4:03am. Wednesday, January 9, 2019.
I can’t believe it’s this late in life. One day it’s 1980 and you’re graduating high school. Next thing you know it’s 2019 and you’re up in the middle of the night writing a blog to three or four people who obviously have nothing better to do.
I am awake because I am me. When I was a kid, I’d wake up to go pee and my mom would be sitting at the kitchen table smoking a cigarette and drinking coffee. It would be dark out and there wouldn’t be any sound in the house.
“Hi, honey. Can’t sleep?”
“Gotta go to the baffroom.”
“Okay, honey. Go back to sleep.”
My mom must have said this out of hope that I could do something that she couldn't, which was go back to sleep. It must have been during these middle-of-the-night run-ins that I saw a glimpse of my future.
“Wow, sure hope I don’t turn out like that. I can sleep like a log anytime, anywhere.”
Now, more often than not, I lay down and fall asleep at a normal time and I’m up three hours later scrounging around the house for something to read.
…. Speaking of things to read, I made the mistake of asking for a Kindle for Christmas. My daughter Jeanie obliged. She wanted, at first, exhibiting a learned Dutch frugality, to give a Kindle that she no longer used. I wouldn’t stand for it. I wanted my own, new Kindle, and I got one.
The problem is that I am prone to addictive behavior. This played out especially vividly in Berkeley and during down time at the Chicago Board of Trade. Now, my biggest obsession is radio and TV and that seems to be a healthy enough addiction.
But in addition to getting a Kindle, I signed up for Kindle Unlimited. This is when you can go on to Amazon and click on almost any book written before 1980 and have it immediately download to your Kindle. This is dangerous.
I could be laying there in bed sleeping peacefully and then have to wake up to go pee.
But instead of my mom sitting at the kitchen table smoking a cigarette, I’ll see my Kindle on the nightstand. And off we go. Next thing you know it’s two hours later and I’m still laying on the couch reading Conrad, Bukowski, Vonnegut, Frost, etc.
I wouldn’t admit this to any but the three or four of you, but I really do enjoy reading stuff that people who died a long time ago wrote. As a matter of fact, I have yet to find a writer who’s still alive that I would get up in the middle of the night to read.
Not so with Kurt Vonnegut, the fellow Hoosier. I got up this morning at 2am to relieve myself of a few ounces of unwanted liquid, picked up my Kindle, hit “Hocus Pocus,” which is a Vonnegut nobrl, and two hours later I’m still lying on the couch scratching my jewels reading on my Kindle.
…. None of this has anything to do with radio or TV. And it comes to my attention that every once in a while a radio guy or gal from another district stumbles on this blog. Sorry if you gotta read about me scratching my nads in the middle of the night. But I do have something very important to tell you.
It seems that the government shutdown has had an effect on us in radio. As you know, there’s all sorts of reports that you and I have to submit to the federal government to re-ensure that we’re providing good for the community or doing inspections and the lot.
A couple days ago, Debbie Wargo, the WJOB station manager was having a dickens of a time submitting the quarterly issues report. It wouldn’t go through on the FCC website. We tried and then tried again.
“Maybe it has something to do with the shutdown of the federal government,” Debbie hypothesized.
“Beats the hell outta me,” I told her. And then I ate an apple.
A couple days later, our FCC attorney, whom I pay something like $450 an hour every time I have to ask him a question, sends us a missive that confirms our suspicions.
By January 10, 2019, you are normally required to upload to the FCC’s Online Public Inspection File (“OPIF”) your quarterly issues/programs lists for the fourth quarter of 2018. If you don’t do it timely, you risk a $10,000 fine at renewal time. Problem is, you can’t file the issues/programs lists until the FCC reopens.
As you know, if you are one of the seven or eight who watch or listen to my morning show, we live in the land of drusba these days.
Yes, as you may also know, that in addition to being a raging insomniac, I’m also a raging dyslexic. Absurd becomes drusba and Jon Pupillo becomes Noj Ollipup. Don’t’ ask.
So in the land of drusba, what does it mean when the FCC isn’t open and watching what we say on the airwaves of America? Are we freer to say what we want? Can I finally, after all of these years and million of words, finally say the “F” word on AM radio?
I doubt it. As I explained to my wife last night, there’s a lot of people who hate me for what I say on the radio. One of these people will feel good about him or herself and report me to the FCC for deliberately saying the “F” word during the government shutdown… just to see what would happen. This is something that I have dreamed about for a good portion of my life – swearing on WJOB. It’s a lifelong dream.
So to the wandering radio operator who happens upon this blog – since we are living in the land of drusba these days, you reportedly don’t have to file your quarterly issues report. Or, more accurately, you can’t right now.
But here’s the rub of the drusba, as soon as the government opens, you have like 48 hours to do it or you could get whacked with the 10 g’s. Life is good if you let it be. Life is absurd if you live in the 21st century.
… It’s time to quit typing to the three or four of you and go do a morning show on radio and in video. It is the one true thing in my life – outside of a few hundred relatives – in my life. Every weekday morning that I choose to do so, I get to strap a lavolier microphone on my lapel and go stand out on Indianapolis Boulevard and wave at trucks and talk on radio/Tv. It’s a beautiful thing.
This morning, I’m thinking I’ll talk about President Trump’s speech last night. He told the country that he won’t re-open the federal government until Democrats give him money to build a wall with Mexico. Trump says that “illegal aliens” are raping our women and killing unsuspecting Americans.
Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, looking a lot like the American Gothic painting by Grant Wood, extended the ytidrusba. After Trump’s speech, they stood next to each other – minus the pitchrfork – and said they wouldn’t discuss border security until the president re-opens the government.
…. In the land of drusba, anything is elbissop.