Archive for September, 2010

UAE FaceTime Ban

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Well here’s a shocker, the UAE has banned a technological doo-hickey.

Yawn. Must be a Tuesday.

One of the new features in the new Apple iPhone 4 is FaceTime, a video calling feature.

But apparently the UAE has banned it on the iPhone 4, which launched there on Saturday: “No FaceTime in UAE, reported working in SA unless phones are updated“.

If I had to guess why, and this is just a shot in the dark here, it’s because of either porn or VoIP.

The Emirates doesn’t care for either.

Disney Dollars

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Interesting article over at the Orlando Sentinel, “Disney becoming more generous with political contributions.”

Disney, employing close to 60,000 people in Central Florida, has lots of clout, but apparently they’re not above buying a little more.

While I’m not naive to this sort of thing, it’s a little sad to me that they’re greasing the palms of so many Republicans.

Here’s a post about that: “[Walt] Disney World’s favorite Florida politicians.”

Poniewozik on the Press Herald in Print

Monday, September 27th, 2010

For weeks I’ve been talking about Portland Press Herald publisher and editor Richard L. Connor’s apology for covering Ramadan and then his rephrasing of that apology.

Unfortunately the story gained only minimal national attention, most notably on “The Colbert Report”, and in James Poniewozik’s blog at Time Magazine (see Stephen Colbert Picks Up Apology and Poniewozik on the Press Herald).

We can add the print edition of Time Magazine to that list now.

This week Poniewozik has an article about Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity and Colbert’s competing March to Keep Fear Alive, and he uses the Press Herald apology to illustrate the media’s fright of that fringe element, the loud 15 Percenters.

Check out: “The 15% Solution.”

Key quote:

The very idea that in the U.S. today you have to hold a protest to promote rational discourse is absurd. It’s funny because it’s true.

Poniewozik has become one of my favorite writers in the young generation of Time Magazine writers, I’m glad he’s picked up this story.

Anyway, I think we’re nearing the end of the cycle for the apology story. While I would have liked a few more headlines, maybe a march on the Press Herald’s offices in One City Center or Richard L. Connor as Keith Olbermann’s “Worst Person in the World”, the coverage that the story did receive was quality.

And sane.

Aunt Dot

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

On Thursday afternoon my grandmother’s sister passed away in Connecticut.

She was a wonderful, caring woman; I really only saw her at the holidays when she hosted the entire large Irish family, but in that sea of strangers she would always drop down to her knees and say hello to me and my brother (we were tiny, I’m talking 30 years ago).

During these parties the children hung out in her basement; but it wasn’t like any basement I’d ever been in before. It had paneling like my living room, and there was a rug and a couch – in the basement! Our basement was just full of junk. This basement was a magical getaway from the somewhat-scary adults above. It was the kid table equivalent to a party.

This magical basement also had a fridge (which, granted, my grandfather had too) as well as a bar, a laundry room (which generally wasn’t fun) and a sweet hiding spot under the stairs. And the bannister was made out of pipes and rope. Oh, there were toys, too; it wasn’t like some kid prison or anything. But mostly I remember how everything was so different than my life in Maine. The room was rounded out with an assortment of other kids, my mother’s cousin’s children (which I believe are my “second cousins”, but don’t quote me on it) we were roughly the same age. It was fun.

But sadly that’s about all of my impressions of Aunt Dot. I’m quite sad that I didn’t know her better as an adult. It’s tough, once I was in high school I had papers and reports to get home to, and then college, then I moved to California – life goes by so quickly.

I guess most importantly my grandmother is taking it well. Aunt Dot had been ill for some time so I guess she sees it as a relief. But I can’t imagine what my she is going through. My grandparents were best friends with Aunt Dot and her husband, Charlie, who passed away almost twelve years ago. And now they’re all gone.

Here is Aunt Dot’s obituary from the Saturday edition of the Norwich (Conn.) Bulletin, which I’ll also quote fully in case it goes away (which sometimes they do):

