Radio sucks.

Continuing a theme of recent weeks, I once again find myself ashamed of this stupid country. That Tucker Carlson is a pig surprises me not in the least. That he, ostensibly a serious person, appears on a radio show with someone named Bubba the Love Sponge simply depresses me.

The NPR station in Fort Wayne wasn’t running the usual news shows when I first moved there, and so for a while I contented myself with the usual morning-zoo numbnuts. This being Fort Wayne, they weren’t particularly racy, just boring dudes in baseball caps who wouldn’t have made it on the open-mic standup circuit. Lots of them were overweight. Most of them were Republicans. (They didn’t do politics, but you could just smell it on them.) Hardly any of them were even a little bit funny; a song parody was about the best they were capable of.

Every so often I’ll station-surf past one now. They’re all racy now. Crude, actually. I think there’s one team around here who make callers say “penis balls” in the course of their interactions. I try to imagine the sort of person who finds this sort of thing amusing, and come up blank. Silence, Spotify, the CBC — there are so many options around here.

I know smart people who think Howard Stern is great. I am not one of them. I flirted briefly with Don Imus, then dropped him when it became evident what a schmuck he is.

(You wouldn’t believe how much money some of these guys — and they’re all guys, with the occasional Girl Sidekick — earn, too. Imus at his peak was in the $7-million-a-year range. Bob & Tom, in Indianapolis, were around $1 million. I guess “talent” is rare, and advertisers like them, but holy shit.)

So much radio sucks. When I briefly toiled at WOWO, I was astounded at the stuff that was posted on the employee bulletin board. The don’t ask/don’t tell policy was in the news at the time, and the anti-gay stuff alone was horrible. When I mentioned something to the station manager, she said, “Well, we don’t have any gay employees.”

I still listen to public radio, and NPR, every day. I still get a little frustrated when they do those long, earnest pieces on something I can’t even muster a whisker of a care about — and I’m an empathetic person. But now I just switch to a podcast.

How’s everyone’s week going? Sorry for no Sunday. I’m trying to save my sanity by reading more for pleasure this month, and opted for self-care. Enjoying a little Scott Turow (“Testimony”) after years of not reading him. He’s the Grisham-who-can-write, for those unfamiliar.

OK, off to the showers, huge week ahead. Stay well, all.

Posted at 7:45 am in Current events |
 

90 responses to “Radio sucks.”

  1. Heather said on March 12, 2019 at 8:36 am

    I listen to a morning radio show here in Chicago–a guilty pleasure for my commute. It’s not a morning zoo-type show, but sometimes it does make me cringe, especially when they haul out the ol’ “How many people do you have to sleep with before you are a slut” for the 100th time. It’s aimed at both men and women, but why this is a topic of discussion in the Year of Our Lord 2019 is beyond me.

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  2. basset said on March 12, 2019 at 9:33 am

    We have a really good NPR station here, and it’s pretty much the only local terrestrial radio I listen to, excepting the Beatles show on our “Hippie Radio” franchise. Those two and Sirius… still figuring out how to work this new touchscreen car radio.

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  3. JodiP said on March 12, 2019 at 9:39 am

    I would like to say I love Minnesota public radio….but a few days ago, their big news story was how we gotta get the ice houses off the lakes before it’s too late. It was a 4 or 5 minute piece with the guys going on and on about how Jim’s house got stuck one year and they had to use the four-wheeler to get it off….Click. They also use far too much sound: walking on the snow or gravel to set up pieces. Drives me crazy. They tend to do a lot of political analysis which quite frankly is done better by the Crooked Media crew.

    I have a 2008 car, so still listen to books on CDs. And my Pimsleur French lessons.

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  4. Julie Robinson said on March 12, 2019 at 9:52 am

    Mine also has a CD player which I use for audio books and music. It’s got the bluetooth thingy too, but then you have to mess around with your phone every time you get in and out of the car, so I prefer using CDs. The one thing I like about the bluetooth is that I can take a call over it, which I do only when it’s a family member or I’m waiting for an important call. You can also call out, and read texts, but I’ve not learned how. It doesn’t seem safe to me.

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  5. basset said on March 12, 2019 at 9:58 am

    Our factory CD player gave out, that’s why we got the new, aftermarket one. Turns out it’ll play DVDs too, but only if you’re in park.

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  6. Dave said on March 12, 2019 at 9:59 am

    Bubba the Love Sponge, well known in Tampa Bay is a disgusting shock jock who was brought down several notches for his role in the Hulk Hogan fiasco, which also ended the website, Gawker. You’ll be so proud to know that he’s from Warsaw, IN, where he was captain of the football team sometime in the mid-seventies. There was a big article about him in the Tampa Bay Times a few months ago and how he is now barely scraping by, down to a morning show on one local AM station.

    I never enjoyed Bob and Tom very much, I found so many of their shows and others on about the same level as what I could hear out of some of the fellows with whom I worked. I had a friend who loved Don Imus and I couldn’t listen to him very long, either. Does anyone know of Mancow, who was a Chicago-area shock jock and briefly syndicated into the Fort Wayne market? He recently made the news for bringing down the pastor of a Chicago area megachurch after he (Mancow) got religion. I gather that he’s still on somewhere.

