Posts Tagged ‘Glasgow’

Where Have You Gone, Bazooka Joe?

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

When I was growing up, every kid I knew chewed bubble gum. We were either trading Topps baseball cards and chomping on the thin slice of gum that came in every package, or peeling the paper off a chunk of Bazooka just before heading out to second base.

Now, according to the New York Times, bubble gum has fallen on hard times. But, the  gum brand of Bazooka Joe and his sidekick Mort, is planning a comeback.

Kids aren’t chewing as much gum as they used to. A marketing company told the Bazooka folks that only 7 per cent of children aged 6 to 12 were aware of Joe and Mort, the cartoon characters who starred in the sometimes corny comic inserts that hugged the bright pink squares of gum inside the outer package.

Maybe Bazooka Joe, who always wears a ball cap and eye-patch and his pal Mort — always with his turtleneck up over his mouth — could use a makeover aimed at elevating image awareness with  this current generation of gum poppers.

Instead, Joe and Mort are all but disappearing into the background in the brand revamp. Never fear, though. They’ll make occasional appearances on the new inserts, but not in comic strip mode. They’ll simply be illustrations. Instead of comics, chewers will get brain teasers and activities and codes which — you guessed it — can be entered at the brand’s website to see videos and games.

Bazooka, the chew choice of boomers, was introduced in 1947. How can any of us forget the deep pink, white, and blue color scheme and geometric design?  The new, re-imagined Bazooka will have new colors and design—fuchsia and yellow, with the splattered-paint look of graffiti.

When my dad sold it at the Goodman Candy Company in Glasgow, Ky.,  each single square piece of it cost a penny;  the new package will feature 10 pieces of gum, five each of the original flavor and a new flavor, blue raspberry. Cost? Who knows?

Good luck, Bazooka Joe, hope we’ll see you at the ballpark!

Remaking Rural Health Tonight on KET

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about “Remaking Rural Health,” which debuts on KET tonight. The lead sentence in KET’s magazine Visions startled me: “Kentuckians are dying younger than people in nearly every state in the country due to alarmingly high rates of cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes.”

If that doesn’t frighten you, it should.

But tonight’s program does point out that our health disparities can and are being addressed by a number of health professionals all over the Commonwealth. While the health problems in rural Kentucky are well reported, much less visible are the community and health care leaders who work to improve conditions.

An excellent example is in Glasgow. Dr. Phillip Bale began one of the only “prevention clinics” in the state, spending almost 30 minutes with each patient to carefully identify and quantify risk for conditions like heart attacks and strokes. Bale says we’ve got to take an active role in improving our health and quit doing what we’ve been doing for the past 50 years: “We spend essentially twice as much for health care per person than any other industrialized country in the world and yet our outcomes are no better.”

In Glasgow, Bale founded the Family Medicine Residency Program with partners at the University of Louisville. It was established to attract physicians to practice in rural communities. Dr. Brent Wright says, “I’m proud I’m from Kentucky. And I don’t want the perception of people to be that we’re an unfortunate state, because we’re not. We just have to figure out how we harness what we do well and use those attitudes and beliefs to accomplish the challenges in front of us.”

In addition, the University of Kentucky Rural Cancer Prevention project fights four major cancers by increasing use of current testing and screening procedures. The project spreads information and awareness into the community using new media such as Facebook and text messaging and reaching out to people in natural gathering places, like Walmart stores.

Remaking Rural Health: A KET Special Report explores how advocates across the state are making innovative changes locally to deliver the health care rural Kentuckians need. The program airs Tuesday, Feb. 7, at 9/8 pm CT on KET and Monday, Feb. 13, at 10/9 pm CT on KET2.

Remembering a Kentucky Author

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

David Dick, veteran television news corespondent for CBS, former head of the journalism school at the University of Kentucky, and prolific author of over 10 books  died this week at age 80. I met him many years ago and always thought of him as a very nice man.

When I was a young reporter in Nashville, David would come by our WLAC/WTVF studios on James Robertson Parkway, edit and send network news stories to CBS headquarters in New York. He always had time to talk with all of us in the newsroom and we were all glad to get a little attention from a network correspondent, especially one who actually knew Walter Cronkite, Roger Mudd, and the others in the stable of CBS reporters and anchors that made CBS number one in the ratings in those days. David and I connected over our Kentucky roots — he had attended the University of Kentucky and had started his career in Louisville at WHAS-TV. He talked about land he owned near Paris, Kentucky, that he wanted to get back to one day.

Late one afternoon, after he had sent his story to the Cronkite show, I got up the nerve to ask him if he had plans for dinner. When he said no, I asked if he would like to come to my house for a visit and a bite to eat. He accepted and I had a great time listening to him tell stories of his travels and the people he had met and interviewed.

Years later, after he had left the network and returned to Kentucky and the journalism school at UK, we renewed our friendship. He visited with me at KET on several occasions, I had reviewed one of his early books on the bookclub@ket program and he was a guest on One to One in 2007.

I’ll always remember how kind he was. He will be missed.

Before I sign off today, I also want to mention one other Kentuckian we can all be proud to know. Bill Luster, a native of my home town of Glasgow in Barren County has been a photographer for the Louisville Courier Journal for years. Today, the paper announced that Bill is the winner of the 2010 National Press Photographers Association’s Joseph A. Sprague Memorial Award, the organization’s highest honor.

Bill, congratulations, we’re proud to know you.


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