Category Archives: Bud Buck

Love Storm, Revisited

This morning at 9am, my good friend Mike Pengra will re-air the final broadcast of MPR’s Morning Show on Radio Heartland, recorded 6 years ago today.

Such a kind gesture from a true gentleman!

Since it’s only good manners to bring a gift of some sort to a party, I’ll offer this – a post from the old “Trail Balloon” blog that immediately followed the event itself:

Our final Morning Show broadcast was an immense hug and a truly beautiful thing thanks to the waves of faithful listeners who flowed to and through the Fitzgerald Theater and St. Paul’s Central Presbyterian Church. The size of the crowd went well beyond our expectations (I wagered 1500) and their warmth was off the charts.

As a lifelong radio guy, I am naturally timid at the thought of facing a live audience, but this group was as comfort-inducing as any collection of 2000 souls can be. What’s the opposite of an unruly mob? A ruly mob, I guess. That’s what we had.

All the heartfelt words of praise for our Morning Show were oh so welcome, but after awhile I did begin to feel a bit guilty. Let’s face it, everybody works hard and the stress of day-to-day living takes a toll. Who wouldn’t get a boost from having a gaggle of admiring people asking for your autograph? I confess I enjoyed it tremendously, but I recognize that most people deserve a kind word and a pat on the back for the good things they do every day, and do they get it? You know the answer. Sorry Jim Ed and I hogged the love storm, but what could we do? It blew down the doors.

The Morning Show is done. It was a long-running and sometimes confounding radio gymnastics routine with plenty of twists and flourishes and it looked like we would come crashing down a couple of times, but our spotters were there for us and gravity gave us some lucky breaks, and the dismount was incredible.

When have you finished well?

On The iWatch Watch

Today’s commentary comes from disgraced former journalist Bud Buck, who is a plagiarist, a liar, a serial exaggerator and a sensationalist. But still not a bad person.

I wanted to be at Apple’s Big Reveal in Cupertino, California today, but I stayed home instead.

The tension that comes from the knowledge that Great Expectations are about to meet and totally exceed (or be completely dashed by) mundane reality is just too much for me. The next frontier is said to be “The Internet of Everything,” particularly wearable objects that seamlessly interface with your life in ways that will be extremely valuable and thoroughly indispensable in the future but at this point, they are utterly impossible to imagine.

Until after the announcement is made, that is.

I don’t have enough energy for this. Plus, I couldn’t get an invitation.

But I am exhausted from the relentless build-up and all the uninformed chatter. The Apple-obsessed Geek Army that rules our technological conversation expects to see an iWatch that is absolutely wonderful and world-altering, and as soon as the announcement is made they will stand in single file to wait for the chance to buy theirs regardless of the price or the time required to get to the head of the line.

Equally enthralled Apple followers expect to be bitterly disappointed. And in some cases these are the same people!

But for this reporter, it is not too much to wait for tomorrow, or the next day. I’m already convinced that everything will change. Either Apple will do it again, or Apple will cease to be Apple. Either way – different world.

It reminds me of the night I graduated from high school. After the ceremony in our bunting-bedecked gym, all my classmates had gone off to their celebrations but I lingered, handcuffing myself to my former locker, certain that everything I knew would soon be gone and determined to hang on to every moment for as long as I possibly could. When the fire department and police officers arrived with bolt cutters and a straight jacket, I knew I had already made the transition into a new phase of life.

So I’ve decided to spend today in quiet reflection – taking a proper amount of time to carefully observe the life that I know and love before it all disappears forever. Cradling my 2nd generation iPhone in trembling hands and shedding tears for my dumb surroundings – the washer/dryer that isn’t aware of my location via GPS, the cufflinks that don’t know my current heartbeat and blood pressure, the toothbrush that has not already downloaded a list of what I’ve eaten today, and the socks that are blissfully ignorant of what I weigh, and also what I’m supposed to weigh.

I will draw out these waning moments as long as possible, for I believe we are in the last Days of Innocence, before Everything Changes.

Time Will Tell,
Bud Buck

What new thing do you look forward to?

Polar Vortex Redux

Image – NOAA Climate Prediction Center

Today’s post comes from Unreliable Journalist Bud Buck.

Meteorologists and paranormalists are watching with great interest as conditions conspire to raise some serious questions about the true nature of the mysterious forces that propel our weather.

Although I have talked to at least two people and maybe three about this topic, no one has yet been able to convince me that there is not something spooky and ominous afoot!

In a bit of timing worthy of a vengeful and nefarious supervillain, the dreaded weather phenomenon known as the Polar Vortex is coming back at exactly the right moment to make Minneapolis’ All-Star summertime a bummertime.

Starting off what is normally one of the warmest weeks of the year, this Monday will see a high temperature of only 65 degrees with 25 mile per hour wind gusts driving a cold rain into the faces of Important Visitors From Afar – those cherished opinion leaders congregating in Minneapolis for Major League Baseball’s annual All Star Game Tuesday night.

