Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Naming names

-- Tuesday's 5-4 ruling along ideological lines against the Voting Rights Act to the contrary, say this about the U.S. Supreme Court: It isn't predictable. Months ago it was Chief Justice Roberts tilting the balance in favor of Obamacare. A couple of weeks ago it was Justice Scalia in the dissent on DNA. Today Roberts, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Scalia were on the same side on gay marriage. Must be something in the water.

-- A-Rod gets chastised by the Yankees' general manager for exuberantly claiming he's finally ready to play some games. The Yankees like to control the message on injuries, you see, as is their right. But you suppose GM Brian Cashman would have told Derek Jeter to shut up if The Captain had done the same as A-Rod?

-- An estimated 13 million people watched Nik Wallenda do his tightrope thing over the Grand Canyon the other night. Imagine how many would have seen it had it not been on an obscure cable channel. But the key question remains, how many of those 13 million tuned in only to see if Wallenda would plunge to his death? No, it was more than that, says noted Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins.

-- A show of hands: How many of you think Paula Deen used the n-word only once? Just asking.

-- Kicking myself for missing Steve Martin at UPAC the other night. I'm told not only did Banjo Steve show up, but so did Funnyman Steve. If you were there, tell me if you liked the show.

-- Survived 54 holes of golf on Saturday. Glad I did it; had done it once before; might try it again next season. But I'm only up for 18 holes this weekend.

-- Interesting watching Assemblyman Cahill play defense.

-- Radio next week: 6 p.m. Sunday (repeat 3 p.m. Monday) on WAMC Media Project. 7:30 a.m. Tuesday on WGHQ Kingston Community Radio.I'll remind you on Twitter. Follow me @IraFusfeld.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Catching up

Since last I blogged, the notepad has been filling up. Here are some quick-hitters:

* Looking forward to a major redesign of the print edition of the Freeman. It will happen around mid-summer, followed a couple of months later by a new look to our website. Newspapers don't take format changes lightly, given how resistant readers typically are to change. Indeed, since we run the risk of aggravating readers every day with what content is and isn't in the paper, why go out of our way to upset the apple cart by the way we appear? The answer is that freshening one's appearance is a good thing, particularly if the makeover is an improvement. We switched to our current format about 15 years ago, if memory serves me. Some people took to it immediately, others scolded us, as in, "How dare you mess with our local paper!" No doubt we'll get that again. Nevertheless, it's time.

* Fascinated to see in the Freeman website's comment section the never-ending, generally respectful, back and forth between supporters of the Catskill Mountain Railroad and those who advocate a rail trail. That said, seems to me the posters long ago got their respective points across and aren't likely to change any minds by reciting the same arguments. Might be time to yell "jump ball!"

* I'm guessing Tim Tebow is more likely to succeed with the New England Patriots than he was with the New York Jets. Patriots' coach Bill Belichik runs a tighter ship than does the Jets' Rex Ryan. Belichik won't let the media sideshow overtake the team.

* Looking forward to the return of "Magic City" this weekend on Starz. And critics are saying "Ray Donovan" on Showtime will be like "The Sopranos" based in Hollywood.

* Speaking of Showtime, if you have access to it, make sure you see the Richard Pryor documentary currently airing.

* WAMC Northeast Public Radio is nearing the completion of another successful $1 million fund drive. If you haven't chipped in, please call 1-800-323-9262 or pledge here. By the way, Alan Chartock, Judy Patrick and I recorded this week's Media Project, but it didn't air because of the fund drive. You can listen to it here.

* In sports, you come to expect the unpredictable. But there was no way to anticipate that the Mets would beat the Yankees four straight games and then collapse on successive weekends against the Miami Marlins.

* Spent a couple of days on Cape Cod late last month and ate more lobster than I had the last couple of years. Hadn't been on the Cape since 1972. What took me so long?

* It's my 8-year-old granddaughter Elizabeth's dance recital Saturday in Connecticut. Always fun. Grandson Dylan, age 6 months, isn't dancing yet. But his parents had him in the swimming pool over the weekend in California.

* I'm supposed to play 54 holes of golf in one day later this month. Ten years ago, a bunch of us did that and survived. But I needed shoulder surgery a few months later. Coincidence?

* Sorry to learn of the passing of Jack Martin. Jack was my first advertising director after I became publisher and he had the unenviable task of tutoring someone (that would be me) who had made his bones in the newsroom, with little prior contact on the sales side. Jack was a very important player in one of the most successful periods in our newspaper's history. Condolences to his wife, Elaine, daughters Amy and Laura, and the rest of the family.