Frontier Former Editor

March 30, 2006

A little airline humor . . . .

Filed under: humor — Frontier Former Editor @ 8:12 pm

I was reminded of this old joke today. Don’t ask how or why – I’m afraid it might reflect on the condition of my synapses and neurons . . . .

A veteran British Airways captain had just flown into Hamburg airport after its major overhaul in the 1970’s. The new taxiway arrangements were a bit unfamiliar to him, as he carefully navigated his way to the terminal.
An officious, impatient traffic controller upbraided him over the radio: “I thought all British Airways pilots were expert on the world’s airports.”
“I’m sorry,” the captain calmly replied. “It’s just that the last time I was here was at night, in 1943.”

March 26, 2006

I may not know what art is, but this makes me laugh . . .

Filed under: art or something like it, Britney Spears, humor, whiteploitation — Frontier Former Editor @ 6:40 pm

Isn’t Sunday a great day to catch up on one’s blogging?

Especially when BoingBoing.org and Drudge Report both pick this as newsworthy?

Don’t think I’ll be getting one of these for my mantelpiece anytime soon. I never really thought Britney Spears was in the same category as “Venus on the Halfshell,” so to speak.

And in other news, Molly Ivins points out (rather eloquently) why it’s tough being an editor or reporter these days . . .

And we’re enjoying an actually normal, chilly late March day here today. Temps in the 40’s and, as I just looked out the window, a few snowflakes falling. Typical.

But theres the promise of weather back in the 50’s in daytime and maybe even a day or two in the 70’s later this week.

Hope so. My bones ache.

I’ve decided on my next pet . . .

Filed under: pets — Frontier Former Editor @ 11:04 am

When, of course, I decide to take on the care and feeding of another animal.

I saw this article in one of my competitors’ newspapers and pulled out the comp paper they send us.

The turkey buzzard, if their article reads correctly, is basically a big, friendly, winged mutt that just happens to live on carrion. Apparently it doesn’t kill live prey but hangs around with these black vultures that do.

And turkey buzzards also have a digestive system that kills all bacteria – ergo, they’re pretty clean birds.

If I had one, all I’d have to do is take it to work and stop at the nearest convenient road kill. I did a little research on the web to check out this story, and turkey buzzards seem to be capable of adopting humans and of being pretty sociable animals.

Besides, I kind of like the image of having a red-headed, harmless harbinger of death on my shoulder. Beats training a parrot to talk. Beau—-tiful plumage!

“Polly wanna possum?”

March 25, 2006

A truly fun week

Filed under: dumbasses, invertebrates, politics — Frontier Former Editor @ 3:35 pm

After a jam-packed week as a mild-mannered weekly editor, what fun it was to see what throes the larger media market is weathering.

Ben Domenech highlights several concerns I’ve had with the turn that professional commentary has taken since 1980 (the opening salvoes of the Reagan conservatives, which eventually begat the so-called neo-conservatives).

I have no particular beef with Domenech’s politics; at least no more beef than I might have with his more liberal counterparts. But those of Domenech’s ilk, and those who represent his immediate spiritual parentage, do show something that concerns me far more than any conservative-liberal ideological debate.

It’s the long-standing refusal of both sides to engage in any sort of coherent, rational, empirical argument over their positions.

I really don’t consider Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh or the Fox News Network to be any substantive presence of conservative deep thought or accurate reflection of the nation’s conservative bent.

Collectively, they represent as much substance and intellect as Father Charles Coughlin’s anti-semitic nonsense, Walter Winchell’s ass-kissing, half-assed red-baiting, Joe McCarthy’s inquisition, or Andy Griffith’s rabble-rousing in “A Face in the Crowd.”

In fact, they’ve gone so far past any sort of credible conservative position that even Pat Buchanan sounds rational compared to them these days.

Never thought I’d ever write anything like that in my life, but desperate times . . . .

And, in case you’re thinking I’m on an anti-Republican bent, William F. Buckley, Jr. at least makes logical, rational constructs even if you may not lean toward his political views.

And there’s always Molly Ivins, Richard Cohen and Carl Hiassen to put some humanity and rationality into the discussion as well, although they’d typically be called bleeding-heart liberals by O’Reilly, Limbaugh, et al.

And while Al Franken’s brand of humor quite often nails the shrill hypocrisy of many of the “mainstream conservative” pundits, it’s not the sort of head-on, debate-me-like-a-man approach that all political thought deserves in order to prove its intellectual honesty.

The pro-conservative movement in the media is less and less an intellectual discussion and more and more apologism for the party in power.

And much of the ‘liberal’ counter to all this ? I’d hope it would be the unrelenting, logical dissection of any nonsense posing as conservatism.

I’d also hope that all this so-called neo-conservatism be called the mid 19th-century ‘Manifest Destiny’ and proto-fascism crap that it is.

Maybe even depicting O’Reilly, Roger Ailes, Rush Limbaugh and their ilk as the bunch of low-rent Goebbelses and intellectual Horst Wessels that they are?

March 20, 2006

While my keyboard gently does nothing . . . with apologies to George Harrison

Filed under: music, politics, Uncategorized — Frontier Former Editor @ 1:06 am

Nothing like coming in to spend the night at the office after two days of meetings, a night and day of projectile regurgitation and a day of rice and Gatorade.

