Just not good

TUESDAY UPDATE: NYT’s “The Lede” continues to publish as things develop. The Washington Post posts excerpts from student blogs. But more interesting than all of this are the Second Life virtual memorial services. Extremely creepy.

You’ve heard it all day, but I still feel remiss not mentioning it… hearing that there is a gunman in a school barely registered when I awoke this morning. Reports said that at least one was killed, a tragic number but not an epic number. But then the number swelled, ending at 21 32 dead. This firmly places it as the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history.

Since details are always sketchy in breaking news events, most news organizations are trying out rapid-fire updating as the story develops.

+ The New York Times
+ The Roanoke Times

This means most local news takes a backseat, making for a very slow Monday at work. How are you?

Thursday disappointment

When you pay $2 for One World Cafe to hand you a wax cup containing hot water and a unopened tea bag (not even loose-leaf,) you are forgiven if you despair.

Somehow, my headache has disappeared.

Rishika said at 8:32pm
crumple the cup, throw it on the floor, knock the table over and scream “LAME!” and then walk out
it’ll be great, trust me


MOM: Pass the wine, please. I want to become crazy.
GRANDMOTHER: Did you see the politics? It made me angry.
DAD: Me, too. When it was over, I had sex.
UNCLE: Iā€™m having sex right now.
DAD: We all are.

– excerpt from “The Wisdom of Children” by Simon Rich in The New Yorker Magazine


I’m on the hunt for flood features, exploring backroads adjacent to the swollen Illinois River Monday afternoon. Perhaps it was the plentiful water that made me thirsty, but a stop at Happy Thought Coffee in Chillicothe became necessary. I asked for a cold drink, not needing to be more specific.

“I’m very proud of my iced mochas,” said the portly 30-ish man from behind the counter. His suspenders, joining his black dress slacks to the pressed white shirt, told me he was serious. “If you don’t like it, you can pour it over my head.”

He said it so matter-of-factly, seemingly not concerned if it actually happened or not. His curly hair remained dry.

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Obama lama ding dong

It’s obvious that I’m a bad host of ofadam. Not only do I disappear for weeks at a time, I leave you with scattered pieces of material that most people would use to wipe their snotty noses with and then throw into the trash.

So I was looking through the tiny scraps of paper that accumulate in my pockets and realized that I never told you about Obama. You’ve heard of him, yes, but you’ve never met him. And now I can say that I saw him with my own eyes.

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Left bar at nearly 2 a.m. and heard commotion on police scanner.
A shooting on the south side of Peoria, in the RiverWest projects.
I pick up my cameras at home and race over there.
Dozens of police cars, crime scene tape.
I’m yelled at by several cops, who claim I’m in the crime scene.
I back up, shooting pictures the entire time.
Two subjects are arrested.
I drive home and slip into bed.

Update No room in Monday edition for photo. Time to cry?

The future of MY newspaper

Here at the Journal Star in Peoria, we’re getting the sour taste of being bandied about and prettied up before our parent (Copley Press) sells us off.

A locally-owned and then employee-owned paper until just 11 years ago, the Journal Star eventually made those employee-owners too rich. They cashed out, en masse, taking much of the money with them. So it was decided to put the paper up for sale. Copley Press, whose San Diego Union Tribune is their flagship, purchased the JS for $175 million and added it to the other Illinois papers they owned. Employees feared the worst, bracing for massive cuts and hoping to retain editorial control. But the Copley family would be a good steward, increasing the Journal Star‘s philanthropic reach and keeping the operations at status quo.

But there’s more.

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