30, 2016 KOBES
was five years ago today that my television colleague Mike Kobik
died unexpectedly. Here is
what I wrote then. Some additional photos that I havent
previously posted on this website:
the days when we were covering Penn State football in 1985, Mike
switches a highlights show after a game in Syracuse (left) and
directs the Paterno coachs show at WPSX-TV (right).
He didn't always look so glum; in fact, he was cheerful and great
fun. But we were serious about our work.
the Pittsburgh edition of Evening Magazine, a feature took us
behind the scenes of Call-A-Bet, whereby people could tune their TVs
to harness racing from The Meadows and phone in their wagers.
Here is Mike directing the racing telecast with Tom Clark switching.
Paul Wiederecht saw my article about televising the 1988 Olympics in
Seoul, South Korea, and he passed along a link on wiedep
(his YouTube channel) to a backstage video compilation
set to a Bobby McFerrin hit from that year.
the rowing venue, we see some of my Pittsburgh friends, such as Stan
Sobolak and Tom Huet on the left and Mike Kobik on the right.
other passing to report: Miriam Wagner, the widow of the
Methodist pastor from my high
school days, died at the age of 88 on June 1, 2016. From her
daughter Pattys letter to Miriams friends: I
think Mom would tell you that she loves you, and that shes
fine. She had time to say goodbye to her family. She
talked about what mattered, and in her last days thought it was
strange, and rather interesting, being the one to die now,
when she had sat at the bedside of so many others. In the end,
she was very ready to go. We all would have rather she stayed,
but we cant begrudge her going: she missed Dad so.
They were married 62 years.
memorial service for Miriam was held last Saturday in Delaware,
Ohio. On that day in Pittsburgh, a local pastor published an op-ed
piece against prejudice, particularly against fear of Muslims.
I think the Wagners would have approved.
25, 2016 FAMILY
June of 1926, my 13-year-old future mother posed on the running
board of what appears to be a 1924 Chevrolet.
picture of my grandfather Harry Gladstone Buckingham is dated
September 1939, when he was 54 years old.
mother recalled that when she was a little girl, she thought every
adult man had a crease in the middle of his forehead. However,
it turned out that her dad was unique. The cause was an
unfortunate youthful encounter with a baseball bat.
21, 2016 OTHER
insert two spaces between sentences, just like Mrs. Powers taught us
back in high school typing class.
On old-fashioned typewriters, all the characters were the same
width. The big fat pica period took up a tenth of an inch, as
much as an m or a w. Thus, for better
readability, we were instructed to end sentences with a period
followed by two spaces. Kids today have proportional
fonts on their computers, and theyre told one space is sufficient.
of us older folks simply feel this is wrong, as wrong as ending a
sentence with a preposition. Like Mark Evanier wrote
a year ago, we dont care what people consider
correct nowadays. We continue to type according to
the manner up in which we were brought.
the way, I was taught to touch-type. So was Eric D.
Sniders mom. He reports that before going to bed one
night, Momma Snider took an Ambien to help her sleep and also sent an
e-mail message. But her left hand drifted one key to the right, good
became hoof, and the message ended like this:
my ambirn though. Hoof nihhy.
myself once typed something like that in class. Mrs. Powers
remarked, Well, at least this proves you werent looking
down at the keys.
double-space blogger is TV veteran Earl Pomerantz, winner of Emmy
awards for The Lily Tomlin Special in 1975 and The Cosby Show
months ago, Earl reflected
on his early career when his boss rejected his comedy-writing
efforts. It was not that I was attempting to be different
or boldly original in these cases. I was simply opaquely
out of sync with the conventional human
reaction. Now I was not only not thinking the way the
majority of people think I was also not feeling the way the
majority of people feel.
too, often have atypical reactions.
example, suppose a couple learns theyre going to have their
first baby. Everybodys gonna jump for joy! When the
child is born, no matter whether the news is Its a
boy or the exact opposite Its a girl,
everybody gushes How wonderful!
my instinctive response is How unfortunate! That
couples carefree days are over. Now theyll have to
forget about themselves and rearrange every waking moment around the
needs of an immigrant newly arrived in this country an
annoying, demanding stranger who has no reasoning ability. And
Randy Newman sang, more or less:
couldnt resist adding a couple of pieces of clip art.)
