Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Time for a game: Match the column excerpt to the columnist!

At hand: Nathan Rushton, Glenn Franco Simmons, John Driscoll, Rich Somerville, James Faulk.


1. The lion cub froze, poised either to run or perhaps to launch itself at my inquisitive hound. I kept one hand on the study walking stick I always hike with, made myself as large as possible, and commanded Nellie, "Come!" Because she's a well-trained girl, she trotted to my side, although she kept one suspicious eye on what, to her, must have seemed a tempting subject to harass. But a mountain lion cub, although deceptively cute, is a far cry from a house cat. I didn't want Nellie to find that out the hard way. Hikers should beware of lions of all sizes -- and make sure to only bring absolutely obedient dogs on allowed wilderness trails.


2. It was brought to my attention that a local blog said some critical words about our paper. Well, I don't think it's bad at all. I've think everyone is happy. Really happy. Like one big family. I should know, I've worked at more newspapers than anyone else at the paper. So that blogger obviously doesn't know what he's talking about.


3. This is the deal, people: you say it, we print it. "Off the record" is for weenies. Now, I've sat through a lot of these political meetings and talked to a fair number of politicians and I'll tell you, a little sophistication about these matters would go a long way. 'Nuff said. As for the rest of this column, well, sometimes there's not a lot to say. So, gimme a whiskey, ginger ale on the side. And don't be stingy, baby.


4. As a journalist, I can't help but be critical of other journalists. This may be of no interest to you, dear reader, but bear with me. See, sometimes I get upset because other reporters write about themselves. Or they utilize their connections to get a better story. Not fair! But maybe you don't care about that. Maybe you shouldn't even read this column, then. If you're still with me, though, first I'll digress. You'll recall from My Cats, part Three, that we last left Johas perched on the sofa...


5. I have recently received emails from numerous people if I would allow my reporters to do any stories which strayed from our mission to deliver the news on the best paper possible. My answer is no, we would not. If a story cannot justify our very expensive ink, then it would be unfair to our readers to take that chance. I do not believe in gimmicks to increase readership, which is built over time and is based on solid paper. The kind of paper that allows us to run gigantuan photos and large font. This is what soldiers die to protect, and I believe to honor them by printing on anything lesser is an injustice at best and unethical besides.

Redhead blows town

From the ER staff digs comes the news that Ms.Rebecca S. Bender's long-delayed departure is scheduled to happen by August. Reactions from the movie set range from sadness ("We're losing one of our best reporters!" "Who will make fun of the Features section with us?!") to glee ("Only one more month!"). Apparently a margarita party is in the works, but which faction is throwing it isn't clear...

In any case, when it comes to the reporting of democracy inaction, the always stylish carrot-topped Bender can't be beat. GFS'll be hard-pressed to replace her.

(She's not bad with monkeys either.)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

They're like, totally alternative!

From The Journal's Town Dandy:

"The North Coast Journal had been deemed worthy of admission into the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, journalism's most exclusive fraternity...we were very nearly done in by the sickly remnants of our public service mission. Here's what the AAN membership committee had to say about the Journal: '[I]t's a little too rah-rah -- take, for example, the story about the local food co-op and how wonderful it is for the community.'... Luckily it appears that our team's heroic imbibery in Portland more than made up for our sometimes schmaltzy, substandard copy."

From the AAN, regarding its member papers: "What ties them all together are point-of-view-reporting; the use of strong, direct language; a tolerance for individual freedoms and social differences; and an eagerness to report news that many mainstream media outlets would rather ignore.

Well, obviously The Journal qualifies!

Point-of-view-reporting? Check! The Journal's Bob Doran is the master of the point of view – in fact, we're not sure he knows how to write without incorporating the first-person pov.

"...when I called him at a Bozeman motel."
"In the '80s and early '90s when I was chef at the Silver Lining..."
"In 1994, I was hired as assistant manager for the about-to-open WildPlatter Café..."
"On my way to town that Saturday morning I ran into a couple..."

Strong, direct language?
Check, again!
And again, Doran does his part:
"...the potential fine for saying fuck or shit or some other arbitrarily banned word is huge."
"Rooster McClintock getting all twangy and shit on Saturday..."
"All I can say is, what the fuck?"

Tolerance for individual freedoms and social differences? News ignored by mainstream media? Checkity check! In fact, only five words are needed to remind us all of The Journal's hard-edged reporting and vital journalistic contribution to the social diversity of the North Coast community: "What's up with your hair?"

