baltimoresun.com

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Prepare to pay toll

As many of you are already aware, as of October 10, Baltimoresun.com will become a subscription site, and this blog is one of the many offerings on the site that you will have to pay to read.

The charge is modest: about thirty-five cents a day, $2.49 a week, $49.99 for twenty-six weeks. Subscribers to the print edition will get a discounted rate, seventy-five cents a week, or $29.99 a year. That’s less a week than you would pay for a medium cappuccino.

Those who don’t subscribe will have free access to fifteen page views a month, as well as access to the section fronts and classified ads. You can click on this link for details.

You may, as always, comment freely below, but I am not going to enter into a discussion of the merits of digital subscriptions or other matters above my pay grade. Once October 10 arrives, if you want to travel regularly to Wordville, you will have to pay a small toll.

I hope that many, even most, of you will be willing to do so. This blog is the better for your presence, your comments and private messages, your suggestions, your information. I have learned a great deal from associating with you and taken considerable pleasure in our association.

As The Baltimore Sun continues to navigate the uncharted waters of digital journalism, your company on board would be welcome.

 

 

 

Posted by John McIntyre at 5:41 PM | | Comments (61)
        

Comments

i hope the 15 page views will allow me to keep in touch, but i don't need the whole paper. The NYT gets me shekels now, and the Guardian may someday, but that should suffice for international news.

regards
John

I had calculated 58 cents per week for a print subscriber. I'll have to go back and check my math.

I'll pay. As I do for the NY Times. It's really not much, and you can't expect people to work for nothing.

Ditto John DM's first sentence. As much as I enjoy perusing this blog, I'm not going to pay for the privilege of doing so. One can only hope that Mr. McIntyre sees fit to limit his postings to every other day. Or at least save the political stuff for the end of the month, when I'll have already used up my monthly allotment of page views.

Does The Sun have a deal similar to what I believe the NYT has for people who follow links from social-media sites to their articles (I believe those linked views don't count towards one's page-view tally). And if so, does that mean you'll post more or less to Facebook and the like?

Unfortunately, with two kids in college I will not be able to subscribe. When 10/10 rolls around all I'll be able to say is, "So long and thanks for all the fish."

And I do mean thanks, Mr. McIntyre.

Cheers,
Tim

There will still be those fifteen free page views a month.

John DM and Gary K., do you expect John McIntyre to entertain you for free? He's already had a year on the sidelines because the paper couldn't afford him.

I pay $11.25 a month (or maybe 4 weeks) for the NY Times website, and consider it money well spent. I don't find the Baltimore Sun website in general quite as good (although it covers local stuff that the NY Times doesn't), but it doesn't cost as much as the Times either.

You are the only part of the paper I care about, being that I'm not any where close to Baltimore.

I found you when you weren't working. Turns out your gain is everyone else's loss, but I would do the same thing in your shoes.

I guess I'll get to read every other column, under the 15 pageviews a month (and of course it's easy to bypass such restrictions if one is so inclined).

Sad day though. I love your way with words and have learned a lot and gained some measure of pleasure.

See you when I can ...

In response to Hal Laurent: A better question is, Does the Baltimore Sun expect me to pay $100 a year just to read one of its blogs?

I still hope that the free-page allowance makes this question moot.

I would have thought that the health benefits of the reactions to the political observations alone--the increased respiration, the enhanced flow of blood to the brain, etc.--would be worth a hundred bucks a year.

I have no connection to Baltimore or to the US, so the paper itself is of zero interest to me. And no single blog is worth more than the occasional supportive ad click, never mind over 8000 yen a year.

It's been a happy couple of years reading you. Sad to see you go.

Mr. McIntyre,
I enjoy your posts very much and I understand that newspapers have to charge for content. I believe everyone who creates content should place a value on it (monetary or otherwise) if they want others to value it.
Unfortunately since I live in Fort Worth I don't need all the fine Baltimore Sun reportage, just your blog.
I will miss reading you.

Mr. McIntyre,
I had to get out of bed to make this comment. I couldn't stop thinking about our problem here. I finally asked myself, 'What would I pay to read this blog and listen to your weekly corny joke?' Answer: $6-$12 a year (preferably $6...surprise). I feel like your blog has REAL VALUE and I would be willing to pay for the value you provide. Also, I need it as you can tell from my comments, and me an aspiring writer.
Well, professor that's the offer. If you would kindly pass it along to the higher ups...as persuasively as possible. You know, grab them by the collar, slap them around, assure them it is an offer they can't refuse.
Thank you.

Just one more thought on our new "You Don't Say" subscription arrangement, then maybe my mind will shut down and allow me to sleep. The auto manufacturers earn a FORTUNE selling their cars one part at a time. Why can't newspapers do the same?
For example, if I could subscribe to your blog and funny jokes for $9.95 per year, that would be about 10% of the price of a full subscription, although your blog is much less than 10% of the newspaper. What a great deal for the Baltimore Sun.
Well, maybe I can sleep now.

