Nostalgic Rumblings
The Ramblings of an Old Man




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5/31/2007


It’s Higgins, Sir - Higgins Arranges Dates

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 10:21 am

By request, the second episode in the series, “It’s Higgins, Sir” aired July 10, 1951, a summer replacement series for Bob Hope’s Pepsodent program starring Harry McNaughton, Vinton Hayworth, and our good friend Pat Hosley.

We’re going to take a short break on running this series; I’ll explain why when we resume in a few days.

You may stream the show using the player below, or download it with the link. Remember, by subscribing to this blog with any podcasting client (iTunes, Juice, etc.) the shows will be automatically downloaded to your computer or MP3 player!

icon for podpress  It's Higgins, Sir - Higgins Arranges Dates [29:43m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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5/30/2007


Hard to believe it’s been three years…

Filed under: General, Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 7:36 am

…since the last Morning Edition on NPR. I know, I know, they’re using the same name for their “new and improved” morning show, but it ended three years ago when the pinheadsstripes replaced Bob Edwards with the Ken and Barbie Comedy Hour.

Ok, ok, I know…I gripe about it a whole lot. But by now you should realize how long I hold a grudge against an organization that screws with my mornings. No One screws with my mornings…

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5/28/2007


It’s Higgins, Sir - Higgins Arrives

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 3:46 pm

By request, I’m posting here the first episode in the series, “It’s Higgins, Sir” aired July 3, 1951, a summer replacement series for Bob Hope’s Pepsodent program starring Harry McNaughton, Vinton Hayworth, and our good friend Pat Hosley. In this premier episode, the Roberts family meets their inheritance, a man-servant named Higgins!

You may stream the show using the player below, or download it with the link. Remember, by subscribing to this blog with any podcasting client (iTunes, Juice, etc.) the shows will be automatically downloaded to your computer or MP3 player!

icon for podpress  It's Higgins, Sir - Higgins Arrives [30:11m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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5/24/2007


Is the Audience Glass Half Full or Half Empty?

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 10:39 am

From John Sutton: Is the Audience Glass Half Full or Half Empty?

From the article: “First, and most obvious, is that the weekly audience (Cume) for Morning Edition was 12.5 million or higher while Bob was still there. That’s a much bigger audience for Bob Edwards than the ‘more than 10 million’ listeners cited in the Sacramento Bee article.”

Nice to see someone confronting that lie with truth…

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5/23/2007


Why Does NPR Need to Lie?

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 2:52 pm

The Sacramento Bee ran a column yesterday that was basically a puff piece, promoting an event with Renee Montagne and Ellen McDonnell this evening. Thing is, the article is so…well…wrong that it again begs the question, why can’t NPR stop lying about this whole thing, and why is it that even the trench-workers now feel the need to get into the fray?

The article claims 1) when Bob Edwards left as host, Morning Edition had 10-million listeners per week, 2) the show added 800,000 listeners/week during the first year without Edwards, and 3) the show now has 13-milliion listeners per week, a three-million-per-week increase due directly to the outster of Edwards and the addition of the dual-host-dual-coast format.

The truth: 1) when Edwards was removed, Morning Edition had 13-million listeners per week (“NPR reassigns its longtime morning voice,” The Boston Globe, March 24, 2004; “Bob Edwards & the Remains of the Day,” Washington Post, April 29, 2004; other articles from the period), 2) while NPR touted that 800,000 additional listener per week figure a year after Edwards’ departure, it apparently referenced Arbitron ratings for fourth quarter 2004, when there was that hotly-contested presidential election to create a “bump” in ratings, and 3) the show now has around 13-million listeners per week…zero-growth from the Edwards’ era, and indeed according to projections there is an expected decline in ratings (“Has Success Spoiled NPR?” The Washintonian, March 1, 2007).

Edit: If you need more proof, check out the statement made by Kevin Klose to the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet during their July 10, 2002 hearing on “Corporation for Public Broadcasting Oversight and a Look Into Public Broadcasting in the Digital Era” - even in 2002, the President and CEO of National Public Radio said, “At present we are producing more than 100 hours a week of live and live-to-tape news programming, including the Nation’s
second and third most listened-to radio programs, ‘Morning Edition,’ which has about 13 million listeners a week, and ‘All Things Considered,’ which has about 10 million listeners a week.”

Ok, I understand the author of the column has his own bias (heck, I’ve made it clear I’m not a big fan of NPR after spending most of my lifetime supporting them), and that’s fine. But to accept clearly-phony numbers from Mss. Montagne and McDonnell is irresponsible at best…and I honestly can’t figure out why they would flat-out lie the way they have. This isn’t some pin-stripe - you expect them to lie (search for the transcript of the “web-chat” with Jay Kernis to see what I mean about pin-stripes being full of it), but the co-host of a news show and that show’s producer spouting numbers that are clear fabrications…good lord, how much faith can you have in anything on the show? Why in the world would these two, both of whom worked with and profess to respect Edwards, pull these phony figures out of thin air?

