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November 12, 2006 - November 18, 2006 Archives

November 12, 2006


Rained all freakin' afternoon. Serves me right for having the temerity to take some days off.

At least the Eagles won, even if they only beat Tom Cruise's friends.


November 13, 2006


It was only after I began to lift off in the wind that I understood why I was the only person on the boardwalk this morning.

58 degrees and light drizzle is normally excellent running weather. Add gusty, cold winds along the oceanfront and it blows, quite literally. I was making good time, but not enjoying the experience.

Of course, weather or not, I'll try it again tomorrow. I love running by the ocean. Can't resist.

Speaking of can't resist, today's entries in the Ignoring My Diet To Indulge In East Coast Treats log: one Philadelphia-style soft pretzel and one slice of Sicilian pizza. Not together. So far, I've also indulged in a pizza steak (three bites, cut short by migraine), Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpets, a Tastykake Chocolate Junior. It's a good thing that Rita's Water Ice is closed for the winter. And this explains the need to go running in the morning.


November 14, 2006


The Ate-Too-Much Tour of Pennsylvania and New Jersey is coming to an end, and not a moment too soon, considering my desire to continue to fit into my clothes. This was a good trip filled with good visits with friends and family; I'd like to be able to do this more often. Maybe we will.

A few traffic-related observations: one, only New Jersey can manage to have two major highways cross and have no direct way to get from one to the other- try to get from the southbound Garden State Parkway to 78 East and see how many miles you have to drive out of your way before you're going where you wanted to go. Another- if everyone who's ever been there knows that the State Troopers use 202 between Flemington and the New Hope bridge as a training ground to catch speeders, isn't it time to find another spot? A third: is using the turn signal really optional in New Jersey? Fourth: if you need to rent a car, have a lot of baggage, and don't want to take an SUV, get a Chevy Impala- it has one hell of a trunk.

And that's it. Back to California tomorrow. Talk to you then.


November 15, 2006


Let's send a cheery greeting to Continental Airlines for deciding to move our reserved seat assignments so that we weren't set to sit together and I got put in a middle seat. Thanks, guys! Perhaps I'll take my business to an airline that doesn't do that (and, no, the plane size wasn't changed- they just randomly moved us so someone else could have our seats).

And that's how I ended up cramped in a middle seat, unable to move and with no place to put my elbows, while being subjected to the aroma of the weird guy next to me and his feet. He insisted on removing his desert boots (!) to air out his tootsies, and the result would have slayed a buffalo had a buffalo managed to book a seat and not get moved. He also appeared not to have showered lately, and, judging by his bizarre two-toned haircut, not to have used a mirror. I tried to compensate by staring straight ahead and not breathing, but the breathing part wasn't a long-term solution.

There was also nothing much I could do about the elderly couple behind me that responded to the reclining of my seat by banging on it, poking the raised armrest back forward, and demanding that I bring the seat back up because they needed the room to unfold their tray tables. The man also spent the entire flight loudly reading articles- out loud- from what sounded like U.S. News and World Report or something similarly dry and boring. I don't think they travel much.

But the end of the trip was mercifully migraine-free- the flight was long and excruciating, but it got me back to L.A., where, unlike the Newark experience a week ago, the baggage came out immediately, the parking lot van was there within 2 minutes, and we were on our way in record time (big props to Wally Park, LAX' best parking garage, just off Century Boulevard near Aviation- since I started using them, I've never had to wait more than 5 minutes for the shuttle). The sun was shining, the temperature was just about perfect (low 70's), the house intact, and Ella the World's Most Famous Cat was waiting for us, furiously meowing ("where WERE you? Why did you leave me here? Pay attention to me! And bring food!") but otherwise OK. I'm seriously jet-lagged, but back in business. Nice trip, good start to Fran's Victory Tour, good to be back. All travel should be like that.


November 16, 2006


Holiday cheer's starting early this year.

I was buying something at Best Buy. I'd walked in a few minutes earlier, and I'd observed a long line camped outside, waiting for one of the 35 PlayStation 3s that the store would be getting. While the register slowly processed by purchase, I talked to the cashier.

"So, how long have those people been camped out?", I asked.

"Since Wednesday," she said.

And before she could get another word out, and before the receipt could even start printing out, a middle-aged woman who resembled a taller and slightly younger Selma Diamond walked right up and barked "are we talking or are we working?"

"We're waiting for my receipt," I said. And the woman ignored me and started into a monologue about how she bought something and the ad said a different price and blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

The cashier looked at me for help. I didn't know what to say. I said "excuse me, I'm waiting for my receipt." The receipt prinetd out, the cashier passed it to me, and I walked out, pausing to glare at the rude woman. She didn't even pause to take a breath, let alone look my way. Her husband stood several feet behind her, looking sheepish.

