cute geeks in love
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I am so charmed by this little story of band geeks in love that I had to share.
I’m not sure what my favorite part is. That they were first and second chair oboists in their high school concert band. That their first date was dinner at ZuZu and their second was a lecture about Stravinsky (and Kiira, both times, had to be the pursuer). That Barry wowed her with conversation about one of his favorite pastimes: backgammon. Or that he finally popped the question at a rehearsal of her bell choir by putting the ring under her bell and that when she accepted, the rest of the choir “broke into a round of Ode to Joy.”
The photo is cute, too.
Mazel tov, Kiira and Barry.
one sad bad ad
Friday, April 3, 2009
You know I have only the greatest respect and affection for newspapers, for my former employer (well, mixed feelings there, but generally positive), and certainly for the brave souls who go to work each day under the darkening cloud of desperation, layoffs, and now pay cuts.
And so it is with deep regret that I am forced to mock this sad, ill-advised in-house ad.
These are fine reporters doing a fine job for the business section. But really, is it not a plea for fashion intervention? Stacy and Clinton, where are you?
The ad is supposed to instill our confidence but instead, it breaks my heart.
Do you suppose the paper even told this gang that they would be posing for a photo that day? Or did they just round them up from their desks--where they sat overworked and bleary-eyed—and hustle them into the photo studio?
This just confirms journalists’ schlumpy reputation. I mean, it's OK to be schlumpy. They have other things on their minds. But what does this ad accomplish?
I’m also frustrated with the paper, which has long tried to stifle personality in the writing it publishes in an era when personality rules the media. Now, this is how it tries to promote its fine employees? With this sad-sack line-up of beleaguered writers? How much wiser it would have been to nurture voices and stars all along. This Hail Mary falls far short and only serves to emphasize how desperate and out-of-touch newspapers are.
By the way, I do like the new feature they're promoting, a page called "The Economy and You." If I could find it on the Web site, I'd link to it, but don't get me started on that...
plunging right in to 2009 griping
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
It feels odd that I have done no kind of 2008 wrap up or 2009 somethingorother. But it’s too late for any of that and besides, I don’t have much to say.
I’ve been informed via Twitter by a high n mighty journalist that bloggers should keep their damn New Year’s resolutions to themselves because nobody is interested and who do they think they are? (To paraphrase.) So even if I had New Year’s resolutions, which I don’t, I wouldn’t write about them.
It’s funny though—high n mighty journalists are quick to tell other writers that nobody cares what they think and yet the man-on-the-street (or in-the-living-room) interview is considered key to a properly reported news story. Do I really care that that Elizabeth Gross of Lake Highlands hosted a dinner party candlelight last night, when the power was out in Dallas?
Hm. Not really. (Although I did like her remark about how everybody looked young.) So why are the personal experiences of writers considered self-indulgent while the personal experiences of other people are considered news? (To be fair, the journalist under discussion says he has no objection to personal writing as long as it’s not too personal.)
One great thing about man-on-the-street interviews is that they can be unintentionally hilarious. My favorite was in a TV news story about daylight savings time. One anti-daylight-savings-time woman-on-the-street opined, “I just don’t think they should be messing with God’s time.”
What time zone do you think God lives in?
What do you think about all this? Do the resolutions of bloggers hold any interest to you? What about man-on-the-street interviews?
newspapers and john galt
Monday, December 22, 2008
And so far, it appears to be doing OK, in a spunky little way.
Could newspapers save themselves by simply stonewalling the Internet?
I mean, just because the Internet is the wave of the future for some things, is it necessarily the way for everything? If credible information cannot be supported by the online model, maybe the producers of that information should withdraw and start calling the shots themselves.
To kill off newspapers and the serious practice of journalism is to destroy one of the girders of Democracy. True journalism is more important than the frothy infotainment that is the cornerstone of the Web, yet newspapers are shuffling about, hat in hand, begging the market to support them.
The credible news we want and need is provided by newspapers and no other institution. If the public is not willing to pay for this information online, then why should it be provided free? No, really. Why is the newspaper competing on an unprofitable playing field when they are producing a product so integral to the health of our nation that people don’t even know how much they need it?
Do you think your local TV news shows are doing the shoe leather reporting that print journalists do? Haven’t you heard your local radio hosts quote directly from the local paper? From where would the pipeline of news originate if not from the institutions that have, throughout the life of our country, provided that information?
Newspapers are in great danger and we are grossly negligent if we allow them to perish.