At least I have the perk of an office chair that probably should have been retired in 1980, given the type and color of upholstery.

I’ve also managed to write an editorial against state political demagoguery ( is there any other kind of editorial?), eat a bowl of leftovers without tumbling my gyros, sort through three days of mail and get a fair start on page layout for this week’s editions.

It’s also been brought to my attention that I, as an American, am jointly and severally to blame for allowing the group Toto to corrupt the British music scene in the late 1970’s and 1980s. I accept that responsibility, but I’m not taking the blame for American Idol. Nope, nyet, nada, nein . . .

March 17, 2006

The core of the column I’ll probably never be able to print at my current post

Filed under: doomed to repeat, f'in rednecks, old times, the South's gonna do somethin' agin — Frontier Former Editor @ 8:46 pm

I doubt I could print this in my newspaper, given the social and cultural undercurrents of our circulation area. But as for here . . . . . .

As a Virginian, I’ve been exposed to more than my share of the romance of the South and the Confederacy.
Yes, I’ve walked down Monument Avenue in Richmond and seen the statues of Lee and Maury, the cannon marking the last line of defense of Richmond, and the ‘White House of the Confederacy.’
I’ve also seen the predilection that younger folks in more rural areas of the Commonwealth have for displaying the last version of the Confederate battle ensign/naval jack in the form of bumper stickers, truck window shades, t-shirts, ball caps and other media.
And I’ve even got my own bit of Confederate heritage – an ancestor who was a Confederate color sergeant – that has led to many an approach to join the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
But I don’t indulge in any romanticism about the Southern Cross in any of its forms. While it’s easy to cite all the usual reasons one hears argued when it comes to displaying the flag and celebrating Southern heritage, I consider some other disturbing undercurrents.
The Confederate flag in all its permutations represents, first and foremost, a flag of rebellion against an imperfect yet hopeful ideal. For more background on that ideal, just read the Declaration of Indepencence and the Preamble to the Constitution.
That flag also represents an attempt by a group of secessionists to solicit the aid of foreign powers to undermine an attempt at a democratic republic.
In case you might disagree, perhaps revisiting some of the more respected histories and the relationship between the Confederacy, Britain and France might make that case a little more rational.
And lest one thinks I’m picking on the poor, misunderstood South, the historical record demonstrates quite well that blacks suffered plenty of economic, social and violent racism in all regions of the Unites States, before, during and after the Civil War.
In that regard, it may be very tempting to infer that the Stars and Stripes may very well represent some of the same morally disgusting institutional behavior and social beliefs as the Southern Cross.
And that means we as a nation have a responsibility to change that, just as we had a responsibility to ensure that no part of this nation ever organized under any variation of the Confederate flag.

Maybe there’s a subliminal message here, but . . .

Filed under: old times, Uncategorized — Frontier Former Editor @ 3:47 pm

I forgot today is St. Paddy’s Day. Just as well – I’m as Irish as Paddy’s pig anyway.

At another weekly where I worked years ago, one of my co-workers fancied himself the defender of Irish culture and tradition. He probably would have gotten his rear kicked thirty ways to County Cork at a Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade. Just to keep him in his place, I’d wear orange on 3/17 and remind him that loose threads were called Irish pennants and not Welsh pennants for a reason.

Seriously, happy St. Patrick’s Day to everyone but the posers.

Welsh/French/German and moderately content about it.

I don’t care what mainstream media says about bloggers . . . .

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frontier Former Editor @ 10:20 am

Sometimes they pull off some pretty neat stuff, and the intel’s good enough to let us journalism-biz guys and gals spread the word even faster.

If I gave more details, I’d endanger my balance between my day job and this, but let’s say that all the hoopla about citizen journalism and camera cell phones isn’t all hype.

And when you get cited back in the blog (even as being a few days late), people get to see what we’re still best at: getting an in-depth, reliable, multifaceted story.

March 15, 2006

Daughters of the American Revolution and other unmentionables

Filed under: blue-haired old bats, doomed to repeat, dumbasses, immigration, old times, societal niceties — Frontier Former Editor @ 9:50 pm

As a newspaper editor, I certainly believe in allowing everyone in the community a chance for their voice to appear in their hometown paper.

That said, some voices need to take a break.

Case in point: The Daughters of the American Revolution.

Once upon a time, when covering a DAR event, the high DAR priestess remarked to me that my surname made it obvious that I probably had no ancestors in the colonies during the Revolution.

I replied, helpfully, that actually I did have an ancestor in Virginia during the Revolution, but that he was repatriated to Britain after Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown.

Kicking and screaming into the 21st century

Filed under: blogging, journalism, Only the beginning — Frontier Former Editor @ 6:16 pm

After watching several of my contemporaries jump on the blog bandwagon, I figured what the hey.

So here I am.

I’m the editor of a chain, small weekly newspaper in the western end of a mid-Atlantic state. For now, that’s about all I’ll reveal about my identity. We’ll see how the blogging goes from there.

Now let’s figure out how to set up this blog page and then I’ll be a regular Samuel Pepys. Just what I always wanted to be – a wigged, port-swilling English diarist!

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