My Mind Overflows With Random Thought

random-thoughts

Life used to have a routine.  I could plan my day.  Phrases like: Business as usual, status quo, day to day affairs, normal activities, daily grind, staying the course, standard practice, and as per usual – don’t mean anything anymore.  Nothing is normal anymore.  As a midnight shift worker, it’s hard to know what day it is, but when the routine is thrown off, it becomes more difficult.

Give Me Just A Little More Time

I have been seriously trying to make time to sort through thoughts.  Believe it or not, it’s been a little easier to do since I have been at home a bit more.  Last week I only worked about half of my 40 hours because of low census and the eventual closing down of our lab.  I was able to get some hours helping out in the Labor Pool at the hospital.

Our techs were reassigned.  Some had jobs in the hospital, but I was reassigned on Wednesday night to go to the hospital to help direct traffic.  We were given one of those orange vests and we were sent out to the main parking lot.  Our job was to make sure the cars that were lined up to be screened for the Covid-19 virus had first been checked in at the ER.

Basically, a check in at the ER determined whether or not your situation or symptoms warranted actually getting the test.  You probably know that there are a limited amount of tests, so the ones who would benefit from a self quarantine were sent home, while others drove to where I was and got in line to be screened.  Screenings were done in their cars.

I reported to work at 6:45 pm.  Seeing the line of cars made this whole thing much more of a reality for me.  There were plenty of cars in line.  Some of them had not been screened at ER, so we had to instruct them to go there first.  As you can imagine, there was a lot of stress, worry, and anger going on.  I saw a road rage incident while we were out there.  Apparently, a car in front of another was not pulling up far enough and the rear car kept beeping at him to move forward.  A few beeps and the driver was out yelling at the other.  Security had to be called. It was nuts!

480x480

As the evening progressed, the line became shorter.  Testing ended at about 2 am, and that was when we left.  I had to go inside to use the restroom at one point and I can tell you that the doctors, nurses, and staff in the hospital were busy!  They were frazzled, but it was a picture of controlled chaos.  Kudos to these men and women, who are doing everything they can to help stop this thing!

My Anniversary

I was standing in the parking lot directing traffic at midnight yesterday.  I set an alarm so I would not forget to wish my wife Happy Anniversary.  I posted this on my Facebook page:

“Two years ago today, I married my best friend. Two years ago today, I married my one true love. Two years ago today, I married the woman who completes me, brings me joy, companionship, encouragement, support, and love. I swore two years ago that I could never love another female like I loved her … then she gave birth to our daughter. I am blessed beyond measure having these two in my life!

Happy anniversary, Sam, I cannot wait for the years ahead.

Thank you for two amazing years – our adventure continues….”

a7a3d3e8-b173-435c-90e8-d2679700860d

People Unite

Covid-19 is a worldwide issue!  It is everywhere and it is effecting everyone.  In my many years on the radio, I have had the chance to meet and become friends with some musical artists.  Working in country radio, I can tell you that the country artists are just amazing.  I could sit and chat with them about songwriting, their tour, their families, etc…  I always enjoyed having the chance to interview them on the radio.

With all of the social distancing and people being told to stay home, the musical artists are taking a hit.  You may be upset that the concert you planned to attend has been postponed, but I can tell you that the artists are just as upset.  Going out on tour, talking to radio stations, meeting fans, and performing for you is what they love to do!  Covid-19 has forced them to stay home, too!

You probably read where Garth Brooks is going to do a live concert on the internet this week.  There are many other artists who are doing the same!  Brad Paisley did an acoustic session on Facebook, so did Jewel.

My buddy, James Otto, was the first one I heard mention that he was going to do it.  I was at work when it was live, but I did catch it afterward on Facebook.  It was great!  It was so simple and awesome.  It reminded me of the time he had come through town before his hit Just Got Started Lovin’ You hit the air. He came in, we interviewed him on the air, and then he did a little acoustic set for the staff in the conference room.  God, do I miss those!  My apologies to James for this incredibly terrible screen shot of his live stream.

