Happy Birthday Luke!

Because of the attention he got as a kitten from the then-neighbor’s grandkids he’s very friendly. He’s often on the front steps to our RV when we get up – ready for pets and extra food. He will curl up in Norb’s lap when we have a blaze in the firepit – until he hears something in the woods that needs to be checked out.

Since we are only on the property 45-50 nights a year, we have always depended on neighbors to take care of Luke the rest of the time. The arrangement has changed over the years, but obviously has worked.

Nancy and luke



This is the third winter Nancy, who lives down the road and loves cats, has backstopped the next door neighbors.







Luke has a heated box in the barn’s parlor for warmth, a heated water bowl, food and a south-facing window that provides warmth and a view.

Luke in Window 5

Carol Marin: To very early memories

Carol Marin

A bit of background for readers who do not live in Chicago:

Carol Marine retired November 6 after four decades in Chicago television, most of it at NBC-owned WMAQ-TV. During that long career she set the gold standard for journalism excellence.

After the announcement of her retirement, well deserved tributes poured in. Instead, I chose to write this more personal trip down memory lane. (No idea if she had read it; she’s been very busy.)


Carol, it was always a pleasure working with you. Tons of people have paid well-deserved tributes to your contribution to broadcast journalism in Chicago.

But, for old time’s sake, take a moment to reflect on the beginning at WMAQ-TV, in the late 1970s. I produced the first newscast you co-anchored (with Mike Jackson). Before your debut ND Paul Beavers told me that Mike, as the familiar face, should lead for the next few weeks. Almost immediately you asked me why. I explained what Beavers had said.

Soon I got a message from Beavers: “Never mind.”  You had talked to him. You and Mike began sharing reading lead stories.

I was always flattered that you picked me to be the first producer in your unit. It didn’t last long, because I got an offer to move over to the network side – the beginning of a great eight-year experience.

I’ve always appreciated that you wanted Don Moseley to join you but initially there was no writer’s slot open, so he had to remain in Tennessee. In the end, all three of us won: I got a dream job as field producer for the network, and you and Don teamed up to do amazing, great journalism in Chicago – for decades.

Enjoy the next phase of your life.

Mile Markers: a message to classmates


We recently passed a noteworthy mile marker on our journey through life.

John Lundberg’s death, June 27, is the 89th In Memory entry on our class website. For a class of 356, it means one quarter of our classmates have died.

These are the boys and girls we played with in our neighborhoods, in band, on sports teams, and competed against for the attention of teachers and cute members of the opposite sex. Never again will be able to smile as we talk with them about those “good old days” at class reunions.

Take a deep breath, and think again: the glass is three-quarters full.

We have aches and pains. We’ve gained a bit of weight. We see doctors more frequently and take medications. For exercise, we walk instead of run. Senior moments are more frequent and annoying.

But we also enjoy friends and family. A good number of us travel (or at least did before the pandemic). We have found new, meaningful activities to fulfill our days. We share stories on Facebook and here, and write of seeing each other at the next reunion.

That’s another mile marker just down the road: the 60th anniversary of our graduation from high school.

Will we? Dare we for our own health plan a reunion next year? Until there’s a successful Covid-19 vaccine widely available, we can’t answer that question yet. Maybe in six months. For now, just something to think about. The Class of ’61 could celebrate 61 years in 2022.

In the meantime, for our own sake let’s do our part by social distancing and wearing masks.

Take care of yourself.


Armstrong Walked. At WBBM-TV we sat

Where was I when Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon? Sitting in a control room at WBBM-TV at the end of a frustrating day.

My assignment that day was to produce the 10 p.m. news which was scheduled to air about the time of the space walk.

In those days, news producers were given two pieces of guidance by station management.

First, produce the newscast, even if scheduled for preemption. It would be too embarrassing to lose a network feed – more likely in those days – and not be able to broadcast the normally scheduled local news.

It was hard to get excited about going through the motions, but that was our job.

On the day of the spacewalk, a film editor, who shall remain nameless, announced shortly after arriving for his shift that he was leaving. When reminded we had to prepare a newscast, he stormed off in a huff and slammed the door to his editing room. It had a smoked glass window – and slammed the door so hard it shattered into a thousand pieces. Just steps from the entrance to the newsroom.

The second piece of guidance: If the newscast is delayed, it can’t run past 11 p.m. Station management was unwilling to pay overtime to the technical crew.

So, we sat in the control room. Watched the walk. And went home – leaving behind one broken window.

Alaska 2013: the photo album

At long last, I’ve posted a photo album on norblog highlighting our 10 week, 9000 mile RV journey to Alaska this summer.

