It’s the end of another long radio day. It’s the middle of summer, and we’ve had some really good weather that is expected to last for a couple more weeks. That never happens here at the bottom of Lake Michigan. There’s always traffic because if you’re driving across the northern half of the county, you have to travel on our roads. This clashes with all of us local people trying to get to work and next thing you know there’s a big red line on 80-94 on Google Maps.
Also, we never have two or three weeks of good weather. The Lake makes sure of that. Even when there’s not a front moving across the country, the Lake will make it’s own mess. That’s what Lake effect snow is for. It’s to remind us that we don’t deserved good weather for more than five days in a row.
6:30am – I interviewed Senatorial candidate Todd Rokita. We talked about his background in the Region and he used that to springboard to saying that he knows all corners of the state and will be the Senator for all corners. Todd is a much better speaker than he used to be. Before, when I would see him talk in front of people, arrogant prick that I am, I wanted to pull him aside and give him a few pointers.
7:45am – Chiara and Ed Andriejewski came in. Chiara is a breast cancer survivor and she’s helping organize an 800-person tea to raise money to support women with breast cancer. Her group gives them blankets and wigs and other things they’ll need as their hair falls out and, as is the case with Chiara, they have one of their breasts removed. I asked Chiara about when she first found out in 2012 that she had breast cancer.
“It was tough, of course. We had three kids under the age of 10. But what I really found is that I had to stay positive for all of the people around me. I had to talk people off the ledge.”
Strong woman. Tough situation. She’s been cancer free for a few years now. And there is thanks for that.
6:40am – I forgot about this part. Through the talk with the possible future senator, and a visit with a family that’s been to hell and back, I covered a live news story in which there was a two-state chase that ended in a death.
A guy named Wayne called in and told about the whole thing. Wayne:
Wayne sent a photo of a body in the middle of the street with a blue sheet draped over it. It was the kind of picture that major news services might pick up and run with… but I just didn’t have it in me to post the photo. I left it up to Ben Wood and Max Baker. It was their last day as interns before they both go back to IU to study journalism.
“It’s up to you two,” I said on the air. “You guys discuss it and figure out if it’s right to post the photo on social media.”
7:20am – I had Max Baker and Ben Wood on the air. They both want to make a living in journalism. Ben is a sports guy. He wants to go into sports journalism, maybe even radio. He got a good jump on play-by-play announcing this week as he did it for several games of the Cal Ripken World Series. Max wants to go into public relations. “I read a lot, so maybe I could work at a publishing firm.”
The only thing that bothers me right now, as I listen to the late summer crickets, is that I’m not sure if I taught them anything or not. It’s actually Ben’s second summer of working with us. I hope he doesn’t pick up my bad habits or who-gives-a-shit attitude? It’s an attitude you can only pick up after a few decades of living life with your foot on the gas pedal. It’s not good if you develop that attitude too soon.
8:30am – Since Sam Michel is out still, I host the City of Whiting Show. Here’s how our little local radio station works.
I host the morning show until about 8am. Then we sell time on the radio from 8am til whenever. For a long time, I hosted both the morning show and what we call the “Community Programming Initiative.” Now, I leave at 8am and Sam hosts the CPI shows.
Today, we got the gang back together with Mark Harbin, Amy Fretz and I doing the Whiting show. We took a call-in interview from a guy name Ozzem who runs a professional jet ski racing circuit that is coming to Whiting over the weekend. Sounds like fun. I won’t be there.
I won’t be there because I’ve got five things already scheduled over the weekend, including our Podkul Family Reunion. That’s when a bunch of Pollacks get together under a shelter at Lemon Lake Park in Crown Point, Indiana, and we laugh. Sometimes one of the old people shows up on oxygen. Once in while there’s a softball game or a some Cornhole, which isn’t what the three or four of you might think, by the way. It’s that game when you try to throw your bags in a hole. Whatever. The entire world could sound sexual if you let it.
10am – workout.