Screenshot_20200320-082137_2

He sounded great!  Thanks for the much needed “pick me up”!

It’s also been great to see video messages from Simon Pegg, Matthew McConaughey, Michael Buble’ and other celebrities!  These messages have brought music, hope, laughs, and entertainment to folks cooped up in the homes.  I have read about celebrities offering dance instruction, comedians doing comedy sets, celebrities reading books to kids, chefs doing cooking lessons, and more!  It’s great to see so much good amidst the craziness in the world.

Staying Connected

The WiFi is working at my house, and I use it not only to surf the internet, check e-mail, and to write this blog, I also use it to make video calls.  I have an Android phone and just can’t convince myself to switch to an iPhone.  My wife tried to get me to switch so we could use FaceTime.  Well, I found Google Duo does the same thing.  So I am able to video chat with her and see the baby while at work at night.  I can also video chat with my dad and my brother so they can see the baby, too!

google_duo_logo_icon

My buddy Johnny Molson (more on him in a minute) has been taking part in Zoom meetings.  Basically group chats with friends, so they can all keep in touch.  Restaurants, bars, and places to gather have been closed, so these video group chats can allow folks to gather while social distancing themselves from others.

My new doctor has tele-medicine available.  We can video chat with her if we need to.  My therapist is actually going to be doing my session via video today. It should be interesting.  I will keep the phone above the waist….I am wearing my Minion pajama bottoms!  LOL

Already bored with TV

I don’t have a whole lot of stuff I watch on TV.  Lately, it’s been The First 48, Forensic Files, Live PD, and a few others.  Some of these cable channels are doing these all day marathons, and I wish they wouldn’t.  I love a good rerun, but I I don’t think I like them with these types of shows.  Maybe I am just picky.  Hell, I will watch reruns of old shows like Sanford and Son, Columbo, Perry Mason, and Mission: Impossible all day – it doesn’t bug me at all.  I just can’t sit and watch these over and over.

This is where the internet is helpful again.  Does your imagination need a workout?  Books can help, but if you want to “watch a show”, may I recommend Old Time Radio Shows? They are like watching TV shows, only without the video.  Families would gather in front of the radio at night and listen to their favorites – remember the scene in A Christmas Story when Ralphie is listening to Little Orphan Annie?

radio

I have Sirius XM in my car, and I love the Old Radio Show Channel.  I’m not sure if the copyright on some shows are a factor or what, but I have heard the channel host say that “certain shows are no longer available” for them to play.  I end up hearing a lot of shows that I was never really interested in.

I realize that these shows are dated, but they are still very entertaining.  Many are available on YouTube.  If you like crime shows – check out Dragnet, Broadway is My Beat, Sherlock Holmes, or Gangbusters.  If you like mystery and suspense – try The Mysterious Traveler, Suspense, The Whistler, or Nightbeat.  For Movie adaptations – try Lux Radio Theater, Screen Directors PlayHouse, or CBS Radio Mystery Theater.  If you want to laugh – try The Jack Benny Program, Fibber McGee and Molly, Amos and Andy, Our Miss Brooks, The Fred Allen Show, Burns and Allen, The Life of Riley, or Abbott and Costello.  Sometimes I do a google search for an actor and find shows they were on (“Edward G. Robinson on radio” will bring up a few). Let your imagination get a workout while stuck at home!

New Sleep Habit

As a sleep technologist, we tell patients all the time of the importance of having a bedtime routine.  That can really help assure that you fall asleep and keep you in a regular sleep pattern.  With a 6 week old baby, you can imagine how the bedtime routine has changed!  Sam has a routine with the baby ever night.  When I am home – I basically throw that routine off.

The baby has a sound machine that plays music.  The bassinet has a button that makes it vibrate.  Then she has a stuffed animal that lights up and puts lights on the ceiling.

71d1zbqIN1L._AC_SX466_

Hers is an elephant, but the dog above shows how it works.  At any rate, all of these things are on as Ella goes to bed.  It’s been a routine now for 6 weeks.

