RIP.

I’m glad to say I never worked for Gannett, the giant newspaper publisher, but Alan did, until the News was sold a few years ago. He would come home with stories, most of which must remain marital secrets. I know there are many Gannetoids out there who have their own, and now that the man who made Gannett what it was for so long has shuffled off this mortal coil, please feel free to share a few. RIP, Al Neuharth.

Neuharth is best-known as the founder of USA Today, but it’s safe to say he also presided over a period in which many of the nation’s newspapers, which at their best should be unique reflections of the community they serve, became so many heat-and-serves from the chain kitchen. He wasn’t all bad, certainly; his stupid three-dot columns provided hours of entertainment, and while he was absolutely correct in demanding Gannett’s newsrooms be racially and ethnically diverse places, some of the heavy-handed ways such directives were imposed didn’t make him, or the rest of his management team, any friends.

Take “mainstreaming,” a policy that — please correct the details, Gannetoids, if I get any wrong — dictated that stories contain a diversity of sources. On paper, a wonderful thing. In practice? I recall a journalism-review story about a Japanese-American woman in some Kansas tank town who was always being rung up by her local paper to get her reaction to this and that. She was quoted over and over, on everything from her opinion of a new park to changes in education policy. From there, the policy spread to encompass communities where the chain felt they might have circulation gains to make.

This led to some desperate moments in newsrooms, as reporters scrambled to find people with the correct address and ethnicity to quote and photograph. I remember hearing of one newsroom-wide message: I NEED A JEWISH PERSON TO REACT TO THE DEATH OF THE POPE. MACOMB COUNTY ONLY!!!! CAN ANYONE HELP??? There were stories of bushes being beaten for African-American deer hunters and ice fishermen. But my favorite story may be from a friend who once covered a July 4 parade in a working-class suburb so white they might as well have been at a Klan rally for all the diversity it had to offer. Suddenly, the photographer spotted a unicorn — a black family! On the other side of the street!

He cut through a marching band, getting to them. Good times.

From my time news-farming, I recall USA Today didn’t really deserve its reputation for shallowness. They had decent Washington coverage and even an above-average health desk, covering everything from exercise motivation to the FDA. But the jokes about deserving a Pulitzer for Best Investigative Paragraph will likely dog them until the paper goes the way of its founder.

So.

Alan and I were out to dinner when the cops in Boston — all the cops in Boston, plus a few more municipalities, it looked like — finally got their man. I woke up early and read the most reputable news accounts of the day, and didn’t come away any more enlightened. I was wrong about the common criminals stuff, but I think David Remnick nailed it with this elegant phrase:

… the toxic combination of high-minded zealotry and the curdled disappointments of young men.

That’s pretty close to perfect, and could describe any number of other victims of testosterone poisoning, including Tim McVeigh.

Finally, I’m sorry to report some more bad news among our commenting community: Brian Igo, who commented here under the handle “baldheadeddork,” died over the weekend. I knew he had been sick for a few months; he last posted something around the time of the Newtown massacre. We were connected via Facebook, and he posted very little there, other than very occasional updates. As I recall, his announcement of it came around the time Facebook started putting those stupid prompts in the text window:

Facebook asks, “How are you feeling, Brian?”

Well Facebook, since you asked, I recently found out I have Stage IV abdominal cancer, and today I learned I may have two years to live with chemo and 8-10 months without.

Anything else you want to know, asshole?

I gather, from subsequent updates, that he kept his sense of humor and grace to the end. Maybe, when J.C. gets back from his vacation, he can do one of his comment carve-outs, as he did for Ashley, Moe and Whitebeard. Then no more! Please!

Sorry to start your week off with a bummer, but it is Monday. Let’s hope the week improves.

Posted at 12:30 am in Housekeeping, Media |
 

54 responses to “RIP.”

  1. Dexter said on April 22, 2013 at 2:28 am

    Farewell, baldheadeddork.

    If you want to hear the damndest radio report ever, take 45 seconds to download this show and move the bar to the 3:02:40 mark and listen to the caller to the Opie and Anthony Show give an eyewitness report to the gun battle and run-over of the older brother. It’s mind-blowing. This whole show has reports and police audio no one saw or heard.

    http://www.hulkshare.com/dj7eio9w8e80/?force=1

  2. Linda said on April 22, 2013 at 3:17 am

    Really sorry to hear about baldheaddeddork. I always enjoyed his input.

