Tuesday, September 30, 2003

And now for something completely different, here's one French political writer's advice to Americans on how to deal with his nation:

"On the economic level: boycott EVERYTHING that can be BOYCOTTED, in both directions (imports and exports). Choking the life out of today's French economy with its all sacred 35 hour work week, sub-Sahara standard hospitals, and its civil servant-artist youths, would be as simple as pushing the pillow down on an dehydrated elderly person. Just choose the right color for the pillowcase."

Pretty strong stuff—from the excellent Merde in France.

Monday, September 29, 2003

William Safire's informative column—The Mask of Warka, on the op ed page of today's NY. Times—is another one of his gems on the war in Iraq and the politics, national and international, involved therein.
While it is so pleasing to Boston Red Sox fans to see the versatile Bill Mueller win the American League batting championship, his backing into the batting crown by staying out of the Boston lineup is reminiscent of Detroit Tigers third baseman George Kell's ducking the final game of the 1949 season to edge Ted Williams by one tenth of a point, 342.9 to 342.8, for the batting title.

The official records of major league baseball as well as the various baseball encyclopedias published should note with an asterisk instances like these which tend to taint the acvhievements of the players.

Good-bye to Murderer's Row: "Murderers Row never looked so meek. In one of the most stunning achievements in their record-setting display of power and depth, the Red Sox yesterday capped a memorable regular season by breaking the major league record for slugging percentage set by the legendary 1927 Yankees of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig."

Read more. Funny, the New York Times Sports pages don't seem to have noticed.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

One sign of the evolving political times in Massachusetts came this week with the revelation that Raynham/Tunton Dogtrack is losing a choice state political plum its has enjoyed for the past year.
Raynham's George Carney who has been wired tightly to State House political leaders for four decades, was jolted by State Treasurer Tim Cahill's decision to strip his track of its exclusive right to redeem larger (over $600) lottery tickets. It was a costly loss for Carney whose dogtrack was receiving a one percent service fee of the lottery winnings as well as benefitting from the increased track handles which resulted from the gambling-oriented lottery winners.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft certainly has proved to be the tough, stand-up prosecutor the liberal left—ACLU, New York Times, Boston Globe and many Democratic Party politicians—knew he would be when they mounted that all-out drive to block his confirmation after President Bush named him to his Cabinet. Their on going assault on him has intensified in recent weeks as the nation's chief law enforcement official has been touring the country and speaking in defense of the USA Patriot Act.

Dorothy Rabinowitz, the Wall Street Journal's gifted critic at large, captured the climate yesterday in her extraordinary editorial page piece: A Demon For Our Times. "Frenzy mounts uncontrolled over John Ashcroft, now considered—in those quarters touched by the delerium—enemy number of the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and all that Americans hold dear," was her opener.

The ACLU, Democrats and Clinton Atty. Gen. Janet Reno were among the targets of Ms. Rabinowitz pen.

Read more here.
More trouble for Real Networks. According to Rafat Ali's latest e-letter: "...brain drain at the company: during the last 10 months of this year, almost 12-15 senior level execs. have left the company, some starting their own ventures and some joining other companies. Of course, it is not unusual for a person like Rob Glaser to run through people on a regular basis, but this is unusual even for his company. Of the people left at the company, Larry Jacobson, the COO, is now concentrating on international efforts. Sean Ryan, who came in through Listen.com, and now looking after RNWK's music efforts, has got to be feeling the pressure... "

Read more.

Monday, September 22, 2003

The letter to the editor the Herald published on its editorial page today complaining about the girlie pages the newspaper seems to be launching in its new EDGE section was just one of many received recently.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Today's Wall Street Journal feature on the excessive salaries of National Hockey League players which are putting the 30-team league in financial peril, should be an eye opener for all professional athletes. NHL players certainly are not the highest paid when compared to baseball, football and basketball stars of the Major Leagues, National Footbll Leacgue and the NBA. But they are moving up to the point where the NHL teams lost $millions last year and face even higher totals as soccer, golf and womens' professional sports grow.

