When I became involved with network-level television sports production 40 years ago, one of the first things I learned was the proper way for a pair of announcers in the booth to wear their headsets. Each headset has two earphones, and the cord and the microphone are attached to one of them. For a clean picture, that earphone ought to be on the hidden side, farther from the camera.
At Talladega last Sunday, both announcers wore it on their left ear. In my opinion, Junior had it wrong. We see the cord running across his collar, and with his mouth obscured, he might as well have been wearing a mask.
The audio assistant in the booth should make sure this detail is correct. However, I quite often observe that it isn't. So for all you A2's out there (assuming the announcer has good hearing in both ears):
Once the competition starts, the announcers will turn 180° to face the window. If a camera at the window is going to be looking back at them, now their mics will again be hiding their mouths. As part of turning to face the window, I think they should also flip their headsets around and swing those booms. Always keep the cord and the mic away from the camera!
APRIL 23, 2022 MY BANDLEADER NAMESAKE
By October 15 Vernon was on an airplane headed west, the first leg of his journey back to good old America. Following his discharge from the Army six weeks later, he made it home to Ann and.his peacetime job at that small city's Chevrolet dealership.
Yesterday morning, while surfing through cable TV, I came upon the FX Movie Channel and saw the opening credits for State Fair. I noticed that the songs were by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Because I was not familiar with this particular Rodgers and Hammerstein musical which had been preceded only by Oklahoma and Carousel, also set far from the big cities I sat back to watch.
As it turned out, the movie features just three tunes that I had heard before: the waltz It's a Grand Night for Singing, the Oscar-winning romantic theme It Might As Well Be Spring, and a novelty which might as well be the Iowa state song.
Some slightly naughty plot highlights include the unrequited love between two hogs, the blue-ribbon-winning mincemeat spiked with excessive brandy, and a promoter accused of offering a bribe called payola to get his music performed. (Until now, I thought that term hadn't appeared until radio's disc jockey scandals a decade later.) Also, Harry Morgan, the future Col. Potter of MASH, shows up as a barker running a crooked carnival game.
There's a dance band performing at the fair, and the orchestra leader's name is prominently displayed above the stage. That bandleader's name is not Lawrence Welk. Nor is it Guy Lombardo.
To my surprise, he's a fictional character with my name! Good old TT.
APRIL 20, 2022 OBVIOUS OUTCOMES
If the truck hauling a SpaceX rocket doesn't fit through the security portals, Elon elongates gates.
If he uses a smartphone to evaluate a new Tesla wage scale, his app appraises raises.
If he decrees when the raises will take effect, the man mandates dates.
If a prison inmate learning to be an electrician doesn't know his hardware, the con confuses fuses.
And if a sniffling sports star obtains remedies for his whole team, the pro procures cures.
(Punchlines from Michael Lieberman's New York Times Sunday crossword "Familiar Surroundings," June 27, 2021)
For a few weeks in the summer of 1970, I was a disk jockey at WAER, the Syracuse University student radio station.
Dick Clark, the longtime American Bandstand host known as the worlds oldest teenager, died today at the age of 82. What was Dick doing long ago, when he actually was a teenager? He too was a disk jockey at WAER!
Dicks uncle Bradley Barnard owned WRUN in Utica, New York, which signed on as an FM-only station in 1946. The next year Bradley hired his brother-in-law Richard Clark as promotions manager, and Richard hired his 17-year-old son Dick as a summer replacement in the mailroom. Dick also read the hourly weather forecasts. But it was time for college. He had applied unsuccessfully at Yale, so in the fall of 1947 he enrolled at his fathers alma mater, Syracuse University.
At Syracuse only a few months earlier, in April, WJIV-FM ("Jive") had begun operations with 2½ watts of power. That was enough to cover the campus, and Syracuse became the first college in the nation to have its own low-power FM broadcast station. When the FCC amended its rules to allow special experimental licenses for up to 10 watts, "Jive" received one of these licenses, changing its call letters in July of 1947 to WAER (Always Excellent Radio).
Like me at Oberlin two decades later, Dick was only a freshman but could boast of his previous on-air experience back home. He joined the staff of WAER.
