Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Get well soon, Peter Gammons

Terrible news: Peter Gammons, the finest baseball writer of this generation, had surgery to repair a brain aneurysm on Tuesday. It's a topic that hits close to home with me, because my father died of a hemmorage in his brain. Bob Ryan wrote the news linked above. I know Ryan is a close friend with Gammons, but I still am a bit unnerved by the obit tinge of the piece.

Get well, soon, Peter.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Three things

  1. My buddy Jason had an op-ed run in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel yesterday, where he explains how he got his high school to stop forcing kids to stand for the pledge of allegiance. He makes the point perfectly; respect for our freedom has to include the freedom to keep your seat.
  2. Remember how I said Barney Frank dug knuckle-deep into his nose on national TV? There's video evidence on youtube.
  3. Enough of the waiting; Build the goddamned parks! I swear, I must be the last guy in the commonwealth who still likes the Big Dig project, but they're starting to lose even me.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Mitt Romney: cowardly hack

Brian McGrory batters the Hell out of Mitt Romney in today's Globe for skipping out on the Tip O'Neill Tunnel dedication:

Could it be that he's still sulking over the fact that Congress flicked aside
his efforts to assign the main portion of the Big Dig the completely white-bread
name, ``The Liberty Tunnel"?
Could it be that he's so partisan that he can't
take a couple of hours out of his day to honor the memory of one of the great
Democratic leaders to come from this state, a truly significant national figure?
Or could it be that his presidential aspirations have made him so
knock-kneed that he's afraid to be associated in any way at all with the
so-called liberal politicians from Massachusetts, especially as he's performing
for a national Republican audience?
Take your pick. One's as bad as the
other. A classless partisan or a political coward -- you decide.

McGrory has been hit or miss lately, but this piece is dead-on-balls accurate about how craven Mitt Romney really has become. Think back to before he ran for governor, and how he had plotted to take Utah's top executive job. This was never about Massachusetts or being an effective governor, it was about raising his profile. And now, as he panders to the right, he's making the same classic mistake most would-be candidates make; He appears feckless and petty. And by yesterday's performance, we now know it isn't just an appearance.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Tony Maz: He-man woman hater

Wow, Tony, take it easy! I know it must be hard for you, a reporter, sitting up in the press room, filling your face with lobster and drink, to look down and see pretty college-aged girls sitting where fat bastards like me used to be, but seriously; It's not that bad.

Yeah, they can be annoying, but so were fans in the park before all these fair weather kids came rolling in. And it's always been impossible to get seats at Fenway. When I'm shut out of the game, it doesn't matter who's sitting in the park instead. I hate them all, equally, as God intended.

And the cell phone thing? Are you serious? Generally, it's rich season ticket holders and their buddies who sit behind home and wave at the camera while on the phone. How many pink hats sit back there? Really, Tony, you're a great writer, but let's learn to pick our fights a little better, n'kay?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

What a snitch!

What's up with this lady? Some gas station made a mistake and was selling premium gas for 32.9 cents instead of $3.29. And this lady called 911 -- nine-one-one! -- to tell the cops! The station owner would have picked up on this anyway, so why screw everybody else? Maybe it's because I'm from Revere, but that ain't right...

Welcome back, Heraldites

Pat Purcell has taken the chains off his columnists, so we can again read them for free on the Herald's Web site.
It's about damn time. This is a great move by the Herald, and it's great news for Boston in general.
What we had before were these Herald columnists, putatively the voices of working class Boston, locked up in a caste system style Web site where you had to pay more for their wit and wisdom. Excuse me? No one really discussed these guys anymore. When you would hear the talk on the radio (Oddly dominated in our market by Herald people), you couldn't follow up by going to the Herald's Web site and reading the column. That's bunk.
Here's the thing: Columnists grow in value as they grow in influence. The more people talk about a columnist and her work, the more readers that columnists gets. So walling them off behind a subscription ransom is completely counter intuitive. You effectively separate the columnist from any chance at hooking new readers. These writers are the bait for the newspaper. You give them away for free to draw eyes. And dollars.
You want a better example? Look at TimesSelect. Who really talks about Maureen Dowd anymore? Paul Krugman? No one online, at least. These columnists used to dominate the "most requested" page on Look now, as of Thursday morning, there's one Times select piece in the top 25 most e-mailed stories. There are none on the "most blogged" list.
Newspaper still view the net as a threat, because they can't figure out how to make money off the thing. But that's just a lack of imagination. Newspapers must find a way to make the Internet work for them, because it's so clearly their future. Stop stop whining about Craigslist and do something about it. Localized vertical searches are a good start, but Google will catch up. Keep innovating. And keep the columnists out in the open!
*Full disclosure: I used to work for Community Newspaper Company when it was owned by Purcell.