You can't blame NHL players who engage in the roughest sport, football included, for grabbing what money they can—while they can. I can well remember talking to Fernie Flaman who was an All Star defenseman for the Boston Bruins a half century ago, and him telling me how the top salary he could get from the Bruins' General Manager Art Ross was $5,000. He was worth at least $10,000 as he was the best defenseman in he NHL during the era following World War II.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

It was amusing to read Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman bemoan the fact that liberals have no one in the media to match Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter. The reason, of course, is quite simple: Rush, Bill and Ann reflect the conservative views of the more people in the United States. Since she feels so strongly about this, why doesn't Ms. Goodman try her hand at TV or radio? Or better still, a blog.
Watching the frenzied coverage of Hurricane Isabel by TV reporters during the past week as the storm plodded its path up the South Atlantic Ocean to the Carolina coast, most viewers must have wondered whether the television legmen had ever been in a big storm before.

While Isabel didn't live up to television's hopes and expectations, it's coverage did give TV viewers a glimpse of what to expect on the tube this coming winter when a snowstorm forms on the East coast and develops into a Nor'easter as it moves up the coast.

UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds agrees.
amNew York, the new, free commuter tabloid that is slated to begin publishing in NYC in January, is certain to cut substantially into the circulations of the New York Daily News and the New York Post—Gotham's reigning tabloids.

According to Boston Globe media watchguard Mark Jurkowitz, the Empire State venture is being launched by Russel Pergament, former publisher of Boston Metro—the free tab daily now available at most T stations and other well traveled points. The newsy tab has been a thorn in the plans of the voluminous Globe and the Boston Herald to maintain their subway circulations while expending huge moneys to boost their home delivery sales.

Freebie tabloids are also available in Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington as well as major cities in Europe.They are no picnic for established dailies which are saddled with very high union wages at every level of their costly production and distribution. And the high cost of newsprint compounds their difficulties.
(posted by David Farrell)

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Today's big Boston Globe feature in its on-going promotion of the zealots who supposedly have been living in a tree on Wachusett Mountain to prevent development of a 1,500 foot ski trail there, prompts one to wonder why the Globe doesn't take and publish photos of them during the night while they are asleep in the trees, if in fact they are there all night long!

Monday, September 15, 2003

Those photos of Jennifer Lopez, Venus Williams and an assortment of other scantily-clad women who feature the double-truck page running in today's Boston Herald "Edge" section indicate Publisher Pat Purcell plans to transform his daily tabloid into a "girlie" publication of sorts. The competing Boston Globe won't join the Herald's sex ploy!
How about today's full-page feature leading the Globe's Living Arts Section which focuses on a self-styled Somerville "artist" who is waging a PR campaign against the SUV motor vehicle? Two things struck me about the story:
1. The artist has a lot of time and money as well as little to do these days.
2. The Globe is hard pressed for good features.
That big page-one tear-jerker the New York Times published today about the National Guardsman from California who "thought he was done with active military duty when he left the Marines for civilian life more than a decade ago and signed on with the National Guard a few years later" omits one major fact—the substantial amount of money he was paid by the Guard during his many years of inactive service which consisted primarily of attending N.G. meetings at local armories.
The monthly stipend offered by the Guard to former servicemen is the big lure that keeps the N.G. going.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia, what they're really worried about are Barbie Dolls.

Guess why.

Friday, September 05, 2003

Friday's big Boston Herald page-one photograph of Sen. John Kerry wiping a tear from his eye on the campaign trail yesterday was reminiscent of the act former President Clinton put on several years ago. Clinton was walking along briskly out of a funeral parlor after attending a public official's wake when he saw a TV camera start to focus on him. His pace slowed, a sorrowful look descended on him and his left index finger rose to the occasion and wiped his left eye. Rush Limbaugh caught this footage and played it several times for his then television show.

What an act!
I have written before about the tiresome Jonathan Franzen and his over-written cinder-block of a book, The Corrections. [No link; why should I encourage you?] If you can imagine someone even more self-absorbed and self-important, well, you might not be surprised to find it's the woman who was living with him while he scrawled his tome.

She's dying to tell you about herself.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

It was interesting to observe how the first of Sen. John Kerry's numerous official announcements for the 2004 Democratic Presidential nomination was played in the local and national media today. The Boston Herald went overboard, making it the lead story and embellishing it with a flattering photograph covering two-thirds of the front page. The Boston Globe also gave Kerry a big play, using about a third of the front page—below the fold for its lavish coverage. The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal each gave the story only one brief paragraph on page one, with more inside.
The Boston Globe's media analyst Mark Jurkowitz coninues to demonstrate why he's the best in the business. Today's article was brimming with news about the Cape Cod Times' coverage of the controversial wind farm project proposed for the Cape's waters and several other important developments involving local media. I hope he's appreciated on Morrissey Boulevard.