Friday, July 14, 2006

A few keyboard exercises before tonight's concert of inanity . . .

Folks, it's been a long week at casa de FE and chateau de Celestial Hell, so this is just a little loosening exercise. Please excuse if I drift, and feel welcome to pistol-whip me if I get too self-serving.

On Tuesday, we printed the last edition of our newspaper to come off the home office's press while saying a wonderful corporate sayonara to 11 employees who found it mildly inconvenient to drive 70 miles to a new low-paying job with the corporation.

On Wednesday, I watched the first edition of any of our three publications come off the corporation's new regional printing plant.

On Thursday, without the help of my publisher but with the more than adequate support of my group editor, I successfully fended off four local government officials whose main complaint about my editorship was that I called them in print on some stupid, rather anti-democratic stunts. In the process, I quietly but devastatingly embarrassed out paper's general business manager who thought it was funny when we were being attacked because we helpfully pointed out in print several months ago that a convicted child molester happened to be a National Guardsman.

On Friday, I waded through the detritus that American Little League baseball has become - our town is hosting the Virginia Little League championships, and I've acknowledged what I've known for years: baseball is not fun for kids anymore. But the concession stand's hot dog chili recipe was superb - plenty of garlic and onion and only a hint of some incendiary pepper sauce that should be banned as a weapon of mass gastrointestinal destruction.

And to round it out, one of my favorite song lyrics from little Bobby Dylan during his stint with the Travelling Wilburys(with the correct phonetic context):

"In Juhzee anyting's leegul as long as you don't get caught."


Blogger Metro said...

My condolences on the big workplace changes. It must be a real wrench.

And the business manager sounds like a man worth keelhauling, in fine Virginia tradition.

and the walls came down
all the way to
[celestial] hell

What if anything will change for you, work-wise?

10:59 PM  
Anonymous raincoaster said...

Now I see why you're blogging pseudonymously. Although it's a wrench not hearing the details of the business manager crucifixion.

And you're right: baseball isn't fun for kids anymore. I played baseball from the time I was three till puberty, at which time I was informed that "girls don't play baseball, they play softball" at which point I told them what they could do with their softball and never participated in school sports again.

Too many rules, too much competition, not enough damn baseball! Baseball is the only thing that gives me reassurance that George Will is, or ever has been, human.

3:01 AM  
Anonymous raincoaster said...

BTW, did you ever read Michael Lewis's book on baseball? Brilliant, one of the most brilliant sports books AND business books ever written.

3:02 AM  
Blogger Frontier Editor said...

I'll give you a sketch of life at the weekly asteroid. We're part of a group of newspapers and television stations across the lower right hand quadrant of this upstanding republic.

I got tapped from the reporter ranks to go down and straighten out this rag because the group publisher and general manager didn't quite grasp that it was a newspaper and not not just a place for garden club stories and preferential coverage of advertisers.
This newspaper falls under a group of less than 10 weeklies in this end of the state, and all clustered around a metro daily. The group has a publisher who reports to the metro, or regional, publisher.
My paper has, well now after losing two departments this week, three department heads - me, an advertising manager and the general manager who oversees the business side.
I was supposed to operate under two parallel chains of commands but with the understanding that the general manager's authority extended only to ensuring that I didn't misuse company funds and property.
The chains are:
a: me to group editor to regional editor (not a bad chain, since we're all pretty much news-oriented assholes who take care of our people)to corporate vice-pres for news
b: me to group publisher to regional publisher

I've spent the last two years with this g.m. trying to influence coverage and to coerce me into - guess what - giving preferential treatment to advertisers. She and the group publisher sem to think that they still operate in a parallel universe in the time before the paper was acquired by said corporation.
Side note - while corprate news octopi aren not necessarily the best thing to hapen to media, I will say that, for the time being, most of our papers are pretty much editorially independent. Our news VP takes very seriously the separation between church and state: ie. news and advertising.
Needless to say, the g.m. still thinks that news is there to support the advertising department.
Guess what my view is on that?

Anyway, things are starting to shift in my favor, but it's still like stamping out cockraohes some days at work.

4:52 AM  
Blogger Pamela said...

We need more people like you FE.

3:38 PM  
Blogger Frontier Editor said...

No Pam, we just need fewer people like my GM and group publisher.

4:56 PM  
Anonymous Lydia said...

I have umpired for both Little L (no pay - lots of abuse) MBA (token pay - less abuse)and have seen the toll by the end of the season. Most kids did NOT want to make the All-Stars!

7:07 PM  
Blogger Frontier Editor said...

Yes, Lydia. I've met the driving force behind the new field complex that was designed with two main goals - to attract the state Little League championships as frequently as possible, and to showcase her two sons. Their teams, incidentally, did not make the district championships and thus are not featured in the state chanpionships. I hate it for them, but I'm glad she took it in the chops.

The field complex, incidentally, has exacerbated storm drainage in that part of town for at least three businesses and several homes. It will be a source of traffic congestion for years to come. And it unnecessarily duplicates a three-field complex a half-mile away in town.

Talk about the souring of Little League.

8:04 PM  
Anonymous raincoaster said...

Then there was the nutjob who bought a house next to the ballfield on which his children played Little League, then chopped down the trees that protected the house from balls, then got baseball banned from the park. Then I believe he sued the Park Commission because his children couldn't play Little League anymore because there was no place for them to play.

10:37 PM  
Blogger Frontier Editor said...

George Steinbrenner had kids in little league?

11:13 PM  
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