Thursday, October 30, 2008

Is it November 4th Yet?

I’m waiting for Martha Stewart to call me back. She has an idea for how I can use all those oversized postcards I’ve been receiving from the Presidential candidates to make a centerpiece for my Thanksgiving Dinner table.

It’s said that everyone’s vote counts and judging from the number of postcards I’ve received in the mail, e-mails, and robocalls; my vote must be worth one heck of a lot. Yesterday I only received two robocalls, both on behalf of John McCain. I didn’t take them just played them back off my recorder later. One actually sounded like a live person reading from a script.

Working for a radio station I have mixed feelings about political advertising. It helps pay for my salary, but I do grow weary of hearing all the ads. As for the television ads, when they come on I’m flipping channels.

Being a news reporter I get to interview candidates, mostly local, for the election. I can honestly say that it’s rare that you get a straight answer to a question. There’s a lot of dancing around and history lessons, but not often an answer about how that candidate is going to deal with a certain issue.

Those running for office for the first time lack the knowledge of how things really work. That doesn’t mean they won’t do a good job it just means they may not have a particular idea about how to solve a problem. They are usually well aware that there is a problem.

Usually at the end of the interview I wish the candidate good luck and that is sincere. I wouldn’t want to run for office, but certainly appreciate those who do and are good at representing their constituents. It takes a certain amount of courage just to run. I applaud them for that.

People run for office for all kinds of reasons. I once knew a guy who ran for the mayor’s post in a city. I found out that he was in a bar one night and some guys told him they though he should run. They were simply having some fun at his expense, but he took them seriously. He lost by a landslide. What was his reason for running? He was a single father and he wanted to give his young son a reason to be proud of his dad.

The main thing about voting is that someone is going to represent your interests for 2, 4 or six years. If you don’t vote and end up not liking the way you’re being represented you have no right to complain.

Now, what about that centerpiece?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Walking Among Giants

It doesn’t happen often, but once in a while I feel like I’m walking among giants. That’s what happens when I’m attending a function where I feel almost completely lost about the subject I’m there to cover. When it comes to the economy and the specifics of the bail out package there are much sharper minds than mine trying to dissect it.

That was the sensation I got while attending Federal Reserve Bank Of Chicago President Charles Evans address at Marian University in Fond du Lac last Friday (10/17/08). I understand liquidity and restoring credit, but some of the other terminology…zoom, over my head.

That’s when I do envy someone educated in a special field. However everyone has his or her own field of expertise. Mine is radio and reporting the news. You learn the ins and outs of your particular business and to the outsider it may seem complicated.

Speaking of fields of expertise let me use my own brothers and sisters as examples. My brothers John and Matt don’t work in their particular fields of training, but each have different know how. John took training to be a welder and did indeed work as one for some time. Matt was an auto mechanic and although he doesn’t do that anymore has restored some vintage cars and competes them in auto shows.

My sister Diana did sound and lighting for a number of theatrical productions for several colleges. She did some work on the road for some musical shows and ballets. My sister Kathy is a corrections officer in the State of Michigan. What she deals with on a daily basis I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

I may be bright, but I wouldn’t consider myself smart. In fact my sister Diana gets that title in our family. She skipped a grade in elementary school so we both graduated with the same high school class. It was fun explaining we weren’t twins.

Long story short whenever I’m walking among giants I try to watch where I’m going. I don’t want to be accidentally stepped on.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

What Were They Thinking?

A friend of mine suggested I do one of my blogs on stupid criminals. She’s probably correct that there is a wealth of material that comes out of police reports. Here are some recent examples.

Two 16-year-old Fond du Lac boys were caught speeding up a city street. They were going about 50 miles per hour in a 25 mile per hour zone. The two were racing each other and passed another vehicle as they dueled for position. Even though that’s not a big crime, you have to love the comment one of the teens offered an officer as to the reasoning for it. “It was stupid.”

As a news reporter you actually love stumbling across reports that pretty much write themselves. Try your own hand at coming up with a lead for this one. Two guys are at a Fond du Lac restaurant; they are according to one employee’s estimation, very drunk. They don’t cause any problems while they are there, but steal a cake from a counter on their way out.

The cake is later found smeared on three windows and an outdoor umbrella at another restaurant. So to is an ID belonging to a 23-year-old North Fond du Lac man. It has icing from the cake on it. He tells police, yes he was at the restaurant and he was “wasted,” but had nothing to do with the cake. Icing on the cake!

I didn’t use this one, but could have had fun with it. A young woman runs into a parked car with hers. She was cited for inattentive driving. Actually she was paying a great deal of attention. She was reading a book and was on the cell phone at the time she hit the other car.

Here’s another one from this past weekend. A 25-year-old Theresa man is accused of taking a backhoe and driving it backwards down Winnebago Drive in Fond du Lac leaving damaged power poles, trees and telephone lines in his wake.

When authorities catch up with him they asked him if he had been driving it. “I don’t know.” Finally he admitted to it. When they found the backhoe it was hung up in some telephone line and was idling with no one behind the wheel. The man had been drinking and was more than twice the legal limit for intoxication.

When I told a friend about the incident he said, “It’s just further proof that nothing good comes out of being on the street after 2 a.m.” To that I add, “What was he thinking?”