Oh, wait…you have a morning news program with solid increases in ratings for its first 24 years…you then change the program radically and three years later you have flat ratings and you’re expecting a decline. Now you need to feel good about yourself and your decisions, since admitting you screwed up is unheard-of in today’s business world and NPR has already shown itself to be no more concerned about the “public” than any other lumbering corporation.

(By the way, if you need more proof that NPR knows what a mess they’ve made of things, check out the new morning news program they’re building to compete with ME. And if that isn’t enough, even PRI smells blood - they, too are building a new morning news show to compete directly against Morning Edition.)

So what to do when you know things are slipping away, and you can’t face the responsibility? Simple. Lie your ass off, and hope there’s no one with the sense to point out the lie.

If anyone’s going to be at the Mondavi Center in Davis tonight, I’d appreciate it if you’d ask them why they need to insult the public with lies to make themselves feel better. Oh, never mind…I doubt you’d get the truth from them, anyway.

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5/21/2007


Just finished watching 24…

Filed under: Television — Charlie Summers @ 9:15 pm

The season finale of 24 is now over, and I’m still ticked off.

If you read the interviews with the writers and production staff, they have a thousand different excuses for why this season was so lousy. Heck, these guys have even blamed the mood of the country, saying we’re not close enough to 9/11 anymore to have the same bunker-mentality. But I’m certain I know exactly why this season was lousy.

Because they wrote it that way.

They decided this season that they were so clever they could serve us the last five seasons run through a blender and call it “new and exciting.” They figured the audience would swallow any regurgitated nonsense they pulled out and like it. Guess what…the audience (hey, that’s me!) is smarter than that. The bullpuckey with a Vice President trying to remove a sitting President named Palmer from office by using the Cabinet was insulting - we’ve seen it before, and to be blunt a whole lot better. Having Jack’s father kill his brother was just plain stupid. Having Jack himself go from years in a Chinese prison to completely operational in an hour is a bloody joke. And the season ending, which I won’t describe for those of you on the west coast, was done a whole lot better before, too.

This is directly to the producers of the show: Yeah, you have some of the most loyal fans in television today. But this year your hubris damned near cost you a whole lot of us. If you’re really lucky, we’ll give you another year to get your act together…but seriously, don’t think if you screw up next year Fox will honor it’s two-year contract. Treat me, and the rest of the fans, like an idiot again, and you’ll all be looking for work.

And, oh yeah - I darmed well expect the DVD version of this season to come with a price cut…this season isn’t worth full price.

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XM Temporarily Loses a Satellite

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 4:21 pm

XM Satellite Radio is experiencing a pretty serious outage; Sat1 (ok, really Sat3, the one operating over the eastern part of the US) is down, taking with it a substantial part of the terrestrial repeater system along with it. However, XM is not down, only a satellite. The western satellite (noted on the radios as Sat2, really Sat4) is operational.

It’s amazing how many people are whining and complaining around the Net about the situation; they expect XM to work flawlessly all the time, and are apparently completely useless to diagnose and repair the problem. Let me tell you what I did this morning when I looked at the radio and saw the “No Signal” warning…

First, I did a quick Google search to find out how to enter the diagnostic screens on the Inno…every XM radio has a set of screens, but each has a different way of getting to them. (Example: on the Roady2, turn the radio off, type 2-0-7 then push in the thumbwheel, and the radio will turn on. Step through the display button until you get to the extra diagnostic screens. On the Inno, it’s a few more button-presses, but still easily available information.) I entered the diagnostic screen one and checked the BER (Bit Error Rate) which is listed per input. Sat 1, Sat 2, and Terr all showed a BER of 100%, meaning the radio was getting no signal from anything.

But instead of assuming the entire system was down, I…went outside. Checking again, the BER of Sat 2 started dropping; depending on the position, I could get a BER of 0%, solid signal. That told me that Sat 1 was dead, Sat two was a live, and I had a problem…see, I can’t receive Sat2 from inside the house, where I can get a solid signal from Sat1.

Again, though, instead of railing against the fates, I went down to the basement, grabbed a spare home antenna (one of the newer, less-powerful ones), stopped at the garage and picked up a ladder, and climbed to the rainspout outside my office window. I attached the antenna to the spouting (actually to a small block of wood connected to the spouting, to raise it above the roofline) using cheap wireties, ran the cable around the screen (thank heavens it’s spring, and I can leave the window open) into the office and to the Inno base unit. BER of 0% on Sat2, so there’ll be no problem hearing The Bob Edwards Show tomorrow morning.

(For completests, I used my old Roady2 diagnostic screens outside to aim the antenna, but I could have taken out the Inno base unit just as easily.)

Ok, I admit it would bite to live in an apartment building downtown and depend on a terrestrial repeater…but still, if people would stop complaining, take a breath, and think things through, they might discover they can actually work around the problem.

And while I’m talking about XM, let me note that every Opie and Anthony fan who unsubscribes from XM (see, they were suspended for being insulting idiots and then publicly revoking their apology for being insulting idiots) simply raises the average intelligence of XM subscribers. So please, feel free to leave. Maybe if you all go away, XM will stop asking me to pay for their childish nonsense. (They used to be a premium channel, but couldn’t gather together enough subscribers willing to pay extra for ‘em, so XM had to raise the rates on everyone to cover that painful fact.)

