Riffs Round Midnight at the Global Worldwide Headquarters (Great ‘Colorado’ Bakeoff Edition)

As you splendid readers might remember, the hardriffing staff has long had a soft spot for The Flying Burrito Brothers. As we once noted, “Back in 1971, the hardsmoking staff glommed on to the Flying Burrito Brothers – one of the endless Byrds spinoffs (we’ll get to Dillard & Clark soon) – and never let go . . . ”

Lately, this number has been dropping in the jukebox of our mind.

 

At the YouTube link, we encountered these comments.

So we checked out Linda Ronstadt’s version.

 

Here’s our bakeoff scorecard.

Instrumentals: Sneaky Pete Kleinow’s steel guitar on the Burrito’s version totally blows away Ronstadt’s band.

Vocals: Rick Roberts buries the needle on the Regret-o-Meter. Ronstadt just nudges it.

Final score: We’ve loved Linda Ronstadt ever since her Stone Poneys days. But Roberts wins this ‘Colorado’ bakeoff going away.

Bonus tune:

 

You’re welcome.

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What in the World Are the Ghost Trees of Brookline?

Well the Missus and I took a post-prandial promenade yesterday from Foolish Corner to St. Mary’s and we saw a whole bunch of these signs planted next to the trees on Beacon Street.

 

 

Go to that url and you land on the website of a group called Mothers Out Front, which plants this argument.

Gas Leaks and Ghost Tree Tagging

Did you see one of these Ghost Tree signs on the sidewalk in Brookline?

The Problem:

• These signs and stencils mark the more than 400 sites in Brookline where a tree has been killed or damaged by underground natural gas leaks.

• Arborists found that Brookline has lost over $1 million worth of trees to these leaks.

• The methane gas in these leaks, is a potent contributor to climate change and human health impacts.

• National Grid is responsible for the leaks, but they have no mandate or incentive to fix them unless there is a risk of explosion.

• You are paying for the leaked natural gas. National Grid is permitted by law to charge you for the losses in its system.

According to the site, the local Mothers Out Front chapter is headed by two area social-justice advocates – Janet Groat and Betsy Ericksen. We couldn’t find any evidence of a corporate entity they might be out front of, but that’s always a possibility in this day and age.

There’s a whole bunch of other material at the site, though, so we’ll make like a tree and leave you to your own conclusions.

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Riffs Round Midnight at the Global Worldwide Headquarters (Steely Damn! Edition)

From our long riffing series

The hardrocking staff has been on a bit of a Steely Dan jag lately, during which we came across a couple of live sets you splendid readers might enjoy.

Turns out 1974 was a very good year for the band, starting with this live performance at the University of California in March.

Set list: Do It Again, Rikki Don’t Lose That Number, Any Major Dude Will Tell You, King Of The World, Barrytown, My Old School, Pretzel Logic.

Check out especially Jeff Baxter’s pedal steel guitar on Any Major Dude (at 12:52) and the whole schmear in Barrytown (22:00).

 

 

Two months later the Dan was live at the Rainbow Theatre in London and man, that was something.

The set list:

The set:

 

 

Of particular note at 21:30 is Brooklyn, whose lyrics we’ve never understood, and at 52:29 there’s a noodling nod to Your Gold Teeth II, whose lyrics, well,  ditto – never mind who the hell knows what the original Your Gold Teeth from Countdown to Ecstasy means.

Regardless, Steely Dan is a sandbox that’s always fun to play in, no?

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WSJ Disses NYT, FT, and Bloomberg All in One House Ad

The Wall Street Journal is feeling its oats.

Exhibit A7: This full-page ad in yesterday’s Journal.

The fine print dismisses even more business publications.

The Journal’s tagline is “Read ambitiously.” We’ll see if those maligned publications choose to rebut ambitiously.

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Steve Mnuchin’s Dad Ran an Ad in the New York Times

Well the hardworking staff was leafing through the New York Times yesterday and what did we come across but this quarter-page ad in the A section.

Of course that got us to wondering: Mnuchin Gallery – any relation to Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin, described thusly by someone who knew him when?

And indeed, the gallery owner is Steve’s old man, Robert Mnuchin. And yes, the sins of the son are being visited upon the father.

First it was New York magazine’s senior art critic Jerry Saltz writing in a 2016 Medium piece that he’s put the Mnuchin Gallery off limits.

[N]ow that the son of Robert Mnuchin of Mnuchin Gallery on the Upper East Side (where David Hammons and other great artists show); now that Robert Mnuchin’s son Steven Mnuchin, of Goldman Sachs, is “Make America HATE Again” Donald Trump’s Campaign Finance Chief — I’m not going to Mnuchin Gallery anymore.

Early last year there was this rumpus, as reported by Upper East Side Patch.

