Saturday, September 29, 2007


You’ve probably heard me say that I’ve spent most of my adult life working in the media, mostly radio. My main job for the last few years has been making commercials, hyping everything from cars to granite countertops to my radio station, WMZQ, the Country Music station in Washington, DC. But my first love was always to be on the air as a DJ.

I started my career as a Rock DJ in the 70s and have played many different kinds of music on the radio over the years. I like nearly everything, but Country has been my favorite genre since I “discovered” it during the Garth Brooks era. My 16-years-and-counting run at WMZQ began with DJ duties and gradually evolved into the commercial production job I now have.

A few weeks ago, however, my career came full circle. Sort of.

In addition to my regular duties, I have returned to the airwaves as a DJ – for 3 hours a week. Yes, Friends, three hours … 6am – 9am, Eastern on Saturday mornings.

And this little show features the twangy country. Most of what we play on WMZQ is from today back to the early 90s. The “America’s Music” show, my little 180 minutes, includes mostly 1980s Country, with a lot of 70s and even some 60s and 50s.

In other words, I play 3 hours of BoomerTwang.

So next time you’re up early on a Saturday and in the mood for some yeehaw and y’all, here’s what you do: if you’re within 50 miles of DC, tune in 98.7. If not, go to our website and click on Listen Live or type in Bernie in the keyword box. And soon we’ll be replaying the show a few times on Mondays and Tuesdays on our HD2 channel, which you can also find on that website.

Shameless self-promotion done. Time for some Conway Twitty.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

One More Time, Maybe

Did you see the first episode of the new Bionic Woman tonight? I had to watch. The plot was even more unbelievable than the original series, which was no surprise. The characters were OK but not terribly appealing. The special effects were better than in the 1976 series, but I didn’t hear that sound when the bionics kicked in.

I might watch one more time. Maybe.

But Life, the show that follows Bionic Woman, is very cool. It has an unbelievable premise too but the characters are incredibly appealing. It’s a drama but there are funny moments. Every other scene has another surprise. Twists and turns in plot lines and characterizations. Unpredictable. I definitely will watch this one some more.

And a cool technological side note for Boomers … the main character has been in jail since 1995, so a few of today’s commonplace items are new to him. He had to ask what an “IM” is. He didn’t realize that the ringing sound was the cell phone in his pocket. He was surprised to learn that a cell phone can take pictures. And he was amazed by Google.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Reality Check

I urge you to watch this video: Eyes of the Storm.

As you know, I’m quite obsessed with the impact of Katrina on New Orleans. I thought I had seen it all, but then I found this amazing piece of reality.

The video is a short documentary of the first few days after Katrina told by photographers from the New Orleans newspaper. They talk about their experiences and show pictures you’ve probably never seen unless you read that paper that week. The photos are two years old; the narrative is from this month.

It’s twenty-five minutes of mind-boggling images and emotion.

Monday, September 24, 2007

It’s Everywhere

Heard in the men's room at work today:

Bzzzzzz (pause) tap tap tap tap, taptaptap, tap tap ….


Blackberry on vibrate in the next stall. Person picks up, reads then responds to an email.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Top Ten Most Recent Searches That Brought People Here

I saw this on Ian’s blog and thought I’d try it for mine. The first nine were from Google searches and the last one is a Yahoo search.

1. Fifty something
This one is to be expected, although I’m surprised to show up near the top.

2. New wave dance clubs for fifty somethings
Uhh, wtf?

3. frigidaire electri clean
I mentioned Frigidaire refrigerators in a post once.

4. desert "remember your name" "first day"
The top 10 items in this person’s search referenced the America song “Horse With No Name,” something I mentioned in a post once.

5. Boomerville
I used this term a lot.

6. fifty somethings going back to school
… the topic of a few recent posts

7. fifty hits of the 60's
I used to make many references to 1960s songs that are remade.

8. ROXXXX-annne
I have no idea what they were searching for because mine was the only one related to the song by the Police.

9. what have you already acomplished? did you participate in athletics in high shool
What an odd search. And how did my site turn up on this search?

10. college at fifty something
Same idea as #6.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Boomerandomness 4

1) We’re all way too freakin’ busy. Can’t we just stop and smell the roses once in awhile? Or at least pause for a minute to acknowledge their existence?

2) Why is that attention-starved, former great football star with the initials for orange juice back in the news again? Maybe if he has to serve jail time for this incident it’ll make up for not having to spend his whole life there after murdering two people.

3) The Saints are playing like a high school team. And LSU is playing like a pro team. Maybe the LSU players should put Saints uniforms on this weekend.

