Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ben, Brink and the Garmin 405

I've been neglecting my blogging and let a lot of things pile up over the week. 
Topic 1:  Ben Bernanke
What the hell people?  The man navigated our economy through an almost certain depression and now several boneheads in the U.S. Senate don't believe he should stay on as Fed Chairman.  It seems the shocking victory Tuesday night by Republican Scott Brown in the Massachusetts special election to replace the late Ted Kennedy caused a brain freeze worse than a 7/11 ICEE.  Proof is the sudden rush by President Obama to subdue the mega banks that caused the near economic meltdown 14 months ago.  That brilliant move went hand in glove with the Democrats hell bent on pulling the country further to the left and the public flogging of Bernanke.  That message went over really well on Wall Street.  Dow 9000 here we come.

Topic 2:  Brink Chipman
It's a name the vast majority of you who read this blog have ever heard.  Brink died this week from cancer.  He was just 66 years old.  Brink was my news director at WTCN in Minneapolis in 1979.  He was a thoughtful, charming man who did his best to mentor me and handle a hellstorm of a newsroom.  WTCN went from being a quaint independent news operation in 1979 to a full-fledged NBC affiliate.  I was among 40 or more folks hired to bring the station up to speed.  Brink came in as the executive producer.  The evil genius's at Metromedia which owned WTCN (now KARE) at the time pitted Brink against the managing editor John Hudgens (a hard drinking transplant from Arkansas) to see who could topple the now weary, kindly old news director Gil Amundson.  Brink won out because he was a lot smarter than John and was a lot better with people.  John fled back to Arkansas.  Brink did his best in an impossible situation.  He later ran very successful news operations in Tucson, Portland and Salt Lake City.

Brink could have fired me early into his reign as news director.  I had gotten sideways with the weekend anchorman Stan Bohrmann.  Will Ferrell's legendary Ron Burgundy had nothing on Stan.  His ego was impossible and he consumed vast quantities of booze and drugs to help fuel it.  Stan had been hired as insurance by WTCN and anchored weekends.  He was there in case the main anchor Jim Dwyer didn't take.  From day one Stan was orchestrating Jim's demise.  On one particular weekend Stan got fed up with my producing abilities and physically confronted me in the control room.  It was a mere shove but years later my executive producer Mary Cox who had worked in the Twin Cities told me a story about a poor weekend producer at WTCN who had gotten beaten up by Stan Bohrmann.  I about doubled over laughing and informed Mary that I was the victim and that it was only a push.

Anyway, the day after the control room brohaha Brink removed me as weekend producer, much to my relief.  I became a writer and got a chance to really learn about writing and producer from Paul Adelman. It wasn't long before Stan was anchoring the main shows.   How Brink ever put up with Stan and a lot of the crazies including myself, is beyond my comprehension.  My heart goes out to his wife, children, and friends.

Topic 3:  The Garmin 405
I bought one of this GPS beauties for my wife as a Christmas present.  All I can say is WOW!  It is such a vast imporvement over the Garmin 305, which I own.  The watch is loaded with features well beyond the 305's abilities and it synch's with the GPS satellites at warp speed.  Sometimes it can take five minutes for my old Garmin's GPS to lock in.  Not this baby.  The 405 is much smaller than the 305 and looks like a regular watch.  The only thing that I'm not wild about is the bezel.  The bezel ring around the watch controls a lot of its functions.  Now I don't find it problematic but for my wife it's a disaster waiting to happen.  The Czarina loves her Garmin she just has a habit of touching the bezel when she shouldn't and killing the stop watch/GPS function.  She'll learn.

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