Nostalgic Rumblings
The Ramblings of an Old Man

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May 2004
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The National World War II Memorial

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 3:14 pm

While we were in Washington, D.C. last weekend, we took Katie to the Lincoln Memorial - I have always considered it to be the most important and inspiring monument on the Mall. To get there, however, it was necessary to walk past (and because of the nonsense for this weekend’s dedication, far around) the Washington Monument and we were practically forced to view the World War Two memorial.

It is an ugly, monstrous, disgusting-looking thing, that doesn’t belong where it is.

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Bob Edwards is getting around this weekend…

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 1:12 pm

Bob Edwards is appearing all over public radio this weekend; first, he appears on Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, the NPR news quiz and one of my favorite programs (note that as of this writing, the website is still showing last week’s program; hopefully they’ll be an update before Tuesday). Then this evening, he is scheduled to appear on A Prairie Home Companion. Since both are semi-scripted, it’s unlikely we’ll hear anything new about the reassignment, but they should still be fun.

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Bob Edwards at Politics and Prose

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 2:45 pm

On Saturday the 22nd, Bob Edwards attended a book signing a few hours away from us at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C., my new favorite brick-and-mortar bookstore (the cappuccino was excellent, even if the staff did tease me a bit about drinking more than one - hey, I’m an old man with a six-year old!).


We drove down for the day (hell hath no fury like tourists with all day Metro passes), and fortunately got there early enough to pick up a few copies of Bob’s book,
Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism
before they sold out completely, and find seats in the crowded bookstore for Mr. Edwards’ talk.

Bob was on-time (although his coffee was a little late) and gave a short talk about Murrow and his affect not only on modern journalism but on Mr. Edwards himself. The question period is where the focus turned from Murrow to Edwards and his recent “reassignment” from the host position at NPR’s Morning Edition. He was given gifts by some folks who attended, including an inscribed baseball bat that he might want to use on the executives at NPR…na, just kidding.


I was struck at how little people have actually learned from Mr. Edwards’ interview style, though. Most questioners lengthily detailed their own personal views on whatever they were, “asking” about, and then after depleting the air in the room finally asked, “Isn’t that right?” In more than one case, Edwards could only respond, “I agree,” or, “I suppose,” and in one instance actually said, “How can I answer that question?” Folks, if we learn nothing else from Edwards’ interviewing abilities, let’s learn brevity. Really. Ask your question, allow the interviewee to respond, and listen to that response so you can decide whether a follow-up is necessary. We honestly don’t much care what you as the questioner think…we’re more interested in what the answerer has to say. (This exemplifies one of the many problems with what little I’ve heard of the new NPR morning show - the “hosts” seem more interested in showing off their preparation than in actually allowing the person they are interviewing to get a word in edgewise.)

After the talk and Q/A, Mr. Edwards sat down to sign a few gadzillion books while we queued up around the store and almost through the door; he was terribly kind to my six-year-old, who knows his voice as well as she knows mine (and he’s never said, “No,” to her, so she probably prefers it!), while signing my books (including a copy of “Fridays with Red,” given to me by a good friend many years ago). She got really shy when she was at the table with him, but later she admonished her mother for not getting a picture of him shaking her hand (someone walked in front of Annie at that moment).


This event gave me the opportunity to see Mr. Edwards, and hear him speak, without giving money to an NPR affiliate for the privilege. I find it disgusting that the locals, including WHYY in Philadelphia, are using Mr. Edwards to raise money while not beating up the NPR Board over this “reassignment.” Apparently his popularity is something to take advantage of, while his skills are no longer required by the stations or the brass. But here, I was able to listen to him speak while not violating my principles…I thank Politics and Prose for the opportunity (and the coffee).

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Rival Ice Shaver; a Review

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 5:22 pm

My daughter loves to get my wife what I call, “useless appliances;” they aren’t really useless, but they don’t have real big function, either. Like the Smores maker…I mean, it’s an appliance that can only make smores from grahams, chocolate, and marshmallows. It works, and well, but still…I mean, it’s a smores maker.

