Send caffeine.

I just looked at my calendar for this week and groaned, although not entirely with misery. Any week with a to-do list including “build props for zombie movie” and “escort French journalists through bad neighborhoods” can be many things, but not boring. One of the things I wanted when I left Indiana was a more interesting life, and it looks as though I got it, at least this week.

On the other hand, I’m glad I stocked up on coffee last week.

My perambulations this week took me far from my east-side nest, which is always interesting. In any city that sprawls the way this one does, people tend to get a little dug in. Yesterday I went to Warren. Among the bumper-sticker descriptions of Warren: Second-most corrupt city in Michigan and Hometown of Eminem. I found myself in a dollar store, when three or four Eminem clones walked in: Elaborately carved but badly maintained facial hair (those multi-prong goatees), tattoos that climb up the neck, cocked ball caps, baggy everything.

One had a girl with him, who was apparently leading the shopping expedition. She wasn’t in a good mood, and it was easy to see why: Her boyfriend, one of the Em-ulators, liked to swat her with random objects. Not like he was seriously trying to hurt her, but not friendly, either. He’d pick up, say, a roll of wrapping paper and slap at her legs with it. “Whaddaya think of this? (slap) Huh? (slap) Huh?” She’s ignoring this, but with the pressed lips employed by parents trying to remember the baby-book advice on how to deal with toddler temper tantrums. I’m watching this, thinking, I don’t care what kind of union job that guy has, I don’t care what he does in bed, I don’t care if he has a nice car. You can do better.

What happened to young men? It’s like women got a little autonomy and they fell to pieces. I’m reminded of George Clinton’s comments, which I quoted here before but bear repeating:

Though he’s popular with rappers, Clinton says he doesn’t completely understand the hip-hop culture. “I can’t get used to [rappers] saying the things they say to girls and then expecting them to make love to that,” he laughs. “One guy was cursing this one girl out and I said, ‘Man, don’t talk like that to that girl,’ and she said, ‘Oh, here comes Captain Save-a-Ho.’”

Anyway, that was Warren. Dollar-store Warren, granted, but still.

Just got an e-mail from a reader:

Looks like the Chicago Tribune has redesigned its way into irrelevancy as unveiled today by Publisher Tony Hunter and Editor Gerould Kern. We’ve seen it all before: So many over-sized graphic elements that there is no room for the news, bullet points, “consumer” stories, Hollywood gossip, stories reduced to charts, graphs and other elements (except, of course, copy), etc. etc.

The “new” Trib’s take on one of the biggest stories of the decade, the bail-out plan hammered out by Congress? Well, you won’t find it on the front page (no space, what with the top half of Page 1 taken up by the two-line name plate, reefers and giant photo). No–this major story only merits Page 4. And after discounting the big photo, breakout box of bullet points, head and tagline (“News Focus”) you get — not much information, that’s for sure. The story is paired with a piece by the paper’s “On Money” columnist opining on how the Wall Street debacle will impact the nest eggs of soon-to-be-retirees. So much for actually informing the public.

It’s the second paragraph I want to discuss. I’ve had it up to here with redesigns, and did long before this. Every top management change I’ve witnessed seems to be accompanied by a sweeping redesign of the paper, and it took me years to figure out why: Because it’s easy. It’s easy for the people who order them, anyway. (It’s hell on the people who actually have to do the work and live with the result.) For the first year of the new team’s tenure, they get to spend large chunks of time doing what they like best: Going to meetings and marking up page proofs. It’s not that expensive, and then they get to write a big Page One column talking about how wonderful and reader-friendly the new design is, before collecting their MBO bonus.

I count graphic designers among my best friends, but many are not journalists, and someone needs to ride them with a curb bit, lest they claim one-third of the front page with a great sprawling promo for “Spider-Man 3,” and yes I’ve seen it.

Anyway, it’s the part about the bailout package being buried inside that interests me. It seems newspapers are truly in a no-win situation with some of this stuff. At my old paper, we used to make fun of our competition, which was edited as though every reader had one source for news — the competition. When the first space shuttle exploded, it happened at 11:30 a.m. Our little afternoon daily was able to get something in the home edition, but it was badly outdated by 5 p.m., when not only did everyone know, but had been watching saturation coverage of the tragedy on TV all afternoon. The coverage continued all night, too If ever a story called for a second-day headline on a morning daily, it was that one. And yet, their head was? Yes: Space shuttle explodes. Duh.

