Our son Peter graduated from Ohio University a couple of weeks ago. It was a gorgeous, sunny Spring day. Fitting, because his future is bright, and he’s still growing into the person he’ll become.
Peter got cheated out of some of the college experience (thanks COVID!). But in his own quiet, unassuming way, he put in the work. Triple major. Summa cum laude.
The academic prowess is great, but five years hence, it won’t matter as much. Your friends and co-workers won’t care what your major was – they’ll care about how you treat them. Peter’s summa cum laude in that department too. Kind. Caring. Gracious. Generous. Supportive. That’s what we’re most proud of.
It’s called “commencement” because it’s the start of the next chapter. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for him.
Photo above from The Mercantile Library’s website.
And tomorrow night, I’ll be co-hosting an event there. It’s bucket list material for me.
A sold-out event at that! I harbor no delusions that anyone will be there to hear from me. They’ll be there because they loved a little radio station in Oxford, Ohio that respected their listener’s ears and minds.
My 97X buddy Dave and I started a podcast a few years ago, recording episodes in my basement. We had no idea what we were doing. Still don’t, honestly. “Shoestring budget” would be inaccurate. No budget. Actually it’s a “loss leader” given the hosting and website fees we pay. We’ve done very little promotion of it. But somehow, someway, the small-but-mighty group of people who loved 97X found it. And Robin James, who has been our guest a couple of times, wanted us to co-host her book event. BAM! Pretty friggin’ cool.
Silver lining: this post also references two families, half a world away from each other, who managed to look beyond their own grief at losing a loved one to depression, and start a charity that will help others in a similar situation.
Both text blocks above are from the Tinychanges.com website.
Text/imagery above from the Paws for Patrick website.
Please watch this video to see just a few examples of the ways that Paws for Patrick is making a difference:
What the Hutchison family is doing, and what the Roemer family is doing, is nothing short of emotional alchemy. Taking their tears, their grief, their pain, and redirecting it into something that will help others.
Image above from the Tiny Changes website.
The world is a lesser place without Scott and Patrick. The world is a better place because their families are keeping their memories alive. Godspeed to them.
“The reason why I wrote Fahrenheit is that I am a library person and I am in danger of someday writing something that people might not like and they might burn. So it was only natural that I sat down and wrote Fahrenheit 451.”
A week ago, I was supposed to be in New York City, visiting my older sister and brother-in-law, and going to a sold-out Jesse Malin concert at Webster Hall. Jesse was celebrating the 20th anniversary of the release of his solo debut album, The Fine Art of Self Destruction (one of my favorite albums ever). An impressive list of guest stars were joining him on stage – Lucinda Williams (one of my all-time favorite artists), Tommy Stinson of the Replacements (another fave band of mine), Cait O’Riordan of the Pogues, Aaron Lee Tasjan (fantastic young artist), Butch Walker, Cat Popper, Adam Weiner from Low Cut Connie…
By all accounts — including this one — it was a fantastic show.
Photos above by Bob Krasner.
I didn’t make it to NYC. I saw a better show. I saw the most amazing display of love and compassion ever, as my wife attended to her mother’s every need during her mom’s last hours on earth.
My mother-in-law had been living with us since December, after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. At first, she used a walker to get around, but after a second stint in the hospital in February, she was confined to a hospital bed in our living room. My wife slept on the floor next to her for weeks, so she could be there in those times of need. Feeding her. Changing her. Bathing her. Administering the meds that lessened the physical pain. Providing the love that gave her mother comfort. Holding her hand as she exited this earth.
Sorry Jesse, Lucinda, Tommy, et al. You know I love you, but my wife is the true rock star.
If you need a healthy dose of perspective on March Madness, I suggest you come over to my house to watch the games.
I’m a Xavier University alum, and have been a season ticket holder for decades. But in the midst of their furious comeback on Friday, I had to turn the TV off. Because the parish priest came over to administer anointing of the sick to my mother-in-law, who is battling terminal cancer. She’s been in a hospital bed in our living room for the past month. Forget “March Madness” – this is March Sadness.
I grew up in Arkansas and love the Razorbacks. Yesterday they too rallied in their tourney game, and managed to knock off #1 seeded Kansas.
But there’s nothing quite like administering liquid morphine during a commercial break to give you a better understanding of what really matters. “Survive and advance…”
Nothing I’ve seen on the TV screen can match the courage, the bravery, the tenacity, the heart, the strength that I’ve seen from my mother-in-law. Her outcome is no longer in doubt, but she’s already won.