What would happen if newspapers shut down their online operations and re-invested in the paper product? Or simply firewalled their online versions to all but subscribers? (Aside from the fact that I would no longer be able to link to stories online.) Wouldn’t we all, ultimately, as we have in the past (cable TV), adjust, cough up and accept this free-market reality? Or, done as we always have and gone to the library? (Or library database?) Other online models might develop—aggregators of some kind, multi-subscription models—but the newspapers themselves would no longer be held responsible for keeping the nation informed without recompense.
Who do we think we are, demanding such a thing?
Who is John Galt? (Google it.)
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Change of subject…
The contractions in the newspaper business continue. I got three emails yesterday alone from the editor of the syndicate I write for about travel editors moving on, travel sections being folded into other sections. One editor who is taking a buyout urged others to keep fighting the good fight but that’s easy for him to say. There is no real fight anymore, it’s just scrambling for dry ground while the ship sinks.
You’ll miss newspapers when they’re gone and TV news talking heads are forced to just make shit up.
Change of subject…
How many old CD racks do you have floating around your house? As technology becomes obsolete, so do the peripherals surrounding it. What shall we use those CD racks for? They look like toast racks but who eats that much toast? My brother had a big standing wire CD rack he was getting rid of but before he chucked it, we set it on the coffee table and considered the possibilities for a while. The only even marginal idea we came up with was for storing jewelry—you could clip earrings on it and with hooks, hang necklaces. In the end, though, he threw it away. Whoever comes up with a solution to this question could make a million dollars. And then move on to repurposing cassette tape racks.
Change of subject...
Looky, the goddam shoe wheel now comes in pink. Perhaps that would make a good gift?
Tom actually unpacked the giant box of food storage containers. Hold me, I'm frightened...
Change of subject...
Speaking of gifts, surely you know someone who would love this. Or maybe this.
OK, I think I've run out of random thoughts for the moment.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I feel just terrible about Galveston.
I am particularly sad about the destruction of the Balinese Room, a historic nightclub that rambled out 600 feet from Seawall Boulevard. It was a gambling hotspot in the 1940s and '50s. After sitting neglected for years, it was being revived as a rock club. But then came Ike ...
I took a few photos of the Balinese on my recent visit to the island. Let's take a moment to pay our respects.
Such a pity.
A couple of regular readers here with a more intimate connection with the region have blogged about Ike and the coast. Here is Karen's post, and here is Cynthia's. I'm so sorry, friends. But Galveston arose from the rubble once before and we know it will do so again.
OK, to lighten the mood a little, here's the Letter to the Editor du jour:
I can just picture this guy with a long list of networks he's boycotting. ABC? Check. CNN? Check. NBC. Check.
All Fox all the time, I guess.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Then I read this story in my paper today, about a guy who is being told he can't park his new truck in his own driveway, and it just makes me want to go to Frisco and kick some suburban idiot ass. It makes me want to park my crappy old Honda on the streets of this gated community and leave it there. Or better yet, Tom's tired old Ford F-150, just to make the point. I suppose if you choose to live in a gated community with a homeowners association you are agreeing to abide by the rules ... but that doesn't make people suck any less.
Speaking of you are what you drive, I did enjoy Terry Box's column today, about driving a muscle car.
More buyouts coming at the Dallas Morning News. Wednesday is the deadline for decisions. Then the layoffs start again. Woe is us.
letters from readers
Friday, June 27, 2008
Among the many joys of my morning paper are the letters to the editor. While we do see many, intelligent, thought-provoking letters, nothing delights me and Tom more than the dopey ones. We're mean that way.
We still quote to each other letters we read years ago--like one from a woman who wrote at length about how they were serving snacks at her bank and there is a bank at her supermarket. "My, how things have changed," she concluded.
She wrote it, the editors ran it, we've been laughing at it since.
The last line of these letters, the wrap-up, is invariable the best part because they tend to make sweeping proclamations, quotable for years to come.
Don't just take my word for it...try this:
MEDIA DISCRIMINATION REMAINS!
Anybody out there listening?
Another reader responded to the letter by pointing out that pico de gallo is a lot healthier than BLTs.
And finally, this one has no particularly quotable last line, but it's very special.
I got yr F word, Sarah.
Then again, imagining a league of ladies breastfeeding "with gusto" is pretty amusing.
this n that tuesday
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Hm…interesting concept. I’m trying to decide how I feel about this. Advertisers will like it since it will deliver their ads into more hands. And that may keep the the dinosaur lumbering along a little longer. I'm all for that.
Funny--I can’t imagine my newspaper taking any less time to read in the morning than it already does, although I do have the benefit of spending days at my computer, keeping up with news online, so I can breeze through much of it. A lot of people don’t have that luxury. (I spoke to a busy working single mom recently who, when I mentioned the earthquake in China, said, “There was an earthquake in China?”)