4) Hitchcock was a genius. Did you see any of his old movies on AMC this week? Amazing technique and story-telling pulled together with an incredible balance of drama, suspense, psychology and humor. And in the case of “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” music plays an important role in plot development.

5) According to an annual study released this week, the Washington DC metro area again has the 2nd worse traffic gridlock in the country. Actually we’re tied for 2nd with San Francisco this time. Los Angeles is 1st. Come on, we have to try harder! Don’t we want to be Number One!!

Oh well, that’s all. Thanks for visiting. I’ll try to post more often.

Que Sera, Sera

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The First Day of School

Today was the first day of my return to college. I could talk about how odd it feels to be back in school after a three-decade absence. Maybe I could tell you how unusual I must appear in my Dockers khakis, Bauer shirt and Rockport shoes in a room full of students wearing very long shorts, t-shirts and flip flops. You might expect to read about this fifty-something student’s opinion of a teacher young enough to be his daughter.

But none of that is applicable because this is my classroom …

Online learning is not new but this is my first experience with it. Virtual classrooms have been around for a few years, but the University of Maryland and many other schools have developed this format into a viable learning tool. I can actually get an entire degree without setting foot in a classroom for anything except final exams.

I like the classroom environment and engaging in face-to-face discussions with people, so I will eventually take some of my classes in the traditional classroom setting. For now, however, my learning environment is 12-point Arial on an HP laptop monitor.

It’s nice to have this option.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Two Years Later

There is so much I wanted to say this week about Katrina, but the words wouldn’t come. I’ve talked about the hurricane that wreaked havoc on my original hometown so many times during the past twenty-four months that I feel I’ve said all I can say.

Yet bubbling just under the surface, I still feel shock, sadness and anger.

Shock is my reaction to the sheer magnitude of what Katrina did to New Orleans. Tens of thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed, but it doesn’t really sink in till you drive through places like Lakeview. All 7000 houses in this middle-class neighborhood sat in eight to ten feet of stagnant water for two to three weeks. During the past two years, owners of those structures had to choose between rehabbing their moldy, soaked homes or tearing them down and rebuilding. My sister chose to rehab. One third of the homeowners on her block chose to demolish; some of them will rebuild and some will try to sell their now vacant lots. There hasn’t been so much open space in Lakeview since the 1950s when our family moved into the house that is now hers.

Sadness fills my heart this week because in addition to devastating the city where I lived the first half of my life, Hurricane Katrina killed my Mother. She was living in a nursing home in suburban New Orleans. She needed too much medical attention to evacuate with my sister, so she stayed. The staff chose not to evacuate the residents. They survived the storm but then had to face a total power outage and rising water. The flooding there was only a few inches, but that still was an intolerable situation in 90-degree heat with limited food and medical supplies at their disposal. To this day, we still don’t have the complete story, but we believe the residents were evacuated to the hospital across the street the next day, then a day or two later, began a travel odyssey that ended in a nursing facility in another part of Louisiana. Mom died within hours of reaching the new place … two years ago today.

Anger consumes me on a regular basis when I think about the ongoing nightmare of Katrina. I’m angry that after two years of struggling with insurance companies, government agencies and contractors, my sister is still not able to live in her home. I’m angry every time the President spews more bullshit about progress and promises. I’m angry at the guy who invented the pumps that drained the marsh that allowed Lakeview to be settled in the first place. I’m angry with the engineers whose faulty levee design led to the break and the officials who ignored two years of repeated warnings from concerned residents who lived next to the 17th Street Canal that the standing water in their yards was not caused by a leaking pipe. I’m angry that millions of dollars of Federal and State money that did actually make it to New Orleans was wasted, lost or stolen before it could help everyone it should have helped. At least my sister will be back in her house in a few weeks and her neighborhood will survive, even if it’s only a shadow of its former self. Many thousands of people in other New Orleans neighborhoods will never be able to return home.

From a distance, it appears that New Orleans has healed. Mardi Gras and JazzFest have been held twice since Katrina. The Saints won enough games in the repaired Superdome last season to almost make it to the Super Bowl. Slick TV commercials play all across the country enticing tourists to visit the city. Those that do can spend a whole week there and not see one damaged home. Walk a few blocks past the end of Bourbon Street and you’ll see the edge of one neighborhood that looks like it did just a few weeks after the water receded. Only 7% of that neighborhood’s residents are back. Get off any I-10 exit east of the Industrial Canal and you’ll see even more striking evidence of how much has not happened in two years. And FEMA wants those trailers back, even though the people living in them have nowhere else to live yet.

I began this post thinking I had nothing else to say. Guess I was wrong.