The Long Boot

December 2, 2008

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DEMPSEY’S RECORD | What handicap?

I’m reading “A Few Seconds of Panic,” the story of sportswriter Stefan Fatsis’ turn as a kicker for the Denver Broncos during the team’s 2006 training camps. It’s a George Plimpton/Paper Lion-like telling of months Fatsis spent in preparation to turn his 43-year-old body into an athlete’s body, taking his years of experience playing recreational soccer and making himself into a kicker who can boot 40-yard field goals. It’s a great book, especially the insights into the lives of pro football players trying to make the team and keep their jobs…

I’m not much of a football fan anymore, but Fatsis’ stories about the fascinating Jason Elam – the former Pro Bowl kicker for Denver – made me think about Tom Dempsey. Elam tied Dempsey’s NFL record with a 63-yard field goal in 1998; Dempsey, who was born with a deformed foot (see above) and hand, booted his in 1970. Here’s a video of the kick, which I saw on TV as a seven-year-old…


Global Warming Now ‘Climate Change’

November 24, 2008

AND IT’S GETTING COLDER…

If you follow the reporting on global warming, which the powers that be are now calling “climate change,” you’ll be interested to read The Washington Times’ piece on the subject from Friday’s edition here.


The Presidential Debates…In Case You Missed Them

November 18, 2008

Synchronized debating by Sens. Obama and McCain…

Watch the video here.


On Screen: Another Will Smith Gem

November 14, 2008

Lots of good, promising films coming out between now and Christmas. “Seven Pounds,” starring Will Smith, looks great. Here’s the trailer…


On Screen: Transporter 3

November 12, 2008

COMPLETE THE MISSION | In theaters Nov. 26

Shoot ’em up car-chasing thrillers generally aren’t my thing, but it’s hard not to love the Jason Statham and the “Transporter” series.

The third installment comes out in a few weeks…


The Racist & Backwoods Herald

November 6, 2008

IN THE HERALD | ‘It’s a d*#^ shame!’

http://media.podhoster.com/therant/racistcall.mp3″

The voice mail message (click on the “play” button to hear it – be forewarned that it contains cursing) above came in on our after-hours voice mailbox from a caller who didn’t identify herself. She was upset with our front page Wednesday – mad that we pictured presidential loser John McCain along with our new President-elect, Barack Obama. She says that because of The Herald’s racism – we’re racist because we pictured McCain – she’s going to call on subscribers in Lee County and all over central North Carolina to cancel their subscriptions.

You can read Editor Billy Liggett’s take on the message here.

frontFrom my listening of the message, she seemed to be upset mostly because she thought the big “story” on the front page was tied to the McCain photo. She saw the “cutline” or caption under the Obama photo and must have thought that little bit was all we had to say about our new president…and because the story (actually about Obama’s win) was wrapped around a McCain photo, she associated that with a story about McCain. The two photos (and the captions) and the story are all part of one package; the dominant photo (of Obama) goes hand-in-hand with the headline and the story. Maybe she later read the story and changed her mind, but if so, she didn’t call us to let us know…

Judge for yourself. I had a hard time with this one. I don’t see us including a picture of the “other” presidential candidate on the front page as racist or “backwoods.” (By the way, it was Jerry Lewis, the comic actor, not Jerry Lee Lewis, the cousin-marrying musician and entertainer, who talked about Sanford being backwoods a few years ago…)

Billy, on his blog, explained that we had an early deadline for Wednesday’s. With just a short AP story available to us, and the page already designed, he had limited time and options for finishing it up. I thought the page looked great and that our election coverage in general was very good. (For a look at how other North Carolina papers displayed this historic news, go here. Most papers had Obama on the front; just a few had both Obama and McCain.)

Tuesday was historic, and people all over the country were buying up copies of Wednesday’s newspapers as collectors’ items. We sold out of our single copies even though we had a larger-than-usual press run.

Any election will stir emotions. But as I told a good friend of mine today – who, incidentally, dislikes McCain so much she’s going to frame our front page with his picture snipped out – a chief component of racism is stereotyping. Racism is simply discrimination based on conventional notions (stereotypes) that are wrong. In this case, I think the caller was also wrong. She saw the McCain photo on the front page and made a judgment without asking all the pertinent questions.

Maybe she’ll call back before calling the rest of our readers…


Life Under Obama

November 5, 2008

One Nation, Under Obama…

Just a little something for my cousin Brenda, who thinks life in the Obama administration won’t be fun…