Wednesday, April 15, 2009


My father died Tuesday afternoon. He was 81 and had Parkinson's Disease. A year ago he and my mom moved in with my brother, and I'm certain my father was very happy during that time. My mother was with him when he died. Parkinson's had robbed him of his true self, and I'm not sure he even knew what was happening at the end. But I'm certain he knew his family loved him, and I take some comfort in that.

And I know he is now at peace. The pain will pass for me, as well. But right now, it's time to grieve, to comfort my mother and to try to ease some of my brother's burden.

"Be at peace and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations." --St. Francis de Sales

Thursday, April 09, 2009


This guy reminds me why I'm proud to be from Iowa.

And this lady reminds me why I'm happy I'm not living in Texas.

I Wonder

Do you think if I asked, would my employer "cut" my salary by increasing it 4 percent, like the proposed Dept. of Defense budget?

It's Obsolete Before It's Invented?

The progression of information technology. As a former college professor, I'm struck by the message that students today are being trained for jobs that don't yet exist, using technology that hasn't been created, to solve problems we are as yet unaware of.

The implications for those in higher education are mind boggling.

Grandmother Survives 2 Days Trapped in Quake Rubble

Out of tragedy, a brief smile:

Maria D'Antuono, a 98 year-old grandmother from the village of Tempera close to the city of L'Aquila, was lifted from her apartment after being trapped in it for two days. When she was asked on Italian television how she had passed the time, she simply replied that she had been keeping busy "knitting."

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Elementary Punctuation

There's a new development on Scenic Ave. just south of Grand St. in Springfield, MO called Scenic Station.

I always thought one purchased/owned a condo, like a house. Why would anyone rent a condo? Doesn't that make them apartments?

Evidently, Scenic Station has just one condo, and it possesses something.

The Big Peach & The Demise of Newspapers

Poynter has posted an essay written by the late John Walter, a founding editor of USA Today, in which he blames three people for newspapers' demise. It's a good read by an intelligent writer. I'm not sure I agree with all of it, but Walter makes several salient points, which Charles Batchelor nicely summarizes in the comments section:

1) It's not wise to discount the product and then ask people to value it. People expect the price to the price.

2) Many newspaper publishers (& especially their ad staffs) in many one paper markets became "dull as dog poop" because they ere arrogant, greedy and lazy after the merger mania. (This did and continues to make the web even more appealing than it would have been otherwise.)

3) Features with pretty pictures are easier and more fun to do that hard news, but many newspapers will not invest in the creative talent to pull it off in a compelling way, and instead are "soft and squishy as hell."

4) Investors are looking for the best return, not just a good return. If one day brass widgets make more money than publishing, that will be the day "when Wall Street wasn't going to love" newspapers. Short term investors are a problem for every firm--including newspapers.

One of the people Walter blames is a layout editor at The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal. This also caught my eye:

And there was the San Francisco Chronicle, which had large headline type, too, and a sports section printed on green paper and a classified section printed on bright yellow paper.

When I was growing up, The Des Moines Register published its sports section on peach colored paper, at least on Sundays. It became known as the Big Peach. I did not know other papers did similar things. I don't recall seeing it an another paper. I'm really sorry they stopped.

And, just like that, newspapers started to abandon the ugly, hodgepodge look of their vertical columns and went into the magazine business.

They lost, thereby, a sense of urgency, and the thing that made them look like, well, newspapers. And it got worse; eventually layout editors were replaced by something called design directors, and design directors took to running pictures of large vegetables, first in black and white and later in color, and newspapering went all soft and squishy as hell.

I've long enjoyed looking at old newspapers on microfilm, mainly because their design seemed so much more "newsy" when stories weren't spread across multiple columns. Perhaps its just nostalgia, for that is the design I grew up with, even in my hometown daily. Of course, the newspaper page used to be much larger. I'm not speaking of tabloid format. No paper I read as a child through college published in that format.

Today's Springfield News-Leader looks much more like a small college paper or a small town weekly than a metro daily. I understand the economics behind the changes, and I suppose I should be happy fewer trees must be cut to make today's papers. But I wonder if these changes haven't weakened the metro newspapers' standing in their communities, and contributed to their demise.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Newspaper Can't Be Saved?

Eric Etheridge has an interesting "Opinionater" piece ( in Monday's "New York Times" on the "inevitable" demise of newspapers.

Etheridge notes that several "Internet enthusiasts" say it's time to stop trying to save the newspaper industry and get on with the revolution. "Instead, experiment with new ways of doing journalism in the digital era."

One possibility: “a hyperlocal news and information service.” Some of the "news" will be provided by bloggers. No discussion of what this might mean for the standards of journalism, but still worth a read."

Monday, March 16, 2009

What I'm Doing

In order to be as efficient as possible, I'm trying to use to update multiple services, namely Twitter, Facebook and Blogger. What you're reading should appear on my blog and as a note on my Facebook account, not on Twitter.

It's too long for Twitter, but should be fine on Blogger and Facebook. I just have to remember to input the proper code at the beginning of a post.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Trying Something New

I'm trying to use an alternative service for blogging that will upload posts automatically to multiple locations. It's supposed to work for blogger, but so far isn't. Fortunately, I'm not the only one having this problem... so it's them, not me. I think.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Weekend Beagle Blogging

I got a new camera for my birthday this year. I wanted a digital SLR but couldn't justify the cost, especially for additional lenses. So I got something close: a 10 megapixel Olympus SP-570 ultra-zoom. It has the longest superzoom lens on a compact camera, covering the 35mm equivalent range of 26-520mm.

I've dabbled in 35mm photography since high school, even had my own black and white dark room for awhile. But I could no longer afford it as a true hobby. But since my new camera is digital and includes a 2gb memory card, I can "waste" as many shots as I want without spending any money except on batteries. I'm still figuring out all the settings and getting used to a fully automatic camera. I haven't grown out of the habit of wanting to manually focus, manually adjust the aperture and manually setting shutter speed. I CAN do all of that with this camera, but for now am just having fun composing and viewing the results on the 2.7-inch LCD screen.

All the above is to set up a Baxter photo of the boy looking intently out at the Finley River in Ozark.

Here's what he's looking at:

I've dubbed it the Finley River Monster, or Fermie. It raised up out of the water for only a few seconds and I hurriedly snapped a couple shots. Here's one a bit closer:

Fermie startled me so much I didn't really take time to compose or focus or adjust anything, hence the shaky, blurry photos. Could this be photographic evidence of some ancient elusive creature inhabiting the Finley River? You think anyone would give me a grant for further exploration?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Belated Beagle Blogging

I know, I know. I keep saying I'll have more to say more regularly and then don't follow through. Yes, I annoy me, too.

Chez DocLarryManor is a bit lonely this weekend. Mrs. DocLarry is up north visiting family, Baxter is at summer camp. So, here are a couple photos of the boy to tide you and me over until Wednesday.

Baxter enjoying the lush green grass of someone else's lawn. I can't ever get mine to look this good. Sigh.

Beagle on a mission...finished his patrol of the yard, now it's kibble time!