For its annual auto issue this month, Consumer Reports asked 895 Americans to score 20 common driver gripes. On a 1-to-10 scale, 1 means a behavior does not annoy you at all and 10 means it annoys you tremendously.
I noticed that these complaints tend to fall into two categories. Some behaviors irk Type A drivers, who resent anyone who gets in their way and delays them for any reason. For example, suppose a Type A is racing down a empty lane of the freeway. Ahead of him, a car changes lanes, merging into the lane that the Type A thought was exclusively his. Forced to slow down, the Type A screams, He cut me off!
Others behaviors irk Type B drivers, who follow the rules and resent a lack of courtesy especially from a Type A who recklessly endangers their safety.
Im Type B myself. If the impatient Type A drivers always know exactly where theyre going and think they own the road, perhaps they should be given their own private speedways where theyll never have to yield or slow down for anybody else.
APRIL 15, 2022 THE THIRD DAY THEME
On your piano keyboard, how many white keys are in an octave?
Eight. Octave means eight.
Please start at middle C and begin counting the keys to the right.
Exactly. That's the way people often counted in ancient times, inclusively.
Including both the first item and the last item in a series.
Did inclusive counting sometimes cause confusion?
It did indeed. Consider the matter of leap years. When Julius Caesar was pontifex maximus, his astronomers recommended that each year should match the seasons by comprising 365¼ days on average. Therefore Caesar reformed the Roman calendar by adding an extra day to ten of the months, thus bringing the total up to 365.
That was still a quarter day short, so he also decreed that there would be an extra leap day once every four years. In B.C. terms, the leap years would be 44, 40, 36, and so on. But later pontifices, counting inclusively, thought his decree meant once every fourth year, like 44, 41, 38, and so on.
By 8 B.C., there had been three leap days added incorrectly. And it came to pass in those days that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should temporarily abstain from leap years. Following a twelve-year interlude of adjustment, the Roman world finally adopted the correct Julian four-year cycle.
Interesting. But I can't ponder all that today. I'm in mourning. Today is Bad Friday, a very sad Friday in history, the day that Jesus died.
Ah, but He promised that on the third day He would rise again.
Yes, he did!
Let me count the days. After Bad Friday, tomorrow will be Saturday; that will be the first day.
No, no, that can't be right.
Indeed, it isn't right. Unlike you and me, people during Roman times would have used inclusive counting. Today, Friday, is the first day. Saturday will be the second. And Sunday will be the third day. That is when He will arise.
APRIL 13, 2022 DON'T TEACH THEM ABOUT THAT!
Some parents don't want their kids to go to public school, where they might be introduced to concepts like evolution and other races and religions. It's dangerous, and in some cases illegal, to open young minds and expose them to facts and ideas that their relatives don't like.
The public school system now is a propaganda machine, said Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX). And they condition them to believe in so much which is totally un-American. Like, apparently, the Pledge of Allegiance.
For the past 60 years, conservatives have demeaned public education, pounding away that learning for the masses is a bad thing to be scorned and mistrusted. The more that education is disdained, the less that inconvenient facts will be believed. And so, instead, we get an attitude that challenges any assertion of education with a contemptuous, So, you think you're better than the rest of us.
When information is diminished, you need to have faith that others will lead you safely. Indeed, it is no accident that conservative politicians court the religious right. Religion is centered on belief, on unquestioning faith. And that is the path to unquestioning faith in everything.
All we want, said Herman Cain, is for government to get out of the way so we can educate ourselves and our children the old-fashioned way. Note: the old-fashioned way included one teacher for six grades in one room, few women and minorities, and teaching math with an abacus. And that disaster is what conservatives have long wanted from education. Like the Dark Ages. Where kings and the aristocracy ruled. And you peasants, obey thy overlord.
No need to learn anything. No public education. Just private schools and home schooling.
Private schools limit education to those who can afford it.
Home schooling limits education to families where one parent can afford to stay home, while hoping that the parent completed high school.
years ago today I visited my old home town, Richwood, Ohio. I
found that Ottawa Street was being repaved. At its intersection
with Franklin Street, where a new curb and accessible sidewalk were
to be installed, they'd torn up the old asphalt. They'd even
torn up the even older brick pavement underneath, all the way down to
the original surface, dirt.
