The "Abdicator" Returns

Sunday, July 20, 2014
Northeast Ohio native LeBron James announced on July 8th that he will bring his talents back to Cleveland for at least the next two years. (uncredited photo)

I've avoided opining about sports-related subjects here because, much like politics, saying the wrong words or professing incorrect allegiances can alienate a wide segment of your audience. However, recent news is so huge that it transcends that athletic world and touches upon economics, popular culture and quite possibly a upcoming political event.

A little background information is in order before I go on. I lost my "fanatic" standing many years ago when serving at overseas military locations in the early and mid-1980s. In the days before commercially feasible satellite television service, armed forces television audiences were at the mercy of videotaped offerings shipped in from stateside locations or tape-delayed at dispersed ground stations. At many Far East bases, the Monday Night Football program was telecast on Tuesday evenings and since the radio service had no such technical challenges with live events, you would already know the outcome. This was an improvement over not having any radio or television service and relying upon the delivery of the Stars and Stripes newspaper and its days-old results and standings to keep up on down-to-the-wire pennant chases. Due to military travel commitments, I missed two Super Bowls in the 1990s (XVII & XXIX) so even that unofficial American "holiday" no longer has a choke hold on me. In fact, I find fantasy football to be much more entertaining than some of the regular season NFL matchups seen in my local media market (Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns).

Dayton Daily News' Ideas & Voices: "Balance" is Not "Equal"

Saturday, July 12, 2014
After reviewing items over a recent 4-week period, the evidence shows that liberal bias does not exist on the paper's editorial pages and, in fact, it shows quite the opposite (perhaps due to a lack of oversight).

If you are a frequent visitor to this blog, you will know that my local newspaper, The Dayton Daily News, and opinion writing/columnists have been the subjects of several of my entries during its run. So it would not come as a complete surprise to see a confluence of the two in order to answer a long-standing question I've had over the years: just how liberal is this paper? Although the graphic above foreshadows my conclusion, I would hope that you continue reading after the break for a short overview of the genesis of this marketing ploy and to see how I was able to make that determination (I also voice some strongly held opinions on my local opinion pages).

A/V: Dayton Holds Lights in Flight Independence Day Festival

Friday, July 4, 2014
Spectators on Dayton's Riverside Drive bridge take in the 2014 Lights in Flight Festival's fireworks display on Thursday evening.

Approximately 25,000 people took advantage of clear skies and cool temperatures to attend the 2014 Lights in Flight Festival at Dayton's Riverscape MetroPark on Thursday evening. Presented by the City of Dayton Department of Recreation and Youth Services, in cooperation with the Five Rivers MetroParks, the Dayton Human Relations Council, Marion’s Piazza, Miami Conservancy District and Wright State University, this one-day-early 4th of July celebration featured food, beverages and live musical entertainment prior to the fireworks show launched over the Great Miami River from nearby Deeds Point MetroPark that started promptly at 10PM.

More photos below the break:

I Probably Should've Skipped This One

Sunday, June 29, 2014
An advertisement for Mrs. Clinton's book signing event in last Sunday's Dayton Daily News.

Over the years (has it really been that long?), I have shared my adventures and milestones in exploring and practicing journalism in my local area and at a few places away from home via this blog. During that time, I have had the opportunity of covering events involving politicians, celebrities and national heroes with 2012 being my "banner year" due to Ohio's importance during the recent presidential election cycle and the 70th anniversary of the Doolittle Raiders heroic exploits during World War II. I've had some remarkable successes (gaining press credentials for both a VP and POTUS campaign event) and a failure or two along the way (turned down for an Air Force One arrival and the Obama campaign kick-off event in Columbus). I chose to forgo a rather significant event in the 2012 general election campaign (the joint Romney-Ryan appearance) for which I openly regretted not making the effort to attend. It was in the spirit of that last "no-show" that I decided to try and cover a potentially significant event leading up to the upcoming 2016 presidential race--a local appearance of the presumptive Democratic nominee, former First Lady/US Senator/Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at a bookstore in the greater Dayton area. Regrettably, after you read what I provide below, you will probably agree with me that this was an event where I should've just stayed home.

A More Frequently Witnessed "Historic" Event

Monday, June 23, 2014

[NOTE: this is a consolidated product--one part reporting, one part analyzing and a heap of opining for good measure--and I didn't know what label to use...I opted for none.]