Dorothy D. Prentice

Dorothy D. Prentice July 30, 1915 – September 23, 2010 Norwich – Dorothy D. Prentice 95, formerly of 14 Canterbury Trnpk. Died Thursday, September 23, 2010 at the Harrington Court Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Colchester. She was born in Norwich, on July 30, 1915 daughter of the late Edward and Anna (Bresnan) Daley. Dorothy worked as an office manager with the Anthony Wayne O’Connell Insurance Office in Norwich and also with the Welfare Dept. for the City of Norwich. On August 26, 1938 she was united in marriage to Charles W. Prentice. Mr. Prentice predeceased his wife on December 24, 1998 after 59 years of marriage. Mrs. Prentice was a communicant of the Cathedral of St. Patrick in Norwich. She was a member of the Rose City Senior Center, AARP #3636 and a charter member of the Rose City Bowling League. Dorothy is survived by three daughters Nancy Ruszyk of Hampton Beach, NH, Lesley McGrath and her husband Clement of Colchester and Carolyn Woyasz of Norwich, two sisters Madelyn Thumm of Westerly, RI and Maureen Daley of Norwich, two sisters in law, Irene Daley and Helen Daley, six grandchildren Diana Adcock, Kevin Burzycki, William Burzycki, Lyn Clarke, Jason McGrath and Jeffrey McGrath, seventeen great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by three brothers Edward, Ray and John Daley and one sister Rita Brown. The funeral will assemble on Monday, Sept. 27, 2010 at 9 am at the Cummings – Gagne Funeral Home 82 Cliff St. Norwich & proceed to a 10 am Mass of Christian Burial at the Cathedral of St. Patrick in Norwich, Burial will follow at Maplewood Cemetery in Norwich. Calling hours are at the funeral home on Monday from 8:30 am to 9:30 am. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Hole in the Wall Gang Camp 565 Ashford Center Road Ashford, CT 06278. Condolences may be shared with the family at

Stephen Colbert Picks Up Apology

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

So I wrote to Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow and Jon Stewart after Richard L. Connor’s apology for Ramadan coverage on September 11th.

After a week of not seeing anything, I gave up hope.

And then Stephen Colbert talked about it on “The Colbert Report” on Monday!

The clip starts at 1:27:

Tip/Wag – Chilean Miners, Portland Press Herald & Isa Blyth
Colbert Report Full Episodes 2010 Election Fox News

The joke about ducks flying south and grandparents flying south is awesome:

Go Colbert!

Richard L. Connor Recants his Apology

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

I have to mention this (a few days late). Portland Press Herald editor and publisher, Richard L. Connor, has written another article about his apology for the Ramadan coverage on September 11th.

Check out: “Remembering E.B. White’s sage advice.”

Key quote:

I meant to apologize for what we did not print — front-page coverage of 9/11 on the anniversary of a day that stirs deep and unhealed wounds. I was in no way apologizing for what we did print in a deservedly prominent position — a striking photo of our local Muslim community in prayer.

This is good, but why did it take a week to recant the apology, Connor?

Press Herald Letters to the Editor

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Letters to the Editor of the Portland Press Herald regarding their apology are finally up: “More Letters to the editor, Sept. 16, 2010: Same day, different views: Eid and Sept. 11.”

Interesting how it took Richard L. Connor mere hours to apologize for Saturday’s story, but it takes the editorial board damn near a week to publish Letters to the Editor about it.

Also, I think this title, like so much about the story, focuses on the wrong theme; the disgust that many of us had was not about the Eid holiday or the September 11th anniversary but how the newspaper leadership apologized for running a news story.

They still don’t get it.

Poniewozik on the Press Herald

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Whoa! James Poniewozik of Time Magazine has picked up the Portland Press Herald apology story (and gives it a great title, too!): “Paper to Readers: Sorry for Portraying Muslims as Human.”

Key quote:

Here’s where we are in America, 2010: There is now one group of Americans whose peaceful religious observance cannot be noted by decent people, unless it is “balanced” by the mention of a vile crime committed in 2001 by people, with a perverted idea of the same religion, from the other side of the world.

This is a depressing statement about the state of dialogue in America. Nine years after 9/11, there is now a widespread belief that, for one religious group of law-abiding Americans, the boundaries of acceptable behavior are narrower than for everyone else. Yes, you have the right to worship. But it would be decent of you to do it somewhere else. Or on another day. Or in such a way that the rest of us don’t have to know about it. So now we have a newspaper kowtowing to a national freakout, apologizing for the most innocuous kind of soft feature, because acknowledging that there are decent Muslims in America is offensive. (From the comments on the article: “I don’t want to here [sic] how caring the Muslim religion is on 9/11.” But hey: it’s only for a few days a year!)

Please also note, he used “kowtowing” – the same verb I used!

Apologygate Cover

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

As I’m under 40 and read my news online, I hadn’t actually seen the cover of Saturday’s apology-worthy Portland Press Herald (“No Journalistic Standards Since 2010″) until now:

A posed photograph of two copies of The Portland Press Herald shows the publisher of the Maine newspaper, Richard Connor, left, apologizing for giving Page One coverage, right, to the end of Ramadan on Saturday, Sept. 11, without mention of the ninth anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks. (AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach)

USA Today on the Apology

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

I’m not letting this die until Jon Stewart is poking fun of the Press Herald or Keith Olbermann lists Richard Connor as a “Worst Person in the World”.

The Associated Press picked up the Apologygate story yesterday morning, but it was brief and easily missable.