    We listen to the local NPR station in Tampa Bay, WUSF, but mostly when we’re in the car. I still have the WBOI app on my phone and use it to listen to old Fresh Air episodes, as much as anything.

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  7. Bitter Scribe said on March 12, 2019 at 10:07 am

    For me shock jocks occupy a place in the moral universe somewhere between slugs and mold. It’s instructive that before Glenn Beck got into politics, he was a shock jock.

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  8. ROGirl said on March 12, 2019 at 10:11 am

    Howard Stern’s appearances on Letterman finally got me to listen to his show, which I switched back to my usual NPR very quickly. Letterman’s admiration of Stern left me baffled. I downloaded I Heart Radio and it has a very good selection of radio stations from all over the country and podcasts. I listen to a number of non-commercial stations that play music. Marc Maron’s podcast is good, and I have been listening to one about Hollywood topics and history called “You Must Remember This” by Karina Longworth. She did a really good series about the lives and careers of Jane Fonda and Jean Seberg. She also wrote a book about Howard Hughes.

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  9. Sherri said on March 12, 2019 at 10:31 am

    We used to wake up to NPR, but we stopped in 2016, because it was making us angry every morning. We ended up with the local classical music station instead.

    In the car I listen to podcasts and audio books. The only time I listen to radio is for sports.

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  10. Suzanne said on March 12, 2019 at 10:35 am

    Bob & Tom, Howard Stern, Imus, all had moments of truly funny stuff but I could never listen long term. They all seem to have the female sidekick whose job seems to be laughing uproariously at everything, and I mean everything, the shock jock(s) says. Mostly, I found them annoying.
    I used to listen to Jonathan Brandmeier way back in the day on WLUP in Chicago. He was just plain funny.

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  11. Julie Robinson said on March 12, 2019 at 10:51 am

    Sherri, I have to turn it off frequently. Some days it never goes on at all. But that means I listen to more audiobooks.

    From time to time I’ve written about the young man who built our front yard garden in Orlando. He’s trying to raise or forage everything he eats for a year, and has posted a video update. The first four minutes are in our yard: https://youtu.be/vjCke0dRgWo.

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  12. Joe Kobiela said on March 12, 2019 at 11:06 am

    I remember listening to Bob and Tom when we were skiing at Boyne in Harbor Springs, still enjoy them now although Bob retired a few years ago. They picked up Josh and he fits in well. Kristi can hold her own with the boys, they have broke a lot of comedians and have become the show comics want to be on. Always found them to be a step or two above the rest of the morning shows.
    As far as radio goes, nothing beats sirus, although I thought X.M. had a better playlist and deeper cuts,and less talk, outlaw country and underground garage, are my favorite.
    Pilot Joe

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  13. Suzanne said on March 12, 2019 at 11:13 am

    My Man Mitch weighs in. It’s great that those coastal elites are venturing out to discover the “real America.”
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/want-to-study-abroad-check-out-america/2019/03/11/8c5268a2-3492-11e9-af5b-b51b7ff322e9_story.html?

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  14. Connie said on March 12, 2019 at 11:20 am

    Not my man. I used to get to say that more often.

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  15. Dave said on March 12, 2019 at 11:31 am

    I was just struck by the memory, Nancy, that our mutual acquaintance, Uncle Ducky, was a huge Howard Stern fan.

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  16. Sherri said on March 12, 2019 at 11:40 am

    Remember Michael Anton, the guy who wrote the Flight 93 essay? He’s now defending Tucker Carlson from the Ruling Class, which is of course, the Left.

    https://amgreatness.com/2019/03/11/tucker-carlson-must-not-be-silenced/

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  17. LAMary said on March 12, 2019 at 12:20 pm

    Oh no. I’m shocked. Rich people are using their money and position to get their kids into college. Big news about an hour ago.

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  18. Scout said on March 12, 2019 at 12:36 pm

    Interesting that the story about rich parents buying their kids’ way into college breaks right after the revelation that Mr Stable Genius sent his mobby knee-cappers to the schools he attended to bury his records. The same Stable Genius who made a huge stink about Obama’s Harvard transcripts. Always projection with that guy.

    I refuse to listen to any drive-time-shock-jock nonsense and NPR lost its luster for me after its embarrassingly skewed coverage of 2016. I listen to audiobooks in the car that I download on Overdrive from the library. Right now I’m listening to Educated by Tara Westover, which is excellent. Anyone else read that one?

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  19. basset said on March 12, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    We listened to John Boy & Billy, the Bob & Tom of the South, for awhile a few years ago… and Dave Ramsey till he got political and his commercial load got too high.
    Joe, have you heard Sirius’ Bakersfield country channel? Up around 240-something iirc.

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  20. Brandon said on March 12, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    “[T]hey’re all guys, with the occasional Girl Sidekick”

    The most notable Girl Sidekick is Robin Quivers, Howard Stern’s co-host. Here’s a feature on her in Rolling Stone.

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  21. Bitter Scribe said on March 12, 2019 at 2:02 pm

    How dastardly and underhanded it is of Tucker Carlson’s opponents to…uh…quote him verbatim.

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  22. Sherri said on March 12, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    I just want to know why, if the Ruling Class is the Left, we can’t have nice things like universal health care and trains.

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  23. Heather said on March 12, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    What’s especially galling is that Carlson had a fit about Samantha Bee calling Ivanka the c-word (remember that? it seems like a million years ago), and she had to apologize. We should have known. Never apologize to these people when they have a fit about some issue of “civility.”

