May 9, 2009

Cancer strikes again too close to my home

Was it playing in the neighborhood park? Did we expose them to something on joint vacations? Or feed them bad food at family meals?

My daughter and I joke, coming up with all sorts of reasons as to why a cousin who just turned 25, also has cancer. Humor helps us.

But we also have questions: Second opinions? Tests to see if it has spread? How many cases of people your age has the doctor handled? Some we share, but some we hold on to, knowing it is too overwhelming to hear everything at once.

We remember the newly diagnosed woman being amazed that my daughter got out of bed every day, found things to laugh about and carried on. "I could never do that, she said. Now, she will.

I watch my daughter log onto the Internet, heading to her favorite cancer sites. That's how I learn she's been answering questions on a forum. She says her experiences now can help others necause so many of the others with camcer had it long ago. As she shares some of her current answers, I learn about some early fears and worries that escaped my mother radar.

Finally, I have to ask her to stop. No more questions. No more guesses. No more fears. I need space to breathe, I need sleep to rewire my brain. I need to pretend life is wonderful for just a little while.

She lets the three yelpers out for the last dog run of the night, turns and asks me why.

Yeah, why?

May 7, 2009

55th movie critic gone; the honor of names

An email alerted a blogger that another movie critic
will no longer review movies for $$.

What I like best is the list that ends the post. The names, with what publication, the date and why, helps me recall the people behind the stark numbers.

Is anyone building a list of Michigan journalists who have been bought out, laid off, leaving or left? I remember when writers publically said goodbye to the community. Or an editor would do a roundup of farewells.

Ex-Newhouse reporter sees Virgin Mary in coffee stain

Jonathan Tilove was a reporter for more than 30 years, most of them at the Newhouse bureau in Washington. He's been bouncing around lately as one news operation after another has given up on reporting in Washington D.C.

Over on Romenesko's share of Poynter Online, he shares a photo of the coffee stain that looks like the Virgin Mary to him as well as his tale of traveling from news organization to news organization to .... Now this! New career? Or is someone pulling my leg again.

And oh, how folks are talking about this one in Oh Good God ... and Vision of Mary saves journalist can start you off.

...and who is that patron saint of journalism anyways? And do buyouts, layoffs and kickouts include compenstation for depression counseling?

Related posts:
Search uncovers danger

May 6, 2009

Speaking of swine, did you see this Pearl?

I routinely use bits of comics in cards that I make. I admire cartoonists for their ability to sum up the complex simply. Did you see this on newspaper experimentation? Pearls Before Swine

Actually, the latest Sunday funnies had quite a field day with newspapers. Besides Pearls before Swine, newspapers popped up in Garfeld, and Crankshaft. Do you think cartoonists are worried about a shrinking number of smaller newspapers on fewer days.

One last thing on swine flu. We are armed with a prescription just in case the flu symptoms strike and we can't get into a doctor. We got it the day we watched how quickly a sore toe became infected. (Oh, MRSA how I hate you.) Within two hours of thinking her toe hurt, my daughter was able to see a doctor and get started on a treatment that brought her fever down enough that Tuesday's chemo was done.

There even was a bonus - one of the nurses on the toe visit recently had a masectomy so that visit became part support group meeting.

Search uncovers danger: Syracuse Communications School

Imagine my surprise when an an item from The Web Town Observer blog reported an upcoming name change at Syracuse University.
My first reaction was that it seemed odd that a place that benefitted so much from the family would choose now when the family business is in turmoil to yank Si Newhouse's name off its School of Communication.

I know that journalism schools are trying to signal that they are with the times and being named after a non-print person certainly could help.

But since naming honors usually involve donations I wanted to know how much the new honoree donated. That's when I confirmed the whole entry was only clever writing.

Oh well, the searches gave me a chance to really explore the Syracuse site.

May 5, 2009

Obits by phone comes up in Delta College's FM Forum

Michigan editor John Hiner tells a radio audience of a plan to make obituary information available via phone.

The statement came during a discussion of changes coming to The Bay City Times, The Flint Journal (where I once worked) and The Saginaw News.

Hiner, who serves as executive editor of the three Booth (Advance Publications) newspapers tells readers to watch for an upcoming announcement in comments under a video recently posted

(One of the last things I did for The Journal was shut down a service that delivered local weather, lottery numbers, music of local bands, breaking news and other information by phone.

Still working when I left was Newsline, a service through the National Federation of the Blind that converted all editorial newspaper content and paid obituaries to audio files on demand. Those files also were retrieved via a touchtone phone. Earlier, The Journal had worked with a Flint non-profit that first organized volunteers who read the news.

Michigan editor on replacement staff in Bay City, Flint, Saginaw

Michigan editor John Hiner responds to my questions on an ad for Valley Publishing
and replacement staff at three newspapers in comments attached to a post explaining upcoming changes at The Flint Journal (where I once worked), The Saginaw News and The Bay City Times.

An April 24 post here started the conversation.

freefromeditors: Flint Journal pension is frozen, not terminated

Todd Seibt helped clear up some confusion over pensions from The Flint Journal in  
freefromeditors: Pension is frozen, not terminated

Seibt explained he was told that the plan stands, will be funded but is frozen. The paperwork employees and retirees received is required b the government and explains "what COULD happen, not what WILL happen."

Head to Pension is frozen, not terminated for the rest of the explanation, including an explanation of the sources.

The Flint Journal is part of the Advance Publications chain of newspapers.