Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Tonight marked the return of V, or rather the newer, much better version of that iconic 80s sci-fi series. I won't go into all of the reasons why this version is better, but suffice it to say that this one is better written, edited and performed than the old one.
This version doesn't waste so much as a second on extraneous or cosmetic pandering to the viewer. It's dense, but so much so as to be cumbersome or overly complicated. I even like its extensive use of closeups, which normally annoy me, because the actors really use the frames well to communicate (rather than to stand there and be pretty).
One scene from tonight's episode really brought home that point to me. Morris Chestnut's character, a Visitor sleeper agent who turned on the reptiles, knocked up his girlfriend with a Visitor/Human hybrid by mistake. She finds a loaded mousetrap and suddenly gets major cravings for the dead varmint. It suggest the old series without merely repeating the classic scene from the 80s series when Jane Badler wolfs down a guinea pig.
Genius. Pure, understated genius.
It's on ABC Tuesday nights for the next couple of months. If you don't catch it there, go to Hulu.com or buy the episodes on iTunes.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Your Tea Party Founding Father

Former Rep. Dick Armey (R-Tex.) gave up his safe House seat several years to go make millions of dollars on K Street. One of his most notable lobbying efforts is Freedom Works, the astroturfing outfit that financed the birth of the Tea Party movement.
He is also a dumbass.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The truth, whatever that is

My little man was making himself a snack the other night and wrecked the kitchen. He got the fire out before the firefighters arrived and wasn't hurt, thank God. My ire over his carelessness quickly gave way to relief over his well-being. It was an accident and he is okay. Nothing else really matters.
It's a tricky thing, to be honest. He's 17 and couldn't be less like me. His priorities are so far different from mine at that age that I wonder how we could have shared the same home for so long. Sure, I'm just his Step Monster, but I raised him from the age of four. Sadly for Josh, Biological would never think of putting him first. Biological pretended to put Josh's sister first for a while, primarily to get out of paying child support. Jmo got eventually wise to that, much to her disappointment.
Josh and Jmo both have weathered a lot over the last few years, with the wife and I at odds over EVERY FUCKING THING. Those hostilities have subsided, primarily because I'm 500 miles away. Neither of them has an evil bone their body (although they can be real shits sometimes), but I worry about them having tough ways to go in the world.
I wouldn't be a teenager today for all the tea in China. The world is way too loud. Empathy is exploited, not honored. Ignorance is becoming bliss and shallow reaction has somehow become wisdom. Adults throw tantrums to get their way and don't seem to have any shame about it. It's tough enough being grown up and knowing a thing or so; I couldn't bear being a kid trying to figure all of this crap out.
I guess I'm waxing so philosophical because I'm relieved for Josh and looking forward to seeing him in 24 hours. I would love nothing more than to tell him that being honest, turning the other cheek and persevering are all rewarded, but I know he and the other kids his age thinks that's all bullshit. I can't blame them for reaching that conclusion because they see how far lying, slandering, sneaking and screwing others over gets people these days.
Maybe it was always that way and I'm naive. Whatever the truth is, if there is a truth, I guess I'll have to let him find for himself and hope for the best.
See you tomorrow, buddy.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Nearing yet another fork in the road

As the hopeful schmucks who still check this site for updates know, I'm not really a lapsednewsguy anymore. I am a formerly lapsednewsguy who delivers hard-hitting, take-no-prisoners journalism to the North Pole. Or something to that effect.
I started this blog a couple of years ago after what I thought was my last newspaper gig. The business sucks, to be blunt, because while the community newspapers I made my living editing are still very profitable, their distant corporate owners gut newsrooms to make the 20-plus percent margins closer to 30 percent. As a former colleague once told me, "publishers say 'local, local, local' but they only want to pay for 'wire, wire, wire.'" What he meant was AP wire stories are cheaper than local reporters.
Small town newspapering is very rewarding, because you can do justice to local news, as opposed to bigger metro newspapers that can't possibly get to all the stories that matter to their hundreds of thousands of readers. The problem comes when the aforementioned distant corporate managers hack at already too-small staffs at little papers like mine.
I decided not long after I got to the North Pole that I wouldn't do the 60-plus hour thing to compensate for this lack of corporate commitment. I haven't been afraid to settle for good enough at times. That's heresy to most journalists, but I wasn't going to work harder than my corporate masters and I wouldn't (and haven't) compel my newsroom staff (1 FT, 2 PT and one sports guy) to work off the clock as is expected at most small, 5-day a.m. papers. There's no ladder to climb anymore, so what's the point?
Despite those depressing observations, I live in a nice town and work with a great bunch of folks. We do good work (usually) and make a difference for our neighbors. That makes the effort worth it, even if we're all struggling to remaining above poverty level.
The flip side is that we all know there won't be any raises. The bills will continue to go up, but the pay won't. I'm where I'm going to be financially and professionally. I have a beautiful, yet estranged, wife and two beautiful and equally estranged kids 500 miles away. There is an opportunity 400 miles closer to home, but the same financial and professional realities exist. Being closer to the fam would be great, but it would mean less money and less discretion over how I do daily journalism.
What would you do?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Pointing out the obvious

I agree with David Corn mostly here, but I really wish he didn't feel the need to falsely equivocate. Reagan and Bush Jr. were dunderheads, as my late, great maternal grandfather would say.