Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Fundraising: my politically incorrect opinion

There are a lot of programs for kids to get involved in, and some of those require effort on the part of the student to pay for. These days program costs are substantial, and kids are sent out to solicit.

I watch the march of the children across parking lots, driveways, streets, homes and businesses, asking for money. The community only has so much and it’s often a struggle for a limited income family or small business to decide where or who to support.

In my experience, the Gray-New Gloucester community is generous and individually, most people want to contribute. We just can’t give to everyone, and that means choices, with some hopeful kid getting a yes and another getting a no. One fundraising effort I really like is the Family Nights at the High School- the fundraising kids set up an evening of monitored activities, parents leave off their children for a modest fee, so they can go out together or just have a few hours to themselves. A good time is had by all. Another fundraising activity I like are the car washes and bake sales: something tangible is offered and given which I believe helps the kids understand the effort that goes into trade, business, and producing a product or service. It’s also hard work, which never hurt anybody.

Another reason I like those kind of activities is that the fundraising benefits a large group. That’s often my standard for deciding whom to help. An entire sports lineup? Sure, I’ll advertise in the hockey book. The whole Odyssey of the Mind team? I’m there. Windham Center Stage Theatre, where every child who tries out gets a part? I’d give you my last dime.

The programs I have a problem with donating to are the ones that benefit one student. Much is being made of Jennifer Rubinstein’s “creativity” in sneaking a bunch of plastic flamingoes on lawns in dead of night and then taking them down for a fee, which raises money for her individual trip to Australia in the People to People Program. Plus, for an additional "insurance fee," she will promise not to do it to you again. The Tony Soprano School of Fundraising.

Trespassing, vandalism, and extortion are poor lessons to teach and worse examples to set. I’d rather my kids worked for a day in the sun cleaning cars. That’s a healthier lesson. Or go from business to business asking for a donation, they learn how hard it is to sell their product and they learn how to be respectful to business owners. I worry: have we become so inured to what’s right that we praise trespassing, vandalism, extortion, and avoidance of hard work? Right off the bat I’m turned off by Jennifer’s sneaky approach.

In the “People to People” program from what I understand, the kids are supposed to be little diplomats for their country, region, town, for two weeks in a host family’s home somewhere on the other side of the world; without a whole lot of bring-back to the community that sponsored the traveler. It costs $5,000. This sounds to me like Jennifer gets a very expensive vacation.

Between the trespassing onto private property and the extortion involved, and the fact that $5,000 of community-raised money benefits only one child, I say good luck to you little Jennifer, but I don’t think that the chosen fundraising method teaches anything valuable and in fact sets a poor example for others. Have a nice trip, but I’ll donate to where it benefits a wider range of children who are engaged in healthier activities that make me proud, not cringe.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Magazines/Ephemera. Part 1

I love to scrounge. I love ephemera. When those two loves collide it’s grand.

The library has a bin for people to donate their magazines. I like to look through them for reading purposes and also cutting up for collages. One day there was a magazine I’d never heard of: “The Outsider,” a ‘publication of Intuit, the Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art.’ I picked up Architectural Digest, National Geographic (Volume 202! Did you know the Geo was that old? I didn’t) , and Nature Conservancy. Those are good for collages because there are a lot of photos.

Another magazine I’d never heard of was called “Southern Seasons.” Brand new at Volume 1, Number 1, it promised updates on the “Social Scene” and “The Spirit of the South.”

Just as unfamiliar to me was ‘onearth’ magazine, spelled that way in all small letters, but that one has been going for 27 years. The recent issue’s headline was “Exclusive: Can Arnold [Schwartzenegger] keep his cool?”

I also threw Smithsonian, Audubon, Blue Ridge Country into the collage pile. I’ll read Blue Ridge before cutting it up and mark nice places to visit. I’m only an hour from the mountains and I’m trying to familiarize myself with nice places to visit. When spring comes I’ll be motorin’.

Surprise! A Playboy was halfway down the pile. Which I thought was an unusual magazine to donate to a library.