I noticed this week after coming home after my shift and trying to sleep during the day, that I was having an issue falling asleep.  You know what it is?  I have found that I actually find it hard to fall asleep now without that silly music on!  I thought it was crazy, until Sam told me that she felt like she had to turn the stars on so she could see them on the ceiling to fall asleep.  If you are a parent, has something like this happened to you?

“Buy me a coffee”

I noticed this recently on some of the blogs I follow.  At the end of their blog, there is an icon that says “Buy Me a Coffee.”

bmc

So, is this like a “tip?”  “Hey, buddy.  Nice blog – have a coffee.”  I hadn’t noticed this before, but I am seeing it more and more.  Don’t get my wrong – I LOVE coffee, but I am not going to beg my readers for one.  I’m all for getting together and having coffee together, I would love that!  I just think it’s odd.  I mean, if you really want to buy me something, I’m not going to turn away diapers or formula!  LOL

Parting thoughts ( that I wish I had written )

I mentioned Johnny Molson, above.  He wrote a very cool piece that I shared on Facebook and I wanted to share it here as well.  I could have copied and pasted it, but I didn’t want to be accused of plagiarism.  So surf over here and check out this piece that really speaks to our current situation.

I’m Proud of You (Us)

Take care of yourself!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Father’s Day Reflections -2019

fathers-day-featured2

As Father’s Day approached, I found a few minutes to reflect.  In a world where you hear constantly about “deadbeat dads”, I am lucky enough to have a dad who played a HUGE part in my life in SO many ways.  I have blogged about his musical influences on me (Which you can read here: https://nostalgicitalian.com/2018/03/30/my-biggest-musical-influence-dad/) and wrote a blog for him on his birthday (which you can read here: https://nostalgicitalian.com/2018/11/01/birthday-tribute-to-fred/).  I was truly blessed with a great dad.

One of the hardest jobs in the world is being a parent, I’ll be the first to admit that.  I will also say, though, that while it is a difficult job, it is also one of the most amazing things a man can do! As I look at my two sons, I consider myself blessed.  Being a father is one of the most satisfying, frustrating, fulfilling, and life-affirming things I have ever done!  I have been a dad for almost 18 years, and as I thought about my boys, I began to make a list of the things I love about being a dad.  I thought I would share that list with you.  Perhaps you can add to it or relate to mine.

