Sunday, January 29, 2006

The 2006 NCAA Champion Butler Bulldogs

Butler defeated Elon, which defeated Furman, which defeated North Dakota State, which defeated Wisconsin, which defeated Marquette, which defeated No. 1 Connecticut. Thus, Butler is the best team in the country. Just stop the season now, and give the Bulldogs the trophy.

And I would just like to say that no one has known tedious until they've typed about 30 column inches of high school wrestling sectional results. It's three hours of pure, unbridled fun.

Friday, January 27, 2006

A big jumble of stuff

Here is a video. It is called, "Poop Today." However, contrary to its name, it seems to have nothing to do with poop. It does sound like the voice says "poop today" in there somewhere, though.

# # #

There is a McDonald's radio commercial where the voiceover kid says McDonald's "has this whole kickin' line of chicken sandwiches." Kickin', eh? Chicken sandwiches are not "kickin'." Chicken is the least "kickin'" of all meats. Everything goes back to chicken. It's why people say various foodstuffs taste like chicken. It would be easier to take if he said McDonald's "has this whole kickin' line of horse meat sandwiches." Ba dum baaam ah daaahh, I'm hating it!

And going along with the commercial subject, I hope the woman who is the new spokesperson for Valtrex is getting paid well. It doesn't seem it would help her life to be the person people envision when they think herpes medication.

# # #

Twenty years ago Saturday is the anniversary of the Challenger space shuttle explosion. It is my first real "where were you when..." moment. It is probably that way with a lot of people my age and a little older. It was a cold, sunny day, and it has snowed the day before. I was standing in the kitchen of the old house in Indianapolis when I heard on TV what happened. I also remember the next day standing in the basement and staring at the picture on the front page of the Indianapolis Star. I still have that newspaper. I was four, and it was the first instance in my life when I realized that bad things happen.

If the Challenger was the first big thing I remember, 9/11 is the most vivid. My story of 9/11 starts on 9/10. Sept. 10, 2001 was a bad day for me. I was tired and generally in a bad mood. When I left Butler to go home, I was humming a song in my head about something having to do with "it's a bad day." (I still really regret this, and it's one of the strangest things my brain has produced, given the later circumstances.) When I got home, I watched Monday Night Football. Giants-Broncos. My last memory of the post-9/11 world was of Denver Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffery breaking his leg.

The next morning, I woke up at 6 for my 8 a.m. sportswriting class. Something felt weird and not right. As I was getting dressed, on the radio, they talked about a U.S. spy plane being shot down in Iraq. I rode to school with my dad that day, and when we left home, he was talking about how something was really wrong with Grandpa and they were going to take him to the hospital later that day. That scared me because he had been doing well before that. As we drove on 70, I remarked at how blue the sky was, and how it looked like a perfect day.

When I got to Butler, I went to my "commuter locker" to get my books. In the lounge was a big-screen TV, and I noticed the news program broke into a special report to say a "small plane" had crashed into the World Trade Center. The hosts seemed to think it was a fluke, and I figured that since it was a small plane that it was an accident, so I went to my sportswriting class. Nobody brought it up, until Blake Dearing walked in and said what I already knew. We looked on the Internet, and found short AP stories that didn't tell us much.

After class, I went back to the lounge where there were now probably 30 people standing around looking sad. I wasn't sure what to think until I looked at the TV. The first thing I saw was that the Pentagon had been hit. This was what registered it as being worse than I thought. As I stood amongst the people, for awhile, there was silence. I took a chair someone had left, sat down and buried my head in my hands as the towers collapsed.

For a second, I remembered I had my C&T class coming up, but I saw Mr. Levin in the group of people and he said it was cancelled. I stayed there for about two hours. Eventually, I went to get lunch, and later walked with someone (I forget who) to my dinosaur evolution class. We talked about how it seemed like a movie. My dinosaur evolution professor decided to cancel our quiz, but we still had class. We watched an old movie about the Scopes Monkey Trial, and there was this song with a woman singing really loudly that made me uncomfortable. When we were finished, I talked to Dr. Karn about what happened that day. I brought up the spy plane news from the morning and wondered if that meant anything.

