Giving Space to Destroy

I know I’m not alone on my feelings about what’s going on out in Baltimore.  I feel the same as when the situation exploded in Ferguson, MO a few months ago.  I have to believe many do.  

How in the world does the destruction of other people’s property and other violent tactics serve as a protest to be taken seriously?
Allegedly, these protestors are trying to make a statement about the police-related death of Freddie Gray.  That is in and of itself is a whole different bucket of worms.  Was there police brutality involved in his death?  I don’t know.  I do know that Mr. Gray had taken off running from police, when they were attempting to arrest him.  He had been arrested previously on drug charges.

But back to the whole pillaging and looting—what in the world are these people thinking?  How does this behavior serve to make a perceived bad situation right?  Why are people doing this?  Well, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake of Baltimore pretty much gave permission to these folks to act like savages.
During a press conference, she asked the Baltimore Police Department to give those who wished to destroy, the space to do that.  Here’s the video from the press conference where she said that.

 What?!  Why would someone in authority essentially prevent those who are supposed to protect the public from doing their job?  Baltimore Police were essentially forced to allow people to take their aggression out on innocent people’s property.

This is just another reason why I’m grateful that I live in the Midwest.  While we’re far from perfect here, we just don’t seem to tolerate that kind of thug behavior.  For the most part, we respect other people’s property and lives. 

I think back to even natural disasters.  When Hurricane Katrina happened, people in the area affected waited for the government to come and help them.  When we had the torrential storms and heavy rain back in August of 2007 in our area—there was horrible destruction to homes and lives.

People didn’t just sit and wait for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to arrive to help make everything better.  Folks around here helped their neighbors to pick up the pieces and rebuild.  I heard stories from friends and family over in Rushford, MN who said that when the folks from FEMA did arrive, they were astounded at how much had been accomplished before they even got there.

It’s that same “can do” spirit that is lacking in Baltimore.

Again, was there something hinky involved with the death of Freddie Gray?  I don’t know.  But I do know that destroying other’s property and acting like a thug is not going to do anything but make a bad situation worse.  Since when did destruction equal protesting?  It’s just insane, and it’s driving the bus to encourage stereotyping of that thug behavior.

What is the answer?  I’m not sure.  I tend to think if parents would actually parent their kids and teach morals and values, instead of trying to be their kid’s “best friend,” things would be better.  Parents who are absentee; caught up in their own lives—whether that be work, or nefarious activities are equally to blame.  Those parents need to grow up, be real parents, and set the right examples for kids.

I know we’re not perfect here in the Midwest, but I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.  Here, for the most part, we are sheltered from the stupidity of the kind of behavior we have witnessed in Ferguson, MO and now in Baltimore, MD.   

Stop Political Rants on Facebook

It’s going to be a whole year and about seven months before the presidential election, and already coverage is kicking into high gear--and I'm already sick of it.  Aren't you?  Every day we are subjected to stories of who is running, who is considering running, who is for this or that, who did what in their past… it’s obnoxious, and it’s WAY too early to be dealing with this drivel.

I understand that the news media will be covering these stories—it is their job after all, but what annoys the living daylights out of me are people on Facebook who feel compelled to spout off about all kinds of political wankerness.

Seriously—when was the last time you changed your political ideology after reading a Facebook post?

Yeah—I never have either.

Quite frankly, I don’t affiliate myself with the donkeys or the elephants.  I think they’re all crooks, if they’ve been in office for more than a decade—and some of them are nefarious even before they arrive in Washington, but I digress.

My point is, I’m an Independent voter, and I know many others who are too.  None of us are swayed by Facebook posts.  And let’s be real.  I enjoy using Facebook as an escape from all of the serious crap going on in the world.

Can I get an Amen?

The Voice - Top 12 Recap

Now that we’re down to the final 12 contestants on The Voice, I feel compelled to rant and rave about their performances. Two will be eliminated, based upon these performances. In the order that they took to the stage, here’s my take on them—feel free to chime in with your own thoughts.

Hannah Kirby“Edge of Seventeen” by Stevie Nicks Wow! She is really finding her stride; such a powerhouse vocalist. She gets a little wild-eyed sometimes when she’s singing, giving the impression that if you were her boyfriend, and you ticked her off, you might want to sleep with one eye open. Nonetheless, she was amazing, and I would anticipate she makes it through to the next round, despite getting the first position of the night, which can be a kiss of death for some.