Today it’s a whole new ballgame, and not only are readers looking for immediacy, they’re looking for expertise. I haven’t even glanced at the bailout stories in today’s Detroit News, because I’m reading the NYT and WSJ for my primary source. If there’s a terrorist bombing in London, I’m not relying on the AP to keep me posted — I’m going to the London dailies. And so on.

Granted, I’m an early adopter, and probably one of the savvier readers in the circulation base for a local daily. I have fast web access, and time to spend reading it. Others don’t, and what they read in the Detroit News or Chicago Tribune will be the bulk of what they know about the situation. The challenge for editors planning a news budget for today is, how do you edit for both groups? This has always been the challenge, but it’s much more profound now.

There are also staff-development issues. Ambitious business reporters dream of landing at the Journal or at the business desk of a national daily, but those jobs are scarce. Some very good ones are at large metros or regional dailies, doing a very good job, and think this is a story they should be covering. For all this talk you hear at journalism conferences — we stopped covering earthquakes in Tokyo, and now print all soccer team pictures submitted by readers, and it’s a huge success! — you have to ask what sort of reporter wants to spend their career writing cutlines for soccer team pictures. Answer: Not bloody many.

So I’m not so bugged by the bailout being inside — as long as a movie promo isn’t outside — but I’d be interested in seeing how good the story is. And I want to know what others think.

Meanwhile, I have to get to work. Perhaps you’re asking yourself: But Nance! Did you make a pie this weekend? Why yes, yes I did:

That’s apple, with a crumb topping. Dee-lish.

Armchair media critics welcome. Get crackin’.

Posted at 10:35 am in Current events, Detroit life |
 

65 responses to “Send caffeine.”

  1. MichaelG said on September 29, 2008 at 11:08 am

    I have a newspaper question. Is it common for the local writer to get a byline on a simple rewrite of a wire service story?

  2. Jeff Borden said on September 29, 2008 at 11:21 am

    The Tribune’s redesign manages to be hectic yet banal, garish but unexciting, loud and inarticulate. It is a mess. I have been listening for the rumble of tens of thousands of young people bewitched and seduced by the big pictures and new typeface stampeding to the newstands to buy a Trib. So far, dead silence. On the other hand, I’m wavering on whether to cancel my subscription and opt for seven-day delivery of the New York Times. I already prefer the Chicago Sun-Times for local news. If the Trib wants to abrogate its responsibilities in favor of lots of photos, what choice do I have?

  3. Julie Robinson said on September 29, 2008 at 11:27 am

    Ah yes, the old curse: may you live in interesting times.

    This weekend our Netflix queue popped up “Recount”. Nothing I didn’t already know but a chance to be enraged all over again. And to indulge in just a moment of fantasy about the state of today’s world with Gore in the White House rather than W.

    The kicker is that my inside Palm Beach County source, AKA big sis, says that Florida has not solved their problems. A primary from August was just certified, but had the teeny-tiny problem of 3,500 lost votes. It seems they had switched to touch screens but they were unworkable so reverted to paper ballots. They didn’t have enough official boxes, so some got put in black plastic garbage bags, and well, you can guess what they think happened. She says Florida will be all over the news again.

  4. Dorothy said on September 29, 2008 at 11:56 am

    I made that pie’s twin last weekend. Just finished up the last piece of it on Friday night. Yu-umm. I’m glad your crust looks like mine did. I’m not into frilly crusts.

  5. Catherine said on September 29, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    We subscribe to our local paper (Pasadena Star-News) and The WSJ. Nothing in between, including the usually very good LA Times (but who has time?). The local paper is pretty good on things like the school district, local arts & culture and well, they published a picture of my Brownie troop’s service project last Christmas, which buys my loyalty for at least another year. They are relentlessly, proudly local.

    But I think there’s a middle ground — the local impact of the national crisis — that can be very interesting without being an obnoxious stretch to find the local angle. Nancy, your question last week re: how does a credit crunch affect everyday people was a great one. A good editor might have asked that of their reporters, and gotten a number of interesting local, tangible stories. The stories in the responses were fascinating — I especially remember Jolene’s brother’s farm. I guess the key word here is “story.” Tell me a story, preferably about someone or something I know a little bit. Amuse me first, inform me second. Make it personal. It’s what we do here (without graphics, charts or speech bubbles, I might add) — why not in the paper?