Confidential to Arcade of Scribes

Regarding: "Yesterday, I stopped by the Sacred Grounds Coffee House in Arcata requiring a refill for the home stash. To my dismay, the doors were closed. The tables and chairs were gone. What once was a vibrant community meeting place now sported misplaced restaurant machinery, brooms and piles of dust on its floors. What the hell happened?"

You might consider reading the Arcata rags.

Like the Eye, for example.

"Sacred Grounds Organic Coffee Roasters at the corner of Seventh and F streets, will close on June 16."

Or, The Journal.

"It may not be summer-related, but Sacred Grounds is closing for good after one more week."

And, Karen Wilkinson of the Times-Standard also had the story!

"Sacred Grounds will close its doors next month after falling sales, rising overhead and competition became too much to keep the coffee shop a fruitful Arcata business..."


Ah... memory lane.

But where were we?

Oh, yeah – here. Someone needs to update their circ figs.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Body count

From the front lines.

T-S hanging tough despite dungeon-like work conditions.

ER remains "unscathed by the daily pounding."

In other news, Somerville on diet?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Fish in a barrel

We could mock the ER's headline choices, but a bit of amusement from this one still lingers.

We could tease the thin-skinned Ms. Muller about the fact that after her dramatic coverage of the intersection where the mountain lion was sighted, the actual killing of the beast was reported via press release.

But that's too easy.

Let's turn our attention to the T-S. An ER-sized photo with a fairly gripping lead and story by the ever-golden John Driscoll. The photo's a little weak -- we'd love to see "DRAMATIC REENACTMENT!" screaming across the top -- especially for something that large that doesn't actually show anything. The juxtaposition of "Lion killed in Arcata neighborhood" next to the teaser "11-Year-Old Killed By Bear While Camping" headline works well, however. (Er, unfortunately well, that is.)

Rising T-S star Thadeus Greenson continues his solid coverage of the Teen Challenge brouhaha, although we must say, "There seems to be a bit of confusion surrounding..." seems to be a bit weak. Why not go with "Some confusion surrounds..."?

We abhor the passive.

But quibbles... quibbles... What else?... Faulk sets us up nicely, like the opening scene in one of those movies he's always going on about: "Not feeling his best..."

'Course the ER's got the bone and the McCoveys.

Suddenly we feel so very content.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Make it stop

*shake out the kinks*

And... Monday?! Whoa. And, whew. Just goes to show, you spend the weekend... imbibing ...and find yourself Monday morning with either a stale blog or a hot-off-the-press-and-ready-for-distribution Arcata Eye. Although, speaking of stale, while the print edition of Arcata's most mildly objectionable rag is as full of creamy-goodness-with-a-kick as Pacific Rim's Wasabi Sauce, the site offers one lone news story from last Tuesday's issue.

Not that we're unwilling to fork over the dollar. Or nickels and pennies as the case may be.

But back to the boozing. Unlike the bar-hopping Terrence McNally, perhaps Nathan Rushton saw too many ugly drunks during his former bartending stint... Perhaps the reins at the ER are simply too tight and the days of a journalist keeping a flask in his desk are, sadly, long gone. But we at the NCP think -- barring a predeliction toward alcoholism -- ol'Nate could use some liquid inspiration. Maybe he'd be funnier. Maybe he'd be sharper. But this whole writing about nothing thing? Not working.

We're sure the young and earnest Mr. Rushton is immensely likeable. He can write a news story. Today's about the bees? Good stuff. Much like the T-S' immigration stories from last week, it's a local angle on a national problem -- in this case, a national mystery.

So we wonder, does the ER require a little slice of life from all its reporters? 'Cause just like the colored jeans on Casual Fridays, not everyone can pull'em off.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Speaking of credit...

Mostly kicked ass, that is.

From Wednesday's The Journal: "When the other shoe dropped, it did so very quietly. On Monday afternoon, not even Eureka city officials knew that relatives of Cheri Lyn Moore had finally made good on their threat to sue the city and members of its police department. This despite the fact that the federal suit had been filed in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago."

Yesterday in the Humboldt Herald.

From today's T-S: Moore wrongful death suit filed

Today in the ER.

Credit where credit's due

Times-Standard kicking ass this week.