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  24. LAMary said on March 12, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    Some days I can just let the news circle the drain and go away. Some days the news makes me screamy. It’s a screamy day. I want to grab the lapels of a few spectacularly un self aware men and shake them and tell them to do all of us a favor. Tell them all to give all their ill gotten gains to charity, pay their taxes, realize they are stupid and just go away. Jared, Donny Jr. Tucker? I’m talking to you. Get a fucking clue.

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  25. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 12, 2019 at 5:10 pm

    When I doubt, I go to . . .

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Uv4lJsu0Jw&t=921s

    or

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihx5LCF1yJY

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  26. Sherri said on March 12, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    On the college admissions bribery scandal, my question is, has it gotten too expensive for the legal way to bribe your kid’s way into fancy colleges, i.e. big donations?

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  27. LAMary said on March 12, 2019 at 6:22 pm

    I think there was a desire to sort of launder the bribe. Just tossing money at the school is so “on the nose.” There have always been stories about wealthy offspring getting into USC by the parents bribing the place. I knew a dim,entitled and arrogant guy who went to USC and he had a well known last name. When he graduated he went straight into an executive position with one of the family’s companies. The locals call USC the university of spoiled children and the bad thing about that is there are lots of good, hardworking students there.

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  28. David C. said on March 12, 2019 at 6:30 pm

    I never changed the radio presets when we bought our new car. There didn’t seem to be a point. I’ve long since given up on NPR. I listen to Sirius and stream KEXP from Seattle.

    I remember when Bubba the love sponge was fired from a station in Grand Rapids. Not that I listened. Shock jocks have never done anything for me. He was saying sexually inappropriate things, I believe the euphemism is, on air to a pre-teen girl if I remember right.

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  29. alex said on March 12, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    I remember Mancow and was never a fan. He used to pull insane stunts like holding a road kill contest in a suburban Chicago shopping mall parking lot where people brought their finds from the morning commute. (That one got shut down by the health department.)

    I haven’t listened to broadcast radio, not even NPR, since moving back to the Fort in ’05. It was a wasteland then and it’s a wasteland still. I couldn’t even tell you what the local stations are save for the AM talk radio station Nancy mentions above, which probably has far worse things on its bulletin board now than it did then, if the content of their programming is any kind of barometer.

    I have Sirius XM in the car and Accuradio in the house and just listen to music, mostly smooth jazz, my guilty pleasure.

    I remember when the following locally produced song was a big hit on one of the Chicago morning zoo stations, which tells you how long ago I was listening to that shit. At the time it was shocking, shocking I tell you, but today it’s about as unimpressive as its subject:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5obLmJ4O9E

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  30. Jakash said on March 12, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    I gave up on “fun” radio when the commercials/news/traffic/promos began to take up more time than the shows. A long time ago. Mancow Muller just started a new gig doing mornings on WLS in Chicago in January, FWIW.

    I always enjoyed Howard Stern’s appearances on Letterman, though I was definitely surprised that David seems to like him so much. As for the radio show — he can be a good interviewer, but the circus around him and much of the content I just have no use for. (Well, Robin seems okay…)

    Love the second one @ 25, JTMMO. Not as familiar with the first.

    Very interesting video @ 11, Julie. Just curious — did you do any testing of the soil before that project was begun? I always wonder about that with “farm in the city” projects in Chicago. That guy seems to be doing a mash-up of “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” (minus the animals, apparently) and the “No Impact Man.” Good for him, but I can’t say that I envy him. Oh, another question — what did the papaya tree look like when it was planted? I’m amazed that you can have big papayas like that in one year. Cool!

    My favorite bit of hypocrisy with the Schmucker Carlson stuff is that in his response, he downplayed the remarks as having been uttered “more than a decade ago.” Which wasn’t completely true, of course. But, regardless, on his *last show* before this thing broke, he was evidently doing a segment about the “Ghost of Biden Past.”

    https://twitter.com/atrupar/status/1104929080997220352

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  31. Sherri said on March 12, 2019 at 7:36 pm

    I felt a twinge of guilt that my daughter was getting a slight advantage in the college admissions game because we weren’t applying for financial aid. I was mostly surprised at how many other parents thought they had to fill out the FAFSA, even if they knew they wouldn’t qualify for financial aid. I wasn’t going to fill out a form that’s a pain in the ass and pointless in our case.

    But I was unusual among my peer group in that I didn’t hire a coach for the admissions process.

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  32. Bitter Scribe said on March 12, 2019 at 8:06 pm

    Just now in my inbox I found a letter from the head of Stanford admissions assuring all us alums that yes, the now-fired sailing coach took money to vouch for some rich girl who didn’t know the head from the poop deck, but no one else at Stanford took money, no siree.

    All I could think of is, those jerkoffs spent five- and six-figure sums to get their kids into that place? I should have shaken down my parents while I had the chance. “Think of how much money I saved you by studying!”

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  33. LAMary said on March 12, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    Sherri, I worked with someone who made over 100k, whose spouse made over 100k and had a very healthy trust fund and she did FAFSA for both her sons. The kids’ grandmother was also subsidizing the private prep school education 100%. Why were they doing FAFSA? If they qualified, pretty much anyone would.

