Jack Mabley's Web Log

Friday, October 29, 2004

An Election Prediction

Oct. 29. I am now 89 years and three days old, and feeling cockier than usual. I am blessed with good health. My newspaper column is fini, and I have evolved into this blog as an outlet for my opinions.
I’m still mobile, but it is slow going because my wheels are worn out after 85 years of usage. Sports have taken a toll, especially tennis, my principal sport. Tennis is sudden fast stops and turns. I still play, but my strategy is to get a fast partner and say "Yours" or "You take it."
I again thank Bush senior for commenting that he forgets things he should remember and remembers things best forgotten.
I’ve never hesitated to make predictions. They don’t jeopardize my reputation because my reputation is being wrong more than right. On that note, I predict that Kerry’s margin of victory will be substantial. And he’ll carry a flock of Democrats into public offices with him.
And Barack Obama will be the first person of color to become President.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

October 12

If I ruled the universe, I’d be tempted to destroy all cell phones. In fact I might get rid of computers and the Internet. I’m trying to avoid the "good old days" cliches, but the fact remains it was more fun when the pace was slower. Today the pace seems to be magnifying exponentially. But quietly.
I’m pecking this on my computer in a newsroom with a dozen or so fellow workers who are clicking out their articles. No shouting. No raised voices. Only friendly "Good mornings" and cheerful "Hi’s." The atmosphere is what you’d probably find in an efficient insurance office.
My friendships in this quiet newsroom mean a great deal to me.
But I miss the old fashioned raucous news room where the noise level resembled the Chicago Board of Trade trading pits.
Today it’s more efficient. Fewer errors. I even have a device in this machine which sends up a red underline when it thinks I have misspelled a word. Well, I won a spelling bee in the 8th grade and I’ve been a good speller ever since and I’m right more times than I’m wrong, spellcheck or not.

Friday, October 08, 2004

A Stern Warning

I like to visit the zoo every now and then to watch the snakes, which look slimy and menacing, but are harmless in their confinement.
In the same sense, once in a while I tune in the sultan of vulgarity, Howard Stern, who looks slimy and menacing….that is menacing to children. I’d call Stern’s stuff sophomoric, but that would insult sophomores. I’d call it childish, but second-grade kids are savvy enough to find stuff on the Internet that makes Stern look like a P-TA meeting.
Stern’s concept of hot stuff on his current show is to persuade a pre-tested model to remove her blouse, which produces a studio full cackles and giggles followed by Stern’s asking the model to turn around to show her backside.
Stern is a happy, fulfilled man today because he will be going on satellite delivery of his program, which means he will not be monitored by the federal government, which has fined stations carrying his obscenity millions of dollars.
So Stern will test new depths of vulgarity and obscenity. Maybe the saddest aspect is that viewers will be asked to pay $12.95 to see his trash. You can see far worse on the Internet for nothing, but he’ll collect from the naïve and uninformed.
Ever the optimist, I look toward the day when young Americans recognize the shallowness and mediocrity of Howard Stern and consign him to the dump heap of early 21st century cultural freaks.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Farewell politically correct (or incorrect)

"Politically correct" or "incorrect" have become so overused that their meaning has been diluted to little or nothing. It's time to relegate this phrase into cliche heaven (or hell).

Probably "spin" should join the junk heap too. Don't all of us "spin" to make facts or opinions more compatible with our own philosophies?

Plain up-front "truth" is in short supply in our governments. Our society would benefit with the use of "truth squads" by individuals or news organizations. The Daily Herald carried an Associated Press story after the recent debate which separated facts from spin.

The New York Times does this routinely with all candidates, including Nader, who I think comes out as the cleanest.