Brian Johnson - “If I Ever Lose My Faith in You” by Sting. He’s a pretty solid vocalist, but he seemed to blend in too much with the background singers. Not a very memorable performance, but I like this guy’s voice and the fact that he’s chubby.

India Carney“Take Me to Church” by Hozier. It seems like mostly guys cover this tune, so it was a nice change-up to have a female do it. I thought she hammered it out of the park too. Incredibly strong vocal performance—and memorable, which is what is required if one is to make the cut to the next round.

Mia Z“Miss You,” by the Rolling Stones. Keith Richards was rolling over in his grave… oh wait, he’s not dead yet. Well, if he WAS dead, he would be rolling over in his grave, due to the dolphin calling that she was trying to pass off as singing, while vamping about on the stage, as if she was trying to distract everyone from her horrible attempt at singing. Truly horrible.

Deanna Johnson“Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” by Hillsong United. Like what many of the coaches said—she was really rough at the beginning, as she was trying to sing WAY too low for her abilities. It improved as she got deeper into the song. There is a certain sound to her voice that is intoxicating.

Sawyer Fredericks“Imagine” by John Lennon. Let me preface this by saying—I love this kid’s voice and talent. I just wish he’d quit lamenting the fact that he doesn’t want to go back to the farm, like it’s a bad thing. Heck, I know LOTS of farmers, who wear their career as a badge of honor—and rightfully so; it’s a rewarding job—even if it doesn’t pay extraordinarily well. (And for the record, 88 acres is really nothing… my husband about spewed his drink across the room at that comment). But onto the performance—it was fantastic. It boggles the mind to hear it come out of his elf-like face. Occasionally, he sounds like he’s a sheep bleating, but overall—he’s very talented.

Rob Taylor“I Put a Spell on You,” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. This guy blew me away with his falsetto. This was DEFINITELY in his wheelhouse. He brought the song, which was originally done in 1956 into the modern day with his treatment on it. AMAZING!

Corey Kent White“Why,” by Jason Aldean. Early on in the competition, I was not totally convinced by this guy. I’m starting to become a believer. He’s a very genuine performer. It was a solid rendition. He definitely will have the female vote in his favor.

Koryn Hawthorne“Stronger,” by Kelly Clarkson. I love the fact that this girl has vision for her own performance and the arrangement of the music. The break in her voice gives me chills every time, and there’s a real gospel vibe to what she does. Plus, she has phenomenal energy, and ALWAYS looks like she’s having fun on stage, which is more than can be said for some of the earlier performances tonight.

Joshua Davis“America,” by Simon & Garfunkel. He has a really great tone to his voice. I loved him from his blind audition on this show. While his performance was really good, I worry that the younger audience on this show will feel disconnected from the song. I’m hopeful that were able to connect with his passionate performance.

Meghan Linsey“Girl Crush,” by Little Big Town. I love this song—and it was a PERFECT choice for her to sing. Plus, it was a brilliant move to perform what is probably the hottest song right now in country music. I cried. I admit it. When Meghan sings, you can feel the heartache. She is absolutely amazing. I’ve written about her before, so it’s no secret that she is my frontrunner to win. I have a girl crush on her.

Kimberly Nichole“The House of the Rising Sun,” by The Animals. It was a vocal explosion—in a very good way. This is another song that has been covered extensively, but she was able to put her own spin on it, with her amazing vocal range. She was fierce on stage too, which helped to accentuate her performance. I have no doubt she will sail onto the next round.

So, who will be packing their bags to go home? I’m thinking it will be Mia Z, and probably Brian Johnson. Mia was pretty bad… Brian was just unmemorable, unfortunately. What do you think?

Second Chances

I’ve always enjoyed watching the reality singing show, The Voice.  The whole concept of their “Blind Auditions” is appealing to me, because it takes the appearance factor out of the equation and makes it truly about talent; giving real people a chance to realize their dreams.
If you’ve been watching the show this season, you know that Meghan Linsey, formerly half of the duo, Steel Magnolia, is competing on there.  It still amuses me that during her Blind Audition, three of the four coaches—Adam Levine, Pharrell Williams, and Christina Aguilera turned around to get her on their team.  Blake Shelton didn’t!  And Meghan had toured with Blake early in her career!

