Friday, December 29, 2006

Be an editor Part II

You have probably heard that the cartoonist who does Fox Trot is stopping production of his daily comic -- he'll continue to do Sunday strips.
Of course, it's too late for you guys to help me with this particular strip (I wish I would have thought to ask you earlier) because it ends tomorrow.
However, the comics pages are pretty fluid. I can remove and replace strips at will -- IF I'm ready to be pummeled. Because, you see, every strip has its fans -- and even if I think it is lame or has run its course, I get letters of complaint if anything changes on those pages.
So, you comic junkies, are there any strips you read elsewhere, you'd like to see in The Chronicle?
Let me know.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas everyone

So, I know the "just settled in for a long winter's nap" line is about Christmas Eve but -- at least at our house -- the line is so much more appropriate for Christmas Day. We ate and then laid around watching "Cars." I bought it for my little boy (who's 20!). Now it's time for a snooze. What do most people do when Mass is over, the presents are opened and the leftovers are all in the fridge? Are we the only lazy people?
By the way, if you saw the bizarre weather map in the Chronicle today -- sorry about that. Someone (ME) should have called Accuweather and told them we had an early deadline last night. It didn't come in time for our deadline.
The resourceful news editor, Dan Shortridge, (who found a weather map to get in there) tried to cheer me up. After I apologized for failing to make sure he would get the weather map by Christmas Eve deadline, he said, "It wasn't that bad ... the forecast was just the same old yada yada it's been, rain and above-average temps."
It is great to have smart people in the newsroom who can punt when they are up against it. I appreciate them every day.
Have a good night. Hope everyone got everything they wished for from Santa.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

What will they build at Ford?

Has anyone heard what they plan to put on the Lorain Ford site?
Can it possibly be another industrial park? They can't fill the ones they have, can they?

I think it would be a great place for an OUTLET MALL. That site seems like exactly the kind of place they put those outlet malls ... right off a highway but sort of in the middle of nowhere.
They seem to do pretty good business although I don't know if that would translate to revenue for the city.

In trouble again

How about what happened with Michael Ross?!?!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Six (five and a half, really) shopping days left

OK, this is it -- coming down the stretch before Christmas.
I have about 25 percent of my Christmas shopping done.
Of course, I have hard-to-find items on wish-lists from my boys, things like a throwback Browns hooded jersey. Type those four words into Google and you always get three out of four. Know what I mean? Like I found lots of 1.Throwback 2. Browns 3. Sweatshirts -- minus the hood. Or I found lots of 1. Browns 2. Hooded 3. Sweatshirts -- minus the throwback.
It's like a huge game this Internet shopping but I guess it beats walking around store after store and mall after mall.
I know, I know, that's the "fun" of Christmas. Well, maybe it would be IF THERE WERE 30 HOURS IN EVERY DAY or if I didn't have to do time-wasting things like ... ummm, SLEEPING!
Wonder how others are making out finding what they need -- at a fair price -- this year.
Oh, BTW, I DID find eventually find my 1. Throwback 2. Browns 3. Hooded 4. Sweatshirt! It has a picture of the elf guy on it. That was almost as thrilling as a Browns win!

Friday, December 15, 2006

He's caving a little

We were out with Keith McGuckin today as he was putting up Part II of his holiday window display in Wellington -- a gay snowman -- and he said that if he gets a lot of negative feedback about the gingerbread Nazi display over the weekend, he may take it down. He says he doesn't understand the flap. You can listen to him in his own words in a video on the ct newsroom blog

Cookie monsters or not?

They kicked Keith McGuckin and his swastika-swathed gingerbread man out of Oberlin so McGuckin took his show down the road -- to Wellington -- where a won't-give-us-his-name storefront owner allowed him to set up his display.
Did you see the picture of the display in the paper? If not, here it is.
Do you think McGuckin is doing this for publicity or is he truly an artist in search of artistic freedom? Boy, try to write that sentence in an unbiased way! Seriously, I don't know the answer to the question myself. I really don't want you to think I'm trying to persuade you one way or the other.
All I know is that when his cookie creatures got booted out of Oberlin, the story was all over the world -- literally. I found it on U.K. and Australian newspaper Web sites. I guess that means the story is news ... or does it?
We had a newsroom battle at the Chronicle last night (wish you could have been there) about where to put the story in the paper. The opinion in the newsroom was HEAVILY in favor of putting in on the front page -- but it wasn't to be.
Maybe, Mr. McGuckin, if you are reading this ... you can tell us yourself just exactly what you are up to.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Smoking in the bars

So what's with all this smokin' in the bars?
It's i-l-l-e-g-a-l. Don't people know that?
Ohio voters banned smoking in just about every place except the far corner of your basement and yet, go into just about any bar and chances are good you'll be able to bum a cigarette from the guy (or girl) sitting next to you.
Conscious objectors, that's what the bar owners are.
A guy who owns a bar in Cleveland was on NPR this morning and he said there is no way he's putting away his ashtrays because in the bar a couple doors down, people are smoking.
I'll lose business, he said.
So, the deal is: There's this law but there are no enforcers.
Hmmm. Think about that ... if no one was going to nail you for speeding, would you obey the posted limit? Shoot, I wouldn't.
Are they smoking in the bars you've been in since the law went into effect?
Is that OK with you?
Let me know.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Be an editor

