If you haven't noticed, I'm on holiday for a week or so. Have a safe New Years Eve.
P.S. Don't drink and drive... its not worth it. Play it safe, and stay home and cook up a royal feast, have a few bubblies, and curl up with someone from the opposite sex.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
If you haven't noticed, I'm on holiday for a week or so. Have a safe New Years Eve.
Monday, December 24, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Long before I became a Ham Radio operator, I was a shortwave listener. Week in and week out I listened to world news from the BBC, Deutsche Welle, Swiss Radio International, and a host of other nations. This was particularly fun during the cold war era since shortwave was a key medium for broadcasting news and information to captives held under thumb of communist-style regimes. Western nations spend considerable sums of money broadcasting in to reach those over the iron curtain. And of course, Radio Moscow and other pro-communist nations, did their part to combat Western influence by jamming western transmissions, and producing their own propaganda programs - which were entertaining to listen to.
Beyond those aspects, I'd listen in to European programming for their cultural programs and news perspectives. For example, one of my favorite shows was called Random Selection which was hosted by Larry Wayne which aired on Sunday evenings on Radio Deutsche Welle. It was part of their Living in Germany section that aired in the 80s and early 90s. Unfortunately now, a large portion of broadcasters have ended their North American Broadcasts in favor of Internet downloads. The rationale for ending SW broadcasting to North American seemed to be cost-related in that maintaining the large stations and staff to run them didn't make sense, particularly when most of North America can access Internet, satellite broadcasting and other forms of media. I still miss them on Shortwave, downloading their podcasts is just not the same as a crackling voice or the occasional whining sound of QRM on the band. (Now I sound like my grandfather).
By the way, although I've owned several shortwave radios my time. I still use my Grundig YB400 PE which I purchased from Radio Shack about 6 years ago to replace my old set. It's a great portable radio for listening to broadcasts by Radio Netherlands and the BBC (both haven't abandoned their North American broadcasts - yet!)
Today, with digital technology, cell phones, the Internet and other mediums, shortwave is declining to a point where the band is no longer filled with hundreds of English programs. You have your mainstays like the aforementioned BBC, and many religious broadcasts, etc.
One of my favorite radio programs was a program called "Media Network" which aired on Radio Netherlands back in the 80s and early 90s. Media Network is now in blog form and can be found here. The shows producer and narrator was Jonathan Marks, and the show focused in on what was happening on the shortwave bands. Often you'd hear clips of new stations in their infancy broadcasting in English. This show was a must-hear for short-wave fanatics as you always heard up to date information about who was popping up where, and who was closing down operations.
Hands down, it was my favorite show. Weekly, I'd sit pencil in hand, copy down the information and later try to find the new stations on my own. Ok, so it was a bit geeky, but it was certainly fun. Jonanthan Marks had a loyal following and I can remember he report that he was ending his role on Media Network. But of course, eventually everyone moves on. In the case of Jonathan Marks - its as if he never really left, its more like he took an expanded role.
Today Marks runs several blogs and sites including this one that are dedicated to emerging technologies in the digital age. He covers everything from broadcasting laws to cell phone networks. But even if you are remotely interested in new technology, his newsletter and blogs are worth reading
Here is a must read newsletter produced by Jonathan Marks. It's easy reading for the layperson not entirely acclimated to the fancy language of communication, and extremely helpful in understand the trends of today and tomorrow.
There are a few Jonathan Marks out on the web. The guy that I'm referring to is this one. Of course, I've never met the guy, but he's one of the people that I hope to one day be able to shake his hand.
Also, for those looking for radio-centric news, you can always check out Glenn Hauser's site: http://www.worldofradio.com/ .
Jonathan Marks OR Shortwave Radio
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Christmas season has been a busy one this year; which has meant less blogging and more family events, parties, and preparations. But I also see that few other friendly blogs are firing on all their pistons either.
I've been keeping tabs on all things local and national, but haven't had the time to write a great deal about them, or the inclination to get excited about politics.
The other evening I watched "West Hartford Republican Record" on WHCT. I have future blog entry in the works that breaks down what was one of the single worst performances by the West Hartford Republican GOP that I can remember. Low energy, low impact, and incredibly pathetic. And the Council meetings can just about go on without GOP representation if our elected officials are going to behave this way.
When Carl Donatelli asked the simplest of questions... "What is your New Years Resolution?" Our three Republican representatives, together, couldn't string along a coherent answer. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? You guys came off as having the personality of a small soap dish.
It's funny that these guys tell me face to face that they don't want to hear criticism or be picked on, and then they go on town-wide television and make assess of themselves.
The cardinal rule for politicians going on television is that you never go on television unless you have something to say, some message to deliver. All this low energy "I can barely answer the question" stuff is gut-wrenching.
Guys, if you don't like this post, then you'd better not tune in to the next one.
Since you couldn't come up with New Years' Resolutions, here are few for you:
Leon: Start acting like a leader. You couldn't tell who the minority leader from watching that show. This soft spoken tact is low energy dribble. Say something for Godsakes. Shout the message from the hilltops. Lead Leon, lead! You told us you were commited to change and making things happen. So when does the work begin on behalf of the taxpayers who elected you? Or are we going to see two years of you campaigning by not making any waves so you can be re-elected? You go back and look at the tape of the show and then you answer the question ... "What is appealing about the West Hartford GOP?" If you are honest with yourself, you will plainly agree that last week show stunk and you guys looked uninterested, boring, and pointless.
