Analog Liberty

Something about my mother’s passing has left a yearning in me to time-travel.

Not really.  Not literally.  Not even to “go back” to see her, though I miss her everyday.


Green Flavoradio

I had a green Flavoradio just like this one.

It’s something more ephemeral.  More sensory.  A kind of wish; a wish I could will into being.  It’s wanting the ability to conjure up the feeling you get when a song transports you; that feeling you get when, upon hearing a song, you are instantly transported to a moment in time, to where you associate it with, to when you remember hearing it on your transistor AM radio from Radio Shack, in a time and place when people you know, or knew, were of a certain age, and to experience again how things smelled, how the sun felt on your skin, looked as it passed through the trees and glistened on the grass beneath your bare feet.

It’s not even about some romanticized version of anyone, my mother or my childhood.  It’s not a yearning to return to “simpler times,” or “carefree days,” or a sanitized, sainted hologram of my dead mother and the 1970’s.

But it is analog.  And it is about that decade.  Not the ’80’s, when I was in college and flailing about.  Not the ’90’s when I’d found some equilibrium, launched my career, and (thank God!) met my husband.  It’s certainly not about the ’00’s, when our children were little, the towers fell, and the world changed forever.

No.  It’s this recurring mental image I have of something I remember actually, literally thinking when I was a teenager, in the 1970’s.

You could disappear.

You could wander America absolutely untracked, unknown, and therefore, with absolutely unlimited possibilities.  Unlimited in that you could travel unencumbered by any “baggage.”  If you’d completely f*cked-up your life, you could move to a distant town or state, and start-the-hell-over.  And I fully understand this kind of liberty can be used nefariously; to avoid child-support payments or back-taxes or a life of crime.  I get that.  But that necessarily means a very few people because a very few people do those things (in the grand scheme of things.)  No.  I’m talking about the non-nefarious 90+% of us who used to have the ability to wander undetected by satellites, Google-maps, or the Federal f*cking Government, perhaps to the upper altitudes of interior Maine, spying the distant blue of the Atlantic from a sap-soaked mountain clearing… because… we could!  Just because we could.  That’s the picture, the locale, the postcard I have in my head and it keeps calling to me!  I don’t know why! (Remember postcards?  What we used to send instead of a text with an iPhone snap? Seems quaint, huh? How very analog we were…)

This old Maine postcard is kinda what I have pictured in my head.  I had more pine-needles underfoot in mind, but, this will do.

This old Maine postcard is kinda what I have pictured in my head. I had more pine-needles underfoot in mind, but, this will do.

Now, let me pause for a moment to reassure my gentle reader that I don’t have any plans to go all Unabomber and live in a shack writing manifestos on the evils of modern life.  I love modern life.  I’m typing this, my 600-somethingth  blog-post right here, right now, on this very machine, because I believe in the positive power and reach of this magnificent platform we now have.  And as someone with crippling social issues, it’s my lifeline.  I honestly think the internet has saved lives;  lives like mine (I have Asperger’s if you’re new here.)

But I digress.  This wish, this longing for analog America is much, much bigger than me and my goofy brain and life.  It’s something else, again.  It’s about my kids, and losing Liberty; capital “L” Liberty.

Alex Keaton

Alex Keaton. I might have had a crush on him if he weren’t short 😉

I literally – literally – remember thinking, when I was a teenager, that in America you really could disappear.  I don’t remember what sparked the thought but my sense is it had something to do with my late brother Daniel (7 years older than me) having another battle with my Dad.  Something tells me he threatened to do it.  Just blow that clambake at Hatherly Road.  The way I remember my two brothers during that time, my brother Mike (8 years older than me) was (what we later came to know as the 1980’s television character) Alex Keaton, the smart, resourceful capitalist, and my brother Dan, the free-spirited hippie wanting to spend his days seeing America, man, in his souped-up Chevy Van, man.  This was a cause of much discordance at the ol’ homestead.

I remember thinking my brother Dan could disappear…  And right after that I remember thinking how big America is, and that made this thought bigger, vastly bigger, at least as big as sea to shining sea…

…which, as was my next thought, meant I could disappear.  And I remember feeling unsafe at the thought.  That there could be all kinds of people wandering the quiet countryside who were not who they said they were.  And then I remember thinking that our whole system, our whole country then, relies on the fact that people will act honorably!  Which, of course, it does!  The Founders spoke and wrote often that this experiment in human liberty would fail if not for a “Godly” population.  Until a few decades ago, there was very little the federal government could do to “track” the “un-Godly.”  Now of course, there’s ankle-bracelets and GPS and all kinds of technology I’ve previously mentioned, and now these technologies track all of us, “Godly” or not.

We are all now digitally shackled.