If you’re reading this message on the blog website, click on the album link at the very top right of the page. After the thumbnails display, click on the first pic and use the “next” button to advance through the remaining shots.

Alternately, click on this link: http://norblog.typepad.com/photos/alaska_2013/index.html

I’ll write an entry or two about our once in a lifetime experience in the days ahead.

If you want to see Norblog posts, Like them on Facebook

A friend with a good bit more knowledge about social media than I, passes on this bit of insight about Facebook.

My Norblog links drop off the radar quickly unless someone Likes them. In addition, if you don’t Like the posts, eventually they won’t even show up on your Facebook page. Facebook gives priority to messages among “friends” who actively like or comment on each other’s posts. (This may help explain why you have friends who never seem to post.)

To keep seeing Norblog via Facebook, Like it or enter a short comment when you read it – even if you don’t agree with the content. You’re just saying I want to see Norb’s writing when he posts it.

(You can also bookmark Norblog, http://norblog.typepad.com/norblog/, and look in every now and then. But from my experience, such links, if not used daily, tend to get forgotten.)

Norblog Update: a different direction

Norblog took a two month summer break. The vacation gave me time to re-think what I wanted to do with the blog.

In the months ahead,  less frequent but often longer blogs will be about subjects where I have a bit of insight worth sharing.

I will write about Media when my "veteran's view" -- spanning four decades --can add to the discourse. And I'm going to spend more time on Roots, an open collection of entries written mostly with family, classmates and old friends in mind.

Gone is "Norb's Neighborhood," my take on what's going on in Chicago. There are so many bloggers on larger platforms and even more pundits adding comments -- some valuable, most not -- to mainstream news stories that another voice isn't necessary.

Notebook: May 2009 update

A look back confirms a pattern: Since November 1, I've posted an average of five entries a month (6 months, 31 posts) and I've been fairly consistent (at least four each month).

There have been ebbs and flows, and I have no desire to feel obligated to post twice weekly, let alone daily. I have a life.

I have thought of picking a day to post each week. Maybe that would make it easier for people to visit norblog. Just an idea; no research or feedback to suggest this would draw a few more readers.

Using Windows Live Writer certainly had made it easier to write and post entries.

Now, I tell myself not for the first time, I must try to set aside a time of day on a number of days a week to write. As Elaine has said many time, the writing is good for the gray matter. No family argument there.

Huberman's gets off the bus, CTA riders lose

I was sorry, but not surprised, to see Ron Huberman leave the CTA.

In less than two years as president of the transit agency, he eliminated slow zones on several L lines, streamlined bus maintenance, found a way to lease 180 hybrid buses and, most impressive, slashed a full year off the original timetable for restoring four-track L service on the North Side.

It certainly wasn't a completely smooth ride, but on balance, CTA riders have lost a friend.

Now Huberman, in his unofficial roll as Mayor Daley's favorite troubleshooter, moves on the head the Chicago Public Schools.

During his two presentations to the CTA Brown Line Task Force, of which I am a community member, Huberman was a breath of fresh air. He showed candor and an ability to think outside the box. He's a technocrat, not a bureaucrat -- an important distinction.

And that may be what some of the bureaucrats at the Chicago Public Schools find so unsettling.

Jan. 31 update: Chicagoan Mike Doyle, who describes himself as a "Citizen Columnist," took the time to write a more insightful look at Huberman's tenure at the CTA in the Huffington Post/Chicago: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-doyle/why-daley-is-wrong-to-mov_b_161522.html

A Promo for Norblog

With 11 entries in 10 weeks, the re-launch of Norblog is on a roll.

Now it's time for a little self-promotion.

While I've changed the topics, I'm still giving myself the latitude to write about most anything that strikes my fancy.

I'm still avoiding the national political debate because so many, many bloggers can't resist. A recent entry on Sen. Barack Obama's call for a national discussion on race is an exception.

So far, most of the material is under "Norb's Neighborhood," a loose category for Chicago's North Side and the city in general. But I'll get around to "Roots" entries that may be of more interest to family members and my high school classmates.

While I'll still try to write two or three 500-word columns a month, I'm adding shorter entries designed to keep you in the habit of checking back. (By some definitions, a blog must be updated at least once a week.)

After this series of e-mail (sorry for any duplication), you can stay in touch by simply bookmarking and checking this site on a regular (weekly) basis, adding it to your RSS list (if you keep one) or signing up for my NotifyList (click the link to the left) and I'll send an e-mail reminder every so often.