultures, you wind up with all kinds of problems…take, for example the One Semester of Spanish Spanish Love-song, which has made the rounds on You-Tube. Here is an example of how being muy estupido about these kinds of things can really wreck your credibility (watch the "One Semester of Spanish Spanish Love Song," posted below.)

Here’s something to ponder:
If your workplace is designated English-only, and some smooth operator hits on an employee in another language, has sexual harassment taken place?
Oy Vay!

Unintended Consequences of English-Only Laws

One Semester of Spanish Spanish Love Song

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

BizRadio's Moving

The cat is out of the bag.
The BizRadio Network will soon transition from a renter to an owner of Radio real estate.

For the past 34-months, we’ve been leasing time from Multicultural Broadcasting Inc.’s KXYZ in Houston. It’s been a mutually profitable relationship, as we have provided their properties in Houston and Dallas with quality programming, and they’ve given us a stage from which to establish our brand in those markets.

It’s time to make the next move…
On February 1, our Houston affiliate will have a change of address on the Radio dial…moving to the left from 1320 to 1110, KTEK-am.

BizRadio 1110am, Houston.
That's got a nice ring to it.
And that’s just the beginning.

In the Spring of 2008 we will be opening a new facility in Houston, the BizRadio Learning Center. This 12,000 square foot temple to capitalism will feature a brand new suite of broadcasting studios for our flagship station, as well as facilities in which we will feature some of the top names in the financial and economics realms.
That’s not all.

There’ll be food and drink, too.
Can’t yet say who, but we will have a restaurateur operating a high-class watering hole within the BizRadio Learning Center. I don’t know if we’ll call it the BizRadio Café or not; might have to co-brand it with whomever we partner. People are getting excited about the notion.

We’ve been working on a few of the menu items, though.
Don’t these just entice you beyond your ability to resist?

Proposed Items on The Biz Radio Café Menu:


Bernanke Beans and Rice w/Condoleeza Sauce

Mike Norman Nachos

Wednesday’s free Warren Buffet

Special “Brent Crude” coffee (all black w/Red Bull)
No large or small beverages: they’re either “long” or “short”

Feel free to post other Menu item suggestions here. Remember, there are no bad ideas, just some with better taste than others.

You’re going to be hearing more and more about this facility, and I will be sharing with you our progress in the coming weeks…like photos of the Learning Center and our new station as it evolves.

In fact here’s something else to whet your appetite!

See you in the morning on the Radio.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Fed: Bah Humbug?

That seems to be the sentiment on Wall Street following today’s anti-climactic announcement from the Fed that rates would drop by only a quarter-point, and that that should tide things over nicely, thank you very much.

Frankly, people, what did you expect?

Many economists we’ve spoken with over the past few days have acknowledged The Fed would probably cut interest rates…but didn’t really need to.

Wall Street went into a deep-funk pouty-fit right after the announcement, like some spoiled 6-year old that just got a shiney, new bike for Christmas, and is pissed because it wasn’t just like the one in the store window, with FAT tires.

So now the blame game begins. Let’s pile on Ben Bernanke for not giving us a half point cut, or dare we breathe it, a 75-basis point cut, even though things are actually perking along fairly well…given the crappy condition of some lending institutions.

Guess what: They brought it upon themselves, spurred by greedy investors and managers, trying to wring more blood out of the turnip, despite rules and guidelines that were pretty clear that turnips which cannot make house payments shouldn’t live in garden homes they cannot afford.

Let’s pile on George Bush, while we’re at it, for his “bailout” of the financials by freezing terms on sub prime loans…thus keeping said same greedy managers, and the investors to which they pander, from raking in bonuses and earnings beyond reason again this season, while some families wonder where the next house payment is going to come from.

First—it’s not a bailout, it’s a freeze on rates that were about to adjust. Get over it.

Second—you wussies that are crying about not getting the earnings you thought you’d get from that rotten portfolio of high-yield notes, just simmer down. Ever hear high rates of return generally go hand in hand with high risk? A little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing, which is what you’d be receiving had those loans gone belly-up. Get over it.

And thirdly—those of you whining the “What About Me?” blues, while dutifully paying your mortgage notes without fail, and feeling like you’ve missed the gravy train because your numbskull neighbor is getting a “free ride” with a frozen rate on his ARM: What about you?

What about when you go to sell your home in three years, the market is pretty much back to where it should be--because your neighbor’s house, and the other sub-prime financed homes in your neighborhood, didn’t wind up in foreclosure and on some lender’s books as an REO, and as an empty eyesore on your block…because Bush got it right, saw the ugly light, and intervened.

All these nattering naybobs of negativity that are chirping about how we need to go through a recession because they think “it would be good for America,” need to have their heads examined.

