Thursday, October 29, 2009
I struggle to understand the reason why anyone would see a 7 year old girl walking home from school as a target.
Yes a mountain lion would view her in such a way. No civilized human being would do so.
Such a person with such thoughts should be treated as we would treat a rabid animal.
Monday, October 26, 2009
These were the words that I shouted upon hearing the news that the New Orleans Saints had come back and beaten Miami - after being blown out most of the game. (Well actually I did not say "Heck" but you get the picture.
Saints rally past Dolphins, stay unbeaten
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
I'm just doing my duty be reporting details of what is available.
I can imagine that these skills could come in handy.
If these women get trapped in a building that is on fire and they needed to exit rapidly on a fire escape - these athletic skills would come in handy.
None the less daddy's early investment in gymnastic lessons seems to have come in handy.
This year has been an amazing year as I constantly battled critters who sought to invade my house or eat all of the fruit from my trees.
Thus far I have fought against:
- Deer who eat my pears and my plants
- Crows who ate the pears that were too high up for the deer
- Squirrels who ate my few apples
- A Turtle who walked across my lawn and didn't appreciate me trying to take him back to the lake
- Ants who capitalized on my failure to put down seasonal ant control this year
- Big spiders who I had never seen before
- Yellow jackets that made their nest next to the flower pot at my front door
Add to this list - WASPS in my basement.
I mistakenly left the top window pane of one of my windows in the basement cracked by about an inch after cleaning them. This one oversight allowed a family of wasps to construct what was to be their winter-time home in my basement.
As I sat on my exercise bench, talking on the phone - I looked up and saw a nest inside of my house, on the window but hidden by the closed blinds that I have on the window.
Thank goodness for chemicals.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
CHICAGO — A hometown investor has offered the unions at the Chicago Sun-Times a take-it-or-leave-it proposal to buy the company in bankruptcy court, and the unions just might leave it — snuffing out what could be the best hope for survival of the city's oldest continuously published daily.
There's no line of eager buyers at the Sun-Times' door. And it seems unlikely parent company Sun-Times Media Group could do much to woo other investors in an era of free Internet news that has already seen the demise of other second newspapers in two-newspaper towns such as Seattle and Denver.
Businessman Jim Tyree's bid for the Sun-Times Media Group "seems to be the only game in town," said Michael Miner, a former Sun-Times staffer who covers local journalism for the Chicago Reader, a free weekly. If Tyree walks away, a Sun-Times lawyer has said, the company would have to consider liquidation.
Tyree, who grew up on Chicago's South Side and now heads Mesirow Financial, a financial services firm, leads a group that has offered to pay just $5 million in cash for the assets of the Sun-Times' parent company, which also runs more than 50 suburban publications. The investors also would assume about $22 million in liabilities to keep operating the company.
First, however, Tyree wants Sun-Times unions to agree to lock in 15 percent pay cuts that were originally intended to be temporary, among other concessions. Five Sun-Times unions have rejected the concessions, four have accepted them and seven have not yet voted, Sun-Times spokeswoman Tammy Chase said.
"The business is in trouble, it needs to transform itself . . . therefore the concessions are essential for it to survive," Tyree said in an interview.
Tyree also wants members of the Chicago Newspaper Guild to agree to flexible work rules. That proposal "guts our contract," complained Tom Thibeault, executive director of the Guild, which represents editorial workers at the Sun-Times newspapers. "We hold on to the front cover and the back cover — and everything else goes out the door."
A judge last week rejected Tyree's efforts to set Tuesday as a deadline for the unions to agree to the demands, suggesting that the parties should have until December to seal any agreement. But both Tyree and Sun-Times Media Group executives warn it's still a matter of weeks before time for a deal runs out.
The company doesn't have the cash to hold out until December, and each day without an agreement brings it closer to shutting down, jeopardizing more than 1,800 jobs, Jeremy Halbreich, the company's chairman, told employees in a recent memo.
"I know that it's as hard for each one of you to accept this fact as it is for me to put it in writing. But, it's true," he wrote.
Scott Cargill, an attorney for a committee of lower-tier, unsecured creditors, said Wednesday that the parties still were reviewing the sales terms. He said the creditors were concerned about the ongoing disputes derailing the company's future, "but it's really the company and the unions that are the parties at the negotiating table."
A message left with the company's chief creditor, Fifth Third Bank, was not returned.
The company's stockholders are already wiped out — Sun-Times shares trade for a fraction of a penny. At its peak in 2004, the company, then known as Hollinger International, had a market value of nearly $1.9 billion.
If the Sun-Times goes under, that would leave this city of 3 million with just one major daily, the Chicago Tribune, whose parent company is also operating under bankruptcy protection.
The Sun-Times has its roots in the Chicago Evening Journal, founded in 1844, though the present newspaper came about in 1948. That was when Marshall Field III, whose grandfather founded the Marshall Field's department store, combined his broadsheet Chicago Sun with the Chicago Times. Over the years the newspaper has been home to writers who gained national acclaim, including columnist Mike Royko, advice guru Ann Landers and movie critic Roger Ebert, who still writes for the Sun-Times.
