Sunday, February 08, 2009

Catching Up

Yeah, I know, if this blog were a child I’d be facing charges of criminal neglect. And I’d deserve it, too. In my defense, I’ll point out that it’s always time-consuming for a reporter to start a new beat in a town where she doesn’t know anybody and has no grasp of what’s going on. But it’s been two weeks now and I’m starting to get a handle on things.

I’m covering the arts scene in a city that used to be a stupendously rich manufacturing powerhouse, but whose fortunes have declined along with the decline of American manufacturing. Since a manufacturing revival won’t happen outside the borders of China, the city is now trying to reinvent itself as an artists’ mecca. Thus far it seems on a good track to do just that; as the above-linked article (half-written by yours truly) indicates, the art scene here is surprisingly large for a city of only 70,000 people.

Initially I worried I’d have a hard time finding stories, what with the whole “I don’t know a soul in this town” thing, but that hasn’t been the case; instead, I’m getting so many leads I couldn’t possibly do full-fledged stories about them all unless I had three or four full-time assistants on staff. So for every bylined article I research and write, I’ve been doing several non-bylined blurbs that simply tell people “X art event is happening at Y place on Z date and time.” (Whaddaya know? My junior-high-school algebra teacher was right; I am using some of what I learned in my adult life!)

Also, once the damned snow melts and I can go outside without putting on five layers of winter clothes and a pair of 20-pound snow boots, I’ll really like working in a downtown where I’m in easy walking distance of most of the stories I cover. (Meanwhile, I remind myself that walking through this crap still beats driving in it.)

In other news, I have a new column photo, and have realized two things: one, picking what looks like a good picture on a one-inch digital camera screen won’t necessarily translate to a good picture in the larger-screened world; and two, when I’m an old lady I’ll be the creepy ex-Goth one who scares the hell out of the neighborhood children. I plan to enhance this effect with lawn gargoyles, and will make certain to retire somewhere that zoning codes permit them. Better yet, work harder to achieve a libertopia where sumptuary zoning codes don’t exist at all.

Oh, yeah, and there’s a column attached, too. Something about economic troubles and The Wizard of Oz and a proposed marijuana decriminalization bill in Connecticut. Hey, Michael Phelps and Barack Obama both smoked pot and turned out fine:
If you think marijuana should remain illegal, then repeat after me: “America should take more than 40 percent of its adults, and 50 percent of its high school students by the time they reach graduation, and put them in prison. They all deserve criminal records.”

Seriously, that’s a conservative statistic of how many Americans have violated marijuana laws. Generally via smoking it. Often more than once. Most of us turned out fine.

If full enforcement of a law requires arresting and prosecuting nearly half of a country’s 300 million people, does this suggest something inherently wrong with the law? Or does it instead argue for the selective enforcement we have now, where poor and dark-skinned offenders become “drug felons” while their paler and wealthier cousins largely escape police notice?
P.S. As I write this early Sunday afternoon, I notice that despite the scary picture, the column is topping today’s “Most read” list with over 6,800 hits. I'd guess few of those readers are libertarians, either.


Anonymous smartass sob said...

I would happily comment on the new photo, but I seem to remember that a certain significant other of yours once begged us not to do so; therefore I shall refrain. ;-)
Nice column BTW.

4:22 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Feel free to comment if you wish! I'm working on getting a third photo from an outside source, anyway.

Third time's the charm, right?

Thanks for the remark re the column. It seems to be going over well with the paper's readers, too.

Now to figure out what I'll write next week.

4:29 PM  
Blogger Windypundit said...

I do some amateur photography, so maybe I can offer a little advice.

Like anything else, it helps if you practice. If nothing else, try posing in front of a mirror until you find an angle you like and a facial expression that looks good. Or have a friend take pictures of you from a bunch of angles and pick the best one. Then try to figure out where the camera should be in your field of vision to get that shot. Remember it, and next time someone takes your picture, make sure that's where their camera is.

Often, the best expression is either completely natural, ignoring the camera entirely, or else mugging outrageously for the camera---it never looks as bad is it feels.

3:14 PM  
Anonymous a moose said...

I would happily comment on the new photo

Beware the Eyes of March? Or February? (for those of you too young, think Peanuts, Linus)

Actually it's probably the best one I've seen of you. Can't really say more than that.