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  34. Julie Robinson said on March 12, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    Jackash, because Rob didn’t have several weeks to kill the grass, he also didn’t soil test. Instead, he covered the entire yard with thick cardboard, then brought in 8-10 inches of mushroom compost. Plus a couple of other organic materials, I’m not really sure what. Our whole yard grew about a foot higher.

    I also don’t know how big the papaya trees were when first planted, but they had to have been small because he doesn’t have much to spend. (We don’t live there yet, just visit as often as we can. Our kids are renting the house from us right now. Our entire participation in the project has been to say yes. I’ve watered and weeded a bit too.)

    There are definitely concerns about soil in urban gardening because of lead and other pollution. A young couple here in the Fort who call themselves Young Urban Farmers has experimented with cleaning the soil under a contract with Purdue University, the land grant college in Indiana. They theorized that sunflower plants might help (not sure where that idea came from) and planned to grow them for three years. After only one year the sunflowers had filtered out all the poisons from the soil, and they were cleared to grow plants for human consumption. I love that!

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  35. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 12, 2019 at 8:51 pm

    I believe you have to do FAFSAs for any student. Even when you don’t expect any financial aid. There are other provisions or awards, and without a FAFSA at most schools you can’t get them without that box checked.

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  36. David C. said on March 12, 2019 at 9:24 pm

    At least in the late ’70s/early ’80s you didn’t have to complete a FAFSA. I completed my FAFSA, but my dad got into one of his jerky libertarian streaks and decided they didn’t need to know how much money he made, so he wouldn’t sign it. So I went to community college and got an associates in engineering design and got a job at a company that had tuition reimbursement to get my BS in engineering. I made it work, but damn it was hard and took a long time. He did apologize to me a couple of years ago.

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  37. alex said on March 12, 2019 at 9:38 pm

    How embarrassing for Felicity Huffman. At $15K, she’s being humiliated not for bribery but for being a cheapskate.

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  38. LAMary said on March 12, 2019 at 10:07 pm

    Jeff TMMO, I filled out FAFSA for my sons but I assumed they wouldn’t get any assistance. My ex made too much although he was not contributing anything. Combined with my income we were not eligible. He’s the gift that keeps on giving, that guy.

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  39. brian stouder said on March 12, 2019 at 11:13 pm

    My commute between home and work is 6 or 7 minutes, so at lunchtime I’ll give Uncle Rush his inning, the better to hear what the Official Certified State News (aka – opposite of “fake news”, eh?*) line of the day is.

    If nothing else, I then probably eat less – which has been keeping my waist-line down!

    If, later in the day (or on the weekend) I’m driving Pam’s mini-van, then I’m on Sirius XM/Peal Jam, fer-sure!

    Meanwhile, life races ahead, eh? Our son has graduated IU-Fort Wayne, and is gainfully employed in Huntington (about 30 miles west), where he has his own apartment; and our oldest daughter is enjoying her Spring Break here at home, as she steams through her Sophomore year at IU-Bloomington. All I know is, if you spill a can of alphabet soup (or two or three) – you could see all the vaious acronyms that we (and by “we” I really mean Pam and the young folks) navigated through, with regard to scholarships/housing/loans/internships and so on and so forth, that must be navigated.

    Anyway – I look forward to watching President Trump mess up his hair-do and blush through his makeup, when the Mueller report comes out (in whole or in part)…and then face the We, The People. The election is close enough that an impeachment would be superfluous (Ms Pelosi is right)

    *a free press is a free press, period. It is up to us, the readers/listeners to also be thinkers/questioners, and to consider information from multiple sources. What does Trump not understand about this? Presumably he thinks people only disagree with him because they took in ‘fake news’?

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  40. Colleen said on March 12, 2019 at 11:32 pm

    Even I have given up on NPR for the most part. I listen in the morning to WUSF while I shower, and sometimes I will grab a Fresh Air podcast if the topic interests me. Other than that, it is Pandora for me.

    I have mixed feelings about commercial radio. I agree that a lot of it, especially morning shows, is stupid and juvenile. However, a big chunk of our household income comes from commercial radio. When we moved to Florida, Steve’s station thought he was valuable enough as a Production Director to make arrangements for him to work remotely. So the commercials on two stations in The Fort are produced in a spare bedroom in Florida. Once in awhile I get to dust off my pipes and voice a spot…mainly because I’m in the next chair over and can do it Right Now. So I am a little biased in favor of commercial radio. Like all media, it has its place.

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  41. Sherri said on March 13, 2019 at 12:09 am

    Maybe it varies by school, but I didn’t do FAFSA and didn’t apply for financial aid, and Whitman still awarded my daughter a merit-based scholarship.

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  42. Jakash said on March 13, 2019 at 1:26 am

    Thanks for the replies, Julie. Yeah, that thing about the sunflowers sounds pretty impressive.

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  43. Sherri said on March 13, 2019 at 1:32 am

    This article explains my twinge of guilt. I also know that my daughter’s academic record was more than good enough to get her admitted to Whitman, and that’s why it was only a twinge.

    https://www.thecut.com/2019/03/college-cheating-scandal-an-admissions-officer-speaks-out.html

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  44. Linda said on March 13, 2019 at 1:58 am

    Toledo has one of the highest rates of satellite radio subscribers of all the markets, and that includes me. All the stations are owned by out of town syndicates, and many of the shows are syndicated too. If I am going to listen to a product with no local identification or ties, why not listen to the one with the biggest variety of music. I like classic country, old school r and b, big band, oldies, etc. I don’t get that variety in broadcast radio.

