The war on vegetation.

Why does lawn care have to be so noisy?

Yesterday: A crew was taking down a tree about half a block away, probably yet another standing-dead casualty of the emerald ash borer. Chain saws and chippers were my afternoon’s soundtrack. Today, moments ago, the lawn-service crew arrived next door. Two mowers and two weed whippers sing as one. Next will be the blower.

I’m choosing not to be bugged by this. (It took me years to figure out that you could do that.) Although they’d better be done in the next 20 minutes.

(One minute later) And just like that, they’re done. Is that a chickadee I hear outside? Ah, sweet summer.

Really. The ghost of Possible Full-Time Employment is starting to haunt this address again, and once again, timing is all. If the damn thing would show up in January, that would be one thing, but there’s sure something sweet about freelancing in June. I’m writing this in a tank top that shows my bra straps, gym shorts and bare feet. The chickadee was just joined by a cardinal. Soon my daughter will be home from school, and maybe I’ll take her to the pool, and maybe I’ll keep working. An office isn’t much of a lure on a day like this. But for some reason I rarely get job feelers when I’m feeling lonely and poor and stuck inside my little home-office cage.

I’ll keep you posted.

I’ve spent too much time today writing, rewriting and throwing away a few notes about the sale of my old paper. The throwing away always comes after I tell myself it’s time to move on and I don’t care about the place anymore (not entirely true). Thankfully, late in the day I was saved by a reader:

I feel really bad for your old colleagues in Fort Wayne. Grit is the least of Ogden Newspapers’ problems.

Ogden owns a bunch of newspapers in West Virginia, and they are, without exception, lousy. Poorly written, poorly laid-out, poorly reported, run as sweatshops. They are absolute embarrassing crap. Everyone who I’ve ever talked to who worked for Ogden has horror stories that surprised me, and I’ve worked for some really crummy papers.

Ogden Nutting is also an investor in the Pittsburgh Pirates, and word on the street here is that his influence is the reason the Pirates have been so lousy for the last decade — he won’t spend any money.

This is a sad day for Fort Wayne, I think. The only positive is that Ogden does know how to operate in two-newspaper towns (Wheeling, W.Va., for instance), so it probably has every intention of keeping the N-S alive. The downside is that it’s liable to be a shell of a newspaper.

P.S. It’s already a shell of a newspaper, compared to what it was. They’ll feel right at home.

Posted at 3:30 pm in Media, Same ol' same ol' |

6 responses to “The war on vegetation.”

  1. Mindy said on June 8, 2006 at 3:59 pm

    I’ll keep subscribing to the poor thing until it’s criminal to keep doing so. Tuesday’s paper wouldn’t have lined the bottom of a large bird cage, but it was still the afternoon daily. Sigh.

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  2. alex said on June 8, 2006 at 4:52 pm

    Nutting. Never heard it before except as a verb.

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  3. brian stouder said on June 8, 2006 at 5:53 pm

    I was yapping with the neighbors the other day, and mentioned that it semed that half my life is directed at making long grass shorter – or at least it seemed that way when we emerged from last moneth’s rainy spell. (In a two day period I did our lawn, the lawns of both sets of grandparents….but my mother in law has an acre or two [or more] of lawn, and has one of those Dixon Zero Turning Radius things – which was loads of fun!)

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  4. BillsFace said on June 10, 2006 at 11:50 am

    I’m not real noisy, but I am smokey – and that makes me a pariah in my neighborhood. I still believe (and like to) burn my yard waste a couple of times a yeah, and it drives a few neighbors, particularly the old woman next door, completely bat guano. I try to justify this with the claim (but aren’t sure if it’s true) that it’s better environmentally to burn than send to landfill. Anyway, it’s legal in my area, and I am sorry they don’t like it, but I don’t think I am being THAT BAD of a guy by burning for a couple of hours every couple of months. Am I?

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  5. brian stouder said on June 10, 2006 at 10:07 pm

    No – and I wish I could burn lawn waste, at least every so often.

    Raking leaves into long mounds along the edge of the street, there to await the legions of (smokey!) city trucks and front-end loaders that are tasked with making it all disappear – strikes me as nonsensical.

    And besides – as we recently learned from Madam Telling Tales – all those trucks ‘run on the blood of US servicemen and women’, eh?

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  6. weavertown said on June 23, 2006 at 9:28 am

    I’m one of those former employees of one of Nutting’s W.Va. newspapers. Permit me to make a few comments.

    >>>>>Ogden does know how to operate in two-newspaper towns (Wheeling, W.Va., for instance)

    Ogden owns both of the newspapers in Wheeling, so there’s no real competition. There used to be some competitiveness between the news departments, though. There was pride in writing well and putting out a quality product, especially by the afternoon paper. But when Ogden hired a new general manager – a former advertising guy with no editorial experience whatsoever – all that mattered was the bottom line. Formerly free obits now cost $$$. The two newsroom staffs were, for all practical purposes, merged. No longer was there a separate city editor for each newspaper. Then Ogden bought a few more local papers and was able to eliminate reporters by just taking stories filed for the Steubenville or Martins Ferry newspapers and using them in the Wheeling paper.

    I left because the pay was so bad and it became evident that management didn’t care one bit about putting out a quality newspaper. I didn’t want my name associated with it.

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