nigeria stories on the way

Self-promotion alert: If all goes according to plan, this weekend’s papers will be silly with Nigeria stories, all produced by yours truly.
There should be two in Saturday’s paper — one on page 1 and one on the cover of the religion section — and another one on page 1 Sunday. I think they’re pretty interesting — all on Nigerian religion. The Sunday one you’ll particularly like, I bet.
So go buy some newspapers and support my employer’s bottom line.

meme me

Just because I don’t normally do as I’m told, I’ll throw a little curve ball and follow orders for a change.
Total volume of music files on my computer: 124.54 GB (28,519 songs). Almost alarming. And I’ve got another 100 CDs or so left to rip — not to mention the 1,000-plus old CDMOM discs sitting in boxes on my floor.
The last CD I bought was: Quasimoto’s “The Further Adventures of Lord Quas.”
Song playing right now: “Supernova” by Liz Phair. Ah, college.
Five songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me: Well, here are the five most played, according to iTunes:
“King of Carrot Flowers, Parts 2 & 3,” Neutral Milk Hotel
“Fruit Tree,” Nick Drake
“California One/Youth and Beauty Brigade,” The Decemberists
“The Rat,” The Walkmen
“My Favourite Chords,” The Weakerthans

ben bradlee on newspapers, sf chron

Ben Bradlee, the man all newspaperfolk secretly want to be, on the state of contemporary newspapers: “And the newspapers that are left are far better than they were. Jesus Christ, if you looked at the Washington Post in the ’60s, the design was terrible, they were terrible to read and the level of writing and reporting was nowhere near as good, either.”
I always say this when some nonthinker starts going off about how much better newspapers used to be. Go back and look at some of the tripe that landed on doorsteps decades ago — it’s not pretty.
Interesting, though, that the Bradlee interview is with the San Francisco Chronicle — since Bradlee is forever linked to perhaps the biggest diss ever meted out to an American newspaper. In All the President’s Men — the classic movie version of how Bradlee’s Washington Post broke Watergate — the Bradlee character (played by Jason Robards) is being pitched an idea for a new newspaper feature. The idea: A column for people who were too drunk to notice what the weather was like yesterday.
Bradlee responds dismissively: “Send it out to the San Francisco Chronicle — they need it.
As a Chron guy wrote not long ago: “[T]he San Francisco Chronicle never really deserved as bad a reputation as it’s had. A lot of people date that reputation to a specific line that Ben Bradlee uttered in ‘All the President’s Men’…It’s so dismissive that ever since then I think it’s tarred our reputation. Every national media story about the Chronicle mentions that little anecdote. It’s sort of our claim to fame.”
As in here, for instance.

the birth of huey

For those of you wondering what I ended up choosing as a naming system for my new computer — which, by the way, is such a HOT SEXX MACHINE THAT I CAN BARELY STAND IT — I settled on exactly none of your suggestions. Sorry.
Instead, I stuck with the spirit of my previous Louisiana-theme schema and christened my new G5 Huey. Its second internal hard drive is Earl.
That’s right: The new naming system is members of the Long family, longtime kings of Louisiana politics.
Huey and Earl are the obvious first two choices, but there are plenty of other good future possibilities out there, like Russell, Gillis, Rose, George, and Speedy. (Perfect for that hot external burner I’ll buy someday.)
Hell, maybe even Blaze.

wilmer-hutchins today

Here’s my story from today’s front page. It feels like a culmination of a lot of other stories I’ve written:
For the fourth time since November, Wilmer-Hutchins teachers will have a new superintendent to call boss. But this time they’ll have an entirely new school board, too.
State Education Commissioner Shirley Neeley swept into the troubled district Thursday and swept out the seven-member school board that has overseen the district’s financial collapse.
The district’s new leadership has been assigned a pressing task: Determine quickly whether there’s anything salvageable in Wilmer-Hutchins schools, which are swimming in debt, indictments and scandal. Otherwise, Dr. Neeley said, the district will be shut down, perhaps very quickly.
‘This community no longer trusts the sitting board with its children or its money,’ she said. ‘Whatever decision the team makes, the decision will be one of permanency. No more Band-Aids. No more quick fixes.’…
Dr. Neeley had first proposed the housecleaning in March, when a Texas Education Agency investigation found that 22 of the district’s elementary school teachers were helping students improperly on the state’s TAKS test. That investigation was prompted by stories in The Dallas Morning News that alleged widespread cheating in the district.
‘This is inexcusable, illegal, unprofessional, unethical and unacceptable behavior,'” Dr. Neeley said.

new pernice brothers album

Streaming version of the new Pernice Brothers album, out June 14. At first listen, it sounds like their transition to a Smiths tribute band is just about complete.
You didn’t hear it from me, but if you’re a real fan, preorder it here and get a bonus comic strip about the band.
While you’re on the web site, pick up Nobody’s Watching, their live album/DVD, too. I really, really like it — it’s the rougher rock side of the Pernices that only shows up in the live shows these days. “Flaming Wreck” will rock your drawers off.