Friday, June 17, 2016

As the Sumner Turns

Another day, another dramatic story in the life of 90-something Sumner Redstone...

After taking weeks to line up all his pieces in his battle with Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman, Sumner Redstone has finally made his big move to regain control of his company. Today, his National Amusements, Inc., which controls Viacom and CBS Corp., announced that it had removed five members of Viacom's board of directors—including Dauman—and had elected five new independent directors. The massive board overhaul also sets the stage for Dauman's eventual dismissal as Viacom CEO.

You can believe that Sumner is making this power play himself as he sits in a near vegetative state in a wheelchair, or you can believe someone else is doing it, but there's never a dull moment in this on-going story.

10 Years of Blogging: The Reason I Write

This year marks my tenth anniversary as a blogger. To celebrate that anniversary, I've been going through my archives to repost a few of my favorite pieces from that decade. This one goes back nearly ten years. One day I sat down to write a column about the inspiration for my column "Father Knows Nothing". I had no idea this is what would come out. I decided to use it for the final chapter in the book. I call it "Why I write". I'm re-running it today because it would have been my dad's 81st birthday. That's a photo of Eckhard. He's been gone now more than half of my life...

Losing a parent has a tendency to change your outlook on life. I know it happened to me. When my father died, I was 25. That’s a pretty young age to become fatalistic, but I’ve chosen to look on the bright side of being fatalistic. For one thing, I no longer take things for granted because I know that my time on this earth is limited.

I know this is going to sound bad, but I wish my father had been a little more fatalistic. Of course, it’s totally unfair to say that about a man who walked into a hospital emergency room one day at the age of 54, and never came out again. His mindset was understandable. Both of his parents were still alive when he died. He had no reason to ever think about death. And even if he had, all three of his children were already adults (25, 24, and 19), and he had done a pretty good job of raising relatively normal functional members of society. Why would he bother thinking about what life would be like without him?

I know I’m being greedy here. I realize that. He gave me all he could give...and then some. But now that I’m a father myself, I find myself wanting something I never wanted before. His advice. I always considered Dad to be a source of wisdom, even when I strongly fought against it. He was a reasonable man, a thinker, someone who gave quite a bit of thought to his words before they came out. He wasn’t always right, but he was never rash or emotional. In short, he was the perfect kind of person to ask for advice.

And I never did.

And now that I’m a father myself, I have a million questions.

That’s probably one of the reasons I have so overcompensated with my own boys. I’ve tried to use my father as a model—his steady temperament and his guiding hand, while trying to give them what he couldn’t give me. It’s one of the reasons I’ve decided to stay home and raise them. I’m part of virtually every phase of their lives, and I’m constantly giving them unsolicited advice about every subject under the sun just in case they ever need it someday.

Unfortunately, I don’t quite have the fountain of wisdom my father had. He had knowledge that came from a difficult childhood of emigration and language barriers and hardship that I couldn’t even imagine. You learn things when you experience difficulty—and he must have learned so much. Most of those lessons learned, however, died with him. I didn’t have the foresight to ask about them, and he didn’t have the foresight to commit them to paper.

So I write.

That way, what I know will not go away when I go away. Even if my boys choose to ignore it for most of their lives, I’m fairly confident there will come a time when curiosity will get the best of them, and they will seek out wisdom from their father. When that time comes, there’s a possibility I won’t be around to deliver it in person.

The son spends his life trying to distance himself from his father, trying to make his own way in the world, trying to become a man. There’s nothing wrong with that—it’s part of growing up. I certainly don’t take it personally when my boys ignore my advice and insist on making the same mistakes I made. Some kids just learn better that way. I know I did. But there will come a day when they need me. And I just can’t bear to think that I won’t be there when they do.

So I write.

When they do seek me out, even if I’m not around, my words will still be here, to bring me back to life. They won’t have to wonder what was going through my mind when I was in their shoes--because they can read it. And if they end up having boys just like themselves—and my experience tells me they just might—they can see how and why I did what I did.

Why do I write? I know that part of the audience for every word I write includes three grown men I’ve never met. Three men who may one day want to ask Dad for advice. I only have my time, my love, and my words. I give those with all of my heart.

That’s why I write.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Minutia Men, Episode 7

This week's episode features Naked dining, Paul McCartney, Father’s Day extravaganzas, a Cubs stalker, and Rick’s brush with John Travolta.

Listen to it here.

Terry Boers Out for Two Months

Robert Feder has the details about Score afternoon host Terry Boers. He announced that he has to take care of a medical condition that requires surgery, and therefore won't be on the air for the next two months.

As the Sumner Turns

Another day, another twist in the twisted life of Viacom/CBS chairman Sumner Redstone. From Tom Taylor's NOW column...

“Sumner Redstone says he no longer trusts Viacom board or CEO.” Forget Alice in Wonderland - Things in Redstone-world just keep getting stranger. Redstone – who’s been absent from public view for a year – emailed Viacom board member Fred Salerno to say “I no longer trust [Executive Chair/CEO Philippe Dauman] or those who support him.” The Viacom board has requested a meeting with Sumner, but all they’re getting so far is this email. The Wall Street Journal reports the blunt email (from a typically blunt Redstone), and also the response by Salerno – “We could clear a lot of this up if Sumner would share his thoughts with me face to face.” Dauman questions Redstone’s mental capacity, and some in his camp suspect that Sumner’s daughter Shari is behind his recent change of mind about Viacom management and the board. But an amazing thing happened last week – the Journal says “after spending more than a year in seclusion, Mr. Redstone emerged to make a trip to Paramount’s Hollywood lot, where he chatted briefly with studio chief Brad Grey.” And this – “On Tuesday, he made a similar trip to CBS Chairman/CEO Leslie Moonves.” The Journal’s Joe Flint says “both conversations took place in the van transporting Mr. Redstone, who needs a nurse to translate his stroke-impaired speech.” A Viacom rep says the van-visits were “legal and publicity ploys.”