Sports may be life, but it’s not life and death. The pain of losing pales in comparison to the pain of loss.
The Alabama Crimson Tide is the #1 overall seed in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. (I can’t call it March Madn3ss or I’d owe someone money.)
Alabama is led by their freshman phenom Brandon Miller. The same Brandon Miller who, on January 15th, delivered a gun to his then-teammate Darius Miles. Miles then gave the weapon to his friend Michael Lynn Davis, who then proceeded to get into a gun battle over a petty argument… and 23-year-old Jamea Jonae Harris, the mother of a 5-year-old son named Kaine, was shot and killed.
Actually Brandon Miller’s car was used to deliver the murder weapon. Allegedly, Brandon didn’t know the gun was in his car. Allegedly it was hidden in the back seat under some clothing. But his (now former) teammate texted him and said “I need my joint.” (For those who aren’t up to date on the latest slanguage, “joint” = “gun.”) And Brandon returned to where he had dropped off his teammate hours earlier.
Yes it’s completely possible that Brandon Miller didn’t know there was a gun in his vehicle — seems unlikely but sure let’s go with that– and yes it’s completely possible that Brandon Miller was already on his way to pick up his teammate when the text came through. That’s what his attorneys claim.
But the text said “I need my joint” not “Please swing by, I need the clothes that are in your back seat.” I’m no Perry Mason, but to me, the fact that Brandon’s teammate texted him that he needed his gun implies that Brandon knew the gun was in the vehicle.
Sidebar: where are we as a society today when young men who are going out for a night on the town:
actually own a gun and
decide that they need to bring it along when they’re going to a bar?
What we do know is that the University of Alabama administration knew of Brandon Miller’s involvement right from the get-go. It’s pretty hard to NOT know when Miller’s vehicle windshield had a couple bullet holes in it. Oh and there was another player from the team who was there as well… all this info didn’t come out until a February 21st hearing.
According to authorities, Brandon Miller is not a suspect… because if he didn’t know that he was supplying a gun … or even if he did know but he didn’t know that it would be used for something illegal (note: murder is illegal)… he’s off the hook.
Oh and by the way, did we mention that at Alabama’s next home game after Miller’s involvement was made public, one of his teammates gave him a mock “weapons pat down” during pregame introductions. Stay classy, ‘Bama!
Nate Oats is the Alabama head coach. His response has been tone deaf. At a press conference, he said Brandon was in the “wrong spot at the wrong time.” As many scribes have pointed out, actually, Jamea Harris was the one who was in the wrong spot at the wrong time. Oats also claimed that he was unaware of the pregame pat-down ritual… and that coaches can’t keep track of their players 24/7. Technically true, but I guarantee you most coaches know if a player misses a single mandatory study hall, and that players have been suspended for such minor infractions.
The University of Alabama administration’s response has been deafening silence. Yes, they kicked Darius Miles off the team. But Brandon Miller hasn’t missed a single practice or a single game. After all, he’s the star player on the #1 team in America — the team favored to win the NCAA tournament. When “win at all costs” meets “players’ actions cost a young woman her life” the entire administration has cast their vote for the former.
They call Alabama the Crimson Tide… and the Crimson Tide has blood on their hands.
Note: I drafted this post yesterday (I have the legal pad scribbles to prove it), and today when I went looking for facts to include in it, I found a Will Leitch column on New York magazine’s Intelligencer site that sums up my feelings much more eloquently and intelligently. The full column is here, and some choice excerpts are below.
On this blog, I don’t normally post my music-centric stuff (I have a separate blog for that). But I’m making an exception because I’m pretty darn proud of the fact that my old radio pal Dave and I have done 90+ episodes of a podcast, and that podcast has been the impetus for a full-fledged radio station revival (albeit for a limited, one-week-only engagement). Full press release is at the bottom of this post.
The podcast has been a labor of love. We’ve never sold a nickel’s worth of ads. We’ve never reached an audience beyond a hundred or so loyal listeners. But we’ve brought a lot of joy to those listeners, and that’s worth more than gold.
The fact that a niche format station based in the tiny town of Oxford, Ohio, with a crappy signal, could reach so many, and still be fondly remembered nearly half a century after it started, and more than a decade after it ceased to exist… it’s nothing short of magic.
To be able to pay tribute to the under-the-radar bands and their music, and showcase the DJs from every era of the station’s existence, is truly special.
