On the Run

Another ridiculously high hit count on the blog today. Nearly 500 hits again. And again, it’s driven by searches for “Lucy and the football.” What’s going on? I haven’t got a clue. Thing is, just because someone clicks on the blog, that doesn’t mean any of those folks are actually reading the blog. Besides, all those hits are to one page from June, and it doesn’t seem that anyone is clicking through to anything more current.

GrizzcityheaderAnyway, I got miles to go before I sleep. Spent all day Wednesday in West Memphis, Arkansas. Front half of Thursday on a shoot in the old Federal Reserve Bank in downtown Memphis (it’s now Grizzlies Academy). Second half of the day trying to manage two video edits, plus getting ready for a two-day shoot in Oxford, Mississippi. I don’t mind going; after all, I might get the chance to eat at City Grocery, which is worth the drive by itself. It’s just that it’s supposed to rain all day tomorrow, and most of what I’m doing is outside. After working a couple of weekend days lately, I’m thinking I’m going to need a couple of days off next week.  I’ve got to get a flu shot, give blood, get the 100,000 mile service on my car, plus a couple of other things.

Oh Katie...Because of that, I’m going to be short today. Also, the hundreds of new readers are only seeing that one page from July. There is one thing. My good pal Joe Larkins was opining on the way HD is affecting how some news anchors are using make up. He mentioned he’s not actually seeing the news in HD yet. Lemme tell you, when you do, you’ll really notice some changes. I watch Katie Couric most nights. She looks fine the way they got the cameras set up in the studio. But when they shoot her in HD, without the special studio filters and lighting, you really notice the age lines on her upper lip. Okay, that’s not a current picture.


Wait, what?


Blog You Very Much

If you write, especially for publication, you hope to be read. One of the bad things about blogging is that most host sites provide some kind of system that shows just how many times people stop by to look at your work. I’d like hundreds of readers each day, hanging on my every word. But, I’m realist enough to know that it’s pretty much friends, co-workers and family who stop by on a regular basis. And, some of my friends who blog link my blog on their, so I pick up the occasional reader that way. And Mike Hollihan, over at the Main Street Journal site, links to the blog, so I get clicks from MSJ readers, which is nice.


Do What?

Anyway, I go to the part of the WordPress page that lets me see how many hits the blog has gotten once or twice (or three times) a day usually. I was across the bridge in West Memphis all day, so I didn’t actually check Wednesday until after I got home and did my evening jog. More than 500 views today. 5-0-0. And climbing when I checked at 8pm. I’d been linking to StumbleUpon lately, but that’s only pushed my average hit count to about 90 a day.  Before today, I think the best I had done was 200-something on the day I got my new job.


The target of many searches...

Whenever there’s a big spike, I wonder what it was I did in that day’s blog that was so darned interesting, especially compared to every other day. Also, whether I could blatantly repeat it to get the same number of hits the next day. Well, I checked the counter a little more closely, and saw that the blog getting all the hits was one from July, telling the tale of how I broke out the back window of my car. I drilled down a little deeper, and looked and what word or phrase in that blog was most actively searched. It turns out that it was a phrase that led to a picture I posted with the last sentence of that blog: “lucy and the football.” If you keep track, Charles Schultz had her do it the first time on November 16, 1952 (but she wasn’t the first girl to do that to Charlie Brown).

How the Mighty Have Fallen

I left CNN nearly 3 years ago, and hadn’t worked in Prime Time for a couple of years before that. I haven’t been a heavy watcher since the presidential campaign ended last year (yes, I’m the typical CNN viewer – riveted to coverage when there’s a big story – forget it exists at any other time).

"This is CNN"

Tough Times

I’d like to say I was surprised when the news came out that CNN has fallen to fourth place in Prime Time ratings among the four cable news networks (Fox News, MSNBC, HLN & CNN). I’d like to say that, but I can’t. In the 7 years I was with the network, I watched their programmers flail about in prime, sure of nothing except Larry King Live. Larry (who is still alive, by the way) has the only prime hour on CNN that’s not in fourth place right now. He’s tied for third (which is still last place).


Who's on Top?

For a time, I wrote on a 10pm hour for Bill Hemmer. It was a straight newscast, and Bill’s a pretty good anchor and we had a good EP and line producer (both still with the network). Also wrote on a 7pm hour, also for Bill. Of course, he’s over at Fox now. Also worked on an 8pm hour for Greta Van Sustren. It was much less news-based, and more of the type of show she does at Fox now. During the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, I worked on a live show, initially called “Live from Afghanistan.” It was a face-paced hour that covered all the bases. It evolved into 2 hours, looking at the wars there and in Iraq.


She Scares Me

Once the fighting slowed, the network didn’t seem to know what to do in prime time, jumping from anchor to anchor, trying to find a personality who would attract and hold an audience. Connie Chung, Paula Zahn, Aaron Brown. They’d toss them up and hope something would stick and nothing has so far. The other three networks, including the other owned by CNN, HLN, use people with strong, nearly overpowering personas to drive their personality-based shows. I’m not a Nancy Grace fan, but like they do with O’Reilly and Olbermann, people seem to watch her. Strong opinions seem to draw viewers. Is it news? Not really.