    Re: Newspapers being a unique reflection of their community, etc. That can be overrated, too. Here is Toledo, the Blade is a reflection of the crochets, feuds and obsessions of the Block family that owns it. This is not a reflection of Toledo, just the Blocks. They protect institutions that kiss their butts, and wage war against anybody who crosses them. For many years, they waged a war against the Port Authority, because it refused to let one of the publisher’s friends have a business monopoly at the local airport. Their latest hobbyhorse was preserving the Seneca County courthouse, which NOBODY in Toledo gives a damn about, and is a few counties away. The paper itself is mediocre to boot.

  3. MarkH said on April 22, 2013 at 4:34 am

    Wow. baldheadeddork, RIP. I always enjoyed his posts, and like many of you here, I frequently learned something from him as well.

  4. Deborah said on April 22, 2013 at 7:32 am

    I remember reading Baldheaddork’s comments, sorry to hear the sad news. My condolences to his family.

  5. jcburns said on April 22, 2013 at 7:33 am

    Done, Nancy. baldheaded dork’s nnc comments can be seen in that peculiarly out of context way on this page.

  6. beb said on April 22, 2013 at 8:03 am

    Sad to hear about baldheadeddork.

    The whole Boston Marathon Bombing story is surreal. First the bombing. Not alQida and not Ayran Nation, Then the two men were quickly targeted and then almost immediately get into a fire-fight with the police when commonsense would have said to keeo their heads down. Then the whole city is placed in lock-down, which actually didn’t do anything. It was only after people were allowed to leave their houses that the man spots blood on his boat and calls 911. Then two senators, Graham and McCain essentially want to throw him into the wood chipper instead orf giving him a trial. Whereas a trial (besides being “The American Way”) might give us some insight into why they did this,thus giving us some closure.

  7. alex said on April 22, 2013 at 8:14 am

    Sorry to lose another insightful and well-spoken commenter here.

    Well, if the Gannetization of so many American newspapers was their ruination, then I don’t know what you’d call what will become of the Tribune Company when it becomes the Koch Brothers’ official mouthpiece, but I don’t think we’ll have to worry about them presenting any diversity of opinion, ham-handed or otherwise.

  8. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 22, 2013 at 8:36 am

    Grace and peace to baldheaddork; sorry to learn of this, but it’s like we’re all getting older or something.

    Neuharth’s content audits are still a plague in newsrooms that no one is quite sure how to resent. Because you can’t really, except you have to, but if you got rid of it, would the replacement be worse?

    That’s the kind of conversation we’ve had in my little corner of the Gannettiverse.

  9. Scout said on April 22, 2013 at 9:22 am

    So sorry to hear about balheadeddoek. He was always funny and interesting. Thanks for letting us know and thanks HC for the compilation,

    From what I gather, Gannet is to newspapers what Clear Channel is to radio.

    Last week was surreal, but that the authorities managed to find those two needles in such a massive haystack was amazing. I just hope #2 talks and talks and talks.

  10. Scout said on April 22, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Damn iPhone auto corrected baldheadeddork’s name for me. I hate when that happens and I don’t see it before hitting send.

  11. coozledad said on April 22, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Yoko Ono, eighty years old, has the number one song on the dance charts. It’s not my kind of thing, but it’s more listenable than the version of “Don’t Worry Kyoko, Mommy’s Only Looking For a Hand in The Snow” from Live peace in Toronto.

    Once, as a stoner project, we exposed our cat to that song from the LP, played at 45 instead of 33 rpms. It initiated an abreaction in the cat, who proceeded to try and rip the grille from the woofer cone of the speaker.

    In retrospect, it did sound like a nest of kittens in distress.

  12. MichaelG said on April 22, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Rest in peace, baldheadeddork. We’ll miss you.

  13. adrianne said on April 22, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Sorry to hear of baldheadeddork’s passing. He’ll be missed among the commenters.

