Bad news, which some of you mentioned yesterday in comments — my former colleague Mike Dooley died yesterday, from the sort of health collapse that comes after a life a reporter with an Irish name too often feels compelled to live. In what is perhaps a sad commentary on both contemporary journalism and certainly his last employer, his obit was thin and pallid and captured nothing of the man’s essence, which was robust and funny and unforgettable. Better to read excerpts from his popular column, Dooley Noted, which capture what it was like to sit with him at Henry’s, the bar across the street, and hear his stories. My favorite isn’t in there, about riding the press bus on the Dan Quayle 1988 veep campaign, and schooling the national media on the various smells wafting across the countryside. “They didn’t know bullshit from pigshit, Nall,” he roared at his usual volume, set at a time when newsrooms themselves roared with the white noise of phones, typewriters and teletype machines. “Can you believe it?”
Yes, I can. I also believe the story about the time he passed out drunk at a party, and someone used a Sharpie to draw a map of Ireland high on his bald dome, which he wore for several hours before discovering it. I never like to examine the mirror too closely while hungover, either.
Dooley had been failing for a while, and spent his final days at Parkview Hospital, where his friends and colleagues filled up his Facebook page with notes and stories and Godspeeds. I’m told he read them all, and enjoyed them very much.
And while we’re back home again, more news from the Hoosier State: Hank Stuever put me in his book. My former colleague Robin Yocum put me in his book. Tim Goeglein, if Amazon’s “search inside this book” is to be believed, did not. Damn! What’s a girl gotta do to get some credit up in this joint?
Yes, Tim has written his memoirs. I don’t think I’ll be reading them, or at least not buying them. This is why libraries were invented — to read books by people whose income you don’t want to support, but you still want to see what they have to say. Right? I did the 21st-century version of standing over the table at Border’s — first checked for my name, as well as any indication I might be appearing in a spectral, nameless form (“blogger” isn’t in there, either, and the only Nancy has the last name of Reagan). Then I flipped around via the Surprise Me function. It seems Tim’s mom took some classes at IPFW (that’s the Indiana U./Purdue branch campus in Fort Wayne), where professors described the American family as a tool of women’s oppression. He majored in journalism, because of his love for Ernie Pyle. And so on. (The Ernie Pyle school of journalism at IU has “ivy-covered walls,” I learned. Not plagiarism, just trite and unimaginative.) So what is this book’s cornerstone? Amazon copy:
Goeglein’s unique insider account of why he believes most of the 43rd president’s in-office decisions were made for the greater good, and how many of those decisions could serve as a blueprint for the emergence of a thoughtful, confident conservatism. From a fresh perspective, Goeglein gives behind-the-scenes accounts of key events during that historic two-term administration, reflecting on what was right and best about the Bush years. He was in Florida for the 2000 election recount, at the White House on 9/11, and watched Bush become a reluctant but effective wartime president.
An apologia for George Bush. Just what the world needs. Fie.
OK, some quick bloggage, and then I must fly:
Another horrifying story out of Mexico. It just never stops.
A typo — no, an editing mistake — on the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial. Appalling. And etched in stone, literally.
A good weekend to all, especially Irene-dodgers.