Thursday, January 17, 2013

On a winter's afternoon

A little of this, a little of that ...

* I'm speaking to a group at Bard College later this month about the future of newspapers. I promise it won't be a one-sentence lecture.

* A couple of days earlier, we'll get our annual visit from the Ulster County Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Development class. It's always a healthy exchange, although past students chide me about not talking enough about leadership. It's a three-hour session, the last half of which is a tour of the Freeman building. The stop at our idle pressroom is bittersweet.

* Best I can tell from the peanut gallery is that the National Rifle Association is doing a wonderful job shoring up support among its anti-gun control base. But the NRA seems not to be in step with the majority of Americans (at least according to polls) and is losing the public relations battle, thus marginalizing itself. In other words, the NRA and its supporters are where the Republican Party was in the run-up to the presidential election: listening to themselves in the echo chamber.

* It's too bad it took a long lockout to get to this place, but the 48-game National Hockey League sprint beginning Saturday likely will be much more intense and interesting than the usual 82-game slog. On the other hand, if the league doesn't figure out a way to open up the ice, we'll get more of those goalmouth scrums and deflected pucks that made many games a chore to watch last year.

* Only recently did I learn of this "Catfishing" phenomenon, in which a social Internet relationship between two people can be fostered under false premises. Had I not known about it, it would have made it easy to blow off this business about the Notre Dame football star's "late girlfriend" as a fabrication of his own making. Now, that I've seen a couple of "Catfish" episodes (in which the hosts track down people to see if their stories are real), I'm more inclined to think Manti Te'o's tale may have merit. By the way, if Te'o was fooled, so were those who reported the death of a fictitious girlfriend without confirmation.

* I'd been loyal to BlackBerry for as long as I can remember. Last week I finally bought an iPhone. You are correct to ask, "What took you so long?" I should have known better several years ago when my iPad became a valued tool.

* I recently tweeted my preference for "Argo" over "Lincoln" and "Zero Dark Thirty". Since then, it's won the top prizes at the Golden Globes and Critics' Choice awards. It can still take the Oscar for Best Picture, but Ben Affleck wasn't even nominated for Best Director. His omission, as well as those of Kathryn Bigelow ("Zero Dark Thirty") and Tom Hooper ("Les Miserables") doesn't speak well of the motion picture academy.

* Leftover from my recent vacation: If you get to Los Angeles, make a point to eat at Roscoe's for Southern-fried chicken and waffles. Just to be clear, what's leftover is this tip, not the meal. My son and I took no prisoners with that, thank you very much.
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