And here’s the official press release that generated the reactions above:
97X, BAM, THE FUTURE OF ROCK AND ROLL RETURNS WITH THE 2023 97X MODERN ROCK 500
(Oxford/Cincinnati, OH) – March 9, 2023 – It’s been 20 years since the legendary Oxford, OH-based alternative radio station WOXY FM, aka “97X, BAM! The Future of Rock and Roll” first left the airwaves. Celebrating what would have been its 40th anniversary, 97X makes its triumphant online return in May 2023 with the 2023 97X Modern Rock 500 countdown.
In partnership with Cincinnati-based streaming station Inhailer Radio, 97X and WOXY.com present the 2023 97X Modern Rock 500, airing May 22 – 29, 2023 on Inhailer Radio, also available on the Inhailer Radio app and WGUC 90.9- HD3 in Cincinnati.
The 2023 Modern Rock 500 will air on Inhailer Radio in five 100-lap segments from May 22-26, 2023, and repeat in the 500’s traditional Memorial Day weekend timeslot from May 27-29, 2023. Plans are in the works for an on-demand archive of the broadcast.
As a special treat, the broadcast is hosted by over 30 station DJs sharing memories from WOXY’s 40-year run. From its fledgling 80s days to the explosion of the format in the 90s and its time as an online entity in the early 2000s, the 2023 Modern Rock 500 is represented by the people who were there making it happen.
If there was one signature program that became synonymous with 97X, it was the annual Modern Rock 500. Borrowing thematically from the nearby Indianapolis 500 and broadcast over Memorial Day Weekend, the 97X Modern Rock 500 counted down the best alternative songs as “laps”. The Modern Rock 500 aired on 97X from 1988-2003 and continued on WOXY.COM from 2005-2009.
Now it returns for one final countdown.
The broadcast also serves as a wrap-up of the 97X-focused podcast Rumblings from the Big Bush (a reference to a distinctly large shrubbery located on the station’s Oxford, Ohio property), hosted by former DJs Dave Tellmann and Damian Dotterweich.
“Rumblings over the last few years has caught up with former air talent, station employees, fans of the station, and some of the artists that we played at 97X. It’s been a blast! The podcast has about run its course; but the idea of capping it with the Modern Rock 500 couldn’t be a better way to sign off,” said co-host Dave Tellmann. Rumblings… episodes can be found on all major podcast player sites and on 97Xbam.
“We here at Inhailer are honored to hand over the airwaves to the people of 97X who influenced our own musical journeys and the music we play here”, adds Taylor Fox, Founder and Program Director at Inhailer. “We’re downright giddy with excitement!”
“This new Modern Rock 500 will be limited to those songs that landed on the countdown in the past. It’s taking a look back from a present-day point of view”, states Mike Taylor, 97X Program Director from 2001 to 2010. “Any way you slice it, it’s gonna be 500 great tunes.”
The 2023 97X Modern Rock 500 is a love letter to its loyal legion of listeners and to station owners Doug and Linda Balogh, for giving the world something super special. We’ll see you at the starting line…
Full list of featured talent:
Bryan Jay Miller
Dan “Danny Crash” Reed
Julie “Jae Forman” Clay
Julie “Maxwell” Argonis
Matt “Sledge” Waller
Ric “Tile” Cengeri
Tina Kristina Mueller
If all the old bands can reunite, so can we. Long Live 97X – The Future of Rock and Roll!
My friends and I aren’t spring chickens anymore. And we’re at the age where our parents are at that age… the age of getting their “celestial discharge” as my wife called it when she worked at hospice. Their earthly journey is coming to an end. As a child, it’s never easy. And unfortunately, the final chapter is often quite sad, as we watch the people who raised us diminish in body and/or mind. But never in spirit… that lives on in each of us.
My buddy Tom Kuhl (a.k.a. The Kuhler, a.k.a. Freaky Tiki) recently lost his beloved mom. His Facebook post about her really captures the conflicting emotions many of us have as our parents approach their earthly finish line.
Well said, my brother from another mother! Love you!
When my friends lose a parent, I usually pass along a copy of one of my favorite short stories by my absolute favorite author, Ray Bradbury. The story is called “The Leave-Taking” and it’s about an elderly woman who is dying. And Ray — master writer that he is — managed to weave the sadness of death and the true joy of living and the blessings of family into a mere three-and-a-half pages. The full story is here, but this is the money quote:
Important thing is not the me that’s lying here, but the me that’s sitting on the edge of the bed looking back at me, and the me that’s downstairs cooking supper, or out in the garage under the car, or in the library reading. All the new parts, they count. I’m not really dying today. No person ever died that had a family. I’ll be around a long time.
It’s raining in Cincinnati today… our house must have a leak because I’m down in our basement and my eyes are all misty.