So close, and yet so-cially distant.

In case you missed it (and there’s a 99.9% chance you did miss it), the podcast that I co-host is yesterday’s news! Er, I mean, it was in yesterday’s Cincinnati Enquirer. What do you mean you don’t subscribe to a newspaper? What do you mean you don’t even know what a ‘newspaper’ is?

“Daddy, this iPad is broken…”

Luann Gibbs wrote a “Top 10 ways to practice social distancing” article, and there we were, right at the top of the list. OK, eight spots away from the top of the list. But still, we got some ink!

Full disclosure: Luann Gibbs used to work at 97X, the station that is the focus of our podcast. But neither Dave nor I knew that she was going to mention us.

“Extra, extra… two old guys talk about a radio station that died a decade ago!”

It was our “the new phone book’s here” moment.

Actually, Dave and I don’t harbor any delusions of grandeur. (Occasionally, we do have delusions of adequacy, but we lie down until those go away.) Our podcast is extremely niche. Some podcasts have thousands of regular listeners, some have hundreds… we have “tens” of listeners. As I often say, “we’ve made about 50 people very happy” by bringing back fond memories of a small-but-mighty and much-beloved indie rock radio station. But it’s always nice to get a bit of recognition for the hard work you’ve done.

And now that we’re all under house arrest, there’s never been a better time to check out some new podcasts.

Freaky Friday

I loved this recent headline:

Not the part about someone going to prison. I wouldn’t wish that fate upon anyone… well, other than drivers who go one mile above the speed limit in the left hand lane, cable installation schedulers, and the occasional president.

But I didn’t even know that “Hot Pockets heiress” was a thing. A Hot Pocket is just a calzone, right? I’m pretty sure that was invented long ago. Maybe her family “invented” the microwaveable part of the equation, or they patented their famous “cold, spongy crust and roof-of-the-mouth-burning filling” combination.

Then again, if Mean Girls taught us anything, it was that there’s a fortune to be made in still-cold-but-somehow-really-hot convenience products.

I wonder if the Hot Pockets heiress ever dated the Pop Tarts scion. If they got hitched, that would certainly be a marriage of convenience. Instead she paid $100,000 to have someone correct her kid’s admissions exam, and another $200,000 to have her daughter admitted to USC as a bogus athlete.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to invent Toaster Corndogs or a microwaveable Twinkie. Time to cash in.

Award-winning moments from the 70s

You can keep your Survivor and your Bachelor. The Masked Singer can stay masked forever for all I care. Because way back before reality shows made celebrities out of ordinary people, there was a reality show that turned celebrities into pseudo-athletes. And it was pure television gold. Feast your eyes upon the glory that is… Battle of the Network Stars!

  • Howard Cosell at his bloviating best
  • Robert Urich at his jerky worst
  • Mr. Kotter kicking butt
  • Epstein loving Mr. Kotter kicking butt
  • Richie Cunningham and Laverne together
  • Farrah and Wonder Woman together
  • Kojak, baby!
  • 50% of the “athletes” smoking heaters
  • Schneider from One Day at a Time
  • The original Richard Hatch
  • Bruce Jenner when he was Bruce Jenner
  • “hullabaloo”

Truly a wonderful way to spend nine and a half minutes. Aw, who am I kidding? I watched that sucker three times, just trying to luxuriate in the glorious 70s-ness of it all.

Most of these folks have left us, but Gabe Kaplan is still around. (All that running kept him in shape… or maybe it was the lack of smoking.) I think he should lead the U.S. delegation in the opening ceremonies of this year’s Olympics.

Two-fer Tuesday. Two for every day.

Seth Godin’s daily blog posts (you can sign up here) are pure magic. They never fail to provoke, challenge and/or inspire. Two recent ones really hit home for me. Here’s Seth’s post from January 25th:

Awareness vs. experience

We are more aware than ever before. More aware of victims of violence, or a natural disaster. More aware of insane wealth or grinding poverty. It gets beamed to us, regularly.

We’re even more often exposed to social hijinks, sports stars or business moguls.

We’re aware that people run a marathon, or fast for a week. That they start a business or meditate every day. They know how to code, or to take pictures.

But there’s a difference between hearing about it and experiencing it.

There’s no excuse for being uninformed. But when it matters, there’s also no good reason for being inexperienced.

There’s often a piece of glass between us and the world as it’s delivered to us. That glass magnifies awareness, but it doesn’t have the same impact as experience does. It can’t.

