Monday, May 4, 2015

Another boss bites the dust

1985 was a crazy year. I graduated college, got married shortly after and began work for a local radio station that was in the process of having its broadcasting license revoked.

This is the second former employer of mine who has died in the past year.

It was a strange place to work, like many of my jobs, with weird and wonderful coworkers. I've never been so scared at work before, as I tried figuring out a newscast out of the local paper and nicking the other station in town. Had no idea what I was doing. None. There was no AP teletype in the station, the owner was too frugal to pay for that. The morning guy was a hoot, a former stand up comedian he made me laugh on the air constantly, God rest his soul.

The former owner of WBUZ, Hammerin' Hank Serafin, died on Saturday, aged 89. I've been playing with this for over a year and a half, finally got motivated to finish it today.



Ten Reasons You Lost Your FCC License

In 1989 radio station WBUZ Fredonia/Dunkirk had it’s license pulled by the FCC. It was only the second license revoked since the Communications Act of 1934. The owner of the station, Hammerin’ Hank Serafin, died on May 2nd.

1) Do not rig a contest in which first prize was a trip to Niagara Falls in which you sent a major advertiser and his wife went to because you were worried people in an immoral relationship would win. Second prize was a hi-tech radio you kept in your office.

2) That time you called the agency for a secretary then asked her supervisor if they had any white girls because the one that showed would make charcoal look white.

3) That day you hacked a public phone booth to air a high school baseball game.

4) Do not keep the public from inspecting your public file during business hours. Do not harass the person who came to view your public file by mocking his hair length.

5) Do not forge the records in your public file. Even if the guy you strung along for years so you could try to sell him the station lied for you.

6) You were also a well known local slumlord. Do not call an advocate for the poor a bitch on the air. Said person was the daughter of a well known county judge. But you could not help yourself, could you?

7) Never charge sponsors for ads they did not agree to run. It also helped your bookkeeper pay her electric bills without you knowing for years.

8) Do not lie about paying your ASCAP fee. Even the polka musicians had to get paid.

9) Because you were such a cheap bastard, you left a visible storefront in town, bought a double wide and parked it next to your transmitter. Enviably located next to a pallet factory at the end of a dead end street. Painted a sign that read the temporary home of WBUZ.

10) In the last days even nature knew you were done. Days before the station went dark a bird flew into the trailer, fluttered around the station, then shat on your desk




Sunday, May 3, 2015

A Coronation is Not an Election


On Tuesday, those who vote in Columbus will be voting in primaries for Mayor and City Council. I will not be voting. Mainly because in order to vote in an Ohio primary, you have to register for the party whose primary you will be voting in. My views belong to neither of these parties.

For most of my voting life though, I have been a registered democrat. No more. They abandoned any form of progressive ideas in favor of banking, insurance company and military support. Great for them when they’re able to swim in donor cash and give them influence. Bad for me who does not have the financial means to purchase my own political candidate. That’s the way it seems now though and I do not foresee a time when that will change. And I’m fed up with voting for the lesser or two evils, even with the supreme court set to change dramatically in the next decade.

Locally, there are three democrats running in the mayoral primary and one republican. All male.

Terry Boyd, the republican, is being sent out by the local GOP as the under funded sacrifice as Columbus’ current political climate will have a democrat as Mayor. This is not a prediction, but as nearly solid fact as you get today, barring major scandal - and I mean major.

Zach Scott is the county sheriff. His plan is essentially hope for the best and continue the status quo, which is a great climate for developers to line their pockets. Not so good for the neglected parts of the city, which includes my area of Briggsdale in West Columbus.

James Ragland’s enthusiasm masks his political inexperience. I have not been impressed with his arrogance on social media and local message boards. He comes off to me as a theocrat, even though he’s backed away from his stance against gay marriage. He may challenge Scott for second in the primary and you may not see the last of him in local politics.

Andrew Ginther is the party endorsed candidate. Mayor Coleman has all but given him the job, especially since Ginther has become Coleman’s shadow. Ginther has developer support on both sides of the political line, a school board scandal in his open closet (as does Boyd) that most do not give a crap about and will be the next Mayor of Columbus. I’m still trying to figure out what exactly the man has done for Columbus besides ride Coleman’s coattails.

Regardless of who the next Mayor is, life in Columbus will continue as we know it. The boners of the developers will point to what they want the Mayor and city council to do next. And they will abide, oh yes they will. Little will be done for the neglected parts of Columbus other than lip service and some asphalt in the occasional pothole. The casino the west side did not want is not bringing in the expected revenue. Sure, we have some interesting ethnic food available but Four String Brewery joining Dirty Franks West and Cream and Sugar is far from enough to make West Columbus the vibrant community other areas of the city that have benefitted from tax reduced development and gentrification have become. After living here for twelve years I’m tired of waiting. My patience is done, and my vote is for none of the above.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

After four funerals, finally a wedding

So much craziness in the world right now. It felt good to be at a gathering last weekend that was a celebration of life and not a funeral. It was the recognition of a same sex couple who are in love and committed. Sadly, not a legal marriage as this state (on the wrong side of history) will not allow it at this time. We'll see what the Supreme Court decides later this year.

It hits close to home for me as a family member is in the same situation with her partner. America has many problems, gay marriage should not be one of them.

It was a beautiful ceremony full of song and life and cute ring bearers and flower children. When I was looking at the program, I saw there were poems of Andrea Gibson's being read. "Who is going to read her poems?" I wondered to myself.

