Rooting for the 49ers taps into California's rivalries

After the San Francisco 49ers beat the Atlanta Falcons for the right to go to the Super Bowl, I tweeted my appreciation of a California team going to the game.  If no local team is in the running (or exists), I'm always glad to root for a Bay Area team that makes it.

My tweet got responses from some Southern Californians who have no interest in supporting a San Francisco team, especially given the Giants' World Series championship.  It goes without saying that many Dodger fans are loathe to support the Giants, under any circumstances. 

Given the historic bad blood between the teams, that's no surprise, but I think it runs even deeper.  The divide between Northern and Southern California is about more than sports, or even water rights.  It's rooted in distinct cultural differences between the two.


What the "Up" series of documentaries tells us about stages of life

Director Michael Apted (L) with Larry Mantle in the AirTalk studio.

This past Wednesday on "AirTalk," film director Michael Apted came in to talk with us about his eighth documentary in the series that's followed the lives of 13 people, beginning in 1964 when the kids were seven.  They've shared their stories with Apted every seven years, and he's clearly invested a lot of emotion into this project.

"56 Up" is wonderful for how it shows the mid-life evolution of the participants.  Apted includes scenes from earlier interviews, so that we see what aspects of today's 56-year-olds were present in childhood and what turns their lives have made over these years. 

"56 Up" is showing at the Nuart in West Los Angeles, and Apted will be doing Q-and-A at some of the screenings.



The "amazing" list of banished words is "literally" "awesome"

When "Offramp" host John Rabe's father, Bill, created the list at Lake Superior State University in Michigan he likely didn't know it would thrive nearly 40 years later.  As language evolves there should never be a shortage of words and phrases we want to "kick to the curb."

This morning on "AirTalk," I asked listeners to pick the ones they "hate on."  We got some good ones, including my overused "unpack," as in "let's unpack that idea."  Falling into word patterns can happen so subtly that we don't even know it until someone points it out.

My nomination for the list -- "it is what it is."   What are yours?


It was a remarkable show of listener generosity and commitment

His expression said it all.  KPCC Director of On-Air Fundraising Rob Risko walked into my studio about 10:45 a.m. to update me on where we stood with our Fall member drive.  I knew we had a $10,000 challenge that had started first thing in the morning, but didn't have any idea how far behind we had fallen in reaching the required 1,000 member threshold.

 Rob gave it to me straight -- we had to attract well over 500 members during "AirTalk" to meet the challenge.  I knew that was nearly impossible during a full two-hour show, let alone one that would be significantly pre-empted by the President's news conference.  Regardless, I knew we had to do our best and hope our listeners would contribute in a record-setting way.  Boy, did they.

We didn't start our show until 11:25 a.m., following the news conference.  Right off the bat the phones started ringing and the KPCC website starting humming.  The volume of member contributions stayed high with only a few exceptions.  There were times we could barely keep track of how many members were coming in.  It was one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences I've had in all my years hosting "AirTalk."


Are we there yet?

Yes, we've finally reached the culminating day that we've been pointing to for the past 18 months -- Election Day!  However, it's quite different from those of the past.  An estimated 40% of voters have already cast ballots, so it makes the actual day a bit less climactic.  We might also lack a clear winner by Wednesday morning. 

It's possible that the swing state votes are so close that it's impossible to accurately determine the electoral vote.  Then we'll have to exercise extreme patience through the official counts and inevitable legal challenges.  It could be a mess.

It could also, of course, be over by the time polls close in California.  We only have a few hours to wait until we'll know.

I'll be anchoring KPCC's election night coverage, starting at 8 p.m.  NPR's coverage starts us off at 5 p.m., and we'll intersperse national and California returns into our comprehensive KPCC coverage until late Tuesday night.  I hope you'll join me, Patt Morrison, and the full KPCC news team.