--Have you ever been polar bear hunting? If you are reading this blog chances are good you have not. I'm not talking about heading out with snow shoes and a gun. Polar bear hunting is a relatively new "game" being played by young black males. The idea is to find an older white male and…as a group…beat the crap out of him. And this isn't a game being played in some place like Chicago or New York. It happens here. Hit this link.
--I want to thank those of you that are sending cards/letters to my Grandfather for the trip next week. Some of you have even asked for the person in charge of the trips so you can send everyone a card. That is fantastic! I've been so busy coordinating this "card drive" that I've almost forgotten to send my own. That is on the list of things to do today, though. I'm sure my Grandfather will have many touching moments next week, and many of the vets that have already done this trip say that the mail call on the way home if their favorite part of the entire deal. I will try to give you an update on how it went sometime in the next couple of weeks!
--Tomorrow is "Feedback Friday". If you have something to say be sure to get your thoughts in now to make it in time for tomorrow morning! Hit the feedback section below, or send me an email with "Blog" on the subject line.
Here is a reason I don't worry about putting personal stuff on this blog. In case you didn't know…if you are online, on the phone, or using pretty much anything electronic…someone already knows everything about you. Give this link a hit and send me your thoughts…if you dare…
--On my way to work lately I have been catching ESPN Radio around Bethany. When ESPN goes to commercial I turn over to WSOY and listen to Coast to Coast. That is a radio show where people call in and talk about odd things…like UFO's, ghosts, and other unexplained phenomenon. I have a pretty open mind. And when I listen to this show it is hard not to believe that there is at least a possibility that things are happening that we just don't understand.
This morning there was a scientist on the show explaining that he believes we were definitely on the moon. You know some people say that the pictures we've seen of us on the moon were made up on a Hollywood set, and that the moon landing was fabricated because we were in a race against the Soviets to get there. The point the guy made that stuck out to me was the fact that the flag on one of the more popular moon pictures is made up of foil, and therefore looks like it billows in the wind. Some people say that the flag looks like it is blowing in the wind, and therefore must be fake.
Some people also point to some shadows that go in different directions. One shadow is obviously from the sun. But there is another shadow that goes another way and some people say that is because the picture was taken in a studio in Hollywood. Well this guy mentioned that the Earth also reflects light, just like the moon. He goes on to say that "Earthshine" is brighter than moonshine, and that accounts for the other shadows. It made sense to me…but then I have never doubted that we've actually been on the moon.
The guy that hosts the show is very gracious and open minded. He gets some weird people calling in…and he treats them with respect. That may be my favorite part of the show. You can find judgmental people anywhere you look…but this guy throws no judgments at anyone that is on his show. Good stuff.
--Yesterday morning I came into work and my brain was like mush. I actually tried to start the blog but nothing was making sense. I'm not sure if you could tell by watching the news yesterday morning but things were just off with me all morning! Sometimes when things just aren't clicking I think it is better not to blog. I just don't want to put you through that. Even this morning it seems a little off. Oh well. But thank you to those that emailed to check on me. I'm doing quite well, actually. I think the weekend has taken longer to shake this week. And the weather change makes me want to sleep a lot!
--Have you heard of "Central Illinois Honor Flight"? It is a group based out of Effingham, I believe, that takes a trip every year to Washington DC. The group brings World War II veterans and other terminally ill veterans to our nation's capital for a day of remembrance. We've done stories on this group in the past…and it seems to be an awesome deal.
There is another trip coming up next week…and this time one of my Grandfathers will be going. This Grandpa is a World War II vet…he was in the Navy. The group will take my Grandpa and other service men and women to the capital for a great ceremony, dinner, etc…and maybe even an appearance from the President provided running the country does not get in his way.
That's the part that the veterans are told. What they are not told is that on the way home there will be a military style "mail call" on the plane home. The group is collecting letters and thank you cards from the vets' family and friends and a few schools. And on the way home the group will surprise the vets with the letters. So if you know someone going DON'T TELL THEM!!
So here is what I am asking you to do if you are so inclined…I want my Grandfather to get as many letters and cards as possible. My family will be sending letters/cards. Many of his friends will be, too. And if you would like to send him a card or letter…here is the address:Gene Dyec/o Don NiehartCentral Illinois Honor Flight712 E. JeffersonEffingham, IL 62401
I would love it if Grandpa had so many cards that he doesn't get through them all before the end of the flight. So if you have the means and desire to honor someone that was there for one of the HUGE moments of WWII get him a thank you card and get it in the mail in the next day or so. The mail has to be in Effingham by October 4th, as the flight is the 5th. (I won't explain the HUGE moment out of respect, because Grandpa doesn't really talk about it much.)
Thank you to those that send something. I genuinely appreciate it.
Yesterday I was given a verbal smack down. To be honest there is not much for me to say about what was written. For the most part it wasn't wrong in regards to me. And as I will explain I'm not the one to ask if what was said about the Tea Party is correct or not. So we won't spend a lot of time on it this morning, but I do want to mention a couple of things.
First…I will not apologize for making the joke implying that having two black people in charge of this country would scare the Tea Party. I believe that everything is pretty much a target when it comes to humor. But I will say this…it was an attempt at humor based on, as the feedbacker suggested, what I have heard others in the media mention. I do not fully understand the intentions of Tea Party members. I've seen footage of some rallies, and they seem pretty white to me. But news footage can be shot and shown in many ways. Just like Mexico isn't actually under siege by drug cartels like our media would suggest…it is also quite possible that the media is wrong about the Tea Party being bigoted. While I won't apologize for making a joke…I do understand that making a joke based on little to no actual knowledge of the subject is bound to get some response. And I appreciate the response.
I'm not allowed to actively participate in political rallies because I work at a news station. It's not a federal law or anything…but I signed a contract saying I would not. So I can't actually go to a Tea Party rally. And there is a difference between kicking around some political ideas on this blog and actively going to rallies, etc. To actively engage in political movements could get me fired. The difference here on the blog is that I just tell you how I think or feel about something…but I do not tell you how you should think or feel. As a matter of fact I open it up for you to share as well.
If it is as the feedbacker says, and the Tea Party is about holding the government accountable and getting the government out of our lives…then I could get on board for that. I do love that after two years or so of this blog someone really hit me hard. The person that sent the feedback made some very good points, about me and about making assumptions in general. So well done, First Time Feedbacker! You've put me in my place, and hopefully taught some of us something about a political movement.
From Nicole in Decatur (9/17/10):
Hi Greg. Yes, the other day was my first time leaving feedback...not just to your blog but any blog...ever! I guess your comments just really stirred something in me. It breaks my heart to always be reading news about what parents are doing to their children. On another (less depressing) note, I enjoyed your sports rant today. It really annoys me that people started referring to Jeter as "Jeter the Cheater." What he did happens ALL the time in baseball and you're right, no players are saying anything. In fact, the Rays coach said he didn't have a problem with it and would have been happy if one of his guys did the same thing. I won't even get started on the Jets locker room situation! I could go on and on about that but I will spare you my soap box speech and just tell you that I don't think she should have even been in the locker room. But that's enough on that subject, it's been talked to death and I am ready for a new topic!