Record Producer Missing in Wilderness

Elliot Wolff, a producer/song writer for the likes of Paula Abdul, Aretha Franklin and Taylor Dayne has disappeared without a trace. This news comes from the Sante Fe New Mexican...

Wolff, who has an address in Santa Fe, planned to hike and camp in the area, Pierce said. A fishing spot, the Dalton Canyon picnic area, is approximately 6 miles north of Pecos on N.M. 63 in a rugged section of the Santa Fe National Forest. When Wolff did not return, police launched a search Thursday that included crews on horseback and foot, some with dogs. State police also used a helicopter during the days-long search, Pierce said. Thunderstorms hampered their efforts Friday, but the search continued through the weekend, yielding no clues, according to police.

Without any leads, authorities suspended the search Sunday.

Bill Maher Will Cover Both Conventions

Maher will host live versions of his show "Real Time" at both the Republican Convention in Cleveland, and the Democratic convention in Philadelphia.

Deadline has the details.

Maher may or may not be your cup of tea (I waver back and forth myself), but he is quite good at live coverage. His show is actually live every week.

Late Night Turns on Trump

It used to be funny ha-ha. Trump was an easy target for jokes. But now, it's taken a bit of a turn...

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Um, thanks?

Got this in my e-mail box. Thanks to "JB" for this one...

Alligator Drags 2-Year-Old Boy into Water at Disney

This is a horrible story. I can't even imagine how these parents felt. They saw an alligator drag their 2-year-old son into the water at a Disney resort. The father tried to rescue the boy, but he was no match for an alligator.

Have I mentioned I'm going to Disney in a few weeks?

Orlando is starting to sound like a very dangerous place.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Wanna Meet Paul McCartney?

There's an auction going on right now via ebay. The package is incredible. It includes: a pair of passes to attend a sound check; a meet-and-greet with Sir Paul; two tickets to one of his concerts (select dates in July & August); an official photo (sent to the winner after the show) and two round-trip Delta One Business/First-Class tickets within the Continental U.S. The auction runs through 8am PT on June 23.

You can check it out here.

As of this writing, the price was only $15,500.

Roe Conn Signs Extension

WGN-AM afternoon host Roe Conn has signed an extension. From Radio Online...

WGN-AM/Chicago inks a contract extension with afternoon host Roe Conn into the year 2020 from 3-7pm. A lifelong Chicagoan, Conn has been one of the city's top rated radio personalities for the last two decades. Conn began hosting weekday afternoons at WGN Radio in late January, 2015. Daily contributors to the show include WGN-TV news anchor Mark Suppelsa and chief meteorologist Tom Skilling with Anna Davlantes as co-host.

"Roe's passion for relevant stories and magnetic characters has turned afternoons on WGN into a must-hear daily ritual. He's become the ring leader for one of my favorite radio ensembles," said VP/Programming and Content Todd Manley.

"Being at WGN has been the most special experience of my career," added Conn. "People make the difference and this station has the most diligent, professional and collegial folks I've ever worked with. But what continues to amaze me every day is WGN's dynamic, engaged and loyal audience. It's an incredible honor to be a part of their day."

How the Late Night Shows Covered the Shooting

This writer watched all the late night shows yesterday and compiled a list of how they handled the horrible Orlando shooting.

All of them were quite respectful, and handled it well.

Trump Revokes Washington Post Media Credentials

There have been presidential candidates who avoid speaking to certain media outlets before, but this is the first time a candidate has completely revoked media credetials for a major well-respected newspaper. Even President Nixon, who was driven from office by the Washington Post, wouldn't have dreamed of doing something like this.

Donald Trump is a new kind of politician. He did it because he said the Washington Post was dishonest in reporting his completely crazy insuations yesterday, when he implied that President Obama had some sort of "other" reason for not saying the words "Radical Islamic Terrorism". It was a clear insuation that Obama must be Muslim, and/or somehow sympathetic to the terrorist cause, which of course, is completely outrageous, ignorant, and moronic. That's what the Washington Post was pointing out. If that's not exactly what he meant, perhaps he should explain it, rather than banning an entire newspaper (one of the three or four finest papers in the country) from attending his events.

You can't just say crap like that anymore, Mr. Trump. That's why we have a free press in this country. To hold our politicians accountable. If someone said that about you, you'd be in court right now.

This a great Washington Post article about the way Trump spreads inuendo. It's called "A lot of people are saying".

Here's another piece by Post columnist Dana Milbank. He has even more examples.

Monday, June 13, 2016

RIP Judy Jetson

The voice of Judy Jetson, Janet Waldo, passed away over the weekend. She was 96 years old.

Janet also was the voice of Josie (from the Pussycats) and Penelope Pitstop.

Orlando Shooting

Horrible horrible events in Orlando over the weekend. My heart goes out to the victim's families.

I'm actually vacationing in Orlando in a few weeks. Ironically, I'm going there to watch European Cup soccer matches instead of going to France (where they are taking place). The reason I chose not to go to France was that I considered it too dangerous.

There really isn't anywhere safe anymore.

Dish Network Blacks Out WGN

From this morning's Deadline Hollywood...

The impasse in negotiations between Tribune Media and Dish Network over market rates was unable to be resolved before the expiration of the deal between the two companies, and Tribune channels have now gone dark in 33 Markets on Dish. The companies failed to reach agreement on an extension of the current deal that would continue service while a new deal is worked out.

There are more details at the link, but this is strictly a hardball negotiation.