‘Now more than ever’
The winners of the 2002 Michigan AP Editorial Association newswriting, newsphoto and graphics contest were announced today. A news column written by li’l ol me about standardized testing won second place in Division I (up to 15,000 circulation).

Other Gazette nods include Steve Neavling’s coverage of the Rainbow Family gathering in Ewen last summer (2nd place, sustained coverage of a single news event), Zac Anderson’s story breaking down the ins and outs of standardized testing (3rd place, public service) and Dave Strang’s photographs from the Copper Country Firefighter’s tournament (3rd place, picture stories).

Steve and I won a previous AP award for our joint coverage of the attempted firebombing at Michigan Tech University in 2001 (3rd place, sustained coverage). It’s nice to be honored, but there’s more work to do.

[Edit: Updating 2001 awards….]

Well, the first two seasons of Homcide are up for pre-order via Amazon.com and AandE TV Online Store (It’ll cost $70 to get the show on April 29 — a month early).

There’s no word regarding if it will be in widescreen format (some are assuming it will be just a screen transfer which is disappointing). Some of the extras look like Krap — the “To Catch A Killer: Homicide Detectives Episode of A&E’s Signature Series American Justice®” for example. Things like music from the show and commentary with Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana on the pilot episode “Gone For Goode” do look promising.

The question is whether I’ll be spending $52 for the show. Hmm, probably, but I’ll need to really think about it.

Just really posting to reflect the fact that it’s 2 a.m. and I’m still at work after starting the day at 7 a.m. Tuesday. … and I still have three stories to write.

Started the day off putting the finishing touches on a school board story and adding some comments to a local reaction to President Bush’s speech Monday night (BTW tonight we might be at war — for better or worse). At about 9:30 a.m., we hear word that Michigan Tech University cancelled their 82-year-old football program. I get the story and I’m able to put something out at about 11 a.m.

At noon, I had a local SmartZone meeting for the Local Development Finance Authority in Hancock. Nothing too earthshattering, but the project appears to moving ahead. That story gets set aside for Thursday. Back at the DMG at 1:40 p.m., I’m trying to get more information about the football team while getting comments about the Clean Snowmobile Challenge that starts Wednesday. That’s when we get word that Tech is cutting an administrative position (not as big news as cutting a football team, but its something nonetheless).

No time for that, Kevin and I head to Tech at about 3:30 p.m. to get the skinny about the football team. We’re at athletics for what seems to be about two hours. Good enough, back to the DMG for more interviews. Dinner about about 7:40 p.m. until 9:15 p.m. then its back to work until 12:15 a.m. (more interviews and tracking down alumni). Quick snack with Olivia and I’m back at the office at 1:30 a.m. for a final interview and now I’m off to the races.

I took a couple of hours off for meals, but it’s just been the craziest day in quite a long time. I’m hoping to get done by 4 a.m. so I can get some rest before getting back to the grind.

Today’s another fun-filled day with perhaps something about President Curt Tompkins talking about the university’s budget crisis at 10:30 a.m., the Clean Snowmobile Challenge (probably will be picked up Thursday), the looming war with the imminent threat of Iraq and the looming story assignment that’s just dying to get done.

Good night, moon.

Noticed on the wires (Reuters via Yahoo! News) today:

Congress Nixes ‘French Fries’ in Fit of Pique

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – France’s refusal to back a possible U.S.-led attack of Iraq triggered a verbal food fight on Tuesday in the restaurants of the U.S. House of Representatives as “French fries” and “French toast” were replaced on menus by “Freedom fries” and “Freedom toast.”
(end excerpt)

I composed a little (sarcastic) response putting in my two cents. It goes a little like this:

The whole darn thing is dirty politics — pretty typical from our friends on the right.

I was listening to Rep. Ney on National Public Radio this evening. He brings up the point that our soldiers somehow care about what the U.S. House calls its food and calls it a “morale booster” to the troops. Of course it all makes sense now, because we all know who the true enemy is — the French.

Many people are making mention of the fact that we did the same thing to the Germans — a nation we were actively fighting — during World War I. Of course, it’s been pointed out quite accurately that french-cut potatoes are a Belgian creation, but let’s not let facts get in the way of decent propaganda.

I guess Republicans looked at Iraq and figured out there’s nothing they could really rename. We can’t change “foreign-imported oil” into “freedom fuel” — it might give those damned Greens some ideas. So because we can’t make too much fun of Saddam, let’s mock the French.

So let’s not stop there — here’s hoping America repudiates all things French (because honestly, aside from surrendering every time someone sneezes, they’re not good for anything anyway). It’s obvious we’ll never go to the metric system now. It doesn’t have “French” in the name so maybe they won’t notice (of course no one’s noticed that we’re the only country left in the world that isn’t metric.).

We really should consider dropping out of the Olympics (revived by a Frenchman in 1896). All those smallpox vaccines saving us from bioterrorism? Get rid of them — the original treatment was developed by Louis Pasteur. Speaking of infectious diseases, get rid of pasteurization developed by Pasteur to make milk safe to drink (at least we’ve still got homogenization, but that could go too if the Boy Scouts object).

Let’s raid our libraries and rip out the knowledge imparted to us by Pascal, Fermat and Victor Hugo. The knowledge is worthless anyway — it’s from Frenchmen.

Champagne? The true drink created by French monks is out of the question. Thank goodness for California White Sparkling Wine. Either that or champale.

Of course, I’m waiting for someone to suggest giving the Statue of Liberty back to France as the greatest “morale booster” against this evil and hated member of the Axis of Evil. Hmm, maybe we replace Lady Liberty with a giant metal Ronald Reagan gazing into the dewy morning sunrise — that’s the ticket.

* Steps of off somewhat-battered soapbox and hands it to another before walking off muttering… *

Ryan “Either you’re with us or you’re French” Olson

BTW: giantmetalronaldreagan.com is an available domain name. So is shakeshot.com — a revolutionary shot combination of McDonald’s Shamrock shakes and alcohol (you might laugh now, but wait until someone pays $4 for one at TGIFridays).

So make of it what you will. A little light farce to reflect on a very silly event.

Some thoughts on the possibility of Homicide coming to DVD later this year:

A Homicide episode guide said all the episodes were shot on 16mm film and completed in widescreen (to keep the door open for HDTV), but were shown on NBC in “full-screen” format. If they’re going to transfer the video from the original masters, I would certainly push for a widescreen-format DVD. If the pending annoucement isn’t for widescreen, I’m going to make a big push in hopes that they would “reconsider.”

I also wonder how they will present the three crossovers with “Law and Order” in later seasons. There are three L&O eps out there that tie in directly with Homicide. I would certainly like to have them on my DVDs for seasons 4, 5 and 6.

Good news regarding the TV series Homicide: Life on the Streets (from The Digital Bits:

In new upcoming DVD news, we’ve confirmed with A&E that they’ll release Homicide: Life on the Street – The Complete First and Second Seasons on DVD on 5/27. Watch for an official announcement soon.

While this is impressive news, casual fans should remember that the first season was only nine episode in length and the second season was a scant four! It was only in the third season that Homicide was given a full season order.

One can’t equate quantity with quality (the early days of “best damn show on television” were also its most brilliant). I’ve been paying ~$15-20 for British and Canadian shows with only six-episode seasons. I would be willing to pay twice that for 13 episodes of H:LOTS. Just when I was only planning to add Deep Space Nine, The Simpsons and maybe Futurama to my DVD collection this year, I’ll need to make room for Bayless, Pembleton, Munch and the rest of the gang….