Unseasonably cool conditions are also certain to mar the beginning of a seven day stretch that the city’s mayor has identified as Bragging Week.

Coincidence? I put that question to TV meteorologist Gust Hailstone, who said “What are you talking about?”

I proceeded to explain to the clueless Hailstone that some people are saying the Polar Vortex is actually more than a weather system. These individuals believe the Vortex is actually a sentient being – a roiling stew of temperature differentials and moisture, brought into consciousness by the electricity in lightning, and configured just perfectly to have a vendetta against the city of Minneapolis!

“That’s ridiculous,” Hailstone spluttered. “I’ve never heard anybody say that.”

“You’re a liar,” I replied, “because I just said it, and you heard me.”

The real question is – why is the Polar Vortex trying to ruin our reputation by making all of America and the rest of the world see Minneapolis as a place that is too cold to visit, even in the summertime?

I put that question to paranormalist Jade Seance.

“That’s already our reputation,” she said. “Through the thick mists that separate this life from the next one, I can sense that even the dead people shudder when Minneapolis is mentioned.”

The moment she said “Minneapolis,” I felt a deep, clean chill, almost as if a door had been left open, or a ghost had walked through my physical body. I quickly spun around, expecting to see the Vortex standing before me in the form of a living, breathing arch-fiend!

But no! It was an open door. Her receptionist had quit the day before and Seance propped a chair against the entryway so passers-by could see us gathered around the table, holding hands.

“People will pay you good money and put up with a lot of malarkey if you’ll just hold their hand for an hour,” she said. “Some folks are really desperate to make any kind of human contact.”

Still, I had to ask. “What does the Polar Vortex want with us?”

At that very moment, the lights came back on, the wind blew the door shut and Seance said “Time’s up! If you want more answers it will be another hundred dollars.”

Indignant, I marched into the street, found a cop, and complained that I had been bamboozled by a paranormalist. But as soon as the officer found out I was a local person, she detained me on charges of raising the stress level when company’s coming and violating the promotional ethos of Bragging Week.

The Polar Vortex strikes again!

This is Bud Buck!

Naturally, Bud is trying to make this as dramatic as possible so he can draw attention to himself. But I think he imagined this entire episode, or at least embellished it. I’m confident that weather does not have needs or desires when it comes to complimenting or ruining our events.

Or does it?

When has the weather undermined your plans?

Aggression Study Provokes Fight

Today’s post comes from disgraced journalist Bud Buck, who considers telling the truth to be “a content strategy that hasn’t really worked out.”


A team of researchers studying aggression in men has confirmed the long held suspicion that men will deliberately anger each other to get what they want.

Professor Kirk Buffdude of Pummel University led the study, which gave 140 undergraduate men a chance to call out to an opponent before competing with that same opponent in a fine motor skills contest.

The competition involved carefully threading lengths of puffy yarn through small holes cut in tablet-sized pieces of cardboard. Only one competitor was allowed to speak before the contest began, and that person had just three choices

Buffdude found that the participants who chose to issue a challenge to their opponent’s virility won the ensuing fine motor skills game 78% of the time, whereas those who chose to offer a supportive comment won only 3% of the time. The contestants chose to say nothing at all won the remaining 19% of the time.

“This shows that humiliating your opponent before a fight gives you a competitive edge,” Buffdude said. “The adrenaline spike of an impending confrontation makes it impossible to govern fine motor tasks, and aggressors inherently know this and use it to their advantage. It’s a major breakthrough, and it makes me the greatest aggression researcher of all time!”

But others in the field were not impressed.

“Buffdude’s study is a joke,” said Dr. Armstrong Slapdown, Chair of the Domination Department at Worrisome College. “If you add up the numbers, it’s apparent that the contestant who was allowed to talk won the competition every single time, no matter what he said. How is that possible? They must have been fighting girls.”

But Slapdown’s comments drew fire from Dr. Winsome Garrotte, holder of the Rob Ford Endowed Chair for In-Your-Faceness at Toronto’s Angst Institute. “Fighting girls is no picnic,” she said. “Professor Slapdown knows that very well from our joint appearance on the Bad Attitude Panel at last Fall’s I.V.A.C., the International Verbal Assassination Convention.”

In spite of the confrontational tone of the responses, the author of the study that sparked all the sniping was unmoved. “We don’t make a lot of forward progress in Aggression Studies,” Professor Kirk Buffdude said. “Mostly our work is a matter of posturing. You have to enjoy the show if you’re going to survive.”

How are you in a fight?

Fall Back

Today’s post is a Questionable News Dispatch from disgraced journalist Bud Buck.

Trying Not To Turn Back Time
Trying Not To Turn Back Time

Tea Party conservatives have mounted a last-minute filibuster to delay the return to standard time this weekend. Assuming a now-familiar position in the well of the Senate, Republican Ted Cruz said “I take the floor to speak until next Spring, if necessary, to keep the nation from making the grave mistake of turning its back on anything with ‘savings’ in the title.”