    My current boss was a Gannett lifer, and brought its paranoid management style to my newspaper. Every day brings fresh examples of Gannett idiocy. Yikes.

  14. Scout said on April 22, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Cruel and unusual, coozledad! I expect so much better from you. ;)

  15. brian stouder said on April 22, 2013 at 10:41 am

    Well, I had three non-sequiturs to yap about, but the news about one of our own here leaves me out of the mood.

    Here’s joining Mr Gill in wishing peace and strength to Brian’s friends and family

  16. Connie said on April 22, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Nancynall.com quoted in Deadline Detroit: http://www.deadlinedetroit.com/articles/4568/quotes_of_the_week_shots_at_model_d_berry_gordy_and_carolyn_kilpatrick

    “I love dogs as much as anyone, but even I can’t help but think [it] isn’t the greatest idea . . . to allow dogs in restaurants. Because what could possibly go wrong with a bunch of dogs on leashes around people carrying trays of hot food? Really.”
    — Nancy Nall Derringer, blogging on state legislation to let dogs in sidewalk dining areas

  17. brian stouder said on April 22, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Connie, that was good stuff!

    And I liked this one, further down:

    “Venturing through blue-collar neighborhoods, down to an industrial waterfront with no pretense of prettiness and finally past Fort Wayne is a journey of Dickensian dimensions.”.”
    — Dave Waddell, Windsor Star writer, reporting on Detroit bus tour

  18. jwfromnj said on April 22, 2013 at 11:47 am

    I can’t imagine Gannett is worse than Scripps. I think they have the science of demoralizing down to perfection. That approach to a one-size-fits-all formulaic journalism seems to he a common theme between both companies

  19. Jeff Borden said on April 22, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    If nothing else, you can thank Al Neuharth for all the huge, full-color and often full-page weather reports. I think every paper in the nation created one after USAT debuted.

    The thought of the Koch Brothers owning the Tribune Co. papers is pretty nauseating. They truly are awful people. . .but the Chicago Tribune already is pretty far right, though in the “country club Republican” manner. I canceled the Trib a couple of years ago after an egregious redesign that dumbed the paper down even further than normal. I subscribe now because a neighbor kid got some points for selling me the subscription. I pay zero attention to its columnists or its editorial page. I imagine these Koch pricks would think they were really big shots owning a loud-mouthed wingnut paper in a blue city.

    R.I.P. baldheadeddork from a fellow dork who is bald.

  20. mark said on April 22, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    I agree Remnick turned an elegant phrase, but I’m hard-pressed to think what “curdled disappointments” these young men experienced. The inability to treat women entirely as a possession? In Russia taking Bombing 101 and missed the Olympic boxing try-out?

    I work with a program that serves hundreds of youth, almost all of whom seem to be far more disadvantaged than the Boston bombers. Disfigurement when the meth lab blew up, sexual abuse at the hands of family members, serious physical and mental limitations, abandonment- those strike me as “curdled disappointments”. What did these guys experience?

  21. mark said on April 22, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    I should admit that perhaps more will become known about these two young men that will make the applicability of Remnick’s description obvious. But what is known now to justify attributing these acts, even partially, to some undescribed life disappointments?

  22. Deborah said on April 22, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    I read somewhere today that Tamerlan’s wife worked 70 to 80 hours a week supporting her husband and child. He supposedly stayed home and took care of the 3 year old child (while making bombs I pressume. Plus he dressed like a dandy on his wife’s dime. Her lawyer has been doing the talkingfor her,she claims to have no knowledge of anything that was going on while living in an apartment with her husband, child and mother in law.

  23. nancy said on April 22, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Don’t overthink it, Mark. They were disappointed because they were losers. The guy complains that in America, you’re not allowed to beat your woman. This disappoints him.

    It doesn’t have to be justified. They were a couple of jerkoffs.

  24. Peter said on April 22, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    First off, a fond farewell to bladheadeddork. Say hi to Ashley when you get a chance.

    Jeff B, it would make historic sense for the Koch’s to buy the Tribune: I’m in my fifties and even I’m too young to remember when McCormick ran the Tribune, but they were Joe McCarthy’s head cheerleader.