Things I Love About Being a Dad

  • Your kids think you know it all.
    • If I had a dollar for every time my kids have asked me a question about something…LOL.  Many times, you know the answer, but sometimes, they ask you something that throws you for a loop!  They truly believe you are the smartest person alive!
  • Playing catch.
    • One of my favorite memories of my dad and I was playing catch in front of our house. I remember the first time he threw his “submarine” pitch to me and how much my hand stung when it hit the mitt!  Throwing the ball around with my sons is something I will never get tired of doing!
  • Coaching – Sports.
    • I was lucky enough to coach both of my sons in T-ball and baseball.  I truly wish they had both continued to play ball, but as they grew older, they lost interest.  I also helped the coaches out when my oldest son was on the bowling team in middle school.  I loved watching them play soccer and taking them to the driving range to hit golf balls, too. I only got to really go fishing with them a couple times, but I hope that it happens more in the years ahead.
  • Throwing them around in the pool.
    • We lived at one place that had a huge pool.  One of the thing I never got tired of was picking the boys up and tossing them back into the water in the summer.  I also loved letting them push me in the pool, thinking they had surprised me, when all along I was waiting for them to do it.  My oldest is as big as me now, and he still wants me to throw him around!  Pool fun is always great as a dad!
  • Your kids think you are the strongest person!
    • I remember arm wrestling with my dad and being amazed at how strong he was.  I remember “helping” my dad move things and struggling with my end of it because it was so heavy.  Dad wasn’t phased at all, though.  As kids, we are always amazed at how strong dad is!
  • Rocking and singing them to sleep.
    • Whether it is at the beginning of the night or in the middle of the night, I never grew tired of rocking my kids to sleep.  Holding them with their head on my shoulder and singing Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra songs is forever etched in my memory!  The songs changed from son to son, but some remained the same.  I used to sing “Bouna Sera,” “On An Evening in Roma,” “Watching the World Go By,” “Vieni Su,” “Cruising Down the River,” and other songs.  I used to love when they would sing them to me, too!
  • You become aware of your bad habits.
    • My dad used to smoke.  He used to say, “Don’t ever let me catch you doing this!”  He eventually quit cold turkey, whether or not it was because of my brother and I, I don’t know.  I do know that you are extra cautious about doing things or saying things you don’t want your kids repeating.  My dad always tells the story of driving while I was in the car seat behind him  Someone cut him off and he yelled, “You stupid prick!” and I said, “What did those pricks do, daddy?!”  “Sticks – there were sticks in the road!” was his response.  HA!
  • Play time and using your imagination.
    • I remember my dad coming into the bedroom and pretending to be a bear while my brother and I were under the covers.  I remember him pretending to be a wrestler and bouncing us on the mattress.  I remember pretending that way with my sons, too.  I remember playing superheroes with towels tied around our necks for capes!  So much fun!!!
  • Embarrassing them.
    • This gets more fun as they get older.  My dad did it to me.  I do it with my kids.  Just recently, we were walking down the street to go to the city fair.  On the walk I started skipping and both kids were like, “Dad!  Stop it!”  This one car was playing some song with a really loud bass, so I started dancing.  Again, “Stop it!” When the petting zoo came into view I screamed, “Oooo!  Look at the baby goats” and started running toward them.  They were so embarrassed!  It’s what dads do!!
  • Introducing them to things from your childhood.
    • For me, dad introduced me to a lot of music and such.  For my sons, I shared movies and music, but thanks to technology, I was able to share with them the Atari 2600!  They had some retro Atari that was loaded with 200 games or something one Christmas.  My oldest loved it.  He was always playing Maze Craze!  We used to hit the thrift shops and I would love when there was some old toy from my childhood there!  Of course, I passed down the Three Stooges to them!  I also introduced them to the Classic Scooby Doo cartoons, Hong Kong Phooey, and the Muppets.
  • True and unconditional love.
    • It’s a mutual thing.  I have never felt such an unconditional love for someone or from someone, until I became a dad.  Holding each of my boys for the first time, you melt!  The love just gushes out from you.  It is an amazing thing.
  • Hearing “I love you” from them.
    • This kind of goes with the above item.  As if you can’t love them any more, the minute they tell you “I love you” is just an amazing, emotional, and wonderful thing that you will never forget.  I still have voicemails from both boys as toddlers on my phone.  I need to find a way to get them into an MP3 or something.  I never want to lose those!
  • Halloween
    • There were a few years I worked nights and missed out on taking them out trick or treating.  I was able to be at all of their Halloween parades at school.  I loved being able to help pick out costumes with them.  Pulling them around the neighborhood as babies was something very fun.
  • Gibberish talk.
    • As parents, we all do this. Especially when they are babies.  I wish I could remember all the things I said to my kids, I don’t.  I know there were gibberish phrases that I used for each boy, though.  I used to love saying them to make them smile.
  • Making them laugh.
