vote fraud, live on!

This morning, like a good citizen, I voted. I was in the Richardson city hall on business and saw the early voting booth there. It was one of those newfangled electronic ballots, and I got through most of the 16 screens of candidates before coming to our local congressional race.
Context: A year ago, my boss was off on a rant about how young reporters aren’t as invested in their communities as old-timers are. As proof, he asked me who my congressional representative was. I didn’t know. And I felt like an ass. So I quickly went to find out: it’s District 30’s Eddie Bernice Johnson, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. I made sure to remember her, if only because of the shame brought by my boss’ comments.
Anyway, so this morning I’m voting and get to where I should be voting for Eddie or her opponent Ron Bush. But instead I see incumbent Sam Johnson and challenger Manny Molera.
Who are these people? Having heard of neither, I think: Are you sure you live in Eddie Bernice Johnson’s district? Eddie Johnson, Sam Johnson — you cracking up, JB?
I voted anyway and left the polling place. Got back to the office and checked: I am indeed in Eddie Johnson’s district, not Sam Johnson’s. The Richardson voting booth I was at, however, is in Sam Johnson’s. So I voted illegally in an election after being given a faulty ballot.
I called the county elections office, and their response was, roughly: tough noogies.
Maybe I should move to Florida.

blah blah blah

If I were a columnist, this would be my “random musings” Larry King-style column.
The swarm of CDs continues to envelope me — another day, another hernia for my friendly neighborhood postal carrier. Thankfully, Thomas has volunteered to burn me a batch of discs, in exchange for my left kidney. Thanks!
Wisconsin was wonderful — out near Lake Michigan in this beautiful wooded area, in this gorgeous Frank Lloyd Wright house.
I am in sports nirvana. I root for three teams: the New Orleans Saints in football, the San Francisco Giants in baseball, and the North Carolina Tar Heels in college basketball. The Saints are 6-1 and on top of the league. The Giants are in the World Series. And the Tar Heels, well, the Tar Heels haven’t started their season yet. But two out of three, hey, not bad!
Got up early this morning to go see my Little Brother at school, only to realize I was there on the wrong day. (His school uses an A/B block schedule, and they had a day off I didn’t know about last week — that screwed up everything.)

shift article and cdmom update

Never mind re: Shift — here it is, by one Sylvia Nalli-Petta, which for some reason strikes me as a particularly Torontonian name.
“Dallas newspaper reporter Josh Benton runs, a weblog and ‘CD mix of the month club.’ Users exchange burned CDs: Send off one custom compilation and Josh reciprocates with one of his own. Snail mail two CDs and he adds another crabwalk-er’s mix to the envelope. Effort is made to match musical tastes, so Blur fans don’t wind up with an earful of Cibo Matto.”
Generally dead on, but are Blur fans really that far away from Cibo Matto fans? I mean, I put both acts on my June mix. I suppose Blur fans are, on the whole, more likely to brawl with a Gallagher brother, while Cibo Matto’s are more likely to sing lullabies about food. But they’re not exactly different universes.
And to be honest, the effort to match up musical tastes is pretty minimal — Blurheads and Cibophiles invariably get stuck in the same pool. I divide the CDs I get in the mail into four stacks:
– Stupendous, momentous, mixes that shake my very soul to the core, then rebuild it from the bricks of great music.
– Solid, enjoyable mixes that have great tracks and an attention to detail.
– Eh, I’ll look past the Bryan Adams track. The Whitney Houston’s pushing it, though.
– Seriously, have you ever heard anything other than Hits 102? Did you look at my track listings and still think that Kid Rock and O-Town would be a good idea for trade bait? Actually, do you still think Kid Rock and O-Town are good ideas, period?
Those who send me CDs that end up in Pile No. 1 get No. 1 discs in return. Twos get twos, etc. (And no, I won’t tell you what stack your CD got put into — that’s a corporate secret.)
In case you’re wondering, more than 375 people have signed up for the October trade since the mix club was mentioned on Daily Candy a few weeks ago. (I got more than 17,000 hits in 24 hours.) All my waking hours the last few weeks have been filled burning CDs, folding liner notes, stuffing envelopes, updating a big unwieldy database, answering email questions, and paying lots of postage. Delicious irony: With my car CD player stolen not long ago, I never have time to listen to CDs any more.

