As no one has ever been able to explain how the use of a neti pot differs significantly from a kinder, gentler waterboarding, I’ve never been tempted to use one. I’ve never had sinus problems, and I was one of those kids whose day at the pool could be ruined by getting water up my nose — it really is one of my least-favorite physical sensations. I understand many of you may well swear by pouring gently warmed saltwater into your nasal passages as the first step on the road to a happy nose, and to you I say: How nice. But get that thing away from me.
So when, settling in for my shift of harvesting health-care news last night, I clicked onto Google’s health page and saw a headline reading, Improper use of neti pots linked to deaths, and read this showstopper of a lead —
BATON ROUGE, La., Dec. 18 (UPI) — Louisiana health officials warn the improper use of neti pots is linked to two deaths in the state caused by a so-called brain-eating amoeba.
— I felt vindicated. Although, in fairness, when you read the story, it sounds like it’s more about the poor quality of tap water in Louisiana than anything else. The brain-eating amoeba in question mainly infects swimmers in warm water in places like Louisiana, Florida, Texas, and please, hold your Cletus jokes. The fact this stuff can live in warm tap water would make me hesitant to take a damn shower in bayou country without seeing a microbiology report from the local treatment plant.
And people make jokes about Detroit’s tap water. (Which is actually pretty good.)
With that, Monday begins. Stand by for news! But first, some bloggage:
Retiring Sports Illustrated super-photographer Walter Iooss Jr. tells a few stories on his way out, including this one about LeBron James:
LeBron became a villain to many after The Decision. I’ve seen a lot of entourages, but none like his. In July 2010 I got an assignment from Nike to shoot LeBron right after his TV special announcing his move to the Heat. We rented the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, where the Lakers and the Clippers used to play, and there were 53 people on my crew-including hair and makeup artists, production people, a stylist. I had $10,000 in Hollywood lighting. It was huge. When LeBron arrived, it was as if Nelson Mandela had come in. Six or seven blacked-out Escalades pulled up, a convoy. LeBron had bodyguards and his masseuse. His deejay was already there, blasting. This for a photo shoot that was going to last an hour, tops.
And that is how a monster is made. If you like sports, or just have time to kill today, it’s worth digging up the whole story at SI. I once knew a photographer who admired Iooss, and he taught me how to pronounce the name — yose, rhymes with dose.
A copy editor at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel inserts a rock ‘n’ roll reference that will be understood by a tiny fraction of the readership:
LAWYERS: Walker camp sues election board
VOTES: 500,000 recall signatures claimed
AND MONEY: Huge dollars flow to governor
Kim Jong Il is dead, which means it’s time to take another look at this remarkable photo, and marvel at the people who have enough time on their hands to produce videos like this, which we are encouraged to snicker at while we wait for the mood to darken as new instability encroaches upon the Korean peninsula. (Even if you disapprove of the joke, some amazing visuals.)
Finally, we have some news today.
I got a job. A full-time, actual j-o-b with bennies and everything. It’s been fun freelancing and odd-jobbing, but it was time for a change, and the change is a pretty great one — I’ll be a staff writer with The Center for Michigan. It’s a think tank. But it’s not a sinecure, that word that so often walks hand in hand with it. Maybe some day I’ll have a think-tank sinecure, but the Center for Michigan calls itself a “think-and-do” tank, which means work beyond just thinkin’. They are nonpartisan and “radically centrist,” and reject the usual institutional model of pounding out position papers for the benefit of one party’s intelligentsia, but are instead focused on being a bottom-up voice for the majority of Michigan residents who don’t fall into standard left-right slots. You can read more about what they’re about here.
I think it’s going to be a pretty good gig. I’ll be doing project reporting for their online publication, Bridge, as well as bringing a new voice to 42 North, their blog. Which brings us to this blog.
I always knew this place would be a problem for some employer, somewhere down the line. Editors don’t exactly want to own your thoughts, but they don’t like the idea of you expressing them anywhere other than in pre-approved spaces. It’s just the way it is. But over the years and with the help of everyone here, I’ve managed to attract and hold a respectable number of eyeballs for a blog that isn’t about anything in particular, and that has value these days, too. So, for now, NN.C will go on. I may throttle back on frequency a bit — perhaps three writing posts a week, and two photos-plus-links, not sure. (I still have to — wait for it — think about it some more.) I’ll be teaching two classes at Wayne this term, in addition to my new duties, so time will be short and valuable. I will be linking to my work over at the Center, of course. If you want to see NN.C continue, the best thing you can do is take the time to click there and astound my new bosses with my Venus flytrap-like drawing power.
All this begins after the first of the year. New year, new job, new directions. I think it’s gonna be a good one.