Anti-Trump Protesters Crash Upper East Side’s Mnuchin Gallery

The gallery is run by the father of Steven Mnuchin, Donald Trump’s pick for Treasury Secretary.

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — Protesters attempted to crash an Upper East Side art gallery owned by the father of Donald Trump’s pick for Treasury Secretary. Demonstrators from the protest group “Government Sachs” banged on the doors of the Mnuchin Gallery on East 78th Street and Madison Avenue around 10:30 Friday morning, according to witnesses.

“Mnuchin. Suck it. Trump is a puppet!” protesters shouted.

Very classy.

Meanwhile, the Reds exhibit at Mnuchin Gallery features “paintings and sculpture by twenty-five artists, including Francis Bacon, Louise Bourgeois, Alexander Calder, Willem de Kooning, Jeff Koons, Yayoi Kusama, and Mark Rothko.”

Be sure to miss it, if you’re so inclined.

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The Grey Lady Is Engaged in Some Serious Housekeeping (2)

Earlier today the hardworking stuff noted that it’s catch-up time at the New York Times.

We mentioned the slowbituaries at Overlooked and the shutterbug portfolio published yesterday as Scenes Unseen: The Summer of ’78 .

What we forgot was this piece in the latest Times Style Magazine.

Six Times Journalists on the Paper’s History of Covering AIDS and Gay Issues

The New York Times had a spotty record of covering the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s — and gay culture in general. Times staffers reflect on the paper’s past, and what we can learn from it today.

Any newspaper must, by definition, aspire to be the “paper of record,” and yet when it came to this newspaper’s coverage of gay people and AIDS in the early ’80s — when the disease was morphing into a national crisis, and when rights that had been won a decade earlier, after the Stonewall Riots, were once again being jeopardized — The Times’s own record was checkered at best. Information about the spread of illness was often scant, judgmental or distressingly vague — even while reporters on the Science desk were trying their best with an ever-evolving story. The social and emotional toll of AIDS and the resulting queer movement were, when covered, often buried in the back of the newspaper (on a page called Styles of the Times), far from national news stories that were deemed important enough for the front page. Famously, it would take President Ronald Reagan more than four years to acknowledge the disease publicly. And it took until 1983 for The Times to run an article about the disease on Page A1, two years after the first reports of symptoms.

That story turned out to be a literal sidebar.

From July 3, 1981, the first article in The New York Times mentioning a “rare cancer.” Inset: Jeremy W. Peters

The rest of the Style Magazine piece includes topics ranging from “What Makes a Front-Page Story?” to “On Sex Clubs – And How to Cover Them.”

So the Times is having a real media culpa moment.

It’ll be interesting to see what comes out of cold storage next.

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The Grey Lady Is Engaged in Some Serious Housekeeping

It’s catch-up time at the New York Times.

Start with the dozen  slowbituaries the Times published last month in its launch of Overlooked, a sort of death notice do-over.

Since 1851, The New York Times has published thousands of obituaries: of heads of state, opera singers, the inventor of Stove Top stuffing and the namer of the Slinky. The vast majority chronicled the lives of men, mostly white ones.

Charlotte Brontë wrote “Jane Eyre”; Emily Warren Roeblingoversaw construction of the Brooklyn Bridge when her husband fell ill; Madhubala transfixed Bollywood; Ida B. Wells campaigned against lynching. Yet all of their deaths went unremarked in our pages, until now.

The Times has since added almost a dozen more. It’s a smart series that’s well worth reading.

Then yesterday came this attic-and-basement feature, Scenes Unseen: The Summer of ’78.

Melina Deltic’s helpful Inside the Times piece yesterday gave the background.

It was 1978, the year of a major newspaper strike in New York City, and the year eight Times photographers found interim employment in New York City’s parks department.

This Sunday’s special print section, “Scenes Unseen: The Summer of ’78,” features that era and the photographs taken in the parks. It touches on several trends that didn’t last: eight Times photographers’ brief stints shooting for the parks department; the bell-bottoms and tube socks of parkgoers; the decrepit state of city parks in the late 1970s; and the once burgeoning popularity of the tabloid format in the city’s newspapers.

As the redoubtable Jim Dwyer write in the introduction to the portfolio, “Six months ago, a conservancy official cleaning out an office came across two cardboard boxes that had been sitting around for decades. Inside were 2,924 color slides, pictures made in parks across New York City’s five boroughs late in the summer of 1978. No one had looked at them for 40 years.”

Until now.

Good housekeeping, no?

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Seems The Irish Times Is Not Reviewing Kevin Cullen’s Work

Earlier this week the hardworking staff noted the rumpus around Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen’s shifting coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings.

Central to the issue is Cullen’s dual versions of the role he says Dorchester firefighter Sean O’Brien played in the immediate aftermath of the bombings. First there was this description Cullen gave to the BBC the following day.