6:53 AM  
Anonymous A Moose said...

Don't mind me. I just stopped by to listen to the cricket chirping for a couple min on the way to working again.

5:52 AM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

Not to change the subject...but to change the subject:

Y'all always thought that whole Friday the 13th, bad luck thing was just a silly superstition, didn't you? Well today is Friday the 13th and the United States House of Representatives just passed the Obamanible One's Economic Stick-it-to-us Bill. If any of you actually have any paper money, I suggest that you exchange it for some kind of tangible goods while it still has some purchasing power left. Tangible as in something that can be bartered.

Stay away from black cats and don't walk under any ladders. ;-)

1:27 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Doesn't surprise me, alas. I was going to write about the stimulus for next Sunday's column, but decided against it on the grounds that whatever I wrote would be outdated by then. And I was right. Dammit.

1:42 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

but decided against it on the grounds that whatever I wrote would be outdated by then.

Yeah, you'd be a couple days late and a trillion dollars short. (sigh)

2:17 PM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

Smartass, I love the idea of hyper inflation. I have tens of thousands of dollars of debt. Medical debt, credit card debt, old utility bill debt, the list goes on and on. When the inflation rate hits double digits my investments in debt will depreciate to relatively insignificant numbers while I will have my costly health.

I love this new stimulus package!

4:11 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

while I will have my costly health.

Yup. Inflation makes it easy to, "re-distribute" the wealth - so simple even a caveman can do it. You may have your costly health (for awhile anyway,) but the State will own your worthless, dishonorable hide. The only people that support the stimulus plan are those that think they'll get alot more out of it than what they have to pay in. They think they'll sock it to the "rich" - the rich being anyone who has a bit more than they do. What they forget is that there are always others who have even less than they and who have the same idea regarding them. Hope you and your descendants enjoy your coming slavery.

5:04 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Now, more than ever, I am glad I have no children.

5:12 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

I am glad I have no children.

Yeah, so am I - uh,I mean I'm glad I don't have any either. Although I do know several that I had a small part in raising and feel close to. I worry what sort of lives they'll have.

6:21 PM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

Smartass, we are already slaves. It's just that everyone else is as screwed as I have been for the last 6 years. It feels good.

6:28 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

It's just that everyone else is as screwed as I have been for the last 6 years. It feels good.

I'd guess that if you were blind, you'd feel better about it were we to poke out everyone else's eyes, too. Should we do it at birth - or give them several years to get used to having sight before we take it away from them?

we are already slaves.

While that is technically true, I suppose, I'd just as soon not be your slave. Besides, if you think this is slavery, you just don't realize how bad it can get. To continue that analogy: we're house slaves that are fixin' to get sold down river to become field slaves. You think you'd like hyperinflation? Check out Zimbabwe.

11:53 PM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

Smartass, you miss the point. You still think there is some hope to "turn this around". There hasn't been a hope of that for twenty years at least. This has been all but inevitable since the Federal Reserve was created.

I'm just happy to see all the happy people who have been living problem free sucked down into the hell that has been my life. Sure I am finding joy in the misery of others, it's the only joy I find these days. Well, that and when the docs prescribe a new painkiller that will work for a little while until my pain overcomes the effects of the drug. But that's more rare than all the juicy misery that the Obamaites are creating.

6:17 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Even in Federal Reserve America, the chance of a decent life is a hell of a lot higher than it is in Zimbabwe. I'm poor by American standards, sure, but I always have plenty to eat, warm clothes to wear when it's cold, a home that keeps out the wind, rain and snow, and even lots of luxuries -- things I want and enjoy but don't actually need. I'm not happy at the thought of losing all this just so I could think "Ha ha, the rich are suffering too."

And if I were a peasant in pre-revolutionary Russia, I wouldn't wax ecstatic about become even more poor and less free when the Communists took over, either. Caveman, you've passed beyond schadenfreude and into "cutting off your nose to spite your face" territory.

10:46 AM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

Jennifer, there is nothing I can do to fix anything that has been screwed up by the politicos so why wallow in the misery of worrying about how horrible it will get? Why not accept the inevitable and find that silver lining. Sure, when you've got multiple organ failures and constant agonizing pain your silver linings are a bit on the twisted side but hey, it makes me smile and in the end that's what's important.

11:01 AM  

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