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  45. Brandon said on March 13, 2019 at 3:18 am

    Guess who has a new book!

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  46. alex said on March 13, 2019 at 6:37 am

    Forgot to mention this…

    Don’t know if he’s still doing it, but there was one local jock who made a running gag of the local GOP chairman’s reputed marijuana habit. Even I who seldom listen to local radio thought he was wearing it out. Is that still a thing?

    It was a subject of discussion (or I should say, merriment) here some years ago when police intervened in a domestic disturbance at Steve Shine’s house over his then-wife’s efforts to confiscate his weed.

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  47. Dorothy said on March 13, 2019 at 8:28 am

    Like Brian I have a short commute to work so I don’t have a lot of listening time in the car. But I do limit myself to the oldies station run by volunteers (last week I heard “Transfusion” by Nervous Norvus and when was the last time you heard THAT!?). One woman DJ irritates me because she says some things in French but never with a hint of any accent, so I always think she’s trying to show off. Then there’s the R&B station and I’ve loved that since we first moved to Dayton in 2013. Finally, there’s WCSU which is out of Central State College. It’s mostly jazz; in the mornings they play gospel. On Saturday mornings they play older style jazz, hosted by Bill Hillgrove who is a Pittsburgh announcer. He announces the Steeler games and Pitt basketball. When I’m in my sewing room I use Pandora on my iPad. I can’t stand DJ patter. I’d rather shut off the radio than listen to their drivel.

    Dave just like your dad, my father-in-law refused to sign any paperwork to help my hubby (then my boyfriend) go to college. He went to a school in Erie full pay for about a year and a half (his grandfather left him some money when he died), but then he had to leave school. He got a job and went to Pitt night school to get his degree in mechanical engineering. It took him 13 or so years. We got married and had two kids while he was doing full time work and carrying 6 or so credits each semester. He got his degree in 1990. We had next to nothing in the savings so our kids had to get loans to go to school. Thankfully, they’re both very bright. Daughter was accepted in Penn State’s honors college and son was in the scholars program at Ohio State. These parents who used $$$ to get their kids into elite colleges are pretty sad in my view.

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  48. Suzanne said on March 13, 2019 at 9:07 am

    My dad would fill out the FAFSA, or whatever it was called back then, complaining the whole time. I can still hear him, “If your mother and I got divorced, or I was an alcoholic, or quit my job, you’d get all kinds of money. But since we’ve stayed married all these years and work, you’ll get nothing! [grumble grumble curse]” I did get some money, though, so it was worth it, although this was IU back in the late 70s when $5,000 would easily get you a year of tuition and housing. A good summer job would ensure I could pay for much of it myself.

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  49. Joe Kobiela said on March 13, 2019 at 9:20 am

    Transfusion, transfusion, never ever,ever going to speed again, give me the juice, Lucy
    Pilot Joe

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  50. Icarus said on March 13, 2019 at 9:57 am

    FAFSA, I thought I was the only one. We would have qualified for tons of financial aid but my single mom refused to sign the paperwork, one of her arguments was the government already has my tax returns and knows all of this! It was really just one of the many ways she used to control me.

    In high school, I listened to Steve Dahl and Garry Meier and thought they were entertaining…I know better now.

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  51. Julie Robinson said on March 13, 2019 at 9:58 am

    The more I read about the admissions scams the angrier I get. Lori Loughlin’s daughter stated she was in college for the parties, and the day after school started flew off to Fiji for work. She has a career as a social media influencer, and was putting up ads for Amazon on how they provided everything in her dorm room. She has over two million followers. Maybe this country does deserve Trump.

    The flip side is parents who don’t have money but think their kids have to go to a prestige school. A member of our extended family has spent the last three years pushing her son to get a high SAT score and outside school he spent almost every minute studying. He did do well, only missing one question, but failed to get an early acceptance at Princeton and was crushed. Of course, he didn’t have any extracurriculars on his application because all his time went to studying.

    The sad thing is I don’t think he would do well at Princeton because he’s never lived in a cold climate and he’s a slip of a thing. He could get free tuition at the university where his Dad is a prof, but they’ve deemed it not prestigious enough.

    When I was in high school, test prep consisted of being told to get a good night’s sleep, and making sure you brought those darned #2 pencils nicely sharpened. Maybe it’s a midwest thing, but my friends and I all went to state schools and none of us felt cheated.

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  52. Suzanne said on March 13, 2019 at 10:03 am

    Julie, yes! I don’t know anyone who took the SAT more than once back in the day. None of my friends did. I never even took the ACT. I don’t think there were any test prep books or courses or if there were, I didn’t know anyone who accessed them. Your are right; get a good night’s sleep, show up on time with your pencils and whatever score you got, you got.
    More and more I agree with the Good Book that the love of money really is the root of all kinds of evil.

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  53. Julie Robinson said on March 13, 2019 at 10:32 am

    In Illinois you took the ACT and you took it once. But after I got to IU I learned that you could test out of some classes, so I took the SAT and earned my English requirements. Since I was out of state it saved my folks $$$. I also don’t remember doing a FAFSA; were they around in 1974?