Earl went on: I have noticed that, even now, I continue
to find myself promoting what is the equivalent of the ninth
most popular opinion concerning certain matters of the
day. In this space recently, I have expressed my position on
the likes of suicide
ultimately a personal decision and on spousal abuse
involving NFL participants why be surprised when a man in a
violent profession behaves violently when they are off the
clock? But not a single professional observer has
considered these positions worthy enough to include in their widely
disseminated public pronouncements.
Earl, Im not a professional observer, but in this space
Ill narrowly disseminate your worthy thoughts, including others
from last fall:
Deflategate makes us wonder why both football teams
cant use the same properly-inflated ball. Other leagues
function that way.
In personal injury lawsuits, compensatory damages rightly go to the
plaintiffs to repay their medical costs or whatever. But where
should punitive damages go? Not to the already-compensated
plaintiffs, but to the rest of society (the people) like a fine.
Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame, but with a plaque detailing
not just his on-field accomplishments but also his later misdeeds
that got him banned from baseball.
all makes sense to me.
18, 2016 PARDON
Donald claims to be a Christian, but apparently he neither loves
mercy nor walks humbly with his God (Micah 6:8). He has little
use for the concept of contrition. See here.
Thomas: You have said you never felt the need to ask for
Gods forgiveness. And yet repentance for ones sins
is a precondition for salvation.
Trump: I will be asking for forgiveness, but hopefully I
wont have to be asking for much forgiveness.
Evanier remarks, There are people who believe that never
admitting you're wrong is the same thing as being right.
also opposes granting forgiveness. Rather than
pardoning Americans who came to this country illegally, he would
arrest all 11 million of them and send them back to Mexico or wherever.
years ago I wrote a piece pretending to be a college student
whos similarly heartless and similarly clueless about
what Jesus said. Its this months 100 Moons article.
13, 2016 CUP
puck bounced my way! One, my local team won another title for
the City of Champions; two, I was able to avoid the celebrating mob.
night the Pittsburgh Penguins clinched the National Hockey
Leagues Stanley Cup by winning Game 6 in San Jose. Had
they lost, the series would have been tied at three games apiece,
forcing a deciding Game 7 to be played back here in Pittsburgh on
Wednesday. And my presence would have been required.
playoffs consist of four best-of-seven rounds. This year they
provided me with employment for eight nights plus a set
day, which is more than usual.
long months ago, the Rangers opened the first round in Pittsburgh,
and I was in a mobile unit as the Madison Square Garden Networks
graphics operator. Then I moved inside the building, where a
control room way up on Level 7 sends pictures to the video screen (or
jumbotron) suspended over the ice far below.
photo above is by technical director Mike Kendlick. I was
behind a keyboard for one game against the Capitals and three against
the Pens overtime win on May 4, Edward
Coll shot this picture above from atop a garage on the
corner of Fifth Avenue. I would have been in the crowd of
gold-shirted folks in the lower right, waiting to cross Washington
Place and retrieve my car from the garage.
do you think thats a crowd? Thats nothing.
the playoffs heated up, the Penguins were in position to win the Cup
if they could beat the Sharks in the final round. Many more
media types than usual converged on Pittsburgh for the Final, and the
league arranged many more accommodations for them. Once again I
was inside a truck in the TV compound, this time working Games 1, 2,
and 5 for NHL International. Our pictures were fed to
broadcasters in China, Finland, and other countries around the world.
