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Lou Pickney's Online Commentary

May 2000

May 21, 2000
5:54 AM EDT

First of all, I want to wish congratulations to Mark Pellerito, who has signed to join Fox 17 (WZTV) in Nashville. Mark and I worked together at ABC 25 (WEHT) in Evansville from 97-99, and in particular I field-produced with him last fall with the Home Team Friday high school football show. He has won an emmy for his sports photography, and I've never worked with a better sports shooter in my 3 years in the TV business. Congrats Mark, and good luck with your career in my hometown.

Well the latest chapter in my post-collegiate roller coaster life has been no less surreal than any of the other bizarre adventures I've faced since finishing college last year. Not that life in college was much less wild and dream-like at times, but the sensation of time compression in the past twelve months has added to the effect immensely.

My date on Friday night wasn't meant to happen, I suppose. How was I supposed to know that there are three Burger Kings in the city of Ashland?!?!? But I suppose that's what I get for not asking Heather specifically how to get to the rendez-vous point. I let my guy tendency to just "find the way without directions" take over, and we ended up missing each other. So I might have blown my opportunity with Heather, which is too bad, cause I really liked her when I met her. Good-looking and, hey, intelligent, imagine that. Sorry, but I dunno if it's Huntington or the fact that I met some dumb college girls recently, but it seems like outside of work, meeting women with some ability to hold an intelligent conversation has been a true challenge. But I disgress.

Ended up drinking on Saturday night with my friend Erica, who's the exception to the Huntington college-girl rule as she's smart, not to mention being an attractive blonde. It's too bad she has a boyfriend. But we drank and watched The Rainmaker on NBC, then The Usual Suspects on my DVD. We discussed the acting ability of Kevin Spacey and how damned good of a movie American Beauty is. It was fun. Also, for a damned good mixed drink, try mixing vodka with Kiwi Strawberry Snapple. Trust me, you'll like it.

You know, with this whole on-line commentary, I've wondered how much to talk about my personal life versus the everyday mundane. The last thing I need is to have something I write on the internet end up having an adverse effect on my life. Things for me are already too crazy to start mixing things up further. But I figure I'll just say what I feel like saying and let the chips fall where they may. Life's too short to worry about what other people think about your opinions.

I just watched the movie "Cheaters" on HBO. Thought it was a very good movie, as the acting was tremendous. Not five stars or anything, but it was mostly believable throughout which is all I ask for. Almost makes me forgive Jeff Daniels for being involved in that debacle known as Dumb and Dumber. But anyway, despite some media inaccuracies that you would never see in real life (the typical things that always are shown wrong and in unrealistic form), and the annoying way the film tried to slam charter schools, it was a compelling movie. I've been debating on whether or not to keep HBO with The Sopranos (which, as I mentioned last month, is the best show on TV) being gone until 2001, and this movie helped the HBO side of the argument.

There's not much else to say. I've been sick for most of the week, and I really should have called in sick to work on Wednesday, but I toughed it out. We are in May sweeps at work, after all. But now I'm finally feeling better, which is a relief.

May 17, 2000
7:54 PM EDT

For the first time in a long time, I'm feeling sick. That, along with now being doped up on cold medicine, has me feeling pretty loopy. After being fine all winter, this hits me here in May. But isn't that life?

So that meant no tennis today, which is too bad. I played tennis 8 out of the past 10 days, which was wonderful. I'd better be feeling well by tomorrow, as Ken Selvaggi (the news director at WSAZ) and his wife will be coming out to play some tennis. I enjoy playing against Deb, but it's usually fun also to face some new competition.

Did any of you catch the stories about the so-called "Million Mom March" this weekend. Yes, from the people who brought you prohibition and the 21 drinking age, they want to take more of our freedom away. But who I have tons of respect for are the women who were involved in the "Second Amendment Sisters" counter-rally. Without anywhere near the amount of special interest backing that the anti-gun women had, the Second Amendment Sisters did a great job of getting their message of responsbile parenting out.

