Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Protector?

I saw this personality quiz on Ian's blog and decided to try it myself. You should try it too.

Here are my results.

You Are An INFJ

The Protector

You live your life with integrity, originality, vision, and creativity.
Independent and stubborn, you rarely stray from your vision - no matter what it is.
You are an excellent listener, with almost infinite patience.
You have complex, deep feelings, and you take great care to express them.

You would make a great photographer, alternative medicine guru, or teacher.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Laissez les bons temps roulez!

Tomorrow (Tuesday, February 20th) is Mardi Gras. The parades and debauchery began weeks ago and the season comes to a climax on Mardi Gras Day.

Everyone should experience Mardi Gras in New Orleans at least once in their lives. I grew up there so I’ve enjoyed or regretted the annual celebration more than twenty times, both as a child and as an adult.

The festivities run the range from G-rated to X-rated, depending on what part of New Orleans you visit. As a kid, my parents, my sister and I would camp out at Dad’s office a few blocks from St. Charles Avenue, a key parade route early in the day. In that part of town, there were many families and not too many drunks. In college, I experienced Mardi Gras day on Canal Street, near Bourbon Street, near the end of the parade routes and the end of the day. Many drunks!

Except for the costumes and the drunks, no two Mardi Gras days are alike. The date of the celebration can be as early as early February (it’s Feb. 5 next year) and as late as late March. Weather can be cold or hot, dry or wet. The main activities are in New Orleans city but there are many outstanding suburban Mardi Gras parades too (at least there were before Katrina – I’m not sure about the suburban activity now).

I have two suggestions if you want to get a feeling for Mardi Gras without actually visiting. First, check out this very thorough website.

Second, listen to the music. The songs and artists whose work represents the true New Orleans sound are too numerous to mention here, but here is a small sampling:

Mardi Gras Mambo – The Hawketts
It’s Carnival Time – Al Johnson
Iko Iko – The Dixie Cups
Hey Pocky Way – The Meters
My Feet Can’t Fail Me Now – Dirty Dozen Brass Band
Walking To New Orleans – Fats Domino
Ain’t Got No Home – Clarence Frogman Henry
Right Place Wrong Time – Dr. John
When The Saints Go Marching In – Preservation Hall Jazz Band (and others)
Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans – Louis

A signature phrase that sums up the feeling of New Orleans in general and Mardi Gras specifically is “laissez les bons temps roulez!” That’s pronounced something like LAY-zay-lay BAWN tawmp roo-LAY.

In English: “Let the good times roll!”

Upside Down and On Fire

This year’s Daytona 500 was spectacular on many levels, but the last lap was one of the most amazing finishes I’ve even seen. It’s hard to tell what was more exciting at the end, the nose-to-nose finish or the multi-car pileup just behind the leaders. Clint Bowyer‘s #07 car flipped over, continues moving, crossed the finish line upside down and on fire. The car then flipped back over onto it’s tires and stopped.

Bowyer walked away unhurt, which is a credit to improved safety measures adopted by NASCAR after a similar last-lap crash at Daytona in 2001 killed Dale Earnhardt, Sr.

Mark Martin, the upper-40s driver whose career is older than some drivers and whose sponsor was Viagra a few years ago, led the last few laps but missed winning by a fender length to Kevin Harvick.

By the way, Mark Martin is living the perfect “retirement” scenario for Boomers. He retired two years ago, drove again for another season, retired again and now is driving part time for a different racing team.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Flying Cars and Mass Transit

A post about technology by Velvet Girl reminded me that flying cars are something that Boomers and others have dreamed about for many years.

I remember this idea being talked about during the 60s. I was surprised to learn that Glenn Curtiss of airplane fame tried the idea in 1917. His flying car actually took off … for a few seconds …but development of a practical flying car never took off. Reasons range from lack of funding to lack of realistic control of air space.

The allure of flying cars comes as a result of the increasingly insane traffic congestion we face. Only the oldest Boomers will remember that at one time public transportation was a practical way to get around in urban areas. As late as the 1960s many families, mine included, had only one car, referred to as the “family car.”

I grew up riding busses and trolleys and during my very youngest days, we could get anywhere in New Orleans using public transportation options like this “streetcar.”

My Mother didn’t drive, so this was partly out of necessity, but I developed a fascination with mass transit, especially rail.

Busses, trolleys and trains were ubiquitous in pre-Boomer days but auto-maker lobbying successfully deferred funding to road building projects and away from public transportation. As the Boomer era suburbs expanded out from city centers, roads and cars followed but trains and busses didn’t. It became both cool and necessary to have your own car. It became impractical and unpopular to consider riding to work with the masses.

