Friday, February 27, 2009

A sad day

So today, Denver becomes a one newspaper town. After nearly 150 years as Colorado's original newspaper, the Rocky Mountain News dies after today's edition. Employees found Thursday that after Friday, they wouldn't have a job.

It's hard to find the words to express my feelings here. I spent 12 years working in print journalism, and I've seen it become an increasingly difficult business to remain viable. I once made the statement as a cub reporter in Olean, N.Y. that the Internet would save newspapers because people would have the ability to access their "hometown" news from anywhere in the world when they wanted to. Some papers, mainly the uber-large ones like the New York Times have been able to pull enough revenue from the Web to remain viable.

Most have not. The inability to draw revenue from the Web is killing newspapers, not saving them. A former colleague of mine, the last columnist Joan Dickinson, vehemently disagreed with me when I made my comment about the Web saving newspapers. In later years she changed her stance. Joan, I think you were right after all.

The Rocky tried to change with the times, moving to a tabloid format and entering into a joint operating agreement with the Denver Post in 2001. Obviously it wasn't enough.

I fear for my friends and colleagues who remain in print journalism. These are uncertain times. More newspapers will die. The Tucson Citizen is closing in March. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is on life support. Unless print finds a way to adapt to a rapidly changing world - and now - it's days are numbered.

And people may then come to realize they miss the relaxation of their morning paper and the ink on their fingers.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sweater vests and mountain peaks

Pikes Peak 2, originally uploaded by shuksan73.

OK, I get it. The Broncos are huge here. They're so big they make Buffalo's support for the Bills look like a pee-wee team. You can't go ANYWHERE in this town without seeing orange and blue.

I can appreciate, I really can, but can we please, please, please, ditch the most annoying McDonald's commercial in the world? For the uninitiated, let me explain.

The commercial looks like a press conference with quarterback Jay Cutler (who's really good, by the way). Cutler asks for the next question and a kid who looks to be about 10 in a sweater vest starts asking about the McDonald's Dollar Menu.

I'll let YouTube take you the rest of the way.

It's a nice commercial, it really is. But it's on 17,000 times a day. I've almost seen more of this kid than McCain or Obama. And in a swing state, that's nearly impossible. I just can't watch it anymore. But with the Broncos off to the start they are, I might have to until February.
Please, someone, come with a new one. The batteries in my remote are wearing out from changing the channel.

It's my policy to include a photo with every entry. This one's of Pikes Peak near Palmer, Lake Colo., a very small town about 25 miles north of Colorado Springs . I went on a little expedition before going to my cousin's to watch the Bills game (thank you DirectTV).

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Bulls and balloons

Cowboy, originally uploaded by shuksan73.

I visited the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo and the Colorado Springs Balloon Festival in (you guessed it) Colorado Springs over the Labor Day weekend.

The state fairgrounds is in the middle of a neighborhood in Pueblo surrounded by a pink adobe wall. Very typically western. Inside you'll find all the usual trappings of a fair, animal shows, crafts, rides, and of course food, food, and more food. It's not the biggest fair in the world, and dwarfed by the New York State Fair, but still an enjoyable way to spend a Saturday.

Most of that food's not much different than what you'll find anywhere back East, with one notable exception: the Rocky Mountain oyster. For the uninitiated, let me explain. The Rocky Mountain oyster is to put gently dear reader, the male parts of a bull; rolled in flour and deep-fried. They are considered be many to be quite a delicacy in these parts, but to this transplant, not something I can quite wrap my mouth around just yet., if ever.

On to giant gasbags, and no this isn't a commentary on politics. The Colorado Springs Balloon Classic featured more than 70 balloons soaring against the backdrop of Pikes Peak.

If you've never seen a balloon rally, I highly suggest changing that. I'm not really sure why it's cool, but it's cool. The bright colors, the noise of the propane jets, the friendliness of it all make for a great experience. Plus the sunrise was beautiful.

This balloon with the cowboy riding a bucking bronco came right overhead, offering this interesting perspective.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Not a New York kind of storm

Colorado Storm 2, originally uploaded by shuksan73.

OK, so as a newbie to Colorado, the thunderstorms here take a little getting used to. Here they are a whole different level than New York storms. One minute it's a beautiful day, the next there's a tornado warning. If you're reading this post from the Midwest you're probably laughing at me, but for a transplanted Northeasterner, it's quite the experience.

I've never seen the Emergency Alert System actually come on the TV for tornadoes before. There's a certain level of anticipation as you wonder where the warning's for. Will I be headed for the bathtub with the cat or is it business as usual? I guess if you hear sirens, it's time to head for the hills.

During the opening ceremony of the Olympics a storm dropped almost 3 inches of rain in less than a hour. I've never seen it rain so hard. And bad luck for the local NBC station, a lightning strike took out their audio for the ceremony prompting a flood of irate calls, letters and e-mails from people incensed TV doesn't control the weather.

For the record this storm was about 10-15 miles east of where I was and moving away. It produced some spectacular lightning which always seemed to just elude the camera.