And just how large is the paint bucket?

More cluttered thoughts from an empty mind

Why doesn’t anyone ever talk about the environmental impact of The Sherwin-Williams Company pouring red paint all over the North Pole?

Google tells me that the surface area of Earth is approximately 197,000,000 square miles, which leads me to believe something like 100,000,000 square miles is being covered by that paint spill.

Maybe it’s a solution to global warming. In which case, instead of red paint, couldn’t they do something more reflective, like silver?

MyFAFO: Mike Lindell of MyPillow has completed the “f-ck around” phase and is now experiencing the “find out” phase, as the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports:

MyPillow is auctioning off hundreds of pieces of equipment and subleasing manufacturing space after several shopping networks and major retailers took the company’s products off shelves … sewing machines, industrial fabric spreaders, forklifts and even desks and chairs are up for auction.

Continue reading “And just how large is the paint bucket?”

No wonder I’m never voted the “best local radio personality”

Sarcastic? Moi?

WQED-TV posted a photo of Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh from the 1970s on Facebook, which prompted a viewer named Cindy to lament that was “Back when the city was safe (and) good.”

Yes, Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh was well-known for being safe in the 1970s. Why, hardly anyone ever bothered the prostitutes or drug dealers that worked there.

It brings to mind a joke from Jack Bogut: “One night on Liberty Avenue, someone tried to sell me some pornography, but I told them I didn’t have a pornograph to play it on.”

As most native Pittsburghers know — as long as you’re over the age of 45, but don’t yet have Fox News brain-rot — Liberty Avenue was the city’s notorious red-light district in the 1970s. If there was something illegal in the 1970s, you could probably find it on Liberty Avenue. Once the original David L. Lawrence Convention Center opened in 1979, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, the convention and visitors’ bureau and the city broke their backs to clean up Liberty Avenue, and have been more or less successful.

Anyway, remember back in the 1970s, when Liberty Avenue was safe? Those were the days. Mister, we could use a man like Dante “Tex” Gill again.

Continue reading “No wonder I’m never voted the “best local radio personality””

We switched ’round and ’round ’til half-past dawn

I’m not surprised to see that all of the streaming video services are cutting back on their offerings and downsizing to some extent.

Unlike the narrator in Bruce Springsteen’s song, for a few years now, it’s seemed like there were more than 57 channels, and something was always on. I found it literally impossible to keep up.

Of course, it didn’t help that I kept delving into old TV shows. I’m not a huge “Star Trek” fan, but I subscribed to Paramount+ to see “Picard” with Patrick Stewart — and instead, I found myself watching “Hawaii Five-O.” (The original one. Don’t talk to me about the reboot.) Lately I’ve been re-watching “Cheers” from the beginning.

I’m paying $5.99 per month to watch 40-year-old TV shows that used to run for free? What a world, what a world.

Like I said, I’m not a huge “Star Trek” fan, but as a Gen-X’er, “Star Trek: The Next Generation” hit me right at an impressionable age for a young nerd, so I was looking forward to “Picard.” I was … disappointed. I found the first season … OK, but ponderous. The second season didn’t click with me at all.

I’m told the third season of “Picard” was the best so far, but I haven’t checked it out yet.

You know what two “Star Trek” spinoffs I am liking? “Lower Decks” — the animated cartoon — and “Strange New Worlds.”

Continue reading “We switched ’round and ’round ’til half-past dawn”

Listen to me, instead — the shoddy radio alternative

Welcome to our weekly salute to shoddy showmanship

Ad I received on Facebook this morning:

How rude!


Big talk for a radio station that stole its call-letters from Charleroi.

Join me from 12 to 3 p.m. today for some non-quality radio (and a minimum of snooty Ivy League blowhards) on WRCT 88.3FM and Tube City Online Radio – McKeesport.

Requests: 412-385-7450 or @ me here.

CQ cartoon, June 2023

CQ Amateur Radio Magazine, June 2023

My cartoon from this month’s CQ Amateur Radio Magazine. This was inspired by a visit I made recently to the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting between Cincinnati and Dayton.

The museum is located at what was once the Bethany, Ohio, shortwave radio relay station for Voice of America, beginning in 1942. It was located there because it was built by Cincinnati-based Crosley Broadcasting Corp., which had already been doing experiments in high-powered shortwave radio and AM radio broadcasting. (The Bethany station is next to the transmission tower for WLW 700 AM radio, which for a short period of time broadcast at 500,000 watts — 10 times the most powerful AM stations legally allowed today in the U.S.)

It also was located there because it was well inland from the reach of German bombers, if World War II had ever come to that. Programming never originated from Ohio; it always came from VOA studios elsewhere, including New York City and Washington, D.C.

Although Voice of America still broadcasts on shortwave radio, those transmissions come from radio stations mostly overseas in U.S. allied countries. The Bethany station was closed during Clinton administration budget cuts in 1994.

Anyway, if you’re in the Cincinnati or Dayton area, the museum is well worth your time.

As always, a reminder that these cartoons are posted after they’ve appeared in CQ. If you want to see them when they’re new, and catch up on the amateur electronics hobby, why not subscribe today?

About some useless information supposed to fire my imagination

We interrupt this advertising to bring you a brief programming announcement

If you’re a Gen-Xer, you probably remember growing up, watching broadcast TV that was constantly being interrupted by commercials.

