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May 2003

The Year of
Switching Commanders
Fresh Recruits

Dispatches from the Front by Burl Burlingame

5/2/03 New USA Today publisher comes from the dark side
He's from out there in Gannett-land, which is a different place. Gannett papers are known for penny-pinching, and people are kind of afraid he will basically do what McCorkindale wants him to, or so says an anonymous staffer on USA Today, referring to new publisher Craig Moon. Moon replaces Tom Curley, who made the business mistake of trying to make USA Today journalistically sound, and has since sprinted away for the safety and prestige of Associated Press. Moon has been in Gannett's smoky back rooms most of his life, including the monopoly hot spots of Arkansas and Tennessee, and has no front-end journalism experience whatsoever. According to Tara J. Connell, vice president of corporate communications for Gannett, Moon is not unfamiliar with the role of publisher and how it relates to the newsroom. They really, really need to give him a chance and he'll do just fine. That's the sort of atta-boys they give to Special Olympics kids.

5/3/03 And they're off ... !!!
Ever since the Star-Bulletin staff sported editor Bill Cox and John Christenson, both of whom transferred in from the Louisville Courier, the Kentucky Derby has been a special newsroom event. This year, though, we had our own form of the Derby, with photographers Cindy Ellen Russell and Keely Luke both waaaay overdue in their pregnancies. Cindy won by a nose, with Keely giving birth just an hour later. Both delivered healthy girls. And it's a photo finish -- Cindy and father Craig T. Kojima are on the photo staff, and Keely is the daughter of the late Star-Bulletin chief photographer Terry Luke.

5/5/03 Sink-o de mayo
The Restaurant Row people have some sort of whup-ass Cinco de Mayo celebration planned, judging by the stage set-ups. Will report later .. It's later. Apparently the stuff was used over the weekend and removed. Cinco de Mayo occurs whenever it's convenient, not on May 5. I still had a couple of margaritas to toast our great neighbors to the south. How come there isn't an equivalent Canadian holiday?

5/6/03 Live at Kapono's!
Here's the band, the Honolulu Blue Devils. working out at Kapono's recently. It';s a great place to play, right in the shadow of Aloha Tower, and boats pass by behind the stage. We were immediately booked for a couple more gigs there -- next one is early evening June 5.

5/7/03 An amazing amount of SPAM, the good kind
The Star-Bulletin may wind up in the Guinness book of world records. We spearheaded a drive for the Hawaii Food Bank, collecting cans of SPAM from citizens, and wound up with so many that we broke the record set by SPAM itself. Here's a portion of the SPAM cans on display at Restaurant Row. Make you hungry? OK, maybe not.

5/9/03 Bye-bye, Tiser guys
After 40 years in the news busness, the last several of which were spent being an annoyance to Gannett anti-union types, Advertsier writer and maple-syrup entrepeneur Walter Wright has called it quits. Curiously, if you search for his name in the Advertiser's web site, there are zero hits. And former Advertiser transportation writer Scott Ishikawa, who replaced the dreadful Marilyn Kali as Department of Transportation spokesperson, is already saying dumb government things. Last week he said the new Pali Hiway "rumble strips" were way too effective at slowing down traffic, so they would be removed. In other words, if it works, break it.

5/11/03 Looking for a few good brains
I've had this idea kicking around for a while about creating a monthly problem-solving column that will urge citizens to imagine creative solutions for municipal problems overlooked by City and County administrators, who don't have a good record lately of thinking things through. We kicked it off this day, with a call for suggestions about how the city should celebrate its centenial and bicentennial anniversaries, and we're calling the column Brainstorm! Why start off with this particular poser? I brought it up in an earlier story and thus far the City has done nothing except get annoyed with me for whining about it in the first place. Sometimes it's sweet to be in the high-volume ink business. Next month, those pesky "dead zones" created by one-way streets.

5/15/03 Star-Bulletin Hezbowlers
This is the Star-Bulletin bowling team -- meself, Nancy, Randy, Pat and Seth -- at a recent tournament to raise money for Honolulu Junior League, which apparently we did. I haven't bowled since high school, and a good thing too -- I'm the worst bowler in the world, it turns out. The team next to us had a six-year-old who couldn't lift the ball. Yes, he beat me. Badly.

5/19/03 Aloha for a while
It's been an awfully busy couple of weeks as I wrapped up a personal project, which I did last night -- yay! -- and now I'm blowing out of town for a couple of weeks. There won't be any updates to this site until June 6 (isn't that the D-Day anniversary?).
NEXT! June 2003
Contest Coups

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