So for Mother’s Day this year, Katie got Annie a Rival Snow Cone Maker (model #IS400; it’s really an ice shaver). And at the same time it makes what has to be the lightest, fluffiest shaved ice I’ve seen since I was a kid, it’s also going back to the store for the second time.

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Jim Davis Cracked Me Up

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 2:35 pm

During a recent National Press Club luncheon, Jim Davis (of Garfield fame) cracked me up:

“Dogs have masters.
Cats have staffs.”

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Opinion: Bob Edwards will be missed

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 12:46 pm

Opinion by Terry Haywood: Bob Edwards will be missed

Ok, ok, I promise to post about something other than Edwards, as soon as I get some work done around here that’s been hanging over my head.

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Mark Rahner interviews Bob Edwards

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 10:19 am

From The Seattle Times: Mark Rahner interviews Bob Edwards about his new book on Edward R. Murrow…and on his removal from the host slot on Morning Edition.

This interview gets a little closer to the meat of the issue than any others; “I’m in an extremely sensitive spot. And someday I can tell you how sensitive, but I can’t tell you now.”

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CDs and DVDs not so immortal after all

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 1:24 am

From USA Today: It’s not known for sure how common “CD rot” is, but it’s just one of a number of reasons that optical discs, including DVDs, may be a lot less long-lived than first thought.

(Thanks to Henry Howard, maintainer of the RadioDrama Mailing List, for the link.)

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Sasser Plays Havoc Worldwide

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 11:58 pm

From Wired: The rapidly evolving Sasser worm tore across the Internet Tuesday, hitting corporate and home computers and stoking fears worse may be to come.,1377,63325,00.html

Ok, ok, here’s my obligatory article link referencing Sasser.

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David Hinckley on the new NPR morning show

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 5:12 pm

From The New York Daily News: David Hinckley (a good friend to the Friends of Old-Time Radio Convention) comments on NPR’s new morning program, saying it’s NPR-as-usual.

I don’t exactly agree, but then I haven’t been listening very much.

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Fresh Air Interview

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 3:07 pm

Terry Gross on Fresh Air interviewed Bob Edwards yesterday for airing today on local stations around the country. I was truly horrified to listen to her say, “I’ll tell you, though, I feel too close to the story because I know so many of the people at NPR…so I’d just as soon stay away from the whole controversy surrounding your reassignment…” Yeah, that’s it…let’s avoid anything that might even accidentally insult the bosses at NPR.

Terry, I know you do soft-ball interviews, but this has got to be a new low. I couldn’t be more disgusted.

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Big Brother to Watch Over Island

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 1:45 pm

From Wired: If you have ever seen the cult ’60s British television program The Prisoner, in which captured Cold War spies live on an island under constant surveillance, you can imagine what life may soon be like on Ayers Island, on the Penobscot River near the University of Maine.,1848,63316,00.html

Talk about seriously creepy…if some people get their way, this is how we’ll all live.

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NEW CATEGORY - “Radio Today”

Filed under: General, Old-Time Radio, Television, News, Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 11:19 am

Since a whole lot of this blog’s (and this correspondent’s) time has been taken up with the issues at NPR, I’ve created a new category so that these articles can be more easily found (or, for those uninterested in this issue, more easily avoided). Update your feeds if you’re using category-specific ones, kids.

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Red Hat launches new desktop Linux

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 8:55 am

From InfoWorld: Red Hat Inc. on Tuesday will unveil a new version of the Linux operating system software designed for the corporate desktop.

Even ignoring that there are other, non-propriatary, truly open-source, and free linux distributions available, this is still way too expensive. Red Hat is getting too “commercial;” I mean, I don’t mind them making money off of other programmer’s efforts (that’s the whole point of the open-source movement), but this company is giving very little back to the open-source community.

