Friday, April 29, 2005

Friday Musings

1) The Washington Post site is acting strange again. It welcomes me but then asks me for a password when I try to go to an article and then asks me again and again and again. Last week it was working fine.

2) I paid $14.95 to Major League Baseball to listen to games and I am only getting through about 1/3 of the time. I keep getting a message that says "server error." Four e-mails and one phone message to their help desk have received no reply. This is disappointing since the Orioles are doing so well; on the other hand, since they are doing so well and I haven't been able to listen, baseball superstition dictates that I not get this fixed.

3) For various reasons I did not love living in Boston during the two years that I lived there. This was contrary to the expectations of nearly all Bostonians. One of the umpteen things that I didn't like was the Boston Globe. I found the writing pretentious, the need to always find a local angle annoying, the sense that Boston was the intellectual capital of America a bit overblown. But--and perhaps you will think less of me for saying so--what really drove me nuts was that the comics were in a different place nearly every day. The comics were not the only things that migrated around the paper: obituaries could show up in the classified ads; national news in the local section; sports scores in the business section. As one of the three people under the age of 40 in America who like to read at least one actual newspaper in print every day, this drove me bonkers. There are sections I like to read over breakfast and sections I like to read on the bus. But with the Boston Globe you never knew which section would have which features on any given day. Imagine you are sitting on the T and you want to read "Get Fuzzy" and "Doonesbury." But you grabbed the magazine section and today the comics are in the classified ads that you already put in the recycle bin. I finally dropped my subscription to the Globe; subscribed to the New York Times and started going on-line to look at comics.
Why am I reliving this now? Because the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has decided to revamp its daily pages and they have made some odd decisions. To my mind, the oddest is moving the editorials and the op-ed page to the local section. Yesterday or the day before I noticed the obituaries in some section other than local news (I don't remember which). So far the comics are always in the same place and I haven't had to leave the sports section to find the baseball box scores, but I have to say I'm worried: if they can be consistent with placement of features, I can manage under this new regime. But if they are going to start moving things around, we have the Boston Globe problem redux. Further cause for worry: the new(ish) P-G editor is former Washington bureau chief for the Globe. I know he's a Pulitzer Prize winner and all (n'at?) but if he can't put the comics and the box scores in the same place every day, he may lose another reader under 40.

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