Another non-US-ian to whom the blog is a pleasure but the Baltimore Sun is effectively no more than an incidental part of its url. I guess I'll be back as much as the paywall lets me, then. I appreciate, of course, the bind newspapers are in: it's hard to justify giving all their content away for free; unfortunately, for me personally, it's also impossible to justify paying the subscription to visit.
I'm thinking with 15 views a month it will be difficult to click through to follow the comments on all posts, let alone casually contribute, which is a shame, but there we are. Pre-internet, if someone had offered to send 15 articles of my choice from an American newspaper I'd never otherwise see to my home every month free of charge, I'd hardly have cavilled.

That's unfortunate news. I'll be back as much as I'm allowed, I suppose, and will consider subscribing after the economy recovers.

You've elevated my life Mr. McIntyre. Thank you.

It's impossible to put a dollar value on a blog like this. It's worth more than any number. But we have gotten used to blogs being free, and they should remain so. It is a great loss for most of us.

Hal, to expand on Gary's response: Does the Sun expect me to pay $100/month to increase the "click" count for their advertising sales people. (And, something I've just remembered from the long-ago advertising buying days, advertising in PAID circulation sold at a higher rate.

I'm not the Thomas above, being the technical writer in Wisconsin, but as I don't live in Baltimore either, I'll have to make do with stopping by once a week with the limited free page views.

Alas! This is my favourite of blogs, and the Higher-Ups are blocking it behind a pay wall. I will most certainly take advantage of my 15 views a month, but simply can't pay to subscribe to the Sun.

If I could afford a subscription, it would be the Guardian--which, like the NYT, interestingly enough, has their blogs available for free.

@Hal Laurent: whilst I can applaud the sentiment of your comment, and think that Mr McIntyre, his colleagues, and other working writers deserve every cent they get, and a good many more, I think you may be missing John DM's and Gary K's point. As Toma pointed out, blogs are free; it's the nature of the technology. You make money from a blog by people paying to advertise on it, and you get people to advertise on it by demonstrating you have people reading it. The more people reading, the more you get paid. It's the same basic model as commercial network TV in the US, really, albeit more laid back. The alternative is to have an organization underwriting the costs: look at Language Log, for instance, with their servers hosted at U Penn.

The point is, a blog is a low-risk and widely accessible way of disseminating information; the number of visitors to a blog becomes a selling point. A blog can cost nothing but the writer's time to run, or as little as a few dollars a year for the domain name. It's a conscious choice to make it cost more. This is just the reality in online publishing.

There have to be some pretty appealing incentives to get people to pay for online content--and The Sun has yet to convince me to pay for a full subscription just to read one blog.

I think The Sun is effectively changing You Don't Say from a blog to a column in the online edition of the newspaper, which I frankly think is an unwise move. They will see the numbers drop. I suspect that blog readers and online newspaper subscribers may ultimately prove to be different demographics.

Though speaking of blogs, might those of us allowed to visit here only every other day possibly look for more frequent rants on politics and religion at the personal blogspot begun during the [cough]hiatus[cough]?

Our household subscribes to the Sun, so I am fortunate that I will benefit from the discount. Thirty bucks a year (the equivalent of ten apocryphal designer coffees) is certainly worth it to me.

At the risk of sparking a debate over the merits of news site paywalls in general or the Sun's decision in particular, it seems that a side effect of applying a subscriber discount to the website will be to bring the geographic distribution of online readership into closer alignment with that of the paper's print readership. For things like news, sports, and weather, that's of course fine. But as the previous comments clearly show, You Don't Say has national and international appeal. It seems like a lost opportunity for the Sun to not find a way to keep such broad-appeal channels open through, say, a la carte pricing or non-local discounts.

Just a thought.

I have been continuing my print subscription, despite the vastly reduced content. I pay about $30 a month. So to continue my current usage, I would be paying the equivalent of 13 months a year. I also pay for the NYTimes, because I am not satisfied with the Sun's national and international coverage. The more I read online, the more I ignore the print edition. It may be time for me to give up the print edition.
So for 35 cents a day (about the price of a pre-internet newspaper) I will get the online only version of the Sun.
If I actually read it and appreciate it, I will keep it up. (Sun management can improve the odds by enhancing the website, and providing strong local coverage.) But if the Sun turns itself into just another zine, I will drop the online subscription as well.

I do not live in Baltimore, so a subscription to the Sun makes no sense for me, much as I love this blog. Yet, I do not believe that the people who produce commentary or information or music or cartoons or anything else that I consume on the web should be expected to do so without remuneration.

I would pay to have access to the writers and/or publications that produce material that I find valuable. I want them to keep doing what they do.

What would work for me, and possibly others, is some sort of global subscription model that allows you to select a variety of publications or parts of those publications. The only thing I read in the Wall St. Journal is that oddball story on the front page that is not about business. The only thing I read in the Sun is this blog.

So say $200-300 a year for access to the 10 publications or the work of 15-20 writers or some combination thereof.

Too expensive? I haven't earned a regular income for over 3 years, but I still find the cash for those things that make life better. Like "You Don't Say."

That said, I don't know what I'm going to do about this yet.


Prof. McI.,

"For whom the bell tolls/ It tolls for thee......"

----John Donne/ 1624

I'm afeared it's almost a "Donne' deal (groan), w/ this Baltimore Sun newfangled, essentially pay-as-you-play online subscription policy, and sadly many of our current regular "You Don't Say" blogging stalwarts, like our faithful Tim for one, will have to bid a reluctant, yet fond farewell to this engaging and very cool discussion forum.