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U.S. blunders with keyword blacklist

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 11:16 pm

From The U.S. government concocted a brilliant plan a few years ago: Why not give Internet surfers in China and Iran the ability to bypass their nations’ notoriously restrictive blocks on Web sites? But then, they decided to censor it themselves, and…

To quote from the article: “That’s the sad irony in the OpenNet Initiative’s findings: A government agency charged with fighting Internet censorship is quietly censoring the Web itself.” Go figure.

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Bob Edwards on Fresh Air

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 10:56 pm

According to the on-air promos this evening, Bob Edwards will be Terry Gross’ guest on Fresh Air tomorrow. (Of course, the website doesn’t list anything past today.)

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And More Stories/Editorials on Edwards…

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 7:00 pm

The Wilmington Morning Star contains an editorial bemoning the loss of Bob Edwards, Enough to make you stay in bed.

The Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel includes wire services reports about the Edwards dismissal in their People column.

NPR is promoting the story filed by “Senior Correspondent Bob Edwards” (boy, that leaves an ugly taste in the mouth) on the World War II Memorial on the Mall in Washington, D.C.
You know, I’ve been wondering why management required Bob to file a report to air this Monday, the first day of their new morning program (well, they can call it whatever they want, but it ain’t “Morning Edition” without Bob Edwards). I can’t help but wonder if they aren’t making it clear to him, and to us, that the decision’s been made and is unalterable. If my cynicism is accurate, it would be yet another example of the poor judgement of these executives.

USA Today has a pair of articles. Bob Edwards signs off, but he’s on to the next phase and NPR staffers grapple with change.

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Cokie Roberts on Diane Rehm

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 11:39 am

Cokie Roberts, Senior News Analyst for NPR, weighs in on the Bob Edwards flap on today’s Diane Rehm show; it’s unfortunate that she seems to take the “party line” being careful not to insult anyone (Edwards or NPR [mis]management).

You can (eventually, once the show is added to the archives) hear the show in RealAudio format at the Diane Rehm Show website.

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More Stories on Bob Edwards…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 2:17 pm

From the Lexington Herald Leader: Edwards signs off npr morning post

From U-Redlands Daily Facts:NPR’s Edwards keeps final broadcast low-key Watch this; contains HTML errors which Netscape trips over; Internet Explorer, as usual, is equally non-complient so even though the page is flawed it displays.

Edwards was interviewed by Bill Moyers on NOW - a transcript should be available on the website in a few days (currently it’s pointing to last week’s edition).

Edwards was also interviewed by Scott Simon on NPR’s Weekend Edition (Scott, you might think about keeping an eye over your sholder just in case Kernis gets another bug in his bonnet…). When Simon, always a straight-shooter, asked, “Did NPR do the same thing to you that CBS did to Murrow?” I d*mned near fell off my chair.

David Broder of The Washington Post writes a tribute to Edwards in today’s paper: A Wistful Farewell to NPR’s Minimalist
(You can read it without lying on a registration form at The Salt Lake Tribune.)
I sent Mr. Broder a short note, referencing this comment, “My purpose is not to gripe about the decision to relieve him of his duties” and simply suggesting, “Oh, go ahead…” ;)

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Andy Trudeau leaves NPR. But how?

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 10:46 am

This morning on Weekend Edition Sunday, Liane Hansen offered a tribute to Andy Trudeau, who left NPR this past week after 27 years as a classical music producer and nine years as a guest on Weekend Edition to talk about Oscar-nominated music scores. This prompted me to send the following letter to - in the unlikely event I receive any response, I’ll post it (or at least the information, since the email itself would be covered by creation copyright) here:


   Was interested to hear Liane Hansen’s tribute to Andy Trudeau; she mentioned that his leaving was overshadowed by that of Mr. Edwards.

   But what she didn’t make clear, and I believe listeners would be interested to know, is whether Mr. Trudeau, too, was unceremoniously dumped by NPR management against the wishes of listeners, or whether he left voluntarily to pursue other opportunities.

   Hum…that she didn’t mention may be telling…and that I need to ask should tell you how little faith in NPR your listeners now hold.

         Charlie Summers

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