It's 6 a.m. and I've got to write two stories before I could to the office and finish another story to be used in the edition that goes to the printer at the end of the day. I've got some sort of cold and frankly wish I could just stay in bed, but at a small newspaper, when one person is sick it can throw everything and everyone off track.
A meeting yesterday of Springfield's Finance Control Board – the state-imposed body that runs the city in many ways – was two and a half hours late. This threw me off in a very big way. i was counting on this story, didn't really have a back-up ( that was probably dumb) so I wasted that time.
These are the things you deal with at a 'paper such as ours. Not looking for sympathy (I know here to find it) but hoping those who might think there's a certain romance or ease with the job will understand that many times the goal is simply be accurate and meet the deadlines.
Here's the column I wrote for this week's paper. After doing serious ones for the past several weeks, I had to do something hopefully a little comical.
Thank goodness as a journalist I'm allowed to be professionally ignorant. I'm able to admit I don't know or understand something, ask some questions and become educated. Here are some of my recent concerns:
Do politicians have a better metabolism than many of us? Do you ever notice that even in severely cold weather, many elected officials never break down and wear an appropriate coat? How about a hat? Gloves? They would rather be fashionable than warm, but perhaps their bodies, through some evolutionary change in response to their office, are warmer.
I heard the new Air Jordans cost $185 a pair and people waited in line at a New York City shoe store up to five days in order to buy a pair. Could someone tell me why these shoes are truly better than lace-up Converse? A $65 pair of New Balance running shoes? How the hell did my generation get along with Keds and P.F. Flyers?
If waterboarding isn't torture, then why doesn't one of its proponents in the Bush administration demonstrate it to show it's no big deal?
If the Massachusetts House leadership doesn't want casino gambling then what are they going to propose as a measure to increase revenues, maintain programs and not raise taxes or fees?
My hair gets messed up by just looking at it in a mirror. How do our local TV anchors always have perfect hair no matter what?
Does anyone really care that Paris Hilton's brother got arrested? Is this what passes as a news story these days? Yes, of course it is!
For that matter, is the "Today" show the most vapid collection of non-stories ever passed off as news?
Why is my dental insurance company debating whether or not to pay a $72 claim for an extraction of a broken tooth? What is the big deal?
Does Mitt Romney really think a Democratic presidency would aid the terrorists? Does he not understand President Bush's actions have brought Islamic terrorism to a nation that didn't have any? Isn't that "aiding" terrorists?
Do you think New York Mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg might be thinking twice about an independent and self-financed run for the presidency when he sees how much dough Romney blew to little effect?
Answers to any of the above would be appreciated.
As I write this column Congressman Richard Neal was one of the members of Congress to be invited to the signing of the economic stimulus package. Now as I understand it, the bill would allow the federal government to send out checks of at least $300 to almost everyone who is earning a paycheck. People paying income taxes could get $600 per individuals or $1,200 a couple. There are provisions to help businesses and those people who have a sub-prime mortgage for their home.
Of course, if you're a fiscal conservative you might argue the government can't really afford this gesture as we're running a hulking deficit.
Now I know that when I'm doing the dirt sleep, my grandkids will be still struggling with the debts rung up by this measure and by the Iraqi War. I probably shouldn't accept the money, but I'm a weak, weak man. And hey, the Chinese are loaded and willing to lend us the money!
I've been pondering just how I should be spending my money in order so that it would the maximum effect on the economy. I suppose a pile of DVDs wouldn't be so good. Paying on my credit card bill would help me, but would it assist the economy?
How about a trip to Vegas? A box of cigars? A winter fur coat for Lucky the Wonder Bichon? How about I just stash it in the bank?
Choices, choices... what are you going to do with yours?