It wasn't for sportscasting that I attended Syracuse for my Master's degree in radio and television, but the university certainly has graduated a long line of outstanding play-by-play people including Bob Costas of NBC, Marv Albert of TNT, and Beth Mowins and Sean McDonough of ESPN all former Glickman honorees.
OCT. 29, 2018 GHOST STORY
Most Bible-believing folks consider it a sin to seek guidance from any spiritual source other than God. Horoscopes, psychics, Tarot cards, palm readings, fortune telling, crystal balls, Ouija boards, astrology, contacting the dead they're all of the devil!
Leviticus 20:6 warns us, As for the person who turns to mediums and to spiritualists, to play the harlot after them, I will also set My face against that person and will cut him off from among his people.
Jim Krenn was late for work again this morning at WDVE-FM's Morning Show, but he had a new excuse. He explained, Somebody told me this is the week that we set our clocks back. This is in fact the week, although daylight time won't end until Sunday, November 2. The switch used to happen on the last Sunday in October, and some clocks are still programmed to reset themselves on that date. When Krenn saw such a timepiece, he thought that the changeover had already happened. Therefore, he set the rest of his clocks back, and this morning he slept in. Somebody told him, and he wanted to believe, so he accepted the idea without further confirmation.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette interviewed people at a coffee shop in Greensburg, PA. One said he's voting for John McCain because he's a Christian. Obama is not. I heard he's a Muslim and that he took the oath of office on the Koran. Told that was untrue, he shook his head in disbelief. It's what I've heard and what my whole family has heard. Somebody told him, and he wanted to believe, so he accepted what he'd heard as true without checking further.
The newspaper found another man who said he wouldn't vote for Obama because he'd raise capital gains taxes. I'd have to go on assistance. Does this man even know what capital gains are? He certainly must not be aware that Obama's proposal to increase the maximum tax rate on them from 15% to 20% applies only to families earning more than a quarter million dollars a year. Such families need not worry about having to go on welfare. But he heard tax increase and thought it applied to him, so that was all he needed to know.
Can such misapprehensions be corrected, or have the people hardened their hearts and their heads?
Robert Burton relates how he jokingly asked a health club acquaintance whether he would change his mind about his choice for president if presented with sufficient facts that contradicted his present beliefs. He responded with utter confidence. Absolutely not, he said. No new facts will change my mind because I know that these facts are correct.
In the current presidential election, a major percentage of voters are already committed to their candidate; new arguments and evidence fall on deaf ears. And yet, if we, as a country, truly want change, we must be open-minded, flexible and willing to revise our opinions when new evidence warrants it. Most important, we must be able to recognize and acknowledge when we are wrong. Unfortunately, cognitive science offers some fairly sobering observations about our ability to judge ourselves and others.
Have Americans begun to treat their political beliefs like their religious beliefs, sacred and immutable, so that those who disagree must be crazy or evil and their Satanic arguments must be ignored?
In another article, Jonathan M. Gitlin notes, We like to think that people will be well informed before making important decisions, such as who to vote for, but the truth is that's not always the case. Being uninformed is one thing, but having a population that's actively misinformed presents problems when it comes to participating in the national debate, or the democratic process. If the findings of some political scientists are right, attempting to correct misinformation might do nothing more than reinforce the false belief.
OCT. 24, 2018 UNITED NATIONS DAY
Today is U.N. Day, so it's time for my latest article, Stepping Back with the Stevensons.
OCT. 23, 2018 THE THREE-MINUTE LAYOUT
The first game of the 2018 World Series will be played tonight. Baseball fans remember the first game of another World Series 30 years ago. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, pinch-hitter Kirk Gibson hit a two-run home run to win it for the Dodgers. Oakland pitcher Dennis Eckersley dejectedly walked off the field, making this the first round-tripper in Series history to be referred to as a walk-off· home run.
OCT. 21, 2018 HANGING UP THE GLOVES
After 45 years, Home Box Office will show boxing for the final time this coming Saturday, when Daniel Jacobs faces Sergiy Derevyanchenko at Madison Square Garden for the vacant IBF world middleweight title. Executive Vice-President Peter Nelson explains, Our audience research informs us that boxing is no longer a determinant factor for subscribing to HBO.
Later I was on the crew for an event at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, part of a lower-budget HBO series called Boxing After Dark, or BAD for short.
Elsewhere on this website, I've transcribed a nine-minute extemporaneous speech that was captured by my cassette recorder at Oberlin College in 1969. The speaker was one Howard Emmer, an outside agitator visiting from Kent State University to encourage opposition to the ongoing war in Viet Nam.