Since it was a nice day, I sat at one of the tables outside Atherton. A girl from my C&T class stopped by and we talked some more about it. She said she was afraid they'd bring back the draft, and that "people like you (me)" would have to go fight. That gave me something else to worry about. After studying for awhile, it was time to go home. When I saw my dad, the words out of my mouth were, "Well, the world is quite a different place now from when I saw you last."

Weird stuff.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Stakeout

I'd make a bad police officer. Here it is, almost 5:53 a.m., and I am attempting to stake out my brother for when he wakes up at 6:00. I'm losing my patience. Apparently, he came home a couple days ago with brown hair. This is something I need to see. However, due to my late night work schedule and his early morning school schedule, he is always asleep when I get home and gone when I wake up. But I need to see this hair. My brother is an anomaly. He's a blonde-haired kid in a house with a dark haired dad, a light brown-haired mom and a brown-haired brother. He's also way too short for his own good. But here I am, waiting to see what he did to himself. This is dumb. I can't wait anymore.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Obey Steelerbaby

Tonight's utterly terrifying link is brought to you by...Steelerbaby! A hovering newborn doll in a gold and black sweater, Steelerbaby says such phrases as, "Cowher Power," "Here we go Steelers, here we go," and the most terrifying of all, "Obey Steelerbaby." Stay away from Steelerbaby.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Adventures In Late Night Television

Alan Alda is currently the host of a program on PBS about how people overcome overeating disorders. Among these include gastric bypass surgery, which they just showed being performed. Why did they choose Alan Alda? When I think "overeating" or "grazing behavior," the image of Alan Alda doesn't normally appear in my mind. Perhaps Mr. Alda is appearing on my television screen at almost 3 a.m. mixed with surgery scenes due to his starring in M*A*S*H. Maybe not. It's just a little strange.

Actually, it seems he hosts the "Scientific American Frontiers" program, so that explains it. Alan Alda will be delving into caverns next time.

# # #

Here is what else is on TV at 3 a.m. I'll stop when I get bored with it. It's more for my own benefit, so feel free to stop reading now if you wish.

Ch. 2 ESPN: The 1973 Super Bowl. Maybe the Dolphins won't win this time!
Ch. 3 PBS: Alan Alda show
Ch. 4 WTTV: Off the air
Ch. 5 ABC: Some late, late, late night news show. Doesn't appear to be taped. I feel sorry for them. They look tired.
Ch. 6 Religion Station: A show about the Shroud of Turin, but there is a loud beeping sound and no voices.
Ch. 7 CBS: Another late, late, late night news show. Does appear to be taped.
Ch. 8 QVC: They're selling barbecue. That seems like a strange thing to sell this late at night.
Ch. 9 Religion Station: "The largest collection of gospel music ever sold!"
Ch. 10 Don't know: "Thank you very much U.S. Auto Credit!"
Ch. 11 Fox: Off the air
Ch. 12 NBC: Future president Barak Obama on a replay of Meet the Press.
Ch. 13 Education Channel: Flashing beams of light. Trace-inducing. Staring. Staring. Uhhh....what? Onto the next channel!
Ch. 14: Doesn't exist. BACK TO THE FLASHING LIGHTS OF 13!
Ch. 15 Don't know: Chuck Norris advertising weight equipment. Amazing. Just amazing.
Ch. 16 Public access: Meeting of the Alcoholic Beverage Board of Marion County.
Ch. 17 Shopping Channel: Selling computers.
Ch. 18 Univision: A Spanish speaking talk show. My one semester of Spanish taught me nothing.
Ch. 19 E!: Tara Reid speaking French. I don't know.
Ch. 20 Education Channel: MORE FLASHING LIGHTS! THE SAME AS 13! *drooling trance*
Ch. 21 Don't know: Peaceful water scene with soothing music. That's nice.
Ch. 22: Doesn't exist.
Ch. 23 CSPAN 2: They're showing a chart. Not real sure what it is.
Ch. 24 Weather Channel: They're talking about weather.
Ch. 25 Scrambled HBO: "Heh, heh! Dude, I think I see a boob. Heh, heh!"
Ch. 26 FX: X-Files movie. Mulder: "You kept me honest! You made me a whole person!" Mulder and Scully are going to make out until...she gets stung by a bee!
Ch. 27 SkyTrak Weather: More weather stuff.
Ch. 28: Doesn't exist.
Ch. 29 TBS: Fried Green Tomatoes. Buddy just got hit by the train.
Ch. 30 TNT: Tom Selleck movie. He apparently got shot, but if my mom were here, she'd be swooning.
Ch. 31 Don't know: Liberty Bell Flea Market commercial.
Ch. 32 Shopping channel: "This is a $39.95 value! THIS IS SUCH A DEAL!"
Ch. 33 Don't know: Cold medicine commercial.
Ch. 34 Game Show Network: Some old game show where they're running a toy car in circles.
Ch. 35 Comedy: I don't know. It might be Mad TV.
Ch. 36 Shopping channel: There are way too many of these.
Ch. 37 Court TV: "...the serial killer goes on the prowl again."