Well-written and relevant reporting. What started as breaking news was followed up and contextualized. Illegal immigration is all over the national news. The T-S gave readers a solid and, we can't emphasize enough, well-written, look at how deeply the issue affects us locally.

Well-played, Thaddeus. Well-played.

Oops, we almost forgot. The ER has some news, too.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Worth somewhat less than 1,000 words

"A sign posted at Jacoby Creek Elementary School on Wednesday stated a mountain lion had been seen earlier that day on Hyland Avenue, directly across the street from the school."

What, no frightened school children to photograph? Couldn't get a picture of the actual sign posted? Even another file photo would've been something!

Where's that Tyson Ritter when you need him?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

a social experiment, con't

Dear Readers,
We at the NCP don't mind anonymity – obviously. But we do prefer that one assumes a single identity with which to associate one's words. If one can't use one's real name for professional or personal reasons, we grok that. But the next best option, we have felt and continue to feel, is to adopt a nom de plume for reasons of consistency and at least a semblance of accountability. Simply spewing forth nasty comments is oh-so boring.

For that reason, we initially chose to limit comments to registered users. Some of you liked that. But others made reasonable argument (see jdublyou) advocating open commenting, so we agreed to try it out.

, for what it's worth, the numbers went up when the comment restrictions came off – but not so dramatically we feel compelled to continue this experiment. We still prefer our initial stance.


Thank you.

Today's word problem – with clarification

U.S. Census stats reveal a few interesting details that might've flavored today's ER story a bit differently if they'd been included.

"Ten-year Humboldt County employee Kim Kerr confirmed Tuesday that she has taken a job as city manager of Ione, a municipality of roughly 7,500 residents located halfway between Sacramento and Stockton."

7,500 is a bit of an overstatement, but that's not the juicy part. Check this out: Ione's population is 80 percent male! But ladies, don't start packing -- no, the reason so many men reside in Ione is not an especially enlightened attitude toward homosexual men, but the fact that of the 7,129 residents, over 4,000 of'em are incarcerated. (The underage portion of those are here.)

So, if one County employee moves to a town of over 7,000 but over half of those residents are in correctional institutions, how many people will she truly manage?

Ms. Muller obtained population information from the City of Ione – information more current than the 2,000 census, she explained. We can dig that.

So of those additional 500 (or thereabouts) new residents, how many are town citizens and how many are new prisoners? We wonder.

And one more clarification – the numbers intrigue us, but we wish Ms. Kerr the best. Those summers'll be quite a change.

First the flag, now this?

We were pondering a post over at the Herald, trying to put our fingers on what was really bothering us about the ER billboard.

Oh yeah, now we remember: "...The North Coast Railroad Authority has canceled its lease for several billboards to CBS Outdoor, which reportedly has not responded and has done nothing to remove the signs."

Does this mean the ER's billboard is illegal?

Maybe someone should reorganize Keep Eureka Beautiful?
"The committee works hard behinds the scenes to reduce the proliferation of billboards. Recently the committee halted new construction of one billboard and had four others removed.'We prevented one gigantic billboard from going in at the south end of town,' said McKeegan. 'It would have been 32 feet high mounted, 48 feet wide and 14 feet high -- double-faced and illuminated. It would have been the Goliath of billboards.'"

Keep Eureka Beautiful should not be confused with Clean Up Eureka (CUE IV).

Nice one, T-S


The Republican Duck Hunter and former Lumberjackian done right good.

In other news, Happy Homes!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

a brief social experiment

Anyone (i.e. non-registered and anonymous) may post comments for the moment.
This is most likely not permanent as we generally encourage good writing and discourage the illiterate spewing of hate.

Ready... set... go!

Ab-so-lutely fabulous, we're sure

Oyster beer joins lineup for Arcata festival
"...this year's festival has a few new things on tap...the first Oyster Shuck and Swallow Contest. The new contest will see professional shuckers teamed with amateur eaters to see who can down the most oysters in the allotted time period. Also new this year will be oyster beer, a savory concoction of beer, tomato and clam juice, which Stockton called fabulous and a natural fit for the festival."

Thaddeus writes well, but "Shuck and Swallow"? Who comes up with these things?

Oh, apparently these people.

And oyster beer? Blech. Does that pass the breakfast test?
We at the NCP think not. In fact, we're going to go lie down now.

