One of the responsibilities of having a website or a blog is updating it. I have failed. Trying to do better now. I freshened up the site today. What do you think?
1.) Hold the event outside in April. Do not secure an alternate location in case of rain.
2.) Don't bother with a sound system. Just use a bull horn.
3.) Scream into the bull horn so that your words become indecipherable.
4.) Hand the bullhorn to any random person who asks for it. The more speakers the better!
5.) Ensure speakers do not coordinate with each other. This way, the same message will be repeated over and over, wasting the time of reporters and distracting them from their other work. Your event is the most important thing reporters are covering anyway.
6.) Ask speakers to leave immediately after their remarks. That way reporters won't be able to find them later to ask them to clarify or expand on their comments.
7.) Do not provide reporters with a list of speakers or event sponsors.
8.) If a reporter asks you how to spell one of the speakers' names, just give your best guess. If more than one reporter asks, give each a different spelling. One of your guesses is bound to be right.
9.) If reporters ask questions you can't answer, offer to call them later with the answers. Then lose their phone numbers.
10.) If it is a windy day, be sure to bring large plastic canopies. Do not secure them. Keep the reporters alert by forcing them to run from canopies caught in the wind.
11.) Recite the full biography of every lawmaker who speaks. Don't forget to include a list of all their committees, whether or not they have any bearing on the legislation for which you are stumping. Reporters see these lawmakers every day and know them well, but they can never be reminded too often of all their titles and positions.
12.) Ensure every speaker thanks every other speaker.
13.) Bring a lot of examples, even if they don't prove your point. For example, if you are promoting a requirement for injured athletes to get medical clearance before returning to the field, talk about an injured football player who got a doctor's OK to play, then died from injuries that apparently were aggrivated by a subsequent tackle. (Reporters are dumb. They won't even notice that your example shows that the legislation you are promoting would not have helped.)
Have anything to add?
OK, so I can't give my little blog audience a car or an iPad. In fact, I can't give you anything. Nonetheless, in the style of Ms. O, here's my list of favorite things. I would give them to you if I were rich. Since I'm not rich, if you want to give them to me instead, that's cool. Just sayin'.
Garmin GPS. I'd be lost without it. Yes, there are newer models, but I've had this three or four years and it's served me just fine.
MAC fluidline eyeliner in macroviolet. Goes on smooth and lasts all day. Love it.
Fisher space pen. Writes upside down, on wet paper, anywhere. Love it.
Deva Curl no-poo shampoo and conditioner. Don't let the lack of lather fool you. This gets your hair squeaky clean and oh so curly. My bestie gave me this for my birthday three years ago and I've been hooked ever since.
Tea Tree shampoo and conditioner. So invigorating!
Carvel ice cream cake. Delicious on a birthday, more delicious when there's no special occasion. Yum!
iPad. I don't have one yet but I'm gonna get one.
My mom's Jell-o cake
Bath & Body Works Liplicious brown sugar lip scrub and pomegranate balm
Kindle wi-fi plus 3G. My new toy!
Ron & Frank's Skinny drink mix in mango tango flavor. Delicious and zero carbs. It's made in Pittsburgh and costs $8 bucks a bag. I forget how much a bag makes, but it's worth every penny. I first tried this at the Pennsylvania Farm Show and wish I bought more of it. Now I have to order it online and pay shipping. Boo. I hate paying shipping.
Ron & Franks Skinny Gourmet diet chai tea. Just add hot water. Easy to make and oh so delicious. It's 3 carbs a serving, but I usually put in a little extra mix so it ends up being more. Still worth the extra carbs.
Hilarous. Check out Justin Halpern on Twitter @shitmydadsays
Special K cookies. My great-grandmother used to make these all the time. Recipe from the old country. Ha.
Life is Beautiful. The funniest saddest movie ever. Poignant story. Wonderful acting.
"Artist" scent by The Gap. It's a unisex scent.
My favorite twitter feed @FakeAPStylebook is about to be published as a book. Can't wait to read it.
Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing. I listen to her podcasts on Stitcher.
Chocolate covered berries = heaven.
I've never been big on resolutions, mostly because I don't have the willpower for them. Another reason, though, is that I've often thought of resolutions as promises of things not to do. Do not eat chocolate. Do not gain weight. Do not curse, etc. It's easier to DO something than to NOT do something.
Now, the question is: What do I want to do?
"Either I'm dead and I haven't done everything that I want or I'm still alive and there's nothing I want to do." -They Might Be Giants
Inspired by watching "It's a Wonderful Life," I started thinking about ways the world would be different if I weren't here. I like to think that the world is better informed of important news and that democracy functions better because of that knowledge. But that's so esoteric. What are some concrete things that are definitely different (better?) because I exist?
1.) You would not be reading this blog right now.
I've been thinking about developing a set of personal guidelines for Twitter use. My employers' guidelines don't contemplate some of the scenarios I've faced in the Twitosphere.
