Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Random China-related news

-The city I work in (Newark) is considering a sister-city relationship with Huangshi, China (黄石市). Oddly enough, Huangshi (which, of course, no one, not even the mayor, can say correctly!) is quite close to Wuhan in Hubei Province. For the record, Columbus' sister city in China is Hefei, Anhui Province (合肥).

-The Washington Post reports that China is cracking down on media freedom during the run up to the 17th Party Congress, which will be held this fall. An interesting read, but none too surprising for those of us familiar with the Chinese media. Just go to the English-language national paper's Web site here and look around for a few minutes. You'll see what I mean.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Baby Cookie unveiled

As promised, here are the first pictures of Baby Cookie. We'll stick with that name until we find out boy or girl. (Here's hoping boy!)

Katrina has labeled the first picture for your convenience. These are both larger than actual size. We are at about 9.5 weeks, so we've been told he/she is actually only about 1 inch long.

The ultrasound was fun and fast. We go see the doctor next Monday.

Friday, February 23, 2007

'Tis the Season

I guess it is the season for college students to be studying AP style, as I have had at least 10 hits on my blog this week from people who have Googled "AP style quiz" or something like that. They have come from locations across the nation, from Newark, Del., to Los Angeles.

If you're one of those people who has found my blog in this random way, I'm sorry to disappoint you. No formal quiz here, although I did have a post with that title last month.

Google should be able to help you find some relevant study materials. Also, here's a page with style and other quizzes at, the online home of the American Copy Editors Society. (Now those are my kind of people!) I just wish I could go to their convention this year -- it seems that Dave Barry is going to be one of the speakers.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

When The Lights Go Out In The City ...

Yesterday was shaping up to be a second consecutive calm, normal day in the newsroom -- a refreshing break after last week's weather frenzy -- when disaster struck.

I was giving a front page article a second read when, suddenly, the screen went out and the newsroom went dark. It was 7:20 p.m. -- six hours before we go to press -- and the electricity was out. The lights made a few efforts to come back in the minute that followed, but to no avail.

I called our managing editor and the electric company immediately. We could see out the window that it seemed to be a small area that had lost power, and we quickly found out that a transformer had caught fire down the street.

It took until around 9 or so to get a generator going that allowed a few of us to get back to work in the newsroom. It was strange working on a computer in the dark.

We had to send our reporters home to type their stories, as we didn't have enough juice for them to work in the office. They e-mailed them in. As for our Web site, we had two of our employees who were at home update the site as needed from home until we could take care of it from the office.

Overall, it was a strange night. The power came back around 11:45 p.m., just in time to allow the paper to be printed relatively on schedule.

Here's our account of the outage. It was actually quite minor, except for the fact that it hit us, so there wasn't really a lot to report.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Sorry for those (one or two) of you who were looking for this earlier, but the first trimester is calling Katrina (and thus me) to bed earlier than we are used to.

3. (headline) "Vaccine available for whopping couch"
2. (classified ad) "Homemade portable toilet - Great for parades! $90"
1. (a headline that is actually referring to a cigarette) "Police eye DNA sample from butt"

Sunday, February 18, 2007

"Headlines" (delayed)

Jay did "Headlines" on Tuesday this week, and I finally got a chance to watch the tape last night. So, six days late, here's your list:

3. (headline referring to Valentine's Day) "Singles can still enjoy V.D."
2. (a newspaper's ad) "Love your pet? Send a Valentine's Day message!"
1. (in a recipe for a Chinese dish) "Servings: Chinese 4-6; Americans 2-3"

Speaking of Chinese food, The New York Times is right: MSG is awesome! The lack of MSG is part of the reason that most Chinese restaurants here are awful compared with the real thing. Wo yao tang cu li ji & tie ban niu rou. Bu yao la jiao. Xie xie.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


In case you've been wondering, there is a reason behind my lack of posting the last few days. I just haven't thought of anything interesting enough to say other than the following, and I had to wait until we had a chance to tell our families, etc.

Katrina is pregnant. That's right, Baby Cookie I is on the way. (I figured someone else would go there, so I thought I would beat you to it.)

We've known for a few weeks, but we wanted to wait until after our first checkup to announce it to the world. Everything is looking good. We have tentative due date of September 26, but that is subject to change after the first ultrasound, which will be at the end of this month.

We spent about three hours at the checkup on Monday. After the official pregnancy test to confirm the obvious, we spent most of the time getting briefed on the dos and don'ts of pregnancy by an awesome nurse. Among the dietary highlights for Katrina:

- No Diet Pepsi (artificial sweetening)
- No Potato Chips or French Fries (flash fried)
- No V8 (too much salt)
- Insane amounts of water, fruits and veggies every day.

She also had the pleasure of getting to know three needles very well. (Flu shot + TB screening + five vials of blood for blood work = an unhappy and slightly bruised left arm.)

Everybody (including us) is really excited. My mom's even gone on a shopping spree at Babies R Us in Des Moines. Now might be a good time to pick up some of their stock.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Uphill. Both Ways.

Maybe a 26-year-old shouldn't sound so old, but here goes ...

Back in the day, we went to school unless there was a foot of snow and ice. And our snow plows got out and cleared the main roads immediately.

I'm thinking we need to kick Ohio out of "The North." They seem to have a somewhat Southern attitude toward snow and cold.

Almost every school in Central Ohio was closed Monday and Tuesday this week because it was "too cold." Granted, it was cold. But I don't remember schools in Iowa ever being closed without a snow or ice problem. A wind chill of 20-30 below was not nearly enough to keep us home. Just put on layers and go.

Also, I have been unimpressed thus far with our area's road crews. When we had our first major snowfall of the season a few weeks ago on a Sunday, it started when we were on our way to church. By the time we left church nearly three hours later, the main streets between the building and our home hadn't been touched. Once.

Last night, my trip home was treacherous, but the crews seemed to be on their way to having the roads up to par. There were still too many slick spots and unplowed areas on the major roads, though.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


3. (next to a picture of Eisenhower) "'I like lice' became the Republican Party cry."
2. (in an ad above pictures of a photo album, a photo case and a shredder) "Everything you need to preserve those special moments"
1. (police blotter entry) "Four kids in Pinebrook were allegedly throwing snowmobiles at homes."

Monday, February 05, 2007


I ended up watching most of the Super Bowl tonight, pretty much due to a lack of anything better to do. I can't remember the last time I actually sat down and watched most of the big game and the big commercials, both of which were rather disappointing this year.

Only a few commercials truly brought big laughs, and most of the others were pretty stupid. Our favorites were the Blockbuster Mouse (1st quarter) and the Connectile Dysfunction (3rd quarter). You can see them here, and lots of other places, I would guess.

In other recent news:
- Here's something scary for baseball's future.
- Here's something funny.
- Here's something very unfunny that kind of dominated my job last week.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Let's Go (Lady) Bisons

And now a sentence I never thought I'd be able to type: If the season ended today, not only would everyone be shocked, but the Lady Bisons would be in the Division II NCAA Tournament as the No. 6 seed in the South Region.

After some midseason struggles, the preseason GSC-West favorite Bisons have some serious work to do if they want a shot at a NCAA bid.

Both teams host UAM tonight for a doubleheader that was "snowed" out Thursday.