Less fun today, but still fun.

Danny wondered if I was planning to post today, or just lie around the house eating leftover V-Day cupcakes. The answer is: Get out of my face, Danny. I have four hours to write a story, shower, run downtown to check out a coffee table going up for auction tonight and strategize our bid (not to mention gird my loins against every gay couple in the tri-county area, because it’s mid-century and FABulous), pick up Kate, take the dog to the vet, primp for a girl’s night out, etc. But before I commence this whirlwind, I’m having a last cup of coffee and giving you something to hang your comments on, Danny, because that’s the kind of gal I am.

I always have a day like this after I’ve applied for a regular full-time job, which I did earlier this week. I’m not counting on hearing back from them, however, because one thing I’ve learned about myself in the last three years: I am box office poison. Like Joan Crawford.

In my pile of “stuff to write about eventually” is a copy of a book sent to me around Christmas by NN.C reader and sometime commenter, Michael Heaton. “Truth and Justice for Fun and Profit” is a collection of 20-plus years of columns and stories for The Plain Dealer, which you Midwesterners should immediately recognize as Cleveland’s daily newspaper (unless you’re from rural Indiana, and you know it as Wabash’s daily newspaper [no, it’s not the Cannonball, although it should be], in which case you’d be wrong, because the Wabash Plain Dealer has the city in its name, whereas Cleveland’s daily is just: The Plain Dealer, and just in case you were wondering, yes that IS the best newspaper name ever).

Anyway, Heaton’s book isn’t the sort of thing you just pick up and read straight through, but it’s great kitchen material — pick a short piece and read it while you wait for the sauce to reduce. Although it has a way of making the sauce reduce too much, if you catch my drift. You can burn your cheese toastie getting through “In the Valley of the Lost Boys,” a magazine-length piece recalling the glory days of an old-school bachelor colony, falling to (what else?) real-estate developers.

The book mostly makes me wistful, though — writing like this is why I got into newspapers in the first place. It’s reminds me that once upon a time the Features section was where a good writer aspired to be, before corporate bozos turned it into a forgettable mishmash of smart-parenting thumb-suckers and 10-day-old Paris Hilton gossip roundups.

Oh, well. Plug delivered. Follow the On the Nightstand link for buying info. (And please, don’t be put off by the “Foreword by Joe Eszterhas” line on the cover. We won’t hold that against him. Besides, when the One Great Scorer comes to write against the man who gave the world Sharon Stone’s coochie on the silver screen, he’ll have to put one thing on the plus side: He came back to Cleveland.)

And if Michael ever reads this, he knows why I finally got around to writing about it today — his father, legendary PD sportswriter Chuck Heaton, died Thursday. Ninety years old, surrounded by family, he crossed the river under the best circumstances possible. Wherever he is now, I wonder if he’s privy to what’s going to happen to the business he gave his life to. I hope, if he has any say in the matter, it’s not all bad. Michael, my condolences. It’s never easy.

Off to my fun-filled day. You happy now, Danny?

Posted at 11:37 am in Media |

21 responses to “Less fun today, but still fun.”

  1. Julie Robinson said on February 15, 2008 at 11:54 am

    And here’s a shout-out to another NN.C commentator: Brian Stouder, who is thanked in the acknowledgments of Gerald Prokopowicz’s new Lincoln book. First paragraph, no less. It seems Brian was too modest to mention this when writing about the book.

    250 chars

  2. Sue said on February 15, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    Nancy, you’re not box-office poison. You’re just old. Age discrimination is alive and well and flourishing in the American workplace.

    135 chars

  3. brian stouder said on February 15, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    Julie – it is not too much to say that I was stunned and amazed when I saw that….it was a tremendous, undeserved honor, and a complete surprise!

    In corresponding with him, Dr P indicated that some of the online discussions that we had participated in over the years directly contributed to his book. Most often, I would post about whatever author or speaker had just visited the Fort Wayne Lincoln Museum, and offer a reaction to this-or-that subject that was addressed, and this would lead to discussions….so to the extent that I had anything to offer Dr P, really the Lincoln Museum gets the credit!

    Anyway, reading that acknowledgement made my ears burn and my forehead tingle…and as I mentioned to Nance – when she writes her book, maybe I can be a Zelig-like presence in a footnote there, too!

    811 chars

  4. Peter said on February 15, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    Well, I would like to plug a book of newspaper/magazine articles that originally appeared in the Chicago Reader. The People Are the News: Grant Pick’s Chicago Stories, published by NU Press. I remember Pick’s stories from the Reader, and they were special.

    Box office poison? Nancy Dearest, say it ain’t so! But if it’s true, you can use your new found video skillz for a damn fine remake of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane

    429 chars

  5. Danny said on February 15, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    OK. Yes, I am happy!

    Now, in case you guys think that San Diego is all palm trees and beachside Corona commercials, here is proof to the contrary. Snow! Snow, I tell you!

    And though the temperature had already dipped to 39 F yesterday afternoon, I still got in the pool (heated, but outdoors) and swam my usual 5000. The kids talk about me in reverential terms. At least to my face. Behind my back, I’m probably just that crazy old guy with no life and no sense.

    Maybe I’ll get mentioned in one of their books. The Idiot’s Guide to Being an Idiot?

    660 chars

  6. Danny said on February 15, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Congratulations, Brian. Very cool.

    35 chars

  7. nancy said on February 15, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    Five thousand yards in a heated pool? I’ll put that effort right up there with sex in an outdoor hot tub during a snowstorm. (Let me see the hands…)

    The SoCal lifeguard standard is the true measure of reverence for swimmers: half a mile in the Big P before every shift, year-round.