That’s like saying poverty is good for society because it cleanses us of unnecessary happiness.

That’s like saying catching a dose of Cancer is good for you because it helps you appreciate good health.


Anytime we can head off a disaster—by freezing loan rates on a troubled slice of the mortgage pie, thus keeping the rest of the pie edible—is a good move.

What would you give to keep your neighbors in their homes, knowing that otherwise you’d be living with vacant, decaying houses on either side of yours? Get over it.

So the Fed dropped rates a quarter point.
It’s not a lump of coal.

Consider it financial amazing grace…unmerited favor…given in the spirit of the season by a somewhat bumbling but benevolent Open Market Committee, willing to pander to the crowd in the face of evidence to the contrary that the economy needed an artificial resuscitation.

The rest of you, buck up.
There's a blue light special on over Wall Street.
All stocks discounted at least 2% this afternoon.
Merry Christmas!

Classics Rock

In what could signal some kind of cultural shift in North Korea, the New York Philharmonic has accepted an invitation to perform in that country sometime soon.

(We received an e-mail for the Biz Radio Network Orchestra and Chorus to perform for the Asian Chamber of Commerce Christmas party…of course, that has to be approved by the probation officer working with the horn section from their escapades in Centerville last week.)

Speaking of the New York Philharmonic…one of the most enjoyable films I’ve seen in a long time is August Rush, which is the story of three musicians, and the search by a little boy for his unknown parents.

Every cliché in the book is in this movie, from the star-crossed couple to the little orphan boy to the moving music score…but it all works.

The climax of the film involves the Philharmonic under the baton of the young boy, but I won't spoil the ending for you. Take your honey to see August Rush, and make sure no one from the BizRadio Network Orchestra is sitting in the back of the theater.

Led Zeppelin returned to the stage last night with their first full set in 19 years in the O2 Arena in London… Original members Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones rocked the stage for two hours. On the drums, the son of the late John Bonham, 41-year old Jason Bonham… if the video clips are any indication, every bit as passionate as his father behind the drum kit.

New music afficinados take note--this is how Rock is made: primal, passionate, and live. No voice tracks or skanky dancers cavorting to drum tracks.

There’s now talk of a Led Zep World Tour.
Oh, yeah. I’d definitely buy a ticket to that one.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Green Weasels of Global Warming

"If all the books, magazines and newspapers printed in a year were put on Amazon’s Kindle or the iPhone or some other electronic reader, the US would meet its obligations to cut its carbon footprint under the Kyoto accords."
--Larry Keely
Someone, somewhere is going to figure out that this alternative fuels conundrum is a zero-sum game, and calculate the energy needed to run all those computers and i-phones for reading all those books, magazines and newspapers.

Here’s an imponderable for you: what would happen to your carbon footprint if you stepped in carbon paper?

I find it ironic that on the day that thermal fea- monger, Al Gore is sharing the Nobel Peace Prize with the UN, a major ice storm has slickened roads and sidewalks across the country, grounded hundreds of flights, and cut power to tens of thousands from the Southern Plains to the Great Lakes. More, colder weather is on the way, with ice storms threatening from Texas to Pennsylvania.

Mike Norman has his "No-Weasel Zone.” I think we need to come up with a “Green Weasel” equivalent.
I think I’ve found one:

A physician in Western Australia wants to charge families a $5000-plus "baby levy" at birth, and an annual carbon tax of up to $800 a child. Associate Professor Barry Walters says every couple with more than two children should be taxed to pay for enough trees to offset the carbon emissions generated over each child's lifetime.

Gee, doc, why didn't they write that one into the Kyoto Accords...and sock it to the Chinese, the most populous strain of homosapiens now inhabiting the planet?

By the way, the good doctor in Australia might be interested to learn that the Southern Hemisphere’s ice cover now is at the same level as last June, i.e., a level seen during the last winter in the Southern Hemisphere, according to

The site notes that "there are two more millions square kilometers of ice now compared to December 2006. And the large positive anomaly has persisted since September. In the Northern Hemisphere, the ice and snow cover have recovered to within 1% (one snowstorm) of normal with the official start of winter still more than 12 days away."

Wonder if anyon'e warming to the idea?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Morning After...

Great time in Dallas last night at our Listener Appreciation Holiday Party at the fabulous Silver Fox Restaurant in the Centrum. Special thanks to Mark and Jeff and their staff for some stellar food and a great atmosphere.

Had lots of friends stop by and say hello…special thanks to Lisa Dotson for the impromptu a cappella rendering of The Christmas Song…what a voice!

Angela Shah from the Dallas Morning News was in the crush, along with Dr. Michael Cox

True to form, the BizRadio Network Orchestra was delayed in their arrival. Well, they never made it, actually.

