Thursday, July 21, 2005

Wow, listen to him write!

My current vacation reading is Painted Paragraphs, by Donald Newlove, who sets out several choice examples of various authors' vivid writing in an effort to inspire we of lesser gifts. His publisher, I presume, gave the book its surtitle, "A Handbook for the Soul."

Here is Newlove:

"All my writing must come breathing out of me. In Painted Paragraphs I pass myself off as an expert on writing, since I think daily about writing, and my largest hardship is to get past facts into feelings and to stir you as I am stirred by the joy of finding my soul alive in other people and my refreshment in the works of fellow writers. The trick is never to write an unfelt word. I wake the dead. ... My inner ear listens to a voice within trying to wake me up. If I wake up, so will you."


The topic for another day will be how to write with such passion and still be true to the obligations of modern journalism. Comments, anyone?

If this sounds like something you just have to own, here's help at

Making progress, slowly

Here's something fresh on the efforts to replace petroleum as our transportation energy source. The mere fact of the Honda prototype is encouraging, but I sure do wish more work of this sort was underway. Hey, maybe it is -- at some Detroit skunk works that we haven't heard of yet. Read the U.S. News magazine piece Running on Fumes

And a bit more on the subject, from the San Jose Mercury News . This writer just test-drove the Daimler-Chrysler fuel-cell car. So far, the mileage seems a big hurdle.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Cities that don't work

Here's a fine illustration of the disfunctional suburb. "Calmed" roads led to a storm

I don't imagine that speed bumps, etc., would make the Los Angeles commuters who seek shortcuts through Cheviot Hills leave their cars at home and walk or bike to work. But what about the Cheviotans themselves? Instead of cranking up their SUVs when they need a dozen eggs, couldn't some of them go by foot? Or bicycle?

The piece is a fine illustration of the futility of American urban design. When Frank Lloyd Wright promulgated his dream of a motor utopia he did his country a great disservice. The suburbs don't work much better than Wright's leaky roofs.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Truth vs. The Dollar

Business Week explains why Matt Cooper ultimately had to testify in the Valerie Plame case: "What wins Pulitzers and the envy of peers does not necessarily drive huge sales or increase franchise value. (It's market position, not front-page exposés, that makes The New York Times more valuable than the New York Post.)" The Truth vs. The Dollar

This kind of thing makes newsfolk sad or angry. More significantly, it makes the public poorer because it raises the cost of courageous reporting about government and other power centers.