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  54. JodiP said on March 13, 2019 at 10:37 am

    Ah, paying for college. I began in the fall of 1983, with my folks paying. I think I’ve shared my dad lost the farm the next year and my folks and I had no clue about financial aid. I went off on some great adventures, returned to MN 12 months later and filled out the paperwork for aid. For some reason, my dad still needed to sign off, even though I’d been independent. However, he insisted I come visit him–a 4-hour bus trip to a dad I didn’t really care for. I refused, got no aid, dropped out a second time.

    I eventually figured it out, and things turned out swell. But what a different life I’d be leading now if I’d been able to pursue that German & French double major to become an interpreter at the UN!

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  55. Sherri said on March 13, 2019 at 10:40 am

    We were pretty lucky, in that our daughter has always been pretty self-aware. When she was in junior high, and what would be involved in being a good candidate for that college. She knew herself well enough to know that she wouldn’t be happy at a super competitive school.

    If I became the czar of college admissions for these highly selective schools, I’d establish a baseline qualifying threshold, say top 25% of students nationwide, then do a lottery from all applications above that threshold. No special legacy admissions, no special athletic admissions, no special rich and famous admissions. Maybe require a lottery for any school with an endowment greater than $1 million per student – either increase your admissions, spend your endowment more, or turn admissions into a lottery.

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  56. ROGirl said on March 13, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    3 1/2 more years for Manafort.

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  57. jerry said on March 13, 2019 at 3:03 pm

    Just to provide a different perspective on college finance. When I went to university back in 1963 I got a grant from the government which covered tuition and accommodation and a little spending money as well! It was means tested but we had basically no money so I got the maximum.

    Very different these days in the UK and people leave university with significant debt. Just glad that when our two sons were at university things weren’t as bad as they are these days.

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  58. LAMary said on March 13, 2019 at 4:05 pm

    I had the same SAT experience as Julie, just good night’s sleep, good breakfast and sharp pencils. No prep classes or college consultants.

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  59. Jenine said on March 13, 2019 at 4:13 pm

    Test prep has become quite the racket since I took the PSAT and all the others in the 80s. My oldest daughter is a junior and was disappointed not to get a score to qualify as a Nat’l Merit Scholar. But there is so much more competition now that more kids take the tests. And the various companies are hard selling those prep classes.

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  60. Deborah said on March 13, 2019 at 5:53 pm

    I think I’m in nn.c limbo for commenting from my laptop?

    I’ve been reading up on the college admission scandal but one thing I haven’t been able to find any info about is how the kids manage to get by once they’ve been accepted. Do their parents also pay people to take their tests and write papers for them while they’re going to these schools? I guess it wouldn’t surprise me.

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  61. LAMary said on March 13, 2019 at 5:57 pm

    My SAT scores were ok. Not great. I got into art school with a good portfolio and a long interview. When circumstances made me leave school I got back in with the same ok SAT scores and interview. I dropped out of that school to make some money and I got into a much better school, a university that graduated Lowell Thomas, Condoleeza Rice and Kristi Yamaguchi. Madeline Albright’s father taught there. There’s a combo for you. I am either one heck of a bullshitter or there’s more than SATs to show you are worthy of getting into a good school. Go DU.

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  62. David C. said on March 13, 2019 at 6:11 pm

    It seems like college applications should be blinded all the extracurricular horse shit be dropped. When orchestras started having the musicians audition behind a curtain, the number of women went from something like 10% to 50%. I have no doubt if only grades and test scores were considered, there would be a much different student body.

    On the morning I took my ACT, I had a car accident. I had to walk/run the last half mile to the high school where the test was given. I was late, but the guy was really nice, let me take the test, and proctored me himself. I nailed the test. I think the adrenaline surge focused my mind. So that day I had my first and only at fault accident, my first and only traffic ticket, and I aced the test. It was quite a day.

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  63. alex said on March 13, 2019 at 7:20 pm

    I don’t even remember my SAT score, only that I took the test stoned and had stayed out partying the whole night before. It was good enough for IU.

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  64. basset said on March 13, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    Got a good night’s sleep before the test and that was it. No test prep, no advice, come to think of it I’m not sure my high school had a guidance counselor, if we did the basketball players surely got priority.

    I was the first on either side of my bloodline to go to college. Got the acceptance letter from IU and of course was all excited… my mother’s reaction was to give me a sour look and say “Should have been Harvard. Or Yale.”

    Welll… sorry. Not sure I could get into IU today.

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  65. Joe Kobiela said on March 13, 2019 at 8:47 pm

    Took my sat the morning after losing the last football game my senior year on a field goal with 15seconds left. So I don’t think I did very well, 2 weeks after graduation I was making way more than my teachers working at Dana on State street.
    Pilot Joe

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  66. Sherri said on March 13, 2019 at 8:48 pm

    I had to retake the SAT because the test sheets got lost in the mail! No kidding. About the time we should have gotten results, instead we got a letter saying that out tests had been lost, and telling us that a special retest had been arranged in a few weeks.

