Monday, February 27, 2012


     Apparently some are upset, or so some would lead us to believe, over Billy Crystal's impersonation of Sammy Davis Jr.  
     First, it is a reprise of a famous sketch he's performed many times, secondly it was in no way disrespectful, and this
particular bit was hilarious. If you were offended, of course you are entitled to your sentiment, but come on, comedy
is all a joke. Lighten up!  There are serious things over 
which to be offended, but these recriminations sound shallow, void of a knowledge of this artist's history, self-serving, contrived and as though someone was just looking
for something to tweet.  
     Reading Associated Press writer Joan Lowy's piece on drone's going mainstream reminded me of my attempt to put one to work for my news organization.
     In covering national security and intelligence issues I made friends with people with unique skills and job descriptions.  Later when I was a television news executive I got a call from an old contact telling me about some amazing  new technology.  We set up a show and tell.  He, and a retinue, brought a couple of drone aircraft to our conference room.  They played a recording of the craft in flight, showed telemetry data, discussed it's operation system and the budget for flying it.  
      They did not want news coverage, but wanted to let me know, as a favor to an old friend, the system was available.
Well, I was awestruck.  This is years ago, long before there was public knowledge of the technology and certainly long before military applications.  They had rigged a craft with a
camera to show how we could use it in covering critical situation incidents; emergencies, disasters, accidents, hostage situations, surveillance in investigative reporting, and many more possibilities that my mind ran to.  
      Now here the story takes a couple of jogs.  In the contingent in the room were a couple of guys who were very circumspect about who they were and what was their interest. There was the developer, an engineer, a business partner and financial backer and two guys who later I learned
were what I suspected at the time-federal employees watching over this prized technology.  
      My contact was probably not the first to develop such a system, but may have been the first willing to "test it" in a commercial field exercise, in this case assisting journalism.
      The other jog was the broadcast division executive who shot it down even before we could fly it.  He'd "never heard of such a thing," and didn't want to give it a try.  He said we "didn't have a budget" for such a line, though I showed him where and how we could afford it. He was a numbers cruncher, not at all a visionary or creative thinker.  
      So, now as drones are used by police, farmers, power companies and at lot less cost than the helicopter and pilots I kept on staff, I can't help but imagine what if.
      There is only one way into this and it is to resort to 
fully acknowledged copy cat writing.  I was "humbled and honored" to read this weekend that The Chubby Chatterbox,
who's blog link is listed along the side, had nominated me
for an award he had won, that of the Versatile Blogger.
      The Chatterbox is a marvelous writer and an equally superb artist. He has taken blogging to a fine level of creativity, imagination, style and warmth. So I am all the more humbled and honored-- with all sincerity.
       In getting this nomination I am to tell you seven things about myself and to pass along my nomination to other bloggers.
       #1 I am a blessed, lucky, fortunate man, with a wonderful and creative wife, two loving daughters who make me proud and more friends than I deserve.
      #2 I have authored two published historical mystery
and historical thriller novels: The Sanibel Arcanum and The Sanibel Cayman Disc.
      #3  I co-authored a professional guide, Crisis Coverage and News Room Credibility, with US Army Lt. Col. Charles Ricks,retired FBI Executive William Ervin, and the late Benjamin Strout.
      #4  I have recently finished a new manuscript and I am searching for a new agent and publisher.  My previous publisher was purchased by a media conglomerate that did away with the literary imprint.  I was invited to do graphic novels or coffee table books.  I have declined and I am work on a more literary project now, an homage to Kurt Vonnegut and Tom Robbins.
      #5 I spent four decades in journalism and documentary work that took me to far reaches of the globe and/or put 
me at the ringside for important moments in history.
     #6  My idea of the ideal job was to have been a National Geographic photographer.  Never achieving that I now blog
and thus entertain my fantasy of that and my second ideal job-a newspaper columnist.
     # 7 Aside from hiking, I play a lot of tennis, a game I did not pick up until about 3 1/2 years ago which I think bespeaks my faith and pragmatic idealism.  It is probably good to work our butts off in good pursuit, no matter our age. Regardless of the score, what really matters is how we play the game.

      ODDBALL OBSERVATIONS by The Catalyst
      Vinylstats by Frank Phillippi
      Artist C.W. Mundy

See you down the trail.


  1. I didn't know you were a published author of historical thrillers. I'm polishing a thriller about the Mary Celeste, a mystery I bet you know something about.

    1. The prototype "ghost ship" isn't it. A fascinating and eerie story. I'm looking forward to your book.

  2. Thanks for nod...congrats on your accolade!