Sunday, December 31, 2006

Fast Away The Old Year Passes...

...and that usually calls for some sort of Summing Up, a look back and/or a look ahead. I'm not much at looking thru the windshield [Truthfully, even if I really had the option of knowing what was to come, I think I'd pass. I'd rather not know...], but as for using the rear-view mirror, that's cool by me.

Okay, what were the highlights? In brief:

-Topping the list, my relationship with my God is strong. Yeah, I complain about how things are going some days, but at least I feel like I can talk to the Deity, and that He/She hears. Sometimes I don't like the responses, but that's my problem, not Management's.

-The Woman I Love and I have survived another tumultuous year together. Some days I think we both had a doubt or two that we would, but we are still together. That alone would be enough of a high point for many people, but THERE'S MORE!

- We added another cat to the family. Though the circumstances were sad [the death of his previous owner] Webster has fallen right in with his younger "brother" Malachi [Some people think that addressing pets as "family" is a little creepy, but if you were to see them playing, wrestling, enjoying each other's company, the "brother" analogy might well occur to you, too.]. Sometimes I wish I could add photos to these little missives. If I could, there would be one of the two of them, sitting next to one another, staring out our back porch window on a bright summer day, watching the birds in the back yard.

-I'm still doing the thing I enjoy most in the work world, playing music I like, for people who, for the most part, like it too.

On balance, life has been good in 2006. I'm hoping for improvement in 2007, and I hope you see the same. Happy New Year...

-Mike Riley

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Here Comes Santy Claus

Over the weekend, I did something I've not done in years, in fact swore I'd never do again {No, not that! For legal reasons, I can't even write a blog entry about that!}. I portrayed Santa Claus, for my church's Christmas party.

Actually, I tell a lie. I imitated [or at least attempted to imitate] said Mr. Claus while trying to get a gig for the Veterans' Day parade in the Town of Niagara, not far from where I live. I was on vacation at the time, and the Woman I Love saw an item in the paper that such a series of events [and don't ask me why the word unfortunate first entered my head] was to occur. I don't know how most fat people feel about the jolly resident of the North Pole, but I've always been a bit ambivilant about emulating Mr. Kringle. It's not that I don't want to make people happy by personifying the veritable personification of the holiday season. It's not even that I think I look just horrible in red velvet. It's that every time I play Santa Claus [I know, you thought there was going to be another convoluted way of saying that. Grow up...], the experience just turns out to be, well, unfortunate.

There was the time I got conned into it at a South Buffalo bar I deejayed at. If there's something more depressing than being Santa Claus in a room full of drunken revellers, I've yet to figure it out [I've always had a respectful demeanor when it comes to our beloved holiday icons. Don't even ask about my feelings towards the Easter Bunny...]. Anyway, I was given a shot or two to "loosen" me up, stuffed into the tavern's "house" suit, and pushed into the crowd. The alcohol I consumed actually made me tighter, as well as starting a veritable sweat-storm inside the fake hair and behind the fake beard. My glasses [I go virtually nowhere without them] started to fog up. Add to this the fact that the bar in question was dimly lit to begin with, and you have the makings of a truly ugly moment, especially if, as was the case here, your employers expect their Santa to be jolly, peppy and mobile. (Have I mentioned so far that this tavern was about 1-1/2 times the length of a typical home's living room, by the width of that same room? Including the deejay's booth and the dance floor? And that the bar, running great bargans for the event, was very full this night?)

Santa, without making any efforts, or even getting to enjoy the results, for that matter, was turned from a festive embodyment of the Christmas season into a disheveled serial fondler [Not on purpose, of course. Especially the guys {not that there's anything wrong with that...}]. After about 20 minutes, and nearly that many complaints, I was de-Santa-ed [at least the removal of my beard of office took place in private], and replaced by a bar regular. He turned out to be as ept at it as I was in-ept. My undying image of the night is that of Santa pouring bottles of schnapps down the throats of happy bar-goers [Remember, it was a different time; the bars in this State faced a different degree of responsibility for the post-visit actions of their patrons than they do now. And besides, that particular establishment is long gone...]. And that was actually one of the better results when I emulated the most famous permanent human resident of the North Pole!

