September 21, 2011
Behind the Mike & The Finished Story
Behind the Mike is an interesting series that takes you (as you might imagine) behind the mike to meet the people that make these shows possible. In many ways, these are shows that go in all different directions and can be quite fun to listen to.
The reason I came to this show on this day is through the generosity of Greg Bell, Host of Radio Classics on XM channel 82. On Friday November 14th, I was driving home from Traverse City, Michigan after attending the Michigan Library Conference. I was driving along the beautiful Lake Michigan lakeshore and I visited the Frankfort & Point Betsie lighthouses.
As I turned east and headed toward 127 and points south, I was driving through some heavily wooded areas. In these areas, I get XM in my car most of the time, but it does cut in and out. And it was in one of these areas when I was listening to Classic Radio on XM. And as I sometimes do, I was flipping between different channels when I started hearing the story about a shipwreck. It was told in the first person with some scenes acted out. What I remembered most of all was that he was talking about how they discovered that turtle meat and turtle blood was one of the food that kept them all alive. The story went on and on, as the the conditions were harder and harder.
It was riveting, and I was literally at the edge of my seat. Then all of a sudden, XM cut out...I was sitting there thinking "NO!" I was anxious to find out what happened and how they got off the island. Then, after about a minute or two, it came back on...and this is what I heard: "And we sailed for home that night".
So on and off, since that November morning, I have been wondering what story that was. I searched Internet Archive and old time radio sites about shipwreck stories...ones with turtles...ones with Islands. NOTHING.
After reaching out to Greg Bell, he kindly send me the play list for that day. I kinda knew what time it was. I started looking for all the shows. When I first listened to Behind the Mike, I found the episode that day (Feb 16, 1941) called Character Actors. I listened to the start of it, but it did not seem like it was the one. I tried again and went to the end...paydirt.
Go to Behind the Mike, and choose the episode Character Actors. After around 18 minutes or so, they start telling the story that I was looking for. It was from the old Eveready Hour and was the true life story of Red Christianson, boiled down to 10 minutes. The story was about the time when he and his fellow crew mates were shipwrecked in the Galapagos Islands in 1906. He recounted his story on the Eveready Hour five times. In this show, they only had 10 minutes, so they abbreviated the story. I will not go over the details (you need to do that), but it was very satisfying to know how it was that they were rescued after all these months.
"And we sailed for home that night"
A very happy ending...indeed.
September 14, 2011
Visiting the Grosse Ile Light (September 11, 2011)
On the second Sunday of September each year, the Grosse Ile Historical Society has an open house and tour of the Grosse Ile North Channel Range Front Light. This light is located on the Detroit River near the northern entry of the Livingston Channel (which was finished in October 1912). The only way to get to the light is by crossing over private property, so that is why access is limited to once a year.
The light was recently renovated and they did an amazing job, especially with the interior. It is somewhat hard to believe that it is only open once a year – but for a lighthouse fan in Michigan, it is a day to etch on the calendar. The first time I saw the light was 2009, but it was mostly under wraps – so this was a big treat.
I have enjoyed so much these last 10 years visiting lighthouses. My interest in lighthouses extends further back, but it was only the past few years where I tried to see some new lights every year. With photography, it only gets better and more enjoyable to visit. But one of the best parts about visiting lighthouses for the first time is that you get to collect the experiences. The water, these buildings and the history contained in them all unfold in ways that cannot be captured through seeing pictures online or books. Standing there takes you back to a time when a relatively simply light kept people safe and sound, even in the worst weather.
And while I love visiting lighthouses, and even love it more when I get my family with me, this one I went alone. The rest of the gang had things to do…so they told me. I appreciated that the Mrs. let me do this rather than mow the lawn, or the 100s of other things I have yet to finish at home. Sometimes you have to know when you can drag your family, and when you should just be happy that they are letting you go.
The day starts at the Depot, the main home of the Grosse Ile Historical Society. The ability to wait patiently in line is a very good virtue for the day. Naturally, with a family, this can be a bit tricky… My ticket was #73 – I figure that almost 140 people came that day. It is wonderful to see people come out. Because you are being transported from the Depot Station to the Light by bus, there is some waiting before you get your ride. The bus ride up to the light is short, but you get a wonderful history and tour of Grosse Ile. When you arrive at the house near the Light, you then wait to go up into the building itself. Because the space is small, they let around 6-7 people in the building at a time. So you wait and talk with family and neighbors. I took the opportunity to talk about College Football with a volunteer. We have very opposite reactions about the previous evening’s Michigan-Notre Dame football game. I was happy, he, not so much. Go Blue! And after we toured the light, we waited a bit for the bus to return. Maybe it was more than a bit – but at the end of a perfect day, who is counting.
While we were waiting and talking, we did not get to see any freighters. We did see a fishing tug (the Nancy K.) and a tall ship (Highlander Sea) pass by.
Getting inside the light is a real treat. The work done on the inside is beautiful. We get to climb up the three stories (I think) and can look out the lantern room. Another volunteer gave a great talk about the history of the light and its location in the Detroit River.
It was a wonderful day at the light. I am so appreciative of the Historical Society, the property owner who let us cross over their lawn, and everyone who made this day possible.
September 10, 2011
Boston Blackie is a great detective/crime series and I heard an episode today on Greg Bell's XM channel 82.
The Internet Archive entries says this about Boston Blackie:
"Boston Blackie is a fictional character who has been on both sides of the law. As originally created by author Jack Boyle, he was a safecracker -- a hardened criminal who had served time in a California prison. Prowling the underworld as a detective in adaptations for films, radio, and television, the detective Boston Blackie was "an enemy to those who make him an enemy, friend to those who have no friend"."
The episode I heard today is #7 on the above link - The Manletter Bank Case aka Fifty Hunter Street. I heard the beginning while driving around and caught the rest at home.
