Ferguson Reveals The Truth of Mistrust

I had some random thoughts on the Michael Brown shooting death in Ferguson, MO last Sunday on WSGW’s First Day show.  Why this firestorm erupted from this particular tragedy, the long-held mistrust between people of color and police, and Al Sharpton are all discussed in this week’s “Pat Political Point.”

FergusonSorry I was a bit late posting this.

I always look forward to your comments.

“Pat Political Point” from WSGW’s “First Day, ” 8/24/14: Ferguson Reveals Mistrust.


Monday Music Minute–Elvis Costello

A little late getting this week’s “Monday Music Minute” posted.

elviscostelloI guest-hosted WSGW’s “The Morning Team Show” on Monday, and for the show’s wake-up song, I played Elvis Costello’s “Alison,” in recognition in his 60th birthday.

It’s always been a favorite of mine by Elvis, and it’s got a perfect blend of rock, blues, and punk for me.



Why No Blogging Last Week

Blogging has been sparse during the past couple of weeks.  Visits from friends and family, combined with the daily chores both at home and work, has chewed-up a majority of my time.  When I’m ready to blog, my brain is too exhausted.
I’ve had much to say about many of our current events, particularly what’s been happening in Ferguson.  Actually, I’m happy I didn’t write about Michael Brown’s death because everyone else was having their say.  I’m not sure I could’ve added something different, although I finally talked about it at some length on my WSGW Sunday morning show.  I’ll provide a podcast of my
Essentially, I’m hoping to write more in the near term, and that includes my daily music minutes, which I’ve also ignored.

The Robin Williams Impact

I used my “Pat Political Point” segment on WSGW’s First Day this past Sunday to focus on the tragic passing of Robin Williams, and the impact he had during my early years.

RobinWilliamsAs you’ll hear, I talk about how his role in Good Morning, Vietnam inspired me to someday work in radio.  I also share how his character in Dead Poets Society taught me to “swim against the stream,” once in awhile.

I received some positive feedback on the segment, but I received this email which bothered me somewhat:

Mr Johnson,
They are only actors.  I could not help but notice that you did not mention his drug and alcohol abuse over his lifetime, maybe this contributed to his health issues, and several marriages. Lets hope our young children do not look up to these types as you do.

It wasn’t his misspelling of my name that bothered me. Rather, it was this flippant attitude some in this country have towards “actors,” as if they have nothing of value to contribute to society.

I responded that Williams suffered from depression, which is a disease.  This caused him to abuse certain substances, which is also a disease.  We should have compassion for those suffering from those afflictions.  I added that if we’re supposed to discount people because they’re actors who have multiple marriages, then I no longer want to hear about the greatness of Ronald Reagan.

Was Robin Williams a flawed man?  Of course.  Is there such a thing as a perfect human being?  If so, please point me in their direction.  I’d like to meet them.

Is his life filled with several examples of selflessness?  Absolutely. Ask the military members who referred to him as the “new Bob Hope” due to the numerous trips he made to Afghanistan and Iraq.  Or read about the work he performed to help St. Jude raise awareness and funding for children dealing with cancer.

True, Robin Williams was a comedian and an actor.  If you choose to dismiss his entire life’s work because you deem those professions unworthy of your respect, then please, do just that.  But you’ll fail to see how Williams impacted millions of people on the stage, on the screen, and behind the scenes, as well.  He made people laugh, think, and cry.  He used his power of celebrity to help people throughout the world.  He made us try to forget–for a moment–about the daily grind of life.

Yes, he’s someone I’ll never be ashamed to say I admired.

“Pat Political Point” on Robin Williams. From the 8/17/14 edition of WSGW’s “First Day.”


So Long, Hilary

Today marked the final “First Day” show with my good friend, Hilary Farrell.  She’s leaving WSGW radio for a new radio position in the Grand Rapids public radio arena.


Hilary’s been a great asset to both our show and the WSGW News Team.  She’ll be greatly missed.

Click the link to hear Hilary’s farewell from today’s show.

Good luck, Hils!

So Long, Hilary! From WSGW’s “First Day” show on 8/17/14

pat@wsgw.com  hilary@wsgw.com

Why Comerica Is No PNC Park

The Detroit Tigers are taking-on the Pittsburgh Pirates in a home-and-home four game series this week.  While I haven’t been to many baseball stadiums around the country, I have to agree with MLive.com’s Joe LaPointe that Pittsburgh’s PNC Park is a far superior venue to enjoy a baseball game than Detroit’s Comerica Park:

Truth be told, there is only one thing wrong with Comerica: It’s a mediocre place to watch a baseball game because the grandstands are so poorly designed.

Detroit and Michigan fans who make road trips will realize that Monday and Tuesday when the Tigers visit the Pirates at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.


The main, lower grandstand (at Comerica Park) is built far too horizontally. The seating contour pulls back and away from the field. It would be better if it were more vertical, with steeper sight lines, the way most good stadiums and arenas – old and new, indoor and outdoor – are designed.

Because of this design flaw, too many Comerica seats are exposed, soaking fans when it rains and broiling them in the sun on hot days. A cynic might suggest this is intentional because it forces fans to get up, stroll the cool, dry concourses and spend money on things like Ferris wheels and carousels.

Comerica is still a beautiful park, and I agree with LaPointe that it’s a much cleaner and family friendly place to watch a ballgame than the iconic Tiger Stadium.  The centerfield view of downtown Detroit provides a fantastic view.  Yet, for all of its beauty and grandeur, I don’t think it’s a great place to actually watch a game.  If you’re in the upper deck, you’ll get a decent view–especially if you’re behind home plate or partially down the baselines.  It’s a different story if you’re in the lower deck.  Ugh!  It’s way too flat in the lower deck, which prevents you from getting an ideal view of the game.  And like LaPointe mentions, if it’s a hot, humid day, sitting in the lower deck has got to be the worst.  That’s why I think the afternoon crowds seem so lethargic by the middle innings.

No Challenge. PNC Is Superior To Comerica

No Challenge. PNC Is Superior To Comerica

PNC Park is a fantastic stadium.  It’s a new stadium, but it has the intimacy of the older stadiums–like Tiger Stadium.  The lower deck seating is more vertical, eliminating the possibility of getting obstructed by taller fans sitting in front of you.  It also allows for the fans to be closer to the action.  Dr. Heather and I attended a Tigers-Pirates game at PNC back in 2006, and we had seats about 25-30 rows behind home plate.  They were the second greatest seats I’ve ever had to watch a baseball game.  We had a perfect view of the field, concessions were nearby, and we’re treated to an absolutely breathtaking view of downtown Pittsburgh.  Then, we took a ferry boat ride down the Monongahela River to Station Square to enjoy some post-game food and drink.

In my opinion, PNC hands-down is the better stadium.

P.S. The greatest seats I’ve ever had to watch a ballgame?  Upper deck box seats behind home plate at Tiger Stadium.  You were so close to the action, had an unobstructed view of the ballpark, and if you listened carefully, you could hear Ernie Harwell’s voice filtering up the stands from the broadcast booth.