Thanks for coming back to the blog, Nicole. And thanks for going out on a limb and sending feedback. It is an honor for me to know that this is the first blog to EVER get you to comment.
Agreed on Jeter. Agreed on the Jets. I would even add that I am not sure why ANYONE needs to be in a locker room anymore. There are rarely good stories broken in a locker room. Isn't it time to kick the reporters out into the media room for post game press conferences, and leave the locker rooms to the naked athletes??
From Mary Jo in Decatur (9/20/10):
I have always been impressed with Colin Powell, and would also vote for him in a heartbeat. We so very badly need someone in the Whitehouse who "gets it". Looking ahead to 2012, I would love to go to the polls and say I voted for someone who I am totally confident in for a change. But, right now I don't see that happening with Obama and Palin being the apparent front runners. Oh well, who knows what the next 2 years will bring, hope springs eternal.
I admire your positivity, Mary Jo! On a side note…this week at work we've started having "no negativity days". Everyone in the studio in the morning, which is around 5 people on an average morning, has agreed that on these days we will not say anything negative. Sure…some mornings are very quiet. But no one complains about anything. I have to say…it is refreshing! And I think it could snowball into something very cool.
From Phil in Cissna Park (9/22/10):
Greg, I simply HAD to comment on the hair thing. When I was young, my hair was so thick it had to be thinned before it could be cut. Then, as I aged I went through what you are experiencing...and on to nada on top. I keep telling people I quit using Head 7 Shoulders and started using Mop & Glo. Hair loss isn't a big thing...at least it never was to me. So go crazy about it, the old carpet "toupee" and all of that garbage. Anyway, that's my opinion and one I've held for nearly 40 years.
I can't say that it 100% does not bother me, because it does a little. But I will never get to the point of getting a toupee. While I would not make fun of anyone that decided to go down that road…I think most younger people will just take the hair down. Through the 90's with people like Bruce Willis and Patrick Stewart looking good with no hair I think it made it cool to be bald. So younger people probably just won't even mess with it. That's just my opinion.
From David in Altamont (9/22/10):
Some of the guys at work try to talk me into shaving my head. It gets real hot in the plant, plus welding and I sweat ALOT. I tell them at my age, I don't want to tempt fate and shave my head. It might never grow back.
Ha! True dat, David!
I realize that my receding hair line is hardly a tragedy. There are certainly bigger issues out there. But this is one that does impact many men. And if just one balding dude gets the courage to "take it down" by reading this blog then it will have been worth it!
A friend of mine out West linked my profile page on this website to his Facebook page the other day. On that link it shows my "official" picture that is on the website. I am not Facebook friends with him, but Faye is. So she posted on that link that she thinks I am hot. Someone else posted that I will soon be bald! The lady, a person I do not know, posted that I had some kind of Russian forehead receding hairline going and I would soon be bald! Faye pointed it out to me and we had a laugh. And then Faye mentioned to the lady that the picture is from over a decade ago and I am not actually bald now. But I am a little bit closer to bald now than I was in that picture!
From Diane in Oreana (9/23/10):
I agree with everything "Anonymous" said! And if you want to really know what is going on in Washington watch Fox news. They tell it like it is!
I won't speak for "Anonymous", but I think one of the points of the feedback was that all media has been inaccurate about the Tea Party. Fox News is admittedly conservative, as much as MSNBC is liberal. Both sides are skewing the message of the Tea Party, according to the anonymous feedbacker, I believe.
You have to remember that the major news organizations like Fox and MSNBC are no longer journalistic organizations…they are financial corporations now. The bottom line is no longer being the Fourth Estate…but making a profit. So "telling it like it is" is no longer priority. Hooking you into watching them all the time is the priority.
From David in Decatur (9/23/10):
Nice going, Greg. You asked for a first time contributor and you got a short sighted, tunnel visioned, strongly opinionated jerk. This kind of ranting and raving has no business on your blog. I know that I have not agreed with some of the stuff on here, but to go off the deep end like this guy is nonsense. I will be criticized for this comment, I am sure, but I will not send in a reply like your first timer. That was beyond common sense.
You really do crack me up, Dave! Between you and Jim in Taylorville I think this first-time feedbacker has a bit of catching up to do when it comes to throwing words! (And I say that with a smile on my face and laugh in my heart. Hope it is taken that way!) I love both of your feedback…but let's be honest…you gentlemen bring it pretty hard some times! While I personally love it…that style is inflammatory, and you both know it! (Sorry to drag you into this, Jim!)
In complete honesty I thought yesterday's post was thought-provoking and well-written. I may or may not agree with everything posted, but I respect that it was written. Obviously these are tense times, as our country appears to be at a cross roads. The decisions we make in the next few years will likely shape which way our country heads coming out of this recession, or whatever you want to call it. More importantly…I think most of our citizenry knows this. And that is good. People are getting involved like we've never been involved in my 37 years. Someone check me if I am wrong because I lack the years to know for sure…but isn't the personal involvement of the average US citizen now like it was back in the 60's? Different than then, sure…but the level is close, isn't it? And how can that be bad?
I've posted here numerous times that I feel We the People need to get involved in our country and "take it back". Movements like the Tea Party, while maybe not hugely popular with the majority, are so very important. If nothing else…it makes more people do a little research and hopefully get a little more invested into our Representative Democracy.
Okay…so maybe we did end up talking about yesterday's blog more than I said we would. Sorry about that. You are still more than welcome to send comments on it. And remember…if you have a lot to say send an email with "Blog" on the subject line, cause the feedback form doesn't allow too many words!
Have a great weekend.
So we got our first time feedback winner this morning! The person wishes to remain anonymous. Never let it be said that I am afraid of being called out!
From Anonymous First Time
Nice comment on the Tea Party. You know the one that reads, "imagine the Tea Party's reaction to TWO black men running the country!!!".
Really?!?....Really?!? I never thought you would pull out the old race card. I'm very disappointed. Have you ever gone to a Tea Party rally? If you had you would have probably noticed that while the crowd is mostly composed of Caucasians, it isn't a racist event. Far from it. The ones I attended were comprised of individuals of all ethnicities and everyone was welcome. I've been to two. One in Cincinnati and one in Dayton, OH. The one I attended in Dayton I went with a conservative friend of mine who happens to be one of my customers. By the way, he moved here from India in the late 1980's in search of the American dream. He came here with literally no money and has been very successful due to hard work. Recently, due to the state of the country, he's seriously thinking about moving his family back to India.
