YOU TOO CAN LEARN TO FLY WAY UP THERE IN THE SKY

cessna photo

I’m learning how to fly.

A month ago I realized that I needed to know how to pilot a plane if I were to complete a book of fiction that I am writing.

Matt is teaching Annie how to fly. (You might guess that this is a romance novel. It’s classified as “sweet romance” because it contains no bedroom scenes.)

Problem: Matt knows how to fly. I don’t.

Okay, I flew model airplanes for more than 40 years, which hardly qualifies me to instruct someone to fly the real thing.

Problem: I’m 88 years old. What are the odds that I could pass a medical exam to qualify for a pilot’s license?

Okay, I hobble a bit on my left leg, I wear glasses and my wife occasionally suggests that I acquire a hearing aid.

Problem: The $3 monthly increase in my Social Security payments may not cover the cost of hiring an instructor and of renting a plane. Continue reading YOU TOO CAN LEARN TO FLY WAY UP THERE IN THE SKY

OVER THE HILL WE MUST GO ALONG WITH NEWSPAPERS

My heart skipped a beat when I picked up the newspaper Monday morning and read: Longtime UO journalism professor dies.

“Must be Karl Nestvold” was my first thought. The 84-year-old former professional
wheelerbroadcaster devoted 36 years as a journalism teacher and administrator at the University of Oregon.

At age 88, I was the only other oldtimer I could think of as I read the five words at the top of the front page. Couldn’t be me, however, because I was standing there in my underwear.

Turns out to be Tom Wheeler, who continued to teach at age 70. Died Saturday in the Bay area. He was an expert in electric guitar history and was a popular guest speaker in classes I taught during my tenure at the School of Journalism and Communication.

He was a freelance writer for Rolling Stone magazine, published seven books and one textbook and helped design the PRS Signature guitar. He also played guitar with The Blue Valentines, a five-piece rock-n’-roll band.

I find my perspective changes and sharpens as I prepare “to shuffle off this mortal coil, to walk into the sunset, to meet my maker.” Continue reading OVER THE HILL WE MUST GO ALONG WITH NEWSPAPERS

MEDIA CHANGES DRIVING TYPE LICE INTO HELL BOX

bureau photo

Change is inevitable, 51 correspondents were reminded in a letter notifying them that they were being replaced by full-time reporters when the Eugene Register-Guard switched to the bureau system in August 1962.

These reporters lived in and covered news in communities from ski level to sea level in what was then referred to as the Emerald Empire. Those bureaus eventually closed. Today, only major stories are “cherry picked” by reporters working out of the Eugene office.

Meanwhile, change is anticipated with some trepidation because the publishing firm has been sold by the Baker family, which has served the community for more than three generations.

Frankly, I miss hearing the Linotype and Intertype machines clacking away, setting slugs of “hot” type that printers assembled in page forms.

I miss hearing Mary Holmer greeting everyone with a unique “hello” at the switchboard just inside the High Street entrance to the newspaper. Continue reading MEDIA CHANGES DRIVING TYPE LICE INTO HELL BOX