I’ve been putting this off for a long while because Mrs M has been hoping she’d have good news to report instead. That good news would be that she got a new job. I’m sure she’ll be reporting it at some point but in the meantime it’s time to get the bad news out of the way.
Mrs M lost her job.
She was laid off just in time for the holidays. A Bain-like hedge fund bought the company that owned her newspaper and and a bunch of other newspapers and is doing the Bain-like thing of looting their new acquisitions in order to be able to report “cost-savings” that will pump up the stock price etc etc. You know how it works. Mrs M was let go along with nearly two dozen others, including the entire photography department, because who needs an editor or photographers when you’re running a newspaper?
As you can imagine, and as too many of you know from your own experience first hand, this has really knocked the stuffing out of Mrs M.
Mrs M has loved the newspaper biz for as long as I’ve known her. She has taken great and well-earned pride in her work and her accomplishments on the job. To be told after over 25 years in professional journalism, as an award-winning reporter and then as a highly regarded editor who for the past 10 years has put together and overseen a staff of reporters who routinely rake in the awards every year that You aren’t worth keeping around is a terrible blow even when you know you’re being told it by people to whom no one is worth keeping around.
Many of her friends and family won’t have heard this news until now. Mrs M and I are sorry for not telling you sooner. But she’s been feeling too low to talk about it and she’s been embarrassed, which she shouldn’t be. The only mistake she made was staying on the job and doing it so well she kept getting promoted without declining to paid more as she moved up the ladder.
Anyway, morale has been a little low around here but we’re muddling along. The Mannion guys have been great. Things will work out eventually. But it would be a big help if you all would keep your eye out for Mrs M.
If you hear of any openings in journalism, communications, or public relations for an experienced, energetic, successful manager and communicator with a record of hiring and mentoring a diverse array of talents, please drop me a line.
I’ll keep you posted as things develop. To those of you who have heard the news and checked in to check up on her, Mrs M says thank you very much. She loves you all.
My long pedantic review of Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing is written but not typed. It just hurt too much to sit at the computer yesterday. But I feel better this morning and am typing as fast as I can to get it posted before noon. Here's a teaser:
In Whedon's version, the men arrive home from their "war" in black
limos wearing their immaculate "uniforms"---tailored dark business
suits. No one rushes out to greet them, because, seriously, who's happy
to see a bunch of suits arrive on their doorstep? Never bodes well.
You know, I think that tow truck driver was making a lot of that up. I’m not saying he was lying. Just that some of what he told us during the hour when our car was riding on the back of his rig and we were riding with him the eighty-odd miles to the garage near Uncle Merlin’s fell into the category of tall tales, fish stories, and stretchers.
I believe he’s built his own stock car to race from the frame up and out. I’m not sure about his building three of them that won state championships. And the retired scientist who signed on as a silent partner in his hauling business who committed suicide before the business really took off so the tow truck driver had to go back to working extra shifts for the garage seems a little too good to be true. The scariest story he told us I hope he was making up---about going to the scenes of two DUI wrecks in a week and finding that the driver of both cars was the same drunk teenager, that one…
Oh. No. This isn’t the same tow truck driver who pulled us off the Jersey Turnpike when we broke down on our way to see the blonde’s folks the weekend before last.
This guy came to get us when our broke down Sunday, the day before yesterday, when our car broke down on Route 84 in Connecticut as we were on our way to visit Uncle Merlin.
Exact same thing happened both times. Car’s rolling along fine. Suddenly engine light comes on. Engine dies. Car won’t start again.
This makes me believe that it didn’t get fixed when it was in New Jersey.
As you can imagine, I’m not in the best of moods over this. Doesn’t help my mood that my back is killing me.
But Uncle Merlin swears by the mechanics who are looking at it now. And he’s given me some exercises to do to help my back. So maybe by this afternoon both the car and my back will be ready to go again.
I’ll let you know as soon as I know.
Updated with what I know: Picked up the car. New fuel filter. It runs. Got us where we needed to get to tonight.
The big news though is that God really is out to get me. See His comment.
Thanks to all of you who’ve helped out over the last week.
On the upside, the wedding we came down here for was very nice and Old Father Blonde enjoyed his birthday party. And Mother Blonde’s car is running fine after I took it in to Sears Auto yesterday morning for a couple of minor repairs.