    I do remember Royko saying once that the Tribune would endlessly complain about the national debt – he said that McCormick was worried that he was going to get stuck with the tab, plus tip.

  25. Prospero said on April 22, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Then two senators, Graham and McCain essentially want to throw him into the wood chipper instead orf giving him a trial. Whereas a trial (besides being “The American Way”) might give us some insight into why they did this,thus giving us some closure.

    They would prefer that the wood chipper is in Guantanamo and that he be fed about 1 inch at a time into the machine. Little Lord Lindsey was a Navy JAG, for God’s sake, and he is propoling an ad hoc suspension of the Constitution to deal with an American citizen. I don’t understand this obsession in the GOP with not trying terrorists in American courts, except that it is a way of causing problems for President Uppity. The claim about a trial giving the defendants a soapbox is ridiculous.

    These two, the Tarnaevs, attended a Shi’a mosque in Cambridge. The Imam says they showed at services rarely, Tamarlan nine times in the last year, his baby brother once. At one of Tamerlan’s rare appearances, he argued with the Imam and was escorted out. Hardly observant. The Russian attempt to connect Chechen terrorists with Al Quaeda is transparent hooie. Ethnic Chechens are indeed Muslims, but there are mostly Sufis and few salafis. The Chechen terrorists see themselves as insurgents in their own territory, fighting an oppressive hegemony. Like the Real IRA vs. the occupying Brits. Juan Cole is by far the most reliable source on this subject I know of, and he is an expert:

    http://www.juancole.com/

    And so long, bhdork. I always pictured you chuckling. Don’t know why.

  26. coozledad said on April 22, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Scout: I thought our research methods were questionable at best, especially since we were working from the hypothesis that it would only drive the neighbors batshit.

    But science, like life itself, is often cruel:
    http://www.dependablerenegade.com/dependable_renegade/2013/04/one-of-those-days.html

  27. Julie Robinson said on April 22, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Please add my condolences to Brian’s family, and hopes for their solace. Grace and peace indeed.

    With the arrival of two straight days of sun and semi-warmth, it feels like the calm after the storm, and I’m gonna relish every moment.

  28. Rana said on April 22, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Sad to hear about the loss of baldheadededdork. It reminds me that there are people behind these screen names, with lives more complex than we can see easily.

    With regards to the bombing suspect, and his trial, my feeling is that holding a trial is as much or more about who we as a people are, than about the defendant. We allow even the most awful individuals – even in cases where the evidence is overwhelming and the crime confessed – a fair trial, not so much for their sakes, as for ours. A moral people abides by the rule of law in both the easiest and the hardest cases; that we restrain our primitive demands for vengeance in order to see justice is done is a measure of our collective morality.

    In other words, giving a terror suspect a fair trial is the best retort against those who wish to tear down our society we have.

  29. BigHank53 said on April 22, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    Ah, sorry to hear of Mr. Dork’s departure. This weekend I learned my brother’s wife has uterine cancer. They’ve caught it early, surgery in a week, she’s worked as an oncology nurse and knows the best people in town….and there’s still a 5% chance she’ll be in the ground this time next year. Cancer sucks.

    Graham and McCain, being reactionaries, would like nothing more than the establishment of an official secondary “justice” system, one where they don’t have to read you any rights, and if someone holds your head under water a little too long while they’re questioning* you, well hey, what’s the big deal–mistakes happen. There’s a clip from one of the McCain-Obama debates, where Obama refers to a union activist, murdered in South America, whose death was pointedly not investigated by the state, and perhaps we as a country do not wish to be supporting such a state. McCain makes an exaggerated eye roll in response. I thought we opposed state-sanctioned terrorism, Senator, but I guess it’s okay if it means the rich get richer.

    *Actual questions optional.

  30. Brandon said on April 22, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    My condolences to the family and friends of Brian Igo, a.k.a. “baldheadeddork.”

  31. Sherri said on April 22, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Looking back over baldheadeddork’s comments remind me why I enjoy this place: so many interesting comments over such a wide variety of topics. RIP, Mr. Dork.

    Is it because the Tsarnaev brothers used bombs to kill and maim that McCain et al want to throw away the constitution? What if they had used legally obtained and NRA approved AR-15s (with a good chance that they would have killed more people)? Or is it just because they’re named Tsarnaev, not born in the US, and Muslim, unlike Tim McVeigh?