I love cars and I love driving, but I HATE traffic. Weather-related traffic issues led to much cursing on my part this week: cursing idiot drivers, cursing my wife for convincing me to live 42 miles from work, cursing myself for going along with that. A flying car would have helped me a lot this week.

A Google search turns up 557,000 articles about “flying cars,” which tells me it’s still a hot topic. Reading some of those web sites tells me Personal Air Vehicles (as they would likely be called using today’s vernacular) aren’t that much closer to reality than they were when I was a kid.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Puppy On Ice

Most Boomers have kids, many have grandkids. We have dogs instead. Our oldest is 10, the next one is 5 and we just got a new puppy.

Here are a couple of videos shot by the proud mother and edited by the proud papa. In the first one, shot yesterday, you’ll also notice the 3-inch layer of ice covering our yard, the result of the storm you’ve heard about (or experienced).

This video includes some first-day antics and some snow from the previous storm.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Police Tour Stuff

Here are the North American dates of the Police tour that have been announced so far.

May 28 – Vancouver BC
Jun 06 – Seattle WA
Jun 09 – Denver CO
Jun 15 – Las Vegas NV
Jun 16 – Manchester TN
Jun 18 – Phoenix AZ
Jun 26 – Dallas TX
Jun 30 – New Orleans LA
Jul 02 – St. Louis MO
Jul 22 – Toronto ON
Jul 25 – Montreal PQ
Jul 28 – Boston MA
Aug 01 and 03 – New York NY

More details here.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


I haven’t seen the Grammy Awards for years, but I plan to watch tonight to see the Police.

Word is they have reunited for more than just this performance; they’re planning a tour this year. They are one of the few 1970s/1980s groups to break up while on top (in 1984) and they left us wanting more. All three members continued to be creatively active, but Sting’s career might have been as successful as the band’s was. I’ve been to a Sting concert, but never saw the Police live.

The Boomer band reunion trend has been strong for more than a decade now, but most of those reunions have been short-lived. The question, of course: Is it about the music or the money?

Some Boomers in their fifties seek to reconnect with their past. Some try to live there or recreate the era. Some feel younger when in throwback mode. Many fans of those bands experience that same range of feelings.

By the way, Sting is 56 years old.

Other reunion notes:

- Van Halen is also planning a reunion tour this year, with David lee Roth returning to the lead singer position for first time since 1984. Sammy Hagar sang lead with the group for several years, left in 1996, briefly returned but left again over a conflict with Eddie Van Halen. Rolling Stone Magazine says original bassist Michael Anthony has been replaced by Eddie’s 15-year-old son. The band, with all members past and present, will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but who knows who will show up for the ceremony.

- Boomer-era bands that have reunited in some form or another include Motley Crue, Black Sabbath, the Eagles, and Crosby Stills & Nash. Eric Clapton’s trio Cream reunited for a four-night stand, but that was all.

- Bands that might reunite: Genesis (with Phil Collins?) and Journey; there is even a rumored Led Zeppelin reunion

- The Who have been on again-off again, the Rolling Stones never stopped (but maybe should have). Bob Seger is on the road again.

- Thankfully Abba turned down tons of money to reunite. But wasn’t there a Broadway Musical-style tour based on their music?

- VH-1’s 2004 show Bands Reunited featured many 80s bands (A Flock of Seagulls, Berlin, Information Society and others), but those aren’t quite the Boomer generation favorites.

Although it appears the Police reunion is genuine, my skeptical side leads me to note two more things. One, a new Sting CD/DVD comes out this Tuesday. Two, Sting is featured on a PBS Great Performances show in two weeks.

The media machine rolls on …

I hope that someone gets my
Message in a bottle, yeah

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Breaking Snooze

There are hearings on Capitol Hill, blizzards in the Midwest and American soldiers dying in a war in Iraq and what does MSNBC call Breaking News a few days ago? Anna Nicole Smith collapses in a Miami hotel room.

This alleged “news” of her collapse interrupted regular programming 30 minutes before news that she had died. Is either the collapse or the death newsworthy enough to interrupt the real news broadcast?

When did our society become so celebrity-obsessed that this is news at all?

Her biggest claims to fame: she married a man 3 times her age, she sued for her share of his estate when he died, she was a Playboy Playmate Of The Month, she starred in Trim Spa commercials, her 20-year-old son died tragically, she couldn’t or wouldn’t name the father of her newest baby … and all before the age of 40.