I digress. The Tea Party isn't about racism. Never has been. It's been portrayed as such by those who don't believe or understand the movement but it just isn't true. The movement is based on giving the power back to the people, tying the government back to the Constitution, and making it more fiscally responsible. Not sure why that is a bad thing. Are there racists in the party? Most likely. There are racists of every creed and color in every sect of society. We can't get away from it. Ignorance is what ignorance does. The Tea Party isn't a Republican thing either but due to the conservative nature of the party it is often tied to the party. My biggest fear is that it will eventually be absorbed into the party and lose touch with why it began in the first place. These days, I don't see too many differences between the Democrats and Republicans in Washington. To make a blanket statement, they are consumed with the lust for power and money and will say and do anything to keep where they are. We may have put them there but they are ultimately responsible for their actions. On that note, you also said that Americans are lazy and we are the reason the country is in shambles. The people in the Tea Party movement realize this. Americans finally start to get out there and work for change by voting out those who's votes helped cause many of our problems and they are mocked and ridiculed. Why do people typically do this? Fear and ignorance. The race card is the easiest one to throw out there because it brings out so many emotions and its the most difficult to refute. There is a misunderstanding (Mostly put out there by Democrats) that conservatives are Bible-Thumping racists who hate minorities. I see Democrats use this to gain votes all the time. From my viewpoint, Democrats typically say stand BEHIND me and the government will give you what you need. Conservatives tell you to stand BESIDE them and through hard work and determination we will be successful. Unfortunately it is human nature these days to stand behind the government and let them give you what they feel you need instead of working hard and earning what you need. That is a central theme that needs to change throughout all ethnic groups. All of us!
One last rant. You say you are fiscally responsible and at the same time you say that you feel our current President has "spearheaded some nice changes". That in itself is an oxymoron that I don't have nearly enough free time to tear to shreds.
At what point do you just say "Hell with it!" and shave your head? This morning the humidity is giving me less than stellar control of my hair. At some point if you are watching the news this morning you will likely see a piece of my hair separating from the pack and flopping around on my forehead. This is because my hair has been receding slowly for years. When I joke about my forehead getting bigger this is what I am referencing. And because of this slow hair loss there is no longer enough hair support on my upper forehead to hold the hair in place.
Seriously. Some morning I might just come in to work with a shaved head.
--The last couple of "Feedback Fridays" we have heard from first-timers. My favorite part of doing this blog is "Feedback Friday" because it is a time for you to sound off. Let's be honest…who wants to listen to what a local weather guy has to say about anything other than if it is going to rain this weekend?? But on feedback days here on the blog it is your chance to sound off. And to be more honest…how many people with a forum like this one will give just about anyone the chance to vent about just about anything??? Yeah…that's right. Only here.
So we love feedback…and we love first-timers. So what I am going to do this week is open the floor for one day to the first first-timer that responds this week. I will give you the blog for one day to talk about whatever you like, provided you do not bash a local person (other than me)…and provided you don't say anything that could get someone sued (namely me!). Last week we toed the line a bit with the Amanda Hamm stuff. And I love that. But we can't be stupid about it.
So anyway…if you are a fervent reader of this blog…but for whatever reason have yet to send feedback…send me some feedback. Hit the feedback area at the bottom of this blog. Or if you have more than 500 words to use send me an email with the word "Blog" on the subject line. And the first first-timer to do this gets the blog for one day It will be fairly anonymous, with only your first name and city given. We will likely do this Thursday morning. I will prolly intro your feedback…but other than that the only words on the blog that day will be from you. No smarmy, stupid comments from me trying to be funny. No comments from anyone else. Just your feedback.
--Yesterday I mentioned that I would vote for Colin Powell for President if he ever ran. I just want to clarify that I am actually happy with President Obama. I voted for him. I like him. And I think he has spearheaded some nice changes despite being in remarkable circumstances. Obviously things are still tough. But President Obama isn't the reason we are very slow to recover. It is the Congress that is inept…as is usually the case. But more so…our country's problems lie with you…and with me. It always boils down to us because we are the ones that allow corporations to take over. And we are the ones that allow these professional politicians to manipulate us so badly generation after generation. Democracy fails when the populace is lazy. And we are lazy.
Wow. Sorry about that tangent. Anyway…my point was to let you know that I do support and like President Obama. But Colin Powell has always been someone I have admired. In a dream world they would be on the same ticket (imagine the Tea Party's reaction to TWO black men running the country!!!). But if they ever ran against one another I would have some serious thinking to do! And wouldn't it be nice to not have to choose between two goons, like in previous elections?? (2000 anyone??)
--As I sit here getting ready for work this morning I am watching/listening to yesterday morning's "Meet the Press" replay on our station. ANY Republican that feels disenfranchised by the Grand Old Party, or scared of what the Tea Party people are doing, needs to listen to Colin Powell. The retired general was on the show…and the guy makes a lot of sense to me. Talk about a guy that "gets it". I still slant more Liberal in most things un-fiscal…and I think I would vote for this guy if he ever ran for President. He is so respectful and understanding of our system of government. Someone like that would bring a lot to our national political scene…and people like Sarah Palin should take notes from Colin Powell.
I won't recap the appearance for you. It will likely be found on NBC's website somewhere. But I will mention that Colin Powell did say that people in his party need to get over the "Who is Obama" stuff and accept that he was born in the States and does have the right to be President. He also called on people to criticize the President, as is our right as Americans, but for people to not take the lowest common denominator approach like Newt Gingrich and suggest that our President is a "loud tribesman". I was really impressed with what Colin Powell said, and happen to think that we need to get back to his kind of political approach.
--Last week on "Feedback Friday" someone was asking about our use of "3D" during newscasts. I misunderstood the question, and heard back from the "feedbacker". So I wanted to address it this morning.
From David in Decatur (9/17/10):
Hi Greg; The format I was speaking of is the one where it appears that the weathercaster is walking on the graphic showing the temps and other things. I hope I have explained this so you understand. Thanks, Dave
Yep! Got in now, Dave! The shot you are talking about I like to call the "full wall shot". All it is is a shot that allows us to be shown from head to toe, and with the right graphics it looks like we are walking in the graphics. I pushed for it for a long time here, and loved it when we could use it. Now I am not sure technologically why…but from what I understand…when we got the new cameras for HD we did not get the kind that can go wide enough to allow us to do the head-to-toe camera shots anymore. Because of that we no longer look like we are walking into the graphics. As a matter of fact…for some of us it just looks like we are pointing torsos. Frankly I am not a big fan of super tight shots…but that is what we are left with.
Pardon me for a moment while I go on a sports rant. Can we collectively get over this "Jeter the Cheater" stuff? In case you missed it the other night, Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees was at bat. The pitch came in "tight", as some would say, and caught the handle of the bat. The umpire thought the ball hit Jeter in the wrist so he sent Jeter to first base. After the game Jeter said the ball did not hit him. The replays clearly show the ball did not hit Jeter. But the umpire made the call at the time and Jeter didn't argue.
