Well, here we are in Beautiful Marion County, welcoming a brand new month with either nothing or little to do. Dearly Beloved and I are long retired, so we never expected to do much at this stage of our lives. But that’s not true of other family members.
Our daughter Penny works at Villages Health and is on furlough until further notice. Our son Terry works in the meat department at Harvey’s on 441, so officially he’s the only one of us still working. Apparently, it’s an almost daily struggle to keep the shelves and meat cases filled in many of our grocery stores, so those workers seem to be in pretty secure positions.
We don’t have to go outside much because our children do our shopping for us — plus they deliver, too! And for FREE!
FIX THE SOUND: DB and I aren’t the only ones stuck at home, though. I see on TV many of the Channel 2 WESH-TV news staffers are working from their homes, as is that late-night guy, Jimmy whatever-his-name-is. You know, the one who took Jay Leno’s place and caused the show’s ratings to immediately plummet — THAT guy!
Anyway, what all of these stay-at-home-and-report people seem to do is set up a cellphone or webcam or some such device, then talk to the camera. It works well enough, I suppose. Except for one thing — the audio is atrocious!
Sound bounces off nearby hard surfaces — like walls — and creates a distracting echo-like effect. It’s not like an echo in the mountains where the sound travels a considerable distance before bouncing back. In close quarters, an echo creates an odd reverberating sound with waves that bounce back and forth, mixing in with other waves creating a jumbled, unnatural sound that is picked up easily by a microphone.
In a situation like those TV people find themselves in at home, there’s an easy cure: Those echoing waves can be absorbed by hanging up a blanket or towels or just about any type of cloth material surrounding the area just outside camera range. That generally cleans up audio recording quite nicely and cheaply, too.
One news reader on WESH-TV chooses to use curtains in her home as a background feature for her TV appearances, and her audio is definitely superior to the other reporters. You’d think the TV station’s technical staff would pass on the word about issues like this to the homebound staff members, but they apparently have not done so.
Maybe some union doesn’t want such a simple fix to get out in public. Job security, perhaps?
DECISION TIME: Ocala’s Irene Fortuna wrote: “Dear Emory, you really added to my stress level with your ‘time to make a decision’ column. ‘Oh, no,’ I thought, ‘Sly is retiring?’ What would be the point of reading the paper? Where would I be able to ‘vent’ now and then? Thank goodness it turned out to be about a 20-year-old bottle of Southern Comfort. Phew! Close call!
“Listen. In these uncertain times,” she continued, “we have to take our ‘comfort’ where we find it, like a glass of white Zinfandel or a Margarita every afternoon. My grandfather's favorite comfort was Rollin Rock; he lived to be 91. But, just like any ‘friendship,’ don't abuse it!
“You are a treasure to so many of us, Sly. Respect yourself as much as your readers do and you'll be fine.”
OK, Irene, thanks. Just one more thing: Should I send your check to the usual place?
CLARIFICATION: Just in case anyone is wondering, I’ve ALREADY “retired.” I did that a dozen years ago and got the T-shirt and everything else to prove it. My “official” status with the Star-Banner is as a lowly, humble free-lancer. I write my columns at home sitting at my bedroom computer in my underwear, then I send them in by email. But you didn’t really NEED to know all of that, did you?
NAME GAME: Astor’s John Ferlman wrote: “Mr. Schley, as I understand it, your last name is pronounced like the word ‘sly,’ right? Why all the extra letters?”
Gee, John, I don’t really know. It’s a German name used for inhabitants around the Schlei River in northern Germany, an area that’s also been ruled by Denmark several times in the ancient past, so perhaps there’s some Danish influence there, too. I really don’t know. I just blame it all on my father, he’s the one who passed the name onto me!
Please send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and include your FULL name and town. This column appears each Thursday and Saturday on the Local & State section front and online at ocala.com