I give up. That's enough.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

An open letter to the squirrel who lives in my yard

Dear Squirrel,

My friend, we have gone over this before. And don't try to intimidate me with your incessant chirping and chittering. You have tried that before, and it doesn't work. OK. Here it is, right out into the open.

The corn is for you. The bird feeders are for the birds. Got it? It's really pretty simple.

Now I realize you are a wild creature. Your ancesters ate whatever they wanted to eat. For all I know, they ate grizzly bears and got away with it. However, stay away from the bird seed. You're scaring the birds away, and you're just irritating me. I understand that it is a feat of strength for you to ascend the pole to the feeder, but my amazement is always short-lived.

I like squirrels. Despite the fact one of your kind once chased me, I have always been very pro-squirrel. Subsequently, this is a disagreement I have with you personally, not your entire species.

Additionally, and this is of great concern to mine, you have become increasingly intrepid recently in how you approach the house. Consider this a pre-emptive strike. It is winter. It is cold. However, you must not attempt to enter my house. Consider yourself a neighbor, not a houseguest. Good neighbors have solid barriers between them, and we can be friendly, but that is as far as I am going with our relationship. You can scratch and claw all you want, but I'm not letting you in. That's it. Final. Over. End of discussion.

Afterall, being inside the house is not much of an improvement over being outside. Frankly, it's cold in here. The windows are bad, and the heater does not seem to do it's job. In a way, I envy you. You have fur and are predispositioned to surviving in cold weather. All I have are clothes, and as I am not good at laundry, when my warm clothes are scarce, I freeze. You're pretty lucky, squirrel. Unfortunately, you do not seem to want to realize this.

But look, I don't want to trap you like the raccoons, but if you take this any farther, I might not have any choice. Granted, it will be a live trap because I am rather kind-hearted, but I don't think you'll like it. And don't even think of making messes in protest. But look, I promise not to trap you if you promise to leave the birds alone and stay out of my house. While you're at it, leave the neighbor's cat alone. She's nervous enough as it is than to have you chasing her around.

We can make this work, you and me. Our first impressions were sullied by our disagreements, but I really think we can move on. Like I said, consider yourself a neighbor. And I'll do the same. I hope you agree.

Take care,

Daniel

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Ben Franklin

Tuesday was Benjamin Franklin's 300th birthday, and there was a special on the History Channel about him. My favorite part was when they talked about how Franklin and John Adams were sent to France to gain support for French help in the Revolutionary War. (The French saved us, France haters. We wouldn't exist in our present form if it weren't for the French.)

Anyway, Ben and John were opposites. So much so that the way they described it, it sounded like a 1970s sitcom. There's John who comes into the office at 8 a.m. and wants to work hard. Then there's Ben who stays up all night with his French mistreses and hanging out with his new buddes in the salon, gets to the office late and yet gets more work done than John because he's been making nice with the people whose support they need. John feels slighted. Then they come back to America and work together to build the country.

Franklin was such an interesting person. He didn't patent the lightning rod or many others of his inventions because he felt he had enough money and did not want to profit. Ben just wanted his inventions to help people. He was a business man until he turned 42, and then quit because he thought he had enough money and wanted to do more with his life.

Franklin was amazing, but at the same time, he was human. He neglected his wife, who he did not see for the last seven years of her life. He had little to do with his daughter. He was closest to his illegitimate son, but their relationship broke apart because his son supported England and Ben was a revolutionary.

