Monthly Archives: April 2016

I embody anti-tech in its highest form …


This being afraid of technology is getting old. Reid, in particular, has to be shaking his head at his dad’s dunce-headedness. I just don’t get file sharing and storage and transfers of who-knows-what and deep down apparently I don’t want to get it. Some people embrace gizmos and are inherently adept at handhelds, downloads, apps and anything else that smacks of electroni-mania.

Not me. I’m not feeling it.

But I’d better come up to speed pretty damn quickly. Otherwise I can add technology to the long and ever-growing list of things I know little about – and that includes fishing, too.


April 11, 2016

Ellen/Reid: Here’s how the lion’s share of my day has gone. A 6:45 a.m. call (mercifully, I was already on my second cup of coffee) from the newspaper to see if I could pitch in on editing articles. ‘Of course’ was the answer – and that was just the start.

To bring a semblance of coordination to the editorial structure, they instituted something called Box.com. It’s used to manage stories and the such – and me, as the new editor, is supposed to master the dog-gone thing – but it is so utterly bamboozling to me. I worked all day to log on, went back and forth with the Box.com staff – and still didn’t get online with it. So I meet tomorrow with the Mint Hill Times new owners to get it all straightened out. Then I head to a local high school to cover my first-ever baseball game plus do a couple of features on a fan and some savant who is a wizard with high school baseball stats.

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This Good Friday service at the town’s main intersection was my first stab at ‘spot’ news for the Mint Hill Times.

But it should be fun, and in some ways is really exciting. It’s genuine work and is right down my alley. I just like the news. My editorial guidelines for writers was finished tonight and tomorrow I begin to call everyone to introduce myself and lay down the law on how they ought to put pen to paper, etc.

All this work stuff has shoved aside my budding painting career. Not that anyone will miss my artistic endeavors, but it was fun while it lasted. The walls won’t wait for art to be added. I’ve got to hop to it and get canvasses done before it just becomes another pipe dream that, like a few other can’t-miss projects, has gone unfinished. That’s no fun.

It’s been unusually cold here the last few days. Lower 30s in the morning, 50s in the afternoon, tops. Only 10 from my golf group showed up to a really great course up in Hickory, about an hour’s drive away. It was just too cold and windy for golf. The unseasonable cold has also stalled planting my basil and cilantro for fear they would wilt in the nearly-freezing temperatures.

Speaking of cold, fishing in Charleston last Wednesday was a total bust. Make that another bust in a string of busts. It was just frigid with a hard Continue reading

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Time heals all and a reunion …


This is my 10th year in North Carolina. I exited Des Moines on a Monday morning with all my possessions stuffed into my car and arrived in Charlotte on a Tuesday night in a rainstorm worthy of a Hollywood back lot.

One of the elephants in the room, or at least my room, is the decade that has passed since a chain of events dispersed the four of us to different parts of the nation; California, Illinois, Minnesota and North Carolina.

Time heals all. Thus a trial balloon has been floated about the possibility for the four of us to reunite, to talk of our separate yet shared pasts and to assure each other that things are indeed okay.


April 4, 2016

Ellen/Reid: Ellen, my head is still spinning from that hilarious FaceTime last night. I mean, the camera was never still for one moment. It was like the family version of the Blair Witch Project. The girls are just an absolute riot. Emma is, well, Emma and Georgia is just coming into her own little personality. Poor Tim was getting climbed by those two munchkins as if he were a mountain. But that’s what makes you guys special.

Reid, it was great to talk this weekend. Really, find out from DePaul when the graduation ceremony is. I want to be there and it would be good for you to walk across the stage (do they even do that anymore?). It would just be a good excuse to get up Chicago way. For the both of you, we need to push the family reunion envelope. Your mom and I haven’t done anything beyond thinking it would be a good idea for us to get together. Zero other thought has gone into it, but I would propose Santa Fe sometime in the fall. We’ve been there before and know the town well. You could bring Liz and Tim and the girls, and your mom could bring her new hubby. No sense cutting corners. It would be cathartic for everyone, at least in my estimation. What do you guys think of that at first blush?

This newspaper thing at the Mint Hill Times is gathering a head of steam. I’ve already done a handful of stories, including one that involved the local town council. The word is this morning they are prepping the proposal for me as editor and it may be delivered as early as today. One of the things I have to wrap my head around is the editorial process; freelancers are already knocking on the door and I have to have the process down in lock-step sooner than later. There is still no clue about the hourly commitment but the assumption is it will be more rather than fewer. Alas, what it may do is squelch the idea of a Wyoming jaunt Continue reading

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All the news that’s fit to print …


News – the creation of it or my reaction to it – seems to be a common thread in last week’s letter to Ellen and Reid.

I like the very notion of being involved in news. It’s fun, challenging, is a creative outlet of sorts and, given my father’s fondness for it (including the Omaha Sun Newspapers), there is some history of family involvement in the newspaper business. I’m glad this apple didn’t fall too far from my father’s tree.


March 28, 2016

Ellen/Reid: For some reason I was moping here on the couch last week when out of the blue comes this opportunity to be the editor of a small town paper. Talk about going from the very low to the very high. The very thought of it is just so energizing and it has the potential to turn my retirement plans – such as they were – 180 degrees. The Mint Hill Times is undergoing a re-birth since its acquisition by some folks who have publishing experience but no real newspaper experience in the news sense. That’s what I can bring to the table. I just love the idea of being a news guy again. It would rip a page out of your late grandfather’s career when one of his first news jobs after World War II was to work for the Sundance Times and Crook County News up in Wyoming. My initial meeting was Friday with one of the co-owners, a woman who was the first to hear my ‘this is how news ought to work …’ diatribe. As we wrapped up our lunch at The Hill, a local bar in Mint Hill, I got up from the table and walked outside to a street corner to cover, and file, my first story for the paper, a Good Friday gathering of several hundred worshippers. She set up a Saturday morning meeting with her husband and the other owners over coffee at a local McDonalds to talk about editorial philosophy. It went fine.

What’s up in the air is how much time I can devote to this endeavor; although we talked only about part time work, by necessity it would really be full time at first and who-knows-what later. Most small papers like The Times are highly dependent on advertising to make things click and they are just getting up to speed. A lot of the news would be soft features. No real hard news to speak of but mostly goings on in town. That’s the nature of the beast. They have a group of six free lancers, not counting my students, that whoever ends up being the editor would have to ride herd over. News organization is a big deal for them since they have no real process in place. I owe them an outline of how I’d run the virtual  ‘newsroom’ since they have no physical office as of yet. We’ll continue to work through things this week. But if nothing else I’ll be a writer and that’s fine, too. My students aren’t stepping up quite like I expected them to but I’ll goad them over that hurdle.

My plans this week were to head to Charleston tomorrow for another day trip of fishing but that’s on hold now in view of the newspaper discussion.

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Miss Emma and I may have missed a saltwater excursion last week, but we’ll make up for it this Wednesday, April 6 when we traipse to Bowens Island for a day of angling for reds and specks.

About 20 folks from my golf Meetup group will head to a funky concert venue, The Fillmore, this Friday night for a tribute show to the Eagles. The place will be absolutely jam packed and I’ve snagged about 30 free tickets. What the place gives up in terms of ticket prices they make up for in $10 Continue reading

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