    In other news, 5 people were shot to death in an apartment building shootout last night outside of Seattle. The police arrives to find bullets flying, but I’m sure that more guns would have taken care of the problem before they arrived, right? McCain thinks a teenager with a pipe bomb is so dangerous that we must trash the Constitution, but the 2nd Amendment is so sacrosanct that we can’t do anything with guns, no matter how many people die.

  32. Bitter Scribe said on April 22, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    I’m beginning to think it’ll take an Al-Qaeda operative shooting up some place with an assault weapon he bought at a gun show to make these fools rethink their position on guns.

  33. Prospero said on April 22, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    Little Lindsay Fauntleroy is getting primaried by Teabangers. Not a true enough believer. Filling my mailbox with outrageous bovine waste.

    This week, extremely classy Cleveland Indians management had Sweet Caroline played over the PA during a game with the RedSox, and followed the game with Dirty Water, after the Sox won. Remarkably thoughtful and cool thing to do in Cleveland. Heard about this guy?

    http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/04/21/1899581/arkansas-republicans-shoot-lawmakers-for-expanding-medicaid/

    Guy should obviously be sitting in a cell right now. At least the Tsarnaev’s right to buy guns at a gun show or on the street weren’t infringed by onerous background checks.

    I think the most astounding thing about the continuing dumbass news coverage of the bombing is that a clear, if inept, attempt to assassinate President Obama has disappeared down the memory hole. That is not a comforting development.

    the 2nd Amendment is so sacrosanct that we can’t do anything with guns, no matter how many people die, and despite what the 2nd Amendment actually says.

  34. Jeff Borden said on April 22, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    Scribe,

    I’m not sure it would make much difference. When 20 little kids are slaughtered by gunfire so intense many of them were largely unrecognizable and you still can’t even get a weak, wishy-washy background check law enacted, why would al Quaeda types turn the argument? If anything, the gun nutters would probably just buy even more firearms.

    I saw something on Facebook where a writer suggested the NAACP urge its members to buy all the guns they could. Can you imagine the reaction in Teabagistan to such a call? Unfortunately, given the racial viewpoints of so many teabaggers, this might be a match to gasoline kind of thing.

  35. Judybusy said on April 22, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    That is indeed sad news about baldheadeddork. Thanks for letting us know.

    Sherri @31, great comment.

  36. paddyo' said on April 22, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    Condolences as well to Mr. B.H. Dork . . .

    As the semi-resident USA TODAY/Gannett alum here (I spent roughly half my 33-year news career with McPaper, in two segments, and almost three-quarters of my newspapering under Gannett management), I won’t praise “Big Al.” I will always grant, however, that he was some kind of brilliant. Which kind? Well, that’s what the debating will continue to be about.

    Al was a vainglorious banty rooster when I first met him (he remained so). I was barely two years into my J-career when Gannett came to town to swallow up Speidel Newspapers, the pipsqueak 13-paper community newspaper chain that I worked for. We at the Reno Evening Gazette and Nevada State Journal were the “flagship” in a company of mostly backwater locales, from Poughkeepsie to Sioux Falls to Iowa City to Stockton and Visalia, among others.

    Al and his then-wife, Florida state Sen. Lori Wilson, were staying in the presidential suite at Harrah’s Hotel and Casino. I was tapped to go do the obligatory fawning news-feature-interview with the triumphant corporate boss here to seal the deal. The photog and I knocked on the door at the appointed hour, and Wilson, in a plush bathrobe and bouffant blonde ‘do, ushered us in. A minute or two later, Al emerged in a shiny smoking jacket and ascot, all black and white, his signature dress code. (Funny how the black-and-white newspaper mogul went on to make his national newspaper a Technicolor baby, but I digress.)

    With half a dozen editors back at the office waiting nervously to fine-toothed-comb my copy, I had little room to move beyond the adoration playbook. I asked one or two minor line-drive-shot questions down the line, but it was mostly infield pop-fly fungoes to the, uh, shortstop. I only ever saw him again in the fat days of USAT rollout galas, Xmas parties and anniversary blowouts, those of the free-flowing booze and fist-sized shrimp. Oh, and one other time during his infamous, year-long “Buscapade USA” cross-country circus in the mid-’80s.