  6. alex said on September 29, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    I haven’t subscribed to a daily paper for probably the last five or ten years now. As the old saying goes, why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?

  7. moe99 said on September 29, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    I handwrote postcards for the Obama campaign on Sunday. It took 2 hours to write 15 postcards.

    My neighbor who hosted it had an interesting story involving her mom, who was the discharge nurse on duty when Mrs. Cindy McCain checked out of the hospital with her baby. She said it was the worst experience on discharge because the dad was such a boor–didn’t want to stick around to listen to the discharge instructions, was abusive to staff. Hmm…….

  8. MichaelG said on September 29, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    For openers here in Sacramento there are something like eight car dealerships that have closed in the last couple of months. There are two big holes in the ground where high rise projects died. Houses are selling (those that are selling) for pennies on the dollar.

    The Bee has redesigned itself and looks like crap. Which is what we will be getting since they’ve canned half of their staff. Etc., etc. Life is good.

  9. whitebeard said on September 29, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    I see that my paper, The Hartford Courant, also a Tribune newspaper, came out with its redesign on Sunday, huge photo on the front covers Sunday and today, fewer weekday sections; I haven’t checked the reader comments yet, but they have been very nasty in general lately after reporter buyouts.
    Sunday’s cover was an incredible tribute to Paul Newman, who lived in Connecticut; Monday’s cover was a big well-written and well-researched piece on Connecticut’s big player in the federal buyout, Senator Chris Dodd. and donations from the financial industry.

  10. Snarkworth said on September 29, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    MichaelG, in my experience a typical “rewrite” would consist of a few local quotes woven into the wire piece, with a tagline at the end saying “Daily Prattle Reporter Biff Whipsnade contributed to this story.”

  11. nancy said on September 29, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    The whether-to-credit decision is interesting in some newsrooms. I was raised ol’-skool, where you earned a byline by contributing real reporting, and if you did a rewrite/localization of some wire stuff, it would be an editor’s call as to whether the AP got the byline and you got a contrib line, or vice versa.

    In later years a new model emerged, in which reporters were told to submit their copy with the byline already on it. The justification was that this would make writers “feel ownership” of their stories, and hence work harder on them.

    It made little sense to me, too.

    But when editors had the genius idea of counting bylines — thanks, searchable databases — and including the numbers in your performance review, I stopped caring. They made that stupid bed, let ’em lie in it.

  12. LAMary said on September 29, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    Dontcha love metrics? We now live or die by them, and although I have access to exactly the same data as the guy who runs the metrics, I can never come up with the same numbers. Not just on my performance, but on everyone else’s too. I figure that since my boss either hates or is intimidated by me, he shaves 20% off the top of my numbers and adds it to the dolt he brought with him from his previous job.

  13. Elaine said on September 29, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    Interesting points about the placement of the bail-out story, Nancy.

    My reasons for favoring front-page placement is that I used to find my local paper’s coverage of big stories more credible and more in-depth than what the talking heads were offering and more convenient than bending over my laptop to read it on-line. That isn’t to say I don’t turn to the internet for news–I do–but I also like the tactile experience of holding a paper in my hands and, thus, go through a lot of paper printing out complex on-line stories.

    I find it ironic that the Trib redesign is more garish and less substantive than the paper’s internet version. Go figure.

    As one of my readers observed: “If I want something that looks like the internet, I can just go to the internet.”

    Apparently the Trib masterminds missed that point entirely.

  14. whitebeard said on September 29, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    CNN just gave me a Breaking News e-mail that ”– Dow industrials fall more than 600 on fears bailout package vote will fail.” and I don’t have enough Tums left to cope.

  15. John said on September 29, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    Is anyone watching the vote on C-Span? I don’t have a tv nor streaming video at the office.

    EDIT: I have found the information and now watching the Nasdaq free fall.

    Double Edit: I dropped an “r”. My bad! Do you have some steaming video of Palin somewhere?