11:45am – I interview Jon Biancardi for a “JED in the Money” segment on Facebook Live and Twitter video. Biancardi is on the board of the Cesare Battisti Lodge that is out of the Villa Cesare in Schererville. He’s a young guy, and he’s trying to get more young Italian-Americans to be involved in the lodge.
“It’s mostly older Italian-Americans, and we need to inject some new blood.”
12:15pm – I interview Ray Candelaria for his show, “Shanti Wellness Today.” Ray’s a yoga instructor. I go to his yoga classes sometimes. We talked about the fear of starting any kind of wellness program that includes exercising.
1pm – I arrive at the federal courthouse to cover the trial of Lake County Sheriff John Buncich. He’s on trial, as the three or four of you know, for accepting bribes from tow truck operators. For the third day in a row, FBI agent Nathan Holcomb was on the stand. AUSA Phil “Bulldog” Benson played what seemed like hours of tape, both audio and video. It was boring as hell. I left after an hour or so with just enough to talk about on the radio tomorrow, and I went home and took a nap. Holcomb will most likely be done on the stand by tomorrow and the trial can move ahead with other witnesses.
4pm – I’m awakened by a phone call from Christina Cortez, who is setting up our video stuff to broadcast two baseball games at the same time from Optimist Park in Hammond – on Facebook Live, of course.
“Do you have the big gray tripod with the slider latch-plate?”
“I’ll have to look.”
So I get out of bed and throw around the junk in my garage and I find the tripod and run it over to the baseball field.
7pm – Alexis and I go for dinner to a non-sponsor so I won’t say who it is. I run into Scott Marcus, whom I played high school football with. Scott was the kicker. I was the holder. Every once in a while during a game, I would pull the ball away just as Scott was going to kick an extra point and I would run the ball around the end to try to get a 2-pointer instead of one. One time, Scott kicked at air and fell on his duff. I hope he’s forgiven me for that.
Alexis and I also run into Barb Foreit, the most gracious woman in Lake County, and her daughter, Barbie. We’re kind of related in that my sister married her Barb’s son and we see each all the time at birthday parties and baptisms, confirmations and backyard barbecues. Something looks different about Barb.
“I got my eyes fixed. I’m not wearing glasses. That’s what it is.”
She’s right. For the 25 years or so that I have known Mrs. Foreit – “call me Barb” – I have always seen her in glasses. Mrs. Foreit even let me take the photo above for my blog to mark the occasion. For some reason, both the photo and learning that after all these years Barb got her eyes fixed makes me feel good.
Maybe it reminds me of my grandpa Dedelow. For most of my youth, he could barely see. I mean, he pretty much couldn’t see at all. When we’d go to McDonald’s and it was time to pay, grandpa Dedelow would pull his wallet to a couple inches from his eyes and peruse each bill as he handed it over.
Grandpa was, you see, deathly afraid that he was gonna for over a 20 instead of a five and he’d get ripped off. I do a fair imitiation of grandpa doing this, and it could be considered a bit disrespectful. But I’m pretty sure grandpa would forgive my fooling around. He liked to laugh as much as anybody.
There’s more grandpa stories. For those decades when he could barely see, he would have to sit right next to the TV – with his nose to the outside edge. He was an electrician by trade, and he had this belief that there were extremely harmful rays that were emitted from a television and they only went straight forward and down. If you put your head and eyes just to the side of the TV, you wouldn’t be exposed to them.
It’s a great memory, really, of my grandpa watching Cubs game after Cubs game – interspersed with visits to the financial channel to check on his stocks – with his nose plastered to the edge of the TV. It looked, sometimes, as if the TV were in his lap.
Then one day grandpa got cataracts, and he could see again. He came to one of my Little League games right after it happened, and instead of my grandma telling all that was happening on the field, he could see it for himself. And he didn’t wear glasses to do it, just like Mrs. Barb Foreit this evening. There are good things to think about in this world. Just let it happen.
So it’s almost midnight and here we are again, us five. You can’t hear all of the crickets outside my window – or maybe you can – and you can’t hear the gentle hum of 80-94, the Borman Expressway. If you could, you too might have a little peace before bed. Good night.