I've recently unearthed some additional information online. It turns out that that two months after his Oberlin talk, Emmer was arrested at Kent State and jailed for a year. Five days after his release in 1970, the Kent State shootings took place. The newly discovered details are in a red box at the end of the transcript.
I myself was not a demonstrator, either for or against the war. My feelings about it were so ambiguous that I even found my opinions changing from one side to the other according to my environment. At home in conservative rural Ohio, I tended to agree with everyone around me that we should support our President and our troops in the battle against Communism. But on Oberlin's liberal campus, I tended to agree with everyone around me that we should pull our troops out of a conflict where thousands on both sides were dying for no good reason.
A recent UCLA study indicates that my flip-flops are not unusual among college students. Excerpts from an article by the AP's Justin Pope:
College students shift noticeably to the left from the time they arrive on campus through their junior year. The reason, according to UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute, isn't indoctrination by left-leaning faculty but rather the more powerful influence of fellow students. And at most colleges, left-leaning peer groups are more common than conservative ones. After college, students particularly women move somewhat back to the right politically.
Why do most colleges have more liberal students that conservative ones? The right-leaning students tend to go elsewhere and concentrate in a smaller number of schools, including Bible colleges and other religiously-oriented institutions. So at most colleges, explains Pope, there are more left-leaning peer groups, and students on balance move leftward. He quotes a researcher: If you find yourself in a peer group where on balance the attitudes lean left, you'll tend to move in that direction.
I remember attending some event in the 1950s in the basement of our church. The speaker gave thanks for how blessed we were to be living in America, the greatest nation on Earth. The audience applauded.
As I was just a humble young boy, this was the first time I had heard that concept expressed. Life in the United States is certainly good, at least for most of us. But on the planet there are more than a hundred nations, each with its own national customs and virtues. The speaker was saying that this nation, the one where we happen to have been born, is the best of them all.
That might be true, I thought. But surely it's a claim that could be debated. In the meantime, it seems immodest for us as Christians, and impolitic for us as citizens of the world, to assert superiority over all other peoples and to look down upon our inferiors.
Moreover, if we're already #1, what incentive is there for us to improve?
However, since then I've learned not to object to the smug patriotic conceit that we're better than everyone else. After all, if you doubt that America is the best, you hate America.
And statistics show that the U.S. is in fact the leader in a number of categories. These include military might, carbon emissions, and divorce rate. Among developed nations, the United States has the most preventable deaths per capita and the most prisoners per capita. We couldn't be better.
OCT. 11, 2018 FOR P.O.G., READ 3# AND PRESS FONT 3
I operated the Duet graphics machine for high school football telecasts from 2008 through 2016 on the regional channel once called Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh, later called Root Sports, and now called AT&T SportsNet.
Usually this job is truly a duet, with a Graphics Coordinator telling the operator what to do. However, for these lower-budget shows I had to be my own coordinator. Therefore I had to be organized. Using mnemonic systems and abbreviations and other tricks, I managed to get all the important numbers Id need during the game onto a single sheet of paper (plus another sheet listing the rosters key players).
I last updated my charts two years ago. You probably wont be interested in the details, but lest all that work fade into the mists of time, Ive posted it here under the title Football Duet for a Soloist.
OCT. 6, 2018 REUNION PLANNING SUMMIT
Last weekend I returned to Oberlin College to join eighty other alumni on campus. We were there to prepare for an event to be held May 24 through 27, 2019: the reunions of graduating classes from 10, 30, 45, 50, and 60 years before. The Class of 1970 was also represented to get an early start on their 50-year reunion, even though it won't happen until 2020.
The 50th is the big one, of course. The chart shows that nearly half the attendees at our summit were from 1969 and 1970. We all got together for socializing and dinners, such as the one above in the Tappan Room of the Hotel at Oberlin. But the individual classes, including my Class of 1969, also held breakout sessions to plan their particular activities.
Below are some photos. The ones with the crimson borders should be credited to John Kramer; those with the gold borders, to George Spencer-Green.
Left to right in the first group are Mr. Kramer, Biz Glenn Harralson, Mr. Spencer-Green, and the Class of 1969 officers: vice-president Carol McLaughlin Fishwick and president Wayne Alpern.
I'm watching old TV. In a documentary about a 1958 plane crash, the control tower notes the time as three-one. Then, near the end of the 1936 movie The Great Ziegfeld, an actress arranges a phone call for after the second act; that's right, about ten-five.
Should I have been writing 3:1 and 10:5 instead?
OCT. 1, 2018 FALL FOLIAGE