  16. brian stouder said on September 29, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    I think we are witnessing the demolition of the modern Republican coalition.

    Either Uncle Rush Limbaugh has lost his mind entirely, and is soon to spiral into obscurity – or – if he actually espouses what the House Republicans opposed to the bailout are thinking – then this IS the end. (TEOTWAWKI)

    Limbaugh is playing out-of-context bits and pieces of audio from congressional debates of 10 years ago, mixed with others from 4 years ago, and from days ago, trying to patch together a crazy-quilt conspiracy theory, wherein one party (the Democrats, of course!) and one socialist attitude (embodied by Obama the commie) has moved to “STEAL THE COUNTRY FROM US” (his words)

    Just as the Whigs disintegrated over slavery, so too might the Republicans disintegrate, over this insuperable “I got mine – you can go to hell” (“and to hell with the country, too!” they might well add; we don’t seem to be good enough for them, anymore) mindset that we hear enunciated by their opinion leaders.

    One thing I am thankful for is that Obama isn’t yet president, and the revisionists and liars therefore will have a much harder time blaming all this on him, instead of the “RIGHTful owners” (literally)

  17. Catherine said on September 29, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    Steaming video, indeed. Sarah Palin is speaking right now on C-SPAN.

    Cindy looks embarassed. Willow looks like she’s gonna hurl. Maybe I’m projecting. Muting now.

  18. LAMary said on September 29, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    This is why I’m staring at the ceiling at 3 am, trying to fall back to sleep.

    Twenty eight years of deregulation and tax cutting. No one with the balls or the juice to oppose it. The rich getting a whole lot richer by convincing those who aren’t rich that they can live like rich folks, and now it all starts crashing in. The very assholes who started it are opposing anything that would keep poor schleps from loosing everything.

    I need some sleep AND some Tums.

  19. Bill said on September 29, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    Here’s a link to the Trib’s video hard sell of the new format. http://www.chicagotribune.com/chi-tribune-redesign-htmlpage,0,7090729.htmlpage

  20. whitebeard said on September 29, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    I am reminded of the famous line in a gangster movie “The blood will run in the streets, Joey” and I am thinking of Wall Street in particular. Tums can’t help on this one, LAmary

  21. nancy said on September 29, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    “…an exciting refer to one of our stories.” — the design editor.

    That’s the problem in a nutshell. Design editors find refers (promos, in English) exciting. No one else does.

  22. LAMary said on September 29, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    I think the dynamics between Cindy and John McCain are somewhere way out of the range of normal, and I have a huge range of normal.

  23. brian stouder said on September 29, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    And hey – if the liars from Minneapolis really and truly believe their “Country First” line, then they’re more nihilistic than the terrorists who struck NYC and DC and PA in 2001.

    First they’ll destroy the country’s financial sector (which in fact WAS also Sammy bin Laden’s idea, when they targeted the World Trade Center in NYC), and THEN..,..what?

    Back to the culture wars, and reassertion of the ancient fantasy of racial and social superiority, for the few?

    These folks are like the guy at the party with the lampshade on their head. Go home already, for God’s sake

  24. Catherine said on September 29, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    What’s wrong with a world in which I can watch C-SPAN live on my computer, but I can’t find a watchable clip of the SNL Palin/Couric interview?

  25. Jeff Borden said on September 29, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    Omigod. The Tribune video about the redesign is priceless. Love the knucklehead to extols the “you are here” graph running across the top of the page so you know where you are as you read. Damn, I thought that’s what page numbers were for, but I’m sooooooo 20th century.

  26. alex said on September 29, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    Catherine, try the huffington post for the Palin interviews, both CBS and SNL.

  27. coozledad said on September 29, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    Can this really get any more batshit? I fully expect that by the end of the day John McCain is going to yank his upper plate out and beat the living hell out of Boehner with it.
    It’s just as well, they obviously weren’t “debate teeth” anyway, all that whistling and drizzling. You’d think he could afford a better set, or a case or two of Fixodent to trowel them in better.
    It pains me to see a man try and speak and hold his teeth in with his tongue at the same time. But that just shows he’s got it all over his running mate in terms of multitasking.

