he walked to the corner
store and bought a paper.
He smoked on his way
there. And smoked on
his way back.
at the kitchen table, alone,
reading the box scores from
yesterday’s Yankees game.
A tablet of paper caught
his eye. He picked up a
pen and wrecked its
“Honey, there were a lot of
people at your service
yesterday. Your niece Cassandra
got really old really quick. She
looks like a college student and
she’s only in 8th grade. You would
not approve of all the makeup.
“Your brother came all the way
from Dayton. He didn’t say much.
I tend to believe there was this
vague hope in his eyes that you
somehow left him some money.
He didn’t drink. He must have
taken the pledge. The whole
time, he picked at the peanuts.
He looked restless, like one
gin and tonic would solve all
the world’s ills.
“Gladys was here. She told me
a couple stories about you and
her in grade school. I knew about
the canister and the nun slapping
your knuckles with a ruler. But I
didn’t know that you smoked
your first cigarette under the
tressle by where Martin used
to live in a cardboard box. It was
a good thought to think of you
puffing on a Winston in the
middle of winter a few feet
from a bum.
“Joey was the perfect gentleman.
You would have been proud of
him. He showed up from the
city in a nice brown suit with his
friend Gerrard, who emptied
all the ashtrays even if they
weren’t full. At one point, Joey
sat at the piano and played “Misty.”
That got everyone crying before
the tinking of glasses could
start up again.
“On the way out, everyone
hugged me and offered
condolences, even that bank
manager who denied us for the
loan on the boat. I don’t even
know why he was here, other
than to possibly drum up some
“By the time I got to sit down
in my chair, I was so tired that
I fell asleep after one smoke.
It was quite the panic when
I woke up at midnight and
remembered that I didn’t water
your flowers. I hurried out
front and turned on the hose
and stood there in the dark
holding your fountain nozzle.
I think even the
begonias were surprised.
“This morning, I scrambled up a
couple eggs then walked to
Donnelly’s to pick up a Times.
The Yanks won yesterday in the
10th over the Red Sox. I didn’t
get to listen to any of it on
account of the service and all.
“Oh well, see you later. Talk to
you in a little bit. By the way, you
looked amazing in your chartreuse
scarf. I wanted to kiss you the whole
time people were crying on my
shoulder. That or listen to the
ballgame. See you later.”
It’s 5:09 on Wednesday, July 4th. Happy Independence Day. There’s birds chirping up a storm right now. A cacophony of warbles, a symphony of high-pitched tweets. It’s quite the contrast from a few hours ago. Fireworks until long after midnight.
Alexis and I didn’t go to see any fireworks. We did go to the Munster Fourth of July celebration, but we went early. We stopped by the WJOB table next to the stage. I took a few pictures of the staff doing their thing, which was interview different people on Facebook Live and walk through the crowd. One of the cool things was that I got to take a picture of the Floreses. Miguel was hosting the whole thing as part of WJOB and his dad was playing in “Together,” the band he started 44 years ago. Ray Flores, the guy from ESPN, was also there. If I wasn’t so lazy I’d post the photo of those three.
“Now that’s the Region,” I said as I clicked the shutter on my Sony mirrorless camera.
Alexis and I stayed for the first few songs that Together played, then we left and got a pizza at John’s in Munster. At least I got a pizza. They didn’t have any more perch, so I got a gluten-free pizza with salad. Alexis got the sautéed shrimp. We were both satisfied laying in bed as fireworks went off all night long, seemingly right outside our bedroom window.
As far as what’s happening with the TV project… yesterday, the three marketeers worked on the website and Jimmy Mullaney and Will Haczel and I worked on putting together the streaming apparatus. We’re stuck on what kind of connector to use on the back of the A-list video playout system. Chuck Pullen had us order an SD to HDMI converter from Amazon that may solve the problem. It’s really a marvelous thing to be able to think of an obscure part that you need, go on Amazon, and it’ll be at the station by the close of business on the 5th. How the hell does that even happen?