They made the point in the show that Franklin is a more accessible historical figure than Adams or Jefferson or Washington. His figure is more human. We view the others as huge granite statues that we go see, but Franklin had such a vibrant personality that it is almost as if he is still alive. While the other three are buried in huge tombs, Frankin's gravesite is viewable from the street in Philadelphia and people throw pennies on it for good luck.

It's too bad someone can't use a time machine to bring here to 2006. He'd be disappointed, say what he thinks and then branded as unpatriotic by the simple-minded ones in today's society.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Why do I write?

I've been asked before why I write. Some people write because it is a thing to do. Because it is fun. Or they get paid. Or they just enjoy being creative. I write because it is what I am. I'm always writing. It doesn't matter if it is an article or a blog entry or a short story or an email or scribblings on a napkin at a restaurant, I'm just always writing. I don't think I know how to not write. Or something.

When I'm not writing, I'm thinking about writing. A couple days ago, I was in the car when I started thinking how weird it is to type every letter individually. In our brains, we think of words as a whole. However, when we're writing, our brains have to know each letter and send signals to the fingers on what to do next. It goes pretty quickly. I like the brain.

# # #

In honor of Peyton Manning's idiotic comment where he placed blame on his offensive line, ("I'm trying to be a good teammate here. Let's just say we had some problems with protection.") here are some similar idiotic comments if they took place in other professions or livelihoods.

-- "I'm trying to be a good journalist here. Let's just say we have some problems with copy editing." (KC Star columnist Jason Whitlock's, not mine.)

-- "I'm trying to be a good husband here. Let's just say my wife had some problems with eating."

-- "I'm trying to be a good rocket scientist here. Let's just say the space ships had some problems with exploding."

-- "I'm trying to be a good bowler here. Let's just say we had some problems with pins not falling."

-- "I'm trying to be a good prostitute here. Let's just say we had some problems with impotent people."

-- "I'm trying to be a good minister here. Let's just say we had some problems with God not listening."

# # #

Tonight's Lenny Bruce quote...

"I won't say our's was a tough school, but we had our own coroner. We used to write essays like, 'What I'm Going To Be If I Grow Up.'"

# # #

Five minute later update:

I just turned the TV on and passed by the hell that is the Home Shopping Network. Seriously, these things have to be staged. It can't be real. Are there really people who call in like that? Considering certain members of the Bradley clan have been known to record the channel, unfortunately, my hypothesis says yes.

But on a certain level, I would really like to call right now and engage Suzie Orman in a discussion on world affairs. Or cartoons.

# # #

20 minute later update:

I want to take a job at McDonald's or Burger King for a week or two just to see what I missed. I'd also like to study and categorize the regular customers who come in everyday. It would give me something to write about.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

When all else fails

I can't think of anything to write tonight, so here's a picture of a yak. Enjoy.



And go Colts. Hopefully they won't mess up.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Elevator psychology

It's probably been considered before, but riding in the elevator up to my floor at work yesterday got me thinking. Whenever one person gets on an elevator alone, he/she/it goes straight for the floor panel corner. Convience and such. Say the elevator goes up a floor or two and someone new gets on, this person is going to go to the opposite side. If a third person arrives, this one gravitates toward the center and feels a little uncomfortable. When a fourth hops on, the third goes from the center to one of the back corners. The fourth huddles in the other back corner. With five or more people, it's a freeforall and hopefully no one ate onions.

If you're the first person and you want to have some fun, push the button and when the door closes, go to the back left corner, face the wall and don't move. When the door opens, consider it a lesson in human psychology. By nature, people are impatient. They hate waiting. However, leeriness towards others trumps any impatience in a situation. People are naturally scared of other people. Even people who love everyone hate everyone in an elevator. So if person #1 gives person #2 any reason to be unsure about entering the elevator, person #2 will wait. People are also prisoners to normalcy. My hypothesis is that at least seven of 10 people would not enter an the elevator if someone is facing the wall. It disrupts the normalcy.

I sense a science project.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

More old stuff

It's a little after 5 a.m., and I just realized I should've gone out for the baseball team in my freshman year of high school. It was no-cut because they had so few players. Sure, I would've been horrible and probably ended up cut anyway, but it would be something to write about. Of course, it's hard to really question the logic of awkward, pimply faced, yet really fast, 15-year old Daniel.

