Mike Bo's Blog!

19.11.2017
MIKE BOTULA
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MikeBo’s Blog! Sunday 19 November 2017 Sunny: 60°F/15°C Roma, EUR, Italia Mostly Sunny: 65°F/18°C Cedar Park, Texas Buonagiornata!      The doctor glanced a his computer screen, smiled, and looked over at my daughter and I and said, Okay! The good news is … no cancer!  It’s amazing just how good for morale a few spoken words like that can be!        My primary physician had referred me onto a specialist when one of my blood tests registered high. This appointment was with the specialist to go over the results of a biopsy, and he had asked me to bring a family  member with me to the consultation, just in case….! So, as months of angst dissipated, I said, I HAD been planning my next trip to Italy. Can I book my flight?  His reply, Sure, but I would like to re-check you in three months. Bon Voyage! My snappy retort, I’m going to Italy, doctor. That’s Buon Viaggio! "Roma è la città di echi, la città delle illusioni e la città di desiderio". Giotto di Bondone, 1337       [“Rome is the city of echoes, the city of illusions, and the city of desire.”] The wheels had been turning ever since I returned from my last trip in April. I had originally planned to spend the holidays back in Rome with Michael and Laura, but then that lab work threw a wrench into my plans. Now, everything was back off hold, and my travel planning lurched back up to speed. The new trip will be a birthday celebration instead of a family Christmas, but that’s okay.        I’ll be spending my vacation in the same apartment where I stayed the last time. Michael called Amina, the landlady and she reserved it for me. So, I’m back in a familiar neighborhood, near Michael and Laura. I’ve made the transition from being a tourist just dropping in to Rome to becoming a part-time resident of the Eternal City. After a challenging year in Texas with hurricanes, mass shootings and conservative politics, I’m actually looking forward to a winter holiday in Europe, especially a pilgrimage I hope to make to the Czech Republic.        As many of my friends and the folks who know me or follow my adventures on Facebook, my blog or www.mikebotula.com are aware, my paternal grandparents emigrated from the vicinity of Ostrava in what is now the Czech Republic back in 1903. I’ve also included some of our family history in my book about my father’s World War 2 adventures, LST 920: Charlie Botula’s Long, Slow Target! (Barnes and Noble on-line, and Amazon Books). I am a proud product of America’s Immigrant Experience!       The world has gotten a lot smaller since I made my first overseas trip in 1975, to Frankfurt, Germany to visit my brother Packy, who was stationed there in the US Air Force. We toured Bavaria, Austria and Northern Italy on that trip exchanging US dollars into deutschemarks, Austrian schillings and Italian lira along the way. Now, when I need spending money or go shopping I visit a corner bancomat and top off my  wallet with Euros. The US dollar is worth about the same as the Euro. (Current exchange rate: € 1.00 = US $ 1.18). A trip to Rome is no less challenging than a weekend in San Francisco. And, I highly recommend visits to both great cities.        It has certainly made my visits to Italy more enjoyable having a member of the family – my son Michael – actually living in the city where I spend most of the time. It further helps the cause to have a son who not only lives there, but makes most of his income as a guide for City Wonders Tours. When I was younger and the kids were growing up, I used to take Michael and his sister Dana to work with me quite frequently. Now the shoe is on the other foot, and Michael has taken me to work with him as he leads tours all around Rome, Florence, Venice, Naples and points in between like Pompeii, Montecassino, and Pisa. My grandparents came to America to seek new opportunities and to raise their family. My son has reversed the pattern, and I am following in his footsteps.        My ticket for the trip, in jet age steerage is booked, my apartment in Rome is reserved. All I need to do now is tuck my passport in my pocket  and get to the airport, which I’ll do shortly after the holidays. I’ll be chronicling my adventures, large and small in my upcoming series Rome Diary  IV: Il Mio Ritorno a Roma!   Onward and Upward! Ciao, MikeBo © Mike Botula 2017 [Mike Botula is the author of LST 920: Charlie Botula’s Long, Slow Target! He is a retired broadcast journalist, government spokesperson and media consultant.   Mike’s book is available from Amazon or Barnes and Noble Books. You can read more about Mike Botula at www.mikebotula.com]
16.11.2017
MIKE BOTULA
