This month sparks a landmark or sorts for yours truly. The landmark event being referred to marks the time I experienced my first entry into the world that can be called cyberspace. This is the so-called “place” that is does not exist in any physical sense, but it’s a domain that is everywhere whenever folks realize it or not. However, it was a journey that I didn’t recognize at first. It was something that I remembered that would change a course for me, along with the zillions of folks out there that would later join me to use, misuse, and abuse.
Twenty five years ago, I entered cyberspace for the first time to visit the the first web site I ever viewed!
Here’s the story on how that all happened.
In October of 1994, the National Association of Broadcasters, better known as the NAB, hosted the NAB Radio convention. This was a trade show for those involved in the radio industry from engineering to programming and all points in between. For three days, the industry would gather to view the latest in radio/audio technology, take part in various workshop panels that speak about the radio industry, as well as attend a number of after parties hosted by various companies involved in the business called radio.
That year, the convention was held at the Los Angeles Convention in downtown LA. At the time, the convention center just opened their south hall, a massive hall space that expanded the convention site that linked the older and smaller west hall, increasing the space to host big-deal conventions.
The area where the convention site was located was in a semi-run down part of town. A collection of parking lots circled the convention building. Around the various streets were a group of smaller hotels, as well as smaller buildings ranging from retails stores (including two auto dealers), and some older apartment building where a lower class clientele called home. The massive Staples Center was in the planning stages whose goal was to bring life in an area of the city that was being avoided through any and all means.
Downtown at the time was a place where people worked at their jobs during business hours, only to leave in the early evening to the outer regions of the area based upon where the freeways would take the commuters. After hours, the area was a ghost town, only inhibited by those that were not ghosts per se, but were scary enough where one would want to be anywhere except this “heart of the city”.
Anyway, let’s get back to the NAB Radio show. I attended not because I was involved in radio, although I did hold an interest in that industry as a listener and fan. I attended to see what was going on in the industry, as well as grab as much swag I could get away with, and to attend (crash?) a number of after parties that were going on after the show closed for the day around 6:00 PM. The after party hosted by radio show distributer Westwood One was a blast, allowing me to meet a number of radio personalities that were part of the WWOne domain such as Jim Bohannon (Larry King’s substitute host), Tom Snyder, the former host of NBC’s The Tomorrow Show that was going to host a radio talk program with WWOne, as well as a few other folks, many of those names long forgotten!
Anyway, at the convention there was the exhibit hall where various companies involved in radio were showing off their goods and services. As I was trolling among the exhibit hall grabbing as many freebies I could find, raging from the standard pens and notepads with the company logo affixed on them, to audio cassettes of demo shows of radio programs available for syndication, I visited one booth that was small in square footage space, but important enough.
The booth I visited was hosted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) a government agency that at the time was an independent agency to assist areas affected through natural disasters. FEMA was stall making its presence in Los Angeles due to The Northridge earthquake that occurred earlier that year. In the previous year that summer, they were involved covering the areas affected by the flooding of the Mississippi River in the Midwest. FEMA was encouraging radio station managers and programmers with their offering of news and information on informing its listeners with the details on how FEMA can assist their regions in case of an emergency.
Placed on their table in front of their booth was a collection of flyers and the usual amount of swag. Seated on the left side was a computer monitor that was connected to the FEMA website. I was told by the FEMA rep on duty that this site can be accessed by anyone with a computer connected to “the internet” with all of the latest details from FEMA posted. Their website can be accessed through any Netscape web browser by typing in http://www.fema.gov anytime day or night, seven days a week.
I recall browsing the site seeing what info was placed there. After glancing at it for about a minute or two, I was very impressed that anyone connected to that thing called the internet can get the latest from FEMA. However, in order to do such, one needed a computer machine and some way to connect to the internet. I, also, had no such resources available to me at that time. But I did thank the person at the FEMA booth for the information, only to saunter off to another booth nearby that was hosted by a radio show distribution company offering stations to become an affiliate of a talk show called “After The Rush”, designed to be aired right after Rush Limbaugh’s radio gab fest. (I still have the demo cassette I grabbed. However, with all of the audio and video tapes I own, I have yet to listen to it. Maybe one year soon…!)
