Archive for September, 2009

On the Megabus

I’m taking the Megabus for the first time, going from Cincinnati to Chicago for the Public Radio in Mid-America conference. The view from our top front seats is pretty cool.


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NC: Too cloudy for the sun just yet.


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IMG_4304Man, I can’t wait for our annual trip to (name withheld for security reasons, except to say that this photo’s location is in North Carolina, looking into Tennessee). I will not think about this blog the entire weekend, and here’s why.

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Surrendering to the Google

PicturearrayI’ve been working with my Google profile and ran into a possibly known bug in their Edit Photos routine. You should be able to call over one or more photo albums from Flickr or Picasa to your profile page. I have a bunch of photos on Flickr and decided to go that route. But no matter what I did they would not display and I got an Error message. A search (via Google, of course) showed that many others had had the same problem, but I couldn’t find a solution.

So I reluctantly activated a long-dormant Picasa account. I say reluctantly, because it’s of course part of Google and I didn’t want to surrender everything to them. I assumed they had stacked the deck in Profiles against Flickr and in favor of Picasa. I was attributing to “Don’t be evil” Google the motives often associated with Microsoft.

My bad, Google. I saw the same problem with Picasa as I had had with Flickr. So I gave up and left it alone for a couple of days. Then today I looked at the page again, and the Picasa photos were there. Maybe it just took Google’s servers a few hours to get everything settled.

There’s still a problem, though. I saw that I had uploaded duplicate images to Picasa, so I went in and deleted one. My Google profile (illustrated) shows a placeholder, captioned Cape Cod, in place of the photo; the real Cape Cod is to the left. I’ll check again in a few hours and see if this disappears when Google’s servers recycle.

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WMUB awards (4 in a series)

Logo08-200x99Once more, the news staff of the former WMUB has cleaned up in awards for work done in 2008. This time it’s the Cincinnati Society of Professional Journalists. Here’s the list, as published this week in the Cincinnati Enquirer:

  • Tana Weingartner, WMUB-FM, for “Short Feature, Radio”
  • Gary Scott, WMUB-FM, for “Long Feature, Radio”
  • Cheri Lawson, WMUB-FM, for “Sports Coverage, Radio”, “Business Coverage, Radio” and “Public Affairs, Radio”

In other posts I’ve mentioned other awards the staff received from the Ohio Associated Press, Public Radio News Directors, and Ohio SPJ. That incarnation of the news team at WMUB was put together by John Hingsbergen and me following a 2004 consultation with Mark Moran of KBAQ in Phoenix.

With supervision from John, direction from Gary Scott and execution from Tana Weingartner and Cheri Lawson, that team has consistently won more awards than any other radio station in Ohio. (Not everyone on the team wants me to point that out, I should note).

Well done, colleagues.

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Click for a slideshow

Click for a slideshow

One of our favorite discoveries in France was the little village of Aubeterre, right on the edge of the Charente region. Signs proclaimed it “one of the most beautiful villages in France,” and it certainly was that. It turns out that that’s an official designation. There are 150 towns and villages in les plus beaux villages de France.

The name comes from the Latin alba terra, ‘white earth’, because of the nature of the limestone of the area. It’s the site of an enormous underground church, an ‘eglise monolithe.’ Here’s a small slide show of our visit, taken with our first digital camera — a monstrous 1.3 megapixels.

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Bandicoots, 2 for the price of 1!

Bandicoots, 2 for the price of 1!

After years of not having a cassette player, I unearthed a pile of decades-old cassettes of work I did at WLRH in Huntsville, Alabama, so I went out and got a $10 cassette deck from Goodwill and have been transcribing some old audio. Here are a couple of “commercials” I produced for the morning show I co-hosted. Public radio doesn’t do this sort of thing anymore, for which it gets the thanks of a grateful nation.

The cassettes are old enough that I’m surprised anything comes across at all. Speed regulation on the Aiwa deck, usually a problem with older cassettes, is actually pretty good. But the frequency response is a bit dodgy.

These two are the best I’ve found so far. I had totally forgotten about Mainstream Mammals. Have fun, if possible.

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200px-HardTimesComeAgainNoMore1854A song popped up on my iPod’s DJ shuffle this week I hadn’t heard or thought of in a while — Stephen Foster’s “Hard Times Come Again No More.” Here’s a link to the James Taylor/Yo-Yo Ma/Edgar Meyer version.

Foster is often dismissed as a sentimentalizer of the old antebellum days and ways  — think “My Old Kentucky Home” — but the lyrics to “Hard Times” pack a real wallop:

While we seek mirth and beauty and music light and gay,
There are frail forms fainting at the door;
Though their voices are silent, their pleading looks will say
Oh hard times come again no more.

Tis the song, the sigh of the weary,
Hard Times, hard times, come again no more
Many days you have lingered around my cabin door;
Oh hard times come again no more.

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[This entry was published as a Letter to the Editor in the Cincinnati Enquirer, Friday 9/4/09.]

MartyandThomI had just left an appointment in O’Bryonville and decided to return home through town. It was a perfect sunny day to cruise along the river on Columbia Parkway; to stop and have a pastrami sandwich at Izzy’s; to look at the dinosaurs at the Museum Center; to listen to Mary and Thom call a day game. Marty was praising the things he loves about Cincinnati, and launched into a spontaneous, heartfelt and moving reminiscence of Erich Kunzel. Marty and Thom, the perfect pair to listen to and mourn with on a perfect Cincinnati day. Thanks.

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Erich Kunzel, 1935-2009

kunzelClassical music lost an irreplaceable friend today with the death of Erich Kunzel, maestro of the Cincinnati Pops. And Cincinnati, where I live, is especially in mourning. It’s difficult to overestimate the impact of Kunzel’s genius at making classical and pops music exciting, accessible and — dare I say it — fun.

Kunzel  changed the face of Pops, indeed all of classical music, through his performances, dozens of Telarc recordings and national televised concerts. I never met him personally, but we were very gratified that our son John had the chance to perform with the Pops as a member of the Cincinnati Boychoir and later, of the May Festival Youth Chorus.  Here’s a link to today’s Cincinnati Enquirer coverage.

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