Well, if she was 14

Plea may add more time to accused child molester's sentence

"The initial charges against Toomey, 28, of Redway, consist of one count of a lewd act with a child under the age of 14 and two counts of lewd acts with a child, age 14 or 15, when the perpetrator is more than 10 years older. Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey Schwartz said the proposed plea agreement... alleges 10 charges: one count of a lewd act with a child, age 14 or 15, when the perpetrator is more than 10 years older; and nine other counts regarding unlawful sexual intercourse.

Brown said the new charges listed in the plea agreement carry a maximum penalty of 12 years in state prison — the maximum prison sentence Toomey could have faced if convicted of his initial charges was nine years, four months.

“We feel these charges more accurately (reflect) the age of the (victim),” Brown said... With regard to whether the alleged female victim was 13 or 14 when the crimes were alleged to have been committed, Schwartz said both the defense and prosecution are “in total agreement” that the crimes occurred when the girl was 14.

However, Schwartz said, “the state of the evidence is that it’s a disputable issue” with regard to whether the crimes began when the girl was 13."

Is anyone else dizzy yet?

The audacity

Nothing serious at Redwood Run
Nothing serious?!

Gregg Allman?
Joan Jett?
Molly Hatchet?
Izzy Osborne?

"The CHP said speed was a factor in the wreck that sent Maureen Bell, 44, to a hospital via helicopter. Though the exact cause of the crash is under investigation, the CHP believes speed was “strong” factor in the single vehicle crash."

Apparently, speed was a factor.

It's almost like no one takes him seriously

RSB's wastewater rate hike story lingers in the stately News section of the ER, whereas poor Nathan's waste rate hike story (very similiar, wouldn't you say?) appears in the ever-so-much-less respectable Features section.

And this, when he's still likely smarting from yesterday.

We'd be searching for a message in a bottle, indeed. Preferably one containing a fine, aged, amber liquid of choice.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Hmmm... Sane and literate?

"Are you sane and literate? The Arcata Eye is looking for a couple of volunteer proofreaders to help us with ensuring that the usual quota of seven typographical errors per page is not exceeded.

"If you can read, aren't crazy, don't smell bad and want to spend a few hours helping us with the paper tonight, Sunday, June 10 starting at 6 or 7 p.m., call (707) 826-7000 and reserve a slot."


If this describes you, perhaps you can make a reservation for a future volunteer proofreading session. The job sounds tough, real tough, but the opportunity to soak in the ambiance of the Eye just might be worth it.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Talk about your tourist trap

Letters, we get letters... Or in this case, postcards.

Of course, they'll need to spiff up the design a bit.
(Pssst... This doesn't look worthy of your design department! What gives?! Awaiting your reply... PM.)

Ah... context is everything. Thank you.

What we have here...

From today's T-S' Good news, bad news (And have we mentioned how that title makes us cringe from a cliché-induced headache every Sunday?):

"To the tree-sitter who postponed the felling of a redwood tree over U.S. Highway 101. If you're going to do it, do it. You spared the tree an extra three whole days..."

Yo, Rich! James already did this one.
(As did Heraldo.)

"...Loop should have waited in line with the rest of the crowd for the public comment period... Eureka Mayor Virginia Bass... was right to crack her gavel... but should have taken Loop to task as well."

What? No "Loop" puns? "Loop short-circuits crowd's temper"? "Bass out of the Loop"? (In fact, there's gotta be a Bass-Loop something in there somewhere, too! Hither to thy copywriters!)

"To the Sequoia Zoo Foundation, which is hosting the Brew at the Zoo at 6 this evening..."

Well, isn't this awkward? See, BatZ took place last night. (Nice photo, Daniel. You're gonna work out real well.)

"To State Senator Pat Wiggins and State Assemblywoman Patty Berg and their Advertisement staffs, who worked hard this week to get their meaningful bills through their respective houses..."

Patty Berg? You mean this Patty Berg: "Eureka Assemblywoman Patty Berg's office said they hadn't heard about the legislation, even though she is on record as having voted for it" – that Patty Berg?

Friday, June 8, 2007

They're killing us

"Assisted suicide bill dies"

To recap: "If there is one thing that most newspapers need, it is more sophistication.” – Rich Somerville

Thursday, June 7, 2007

(Alleged) Dirty, rotten shin-kicker caught!

We sure hope he gives the nickels and dimes back.