Now for days people on sports talk radio and in the papers are calling Jeter a cheater. I've seen people on Facebook all over Jeter for not telling the ump that the ball didn't hit him. People in conversation are calling him "Jeter the Cheater". But you know who isn't calling Jeter a cheater? Other professional baseball players. You know…the guys that actually play the game. Have we really become so arrogant as a society that we don't consider the opinions of the people directly involved before we pass judgment on someone? If other players understand that this is the way the game has always been played then everyone else should shut up and go about his/her business.
This "gotcha" style of media or whatever you want to call it is starting to make me a little sick. All access all the time with cameras everywhere is hopefully running its course. It's like the lady that complained about being treated like an object in the New York Jets' locker room last week. Dude…you are scantily clad in a room where 45 naked men are cleaning up after practicing a hard core game. Don't come in as an invited guest where 23 to 28 year old testosterone-infused men are running around in towels and less and expect not to get a cat call when you're dressed like you're in a nightclub trying to get picked up. Sure…the Jets were acting like immature jerks…but that is what they are! How does that surprise you?? Now put your clothes back on, turn on the TV, learn how people like Erin Andrews and Rachel Nichols and Linda Cohn dress for their jobs. THAT is how to dress appropriately for the job you are doing!
(Yes…the Jets players/coaches were dead wrong. But also yes…there is something to be said for doing what you can to prevent these situations. Had she been dressed appropriately and not been a side show reporter like she is…she would have been treated like every other female reporter in a men's professional locker room.)
Let's get to "Feedback Friday" before I blow a gasket!
From Mike in Decatur (9/15/10):
Greg, Your picture makes you look like a wolfman (jk) Nice dog
Well crap. So much for not blowing that gasket!
I think the dog in the picture you mention is the one on the actual blog page, right? That dog is Dusty. There is another dog on another page linked to the blog, and that dog is Paden. They are both Shih Tzu's with whom I used to live. I get status reports on them occasionally, and they are both doing very well.
I now have another Shih Tzu in my life, and his name is Gizmo. I've mentioned him here on the blog before. I'm starting to get quite the collection of pictures of Gizmo and as soon as I learn how to post pics here on the blog I will put one or two up. Gizzie looks a lot like Dusty. And of course there are two other dogs in my life now, too. Boomer and Buster are bigger dogs…and very smart. Buster, Boomer, and Gizmo are slowly becoming friends…and it is a blast to get them all running around together. Maybe some day I will put pictures of the entire zoo up here on the blog.
The wolf man crack reminds me of Eun Hee Pai. Eun Hee used to anchor here a long time ago. She left here to work in Connecticut and eventually ended up in Chicago on the NBC station there. Anyhoo…one day she made a comment about how hairy my wrists were and from that moment on she called me "Wolf Man". I'm not the hairiest person I know, and my forehead gets bigger every year. But I am a moderately hairy fellow. Do what you will with that information.
From David in Decatur (9/16/10):
Greg, when I have tuned in to the news and weather, I haven't seen the 3-D format used. What happened to it? Also where is Lisa Sparrow?
Hi, Dave! What 3D format are you talking about? You mean Live Doppler 3D? I use it every morning. But really…the 3D is only really noticeable when there is something like rain showing up on it. That is the only aspect of our news that is 3D.
Lisa Sparrow left the station a couple of months ago. I'm not sure what she is doing now, but I think she is still in the area. She was fun to work with, and I thought she was pretty good at her job. Not to get too personal…but she is also a something-degree black belt. Lisa is a petite woman…but one bad Mambo Jambo!
Also from David in Decatur (9/16/10):
Pardon me for double-dipping, or whatever, but I just took a look at the pump patrol. They say the pipeline break in Chicago caused this price increase. Wow, it is higher than the cost increase created by the BP leak in the gulf! What is it going to cost if an oil company CEO's wife gets an ingrown toenail?
No worries about double dipping, Dave!
This gas issue is one I almost mentioned here on the blog the other day. I noticed in a two day period that gas went up around 30 cents. The reason was unknown to me at the time, until I got your feedback. It does seem that they are always ready with an excuse for the price going up! I guess it is good that we are no longer dealing with gas at around $4 a gallon, though. It makes you wonder what was so different then that made the price of gas cost so much. It seems that ever since the last few months of the Bush administration the cost of gas hasn't been ridiculous. And I am not suggesting there is a correlation. Just pointing out the fact and wondering why.
That's it for this week! Hope you enjoy the weekend. It might rain a little bit, but overall the weather looks fantastic.
Someone recently sent me an article on how to take care of your employees even when you can't give them more money during tough economic times. I believe we all know of employers that have taken a "be happy you have a job" attitude during our recent downturn. This article suggests that you don't actually have to be a butt head. You CAN actually take care of your people even in lieu of raises. And you know what? Sometimes a kind word of encouragement is all it takes…cause we all acknowledge that "times is tough".
FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA – (September 1, 2010) – It is not news that businesses around the country are financially struggling for the most part. As unemployment remains high, so do the number of businesses that are either closing their doors or are looking for ways to reduce their overhead and hang on during such a turbulent time. Millions of companies simply cannot afford to give their employees raises or bonuses at this time, regardless of how much they may deserve one. But, that doesn't mean you can't show those employees that you care and appreciate their services.
"Not giving out raises can have a real negative impact on employee morale and motivation. You may even lose some talented individuals," explains Dr. K. Habib Khan, Chief Academic Officer and acting Dean of the School of Business at Stratford University. "But if you still take the time to show that you appreciate them during this rough economic time, they will be more likely to hang in there and remain dedicated and loyal employees."
Companies are finding many different ways to reward their employees, without having the added expense of giving everyone a raise. Here are 10 ways you can reward your employees that will show them your gratitude, but will also cost you a fraction of what it would to give out raises:
Provide additional paid time off. Even if it is just one or two days out of the year, it will be appreciated.
Give them the ability to have a flexible schedule. Many people would appreciate being able to work four 10-hour days per week, or working one day per week at home.
Allow a casual dress code, even if it is just one day per week (like casual Friday).
Provide a catered lunch or pizza party once a month
Celebrate each employee's birthday with a cake and gift card.
Once a month have everyone's car washed on-site by a mobile wash company.
Periodically, bring in a massage therapist to provide everyone with a complimentary chair massage.
Keep stashes of things to occasionally give away to those going above and beyond the call of duty. This could be gift cards, concert or event tickets, or health club memberships.
Set up a relaxation or recreation room where employees can de-stress and/or have some fun. You may want to include a TV, pool table, or an air hockey game.
Offer them a title change, even if you can't afford to pay them more they appreciate being able to have a new title, which will provide them additional benefits for years to come.
"Even if you pick one of these ideas each year, your employees will really appreciate that you took the time to show them your appreciation," adds Dr. Habib. "This is just a short list of all the possibilities that are out there. Get to know your employees and you will have plenty of ways to reward them without adding a great deal to your overhead."
I'll just add that…happy employees are more productive. Tomorrow is "Feedback Friday"! Get your thoughts in now using the feedback button at the bottom of the page. And of course you are welcome to sign up for email alerts, as well.