It seems like this is turning into a shaggy-dog [shaggy Santa?] story of sorts. I think I'll take a break here, and in my next post tell the real story of my most-recent excursion into the world of Santa portrayal.

By the way, if you're enjoying [or disliking] any of this, please post and let me know. Or call me while I'm on-air. As was noted in the cult-classic film Brazil, "We're all in it together".

-Mike Riley

Thursday, December 14, 2006

What Can I Say?

Good morning, campers...I couldn't be more thrilled if I tried! Only three posts in, and already I've been "censored"! (In the "brave new world" of the Blogosphere, I didn't think it could happen!) This all refers back, of course, to my last post, the oddly-named [unless you have a somewhat liberal memory for song titles] "Open The Door Richard" (see above). Apparently, in the course of my ramblings, I accidentally used words, or brought up subjects, that cannot be presented openly in a blog on this site [I'm guessing this, as the entry was automatically "adapted" upon publishing].

In the interest of fairness, I DO appreciate the fact that the offending sections were not actually removed from the entry [In case you want examples of what you can't say here, just go over the large, blank sections of the previous post with your cursor, holding down the left mouse key]. Apparently, you can write whatever you want, but the innocents who tred these files need to be protected from accidental exposure to such matters [By the way, the references in question were not sexual in nature, nor did they call for illegal actions, or the overthrow of any governments. Just in case anybody wonders...].

Actually, it's kind of nice to know that there's at least a token layer of oversight on these blogs. I guess I'm just a little surprised at what brings it out.

And it gave me a larger grin than just about anything that's come up in recent days. It was a pretty big "hoot" around the building this morning as well. Joe Chille noted, after hearing my tale of "bloggus interruptus", "Mike, you've always been a rebel at heart!" Well, maybe. Just another bit of "rebellion" [oh, oh, that word could get me in trouble...] from a 49-year-old all- night dj with heart trouble!

Being serious for a moment, I brought up yesterday's issue, and today's for that matter, in hopes of finding out what others on the Internet think about these things. If you've got an opinion, and want to share it, make a comment. I'd like to think this site can be a point of exchange between its readers [including, hopefully, some of my listeners] and myself. Jump in, and remember to use SpellCheck...

Well, I'm about to hit "publish". Let's see how much of this gets in...

More than I thought.

-Mike Riley

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Open The Door, Richard

Back again...

I've got to tell you, creating a blog is a truly educational experience! The first thing I learned, besides "check your spelling regularly"["I'm in radio, man; I don't need to know how to spell"{or punctuate correctly, either...}] is, where you create your blog can be as important as what's in it

A brief illustration: my first plan was to put this in Yahoo!, through its GeoCities program. It was free, the set-up was easy, and I already had an e-mail address or two there. Well, after a false start or two [that set-up program is trickier than it looks], I finally had a blog I felt good about.Imagine my surprise, a day or so later, to discover that I had been "removed" from the system. My crime? Linking the site to WJYE, as well as a couple of other favorite sites [the same ones this site is linked to, by the way]. What in the world was I thinking?

Anyway, after a quick review of my other options, I brought myself here, and settled down for a long spell of...INDIFFERENCE? This must be what happens to all first-time bloggers: you set up a site, believing that the "connected" world MUST be hanging on your every word, and the "connected" world usually looks at your site, says to itself, "I could do better", and proceeds to start a blog of their own! This must be that dreaded "learning curve" I loved to hate in school. Oh, well, by the time I'm discovered [or at least linked to a web page or two], I'll be CALIENTE'!

On to other matters...

There's a three-hour time difference between Buffalo and Seattle, Washington, but, even if he's an "early to bed" man, Rabbi Elazar Bogomilski is probably resting uncomfortably in the Emerald City tonight. The rabbi, as you may know, became, hopefully briefly, The Most Reviled Person in Seattle. And all he did was note that Seattle's airport should add a menorah to its holiday decorations, the better to help Jewish visitors commemorate Hannukah. Granted, he did threaten legal action if his suggestion was not carried out. But does that justify the hate mail and angry messages? Granted, the operators of the airport first chose to respond to Rabbi Bogomilski's threat by taking down the 14 Christmas trees that were already decorating the concourse. But that was their choice [Both sides agree the rabbi never called for such action].

