Aug 21, 2017

MMMM # 576 ---An Ad that takes credit for today's eclipse!

The Chiquita Banana people took out a full page ad in the Sunday NY Times.

     Ad Age reports the campaign is an effort to take make-believe credit for the eclipse! 

"Chiquita’s campaign takes advantage of the seconds before and after the eclipse, when you see just a slim sliver of light as the moon slowly draws its shadow over Helios.
“On the path of totality, you will see two distinct banana suns,” the brand promises. “The total eclipse occurs in between the two banana suns as a sort of lackluster intermission.”
Just don’t look too closely—one, because it’s bad for your eyes, and two, because, well … you’re not actually going to see a Chiquita sticker on that bad-boy, are you? (From the brand: “We put one there with our imaginations.”)

Full page  Sunday NY Times ads cost just over $100,000 a year or two ago...but even if that price has dropped, it is a lot of bananas for a single ad. 


Journalists have found themselves in a quagmire of trying to be too fair. So says a column in the Washington Post. It's about---what else???---Donald Trump and his equating the two sides in the Charlottsville violence. Trump compared the Nazi Skinheads favorably to the civil rights protestors.

"Elected with the help of false equivalency, Trump is now creating some of his own.
In the aftermath of last weekend’s disaster in Charlottesville, he is being widely criticized for treating white supremacists and those who protest them as roughly equal.
His phrases are all too memorable. There were “some very fine people” on both sides, he said, backing up his initial condemnation of the violence “on many sides.”
Winston Churchill — a politician with a moral core — disparaged this idea for all time: “I decline utterly to be impartial as between the fire brigade and the fire.”
                                                                                   Margaret Sullivan, The Washington Post

And Sullivan suggests that should be true of journalists too. A good read.

[The Monday Morning Media Memo is a regular feature of, celebrating a decade on-line this Fall.]

Aug 19, 2017

Obit: Dick Gregory

The NY Times reports the African-American activist and comedian died Saturday at the age of 84.

Saturday Data: Asking To be Arrested

The Confederate Monument at the Alabama Capital.*
     There is no shortage of suspects when it comes to the destruction of a confederate memorial in Durham.
     Though video of people attaching a strap to the statue and then pulling it to the ground only shows a handful of people involved, The Washington Post reports scores of people have lined up at the Sheriff's office confessing. 

"An estimated 200 to 300 people showed up at the sheriff’s office to collectively accept responsibility for the damaged monument, said Courtney Sebring, the Durham County co-chair of the Black Youth 100 Project. Durham County Sheriff Michael Andrews and people live tweeting from the scene estimated the gathering attracted more than 100 participants."

     The tactic is hardly new, but still packs a punch. 
      Thousands of people, including children, were arrested in 1960's civil rights protests in Alabama. 
     But when the mayor of Birmingham offered pardons in 2011, some said no thanks. From an AP story:

"...the mayor says he expects many people to refuse to request certificates of pardon because they consider their arrest records to be a badge of courage.

     I'm confident that's a refusal that will be repeated. if and when pardons are offered in the future to the confederate statue protestors.

*That confederate flag is one of the four removed form the monument by former Governor Robert Bentley, himself later removed from office over ethics allegations.

[Saturday Data is a regular feature of, celebrating 10 years online this Fall.]

Aug 14, 2017

The Lonliest Elephants---in Japanese Zoos.

"Miyako is a female Asian elephant who has lived without other elephants since arriving at Japan's Utsunomiya Zoo, just outside of Tokyo, 44 years ago when she was six months old. She is kept in a small, concrete enclosure near the zoo’s amusement park, says Keith Lindsay, a conservation biologist and elephant expert based in Oxford, England."

Tuesday is World Elephant Day.
Read the excellent article in National Geographic HERE.

MMMM # 575 --- The Blind Boys of Alabama, Comments at AL.COM & The (shrinking) NY Times

"When The Blind Boys started out, we weren't looking for any accolades, awards or nothing — we just wanted to get out there and sing gospel music. But since the accolades came, we were glad to get them!"
                                                                                       Jimmy Carter,
                                                                                       One of the two surviving founders.

     From an NPR interview about a new album by one of the best known music groups to emerge form Alabama.

   You can listen to tracks HERE

     Dozens of important journalists are leaving The NY Times, accepting buyouts from the newspaper as it tries to become a leaner, i.e. less costly, firm. 
     The people at Poynter in Florida have compiled an ongoing list of the talent drain at the paper.
     Ironically, I just started subscribing to the Times, Sundays only, a throwback to the days in NY when I would buy one late on Saturday nights and spend part of Sunday morning with it. There is still great writing there, especially in the Sunday Magazine section, but I worry about the impact of the layoffs.


The website of the three former largest daily newspapers in Alabama is revamping the "reader comments" feature that followed each story. They commonly began with a comment expressing sorrow (or joy) about the story and then quickly dissolved into name calling. I've been complaining about the AL.COM website for years, wondering aloud why the papers though it was a good idea to take the worst of talk-radio and attach it to their product. Longtime employees have agreed with that, in private. Now they changing the rules. 
   Read their explanation about the changes--and take their survey HERE. But I'll warn you that the folks who were bomb throwers will object to any change. As for me, I say go back to the letter to the editor mode in which real people were required to use their real names. Amazing how civil people are under that one restriction.

[The Monday Morning Media Memo is a regular feature of, celebrating ten years online this Fall.]


Aug 13, 2017

Sunday Focus: ASU Sunset

A beautiful sunset in Montgomery after a shower, and it created a nice view of the Alabama State University water tower.

[Sunday Focus is a regular feature of, celebrating ten years online this Fall.]