“I just got off the phone, not long ago, with a young firefighter I’m very concerned about. He’s a young kid, he’s a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, and he told me what he saw today was worse than anything he saw in a warzone. He carried a young girl who had a brother killed at the scene, I actually know the father, he just ran the race today … and the daughter, the girl, my friend Sean the firefighter picked her up and he carried her to an ambulance and he said when he put her down he realized her leg was missing. And he went back to the scene and he told me he crawled on his legs and his hand and his knees trying to find her leg and he couldn’t find it.”

Several days later, however, Cullen told a different tale in a piece for The Irish Times.

Seán saw one of his friends from Dorchester, Bill Richard, standing there in shock. Bill and his wife, Denise, had brought their three children, nine-year-old Henry, eight-year-old Martin and six-year-old Jane, to watch the runners cross the finishing line across from Boston Public Library. It is a great family tradition, something done by thousands of families. They were standing in front of what police believe was a backpack containing a pressure cooker loaded with ball bearings and nails when it exploded.

“I can’t find Denise!” Bill cried.

Seán kneeled down over Martin, a beautiful boy who was always kind to Seán’s daughter, his third-grade classmate at the local charter school.

“When I looked at young Marty,” Séan told me, “I knew he was gone.”

WEEI’s Kirk Minhane said last week that he had talked to Sean O’Brien and O’Brien denied the first version and wouldn’t comment on the second.

Regardless, when The Irish Times reported earlier this week that the Globe had placed Cullen on paid administrative leave, we wrote to both the Times editor and the paper’s newsdesk.

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am a Boston-based media analyst and author of the Campaign Outsider blog.

I just posted this to the site, documenting discrepancies among Kevin Cullen’s multiple versions of the Boston Marathon bombings, from the Boston Globe to the BBC to The Irish Times : https://bit.ly/2r0ezXN

As you reported on Monday, the Globe has put Cullen on administrative leave “while an examination of his coverage of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings is conducted.”

Is a similar examination occurring at The Irish Times?

Thank you for your consideration . . .

We also wrote to the Press Council of Ireland and Office of the Press Ombudsman.

We haven’t heard back from anyone.

Your conclusions go here.

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Is The Irish Times Reviewing Kevin Cullen’s Reporting For It?

The rumpus over Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen’s Boston Marathon bombings coverage has gone trans-Atlantic, as this Irish Times piece illustrates.

‘Boston Globe’ columnist Kevin Cullen put on administrative leave

Journalist’s coverage of Boston Marathon bombings to be examined after complaint

Well-known columnist Kevin Cullen has been put on administrative leave by the Boston Globe, the newspaper has confirmed.

Cullen, an occasional contributor to The Irish Times and a regular contributor on Irish radio, has been put on paid leave while an examination of his coverage of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings is conducted.

Right. Except the paper fails to mention that Cullen’s 2013 Irish Times piece about the Marathon bombings directly calls into question his credibility.

Key graphs:

The firefighters of Engine Seven were just around the corner when the first bomb went off. They raced to the scene and found an eerie silence, and the dead and the wounded scattered. Some had their clothes blown off. Some had their legs blown off.

Seán saw one of his friends from Dorchester, Bill Richard, standing there in shock. Bill and his wife, Denise, had brought their three children, nine-year-old Henry, eight-year-old Martin and six-year-old Jane, to watch the runners cross the finishing line across from Boston Public Library. It is a great family tradition, something done by thousands of families. They were standing in front of what police believe was a backpack containing a pressure cooker loaded with ball bearings and nails when it exploded.

“I can’t find Denise!” Bill cried.

Seán kneeled down over Martin, a beautiful boy who was always kind to Seán’s daughter, his third-grade classmate at the local charter school.

“When I looked at young Marty,” Séan told me, “I knew he was gone.”

Compare that to what Cullen told the BBC the day after the bombings, via WEEI’s Kirk Minihane.

In yet another interview with the BBC, Cullen tells us about the firefighter who rescued Jane Richard:

“I just got off the phone, not long ago, with a young firefighter I’m very concerned about. He’s a young kid, he’s a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, and he told me what he saw today was worse than anything he saw in a warzone. He carried a young girl who had a brother killed at the scene, I actually know the father, he just ran the race today … and the daughter, the girl, my friend Sean the firefighter picked her up and he carried her to an ambulance and he said when he put her down he realized her leg was missing. And he went back to the scene and he told me he crawled on his legs and his hand and his knees trying to find her leg and he couldn’t find it.”

The “Sean” Cullen is referring to is Sean O’Brien, a veteran Dorchester firefighter who was at the scene and did talk to Cullen the day after the bombing. O’Brien, though, said he never told Cullen he carried Jane Richard anywhere. That was Matt Patterson, a Lynn firefighter who was off duty that day. I spoke to Patterson last Thursday and he wanted no credit or praise for what he did. It was his job. And I could tell he had no desire, really, to go over the events of that day again. He told me he had never heard of Cullen until last week and had never talked to him. What’s also odd is that it became clear, pretty quickly, that Patterson was the man who had carried Jane Richard. NECN had a story. WBZ. NY Daily News. The city of Lynn honored him in May of 2013. How did Cullen not correct this?