We pulled off in Centerville for lunch yesterday…that Woody’s BBQ place has been remodeled, and they just had to go in there. And the horn section had an outstanding warrant, and they’re all inter-married with the singers, and long story short, the band did not make it to the party last night.

I’ve got to go to the ATM this morning, and then stop back by Centerville on the way home this afternoon. Something about parking tickets and over due library books, which they take very seriously in Centerville.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

2-Years, Cancer-Free

When you have Cancer, every week, every month, every year is a milepost.

2-years ago I was diagnosed with the first stages of prostate cancer. Today is the 2nd anniversary of the surgery that I have no doubt lengthened as well as changed my life.

I am one of the lucky ones.
We caught it early.
It was contained.
There was no chemotherapy, no radiation.

There have been post-operative complications, but in the grand scheme of things, they’re manageable.

It makes you wonder what the grand scheme really is, though.

As a result of my story, others were checked.
Some were discovered with cancers, and sought treatment in various forms.

One was benign, and is watchfully waiting.
One had the same surgery as I, and was bouncing around at work not long after. (Mike, I am jealous but happy for you!)

One also came thru the surgery in fine form, only to discover months later another form of cancer in his pancreas.
He is constantly in my prayers.

People still come up to me and ask how I am doing.
“How’s your health?”
“Are you well?”
“Are you doing okay?”

Some days I feel like a fortunate man; others, like a circus freak.

Wondering if my body has betrayed me early, or if I would still be noticing these subtleties of middle age, robbing my energy and the smooth, fluid motions of younger days. Would I still feel like a ’55 Chevy on a cold winter’s morning, cranking and cranking and coughing to a start?
Or is this just normal?

“I’m fine,” I say.
“I’m well," I tell them.
“I’m good,” I respond.

And I am, really.
I don’t have pain any more.
I am still wrestling with other physical after-effects, but as I generally say, “not bad for a guy in my shape.”

We all have a date with destiny.
We can look to our parents for clues to our own ultimate demise.
My parents are in their late ‘70’s, and still quite active.

Perhaps I am using up some of that inherited vitality in fighting to regain what the cancer took away. How long will my battery last?

My family tells me I am less patient, more anxious, and easily frustrated by things I used to take for granted. And I admit that I am. Because it now takes more energy, a little more forethought, and some extra planning to get things done that once were accomplished with ease.

Actually, I’ve learned to relax and let others do some things for me. There is a certain peace in being able to let go and allow that.

I’ve learned the value of a day, the brevity of a week, and the swift passage of a month when marking the progress of my recovery and the recoveries of my friends.

When we’re born, we are pre-wired with a clock that tick tick ticks away the allotted seconds of our lives. None of us knows when that great, internal clock will stop.

For some, it’s snuffed out prematurely by accident.
For those that remain, however, it continues to beat time, increment by increment, moment by moment, until the last pulse of energy flickers through our nervous system as our body finally shuts down.

Cancer brought me face to face with that reality.
Cancer taught me to value the time that we have.

Carbon Debits and Credits for The Holidays

As you’re racing out the door this morning, dodging assorted piles of unsorted, soiled laundry, and weaving between toys scattered about the house, you can take heart in something James Thorpe once said:
"Household tasks are easier and quicker when they are done by somebody else."

Go ahead.
Improve the economy.
Hire a housekeeper today.

In the Senate, they may vote today on a global warming bill.
Ironically, Washington forecasters are predicting snow.
And it’s going to be cold outside, too.

If you’re traveling to DC today, look for a high of 37 with snow flurries and a low tonight in the mid 20’s. Average room temperature in a US Gov’t office: 78-degrees.
There’s your global warming.

I think this green movement thing is about to peg the needles on everyone's Crapometer.
A group of Israeli environmentalists is now encouraging Jews around the world to light at least one less candle this Hanukkah to help the environment.
Say, what?

A story in the Jerusalem Post says the founders of the Green Hanukkia campaign contend that every candle that burns completely produces 15 grams of carbon dioxide. If one million Israeli households light up for eight days, they said, it would do significant damage to the atmosphere.

They've been doing this for four-thousand years; glad we nipped this problem in the bud.
One-less candle is going save how much Carbon-dioxide?

Hey, isn’t that why Christians put up Christmas Trees?
Carbon credits, carbon debits…
It should all work out.
Except those carbon-dioxide exchanging trees need to be pre-wired with LED lights.

This has nothing to do with that, but bears mentioning in the same posting simply because the stupidity level is comensurate with ridiculousness previously mentioned:

Two Ohio college students are facing 20-years in prison for armed bank robbery.
Both are bright kids…to a point.
When asked why they did it, the pair told the judge they robbed banks because of the high college tuition rates.

They said they had only two choices, drop out or rob a bank.
Like I said, they’re not too bright.
There was a 3rd option: