Saturday, April 30, 2005

APRIL WAS THE COOLEST MONTH


blog4
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
Between popes and Pulitzers, April was the coolest month on record for Nightsiders: 50-something posts in 30 days. And that doesn't count the items I put up and took down for being even dumber than usual.

You'll have to click "April" in the archive area to see all the posts

HIGH FLYING ... ONE LAST TIME


highflying2
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
There's just something about a ailing balloon that draws attention and aid from bystanders. This is the second one to be set free by a sympathetic nightsider for one last flight.

This orb was so near death that a small paper clip was enough to weigh it down. But once it was removed — and once the streamers were trimmed back — it sailed aloft one last time.

ANOTHER FIRST: PUBLIC SERVICE


blogprintout2
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
Here's a printout from a blog entry to alert people about the copy desk changes — the wardrobe upgrades and waving jags they may encounter while in that part of the newsroom.

We're glad to perform a public service.

A FIRST FOR NIGHTSIDERS


timandedithlook2
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
This is the first time we've ever had people pictured on the blog as they viewed their picture on the blog! It's Tim and Edith checking out Tim and Edith.


Friday, April 29, 2005

SHRINKAGE CONTINUES

Since Mark's rubber orb is going the way of Pulitzer 1, it seems fitting to end April on the right note with one last balloon shot.

Mark pulled his balloon down for a sniff test; we thought it might be leaking stinky, rubbery fumes into the newsroom, but the stink turned out to be someone's dinner, which smelled a lot like the fabled Friday-shit-sandwich meal from a bygone era.

LOOKING BLASTED


LOOKING BLASTED
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
Here's something I don't understand: Edith was wined and dined by the big shots tonight, but Tim's the one who looks shit-faced!

They are conferring about our special project this week, Senior Standouts.

Maybe working with me all week has put Tim into a coma.

Of course, I was only pretending to take a picture of Tim and Edith, but my real subject was the elusive Kim Moy, who works unawares in the background.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

SUMMER IN THE CITY (COMING SOON)


CLEVELAND
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
Sometimes after a few months of rain and snow, we forget how lovely Cleveland can be.

And Mary Jo, in case you forget, that's Jacobs Field in the foreground. I hear they play baseball there. And all that water in the background, that's Lake Erie. People take boats out there and sail around.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

MESSAGE FROM MANAGEMENT


Mr. NIGHTSIDER himself!
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
A Public Service Announcement from Mr. Nightsider himself:

"It might be a good time to remind you of Nightsiders Policy Rule #1: If anyone is offended by any item on this blog, it will be removed without question or hesitation and with apologies in advance."

Message jonfobes@yahoo.com for immediate removal.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

OFFICIAL CANDY


OFFICIAL CANDY
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
Whoppers has been named the official candy for the NIGHTSIDERS blog, not because we eat so many Whoppers but because we tell so many.

Besides, Whoppers that come out of the mouth have fewer calories than those going in, the idea being that it's better to be a big liar than a big, fat liar.

HOLY SMOKE! COPY DESK CHANGES

There have been some very interesting changes on the copy desk since the election of Pope Benedict.

For example, you'll note a few wardrobe upgrades and a lot more waving!

WRITE MORE ABOUT LESS

Here's some advice, which could be applied to bloggers and blog readers, from "Life's Little Deconstruction Book," by Andrew Boyd:

Pretend to be real * Reformat * Write more about less
* Rework what others have exhausted * Be profoundly
superficial * Speculate * Blur the boundary between
high and low * Experiment in public * Find purpose
without direction * Fight for attention * Usurp
reality * Mock your own urgency * Complicate the
self-evident * Cut and paste * Take irony for granted
* Make a spectacle of yourself * Write in the margins
* Change the subject * Exploit banality * Plagiarize
yourself * Mutate * Prepare to be misunderstood * Make the border your territory * Impersonate yourself

Friday, April 22, 2005

"THE GUEST-HOUSE," RUMI

Poetry on the blog? Good grief, they may kick me out for this.

This poem expresses, to some degree, the idea behind the "Home Office" post below ... except for the "beyond" reference at the end, which is a bit too metaphysical for me:


This being human is a guest-house
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you
out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

MEMO FROM THE HOME OFFICE

To whom it may concern.

Almost nothing on this Web site is true. And certainly nothing important. A minor factual detail may slip through on occasion.* We are working to correct that fault in the program.