# # #

Going back a year, a few things that happened in eighth grade:

1) A kid in shop class decided it would be fun to throw masking tape in my hair. I also came within a couple inches of chopping my left middle and ring fingers off using a saw in that class. I'm glad I moved back.

2) The entire home ec experience and all it encompassed, including when one kid made fun of the way I held my fork.

3) I learned one of my teachers had once been in Playboy. One kid brought in the issue and asked if it was her. Yes, it was. Class became a little stranger after that.

4) One morning before school, I put some lotion on my hands, looked in the mirror, saw my hair sticking up in one place and put some lotion on it thinking it would work like hair gel. All it did was make people ask what was in my hair because lotion apparently doesn't blend in.

5) In general music class, we had to choose a song and talk about its lyrics. Since I didn't own any cds then, I asked my dad for help. That was a bad choice. He chose "Allentown" by Billy Joel. While I appreciate the subtle genius of Mr. Joel, in an eighth grade class where everyone else is playing Boyz II Men, Tom Petty, Nine Inch Nails, Coolio and TLC, Billy Joel just doesn't cut it. I should've gone with "Wonderwall."

6) I wrote my first "article." It was for a class project where we made a newspaper, and my job was the sports section. I did a preview of the NBA season, and it ended up being longer than the entire paper, so they had to cut it.

# # #

Speaking of Wonderwall, I'm amazed at how many different versions of the song are available on the iTunes store. The Oasis one is still the best, but some people have turned it into soft jazz, which is weird. I like the Ryan Adams version, even if he confuses me with all the albums he is constantly releasing.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

We're (not) the champions

Whenever a sports team I like has success, I become fatalistic. It is because they always fail. Except for the rare times the Cubs do well, it is not horrible last second failure. Rather, it is an almost-getting-there-but-not-quite failure. This year's Colts are my last chance to make this stop. If they don't, no team from this city will. Here is what has happened since 1994.

1994: The Pacers took a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals versus the Knicks. In Game 5, Reggie Miller scored 25 points in the fourth quarter. That season was a huge surprise to everyone because the Pacers had always either been bad or mediocre. They began playing well late in the season, and it carried over to the playoffs. But anyway, after Game 5, everyone in Indianapolis was going crazy because all the Pacers needed to do was win one more game. Well, in Game 6 at MSA, they stunk it up. Believe me, I saw it. My dad bought tickets from a scalper for an amount of money I won't reveal because I still give him crap for it. But they lost the sixth game, and went to New York and lost by four, so the series was over. This was my first experience in sports pain.

1995: The Pacers-Orlando Magic Eastern Conference Final series was frustrating this time because the Pacers should've won it in five games. Heck, they could've swept. In the first game, they were ahead in the first quarter by 15 or something, but lost. But instead, once again, they lost in seven. The fourth game was an unbelievable game. In the last 20 seconds or so, each team made two supposed game-winning shots, with Rik Smits actually winning the game. I lost my voice at that game. However, yeah, the Pacers got killed in the seventh game.

1996: The Colts were ahead of the Steelers in the AFC Championship game with four or five minutes left. I was running around the house screaming about the Super Bowl. Then Pittsburgh took the lead, and I realized it was my fault. The Colts had one chance left, and Jim Harbaugh threw a long pass into the end zone that Aaron Bailey caught...and let slip out of his hands as he was on the ground. I didn't move for about 15 minutes after that one.

1996: The Pacers were having a good season, then Reggie got his face broken by Otis Thorpe. Whereas they could've won the championship, or at least gotten killed by the Bulls later, the Pacers instead lost in the first round.

1998: Once again, the Pacers were one game away from the NBA Finals, but they lost the seventh game. This was frustrating because they finally beat the Knicks, but the Bulls had Jordan and Pippen. I remember Chicago winning the first two games, then the Pacers won the next two, and they alternated after that. Each team won its home games. In Game 7, the Pacers were ahead late in the game, but they blew it. Again.

1999: Jordan was gone. The Bulls were dead. The Pacers were playing a bad Knicks team in the Eastern Conference Finals. It was their turn. Then Larry Johnson made a four-point play, the Knicks won the first game and it was basically over right there. Before Johnson made me hate him forever and the Pacers led by three, I said out loud, "Well, they'll need a four-point play now, and that's not too likely! Yes!" Stupid, stupid, stupid.