Little did I know at the time that that glance on that FEMA website of long ago would become the first time I entered cyberspace. It would be a few more years until I did get my first computer machine–a custom made desktop tower that ran a Windows 95 operating system, along with a Hayes 140,000 baud external modem that connected to the internet via telephone line by calling a local phone number provided by an internet provider called KBBS that would tie up my phone. When I was “on-line”, nobody was able to call me as the caller would just receive a busy signal. If I wanted to make a call, I would have to go “off-line” in order to get phone access.
Of course, things have changed. The NAB Radio Show is still around. (Now called “The Radio Show” https://www.radioshowweb.com/ that incorporates streaming audio and podcasts.) Its next show takes place in Nashville, Tennessee in September of ’20. FEMA is now part of the Department of Homeland Security, and has gone through their growing pains of late, still accessible at http://www.FEMA.gov. Microsoft canned Windows 95 years ago, and is now in the process of throwing out Windows 7..uh..out the window! KBBS is long gone, as well as Netscape. The desktop computer and matching modem I once used was tossed out in the recycling bin. My next machine was a Macintosh Performa 575, made by Apple Computer, and you can bet Apple is still alive and kicking! I switched operating systems then, and never looked back since!
That event at a convention now long forgotten is part of my personal portfolio on how I embraced media for the first time. Soon, I will emote upon the first time I encountered radio and television. Stay tuned to this hear news service for those updates!
NEWS AND REVIEWS
JOJO RABBIT (Fox Searchlight) takes place in Falkenheim, Germany c.1945. The country is under Nazi rule. Although the nations fighting the Germans are gaining strength, Deutschland is doing its best to stay afloat. Ten and a half year old JoJo Betzler (Roman Griffin Davis) lives with his mother Rosie (Scarlett Johansson). Jojo’s father is away in battle fighting for the cause. Although things are rather tough in Nazi Germany, Jojo’s patriotism rings true.
He starts to show off that patriotism when he is able to join the Jungvolk, aka The Hitler Youth, a group that resembles the Boy Scouts. However, instead of learning how to tie knots or to pitch a tent, they learn how to throw hand grenades and how to kill the enemy. In spite of this training, Jojo attempts to do his best for his mom. He also leans to a special friend. He is of the imaginary friend type named Adolph (Taika Waititi), who has an uncanny resemblance to der Furier, except this Adolph is much more friendlier and doesn’t yell as much! Once afternoon when Jojo is home alone, he discovers a secret panel on a wall within his mother’s bedroom. Behind that panel is a secret hiding place. Inside of that hiding place, he discovers a sixteen year old girl named Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) who is Jewish. It seems that Rosie is hiding her, in spite of what consequences she may face with the Gestapo at bay. Even through JoJo is trained to kill all Jews, he begins to feel for her, even through that feeling can become a bit stilted at times.
This feature, directed and written by Taika Waititi and based upon Christine Leunens’ novel Caging Skies is a feature that takes a premise of an era and political situation that doesn’t hold much comic relief on its own. Yet it does carry some of the lighter side of this darker period. Although this movie is billed as a satire (for which is is), the comedy involved isn’t as fast and furious as it could be. Mel Brooks did a better job in that department. Ditto for Charlie Chaplin appearing in The Great Dictator, as well as The Three Stooges(!) in the short subjects You Nazi Spy and I’ll Never Heil Again! Unlike those titles that were created for more an a mainstream audience of its era, the movie that this review is all about is more geared for a selected audience that desires their, drama, conflict, pathos, and even humor leaning toward an “art house”-type crowd; That is, a group of movie goers that would rather see a feature film geared toward a more sophisticated (and older) audience, rather than an crowd that would prefer a commercial tentpole franchise and its sequels, spinoffs, and knockoffs.
Also appearing in this film are Sam Rockwell as Captain Klenzendorf , Jojo’s “scoutmaster”, and Rebel Wilson as Fraulein Rahm, the scoutmaster of the girl’s division of the Hitler Youth league.
In spite of the nature that this movie takes its jokes upon, JOJO RABBIT isn’t a film for all tastes. Some may be offended. Others may accept it as a macabe yet comical satire. The rest of those may accept it for just what it is! However, it is rather unique and different for what it’s worth! Just don’t expect any sequels connected to this movie, let alone product placement!
PS..where did the name “Jojo Rabbit” came from? It would be a spoiler if this reviewer told that backstory. We will confess to the fact that it does involve a bunny!
JOJO RABBIT is rated “PG-13” for cussing and mild violence. Coming soon to selected theaters.
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