Opening Volley

LOS ANGELES — I’m about 20 years too early to have hearing aids, but there it is. I’ve had one in my right ear since mid-2005, and six months ago had to begin wearing them in both. Each new auditory circumstance, rather than getting, “Wow, birds chirping!” often starts with, “What?”

My first movie with two aids took half the show for me to distinguish between sound effects in back and dialogue in front. We should have come early enough for the trailers.

Here at Los Angeles International Airport — My Beloved and I are heading to Ventura for the 2009 conference of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists — I walk from the gate to the terminal, turn my cell phone back on and see there’s two messages. One I can hear, the guy has a strong voice, but it’s nothing that can’t wait a week. The other I can’t make out. The screen indicates it’s a neighbor Continue reading

Aw, Shucks

In mid-May, I received the following e-mail:

Dear Ben Pollock,
Congratulations. You are a winner in the “On-line Category” of the 2009 National Society of Newspaper Columnists annual contest. We hope you will be with us to accept your award in person in beautiful Ventura, Calif. at the NSNC annual conference, June 25-28. For more information about the conference, go to
Please acknowledge receipt of this notification.
Thanks and, again, congratulations.
Ann Fisher
Contest Chair
Dispatch Metro Reporter
Columbus, Ohio

It’s a tease, naturally, to encourage attendance. My prize could be first, second, third, or second honorable mention. But in the interest of disclosure, for journalism propriety, the following comprised my contest entry:

End of June, I may update this to announce what I won. Also to disclose: I not only am a member of this organization, but an officer, secretary. More disclosure, I’m typing this barefoot. That is, typing with my fingers — what were you thinking? — but my feet are … I’m wiggling my toes, I mean … nevermind, once you start disclosing, it’s hard to stop.