Except for Lou Dobbs, CNN has seemed reluctant to turn early prime and prime over to screamers and shouters. But, their lackluster personalities are unable to compete with what people are watching on the other channels. And they’re really going to be in trouble once Larry King decides to do something else with his evenings.

I wonder if it might be time to go back to regular newscasts in prime time.

Okay, Now What?

Off the top, a couple of minor adjustments. For longtime readers (if reading from April counts as “longtime”), you’ll remember the original title of this blog was “On the Beach,” representing my jobless status as a recently unemployed professional and the direction of topics, which dealt with unemployment and looking for work. Once I started working again, I celebrated that fact in the name of the blog, “Doug Johnson at Work.”

I’ve been back on the job long enough that I don’t want to give the suggestion that part of me being “at work” is updating my personal blog, ’cause it’s not. Since I speak to a variety of topics, “at large” might be more descriptive (although those of you who followed my recent weight loss know that I’m not personally “large” anymore). Also, new header picture (giving Chaplin a rest, replacing him with the first moving assembly line, as well as a new profile picture). And now, on with the blog!

Two more transfers of power occurred in Memphis this week. Both were quick, simple affairs, and unlike the prophecies of doom offered by the former city mayor, nothing bad happened with either.

Man on a MissionAC Wharton resigned his post as mayor of Shelby County, waited a few minutes, walked across Main Street Mall, and took the oath of office as mayor of the City of Memphis. No muss, no fuss. Myron Lowery goes back to being a member of City Council and the Earth did not fall off its axis.

On the other side of the mall, County Commissioner Joyce Avery took became acting County Mayor, a job she will hold until her fellow commissioners select a permanent replacement to complete Mr. Wharton’s term.

Punched Out?


So, the sturm und drang of the Herenton years in City Hall are finally over. That is, until the various and sundry investigations into business deals, vacation pay and whatever else the local, state or federal investigators have cooking come to a head. For a man who styles himself as the greatest mayor in the history of our city, he’s left a fairly murky wake. And I’m completely flummoxed as to how this helps him position himself as a viable candidate for Congress. Oh well, stranger things have happened. Again, I know Dr. Herenton has a lot of strong support in this community, including people who have voted for him and people who have worked for and with him. Still, the job calls for a uniter, not a divider.

All the talk of a mandate for the new mayor is interesting. Yes, he got 60% of the vote in the special election. But only a tiny portion of eligible voters bothered to go to the polls. So, an incredibly small portion of people who could select the new mayor actually did. Is that really a mandate? Either way, the mayor has a pretty big job on his hands. I’m no longer interested in how he got to the office on the 7th floor, and you probably shouldn’t be either. Now, the question turns to how he’s going to manage the city’s problems now that he’s there.

No Controversy PlannedI know a lot of people think highly of Herman Morris, the new mayor’s choice for City Attorney. The Memphis Flyer seems to be pleased with the choice. The Commercial Appeal acts like they’re okay with it too. Of course, the Flyer’s John Branston had some concerns about Mr. Morris’ openness while head of Memphis Light, Gas & Water. He told WREG today that it’s his intention to make the City Attorney’s office one of those places that does not show up in the limelight. Good. After the heat and noise generated in the last days of Elbert Jefferson, we need the office to go about the business of the city without bringing too much negative attention to its operations. It would also be nice to cut back on some of those high legal fees the city ends up paying by using all those outside legal experts.

Arts & Crafts

Tuesday: The New Mayor

Sometimes, it seems like everything falls into place. The weather this weekend was outstanding, which probably boosted attendance at the River Arts Fest on South Main. I went Saturday with a friend. It’s nice to live within walking distance of an event. Memphis is still a small enough town that you can pretty much depend on running into someone you know whenever you’re at a well-attended event. That occurred Saturday. Ran into a couple of people from the immediate past job. I may have been lucky to have just missed the VP over my department about the time I was laid off.

Nice Weekend Fun

Nice Weekend Fun

I did run into Bob Eoff and his wife Bobbi. Now VP of Communications at the University of Memphis, he was General Manager at WREG while I was there. I also ran into Javier Levia from my office. He was there with his lovely wife and lovely daughter (who looks just like him). Besides the chance to run into people, it was a nice opportunity to see all the art and jewelry on display.

Dozens of stands had paintings, photographer, sculpture and mixed media on sale. I’ve heard complaints that there aren’t enough local people with stuff on sale, but it seemed like there was a good number of local artisans on the street. Here’s an observation I heard – you hear a lot of folk music at things like this event. Yeah, although I did hear a nice version of “Proud Mary” in front of the Civil Rights Museum on my Sunday run.

Nice Crowd

Nice Crowd

The big messy New Orleans smoked sausage I had for lunch Saturday was more than enough. Then I had the bright idea of stopping by the Cheesecake Corner for some desert to take home. I’ve never seen as many people waiting for cheesecake as I did Saturday. While there were a couple of guys in the kitchen, the guy taking all the cake orders was working solo. He’d take 3 cheesecake orders, then fill 3 other orders. As you might imagine, this took some time, although was quite assured that he had everything under control. We got our order to go and were still there around a half-hour.

Outside of that, it was a nice way for a lot of folks to spend an afternoon.