    I just found out that someone who has spent the last two years trashing the mayor, city council, and planning commission on Facebook has applied for an opening on the planning commission! I’m not sure why he thinks that’s going to work…

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  67. LAMary said on March 13, 2019 at 9:39 pm

    I remember tripping on a frozen rut in the mud in front of my high school and tearing my pant leg on my way into taking the SAT. My leg was scraped and bleeding for a while. I don’t remember my scores, but I know they were less than spectacular.

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  68. basset said on March 13, 2019 at 10:26 pm

    Sherri, we had someone like that on the school board a few years back… ran on a throw the bums out platform, and at his first board meeting he announced that everything was wrong and he was there to disrupt the board’s misguided actions. After a few months of losing 8-1 votes he left the board to run for mayor. That did not go well for him.

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  69. Sherri said on March 14, 2019 at 12:07 am

    You do see it with elected office sometimes, but planning commissioners in Redmond are appointed by the mayor. Staff and a couple of current commissioners will interview the applicants and make a recommendation to the mayor, who will interview the finalist and appoint someone subject to review by city council.

    It’s like he thinks his actions have no consequences.

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  70. Mark P said on March 14, 2019 at 8:45 am

    Well, here I sit in a hotel in Colby, Kansas, just at the Colorado-Kansas line because I-70 is closed. Seems someone scheduled a blizzard without telling me and I drove into it on my way from Georgia to Denver to visit friends. I saw a tractor-trailer on its side, and another blew over as I watched on Wednesday. It’s still hard to walk outside here because of the wind, and my dog keeps whining to go back outside. Short memory. Colorado DOT still doesn’t know when I-70 will reopen.

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  71. Connie said on March 14, 2019 at 9:05 am

    So remember I told you that I had this weird test taking ability? I took the PSAT and was a National Merit Commended Student. Which got me nothing but mail from every college in the midwest. My Dad had set limits though: any state university in Michigan or Hope College where he went. I must have taken the ACT because that was what you did in those days in Michigan, but I have no memory. I do remember the GRE and the GMAT in later years.

    So from all that college mail the one that caught my eye was McMurray College in Illinois. About which I knew very little then or now. Anyone ever heard of it?

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  72. Julie Robinson said on March 14, 2019 at 9:36 am

    Connie, I grew up in Illinois and never heard of MacMurray. Google tells me it’s in the same central Illinois town as the state schools for the blind and the deaf, and that it’s smaller than most high schools.

    Like you I was a very good test-taker and National Merit Commended. Like you it meant nothing but a mailbox full of college literature. One place also intrigued me, because they would let me skip my senior year of high school. At that point I was ready to shake the dust of my small town off my heels, but I didn’t pursue the idea very far.

    I scored a 31 on my ACT, which seemed to impress people, but when I got to college it didn’t mean a thing, because I had to learn how to study. In high school I skated along without much effort. I had to learn to put the time in.

    BTW, I just read an article about adjunct profs in Florida, most of whom get paid less than $2000 per semester to teach a class, but are prohibited from full-time employment. And 7 in 10 profs are adjuncts. All the while tuition has gone up 59%, while per-student spending has gone down 13%. The study is titled Florida Colleges in Crisis, and I suspect other states would have similar findings.

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  73. basset said on March 14, 2019 at 10:22 am

    MarkP, I was in Colby for a murder trial back in the early 80s… remember staying at the Ramada Inn and walking outside to see tumbleweeds lodged in the steps. “Yes, we are really in the west…” Back then the bars were private clubs and you had to be a member to get a drink.

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  74. Heather said on March 14, 2019 at 10:27 am

    I did very well on my SATs and the ACT, well enough to counteract a few bad grades (including a D in something, as I recall) and get into Northwestern. I doubt I could get in there today. The two Ivies I applied to said no thanks.

    Looking back, I see the seeds of this college craziness in my high school days. I grew up in a ritzy North Shore suburb of Chicago and getting into a good school was a big signifier of success. We all knew who was gunning for Yale, Princeton, etc. A lot of people took SAT prep courses, including me. Of course the irony is that I wasn’t particularly happy at Northwestern. I would have been better off at a smaller school with more personal attention, but I didn’t know myself that well, and I didn’t really have any adults helping me figure that kind of thing out. It was all about going to the “best” school you could.

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  75. Jenine said on March 14, 2019 at 10:35 am

    @Mark P – you got caught in the effects of the bomb cyclone! My brother in Denver said that schools were closed Wed and he did some donuts in the snowy parking lot. Weather discussion on Metafilter.

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  76. Connie said on March 14, 2019 at 10:35 am

    I would say the same as Heather about my years at Michigan State. I was a small town girl lost in the crowd. So why didn’t I accept their offer to be in residential Honors College? I barely knew what they were talking about.

    OTOH I had a wonderful experience in grad school where all the students in the program were friends and we actually got to do things with the professors and administrators.

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  77. alex said on March 14, 2019 at 11:22 am

    RIP Birch Bayh

    http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20190314/WEB/190319916?fbclid=IwAR1Yha9NHf7ejlDWW8W5Ge07VZ2y4_NZw3IlXyOpg52HFhEio8OIhcfgFN4

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  78. beb said on March 14, 2019 at 11:57 am

    I was surprised to read the notice of Birch Bayh’s death. I thought he had died years ago. The first time he ran he had this great campaign song
    Hey, Look him over,
    He’s Our kind of guy,
    Send him to Washington
    On Bayh you can rely.