Our awareness has been stretched wider than ever in history, but often at the cost of taking away a lifetime of experiences.

So true! Let’s repeat that last sentence, shall we?

Our awareness has been stretched wider than ever in history, but often at the cost of taking away a lifetime of experiences.

And now for the Seth Godin double shot, a post from yesterday, Feb. 3rd:

Something’s more interesting than this

And now, that’s always true.

Whatever you’re doing.

No matter who you’re with.

Something, somewhere, is more interesting than this.

And it’s in your pocket.

All the time. As long as the battery lasts.

There’s an alert, a status update, breaking news. There’s a vibration or a text, just waiting. Something. Right now.

Until infinity.

Unless we choose to redefine whatever we’re doing as the thing we’ve chosen to do, right here and right now.

Ignore the distractions and the coming attractions. Don’t take the clickbait. Focus on what YOU want to accomplish, not the dopamine hit that some AI algorithm is pushing.

The Joker gets serious

While most of America was watching Hour 88 of the Super Bowl pregame hypefest, Novak Djokovic was capturing his 17th Grand Slam title in the Land Down Under (which might have to change its nickname to the Land That’s On Fire).

I’m happy for “The Joker”… and not just because he’s my doppelgänger. (OK, he’s 23 years younger, much more athletic and much better looking… but if you squint you might see a slight resemblance.)

Djokovic or Dubbatrubba? You decide! Photo: Getty images

Djokovic’s career has overlapped with the heyday of both Roger Federer (20 Grand Slams) and Rafael Nadal (18) and he probably doesn’t get nearly the acclaim he deserves. Slowly yet steadily, he’s been gaining ground on both in overall titles and Grand Slams. He’s six years younger than Federer, and a year younger than Nadal. Before his career is over, he just might be the all-time leader in Grand Slams.

Photo: Getty Images

Novak also seems like a good dude. After the Australian Open final, he wore a jacket with Kobe Bryant’s initials and NBA numbers on it, and in his victory speech he offered some heartfelt words about what really matters in life.

“This is a reminder to all of us that we should stick together, now more than ever, being with our families, stay close with the people that love you. Of course, we are part of a professional sport. We compete and try our best, but obviously there are more important things in life. It’s important to be conscious and humble about things that are happening around you.”

Sounds like a winner to me.

Photo: Getty Images



Phone a friend

I’m going to dial that number, just to see who answers. Sure, I’d be happy to chat about access with this friendly fella:

But I’d be more excited if the person who answers is the ORIGINAL “Mr. T” from 1976 TV show Mr. T and Tina:

Yes, that’s Pat Morita, who left his role as Arnold on Happy Days to star in a sitcom created by James Komack, who had a few hits under his belt with The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, Chico & The Man and Welcome Back, Kotter.

Here’s the Wikipedia synopsis:

Pat Morita starred as Taro Takahashi, a widowed Japanese inventor who is sent with his family (an uncle and sister-in-law) from Tokyo to set up the Chicago branch of his employer, Moyati Industries. He hires scatterbrained and free-spirited American Tina Kelly (Susan Blanchard) as the live-in governess for his children, Sachi (June Angela) and Aki (Gene Profanato).[3]

Mr. T.’s inventions included underpants with a built-in transistor radio and the “flash in the can”, a coin-operated sunlamp in a restroom.[4]

They had me at “underpants with a built-in transistor radio”…

You might be shocked to discover the show didn’t make it. Even with a great lead-in show:

And a great follow-up show in the lineup.

Not only that, but Mr. T and Tina had a pre-Love Boat Ted Lange in the cast as ” hipster Harvard the Handyman”…

They wound up shooting a mere 9 episodes, and only 5 made it to the air before the plug was pulled.

Plots for the few shows produced focused on Mr T’s inventions and the unintentional Americanisation of the Takahashi children at the hands of Tina, who taught them words and phrases such as “cool,” “the pits,” and “neato,” much to Mr T’s chagrin.

The Japanese-American community complained about the racial stereotyping in the show and the ratings flagged quickly. (Source: https://nostalgiacentral.com/television/tv-by-decade/tv-shows-1970s/mr-t-and-tina/ )

You can’t blame Pat Morita for leaving Happy Days. The show sounded “neato.”

But it wound up being “the pits.” That’s OK, because somehow Pat managed to rebound from his TV bomb.

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