I've been a Christian my whole life [except for that athiest spell that most college students go through]. I've lived in the United States virtually my whole life. Therefore, I've never lived in a part of the world where my religion of choice was in a "minority" position. If I did, though, I imagine that I would feel more fondly towards a place that welcomed me with a symbol that reflected my beliefs. That being said, I would not want anyone's good feelings disturbed by being excluded (The ultimate solution of the dispute took this view: the airport retuned the trees, after Rabbi Bogomilski agreed to drop his suit. Next year, the rabbi will be part of an inter-faith committee that will review the airport's holiday decor') .

While it looks like a sane solution, I'm still wondering:

1. / Does Islam have an equivilant celebration to Christmas or Hannukah? What, if any, are its symbols? Can they be displayed with those of Christianity and Judaism? If so, why shouldn't they be?

2. / Our impression of Seattle, back here in the Rust Belt, is of a progressive, well-prepared city: why didn't they see this one coming?

3. / And how does Kwanzaa fit into all this? Were its celebrants represented in Seattle's airport display? And, if not, shouldn't they be? How about Wiccans, who celebrate the end of the year as a holiday? Not to make this issue any more contentious than it already was, but, if we make it a point to be proud of our tolerance for religious beliefs, why aren't we carrying out that belief, for every person of faith in the country?

Just asking...

-Mike Riley

P.S.: In this post, I asked the question, "Does Islam have an equivilant celebration to Christmas or Hannukah?" While I'm not sure this commemoration is simular to the above-mentioned holidays, a series of photos from the Reuters news service makes reference to "Eid al-Adha". The caption goes on to explain, "Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha by slaughtering sheep, goats, camels and cows to commemorate Prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son, Ismail, on God's command". An Associated Press story on the same theme noted that Eid al-Adha is a four-day religious holiday that, at least this year, coincides with the end of the Western calendar year. The AP adds, "They share the meat with friends, family and neighbors and give part of it to the poor". If there are any Muslim readers of this site that would please enlighten me further on this matter, please leave me a comment. Otherwise, I would wish my Muslim readers the best of the Eid al-Adha season, as well as sending greetings to those who celebrate the Solstice.

I think that covers everyone...

(Update 1/2/07)

-Mike Riley

Monday, December 11, 2006

What's Going On...

As I write this, it's about 2:20 AM, Eastern time. The music [pre-programmed, downloaded for broadcast from a computer hard drive] plays on, requiring little or no thought from yours truly. There are five stations here, all operating more or less on the same principle.

I'm listening to the station I'm "jocking", WJYE. Like many other stations this time of year, we're playing all-Christmas music. It's nice that so many people have the opportunity to enjoy their favorites. Sometimes, I feel like I've heard the same song many, many times, but I can get that feeling during the regular year. Maybe I've done this too long. But it's what I love. I could probably do something else for a living. But I can't think of anything else I'd rather do.

John Lennon's "Happy Christmas (War is Over)" is playing now. I've always liked that one, even with the multiple plays it gets here. It's sad that, more than 35 years on, we're back to wanting, needing a war to be over. David Byrne had it right : Same as it ever was...

If you've got a family member, friend, husband, wife or lover in harm's way, I cry with you sometimes. It doesn't make your pain any better, or give me the right to say, "I know how you feel". But know that many hearts cry with yours, many spirits cry out for peace. THE DAY WILL COME, WITH GOD'S HELP, WHEN WE WILL BE DONE WITH WAR ONCE AND FOR ALL.
-Mike Riley

Welcome! First-time visitors, please read...

First of all, please note that this is not a radio gossip blog! There are several very good places to go on the Internet for such things [For instance, ]. This is just a place to gather my thoughts on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness [my favorite sport, by the bye].
People have said to me that some of my thoughts are worth getting out to a larger audience that I get on the radio [see for a brief bio, as well as a picture...]. I don't know that I fully agree with that, but, what the hey, the technology is there, why not use it?
No matter how you feel about any of this, please let me know you stopped by. I can take negativity, but please keep it clean.Otherwise, feel free to comment away...
-Mike Riley, Proprietor