September 19th is "Talk Like a Pirate Day". I've been doing this job long enough now that my name and email address are on the lists of some PR firms for press releases. So every few days I will get something from someone somewhere that is pushing their cause. I got one the other day telling me about this Pirate Day. This press release actually had something cool on it, though. So I thought I would share it. It's a pirate translation guide of sorts.
Ahoy! – Hello!
Avast! – It can be used in a sense of surprise.
Aye! – Why yes, I agree most heartily with everything you just said or did!
Aye, Aye! – I'll get right on that!
Bilge-sucking – Insult
Bucko – A buccaneer.
Davy , Jones' Locker – Fabled mythical place at the bottom of the ocean where the evil spirit of Davy Jones brings pirates and sailors to die.
Jolly Rodger – Pirate's flag including white skull and cross bones.
Pirate's Booty! - Pirate's treasure and also a favorite snack that's' good anytime! Pirate's Booty is a deliciously baked rice and corn puff that's baked, all-natural trans-fat and gluten-free.
Poopdeck – The part of a ship farthest to the back, which is usually above the captain's quarters.
Scallywag – Mild insult similar to rapscallion or rouge.
Scurvy Dog – The pirate talking directly to you with mild insult.
Shark Bait – Will soon join Davy Jones' Locker.
Shiver me timbers! – Comparable to "Holy crap!"
Son of a biscuit eater – Insult directed towards someone you don't like.
Three sheets to the wind – Someone who is very drunk.
Walk the plank – Punishment in which a person walks off a board jutting over the side of the ship while at sea. The ultimate consequence is drowning and a visit to Davy Jones' Locker.
Yo Ho Ho – Cheerful expression to demand attention
And of course if you read last Friday's feedback you will see someone pointing out how to get your Facebook page to show "Pirate Speak". I must have missed the big moment when pirates became so popular!
The question was posed yesterday. Some of you have sent feedback basically echoing my thoughts. I've decided to post some of the feedback this morning. Obviously this is a touchy situation…but it is a huge local story, and one that deserves more conversation (my opinion).
From Mary Jo in Decatur (9/13/10):<, /strong>
This case and her punishment have always bugged me too. I do try to keep in mind as you said that I was not there and probably don't know all the facts and that if she has any conscious what so ever she will have to live with this forever. But it seems she did nothing to prevent this. Just stood by and let it happen.
Like you said, MJ…we weren't there and don't have all of the information. But on the surface, as you said, it looks like she just let this happen.
There are larger issues here, too. Maurice LaGrone was a black man living with a white woman in Clint, on. Could race have played a role in the way this case went down? I don't know. But that is something else that always made me wonder. I'm certainly not suggesting it. I'm just asking the question. Ideally the man's race would not have anything to do with why he got life and she got a slap on the wrist by comparison. But we do live in the real world, don't we? I believe we at least have the right to ask the question.
From Nicole in Decatur (9/13/10):
In regards to the Amanda Hamm case, I can't fathom how she is already discharged from the system. Those poor children were killed in 2003 and 7 years later, she is already finished with prison and parole...wow. I don't have children myself but I can't even begin to imagine how or why she felt that her boyfriend was really worth the lives of her 3 children. I wonder what she will do with her life now.
First, Nicole, thank you for sending feedback. This is your first time, no? We love first timers to the blog! When we only hear from the same 10 or 15 people every week it starts to get a little stale. So it is great that you decided to sound off here.
I've wondered what she will do, too. Does she even live around here anymore? Will she ever try to have more kids? Marriage? I think it would be an interesting interview to sit down with her and ask her some of these questions.
From Ole David in Decatur (9/13/10):
Hey Greg. Ole Dave here, I have wondered myself, how this woman got away with what she did or didn't do in the case of her children. Our justice system is making a lot of mistakes lately. The Supreme Court of our country sits 9 members. Cases are decided by majority rule. Why can't our lower courts use the same rules. Cases could be heard by a panel of professionals that are skilled in evidence hearing. They would then vote on their findings, and the majority rules. This seems more fair than one person being able to put a guilty person back on the street, or someone on a jury that feels sympathy for a mother that lost her 3 children. Sometimes juries of our peers are as stupid as we are.
It certainly is not our job to judge this woman, Dave…but I agree with you. She either took an active role in the deaths of her children…or she took a passive role and still allowed it to happen. Either way…seven years seems a little light. But again…we weren't there and didn't hear all of the evidence. And we were not the judge or the jury. I'm sure both jobs were difficult on this case.
From David in Altamont (9/14/10):
That's always bothered me, too, Greg. As a parent, I can't see how anyone or anything would prevent me from sacrificing myself for my son. There may be other casualties, but I would do my damndest to save him.
Agreed, David. Obviously I am not a parent…but in most cases I think I would even do the same for my dogs or cat! I can't imagine what I would do to someone that was trying to harm my child, if and when I have any kids.
My hope is that enough time has passed with this case that we can talk about it here without ruffling feathers. Many people have always wondered the same things we are talking about on the blog this week. In this country we are allowed to ask questions. And that is what we are doing on this blog. So if you have any thoughts on this situation feel free to send them to me either using the feedback form at the bottom of the blog, or by sending me an email with "Blog" on the subject line. The regulars are always welcome…and of course we love hearing from first timers. So if you've been reading this blog for a while but have never sent feedback now is a great time. You can see that we only post first names and towns, so it is fairly anonymous.
If we get more feedback on this topic I will post it through the week instead of waiting for "Feedback Friday".
So you are intimately involved in the deaths of your 3 children. You've been convicted in a court of law for child endangerment and your boyfriend at the time will likely never see the sun again as a free man for killing your 3 kids. You've been out of prison for almost 3 years, and just finished serving your parole…the last part of paying your debt to society. So you are a free woman. And your 3 kids are still gone. With the news that Amanda Hamm finished her parole last week I've been thinking about what her life will be like going forward.
Most of you have kids from what I can tell. And some of you have lost kids. I was almost a parent several years ago, but nature decided it wasn't time. That doesn't give me special insight or anything, but I do at least begin to comprehend loss of this kind in a small way. I've never understood with this case how a parent can be in the vicinity of his or her dying children and not die trying to save them. I know this topic may be a little hard core this early in the week and morning. But think about this. Even if you assume that what came out in the case is true and this "mad man" was trying to kill the kids…how does the mother not die in the process of trying to stop the guy? Hell…how does she not even get physically hurt??
Okay…I wasn't there. I don't know exactly what happened aside from what was told in court. And you have to assume that what was told in court was how it went down. But that one question has been with me for years, ever since we covered the story. I'm sure this lady will deal with this for the rest of her life, obviously. Maybe they covered this in court and I just missed it. But I'd still like an answer to that question.