I try to pick a variety of magazines for collage. I gravitate to the nature magazines but if I only pick those up then all my collages look the same. So I threw a Wired and Linux World into the mix. The magazines I picked up were worth $40 so you can see the issue of buying them for cutting up. Thanks magazine donors, they will be well used! Also in the pile was some pretty neat ephemera. More on that next post.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Black Friday adventure

My friend Jen read online of Best Buy's super sale, Toshiba laptops for $250. Those particular laptops usually go for $600 to $1,000. Jen wanted to go shopping this morning, and I agreed to go with her. Skeptical of the long Black Friday lines I keep hearing so much about, I reluctantly agreed. I haven’t Christmas shopped in a store for over ten years, preferring to buy online and send the gifts automatically. But the $250 top-quality laptop was definitely a draw.

Jen thought that because we live in a small market that the lines probably would not be bad.

We stopped for coffee at 4:30 a tiny all night gas station. There were five customers, ALL headed to Best Buy. We laughed together, one guy, with gauge earrings in his ears, said his mom told him at midnight he had to go. Shaking his head, he goes, "'I told her Jeez, Ma, you couldn't have told me earlier??' I got 2 hours’ sleep." His friend was after the Toshiba laptop, too. We wished each other luck and later passed each other on the highway. He was a good son to do that for his mom.

I have never seen anything like it: a massive line around the store's perimeter, parking lot full, cops on standby, porta-potties lined up, and about 500 people milling around. Many had camped there overnight. One couple had been in line for 12 hours. 12 hours ago we were just sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner.

Jen wanted to get in line and stay. The Best Buy employees were walking around announcing the Toshiba laptops and desktop computers were sold out (limited quantity, you had to get there early to get a ticket to have any hope at all) and once I heard that I lost interest. Jen wanted to stay and see what else they had for sale. I wasn’t enamored of fighting 500 people so I said let's go and Jen was OK with that.

As we wandered back to the car, we chatted with people in line. We saw the gauge earring guys, they were in line at the end. One guy we talked to in the middle of the line said that four years ago he arrived at 4:30 and was first, last year he got there at midnight and was at the back…this year he arrived a day ahead and camped out. “It’s getting earlier and earlier, he said.” The cops, one male and one female, were standing near the front of the line.

I asked the policeman (a big, tall strapping man in uniform and boots) “How long have they been lining up for?”
He stared down, scratched his chin. “Since Monday.”
“Nah.” Cracking up, he said, “I dunno since when, ask the first guy in line.”
I asked, “Have there been fights?”
“Nah. Mostly we watch. And take bets on who’s gonna make it.”

We drove back. I was in bed again by 6:30...the only upside to my one-time Black Friday adventure were the 55 degree temps, the clear constellations revolving over the pasture, a bright Milky Way, and the bunny rabbits hopping around the yard when I got up at 4 a.m.. Come to think of it, not a bad tradeoff after all.

Did you do the Black Friday thing?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Yard art

Funny, mailboxes as yard art. They're outstanding in their field. har har.

I was driving home yesterday and I looked up a road I had not explored before. This house was a few feet in, and I saw the mailboxes with no obvious driveway to get to them. What?? I turned around for a better look. I realized they were art, and when I saw the diving doggies, I laughed and snapped this photo. Isn't it a cute array?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Country supper-City supper

I had a busy Sunday. I was invited to a church supper located on the country corner. I was also invited to a birthday party at one of the nicer Italian restaurants in the city. The church supper was at 5:30 and the birthday supper in the city was at 7. I decided to go to both.

Wanting to meet some of my near neighbors, I arrived at 5:30 to find the Fellowship Hall full to the brim. The church supper was held in the fellowship room of the local Baptist church, and tables were laden with country fare such as chicken barbecue, mac and cheese, jello, and lots of pies. There was the ever- famous Green Bean casserole too, for which I was inordinately grateful. Since watching about a billion commercials touting a steaming dish of it where the tree can't resist either and comes in to scoop some right through the window, I have been tasting it ever since, and now here it was! I could satisfy my craving, and the bonus was it was made with fresh local beans. I had a slice of turkey and some green bean casserole, sweet tea and jello.

The kids were running around the 70's linoleum floors, long folding banquet tables hosted folks of all ages. I sat near the gal who works on the farm where I live, she introduced me to her grandmother, a lovely and stately lady of local note. Dinner was friendly; mostly they tried to understand my soft voice over the echoing kids' chat and through my heavy New England accent. It was nice to meet my neighbors and I had a good time.