coordinator John Vivirito and I were puzzled whilst preparing for
Game 5. As far back as we can remember, our statisticians have
been giving us power play stats like this: Tonight, the
Penguins are 2 for 4 with 7 shots, meaning that they had 4
power play opportunities, during which they put 7 shots on goal, 2 of
which went in the net. We wanted to type up the series
stats. It was easy to find out that the Penguins were 1 for
8. With how many shots? No one knew. That number
wasnt in the stats summary, nor was it reported in the four
individual box scores. Has the NHL stopped keeping track of
power play shots? Why were we not informed?
the championship would be won in Game 5. Everybody in town
wanted to be there when history was made. The average price for
a ticket sold on the secondary market reached $1,631, according to
SeatGeek. StubHubs cheapest seat was over $1,400.
at those prices, the building was filled with 18,680 fans, a Consol
Energy Center record. And there appeared to be an equal number
outside, spilling into the streets. Just before puck drop,
Angel Johnson took this picture of her monitor in the control room.
big video screen along Fifth Avenue enabled at least some of those
without tickets to watch the game. The back of it is seen here
from Duquesne Universitys Power Center.
Klinger of PennLive wrote that fans on the steps of Epiphany
Catholic Church, the red brick building in the background, had
to peer through several trees just to see the big screen TV.
Those in front of them on the grass looked through two glass walls at
the corner of the arena, their views obstructed by the panels of the
windows. Some couldn't tell what score it was without asking
those around them.
were so many people on the streets that the city brought in a second
giant screen and set it up in Market Square, two-thirds of a mile away.
wondered how I would be able to get to my car after the game.
If the home team won, the jubilant spectators inside the building
would stream out to join the screaming mob outside. A huge
rowdy throng would celebrate the win. The police had announced
they wouldnt try to stop the merriment at first. They
would wait 90 minutes before moving in to urge people off the
streets. But traffic would take a long time to clear out, and
there would be drunks.
of the departing drivers would be joyfully tooting their horns three
times, for the standard chant of the Penguins fan, Lets!
Go! Pens! Usually in the third period, somebody in the
arena repeatedly blasts an air horn three times, and the crowd joins
in. The same three notes are used for an alternate chant,
H! B! K!, honoring the HBK Line of Carl
Hagelin, Nick Bonino, and Phil Kessel. And over at PNC Park,
every time a TV camera finds Pirates fans they respond with the same
three notes, except over there its Lets! Go!
Bucs! Im getting tired of these three notes.
At least the standard football chant has some rhythm and melody to
it: Here we go, Steelers, here we go!
it turned out, however, the Cup was not clinched on Thursday.
Even before the Pens allowed an empty-net goal that sealed their
loss, disappointed fans outside started to drift away, hoping to beat
traffic. The police were able to reopen one of the lanes on
Washington Place. When I crossed it half an hour after the
game, it looked like this Twitter photo. Most of the people
were gone, leaving only a layer of trash like the aftermath of a
Kenny Chesney concert.
exited the garage onto Fifth Avenue, and after only a couple of
blocks of traffic, it was smooth driving all the way to my suburban apartment.
the Pens lost on the West Coast last night, they would have returned
to Pittsburgh for Game 7, and the throngs also would have
returned. But they won! The Penguins are Stanley Cup
champions for the fourth time! And though there may be
celebrations in the Burgh, I can continue to enjoy domestic
tranquility in the burbs!
LOSS IN THE
best friend from college passed away last winter.
would have been Jan Olsons 69th birthday.
put together a piece called Remembering
2, 2016 MAJOR
us who watch Full Frontal, Samantha Bees excellent
topical series on TBS, were surprised when the first airing of the
latest edition on May 23 turned out to be a rerun from the week before.
It was an
operational error, we learned later. Bee tweeted,
Last nights FULL EPISODE is on YouTube. We love you
and we promise that we will never hurt you again.
far from the first operational error in the history of
television. In a new article, Tales
I describe an even more obvious goof by NBC nearly four decades before.
working in cable TV then, so Ive also included tales from that
year about our coverage of a tennis tournament and a firemans
parade, and a preachers magic trick, and the HBO debut of Robin Williams.