Ah, Room 207

Eureka City Council to look at Teen Challenge appeal this evening

"...On Tuesday, the City Council heard from the applicant and appellant, as well as from the City Council Chamber’s capacity crowd, which spilled into Room 207."
There is such a thing as being too specific.

More pun and games from the T-S

Police hoping for illumination on lamp theft
($2,000 for a lamp?!)

How about "Homeowners hopes for safe lamp return dimmed"?

OK, we'll stop.

We really enjoyed the "Dope Beats" headline

A while back, in the May 3, 2007 issue to be exact, the Journal formerly known as The North Coast ran a column by in-house media critic Marcy Burstner aka Media Maven, in which she berated The Eureka Reporter, The Times-Standard and her own NCJ for their weak dope stories. (No mention of The Arcata Eye's then-recent stories, though. Did she miss them? Or decide they were beyond criticism?)

(Hmmm... As we re-read, we're noticing some inconsistencies, such as MM accusing the ER of missing the "Legalize Pot Now!" protest when, in fact, they covered it. And how can she be sure she has "the cleanest urine in Humboldt County?" Doesn't she need at least two sources to confirm that? But we digress.)

She offers starter questions for reporters interested in doing a more comprehensive dope story: "How much more do people pay in rent because indoor growers pump up prices? How much money does PG&E pocket because of all the electricity consumed? How much are indoor growers adding to global warming because of all that hydroponic lighting? How does a conscientious grower do it right?"

This week, as things are wont to do in small towns, The Journal gets somewhat incestuous – this week's (guest) Town Dandy answers at least some of those questions posed by Burstner three months ago. Meanwhile, this week's MM column highlights Humboldt's high school reporters, plus Burstner's own (and here interests overlap again) Lumberjackians. But we applaud her kudos to the kids and look forward to The Journal's upcoming feature, The Children are Our Future.

Reporting on oneself is so rarely done gracefully

"Oh, yeah? Well, we're... we're... we're gonna get our mom! And she's gonna tell you!"
From the T-S: Ruling on legal notices is appealed

"The Times-Standard has appealed a judge's approval of The Eureka Reporter as a publisher of Humboldt County legal notices.

The Times-Standard challenged the free daily's claim that it qualifies as a newspaper of general circulation under California law, arguing that it does not meet the legal requirement of having paid subscribers. Superior Court Judge J. Michael Brown on April 9 ruled that voluntary donors meet the qualification, and approved The Eureka Reporter's petition.

...the prices the ER proposes to charge for legal notices are lower than those charged by several local weekly newspapers, which depend on revenue from legal ads much more than we do. We think the ER is playing the bully here. The local weeklies might not have the wherewithal to contest the local Advertisement court's decision, but we do.”

Other general circulation publications in the county that qualify to print legal notices include the Arcata Eye, Ferndale Enterprise, McKinleyville Press, North Coast Journal, and Humboldt Beacon."
Yeah, so take that, ER!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Whither Rebecca S.? – updated

For months, keeping up with the staff turnover at the ER reminded us of playing slots in Vegas. In a certain casino we prefer, where the machines are a bit... loose.

But for weeks, no drama – at least none that has escaped.

Or has an escape been made? Not dramatic, perhaps, the expected departure of Ms. Remarkable S. Bender -- she who was plucked from the Eye and allegedly accepted to numerous Ivy League grad schools of her choice

Certainly a blow to the crew of the Reporter.

We haven't seen her since May.
Update: As noted in the comments below – thank you – Ms. Bender continues to soldier on at the ER – although with those prospects, how long is anyone's guess.

Then again, the ER courted her hard from the beginning – perhaps they'll even let her flaunt the dress code if she agrees to stay.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The fat one likes us!

(Thanks to Heraldo for the link.)

"Thank you, blogdom, for supplying us news dungeon dwellers with another blogger to while away the hours.
I encourage full participation in the dialogue there, as this person has taken a good stand in my mind: anonymous comments are not allowed. So all of you who want to opine about Nick Bravo will have to name yourselves and will therefore forever be defined by your fetish.

Said blogger is funny, smart, and irreverent


"therefore forever be defined by your fetish"
– Mmmmmm, James, we love it when you talk like that.

Now say something in Russian.

Thank goodness for the Humboldt brain trust

Because when it comes to gunning down massive boars, the relevance to Humboldt County cannot be overstated.

And when President Bush and his war team think al-Qaida, you know it's the ER they turn to first.