Beth was turning 40 and no shrinking violet she, invited 20 of her closest friends and reserved four tables at the fancy Italian restaurant. We ordered chardonnay, bruschetta, pasta with pesto, and the talk was also friendly, among folks who have known each other for many years but were welcoming to the newcomers (me). Beth, being the character that she is, decided to slice the cake and serve it while waiting for our appetizers. Cake first! I like this crowd.

Country or city, green bean casserole or pesto pasta, the food is good and the people are friendly and interesting. I'm thankful for nice people, invitations, and handshakes that mean it.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Elizabeth’s Excellent Adventure

Having had a few weeks of exclusively rural life, settling in and making friends, learning where things are, yesterday I decided to make a foray into the city. I like to pot around, window shop, snack on some item that you can’t get in the country, like cappuccino, or quiche.

For so long I worked 18 hour days, worked 7 days a week, worked days and nights, waking and sleeping, that the thought of a matinee on a weekday was as remote as petting an Antarctic penguin. Now that I have time, I decided to be decadent and go. I downloaded Mapquest directions to the movie theater and armed with purpose and directions, I struck off.

It doesn’t take long to get from my apartment to the city, only half an hour. I parked on a street very much like any street in the Old Port in Portland, lined with small bars, restaurants, funky jewelry stores and art shops. Walking slowly up and down is a pleasure when it’s 55 degrees with a light breeze and strong sun. I ordered a green herbal tea and a quiche at a locally owned cafĂ©, and sat down to read the latest edition of the alternative newspaper.

The gal who served me the quiche was absolutely stunning, a dead ringer for a cross between a nineteen year old Jacqueline Bouvier and National Velvet’s Elizabeth Taylor. The place was filled with a mixture of college kids and professors. Twenty-somethings at the next table discussed whether the girl should break up. A Chinese student hunched over his laptop. A bespeckled tweedy professor read over student papers. It was a nice atmosphere.

The movie theater had stadium seats and being the aforementioned decadent weekday matinee, only had about a dozen people in the audience. The movie was “Borat” and the dozen people, including me, laughed, gasped, and generally acted just like you see in the movie previews. It's a wild ride of a movie.

I know the decadence won’t last. My time is inexorably filling in. I’ll either pick up more part time jobs, like the one I have now as writer’s assistant, or I’ll find something full time. Soon enough, the idea of a weekday matinee will again become a far-flung exotic idea, remote as Tibet. But I’ll always have Borat.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Leaping joyfully

New lives aren’t hard to come by. They’re just scary to start.

I’ve been here six weeks now, and things are beginning to take shape. The first two of weeks were disorienting, because I only knew one couple. The geography, territory, culture, and routines were all foreign. Uprooting myself and propelling my worldly belongings to an entirely new place more than a thousand miles away was harrowing, but in a personal choice, ‘I asked for this’ kind of way.

But by now I’ve picked up two part time jobs. One of them is helping a published author. She is working on a new book so it is very exciting for me to see the New York publishing world from the inside. The rest of my free time I’m devoting to my art and my own writing, so I’m happy about that.

My social calendar is filling. Thursday I ended up at Huddle House for dinner with half a dozen people, Saturday, attend an art show and had dinner with friends, and Sunday, movies with other friends. We ran into a neighbor farmer and got an invitation to come over during lambing season. I cannot wait to see the baby lambs!

I’ve signed up for the Rec. Department’s calligraphy class. I developed my artist pages online with the Altered Book Society, of which I have become a member. I’m writing a regular column in the newspaper, and having my photos published too.

After six weeks, public things are starting to get familiar. The tellers say hello by name. I know about the hairdresser’s son the football player, who is in the playoffs this weekend. The bookstore lady and I chat over coffee. Private things are getting familiar too, my cat is relaxed enough to take naps on top of the bed instead of under the covers, the pony recognizes me and trots next to my car when I come up the driveway.

I love sayings, quips, proverbs. I think about them a lot when I read them or see them on a sign or billboard. There’s one that I particularly love. When facing something big, or deciding about a life change, remember, “Leap, and the net will appear.”

It really does.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Congratulations Gray News

In April, when Ray Clark wrote in the Gray News “Some Gray News advertisers have received telephone calls suggesting that another newspaper has purchased The Gray News. There is no truth to this story. The Gray News has not been purchased, is not discussing being purchased and is not for sale,” I knew the opposite was true. I spoke with Gray News new owner Donato Corsetti in June, and he told me he had been negotiating with the Gray News, and it was going slow.