So now, I look at my girls, not much older than I was when I had this realization about the depth, breadth, and magnitude of my capital “L” Liberty, and I feel sorry for them.

And that’s where the yearning for the time-travel comes in.

I wish I could capture for them that feeling!  That feeling that you could wander…




“Our Love” by Gregory Porter

This man’s voice is pure butter.  I mean… I don’t often come across talent like this; because it’s not just the gift of his instrument, it’s how he uses it, and more importantly, how he doesn’t use it, or abuse it.  Here’s what I mean:  Mariah Carey has a gift in the instrument of her voice but she abuses it.  This man, Gregory Porter does not, and that is the rare, exquisite, other-half of his work that makes it other-worldly.  Add the fact that his band doesn’t perform acts of public self-gratification on their instruments by going off on scatting scales or circular breathing marathons, and we have a must-listen.

Just by way of information:  I’ve been listening to the “Jazz Chill” “radio” station on iTunes throughout this winter of my mother’s illness and it’s been a great comfort to me; it’s where I found this song, and thus, Gregory Porter.  I guess I can’t help recommending it, because… Old disc-jockeys never die, they just rock out…


Opie & Anthony & Fired for Cause

Anthony, of Opie and Anthony, looooong time radio host and hugely successful in syndication/satellite, was punched in the face in Times Square.  His assaulter then went on to bring in some buddies to escalate the situation and Anthony, quite understandably, was upset. He tweeted that his assaulter a “pig” and a “savage” (and worse as you will see below) saying it “validated” his beliefs – whatever that means. (BTW: He’s fine. He’ll fully recover, quickly, and without any other intervention but time, but he was fired; he was fired for his Twitter rant afterwards.)

Even worse, this radio host, with a devoted, even cult-like following, issued what could arguably be described as a “call to action.”  A “call to action” is very familiar to anyone who has ever read ad copy into a microphone – as Anthony has.  It’s when you say “Call now!” “Come in now” etc.  The call to ACTION.  Well, Anthony, in one of his tweets, said he “hoped” his assaulter got “shot & killed.”

Oh dear.

And… remarkably… It gets WORSE.

Consider:  He said all this after he got home, with time having passed, with sufficient time for contemplation and reflection, and the ability to choose not to sit down at his computer and tweet all this. He chose to tweet all of his anger AFTER contemplation. Had he done it laying on the sidewalk waiting for the cops, one could forgive him.  But he didn’t.  He didn’t do it on an impulse.  He did it after sufficient time to make a purposeful, rational choice.  His anger was completely justified. But, having had time to choose any number of a hundred ways to deal with it, he chose the most public and most crude.

Unfortunately for him, his assaulter was a black woman. Her buddies were black. And the language & the sentiments he chose to make public should be offensive to ANYONE. No matter WHAT happened or how righteous his anger at being assaulted.

I’ve signed radio contracts. I’m not a big cheese like Anthony, but I’ve been in the neighborhood and I can tell you those contracts, as mine did, included “morals” clauses and other clauses related to my public conduct. As a “public figure” my job was to preserve the brand of the entity I was contracted with. Spewing racial anger on Twitter is not good for the brand…

Sorry Anthony.

You deserved to get canned. You had time to go home, get home, grab a beverage, sit down, turn on the computer, and think. And you CHOSE, after all that, to spew. Publicly.

You should have known better.

Again – Sorry, big guy.

Story, from The Hollywood Reporter, below.

‘Opie and Anthony’ Host Goes on Racist Tirade

Opie and Anthony host Anthony Cumia has gone on an offensive Twitter tirade after he claimed a woman attacked him in Times Square.

The incident sparked a racist rant from the SiriusXM DJ, who said on Tuesday that he was taking photos of New York City when an African-American woman, who was in his frame, punched him in the face. The woman said she did not want to have her picture taken, according to Cumia.

“Then she punched me 5 more times. She’s lucky I was a white legal gun owner or she’d be dead. Then 5 blacks started giving me shit!” the 53-year-old host tweeted.

Cumia proceeded to angrily rant on Twitter throughout the night and on into Wednesday morning, posting photos of the woman that he took during the altercation, calling her an “animal bitch,” a “c—,” a “savage” and saying that he hopes she gets shot.

“The switch to violence is immediate. No discussion, just violence. When will THAT be addressed? Oh, right, never. Slavery did it? Oh, ok,” he wrote.

Cumia claimed that he wasn’t hurt by the woman’s blows and managed to block most of them.

He later wrote that the incident ended with him walking away since there were “no cop around” to stop the situation.

He also claimed that it was “open season on white people … no recourse at all. Fight back and you’re a racist.”