The next question is, will the Irish Times correct it?

Beyond that, there are questions like this one from @DanKelley66 about other Cullen pieces in the Times.

The article in question.

Gerry Adams: The man behind the mask

US reporter Kevin Cullen recalls a SF leader who tightly controlled his public persona

I like to say I knew Gerry Adams before he was infamous.

I started reporting from Northern Ireland in the second half of the 1980s, when most American journalists and their editors had grown bored of the killing and the mayhem and the madness.

Somehow, at a fairly young age, when I was the main crime reporter for the Boston Globe, I convinced my editors that we were giving short shrift to the conflict in Northern Ireland, a tragic story, a human rights story, an international story that was, in fact, a local story for our readership, more than half of which claimed Irish ancestry.

Beyond that, I persuaded them that the fact that my grandparents were from Connemara, that I had spent a fitful year at Trinity College, and that I had managed to get myself lifted by British soldiers when I hitchhiked up to Belfast in 1979 and came across a patrol of nervous squaddies who believed my Boston accent was a put-on, somehow qualified me to report on the murderous, generational problem that the Irish in their quaint propensity for understatement called the Troubles.

It’s a major takeout with Cullen himself, as per usual, at the center of it.

So the headscratching staff is emailing this question to the Irish Times: Are you now wondering if anyone can verify any of that?

We will, as always, keep you splendid readers posted.

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Dunkin’ Channeled Boston Globe in Dumping Hill Holliday

Wednesday’s Boston Globe featured this Jon Chesto piece on its first Business page.

Snappy lede: “Hill Holliday no longer runs on Dunkin’.” The Canton-based chain dropped its ad agency of two decades and moved its account to New York shop BBDO Worldwide. “Every now and then you’ve got to look to change things up a bit,” [independent franchise group executive director Ed] Shanahan said.

That statement – and the headline of Chesto’s report – echoes an infamous Globe Business piece from 25 years ago that has stuck with me for a variety of reasons.

Not so amicable, however, was the dustup that the story – and especially the headline – triggered between Globe editor Matt Storin and business editor Steve Bailey, which in turn led to this headline.

Globe selects Edelman to be business editor

Larry Edelman will become business editor of The Boston Globe Jan. 1, replacing Steve Bailey, who has held the post for five years, Matthew V. Storin, the newspaper’s editor, said yesterday.

Bailey, 43, said he chose to take a reporting job in the Business section, where he has been a popular editor and assistant editor for the past 12 years. Storin said Bailey’s “return to a management position in the future would be welcomed by me.”

“We’ve had a great run here,” said Bailey, who joined the newspaper in 1977. “I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished. The Globe gave me a good opportunity, and I appreciate it.”

That piece ran the same morning I was scheduled to meet with Bailey and finalize my deal to write a weekly advertising/media column for the Business section. I was up bright and early and figured I should check that day’s edition of the Globe to be on top of things.

Oops.

I wasn’t sure what to do at that point, but the Missus, in her infinite wisdom, said, “Just go to the meeting.”

So I did.

In the Globe newsroom, I was told to take a seat: “Mr. Bailey is in a meeting.” A meeting that everyone could hear through the closed door of Storin’s office.

About 20 minutes later Bailey walked up to me and said, “You know I’ve been fired, right?”

I said, “Yeah – is our meeting still on?”

After a moment’s hesitation, Bailey summoned Edelman, who moseyed into Bailey’s office, looked around, and said to no one in particular, “I wonder if my desk will fit in here.”

Ouch.

Bailey laid out the situation and Edelman, to his credit, said “Okay, let’s give it a go for six months.” Not long after I was filing columns like this one.

A story goes with that too.

A couple of weeks after the column ran, I got a call from a radio monitoring service telling me I had been the subject of a segment on that morning’s Howard Stern Show and asking if I’d like a copy of it. I said no thanks – because the Stern show at that time was re-broadcast in Boston every night.

So I tuned in and listened to Stern blowtorch me for the better part of an hour. He had just returned from vacation and was working his way through a clip file that had been assembled in his absence. My Globe column was one of those clips. (Spoiler alert: All his listeners came to know that I did not make as much money as the King of All Media.)

And then – remember, this was pre-Internet – the Sterniacs started calling my business phone in droves to leave messages like “Howard rules, man” and “We’re coming after you, man.”

Which they never did, presumably because they were too stoned, man.

Anyway, I continued to write the Globe column for the next 15 months. I never had occasion to mention Howard Stern again.

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