Then again, given the owners' proclivity for political donations and resulting influence, perhaps the ER shows up on the porch of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue just as it does the 22,000 lawns closer to home.


Thanks for clearing that up, Rich

From the Endless Somerville desk:

"In last week's column, my commentary about headline cliches was about newspapers in general, and not about the Times-Standard. In fact, we have some good wordsmiths on our copy desk who know when to pun and when to play it straight. Some favorite recent headlines:

'Trails Day celebration afoot.'
'County keeps safety on DA rifle request.'
'Bill would let highway billboards shine.'
'Giants get flushed in Flushing.'

("Flushed in Flushing"

We need to lie down now.

Monday, June 4, 2007

A challenging read

The ER gets a point for having the story first. (ER 1, TS 0)

Fred followed up on his blog.

And only today, three days later, does the T-S take a look at Eureka's own Jesus Camp.

But when it comes to the billionaire-funded upstart vs. the traditional corporate rag, first doesn't always mean better.

What we do get (besides the de rigeur parenthetical) are two angles on one story. Unsurprisingly, the ER takes the Christian angle: Is RTC bound to cut the Jesus from their program?

But God help us poor readers trying to figure out what's going on from Wendy Butler!

From the ER:
Redwood Teen Challenge’s philosophy could be compromised, Director Fred Lamberson III said, per a state or county alcohol/drug treatment license.
Teen Challenge is not governmentally licensed nor does it have any licensed medical staff, and the only on-site counselors are those trained at Teen Challenge.
Nevertheless, Teen Challenge, by virtue of contracts with its participants, often receives state or federal money from avenues such as Social Security, disability, tax refunds or Supplemental Security Income. If a participant cannot pay the cost of $1,400 per month (room, board and other rehabilitation services), they must agree to give Teen Challenge 85 percent of the cost of the above-mentioned services.

Something's going on. If only Butler, oh, conveyed it.


Meanwhile, over at the T-S, Thaddeus Greenson, who has now had time to not only take a different approach, but you know, actually write the story in a way that makes sense.

EUREKA -- At first, Kari Swearingen didn't seem to have any problem with a substance abuse treatment facility moving into an abandoned church building just a few doors down from her house.
”I think that it's a good thing,” she said on the stoop of her brightly painted Wabash home. “I'm not one to say, 'not in my backyard.' Look around. There's people on drugs, and I feel good about having a place to get people off drugs.”
Informed that the Redwood Teen Challenge facility would include 50 beds, making it one of the largest -- if not the biggest -- residential treatment program in Humboldt County, Swearingen appeared taken aback.

Ah, so a big drug-and-alcohol treatment center is being placed in a neighborhood without input from the people who live there? Got it.

(ER 1, TS 1)

Saturday, June 2, 2007

But how important is original content really?

Going head-to-head, mano-a-mano, balls-to-the-wall (er, no that doesn't really work), one-on-one in the Saturday news competition, we offer you the ritzy-glitzy Eureka Reporter vs. the scruffy and often overweight Times-Standard!

For our first click, the ER! Tops on the "News" page, it's... Human Rights Commission seeks members! Followed quickly by Fortuna council considers new bonds! And what's that? Group to host 'Dismantling Corporate Rule' workshop?! Awesome! For the final punch... Humboldt Heroes! Yeah!

Can the T-S beat these four oh-so-sexy press releases? We're talking about Saturday after all, when civilized people are catching baddies at the Beau Pre. But let's take a looksee at the ol'T-Stand.

Hammond Trail gap to be filled this summer. Ooh, chalk one up for the Driscollator! Next up, we have Leaning tree will lean no more Go, go Chris Durant! What's that? A whale spotted in the bay? Does Driscoll ever sleep?! And in the four-hole... it's Karina Gianola with Bike competition set for Sunday! That's right folks, four bylines in a row!

Judges, your decision, please?
Tick tock tick tock...

(And yes, we realize the ER print edition offers a big photo and front page story about Redwood Teen Challenge’s philosophy. In return we offer two things: first, Tyson Ritter takes very nice pictures; second, drink up!)

Loves us some fatty dank super vegans!

Leaving Arcata and the Stepford Hippies
"Arcata: Ian (drummer) was hanging out in the Weinlander taking a load off when a frantic young woman approached, and with hands on either side of the door, inserted her dreadlocked head into the van.... She asked Ian, “Have you seen a guy walking around? he’s about 6 foot, with dreads, brown carhart pants and a black jacket and backpack.” The answer to that question was one of quippy simplicity: Yes, I’ve seen him about 50 times today.

