Monday, August 08, 2005

I missed the Blog-a-Thon....and other tidbits....

I'm glad I didn't have the crazy notion (well, not for more than a few minutes!) of joining those across the blogosphere who helped out worthy causes this weekend in the "Blogathon". I know a few of my regular reads did so, and I've looked at one so far.

The weekend was typical, which is why I'm playing catch up in that game, but I'm also engrossed in an important short-term project: my high school reunion. It's October 1st, and we'd like to get some more response (first, because I want to see people, and, second, because we'd like to break even!!) so, I'm sending out reminder letters and doing work on my "reunion blog", so people can download forms and pay on line if they'd like.

I really want this to go well, so, it's taking some attention away from things like, well, here, I'm afraid.

But, I will NOT be absent. I still plan to post several times weekly, as there's always much to discuss. Besides, my Bloggie turns one Wednesday!!! What's an appropriate gift, and, more importantly, when will it finally start walking???


PETER JENNINGS: 1938--2005

A few notes on his passing.....

1) I look at Peter as I've looked at all anchors that have been around in my life, in two ways. One, as the owner of a chair I always wanted to have. I used to promise my mama at around age five or six that, when I became anchor of the CBS Evening News, I would have her a house built right beside mine. Second, as a personality in media/journalism, I'm automatically fascinated.

2) You can be sure Peter will be the only network news anchor ever to get the job at 27 years old, and without completing high school.

3) I can remember a huge article in the Sunday paper here in Richmond just before "World News Tonight" debuted in 1978. I took interest, because, well, one, even at age 11, I was a news and media freak, and, I had watched one of the three new co-anchors, Max Robinson, on Channel 9 in Washington DC (when I turned the outside TV antenna north and had decent weather....) Remember, this was a big deal; no one had really tried "tri-anchoring", and anyone would be hard pressed to come up with any type of team that rivaled Huntley and Brinkley from the decade before, let alone consider the fact that "Uncle Walter" was on the other channel.

I usually watched John Chancellor, but I switched for awhile, checking out the new set, the new look, etc. Hey, they certainly didn't look worse by comparison say, to their predecessors, Harry Reasoner and Barbara Walters, who reminded the world nightly what it was like to be in the home of a couple in the week before the divorce.

Time went on...Cronkite out, Rather in.....Frank Reynolds had a meltdown of sorts on the air the day Reagan was shot, died in 1983, and Peter became sole anchor, as Max had been phased out earlier, then tragically died of AIDS in 1988.

So, he spent the next 22 years quietly under the radar, with an audience steadily growing as ABC News finally shed its image of being, well, for lack of a better term, horrible.

Think about it. In the space of several years, the following people went to ABC:

--David Brinkley (when NBC thought he was done)
--Diane Sawyer
--Barbara Walters
--Hugh Downs
--Brian Ross
--John Cochran
--Carole Simpson the Ted Koppels, Sam Donaldsons and Joan Lundens of the world that became famous, and suddenly ABC was on top.

The biggest reason was the quiet, demanding, perfectionist captain, Jennings. And now, it makes you wonder what World News Tonight does next. Surely they've discussed it at the upper levels, and one thing of which I'm sure, they will promote from within. To bring an "outsider" in at this point, to me, would be unthinkable.

So, in the space of 27 years, I've watched Cronkite to Rather to (for now) Schieffer, Chancellor (and some Mudd), to Brokaw to Williams, and now, Reasoner/Smith to Reasoner/Walters, to Reynolds/Robinson/Jennings, to Jennings to ?

No, I'm not a media junkie. Not at all.

Note I haven't said a thing about political stands in this blog. This is not the time nor the place. Whether I agreed, disagreed, liked, or disliked Peter Jennings due to ideology is, honest, pretty irrelevant right now.

You know the biggest reason why? Because Peter was born 3 months (minus one day) before my mama, and passed a little over 31 months after mama, both of cancer, that thing I absolutely hate.

I know, I know, he smoked. Mama didn't do anything like that. Yet they are both dead. That's the ultimate bottom line. And to think, as NBC reported tonight, that lung cancer research gets one-tenth...ONE-TENTH the money that breast cancer research does. No wonder 88 percent of those with breast cancer will survive more than five years, while only 15 percent of lung cancer patients do.

Throw the PC and excuses out the window; not every lung cancer sufferer smoked themselves into it. And even if they you go into the E.R. when someone has a massive heart attack and taunt them for eating too much fast food??? Gee, you'd think with all the "concern" over second-hand smoke, the amount of money for research wouldn't be so paltry.

Life isn't fair, and continually throws curves. As an elderly gentleman at church reminded me recently about his brother-in-law's recent bout with heart problems:

"Look at him, skinny, in good shape and walks everyday. And look what he gets. And look at me, how fat I am, and it's not me."

No truer words could be said. Whether you "liked" or "disliked" Peter, be a real human, and pray for his family, and his friends at ABC News. Losing someone at any time is difficult. I have to applaud Charles Gibson for being able to anchor the Special Report just before midnight last night, host GMA at 7am, and come back to do WNT at 630pm.

He's got to be physically exhausted. But he's riding so much on the energy of Peter, he just doesn't know it yet.



Best pass of the opening weekend (though the Miami/Chicago game is still in progress at the time of this typing): Dan Marino to Mark Clayton, circa 1984. Only this time Dan was protected by the podium on the Hall of Fame Platform and the dozens of people around Clayton opted to give him plenty of room to catch the ball rather than cover him.

So what if he didn't win a Super Bowl? He's one of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game. And, lest we forget, he introduced the age of the "shotgun arm". Brett Favre has Dan to thank for paving that way.


DVD REVIEW: "Elf" (2003): Cute to watch w/the kids, with hardly any objectionable content. It starts kinda slow, but picks up significantly in the final 30 minutes. And any movie with Bob Newhart in it has to be good! Worth a watch if you haven't done so.


Oh, and before we go.......


"It's the ____________ of the year!"

I almost allowed myself to use this one!! I had headlined my reunion reminder letter with, "It's The Night of The Decade". Stupid.

Glad I changed it to "The Night a Decade in the Making".

The prepositional phrase "of the year" should be banned from all advertising unless it can describe an indisputable fact. I'm so tired of "lowest prices of the year"..."the weekend clearance of the year"...."the party of the year".....


Sigh. Feel better. :0)

Good night, all.

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