Thank you for sticking with this blog. Honestly the hit numbers are starting to taper off a bit, which means fewer people are reading it these days. And more honestly…I actually like it that way. It feels more exclusive to me when there are fewer readers, like it is our little secret. If it gets too popular someone will try to get it sponsored and then I will probably stop doing it because I won't be able to do it my way.
Right now on the IPod is "Close Every Door" from the Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat soundtrack. The version I am listening to has some guy named Danny playing Joseph. I forget his last name but this Danny guy was in a soap opera, and sang a version of the song "Rock On" that was a bit of a hit in the 90's. Several years ago I went to see Joseph in Chicago. It was the first major show I had seen and I loved it. As a side note…I went to see that show with four other people, and three of them are no longer living. Happy thought, I know.
From David in Altamont (9/7/10):
Indiana is an OPEN carry state, with the right permit. My sister-in-law carries a 9mm, all 100 lbs. of her.
So I suppose you stop with the sister-in-law jokes when she is actually in the room? It doesn't bother me that people are likely packing heat in Indiana. I would assume that if Illinois became an open carry state that there would be some unfortunate shootings for a few years. But as people adjusted to it I would think it would be a self-governing situation. People wouldn't show their butts in public so often when they know everyone that can see them is probably carrying a gun.
From Phil in Cissna Park (9/9/10):
Greg, I usually just wear t-shirts, but occasionally I'll wear something with a collar if the situation warrants it. That being said, I agree with you that tucking these shirts in looks, well, like Mommy dressed me and I won't do it. If that and a hat violate any dress codes to places I patronize, I'll turn around and walk away.
I prefer the casual look, too, Phil. I remember in 6th grade I tucked in a long sleeved woven shirt and went to school. At some point I caught my reflection in a window or mirror and thought I looked stupid. Ever since I only tuck when I am wearing a suit. And even then I don't always tuck. Most of the time when I leave work in the morning I barely get out of the building before I untuck my shirt for the drive home.
From John in Dalton City (9/9/10):
Hi Greg. Aboot the tucked in t-shirt thing. I've always tucked in my t-shirts. Personally I think it looks neater, not so sloppy. But I guess nowadays everything is so casual that it doesn't seem to be a big thing. Keep up the good work!
Thanks for the input, John! Did you meant to type "aboot"? If you did…was it a nod to the fact that I often pronounce it that way during the weather? I picked that up from watching Canadian wrestlers like Chris Jericho and Bret Hart. For some reason it stuck in my brain and that is the way I usually say words like that.
Or…maybe it was just a typo and I am being egomaniacal.
From another Gregorian (9/9/10):
I wear my Tee Shirt inside. I have always worked in a manufacturing type of employment, and most of the guys older, and my age, wore them inside. There was always something sticking out, or sharp you would catch them on, and it would tear them if you didn't.
Some large guys would wear them out because they weren't long enough to tuck in, or they were ashamed of how large their gut stuck out.
Some types of jobs you weren't allowed to have loose fitting cloths, or long sleeves. Could you image what would happen if you long sleeve shirt got caught in a spinning drill press spindle?
By the way your new shirts look good on you…but I noticed you wear your tee, and dress shirt inside, when you take your Jacket off.
One more way to look at the subject. If you're outside working, or a cook out, your chances of being bitten by a bug, or mosquito increases. (West Nile???) Later
That is a very good point. Obviously there are some types of work where tight and tucked clothes are better. Manufacturing comes to mind. Construction is probably another. And let's face it…strippers wouldn't look as good in loose clothing, either.
From Kelly in Argenta (9/9/10):
No no no no no.. and if I ever see you on the street with your shirt tucked in, I'll beat you up.
Did you just physically threaten me?? Nice!
From David in Altamont (9/9/10):
A little feller like you really doesn't have to worry much about tucking in a shirt. I tuck in my shirt for the main reason that because of my size, when I bend over, the shirt tail has a tendency to ride up, resulting in a real possible "plumber's cleavage". I used to work around several ladies and it just became a habit, out of respect for them.
There's one guy at work that does not tuck his shirt in and I SWEAR I'm gonna buy this guy a shirt that hangs to his knees. It seems like every time you glance his way, There it is for all the world to see. COVER THAT UP!!! No one should ever see that.
David…that should be a public service announcement! Say no to crack! And while we are at it…there should be a law stating that MOST people are not allowed to wear Spandex. The exclusion to the rule can be found two pieces of feedback above…
Have a great weekend! Thanks for the feedback on this tucked shirt issue. It seems that it comes down to personal choice. And my personal choice is relaxed and untucked. Some of you agree and some of you don't. I love this country.
I do hope you took a second to hit the B. Lime link I left for you yesterday morning. It will remain at the top of this blog for the time being. Check it out and let me know what you think. I believe there is also a place on their website where you can send Wendi an email if you have any thoughts/questions.
It has been mentioned here recently that my fashion sense is not…good. Clothes and how they look have never really been that important to me, overall. I don't keep up with trends very well. Color is not something I see very well, so I can't match clothes hardly at all. When I have shopped in the past I've usually had to bring someone with me to help. My sister has helped me before. I've had female friends come with me. It hasn't been hard to find someone. Many women love the idea of helping a dude pick out clothes. And I don't put up much of a fight over what is chosen because I just don't have the tools to know the difference. And of course these days Faye is in charge of my clothes, including what I wear to work. And I gotta say…her shirt/suit/tie combos have been tremendous (or so I'm told)!
So I have a question for those of you in the "fashion know". When a guy is wearing a regular tee shirt, or a knit shirt with a collar, or a woven button-up shirt…does anyone tuck those shirts in these days? Whenever I wear a shirt like this I NEVER tuck it in. I haven't done the tuck since I was in grade school. And to me it looks a little dumb when I see a guy walk by in a tee shirt that is tucked in. It looks dumb to me when a dude tucks in a knit shirt with jeans and a belt. I don't do it…ever. So am I wrong about this? Does it actually look better when it is tucked? Hit me with the 4-1-1. The feedback tab is at the bottom of the blog. We'll do the feedback tomorrow.
And thank you to those of you that are still giving me stars at the bottom of the blog!
A couple of months ago I removed from the blog the link to B. Lime, The Green Store. Wendi the store owner is working on getting the website set up to take orders, and that is a difficult and time-consuming process. The website isn't set up to take orders yet…but the store is still open. So I have decided to put the link back up. On the website you will find the philosophy behind the store. You will find updates on products they carry and sales happening. You can also find out how to follow the store on Twitter and Facebook.
So hit the link. Read about the store and what it offers. And then when you are headed to Champaign put the store on your list of places to go. It's pretty easy to find downtown. If you know how to get to KoFusion or Guido's you can find B. Lime. You will find some very cool things there. Tell Wendi you read about it here. I'm not sure what that will get you…but it will get me a thank you email from Wendi!
