It’s been five years since I completely self-imploded and yet it’s still hard for me to know how much progress I have made since those dark days. But two events occurred this week that tell me that, I hope, I am on the right track. The first is opening up a business account at Bank of America. There’s not much in the account, but for a guy who used to bounce checks like Roger Federer bounces tennis balls, it’s nice to have at least a foot back into the legitimate world.
Second, I actually sidled up next to the St. Petersburg Times‘ Adam Smith and he did not recoil in horror. In fact, he actually had a drink with me. About six months ago, Smith actually summed up my personal situation best, telling me that I had been upgraded to the level where he actually read what I said, even though he still had to “triple-check” anything I wrote.
I know, I know, Smith saying this is like that scene from Arrested Development bumps up the Bluth Company from “Don’t Buy” (as heard in “The Cabin Show“) to “Risky.”
Still, it’s progress.
Listen, I don’t hate the St. Petersburg Times. In fact, I probably admire and respect the newspaper more than most. I fully realize that my blog prospers because it basks in some of the same light the Times receives.
It’s just that there is the good Times and the bad Times. The good Times includes the features of the newspaper such as PolitiFact, the sports section, the attention to color and design, the investigatory work of Jeff Testerman, etc. These are the aspects of the newspaper that are universally acclaimed and enjoyed.
It’s the bad Times that drive me crazy. The Mr. Hyde portion of the newspaper includes the mugshots feature, it’s haphazard online presence, it’s lack of diversity on the editorial board, and most troubling, much of its local coverage.
And it’s not that the most of the local coverage is troubling. Reporters like David DeCamp cover a lot of ground without a lot of resources. But the Sue Carltons and the Cristina Silvas and the Heather Uriquedes of the world still work at the newspaper. It’s because of reporters and editors like them that the newspaper, so often recognized for its exemplary work, fails to win recognition for its local coverage.
As for my issues with today’s edition of the Times, can you believe Laura Reiley is still haunting me. She’s been promising to leave for weeks, yet, her review of Pagelli’s Italiano shows up in today’s Weekender and I kid you not, she doled out another 2.5 star review. Her string of reviews ending with a ranking of 2.5 stars seems to have gone on longer than the Wimbledon match I am watching right now.
Laura, please leave.
After all, Jim Webster is getting off to a hell of start. After pussying out of changing the anachronistic star system, he has blogged more this week than Reiley would in a month (you all should have heard how dismissive Reiley was of the online aspect — and the editors who insisted she embrace it — of her job).
I’ve got to run for lunch…will finish up later.