Looking forward to the "Lighthouse Ghost" and the two about baseball.This entry was posted in the following categories: Old Time Radio
September 01, 2011
About Michigan Football 2011
About Michigan Football 2011 - Thoughts by Corey on the eve of the Football Season.
In a few years, business schools will be writing case studies on Michigan football - especially with the comparison between coaches Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke. Maybe these will come from the Ross School of Business (where I work), but they could come from anywhere. The core issue in the case will be organizational change and organizational culture. The case will look at how difficult it is to change this. But also, the case will look at how a manager (or a coach) who is new to an organization assesses what steps to take and how to use the staff (or players) that are there.
The reason I bring this up is because I think that the failures of Rich Rodriguez in his three years were one part bad fortune and a few parts bad decisions. On the eve of the Brady Hoke era on the field, it gives me great faith that he is indeed heeding the lessons of the past so as not to repeat them. By following this path, I believe that Hoke will lead Michigan to an excellent season - and could get to 8 or 9 wins.
With this in mind, it is interesting to consider last year. The team, despite defensive problems, jumped out to a 5-0 record and looked like it might be having a major breakthrough. Sadly, it did not happen. I say sadly in this regards. I am not a Michigan native (my wife is), nor was I a huge fan. In fact, I was more of a passive football fan, that being the one sport the Mrs. really hates. But since joining the staff at the Ross School of Business in 2005, my life really took a change. I became huge fans of Big Blue. But not only football, but women’s softball, tennis, track, etc. It became very easy to root for anything Michigan. That also changed to rooting for the University in all its endeavors. I found myself helping and rooting for an MBA team to win a case competition, or the solar car team won its race, or University and Hospital to raise in the rankings. If it was good for Michigan, it was good for me. Go Blue.
And I rooted for the people involved, including Rich Rodriguez. I wanted him to succeed so the University would succeed. A football win, a student award, a case competition, are all different ways to showcase our great place in Ann Arbor.
So when you end the 2011 season with a 7-5 record - but start 5-0 - it means that things did not really go so well. They continued in the Gator Bowl which took the team to 7-6 and cost Rodriguez his job. And in thinking about the season, the promise that was evident early in the season imploded. This is why it happened. (NOTE: Most football fans have forgotten more about football than I will ever know. This is not scientific, but a gut reaction to what happened on campus and on the field).
The three things that caused Michigan to do poorly last year were these:
Defense Struggles. Yeah - we all know they struggled last year. Duh. But was it a problem with the players, or a problem with management. I would vote for the later. I believe that a 3-3-5 defense could work in any league. However, in order to implement it - you need the right personnel. Clearly, they did not have that last year. With key injuries, the secondary looked more like a freshman comp class than Big Ten safeties and cornerbacks. The other issue is that the 3-3-5 defense puts more pressure on these young players - which is a recipe for disaster. The second aspect that is so critical is the pass rush. Cousins, Stanzi, and Chappell (well, and others) had all sorts of time. Mike Martin and co were all doubled teamed and could not put enough pressure on the opponents QB - which gave them enough time to exploit the young secondary.
Kicking Struggles. Yeah - we all know they struggle last year. The offense could drive to the 15, but could not count on 3 points. That killed them all year.
These two elements caused the third part of the problem. Too much pressure was on Denard Robinson. Not only did he have to carry the offense, it was not enough to get to the 15 - but he had to score. The times they went for 4th down really took a toll on his psyche (from my perspective). If he had to score every time - because their kicking game was not working and the defense was mis-managed - then that is more than anyone should have to bear. It would be horrible in any profession.
On a positive side from last year, the team was quite young. I believe that they were going to improve. I also feel that Rich Rodriguez was let go in some part because if they did win 9 games this year, Brandon would not be able to get rid of him for a few years. But that never happened and a new chapter was started in January of this year.
To that end, we are at a new era and a new start. That being said, the one thing that gives me great hope is that Hoke is working with the team that he has - not strictly focused on the team that he wants to have. I think that the coaches have all be working hard to make sure that these student athletes are better managed. Al Borges is not trying to make Denard Robinson something he is not - which is why Hoke will be far more successful than Rich Rodriguez was - and right off the bat.
The team also benefited from great leadership from the juniors (like Mike Martin) and sophomores (like Denard Robinson) who took on leadership roles on the team. That will take this team to the next level.
In regards of predictions, I am horrible. I really do not care about point spreads - a win is a win. I also routinely root for the underdog…hence my perpetual confusion. But this is how I see things panning out:
Sep. 3 Western Michigan - Big Win for Hoke’s Debut. (1-0)
Sep. 10 Notre Dame - I see this as a win, but it will be settled early unlike the last two years. (2-0)
Sep. 17 Eastern Michigan - This game will be close for 35 minutes - until Michigan puts is away. (3-0)
Sep. 24 San Diego St. - A very motivated team arrives at Michigan Stadium and almost pulls off an upset. (4-0)
Oct. 1 Minnesota - Big win for Blue (5-0)
Oct. 8 at Northwestern - Loss in Persa’s first game back (5-1)
Oct. 15 at Michigan State - With new focus, Michigan wins big to end the 3 year losing streak (6-1)
Oct. 29 Purdue - Huge win for Michigan (7-1)
Nov. 5 at Iowa
Nov. 12 at Illinois (I think they will split these two - not sure how - end up 8-2)
Nov. 19 Nebraska - Welcome to the Big Ten…sadly Big Red wins (8-3)
Nov. 26 Ohio State - This streak ends with an amazing performance by someone that is not starting in September (9-3)
There are my thoughts…I will be a fan either way and hope they send these Seniors out in a big way - they certainly deserve it.
Here is one of the players that are going to make it happen this year:Completely Off Topic!