Custodian of the Tiara of Traffic

Custodian of the Tiara of Traffic
Wearing a heavy coat indoors? It's Cleveland, folks. Of course we do!

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Future is at Piano/Ohio

Tomorrow at 2, see the future of classical music in the Piano/Ohio competition. Six high school students will perform challenging repertoire at Cleveland State's Drinko Hall. Admission is free. I'll be co-hosting along with Rand Curtiss from Loveman-Curtiss.

Each pianist was chosen from auditions in Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland. The event is sponsored by the Cleveland International Piano Competition, whose laureates serve as the judges.

For more information, click on

See you there. Afterwards, you'll be off to your Kentucky Derby party.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

More Hatzpuh!

This is a perfect Kentucky Derby hat. The pink and celery green feathers and flowers on what was originally a plain mauve Laura Ashley straw came from my stash of feathers and flowers. I originally put this hat together for an appearance at a Victorian tea in 2003.

The model is Carmelita Ooz, the production assistant on Robert Conrad's "Weekend Radio," heard Saturday nights at 10 on WCLV 104.9. She's very shy.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


At the only Kentucky Derby I attended, I sat in the bleachers on either side of the grandstand. The sun was boiling us all. I didn't wear a hat. I've atoned for that fashion omission since then by collecting hats. A few of them will appear here.

This blocked green felt hat with feather spray came from a long-ago vintage clothing shop in Alton, Illinois.

Speaking of the Derby, you only have until Saturday to perfect your Mint Julep recipe.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ben Franklin Did It

One of the advantages of working early mornings is sneaking out to the WCLV lawn for midday recreation during sunny, breezy days. One's choice of kites seems to be limited to over-ugly superheroes, blonde dolls with overdeveloped bodies and teen-aged stars whose alter egos result in overdeveloped revenue. That left Snow White.

Recently WCLV's president brought out the digital and photographed my foray into flight. I explained that I was responding to a listener request.

First they Flower, Then they Crab

The flowering crab trees at Radio Ranch produce yellow berries in the fall, but now they're full of luxurious pink blooms. We have a rental special: two bowl-shaped residences, previously occupied by responsible avian tenants, are available for the right renter. They may require a bit of string or twig, but otherwise they are in move-in condition. No lease. No utilities. First come, first serve. No phone calls, please.

Opening night at the Great Lakes Theater Festival's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" Friday was like a 1960s time warp. A Fab Four soundtrack, guys leaping through fields, getting to know their inner child, even a VW Bug and Sgt. Pepper's outfits.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Quiz Winners

Congratulations to the listeners who knew that former Cleveland Indian David Dellucci recently married "The Price is Right" cast member Rachel Reynolds. Joan Drushel of Cleveland Heights, Andrew Craze of Shaker Heights, and Michael Kyner of Akron won CDs.

Thanks for being up on your Tribe Trivia, and in so doing helping to eliminate the clutter in the WCLV Prize Closet.

One of our colleagues here at WCLV's Radio Ranch was the source of our knowledge -- he tapes "TPIR" daily.

Maybe we should ask Drew Carey to host a WCLV quiz show called "The Tune is Wrong." What would be the object of that program?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

You Can Dance To It

Last night's live concert from the Baldwin-Wallace Bach Festival, broadcast on WCLV 104.9, revealed that you can dance to Bach.

We have a small video monitor in the broadcast booth. You can make out shapes on stage, but not faces.

During the Cantata BWV 105, it looked as though members of the Baldwin-Wallace Motet Choir were being blown back and forth by a strong wind. Further examination revealed that they were swaying to the music. Really swaying. They were almost doing "the wave."

A choir member afterward explained that the swinging and swaying had the blessing of choral director Dirk Garner, and the Bach Festival Music Director, Dwight Oltman, who were described as being "joined at the hip" in their approach.

Can you imagine how the "Rate A Record" feature of "American Bandstand" might have changed the course of pop music history if a 45 of, say, "Komm, Jesu, Komm," elicited the reaction: "You can dance to it."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Another Baseball Quiz

Here's a quiz question leftover from our "Bach and Baseball" 3-day weekend. The first 3 people to get this question right on or before Thursday, April 15 at midnight will win a prize from the WCLV Prize Closet.

One entry per person, please. Send your answers to "" Include your mailing address. The names and the cities of the winners will be posted on this blog along with the answer.

Question: Which former Cleveland Indian recently married Rachel Reynolds, a cast member on "The Price is Right?"

Good luck!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

It's Just Like Riding A Bicycle

The large, green, WCLV lawn, uninterrupted by telephone poles or large trees, was far too tempting yesterday afternoon. While most of Cleveland packed itself into the ball park yesterday, your WCLV morning drive announcer flew a kite at the office.

Many listeners have suggested that I engage in that activity anyway, presumably for reasons OTHER than recreation. But I did it for fun.

The kite choices at the store were: Superheroes, Barbie, Snow White and that teeny-bopper with the alter ego. I couldn't resist Snow White, since her fancy tail featured oval portraits of all seven dwarfs plus the squirrel and the rabbit.

Would I remember how? I hadn't flown a kite in decades. Plus, flying it outside an office is a huge risk -- you want to keep your co-workers looking at the kite, not at you running around like an idiot trying to keep the kite aloft.