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MikeBo’s Blog! Retired in a small city in Texas November 16, 2017 Buonagiornata!       I actually felt sorry for Donald Trump the other day, and embarrassed for every press secretary L'arancia grande beve l'acqua! who ever dropped the ball on a small but vital detail. POTUS’s scramble for his drink of water during his mid-week news conference is still reverberating on TV and computer screens, tablets and I Phones around the globe and is destined to be replayed down through the centuries. History will note it as a defining moment of the Trump Presidency.    And now, I’m wondering which minor minion in the White House Press Office will be fired for the President’s gaffe. In the rules of the press secretary profession, the cardinal rule is: Never leave undone any small detail that allows your boss to look bad!  In the flackery game, letting your boss look bad is a capital offense, a mortal sin, and a Bozo no-no!    In normal times, the White House Press Office is the undisputed World Champion among government press agencies, bar none. As a reporter, I’ve had occasion to cover presidential press events all the way back to LBJ’s visit to Phoenix, Arizona three weeks after the Kennedy assassination in Dallas in November, 1963. In California, I covered  Ronald Reagan when he was governor and during his presidency. I also covered the Western White House during Watergate. Trust me when I say that the President of the United States should never have to scramble for a sip of water during a televised news conference. And, to have to unscrew a plastic bottle of water and gulp from it like a field hand… well, it’s just gauche beyond words!    I covered thousands of press conferences over my decades as a radio and TV reporter. But, I never realized the science behind the staging of a news conference until I was hired by a political consulting firm to do advance press relations for a California ballot initiative in 1988. That campaign kicked off a whole new career line for me. The following year, I joined the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office as News Secretary to District Attorney Ira Reiner. Two District Attorneys later, I left for Sacramento following my appointment by Governor Gray Davis as Assistant Director for Public Information for the new state Department of Child Support Services. I’ve had a lot of experience with news conferences.    I could do a university lecture on How to Organize a News Conference. (And, in fact, I have.) But, let’s focus on TLC at the podium. Even the most seasoned veteran will experience a dry throat or begin to perspire during his or her presentation. So a basic detail is to have a glass of water nearby along with a small package of tissues.  I always huddled with my client before the start of the news conference to make sure he had his talking points in the proper pocket. The briefing always included the location of the glass or cup of water. (No bottles).    One of the participants at I news conference I was responsible for was considerably shorter than my boss. So, I had a special riser built, to eliminate the sharp difference in the height of the two speakers. Later, my boss told me that the visiting dignitary was impressed because your Press Secretary thinks of everything!    Poor POTUS! He travels to  the far reaches of the earth on a 12-day journey to meet with world leaders, engaging in the most monumental political tasks, and wants to share his good news upon his return with his nation and the world. But, what is the most notable moment of that entire effort? The leader of the Free World fumbling with a screw-top water bottle!     Somewhere behind the scene at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, heads are rolling! Onward and Upward! Ciao, MikeBo © Mike Botula 2017 [Mike Botula is the author of LST 920: Charlie Botula’s Long, Slow Target! He is a retired broadcast journalist, government spokesperson and media consultant.   Mike’s book is available from Amazon or Barnes and Noble Books. You can read more about Mike Botula at www.mikebotula.com]
24.10.2017
MIKE BOTULA
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MikeBo’s Blog! Cloudy with Sun in Afternoon 59°F/15°C at Cokeburg, Pennsylvania Sunny 75°F/24°C at Cedar Park, Texas Dobrý den! Yesterday, as I signed onto Facebook for my morning ration of clack and clatter about The Decline and Fall of the American Dream at the Tiny Hands of the Upstart From Queens, one of my Dad in 1945   Facebook Memories popped up on my screen. It was an old blog of mine, entitled A Story My Father Told Me! Not being inclined to wallow through another memory flogger, I passed on it and went on to more current events. Then, last evening, my cousin Linda reminded me that it was my father’s birthday – October 23rd, the same as my cousin Bernie Botula, my dad’s godson. When I replied to her message, I mentioned that my kid brother Packy had his birthday on the 18th. This morning, as I lurched into consciousness, I realized that, had he lived, my dad would be 108. (He died in 1965 at 52). The title of that Facebook memory and my blog escaped me, so I went back to the source to refresh my memory.    https://mikebotula.blogspot.com/2014/10/a-story-my-father-told-me.html

LST 920: Charlie Botula's Long, Slow Target!

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