Major General John Shanahan, commander of the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency, presents the unit guidon to Colonel Leah Lauderback, the first openly gay leader of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, during the May 28th change-of-command ceremony at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. (photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force / Airman 1st Class Samuel Earick)

It's an increasingly rare occasion when a person can claim to be involved in a truly historic event this far along in our civilization's history. About 400 people, including me, can now do that after witnessing what was initially thought to be just a run-of-the-mill biennial display of military continuity and tradition at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base's National Museum of the United States Air Force.  On May 28th, Colonel Leah Lauderback assumed command of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center from Colonel Aaron Prupas but its historical significance was not because of her gender but due solely to the person she recently married. As it turns out, Lauderback is now the first openly gay commander of this storied intelligence organization and her spouse, Brenda, was publicly included in this ceremony just a little over two years after the Defense Department's rescinding of a policy that banned the disclosure of same-sex relations.

My Three-Day "Tweet-kend"

Saturday, May 31, 2014
My first "viral" tweet began with a bang...and ended with nary a mention.

Back in September 2012, I posted an item documenting my experiences (and frustrations) with Twitter, the 140-character or less micro-blogging platform where anybody associated with journalism is supposed to readily adopt and participate on a regular basis. In that entry, I pondered if it was a "one-way street"--where everyone has something to say but no one bothers to respond (a old Current TV video describes it as a place "where you talk to no one--and everyone"). I use my account primarily for announcing when I upload new items or if I want to promote/document something I might be seeing/experiencing at the time. The "tweet" you see above happens to be the first "viral" one I can claim and I will get around to describing its origin when I detail how my recent three-day Memorial Day "tweet-kend" played out beyond the jump below.

A/V: My First "Mainstream" Photojournalism Submission

Friday, May 23, 2014
A screen grab of the webpage hosting my first accepted photo submission (graphic courtesy of

Serendipity is defined as a "fortuitous happenstance" or a "pleasant surprise" and Wednesday's widespread flash flooding from a string of strong spring thunderstorms provided me the opportunity to "dip my toes" into the real world of digital photojournalism without any preparation or advanced notice on my part.

In Appreciation: Randi Rhodes

Sunday, May 18, 2014
Liberal radio talk show host Randi Rhodes called it a career this past week (photo courtesy of

On Friday afternoon, I had to say goodbye to a frequent visitor into my daily life for the fourth—and probably final—time over the past six years but this one was on such good terms. Liberal talk radio host Randi Rhodes, deciding that it was time for her to walk away from her 30-year profession, finished up her last three-hour program on Premiere Networks just before 6PM—normally referred to as “beer o’clock” by her and other on-air talent. She made the announcement to her listeners and fans back in April, stating that it was her decision to leave just six months after facing a termination situation before securing support from the corporate syndicator/producer of The Randi Rhodes Show. The other two times prior to that November 2013 concession happened back in 2008 and 2009 when she left Air America Radio and Nova M Radio, respectively, under questionable contractual-related circumstances.

A Missed Opportunity

Monday, May 5, 2014
A recent obituary made me reflect upon a rainy Saturday afternoon at Urbana, Ohio's Grimes Field two years ago and the stories I never got around to writing.

Due to the focus of this blog, I rarely share very intimate details of my life for everyone to share; however, I will make a small exception for the purpose of this post. For the past 4-plus months, I have not held a position in my current profession and I have been actively seeking related employment of any sort since the end of January. A discovery yesterday morning during what has become my everyday routine painfully highlighted the greatest shortcoming in my pursuit of a full-time journalistic career--following through on what I start.

Soap Box: Do People Understand What Tyranny Actually Is?

Saturday, April 19, 2014
Jim Lardy, a member of the West Mountain Rangers militia group, has become just the latest example of the modern misunderstanding of the concept of tyranny. (photo courtesy of Ben Botkin/The Las Vegas Review-Journal)

"We need guns to protect ourselves from the tyrannical government."- Jim Lardy, Montana militia member

With the almost clock-like precision of a well-built timepiece, news consumers in this country have been subjected to yet another round of for-the-camera ideological melodrama revolving around the charges of tyrannical behavior by our elected leaders and the levers of powers that they wield while in their respective offices. I, for one, am getting a little sick and tired of seeing that term being bastardized by people too lazy to look up its actual meaning.