    • My kids were always my best audience.  “Do it again, Daddy!”  There is nothing like making your child laugh.  Their laughter is like music!  Even as they grow up, I still love listening to them laugh.  They may not laugh at it everything like they used to, but that’s ok.  It’s still fun to make them laugh.
  • Roughhousing.
    • It’s a bit different now that they are older, and have the potential of kicking my butt!  I love when they want to rough house!  I remember my mom yelling at my dad, “Stop that rough housing!”  Why?!  It was fun for all of us!
  • Being silly.
    • Adulting sucks.  Sometimes, you just have to be silly!  Being a dad allows you to be silly.  Silly is good.  Sometimes, you have to break away from the serious and embrace the silly!
  • Letting them win.
    • Oh how many games of cribbage did my dad let me win?!  With Uno, he wasn’t so nice.  I think he used to love putting down that Draw 4 card – much like I do with my kids today!  Sure, I have let them win occasionally, and there is some satisfaction in watching him and his brother brag about how they beat dad at the game.  Every once in awhile, though, you gotta show them you can beat them at it too!
  • “Caving” at the store.
    • I don’t do this as much now, but I used to.  You know how it is – you go to the store and there is that “can we get this?” or “I need this!”  All too often, I would cave and buy whatever it was.  Now that they are older, they understand a bit more when you tell them you don’t have the money to buy that right now.  they younger they are, the easier it is for dads to cave!
  • Getting beat at video games.
    • I love spending time with my boys.  They love their video games.  They have this one called Super Smash Brothers.  I really don’t understand it, but the gist is that you are a character (there are many) and you beat each other up until someone wins.  They kept asking me to play, so I did.  They wiped the floor with me.  Both of them were laughing as they beat the snot out of my character.  I was just pushing buttons trying to make it hit or whatever.  All of a sudden, my character started to light up and did this crazy punch/kick thing!  My youngest said, “Dad, you figured out how to use the special!”  There was some special move – every character has one!  They just neglected to tell me about it and let me lose!  LOL!  Smart boys!!  I don’t care whether I win or not, I just enjoy the time with them.
  • Carrying them on my shoulders
    • I remember as a kid, loving when my dad carried me on his shoulders.  I used to hold on to his hair!  My boys did the same thing!  I would give anything to be able to carry my sons again on my shoulders.  I used to love walking through the store with them up there.  I loved taking walks in the park with them up there.  I wish I had more pictures of them up there.
  • Snuggling/Hugs
    • I have always been a hugger.  I love hugging my kids.  I miss the days of snuggling up next to them for a nap.  I miss holding them while we watch TV.  I remember many times trying to get up from the couch, trying not to wake them because they fell asleep.  Those moments are so special for a dad.  I love when they come up and hug me for no reason.  It is still an amazing thing.
  • “Pull my finger”
    • This is probably the one thing that is exclusive to dads.  Not many moms do this!  Farts, dads, and kids mean laughs.  It’s probably such a huge annoyance for moms.  Dads fart.  Kids laugh at farts.  I remember one time my friend and I were outside in the front yard playing with Matchbox cars.  Dad came home from work and as he was walking in the house he made the “finger gun” with his hand and “shot” it as he farted.  We still laugh about that!  The fart will always be a funny thing that dads and kids both laugh at together.
  • Looking at your relationship with your kids and being able to connect it to memories you shared with your dad.
    • Go back and read how many times I mention something I love about doing with my sons, and how many times I can connect them with something my dad and I shared!
  • The “bond” that is eternal.
    • There will never be anything that can come between me and my kids.  I love my sons with all that I am.  They are my flesh and blood and will forever be my little boys.
  • The firsts and lasts
    • Those firsts stay with you forever.  The first steps.  The first words.  The first day of school.  The first concert.  Both of my sons are still in school, but if social media is an indicator, the last day of school is just as emotional as the first!  Watching each of my sons get on the bus for the first time was very emotional for me.  Big days – big emotions.
  • Artwork
    • Back when I had an office at work, I used to have countless drawings that they did in school.  I used to have a macaroni bee that my oldest son made.  The noodles eventually broke on it.  I still have some paintings they did and the coffee mug coasters that each boy made me for Father’s Day in kindergarten or first grade.  Those little things hold special meaning for me.
  • Bedtime Stories
    • It starts as you reading to them.  I don’t know how many times I read “Goodnight Moon” or “I’m Thankful Each Day” to my sons, but I enjoyed it every time.  I am sure there were other books, too.  “Snowmen at Night” was a favorite, too.  I used to love when they would read to me!  I wish the video games weren’t so accessible, because I really wish they would find more time to read.  I loved when they would tell me about a story of book they read in school.
  • The emotions that they make me feel.
    • They make me proud.  They make me happy.  They make me cry (both happy and sad tears).  They make me worry.  They make me thankful.  They make me feel a never ending love for each of them.  I am not ashamed to admit how emotional I have gotten watching them in a play, a band concert, a baseball game, or during an awards ceremony.  God help me, when they graduate, get married, and have children – I can barely hold it together now!!