The tabloid also played key roles in exposing corruption. In 1977, the Sun-Times went so far as to buy a bar to document how city inspectors demanded bribes.
Some analysts and former Sun-Times journalists trace some of the newspaper's financial problems to former owner Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp. acquired it in 1984 and reversed its traditional liberal editorial stance, losing many top writers.
In 1993, Murdoch sold the Sun-Times to Hollinger, whose then-chief executive, Lord Conrad Black, was convicted in 2007 of siphoning millions of dollars from the Sun-Times and its other newspaper holdings.
For a while under Hollinger, the Sun-Times had a 10 percent to 12 percent operating profit margin, better than No. 2 newspapers in most cities. Hollinger's biggest move was to create the Sun-Times Media Group by buying up suburban and neighborhood newspapers. Some of those are profitable, and some analysts have envisioned the Sun-Times company shutting down the namesake newspaper and keeping the suburban ones.
Tyree, 51, is a lifelong Chicagoan who grew up in a working-class neighborhood. His father managed a gas station and his mother sold lingerie. Now he's chairman and chief executive of Mesirow, which had nearly $31 billion in assets under management as of June 30.
He dismisses the suggestion, widely circulated, that he's interested in the Sun-Times for sentimental reasons.
"It's absolutely a business objective — to make profits," he said. "But we aren't planning on making profits for quite some time because the paper has to be turned around, its Web sites have to be turned around. A significant amount of capital expenditures need to be made to do that, and a significant amount of restructuring."
Sun-Times Media filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March, citing $479 million in assets and $801 million in debt.
One problem is simply falling ad revenue, which has plagued many newspapers. For the six months ending March 31, average daily circulation at the Sun-Times remained flat from a year before at 312,000. Ten years ago, average daily circulation was around 470,000.
But the Sun-Times also owes as much as $608 million in back taxes and penalties related to Black's financial dealings. According to court documents, back taxes would remain with the old company following the asset sale to Tyree's investment group. The Internal Revenue Service sometimes has priority over other creditors, but it still could wind up with just pennies on the dollar.
Tyree said that if he does take over the Sun-Times, he doesn't foresee additional job cuts — beyond the more than 400 jobs already shed since late last year through layoffs and attrition. He said money would be spent on improving content, but he declined to provide details.
Given the low price for the company, Edward Atorino, a media analyst with Benchmark Co., doesn't rule out that sentimental factors or hunger for influence could lead other investors to step forward later, even if the Tyree deal collapses.
"If you're a real rich guy and you bought the Sun-Times and could subsidize it forever, you'd get a voice in Chicago," Atorino said. "You can yell at the governor, you can yell at the president. And if you're very rich and it costs you a few million bucks, who cares?"
Potential bidders have until Monday afternoon to submit any competing purchase proposals. If there are any, an auction would take place in Chicago next Wednesday.
AP Business Writer Anick Jesdanun in New York contributed to this report.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Charlie Sheen is at the top of the scripted TV heap, according to TV Guide.
The mag reported that the "Two and a Half Men" star takes home $875,000 an episode for his role as Charlie Harper on the CBS sitcom.
Last year, "Sopranos" star James Gandolfini led the pack with a whopping $1 million an episode for the final season of the HBO mob drama.
Among the rest of TV's highest paid men in 2009 are "24" star Keifer Sutherland ($550,000 an episode), "House" doctor Hugh Laurie ($400,000) and Christopher Meloni of "Law & Order: SVU" ($400,000).
Lower down on the list were such stars as "30 Rock's" Alec Baldwin ($300,000), "Grey's Anatomy's" McDreamy, Patrick Dempsey ($250,000) and "Mad Men" main man Jon Hamm, who earns $75,000 per episode - just above "Gossip Girl" star Chace Crawford ($50,000).
On the ladies' side, Christopher Meloni's "Law & Order: SVU" counterpart brings home top dollar - along with a quartet of successful "Housewives."
Mariska Hargitay earns $400,000 an episode for her role as Detective Olivia Benson on NBC's "SVU," tying her with four "Desperate Housewives" stars - Eva Longoria Parker, Teri Hatcher, Marica Cross and Felicity Huffman.
TV's other highest-paid women include "30 Rock" creator Tina Fey ($300,000) and "The Closer's" Kyra Sedgwick ($275,000).
However, actors aren't the only ones in TV land with serious paychecks. Among the stars of late night, CBS' David Letterman earns $32 million a year, outdistancing the salary of any actor - and also his NBC competitors, Jay Leno ($30 million) and Conan O'Brien ($14 million). And a number of newscasters are also top earners, led by Katie Couric at $15 million a year and Matt Lauer at $13 million.
And in the world of reality, generally bargain rates compared to scripted television, some stars still earn paychecks to write home about. Ryan Seacrest earns $15 million a year for his "American Idol" hosting duties, while reality stars such as former couple Jon and Kate Gosselin take home $75,000 an episode for TLC's "Jon & Kate Plus 8." No word yet if that number may shift in November, when the show relaunches as a Jon-free "Kate Plus 8."