What we realize is that young men and women of their early 20s make pilgrimages to Humbolt [sic] County. They set out on a journey with the intention of discovering themselves, and the world, through a unique life of nomadic travel, rich doobage, and bumming change to buy the occasional fatty dank super vegan pre-made spinach wrap at the local co-op.

In Humbolt [sic] County, however, they are no longer outside of mainstream society—they are the mainstream. They’re all the same! There’s no one to bum change from because everyone is already trying to bum a dollar. They’ve all traveled the majestic distance to live independent “fuck the system” lives, and ended up in a total system of their own." – John Weinland


But what about the feces! Don't forget the feces!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Journalism and good writing do not have to be mutually exclusive

Bringing policies up to date – a critique

We here at the NCP believe that while news stories differ stylistically from "creative" writing, a reporter should still strive to write in an interesting and compelling manner both as a courtesy to readers and to provide those readers an incentive to continue gleaning news from that particular source.

This proves especially true when writing an opinion column or features story.

For example, from today's T-S:

The office of the Humboldt County district attorney made public its “use of force” policy this week, after initially claiming it was not a public document. It was a good decision. Such a policy provides guidelines for use of force to reduce indecision in a crisis situation. Plus, as the California Peace Officers’ Association says, it helps create public confidence in law enforcement.

We also feel a sense of assurance that the county, before giving its approval for the district attorney to buy investigators eight AR-15 assault rifles, is asking for an updating and modernization of the use of force policy, and that Chief Investigator Mike Hislop is planning to ramp up weapons training for his people from once a year to four times a year.

The rationale for making sure that investigators have state-of-the-art equipment, including weapons, is sound. In a county such as ours, with a lot of wild remote corners hiding Mexican cartel pot farms and meth labs, officers should be ready for surprises.

But it’s important that, in its policy update, the district attorney’s office view its role as investigators and not enforcers. They’re not Lone Rangers, and have plenty of trained backup to support them.


That's a lot of "its"/"it's," awkward phrasing and passive verbs. Granted, people talk in such a manner, but professional writing should be held to a higher standard.

Let's see if we can improve the T-S editorial.

The Humboldt County District Attorney’s office backpedaled from an earlier stance this week, making public its “use of force” policy after initially denying to release the document. We support this decision. Such a policiy not only provides guidelines for use of force to reduce indecision in a crisis situation, but also helps create public confidence in law enforcement.

We are also reassured that the county, before approving the district attorney's request to buy investigators eight AR-15 assault rifles, seeks an updating and modernization of the use of force policy, and that Chief Investigator Mike Hislop plans to ramp up weapons training for his people from once a year to four times a year.

Ensuring that investigators have state-of-the-art equipment, including weapons, is reasonable. With rural, remote corners hiding Mexican cartel pot farms and meth labs, officers should be ready for surprises.

But in its policy update, the district attorney’s office must remain investigators, not enforcers.

(Now, here we have a real problem. The final sentence is, “They’re not Lone Rangers, and have plenty of trained backup to support them,” but “They’re” and “them” refer to the “district attorney’s office,” which has heretofore been, correctly, reduced to the pronoun “it.” And how can "they" be "Lone Rangers"? If you have more than one ranger, then that ranger is no longer "lone"! Oh, what to do, what to do?...)

– we already have plenty of trained backup to support district attorney staff.

Enh. We tried.

Wouldn't it be more like poked in the Eye?

”We need every nickel and dime we can get -- it really hurts us,” Hoover said. “We're struggling, we count our pennies around here and this is a big blow for us.”...”I think there's a special level of hell reserved for someone who... kicked the little hometown paper in the shins... ” Hoover said.

Hard times for what's been referred to as the most relevant read in the county.

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The Arcata Eye
P.O. Box 451
Arcata, CA USA 95518.

Make mine a triple!


Does Nathan ever misses the salad days of the Alibi? In any case, he looks sharper under the Arkley dress code than in a Hawaiian shirt.

At the very least, someone please buy the guy a drink -- or... wait... we feel inspiration bubbling up from within... here goes... We're going to start our own ER drinking game! For every story that ends with a parenthetical, bottoms up! (If the words "Security National" or "Rob and Cherie Arkley" are included, that goes double.)