Spring cleaning provokes random thoughts, odds and ends

Occasionally desks and hard drives become so cluttered that sanity demands they be cleaned up. That describes the state of my work space at the moment. My desk is filled with various notes to myself, newspaper clippings and magazine articles. And there are too many sites bookmarked on my hard drive for reasons long since forgotten.

On top of that a column deadline is staring me in the face. So it must be time for the random-thoughts-about-a-lot-of-unrelated-issues column. By the time you read this, my desk and hard drive should be spotless and neatly arranged. Or at least in a little better shape than now. Call it spring cleaning.

Here, in no particular order, are some things to ponder, laugh at, scream at, or ignore, all inspired by something on my real or virtual desktop:

✓ Comedy Central signed a deal with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert that means their shows, “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” will be on the air at least through the 2012 election. That’s wonderful news for those of us who are fans of Stewart and Colbert and for those of who don’t like to watch Fox News. Stewart, in particular, does a masterful job of skewering the conservative network. Pointing out Fox’s hypocrisy has become an almost-daily staple of The Daily Show. Obviously Stewart and/or his writers spend a lot of time watching Fox. That’s good. It means I have no reason to waste time doing it. They can watch it for me. Now if someone would do the same for MSNBC.

✓ An acquaintance who is a Realtor thinks, as do a lot of people, that there are glimmers of hope in the Grand Valley real estate market. Like a lot of Realtors, I suspect, he’s a conservative Republican. He told me the only thing that has kept real estate alive in Mesa County during the past year or two has been the federal stimulus, and the tax breaks to first-time homebuyers it provides. Without it, he said, activity, which was dismal enough as it was, would have been moribund, if not dead.  The conversation never got around to how we’re going to pay for the stimulus. But for real estate agents around here who have seen their business plummet for the past couple of years, any business, regardless of where the money comes from, is good.

✓ Last week I wrote about one of this year’s Pulitzer Prize winner’s connection to The Daily Sentinel. Another story out of this year’s Pulitzer competition was about a publication that didn’t win. But the fact that The National Enquirer, that staple of grocery checkout lines and the grand-daddy of tabloid journalism in the United States, was considered at all was news itself. The Enquirer submitted its work on erstwhile presidential candidate John Edwards’ infidelity. That it was seriously considered, for those of us who grew up reading, writing and editing mainstream newspapers, was indeed a sign of the apocalypse. Like it or not, the Enquirer broke a major story.

✓ It may not have reached western Colorado yet — and maybe it never will. But, according to The New York Times, the days of casual Fridays, or casual any days at all, are over. Men, the Times said, and particularly younger men, are more fashion conscious than ever. In fact, The Times said, these days it’s likely to be the aging Boomers in the office who are the more fashion-challenged, while the youngsters look like they just finished a photo shoot at GQ. The Times credited television shows such as Mad Men for the renewed interest in style by young males. Somehow I can’t see that happening around here. I remember many years ago at a seminar of a bunch of newspaper editors the subject of dress codes came up for some reason. An editor from Guam summed up the state of style and dress codes in newsrooms, when he said at his shop, management insisted that everyone wear clothes. No exceptions.

Denny Herzog is the retired executive editor of The Daily Sentinel. E-mail him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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