  28. Julie Robinson said on September 29, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Catherine–here’s the link: http://www.nbc.com/Saturday_Night_Live/video/clips/couric-palin-open/704042/

  29. Jeff Borden said on September 29, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    Query for NN.C readers.

    My wife and I are hosting a vice-presidential debate party Thursday. Aside from salmon and baked alaska, anyone have any clever ideas for food that might be considered Alaskan? We can usually find buffalo or ostrich meat around here, but moose? No way.

  30. Catherine said on September 29, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    Thanks guys, I watched the SNL slip and I feel better for the laugh!

  31. brian stouder said on September 29, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    You need a ‘Thanks, But No Thanks’ dessert (has to be suitably irresistable, so that a person can say they refused it, before they consumed it!)

  32. Jolene said on September 29, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    You might be out of luck, Jeff. According to Wikipedia, there isn’t much food produced in Alaska. But there was this one suggestion: An example of a traditional native food is Akutaq, the Eskimo ice cream, which can consist of reindeer fat, seal oil, dried fish meat and local berries.

  33. Bill said on September 29, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    Re: dessert. Baked Alaska comes to mind.

  34. nancy said on September 29, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    You’re overthinking it. Two words:

    Klondike Bars

  35. LAMary said on September 29, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Here’s the no thanks dessert:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akutaq

  36. Catherine said on September 29, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Jeff, how about Caribou Coffee? Snowcones? Iditarod dog chow? anything with blueberries or blackberries (but only for 1/12th of the party)? There’s got to be an Alaska craft-brewed beer? I think Mr. Boston has an Alaska cocktail… here we go, it’s 2 dashes orange bitters, 1 1/2 oz gin & 3/4 house chartreuse, stirred with ice and strained… gonna need some gin to fully experience this debate, I think.

  37. whitebeard said on September 29, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    My sides are hurting from watching the SNL Palin Couric video and I think we need some gallows humor based on Alaska’s proximity to Russia.
    To wit; I think Alaska will be the battleground state with thousand of Russian troops and war vehicles fueled by vodka (both troops and vehicles) gathering near the Bering Strait on one border and a Canadian Armed Forces brigade on the other border with the general saying: “we need to help protect Alaskans, they speak almost the same language as we do, eh? And we like hockey also.”
    To underscore the seriousness, Canada has also sent all six of its tanks to Alaska and is trying to jumpstart both of its submarines, which it bought from a used-sub salesman in Britain.

  38. LAMary said on September 29, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Alaskan King Crab?

  39. Catherine said on September 29, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    Alaskan Beauty Queen Crab?

  40. Kirk said on September 29, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    Blubber.

  41. Jean S said on September 29, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    the biggest damned vegetables you can find. A friend of mine lives in Girdwood (about 30 miles S of Anchorage) and says the veggies get truly huge during the growing season.

  42. Gasman said on September 29, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    If you’ve got Republicans coming to the party, I was thinking a big steaming pile of B.S.. They seem to have an insatiable appetite for the stuff when it comes from McCain and Palin.

  43. LAMary said on September 29, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    Jean, it’s the 24 hour sunlight that makes the vegetables so big. The Alaskan I used to know told me about giant cabbages and scary pumpkins.

  44. Jolene said on September 29, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Eskimo Pies

  45. KarenNM said on September 29, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    Jeff –
    Harry & David’s sells Moose Munch – I’ve seen it at Target, so you may be able to find some without too much fuss.

    http://www.harryanddavid.com/gifts/store/gift____gourmet-popcorn-moose-munch-gifts

  46. moe99 said on September 29, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    who’s gonna watch the additional outtakes from the Couric Palin interview at 6:30 EDT tonight? I understand it gets worser and worser…..

  47. MichaelG said on September 29, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    I clicked on that ChiTrib thing long enough to see a guy billed as the “Associate Editor for Presentation” followed closely by another dweeb billed as “Innovation Director”. That was enough. I also saw that they narrowed the page and made the thing look like USA Today which I think is totally unreadable. When a paper starts canning reporters and replacing them with guys like this they’ve lost their way. Col. McCormack must be rolling in his grave. Don’t laugh Mary and Catherine. These people own the LAT.

    What’s the deal with making the paper narrower? Better slicing out of the roll? Spacing on the presses? What? I know the Bee told us it was to make the paper better for us. Uh huh. It looks and feels unnatural.