Snow White launched successfully into 10 mph winds, with the dwarfs and animals whipping around in the blue sky below her.

As Bashful might say, "Aw, shucks. It's just like riding a bicycle."

Monday, April 12, 2010

Opening Day

The squills are blooming at Radio Ranch, the sunshine won't quit, and the Cleveland Indians open at home vs. the Texas Rangers at 3:05 p.m.

WCLV's "Bach and Baseball" has returned this year, with lots of quizzes and prizes all day. This morning, the winners of our baseball quizzes were all women. Guys, where were you?

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Crocuses are Up!

It's a glorious spring at WCLV. The white hyacinths are in full bloom, the Chive Forest is beginning to cast shadows, and the mint is getting ready for a full takeover. The periwinkle-blue squills have never been so lovely. The black raspberry bushes will leaf out soon. The flowering crab trees are setting buds.

And the horses at Radio Ranch are fussin' to be saddled up.

We have a couple of vacancies -- two units, fully constructed in the bowl motif. They might need some updated twig or dried grass decor, but otherwise, they're in move-in condition. No appointment necessary -- just fly over to one of the flowering crab trees and you'll see them among the branches.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Remembering Hugh Danaceau

Hugh Danaceau, WCLV's former news director who died in 2003, was one of 20 Broadcast Legacy Award honorees yesterday at the annual Awards for Excellence in Broadcasting luncheon given by the Cleveland Association of Broadcasters. A photo of the award will appear soon on WCLV's website,

When I arrived at WCLV in 2001, I was introduced to Hugh. In the middle of February he wore shorts, sturdy running shoes, a long-sleeved T-shirt, a kerchief tied around his neck, and a few days' growth of beard. I wondered who this "mountain man" was. He turned out to be a beloved colleague who provided matchless context to living in Cleveland.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

More Heard and Seen at Severance Hall

At the Severance Restaurant Saturday night, a lady said to her dinner companion, "I've switched my favorite composer. It used to be Mozart, but now it's --"

Just then my dinner companions arrived, and in the conversation, I didn't hear what composer the woman had chosen.

On my way back from the buffet, balancing my plate of salmon, chicken and pasta on one hand, I approached her table and asked who she had chosen.

"Bach," she replied. "Do you agree?"

Do you?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Heard and Seen at Severance Hall

From Row F at Severance Hall Saturday night, the anticipation practically hung off the rafters. Former Cleveland Orchestra music director Christoph von Dohnanyi was conducting. In addition to the usual well-heeled crowd, there were lots of young people in the front rows.

Next to me was an 8-year-old and her father. During intermission, the young lady and I compared the contents of our evening bags. Hers: a pink cell phone, coin purse, and a well-worn toy mouse made of fabric. Mine: keys, no cell phone, ID, $2 in bills, lipstick.

The mouse was missing its ears, so it rather resembled an otter. The original tail had gone missing years ago. In its place, secured by two safety pins, was a length of orange-and-yellow yarn.

Standing ovations are so commonplace that they have pretty much lost their luster; however, the audience couldn't get enough of CvD, keeping him onstage through several bows and curtain calls.

Oh, and if you thought the Brahms Symphony #1 ran longer than previous Cleveland Orchestra performances, you were right: 47 minutes.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Breezy Saturday

Tidying up the Radio Ranch garden while it's warm. The Chive Forest is awakening. The white hyacinths are beautifully in bloom. The mint, as always, sneaks up on you. At how many offices can snip real herbs for your salad at lunch?

One by-product of the garden grooming is plenty of dried grass and twigs for the red-winged blackbird and the many robins who wait around for the free nesting materials.

Friday, April 2, 2010

My Audience

Joe from Avon sent along this photo of his opera-loving chicken, Arthur, perching on his dollhouse. Listeners to our 7:25 Pet News on WCLV may recall that when Arthur was a youngster and thought to be a hen, he was found by Joe in the garden. Joe nurtured the hen until its gender became clear through early-morning crowing.

Arthur was kept in the shed near the laundry room where Joe played the Metropolitan Opera on WCLV Saturday afternoons. One afternoon, during the "Queen of the Night" aria in "The Magic Flute," Arthur commenced crowing, clucking, and carrying on to such an extent Joe knew immediately that Arthur was a fine-arts chicken.

And such a handsome fellow.

BYO Material

Thanks to the listeners who called yesterday and asked, "Is Blagojevich really going to move to Cleveland?" That WAS an April Fool joke.

Listeners have asked why I don't exhort the audience to get "up, up, up," as our longtime former morning host, Albert Petrak, used to do.

First, I don't steal another announcer's material -- that's very bad form.

Second, I trust listeners to know that (1) it's time to get up, and (2) to BYO motivation.

If you've been exchanging sweet nothings with the Sandman all night, it's time to knock it off.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Fake News and Hep Cats

This year's April Fool "First Program" involved Beatnik-style traffic reports ("Hey, cool cats and chicks, there's a jive backup because of an accident on...") and the usual made-up news stories that were complete balderdash.

Fooled No One

A lady who is private chef to a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers had to call about a news story this morning: "You were joking about Rod Blagojevich moving to Cleveland, weren't you?"

Yes, but I wasn't joking about his hair.