For those of you who have received Facebook SuperPokes from me in the last few days, I apologize. I’m still figuring out why I need this thing, although I’ve been assured by Those Who Know that all will become clear eventually. Whatever. I spent most of yesterday at a conference, and one of the sessions featured a very energetic woman telling a room full of baffled small businesspeople that they need to be on Twitter, a site that seems to exist for the sole purpose of letting the whole world honk like a goose.*
(* Many years ago, Alan had an interview with an ornithologist. Before he left, I said, “Ask him what geese are saying when they honk at one another when they’re flying.” He returned and reported the answer: A puzzled look, and “Here I am.”)
On the other hand, if I’d been sent a Twitter text message telling me my buds John and Sammy were not in Atlanta yesterday at 8:48 a.m. EDT, but at the Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood, I would not have awakened John at 5:48 a.m. PDT to ask what sort of DV camera I should buy. I know that’s the sort of day-brightener I always appreciate.
The conference wasn’t a total waste of time. It was a research trip, and I got lots of ideas, even though the temperature indoors seemed to be turned down to stun. I spent the first part of the week worrying that the nape of my neck would never feel cool and dry again and by Wednesday — not even the end of the week — I’m blowing on my fingers in hopes of feeling sensation in them. During a break in the action, I wandered out to the lobby to discover the UAW had struck Chrysler. By the time I got home, the strike was over. Six hours — not even a whole shift — and yet it was enough to send yet another sheaf of solidarity-forever photos out into the world. Tom Walsh at the Freep points out the stakes:
(UAW President) Ron Gettelfinger is on the verge of doing something so historic, forging the most important UAW contracts since the GM sit-down strikes of 1936-37, that he felt compelled to deploy the biggest weapon in his arsenal, the strike, to make it happen. He called strikes to squeeze every last penny and every possible promise of a job from the companies, in return for the UAW agreeing to major cost-saving measures, most importantly, a union-run trust fund to handle future health care costs for retirees.
And he called strikes to show the hourly rank-and-file workers that he has their back, that he’s doing everything he can to get the most he can for his people. If UAW members don’t trust their leader to do that, they won’t ratify these contracts. The heavy lifting is not done. Gettelfinger, UAW Vice President Bob King and their bargaining team must now hunker down with Ford Motor Co., arguably the weakest of Detroit’s automakers, to negotiate one more contract.
I point this out not to bore the crap out of you, only to pause for a moment and reflect that a smart beat reporter-turned-columnist can be a real service to readers. That is all.
One of the sessions I attended was on innovation. After I adjusted my brain to the idea — having spent my career in an industry that could have hung out a sign reading, PROUDLY INNOVATION-FREE SINCE THE CIVIL WAR — I started to wonder if newspapers might not have had to travel this rocky path, if they’d had the sense to see the future coming down the road at them. Impossible question to answer, I know, but I do know what kept them from seeing it: Fear. Newspapers have been managed from a position of nail-biting fear for so long they don’t know any other way to do it. Kind of like the UAW. Too bad.
When I snapped back to attention the speaker was talking about how the parking decks at Metro Airport were innovated to within an inch of their lives, and the next step will likely be a Star Trek transporter between your home and your departure gate, cutting the car and the parking out of the equation completely. Kind of like the internet and newspapers. Too bad.
Friends, I’m beat, and I told myself I’d get this chore out of the way early, so I can shower and eat and adjust my caffeine balance. I don’t have much bloggage, but I advise you to find your own at Comics Curmudgeon, where daily the proprietor points out the utter laziness and fear-based management that rules the funny pages. Psst: He’s just devastating on Ziggy today. Or Doghouse Riley, who is having Hoosier-style water problems, something I recall from my Hoosier days.
And if you’d like to be sucked into a Flash vortex and not get any work done for the rest of the day, go ahead and try to spot the difference. Make sure the monitor faces the wall and no one can see what you’re really doing.
Also, where’s Danny been these days? The halls feel empty and echo-y without him.
LA mary said on October 11, 2007 at 11:01 am
Maybe Danny’s one of the protesters down in Portrero, trying to stop Blackwater from building a training facility. He lives in that part of the world.
