Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Do newspapers need a bailout?

As a former newspaper employee (and as someone who has often tried to get back in the business, to no avail) I have seriously mixed feelings about what has come to be called the "death" of newspapers. On one hand, I view it much like I view the supposed death of the big auto makers: some newspapers got fat, lazy and pretentious and failed to meet the needs of their consumers and advertisers. Some newspaper owners became wealthy and complacent, and some reporters shamed the industry with the use of fabrication, plagiarism and heresay. There are times when I view the whole lot of it and wonder if perhaps it is time for newspapers to die, only to be reborn in some other form.

But there is a seriously sentimental part of me that wants to see the news live on in all its smudgy, stiffly-formatted glory. A part of me that remembers what it's like to literally get a copy "hot" off the presses. A part of me that got a little wistful upon seeing the rotating globe above the Seattle P-I building last week. And the part of me that has moved her ponderous collection of Times-Calls and Onions (I call it a portfolio) from apartment to apartment for the past five years. I have a similar emotional tie to the automakers- as a third generation auto dealer whose father was born in Pontiac, Mich., cars are as much a part of my blood as the press.

So in the end I guess news like this makes me hope against hope that this scare is just what the industry needs. A shot in the arm to realize that the game is not the same, that it's a change-or-die world these days and the power that both the car makers and the news makers had is no longer relevant in these times.

For all the people I still love in both industries, I hope that this will be the case.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

blue colorado

Finally.

This feels so, so good.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The new and improved

I figured it was probably a good time to re-introduce myself...

It has been two years since my last post here. In those two years I have done the following:

-Had my heart broken
-Worked my way up from title clerk to, effectively, CFO of a multi-location scooter shop.
-Said goodbye to my parents, who now live a state away
-Fallen in love
-Dyed my hair black and lost 20 pounds
-Moved into a 1920s Cheesman Park apartment with my sister, recently returned from her Peace Corps assignment in Lesotho (pending, moving day is today and tomorrow)

There's more, of course. Suffice it to say there's a big difference between 25 and 27. But to be honest, it really does seem to be getting better all the time.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

receding

I was driving to our South store today, which is located in a typical small-town-turned-suburb area of Denver called Englewood. Englewood crops up on the Southern stretch of Broadway, a once-bustling thoroughfare. The street is typical two-lane urban highway, spotted with late-40s hotels and car dealerships. This is the street every city had in the 40s and 50s. Before interstates but in the heyday of the big automobile.

On my commute this morning I saw no fewer than four boarded-up or closing businesses that were recent enough casualties of the recession for me to be surprised to see them gone. And then I started paying attention.

I noticed a handful more, and then began to assess which businesses were doing well. The SMART dealership seems to be prospering. The Dollar Store was opening to a full parking lot. Starbucks had a line around the building for the drive-through.

I was listening to the radio and they said that Wal-Mart employees had noticed a sharp increase in baby formula sales around the first, last and middle of the month. This means that people are waiting for their paychecks to feed their children. America, it would seem, is living paycheck to paycheck.

I heard that canned goods sales are up, and that SPAM is seeing renewed popularity.

It seems that the saddest part of this is the story behind it all. We all did so well under Clinton- we had the things we needed, and we got used to it. Then America got greedy and wanted more. And even when people weren't doing as well, they didn't scale back. Everyone wanted the bigger house, the bigger SUV. America supersized it and was proud of it. And now there's this reckoning. America is slowly realizing we can't have our war and our SUVs, too.

I think we need to redefine what it means to live like an American.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

putting lipstick on a pig

$150,000 on hair, makeup and clothes?

Considering that's probably close to the balance most people were looking at on their foreclosed mortgages this year, I find that pretty, well... ugly.

silent all these years

Thinking about coming back... we shall see.