Everybody Into the ‘Pool’

After 31 years of broadcasting, I can add another (recurring) title to my resume:

Pool Reporter.

During President Trump’s 17-day “working vacation” — split between Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ; Trump Tower in New York City and the White House — I got to be in the rotation to be the radio reporter on the ground that fed information to all the other radio outlets.  It’s exhausting..yet interesting at the same time.

August 8th was my first ever ‘pool’ day.  That was the day — during what was to be a brief photo opportunity for the President and his advisors to discuss America’s opioid crisis — when a fellow pool reporter fired off a question about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s threat to fire missiles toward the U.S. territory of Guam.

As you know by now..this was President Trump’s response.

I was standing across the table and to the President’s right when he said it.  Not many people were discussing opioids after that.

My second day as pool reporter — a lot less eventful.  I was in New York City on August 14th…but the President was not for most of the day.  He was in D.C. doing some level of damage control..after not condemning specific hate groups for the deadly violence in Charlottesville, VA the weekend prior.   The President strengthened his condemnation on Monday..but only after sound criticism from both sides of the political aisle.

My third and final pool-reporting day was Thursday the 17th..back out near Bedminster.   This was two days following what some have described as his Trump Tower “meltdown” with the media.  He did not speak to the media at all on his final day..and understandably so.

But some of his fellow Republicans talked about him.

They include South Carolina Republican senator Tim Scott who said the President lacked the “moral authority” his office requires.  Senator Scott’s comment to VICE News was:

“I’m not going to defend the indefensible…[Trump’s] comments on Monday were strong. His comments on Tuesday started erasing the comments that were strong. What we want to see from our president is clarity and moral authority. And that moral authority is compromised when Tuesday happened. There’s no question about that.”

Tennessee GOP senator Bob Corker — in his comments below (courtesy of the Associated Press) — went further.

The ouster of White House Strategist Steve Bannon on Friday (8/18) only adds to the comparison that some have made dubbing this White House — ‘Survivor: D.C. Swamp’.

As exhausting and — at times — unpredictable as it was, I enjoyed my pool reporter experience.  It does still leave me to wonder how the White House Press Corps in Washington does this day after day…

After day…

After day.

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Does The President Realize What He’s Saying?

I’m a bit annoyed.

I listened to President Trump this week as he spoke on Long Island, NY.  He was there to discuss what he calls an administration priority — combatting gang violence using the scourge of the violent gang, MS-13, as the example.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am all for ridding people of the fear and violence this gang brings…and has brought to Long Island.  Several teens have been brutally murdered by members of the gang.

At one point during the President’s speech, he strayed onto the topic of another crime: human trafficking.  it is a horrible act.   But what the president said about it is what troubles me…and makes me wonder if President Trump really has a grasp on the atrocities of America’s history.

Here’s what he said:

https://www.c-span.org/video/standalone/?c4678677

Excuse me..

At its core..what do you think SLAVERY was?  Africans being brought across an ocean against their will to endure a life of servitude.   That was about as bad as it got.

There are times I wonder if there is anyone in the White House who can..or will..let Mr. Trump know whether what he’s saying is either factual or..purely and simply..makes sense.

Unfortunately, it has become — to use the golf term — par for the course for this administration.

Is it too much to ask to have the so-called “leader of the free world” ditch the bravado and be the diplomat that we need him to be — not only abroad but at home as well?

Maybe I’m asking too much.

 

 

TBT: Cereal Edition

A lot of my “wit and wisdom” comes quite honestly from the person I like to think is the smarter of the two of us in my marriage — my wife Karen. Here is her latest offering from her blog, The KReative Corner. I think the link within may bring back some memories for you. It did for me. If you get a moment..take a look through some of her other offerings. You may hooked into following. Enjoy!

The KReative Corner

The recent Pop culture trend seems to center around the “Reboot” a revival of things from days gone by – a blast from the past !  You see this in fashion, TV shows and even music.  So, on this #TBT I submit a treasure chest of sugary goodies that is breakfast cereal.

A recent conversation with “hubby” prompted a google search for a cereal I used to see on the shelf of our grocery store but didn’t remember who made it.  He was off to get his tablet and scored this.

Enjoy this trip down memory lane.

. . .until next time.

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When Did We Lose Total Control?

So far…I’ve resisted using this space as a sounding board for the — shall we say — strangeness coming out of the White House.

That ends now.

What in the blue hell is going on??!!

prezdt

We are not long past 100 days of the Donald Trump presidency and what we’ve seen are a laundry list of executive orders, a massive fight between the parties on several issues, bombshell firings, a press secretary hiding in the bushes and more Trump tweets than we care to see.

Oh..and let’s not forget — very little actual governing.

The recent dismissal of James Comey as director of the FBI sent shock waves through Washington.  So much so that even members of the president’s own party were left scratching their heads.    The White House isn’t even on the same page about it.   The president’s communications staff told the press that the firing came on a recommendation from the Justice Department.  Yet, in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, President Trump said — recommendation or no — he was going to fire Comey anyway.

Which is it?

It’s because Comey didn’t throw himself on the sword for the president during a congressional hearing.  President Trump says Comey told him three times that the president was not under investigation for Russian connections.  One of those times was reportedly during a dinner..when the question was asked of Comey directly.  That’s seen as inappropriate contact on an investigative matter.