Judith said on October 11, 2007 at 11:16 am
I can’t imagine not having a daily newspaper to read! Like today, when the story from Sylvia Smith concerns our Rep.–Mark Souder, NE Indiana, “backing off his support for Kelty” the Rep. candidate for mayor of Fort Wayne. Guess Souder didn’t like the idea of toilet paper with his face on it gracing the front page of JG.’s Metro Section. During the interview Souder says he “basically agrees with the issues Matt has raised.” That’s his justification for “I can’t see myself endorsing (Democrat Tom ) Henry.” However, Souder sees the cake incident (where the outhouse with the aforementioned TP adorned a Kelty bd cake at a fund raiser with many disparaging remarks about leading Republicans) as “a little thing” among “some other things that have happened since (the primary), and there are many that aren’t public.”
Secrets seem to be the current thing, so that those wise people, like Souder??? can vote against common sense with that smugness he exhibits.
Anyway, Souder can complain about Kelty’s immaturity and lack of judgment, but he still cannot support the better candidate. It’s reminiscent of Souder’s insistence during his debates with Tom Hayhurst during the last Congressional election that Hayhurst would not be able to work in a bipartisan way in Congress. Souder said that no matter how you may disagree and try to change proposed legislation, in the end you vote with your party. That’s immaturity and lack of judgment to me.
brian stouder said on October 11, 2007 at 11:34 am
I spent the first part of the week worrying that the nape of my neck would never feel cool and dry again and by Wednesday — not even the end of the week — I’m blowing on my fingers in hopes of feeling sensation in them.
Tuesday it was 93 degrees – I had on a short sleeve golf shirt (no tie), and was hot.
Wednesday it was 51; had on a similar shirt (still no tie) and I was shivering. Changed to a long-sleeved flannel shirt at lunchtime (still no tie) and improved… a little
Today I’m wearing a sweater, a long sleeved shirt (still no tie*), and I have hot chocolate in front of me (old coot-hood approaches…at a gallop!)
*I think the last time I wore a tie was about 4 years ago – at some event or another
Julie Robinson said on October 11, 2007 at 5:05 pm
My workplace is pushing a Learning2.0 program to bring us all up to speed on internet developments. That’s great and all, though I noticed no one offered to lighten my work load. I’m trying to get through it at home.
Maybe it’s generational, but I don’t know anyone except my kids who are on myspace, facebook, twitter, etc. I’m actually more web-savvy than most of my friends. So I salute you, Nancy, for boldy forging forward where few other boomers have ventured. I’m skipping out on this one.
My hubby still has to wear a suit and tie. Lucky for him he’s married to a woman of exquisite taste who matches everything up for him. Otherwise he would wear the same suit, shirt and tie everyday. He would be even happier if they would just give him a uniform so he wouldn’t have to make any choices in the morning.
alex said on October 11, 2007 at 6:35 pm
Maybe Danny’s off reporting to his bosses at the Heritage Foundation about his Alexis de Tocqueville excursions into the moderate-to-left blogosphere and telling them what recalcitrant, impossible converts we will be and that they might as well just write us off.
I used to be a clothes horse and could match my ties to my suits better than any woman, I daresay. Then I became a free-lancer and lived in jeans and skank tops (which are Ts and tanks so holy that the pope would swoon in their presence). And now I’m a grunt in Gap khakis who really just wants to wear jeans and skank tops. And my favorite pair of Dingo boots that just lost most of the stitching around a sewed-on half-sole the other day. Guess I could call it a high-top flip-flop, eh?
basset said on October 11, 2007 at 10:21 pm
DV camera? just for non-critical home movies of the dog and family, I’d say get whatever Canon or Sony fits your budget, feels comfortable in your hands, and has Firewire output.
our family unit went to the Timberline at the end of May – shorts and T-shirts at the start of the trip, snow blowing sideways in the lodge parking lot, and it’s only halfway up the mountain.
what you want to do in that area is go on the “Fruit Loop,” an unguided tour of flower farms, orchards, and wineries… wife did that while the boy and I went fishing and enjoyed it immensely.
MichaelG said on October 12, 2007 at 7:41 am
I’m wearing some Timberline topsider type things on my feet.
James said on October 13, 2007 at 10:24 am
Glad you found the Comics Curmudgeon… one of my favorite reads. He also does stuff on Wonkette.