I am sure if I had a few more minutes, I could add many more items to this list.  Being a dad is the greatest thing I have ever had to do.  My sons have been tremendous blessings to me and fill my heart with joy and laughter.  I love them so much.  If and when I am blessed with another child, I will look forward to reliving some of the things mentioned and creating new memories with that child, because being a dad is one of the coolest, most special, and fulfilling things I have ever done, or will ever do in my lifetime.

Happy Father’s Day!

68b844c687d928e91403b45c7ceeb89b

40 years of the Dukes

“Just a good ole boys … never meanin’ no harm….”

dukes

This is an impromptu blog that comes about as a result of scrolling Facebook.  I was reminded that it was 40 years ago today that “The Dukes of Hazzard” premiered on TV.  This show was such a HUGE part of my childhood!  I remember sitting in front of the TV faithfully every Friday night to see how Bo & Luke got out of trouble and avoid getting “cuffed and stuffed” by Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane.

untitled

What kid didn’t watch in awe as the General Lee made yet another jump over something?! I remember loving it each time the General, Dixie, or a cop car fishtailed as it made a turn on the dirt roads of Hazzard County.  Many of the kids in the neighborhood played “Dukes” during the summer.  Our bikes served as the General Lee, Boss Hogg’s convertible, Cooter’s tow truck, or Rosco’s police cruiser. Of course, when we’d “jump” a curb, in our imagination, we’d be jumping over a cop car, jumping over a bridge that was out, or a ravine.

da05bf6ad937bf6e249806e339a0fa52

When the Dukes came out, I watched James Best as the bumbling sheriff and loved every minute of it.  I learned how to do the “Rosco laugh” and when we played outside, I often assumed the role of Mr. Coltrane.  My dad had bought be a cowboy hat, and on a trip to Mackinaw I bought a silver sheriff’s badge.  I “was” Rosco – writing tickets and chasing Duke boys.

To this day, I feel that Rosco and Boss Hogg are often overlooked as one of TV’s great comedy teams!  They played so well off each other.  I remember how much I used to crack up when Boss Hogg called Rosco a “do-do” or “dipstick”.  While not full blown slapstick, it still made me laugh.

cb7e1cf9b5adca8259d0e4a3f4a375c3

The show had a great cast of characters, too.  The good ole boys were, of course, Bo & Luke.  As a kid, I thought bow and arrows were cool – but Bo & Luke made them cooler!  They had sticks of dynamite on the arrows!!  Uncle Jesse was the patriarch who kept everyone in line and always had a lesson to teach.  Cooter was crazy, just like his CB handle. Enos and Cletus were the idiot deputies who were sometimes dumber and sometimes smarter than Rosco. And then there was Daisy….

Catherine Bach is one of my childhood crushes.  I always thought she was beautiful.  Every week, you’d see her in her bikini during the opening credits and then throughout the show, she’d be wearing her Daisy Duke shorts … yep, that’s where they got their name!  There were three posters that boys in the 70’s had … Wonder Woman, Farrah Fawcett, and Catherine Bach!  I had them all.

u-g-pj8fjl0

Everyone knew the theme song, too!  Waylon Jennings sang it.  He was also the narrator of the show.  He had a hit with the song, which had an additional verse that poked fun of the fact that the only showed his hands and not his face on TV.

I remember I stopped watching the show a couple times.  When Bo & Luke left and their cousins Coy and Vance (literally carbon copies of Bo & Luke) came to visit – even a kid knew that these two guys were nowhere close to Bo and Luke and we were glad to see them go.  I also stopped watching when Rosco was replaced by Sheriff Grady (played by Darren #2 from Bewitched – Dick Sargent) for a short time.  I haven’t watched the show in a long time, but I have been meaning to grab the DVD’s.

I remember when I was 9 or 10, I found a book of celebrity addresses (I think it was in one of the school book club order forms) and I wrote to James Best.  I told him how much I liked watching the show and stuff.  He sent me an autographed picture of him as Rosco with Flash the dog.  I wish I still had that picture.  It hung on my bedroom door for a very long time.  It was my first celebrity autograph.