In the House, Speaker John Boehner has acquiesced to demands from the most conservative members of his caucus that clocks at the Capitol remain untouched throughout this weekend and until further notice because “… nothing about the United States is ‘standard’.” Sources inside the Republican caucus say the Tea Party contingent rejected a compromise offer from Boehner to change the name of the four month interlude between the end and beginning of Daylight Savings Time from the traditional “Standard Time” to “Exceptional Time”.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tentatively endorsed the effort, pending the discovery of a way to link the time change to Obamacare.

But as usual, not all Republicans were on board with the tactic. Arizona Senator John McCain called the strategy “asinine”, and said “Nobody needs an extra hour of sleep more than I do.”

How will you spend your extra hour this weekend?

Hobby Farm

Today’s post comes from disgraced former journalist Bud Buck.

People often ask me to explain how, as a one-time newsboy poster child and respected radio anchor, I became a disgraced former journalist. I always tell them if they’ll simply sweeten my palm with a $20, the story is theirs. Sometimes it works.


The short version is this – it became so difficult to manage all the true information that was in the world, as a self defense mechanism I started to make things up. It worked for a while and I began to see my job as a form of self-expression. It didn’t hurt to lie so much when I remembered that it really was all about me!

And now the rickety tower that was once the institution of American journalism is approaching total collapse with word that a famous newspaper with a storied tradition will be purchased by a very rich guy who needs a new toy to play with. And yes, I just ended a sentence with a preposition. That’s how dead good writing is! Deal with it!

Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, bought the Washington Post for 250 million dollars. It’s not a takeover by Amazon because Bezos, one of the world’s wealthiest men, is buying it as an individual.

And yes, he got free shipping!

Bezos is famous for focusing on “the customer experience.” I can only guess that his experience as a Washington Post buyer was satisfactory, though I guess I’ll have to wait for the customer review to be certain. But one thing you won’t have to wait for is the pundit review. People who write opinions for a living have fallen on this story like a family of bears on the last picnic basket in the woods. They are tearing it apart because it features all the things they love – journalism, money, and … well, that’s about it.

My opinion hardly matters in all this, except to me. And that’s the point! This is the next logical step in the total disintegration of communications. Every person is now his or her own media empire. I suspect Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post because he didn’t have time to start his own blog. Look for someone richer to step up soon to buy The New York Times, and someone wealthier still to snap up CBS, NBC and finally Trail Baboon. Then it’s a total free-for-all!

Someday soon, when every news source is a vanity project beholden to a single personality, we will all be so busy filtering and interpreting information we won’t have time to actually know anything. And when that day comes, I won’t waste your time with an “I told you so.”

Instead, I’ll say “Welcome to my world.”

This is Bud Buck!

Who do you trust?

Blame Is In The Air

Today’s post comes from disgraced and disreputable former journalist Bud Buck.

The FAA announced today it will assess delay-blame on a minute-by-minute basis across the entire nationwide air traffic system so travelers do not waste time nursing their misdirected ire.

“I’m mad as hell,” said perpetually angry regional sales manager Aaron Shoelicker. “If I have to sit on the tarmac for an extra 20 minutes alongside some whiney infant who can’t stop blubbering about his need to get to Tampa for a noontime meeting, I want to know immediately who I can hate for being put in that situation.”

Shoelicker complained that during an especially lengthy airport delay earlier this month, he was allowed to spiral into a towering fit of rage only to find out later that the culprit was bad weather at his scheduled destination.

“I got wound up and had a monumental tantrum at the check-in desk. Later, when I found out the reason for the hold-up, I felt like an idiot because I was essentially shouting about Minnesota having a snowstorm.” he said. “Back in November I was begging for snow, so the irony is not lost on me.”

Simone Forage, another frequently ballistic flyer, admitted exhaustion from repeatedly launching herself into a series of spittle-soaked tirades in response to a recent spate of unattributed flight postponements and missed connections.

“I didn’t know who, exactly was behind all this,” she said, wistfully. “So I let the flight attendants have it, and everybody in first class got a piece of my mind too. If someone had simply explained that it was really the Republicans’ fault, I could have focused my ranting more efficiently.”

The FAA will closely measure degrees of travel-delay blame and will categorize it across a spectrum of responsibility that includes Democrats, Republicans, the President, Congress, Gays, Television, the NRA, Hollywood, Video Games, the Koch Brothers, Mario, Luigi, and the Kardashians. The results will be posted on large information boards at all major airports, and airline employees from the pilots to the gate agents will apportion blame for each delay at the time it is announced.

“We owe this to the traveling public,” explained Special Agent Foster Wellington of the Federal Spleen Administration. “Helping people fly off the handle productively allows us to conserve our National Bile Stockpile, which needs to be nurtured in case we encounter something that’s really worth getting all upset over.”

How do you manage your anger?