Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Magnificent Movie for Magnificent Cleaning

It's house cleaning day (I get to do the dusting and vacuuming - Yeah!) and I just found a great movie to watch while I do it.

"The Magnificent Seven" with Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, James Coburn and an actor named Brad Dexter playing the "Seven." That's enough testosterone to spontaneously start a war anywhere.

James Coburn just killed a guy and won a gun duel by throwing a knife into the heart of his opponent in what was supposed to be a gun fight. That's how he got noticed by Yul Brynner and enlisted into the Magnificent Seven. It just doesn't get any better than that.

Don't worry, my wife had her time this morning on the television watching AM Style on QVC. I think they were selling bras, matching shirt, jacket and pant outfits. So she's had her estrogen fix for today.

Besides she's working on the other parts of the house.

As long as you have to be cooped up in the house dusting and vacuuming while it is heavily snowing outside, watching a good cowboy movie is a pretty good consolation prize.

Friday, February 20, 2009

It can always get worse

At one Indiana paper things have gotten worse.

And here's someone who has 10 ways they think they can make newspapers better.

And the JRC continues to tumble.

Plain Dealer Editor: "We're making money"

Jim Carty's blog, "Paper Tiger No More," has an interesting article about a recent speech by the Editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

"We're making money."

Another view of cutting publication days

From Editor and Publisher (with a hat tip to JT, again):

To print or not to print

If the annoying ad pops up, just click "continue" at the upper right hand corner.

Flint Journal staff bracing for more changes

Nothing like an old retirees' lunch to pick up some new odds and ends about the Flint Journal.

Apparently there was a going away party recently for one of the assistant editors who has taken a job with a business publication (good for him) and a lot of discussion revolved around some looming changes at the Flint Journal.

Some are a little fuzzy, but it sounds like, perhaps in April, the FJ will cut its home "dead tree" version to three or four days a week. This is similar to a recent move by the Detroit papers to cut publication dates in favor of the online version.

Daily reporters will soon be required to take many of their own photos (not unique to the Flint Journal) but quite a change for the daily reporters there nonetheless.

There's some other rumored changes afoot, but the discussions of those at the party were not as clear. As soon as I know, so will you.

A welcome rant on CNBC

What Rick Santelli said:

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Stop paying for your house now

Man, I wish my wife and I hadn't paid off our house. Just think, if we had defaulted on our payments, the government would now be stepping in to tap my neighbors to help us pay for our home.

Only in the bizarro world of politics would this seem like a good idea. Those of us who were responsible enough to live and pay for houses we could afford (while making car payments and college loan payments) are now on the hook for those who didn't.

The government now wants to get involved in the mortgage business again, through Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Isn't this how we got in this mess in the first place?

It would be better if banks and savings and loans (the other devils in this fight) would see it in their self interest to renegotiate loans and help keep people in their homes(some of that, I understand, is going on). Banks would then be receiving something on these devalued homes instead of the nothing it gets now, but now big government has stepped in and what is the incentive now for anyone to pay their bills.

Buy outs for everyone. That's what I say. The more the government tries to help, the more the stock market doesn't like it. My 401k is now my 201k thanks to all the doom and gloom and government interference.

But have no fear, you Congress folks are flying all over the globe with their families on holidays and we're paying for it.

More reporter/editor sayings

Who knew there would be more than one blog collecting newsroom verbal gems.

Heres another one:

Newsroom quotes

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Journalists say the darndest things

A former Flint Journal editor used to keep a file of the stupid, sexually suggestive and outright funny sayings that occur on a daily basis in the newsroom.

Aside: Someday, I'll write a column about "Bounce the Chicken" Day celebrations each September. Actually, I need a former copy editor who organized the annual event to write it for me. (Please, please, please). End aside.

At one point this editor's quote file was extensive and covered years of overheard conversations in the newsroom. Today I stumbled across a blog that has made a daily habit of collecting these conversations.

So, dear BR, if you still have that list here is a place to put all those gems, or better yet, start your own.

Overheard in the Newsroom

Rent-A-Journalist a new Advance idea

Thanks to the blog Inside Out for finding this little gem (and the headline) about the future of Advance and Newhouse journalism:


Just in case my old boss at the Journal was wondering: I'm not available. I don't think I'm on the editor's short list anyway (not on the long list either).

A few of us who took the buyout briefly toyed with an idea of setting up an online mid-Michigan crime blog and continuing our reporting days, but like the Journal has found out it might be fun to do, but there is very little money it.

Got to love the name of the news service that has been providing high school sports for the New Jersey paper: Dorf News Service. Really.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Spaceballs: A wedge movie for my marriage

At the risk of changing forever how some of you feel about me, I am going to admit something I should probably keep to myself: One of my favorite movies of all time was Mel Brooks' "Blazing Saddles."

To be honest, I could watch this movie every month and still laugh out loud at parts of it. That's a problem in my house because my wife hates the movie. Not just a mild hate, but a "don't-ever-bring-that-movie-into-our-house-kind-of-hate." So it has been a long time since I have watched "Blazing Saddles."

A year ago, our son and daughter-in-law gave us a subscription to Netflix and we have gotten a lot of use out of it, but I probably stepped over the line this month when I somehow moved the movie "Spaceballs" up to the top of our movie queue and it ended up in our mailbox.