Obviously, Blake felt like a schmuck for not turning around, but as luck would have it—he was able to get her onto his team during the battle rounds with a steal.  Meghan is killing it, every time she hits the stage on the show.  Last night, she did a cover of “Love Runs Out,” by the pop band, One Republic.  Her bluesy voice is phenomenal!  I’m hopeful that she will either win the competition, or at the very least—be able to give life to her singing career again.

I saw her perform with Joshua Scott Jones—as the duo Steel Magnolia at Country Fest in Cadott a few years ago.  It was just so sad.  Knowing the pair had a romantic relationship, and they were engaged to be married; it was difficult to watch them unravel right before our eyes on stage.  Joshua was visibly drunk, on drugs, or both.  It was painful to watch him stagger around on stage and be so sloppy.  They were SO disconnected in that performance, and I’m pretty sure that most everyone watching breathed a sigh of relief when it was over; it was THAT awkward to watch.

Needless to say, the two broke up in every sense of the word.  No more band, no more engagement, and no more future; musically or otherwise, it seemed, at least for Meghan, until The Voice.

I’m hopeful that America will support her and she’ll skyrocket back into stardom. I’d like to think that viewers will appreciate her history and talent—and not deny her this opportunity, just because she has already had some success in her life. God has given her such a talent, and in my opinion, she deserves a second chance at making it in the music industry.  

Good, Clean Fun

Yesterday was a strange day for me.  Every year for quite some time now, April Fool’s Day seems that way; mostly because it’s become a tired exercise of lame or cheesy jokes and tricks.  People are more in tune for those antics and the game is diluted before it even starts.  The idea of pulling off another legendary prank, such as the much discussed “Bagging of the Phones,” as executed by Brucie Bumchuckles in 1986 on the radio, is nearly impossible to pull off in this day and age.

Of course, part of the reason for that also lies in the fact that we have become a sue-happy society.  Phil and I were talking the other day that there are so many people who would appear to have lost their sense of humor.  Anger seems to be the new emotion of choice.  Couple that with political correctness, and it becomes a gag order that we execute on ourselves.  Don’t get me wrong—I’m not trying to be a Negasaurus on this, but people truly seem more jaded and easily offended these days by practically everything.  

The internet is still the one place that is filled with creative ideas and plenty of hook, line, and sinker-swallowing, when it comes to April Fool’s Day.  It’s likely a product of people being more apt to believe crap about celebrities or other public figures.  There were actually a slew of stories yesterday that were incredibly amusing.  

Aaron Rodgers being fined $25,000 for going onto the court at the Wisconsin NCAA game last week, had many people shocked and outraged.  My personal favorite, (probably because I WISH it was true) was the “story” of Brian France, Jr. stepping down as CEO of NASCAR.  Quite frankly, I think that organization would be WAY better off without him at the helm.  Apparently, many other NASCAR fans feel the same, as that one got A LOT of traction too, but I digress.

Regardless, it’s safe to say that there are still gullible people out there who will believe things on April Fool’s Day.  For that, I’m grateful, because I feel as if this “holiday” now delivers that let-down feeling kids get when they discover the truth about Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.  

It’s actually kind of a shame that we’ve lost the fun in what the day used to be.  Perhaps most of us are just too busy to buy into the shenanigans of yesterday, but it’s probably more likely attributed to what I mentioned before; that people are just so easily offended these days, and quick to secure a lawyer.  Maybe we need to have a spokesperson—to be the face for the holiday, and breathe life back into it.  I’d vote for Brucie Bumchuckles in a heartbeat, and I’d be willing to bet that there are many who would support that motion.

Thank God It's Friday!

I’m not exactly a bible-thumper, but I do believe in God, and think He plays a starring role in my life.  I believe things have worked out as such to lead me where I am today; thanks to Him.  I probably don’t give enough thanks for things big and small.

So, I’d like to take a moment to do just that—and encourage you to do the same.

Thank God for true friends that will stand by you through thick and thin, and don’t allow outside drama or petty things get in the way of that.

Thank God for family, who have always supported me, and picked me up when I was at my lowest points in life, and cheered the loudest during my successes.

Thank God for our military, police, firefighters and EMTs who make the career choice to put themselves in precarious positions to protect our country and communities.

Thank God for dogs.  The excitement shown when I return home after each workday never gets old.

Thank God for spandex-infused denim, as it prevents me from having to lay on my back on the bed to zip up my jeans.