Folks, times they are definitely a changin', and I'm starting to doubt whether the answer is really 'blowin' in the wind' of change. Bob Dylan, old chap, could you help us out here?

Like several of the disgruntled commenters who have already posted their views re/ this upcoming change in the Sun's 'business model', I am one of those 'out-of-towner', geographically far-flung "You Don't Say" regulars, residing here in Southern California........ more precisely, Los Angeles....... okay, Van Nuys. CA.

As much as I would like to say that I glean a great deal of my daily, or weekly hard news information, and insight from The Baltimore Sun, online, I can't honestly say I do.

Since participating in your fine blog, Mr. McI., my primary reason for at least checking out some of the Baltimore, or Maryland state-related breaking news items, on occasion, is mainly to enable me to speak, w/ some informed background context, to pertinent local issues you may sometimes bring to our attention for discussion on your blog-----The Cafe Hon kerfuffle being a case in point.

Otherwise, I turn to several other news sources to satisfy my admitted news junkie cravings. (Not that I don't regard your publication, in toto, as a fine newspaper, in its own right,)

I faithfully subscribe to home delivery of The L.A. Times, and have read this fine publication, daily, for the past thirty-some years, as a transplanted 'foreign' resident to the Big Orange. I also rely heavily on my local Pasadena-based NPR affiliate, KPCC/ 89.3 FM for the lion's share of my daily news input and intelligent talk radio fare, w/ the likes of veteran local news journalists Patt Morrison, and Larry Mantle leading the way in terms of intellectually stimulating, open, generally bipartisan dialogue re/ the pertinent issues of the day.

I also have long-time subscriptions to NewsWeek, The Week, and to keep my connection to the old native turf, Canada, their premier weekly news mag, Maclean's. My online homepage of choice happens to be "Yahoo" (OK, laugh HA!), where I try to avoid their constant annoying infotainment barrage, and stay focused on the hard news stuff; usually reading pickup articles from other major news sources, like AP, Reuters, The Christian Science Monitor, The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Beast, and such.

So bottom line, The Sun, online, is basically my source for your blog, and very little else. Therefore, I kind of fall into the camp of earlier concerned posters, namely Thomas and peekay, in that I would be open to paying a specified fee to access and participate regularly on the "You Don't Say" blog, (which does display a fair amount of 'adverts' ), while not having full, ongoing access to the paper's other editorial and ad content

Frankly, I don't know, logistically, how that kind of 'arrangement' could be established, or if it would even be practicable. I, personally, would even go as far as coughing up say $25.00 for a half-year (26-week) 'subscription' to your blog, which i believe would be more than fair, considering that the more regular participants are not monetarily compensated for their contribution to the forum of discussion, and yet in some manner help to create the buzz and foment of continuing dialogue that hopefully would bring more folks into the mix. Without avid participation in the enterprise, supported by a regular, committed blogger base, the enterprise sadly would wither and die.(SOB!)

At any rate, it appears that we've kind of reached our Rubicon here, and are facing a moment of personal soul searching.

John, if I may speak for many of us regular 'opinionators' on this fine site, we do so greatly appreciate your firm commitment, unbound passion, tact, civility, wit and erudition-----your basic goodness and humanity, and would ideally wish to see this blog continue to thrive and prosper long into the future. If many of your former regulars, mid-October hence, fall by the wayside, it is NO reflection on you, fine sir, but more so, a reflection of the challenging times we are enduring, and having to choose our spending priorities as we daily meet those formidable personal challenges.

I don't know if you should take blogger Thomas' suggested rather in-your-face, hands-on, Mafioso-like approach in dealing w/ The Sun's upper management mucky-mucks on this issue of a separate fee for bloggers-only. But at least perhaps attempt to turn and ear, or two. Some monies steadily coming into The Sun's coffers is better than nary a shekel at all.

IMHO, folks who regularly participate in your blog either living outside the state of Maryland, or in the extreme, outside the bounds of the U.S., like say our loyal friend, Picky in the U.K., should, IMO, somehow get at least a little financial break, otherwise your blog's reach will become attenuated and limiting, too provincial, and in sum, suffer accordingly. Not a pleasant thought.

Hang in there folks.

The ball is in OUR court!

ALEX

What's not clear to me is what counts as a page view. If I visit your site once a week, click on several postings during those visits, read comments, does that count as one visit? Or does each posting count as a visit?

Re. the argument that paying to read this blog is worthwhile because writers deserve to be paid for their work: Mr. McIntyre, do you get paid extra for doing the blog? Does that pay increase with page views?

I hate to ask such personal questions, but those who are contemplating paying the toll to read you (and just you) may want to know whether they're contributing to your income, or simply adding to TribCo's bottom line.


Prof McI.,

Off-topic alert !!!!!!

Just curious, where did your article re/ various 'Anglicized' translated Italian city names disappear to.......... or was I merely imagining things?

As Emily Litella (aka SNL's Gilda Radner), possibly a bona fide italian-American, by the way, might say, "What's this bunkum about Bologna, italy, inventing America's favorite processed meat product? I say it's a bunch of baloney. Capeche?"

"They actually DID invent Bologna sausage, Ms Litella."

Litella's signature sheepish response: "Never mind."