I'm getting soft in my old age. I should have ripped that shrew in two. I should have said something. But I walked away- I didn't want to take the time, didn't want to let my blood pressure rise, didn't want the bother. Maybe I'm just not angry enough.

And to think, it's not even Thanksgiving yet. Wait until the stores get more crowded, the lines get longer, and the tempers get shorter. I can't wait.


November 17, 2006


This week's letter is about, oh, a buncha stuff:

I'm back in California and done with traveling for a while; because that means a pile of work and other obligations needing attention (including a very, very needy cat who hasn't stopped meowing since we walked through the door), and there's an abbreviated holiday week coming up, let's keep this one short, okay? Good.

I spent much of the last week driving all over the place and listening to local talk radio from several markets. Here are a few observations:

1. Talk radio works best when it reflects its home city. New York talk radio should sound like a bunch of opinionated loudmouths, a Philly station should have people with broad accents complaining about Andy Reid. It's not just being local, it's SOUNDING local. Whatever makes your city unique should be reflected in your shows and your imaging. I guess that goes for music stations, too- too many stations sound as if they could be from anywhere. If the NAB is going to complain to the FCC when satellite does anything that might be construed as local, the industry ought to be offering, you know, more local programming. Just a suggestion. That's not to say syndication's bad- I like a lot of syndicated shows- but there's always room for more local stuff.

2. I know that some of you can't fight off the GM or the GSM when they bring infomercials to the table, but it just sounds bad. Nothing makes a talk radio station sound cheesier and more sleazy than infomercials. If you think that airing those things Sunday mornings or late nights isn't going to hurt you, all I know is that I hear one and I instantly think less of the station that's carrying it, especially when the infomercials try to pass themselves off as "real" shows. I would be surprised if casual listeners didn't feel the same way- they hear a fake show and it's like you're trying to scam them. And when the GM says it's a necessary evil, what he or she means is that it's totally unnecessary and possibly harmful, but they can make more money from airing it than selling spots. And then everyone complains when the ratings aren't what they want them to be.

3. There's some really good talk radio out there. Some of you made me laugh and think and want to hear more.

4. There's some really weak talk radio out there. And there were too many moments on the road where I ended up listening to satellite, because there was nothing else on. If you program a station, you should aspire to be the station that breaks that mindset- you should want to build a station with programming and imaging so good, so strong, so unmissable that nobody resorts to satellite or an iPod in the car. You want to be the one station that proves there's "always something good on the radio." There are a handful of stations that qualify. There should be more.

I have more, but it's late and I'm fighting off jet lag and it can wait, which it will, until the week after next. In the meantime, do check out the long list of topics, links, and general insouciance at All Access News-Talk-Sports' Talk Topics column, which continues to be updated with lots of show prep material, like stories about the sale of a magazine everyone knows and nobody actually reads, another fat-bomb-burger controversy, the mayhem surrounding the PS3 and Wii releases, a rental car sob story that beats any other, the problem with being a sports fan living in enemy territory, how post-Thanksgiving sales are now starting on Thanksgiving itself, what New York students are smuggling into school in their underwear, the evils of traffic ticket quotas, a tic-tac-toe-playing chicken, and a particularly disgusting story involving a dead deer, plus "real" news links and commentary and columns and interviews and the industry's leading news coverage in Net News and the Indus try Directory and lots of other stuff which is constantly updated and really great and all free. And you're gonna want to check All Access several times a day just to see if your station's been sold or you've been fired, because we'll usually be the first to report the news.

That's it for now. Next week's Thanksgiving in America, so no Letter, but Talk Topics and the rest of All Access will be business-as-usual right up to the big day, when we and the rest of the nation will pause to eat turkey and watch football and wonder when the relatives will finally leave. Enjoy the love.


November 18, 2006


Seen on the 405 freeway yesterday morning:

Bugs Ugh!

That's the slogan of a local extermination company- these guys. It's always fascinated me- the lack of proper punctuation, the balloon-like lettering, the almost-rhyme... I always wonder who came up with it. And maybe the driver of this Escalade did- the license plate goes with the "Bugs Ugh!" sticker in the rear window.

Maybe you want to see Brad Pitt or TomKat or someone like that- my kind of celebrity sighting is the "Bugs Ugh!" guy. He rocks.


About November 2006

This page contains all entries posted to PMSimon.com in November 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

November 5, 2006 - November 11, 2006 is the previous archive.

November 19, 2006 - November 25, 2006 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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