Monthly Archives: July 2009

“Marketplace” the future of journalism

Ira Glass, host of “This American Life” and object of my man-crush, looks forward to a journalism world “where you would have the tone of The Daily Show — talking in normal language, but they would be real reporters,” said according to a Dallas newspaper. I think he’s coyly talking about his friends at “Marketplace.”

Jon Stewart, host of “The Daily Show” and object of my other man-crush (I’ve got a thing for skinny, graying, nerdy white guys), is snarky, honest and entertaining. I’d argue you will learn more watching 30 minutes of the Daily Show than any given 30 minutes of CNN.

You’ll also be informed and entertained “Marketplace” also is snarky, honest and entertaining. I have gone from tossing out the business section of the newspaper to going out of my way to listen to business news on Marketplace. Check out the show. Yes, it’s a business news show and yes, you could spend days on here playing games, reading stories and listening to podcasts.


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The four albums I can’t stop playing

weakerthans-fallowI have been listening to the same four CDs for about two weeks now (yeah, I still listen to CDs). IMHO, four of the best albums of all time.

• The Weakerthans have yet to go wrong with their wonderfully thoughtful, literary and catchy pop songs. I could have picked any disc at random. I have probably listened to each of their albums for about a month straight.

Fleet-Foxes-Fleet-Foxes-433077• The Fleet Foxes live up to the hype. They are like a more consistently solid CSN, redefined for a new century.


• If you like country or rock and haven’t heard Uncle Tupelo, put down everything, buy their four albums and hit yourself for wasting your life up to this point. Also, Wilco fans, click on the album link for a great picture of a long-haired 25-year-old Tweedy.


• Lucinda Williams’ masterpiece was about 10 years in the making. Legend has it she went through three producers before finding a recording that met her standards. Now she has remastered the album for a deluxe edition. Huh?

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Jon Stewart is the new Cronkite, the Onion is the new communist mouthpiece and USA Today is the new muckraker. WTF?

080325-F-6684S-771.jpgIt’s been a strange couple of days in journalism news (but isn’t every day?). Consider these headlines*:

1. Jon Stewart is the new “most trusted man in America” — or at least the most trusted news-man. He topped an online poll about trusted newscasters. Looking at the map, he even wins in red states that generally disagree with his liberal bent. But a huge number of Americans appreciate “the Daily Show” for admitting its biases and calling out the cable news networks for their sorry, biased and uninformative excuses for news coverage. To be fair, these self-selecting online polls are pretty meaningless. Continue reading

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This one time … at humanist camp

I finally have a place to send my non-existent children in the summer. There is a chain of summer camps for humanists, or atheists or seculars or brights or whatever you call us (there is a big debate in the non-religious community — and it is a big community — over nomenclature). There’s a great column in this week’s “Economist” (and what’s not great in the Economist?) about Camp Quest, where kids have all the s’more-makin’, arrow-shootin’, ghost-story tellin’ fun of camps with crosses and chapels. But they also get to try and prove there aren’t any unicorns in the forest (point is that it’s hard to prove a negative, but you can teach the kids how to try).

Of course, by the time my non-existent children are old enough for camp, the U.S. will probably be a Chinese colony or we’ll have year-round school. While I read the column, I couldn’t get NOFX’s “Anarchy Camp” out of my head. Stupid song, but funny and catchy. “Christiania’s kinda far away so come along with me.” Enjoy.

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Filed under Humanism, Personal

Wilco suit update

Nudie Suit

The Wilco “Nudie” suits are back — at least one of them. Jeff Tweedy dons his fabulous suit with the good-luck cat on the cover of the new Spin Magazine. The other unusual and exciting thing: Tweedy is actually smiling.

Don’t go looking for more photos on the Spin site. They haven’t updated for the August issue yet. They’re still hung up on the July edition and the 25th anniversary of “Purple Rain.” We get it already. There were two good albums in the 80s — “Thriller” and “Purple Rain,” both by men who only grew stranger with time. And the “Thriller” guy died last month. Did you hear about that?

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Let your kids tend the garden

If you are having trouble keeping vegetables and flowers alive, I recommend having a 7-year-old feed them. My niece was here this weekend. I asked her to help me feed the vegetables and the rose garden with some water and plant food.


She worked very diligently and helped our plants thrive. Here is the rose garden the day after she watered. We’ve never had more than two wilty roses on this bush. Now it’s a beautiful blooming rose bush. We also found six new tomatoes and a new eggplant bloom in the veggie garden. The kid’s got the magic touch and a green thumb.

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A small victory: I stopped at 7-11 to get a granola bar (and mostly to get cash) before going up to the state park (which charges an entrance fee) and I found out that 7-11 is giving away baby Slurpees today.

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