It’s been a while since Sir Stewart has made an appearance in Alex, but then it had been a while since Warren Buffett made an appearance and here they both are, Sir Stewart tanking a fictional financial company while Buffett walks away from newspapers, having sold the Buffalo News and his other newspaper holdings to Lee Enterprises.
This news caused Lee stocks to leap 67% to the giddy price of $2.10 per share, which is very nearly 7% of what a share sold for when I jumped overboard in 2007.
Lee is a handy study of what happens when a small, well-managed chain begins to morph into an over-sized, over-leveraged corporate gargantua, and there are many stories — hilarious, infuriating or chilling — that can be drawn from that source.
But, to be fair, all the chains made stupid moves in the 90s, though the best story to tell around the turf fire with a glass of something bracing is of when young Par Ridder of the deceased Knight Ridder chain crossed the river from the St. Paul Pioneer Press to work at the Minneapolis Star Tribune toting a laptop full of inside information.
As it happens, my first newspaper encounter with Buffett came a few years before that, when I was working for a paper in a small, family-held chain and he advised a couple of the younger heirs how they could leverage their holding so that they could make more money from doing absolutely nothing but having the right last name.
It mostly involved machetes, my co-workers and our ability to cover the news.
In any case, I’m sorry to see this happen to the Buffalo News, which has been a beacon of hope in an industry failing mostly through greed and mismanagement, regardless of what the hipsters think went wrong.
Thank god it’s Friday so we don’t have a bunch of depressing political chatter going on, eh?
Then come back to enjoy our first
Juxtaposition of the Day
Monty has been doing an invisibility story arc, which has been funny enough but does not address my objection to the whole concept.
For one thing, if you really want to be invisible, you would not only have to take off your clothes and shower thoroughly, but you’d want to do a cleanse similar to preparation for a colonoscopy.
Which might work: I woke up in the middle of my first colonoscopy and got to watch on the color monitor. I was impressed with the clean, pink walls which looked like something out of Fantastic Voyage.
However, the other part of the problem is that, if your eyes are transparent, whether or not other people can see you becomes secondary to the fact that you won’t be able to see them.
But I hadn’t put much thought into the issue raised by Niklas Eriksson, and inventing a term like “cryosleep” may be handy for Hollywood, but if we’re really thinking about sending people off to distant planets, we’d better bring along some barber shears and nail clippers.
And IV sets for nourishment and catheters for de-nourishment.
Or just launch a large space station with volunteers who don’t mind living in tubes so that their grandchildren can explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations and all that good stuff.
By the time they report back, we’ll all be dead anyway, either because radio transmissions only travel so fast or because of that whole Einstein relativity time dilation thingie.
Montana Wildhack and I will watch with great interest. And we already have. And we always do.
Juxtaposition of the Day, Canine Division
Red and Rover is set in an unspecified distant past, which means he doesn’t have to worry about having to walk over there and scoop because we didn’t do that back then. (And Rover appears more interested in peeing than pooping.)
I’m not sure when those contraptions I refer to as “dog casting reels” were invented, but their main value is to allow you to gaze rapturously in another direction while your dog craps in someone’s flower garden. They’re of no value in controlling the dog and are basically a sign of having surrendered entirely.
Meanwhile, the barking dog arc in Baby Blues brought me back to the early days of my marriage when we had three dogs whom we routinely left in the fenced yard when we went on errands.
One beautiful evening, we took the baby for a walk around the block and, on the far side, heard our dogs raising hell. At first, we said, “Oh, they must hear us!” and then a darker explanation suggested itself.
When we got back home, we asked the neighbors, “Do they carry on like that whenever we’re gone?” and got a tight-jawed, through-the-teeth, “Every time.”
Dialog among neighbors is good, but, as Darryl discovered today, sometimes difficult to achieve.
I’ll bet she walks her pooch on a dog-casting reel.
And doesn’t scoop.
Reply All depresses me because I’ve got physical therapy this afternoon and it will probably go like this.
Hip-replacement recovery is coming along well: I only use the walker for stability on ice, and, while I use the cane whenever I go out, I have started forgetting to use it at home, though I don’t get too far without remembering it.
But 45 minutes at PT can leave me barely able to walk at all for 48 hours.
I think they’re in cahoots with the Ice Cabal.
Those who felt Joe Biden was dredging up out-of-date slang the other day should take a look at this 1936 Thimble Theater, because the slang never dies. Not only is Oscar “awesome” — a word I labor mightily to drive from the vocabularies of my young writers — but he’s bad.
Indeed, a mean motor-scooter and a bad go-getter.