back from blogging break, happy hour, shift magazine

Sadness is discovering that that 9:30 a.m. flight you thought you had tomorrow is actually a 7 a.m. flight.
Really, I’m alive, I swear, despite my non-posting habits of late. Rumors of regime change at are not based in fact, even if such a move remains the standing policy of the Bush administration. My cloistered super-duper-ultra-secret work assignment is complete. If I wasn’t jetting off to lovely Racine, Wisconsin, tomorrow, I’d be back on the blogging crack. As it is, you’ll have to wait until Monday for a full return to mid-season form.
After skipping last month’s, I went to the DFWblogs happy hour last night. It’s amazing what you can miss in such a short time — lots of hot tubbing, mostly, but presumably other things as well. The grand tradition of interblogger incest has continued to thrive. Good to see y’all again.
Finally, I hear a rumor that this site is mentioned in this month’s Shift magazine. Anyone have a copy to verify or contradict that? (It’s in the Shift 75.) If so, this joins my CBC appearance this summer in my continuing quest to dominate all Canadian media. Watch your back, Saskatoon.

project h week begins

This week, I’m being locked in a small computerless room. Supposedly, it’s for my own good and the good of the company. Personally, I think they’re trying to drive me insane. Perhaps both those statements are true. In any event, don’t count on any mid-day updates this week.
Spent the weekend in Louisiana, checking out hurricane damage. More to come if I get around to it. Leaving Friday morning for Wisconsin, in case anyone needs any cheese delivered.
Here’s my story on today’s front page.

ladies of sports journalism

Andy Rooney doesn’t like women as sideline reporters at NFL games. (What, you expected different from Andy?) He made his comments on The Boomer Esiason Show last week.
As if often the case, Andy’s takes the nugget of an idea way too far. He’s right that, for better or worse, the trend to female sideline reporters the last few years is largely driven by producers who want to give young male viewers eye candy. (Melissa Stark…vroom vroom.) Notice it’s the sideline reporters — who actually get seen during the game — who are now often women, not the disembodied voices in the telecast booth. It’s just like the men and women who get to anchor local TV news because they’re cuties, not because they’re evoking the ghost of Edward R. Murrow.
But that said, some of women are actually quite good. Andrea Kremer rocks, for instance. Bonnie Bernstein knows what’s up. Leslie Visser‘s lost a step, but she’s still legit. And Suzy Kolber pulls off the smokin’-hot-smart-jock thing very well.
Unfortunately, dear sweet Melissa, while welcome to visit HQ anytime she likes, knows about as much football as my grandmother. Linda Cohn‘s a ditz, Jill Arrington‘s completely without clue, and Jillian Barberie‘s an idiot.
Just about the only reasonable thing Andy Rooney said last week was in response to the criticism over his sexist comments. “What are they going to do, fire me from The Boomer Esiason Show?” Good point, Andy.

dean smith retires, five years later

Five years ago today, I teared up a little while walking down a Columbus, Ohio, street. I’d just read that my hero, the Greatest Man in the History of Organized Sport, was retiring. Dean Smith was (is!) a giant among men.
His athletic accomplishments were many — winning more games than any other college basketball coach in history for starters, along with two national championships. He produced great players at the University of North Carolina, led of course by Michael Jordan but others like Phil Ford, James Worthy, Sam Perkins, Vince Carter, and many more. If my memory serves me correctly, the last 12 NBA championship teams have all had at least one of Dean’s former players on them.
But his greatness goes far beyond the court. When he was an assistant coach in the 1950s and his black friends weren’t allowed in certain restaurants, he’d bring them out to dinner and integrate the place himself. (What Chapel Hill restaurant would turn away Dean Smith?) He broke the color barrier for all of Southern sports by being the first to recruit black players. His players were the model of class, graceful and grateful because Dean required them to be. And unlike at so many basketball factories, his players graduated — more than 96 percent of them over his almost 40 years. He created the tradition — now used at schools nationwide — of Senior Day, where seniors start their last home game, even if they’re the worst of the benchwarmers, as a thank you for all they’ve done. Even little things: whenever you see a player score a basket then point at the passer who got him the ball in thanks, that’s because Dean invented it. Same with teammates huddling at the free-throw line during a break in play.
He’s a brilliant basketball mind — his technical basketball book is the best selling of all time — and was a constant innovator on the court. But on top of that, he’s just a brilliant, well-read man. (A former math major, at that.)
Dean, since I’m sure you’re a reader: you the man.