Moreover, nothing "means" anything. Nothing is being implied or suggested. There's no weight to the words found herein. It's all sound and fury, signifying nothing. It's all a lark. A plunge. An improvisation. Jazz. Smoke. Hot air. Hogwash. Balderdash. The twisted ramblings of a weird mind. As if you didn't know! But it never hurts to be reminded.

And we thank the people who so gallantly allow themselves to be teased in public. Perhaps at the end of the year we'll give a "Good Sport" award. Kathie Kroll is in the lead at this point for allowing me to give her a goatee.

We now return you to our regularly scheduled bullshit.


*Like the part about Bill meeting Led Zeppelin and inspiring "Kashmir."

HERE SINCE HIGH SCHOOL 4


HI, HI!
From Bill's archive
Maybe you don't realize this, but many Plain Dealer employees started working at the paper very early. For example, Joe Hanak started at The Plain Dealer when he was a mere 9 years old.

He had to work to support his family, which was kicked out of Slovenia for being "too backward." The name "Hanak" means "mountain hillbilly" in Slovenian. The Hanak families who avoided deportation changed their name to McHanak, which means, "just a regular hillbilly," which it was OK to be in Slovenia at the time. And still is.

Joe's family was so poor that he had to wear things made from paper. Paper ties, paper underwear; he could never sneak up on anyone because his paper socks made so much noise.

He was known for his little wave and greeting -- "Hi, Hi!" or "Bye, Bye!" -- which were the only words he knew in English at the time. (Dave Sartin still uses these salutations.)

The tiny Joe would sometimes nap on a little mat under his desk, and he often spent his lunch hour coloring. If Joe got stuck on a layout, he would suck his thumb until he figured things out. Sometimes he would cry and sit on Van Richmond's lap. On occasion, Joe would help Van "build" a salad, which was usually bigger than Joe. Joe became the news desk mascot after Rosie started carrying him around in a Domke bag.

Now Joe does the national section, his speciality being stories about the mountainous regions of Slovenia, where many "mountain hillbillies" are still rumored to be living in caves and wearing little paper ties in honor of their American hero. But Rosie blames him for her back problems.

HERE SINCE HIGH SCHOOL 3


WORM PRODIGY
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
Maybe you don't realize this, but many Plain Dealer employees started working at the paper before they left high school.

For example, Bill Lammers started at the PD when he was in the 10th grade. Bill was hired because he knew his picas and points like no other human being alive! He had thousands of hours of base-12 training as a youth because his family owned a marina, and Bill counted out and sold thousands of worms (by the dozen) before he was out of grade school. Some say Bill was counting worms before he could talk. (FYI: He serves as base-12 consultant on the new CBS hit series, "NUMB3RS.")

In grade school Bill earned a spot in the Guinness book of records for most worms counted in a 24-hour period. He grew so famous that when Led Zeppelin played in Cleveland one of the band's dressing-room contract stipulations was a bowl of 3,600 M&M candies (brown only!) counted out, BY THE DOZEN, by "that worm-prodigy kid." Bill got to meet the band, and it's rumored the sweater he was wearing inspired the song "Kashmir" and that the lyric, "All I see turns to brown," refers to the candies Bill so painstakingly counted.

Bill has been at The Plain Dealer so long he considers us all family now, as was shown when he confided to the news desk his dirty, little secret: He has never fished from a boat!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

SHRINKAGE COMPLETE


MERCY KILLING
Photo by Bill Lammers
Pulitzer 1 was put out of its misery Monday night. Life in the upper atmosphere was too tough.

Now that all the other balloons have been raised, we'll see how they do at higher altitudes.

NO JOKE, PINK SMOKE


PINK SMOKE
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
The College of Cardinals shocked the world today by naming excommunicated Catholic and former Ohio first lady Dagmar Celeste as pope.

Bells rang and pink smoke flew over the Vatican as Celeste donned traditional pope gear and greeted stunned citizens.

Monday, April 18, 2005

THE HAMPTONS AND SHRINKAGE!


THE HAMPTONS
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
This is like Seinfeld episode 85, "The Hamptons."

Jerry: No, I'm not gonna tell her about your shrinkage. Besides, I think
women know about shrinkage.

George: How do women know about shrinkage? (They see Elaine walking down the hall) Elaine! Get! (She enters) Do women know about shrinkage?