Actually, it has been sitting on top of our entertainment center for a month and I finally got up the courage to suggest that we watch the movie on Sunday night. When my wife asked me what the movie was about, all I got out was "Mel Brooks" when she rolled her eyes and picked up some school papers to grade.

An hour and 36 minutes later, she was rethinking her decision to marry me. Every time I laughed at something in the movie, she would glance up from her students' papers, look over and give me that look that all married men dread. You know that, "what was I thinking when I married this guy" look.

When I clicked on the "Special Features" after the movie was done, she just looked at me and said "No."

"Spaceballs" was no "Blazing Saddles" but I did get a few laughs out of it. But now I'm probably going to have to watch "The Devil Wears Prada," "27 Dresses," and "Sleepless in Seattle," and any number of chick flicks before I get to order another one of my movies again.

Former Advance Internet guy weighs in on free content with a for-pay book

Reflections of a Newsosaur has a great tongue-in-cheek column about Jeff Jarvis, the guy who helped set up Advance Internet, the Newhouse introduction into the Internet that we all know and despise as here in Michigan.

Here is some more on Mr. Jarvis.

Do make sure to read the comments on the Newsosaur article because Jeff Jarvis chimes in to defend himself.

Monday, February 16, 2009

More talk about finally making the news web pay

Newspaper Death Watch pulls together some more discussions on the pay-to-read models. Interesting stuff.

The Search for Solutions

Hypocrisy = Congress

Remember how Congress berated the auto execs for flying in private airplanes. Well, here's tonight's ABC News report on the little junkets taken by Congress at our expense. Only they take the family with them.

Congressional hypocrites

Thepmonggon: Thai food to stop for

Sometimes it pays to be adventuresome, especially when it comes to food.

During my trip to California, my sister, Pam, and cousin, Cynthia, were on a day trip to Pt. Reyes, a beautiful jut of land north of San Francisco. We had ventured from Windsor, California through the back roads with a stop at the beautiful Armstrong Redwood Grove.

As we got closer to Pt. Reyes we started to think about eating lunch. Because we were close to the ocean we wanted to find a dining place on the water. So we traveled through Tomales Bay (a major oyster harvesting area) and then through Pt. Reyes Station. I remembered that there were a number of eating places along the road to Pt. Reyes.

We passed a couple, but still held out for a place on the water, not just near the water.

We came to a motel next to a Thai restaurant on the water, and at the urging of my companions I stopped to seek human directions to a place to eat. My GPS, which I never travel far without, had indicated that there was a place called "Barnaby's" near where we were.

A man doing repairs to the motel told me that I was actually standing next to "Barnaby's" except that it was now "Thepmonggon" and it served Thai food. He also told us it was the last eating establishment on the peninsula before we got to Pt. Reyes. So I went back to the car, not excited about a Thai food lunch, but my cousin argued that they must have a fish and chips or other American dish for travelers not into the exotic.

Reluctantly, we entered the completely empty restaurant and asked to see the menu. Not one non-Thai dish on the menu. The owner talked a good game and so, instead of back tracking for some American food we sat down and decided to try the Thai offerings.

The owner suggested a few dishes we could share and started bringing them. I can't tell you when I've had a better meal. We had Netted Prawns (deep fried prawns wrapped with egg noodles), Chicken Corn cake, Taro Egg Rolls and Chicken Sate (a marinated chicken breast with Thai herb, served with peanut sauce and cucumber salad. (Total $15.95).

Next he brought a large bowl of Thepmonggon Tom Kha Coconut Soup (enough for three people - $9.95) that was so good we only stopped eating it when we realized we had ordered two other dishes to share.

Our next dish was Asparagus Prawn sauteed in red curry sauce with Thai herbs and bell peppers. ($15.95)

Finally, we ended with Pad See Eww, a pan fried egg noodle sauteed with oyster sauce, broccoli, garlic, carrot, egg with beef. ($15.95)

We took home cartons of the leftovers of last two offerings because we were too full of soup and everything else. The man's wife, who was Thai was the main chef and her niece was her assistant and obviously had great skill in the kitchen.

In our conversations with the owner he admitted that many folks stop, look at his menu and move on without staying so soon he is going to add those American comfort items that might keep them in his place, but it will be too bad because they will miss a true taste adventure.

Much of our conversation that afternoon revolved around our decision to stay at that restaurant and try something new and how glad we were that we did.

So if you ever find yourself on the peninsula heading out to Pt. Reyes and hungry at the same time, do yourself a favor and stop at Thepmonggon, 12938 Sir Frances Drake Blvd. (Inverness, Ca.) you will not be sorry.

"Thepmonggon" Thai on the Bay: Where East meets West Marin. As in Marin County.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

More on the pay as you read model

Faithful reader and contributor JT has forwarded another interesting item. This one is a podcast from Fitz and Jen at Editor and Publisher about the move to paid or micro payment models for newspaper websites.

When you go to the Arkansas paper's online webpage, you get a small tease of a story but must be a monthly subscriber ($4.95) to read the entire story.

Go to Arkansa Democrat-Gazette to see what I'm talking about.