Sunday, October 9, 2011

It's a new week, but here's old news

KimbapImage via Wikipedia
The Record errs on a Korean specialty roll called kimbap.

More fed-up flood victims, more financial fallout from killing the Hudson River rail tunnels a year ago and more -- much more -- on Governor Christie's future as a presidential candidate -- it's deja vu all over again on The Record's front page today.

Readers are looking forward to a new week, but Editor Francis Scandale is giving them a whiff of all the stale news he can muster, so he can maximize his time on the golf course.

On the front of head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes' Local section, the insufferable John Cichowski has a column on the last 21 year of the Road Warrior column. 

He draws on the recollections of Jeff Page, who originated the column. Unfortunately for readers, Page's brain is far larger and far more developed than the incumbent's.

Road kill

Although Cichowski has been writing obsessively about cars and drivers at the expense of mass-transit commuters, he shows readers just how little he knows about automobiles.

Today, he says about cars that "air bags, global-positioning systems, anti-lock brakes and a host of other devices have boosted their efficiency and safety." 

But those advances made cars heavier and hurt their "efficiency." Gasoline-electric hybrid systems are what really boosted miles per gallon and cut pollution.

Cichowski, who has been writing the column since late 2003, also completely omits any mention of changes in the commuter bus system in the past 21 years

Ethnic conflict

Also on L-1, Staff Writer Karen Rouse covered a Korean harvest festival at the new Overpeck Park, but got tripped up by a seaweed-rice roll call kimbap, spelling it "kimbab," and erring when she calls it "Korean-style sushi."

Kimbap often contains only rice and vegetables, though other rolls are made with meat or raw fish. Of course, Rouse's assignment editor and Liz Houlton's news copy desk are clueless when it comes to food, and provide no backup.

There is no Hackensack news or news of many other towns in Local today.

Three more pieces about Christie appear in the Opinion pages today, one written by Carl Golden, whose credibility is suspect, given he's a former aide to two past Republican governors. 

Do readers really care about the GOP bully's future? Most of us are bracing for more damage to our way of life in the last half of his first term.

Travel weary

In Travel, the real shock isn't the camera-store advertisement topping all those photos making up The Record on the Road page (T-3). 

It's on Page T-4 in the photo of a haggard Jill Schensul, the travel editor, who looks nothing like the photo of her the editors have been running with her column for a decade or more.

Her elaborate cover story on an Amazon adventure in Colombia takes up  nearly three full pages, but no prices are given, suggesting she took another free travel junket and did her best to promote this trip to death.

Publisher Stephen A. Borg must have had a bad case of indigestion when he folded the Food section several years ago, but allowed the Travel section to continue.

No end to the jokes

Christie, the Great White Hope, dropped out of the White House race last week, but the jokes kept on coming.

On HBO, comedian Bill Maher said on Friday night it had been a week of "right-wing anti-climax." He called Sarah Palin, who also said she is not interested in the presidency, the "Great White Dope."

Maher noted Christie issued a statement: "Look at me. Do I look like I'm ready to race anyone?" He said Christie is, after all, "Tony Soprano" and would have told the Tea Party to sit down and "shut up."

One of Maher's panelists said Christie "projects fun." "Fat people are jolly," he noted. Maher said Christie would have projected an America that is "fat and rude."

Another panelist said, "The Democrats were worried about Christie, because he's too big to fail."

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  1. I am as amazed at you at the serious mess this paper has become. I get it Sundays for the coupons, and read it online during the week for the laughs (the poor writing and inaccuracies...)
    In writing about "the rash" of new pizza places, today I learn that I shouldn't be surprised if my pie is served to me without being pre-sliced. (The Neopolitan way,Ung later clarifies)..I've NEVER heard of this. She's lying!
    Also the paper is truly burying what is clearly becoming a growing movement, potentially larger than the "tea-party" nonsense. It certainly is something more people can identify with! Whose side are they on?

  2. I had to laugh out loud seeing Travel today. The Amazon? Columbia? Are you kidding? The readership, or what's left of it, might be suited for geriatric Perillo tours of Italy, but more likely the Jersey Shore or the Poconos. Time to get real.

    Let's feed these decision makers to the piranhas while we're at it.

  3. With filthy rich Stephen A. Borg at the helm as publisher, the paper isn't on your side or my side or on the side of the middle class.

    I agree the editors have ignored the occupy Wall Street movement, not even sending a reporter and photographer across the river to do a story.

    I visited Italy in September 2010, and on my last night, had pizza in a town north of Milan. It was a small oval pie for one or two people, and it was served whole with a knife and fork.

    This is common in Italy, but why do it here, where all of us have grown up on sliced pizza?

    How would we have gotten to love pizza when we were kids, if it wasn't sliced, reheated and served on a paper plate?

    All this authenticity is killing the experience of picking up a slice, folding it and going to town.

    But what would Elisa Ung know? She's from California, where the pizza truly sucks.

  4. Don't all of us have $5,000 or whatever it costs for an Amazon adventure?

    How out of touch can the travel editor get?

  5. Want the definitive guide to pizza in north Jersey? Buy The Star-Ledger's book on the topic and their updated reviews on

    Stick to reviewing the Borg's wine bar.

  6. Good to see your comment feature working again. A few times last week I wrote a comment, hit the post button, waited, hit the post button again, waited, and the sucker disappeared. Never even got the wacky letters to verify that I wasn't a bot. Anyway, I just wanted to note that I almost violated one of my cardinal rules of headline writing last week, I strictly avoid headline words such as mulls, stirs, spars (personally, I'd lie to punch the first person who used the word spar in a headline about a debate), and, you guessed it ... well, suffice it to say I very nearly wrote "Christie weighs run for president."


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