27, 2016 WINDOWS
Milo, an incredibly cute Jack Russell terrier. He belongs to
PittGirl @JanePitt, local writer Virginia Montanez.
notice also Milos window. It looks exactly like the
casements that my family installed when we built our new house in
Richwood, Ohio, 54 years ago!
Andersen Corporations products still use the same locking
handle on the side, the same crank to open and close the sash, the
same screen that clips into slots on the inside of the frame. I
also observed these features recently in a doctors waiting
room. Its a good design, so why change it?
is all by way of introducing this months 100 Moons
article. There youll find almost two dozen construction
photos from our 1962-63 project from drawing the floor plan,
to preparing the lot, to placing my mother's African violets beneath
the bedroom window, to relaxing with coffee in the kitchen.
I note that, except in the living room and family room, the
windows are high on the walls, with sills about 4½ feet above
the floor. This allows more flexible furniture placement,
because even tall pieces like dressers can be located directly in
front of windows without blocking them. It also provides
privacy, because anyone on the outside (looking in) can't see much
except the ceiling.
the box on the left to go to that photo album.
23, 2016 ON
is I on the right, 51 years ago today, all suited up for high school
graduation. My golden National Honor Society pin is in my
lapel. I didnt know this photo existed until a few weeks
ago, when I was in need of Terry Rockholds senior portrait for
the item dated MAY
1965, Cubberly Studios pasted all our portraits on a poster.
Its displayed at class reunions, as you can see here.
also printed smaller 11 by 14 photos of the poster, one
of which I have. I removed it from its frame to scan
and the following is all conjecture the frame also
contained an odd-shaped piece of a color print, hidden behind the
main photo. It must have fallen out unnoticed and landed on a
nearby magazine. I didnt discover it until four days later.
appears to have been taken by my father in our back yard after
church on Sunday, May 23, 1965. That evening the high school
baccalaureate service would be held in the Baptist church, and the
actual commencement ceremony would take place the following evening
in the high school auditorium.
he trimmed the print to fit in the bottom half of an elliptical
frame. (No clue as to what was in the top half of the
frame. A baby picture?) Now Ive enhanced the photo,
as you've seen above.
same weekend, I also donned my black cap and gown for some
black-and-white Polaroids. I later colorized this one.
else that Id forgotten came back to me while watching a
Peanuts special on TV last fall.
the Apollo 10 mission to the moon, Charlie Brown was
NASAs communications handle for the Command Module, and
Snoopy was the name of the Lunar Excursion Module.
that spring of 1969, Snoopy (or his Sopwith Camel?)
swooped down to an altitude of 44,000 feet above the lunar surface,
in a dress rehearsal for that summers actual landing of Apollo
11 on the moon. Ive since looked up the exact dates and times.
remember the morning when Charlie Brown left lunar orbit
to carry the astronauts home. Around 7:30 A.M. on Saturday, May
24 that would be 47 years ago tomorrow morning, and nine days
before my college graduation I was hosting the semiannual
Classical Music Marathon on Oberlins student radio station,
WOBC. I was finishing up an all-night shift. I stepped
outside the studios briefly to visit the restroom at the other end of
the third floor of Wilder Hall. Somewhere in the building I
caught sight of a TV set with live pictures from the spacecraft.
I returned to the microphone, I mentioned this to my listeners
(assuming I had a few of them, up at dawn after studying all night
reported that the astronauts were showing us a large part of the
face of the Moon, gradually growing smaller as they sped away from it
on their return to Earth. They were only the second group of
humans who had traveled that far from our home planet.
was quite a view, for those of us who were awake to see it.
19, 2016 DOORMAN
AT THE LADIES ROOM
me, maam, may I see your birth certificate?
law. You cant use a restroom if it doesnt match
your original God-given gender.
you let that other woman go in with her two little girls.
their papers were in order.