Hey, John, hope the local Baltimore mob 'guidos' weren't offended by your Italian-related article, and it behooved you to remove it, tout de suite?

If a severed horse's head turns up on your bed, let us know. HA!

ALEX

If we pay, will management reopen the foreign bureaux?

Anyway, it's more than I would pay for a cappuccino of any volume; I never developed taste for coffee. I'll probably end up subscribing, though; I'm cheap, but I recognize that reporters have to eat, too.

Jim Sweeney, I am assuming that each thread constitutes a separate page view. By that measure, I could easily use up my monthly allotment in a day or two. Our print edition arrives later and later in the morning (I went out three times this very morning in search of it; it finally arrived just before I left for work). Therefore I have become accustomed to checking the breaking news online, then the weather, of course, then the horoscopes ("this might not be a good day to disagree with the boss ..."), then my favorite blogs. There go the free page views for the month!

Looks like I will have to limit myself to reading your blog every other day. Will miss all the comments of the regulars, but they will need to take a back seat.

(signed)

the now depressible fairchild

Prof. M.,

Thanks for the notice. I'm afraid that come ten ten eleven I will not have the fare to board the bandwagon. I will check in once a week, however, I'm thinking Thursday afternoons, and see what I'm missing.

I'm fairly sure that it does not qualify as irony that yours is the grade of writing for which I would pay, properly and regularly. Yours was or is one blog that I looked forward to checking in to every morning after I set up my work desk then went to the luncheonette to fetch a hot coffee.

It's enough evidence that this age of the commercial, public Internet is still new enough that we have yet to reconcile proper payment for content producers (you) and a thoughtlessly easy way for content consumers (us) to pay.

By thoughtlessly, I mean think of the last time you put coins in a parking meter. The transaction was probably so convenient and affordable that you probably remember nothing about it. Not how much it cost, not where you parked, not for how long, certainly not how long you would have to work to recover the cost of the coins.

But you probably remember the occasion for which you were parking the car. That was the point of the adventure.

Newspapers and blogs are not the same thing, and currently I think critically that they needn't be. Weblogging is fast-moving and flexible. Grammar and spelling are more forgivable. Pictures can be presentational, not representational.

Newspapers are different. They're a bit more serious, slower-moving but of a generally finer gradient. It feels right that they are the first draft of history. I would continue to pay money for the Baltimore Sun (especially now that my payment supports Dan Rodricks and David Zurawik and Jay Hancock but not Laura Vozzella; there, I said it), but there's something about blogs that asks for their content to be given freely.

On mornings it arrives, I go to the end of the dark and usually damp driveway and pick up the plastic-covered Sun newspaper and take it inside. Once upon a time, an era that doesn't feel that long ago, I would have thought such a thing laughable, but here am I, these days now reading the Anne Arundel section, because my world grew bigger than just me. That's the point of the adventure.

Kindly,
Lawrence


@ J.D. Considine, you make some strong, salient, and thought-provoking points in your last post, re/ if we bloggers, going forward, in a sense, (come October), would therefore be paying the proverbial piper w/ this newfangled pay-as-you-play online access 'scheme', then WHO exactly IS the 'piper'-----our blogmeister, Mr. Mcintyre, or The Baltimore Sun behemoth at large? Somehow I think we know the answer to that query.

As to your very valid point re/ the blog 'hits' quotient expectations, on a certain online popular Sun entertainment site that shall remain nameless (since I'm basically persona non grata there HA!), if the regular columnist who contributes to this particular blog were to be paid incrementally based on the sheer number of views (or hits) per article on his site, said columnist would be able to comfortably retire from his current job, and trundle off to write the next great American novel; based almost solely on the accumulated shekels accrued from the massive posting numbers garnered whenever the subject of either the infamous "Kate & Jon +8", or the travails of golfer Tiger Woods, would have shown up in any of his posted articles. Over 200 comments-per-article in less than a week would not be unusual. (NOTE: The giving-up-his-day-job bit was a tad hyperbolic, just to make my point. Sorry.)

Realistically, I would guess that none of the Sun's current blogging columnists get paid extra 'bonus-bucks' beyond their regular salaries, for their additional yeoman online efforts. Yet I would imagine optimal traffic to their sites is nonetheless paramount to their ultimate online survival.

Case in point: The longtime stellar (in my view) Sun movie critic, Mike Sragow, is now leaving the paper, and naturally, his excellent blog has been nixed, as well.

Sadly, Mike got very limited blog commentary action, although I suspect there were a lot of so-called lurkers out there who regularly read his consistently engaging, and informative articles. His devotion to, and consummate understanding of the vast film medium was glaringly apparent. Mike would fairly critique the entire gamut of film genres, from smaller, low-budget indie efforts, to student works, documentaries, ground breaking foreign cinema, and of course, the 'usual suspect' potential big box-office blockbusters w/ the familiar marquee Hollywood star elite in tow.

Mikes accumulated encyclopedic knowledge of film history was daunting, but he never came off as pompous, or all-knowing in his informative delivery on his blog.

Whenever there was an important local screening of some filmic screen gem of recent vintage, or even the earlier silent era, Mike would always send out an enthusiastic APB alert thru his blog, encouraging readers to fully support their hometown arts scene, and key film venues.