  48. caliban said on September 29, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    Not Motown, Stax via Jerry Wexler. This + caffeine can part the Wide Sargasso Sea speed you through the Horse Latitudes:

    http://www.damnfineday.com/?p=1481&cmpid=DFDnews2&ref=2

    In all of the Paul Newman hagiography, where’s a discussion of the fascinating ‘competition with Steve McQueen? Marlon Brando was another planet, and odius comparisons probably existed only in the mind of Josh Randall (on TV, Mcqueen ruled), but this was a celebrity meme in the good old days before before memes were invented.

    The same thing could have happened with MM and Liz Taylor (and, believe it or not, Shelley Winters, who I once saw launch herself naked and plowed into a HoJo’s pool in Athens, GA during shooting of the cult classic Poor Pretty Eddy, and Joan “British Open” Collins, the more talented writer of the Collins siblings). Is it possible that ‘girl’ roles were considered interchangeable? Could Taylor have played Cherrie, Monroe Maggie the Cat? (Could either have been so good in “Come Back, Little Sheba”?)

    Newman and McQueen made made dueling movies. “Secret War of Harry Frigg” and “Soldier in the Rain” provided one degree of separation from Jackie Gleason, and both are superb. “LeMans” and “Winning”, Neman’s performance a tad better, McQueen’s movie considerably. There’s a long list of parts for which both must have been considered, and dumbass, clueless self-styled film historians like Leonard Maltin would have it that McQueen got sloppy seconds.

    Mythically (if there’s a difference from truth other than human filters, ask Joseph Cambell or Sigmund Freud), McQ was supposed to be in Butch Cassidy“:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/theobserver/2002/oct/13/featuresreview.review1

    Paul Newman got the better movies, maybe, but maybe not the better parts. Interesting but dumb debate. In the end, signature roles in comparable films–Cool Hand Luke and Pappilon provided breathtaking, heartbreaking, soul-shaking performances. Boys Republic and the Marines vs. Shaker Heights and Yale. Both made the Milhous enemies list. Newman earned it the old-fashioned way. McQueen was a political conservative, so apparently he was just the sort of person with values and an iconoclastic streak the vengeful Quaker couldn’t abide.

    Shared scenes in Towering Inferno were striking (and why it’s the only disaster movie ever worth watching.) On the roof, ready to blow the water tower? Two ultimate cool heroes that should have had more self-preserving smarts than to get themselves into such a fine mess (and distinctly like the Butch and Sundance ‘the fall will kill you’ and the final charge scene).

    Paul Newman great movies missing from the obits:

    Hombre: Proverbial coiled spring.

    Hunsucker Proxy: Diabollically funny viscerating of everything he hated about corporate culture.

    Judge Roy Bean: What he thought of runamuck politicians.

    Mr. and Mrs. Bridge: American’s get quiet desperation as well as the First World.

    Sometimes a Great Notion (best of best), and directed by Hank Stamper aka Paul Newman:

    I don’t know anybody that ever saw this movie before it was butchered for TV and renamed “Never Give an Inch”, other than me, my ex-wife, and my parents. Made from Ken Kesey’s novel that was better than “Cuckoo’s Nest” . An Epic of the American West. To my mind, it’s a terrific adaptation of a very good novel that comes close to the pinpoint scintillation of Wallace Stegner.

    This movie is a lot like Cool Hand Luke, with its famous set-pieces: eggs, broken aviator shades and hard-boiled eggs, which scene ends with Luke crucified like Jesus and Sgt. Elias Grodin (the one nobody talks about is the psychological brutality of the washing the car scene. In Sometimes a Great Notion, the Moviegoer gets:

    Hank trying to save his brother from drowning when a chainsaw accident pins him against a creek bank with the creek rising. It’s Paul Newman, Breath of Life has to work, but it doesn’t.

    Hank revving up the biggest chainsaw God ever wrought to saw a desk in half in front of a weasel union man worried his balls were inline. Might seem playing against political type, but by this point the unions were a branch of the Republican political establishment (“Blue Collar” is pertinent).

    Stampers float several acres of logs to market. On the top of the tugboat’s cabin is the patriarch’s severed arm and hand, middle finger extended.