Adler: Start acting like a team player; bringing all this attention to yourself and empire building makes you look like a self-centered gutonness jerk. Holding your own town halls must really boost your ego. How about showing a little teamwork and collaboration through action not words. You give credibility to the negative comments that Dems and others make about you. Must you "follow up" on everyone's comment by trying to redirect attention to yourself? There is nothing worse than trying to steal the thunder of your allies. And its being noted elsewhere.
Joe: Stop acting like you were born yesterday. People elected you for your energy and activism. This duh, duh, laying back "just watching" stuff is tedious because its simply - not you. Both of those guys on either side of you don't seem to have it together. So if Leon is going to sit there, and Steven is going to boast about himself, and no one is going to talk issues, then you might as take on the de facto leadership role in absence of anything tangible. And let's focus on this job before you begin talking about the next. People IN THIS TOWN are counting on you.
UHHHGGGGHH! If I were the Democrats, I'd be beaming with opposition like this. I'd be saying - wow, looks like they drugged Joe or something... look how he sits there.
By 2020, the Royal British archives will open up the files on Rudolf Hess, and we will find out if the guy they tried (and eventually murdered in Spandau) was the real Rudolf Hess. In 2008, we'll find out if the Joe Visconti that ran for elected office in West Hartford is the real Joe Visconti who's been seen in public and on television since the election, or if its a cheap double, and somewhere in a dungeon, the real Joe Visconti is locked up or being held captive by Leon, Steve and Carl and the rest of the WH Republican Town Committee.
So far I'm beginning to believe that the one that appeared the other night is nothing more than a double. I think we need to organize a search party for the real Joe Visconti.
Back to Presidential elections (where the candidates actually want the job and care about the job and their constituents... )
This analysis by PJB is right on target.
Unless a major scandal hits the press, I believe that the stars are aligned.... Rudy is out, McCain is done, Thompson is finished, and that leaves only Mitt and Huckabee to battle it out. First stop Iowa where Huckabee appears to have a lead. But Iowa is only Iowa. And there will be more to savor from primaries where multiple states cast ballots on the same day.
My money is still on Mitt Romney. The sooner the others can clear out and shut down their lackluster campaigns, the faster we can have some one on one debates between the two front runners and separate the rhetoric from their policy positions. We are hearing plenty from the campaigns, and not enough from the nominees.
McCain, Rudy, Fred, Duncan, and the rest... thanks for playing; time to go home and go back to work.
West Hartford Republicans
Friday, December 21, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Citing some of the reasons that I cited yesterday and many more, National Review - the conservative magazine of record, endorsed Mitt Romney for President.
The arguments that NR brings to light in support of Mitt, and against the other candidates in the field are very compelling.
It's interesting to note the story today that claims that Democrats are leaving Mike Huckabee alone since they declare him easy to beat in the General Election. Boy, I bet neither Hillary nor Obama would want to see Mitt Romney in the opposition debate spot!
Time to give Mitt a second look, folks! We are in this thing to win! And with the field of tax and spend (and give aid to Al Queda crowd) creeps running on the Democratic ticket this year, we'd better be in great form!
Monday, December 10, 2007
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Friday, December 7, 2007
On December 7, 1941 at around 7:55 am, in an act of planned treachery, the nation of Japan attacked Pearl Harbor station, Hawaii. The result of the attack left twenty-one ships of the U.S. Pacific fleet damaged or destroyed. The death toll reached 2,350, along with 68 civilians and 1,178 injured. Of the military personnel lost at Pearl Harbor, 1,177 were from the Arizona alone.
Military historians argue that while the outcome of the attack might have been the same (a victory for Japan), had headquarters taken immediate precautions after the Minesweeper Condor reported a sighting of a submarine periscope at 3:42 am, and later at 6:55 am when the Destroyer U.S.S. Ward fired and sunk a Japanese midget submarine, more live may have been saved that day.
Here is a reenactment of the attack on the U.S.S. Oklahoma with real pictures of actual sailors who served aboard her that day. God Bless all of these souls.
Perhaps you heard this song, Remember Pearl Harbor by Don Reid and Sammy Kaye. Perhaps in tribute to our fallen heroes you might find yourself humming it today.
Here is a great site from National Geographic on the attack to give you another perspective of the horrific events of that day.
Here is the CBS broadcast of the attack report.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
An interesting and well done video showing a montage of Civil War paintings with Bing Crosby singing in the background. It's interesting to think about how hellish it must have been for both Blue and Grey soliders during the Civil War. It must have been very hard for families who had soliders on both sides at Christmas.
Posted by The King at 5:56 AM
Monday, December 3, 2007
This video is a great recording of Martha Rae singing Silent Night to Allied troops during the movie "Four Jills in a Jeep." Remember when Hollywood used to support American Troops? Except for a handful, most Actors are pretty self-centered, and what good they do is mostly for public relations points. Anyways, a great patriotic piece.
Posted by The King at 7:27 AM
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Continuing on our theme of Christmas at wartime, here is a great video and song that covers a special Christmas in 1914 at Ypres when enemy forces halted hostilities to celebrate Christmas. I'm afraid that we are unlikely to ever see that kind of "humanity" during wartme. It's sort of peacenik type of song but yet another reminder that "our boys" will be over there this Christmas.
Posted by The King at 7:04 AM