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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Personification of calm

While watching Good Morning America a few days ago, I saw a harrowing video from Houston TX. It was an eyewitness video of a fire at a construction site of an apartment building. On the fifth story was a construction worker stranded while the fire raged on a few feet away from him. The video contained the audio of the filmer’s panicked voice, as she watched helplessly through a window across from the construction site. My heart leapt as I watched the construction worker swung like a professional acrobat to the lower level balcony away from the fire. Just when the fire ladder reached him and he crawled  onto the rungs, the fifth floor’s blazing wall collapsed.
Thankfully, the construction worker got off of the balcony alive. As I watched other news channels of this same video (it was much easier to watch knowing that is would end in good news) I was struck by how calm and methodical the construction worker was in this moment of crisis. He really inspired me step by step on how to handle any crisis that I may face:
·         Don’t panic—he was surrounded by a wall of fire, yet he appeared calm and in control.
·         Assess the situation-- he knew he had to remove himself from that balcony stat.
·         Don’t  be afraid to ask for help—he waved towards the firefighter who was bringing the ladder close to him safely
·         Trust in your abilities—he confidently swung himself onto the next floor balcony and hopped on the ladder that eventually took him to safety without a moment’s hesitation

Hopefully, I won’t be in the exact situation as this brave construction worker was, but I will remember this news story as a true life lesson. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Where are all the DJ’s?

Recently, at the dentist office, of all places, I heard of the newest station in Boise, KZMG FM 102.7. I could hear the crooning of Kelly Clarkson over the harsh drilling of my tooth. I must admit, listening to this newest station was the most pleasant part of my appointment.
Afterwards, I entered my car and dialed the call numbers into the radio. As I listened, I realized that I hadn't heard any disc jockey’s friendly observations on this radio station, just the continuous flow of today’s hits.  
As if to answer my question, a disembodied voice informed the listeners to go online to request songs. I thought this was a clever idea—after all, we do tend to go to the Internet for everything.  With listeners submitting their play lists on line was another reason for no DJs.
I made a mental check list of the other radio stations sans DJ’s – Bob FM 96. and 105.1 Variety Rock.  I began to wonder—are we witnessing a new trend now?
I am of a generation where DJ’s were well known and celebrities of their own right outside of their radio stations, for instance Wolfman Jack and Rick Dees. When we moved to Idaho, I searched the radio stations to find DJ’s that I enjoyed listening to on my morning commute to work and locked them in.
Now, when my son is in the car with the radio on and a DJ is speaking, he immediately changes the channel. I asked him what’s going on and he announces that he doesn't really like listening their chatter, just get to the music!

As he switches the channel to Bob FM, before the next song starts, I realize that this station may not have a DJ, but it does have a nameless personality cracking a joke before announcing the call letters. Also, on Variety Rock, there is a nameless couple that exchange 10 seconds of friendly joshing.   Obviously, we are not ready to give up the DJ’s yet, just shrinking their banter to bite size. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

In memory of David Brenner

Yesterday I saw on Twitter the sad news that comedian David Brenner had passed away. I remember his comedic stand up act and appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. I always thought he was very funny with his keen observational humor and distinct vocal delivery.  He definitely paved the way for other comedians like Jerry Seinfeld and Paul Reiser.
However, my most vivid memory of him is quite serious.  When I was in grade school, I saw an interview with him on television.  He mentioned when he was a child, he cried so hard that his tears were blood.   Now I wonder: why does this snippet stick in my memory?

 As I mull it over, I suppose it was my introduction to empathy. At this young age, I had never heard of anyone being so emotionally distraught that they would cry so hard to draw blood.  I found his flashback story about this so out of the blue. I thought the interview would be primarily showcasing is comic flair. Instead, there was a small glimpse into his personal life. In my mind’s eye, I pictured him as a small boy, with crimson tears streaming down his face. I could actually feel the corners of my eyes hurting from the imagined pressure. I felt very sorry for him having gone through this, because I knew I wouldn't want this to happen to me—epitomizing the very meaning of empathy. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Jazz Sky

Many a time when I’m stuck in traffic, I look up and name the sky by its characteristics.  With the rain storms we've been having recently, I've been calling it a Mottled Sky--the clouds have been bubbly mixes of charcoal and pale grays. Some past afternoons, as the sun is setting, the color of the sky is painted with light blues, smoky pinks and iridescent purples. These times, I named it an Eye Shadow Sky.
My favorite is a Jazz Sky—that involves fluffy, cottony clouds and a sparkling azure sky.  I came up with this name a few years back completely by accident. On our weekend drives before our son was born, my husband and I couldn't agree on a radio station.  My preference was (and still is) Smooth Jazz, like Spyro Gyra or the Rippingtons.  My husband believes there are two kinds of music to listen to while he’s in the car: Country and Western-- take your pick! Though Country Western music is not my first choice, I do enjoy it; however, my husband thinks Smooth Jazz involves tuning instruments and playing the same chords over, and over, and over again.

One day, as we were driving, the weather was not stormy any more. A welcoming blue sky with white clouds was upon us. It felt great not having the cold rain pelt us and wanted to hear some Smooth Jazz to match the mood. I slipped in a Spyro Gyra CD in the player; the uplifting and tropical Morning Dance filled the speakers. My husband asked me why I switched the music and I announced with gusto, “It’s a Jazz Sky!” He smiled and from then on out, if the day had this Jazz Sky, I had a free pass to play Smooth Jazz. Sometimes, I would try to be sneaky and convince him that a sunny day with wispy clouds counted towards a Jazz Sky.  Alas, the criteria had been determined and George Jones ruled the airwaves that day!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Regards to Tim Wilson

On February 27th, I was listening to The Bob and Tom Show on my computer as I was getting ready for work.  Many a morning, their show has kept me in stitches and made me look forward to Mondays.   Not only are the hosts hilarious, this program also showcases many funny comedians. I had tuned into the middle of the show, and had missed the beginning. I heard them interviewing comedian Nick Griffin, who was speaking about Tim Wilson, another comedian who was a frequent guest of their show.
I remembered the first time I had heard Tim Wilson on their show. It was a few years ago, and I was changing channels on the radio on my way to work in the morning. I remembered my husband recommending the Bob and Tom Show, so I punched the scan radio button to their channel.  I had tuned into the middle of an interview. I heard a distinctive southern drawl coming through the speakers. This man, who I later learned was Tim Wilson, was speaking about a book he had written about Ted Bundy.   I was intrigued—he was introduced as a comedian, (a guitar playing comedian to boot) yet had written a well researched book about this notorious serial killer? Tim Wilson’s name stuck in my mind and found his comic routines very funny, like “Uncle BS”.    Granted, his humor leaned towards the non-kid friendly side, but since I was alone in my commute, my young son at the time wasn't present to hear.
Present day, as I listened to their broadcast, I couldn't help but notice that they were all referring to Tim Wilson in the past tense.  I thought this was odd, so I started to listen more closely.  Tom announced with great sadness that Tim Wilson had passed away the night before. I immediately felt empathy for the family that he had left behind.
This news was very sad to me, not only because this talented man wasn't around anymore to make us laugh, but how untimely his death was.  Years ago, when I would hear that someone died at the age of 52, I chalked it up to they were old and their time had come. Now, with each birthday drawing me closer to that age neighborhood, 52 is very young to me! This is a reminder that we’re on this Earth for a finite amount of time and to make the most of it in positive ways.

Tim Wilson struck me as a man who didn't bow to being conventional—he didn't let the fact that he was an established comedian hold him back from pursuing other non-comedic interests. I will let his memory serve as another reminder to me that it’s okay to stretch out of the expected.