Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The doctor's office

My father once said to me, "You know, the worst part of getting old is you spend all your time horsing around with these darn old doctors." The young college kid (male) has no prescriptions. Then in his thirties he picks up one. By the time he's fifty he has four. By his sixtieth birthday he has seven. By seventy he has twelve. And his wife has twenty seven. They have huge drug caddies just to keep up with the things. Finally somebody tells them the problem is that they are over medicated.

Going to the doctor's office nowadays is different than in the old days. Then you would read tired old Reader's Digests and try to guess the other patient's diseases. Now they have tv shows. Not ordinary shows like the View or Wheel of Fortune.

No, they show the Health Channel. I was sitting in the doctor's office watching the thing and noticed that every disease they featured, I had. "I have that!", I would say gleefully. Then they'd have another feature where a cute twenty year old would describe another disease. And I would say, "I have that too! I am lucky today."

Then they take you in and weigh you. I treat this like I am in security at the airport. Off go the shoes, the wallet, the keys. I need all the help I can get.

You think your turn will come when you finally get into the doctor's consultation room. But no, you have to wait there without tv for another half hour. At least here you can eavesdrop on other patients' visits.

My, do patients have ailments. Once in the eye doctor's office I felt like going into the room next door and shouting, "of course you can't see well at night, you're old!"

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A furlough

At work there is a possibility we may all be furloughed for two days. One in May and one day in June. I've never been furloughed. Admittedly it's a wimpy furlough but still it's a furlough. Everybody is all excited and jumping up and down. A wimp at heart, I'm willing to play ball. I've always believed in the credo "to get along you go along". I'd do well in the Army but I was a miserable shop steward.
Getting furloughed is one thing. Getting laid off for real would be another. Great for this blog but not so great for my pocketbook.
Editor's note: In search of a picture of a furlough, I came across an interesting story of world war 2 called Gallagher. The serendipity factor.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Many of our newspapers are in financial trouble. True, people are reading their papers on-line, but they are not paying for it like their parents did when they paid the paperboy every week for the paper. That's the crux of the problem. If you can get something in a convenient form for free, why pay for it. When radio starting playing records, the record companies panicked. Then ASCAP started charging radio stations fees to play recorded music. Under an arcane formula, songwriters got money for air play.

We need to use ASCAP as the business model to charge moderate fees for reading publications online. We'll all hate it and grumble but we'll do it if we have no choice. The publishers must unite and create a pay mechanism for its content. Internet providers will have to pay a fee to receive magazine and newspaper content. They'll pass the cost onto consumers. Schools and libraries would get a free ride since they are largely their own isp's. Problem solved.

My chair collapsed while I was sitting in it. I feel like I am in a Japanese restaurant. It's feelings must have been hurt by an earlier blog.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Of Superbowls and chicken fingers

When Bruce Springsteen came on the Superbowl he asked everyone to put down their guacamole dip and rock and roll. It reminded me of my first exposure to the Springsteen brand.
I was doing the classical program on WRSU, the voice of Rutgers University. The program was

preempted by a football game. Incidentally, this was in the pre big time football era at Rutgers. I had to audit the game and make sure the program had no problems, do the transmission tests, etc. even though my show was preempted. It's called being a team player.

Sitting to the left of the turntable was a new album called "Greetings from Asbury Park". It looked interesting so I potted it up so I could hear this new guy, Bruce Springsteen. Then somebody burst into the studio, put the game on the speakers and said, "if you want to hear the Springsteen album okay, put it on the small speakers. You're hear to audit the game, not audition records." Bruce Springsteen got me into trouble. And it involved football.

Last night he was the halftime show. Not bad. He's put on a few pounds since I saw him at the Ledge but so what.

The Superbowl has become America's annual party. It schlock but a football game should be schlock. Guys who landed planes in the Hudson River. A guy in charge of the armed forces in Iraq. A woman who's family was murdered but can still belt them out. It's the Superbowl. And the commercials. You hated to go to the bathroom because you might miss a great commercial.

And the game itself. A seething cauldron of violence. Guys pulling off other guys face-masks. Guys hitting other guys when no one is looking. John Madden said that the penalties usually go to the second guy who does something. He must have said "big, strong" men or arms ten times during the game. No wonder he's the dean of football broadcasting.

Still it was fun. In these times fun is worth something after all.