Cumia later lashed out at media outlets who called his tweets “racist,” saying that the woman called him a “white motherf—er.” He wrote, in part, “I was assaulted and used ‘mean’ words on twitter and I’M the bad guy in all this?? Lol!” and “The 1st words out of her dumb ass mouth after punching me in the head were ‘white motherf—er’ but I’m the racist here? Bizarro land!”

This isn’t the first time Opie and Anthony, which began in 1995 and features co-host Gregg “Opie” Hughes, has faced controversy. The show has been fined by the FCC twice. The first fine, for $21,000, covered broadcasts from 2000-01, which included a segment in which a 17-year-old girl was instructed to take off her panties and rub a telephone across her pubic area, as well as a song called “I’m Horny for Little Girls.”

A second 2004 fine saw Viacom — parent company of CBS Radio/Infinity-owned stations — pay $3.5 million to cancel all pending indecency claims against the show. At issue was a “Sex for Sam” contest in which people were encouraged to have sex in a public place.

SiriusXM did not immediately respond to request for comment.

See below for a selection of Cumia’s enraged comments and his response to being called “racist.”

It’s a jungle out in our cities after midnight. Violent savages own the streets. They all came 2 defend this pig. I had to yell like at dogs— Anthony Cumia (@AnthonyCumia) July 2, 2014
I was using my arms to block her punches. As I did, she’d yell “DONT TOUCH ME!” As she punched more! I really hope she gets shot & killed
— Anthony Cumia (@AnthonyCumia) July 2, 2014
All good. Vision in right eye is back to normal. It more pissed me off than anything. Validated my beliefs.
— Anthony Cumia (@AnthonyCumia) July 2, 2014
My posts on twitter after I was assaulted were profanity laced indeed but racist? Nope. Why should I afford my attacker any courtesy? Insane
— Anthony Cumia (@AnthonyCumia) July 3, 2014
Reverends & pastors all over the US have rallies, marches & vigils against violence in black communities. I comment on it & I’m racist? Why?
— Anthony Cumia (@AnthonyCumia) July 3, 2014
When I’m being punched in the face, the thought that what I say may offend my attacker is pretty far down on the to do list.
— Anthony Cumia (@AnthonyCumia) July 3, 2014


Smooth Insomnia

Up in the middle of the night again.

Gosh I love menopause-induced insomnia… not.

Actually, there’s a lot about it I love, weirdly.  I enjoy the solitude & the quiet.  With Leigh homeschooling now I am rarely alone, so that part of my nightowl routine is nice, but egad, it wrecks me for the next day.  Ah well.

Anyway, I tuned into the Phil Hendrie show pre-show video cast and he’s been stuck on this rant about the radio business the last several times I’ve caught it and it brought me back.  Straight down memory lane.  So I did a web archive search for WJJZ.

Whadda ya know.  It’s out there ->

It had the jingle, too!  And it’s just like I remember!  We had wicked cool jingles (most of the time – we had a few misses here and there, but mostly they were very, very, very cool, like this one featuring Al Jarreau, who, for the record, was neither particularly liked/disliked by me, but he just did a wicked good job on our jingles!).

WJJZ Al Jarreau Voiced Jingle

Sometimes I miss those days so much it aches.  I miss how much I loved it.  I miss how much fun it was.  I truly loved the music we played.  Our little station went from being just another SJ outlet to being one of the most respected, and certainly one of the highest rated ones, and at the time, Philly was the #4 or #5 market – I can’t remember which, and, in fact, it may have been both.  Anyway… with Janie in promotions, Ann programming, and Michael & Me & Desiree, and Frank!  Oh Frank!  Frank Childs doing our production and being our “utility” guy filling in everywhere and doing everything and doing it all with such expertise and good humor, we were a very special team.  Very, very, VERY special. It was one of those happy coincidences in life when exactly the right people were doing exactly what they were born to do at exactly the right moment in time.  I haven’t had as magical a professional experience before or since and I doubt, surely at this point in my life, that I ever will again.

When I left, in the spring of 1998, I was pregnant with the twins.  I knew what I was giving up.  I wouldn’t change a thing.  I made the right decision and would do it again… but man… those were golden days.  Hard.  There were some very, very hard days, but damn.  Good, golden days.


AFTERTHOUGHT:  I had to come back and insert a favorite memory I’ve talked about repeatedly over the years.  At one of our last station functions, a circle of us did $17 per shot tequila… TEN of us.  THREE rounds.  On Ann’s expense account. These were the go-go ’90’s when money was falling out of the sky, everybody had expense accounts, and life was very, very good financially.

*double sigh*


Radio is/was my LIFE, but…

…how in hell do you get the ball game on this thing?

This is a pic of the dial of an antique radio.  Damned if I know which side is up but it sure is pretty, huh?  “They don’t make ’em like that anymore!”