    The second time he ran the Republican party bought up the rights to the tune so he couldn’t use it.

    A Florida mayor, Wayne Messam of Miramar, is thinking of running for president. His signature policy will be to forgive the $1.5 trillion dollars in student loans. His chances of becoming president seem slim to none but I’m in favor of his proposal. Millennials are so deep in debt from their student loans that they can’t afford to get married, buy a home or even buy a nice car. Forgiving student loans will open up whole new (and productive) area of investments.

    The adjutant system of college education is totally f’ed up. It’s not a living wage. It’s even minimum wage. Let alone leadig to tenure.

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  79. LAMary said on March 14, 2019 at 12:41 pm

    Connie, Hope was ok but not Calvin? The Eastern Christian grads I knew went to one or the other.

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  80. Connie said on March 14, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    I was raised Reformed. Calvin is Christian Reformed and way more conservative. If such a thing is possible. Plus my Dad had gone to Hope, commuting from home during an era when all students including commuters had to attend 8 a.m chapel daily.

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  81. LAMary said on March 14, 2019 at 1:48 pm

    I had Christian Reformed neighbors who spent most of Sunday at church and the remaining time keeping the sabbath. No work, no cooking no kids playing outside. Our town had strict blue laws too.

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  82. basset said on March 14, 2019 at 2:14 pm

    Beb, I remember “my first name is Birch/and my last name is Bayh” somewhere in that song as well… would have seen the commercial on WTHI 10 from Terre Haute or WTTV 4 from, at the time, Bloomington/Indianapolis, the other Terre Haute stations weren’t on the air yet.

    I can’t remember the names of people I met ten minutes ago, but I can still dredge up the “TV 10 Sportsmen’s Show” open and the Laughrey Roofing jingle… “with quality materials, the finest you can buy/look to L-A-U-G-H-R-E-Y”…

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  83. Deborah said on March 14, 2019 at 2:50 pm

    We got the fringe of the bomb cyclone in northern NM. We were out last night in Abiquiu got back to the cabin around 9ish and Lordy it was windy, spitting snow a little. The ground was white this morning, it will melt soon. We came back to Santa Fe today instead of tomorrow as we had planned originally. My husband has another cold and it seemed to get worse after last night. We leave for Arizona on Saturday.

    We are at the AT&T store getting LB a new iPhone because her old one wasn’t charging properly. Wow the phones are expensive now.

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  84. JodiP said on March 14, 2019 at 4:02 pm

    In other news, our new kitten, Ami, decided to take matters into her own paws. We’d been gradually introducing her to our older cat (Cadfael) who was pretty scared of her.

    Yesterday, Ami sneaked past the dog to go to Cadfael’s area of the house and I found them just hanging out, with Ami running around and Cadders watching her with a “whatever” expression!

    The kitten is also getting used to the dog with daily exposure of the dog on leash. The dog doesn’t help–she whines and cries the whole time. She is desparate to smell the kitten up close. At least she just sits and does all this nonsense!

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  85. Deborah said on March 14, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    There will be no pie baking today for us this Pi day. No ordering out for pizza either. LB is still somewhat stoved up after her hip surgery last week and my husband is in bed with a bad cold. I’m tired and currently getting the car serviced (again) before our Arizona road trip. Something is wonky now with the right turn signal. Hopefully it’s just needs a new bulb.

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  86. Joe Kobiela said on March 14, 2019 at 7:35 pm

    Deborah,
    If when you turn on your signal it blinks really fast, you have a burned out bulb, take it to Auto Zone or whatever you have there in N.M. they should be able to replace it.
    Pilot Joe

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  87. alex said on March 14, 2019 at 10:45 pm

    Either the world really has gone fucking mad or this is a #metoo moment:

    https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/03/southern-poverty-law-center-fires-its-co-founder-morris-dees-for-misconduct.html

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  88. Linda said on March 15, 2019 at 3:07 am

    Alex:

    Surprised about Morris Dee, but not. From people I know in the nonprofit world, it’s not impossible for founders, no matter how great, to think they were beyond being mere mortals. Happened to Synanon and others.

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  89. Julie Robinson said on March 15, 2019 at 8:01 am

    Yesterday I couldn’t stand to listen to the radio because it was pledge drive. Today it’s because of yet another terrorist attack. Weeping for New Zealand.

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  90. bb in DE said on March 15, 2019 at 9:17 am

    Late to the conversation (as usual) but I was impressed by the movie “Private Parts,” because it was not only able to humanize Howard Stern but make him downright sympathetic. I always thought his radio shtick was a notch below sophomoric, and the movie version of his career doesn’t disagree too strenuously with that assessment. Credit where it’s due, tho’: Stern conducted what I consider the single best interview of a rock star I’ve ever heard. For those willing to explore, ask Uncle Google about “Howard Stern + Billy Joel interview.” It’s long, but Stern knows a ton about Joel’s history, and asks very straight forward questions about his songs, influences, love life, etc. Best tidbit I remember from said interview: Joel tells a story about going out to dinner with Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall, during which the love birds got into a fight. That inspired Joel to write the song “Big Shot,” which Joel admits he sang as if he was doing a Jagger impression. (No-no-no-no you had to be a beeeg shot, din’cha?) I haven’t been able to listen to that song ever since without thinking, “Oh yeh, he’s definitely doing a Jagger impression.”

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