The downside is our car died on the drive down. On the New Jersey Turnpike. It was running fine then the Check Engine light came on and that was all she wrote. All the work we’ve put in it over the last month and we missed something. Gremlins must have been hiding and waiting. Car’s sitting now at a Pep Boys in North Brunswyck where it has either been looked at by a mechanic named Raul who is not working today so he wasn’t there to tell me what’s wrong or whoever I talked to invented a mechanic named Raul who is conveniently not there to be asked how things are going when things haven’t been going.
First thing Monday morning, though, I was promised, Raul will call to tell me…
At any rate, we were able to get here thanks to my sister-in-law who came to our rescue and who will drive us back up there when the car’s fixed.
But as you can imagine I’ve been a bit distracted the last couple of days and that distraction will continue a couple more days. So blogging may be even lighter than usual.
When this is over, though, I will write a funny post about it.
I need to repost or create a permanent sidebar link to my too long-ago stated policy on comments. But for now:
1. Comments are moderated, mainly as a defense against spam, but also so I can keep a lid on trolling, flaming, thread hijacking, and just plain meanness. Sometimes I will edit for length, but that’s rare. Often I will add a link to a post you quoted or an article or book or movie you referenced. And regularly I will edit out profanity because my mother reads this blog. But not as much as I used to because she’s gotten hipper over the years or more resigned.
2. Pseudonyms are fine. But if you think you’re going to comment in the future, please pick one you really like and stick with it. This lets other readers get to know you and where you’re coming from, which makes it less likely they will take offense at something you didn’t intend to be offensive and more likely they’ll get it when you’re joking. It’s also a way of taking responsibility for what you write.
3. I don’t need to know your name but I would appreciate it if you included a working email address. Email addresses are never, ever made public. The reason I’d prefer you to use working one is that I may need to contact you to clarify something you put in a comment. It’s also another way of taking responsibility for your comments.
4. If you use a Typepad, Facebook, or other service’s profile, please give yourself at least a pseudonym and make sure there’s actually a way to contact you through it. And again, please use the same one every time. Be a person, in other words.
5. Please, always feel free to puff your own blog if you have one. Include your URL in the window provided. If you’ve written on the topic at hand yourself, tell us and provide the link.
6. Notice and try to remember the names/handles of other commenters. I’m lucky in having a number of regular commenters who have stuck with the blog for years and years. They make this a more interesting and smarter place to hang out. They’re good folks and when you get to know them I’m sure you’ll like them. The point is, though, if you make a habit of reading LanceMannion.com you’re going to bump into a lot of the same people again and again and just as in the analog world it’s a good policy to remember that people have lives of their own and their rhymes and their reasons. Treat them accordingly, that is, as individuals.
7. Proceed from the assumption that others have read what you’ve read and have thought about the things you’ve thought about and care about the things you care about, it just might have slipped their minds at the moment or they came to other conclusions or that they have other things worrying them.
8. Be civil, be polite, be understanding. Remember that most people cannot hear the sound of their own writing in their heads and make allowances. Remember that most comments are written on the fly by people who don’t have time to craft a little essay. Assume whatever makes you mad is the result of a mistake on the commenter’s part or on your own. People get things wrong and it’s ok to point it out, but keep in mind they don’t mean to be wrong, they don’t like to be wrong, and they’re usually not happy to find out that they’re wrong. In short, be kind and be gentle and be graceful.
9. You should feel free to tell me when I’m all wet, but there’s no reason for you to take it personally that I liked a movie you hated or hated a book you loved or that I don’t think the world is going to hell in a handcart for the exact same reasons you think it is. Everything I write here is just my opinion, so what do you care? I’m like Zaphod Beeblebrox. I’m just some guy, you know?
10. If you’re going to enjoy this blog you should know who Zaphod Beeblebrox is. Also, Sam Vimes, Gussie Fink-Nottle, Kilgore Trout, Newman Noggs, Sebastian Moran, and Stephanie Plum. And that the Duke of Oxford did not write Hamlet or any of the other plays.
