5:45am – I start my radio show to a hiss in the headphones and a couple of cameras missing. We’re the official Facebook Live and radio source for the Cal Ripken 10-under World Series. There’s teams from Oregon, Alabama, New Jersey and Hawaii, among others. We’re doing live video of the games on two fields and evidently the crews need some of the studio cameras. Life sucks and then you die.
7:15 – Billy Baker the Troublemaker comes on the show on Mondays with me. We’ve known each other for 46 years, so you’d think by now that his stupid jokes would get old. Or, wait, is it the other way around? Is it my droll jokes that he should be getting weary of?
Either way, Baker and I laugh for an hour on the air and he leaves and goes to work.
8:30am – Usually, I leave the show at 8am and say the hell with it. But the chosen heir to the Community Programming Initiative, Sam Michel, is out for a few days, so I do the show with Dr. Mary Tilak. She and I did her paid show together for a good six years before I handed off all of the shows after 8am to Sam. Dr. Tilak talks about her mission to stay independent as a medical practice in the midst of all other practices getting bought up. The doctor tells of a venture capital firm out of Chicago that just bought a group of doctors in Merrillville.
9:30am – I work out.
10:45am – I’m on the way back from working out and I notice that there’s a guy on a crane taking down the Sears sign on US41.
“I gotta do a Facebook Live video of this.” I pull over and whip out my phone and tell the Facebook world that it’s the end of an era as they take down the last letter of the sign. I reminisce about waiting for the Sears catalog to come to the house so I could look at tools and sporting goods equipment. I fear that WJOB could become Sears if we don’t continue to innovate. With this overriding fear disturbing my sleep on a nightly basis, I over-innovate, if that’s what it’s called.
Am I compensating with all the innovation? Compensation innovation. Innovate to compensate. Innovacompensate. Whatever. My last question on the Facebook Live video of the two guys on a crane carrying down the last “S” of Sears is this:
“What do you want your business to be?” I don’t why I thought of this question. Fear, probably.
11:30am – I’m sitting in the WJOB Strack & Van Til studios and I see in the parking lot that the Fedex guy is walking up with a box.
“Holy, shit, it’s the robotic camera.” So, since this is such a big day in the live of us over-innovators, I Facebook Live the moment that the Fedex guy hands me the box – “Dedelow. I know a few Dedelows,” he says. The three or four of you could watch it if you want to but I already told you the plot of the video anyways.
At this point, I think I’ll write a poem, if for no other reason than North Korea is spouting off about retaliating against the US a thousand times over for some recent sanctions. They’ve got their dictator. We’ve got.. what? Our dictator? Donald Trump is not a dictator. He may be an egomaniac, but why is it that I still hold out hope that he’ll come to his senses and start acting like a real president? Maybe, maybe not. Let’s just write a poem.
Journey, you loathsome
Region Rat. There is
Coal in your stocking and
A memory of a pencil
Sharpener you left on the
Felt of the pool table,
Meaning the whole time to
Come back and pick it up.
If it weren’t for sad fucks,
There wouldn’t be any fucks at all.
That’s how I feel on a
Monday night on the eve
Of the biggest catastrophe
Ever to happen to this
Country. How can you sleep
Soundly when you know?
If it weren’t for mean fucks,
There wouldn’t be any fucks at all.
When it’s all said and done,
We’ll long for nights like tonight.
There is a coolness to the August
Air that you can’t describe without
Saying “beautiful.” Evening walks
All over the place. Open windows.
Youth baseball, lemonade,
Watermelon, a lovers' kiss.
Sad and mean fucks, beware,
Bad is gonna happen.
Darkness where was once the
Heart of town. If you weren’t such a
Cockroach, you’d get off your
Ass to see what that sound is.
Me neither. I don’t want to
1:30pm – I walk into the federal courthouse in Hammond on Hohman Avenue. The trial of Lake County sheriff John Buncich should be the most memorable moment of the day, but somehow it’s not. I do a video after the opening arguments and the first witness, and it turns out that it’s the sixth most popular Facebook Live video of our radio day. There’s three Cal Ripken World Series game that outpace at 4-6,000 views each. Barely a thousand have viewed my attempt at coverage of the Buncich trial. My piece about the Sears sign coming down even has more views (1500) than the Buncich trial. What do you think this means? Baker said on the morning show – it seems like forever ago – that the Buncich trial could be the biggest political corruption trial around here in decades. Yikes.
4:30pm – I sit on the steps of the federal courthouse and write out some notes for my Facebook Live video. I hold the camera myself, like a selfie, and talk. It’s crappy first-day coverage. It’s over six minutes long and that’s four minutes more than it should be. I’ll learn for tomorrow. Just a few highlights and then move on, although that will be hard to do. It really is a trial full of twists and turns and intrigue.
7pm – My wife, Alexis, and I walk the few blocks to the Cal Ripken World Series to check on our crews. It’s a beautiful evening and there’s kids running all over Optimist Park. Crown Point plays Oregon on one field. Hammond plays New Jersey on the other. We run into Hammond councilman Dave Woerpel, whose grandson is the six-year-old batboy for the surging Hammond team.
“This morning, he said they’re gonna play the team with new jerseys,” Woerpel said proudly of his grandson.
We walk up to the press box, and our guys and gals are all really busy.
Crew 1 – Jimmy Mullaney on play-by-play, Ben Wood on color, and Shamari Walker on the camera.
Crew 2 – Ryan Walsh on play-by-play, Hammond mayor Tom McDermott on color, Christina Cortez and her friend Alexis doing the video. We also have a camera down the first base line, but I don’t know who is on that camera.
My Alexis and I try to talk to our crew, but they’re so focused on their work that they barely answer. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
8pm – Alexis holds the camera phone as I interview six 10-year-olds from Hawaii. They’re most excited about the corn on the cob that the Optimist people are selling for two bucks apiece. Aloha, they say to end the video. I talk to the coach off camera because he won't go on camera.
"You know how much a corn on the cob like that would go for in Hawaii?" he asks.
"Eight bucks," he says. "Eight bucks an ear."
9pm – Alexis and I walk to my brother Brian’s house. His wife, Michelle, daughter Katie and son Al are there. I wrestle with Al for a while and then Alexis and I walk home. On the way, I do funny walks like I’m Buster Keaton or something. Alexis laughs like a girlfriend should. To take away the all-too-idyllic nature of the evening, I stop on the way into the garage.
“Go ahead on in,” I tell Alexis.
“Are you gonna piss outside? At least go in the backyard.”
I make that allowance. I walk around back and start pissing outside on an evergreen. Alexis turns on the backyard spotlights. I can hear her laughing in the kitchen. It doesn’t get any better than this.