What did I say the other day about November? Today I made some calls and, in waiting for them to be returned, thought I might read a few pages of “The Plot Against America,” which I can’t recommend highly enough. Because it’s November and because my alarm goes off at 3:45 a.m., I drifted off for about 10 minutes. When I woke up, I could have sworn winter arrived in just that 10 minutes — the room was dim. The clouds had stacked up the way they like to do in winter, preparatory to cementing themselves in place until, oh, March 15th or so.
I looked at the clock. Four p.m. God help me.
Our new governor-elect wants to bring Indiana kicking and screaming into the 20th century — he wants us to adopt that dangerous idea, daylight-saving time. But with a sick twist: We’d move to the central time zone. If he pushes this, I will…I will…I will be very angry. Central daylight time is essentially what we’re on in the summer, which means nothing significant would change in the warm weather, but in the winter? It would get dark at FOUR O’CLOCK IN THE GODDAMN AFTERNOON.
Why not just pass out cyanide capsules at Thanksgiving? It would make as much sense.
Let’s brighten up with some bloggage:
The hero (of “Basket Case”) was a muckraking reporter busted down to the obituary beat after publicly embarrassing his paper’s new budget-slashing corporate owner, Race Maggad, head of the Maggad-Feist newspaper chain. “These days we buy the loyalty of readers with giveaways and grocery coupons, not content,” Basket Case’s protagonist laments. Meanwhile, Maggad’s mandate was to “strive for brevity and froth, shirking from stories that demand depth or deliberation, stories that might rattle a few cages and raise a little hell.”
Maggad, of course, was a barely disguised caricature of Tony Ridder, CEO of the Herald’s own parent company, Knight Ridder.
Did you ever hear from Tony Ridder after Basket Case was published?
“Not a word,” Hiaasen answers dryly.
The real-life inspiration for Race Maggad wasn’t exactly veiled.
Hiaasen leans forward, all the humor drained from his voice. “How could I not write about him? I grew up with this newspaper. I’ve put my life into it! It was the paper that landed on my doorstep every morning. So I have a right to be pissed, just like any reader. Anyone who can look you in the eye and tell you the Miami Herald of 2004 is as good as it was in 1984 is out of their skull. It’s palpable, the difference is palpable.”
(You only get away with that when you write a best-seller every 24 months, by the way.)
Oh, have a good weekend. I plan to.