The woman had a bizarre and tragic life and I feel sad for her, but is the story of her death a tale to be called “news”? Sounds more like a book or a mini-series. It qualifies as Breaking News on Access Hollywood, but not on MSNBC, CNN or any other “news” outlet.

What’s next, a state funeral when Paris Hilton dies?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The 264-Mile High Club

The Boomer making the most news today is Lisa Nowak. She is an astronaut who was arrested for attempted murder.

The charges involve an alleged love triangle with her, astronaut Bill Oefelein and Air Force officer Colleen Shipman.

The first thing I thought of when I heard this was: did they fly a Shuttle mission together? You can guess my second question.

No is the answer to the first question. Oefelein was on the most recent mission in December, Nowak flew last summer. They did train together at some point.

Astronauts were my heroes growing up. They were smart, daring and brave. They were clean cut, well-mannered men. Some of them probably fell into the “boys will be boys” category, but that was never noted in the media and it never occurred to me that they were anything but perfect.

Now every detail of people’s lives makes news. I’d rather not know most of those details. This story, however, is bizarre. If a TV show plot read like this, I’d change channels because it isn’t believable.

If it’s all true, why? I understand how the love triangle part can happen. But what makes someone with a very public job drive 900 miles nearly non-stop, wearing a diaper so she doesn’t need to make restroom stops, to confront her rival at an airport? Did she think this part of her life could be kept private? Aren’t there mental tests in the Shuttle program that screen for psychological problems? Did working in a cramped space at an altitude of 264 miles alter her brain waves?

So now a well-respected astronaut is charged with attempted murder, among other things. She is the lead story in every news venue and not in a good way. She faces public ridicule and so does her family, who live in the same Maryland town where I work.

Some hero, ey?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

A Super Bowl Post

The Super Bowl was born in 1967, three years too late to be called a Boomer.

The Super Bowl lawyers and marketing people go after anyone who uses the Super Bowl name without permission … in other words, without paying for that usage. My radio station and our clients cannot call a Super Bowl party a Super Bowl party; we have to call it the Big Game.

My opinion: that’s stupid. If some bar in Rockville, Maryland wants to have a Super Bowl party, the NFL isn’t going to lose any money and no customer will think it’s an officially-licensed NFL party. No one will care either, except the Super Bowl lawyers and marketing people.

I guess that means I could get a cease and desist order for calling this a Super Bowl post. Do you, as one of my dozen faithful readers, think this post is an official NFL post?

A few more things:

When the Colts were the BALTIMORE Colts they played in two of the first five Super Bowls and won one of them. The Colts left Baltimore the same week I moved there, so I didn’t experience the fanaticism first-hand, but many Baltimore people still consider the Colts their team.

Washington, my favorite team, has played in five Super Bowls and won three of those. The Saints, a very close second on my fave list, haven’t been there yet.

Chicago kept the Saints out of the Super Bowl this year, so I’m cheering for Indianapolis.

My wife and I often have my “birthday dinner” on Super Bowl Sunday because the restaurants are so empty. We were one of only two couples in the whole restaurant tonight – cool, ey?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Shameless Plug For A Good Cause

Older Boomers might remember entertainer Danny Thomas or his actress daughter Marlo Thomas. Something they shared in addition to acting careers was involvement with the wonderful St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Today and tomorrow, my radio station is conducting our 15th annual St. Jude Radiothon. At various times during the year, country music radio stations across the country hold similar events so you might have heard or heard about this wonderful cause.

Some background:
- Danny Thomas founded the hospital in 1962 and Marlo has continued the cause since Danny’s death in 1991.
- A few years before he died, Danny asked Alabama lead singer Randy Owen if he could mobilize the country music and country radio communities to help raise funds. The rest is history.

Some details:
- When St. Jude’s opened it’s doors in January, 1962, the cure rate for a childhood cancer known as A.L.L. was only 4%; now it’s over 90%. That is just one example of the results of their efforts.
- They are based in Memphis but their work is freely shared with doctors and hospitals across the country.
- Children who end up as patients never get a bill. Whatever insurance doesn’t cover is taken care of.
- Most of their work is with catastrophic childhood illness but they also work with AIDS, Parkinson’s and other more adult diseases.

I have visited the hospital several times and the most vivid image I have is of children with no hair (from the chemo treatments) and tubes in their arms playing with other children. Kids who could be dying are still being kids. It is a positive and surprisingly happy place.

I say all of that to say this: listen to the radiothon online and consider making a donation (, keyword st jude). Or look for a similar radiothon on your area this year.

The St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a place where miracles are made and it’s because someone like you becomes a Partner In Hope.