2000: The Colts were good again. They played the Titans in the playoffs. The Titans won.

2000: The Pacers finally made the Finals, but they got to play the Lakers. Of course, the Lakers won, and I sulked. That's all I'd like to say about that.

2003: The Cubs were five outs from the World Series. They blew it. I cursed a lot. This was when Jared Bhatti said, "Well, maybe if you live another 95 years, you might just die right before you see the Cubs win."

2004: Patriots beat the Colts, part 1.

2004: The Pacers blew it against the Pistons in the sixth game of the Eastern Conference Finals. Ron Artest went crazy at the end of the sixth and ruined that game. He went crazy a few months later at the same place and ruined the season.

2005: Patriots beat the Colts, part 2.

I hope there's not a 2006.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Dammit Groening! My head is exploding!

A new Simpsons episode just ended, and I am confused. At the beginning of the show, a mailman from 1966 was found frozen in a glacier on a mountain top in Springfield. One of his letters was to Homer's mom from her secret boyfriend she had while married to Abe Simpson. The letter mentioned her unborn child who would later be Homer.

This means Homer is 40 years old. Simple enough. Where I get confused is that the show first aired in 1989, so Homer would have been 23 at the time. When the show began, Bart was 12. This means Homer and Marge would have been roughly 11 years old when their first child was born. Talk about babies having babies. While I know it is best not to question a show where the characters remain the same age (it's not like Malcolm in the Middle, though, which I stopped watching altogether because the older kids are almost adults and I'm convinced Dewey has a defect), this is bothering me. The storyline of this episode completely voids all other truths I thought I knew about The Simpsons throughout the last 17 years. And that's even with the scene of Ralphie Wiggum being stuck in a tuba, which was one of the funniest things on the show in years.

Why does Matt Groening wish to confuse me?

Headlines!

Thanks to the controversy the new TV show "The Book of Daniel" is creating, my name is appearing in quite a lot of headlines these days. Here is a sampling...

"'Daniel' mixes religion, politics; comedy, drama" (The Chicago Tribune)
"'Daniel' can't duck the culture wars" (Los Angeles Times)
"The ordeals of 'Daniel'" (CNN)
"Viewers speak out on 'Daniel'" (NBC)
"'Daniel' quirky, controversial" (Cincinnati Enquirer)
"Irreverent, ambitious 'Daniel' doesn't do anything by the book (WTOP)
"'Daniel' not devine" (Wilkes-Berre Times Leader)
"'Daniel' shows mankind's frailties" (Sioux City Journal)
"Two NBC affiliates in South join crusade against 'Daniel'" (Chicago Sun-Times)

And my favorite for many reasons...

"What's to dislike about 'Daniel'? Everything." (The Indianapolis Star)

You know what's going to happen, don't you? In six weeks, the show will be off the air because it's so poorly made and no one will ever remember it. Just like 99 percent of all the shows that appear on television.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Some more newspaper stuff

From the poster Bubbler on the sportsjournalists.com board, one of the best analogies I've seen regarding the newspaper business and where it goes from here...

This industry will never die, but it does remind me of railroads in the 1960s and 70s more so than the asinine buggy whip cliches the Chicken Little's parrot.

Faced with sea-to-sea interstate trucking competition (along with massive federal regulation) many railroads, who were used to dominating its industry in a manner where newspapers once dominated newsgathering, were turning profits they weren't used to. Many cut back with defrayed maintenance on their rolling stock, rail, etc, to save costs. Not dissimilar from cutting our news hole/setting deadlines to cut news as we do now.

What the railroads found out was that by not maintaining their physical plant, their performance dropped anyway and they lost business -- the Rock Island and Milwaukee Road found out most harshly when both went under (also due to an overabundance of lines in their midwestern bases).

What the railroad survivors realized was that they had niches that no transportation industry had and they exploited them, to the point where commercial rail today is as healthy as its ever been.

Newspapers have many of the same advantages in newsgathering, not to mention brand-name loyalty, to follow roughly the same model. But its going to take forward-thinking.