APRIL 9, 2022 IMPROVED TV IMAGES
When I was a high school freshman around 1962, I had no trouble distinguishing a live or videotaped TV program, such as I've Got a Secret, from a show that had been shot on 35mm film, like Gunsmoke or The Beverly Hillbillies. The filmed images were softer than the electronic ones.
Electronic cameras were standard definition in those days, only 525 lines of resolution. The black-and-white variety produced sharply enhanced edges and more extreme contrasts. There were also artifacts like luminance overshoot, producing unnaturally darkened areas to the right of bright white areas like the Colonel's hair and jacket. (By the way, now it can be told: his blend of 11 secret herbs and spices reportedly included white pepper.) I preferred the electronic images because they seemed more realistic, depicting events taking place in real time.
Let's move forward a couple of decades. For example, take two comedies that debuted in 1982.
Newhart featured Bob as a Vermont innkeeper. The first season was recorded on tape (above), and it looked too real to me, too brightly lit. For subsequent seasons they switched to film (below), even though film is more expensive. In this case, I preferred the softer movie-like appearance. So did Bob, I understand.
Cheers was shot on film from the beginning. Due to low ratings at first, Paramount feared they might need to cut costs to avoid cancelation. One of the writers, Ken Levine, recently recalled that a test scene was shot with electronic cameras. It looked terrible. All the warmth and depth of the set was completely obliterated. The rich colors became day-glo. And this dark, rich bar setting suddenly looked like a police station. The idea was quickly dropped.
Let's move forward another three decades. Nowadays, the universal adoption of high definition means that electronic cameras are much improved. Sitcoms and other shows that used to be shot on film have switched over, and I can no longer discern the difference. Everything looks good.
Not long ago, idly scanning through the channels in the early morning hours, I saw much better images of Dennis Weaver and Buddy Ebsen than I remembered. It turns out they were on 1961 episodes of The Twilight Zone. But I wasn't watching the original 525-line telecasts; rather, the 35mm films had been rescanned and restored in high definition, which was how I was seeing them on the Syfy channel.
The shows were still in black and white, of course, but aside from that, I don't think I've ever seen anything more perfectly shot on a sound stage. The lighting, direction, cinematography all were beautifully detailed. If our TV set had been HD back in 1962, I would not have ever turned it off.
APRIL 7, 2022 COORDINATED CANINES
Visiting a museum in an upstate New York town, I talked to the caretaker at the door. Beside him, in a stacked pair of cages, were two beagles barking insistently at the stranger me. To stop the noise, I allowed the dog in the upper cage to sniff my fingers. That quieted both of them. I held my fingers in front of the lower dog, but he was no longer interested.
Walking along a sidewalk, my way was blocked by two serene gray Newfoundlands. As I petted one, the other sniffed my shoes. The first dog made no attempt at an olfactory investigation, and I was permitted to walk on.
Clearly, dogs have developed a method to avoid duplicating efforts! They obviously have a secret way of signaling one to the other, I checked this guy's scent, and he's okay. Let him pass.
APRIL 4, 2022 THE CENTURY MARK
As a high school freshman, listening to the radio late one night 60 years ago, I heard the startling news that Wilt Chamberlain had just scored a hundred points in a basketball game at Hershey, Pennsylvania.
I did not hear the game itself. But now I can, thanks to nba.com. From the sound of it, I'm guessing that a fan, realizing that history was being made, set up a tape recorder in front of the radio for the fourth quarter.
Listening to the tape, Keith Olbermann points out that the opposing team, the Knicks, didn't want to be embarrassed by giving up 100 to an opposing player. On offense, they used up as much time as possible. On defense, they kept the ball away from Wilt by fouling his teammates and sending them to the free throw line.
The announcer was Philadelphia's Bill Campbell. (His sidekick spoke only at the commercial breaks. That was the style at the time, even on my high school broadcasts.) Campbell knew the importance of giving the score often especially in this record-setting game, when it was changing every few seconds.
APRIL 1, 2022 FRUITS TREES