I dont carry my birth certificate with me. But Im
obviously a woman. Cant you see that?
look like a woman, but theyre doing evil things with hormones
and surgery these days. You could be like Caitlyn Jenner.
You could really be a man wearing a dress so you can go into the
ladies room and molest those little girls.
ridiculous! I need to go to the bathroom!
its the law here. Im just doing my job. You
can try the gas station on the corner. Next?
Jennings tweets: Now is the time to invest in TransSit, my
chain of all-gender pay toilets located just across the state line
from North Carolina.
15, 2016 WELCOME
TO 1,376 NEWBIES
told that this website has had 1,630 total visitors since the middle
of January, 84% of them new. In an average week, 109 people
each viewed two pages for 3 minutes 39 seconds. A typical
visitor was in Ohio, used Google Chrome, and reached the site via a
13, 2016 BROADENING
years ago I flew into Milwaukee to televise baseball, Pirates vs
Brewers. But the top of my left foot was puffy and swollen,
from the middle toes all the way back to the ankle.
the game I returned to the Pfister Hotel and painfully removed my
left shoe, which had been pinching the top of my foot. In case
I needed to explain the problem to my doctor after I returned home, I
took the photo at the left.
swelling was even worse later that week, as shown below.
Eventually a different doctor determined the cause to be gout.
now on medication to control my uric acid, and there have been no
when I recently turned 69 years old, a new problem developed.
I became reluctant to walk very far because my toes were complaining again.
time there was no visible swelling, but I did develop a corn on the
outside of my left little toe, as though my shoes had become too
small. I hoped maybe the difficulty would go away. Then
last Saturday I read the following on Mark Rothmans blog.
(Hes a retired sitcom writer about my age, co-creator and
producer of Laverne & Shirley.)
was going along swimmingly until a few months ago. I was
starting to develop trouble with my feet. They had both gotten
bigger! I used to wear an 11 triple-width, but now my right
foot required a 13 triple-width and my left foot required a 12
triple-width. With two different sized feet, I had to get a
pair of size 13 and a pair of size 12.
mentioned all of this to my sister, to see if this seemed unusual to
her, and she regaled me with tales of her own growing feet. Not
too long ago she was a size 8. But recently, within a very
short amount of time, her feet expanded to a size 9, then size 10,
then size 10½ wide. She says she now wears clown shoes.
her, I don't consider my shoes to be disproportionate to my overall
leg. I'm just glad they make them that big.
Googled around and discovered its not unusual for senior
citizens feet to spread out. In my case, my smaller toes
(especially on the left foot) are now pointing outward, leaving a
huge gap between themselves and the big toe.
therefore, I paid a visit to the shoe store. The kindly clerk
helped me replace my 9½ narrows with 10½ mediums.
feet are much happier now, and Im walking everywhere again!
7, 2016 MOTHER'S
sketch depicts the Grandmother of Our Country. Did her son
George actually say he owed everything to her?
generally, when we find a quotation is it really real?
my article Washington's
5, 2016 CAST
the HBO comedy series Veep, the self-important young politico
smirks to the undistinguished stranger at the bar, Remind me
again what it is that you do thats so interesting.
replies, I work at CVS.
perks up. Really? CBS? I would love to work
you seriously think that you could get me something?
Nights perfect! And off they go together.
always did think CVS and CBS sounded alike.
noticed one actor who looked familiar, so I consulted imdb.com to
find his name, which turned out to be John Slattery. It
wasnt that easy. Veep has aired 40 half-hour
episodes, and how many actors do you suppose have appeared?
I counted 713 names. On average, a new face shows up
every 101 seconds.
2, 2016 TERRY
Rockhold, my best friend from high school, has been gone almost ten
May, with our 50-year reunion coming up, we were asked to recall the
members of the Class of 1965 who are no longer with us. I wrote Remembering
you can read it, in a slightly-revised version, on this website.