Still, I’m always slightly irked at the benefits showered on new customers/non customers by companies. You know, the old open a bank account, get a free toaster thing. No interest introductory rates on credit cards.
At best, existing customers can opt-in to be barraged by offers of nominal discounts from various “partners.” (I don’t consider 10% off to be anything but a come-on) If my credit card company really wanted to show its appreciation, it would reward me with a couple of interest-free months. My newspaper—I pay $228 a year for a daily subscription--would cut me a price deal or give me access to its online archives free. My bank could toss $25 in my account for every year I stick with it. That kind of thing. Show me some love.
I’m not usually a National Review kind of girl, but this essay by Mark Steyn tickled me. Yes, I support Obama and will vote for him. No question. I think the army of malevolent Hillary supporters planning to vote for McCain are some sort of invented bogeywomen.
But I admit that I will get some small satisfaction in seeing Obama parsed with the same glee and attention that Hillary was throughout the campaign, as in Steyn’s essay.
Here is a fabulous blog post from Judith Warner (thanks Mary) that ties together Hillary and Sex in the City. Take a moment to take a look.
And finally, watch this video and tell me again how there was no sexism and misogyny in this past campaign.
watch your language, assholes
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Some cherce bits:
WASHINGTON - Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois sealed the Democratic presidential nomination Tuesday, a historic step toward his once-improbable goal of becoming the nation's first black president. A defeated Hillary Rodham Clinton maneuvered for the vice presidential spot on his fall ticket.
Way to patronize...And as the story goes on to explain, she said she was open to being on the ticket as VP. How is that maneuvering? The language here paints Hillary as both pathetic and Machiavellian.
Obama, a first-term Illinois senator who was virtually unknown on the national stage four years ago, defeated Clinton, the former first lady and one-time campaign front-runner, in a 17-month marathon for the Democratic nomination.
AND TWO-TERM SENATOR! The sexism that affected Hillary's campaign is not blatant but reveals itself in this sort of insidious language that ignores her concrete accomplishments to present her merely an appendage to a man.
Obama drew strength from blacks, and from the younger, more liberal and wealthier voters in many states. Clinton was preferred by older, more downscale voters, and women, of course.
Of course. Dumb bitches.
Why not "Obama drew strengths from blacks, of course...."?
Blablablablablabla...until we reach PARAGRAPH 20:
With her husband's two White House terms as a backdrop, Clinton campaigned for months as the candidate of experience, a former first lady and second-term senator ready to be commander in chief.
Ah, there it is, the FIRST mention of her current office. More than halfway into the article and only inserted in this paragraph after yet another mention of the fact that she was first lady.
As the strongest female presidential candidate in history, Clinton drew large, enthusiastic audiences. Yet Obama's were bigger.
This story was written by a committee of 87 writers, I believe. They should all get their asses solidly kicked. This is the kind of subtle and destructive use of language that sinks any pretension of balance in the media. It is odious because of its subtlety--it affects casual readers on a subliminal level.
fire that editor!
Sunday, June 1, 2008
More than 13,000 expected to lace up to support breast cancer
Must be a breakaway insurgent group.
this n that
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
I didn’t even know the guy who created Davey and Goliath lived in Dallas until I read today’s obituary.
Rest in peace, guy who created what may be the creepiest most depressing kiddie show ever. (Hm, my spell check says kiddie should be spelled kiddy, but that that doesn’t look right.)
Something about that show…the melancholy music, Goliath’s mopey voice, the dreary little lessons, just bummed me out. If I stumbled upon it during my search for Sunday morning cartoons, I couldn’t turn the knob (yeah, it was that long ago) fast enough. Gimme Captain Kangaroo any day, with it’s cheery little theme song and Dancing Bear, the big stud. (I know, Captain Kangaroo was weekdays only.)
An entertaining local story:
A supervisor who instructed Dallas officers to make up occupations on citations will only receive counseling…
Nowhere in the article does it say why this supervisor told officers to do this, but since the people receiving the citations were all homeless, I wonder if compassion played a part.
But the best part of the story is the occupations he suggested.
Minutia technician—picks streets
Repose Specialist—does nothing but sleeps and lays around in doorways and alleys
Human Relations Clerk—Prostitute
Pharmacology Specialist—Drug Addict
Appropriations Loan Assistant—Burglar
Property Disposal Technician—Thief
Counseling? This guy should receive a job writing for The Daily Show.
See why I read the newspaper, kids? It’s chock full of fun.
