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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Questions and Answers, March 18, 2010

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I haven’t done a question and answer show in a while, so I thought tonight might be a good time to do one. The volume of e-mail I receive has increased about five-fold since we began the 500 for 5 campaign and some of the questions are identical. I’ve chosen five of them to answer with the assumption that if 2 or 3 people write with similar questions, there are even more people out there with the same thought.

The first question concerns the fate of frame 313 of the Zapruder film, which we discussed in episode 424. If you recall, Abraham Zapruder sold his film to Life magazine on the condition that the publication never show frame 313, which shows the impact of one of the rounds to the back of the President’s head and its resulting exit in gory detail. Zapruder believed the American people should never be shown the horror that he witnessed.

When the film was shown on television for the first time, however, frame 313 was back in the picture. In 1968, a U.S. District Court had ruled that use of the Zapruder film came under the rules of fair use because of its historical and societal importance. Thus, no one who used the film after that was under any obligation to take out the offending frame.

Interestingly, the first time the film was shown to a public audience of any kind was in a courtroom in 1969 during the New Orleans trial of Clay Shaw, which was re-created in the 1991 film ‘JFK’.

Of all the shows I’ve recorded, I probably received the most comments about the story of D.B. Cooper and his subsequent jump out of a hijacked airplane with $200,000 into one of the most densely wooded and remote areas of the United States. And so the question is asked: what do I think happened to Cooper? Put simply, I think he walked away and started a new life somewhere. Cooper’s strict instructions to the pilots indicate to me that he intended to jump at a specific time when the aircraft was over a specific point. All he needed to know was the plane’s direction, airspeed and time of departure, all factors that he controlled.

My guess is that he either had an accomplice on the ground or a stash of clothes, food and hiking equipment somewhere near his jump point. I believe he was an experienced parachutist and a former soldier, perhaps even Special Forces. He had about a 12 hour head start on any pursuers, enough time for someone with evasion training to cover a significant distance, perhaps 15 miles. At some point he arrived in a small town or met up with his accomplice and made his escape. If he is still alive today, he would be a senior citizen, probably 70 or so years old.

I receive a lot of e-mail from people who want to start a podcast of their own and who ask what my setup is for recording the show. It’s very simple: I have an Audio-Technica model ATM61HE microphone that hasn’t been produced in several years. That plugs into an M-Audio Fast Track audio interface with connects via USB to my PC, which is now running Windows 7. For recording, I use Audacity version 1.3, which is free. I have tried other software but I find I can produce better results with this simple and well-written application.

Question number four concerns my career. This query comes mostly from people who either began listening to the show recently, or who pick and choose episodes based on their interests. The question is whether or not I am a history teacher. I am not. I began college as a history major but allowed family members to convince me that a degree in Business Management was much more practical. I deeply regret that decision. Through a series of twists and turns in my life, I ended up working in IT, or Information Technology. I work for a medium-sized company in Louisville where there are only three of us in the IT Department. This means I do everything from helping to manage the network to handling helpdesk calls to working on the owners’ home computers.

Finally, several people with whom I am friends on Facebook have asked me where the initials TLK come from. It stands for The Lovely Kelli, my wife of nearly 12 years. I began using that term of endearment early in the life of the podcast after hearing a radio talk show host use the term ‘fetching’ whenever he mentioned his wife. It seemed like a sweet idea. Without The Lovely Kelli’s support and patience, there would be no podcast. She has been especially understanding during the 500 for 5 campaign.

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