Sadly, the media of course decided in usual fashion that they should make your mind up for you and put the spin control into full effect for the "Million Mom March". It took quite a bit of re-writing on the stories I ran in the news on Monday to actually bring some level of objectivity to them. The liberal bias of the media exists because inherently that which makes for a better story. The emotional and attention-grabbing stories, with a parent crying over a dead child and saying "the government should do something about this!", are by their very nature more intriguing than, say, a story describing the erosion of individual liberties and freedoms in this country over the past 30 years. I would suggest that liberal bias happens much less on a local level than a national, where "stronger powers" can at times have great influence. Not that a green jabroni reporter straight out of J-school in market #205 can't have a liberal bias, but it's just much more prevalent, from what I have perceived, on the national level. You do get some trickle-down because of the nature of news and because of those dreaded consultants (you know, people paid to find problems who must continue to find problems lest the owners think everything is fine and thus no longer need their services), but in general it seems to me that a liberal bias on the local news level happens less.

Days like these are when I'm glad I'm not on-air. Feeling congested and sick and with a sore thought and exhausted without doing anything, it's no fun. But I can feel like crap and still produce a good newscast, whereas going in and looking and acting "normal" on-air when you're hacking up a lung is a true challenge. I don't plan on calling in sick, as short of total incapaciation I want to go in and earn my paycheck if it's at all possible.

May 13, 2000
7:45 AM EDT

So much for frequent updates. Yes, I'm back after two weeks. What can I say, things have been really busy.

Oh, where to begin. Last weekend I went up to Athens, Ohio for a Cinco de Mayo party at OU that my friend Mike Waterhouse from WSAZ had. It was a great time and a really wild party. Some crazy things happened which I will be intentionally vague about. But they had two kegs, and also a really cool gimmick where they'd play a little Mexican music and then have Margaritas every 20 minutes or so. Had the chance to meet some cool people, and it was great. The best thing is that it happened all in school housing and no one cared or caused any problems because of it. At UE, the damn communists in charge of the place I think get their jollies from busting people for drinking. Perhaps it's not fair to say that I "picked the wrong school to go to", as ultimately going to Evansville had a profound effect on where I am now, but if they'd have just let the students party and have fun it would have been so much better. But that aside, the OU party was fantastic. Mike wired up MP3's from his computer through a low-power remote frequency into his stereo on the other side of the apartment. It was a brilliant setup.

Earlier that day I had gone up to Ironton, Ohio, which is about 20-25 minutes from Huntington, to talk with some 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders visiting OU's southern campus there in Ironton. Now normally that's when I would be sleeping, but with it being a Friday and with me going to Athens later that night, it worked out. Tim Irr at work said that they wanted someone from WSAZ to go if possible, and since no one else was available I agreed to go up there. It went very well.

I've played quite a bit of tennis lately. Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and yesterday (Friday) I played against Deborah Cramer from WSAZ. She's rapidly improving and may end up beating me one of these days. I've got to work on my serve some more. Plus I played softball on Monday night, so as you can tell I've been getting out and enjoying some of the nice weather we've been having.

My ex-girlfriend Kara called me the other day, which was the first time I had spoken with her since 1997. She's going to San Diego this summer to intern at the San Diego Zoo working with the palm trees they have there. She's a horticulture major at Purdue, and I'm not exactly sure how she managed to land the San Diego gig, but it's awesome, and I'm very happy for her. We might even meet up in Las Vegas late this summer, as she said it's only a 4 hour drive for her from San Diego. I hope to get to California at some point; I've always wanted to go there, but haven't had the opportunity as of yet.

Wednesday morning at work was terrible, as it was the day after elections. Ever feel like you'd had everything thrown at you at once, and you don't know exactly what to do other than make a mad dash trying to play beat the clock? Well, that's kinda how I felt, with a bunch of elections that I was rather unfamiliar with and trying to determine which ones were the most important to run every half hour and which ones would be filler and which ones should be full screens vs. which ones should be readers and trying to work in other news of interest for the Ohio and Kentucky markets. It was an insane pace, and in hindsight there were several things I know that I can do better for the next election morning newscast I produce. But I gave them my all on it, which is what I always strive to do. I love my job and I take it very seriously.

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