» On the eve of the Super Bowl, public radio aired a catchy new song with a catchy title: “Omahallelujah.”
Said lead singer Chris Thile: “Omaha is not only a lovely city in Nebraska but also a word Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning often shouts for no apparent reason.”
The song is from the view of a guy from Tennessee who watched Peyton Manning play there in college and has admired him in the NFL:
"I’ll follow him
All over the map
From Indianapolis to Denver
Slice of Papa John for dinner
We bow our heads
In shotgun formation
Out of the no-huddle
With No. 18 calling audibles
The song, which includes much more, tells of cheering for Peyton religiously, and ends with a prayerful amen, which is sung as: “Ahhh-man ... ning.”
» As Lady Gaga sang her since-acclaimed rendition of the national anthem before the Super Bowl, I watched at the Sokol Hall with “Jimmy B’s Big Band” musicians, who acted impressed.
Gaga, who once recorded in Omaha at Tom Ware’s Ware House studio, in recent times has expanded her repertoire. She went from pop music to jazz with Tony Bennett to a nationally televised “Sound of Music” medley in the presence of Julie Andrews — and now to this touching, heartfelt anthem.
Standing with us at the Sokol Hall was a 93-year-old Navy veteran of the Pacific. He had tears in his eyes.
» Researching his role in “Frost/Nixon” at the Blue Barn Theatre, Dave Wingert did something he’s never had the chance to do — call the person he was portraying.
A longtime Omaha radio personality and member of the Nebraska Broadcasters Hall of Fame, Wingert plays the role of Robert Zelnick, executive editor of the 1977 televised Frost-Nixon interviews.
Wingert contacted Zelnick, 75, a former TV network and public-radio correspondent, at Boston University, where he teaches. They spoke for 45 minutes, which Dave said helped “fill in the blanks” for his portrayal.
The show, in the Blue Barn’s beautiful new theater at 1106 S. 10th St., is powerful, with a strong cast led by Paul Boesing as Richard Nixon and Aaron Zavitz as David Frost. Directed by Randall T. Stevens, the show runs through Feb. 28.
“Wingy,” 67, a New York City native, worked in Omaha radio from 1975 to 1989 and then enjoyed a long run in Seattle. A decade ago, he returned to Omaha broadcasting and theater.
Along with weekend on-air stints, he recently worked in advertising sales. But on Monday he returns to a 5-day-a-week morning show on Boomer 1490.
» Tom O’Connor’s title is long enough to sound impressive — senior associate director of public relations at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
His less-than-impressed roasters at the Omaha Press Club on Feb. 5 laid him low with humorous stories and playful insults, implying that he is the least well-known of the club’s 148 “Face on the Barroom Floor” honorees since 1971.
But guess what. Club officials said he attracted the largest crowd for any roast at the club. (All-America basketball player Doug McDermott of Creighton University drew a larger crowd, but it was at another site.)
Well over 200 people attended the event for O’Connor, 65, whose family has given him a nickname because of his penchant for breaking things: “Tsunami Tommy.”
At the roast, he apparently broke nothing but the on-site attendance record. The club honored him not just for his professional achievements but also for his support of the club — for nearly 15 years, he has chaired the committee that puts on the roasts, totaling 62 ceremonies.
» Members of the local Ancient Order of Hibernians are coming out of hibernation and looking forward to more than the annual St. Patrick’s parade.
Larry Bradley, president of the order’s Father Flanagan chapter, said openings remain for a March 24-April 6 trip to Ireland to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, which set in motion events leading to Irish independence.
The trip is in conjunction with the Omaha Sister Cities Association, which will visit our “sister” Naas, Ireland. A side trip will be to tiny Ballymoe in County Roscommon, birthplace of Father Edward Flanagan, who founded Boys Town in Omaha.
Travelers will be in Dublin for the parade past the Post Office and down O’Connell Street to commemorate the Rising. (If interested, contact Pegasus Travel in Omaha.)
The Republic of Ireland decided to hold its centenary on Easter, though the date of Easter in 1916 was April 24. Bradley said Hibernians in Omaha will celebrate on April 23, with a Mass at St. Mary Magdalene Church downtown and a march to the steps of the Douglas County Courthouse.
County Commissioners Mike Boyle and James Cavanaugh, both of Irish heritage, are helping with plans. The Hibernians’ “ladies division” and Sarpy County chapter are collaborating.
The festive St. Patrick’s parade will be held downtown on March 12, the Saturday before St. Paddy’s Day and, happily, close to the end of winter.
» My dear, departed mother, Dorothy, who lived to 92, enjoyed telling people a secret to her longevity: “Chocolate.”
It’s no joke. Researchers have proved that eating dark chocolate can be good for your heart. An event today from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Papillion Hy-Vee, 72nd Street and Highway 370, is called “CocoaStart Your Heart.”
“I think people are used to hearing their doctors tell them to do things that maybe aren’t so fun,” said Dr. Antonio Reyes, a cardiologist at Nebraska Medicine-Bellevue.
Flavonoids in dark chocolate, he said, can decrease bad cholesterol, reduce the risk of blood clots and increase blood flow to arteries and the heart. They also may lower blood pressure.
The public is invited to enjoy free samples of artisan dark chocolate and to get blood-pressure checks and vascular screenings. People can win gift cards and help raise funds for the American Heart Association.
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