# # #

He's right. Forward-thinking is what it is going to take. In the end, the companies that are most willing to adapt will be the ones to survive. They're going to be the ones who realize that profit margin does not dictate success. They're going to be the ones who realize that readers don't neccessarily want short stories that don't jump. Most importantly, they're going to be the ones who finally understand how to make the print and online versions of the paper work together. Newspapers have to be more creative. It seems like they get caught in the mindset that it has been done this way and worked for X-number of years, so has to be done that way now and it will work. The ones that don't learn will fail, and it will be addition by subtraction.

I wonder if there is any coorelation to dropping circulation numbers since USA Today and the Gannetization of newspapers began. They like to say they're "respecting readers' busy schedules" by making stories shorter, but it seems to me more people would take the time to read the paper if stories were more meaningful and valuable.

Or maybe I'm completely off, and no one from my generation is ever going to read the newspaper.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The miners' story as a study in journalism

There could be an entire journalism course taught about tonight. While I believe the fault lies with the mining company for not speaking up that it could not confirm the miners were alive, the era of 24 hour news is hurting journalism. It is all about NEWS NOW. Get it fast, let the level of correctness come later. What they should strive for is getting the facts first and the story later. But that's not going to happen.

Cable television news is doing a great deal of the damage. The Internet is another big part of the problem. Newspapers have to follow. By the time reports of survivors came over the AP wire, it was close to late deadlines for many eastern time zone papers. I am afraid that those who run newspapers will see this as a further confirmation of their view that due to their deadlines, newspapers cannot cover national news.

Because they are in print and tangible, newspapers will look the worst. TV stations can backtrack. Web sites can refresh. Newspapers have what is printed. While some eastern time zone papers may have been able to replate for their final editions (the New York Post and the Daily News are two I've seen), the majority probably could not. There are an awful lot of "Dewey Defeats Truman" style front page headlines on doorsteps today. Fortunately, there's always tomorrow, and they'll tell the story better than TV or the Internet can. However, at the same time, many readers will look at their paper, look at CNN and wonder why they need to read the paper. There's a lot of blame tonight, the mining company and media alike, for the mess up in how the information was released. But either way, we (newspapers) look like dumbasses. It's another bad day for newspapers.







(At least the Globe said "reportedly." It was the best they could do at the time.)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

A somewhat disgusting discovery

Yesterday, I was eating at one of my favorite restaurants. Late in the meal, too late for me to mention it to the server, I noticed what appeared to be lipstick on my glass. Seeing as I was using a straw and I don't normally wear lipstick, I knew it wasn't mine. But I took it better than I thought I would. There isn't really a way to test this type of situation, but I am normally a little queasy about such things. However, the place has never been the cleanest, and the lighting is sort of dim, so it didn't surprise me that I missed it. Rather than feeling nausiated, I took it in stride. Instead of a "What the? Lipstick on my glass? I think I'm going to throw up" reaction, I felt more along the lines of "Oh. OK. I'm going to ignore this and finish the meal and never think of it again." Well, I've failed in that respect. And now that I think about it, it was really gross. So if I die of a terrible flesh-eating disease in the next couple days, this is just to document what happened.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Oh man, I shouldn't be doing this

First off, before I get to what I shouldn't do, here is a plug for The Fiery Furnaces' cd "Blueberry Boat." It's 73 minutes of layers. Most of the songs are in segments that build upon and mix into each other until they're seven to nine minutes long. Five are more than eight minutes. Some parts can best be described as sounding like a crazed circus. At least that's how I imagine it when I close my eyes. Angry clowns and lions feasting on the crowd. It's insane. It's just the craziest thing I've ever heard. It feels like an asylum. Buy it!

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Second of all before I get to the main event, go Notre Dame today. I could never root for Ohio State in anything. The Buckeyes get such a free ride from the media in that state that it is ridiculous. Yeah, the same thing probably happens with Penn State, IU, Illinois and so on, but there is also the pretentiousness of Ohio State University. For example, and maybe this is nitpicking, but they can't just go with Ohio State. No, it has to be THE Ohio State University. Seriously, just gag me.

Oh, and you're welcome, Lucas...even if I still say they're hasty in nominating Charlie Weis for god status.

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Edit: Due to pressures put upon me because I bring bad luck to sports teams, this section has been removed.