Service of Whatever Happened To….

September 17th, 2018

Categories: Advertising, Commercials, Environment, Leaks, Music



I just heard from musician Tyler Schuster’s dad, Bill, who updated me on what this enterprising young saxophone player has been up to since he appeared in a post here. It inspired me to also revisit a few other past posts.

Tyler’s music instructor at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Michael Shults, PhD, drafted the original, “Service of Perseverance Set to Music: A Story That Makes My Heart Sing,” in March 2017.

Winning Musician

Tyler Schuster

Shults wrote about Tyler who “pushed harder and smarter when things got tough.” At the end he wrote: “Please join me in congratulating Tyler on his incredible progress and for embodying so many of the ideals we preach in music and any other discipline: toughness, hard work, self awareness, ambition and goal-setting. He’s worked very hard to get where he is and hopefully will have an influence on some future musicians.”

He’s already started. Bill Schuster wrote: “Tyler is student teaching music students grades 6-12 in Bloomer, Wis.  He will be graduating on December 22 with his Music, Instrumental and Music Teaching, Comprehensive Major – Bachelor of Music Education.

“He’s worked very hard and hopefully will have an influence on some future musicians.  He is playing in numerous bands and orchestras, including the Jazz Ensemble, which was named Best Undergraduate College Jazz Band by Downbeat Magazine in 2017 and in 2018, it won best Live Performance.

Schuster added that his son also won the Concerto Competition; the University’s Conducting Competition and was a member of the winning Quartet Competition. “As far as anyone can tell, Tyler is the only person to win all the competitions. He hopes to teach a few years and start his master’s degree in a couple of years.  He has his sights set on teaching at the collegiate level which will be a lot of work, but I’m sure not betting against him.  He loves to be challenged.” We’re rooting for Tyler too!

Commercials That Sound Like Nails on a Blackboard


The annoying giggling female customer in the 1-800-I-Got-Junk radio commercial is gone. I mentioned it in “Service of Irritating and Charming Commercials: Phony and Legitimate Laughs.” I wonder if stations got complaints and lost listeners because of it. Just this morning I heard a new rendition–this time a man giggled. I hear many other repeated commercials but none are as irksome.

The Last Straw

When I wrote “Service of the Last Straw, Bar None,” I couldn’t believe the big deal made over bars and restaurants that banned plastic straws to save the environment.

 I checked Google to see where Styrofoam is banned. I’m not impressed. Listed are: “New York City (and several other cities in New York); Takoma Park, MD.; Seattle, Washington; Washington DC.; Miami Beach, FL; Freeport, Maine; Portland, Maine and Nantucket (City & County), Mass.” And then there are clear plastic containers that hold fruits and veggies and plastic water bottles–have you checked your garbage? I grabbed just a few things in our home on Saturday [photo right]. Get rid of these plastic containers and now you’re talking.

Drip, Drip, Drip

Since I wrote “Service of Leaks” in May, there have been floods, from Omarosa’s book “Unhinged” and those filling the pages of Bob Woodward’s “Fear,” to the experience of the anonymous New York Times Op-Ed writer. What’s normal behavior these days?

I also ask:

  • Do you know other students who have won all the competitions in their track when at first just being good enough to compete in one seemed a stretch?
  • To grab attention, commercials often grate, but don’t you agree some go overboard?
  • Is it unprofitable for packaging companies to research workable alternatives to plastic and to retrofit their machinery accordingly with the goal of saving the environment? Must we be happy with banning straws?
  • Will the world look more kindly on whistleblowers as we become increasingly used to high profile leakers or are we in a phase brought on by the administration?




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8 Responses to “Service of Whatever Happened To….”

  1. Martha Takayama Said:

    Headline: Heart over height: Johnny Ortiz’s journey from underdog to basketball sensation – The Boston Globe
    Date: Sep 17, 2018

    Johnny Ortiz has helped lead his teams to victory not with long legs or a formidable wingspan. He’s relied on his heart, tenacious spirit, and mastery of the game’s nuances.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    It is stories like Tyler Schuster’s and Johnny Ortiz’s that give us all hope. We are weary of people who reach the top of their games by cheating. Just last night “60 Minutes” updated its audience on the Theranos blood test scandal. I’d covered it in June in “Service of Too Good to be True” The woman who perpetrated the scandal–harmful to many physically and financially–started at her game at 19. And we can’t even begin to list all those in politics who have committed sleaze to get where they are.

  3. Martha Takayama Said:

    More of a response:

    Point 1.. I do know of an interesting case written up in the Boston Globe
    Heart over height: Johnny Ortiz’s journey from underdog to basketball sensation
    By Scott LaPierre and Taylor de Lench Globe Staff November 15, 2017
    “The lucky ones are born to win.”