    286 chars

  8. Cathy D. said on February 15, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    Re: Plain Dealer. Still a good read and doing lots of online stuff to keep readership–don’t know if it’s working, but I have at least three RSS feeds to keep me updated.

    170 chars

  9. Danny said on February 15, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Nancy, you’re not box-office poison. You’re just old. Age discrimination is alive and well and flourishing in the American workplace.

    My mom, she could be retired. But she enjoys work, so she decided to take up a new job upon retiring from AT&T as a manufacturing production manager at their Omaha plant. Now she works at a nuke power plant in an admin-esque job that she is way over-qualified for.

    So a few weeks ago, she saw an internal job posting to something that paid more and might be more interesting and for which she ended up being the most qualified applicant. But she did not get the job. Instead, it went to this young, pretty thing who had no college and no experience. The catch was, mom was told she was rejected because she was not qualified. Well she ran it up the flag pole, not wanting to cause a huge stink, but the “error” was obvious, so mom got a pretty good bump in pay and the manager responsible for the age discrimination got fired.

    Mom felt really bad about this, but I told her good for her and that she shouldn’t feel bad. I think that the upper management must have wanted to get rid of this guy for some other reason and the age-discrimination thing was as handy as any other excuse.

    1254 chars

  10. Sue said on February 15, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    Danny, I was all ready to scoff at your puny weather story, but all I had to do was see the picture. At least we don’t have to deal with the accompanying mudslides. Madison WI has surpassed its snowfall record this year. Milwaukee is behind; this is only our 13th snowiest winter. Still, it’s early yet, we can still get hit by snow into May. Since we’ve been alternating between snowstorms and subzero weather (about a two day stretch for each before the other takes over), it’s a good possibility we’ll make the top ten at least this year. Now people are actually hoping for more snow, because they want to break the record. What can I say, it’s how we cope.

    667 chars

  11. Danny said on February 15, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    Right you are, Nance. There’s no fooling you hearty rust-belters, but it doesn’t take a lot to impress the Nintendo generation.

    It wasn’t too hard to stay in the pool. Getting out really sucked though. I mean, it was raining and gusting about 30 mph. You could probably here my wimpy little, pansy-assed mewling halfway across the country.

    346 chars

  12. Jason T. said on February 15, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    I pride myself on knowing obscure newspaper names from all over the country. It used to be a parlor game for me when stuff came over the AP wire: “That story is from Bloomington? It must have come from the Pantagraph.”

    But I never knew there was another “Plain Dealer” in the United States.

    Until today.

    God bless you, Nance! May you get every coffee table your heart desires.

    385 chars

  13. joodyb said on February 15, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    We’re rooting for the Mad-Town record, Sue. We’ve had a nice wintry winter in the Twins for once this year, but i’m over the sub-zero joke now and would like to crack 20 often enough that my poor poor crazie dogz can have some suitable extended large animal outdoor exercise. they jump the fence each time they go out!

    Fingers crost on the table, nn.

    353 chars

  14. alex said on February 15, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    And even if you’re outbid by some some well-heeled queens, please do snap some pix and show us table porn.

    106 chars

  15. ashley said on February 15, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    Michael, my condolences on the loss of your father. He made Cleveland sports come alive, truly. Thanks for the emails over the years, and yes, I think your sister is cute, but let’s just say we’re at opposite ends of the political spectrum.

    My favorite Plain Dealer story was that in the 70s and 80s, when the Indians were still sucking, whenever they won 3 in a row, the headline was always “TRIBE ON WARPATH”.

    You really think the name “Plain Dealer” is better than the “Times Picayune”? Or the “Arlen Bystander”?

    Monday, I flew from NOLA to Chicago. Temp leaving NOLA: 60. Temp arriving in Chicago: -2. You guys are tough, man.

    645 chars

  16. basset said on February 16, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    the Bloomington, Ind. paper is the Herald-Times now… but when I was throwing it on doorsteps back in the late Sixties it was the “Herald-Telephone.”

    dunno where that came from.

    Ohio has one of the all-time great newspaper names in my opinion… the Youngstown Vindicator.

    and a bit east and south of there in West Virginia we have, or maybe had, the Wheeling Intelligencer.

    386 chars

  17. nancy said on February 16, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    In Bloomington, Illinois, it’s still the Pantagraph.

    But yeah, I miss the Herald-Telephone.

    94 chars

  18. alex said on February 16, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    Sure wish I knew a venture capitalist. I’d have bought the News-Sentinel from Knight-Ridder, hired a bunch of top talent and called it The Shit.

    144 chars

  19. MarkH said on February 17, 2008 at 12:23 am

    In Wyoming, Douglas has the weekly Budget, but in Laramie you get the daily Boomerang.

    But here in Jackson Hole,we have the NaG. Really. OK, OK, not really. It’s an acronym locals applied after the 2003 merger of the two local weeklies, the News and the Guide, which is now the News & Guide, which is how the locals came to…

    I used to work at the Guide.

    365 chars

  20. Jeff said on February 17, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    Drifting in late to everything last week — best newspaper name, ever: “The Broad Axe of Freedom and Grubbing Hoe of Truth,” an 1854 abolitionist newspaper that had a good run until the Civil War resolved (mostly) the dispute over chattel slavery.

    And it was published where? Mwahahahahaha . . .

    300 chars

  21. michael heaton said on February 19, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    thanks for the book plug. we sent my dad off in style.
    in the eulogy i told everyone that he’s covering the Saints now.

    129 chars