It so far stands to reason that if you dare cross this president..bad things will come to you — even if you happen to be the guy (Comey) who was in charge of the probe into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russia.  However, a tweet from Matthew Miller, a former Justice Department spokesman during the Obama Administration may be a harbinger of things to come.

ComeyTweet

As my wife says…using improper English for emphasis:  “It only gets ‘gooder’ from here.”

And the president’s cabinet is feeling a lot of the backlash.  Case in point: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ attempt to deliver the commencement speech at Bethune-Cookman University, a historically black college in Daytona Beach.

The image of the building below has long been a hallmark of a strong and stable republic.

whitehouse

If we are not careful..the image we will present to the world, thanks to the doings of one man, will forever tarnish that perception.  It’s not what America needs in a very uncertain world.

Thank You, Babe!

gandme

There are not many things that make you feel like you’re on top of the world. A trip to the 86th floor Observation Deck of the Empire State Building in New York with Karen Henderson R. Scott literally represented what she has been to my life. Let me be clear. Karen has a husband who forgets things, misses details and many times fails to do the things husbands should. In other words — I am NOT perfect. But — of her own volition — she has cared for me, encouraged me and called me out on my bulls–t. That is a full-time job with all of her other responsibilities and interests. For that I am grateful.

I like to think Karen and I have TWO anniversaries — six months apart. There is August 15th, 2013 when we promised before God, family and friends to “love, honor and cherish” each other. But that day is not possible without February 28th, 2011 at 9:47 p.m. That’s when we reconnected on Facebook 26 years after we graduated high school together (thanks to a posted Kindergarten picture) to start a conversation that continues today. That day in itself changed the course of my life..and I am certain that in what is going on six years since FB brought us together…she has impacted me for the better.

Being near the top of the ESB..where the wind was whipping and it was much cooler than the 70+ degrees on the ground, I realized how good i have it. I know that if my life ended today, it would be complete simply because she was in it. And though I am nowhere close to the perfect husband…I feel I have a near-perfect woman with me. That’s a really good feeling.

As I watched Karen take photos of the New York skyline that we towered over, I watched her wonderment and couldn’t help but hear one song playing over and over in my head — by a late singer — one of my favorites — with a great name: Karen Carpenter.  And although I know she HATES a country ‘twang’, here’s the song as I heard it in my brain.

Thank you, babe!

Al Jarreau (1940-2017)

It was what I feared.

When I wrote last week that I was saddened that Al Jarreau has suddenly retired from touring, I never expected he would be gone so soon after…but sudden retirements lend themselves to these kinds of outcomes.

A co-worker of mine spoke of interviewing Al some years back…and recalled how Al treated his music with an almost “spiritual” reverence.   For those of us who will miss his talent and his smile on stage, we will always have his music to remember him by.

Al was apparently singing to the end.  This was posted on Twitter last Friday (2/10):

altwitter

That said..I will leave this as the postscript.

Al Jarreau — in collaboration with Bob James and David Sanborn — performing Since I Fell For You.

Rest well, Al.

Three Eras…Three Endings (sort of)

When I came into the office, the news hit me about three people in the public entertainment eye who have made decisions that the current phases of their careers will change.  I’ll offer thoughts on all three here.

nbccostas

Bob Costas

Watching an Olympic games on NBC will not be the same for me.  As a sports fan, it was always a comfort to me when you tuned to the Games in prime time and saw Costas in the anchor chair.   He has announced that the most recent Rio Olympics was his last as lead anchor.  Former ESPN anchor Mike Tirico will take over.  Costas says he’s “transitioning” his career.   The Associated Press couched Costas’ next chapter thusly:

Costas, 64, said he’s not retiring from the business, but entering the “Tom Brokaw phase” of his career. Brokaw, the former NBC “Nightly News” anchor, is a commentator at big news events and makes documentaries.

Tirico will be fine…but it won’t be the same.

arethafranklin

Aretha Franklin

What can you say about “The Queen of Soul” that hasn’t been said already?  She’s earned every bit of R-E-S-P-E-C-T throughout her career.  Now she says this year will be her swan song.  Detroit TV station WDIV reported it first and offered this detail that the AP relayed:

The singer says she will make one more album, with several tracks produced by Stevie Wonder, and will otherwise limit herself to “some select things, many one a month, for six months out of the year” as she devotes more time to her grandchildren. She also says 2017 will be her “last year in concert.”
“”This will be my last year,” Franklin said. “I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert. This is it.”

My only question is…who will be heir to the queen’s throne.

aljarreau

Al Jarreau

As a jazz fan…this hits me the most.  I have always been a fan of Al Jarreau — from the traditional jazz to the pop crossovers.  Even his theme from Moonlighting carried a lot of his jazzy style.   But I was saddened to read this statement on his website on why he is stepping away:

“Al Jarreau is in the hospital in Los Angeles, due to exhaustion. He is receiving excellent medical care, responding to treatments, and improving slowly.   The medical team has instructed that he cannot perform any of his remaining 2017 concert dates.   Therefore, with complete sorrow, Al Jarreau must retire from touring. He is thankful for his 50 years of traveling the world in ministry through music, and for everyone who shared this with him – his faithful audience, the dedicated musicians, and so many others who supported his effort.”

The best thing I can do is leave you with a sample his music mastery.  Below..a duet with Kurt Elling on a scat-filled version of Dave Brubeck’s classic Take 5.

Godspeed and good health Al.