    Thanks to their genes, they are bigger, stronger, faster. They possess all the natural gifts needed to become top athletes.

    For everyone else? It comes down to hustle. You have to outwork, outrun, and outsmart. Every single day.

    Johnny Ortiz, perhaps Boston’s most unlikely basketball star, figured that out a long time ago. And he’s never looked back.”

    Ortiz, a senior at Brighton High School, has helped lead his teams to victory not with long legs or a formidable wingspan. He’s relied on his heart, tenacious spirit, and mastery of the game’s nuances. It’s all packed inside a tiny frame topped by an impressive Afro.
    “Height,” Ortiz says, “is nothing.”

    Point 2: I don’t think that all the terrifically unappealing commercials for medicine and bodily function that tend to permeate the dinner hour have been removed. I do love the Subaru Dog commercial

    Point 3.There must be a better way to resolve the elimination of plastic straws than slurping! We used paper straws forever. Can’t bottles and cans be shorter and straws shorter too? In any case there is plenty of data about industrial design and computer printing that ought to permit the appropriate people to figure out better solutions. I have no concern for the amount any changes would cost these companies that make zillions!

    Point 4: We are definitely in a situation of despair, mistrust, incompetence, failure, vulgarity, insensitivity and stupidity brought on by the current political status quo. One can only hope that we are not so intellectually blighted that we may eventually have less need for chronic whistle-blowing and that we learn to respect common sense and ethics.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    About Point 3, I read that apart from sandwiches, hot takeout food doesn’t do well in cardboard. The material gets soggy–think Chinese food–falls apart and leaks. Yet there should be some kind of a film or finish to stop this from happening.

    Regarding Point 4, I am elated when someone, regardless of age or position, is gracious to me. I so hope that we return to a period in which it is fashionable to be courteous and honest and fair. It’s so yesterday, and I don’t dwell in the past preferring to look ahead, but I wish for a kinder, gentler world where employees don’t have to snitch on their bosses for being outrageous or of danger to others.

  5. Lucrezia Said:

    One of the most annoying ads are those anatomically incorrect red & blue bears, heralding Charmin toilet paper. Should that brand monopolize the shelf, I change stores. On a more serious note, is this bombardment of drug ads during an opioid crisis. Social conscience be damned! Solution, if any: Turn on the mute button, and/or find something to do away from the TV/radio.

    No particular person sticks out in the “whatever happened to” department. At this stage of the game, many of the players died, while others pop out of the woodwork in emails, reunions and national bridge tournaments!

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I don’t even remember the name of the product as I turn away when I see it coming but there is a disgusting TV commercial that shows a man leaving the WC. It could be promoting some digestive medication or perhaps a scent but it is a huge turnoff, literally and figuratively!

  7. Protius Said:

    Taking nothing away from Tyler Schuster for his tremendous accomplishments, I thought about what the warming glow his teachers must have felt knowing their efforts over the year had paid off. It helps one understand why, despite the low pay, the politics, the politically motivated curricula, the non-responsive, electronic screen saturated kids and all the other needless stupidities, teaching is still such a rewarding profession.

    I’ve long been frustrated by our unwillingness to repress the incessant drumbeat of needless consumption as we rush pointlessly towards oblivion by mindlessly depleting our planet’s limited resources. If I had my way, I’d ban ads!

    You are right about plastic straws. I’m all for getting rid of plastic, but why pick on straws when we are inundated with vast quantities of bigger, just as indestructible other stuff?

    In this “best of all possible worlds” we should not need whistleblowers. The only problem is that we are far from being the “best…,” and receding rapidly. We need them…, badly!

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:


    You are SO RIGHT. Kudos to Dr. Michael Shults for nurturing and guiding the remarkable Tyler Schuster! Apologies to him that I didn’t also blow his horn, so to speak. Without inspired and inspiring instructors and teachers we are nowhere.

    Given the choice between ads–and I don’t have to pay–and no ads and I do, I go for the former. Radio is still free. However, TV, the way we access it, the old fashioned way, is expensive, and even public TV has ads on top of it….hmmm.

    I toss at least one plastic bottle or box a day. Infuriating. Eggs in a traditional paper carton in a lightweight tote bag filled with bottles and containers survived, without a crack, being jostled during a trip in a car, a train, and a taxi. I bet that carton is more expensive than plastic–and when you buy veggies and fruit you want to see what they look like which is easy to do from clear plastic. Still, there must be substitutes.

    You are right about whistleblowers. I think that they are essential and I bow to their courage. My tendency is to “get out of Dodge” under such circumstances and I’m fortunate to report that I’ve never had to be involved with anything as fraught as politics today.

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