I feel bad for the kids of today.  They have so many electronic distractions (tablets, cell phones, and video games) that they rarely “play” anymore.  In this day and age, they seem to have trouble carrying on a conversation, grasping the concept of imagination, or being creative.  For us, our imaginations ran wild when we were outside playing.  We created the stories as we went along.  We’d pick up wherever we left off the following day if it got too dark to play.  As I reread this, it makes me smile and wish I still had that bike and cowboy hat!  I am thankful that I was a child of the 70’s … we used to have a lot of fun!

(Insert Rosco P. Coltrane laugh here….)

 

Have You Used Your Imagination, Lately?

imagination_by_thebluspicy-d78xbv2

The following blog is based off a speech I had to do in college.  It was a persuasive speech.  While most students tried to persuade me to think one way or the other about marijuana, assisted suicide, or some other hot topic items that I knew my professor had heard a gazillion times, I wanted to do something different.  I wanted to persuade the class to use their imaginations!

I am going to attempt to transform my notes from the speech into this blog and include links to the sound files that I used to illustrate my points….

Without any further ado – get ready to imagine:

Introduction

There is an old saying, “Seeing is believing”.

We live in a society where we can access images of just about anything. We can find them on television, the movies, and all over the world wide web.  However, I’d like us to conjure up an image without having to plug anything in.

I know we are in a speech class and eye contact is important, however, for the purpose of this I need you to close your eyes and listen. (For this part of the blog, I guess you need to keep your eyes open, but you’ll get the illustration).

You are looking at a table. On top of the table is a large lemon.  It is a bright yellow and at its peak ripeness.  Next to the lemon is a sharp knife.  Picture the knife slowly cutting into the lemon.  You can hear the knife cutting through the rind, and you can see the juice coming from the lemon onto the table.  The lemon is now in half.  I want you to pick up the lemon, and bring it towards your mouth …and take a bite into it.

Now open your eyes. How many of you could actually taste the lemon?

Now look down …do you see a real lemon? Of course not.  However, you did SEE it…and seeing is believing.

Picture this …

In radio, we often refer to using the “theatre of the mind”. As someone who has worked in radio for almost 30 years, I have witnessed firsthand the decline in the use of one’s imagination.  There was a time, not so long ago, children would use their imagination to create adventures – to go places they’d never been before – and pretend to be famous athletes, princesses, or dinosaur hunters.  Today, television numbs their minds by spoon feeding them images; video games are graphic and scenarios are predetermined.  Their imagination lies dormant.

Sadly, it’s not just children who no longer use their imagination, but adults too.

In the next couple minutes, I will illustrate the power of the imagination, and by doing so, cause you to want to use it on a more frequent basis.

Prior to television, families would gather around the radio every night and their imaginations would run wild.

I want you to listen to a clip from 1948. Marion and Jim Jordan were Fibber McGee and Molly on the radio.  One of the show’s running gags, was Fibber’s messy closet.  You are about to hear the first time the gag was used.  The McGee’s are trying to figure out what a word means and are looking for the dictionary.  They think it is probably in the hall closet, which we are told is full of McGee’s stuff.  (For blog readers – you need to go to the 4:00 mark to hear the bit.)

After playing  the clip for my speech class I asked them a few questions that illustrated a point –

What color was the door?   What did you see fall out of the closet?

Each one of us saw a different closet door. Maybe it had a glass door handle or maybe it was brass?  Maybe it opened to the left or opened to the right? All of us heard the same clip, but we all aw something different – our own vision of the door and the stuff that fell out!

Imagination

Albert Einstein said

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” “Logic will get you from A to B.  Imagination will take you everywhere”.

While technical advancements make life easier for us, the human imagination is being threatened. Technology encourages us to relax our minds and let others make decisions for us.

Doctor T. Berry Brazelton says, “Television imposes an artificial world of violence and unreachable good and evil numbing” the imagination.