I've got a thermos from B. Lime that I use every day. I fill it with one cup of coffee before I leave home, and when I get to work I drink it. After the coffee is gone I wash out the thermos and fill it with water. And then I drink water the rest of the morning. The thermos is black on the outside. Shortly after I got the thermos last year I filled it with cold water and left it in the sun in my car for several hours. When I got back in my car I was thirsty…and I grabbed the thermos. The outside of the thermos was scorching hot. I opened it anyway because at that point I thought hot water was better than none. When I put the thermos up to my lips I braced for the water to burn me. But the water was still cold. Weird. That's a good thermos!
B. Lime also carries soap nuts (for laundry), which I have blogged about in the past and still use. You can also find naturally made soaps and detergents, etc…many of which I still use. And a lot of the stuff is made locally…which is very important. It's not a "tree hugger" place. B. Lime is just a place that supports responsible and renewable consumerism.
You know you've had a good weekend when you come back to work and don't even know what day it is. Literally I had to look up that today is the 7th. Friday night we watched "The Public Enemy" with James Cagney. It was made in 1931 and neither of us had ever seen it. Good movie…and it really shows how far movie making has come. Saturday we went to Schererville, Indiana to a wedding. The weather was bea, utiful…the drive there and back was tremendous…and the wedding was terrific. I also learne, d, , that Indiana is a carry-permit state.
Sunday was a rest and relaxation day. And yesterday was my fantasy football draft. I realize that most of you are probably not into fantasy football. But this year I will probably talk more about it here on the blog than I did last year. Here is my team:
K- Garrett Hartley
Feel free to let me know what you think. I am very happy I got Rodgers and Greene. Those are two guys that I really wanted and it worked out that I got both. My defense I will play based on matchups. The Chargers have some nice matchups early on…and although they are no longer an elite defense I am hoping they play well the first couple of weeks. Then I will go with a team that has better matchups. Overall I think the team is "nice". We shall see.
When my alarm went off this morning I hit snooze. I try not to hit snooze too much because it becomes easy to just turn off the alarm and not get up. There have been a couple of times over the past 7 or so years of doing mornings where I have actually considered just turning off the alarm, staying in bed, and quitting my job. But it is just one of those fleeting thoughts that go through your mind before you reason yourself back into reality. Then you get up like you do every other, morning and trudge your way back into work.
This morning, though, I realized just how tired I am of getting up this early. Because of getting up so early for so long I am always tired. And I am tired of always being tired. It's not yet to the point where I actually do find something else to do. I still have another year and a half on my current contract, and unless something weird happens I don't have any plans to bail early. So I will continue to get up early and get to work on time like I have every time I've had , to, work for the past several years doing mornings.
One of those weird things that is happening at some other stations around the country is starting the morning news at 4:30 instead of 5. I have no idea why stations do this, other than I've heard local programming is more profitable than syndicated programming. And in this economy everyone is trying to make money where they can. But I don't know if these early, early morning newscasts are actually pulling more viewers. Logically I wouldn't see why they would. But who knows?
At this station a few months ago we started a 4:30 P.M. newscast. Again…I have no idea why. Someone somewhere in charge around here made the decision probably because it was thought it would make us more money. And I honestly don't have a clue whether it is working or not. I'm always honest here on the blog…I don't hype things or throw propaganda…I've never even watched that newscast before. And to be even more honest…I really don't watch much TV at all anymore. For the past few years the only time I really watch this station is for "The Biggest Loser" and sometimes during nasty storms I will watch JC and Lee cover the storms if I am home. (Telling you that might actually earn me a conversation with one of The Suits. But I am not going to be fake here.)
Given the fact that this station went with the 4:30 P.M. newscast, as many other stations have already done…and the fact that many other stations are trying the 4:30 A.M. newscast…it would not surprise me if this station decided to start our morning news at 4:30 A.M. Again…I have no knowledge if we will or not, or if The Suits are even thinking about it. But it would not surprise me at all if it was on the table at some point in the near future. It is just the way things are going in a lot of places in the country.
If this station did start the morning news at 4:30 it means that everyone has to get up even earlier around here to get ready for work. Considering what I told you in the first two paragraphs this morning it might not surprise you to read that I will likely bow out if we start doing the news at 4:30 every morning. At this point in my life I just don't think it is worth it to put myself through the grind of getting up even earlier every morning. I am 85% sure I would decide to move on at that point. It wouldn't be a big deal to the station. They would just bring in someone else to do the weather and life would go on like it does anytime anyone else moves on from a job. But for me…personally…I think that would be a good time for me to get on with it.
But it is all just speculation at this point. I have no knowledge that this station is going to follow other stations around the country and try it. I have friends at other stations around the country that have tried it. But I don't know if it is working for those stations or not. It's just something that crossed my mind this morning as I was hitting snooze for the third time. I know a lot of you get up very early, too. Feel free to share with us here how you feel about getting up so early!
From Scott in Pana (8/27/10):
Here's something interesting to try on FB: go to the bottom of the page, click on English and you will get a pop-up list of languages. Click on English again - it's a drop-down list. Click on English (Pirate), then Save it.
I've tried it, Scott. Personally I don't like it. But I know a lot of people love it! Thanks for the tip!
From Sharon in Decatur (8/27/10):
Sorry I didn't send a greeting on your big day but that's the good thing about a belated birthday wish--it doesn't have to arrive on a certain day!! I'm glad you had a good birthday, you certainly deserve it.
PS I'm glad you're keeping little Gizz. I know you'll give him a great life.
Thanks, Sharon! I'm happy about little Gizz, too. The pooch is already spoiled!
From Jim in Taylorville (8/30/10):
I had to laugh Greg when you suggested that Tiger reads your blog. I agree with you though that golf is more fun to watch when Tiger is back in the hunt. I don't care how other people might view his personal life, he's STILL ranked #1 without even winning a golf tournament this year. THAT ALONE is unheard of, but, #2 (Phi, l) didn't even make the cut this week and let's face it.... Phil is rather boring to watch when compared to Tiger. Tiger WILL soon be back to winning, but it's going to be tougher sledding than ever because we now have several young guns who will give Tiger (even when playing at his best) a run for the money. I just tend to not integrate all the media attention given to Tiger's personal failures with his undeniable ENORMOUS golf achievements and records already set. His personal life is frankly none of my business, and far as I know he's committed no crimes or been charged with anything other than a common traffic ticket. He's merely been tried and hung by a jury of gossip mongering tabloid low life's who have no professional journalistic standards.
Sadly... the public seems to greedily feed on all these scandals, and lose sight of the fact that "the media" is lately failing to objectively report the simple "where, what, when, and why" of the more important news. "The national news media" is now far too editorial, and typically slanted to the liberal Left in most cases. The Tiger scandal was given more air time than our service men and women who were (and still are) dying overseas every day. Give me a break!
Ha! Wouldn't it be funny if Tiger did read this blog, though? Something tells me that kid doesn't have time for stuff like that. And if he did there is no reason in the world he would even know about this blog. I guess that is what makes my suggesting that so funny, though.