Elaine: What do you mean, like laundry?

George: No.

Jerry: Like when a man goes swimming ... afterwards ...

Elaine: It shrinks?

Jerry: Like a frightened turtle!

Elaine: Why does it shrink?

George: It just does!

Elaine: I don't know how you guys walk around with those things!

DEPRESSION


DEPRESSION
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
Kim is about ready to weep over the plight of our once high-flying balloon. But Felipe shows some glee!

Saturday, April 16, 2005

FLYING BEYOND GRAVITY'S PULL

The Pulitzer 1 is free! A member of the ground crew (ok, it was me) thought he was removing a ballast line and severed the tether instead, sending the determined dirigible skyward. Now it hovers above my desk, ribbons flapping in the breeze, looking like a faraway, mountainous planet.

When will it return to terra firma? Will it be later in tonight's shift? Will it happen before Jon comes in on Sunday to document the gassy globe's lines-free descent? Or will Jon spend the whole night Sunday trying to maneuver it over to the balcony? Oh, where is my tractor beam when I really need it?

PULITZER 1 GIVES UP, COMES DOWN


PULITZER 1 GIVES Up
Photo by Rosie
Pulitzer 1, looking more like a very old elephant testicle than a high-flying test balloon, sinks back to Earth Saturday evening.

WHAT GOES UP MUST COME DOWN

The high-flying Pulitzer 1 is sagging back to the launch pad. Glad I am off and not witness to this. Thanks to Tim and Rosie for their reports and photos!
The death watch of Pulitzer 1
A newsdesk coorespondent is saddened to report the near death of Pulitzer 1. The newsdesk's first innerstellar launch vehicle has wilted in size and looks like a green prune as it hangs sickly over the launch pad, its taut space cable now limp.
Pulitzer 1 now dangles a scant 12 feet above the surface a shadow of its former self which flew gallantly above the newsdesk for days.
One fears, of course, that it may come down in flames atop Mrs. Sterling Higgs later tonight, or, worse yet, that it would have to be put down in a balloonatarium gesture.
Of course Pulitzer 1 gained fame when it was involved in one of the great rescues of our time, the retrieval of another launch vehicle which had rocketed to the Plain Dealer ceiling, seemingly to be lost in the newsroom space.
We salute you Pultizer 1, you served your newsdesk well.

Friday, April 15, 2005

JUNGLE JOE 4: At large


JUNGLE JOE 4
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
Just remember kids, sexual abuse of animals is against the law in some states.

And when you go into the wilds, leave your scotch and cigars at home. But take as many guns as you want.

No good ever comes of drunkenness and fornication. At least that's what some people say.

Isn't that cute!

JUNGLE JOE 3: Picking up chicks


Jungle Joe 3
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
Hi, kids. Welcome to "Jungle Joe Hanak's Amazing Animal Antics." Since people are animals -- some more than others -- Jungle Joe will sometimes look at their behavior, too. Yes, I will!

For example, the man behind me overheard his pals talking about how much fun it is to go out and pick up girls. So he thought he'd try it himself, and this is what happened. But he doesn't know what to do next. He's been holding her up there for a good 20 minutes. Isn't that cute!

BIGGER PICTURES

FYI, you can see a bigger version of a picture by double-clicking on it. You will be taken to Flickr, an on-line photo database. Then you can use your back button to return to Nightsiders.

JUNGLE JOE 2: Whale of a time


JUNGLE JOE 2
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
Hi, kids. Welcome to "Jungle Joe Hanak's Amazing Animal Antics." You know how much fun it is to pretend. Well, animals like to pretend, too. Yes, they do!

The little whale behind me is pretending to be lost, so the big whale will push her back to their friends nearby. But she must be a fun-loving little gal because the more he pushes on her, the more she pushes back on him! This has been going on for a good hour. Isn't that cute!

HERE SINCE HIGH SCHOOL 2


HERE SINCE HIGH SCHOOL 2
Photo from Bill's archive
Maybe you don't realize it, but many Plain Dealer employees started working at the paper when very young. For example, Lisa Higgs was a journalism prodigy who began her career before she even entered junior high school.

She was so young and small when she first started on the news desk she could barely reach her keyboard and mouse. But that didn't stop her from doing museum-quality layouts and never missing a deadline.