In his article, the Death of Imagination, Duane Loose makes reference to the book “Sibling Society” by Robert Bly. Bly suggests that the measurable decline in the imaginative process of forming imagery in the mind is a direct result of the power of TV, movies and other intense visual media.  These things cause humans to bypass the imagination by feeding explicit images directly into the brain.  No imagination is needed, so the brain doesn’t have to work.  This results in a slow death of the muscles of the mind, because there is no need to form images when they are provided for you.  Scientists say that this will ultimately destroy the human ability to imagine.

To further illustrate my point, think about reading a book in contrast to watching television:

Watching television requires little thought for you to absorb the images, speech, and music which are a part of the program. Reading a book, however, requires imagination to turn letters into words, the words into thoughts, and the thoughts into images and actions.

Entertainment, so called, today requires no imagination. Even the creators of entertainment today lack imagination.  All you have to do is count the slew of old TV shows that have been made into below average movies to see that they lack any type of new idea!

More Old Radio

Radio, in its Golden Age, however stimulated the human imagination. It caused America to see the same program in millions of different ways …. Or if you will…millions of different closet doors.

To further prove the power of the human imagination, I want to tell you about a program that aired as a Halloween themed adventure. On October 30, 1938 radio caused an entire nation to panic.

The Mercury Theatre on the Air, broadcast it’s version of “War of the Worlds” with Orson Wells. As crazy as it sounds today, families listening to the broadcast actually thought that the earth was being invaded by Martians and that the men from space were destroy parts of New York.  The panic that ensued only proves the power and quality of the shows that aired at that time.

It also speaks volumes as to the actors acting ability to stimulate the imagination and make the program believable.

In an 1984 interview, Himan Brown, described radio actors and how they worked. He says, “Their voice and what they did with their voice.  What they did with the words.  They didn’t read- they played.  They touched, they felt.  There was a tremendous relationship in everything and the skillful actors were absolutely brilliant”.

Suspense, was a show that aired on CBS radio from 1940 to 1962.   It was often referred to as “radio’s outstanding theatre of thrills”.  Each week, the listener could hear stars like, Lucille Ball, James Cagney, Katherine Hepburn, and Jack Benny as the show’s weekly guest star.  Stars were drawn to the show, because it required that they actually perform.  The great Cary Grant said, “If I ever do any more radio work, I want to do it on Suspense, where I get a good chance to act”.

One of my favorite Suspense shows was based on Cornell Woolrich’s short story, “Three O’Clock”, which stars the great Van Heflin. A husband (Heflin) thinks that his wife is cheating on him.  He decides to get rid of his wife by building a bomb in the basement.  He wires the detonator to an alarm clock and sets it to go off at “3 O’Clock”, when he will be back at his office.

What he doesn’t plan on is being caught by two burglars when he comes upstairs.  They haul him off to the basement and tie him up and gag him.  What we hear is what he is “thinking” as he is counting the minutes until the bomb goes off.  It is one of the best episodes of the series in my opinion. Take 30 minutes and Notice how the use of sound effects and descriptions by the actors enhance the story and make the tension even greater!

A well written story, performed brilliantly by amazing actors, and brought to life within YOUR imagination!  Everyone listening pictured the characters differently, saw a different basement and different clock.  The imagination is a wonderful thing!

Now, go and imagine something!!!

Sherri Mandell defines imagination as: “the ability to remember, dream, create, improvise and in the process entertain oneself anywhere and anytime.”

We’ve seen how modern technology and entertainment hanker the human’s ability to use their imagination to its fullest potential. We’ve heard of the future ill effects of the non-use of imaginations.  And we’ve dusted off the cobwebs in our mind and used our imaginations a little.

I’d like to encourage you to continue to use it. There are countless hours of old radio shows available online, there are millions of books at the library, and it really isn’t a bad thing to turn off the TV and  daydream every once in awhile.

I will close with another quote from Sherri Mandell, “The next time you see a child lost in a daydream or in an imaginative game, sit down next to him. You might just discover the lost part of yourself, the authentic self who engages with the world without premeditation or pretense and disguise.  The self who dwells in fantasy.  The free and authentic self who is content to just be.”