Frankly, I was truly amazed at how many entailed article entries this guy would make almost each and every working day on his "Mike Sragow Gets Reel" site, aside from his required regular contributions to the hardcopy paper.

Clearly, Mike's abiding passion is film, and his pure love of cinema came thru loud and clear every day on his now, sadly, defunct blog.

IMHO, The Sun's great loss, and some other fine publication's future gain. Enough said.

If I may return to my earlier referenced 17th century British scribe, John Donne; as some folks may recall these poignant opening lines taken from his "Meditation 17/ Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions", reading:

"No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main."

I would submit that in some fashion we could regard this pressing 'toll' issue as an 'emergent occasion', of sorts, or perhaps even an 'emergency occasion', for some readers.

In my view, this "You Don't Say" blog can, and does truly connects kindred folk from all across the global blogosphere in a significant way, who in a shared, ongoing communion of thought, opinion, ideas, and personal revelation, become less 'islands' in the stream of greater human consciousness, transformed into a kind of partnered virtual, worthy enterprise much bigger than all us far-flung 'islands' viewed individually---the sum of its parts.

Donne was right. "No man is an island."

When this 'pay-as-you play' online access deal comes to pass next month, sadly, the former unlimited, wide-ranging global reach of "You Don't Say' will become majorly compromised, and perhaps a sinking island-unto-itself/ a voice in the wilderness, where local yokels get to vent their spleens, and petty provincialism rears its ugly head.

Let's hope not.

Mr. McIntyre deserves much better.

ALEX

Given the number of times I check the Sun online during the day (honest, I really do work as well) the print-subscriber discount is well worth it to me. I love the print edition for many reasons, but it is a once-a-day view, not up-to-the-minute.

Here's a f'rinstance: posted on the website today, a story by Luke Broadwater, "2nd man guilty in fatal shooting of security guard". About halfway through the second paragraph, most vowels a & e became upside-down question marks.

So, for free, I'm just sayin'... For $100/year, should I consider this a bonus round of Hangman?

Well, it's not a question, of course, of whether Mr McIntyre gets paid for writing the blog - I imagine it's point 93 on his job description, but that's none of my business - the fact is that news organisations have to attract income, and if the ads don't cut the mustard the management has to turn somewhere else. There's no reason why we should expect goodies for free from the Baltimore Sun.

Sadly I shall not be subscribing: too much of the household budget goes on my personal vices as it is. But I'll miss being here. It's like a good pub conversation: a range of topics from the serious to the silly; lots of meandering discourse; lots of good-humoured banter.

What a shame. Ah, well. Perhaps if Mr McIntyre were so generous as to allow it, commenters might suggest some other establishment where we might pop in occasionally for a pint and a chat.

When I open a connection to the Sun my bookmark is http://www.baltimoresun.com/about/blogs/

As yet another (now) out-of-towner I appreciate and use the mouse over links at the top of that page and those within many of the blog posts to the paper itself... I'll miss that, but it's only the (fewer and fewer older format) blogs that I'll really miss. This one especially.

If TheSun could do something to keep the volunteer labor blog pages under some heading other than the url associated with the paper itself... the eminent management minds will find that it might just still be able to save the "paper" from forever being relegated to the status of small local.


I'm torn about this. Like others, the news of Baltimore is of no consequence to me. I read more than one newspaper each day, so I don't feel deprived. But the Sun is not one toward which I would gravitate were it not for your blog. I can't imagine not reading You Don't Say on a daily basis. But I'm really not enthusiastic about having to buy the Sun in order to do it. I'm going to have to do some more consideration before making a final decision. Sorry you're in the middle of this mess, John.

There is nothing "modest" about a charge of $100 to read a blog. (Given that there is nothing else about the Baltimore Sun I would ever want to look at.)

There is nothing sensible about putting blogs behind a paywall, either.

But before it happens, John, you should probably acquaint yourself with the miserable details, since your loyal fans will be asking you, not the people who made the decision.

If I used one of my free accesses to read this post, can I also read the comments (Or the read-more, if there is one)? Can I leave/preview a comment without using up more access?

When the NYT did this, nobody had considered what to do about the ~50,000 people who already subscribed to the puzzles. They were extremely vexed by being asked to pay for the blog as well, and it all landed on Deb Amlen's head.


Picky,

Welcome back, old chappy!

For me your post today was most bittersweet.

The 'sweet' being the fact that you had finally returned to the "You Don't Say" fold after a bit of a well-deserved travel hiatus. Hope you had a jolly good time of it.

Oh, and the 'bitter' aspect being that you've sadly officially announced that you shall likely not be returning, post-Oct.11th 'toll' day, to this blog, clearly leaving most reluctantly, citing the exorbitant Sun new subscription fee for us 'foreign' (well, 'out-of-town') bloggers as the main sticking (stinking ?) point.

Somehow, this whole sudden turn of events does not seem entirely fair, or right, as you and several of our other 'out-of-town' regular, loyal blog contributors have essentially been the very lifeblood of this wonderful discussion forum. Not to say the locals, qualitatively, haven't contributed their fair share, as well.