The Belo fitness blog includes this item about a CD that’s supposed to calm dogs down in the car. I listened to the samples. Of course this stuff is calming. It’s a CD of dirges. Maybe they’d calm Jack but they also might put me to sleep. Or drive me to despair. No pun intended.
I’ve never been a fan of the Police, but this interview with Stewart Copeland makes me like them even less. Self-important ass. I don’t like Sting, either. Yeah, I said it. Wanna make somethin' of it?
Sharon Stone on turning 50: I fired the people out of my life who weren’t working with me successfully professionally. I got rid of the people who weren’t really my friends. I stopped trying to date the men who didn’t really like me.
Confirmation that she is not twins. Unless she's quintuplets. (I cropped the giant photo of her, even though it was the ugliest bathing suit of the bunch.)
And finally, I'm not the only Dembling reaching a milestone this week. Happy 90th Birthday, Dad. Check you out, rockin' the facial hair (1971).
P.S. Today is Cher's birthday, too. She's 62.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
"Let's wear our stripey outfits, Skippy."
Monday, May 12, 2008
Is it at all possible these are twins? Their hair is parted on different sides. Or is that just a clever, clever way of tricking us into thinking it's not the same woman?
This is/these are a very pretty woman/very pretty women--can't she/they get any better work?
What about these outfits made the Dillard's advertising department think them worthy of featuring in a half page ad?
Does Dillard's sell only the most hideous clothes its buyers can find? Is that why they can afford only one model?
Why does Dillard's they hate mothers? (This is a Mother's Day sale ad from yesterday.)
Any other questions?
do it this way
Friday, April 11, 2008
So what do I do now other than slump at my desk?
Anyway, if you’re wondering why I didn’t respond to your e-mail, I probably did.
This is an exciting weekend in Duncanville, where the second-annual Texas Open Bonspiel will take place. And you know what that means, don’t you? Yes indeed, the Duncanville will be all abuzz with curlers from across the country! (Read all about it here.) Perhaps I can persuade a couple to come sweep my kitchen floor. Talk about flotsam--Jack tracks in all kinds of mess on his giant feet that we're not allowed to touch.
Got an email with this subject line the other day: Save 15% on Col-Pure at The Collagen Store Grand Opening!
The Collagen Store?
Cartoon du jour.
So, evidently and not surprisingly, the same newspaper decline that’s occurring here is also happening in France. But those French journalists are not gonna take it sitting down. They’re striking! Yeah, like that’s gonna help…
Here’s a new book concept that I find totally bizarre and yet bizarrely compelling:
THANK GOD I
Most controversial book ever launches later next week
New York City, NY “Rape, Cancer, Death, and Divorce. Can you imagine being grateful for any of these things? Finally a book that transforms the human experience according to creator of the Thank God I series”, John Castagnini.
“Thank God I, soon to be the largest inspirational book series since Chicken Soup for the Soul, unites a world-wide community of individuals to share personal stories of gratitude for their past adversities. Thousands of writers will reveal gut-wrenching accounts of how they transformed perceived crisis into blessings” added Castagnini.
Monday, April 7, 2008
So I’m wondering if the newspaper front page is even relevant anymore. Except for that wee international story and two state stories, how does this front page differ from the Metro section?
Newspapers are so confused these day.
The Metro section front page leads with the story I care about most—four teenagers were arrested as suspects in last month’s 26 car fires in Oak Cliff. Why is that not on the front page rather than the golf balls story? If people decide to live on golf courses, aren’t flying balls, um, par for the course? (Evidently, improvements in golf equipment allow bad golfers to hit balls farther and so the problem is growing. Poor, poor people on golf courses.)
I’m not sure why I’m expected to care so much about this that the story needs to be on the front page of my morning paper. Some people might suggest that it’s because the golf balls problem is in (wealthy) Plano whereas the car fires are in (depressed) Oak Cliff. That’s what some people might suggest. After all, aren’t crime and burning cars par for the course in Oak Cliff? Some people might think so.
Perhaps newspaper redesigns should be less about typeface than how the news is categorized. Perhaps we should have good news/bad news sections. Or rich man/poor man news. And sports, of course—although then we’d have to decide where today’s story about selling top-tier season tickets for the new Cowboys stadium should go. Is this sports or rich man news, since these seat licenses range between $16,000 and $150,000, with an additional $340 per ticket per game. (Woe is me, what is the world coming to?) It’s in the business section today, along with a story about how it’s getting harder to get loans for college. Interesting story and it's in the business sevtion …why?
Maybe we don’t even need to divide the newspaper into sections anymore, although that would make it hard to share in the morning.
An unrelated note: Writing in the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof cites evidence supporting my theory that sexism is more entrenched than racism.
