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The Future of Print … Is Print?

December 7th, 2016 · No Comments · Journalism, Newspapers

A compelling article from the Columbia Journalism Review is making the rounds in print journalism, and the whole of it rings true:

In a piece entitled “Print is dead. Long live print.” … the author suggests newspapers have no future online. Never have. Never will.

Chasing hits is pointless and profitless and newspapers should instead focus on their print product, which remains the source of the overwhelming portion of their revenue.

That, if I may be so bold, is the essence of the CJR piece written by Michael Rosenwald.

It questions … and nearly mocks … print journalism for chasing the online chimera, a process that can be summed up in this damning paragraph:

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Paris Locks Come Down and Refugees Could Benefit

December 6th, 2016 · No Comments · France, Paris

The sappiest and silliest expression of eternal affection in Paris over the past decade has been the “love lock”.

What whispers “be mine” quite as beguilingly as a big, ugly, heavy brass padlock attached to a bridge in Paris? And left behind to become an eyesore as it begins to rust away?

But this has been a “thing” in Paris for several years now, and it has become a structural problem for certain bridges as well as a form of visual pollution, and two years ago calls were made to ban the practice.

Sixty-five tons of locks have been removed from Paris bridges over the past year-and-a-half, since it was decided that the extra weight of all those locks were causing structural damage.

And now the city has some ideas about finding a significant way to dispose of all that cold medal.

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Help for Kershaw; Dodgers Sign Hill

December 5th, 2016 · No Comments · Baseball, Dodgers

Can’t say the Dodgers didn’t learn a thing or three during the 2016 season.

No, Clayton Kershaw cannot pitch every every fourth day, let alone every third, despite how the Dodgers used him in the playoffs this fall. He’s the planet’s best, but he’s not quite a machine.

Meanwhile, Scott Kazmir is not a No. 2 starter, despite what the Dodgers were hoping last spring. Not for a team with championship aspirations. Maybe the Dodgers thought if they wished really hard it might come true — after Zack Greinke, one of the best No. 2s in modern history in 2015, signed with Arizona last winter.

The upshot is, ahead of the 2017 season, the club have signed the man who probably was the best available free agent, and they knew where to find him. On their postseason roster.

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4-3? Can We Do That Every Week?

December 4th, 2016 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, English Premier League, Football, soccer, UAE, World Cup

I feel confident in saying I am as big a soccer fan as anyone in my age cohort who was born and raised in the United States.

Came to the game late, got involved as a self-taught AYSO coach, volunteered to cover the U.S. national team, saw Paul Caligiuri’s Shot Heard Round the World, went on a 12-year ride with the USMNT and covered four World Cups.

Later, came six-plus years in the UAE, which is all about football (English, Spanish, Emirati or otherwise), in which I saw (over my shoulder at the office) three or four or five Premier League matches per week and managed to make a pilgrimage to Camp Nou to see Barca and Real Madrid finish 2-2 with Messi and Ronaldo scoring all the goals.

As soon as we got TV in the south of France, I paid for the package that would give me the English Premier League, which I can (and do) watch for six or seven hours a pop on Saturdays and three or four more on Sundays.

Even given all that, I still feel like soccer is a flawed game, and that flaw is right out there for everyone to see.

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Modern Nativity = A Very Hipster Christmas

December 3rd, 2016 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Pretty much had to happen.

Someone is selling a hipster nativity scene. Have a look.

For $129.99 a San Diego-based company named Modern Nativity will sell you their take on a hipster update of the birth of Jesus.

It has gotten Modern Nativity a lot of attention in the media. Including the San Diego Union Tribune asking: “Is this Modern Nativity scene trolling Christmas or hipsters?”

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The Wes Anderson Christmas Commercial

December 2nd, 2016 · 1 Comment · Movies

It has been out only a few days, but the quirky director Wes Anderson is getting rave reviews for his latest piece of work.

It is an uplifting and very Wes Anderson commercial set on a train and starring Adrien Brody as Conductor Ralph, three minutes and 52 seconds in length, for the Swedish clothing chain H&M.

Some of the reviews.

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Mayor Plans Doggy DNA Check to Punish Soiling

December 1st, 2016 · No Comments · France, Languedoc

This is one of those things that seems unworkable and maybe a bit crazy … right until you step in a pile of poo left behind by someone’s dog.

The mayor of Beziers, the biggest city in this part of the Languedoc, wants to collect DNA samples from the city’s dogs.


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Edgar Martinez, DH-ing and the Hall of Fame

November 30th, 2016 · No Comments · Baseball

I always have had a fondness for professional athletes who were good at what they did despite having something less than the ideal physique.

Terry Forster, a Los Angeles Dodgers reliever circa 1980, was one of them. He knew he was on the “stout” end of the size spectrum and famously said of his weight struggles: “A waist is a terrible thing to mind.”

Edgar Martinez was another one of those guys who was never mistaken for a Greek god. He looked old even when he was young, and he was a bit lumpy.

All he did was spray hits around Major League Baseball stadiums, finishing with a .312 career batting average and a top-20 all-time on-base percentage of 41.8, thanks to his plate discipline — 1,283 walks against 1,202 strikeouts.

He was enough of an offensive force that he is on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot for the eighth year in succession, and again, the electorate from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America will grapple with this difficult question:

Does a player who spent the large majority of his career as a designated hitter (DH) deserve to be in the Hall along with players who actually played in the field?

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A Fight Song Is Silenced

November 29th, 2016 · No Comments · Uncategorized

When people say “you can’t go back” … they generally mean it in a philosophical way. We can’t replay the past, what’s done is done, and so forth.

For me, in ways perhaps not particularly typical, “you can’t go back” has turned out to be literal.

I can’t go back to my grade school because it’s gone. I can’t go see my college football team play, because they shut down the program 16 years ago.

And I can’t go back to my high school because it was shuttered back in June. Makes it difficult to reach out to other alumni and homecoming games are going to be thin on the ground, going forward.

Specific bits of tradition attached to the high school will be lost to history.

Like the “fight song” — the peppy tune played by the band during sports events, in particular.

So, in the interest of saving a bit of history, here are the words. Written, I believe, by an early choir director of my high school, mostly known as “L.A. Lutheran” during its 60-some years of history.

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A Coach, and a Team, Struck Down on Verge of Breakthrough

November 28th, 2016 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, Arabian Gulf League, Dubai, Football, soccer, The National

His given name was Luiz Carlos Saroli, but he was known by the informal Caio Junior, going back to his playing days in Portugal and his native Brazil. And that is how we referred to him in the pages of The National while he coached in the UAE.

He died in a plane crash tonight, with most of the rising Brazilian soccer side Chapecoense, short of the airport runway in Medellin, Colombia.

The disaster touches many lives in many ways, but for those of us who came into contact with Caio Junior in the UAE, his untimely death comes as he seemed on the brink of making his mark as one of South America’s elite soccer coaches.

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