And finally, thank God for a career that allows me to be creative, write, and talk with people.  Life is good.

And So It Begins

We all deal with things differently, particularly when you’re delivered life-threatening news. For me, it made me want to hold onto my husband very tightly. It also prompted me to think a LOT harder about our financial future. We had virtually nothing in place, should something happen to one of us. And there we were; in the middle of “something.” My husband, Toby had been diagnosed with cancer.  

He had never had a colon exam, and it was something that I essentially forced him into doing. While it may make you feel awkward about having it done, it’s an incredibly simple process for early detection of cancer. I think it’s safe to say that we’d all prefer to not have our lives cut short. I’d like to think Toby’s life has been saved by the procedure, and I remind him of that often; particularly when I want him to do something for me. He will tell you that the worst part of the whole ordeal was drinking that God-awful gallon of noxious liquid designed to get your innards squeaky clean. The procedure itself was a piece of cake.

The good news was, his battle was not as vicious as what some people endure. His cancer was caught at stage 2, so two surgeries later, he was deemed cancer free. He’s back to normal; well, as normal as can be. If you’re at all familiar with my husband, the bathroom has always been a frequent place for him. He says he does some of his best “thinking” in there. I think it’s in your best interest to avoid the room after he’s vacated it.

At any rate, I decided to leave my 20 year career in radio, for something that provided better work-life balance, and a path to a better financial future. That new career was working out pretty well—selling memberships to the National Federation of Independent Business—despite having a territory that was almost two hours north of home. But then came December and January. That’s generally when many business owners put a death-grip on their spending. Working for straight commission, and putting about 1000 miles on my vehicle each week was taking a toll on the finances, so I decided to pull the plug on that venture.

Toby freaked out, but fortunately, it was only one week before the next opportunity revealed itself. I started working at Wehrs Machine & Racing Products in Bangor on a temporary basis. Being a huge fan of racing, it was a pretty awesome job to have. I was applying like crazy for all kinds of other jobs; landing a few interviews, but nothing ever fell into place.

Timing is everything. Several weeks ago, I received a very random Facebook message from Jen O’Brien at Midwest Family Broadcasting. She inquired if I missed radio, or ever thought about getting back into it again. I have to be honest here; I had no intention of returning to radio again. It wasn’t what I thought I should be doing. I wanted work-life balance and that path to a better financial future. In radio? Please! But I agreed to meet with Jen for lunch at Piggy’s later that week. What could a conversation hurt? Plus, she said she would buy, so of course, I was down with a free lunch!

It’s amazing how when you go into something without expectations, just how incredibly relaxed you can be. That was probably the most enjoyable lunch that I have had with someone that I literally just met. (Other than the surprise of KQ afternoon drive DJ, Rachel Chase & Brittany Styles from Z-93 happening to walk in for lunch and spotting the two of us sitting together, the entire meeting was free of any awkwardness.)

Later, I had the opportunity to have a lunch with Phil Costigan at Big Boar Smoker in West Salem, to get to know him, and see if the two of us thought we would be able to work together. (TWO free lunches?!) We had to wait until after he came back from vacation, but as it turned out, we hit it off pretty easily. I’m convinced that over the course of this new adventure in radio, I will be sampling all kinds of wild game, thanks to Phil.

My point here is that this was a very thorough process, that none of us dove right into; instead we methodically explored it, taking our time to fully consider things. I’m sure there will be people from my past who are going to be upset with my decision, but isn’t that part of the lesson in life? You can’t make decisions based upon what others will think. You have to do what’s best for you.

In the end, I was convinced that it was right for me to venture back into radio. Chad at Wehrs Machine was very understanding, and didn’t insist on a two-week notice, so once we had an agreement struck; it was only a short matter of time.

If you’re friends with me on Facebook, and incredibly perceptive, you likely noticed earlier this week that I was suddenly becoming friends with many of the characters here at Midwest Family Broadcasting. I am finding that they are a pretty gregarious and fun bunch. I'm pretty sure that I’m going to like it here.  I’m grateful for the opportunity, and amazed at how life takes such interesting turns. And so, it begins… what was old, is suddenly new again.      ~Jacklyn

Mornings with Phil & Travis: Life Hacks

Got some time to waste in the office today?  Check out some of these life hacks and maybe find something useful.  Check it out HERE