At the moment, I'm wondering how to deal with anonymous tweeps online. Because (with rare exception) we don't use anonymous sources in print, I'm thinking it's a good policy not to retweet posts of anonymous tweeps. That seems reasonable to me.
But, since Web 2.0 is conversational, what about responding to anonymous tweets, particularly those that refer to me by name or username? I tend to ignore inflammatory tweets from anonymous users, while I typically respond to folks who have the courage to use their names. On the other hand, I do respond to non-inflammatory tweets by the anonymous.
What are your thoughts?
Still sick but I've been on an antibiotic for 24 hours so I should not be contagious anymore. I'm sick of lounging on the couch so I brought my Kleenex, my cough drops and my mini pharmacy with me to the office.
I need a fresh start to get myself organized for when my bureau chief retires. That's only three weeks away. Yikes!
I need to establish some routines starting today. Suggestions welcome.
What I really need is some more hot and sour soup. I've eaten a half gallon of it in the last three days. I'm not kidding. I ate a quart Thursday and a quart Friday. Need. More. Soup.
Sick vs. allergies: OK, if you didn't know ... allergies cause sinuses to swell and to fill with gunk. If the gunk gets trapped there for too long (because of the swelling) it turns into an infection. Story of my life.
Hmmmm ... Here's a foggy-headed analogy. ... Voters cause the Capitol to fill with lawmakers. If lawmakers get trapped there too long they become infected! Ha!
I'm not as cynical as I sound. After five years as a statehouse reporter, it is clear to me that nearly all lawmakers get into politics for the right reasons. Once they're in office, they learn they need to cross ethical boundaries just to get their voices heard. Unfortunately, there seems to be an inverse correlation between ethics and power. I don't know what the solution is. Better minds than mine have not been able to figure that out.
I just looked at my Weebly stats and noticed I had a wild spike of visitors on Sept. 16. (Yes, 50 visitors counts as a wild spike when I can usually count on one hand.) Curiously, this also is the day as the publication of a law review article in which I was prominently featured. Coincidence? Perhaps.
The article was by Reed Smith attorneys Mark Tamburri and Tom Pohl who represented me earlier this year on a court motion that sought to keep me from tweeting during a trial. It was an interesting court battle that pitted the interest in a fair trial against that of a free press. We won, mostly (I think) because the other attorney's motion was so poorly written. In the end, the judge didn't explicitly say I could tweet. Rather, he refused to say I couldn't. So, it didn't set a precedent of any kind.
However, social media reporting is an issue courts will have to address. And that's what the law review article is about. Mark and Tom make some fine points in it. I wish I could post a link, but the article is on a subscription only site. When I have more energy I'll come back and update this post to include more details.
It's midnight and I'm exhausted but I can't sleep. A sinus infection is keeping me up. Worse, I finished all the sweet-and-sour soup I picked up on my way home from work. That stuff is a miracle cure. The Chinese should market it as medicine.
Alley vacation -- Not a holiday destination for hobos, but a zoning concept I became familiar with while working on the general-assignment rotation at the Springfield News-Sun in Ohio. If alongside your property there is an overgrown alley that has not been used for some time, you can apply for an "alley vacation." If the Planning & Zoning Board approves, the city gives up its rights to the alley and you can assume ownership. Generally, before property owners can apply for an alley vacation, they should have spent some time and effort mowing the grass, pulling the weeds or making other improvements.
Paper street -- Another term I learned in Springfield. It's a road that exists on maps but not in reality. Sometimes I think I live in a paper world.
Prothonotary -- We don't have these in Connecticut. It's not pronounced pro-tho-NO-tary, as one might assume. No. It's pro-THON-o-tary. It means court clerk. Why don't they just say court clerk?
Sine die -- Another word that's not pronounced the way you think. "Sine die" rhymes with "shiny dye." If you don't make a living in the halls of the Pennsylvania Capitol and you didn't take Latin in high school, you've probably never heard this term. Literally, it means "without day." Theoretically, it means adjourning a meeting without a set date to return. Practically, it means keep your eye on your wallet. Sine die is a time period that runs between Election Day and the start of the new Legislative session. That's plenty of time for shenanigans of outgoing lawmakers and others who won't face voters again for two or four years. This is the time period when lawmakers feel most free to pass legislation that constituents would find outrageous.
Astro turf -- A lobbying effort that appears to be grassroots but is actually financed by Big Money.
Brinksmanship -- The practice of pushing something dangerous to the brink of disaster in order to gain a favorable outcome. Certain Pennsylvania politicians are experts at this.
Non-meeting -- This is a term I learned early in my reporting career. After I challenged the propriety of discussing public business during closed-door exective sessions, the New Britain Board of Education in Connecticut found a new way to keep me out. They invented the term "non-meeting." They would discuss things during what they termed a "non-meeting." Since it wasn't a meeting, they reasoned, it wasn't subject to the state open-meetings law. The state Freedom of Information Commission thought differently. After I filed a complaint, board members were forced to open their meetings and to attend FOIC training sessions.