Archive: March, 2007
We're still stuck in the mud here. No one has been able to comment on posts or visit the archives since our move to a new online publishing system a week and a half ago. Blinq's blunk. The 'why' part is complicated. There's lots to sort out still with the move, but the online folks are working on it.
So I haven't been posting, just working on the column, which I can report is now a full-time, permanent gig. I passed the tryout. I'll move to two a week shortly. Meanwhile, I've been trying to figure out the space requirements -- a blog can be any length, but a column requires me to tell a tale in 17 inches. It's a skill, and it getting a little easier.
I think writing for you all made it easier to write for the paper's readers who are hungry for voice. It's been an adjustment actually talking to readers on the phone instead of dealing by email. My favorite came today, after the piece on the H.J. Menningen collection of mid-century U.S. print advertisements.
No, we haven't been decommissioned, as the BM Rant wrote this weekend. Blinq was just a momentary casualty of the switch to a new publishing system at Philly.com, and it took lots of woman hours to make it look the way it does now. (Thanks Jennifer and Nadya) We lost the pictures, though I'm told those will be back. But we found the animated Blinq title, which Nadya designed nearly two years ago, and which the overlords at Knight Ridder nixed because it was too .... well, it was too something, so they said no. It's nice to see it again.
All this work makes me want to write something. Something about "Rome?" I'm pretty bummed about the end of this HBO series - and sad about the end of HBO, which disappeared from our house because Comcast has decided to pull it from all places that have analog, not digital service. And I see no reason to pay more money for digital, when people are starving in India, so no HBO. Thanks to a friend at work, I got to borrow copies of the last two episodes, which I watched this weekend. I'm not telling how it ends - other than its written in history books, so look it up. But the guy on the ROME board at HBO's Website who predicted an Opie and Andy in Mayberry shot to end the series ought to handicap the mayor's race.
No. 3 is in ... the town that got hooked on eBay. The idea was to explore how this little pocket of Lumberton, N.J. could be the part of America with the highest rate of wheeling and dealing on the online auction service. It has to do with Barbies and smelly Ben Franklins, but read for yourselves:
Daniel Rubin | On eBay, no one tops these people
By Daniel Rubin
You almost expect a sign on the Mount Holly bypass that would read:
"Entering Lumberton, feedback rating 99.8 percent positive."
This week's New Yorker has a curious editor's note on page 10.
It sheds light on something that's become known to the magazine since its July 31 piece on Wikipedia -- mainly that the site administrator whose bio identifies him as a tenured professor with a Ph'd D in theology is really some dude from Kentucky who has never taught and holds no advanced degrees.
The magazine found out that EssJay, the Wikipedia mediator of contested facts, was really named Ryan Jordan. A BBC account reports that Jordan, 24, used such expert texts as "Catholicism For Dummies" to wrestle with theological disputes.
I forgot that a return to print meant a return to those 3 a.m. wake-ups -- the sort that turn your mind on like a switch, and set it running through everything you wrote. It always finds something to feast on.
In this case, as my second column was already rolling off the presses, it was the fact that I described listening to' 70s Rolling Stones with Tony McCloskey, just back from Afghanistan. Accurate, but in the interest of shorting an already long sentence, I missed the opportunity to give a detail that would help build this portrait of nursing a beer with a sensitive, salty sort - a South Philly guy who'd just done a very intense year based at Bagram Airbase.
The album was Black and Blue. We were listening to "Hand of Fate," among other things.