    If you like Paul Newman and literate movies, this is a good one. Sprawling scenes of a Great Northwest assholes are trying to obliterate, in spectacular splendour (the rafting scenes) mixed with claustrophobic family head-butting.

    Republicans tried to make regulation of logging a wedge issue in the last several decades by talking about shutting sawmills down. Abject lying. The logs were being rafted and sent to Japan. They were never being milled in the USA.

    Meantime, if this isn’t a McCain photoshoot, what is:

    http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.daviesgeneralstore.com/ebay/Slimer.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.daviesgeneralstore.com/slimer.html&h=420&w=700&sz=36&tbnid=IFz1bWiyISQJ::&tbnh=84&tbnw=140&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dslimer&usg=__KoUvElemnGbp5C3dbqtt3nXUrIc=&sa=X&oi=image_result&resnum=2&ct=image&cd=1

    Finally. I’d like to ask a question. Ms. Palin is Sally Field without the intelligence or acting chops. Shouldn’t she go on SNL and say ‘ever mind’?

    And McCain? I’d like for this to be about the fact he’s not got a clue. Racism intervenes. How is it possible with all the tubes and the several internets nobody has identified McCain with that Ghostbusters’ nemesis Slimer? Identical. Everything they say and everything they said. Republican candidates will damage America.

    Next debate question: What does McCain think about Bobby Kennedy? Before we lost track, Bobby was the gold standard. Who do American’s beleve is better for them”

    In a time warp, I’d take Bobby. We’re supposed to think that the Constitution produces the best for the Commonweal, the best for everybody that signed on. Bpth a
    christian and a Muslim point of view. Actually, is that pOS joking? He japped on Kerry so many times in the Senate and claimed credit, it’s enough to make you puke.

    McCain has taken some sort of credit for the BCCI investigation. He impeded the investigation. He will say anything

    The idea there are MIAs? Kerru proved this was wrong. McCain made a bunch of shit up. He went out of his way to hang Kerry with himk with him because he didn’t believe Mc’Caain was a lying scumbag.out to dry whan he knew he was just lying his ass off. Kerry stuc

  49. WhiteBeard said on September 29, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    A narrower roll of newsprint costs less to purchase, very basic economics and i think fewer separate sections means they can get by with fewer press units running to put out a daily newsaper

  50. caliban said on September 29, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    Stupider than Spiro, and that’s saying a lot.

    Some republican asshole is going to try to make it out like she was ambushed. She is a nit. She’s so dumb it’ hard to think what McCain might have been thinking.

  51. Judith said on September 29, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    My Congressman, Mark Stouder, (R) Indiana, voted FOR the “bailout” bill! I applaud his putting our economy ahead of his political interests. I guess I’ll have to vote for him, and I never thought I’d say that.

    Of course Souder’s opponent is running ads making him sound like a R who should have faced Souder in the Primary election, not now.

  52. Catherine said on September 29, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    A bridge to nowhere made of eskimo pies and klondike bars. Now that sounds like food, entertainment, decoration and political commentary, all rolled into one. Better than ice sculpture.

  53. caliban said on September 29, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    nobody can be this stupid. She’s an idiot. Somebody want to say she isn’t? Dumber than Katie Couric.

    Evertyhing ia a crock.

  54. deb said on September 29, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    I’m having a Palin meltdown party, and I’m serving chili. Get it? And it wasn’t even intentional! I kill me.

    As for what McCain was thinking, it’s simple: She’s a looker, he can spin her as a maverick, and she’s a she. Because, really, we’re all absolutely interchangeable.

  55. Dexter said on September 29, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    On my brother’s last venture to Alaska he brought back a real treat for me: a bag of moose poop. Probably some of you have gotten the same gag gift. I kept mine for years waiting for a chance to show someone who might get a laugh from seeing it, but just before Palin accepted the veep slot, I threw it away.
    Oh well. http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1185/830698284_9768e001f7.jpg?v=0

  56. Joe Kobiela said on September 29, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    When is SNL going to make fun at Bidens expense??
    Thought FDR was on TV in 1929,
    Told a paralyzed man to stand up,
    Thinks it is patriotic to pay taxes.
    How can this guy be a heart beat away from the presidency???
    or are only Dem’s allowed to poke fun???
    Joe K

  57. Gasman said on September 30, 2008 at 12:55 am

    Joe,
    If you think your jabs at Biden even come close to the comic fodder directly from Palin’s mouth:

    Couric: You’ve cited Alaska’s proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

    Sarah Palin: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and, on our other side, the land-boundary that we have with Canada. It’s funny that a comment like that was kinda made to … I don’t know, you know … reporters.