You're probably wondering why her name was "Higgs" at that time. That's because Bob and Lisa got married in the fourth grade, right after their team won the state kickball tournament.

HERE SINCE HIGH SCHOOL 1


HERE SINCE HIGH SCHOOL 1
Photo from Bill's archive
Maybe you don't realize this, but many Plain Dealer employees started working at the paper even before they left high school. For example, Mike Mentrek started his Plain Dealer career after he was let go as towel boy for the girl's wrestling team.

He wasn't even old enough to drive, so his mother had to bring him to work. Sometimes she would sit at the copy desk with him, and they would read the paper together. "Dear Abby" was one of their favories. Ma Mentrek would explain the racy items to the innocent Mike because she always said, "It takes a dirty mind to put out a clean newspaper."

JUNGLE JOE 1: Rhino no-no


JUNGLE JOE 1
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
Hi, kids. Welcome to "Jungle Joe Hanak's Amazing Animal Antics." You know how much fun it is to play games. Well, animals like to play games, too. Yes, they do!

The little rhino behind me is pretending to be tired so the big rhino will push her back to the watering hole. But she must be a cantankerous little beast because the more he pushes, the more she stands her ground! This has been going on for a good 30 minutes. Isn't that cute!

"I want to take you higher, HIGHER!"

Just when you'd think the Pulitzer balloons would start to sag, they just keep getting higher.

It's an inspiring sight; there's even talk of hanging award banners from the ceiling, like they do in sports arenas (so I am told) that would say things like, "Pulitzer Prize, 2005," or "Gold Medal in Design," or "Named Best Paper in the State." Good idea, David!

BALLOON LAUNCH CATASTROPHE


LAUNCH CATASTROPHE
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
There was a near-catastrophic balloon-launch incident last night at The Plain Dealer. A member of the ground crew lost control during a routine tether extension, and one of the purple Pulitzers raced skyward into the ceiling tiles, sending a near-toxic shower of dust onto the innocent journalists below. (Actually, the only one who got dusted was the idiot who lost the balloon -- me.)

Through the heroic efforts of Joe Hanak -- with help from Rosie Kovacs, Jon Fobes and Jim Darr -- the balloon was brought within reach of Tony Brown on the second floor, and he pulled it to safety, and it was reattached to its tether and now flies proudly as part of the Pulitzer fleet. While harrowing for the rescue team, the incident was judged to be quite entertaining by onlookers.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

A RINGER


A RINGER
Photo by Darth Tater.
Aside from launching balloons, we've also been launching a number of rubber bands. This one appears to have scored a ringer on an unknowing Denise.

Or was it placed there by a person known for his ability to cover unsuspecting coworkers with eraser crumbs and pencil shavings?*

*A clue to his identity revolves around a snack-food item and the slang term for someone from Georgia. Or just ask Lisa.

FLYING PROUD


FLYING PROUD
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
The news desk was proud to send up another test balloon tonight after extending Pulitzer 1 with a piece of twine and a length of ribbon.

We are certainly in our glory now! God speed to Pulitzer 1 and The Calamity Jane!

THE CALAMITY JANE


ANOTHER FLIGHT TONIGHT
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
In this split-frame shot, Bill Lammers tilts back to take a picture during the launch of The Calamity Jane, our second high-flight test balloon.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

DIRECTOR'S CUT / ALTERNATE ENDING

First version of the Pulitzer 1 balloon story featured a Hollywood ending. Click here.

A NAGGING THOUGHT FROM DEEP SPACE


WOW!
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
As Pulitzer 1 fast approaches the vast reaches of outer space, the hapless passenger entertains one nagging and recurrent thought:

"I hope someone remembers to fill out my time sheet for me. Forty hours a week for eternity; let's see that's ... that's way more than a buck three-eighty!"

ADIEU!


ADIEU!
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
Streaking across space, destination unknown. Farewell, PD Cafe and bookcart. So long, Westlake Borders! No more "Mardi Gras Delight" salads for me. Goodbye, Planet Earth.

Kier Dullea, gone tomorrow.

BALLOON MAN IS CALLING


WAIT!
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
Wait. Something's happening! A high-pitched wail. Dizzy. Many dazzling lights! Feeling faint. The balloon man is calling.

Lisa, I want you to have my pica pole. Something to remember me by.

Just one last Jolly Rancher before I go ...