Don't even get me started on news coverage these days, Jim. But…and I have said this many times before…the issue doesn't boil down to what the media chooses to report. The issue boils down to the American public. What the American people watch the news media covers. Ratings equal money for news stations. And when news stations go tabloid ratings go up. That means that the American people actually do want to hear more about Tiger Woods shtooping a waitress than how our military people are faring overseas.
There is a bigger issue here about deregulation allowing corporate news media instead of journalistic news media. But maybe we should save that conversation for another day. Bottom line, though, is that when covering news became more about making a profit than actual true journalism…true journalism left the building.
From Bart in Champaign (9/1/10):
You can say that again, my friend! Football can't get here fast enough. With two Cy Young candidates and a perennial MVP, how can the Cards play this way? Bring on the draft!
Great question. You know they have heart, because they can win the big games. This season they just haven't been able to beat the teams they should beat, like the Nats and the Stros. I'm not sure what causes that. But this team should at least be a wildcard contender every season. The Reds are looking pretty good, though. Maybe they will be fun to watch in October. Doesn't really matter to me, though…cause I will be watching football instead!
From Lisa in Myrtle Beach (9/2/10):
Hi Grego. I haven't sent you any feedback in a long time so I thought it was time. I have been reading though! Thanks for sending Earl away from here, I didn't have the energy for him. Let's hope he loses his energy too and doesn't cause trouble. (Funny how I worked the weather in here). The song that reminds me of Knoxville is I love Rock n Roll by Joan Jett. Funny! Have a great weekend :0)
Hey, Little Lisa. Glad to hear from you on the blog again! Fortunately it looks like Earl is just going to drench the East coast and not do any real damage. Although you've stayed home through hurricanes before.
Joan Jett was huge back then! Nice memory!
Aight…that is all for this week. Have a great holiday weekend, all. Be careful out there. I will be doing a bit of travel this weekend to go to Northern Indiana for a wedding. And I am not working Monday, and likely won't blog. So we will see you Tuesday if today's blog doesn't get me fired!! :-)
--I don't want to bemoan this fact…but the Cardinals were swept yesterday by the Houston Astros. Are you freaking kidding me? Now they are 8 games out of first place, and it is really looking like this season is a wash for the beloved Redbirds. Maybe if they could have beaten teams like the Astros and Washington this season then beating teams like the Phillies would have meant more. Ugh. Helloooo football.
--I got an email yesterday from our investigative reporter Vanessa Murphy. I've been around Vanessa a few times. And despite the fact that I consistently call her Vanessa Hughes on the air…I like her. (Vanessa Hughes was a sportscaster for us several years ago. She wasn't particularly good at the job, but the woman was a real sweetheart.) But I digress. Vanessa MURPHY does a blog on this website called "The Real Scoop". She gives a bit more behind the story on her blog than we show on the air most of the time.
I don't quite understand the premise of what the station is doing with this "contest"…but if you hit Vanessa's blog she explains it there. Apparently if you have a situation in your life, and could use a little help, the station is going to spend some resources to try to help you solve the problem. So hit this link if you are interested!
--In April of 1983 the song "Come on Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners hit number 1 on the Billboard charts. That song is on my IPod right now, and it has always been my favorite pop song. Later that Spring in 1983 my Mom, brother, sister, and I moved from Knoxville, Illinois to Mattoon, Illinois. At the time I did not understand the move, and it took me about 2 decades to really understand it. For a long time I felt ripped from my home and friends…uprooted, if you will. And that caused me grief for a very, very long time.
Every once in a while I would travel back to Knoxville as an adult to just look at the places I had lived. There was no one there that I really knew anymore…just places and memories. This song always brings back a bittersweet feeling with memories of where I was raised. I always wondered what life would have been like had my parents not split and we had stayed there. Of course in fantasy you always assume that things would have been splendid, and everyone lives happily ever after. But as I got older I finally figured out that life actually would probably have been pretty mundane living in a town of less than 3000 people.
Of course…one never knows such things. I can only guess and speculate. My point is…that song was just on my IPod, and I wanted to let you in on what that song brings to me. And there is a larger issue here about children of divorce...but I will leave it alone, for now!
Tomorrow is "Feedback Friday"! Get your thoughts in now to make the cut!
--Thank God football season is starting. There is nothing better to take the collective mind off of a St. Louis Cardinals' collapse than the start of the gridiron season. Monday I've got a fantasy football draft for a league in which I have played for over 15 years now. It is made up of some high school friends, and other chaps. We plan it every year…and every year it is a blast. It's the one day a year when we all know for sure that we will get together. Sheer bliss.
--We are finally getting some solid rain this morning. From west to east the storms will track through our dry area. Hopefully by the end of the day we will all get a good start to getting our September rain quota.
--I had a dream last night about something that I can not remember. It woke me up at one point in the night and I thought I should get up and write some of it down because it would make a great plot for a movie. And now it is gone. Maybe it will come back to me.
--With September comes harvest for many farmers. One farmer in particular sent me an email to talk about the dangers of farm implements on the road. This time of year…we all need to be vigilant. Here is the email…
We farmers appreciate your newscast warnings to your viewers about our farm implements on the road. We thank you and your station so much. But now, if I may, I would like speak from a farmer's point of view.
Last Saturday morning, there was a tractor wreck in our front yard. Some teenage girl swerved her car TOWARDS this tractor, forcing him off the road into our yard, while she whizzed by with her arm out the window, giving him the "sign". This young farmer had bought a chisel plow from our neighbor and was taking it home some 10 or so miles away. He was not injured but was very shook up. The plow was okay but it bent the rim and blew out the tire on the big right rear tractor wheel when he crossed our ditch at full throttle, leaving big black skid marks on our road. It gouged out our embankment and took several feet of sod from our yard. I stayed with him and helped as his dad and other family members arrived. How much would you think a tire rim replacement would cost? According to Sloan's, $1,000...just the rim!
Last week a farmer was driving a tractor with grain wagons west of Carrollton on Route 108. The farmer had turned on his left turn signals to warn motorists of his upcoming left turn. Just as he was halfway into his left turn, a motorcycle passed on his left, plowing into the left front wheel of the tractor. The driver of the motorcycle flew over the handlebars to his death.
I think I can speak for most of us farmers in Central Illinois. Most accidents could be avoided if drivers would just simply PAY ATTENTION. Some drivers do and others just won't. You must realize the wheels on our tractors and combines are a heck of a lot bigger than your vehicle and can be unforgiving. And WE DO HAVE SIGNALS on most of our tractors and combines. It's not "just a bunch of flashing lights" like some motorists tell us. If we are making a left turn, then our left side lights will flash while the right side lights will stay on continuously; and vice-versa if we turn right. If ALL the lights are flashing together, then it's a safe bet we're heading straight through.
Most of us farmers try to be careful on the road. Yes, we're in a hurry too. More and more, I see about half of the motorists give us the finger when they pass by. Hey, we have as much legal right to be on that road as you do."