The Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council sponsored “Worlds of Opportunity” for Mobile County eighth graders at the Mobile Civic Center. It gave students a chance to choose from a buffet of businesses to see what interested them. Matt Barrentine and I signed a lot of hard hats!
We get a lot of e-mails addressed to our newsroom, but one in particular caught my eye and tugged at my heart.
It was from the VFW in northwest Florida, looking for some publicity about its “Voice of Democracy” and ‘The Patriot’s Pen” essay programs.
I can honestly say if it hadn’t been for the encouragement of my parents and some kind words from some folks at a local radio station, I might have done something completely different with my life.
My dad was a World War II veteran who served in the 94th Division and was a member of VFW Post 511 in my hometown. When he heard his Post was sponsoring its “Voice of Democracy” oratory contest for high school students, he encouraged me to enter, so I did.
Part of the competition involved the contestants making a professional recording of our speeches on an afternoon after school. For that, all of us visited a small radio station on the edge of town. In my case it was WRYM 840AM. It was in a tiny brick building set in a swamp. I remember going down into the basement, sitting in a soundproof booth and watching as an engineer gave me a cue to start talking. I recorded my short speech in one take as I remember, and when I came out, the engineer asked me if I had ever considered a career in radio. At that age, I hadn’t considered a career in anything, but it sounded like fun. He gave us a quick tour of the studios and I was fascinated by the AP Teletype machine, a kind of automated typewriter that banged out the news, letter by letter. As we were watching, bells started ringing from the machine, and I watched as it printed the news that a long retired baseball player had just died. I was watching news as it happened. I was hooked!
Recording the speeches allowed them to be judged on their merit, and while I didn’t win, let’s say I finished in the top 3, enough to receive a Savings Bond and a certificate presented by Senator Thomas Dodd (the father of former Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd), who autographed the certificate for me. I remember him laughing at how much I was smiling on the way to the front of the auditorium.
Seeing that e-mail today brought back many pleasant memories of my first, big break, thanks to the VFW.
I had the chance to stop by Saraland Middle School this morning for a visit. Mrs. Ross’ students are studying weather. We talked about careers, hurricanes, and severe weather. What a great group of students! If you are interested in having a meteorologist visit your school, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marcus Jackson, the WALA / WFNA Resident Movie Guru here. Well, Labor Day has come and gone and many of you had enjoyed the final holiday for the unofficial end of the Summer season. The BIG question is which Blockbuster movie is the coveted winner of the Summer Blockbuster Movie Season – mainly, it was down to the three mainstream Superhero movies that came out this summer ….. And The Winner Is …….
“AVENGERS ASSEMBLY!” The Number 1 Movie for the summer and probably for the year 2012 is Mavel’s The Avengers. Ever since it’s U.S. debut on May 4th this superhero team has just dominated the big screen, especially in the month of May being the No#1 movie for that entire month. As of today, the Total Gross that Marvel’s The Avengers has earned is $619,545,000 (as reported by Box Office Mojo). Not too far behind in Second place is The Dark Knight Rises with a reported Total Gross earning of $431,196,000 as of today. And coming in Third place Marvel’s The Amazing Spider-Man – this reboot of the franchise earned as of today a Total Gross of $259,575,000.
Here are the major factors to how we’ve come to this plateau of this crucial money making film season. 1. The Avengers got a VERY EARLY START with the May 4th opening; which leads to the number 2 factor – WORD OF MOUTH. After the Midnight showings and even before with Comic Con 2012 premiering Preview Clips to the Comic Con audience … the iPhones & Smartphones were buzzing. Coming up to Factor #3 – IMAX vs 3D — The Avengers & The Amazing Spider-Man had 3D movie screenings as well as in IMAX theaters where as The Dark Knight Rises only had the regular & IMAX movie screenings … no 3D theaters projecting the Christopher Nolan conclusion to his trilogy of how “The Batman” came to be – at least the way he interpreted it. Number4: The 4TH of JULY OPENING - The Golden Calf this summer was The Amazing Spider-Man. This Retelling / Rebooting / Retooling of the web slinger franchise was good but it did get mixed reviews from the critics; nevertheless it was enough to garnish the big bucks from that holiday weekend to give it the push it needed to keep in contention to win 3rd Place overall this Summer Movie Season. Some people are saying if The Dark Knight Rises would have opened on that holiday weekend the Box Office numbers would have been vastly different right now.
All I can say is that SUPERHEROES RULES!!! But I must mention that there was a surprise hit movie that moved in under the radar. It was Seth McFarland’s crazy foul mouthed comedy Ted starring Mark Walhberg. It beat out the stripper film Magic Mike for the top spot at the Box Office when they first came out in theaters. I guess we wanted to see a dirty mouth talking teddy bear more than Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey stripping to next to nothing (but I did get to see Olivia Munn “topless” – a nerd’s dream come true).
All & All, this year’s Summer Blockbuster Movie Season has been for the most part one for the record books. There were some disappointing moments that we thought that the box office draw would be more but it is safe to say that if you are a superhero fan from either the Marvel or DC Comics universe for were very pleased and satisfied with what you saw.
Now we can relax ….. but not for long ….. Because The Fall Movie Season starts this coming weekend. Yes, the movie business takes no breaks. It’s a Business and it’s My Business to keep you in the know on what’s out there just waiting to air on the Big Screen
Welcome Fall! Time to cool down …. but keep the heat on what’s to come out there in the world of Motion Pictures – what we like to call The Movies …. I’ll See You There!
A weak area of low pressure is slowly drifting southwest off the coast of Baldwin and Mobile County this evening. The National Hurricane Center gives it a 50% chance of becoming an organized system in the next two days. The environment is only marginally supportive of development. The shear relaxes a bit on Thursday. Shear increases again by the weekend, and we do not expect much of an impact here based on the current forecast. A surface front will push it rapidly to the east Sunday and Monday. This low is a part of the remnant circulation of Isaac. If the system develops into a storm, it would get a new name.