Friday night, Julie Wallace, our new assistant managing editor, was editing stories when she swiveled around in her chair and said to me, "Patti, did you see this Off-the-Beat item? The one about the girl standing in the cold? I think you oughta take a look at it."
Off-the-Beat is a column that we run Saturdays in the print edition of The Chronicle. It's a spot where reporters can tell readers about the fun, funny or bizarre things they ran across during their week covering the mean streets of Lorain County.
Well, it seems some of those streets are a little meaner than others for what Julie wanted me to see was the report of a 15-year-old girl made to stand out in the cold wearing a reindeer nose and antlers AND a placard around her neck that said, "I'm a liar."
The teen told our reporter (her quote was in the story), "I'm embarassed. I want to go in the house. I need to stop lying and behave myself."
Her father told our reporter (his quote also was in the story), "I want the attention for people to see her so maybe next time she'll know better."
Well, we decided not to run it.
We really didn't see the news value of heaping more humiliation on an already humiliated teenage girl. It just didn't feel right to us.
What do you think?
Is it news? Would you have run the story? The picture?
And, why or why not?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Flood aftermath

Wow. There are a lot of people angry about the flooding in Lorain.
Getting water in your basement is bad enough but when it's sewer water, it is almost too much to take.
Does anyone know how many homes on the west side of Lorain were affected? We are trying to figure that out but the city doesn't even know.
I actually live in that area myself but my home wasn't affected. I'm not sure why ... maybe my home is up higher.
Let me know if you or someone you know had raw sewage backing up into his or her home -- and what they are doing about it.
Also, do you think the City of Lorain should be responsible for the cost of the cleanup?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The changing shape of news

All of us in the newspaper business have no idea what the future holds. The Internet has become such an important part of everyone's life ... What do we do? What should we do? How do we survive?
Well, seems that it's not just newspapers that are trying to figure it out. It's TV and radio, too.
I went to the City Club in Cleveland this afternoon for a lunch program on "News Media Newly Delivered." On the panel were Tom O'Hara, the managing editor of The Plain Dealer; Mike McCormick, news director of WKYC-TV3; and Darren Toms, director of news programming for Clear Channel radio in Cleveland.
All those news deliverers used to have their own niche -- newspapers had printed stories, TV had video, radio had audio -- but now everybody is doing everything.
Also, we used to do battle with one another. Now we are cooperating. It is a strange new world.
What do you think? How can we keep people reading the paper as well as the Internet?
You guys know as much as we know -- and probably more.
Let me know if you have any ideas.

Monday, November 27, 2006

A devil of a cook

So what did you do the night before Thanksgiving?
Me? I went to the airport to pick up my older son who found a cheap last-minute flight from Orlando. The catch is it wasn’t into Cleveland. It was into Akron – one hour and 10 minutes from our house.
Anyway, we didn’t get home from the airport until after midnight.
I was beat so I went to bed but my husband, who always has much more holiday spirit than I do, went to the Giant Eagle to get an angel food cake. He wanted to make a trifle.
I had already looked for an angel food cake at two other grocery stores. All gone.
When did angel food become such a popular Thanksgiving item? What happened to pumpkin pie?
Well, the 24-hour Giant Eagle didn’t have any angel food cakes, either. He bought a mix.
I found out all of this when he got home and woke me up.
“Hey, think I can use this to bake an angel food cake?” he asked as he handed me a hard plastic pan shaped exactly like an angel food cake pan with a cylinder in the middle.
I took it from him and looked at the bottom. M-E-L-A-M-I-N-E was printed there.
“I guess so,” I said. “It looks like a cake pan. What else could it be?” (I found that out later, by the way.)
So, he took back his pan and went downstairs to bake. I went back to sleep.
The cake came out great and the pan did, too. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought that probably wasn’t what that pan was meant for.
I hunted around through the pile of booklets and papers left for us by the previous homeowners. On the cover of one of them, I spotted the pan, which wasn’t a pan at all.
It was a mixing bowl that was to be used with the NuTone Food Center – the blender thing in my counter.
The instructions say, “The bowl rests on a turntable connected directly to the power unit. The motor, not the beater, turns the bowl. While the bowl revolves automatically, the beater turns in the opposite direction.”
So the cylinder in the “angel food pan” was actually the portal for the beaters. Hmm.
When my husband found out about this, he said, “Geesh. It’s a good thing I didn’t burn the house down.”
Can melamine burn? I couldn’t find the answer online.
Hope you had a good Thanksgiving. Any weird stories? Or more importantly -- any good trifle recipes?