This week, Mr. Clark shared the results of that negotiation, and it seems the paper has been absorbed into the Windham business man’s chain of newspapers, along with the Windham Independent and New Gloucester News.

My goal was to found and build The Monument into something saleable within 5-6 years and then sell it to an independent company. The idea was to offer the people of the town of Gray some solid journalism and then berth the paper with a stable company.

Though it was always my goal to sell the paper, when the time came it was still a very hard and emotional moment. So to the Gray News Board of Directors: I can’t imagine the heartache surrounding your decision, and I extend deep compassion for you in your time of loss and new beginning, and congratulations, too.

Congratulations, Gray News, as well, you have a new life ahead of you. The people of the Town of Gray have a wealth of journalistic opportunity, two newspapers now adhering to the main tenet of journalism: citizens come first.

And to Mr. Corsetti, the Gray News’s new owner, from one savvy Italian to another, may the best paper win.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Politely running from the tornado

Politeness reins here. Saying hello and goodbye, waving to the other lone car on the road, calling people ma’am and sir, Miss and Mr. I'm 'Miss Beth.' I like it. There is usually some truth to stereotypes, and Northerners’ chilliness and Southern hospitality do have more than their grains of accuracy, I am discovering.

I’ve been extolling the virtues of southern weather. This morning I awoke to a bit of frost on the ground, yet I’d slept without the heat on and my window half open all night and the inside temp was still 64. It’ll be astoundingly beautiful here until May and then it will be hot hot hot. And humid.

But the area suffers from its share of severe weather too. In Maine we get snow, nor-easters, blizzards. In Georgia we get hurricanes. Being next to Florida and the undulating petrie dish of hurricane spawning weather known as the Gulf, by the time it reaches us, the storm has become pounding rains, extremely high winds, and often, tornadoes.

Apparently, there was a pretty bad one spawned by Hurricane Ivan in 2004 that touched down in town. The Librarian gave a talk this week to the Rotary about the improvements to the facility, partly initiated because of the damage the Ivan-tornado had done.

The funny part of her anecdote is that the 11 patrons and staff inside the building all followed the tornado plan to the letter. More than the letter. Since the bathrooms were the most interior rooms, they knew to rush there. But they did make sure that the men went into the men’s room and women went to the women’s. No one wanted to be caught in the wrong room.

Politeness during a tornado. Now that’s strength of character.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Voting day!

I wish I was there to vote YES to the Gray charter referendum which, if passed, will allow voters to vote on the town budget at the polls, like we do on the school budget.

I had forgotten how much there is to learn when you move to a new town. I’ve had just a few weeks to get up to speed on the election issues, the candidates, even where the polling place is. And there are a lot of candidates, with a different system of government than the council-charter-manager system I had become so very familiar with in Gray.

My car is getting an alternator today but when I pick it up this afternoon then I will go vote. Carless, yesterday I spent the day at home, doing art, reading, watching my beloved satellite TV. As much as a tv fan as I am I have become opposite feeling about ads. The Discovery Channel and Hallmark Channel seem to have even more than their share of ads, and that’s saying a lot. Monday night, watching Discovery’s “The Fight for Rome” Caesar’d be gearing up for the big fight with Pompey and then there’d be a Depends commercial. Sort of breaks the momentum, if you ask me.

They should make an ad like this:

“Did the Ionic Breeze blow the hair off your Chia Pet? Call Joe Bornstein.”

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Using militant language in attempts to persuade

On the graymaine blog, someone chose the pen name, “American Civic Soldier.” I thought his choice was extremely interesting. It revealed much about his approach to civic engagement. It also revealed much about the Carroll Petition movement’s approach to persuasion signifying to us rhetoricians that the Carroll Petition movement is a Militant movement, not a Moderate movement, and there is a big difference.

The Carroll people tried to persuade the Council to keep Gray Dispatch in Gray, and not to combine forces with County. They tried to convince the town and the council during the decision process by using heated language and verbal and written diatribes. They also used a pressure tactic that Militant movements commonly use, to “ensnare the bureaucracy in its own red tape,” as described by rhetorician Dr. Herb Simons of Temple University. Using these tactics they engendered delay and successfully staved off a decision for almost 6 months.