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5/19/2007


You Gotta Love It - Spyware Writer Zango Sues Antispyware Vendor PC Tools

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 9:05 am

From InfoWorld: Spyware Writer Zango sues antispyware vendor PC Tools

From the article: “Adware maker Zango has sued PC Tools, makers of the popular Spyware Doctor software, in a dispute over the way the antispyware program flags and removes Zango’s technology.”

You bet’cha…these slimeballs are suing the antispyware company for removing their spyware. This entire world is tilting sideways…

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5/18/2007


Released from service…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 5:52 pm

I’ve been released from service at the county court house, and am back to the “real world.” I don’t particularly want to discuss what I’ve seen and heard in the past week, but I do want to mention something that bothers me.

Ever since I mentioned my “tour of duty” as a potential juror, I’ve received emails, contact form notes, and even telephone calls from folks giving me advice on how to, “get out of it.” While I’m the first to admit jury duty is generally not a lot of fun (I’ve done this before), it is I believe an important responsibility of the government we profess to hold up above all others. It frustrates me a little bit when folks seem to think serving this week away from normal life is somehow a “bad thing,” something to avoid at all costs. I can never seem to find the words to tell people why it’s so important to our very way of life to accept this small responsibility.

But one of the judges this week, in his thanking of the jury for its service, finally gave words to the feelings I have about this. He noted the right of trial by jury embedded within the Constitution, and mentioned some other routine things about the importance of the service we had just performed, and then said that the entire purpose of a jury of twelve normal citizens is the method by which the large decisions are taken out of the hands of government and placed directly into the hands of the people. The easy ones, he reminded us, are settled by the parties, or dismissed by the state. Only the most difficult proceed to trial, and those that proceed to trial by jury are the most difficult of all. And in those, the finding of fact is performed not by the lawyers, not by the judges, not by elected officials, not by appointed representatives of the government, but rather directly by the citizenry.

And that, it seems to me, is a seriously good thing, even if twelve average citizens are led to making decisions that may not be the most comfortable, or even the most palatable. We’ve lately seen a drift to allowing government to make decisions for us; sometimes the government doesn’t even tell us what decisions have been made, only telling us they are for our own good. The jury system is public, open, and takes the decision out of the hands of government completely, placing it firmly where it belongs - in the hands of the people.

I’ll cheerfully give away a week of my life every decade or so to see that continue and thrive, and I’d urge you to consider that the next time you are tempted to, “get out of it.”

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5/13/2007


So We’re on Jury Duty…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 11:44 pm

This week we leave the world of computers and instead perform our civic duty as a member of the jury pool. Assume I’ll be a bit slower answering any email or posts, what with spending the day downtown without the use of computers…

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5/12/2007


We’re a….STAR!

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 12:25 pm


via notcelebrity.co.uk

I know, but it made me laugh…

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5/4/2007


A Hexidecimal Color Chart…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 11:37 pm

Found this on the web; it is apparently an example of high-definition color schemes in a web browser. Note how the boxes and the text within seem to be…trying to say something about a terrible law that abridges free speech…

00 09 F9
11 02 9D
74 E3 5B
D8 41 56
C5 63 56
88 C0 00

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09 f9: A Legal Primer

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 6:04 am

From the Electronic Frontier Foundation: 09 f9: A Legal Primer

From the story: “As was reported back in February, an enterprising hacker unearthed and posted one of the decryption keys used by AACS to decode HD-DVD movies (other keys and exploits have been made available in the weeks since). Now the AACS-LA (the entity that licenses AACS to makers of HD-DVD players) has set its lawyers on the futile mission of trying to get every instance of at least one key (hint: it begins with 09 f9) removed from the Internet…so now might be a good time to review a few of the basic legal issues raised by the posting of the keys.”

Read this article. Then write your congresscritter, urging him/her to sponsor legislation repealing the over-broad DMCA. (Of course, if you’re represented by Diane Feinstein, you’re screwed - talk about being a puppet of the entertainment cartel…)

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5/3/2007


Astronaut Wally Schirra, fifth American in space, dies at 84

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 4:45 pm

From CNN: Astronaut Wally Schirra, fifth American in space, dies at 84

Wally Schirra, one of the original astronauts in the Mercury 7 project, died Thursday at age 84, NASA officials said.

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Did’cha ever have one of those…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 11:22 am

…well, I’m having one of those weeks/months/years myself. Over the last few weeks, I honestly believe the fates have conspired to keep me from getting anything accomplished…today is literally the first day in what seems like forever that I can actually spend in my office trying desperately to catch up on something. It isn’t that there’s anything major wrong, instead there have been seemingly hundreds of little things all designed to waste my time and keep me from getting anything done. And week-after-next I’ve been selected for jury duty of all things - while happy to perform my civic duty, I need the wasted week right now like I need another hole in my head.

Ok, so I have two choices when life starts throwing these curveballs…I can go back to bed curling up in the fetal position and weeping quietly, or keep plugging along hoping there’s enough of a break between the tiny disasters that I can catch up a little from the last one. I think no matter how attractive the former, I’m going to keep doing the latter.

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