Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Grab What You Can

I was enjoying a movie on television Saturday afternoon when all the fire alarms in my apartment building started going off. The first thing you want to do is deny there’s a real fire in the building. Still I grabbed my wallet, checkbook and poked my head out in the hallway to see how serious things were.

There was smoke on the first floor, but it wasn’t that thick so I went down to see what was going on. It seems my downstairs neighbor, let’s call him “T”, was cooking in his kitchen when something caught fire. One neighbor said there were flames two to three feet high coming from a counter top or stove. “T” himself said something I didn’t quite understand.

Anyway by that time the fire was out, but the smoke, which had an electric crispness to it, was still making its way out the front and back doors that were propped open on the first floor. The fire department arrived to check out the damage, which was mostly smoke damage.

On my way upstairs I started thinking about the things I’d gathered and cursed myself for not grabbing my parakeet “Sprite.” Course my quick evaluation told me the building wasn’t going to burn up, but if there’s a next time the bird goes with me. The rest of the stuff is covered by insurance, although a few things have great memory value.

I’m not much for labeling, but during the incident one of my newer neighbors said something like, “That crazy guy tried to burn down the building.” The person who said it looked a bit crazed at the time, but I don’t like to make snap judgments.

Let me tell you about “T.” He had a brain operation years ago that didn’t go right. It left him with some problems and eyes that don’t quite align right. If you met him you might get the impression he’d been drinking, but he’s not a drinker. It takes him a little more time to process things. When I finally talked to him about the fire he said it wasn’t his fault and I believe him. Still I fear it might affect his particular independent living situation. I don’t like judging a book by its cover. It’s been my experience that most books deserve a good read.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Open Door

Politicians are fond of saying they have an “open door” policy. That’s pretty much true here at our KFIZ studios as well. We’ve always pretty much allowed listeners to walk right in when they feel like it. However a recent incident makes you wonder how much trust you should put in that policy.

Bob Hoffmaster was on the air and made a comment about some parents from somewhere else in the country that were trying to decide which street gang their child should belong to. The comment was meant to be funny, but at least one listener didn’t take it that way.

She drove over to the station and during a commercial break started to tell Bob how inappropriate it was. The conversation took place in the office and not in our on-air studio. However the woman did barge into the studio while Bob was on the air and started ranting at him.

I’m not going to say who was right or wrong, but being a fellow announcer I have to say the woman crossed the line. Most of the people who enter our studios are guests. Sometimes people come in off the street with birthdays or whatever, but have the courtesy to wait until your microphone is off to tell you what it is they need or want.

There have been incidents where radio announcers have been beaten up or killed while doing their air shifts. Certainly that wouldn’t happen in Fond du Lac? Or would it? Trouble is you never know nowadays when people are trying to get their point of view across and don’t seem to know when they’ve gone too far.

Once upon a time I worked at a radio station in Minocqua. Our nighttime disc jockey was getting crank calls at the station. He put up with them and reported them to the station manager who asked him to keep a record of them. Finally he got fed up and started arguing with the guy. The guy told him he’d come down and straighten him out and our disc jockey said come ahead.

Well the guy didn’t, but we later found out he was picked up one night running naked down a county road waving a shotgun around. Turns out he only lived a couple blocks away from our disc jockey.

With radio you’re going to touch a nerve once in awhile. It’s unavoidable. You only hope that it’s not going to enrage someone to the point where they feel the need for a face-to-face confrontation. Most times you are trying to say something clever that the majority of your listeners will know is a joke. However some don’t realize it’s only humor. I’m not sure whether to feel sorry for them or just scared.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Brett Favre Stay Retired

Brett Favre don’t come out of retirement. Words I didn’t think I’d ever pen or utter, but there they are. While recuperating in a convalescent home from hip surgery I watched the press conference. Despite what I went through I think that was more painful.

I’m happy to say I at least got to see Favre play at Lambeau once and that it was a winning experience. I also watched the rest of his games as a Green Bay Packer on television in whole or part. Though he played his rookie season for the Atlanta Falcons I’ll always consider Brett Favre as a Packer only! Sorry four or five passes in a Falcons uniform don’t count in my book.

Last week rumors surfaced that Favre’s agent might be shopping him around to other teams. Some insiders believe the agent might have done that, but not necessarily with Favre’s knowledge and that Favre will stay retired. Short of winning another Super Bowl, and there’s no guarantee that would happen, what else does he have to accomplish.

Critics say Peyton Manning will break Favre’s records in another 5 or 6 years. That may be true, but he’d have to play about 100 more games for the consecutive game streak and there’s no telling when a quarterback is going to be injured. Would that be a reason for Favre to play one more season?

Reggie White retired then came back a season later as a Carolina Panther. He wasn’t the same Reggie White. How would Favre fair in another uniform? Would he go to a team with a legitimate shot at the Super Bowl? If so why not another season with the Green Bay Packers?

So Brett Favre stay retired. Aaron Rodgers stay healthy! Just how good a coach Mike McCarthy is and general manager Ted Thompson is will be measured by next season’s success. Hopefully they’ll all surprise as Favre cruises on his riding lawn mower, a man of leisure who doesn’t have to worry about a blitzing linebacker.