That the blog commenter could have called himself “American Civic Diplomat,” or “American Citizen” but instead chose a warlike name is telling. The ‘soldier’ allusion is indicative of the kind of movement rhetoric that in the professorial realms is called “militant.” More on this in another post.

When the Council’s unanimous decision proved that the Militants had failed to persuade even one councilor, they ratcheted up their war by petitioning. That’s where we’re at now, and the rhetoric they are using indelibly illustrates that their preferred approach is militant, not collaborative or “moderate”, as ‘American Civic Soldier’ demonstrates with his preferred name.

For this week, a Carroll petition supporter on the anonymous hate blog ‘graymaine04039’ compared the Council to the Ku Klux Klan, naming her picture file “KKK AKA Town Council” and writing harshly against the councilors next to the revolting picture. Anyone who has seen the recent History Channel program on the disgusting history of the KKK would be horrified at the petition supporters' comparison of our mild-mannered councilor-neighbors to vicious, bigoted, racist, unrepentant murderers.

It’s evident that the Carroll petitioners are escalating their stance. My hope is that this time, they restrain themselves from violence, particularly on Tuesday as they try to get signatures at the polls. Things did tend toward violence during their last movement, the Recall. And the KKK language is worrisome in the extreme...

Friday, November 03, 2006

I love this

I'm having fun. I love being able to blog about what I want, whether it's the curious horse or the cute trick-or-treaters, or political things in Gray. Stepping out of Gray, I still have an interest in issues that surface, particularly issues that I had covered myself a few months ago. Being human, you don't let the guillotine come down on the town, people, and issues you care about. The caring stays. Of course, the intensity will naturally fade as time marches on and as new issues arise that I have no personal involvement in. But I do care about the town in which I chose to live, work, and make my stand. I always will.

But what I really love is the ability to view all this from a free-agent perch. Having the latitude to study what's going on, form an opinion, and state that opinion. And in ways different from the strict confines of the editorial box. Hoo-boy! It's fun.

The best of all, though, is that I can study what's happening in Gray from a sociological-political perspective. The piece I'd posted on The Monument blog summarizing the recall from a sociological framework was a blast to write. I'm creating another one now, about militant rhetoric used in movements and how that kind of rhetoric differs from that used in 'moderate movements,' a la Dr. Herb Simons of Temple U. I harkens back to an incipient idea I'd had in college about how the rhetoric chosen for various movements shape that movement and eventually determines whether the movement survives or fails. It's the rhetoric, not the people, that is the key factor in a movement's success, I believe. Hence my post on the Council/KKK, and the other myriad things Gray and not-Gray related.

OK, so I'm a geek. But I'm a having- fun geek!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Rumors of Gray News, again

I'm tellin' ya'll, I heard the same, persistent, months-old unconfirmed rumor flying in the air which I plucked out: Gray News been sold, & to the Sun Journal.

Makes sense, they either have to fold or die. Page count is shrinking. There's no news in it. The ads dried up. The deep pockets pumping the bellows to ease its raspy, dying breaths were abandoning ship, and the Board and editor are getting, um, tired.

Sold, sold sold. Of course, the thing that's up sayz this rumor is that they could be folding. I don't think that's as likely, they'd sell rather than see it die. But, hope springs eternal. Folding is preferable to a sale. I'm such an optimist.

So, that's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

Carroll petition supporter likens Council to KKK

Gray Maine blog catches this, from a Carroll petitioner supporter blog. It's awful, heinous, sickening:

"Fire them all!!""We don't need them!!""Off with their heads!!" wrote the graymaine04039 anonymous blog administrator, whom I believe to be Debbie Shaw Mancini, and/or Nathan Tsukroff on Monday October 30.

"Not only did the anonymous blog administrator, liken the Gray Town Council to the Klu Klux Klan, but they actually named the photo file "KKK aka Town Council."

"Do you really want to sign a petition issued and supported by people who equate the your neighborly councilors to vicious hate crime perpetrators? Is this how they think? Is this WHAT they think?"

Thanks, Gray Maine, for the heads up.

Hallelujah! I second that!

Gray residents should give county dispatch a chance
Portland Press Herald Editorial, November 2, 2006


"...This week, however, a resident has announced he will sponsor a petition drive to overturn the decision, claiming that service will suffer under the council's plan..."

