Friday, December 7, 2012



Years ago, the CPB Board had agreed to hold one of its regular meetings in Lincoln at the invitation of the Nebraska Network’s Director, Jack McBride.  We all assembled for dinner at the Nebraska Club on the penthouse of some edifice there.  Jack was the keynote speaker.  His subject was “I am Concerned.”  His opening line was, “I have sixteen things that concern me about the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.”  As he spoke from the podium, Cal Watson kept score on the tablecloth with little tick marks in sets of five. 

Our table at the time included Cal and me and others, including a rather prominent television producer, erstwhile of WBGH/Boston whose career was on the wane.  This gentleman was somewhat heavily into his cups that evening which provided no constraint to his rhetoric and exacerbated his lack of attention to the issues being hurled down from the podium; thus his focus wandered.

One of the items on the fine menu of the evening was Baked Alaska which was brought in and placed before this man for his consideration.  As his consciousness faded, he sunk lower and lower towards the limits of his plate until his nose lightly touched the Baked Alaska, whereupon being urged awake and suddenly returning to an upright position, came up with a small white peak of Alaska for all to see (except him) on the end of his nose that everyone at the table found uncontrollably amusing.  But he, misinterpreting the true circumstances and assuming the jocularity to be due to his own irresistible charm, continued to wax eloquent which only served to make worse what already had gone hilariously awry. 

Mercifully, before long his head sunk to his chest and stayed there where we left him and his little white peak in quiet repose while Jack continued to iterate his concerns without further interference and distraction.

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