Well I got the answer.



That was the surprise they pulled on most of us. All I'll say about it is that friends have connections. It was amazing.

It was an honor to be invited to see my friends unite and commit to each other publicly. One day soon, it will be legal.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Working at home

Took on the unenviable task of cataloging my record collection this past week. A lot of dust. A lot of memories. Lost a lot through downsizing and a basement flood. Kept a few records that show flood damage, should probably replace them at some point. The work involved a lot of bending and peering at serial numbers. Put it all onto the Discogs online database, which is fairly simple to use. Most of my collection was already in there so all I had to do was punch up the serial number. Many of my Beatles bootlegs are on file, as were my weird Uruguayan imports.

Discogs is also a place you can sell your records, but I have no plans on doing that. A lot of the vinyl does have an assigned value based on previous sales, if there have been any. The prices do seem to fluctuate quite a bit so I can't take their value too seriously. It is good to have a tangible file of my collection available that gives forty years of my life more context than simply putting it all on a spreadsheet.

When I finished the records my wife asked if they took CDs as well, so I ended up putting them all in too. This was a bit easier as most of what we have had a bar code, so searching was very easy.

She brought over a lot of interesting discs from the olde country. I do believe we now have the largest collection of records from The Pastels in the United States.

If we catalog the books, she gets to do that, it's too close to work for me.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Shouting at me because she's a deaf widow?

I AM MRS. SONIA WILSON, A DEAF WIDOW TO LATE ROBERT WILSON FROM SEATTLE
WASHINGTON,USA. PRESENTLY IN ISRAEL RECEIVING TREATMENTS, I AM 61 YEARS
OLD, I AM NOW A NEW CHRISTIAN CONVERT, SUFFERING FROM LONG TIME CANCER OF
THE BREAST,FROM ALL INDICATION MY CONDITIONS IS REALLY DETERIORATING AND IT
IS QUITE OBVIOUS THAT I WON'T LIVE MORE THAN SIX MONTHS, ACCORDING TO MY
DOCTORS,THIS IS BECAUSE THE CANCER STAGE HAS GOTTEN TO A VERY BAD STAGE. MY
LATE HUSBAND WAS KILLED DURING THE U.S. RAID AGAINST TERRORISM IN
AFGHANISTAN, AND DURING THE PERIOD OF OUR MARRIAGE WE WERE UNABLE TO
PRODUCE A CHILD.

AFTER HIS DEATH, I INHERITED ALL HIS BUSINESS AND WEALTH. THE DOCTORS HAS
ADVISED ME THAT I MAY NOT LIVE FOR MORE THAN SIX MONTHS, SO I NOW DECIDED TO
DIVIDE THE PART OF THIS WEALTH, TO DONATE TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CHURCH
IN AFRICA, AMERICA ASIA, AND EUROPE. I PRAYED OVER IT, I AM WILLING TO GIVE
THE $8.6MILLION DOLLARS, TO THE LESS PRIVILEGED. RIGHT THE THE FUND IS
DEPOSITED WITH A SECURITY COMPANY IN USA. I AM OF AWARE THAT THERE ARE LOTS
OF SCAM IN INTERNET, I SWEAR TO YOU WITH THE NAME OF OUR LORD THAT THIS IS
NEVER A SCAM.YOUR HELP WILL SAFE MANY LIFE IN THE WORLD, LET GOD TOUCH YOUR
HEART TO HEAR MY CRY.

LASTLY, I ALSO WANT YOU TO ASSURE ME THAT WHEN YOU RECEIVE THE FUND IT WILL
BE USED FOR THE SAID PURPOSE. MAY THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS THE LOVE OF
GOD AND THE FELLOWSHIP OF GOD BE WITH YOU AND YOUR FAMILY I AWAIT URGENT
REPLY.


YOUR'S IN CHRIST.

MRS. SONIA WILSON

Friday, April 17, 2015

Jumping on bandwagons

Businesses change hands or open and close all the time. Such is life in any day and age. In my twenty five years in this city I've seen a lot of shops come and go - I've also seen a lot sustain themselves and grow. Some of these places I try to frequent as much as possible. There are also some I've never been to. The week I've had the opportunity to go to three establishments I've walked or driven by many times. It's like I've made new friends.

The Short North Tavern has been in its location for at least thirty years. There seems to be a very loyal following of regulars taking part in the cheap drinks. The place has real dartboards, which tells me they have an established and older crowd. The food is cheap and plentiful, but you do not go there for the food. A two dollar happy hour gin and tonic will definitely make me return.

Another place with real dartboards is the Char Bar. How it's kept it's location in the highly developed area right next to the new Hilton astonishes me. It's a rather seedy but charming dive bar with a great window for people watching those on High Street or going to the Convention Center. I'm not sure on drink prices, but I plan on hitting their patio for one of their Long Island Ice Teas when the time is right.

After driving by it on my way home for the past twelve years I finally stopped in Thurn's. They've been in business for aver 130 years. Hours are odd, but that's because they cure their own meats. And what meat it is! The very friendly guy behind the counter gave me a slice of their pastrami that was outstanding. It's aftertaste lingered on the ride home so pleasantly I almost turned around to get more. Next week I'm getting a loaf of good rye bread to go with that pastrami.

There are always new places to go in this city, but sometimes the fun in life is finding what's been here and enjoying what everyone else has for years. These are they places that make Columbus a great place to live.