    The prevailing wisdom among us, then and now, was that Neuharth’s Gannett made bad papers mediocre and good ones mediocre, too. (See the Des Moines Register, Louisville Courier-Journal and Detroit News — and now the Free Press.) USA TODAY was different, of course. The golden child. It started wacky in the ’80s and eventually got reasonably good for a while (once Al had busied himself with his other baby, see next paragraph) in the mid-’90s to mid-2000s or so. I was there in both periods. It has devolved since, but that’s a problem for most newspapers these days.

    USA TODAY did give a community-newspapers guy like me the chance to do journalism on a national stage, and it was heady stuff. Overall, the experience was personally positive if occasionally cringe-worthy. But the cost was high for all those Gannett towns like Reno where I started. One could overlook that the pompous “founder” had a giant bronze bust of himself installed in the USAT lobby (with vacant mini-saucer eyes just the right size for unnamed co-workers to Super-glue pennies). But the papers were bled for the sake first of Gannett and then of Al’s precious creation. In a non-journalistic insult, he also hijacked the thing Gannett may have done the best for its communities: the Gannett Foundation, which awarded millions to community orgs and causes. He turned it into a double-barreled, faux-journalistic., spendthrift monument to himself: the Freedom Forum (nicknamed “Feed ‘em Forum” for its extravagant spreads at symposia and events)and the Newseum (Nauseam).

    In the end, Al Neuharth was as responsible as any newspaper mogul for commoditizing newspaper “properties” to the now-not-so-everlasting love of Wall Street. He certainly didn’t invent chain journalism, but he popularized it. And his “innovations” were superficial. The legacy may be colorful, but it’s full of crap, too.

  37. adrianne said on April 22, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    Well said, Paddyo. I still remember the tale of the giant blue ball sculpture at D.C. HQ for Gannett, and the poor journalist who was fired for scribbling on it.

  38. 4dbirds said on April 22, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    Rest in peace Brian and peace to your family.

  39. paddyo' said on April 22, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    And actually three journalists, Adrianne! All women, employed in the Sports department. IT was a bizarre episode, for sure. I was Denver bureau chief then, and the bureau folk had all gathered in D.C. that Xmas season for meetings and to check out the new corporate digs (the Big Blue Ball was a centerpiece in the top-corporate-officers’ suite of that glass-and-steel Oz-like mothership). It was barely a week or so after the firings, and the Chicago bureau reporter and I couldn’t resist going upstairs to check it out.

    We took copious pix, mugging for the camera but careful never, ever to touch the cerulean globe. As we were about done, a security guard emerged from out of nowhere (surveillance cameras, of course) to inquire as to our intentions. We made our golly-gee-whiz excuses and backed out of the lobby. Later, we passed along one of the photos (only the ball!) to another news org to use for its story about the firings, as Gannett wasn’t providing pictures.

  40. adrianne said on April 22, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Lord, even worse than I remembered: The Giant Blue Ball massacre!

  41. Prospero said on April 22, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    People currently take the Trib Co. papers somewhat seriously. If the Kochs buy them, nobody with a brain will. They will become the record papers of Freepland. Mortimer and Randolph Communications, with all the credibility of a book published by Regnery Press or anything elsw Richard Melon Scaife has anything to do with. Think LA Times run by that cretin Jonah Goldberg and bring back the odious ninny Max Boot, and put John Kass in charge of the Chicago Tribune. They’ll make a bundle on mail subscriptions to armed camps in Idaho by advertising on Newsmax.com and freerepublic.com, and nobody serious will take them seriously.

  42. Deborah said on April 22, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    I had a Gannett experience, not the journalism end but the billboard side. I was asked to design a billboard advertising Laumier Sculpture Park in St. Louis which had an annual kite festival. I had designed a poster for the event which was a kite itself. It was quite successful. When I got the gig to do the billboard the first thing I did was call Gannett to get the parameters, this was something they were doing for free as a public service for the city (or county, which are separate in St. Louis). Anyway, I designed the thing and then when I sent them the artwork they said it was much too complicated to produce and did something completely different. I was miffed that they hadn’t told me to begin with, just how complicated it could be. Of course it wasn’t really complicated at all they were just wanting to do something cheap and stupid. The director of the sculpture park was miffed too.

