OK OK, by popular acclaimation (ha!) I’ll keep this site going. For one more week. Feb. 1 is a good time to sign off, being the 124th birthday of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and all. For example, reader David, a managing editor in SnowyColdFreezeYourAssOffVille, Indiana, forwarded this lovely note:
… if you need time away from this blog to get well, we all want you to do so. But don’t leave because you think no one is interested.
Ever since you started the tale of the rescued Star Bulletin, some of your mainland friends have relied on this blog to keep track of the islands, the culture, the politics, the people and the news biz. And your life, which I find a hoot. I have found what you write here to be endlessly interesting. It’s a good movie script waiting to happen (Light bulb goes off Burl’s head?)
Plus, I have no other reason to care about any of those things other than because you made them too interesting and human to avoid. I read a dozen or so blogs regularly; and yours has a bigger effect on me than any of the others.
We have never met face to face, and likely we never will. But I have been enriched by dialing up your site every week for years. I can tell a few things about you from this site. That keeps me coming back.
Kindred souls, and all that jazz.
If it goes away, all of your “net” friends will be poorer because of the absence.
Boo freakin’ hoo, but thanks, Dave. Thing is, I started this site to chart the almost-daily outrages by Gannett as they tried to stifle the competition. They almost succeeded. This lttle Internet doggie yapping at their heels turned out to be mighty unsettling to Corporate, particularly when Mainlanders tuned in.
But that’s history. We’re still here — and they’re still there — and a kind of equilibrium has been reached. We’re not going away, and they’re engaging in corporate behavior that’s almost civilized. (I’m on the board of a local landmark, and a few years ago when it needed capitol funds, I suggested they hit up Gannett. They’re trying to buy goodwill in Honolulu! I cried. The checkbooks are open! Sure enough, Gannett coughed up something like $50,000. Competition is way good for the citizenry, you see.)
Ian Lind took the high road, and I took the low, making merciless fun of the orcs over at Gannett. Ian continues to give us his pithy observations on local media, but as a working journalist, I try to steer clear. I also am not going to fill up the firebox with daily updates on my pets, adorable as they are. (Cats Tigger and Roo, dogs Sophie and Antone, all rescuees.) Nope, Naw gaw duh.
So lately it has boiled down to waxing flatulent about things that piss me off, primarily, it seems, poor city planning. Whoa, dude, that’s so negative. Bad vibe.
Also, the folks in charge at the Star-Bulletin prefer that I do editing rather than writing, and they don’t much care for this site either.
I know there are several hundred people who read this site on a daily basis, and the reponsibility of feeding you all might be an ego boost for some, but if I can’t deliver daily, I feel bad about it. Guilty. So you’re free. Free! Use the 30 seconds you’re wasting on this page to do something useful with your life, like reading Wonkette instead.
Also, frankly, I’m freaked out about my house. It has been a year since we were zapped by lightning and then lost a chunk of roof to the winds — we were living under blue tarps for months — and everything is still in chaos. Since my wife and I are good Star-Bulletin employees, we can’t afford professional repair, so I’ve been doing it myself. It’s slow going, but I really have to work at making our habitat habitable. (BTW, there’s drywall dust on this keyboard …)
I have no intention of stopping webwork, but there are other irons in the fire — Check out pacificmonograph.com or fortressalcatraz.com or honolulubluedevils.com for stuff in the works — and there’s an interesting book project nearing completion … an educational program I’m setting up with a local high school … I got stuff to do, man … time for a sabbatical … Those who can, do. Those who can’t, blog ….
OK, on with some itemizations:
As mentioned below by a reader on 1/13, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin for some bizarre reason changed volume numbers when it changed hands. If it were to go back to the original numbering system, the date to do that is Feb. 1, next week, when we would normally be beginning Vol. 124. As the oldest daily newspaper in the Islands, there are perfectly good historical reasons for doing so. But we gotta convince the bosses. If you send me an email urging consideration in this matter, I’ll make sure the publisher sees it.
Anyone else in Hawaii getting overwhelmed by aluminum cans? The new can-return law is creating stacks of cans at home, but not at work. We can’t recycle there. Several years ago, we had an aluminum recycling bin at the paper, and I’d dutifully take huge bags of cans to the recyclers, and we’d pledge the money raised as staff donations to local environmental organizations. Big money! It was like $14 a month. But then-editor John Flanagan put his foot down and declared that real newspapers don’t recycle — you don’t see people at the Washington Post recycling! Stop it right now!
Hmm, more defections from the crew MidWeek publisher Ken Berry took with him when he ran away to the Gannett Advertiser. (What a hypocrite! He used to shriek traitor! at those who went to work for the dailies.) Anyway, several, including wife Karen Berry, have apparently gone elsewhere. Ken keeps himself busy in the car lot, cleaning the whitewalls on the delivery vans. It’s a big step up in responsibility for him, so if you see him, give him a shiny new coin to play with.
I neglected to mention that I did another TV show with Oliver North a few weeks ago, this one on the role of Japanese-Americans in World War II. I had to show up on a beach at 6 a.m. and walk up and down it pretending to be meditating on the horrors of AJA internment. I looked properly agonized. But it was because my band had played a late gig the night before, I was hung over with about two hours sleep and my feet hurt from jumping around on stage. Ow!
One of my favorite Star-Bulletin memories — editor John Simonds trying to explain what the folks at Gannett Corporate are like, and he clapped his hands over his nose and mouth and breathed noisily, and said in his best Darth Vader voice, I find your lack of enthusiasm disturbing …
Another Star-Bulletin memory. Feature editor Barbara Morgan complaining about her worst Christmas ever — that terrible year she only got one cashmere sweater, omigawd — and the power suddenly went off. Total darkness. A FLOOMMPHH sound, and then the sound of Barbara making little squeaky noises. Power comes back on, lights come up, and there’s Barbara under a mountain of greasy, gray, filthy dust. All you could see were her eyes. The air-conditioning vent over her head had ralphed up about ten years worth of hideous debris and dumped it directly on her. Great timing. We did our best to appear sympathetic.
And oops, I should have been more clear about the “health problems” alluded to in the item below. They’re not mine. They are in people I care deeply about, and of course that affects me. As for me, well … a couple of weeks ago, my doctor actually said to me, You’re in surprisingly good health for someone who looks as bad as you do … Thanks, doc.