Archive for October, 2011

Halloween Preview

October 31, 2011

There was a 4-mile race in Athens, Georgia Sunday.  It’s an annual event called “The Jack-0-Lantern Jog”    It includes a costume contest an hour before the race.   You may be seeing some of these costumes at your door Halloween night.


Swamp Creature (AKA Finn O’Neil)

I don’t know who won the contest, but among

those I saw, 11-year-old Finn O’Neil was the scariest!

The photogenic feline

October 30, 2011


Misty may be the most photogenic feline I’ve ever known.   After ten years looking deeply into those eyes, I may be a bit prejudice.  You want to post a picture of your favorite feline in the comment section of this blog?

They’re on the cruise!

October 29, 2011

Ray and Sara Moore are on a cruise that has them in the Carribean.  Ray’s son, Russ, has plotted their course and believes their ship may be in the path of the latest hurricane.   Calls to Ray’s cell phone go directly to voice-mail so we haven’t been able to confirm Russ’s speculation.  That the 89-year-old long-time journalist was recovered well enough to make the trip is a miracle.   He’s been battling a case of the shingles made tougher by heart congestion.   But he was determined and with the help of his loving wife, they boarded ship almost a weeek ago.  I wouldn’t be surprised to hear Ray reporting on the hurricane from aboard ship.  It would be another chapter in this remarkable man’s life.

“There’s good news tonight!”

October 28, 2011

I grew up listening to a radio broadcaster named Gabriel Heatter.  He often began his mixture of news and commentary with, “Ah, there’s good news tonight.”    It was sometimes an effort to lift Americans’ spirits, particularly during the early days of World War II.  It became prophetic as the war turned in favor of the Allies.  Those recollections were on my mind today as a friend and I walked through our neighborhood.     We saw four construction crews within a quarter of a mile of each other.   They were doing repairs and improvements.  One of the crew leaders told me his business is booming again.  Later, I went to my bank.   One of the tellers invited me to look at her computer screen.  She wanted me to see a story that says her bank reported a profit of more than 15-million dollars this past quarter, the first profit in several quarters.   The Dow Jones Industrial average rose above 12-thousand again.  There IS good news tonight.  Let’s believe it’ll continue as the economy turns in favor of all who want to work and are ready when the opportunity comes.

Holding up a mirror

October 27, 2011

During my early days of investigative reporting for WSB-Television in Atlanta, I often agonized about how the stories would affect the non-violent people who’d done wrong…how especially it would hurt their families.  I remember the first time I voiced my concerns to my boss, then News Director Ray Moore.  Ray suggested that I think of myself as holding up mirror…that I didn’t create what the mirror reflected.     For example, there was a county commissioner we discovered  accepting bribes..  The commissioner was a church- going “pillar of the community” with a wife and children.   We found in an undercover investigation that he was taking bribes from the madam of a house of prostitution.    He led her to believe that it was his influence that kept the cops away. The commissioner went to prison.   His family suffered the shame.    I reasoned (rationalized) that I was only doing my job by holding up the mirror.

Riots-Disturbances in Atlanta

October 26, 2011

During the sixties, “riots” were common in many of the larger cities in the USA.  For example in 1965,  perhaps the most infamous was the burning of  the Watts’ neighborhood in Los Angeles.  As the miltants and the advocates of non-violence contended for control of the civil rights movement, opportunists and looters took advantage.   At the same time, we were having discussions among reporters in the WSB-Television newsroom about how to cover disturbances without making them worse.  I expect there were similar conversations  going on with  television journalists in other cities.  A print-journalist and a radio reporter can be at an event much like a fly on a wall.   But television with its cameras could be seen and we feared could cause a disturbance to become a riot.   We also tried to be careful of our terminology when we descibed events.   To what degree did a disturbance increase in violence before it should be described as a riot?

Ray Moore

 On close calls, our then WSB-TV News Director Ray Moore made the final decisions.  With hindsight there were mistakes, but in contrast with other large cities, Atlanta fared relatively well.

Political and broadcasting magpies

October 25, 2011

Websters defines “magpie” as a chatterbox…or a garrulous gossiper.  It reminds me of politicians during an election cycle.  However, their gossip often is not idle.   It is spoken or written to pander to the passions and prejudices of their listeners and readers.    Call them demagogues.  There was an example in our mail today.   Its headline is “Save Medicare”.     The message called on us to save medicare by contributing to a political party’s campaign.   Similar demagogic appeals arrive regularly from both major political parties.  It’s aimed at gaining or retaining power.   What is equally disappointing are the broadcasting magpies.  Some will protest that they’re only entertainers.   Perhaps they are…perhaps they are.  Perhaps they and the political magpies should join together at the comedy club where no one will take them seriously.

Steve Jobs’ warts

October 24, 2011

On CBS’  “60 Minutes” Sunday (10-23-11) there’s a story based on an upcoming book about the late Steve Jobs.    The writer  is Walter Isaacson, a former “Time Magazine” editor.  Isaacson says he wrote the authorized biography at the request of Jobs.    Isaacson did several audio taped interviews with Jobs as part of his research.  I only watched the first 20  minutes of the CBS piece, but it appears that Isaacson followed Jobs’ request that he include warts and all.  While acknowledging Jobs’  genius, he writes that Jobs believed that the “rules” did not apply to him.  For example, he would park in handicapped spaces.   Isaacson cited one car for which Jobs refused to buy a tag.  Remember the cliche’, “a rich person who behaves peculiarly is called “eccentric”.     The rest of us are called “crazy”.  I’m tapeing the rest of the “Sixty Minutes” program for watching later.  I’m not sure what difference it makes what other people think of you when you’re gone, but if we can believe Isaacson, it apparently made a difference to Jobs.

“A family affair”

October 23, 2011

6-year-old Wyatt, 6-month-old Willow and 29-year-old Nicole Walters are three-fourths of the Walters family making Mom’s first race a family affair.  32-year-old Dad, Russ, is out warming up for the Dragon Dash 5K Saturday.  It’s in Milner, Georgia..about an 80 minute drive southwest of Atlanta, Georgia. 

Willow Walters

Willow rode the whole 3.1 miles in a jogging buggy pushed by her Mom. Mom alternately ran and walked.  Wyatt ran slightly ahead of them.   Dad Russ was way out front and ready to drive as the rest of them finished.  They were headed to Wyatt’s baseball game.  It was a great day for a family affair.

Iraq withdrawal

October 22, 2011

The announced planned withdrawal of our troops from Iraq calls up memories from almost 60 years ago.   We were ending the “conflict” in Korea.  I was just completing 3 years of a 4-year enlistment in the Air Force.   We learned that because of the need for fewer troops in Korea, we could be eligible to apply for an early discharge.  I did because I wanted to go to college.  I left the Air Force after 3 years and 3 months.   Others stayed because they had decided that the military was the life for them.  The planned withdrawal from Iraq causes me to wonder how many young men and women of this generation will be facing the same decisions…whether they will have similar opportunities.