Friday, December 23, 2005

Catching up on things
Eighteen days and no posts. I can almost hear the blog screaming at me ... "Stop ignoring me!!" ... "But I have been busy." ... "Not too busy to just say 'Hi' once in awhile." ... "Yeah, you're right, sorry about that."
But even without posting, traffic here has been pretty steady and I'm kinda shocked by that. Anywhere from 30 to 60 people on any given day stop by the site [Thanks so much for that!]. I really have to try and make a commitment to do more with it, even if just to please those 30 to 60 folks who bother to stop by each day. At one point last month, Politizine was ranked in the Top 10,000 visited blogs in the world. Pretty impressive when you consider that I will sometimes go 18 days without a post! Hah.

There has been so much to write about of late but I just haven't had the chance.
I have been named the CEO of WKXL 1450 which basically means I will be running the station after the first of the year. It will mean added responsibilities and I will have to give up most of my news gathering and managing tasks. Short-term, it will be exhausting; but long-term, I think it will be a good move for me and I have great hope for 2006.
Speaking of blogs, I find it amusing - in a good way - that Herald Media, the company I used to work for, is now promoting the use of blogs at the Boston Herald and Town Online sites. Some of the posters, like Kevin Rothstein who now covers Boston City Hall have gone full-throttle; others are just using them to post election results and noodle a bit.
I'm glad someone in the company realized that it is a great medium to instantly speak to the public in a way that daily or weekly print newspapers just can't accomplish.
On a couple of occasions during my employment, I was informed that the fact that I had a blog made some people in the company uncomfortable despite the fact that I rarely spoke about the company. Some readers from Winchester, the town I used to cover, even complained that I had a blog even though I wasn't saying anything about them or the town [and what I could have said ...]. But what business is it of theirs, I would ask. I should be able to do what I want so long as it isn't done at work and doesn't affect my production, which, it never did. If anything, work affected my Politizine production. Hah, again.
I honestly think it was a control issue. Herald Media controls the blogs that they have; if someone starts one up himself, the company doesn't control it. But I am glad they are using the technology to share tidbits with their readers. Sometimes, you can't fit everything into the paper that you need to. Sometimes, you miss something. Sometimes, things break on Friday - the day after your weekly paper has been published. And I also know how hard the journalists for Herald Media work. There is sometimes no end to the day but it is an exhilarating feeling.
No news on the sale front of the papers though. There are some investment bankers looking to cash out and it may be the end of the Purcell era soon.

Canceling Esquire
I decided to let my Esquire subscription lapse this month. Over the years, I have had an on and off relationship with the magazine and never quite understood why. I think it has always been a subliminal need to imagine how good I would look in really expensive clothes, watches, cars and babes - none of which I would ever be able to afford in my lifetime [So why support this even at $10 a year?]. Not that that is a big deal or anything. I guess I have never really liked how I looked - with the exception of that skinny curly long-haired art rocker phase I went through in the early 1980s - and if I could look at pretty guys all dressed up, I might feel better about my own potential "look." Not that I am bad looking or anything. But thinking about it now, I'm probably not the only man who feels inferior looking at all the good-looking guys in the magazine knowing that I will never look that good because it takes 15-hours to look like that! It is an unrealistic standard to hold yourself to.
And yeah, there were always some pretty good articles in the magazine too. The piece following Joe Trippi around before the Dean collapse in Iowa was great and the recent article about the end of oil was enough to make you go build a windmill and bomb shelter in the backyard to keep the power on and save yourself from the George Romero end of the world zombies who will be eating your brains after the apocalypse. But two articles in the last couple of years that were memorable? That isn't a lot. Compare that to say Vanity Fair, which has the readable - and memorable - Christopher Hitchens, James Wolcott, and countless other things every month.
Esquire, for all its pomp and circumstance, and past historical relevance, just isn't meaningful anymore. I can't recall the first time I read the magazine but I do remember an article from the late 1970s, early 1980s, about the night softball game and beer-drinking craze of the time period. The front cover had this hot chick with cleats thrown over her shoulder, complaining that her man's softball games were ruining her sex life. Yeah right. Well, that guy just didn't know how to balance the two!
And putting Bill Clinton on the cover ... when our nation is at war ... what the hell was that ... shock, horrors ...
Seriously though. It is totally schizophrenic right now. It can't decide if it wants to be a gay household table top art magazine or a frat boy FHM bikini pinup magazine or something else, none of which reflects me as a person or a man these days. I'm not 18 anymore. I'm not gay. If I want good articles to read and beautiful women to look at - with little clothing on - I will buy Playboy and get the best of both worlds!
So, as John McLaughlin would say, bahye, bahye Esquire. May you find your former place in magazine history.

Random clips
I honestly don't want to go into the domestic spying stuff. I will lose a gasket and this screen will remain blank for many more than 18 days. I am infuriated beyond words. It is so damn unAmerican it isn't even funny. Plus, I think former Sen. Gary Hart says it best here: ["Intelligence Abuse Deja Vu"].

R.I.P. Jack Anderson: ["Crusading journalist Jack Anderson dies"]. Boy, they just don't make them like that anymore, do they? With columnists selling their space to lobbyists and other such nonsense: ["Op-Eds for Sale"], it is amazing this guy was even in the field. What character. I remember watching him on "Good Morning America" when I was a kid. I always thought he was an interesting story-teller and had these scandalous little tidbits about stuff going on in Washington. As I grew up and started reading newspapers, I found similar things out from Jack Germond and Robert Novak, and eventually became a journalist myself. He was one of the greats in the field.

Bill Weld, New York governor? Yeah right, stranger things have happened. The enjoyer of amber-colored spirits everywhere will have an easy time relating to the common man of the state. Although, he wasn't such a bad governor when I lived in Massachusetts, especially compared to how the Democratic nominee in 1990, nut John Silber, could have potentially ran the state! However, he is being taken seriously which means that the media there - Boston viciousness on 'roids with even more pompousness than the clowns on Morrissey Blvd. - will be coming after him. Like, say, this: ["Ghosts of a Shuttered College Follow Weld"]. Weld's campaign site is here: [Weld for New York]. Damn. Doesn't he look like shit? Too much good living in dreary ole Manhattan.

Earlier I was talking about blogs and I did want to remember to note this interesting article about citizen journalists in metro Massachusetts: ["Citizen journalists fill a niche with e-news"]. This could be where it is all potentially going: People with full-time or part-time jobs also taking on the part-time responsibility of covering their towns for the Web, so that everyone can connect themselves to what is often a disconnected town or city government.

The coming end of classical music in Boston?: ["Sale signals classical music's swan song"] and ["Greater Media, Charles River In Exclusive Negotiation"]. There has been a ton of gossip about this radio sale on the Web but it will be interesting to see how much it fetches. The rumor is somewhere in the $100 million range. Can you imagine that? Insane, for sure.

This didn't get as big a play as it should have: ["Family Upset Over Soldier's Body Arriving As Freight"]. MSNBC's Keith Olberman had it on but it was ignored by everyone else [I wonder why]. How reprehensible. You lose your kid and the military ships the body back to you like passenger baggage.

Nick Zampiello, who has mastered a bunch of my recordings over the years, was featured in this Boston Herald article about the gentrification of my old Fenway neighborhood: ["Sound of silence: Fenway music scene drowned out by gentrification"]. Of course, the Herald is about 10 to 15 years too late for the big story about real estate in this area. But it was nice to see that they were acknowledging all these business folks losing their space.

This was a very cool find: ["Subway Workers Unearth N.Y. History"]. Imagine that. A fort wall sinking into the ground over a few hundred years. Isn't it amazing how the earth works sometimes?

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