Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Irishman disappoints; American Factory excellent

In the three plus hour movie, “The Irishman,” the 50s classic cars are a good reason to watch this American history study from the gangster narrative.  The Hudson Hornet, Chrysler Imperial and Lincoln Town Car are among those featured.  What more is there to say about American gangsters, except the one in the Oval Office?
“American Factory” documentary on Netflix is an insightful investigative journalism expose of the corrosive management by the Chinese of an automobile glass factory in Dayton, Ohio.  Aside from the physical and mental toll the workers endure, many of them will be unemployed soon because of automation robots. See the Obamas endorsement of this film, also on Netflix.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019


“A word to the wise is sufficient” my freshman English teacher Mrs. Watrous at Lewis and Clark High School used to say.  Apparently this is a bible quote.  
I showed up late for the first class because I was lost in the hallway.  The first question she asked:  “What was your grammar school?” and of course I didn’t know what she was talking about.  One of the other students said “grade school” and I answered.  It was quite intimidating.  I shared a locker with Herbie Zimmerman and that was daunting trying to remember the combination to the lock and the location of the locker.  We used to talk on the phone.

I was happy to be done with grade school which was eight wasted years.  

A job I really enjoyed was public relations assistant for KOMO TV-AM in the spring of 1961 when the World’s Fair opened in Seattle across the street at 4th and Denny Way.  It was part time and I was responsible for conducting tours of the studios for grade school kids who I escorted to the viewing balcony where they watched the Captain Puget kidee show weekdays.

I was a senior at the University of Washington majoring in Radio-TV and was buddies with the student who had the KOMO job but was quitting to work at something more promising than dealing with grade school brats.  (I handed out stale very stale candy to the kids.)  The captain was not all that kid-friendly.)

This Fisher Blend Station was going through big changes in 1961 having been a legacy NBC affiliate and losing that coveted connection to upstart KING-TV-AM-FM that year.  So KOMO became the ABC station in Puget Sound and inaugurated that move by hosting the Queen for a Day game show at the State Fair.

I was assigned to open up the radio studio in the basement on a Satuday morning for young women hauling makeup cases who had been hired to model clothing on the program.  
I was quite wound up that morning and wasted a lot of time flipping switches on the control board to get music from the radio station into the studio which the ladies were using as a kind of “green room” before the show would be taped.  (Never did figure out the control board.)

Jack Bailey was the MC on Queen and had been since in debuted on Mutual in 1945.  Not unlike Lets Make A Deal, contestants from the audience would be recruited from the audience to get their wishes granted for specific merchandise.  It bore a strong resemblance to Strike it Rich with Warren Hull on CBS, another game show for women.
(Later in my PR life I was a tour guide at the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, wheezing on about grain trading in my monotone.)

After KOMO, I was a summer reporter for UPI in Spokane working in the KXLY (CBS) Building and reporting on forest fires in Idaho, a murder suicide and Air Force plane crash at Mt. Spokane where KXLY-TV transmits.  My photographer buddy at KXLY introduced me to 150 proof rum one evening.  Never again.  Ted Otto anchored the news and Bob Baker did sports on TV and news on the AM station which was Top 40.  

I also convered the Max Markham sensational murder trial in Spokane as a free lancer for KREM Radio, which was a middle of the road music station.  Eventually I wound up as an assistnat at NBC News in Burbank, not a happy time.  Dave Zarkin

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Rank Choice Vote, City Elections

 BLOOMINGTON — joined Gretchen and Margaret Tuesday night at the League of Women Voters city election forum where we lobbied for Rank Choice Vote support.  Mayor candidate Tim Busse supports RCV while his Republican opponent Ryan Kulka opposes it.

BLOOMINGTON — During the League of Women Voters forum Tuesday night in City Hall Republican Ryan Kulka did not endorse displacing the current community center with a new structure.  
The center is an inadequate old grade school with a leaky roof.  His opponent, with eight years on the council, said he supports “forward thinking” on the center where he voted with the council to hire an architect for this development.
Kulka said he wants to open the city to business “again,” employing “the butterfly effect” and “blocking and tackling” which is language most aren’t familiar with in reference to commercial development.
In an obvious reference to Kulka, Busse said he is concerned about “a candidate” who gets mailings and phone banks provided by a political party. Kulka had no response to that remark.
Busse said the $15 minimum wage is inevitable and Gov. Walz would sign related legislation if it comes while Kulka endorsed the “free market economy” wherein businesses would decide on pay.
Regarding “racial problems” in the city Busse said there are “tensions” and “racists” while Kulka made references to “equity” and the “golden rule.”  (It wasn’t clear what Kulka means.) 
At leasat 130 people attended the LWV forum in City Hall with some people watching on TV monitors in overflow seating in the lobby.  — daz