There you were, sitting cross-legged in front of the Magnavox on the orange shag carpeting, drinking an RC Cola. And as soon as the show came to an exciting moment — the Cardassians were about to attack Riker and Worf, or Diane had made a particularly cutting remark right before she slammed the door on Sam — suddenly the screen would go black and the network would run a commercial.

It was so annoying!

Well, now that we live in the modern digital age, that’s a thing of the past.

Continue reading “About some useless information supposed to fire my imagination”

Unearned unhappiness? That’s all right, I guess

Are you ready for some football?

News item: “A ticket to the USFL Championship Game is on the line as the Pittsburgh Maulers battle the Michigan Panthers in Canton, Ohio, this Saturday. How will this war between two 4-6 teams shake out?”

Las Vegas odds-makers say “Nobody Gives a Crap” is the favorite, but “Who Could Care Less” could surprise us.

Also, this:

If you’re looking to bet on the USFL North Division title game between two 4-6 teams, trust me: You have a gambling problem. Call now, operators are standing by.

Continue reading “Unearned unhappiness? That’s all right, I guess”

Thirteen-month-old baby broke the lookin’ glass

This Saturday, it’s three hours of vintage 45s. Plus, a question about our old-time radio theater on Sundays

This Saturday, it’s three hours of the original hits on the original 45s played by the original record players. Tune in and hear the original scratches and dirt, too

I broke a mirror. After the last few years we’ve had, how will I know the difference when the bad luck starts?

That raises a couple of other questions. Does the seven years of bad luck run consecutively with other bad luck, or concurrently? Like, if I walk under a ladder, or spill a salt shaker, or get off on the 13th floor of a building, do each of those things then add more bad luck to the seven years I’ve already received for breaking the mirror, or does it just make the already existing bad luck worse?

Anyway, I blame Steve Allen. I’ve been reading a Steve Allen book and when I was getting ready for work, I bumped the book, it fell onto a mirror that was sitting on the floor, and broke it.

Some might say the mirror shouldn’t have been sitting on the floor. Well, thanks, but that would have been useful advice a couple of hours ago.

Speaking of bad luck: It’s my luck to be out of town two Saturdays in a row, which means I have a pre-recorded show again this week. But it’s a good one.

We’ve had a bunch of records donated to the Tube City Online Radio studio (most of them by me) and I’ve recently been going through them.

So this week’s show is three hours of vintage 45s, mostly from the 1960s, with a handful from the ’50s and ’70s.

Continue reading “Thirteen-month-old baby broke the lookin’ glass”

If tin-whistles are made of tin, what do they make fog horns out of?

More cluttered items from my empty mind

SCAM ALERT: I just got an electronic message that was like 10 minutes of repetitive guitar riffs and drum solos.

Yeah. It was another Phishing email.

Garth Brooks talking to Billboard Magazine. I think that’s Crow, Servo and Mike Nelson in the front row. (YouTube)

Garth Brooks is opening a bar in Nashville and says he will not join a conservative boycott of Bud Light.

In a Q&A with Melinda Newman of Billboard magazine, Brooks said his new bar, called Friends in Low Places, will be “a place you feel safe in. I want it to be a place that you feel like there are manners and people love one another … And yes, we’re going to serve every brand of beer. We just are.”

That’s a reference to an ongoing boycott by morons conservatives, who are angry that Bud Light produced a special one-off commemorative can featuring TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney, who is transgender.

Kid Rock, a vocal moron conservative, posted a video of himself shooting cases of Bud Light with an automatic rifle, and some bars that cater to bigots and rednecks Republicans have either stopped selling Bud Light, or held promotions where they’ve poured the beer down the drain.

To be clear, however, it’s still OK if you’re not buying Bud Light simply because it’s really crummy beer. As the Pythons said, “it’s like making love in a canoe.”

Continue reading “If tin-whistles are made of tin, what do they make fog horns out of?”

‘Twas farewell that it was singing

It turns out a Catholic school education was a dangerous thing. It taught me to think for myself.

I doubt David Zubik, Roman Catholic bishop of Pittsburgh, reads this blog. Or listens to the show. But I wrote him a letter anyway. And I’ll even play him a long-distance dedication:

Dear Bishop Zubik:

I was born and raised Roman Catholic, was baptized in the church, attended 13 years of Catholic school, and served faithfully as an altar boy throughout my teen years. I knew many kind and generous priests, deacons, friars and nuns.

They stood for social justice. A friend of mine points out that Joe Biden, for all of his flaws, has a classic mid-20th Century American Catholic outlook when it comes to justice and equality.

So it pains me to see what the bishops of the Catholic church in the United States now seem to stand for, which are performative culture-war stunts and gimmickry — like denying liberal Catholic politicians communion because they support birth control or abortion rights, or refusing to baptize the children of gay parents.

It’s the reason I left the church of my birth about 20 years ago, and never looked back.

I think of myself as pretty cynical, but maybe it’s a good sign that I still managed to be surprised by your decision to force the cancellation of a Catholic mass for LGBTQ students, faculty and staff at Duquesne University.

It was a cruel, callous, and petty thing for you to do. And, if I may say so, most un-Christlike.

Continue reading “‘Twas farewell that it was singing”