Losing consciousness ... Farewell, my old friend, Mr. Harris pagination system ... Arg!

CNN REPORTS ON PULITZER 1


cnn
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
Christiane Amanpour, CNN's chief international correspondent, came to Cleveland to report on the news desk test of a high-flying Pulitzer balloon.

"Dubbed Pulitzer 1, the intrepid inflatable has been in the upper atmosphere of the newsroom for almost 8 hours with no loss of life yet. Back to you in Atlanta, Chuck."

TAKING DATA FROM PULITZER 1


lisa
Originally uploaded by jonfobes

Lisa Higgs keeps an eye on the test balloon floating above the news desk while Mark Spang checks the telemetry on his Palm pilot.

It was noted that while the lower Pulitzer balloons stand stock still, the test balloon moves around in the newsroom jet stream.

Lucky we have it tied off with high-quality twine from Plain Dealer paper bundles!

NEWS DESK SENDS UP TEST BALLOON


NEWS DESK SENDS UP TEST BALLOON
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.

The news desk sent up a test balloon tonight to see how the Pulitzer inflatable will hold up in the harsh upper atmosphere of the newsroom.

If it doesn't pop, we'll send up Lisa, and if she doesn't pop, we'll send up Bill.

No sense sending Tim; he has severe leakage problems even at floor level.

And that's an understatement!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

IF THE PD WERE CARNIVALE #9


IF THE PD WERE CARNIVALE #9
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
If The Plain Dealer were "Carnivale," we would have a different sign out front.

IF THE PD WERE CARNIVALE #8


IF THE PD WERE CARNIVALE #8
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
If The Plain Dealer were "Carnivale," Tim Graham would have a really cool tattoo ... and wouldn't mind showing it off in the newsroom. This might provide a new subcategory in regards "visual harassment."

IF THE PD WERE CARNIVALE #7


IF THE PD WERE CARNIVALE #7
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
If The Plain Dealer were "Carnivale," Bill Lammers would be known as "Stumpy the cooch-master."

IF THE PD WERE CARNIVALE #6


jeffro
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
If The Plain Dealer were "Carnivale," Jeff Greene would have a different scream-saver ... I mean "screen-saver."

IF THE PD WERE CARNIVALE #5


beardedlady
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
If The Plain Dealer were "Carnivale," the "Bearded Lady of Brussels" would be bringing us the news from Brussels. As it is, she's "merely" attending the royal wedding.

IF THE PD WERE CARNIVALE #4


truck
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
If The Plain Dealer were "Carnivale" we'd have a different truck in the lobby.

STILL LENDING A FESTIVE AIR


STILL LENDING A FESTIVE AIR
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
Recent tests have shown that Pulitzer Prize balloons retain their helium longer than any other celebratory inflatable. The only thing that's outlasted them, so far, is Joe Hanak's sex doll, lower right.

IF THE PD WERE CARNIVALE #3


PLATEFLOW
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
If The Plain Dealer were "Carnivale," the consequences of bad plate flow would be much, much worse!

IF THE PD WERE CARNIVALE #2


IF THE PD WERE CARNIVALE #2
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
If The Plain Dealer were "Carnivale," Joe would be strutting around the office surrounded by babes all the time. As the lobster lady said, "Not everything about him is little."

IF THE PD WERE CARNIVALE #1


IF THE PD WERE CARNIVALE
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
If The Plain Dealer were "Carnivale," going to see Leroy in pagination would be an adventure in itself.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

THEY'RE SHOWING UP ON RADAR!


connie
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
You get a lot of cool stuff when you win a Pulitzer Prize:

• Fame, fortune and flowers;

• congratulations from family, friends and coworkers;

• a front-page story, television news;

• cake, champagne — and huge balloons.

Congratulations, Connie!

Saturday, April 02, 2005

NO DIE | DIE


NO DIE / DIE
Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
Welcome to the world of big-time journalism and the paperless office. At right see the battle plan — concocted at a roundtable discussion and noted down by recording secretary, Joe Hanak — on how to reconfigure the Saturday Plain Dealer, depending on when the Pope might die. "To bump up the paper two more pages or not, that is the question — and when?" might better describe the situation. Or as scribbled by Joe, "No Die | Die."

As of this writing, it looks like the Pope wants to die in the Sunday paper, which makes a lot of sense. And he probably knows that he's not really dead until The Plain Dealer says he is.