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Jet Pilot 1957

I saw this movie at the Deer Park Drive In about 1957.
Jet engines roar every time Janet Leigh removes clothing in Howard Hughes’ post war romcom, “Jet Pilot,” with John Wayne as the unlikely male lead.  I can think of a half dozen actors from 1949 who might have been a good match for Ms. Leigh but Wayne isn’t one of ‘em.
Charlie Chan (Roland Winters) is the top Russian officer who hopes to learn US secrets through Leigh’s sleuthing.  The “secret” is that John Wayne should remain on horseback in any movie with the exception of “Sands of Iwo Jima.  Bronislav Kaper, who was a Bob Crane favorite on the KNXR morning drive, did the music. https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1038611_jet_pilot 

Sunday, June 30, 2019


Evelyn Lessen “learned to work the saxophone” in high school which brought her to a meeting at the Los Angeles home of noteworthy movie actress and director Ida Lupino who organized an all girls’ band in the 1940s.  Evelyn played the sax in that band.  Most dance bands were all male at that time.
This was Evelyn’s proud achievement that she shared with me at meetings of Or Emet Congregation.  
Lupino would have been keen on starting a girls’ dance band given her commitment to womens’ issues and her contempt for the patriarchal Hollywood structure.  Lupino also was a musician having composed a suite performed by the LA Philharmoic in the late 30s.

Several of us in Or Emet remembered Evelyn and watched a recorded interview she did at a potluck Satuday night in Golden Valley.  When you see “Some Like it Hot,” think of Ms. Lessen.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Ralph Nichols Dies in Seattle

Although we only worked together for about a year at The Idaho Statesman, Ralph Nichols was a role model and a man I turned to for advice.  We kept in touch after I moved to Minneapolis and I last saw him in Burien in November 2017.
He suggested in 1969 that I go to graduate school, and maybe that was his way of telling me to get out of town. So with a clear goal in mind I was able to endure the craziness of my supervisor. It wasn’t long before I would take the graduate entrance exam at the College of Idaho in Caldwell with an upset stomach.
Quoting a line from the movie The Graduate, I told Ralph I was drifting. I had no social life although I beat that dead horse to death, dating women who really didn’t interest me. I was inching loser to 30.   My social life picked up when Ralph, a coworker, moved nearby and we would go to Lucky Peak Reservoir. I look back wistfully at my Idaho years but I was isolated, lonely and I had virtually lost my close friend Ralph when he married and moved to nearby Nampa. 
He and Charice invited me to their home in Nampa to see the first NFL Super Bowl on their small B&W TV.  I was an attendant in their wedding in Boise in 1968.
The book, I and Thou by Martin Buber was a gift from Ralph.  I took a class in philosophy at Boise State to try to understand this text.  He must have thought that I would enjoy the thinking of a Jewish philosopher.

An excellent story teller with a great, Ralph would regail me with incidents from his Statesman reporting days.  He recalls that I advised him not to take the transfer to the Nampa bureau because it was a dead end.  He settled in Seattle where I would see him until 2017.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Mountain Man, Jack Malone

When I last saw Jack Malone, Longview, Wash., in about 2000 in Seattle he gave me this LP record that he produced in 1980 commemorating the individuality of Harry Truman and the Mt. St Helens volcano eruption.  Jack, a lifelong Republican, could have been amused that a “whiskey drinking mountain man” of courage had the same name as a Democrat president.  This collection of blue grass country includes “Don’t Send Your Ash to Town” by Willy and the Woodchucks.  Truman refused to leave his home near the volcano.
  I knew Jack at Roosevelt Grade School and Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane and the University of Washington.  In the 70s he managed an FM rock radio station which would have been a great opportunity for a book with photos.
Happy Easter
I suspect that little me in an Easter Bunny outfit relates to a grade school play in Spokane.  I got an ecumenical education via Spokane’s Roosevelt School.  Sadly, the costume no longer fits.