In these ever-challenging economic times, I realize that most large metro newspapers are increasingly having to devise new 'creative' strategies to continue to stay fiscally afloat. But one would think that the management egg-heads at The Sun could at least come up w/ a simple formula, where they might be able to physically separate their various blogs, from the rest, the bulk of their other online editorial content; while still carrying their vital sundry sidebar ads and pop-up commercials. It ain't exactly rocket science........... or maybe it is. HA!

Picky, I would be interested in knowing what other grammarian, linguistic, or lexicographic online sites you might occasionally 'hangout' on, post on, or read on a fairly regular basis? (Don't want to pry here. You could plead the 5th. HA!)

Frankly, it would be a shame to completely lose touch w/ you. Over the past year, or so, I have come to view you as a warm, most likable friend, be it a virtual one, at best. Maybe much of your online appeal, for me, lies in your pithy prose, ever-present sharp wit, and appearing to not suffer fools gladly. I love how you occasionally throw in some arcane turn of phrase, or quirky word that has almost a Chaucerian flavor, which invariably gets my moribund synapses flashing and often my funny bone throbbing. (I better stop here. Wouldn't want to think there was some kind of 'bromance' brewing here. HA!)

Alas, at least some of our most avid Baltimore-based bloggers are likely to be regular subscribers to The Sun (hardcopy), so they will be probably staying on to cajole and confound our very patient, and amiable Mr. McIntyre after Oct.11th.

Honestly, I'm still debating whether to give in, 'pay-the-piper' his $49.00 / half-year 'allowance' fee, and continue to stay connected to this blog. It's a tough one, indeed.

Since my retirement back in 2008 I've found internet blogging largely a huge pleasure, and have throughly enjoyed sharing opinions, ideas, knowledge, and a modicum of personal anecdote w/ perfect strangers, who over time, perhaps, have become a little less 'strange', or should I say, unknown, and a lot more substantive, fleshed out, and basically human.

Hopefully an eleventh-hour alternative can be devised to deal w/ us 'far-flung'-out-of-town' bloggers. Otherwise, despite all Mr. McIntyre's valiant efforts to maintain the vibrancy and vigor of his blog, going forward, by cutting out major input from 'outsiders' beyond Charm City w/ this blanket new 'toll' fee, the quality of his "You Don't Say" blog will likely measurably decline. Mr. McI. writing will surely remain at its consistently high level, but I'm afeared the basic tenor of blogger feedback will sorely suffer. (Just the opinion of one disgruntled &*#$@%!& and very frustrated blogger.)

ALEX

I am a Washington Post hardcopy subscriber and a regular listener to NPR. I'm not inclined to pay for the Sun, and as your blog is the only thing I read of the Sun, I suppose I shall restrict my visits to the number permitted for free. You're good, but I can make do with the free access & keep my $2.49 per week.

I have been bookmarking other sites you've cited, and I shall fill in the gap with those. Thanks for the pointers.

BTW, I discovered you during your *cough*hiatus*cough* and then followed you to the Sun.

Best of luck in this transition.

It's going to be a small, sad crowd gathered here after October 10th, I'm afraid. Prof. McIntyre, is there any possibility of creating a "mirror" site somewhere on the other side of the paywall? Ask those clever students of yours--let them tackle this problem for extra credit!

I live in Australia, so if it weren't for this blog, I'd hardly care that Baltimore even exists.

I was watching the Joke of the Week this morning and had to sit through an ad for Three Musketeers bars.

You can't even get those here!

But I'd gladly buy one or two chocolate bars a week to keep reading. Isn't that how advertising works?Why can't chocolate bars have tracking links?

(Your Three Musketeers looks similar to our Milky Way. Your Milky Way is about the same as our Mars Bar. Your Mars Bars have almonds in them, which is just weird.)

Alex: I visit a number of language and press sites regularly - many of them on our host's blogroll - oh, and I very much like separatedbyacommonlanguage.blogspot.com/ and www.worldwidewords.org - but only very very very rarely do I comment anywhere but here. Yep, it's only here I can't stop gabbling.

Drew, I think I'd like to see a study of candy bar comparisons between the US and Australia. Sounds like it could be hilarious. I mean, how is it that a Three Musketeers can have caramel in it?

To answer the question above, "page view" is a technical term meaning the display of a single page, a single time. If you come back and view the same page again (to see if it has more comments, for example), that counts as another page view. It is not the same as a hit, because each graphic on a page counts as a separate hit.

And I too will be departing from the regular conversation. I'll continue to read the blog entries themselves through the RSS feed (if, indeed, that remains available for free; if the articles are truncated there, I'll drop it), but I'll miss all the rest of you. So it goes. Or as my daughter says, "Shakin' my head."


Picky,

Sounds like we're both enamored of Mr. McIntyre's 'language' blog to the exclusion of most others, at least when it boils down to full engagement, and flapping our 'pie-holes' w/ some regularity? IMHO, it's by far the best out there.

Well my friend, yet another loyal regular "You Don't Say" stalwart, the irrepressible, erudite John Cowan, appears to have officially bitten the dust. One of your favorite verbal sparring mates, no less.

Frankly, I'm becoming more bummed out, and frustrated by each passing day, and really fear that the ranks of the most valuable, most consistently readable contributors to this blog will have become almost totally depleted come mid-October. In my view a travesty that if sounder minds (and hearts) had prevailed could have perchance been avoided. Very demoralizing. Oh well.