USA Today (“America’s colorful news”) picked it up, however, and gave it a fantastic title: “Maine editor apologizes to readers for Ramadan story on 9/11“.

Go USA Today. I’ll try and remember not to mock you next time I’m in a hotel or on an airplane …

The Opposite of Idiots

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Back in July we went to the Maine International Film Festival in Waterville, and fell in love with the Bollywood film 3 Idiots (see Maine International Film Festival).

It’s the highest grossing Bollywood movie ever, and quite famous. I meant to write more about it at the time, but I was busy not having a job and not writing on this site. Sorry. When it comes to DVD in the States I’ll make a big push, I promise.

Anyway, I just saw that the 3 Idiots record was trounced at the box office this weekend: “‘Dabangg’ is unstoppable; leaves behind ‘3 Idiots’ over weekend“.


I know nothing about Bollywood, but these two movies sound like complete opposites. Compare:

Set in Laalgunj, Uttar Pradesh, Dabangg is a story of Chulbul Pandey (Salman Khan), a totally fearless but corrupt police officer with unorthodox working methods. But even the most fearless at times face a tough fight with their innermost demons.

To the blurb for 3 Idiots:

Two friends embark on a quest for a lost buddy. On this journey, they encounter a long forgotten bet, a wedding they must crash, and a funeral that goes impossibly out of control.

Heck, even compare their posters:

Odd that they both use faint writing in the background. Other than that, they are completely different.

It’s fun to see Eid on the Dabangg poster. Odd that it’s blood-spattered, though …

Justin on the Apology

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Our old friend Justin Ellis has weighed in on the Portland Press Herald apology: “Journalism Fail: Why the Portland Press Herald’s apology for covering Ramadan is wrong.”

Goodbye Maine Sunday Telegram

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

I belong to that increasing population of people, mostly under the age of 40, who get most of their news from the internet. During the week I don’t buy a daily paper, save for the free Forecaster and Portland Daily Sun.

I do subscribe to the weekly Bridgton News to get local hometown stories, however, and on the weekend, we routinely get the Maine Sunday Telegram.

Until now.

Yesterday morning I was reading the Portland Press Herald online and was pleased to see such a nice article about Eid ul-Fitr in Portland: “A show of faith and forgiveness“.

We went about our day, got home at night and saw this linked-to on Facebook: “Newspaper apologizes to those offended“.

Readers began writing to me and to our paper and website en masse, criticizing our decision on coverage and story play of the local observance of the end of Ramadan by local Muslims.

Are you kidding me?

Are you f@#king kidding me?

The crazies are taking over the show. The people who comment on the website are running the editorial direction of the paper.

I’m done with the Portland Press Herald.

I’m done with the Maine Sunday Telegram.

If any of you are offended by this direction the paper is taking, please take five minutes to send a Letter to the Editor to let them know how you feel.


Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

I came home last night at 8 pm and it was dark. Like, headlights-on dark. Then I got up this morning at 6 am and it was dark. Like, turn-on-a-light-when-you-get-downstairs dark.

Apparently today sunrise is at 6:12 AM, while sunset is at 7:04 PM – so the day is still 12h 51m long.

But I guess I always notice the change more over a holiday weekend, on Friday the sunrise was at 6:07 AM and sunset at 7:13 PM – a full fifteen minutes more of day! We’re losing almost 3 minutes a day here, people.

Welcome autumn …

Portland, Ramadan and Sports

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Yesterday’s Maine Sunday Telegram had an interesting article about local Muslim teens who play sports while observing Ramadan, “Holy month presents challenge to Muslims who play sports.”

I’m not quite sure why she’s not wearing a shayla in the photo, though.


Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Last night I started my first of four classes at USM’s Muskie School of Public Service towards a Graduate Certificate in Community Planning and Development. Tomorrow night is my second class.

Both take place in the not even two-year-old Wishcamper Center on the corner of Forest Avenue and Bedford Street. Fantastic building, maybe my new photographic muse for the autumn.

Here are a few fun stats on it:

  • LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified, meeting nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings.
  • The building is heated and cooled by geo-thermal energy from wells drilled 1,500 ft. into the earth.
  • Rain water is being collected off the roof and recycled.
  • All materials are low emission, containing a high percentage of recycled material and where possible brought in from local sources.
  • The majority of all the wood products are from Forest Stewardship Council certified forests, which use environmentally responsible forest management techniques.
  • Similarly, the current paved property around the building is being restored to living, permeable landscape.
  • A minimum of 75% of construction waste is being recycled.
  • The second floor forum roof is covered in vegetation to absorb and filter water, and the fourth floor roof is covered in highly reflective energy star rated roofing membrane to conserve on energy use.

    Some of these I take umbrage with, but we’ll get into that at a later date.