Friday, October 15, 2010

Newspaper or toilet paper?

Toilet paperImage via Wikipedia

All the pilot of one of those unsafe, noisy, single-engine planes has to do to land on the front page of The Record of Woodland Park today is throw toilet paper out the window. Doesn't that tell you Editor Francis Scandale has made the paper good for little more than cleaning up after a  bowel movement?

How does a little littering compare to the huge impact these planes have on residents' quality of life? Their engines and sound-deadening haven't been updated for decades, making them the Harley-Davidsons of the sky.

Why does the paper let them get away with violating every municipal noise ordinance on the books? Why isn't there a sidebar today on how noisy and disruptive these single-engine planes can be? The likely answer is that head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes doesn't think much of quality-of-life coverage. But she really knows toilet paper.

The only thing residents can take comfort in is how many of these noisy, little planes crash through pilot error or mechanical failure. A far better A-1 story is the debate between candidates for Bergen County executive (L-1) -- a more important issue to residents than a pilot who litters.

Five corrections on A-2 today. Is that some sort of record?

Look at today's dreadful Local news section from Sykes and her minions. The only Hackensack news is another blow-by-blow account of a cop's disciplinary hearing over her poor civilian driving record. Teaneck news consists of that endangered red oak making the state's Big Tree List, which doesn't confer any protection. Those stories go on my Big Deal List.

With Englewood reporter Giovanna Fabiano chasing that toilet paper, there is no Englewood news today. Her last Englewood stories ran Oct. 9 and Aug. 13.

Restaurant Reviewer Elisa Ung's three-star review of Taverna Mykonos in Elmwood Park follows hard on the heels of a gushing, uncritical account in (201) magazine about meals at the same restaurant by Susan Sherill, the food editor and Ung's boss. At least Ung does some complaining about the "bored and unauthoritative" wait staff.

But where is her authority?

With cost-cutting narrowing the number of entrees she can sample, why does she order swordfish, which has elevated levels of mercury, according to the Environmental Defense Fund? Women and kids should not eat it at all, and men should limit their intake, EDF says. 

"The food sings with passion and special care," she writes, then goes on to describe "the best gyro meat I've ever had," rather than telling readers if the lamb and beef were raised naturally. I wonder if Ung is ever going to get it: There is a lot of fish and meat served in restaurants that isn't very good for you.

She says she could barely taste the grilled octopus under its many garnishes -- but that's because octopus, like squid, has little flavor of its own.

Also in Better Living today, there is room for only an abbreviated list of restaurant health inspections -- nine towns out of the 90 or so in the paper's circulation area.
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  1. Oh, she had plenty of dessert. It's in her DNA.

  2. Why do you say things like people can take comfort in small planes crashing? You're above that.

  3. I say it from years of frustration over how small-plane pilots seem to rule the sky, despite all the noise and all the havoc they wreak.

    Recall the small plane on a sightseeing flight over the Hudson River that took out a helicopter with nine Italian tourists on board, killing everyone, including the passengers in the single-engine plane and the helicopter pilot or pilots.

    The FAA, which must be one of the most dysfunctional agencies around, finally was prompted to regulate these small planes when they are sightseeing over the Hudson.

    But nearly 25 years had passed since another small plane on another sightseeing flight collided with a business jet over Cliffside Park, killing five aboard the two planes and a poor schmuck in his apartment.

    I covered that story for The Record, and the hearings.

    In The Record's coverage of the recent collision, there was no mention of the 1985 fatalities being tied to a small plane on a sightseeing flight.

  4. $14.95 for a gyro platter? Holy cow! I could buy a whole tube of Sprinkles cupcake mix for 95 cent less. As for that guy bombing Westwood with toilet paper, I just read the article and he was only trying to do a test run to drop streamers on Homecoming day, I say give the guy a break. It's not like he was trying to wipe the high school out. And if it landed in some trees, he could have saved the borough a bundle in Halloween decorating expenses. But does the Record point this out? Noooooo.


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