Friday, April 4, 2008
To an extent, of course, I didn’t hear anything I didn’t already know—Craiglist killed classified, advertising is going to the web (where rates are lower), nobody is willing to pay for news on the web, going public put too much emphasis on profits, young people aren’t reading newspapers, yadda yadda yadda.
Nonetheless, hearing wizened newsmen (Ben Bradlee to Ed Asner) and women talk, seeing footage inside daily planning meetings (which I attended from time to time as an assistant editor) and watching newspaper-related clips from old movies made me feel even more poignantly the loss. I had great fun at the Dallas Morning News, when it was fun. Even in features (as opposed to hard news) we felt ourselves part of the pulse of the city . Our perceptions of our importance were greatly inflated, of course, but it was a giddy, heady feeling to be part of something the entire city shared (we imagined). I loved walking into the big, downtown monolith each day, with the pompous inscription carved above the front door:
Build the news upon the rock of truth and righteousness. Conduct it always upon the lines of fairness and integrity. Acknowledge the right of the people to get from the newspaper both sides of every important question.
I loved the pace of the newspaper, loved knowing the people behind the byline, loved seeing myself in the paper, even loved seeing myself smiling up from the bottom of a gerbil tank in my vet’s office one day.
As a consumer, I love that transitional time of day, between sleeping and work, spent drinking coffee and reading my newspaper. Alas, that time gets shorter and shorter as the paper contains less and less to read. The other morning, Tom tossed the newspaper on the bed for me as he does every morning and it felt no more weighty than a napkin hitting the bed. It’s fading. It’s fading away.
But the loss will be more than just about nostalgia. The newspaper really is the watchdog of our democracy and the more it buckles under the weight of the marketplace, the more I fear for us all. Nobody does investigative reporting like the newspapers. Watergate, the Catholic Church scandals, the Walter Reed hospital exposé—all these were the work of diligent, committed, creative and hard working reporters. And believe me, good reporters work their asses off. I’ve seen it.
As the documentary points out, all the TV and radio news shows and pundits draw information from newspapers. Those guys will have nothing to talk about if the New York Times, LA Times, and Washington Post go under. Then it will be all Britney all the time. When it’s not Paris.
What I do? It’s just piffle. I love writing features and I’m glad to entertain people, but you can get features anywhere. OK, they do help the rest of the newspaper go down more easily--I’ll read about the latest Dallas Independent School District scandal if I know I can reward myself with Carolyn Hax afterwards. I would miss features if my newspaper carried news alone. Still, nobody needs them. They’re just newspaper candy.
But we do need reporters, the kind of tough nuts who will knock on strangers’ doors and ask hard questions, who will go past the surface and then past the surface and then past the surface to find out what’s at the bottom. The kinds of people—and they do exist, I know lots of them—who would rather starve than violate the code of ethics by which newspapers operate. (By taking subsidized trips, I cannot count myself fully among them but I am meticulous about fairness in both my travel and non-travel stories.) Bloggers are taking up the slack to an extent, but they are unsupervised and simply not as trustworthy. No, don’t argue. They’re not.
The real bummer is that nobody sees a solution. They laugh about it in the documentary, but it’s a hysterical laugh. An entire, vital industry is scrambling to save itself but nobody knows how.
I feel like I’m standing on shore watching the Titanic go down and can’t do anything to stop it.
oh, come now
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
The newspaper has been redesigned for our convenience. It is now narrower. Oh yeah, they saved a little money but honest, that is secondary to our comfort. What a relief! I had a terrible time hanging on to that big old newspaper. I practically strained things. Now, reading the newspaper is a snap!
Trouble for me is that narrower pages means narrower columns means shorter stories. I'm getting assignments for 250 and 500 word travel stories. Kill all the adjectives!
Monday, February 25, 2008
I apologize that I cannot dish about last night's Oscars. I watched about 30 minutes and fell asleep. Very, very asleep.
I love reading newspapers when I travel and the Indian newspapers were particularly entertaining.
I had a hard time connecting the gracious, friendly, gentle and soft-spoken people I encountered on the trip with the frequent news stories I read of politicians trading insults, angry protests, strikes, raids, violence…Still waters, I guess.
I also enjoyed the coverage of Bollywood, even though I know none of the stars. It’s always refreshing to visit a country that doesn’t rely on
Anyway, I clipped a few of my favorite things from newspapers to share with you. (And since I did see news stories about
I caught only the tail end of stories about dancing bans in
Anyone need a uterus wall hanging?
And finally, the Times of India (which I preferred to The Hindu) includes an essay of guru-es que wisdom in every issue. I liked this one. (I think if you click on it, it will be large enough to read.)
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