"With such a considerable amount of savings in store, it would seem far wiser to give the county a chance to show it can do the job. Leaping to an unsubstantiated conclusion that the county's dispatch center cannot be an acceptable alternative before a fair trial has even begun seems imprudent..."


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Explanation of the Dispatch vote

Gary Foster, Gray Town Council Chair, explaining the Dispatch vote history today, on the blog As Maine Goes :

Gary Foster: "The Council spent several months reviewing options to reduce costs of our dispatch services. In July our Public Safety Committee requested that they give a presentation to Council on behalf of Gray Dispatch in August, to which the Council agreed."

"In August, due in part to the passing of the Fire Chief, they requested another 60 day to prepare the presentation, to which the Council agreed, including it on an October agenda."

"In October, after having had several public discussions throughout the summer and into fall, that included participants from Cumberland County Regional Communications Center, Gray Public Safety Committee and dispatch personnel, State Police, representatives from Gorham, New Gloucester, and Baldwin, the Public Safety Committee asked for another 60 days to prepare a presentation. With budget preparations beginning in December, the Council decided against any further delays at their October 17 meeting, and chose the most feasible option based on quality of service, technology, and cost, which is CCRCC."

"Two dispatch personnel subsequently resigned, having accepted other job offers, and then a group took out a people’s veto petition to overturn Council’s decision. Similar to a people’s veto at the state level, if the required number of valid signatures is submitted, the Order to enter into an agreement with CCRCC is immediately suspended until voters decide the issue at the next municipal election, which is June of next year."

"Subsequently, with insufficient personnel to staff our dispatch, not until the January 15 effective date of the Order, but now until the June election, the Council and Town Manager scrambled to ensure uninterrupted dispatch service until June. County is the only option that is equipped and prepared to immediately take on dispatch for Gray in the interim, and the Town Attorney opined that in such an emergency, Council is authorized to enter into a temporary agreement with the County."

"Of the three remaining dispatch personnel, one remains doing clerical work for public safety, which was part of the duties of dispatch, another is working as an office assistant in the Municipal office, and the third was let go, receiving all due compensation."

"If the initiative to overturn the Order fails, and Gray enters into a contract with CCRCC, one of our dispatchers is guaranteed employment with County Dispatch and all who so choose will be placed on a preferential hiring list. As part of the Order, we are assembling a transition team to work out details and issues. It would seem that the genuine concern for public safety expressed by our dispatch personnel during the many discussions isn’t as sincere as was presented, and misplaced priorities have disrupted what was planned to be a smooth transition period, to be completed by January 15." end Mr Foster's remarks...

Totally 80s!

How trippin, last night I ended up watching VH-1 “Top 100 Songs of the 80s.” I’m 45 years old, so that means the 80s are “My Decade.” I spent my twenties then, which meant college, Friday night playing video games at the bar with a huge group of friends. It meant carefree dancing, voice and body strong enough to belt out a tune or to play hard and bounce back just fine the next day.

In my mind I’m still there. Elderly people say over and over, “In my mind I’m 25.” Where does the time go?

It was weird to see how the musicians have aged!! I haven’t of course. Hard livin’ has caught up with some. Dee Snider (one of the ones looking good) of the famous heavy metal rebellious song “I’m Not Gonna Take It” is a father of four and comfortably living in a mansion with a model wife and running a radio show and living on hefty royalties. He said, “I’m sorry, I just cannot muster the indignation against the world I felt when I wrote that song. I’m pretty fucken happy.” And then he looked around at his mansion and laughed riotously.

Songs bring back such memories! Instantly I went back where I was or what I was doing when I heard this or that song. Our aerobics group used to do stomach crunches to “Sweet Dreams are Made of This.” Ouch. I still like the song, anyway. Or taking away my fifth grade student’s Walkman during science class. She was listening to Janet Jackson’s “Nasty.” Don Henley’s “Dirty Laundry,” about the broadcast news business, I was setting up ditto papers on my student’s desks during recess and I’d put the radio on low. Little did I know I’d end up in the news business! Seems so long ago.

Where were you when you heard “Billie Jean” for the first time? “99 Luftballoons?” “Cruel Summer”?...

I lasted until 11 pm, they left off at number 40. Can’t wait to hear the rest.