It would have been nice to have our own TV station going last night. The crew of WJOB people:
- Tony Panek
- Zooey Mintz
- Andrew Garcia
were there doing their thing with the interviews and stuff, but they were not allowed to actually film the fireworks and the music. This is quite unfortunate. Munster sets the fireworks off on the big hill that’s actually a former garbage dump. Thousands of people file into Centennial Park. They get a good view of the fireworks and can hear the music just fine.
But a ton of people stay in their backyards in Cobblestones and Plum Creek or sit in the parking lot of Fitness Pointe or even Three Floyds. Those people would love to just pull out their phones and listen to the music along with the fireworks. But, as the three or four of you know, if we play copyrighted music on Facebook Live, they’ll come by your house and steal your garden hose.
In other words, Facebook could shut us down for a month or two. And that would be disastrous. It doesn’t matter to Facebook that we already pay royalties to SESAC and the other musicians groups. As a matter of fact, I tried to contact Facebook to tell them that they should allow licensed radio stations to play music. But I couldn’t even find a number to call Facebook. They don’t want your phone calls. Why should they bother? They run the world.
Speaking of the world… I did find a phone number that claimed to be Facebook on a remote Facebook page. I called it. It was some guy with an Indian accent claiming to be Facebook. It took me a while to figure this out. I hope I didn’t give him too much information.
You really are handcuffed as a local radio station. You pay royalties for the music, but you can’t let the music go on your Facebook Live feed. It all adds up to we couldn’t stream the music last night. I got a couple nasty texts from some of my buddies, but other than that, people understand, I guess.
What we’re doing now, the three marketeers and I, is we’re making the new website that will host the TV station. This is a lot more work than I would have ever dreamed. You have to input pictures and bios about every host of every show. This doesn’t sound like much when you think about just WJOB hosts. But remember that dozens of groups pay to broadcast using WJOB. These people deserve a picture and bio and a show page also. This is a lot of web development to do on hot summer days in July. We’re doing it, begrudgingly.
On the technical side, I developed this live streaming system that is a bit more complex than it probably should be. It involves two V4EX Roland mixers, the Rushworks system, Wirecast, several cameras and HDMI cables, two Viltrox VX-18 tripods, and a whole lot more. It costs a lot to buy and install. So I hope this TV thing works or I’ll be like Lucy and have some splainin to do.
For now, it’s the 4thof July in the Midwest. Fireworks all over the place last night on the 3rd. And there will be barbecues all over the place today on the 4th. At some point today, Alexis and I will go to Maria and Timmy Peters’ house. They have a really nice pool and nephew Jack will at least once get in trouble for fighting with someone under the diving board. The one thing I have to watch out for is this thing called “Macha.”
Maria is from Argentina. She speaks with an accent and works at the embassy in Chicago. She is also a connoisseur of this tea that everyone in Argentina drinks. It’s a ritual that is as unsanitary as it is traditional. You sit around a table and drink from the same straw that everyone else does. It’s like in Berkeley when you pass around the peace pipe.
In the water is this tea they call “Macha.” Maria or her siblings bring it from the mountains of Argentina every time they go back there. I have sat several times passing around the peace pipe… er, passing around the Macha… and every time I am convinced that there is some sort of psychedelic drug in there.
One time, I sat around the table drinking this with all of the Argentinians – no other Americans would chance it – and when Alexis and I came home, I cleaned the whole garage. A couple hours later, I was still flying, so I sat down and wrote a short story about a guy who gets his fist stuck in a lampshade and has to walk around like that for the rest of his life.
After that, I tried to watch TV, but I kept hearing an echo to the words that the newscaster was spitting out. He said the words. I heard them. Then it was if he said them again. It was the Macha, I’m telling you. It’ll make you clean your garage and it can lead you crevices of creativity that you didn’t know existed, but when you’re just trying to watch the news, it’s kind of annoying.
No radio for me today. Golf this morning then several barbecues around town. I am the local radio guy.