Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Spy Museum By Connor Smith

Over Thanksgiving break, I went to the Spy Museum in Chinatown of Washington, DC.    The museum opened to the public in 2002, and I had a great time looking around. I spent four hours looking around all the exhibits the museum has to offer, and I felt like I needed more time. When first entering, you go up a elevator and enter a room where you pick a secret identity. I was Billy Henderson, a 14 year old boy from Spain, who was on vacation in London for nine days. The next area is very cool, as you get to see many gadgets spies used and videos about different spies. Another thing I liked was all the hands on things you could to do. In other areas you can learn about George Washington spying career, and what pigeons could do as spies. The museum is most known for the James Bond exhibit. In 2012, the museum opened up “50 Years of Bond Villains”, and being a big 007 fan, I found the exhibit very neat. In the exhibit, you can watch videos on certain villains, as well as you can see certain gadgets. Javier Bardem’s costume as a police officer in the 2012 film, Skyfall can also be seen. The gift shop also has some things you might need, such as Emergency Underpants. The burger restaurant, Shake Shack sits right next door, making a great lunch spot. All in all, if you are bored and want something to do around the holiday season, I highly recommend visiting the Spy Museum.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014: What to Do

Turkey Day. The day to give thanks. The day for apple pie and potatoes and turkey. The day for football. The day to spend time with your friends and family. Whether you're stuck in the car going to see family, staying at home with your family, playing football outside, or stuck inside watching TV, Thanksgiving will be fun in some way. Personally, I will be watching my sister play in the annual ATS Turkey Bowl on Tuesday. All my family will be coming throughout the week. Some on Sunday, some on Wednesday, and some on Thursday. I will likely watch the Macy’s Day Parade, watch some football, and cap it off with an awesome dinner.

On Wednesday night, I advise you to watch the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving episode at 8PM on ABC for probably your 1000th time. Even after all these years watching, my sister and myself find it hilarious. The 88th annual Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Day Parade will kick off Turkey day at 9AM on NBC and CBS. It will run from Central Park to Macy’s Herald Square in New York City. There will be many new and old performers, along with cool floats and of course Santa to end it at noon. Directly after the parade, NBC will turn you over to the National Dog Show in Philadelphia. John O’Hurley hosts the two hour event, that showcases the top dogs from almost every different breed. Some people may not find it exciting, but for all you non-football fans, this is the thing to watch on turkey day. After the parade you can also turn some football on and watch the Detroit Lions host the Chicago Bears at Ford Field in Detroit on CBS at 12:30PM. The Lions are 7-4 and the Bears are 5-6. The Lions have played on Thanksgiving every year since 1952. At 4:30PM the Dallas Cowboys play host to the Philadelphia Eagles at At&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Fox. This will be a great game as both teams are 8-3 and in contention for the NFC East title. The Cowboys have played on Turkey Day every year since 1966. Other sporting events you can watch mostly include College Basketball early season tournaments in Hawaii, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Anaheim, and Orlando. Thanksgiving dinner is usually eaten earlier than dinner’s on most nights, so before the Cowboys game, head upstairs for some dinner.
Turkey, potatoes, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, pie, the whole shabam. This year, my dad is grilling us a turkey outside, so that will taste amazing. After saying grace, dig in. Whether you’re eating at home or at a restaurant, your food will taste amazing and you will be stuffed after eating. After you finish eating, sit down, take a break, and watch some more football. At 8:30 on NBC, the Seahawks will battle the 49ers in San Fran. Both sides are 7-4, and the Hawks won the Super Bowl last year. Also, Fox, NBC, and CBS will each give out awards for their games. Fox will give out the Galloping Gobbler, CBS will give out the All-Iron Award, and NBC will give out the Madden Thanksgiving Player of the game.
There you go, that is my guide for what to do on Thanksgiving this year. Some people may view Thanksgiving as a long break off from school or work, or a lame holiday before Christmas. But giving thanks is something everyone should do every single day of their lives, not just on turkey day. However, enjoy your five day weekend, watch some tv, eat some food, and most of all have lots of fun.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Tim Brant
By Connor Smith

On Monday November 10th, I shadowed legendary sports announcer Tim Brant at WJLA ABC 7 news in Arlington. Brant has been an announcer since his football days ended way back in 1973. Brant was a defensive captain linebacker at the University of Maryland, and was drafted by the Washington Redskins. After he hurt his knee while with the Washington Redskins, he got lucky when he found out there was an opening for the Maryland radio announcer job at WMAL radio. Brant eventually moved on to the local ABC station, WJLA. In 1982, Brant moved up the ladder, joining ABC sports. Brant was known for working Keith Jackson on college football telecasts. From 1987-1990 Brant worked for CBS Sports. In 1991, he returned to ABC where worked for until 2007, and after that he came back home to WJLA. He has also called the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament since 1993 with Raycom Sports. He calls ACC football games every Saturday for Raycom as well.
While I did have to write a report on my day, some of the questions I had to ask did teach me some things. Brant said that some qualifications for the job were to have a degree in journalism, and that the size of the market you are working in matters. Some personal qualifications were being able to communicate, having experience, and being able to persevere. His major responsibilities are the sports staff, and the sportscast on the news. He finds it frustrating that he doesn’t get enough time on the news. Brant says that the biggest keys to success in the business are to communicate, being kind, and to “treat every work day like it’s your first and every day with your family like it’s your last.”
Brant usually doesn’t get into the office until 2:30PM. I arrived at 3PM, and the sports staff, a group made up of four-five people, had a meeting to decide what to air on the sports. The sports airs usually at 5 and 6, as well as the 10 and 11 news hours. After deciding what to air, one of the members of the sports staff, Alex Parker, met with the editor to edit the sports clips and videos. I watched the 5 and 6 o'clock news next to the news desk (off camera) and in the director’s room. I met longtime broadcaster Gordon Peterson, as well as weather man Doug Hill. I was also able to meet Leon Harris and Maureen Bunyan and the directors, producers, and most of the staff at WJLA. I also went for a tour around the studios, and everybody I met was very nice and complimented me on my wardrobe, as I was wearing a blazer, khakis, and a tie. I wish I could’ve stayed longer, but in the end I learned a lot about the life of a sportscaster, a job I hope to have when I grow up.

“Treat every day at work like it’s your first, and every day with your family like it’s your last.” -Tim Brant