On a cheerier note: The whole earlier discussion re/ chocolate bars got me reminiscing about my somewhat misspent youth growing up in mid-twentieth century eastern Canada (Toronto and environs), where the then-market-dominating British candy fare was either scrumptious sugary delights from the U.K.'s trio of traditional grand confectioners---- Cadbury's, Rowntree's, and Mackintosh & Co..

Oh, and one can't leave out Bassett & Co.'s yummy licorice allsorts; my dad's favorite guilty pleasure.

Kit Kat, Aero, Flake, Rollos, Cadbury's Milk Chocolate Bar w/ Almonds, Smarties (the precursor to M&Ms), and of course that guaranteed-to-pull-out-those-teeth-fillings, yet totally dreamy, melt-in-your-mouth, hard butterscotch Mackintosh toffee, all ranked as my Brit favorite sweets, which basically dominated the Canadian confectionary market for over a century.......... and still do.

Of course w/ the growing post-20th century trend in large corporate consolidations, (basically the little guys being swallowed up by the burgeoning industrial food giants), the likes of Cadbury's, originally based in Uxbridge/ London U.K. was bought out by the mega-conglomerate, Kraft Foods, inc. in 2010, whilst the York, England-based Rowntree's merged w/ Mackintosh & Co. in 1969, to form Rowntree/Mackintosh, (Wow! There's a snappy new moniker....... not.), which by 1988 had been purchased by the Swiss-based (?) food monolith, Nestlé.

Bassett & Co., long it's own master, is now under the aegis of the Cadbury's brand, technically Kraft fFoods, Inc.✹

Sadly, about four months ago I was diagnosed as a full-on Type-2 diabetic, so my lingering cravings for sugary confectionary delights will have to be sated mainly by fond boyhood memories of enjoying all those aforementioned British brand candies. (SOB!)

Picky, old lad, were you much of a sweets indulger as a kid? I know you Brits have a special fondness for candies of all sorts (pun intended), to which your British Association of Dentistry can likely attest. HA!

✹The earlier data on the various corporate shifts in The U.K. candy-scape over the years was gleaned from who else........... Wikipedia.

ALEX

This is the way the blog ends
This is the way the blog ends
This is the way the blog ends
Not with a bang...

I have been waiting for someone to bring up the 500 pound gorilla, but since it hasn't been done yet, I guess I will do so.

During the unfortunate hiatus, I believe this blog was hosted elsewhere. Is there a pressing reason why that could not be done again?

I suppose one reason is that we would then be asking the good Professor to spend his time outside of the office writing for those of us outside the realm of Baltimore.

In response, I think that many of us would consider sending a yearly check, money order, and cash (note the Oxford comma) to a hypothetical PO box in Baltimore for the privilege of reading the McIntyre blog AND comments in the future as often as we wish.

This would remunerate the author, and also make a statement to the Sun. As MY daughter would say, "just sayin'...

Great Fowler's ghost! The bookkeeping. And the tax complications. Oh, no, no, no.

Mr fairchild gets the er, juices flowing.
(even if from the great state of Tennessee rather than that Kentucky product)

TimesMirrorIncBigBrother contract issues allowing...
if mere pedestrian matters like tax and bookkeeping are the issue then I'd be more than happy to post a quarterly stipend of semi-respectable size to an already established and recognized beneficiary worthy of the good Professors favor.
Perhaps a Great Books Program somewhere nearby?
Or maybe a Dry Martini and Single Malt fund hosted by the Hamilton Tavern.

If only Prof McI could invei^H^Hencourage Jay and Jaime to join as well.

Alex, the other main UK chocolate maker was Fry's, which became part of Cadbury. It's the Fry's factory in Keynsham that Kraft are currently being vilified (correctly, I think) for closing down. Interestingly the founders of Cadbury, Fry, and Rowntree were all Quakers.

As to my youthful sweet-eating, sweets were still rationed when I was little - one of the last wartime rationings to be repealed. Much of the debris of the Blitz was still around us then, so we didn't think the lingering sweet rationing was a very heavy burden

With this being my first comment, I think I will manage to stay within the pay wall guidelines and still enjoy the blog. Oh, it will need to become a Saturday blog-a-thon rather than a daily pleasure, but I'll manage. I will miss the comment conversations of those who can't pay to stay.

I do pay for my local paper, both print and digital, and I do understand the need for revenue. I'm wondering if there might be a different pay structure for situations like this. Perhaps a reduced fee blog only subscription? Perhaps a blog only across the Corporate Overlord's Papers? I don't know who that is for The Sun. My local paper belongs to Gannett, at least when I last paid attention to such things. I'm having a niggling sensation they were purchased too, but that's beside the point. With all the conglomerates, there should be a way to access parts of the whole without purchasing each part a la carte.

At any rate...thank you to those who have made this place such fun. And I'll see you all in the Saturday "paper"!


Picky,

Appreciate that little Fry's chocolatier addition. I vaguely recall the brand from my early boomer years.