    Couric: Mocked?

    Palin: Yeah, mocked, I guess that’s the word, yeah.

    Couric: Well, explain to me why that enhances your foreign-policy credentials.

    Palin: Well, it certainly does, because our, our next-door neighbors are foreign countries, there in the state that I am the executive of. And there…

    Couric: Have you ever been involved in any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?

    Palin: We have trade missions back and forth, we do. It’s very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia. As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there, they are right next to our state.

    You think she’s ready to lead the U.S.A.? Do you think that if she’s put in charge that she is capable of eliminating the deficit? Hell, she couldn’t even spell deficit let alone provide any leadership to deal with it. She is a mental pygmy who was picked for her looks and her extremist conservative views. After reading the above transcript are you seriously contending that Palin should not be made fun of?

  58. Dexter said on September 30, 2008 at 12:58 am

    speaking of coffee…I also ran out and went shopping for any bargain I could find, and I found whole beans, French roast, Starbucks , for seven bucks a bag. I stocked up. I’ll never see it that low-priced again. Too bad I am so far from a Trader Joe’s…their coffee beans are cheap and excellent.
    I also discovered Silk Road Teas on the web. Can’t wait for my shipment.

  59. moe99 said on September 30, 2008 at 1:36 am

    Joe, when Biden realized his gaffe involving the fellow he asked to stand up and be recognized, he repaired it quickly by asking the audience to stand and recognize him. The audience quickly and cheerfully obliged. Haven’t seen any recognition on Palin’s or McCain’s part of their many gaffes.

    McCain’s spokesman today blasted Obama for being at fault on the bailout meltdown. Then when McCain took the airwaves, he tried to be magnanimous and say there should be no finger pointing. Well, it’s a little too late, Mr. formerly straight talk but now just a gasbag.

    Oh, and there’s a wedding gift registry for Bristol and Levi at JCPenney’s:
    http://tinyurl.com/3zh2hx

  60. brian stouder said on September 30, 2008 at 8:20 am

    Moe- THAT registry was funny!

    The ‘camo’ diaper bag made me laugh out loud!

  61. Jolene said on September 30, 2008 at 8:43 am

    There’s also a site where you can pose questions for Sarah Palin to answer.

    http://interviewpalin.com/

  62. Gasman said on September 30, 2008 at 10:22 am

    I sincerely hope that Biden shows no quarter to Palin this Thursday. This WaPo article is just another log on the fire:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/29/AR2008092902661.html?wpisrc=newsletter

    What the hell was McCain thinking?

  63. LAMary said on September 30, 2008 at 11:00 am

    Caliban! I saw Sometimes a Great Notion before it was renamed. It was wonderful. I liked the book so much I went out of my way to catch the movie as soon as it came out. Paul Newman was excellent in that movie.

  64. LAMary said on September 30, 2008 at 11:08 am

    JoeK,
    Biden has been ridiculed on plenty of times. I’m betting you don’t watch The Daily Show or SNL. Trust me, he has not been spared.

  65. bryan said on September 30, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    Nance,

    I miss those days of competition in the Fort. At least folks still cared about the news then, and having both papers made for some interesting news cycles. I remember when the first gulf war happened — I was getting dinner at the McDonald’s downtown. The JG was able to have the first-day headline because it happened on our cycle, while the NS had to banner “Bombs still fall” for the afternoon edition. I also remember, thanks to Mike Dooley’s connections, breaking an NS political poll the morning before it was was to be printed in the afternoon. Those were the days when editors still cared about firsts and didn’t try to repackage everything into easily digested bites.

    I agree on redesigns — no matter how much certain overpaid consultants might agrue. Sure, things look pretty now in Chicago because it’s all hands on deck to pitch in and make sure this pig has the best lipstick available. But wait a few weeks. Then the high sheriffs will tire of working weekends and decide that the new, labor-intensive packaging can be done with just a couple of designers and a MacBook Pro.