  43. Bitter Scribe said on April 22, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    Prospero, the Trib is halfway there already. I stopped reading their editorials years ago. Basically all they do now is shriek at teachers for having pensions.

  44. Bitter Scribe said on April 22, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    This guy I know, as a lark in the ’60s, used phony credentials to get into a Young Communist-type conclave somewhere in Europe. He roomed with this weird black dude who kept talking about how he was going to get weapons from the Soviet Bloc nations to destroy white America. In his memoirs the guy concludes, “I wonder if he ever realized he could walk into any American sporting-goods store and buy all the weapons he wanted.”

  45. Joe K said on April 22, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    Rip, bhd, enjoy the music of richie havens, who also checked out.
    Pilot Joe

  46. alex said on April 22, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    I never took the Trib or the Sun-Times all that seriously. The former would make political endorsements that had me so mad I could spit nails. The latter ran such B-list crackpot conservative columnists as Betsey Hart, Mona Charen and Uncle Tom Sowles you’d think you just woke up in Mississippi. Neither paper was tailored to Chicagoans but rather suburbanites, and even those people couldn’t have been that stupid.

    I suspect most people ignored the conservative shit and bought the Trib for its talented local writers and likewise with the Sun-Times. Despite the political disconnect on their respective opinion pages, each otherwise delivered half-decent news and otherwise good content.

    I’ve been gone from Chicago for eight years now and have stopped looking at either of those rags online probably for the last five.

  47. Prospero said on April 22, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    Scribe @23:

    LAT is worse, I think, and, amazingly, there are incessant whingeing letters about how the paper is the liberal LSM. When people mistake Jonah Goldberg for a voice of moderation, it’s frightening. Not being a Chicagoan nor a Los Angeleno, I can honestly say, turning those to rags into cartoon voices, like the Washington Times, might not be such a terrible thing. I also don’t think people with attitudes like those espoused by Mortimer and Randolph are forming opinions from reading while they listen to ClearChannel. The people so worried about gummint coming for their guns should be more worried in the long run about plutocrats seizing means of communicating and the only real governor on government behavior now that those very robber barons have crushed the elective system under mountains of speech, er, money.

    Besides any real point: There have been extensive discussions here of margarine, butter, and potato chips. We have splurged lately on soft margarine and butter made by Kerrygold. Excellent stuff, pricey but well worth it. And yesterday, we tried a new rosemary and feta variety of Cape Cod kettle cooked chips. Outstanding.

    Mona Charen: Somebody should make her change her byline photo to one more current. That woman is a harpy. Or a gorgon.

  48. Sherri said on April 22, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    Tsarnaev is being charged with using a “weapon of mass destruction.” A pipe bomb is a WMD, an AR-15 is a protected device everyone should own. Got it.

  49. Suzanne said on April 22, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    RIP baldheadeddork. I always thought that name was humorous.

  50. JWfromNJ said on April 22, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    In the right hands, a taco bell doritos loco taco can also be a weapon of (m)ass destruction…

  51. Brandon said on April 22, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    Until about the sixties, the L.A. Times was a conservative and parochial paper. Under Otis Chandler, the Times competed with The New York Times and became a serious rival.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles_Times

  52. Catherine said on April 22, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    My favorite BHD comment, from 9/17/12: “I’m calling my shot – Romney is done. His campaign has been in a tailspin for months and they are clueless on how to fix it. He’s an incompetent, majestically tone-deaf campaigner with the warmth of a broken toaster and his staff couldn’t manage a two car funeral procession.” RIP.

    And also remembering EL Konigsberg, YA author of many good books, in particular From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

  53. basset said on April 22, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    >>Yoko Ono, eighty years old, has the number one song on the dance charts.

    C’mon, Cooz. You made that up. Surely.

  54. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 22, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    Cooze did not.

    http://www.billboard.com/charts/dance-club-play-songs

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