Archive for May, 2009|Monthly archive page

Art imitates life

leg_embroidery_noframeWell, my outrageous coworker Neal decided to hone his embroidery skills during my ongoing recuperation from a broken leg.
He has embroidered – in startling and accurate detail – the x-ray image of my left leg, posted here for your viewing pleasure. I’m not sure that I would have chosen that image for an embroidery project, but I’m proudly displaying the framed embroidery in my cubicle at work.
We appreciate all the support we get.

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The Globe has almost lost me…

Yesterday’s Boston Globe included an insert that outlined increased charges. The weekly cost of home delivery is going up to $12.50 a week. I didn’t know where my tipping point was with price vs. my emotional ties to reading a daily paper. $12.50 was it. More than $50/month for home delivery is just too much. (The current monthly subscription is $35.16.)
I called the Globe (1-888-my-globe) to cancel my subscription (of 24+ years). The rep immediately offered me a 25% reduction for 12 weeks.
I’d be more sympathetic if the Globe truly acknowledged that they’re in an end-game. I don’t see them making efforts to move their readers to the Web – they’ve tossed most of their one-time stellar crew of writers and columnists overboard and are patching big holes in the hull with Cheez Doodles and duct tape. The recent rally focused on job preservation, not the Fourth Estate’s historic role as government watchdog.
I can already get the national and international news online – it’s the local stuff that nobody’s really covering. The thin little Globe covers some State House stuff, some sensational stuff, but clearly lacks the staff to really monitor Boston politics (what is the deal with Menino and Boston’s machine politics?).
I took the deal, but I’m a short-timer.

Lessons from a Broken Leg

I’ve been railing against the gods, in resentment that my broken leg has become my entire universe. The 4+ months I’ve spent so far (mostly on the couch in the TV room) and the prospect of still more surgery and recuperation has offered a rich opportunity to whine.
It’s certainly true that the sudden change in mobility is a factor in almost every action but, in a conversation with my good friend Eleanor, I realized that a number of revelations and insights have emerged during my unplanned couch time. Dare I call them blessings?
I’m going to start a list here and add to it as additional insights emerge.
#1 – My sweet tooth just seems to have been left behind on the icy steps last January. Yeah, I eat a few ginger snaps every once in a while, but the raging desire for refined sugar is pretty much absent.
#2 – I’ve lost weight, no doubt in part due to #1 above. True, most of weight loss seems to be due to the departure of muscle tone in my left leg, but I’ll take whatever I can get in that department. A silver lining: it’s such a hassle to get up and crutch to the kitchen that I’ve pretty much stopped snacking between meals.

#3 – I’ve learned (grudgingly) to accept help from kind-hearted folks. My fierce desire to be free of dependence on others has subsided. All those delivered meals, grocery runs, household chores, and supportive phone calls and emails – from my church community, my neighbors, co-workers, and long-time friends – have driven home the point that I cannot be all that independent. Nor should I try to be. I’m such a fan of community, one would think that I’d learned this lesson long ago.
#4 – Live in the moment. This is a big-time lesson. Every estimate I’ve made (for healing, mobility, etc.) has proven wrong; every prediction I’ve made has proved false (or overly optimistic); my hopes for fast healing have been dashed on the rocks. Just be here, now. Accept.

Goodbye to the Boston Globe?

Today’s the NY Times’ deadline for Globe management to reduce costs by a bundle; the Globe has asked for more time. They had a (pretty limp) rally recently, at which the union members expressed their desire to retain their jobs. Not much talk about concessions, and very little chat about the Fourth Estate or the print media’s noble mission of keeping our elected officials honest.
The Globe’s value proposition is failing – I’ve subscribed to the Globe for 24+ years, currently paying about $35/month for 7-day-a-week home delivery (all those juicy deals are for new subscribers). With the iterative staff reductions and reorgs over the past several years, the paper is pretty thin and increasingly less informative. Most of the columnists are gone, local reporting staff is much diminished, and the paper relies heavily on news service feeds for national and international news. There is less and less coverage of any but the biggest stories with Boston or Massachusetts government, and investigative reporting is diminished.
Current media wisdom holds that the future of local media is to become hyperlocal. Let go of the national and international news, which is covered on line and on TV, and provide intensive online coverage of local communities and neighborhoods. Well, boston.com, the Globe’s online news, covers Newton, Needham, Waltham, and Wellesley. I think Reading is probably far down on its list.
Granted, as I wait for my broken leg to heal, I’m consuming far more television than I ever have previously. MSNBC is on most of the day, I’m online most of the day, and I usually catch the local 6 o’clock news, so I’m getting a lot of news from different sources.
But I love the tactile experience of reading the daily paper. It’s a very different consumption of information: I re-read stories, flip pages at will, and generally retain information more by reading it on paper. I love critiquing the daily paper’s coverage against the principles I learned as a Journalism major. I love the back-and-forth of intelligent, insightful commentators. The Boston Globe once provided a really rich, informative experience.
Yeah, there’s an immediacy to TV and online, but I get tired of the showbiz marketing overlay to the news.
I wonder what the NYT will decide. I’m sad.