11. Please read the whole post before commenting and try not to skim. I know time’s an issue and the intertubes encourage it, but I put a lot of time and thought and effort and care into my writing and I get really ticked off when I’m accused of saying something I didn’t say or told I should have made a point I did in fact make.
Welcome to all new readers! Thanks for stopping by. And thanks to all of you for reading the blog.
The doctor says it’s nothing. The blonde thinks I have a bit of a cold. I know for a fact I have double pneumonia plus a trace of malaria plus a rare bronchial disorder that medical researchers will someday name in my memory.
But please keep checking back in. I may survive to blog again.
Lot of you in the Northeast were probably in the same situation we were in the last few days, without heat and electricity thanks to Saturday’s snowstorm. We lost power Saturday afternoon and it didn’t come back on until yesterday. We muddled through, suffering some inconvenience but no serious damage, and I hope you can all report the same. But no power = no internet, and that explains why no posts since Saturday. That doesn’t mean that no blogging occurred.
Our intrepid staff of ace reporters, hard-nosed editors, and crackerjack researchers remained at their posts, 24/7. Huddled under blankets in the dark, working by flashlights and candles, they scribbled away furiously in notebooks, the result being a big batch of posts waiting to be typed up and published. For example: we’ll have a couple of book reviews for you, one of Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend by Susan Orlean and, for all you Terry Pratchett fans, a review of Sir Terry’s latest Discworld novel, Snuff!
There’ll be something up every day through the weekend---some days, there’ll be two somethings, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, if you’re inclined, you can catch up with posts from October you might have missed.
Ok, time to get typing. A heads up, though. As I warned back in the spring, November’s Fundraising Month. I’ll try not to be too pushy about it, but the donation button will be at the top of the page most days, so, if you enjoy what goes on here and would like to help keep the blog going strong and you can swing it, please consider making a donation. It’d be much appreciated.
Thank you for your support and thank you for reading the blog.
Rain and more rain, washing out roads, closing schools. Our backyard’s a swamp. Won’t say our street’s swimmable, but ducks and geese are gathering on the lawns with expectant looks in their eyes. More water in our basement than we had during the hurricane. Pulling on the waders and donning storm gear, preparing to go down there. Might have to inflate the rubber raft. If I’m not back and blogging in a hour, alert the Coast Guard.
Greetings from the Barnes & Noble near the old Mannion Homestead where we’ve been visiting with Mom and Pop Mannion. Power went out yesterday and is still not back on. But that was the worst of it for us. I hope those of you who were in Irene’s path weathered it as well as we did with as little damage to property, limb, nerves, and peace of mind.
We’re heading back to Mannionville this afternoon where, we’re told, the power stayed on through the worst of it. Regular blogging should resume tomorrow then.
Unfollowed a well-known political reporter on Twitter this morning. He was twittering about what would happen if the GOP Presidential campaign came down a contest between Rick Perry and Sarah Palin. I swear, if these people were sportswriters they’d be covering their own fantasy football leagues.
I decided to unfollow every journalist and pundit who tweets banal and vacuous insiderisms and horse race stuff.
Problem is, if I unfollow all the journalists tweeting banal and vacuous insiderisms, then I might as well unfollow everybody who tweets to complain about the banal and vacuous insiderisms these people tweet.
If you're in NYC and you've parked in a garage, and the attendant in the booth has the Yankee game on, and the Yankees are losing, and the attendant is looking glum about it because he's rooting for the Yanks, and you're a Red Sox fan, you don't say to the guy who has the keys to your car, "ALL RIGHT!" and do a fist pump.
First rule: At any store that employs a clerk you look forward to having wait on you and a clerk you dread having to deal with, the second clerk will work a schedule such that he or she is behind the counter six times out of ten when you have to shop at that store while the first clerk works a schedule such that you three out of the four times he or she is on duty when you step up to the counter he or she will either be waiting on someone else, get called away by the manager just before it’s your turn, or is going off shift.
Second rule: The first clerk will always leave to take another job first. He or she will be replaced by another clerk you enjoy having wait on you who will work the same schedule as the previous clerk.
Based on the most recent observations, made within the last half hour during a detailed cleaning of the interior of a typical Kenmore refrigerator, it’s clear that certain items stored in a refrigerator will, while unobserved, cause themselves to leak and even spill and those spills can defy gravity and flow upwards.