Randomly Friday

Random Friday stuff:

  • This is pretty telling on several levels: NBC’s Thursday night lineup was beaten by a telenovela on Univision, a Spanish-language network that doesn’t even have over the air affiliates in several large US markets.
  • Had breakfast in the now smoke-free Lighthouse Grill this morning. It was really nice, but we still sat in the (former) non-smoking section, because that’s where the windows are.
  • I’m now officially registered for classes in the fall. Yer Humble Host has begun the transition from part-time, amateur information geek to full-time, professional information junkie with a Master’s degree. I just hope I don’t wind up leading story time for the kiddies at some suburban branch library.

God and Snot

Is the following hilarious tidbit about pious mechanical mammals taken from The Onion, or from a major metropolitan daily newspaper? You be the judge:

Take Sally Ledford of Columbus, Ohio. “I just started crying when I came in here and saw the Scripture (on the trusses),” she said.

She even liked the museum’s animatronic cow, which looks real and quotes from the Bible, too.

“I just love to hear an animal praise the Lord and use Scripture.”

If you guessed “major metropolitan daily newspaper”, you’d be right.

Aa s side note, why is the word “scripture” capitalized here? The tendency of local newspapers to capitalize any pronoun referring to “God” really annoys me, but I could still understand capitalizing “Bible”, or maybe even “The Holy Scriptures” because they could be seen as book titles. Is it necessary, though, to capitalize the mere word “scripture”?

If I worked for the Observer and I were writing story about God blowing “His” nose, would I have to capitalize the word “handkerchief” every time I used it? How about “snot”?

Penneys in Pisa?

The Great Western Shopping Center, Columbus OH doesn’t look like this anymore, but most people would probably like it a lot better if it did. Shopping was much more fun when you could see the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Taj Mahal from the front door of Penney’s or Kroger.

Newspaper Junkie

The newspaper I grew up reading is laying off a tenth of its workforce. Apparently, a rather small and insignificant paper is about to become even more small and insignificant.

I’ve recently been cataloguing the stacks of old newspapers that my parents and I have saved over the years as souvenirs of historic events, and even the occasional road trip. I should stop. It’s depressing to comapre content-rich papers from thirty or forty years ago — or even five or ten, for that matter — to the pitiful miniatures being produced today.

I’m a newspaper junkie. And — unlike many of my contemporaries, who find it inevitable and not really a big deal — I’m extremely depressed about the demise of the American newspaper industry. As “wired” as I am, I still enjoy reading my newspaper in the morning. I sometimes read multiple papers in any given day, although I’m doing much less of that now than I did just a few years ago. Frankly, there’s not enough newsprint left to make buying out of town papers worthwhile most of the time.

Why do I like newspapers? I like the way they feel as I hold them in my hand and fold them into various configurations for easier reading. I like the presentation of articles with accompanying photos and information boxes. I like the portability. I like the way that, unlike radio stations, they still have some degree of local variation. I even like the ads. For research purposes, I’ll admt that a saved text file is infinitely more searchable and easier to store, but it’s just not as much fun to look at as an old newspaper clipping.

Most of all, though, I like the fact that I am more inclined to get drawn into reading articles I probably would have skipped over had they been introduced in the form of a one-paragraph hypertext link. That’s also why I like used book and record stores, even in an era where everything can be found online very quickly. Chances are you won’t immediately find exactly what you’re looking for in any given used bookstore. There is, however, a good chance you might find something you didn’t know you were looking for. Ditto for printed newspapers.

Like I said, though, it’s not as much fun as it used to be. A Sunday LA Times used to provide me hours of entertainment. I looked forward to travelling to places with good newspapers and reading them in dumpy diners while I had my breakfast. I still enjoy my LA Times or my Washington Post or whatever, but they aren’t the all-day adventure they used to be. They’re more of an hour-long diversion. And that’s sad. I’m losing one of my favorite hobbies.

Obsessions and Devices

Thing I love tonight: the original version of Obsession by Michael Des Barres and Holly Knight, from the soundtrack of a really bad 1983 movie called A Night in Heaven. Most of you, if you know it at all, know the much more popular Animotion version, which actually cracked the Billboard Top Ten, but I always liked the original much better.

Thing I vaguely knew at the time: Holly Knight was also the lead singer of Spider, who recorded one of my all-time favorite pop songs, New Romance in 1980.

Things I didn’t know: Holly Knight was also in Device, a short-lived mid-1980s band whose biggest hit was “Hanging on a Heart Attack,” the vinyl version of which I just happened to digitize on the same day as “Obsession” above. In addition, Holly Knight wrote, or co-wrote, such diverse songs as “Never” by Heart, Better Be Good to Me by Tina Turner, and Love Is a Battlefield by Pat Benatar.

Reason you should care: None, really. I was just bored.

Oops

So I apparently accidentally uploaded an unfinished journal entry a day or so back, with broken image links and all, and never quite caught it until today. The really sad thing is that no one seems to have noticed either. Oh well.

Sorry for the disappearing act of late: family drama and stuff, y’know? Back soon…

Happy Birthday, M’luv

Thirty years ago today, something very important happened near Fresno, California. A boy with whom I could imagine spending the rest of my life was born. This doesn’t happen every day. In fact, it’s only happened once, to my knowlege.

Happy birthday, m’luv. I wish you all the cherry trees and dumpy Mexican diners in the world. And stuff.

And I’m sorry it’s been such a sucktastic week, but I’ll make up for it.