That bit about your wartime rationing really hit home, as my dad was severely injured in England during the War in a freak vehicular accident outside Brighton, while serving in the Canadian armed forces. He was returned to Canada ASAP for major back surgery, and thankfully survived the ordeal, w/ paralysis (no sensation) from his right knee down to his foot, till the day he passed back in 1985. That was the only major debilitation from his unforeseen overseas mishap. Ironically, his unit was sent over to Dunkirk just a week later, and most of his buddies died in that grievous allied-forces slaughter.

Of course we folk in Canada, during the War, had to tighten our collective belts as well, and rationing was just taken in stride, but naturally it was tough slogging for most. Well, enough personal anecdote.

Interestingly, we south-westerners in the U.S. (and perhaps beyond our region), have a rather thriving enterprise called Fry's, but it's one of those mega-chain, techie/ electronics emporia; although they do try to tantalize us customers waiting the check-out for an available cashier w/ chocolate bars, and other sundry zero-nutritional-value temptations. (I take that back, I'm sure chocolate has nutritional value, to some degree.)

Your point about most of the major Brit chocolate works having Quaker origins I find very intriguing. Seems these generally religiously devout, straight-laced, simple, pious folk didn't eschew ALL life's guilty pleasures, particularly making more than a shekel, or two on the manufacture of chocolate products, and in a big way, at that, it would appear.

Well I say if the Trappist monks can successfully market their goat cheese, beer, and custom-made wooden caskets, then more power to those enterprising British Quakers who found a way to peddle their chocolate 'wares' to the whole world.

Sadly, one of our most infamous Quaker notables in the modern era on this side of The Pond was our late president, Richard M. Nixon, known to this very day by his many detractors as "Tricky Dick" Nixon.

Curiously, he never did appear to flaunt his Quaker roots, or abiding faith, and that, in retrospect might have been a good thing, considering the whole ugly Watergate fiasco, and his ultimately having to eat humble pie w/ his resigning from the highest political office in the land.

Interestingly, some historians have been kinder to the place, and import of Pres.Nixon in the overall U.S. 20th century political historical narrative in more recent years, as his efforts in attempting to open up the cultural, diplomatic, and political dialogue w/ the Far East, and Mao's Communist China in particular, have somewhat softened, but not totally expunge the significance of the ugly Watergate affair, and the ensuing negative implications of that official foray into lawlessness.

I do admire the austere, simple elegance of a fine Quaker-designed vintage chair, although I'm likely thinking more of their closely related religious brethren, the Shakers, in terms of classic furniture design, dowel-backed chairs and all.

Picky, now don't go telling me that that powdery, all-spiced, quick food preparation item, "Shake & Bake" was created by the Quakers too. Or the Shakers, for that matter. HA! (Frankly, I don't know if they even sell this product in the U.K.)

Hope you're having a great weekend, thus far.

Cherrio, old lad,

ALEX

Alex- enough personal anecdote it ain't. Let's continue to celebrate the terrible but noble sacrifices our parents' generation made for us. You probably have no idea how deeply we appreciated the comradeship of your nation's people in war, or how much we admired their courage in facing an enemy they could well have spent a few years stepping back from. Some chicken; some neck.


Picky,

In the spirit of your 'celebratory' urgings, indeed, lest we forget that special abiding mutual bond of admiration between our two nations----Canada and the U.K------sealed in time in the cauldron of two horrific World Wars in this past century, I can't resist sharing a few more anecdotes re/ the personal wartime sacrifices made by my immediate male kinfolk, starting w/ my granddad, Nicol McCrae.

This young Glaswegian-born, proud Canadian volunteer fought the brave fight overseas in World War I, primarily in the muck-and-mire of trench warfare at Ypres and Pachendale, Belgium. He came home to Canada, a proud veteran, yet much worse-for-wear, having suffered multiple exposures to that nasty chemical weapon of the First World War, German mustard gas. Ironically my granddad passed a year prior to my birth in 1946, relatively young, merely in his late 40s. His doctors speculated that his wartime battlefield gassings likely contributed to his multiple lethal cancers.

(I can only dream of how pleased, and proud my Scottish-born grandad McCrae would have been if he had lived to see me take up the highland bagpipes at 10, and compete at the highest level, individually and in bands, in Canada and the northeastern U.S. into my late teen years, when I eventually would drift away from the instrument. What could have been, I can only imagine? Oh well.)

My namesake, uncle Alex, granddad Nicol McCrae's second of four sons (and one daughter, Margaret), was a proud member of Canada's 48th Highlander army regiment, who fought w/ distinguished valor all across Europe during World War II. Uncle Alex, sadly passed in his late 80s, over a decade ago, suffering for several of his remaining years w/ late-stage dementia.

Back in the late '30s, and early '40s, he was a most promising Canadian amateur boxer, a dreaded southpaw, who had competed exceptionally well, on several occasions, in the prestigious Golden Gloves amateur tournaments, and appeared destined for a possible career as a professional heavyweight boxer. (In fact, the famed Jack Dempsey actually refereed a Golden Gloves bout my uncle was fighting, in the early '40s at an arena in Buffallo, NY. The family still has a few vintage B&W photos of uncle Alex posing, dukes up, as if sparring w/ his then-boxing hero.)

But then cam The Great War, and sadly, that boyhood boxing dream was not to be.

Late into the Allied offensive in World War II, during one of the four battles to take Monte Cassino, in the Italian theater of action, where the allied forces, (particularly the Canadian 48th Highlander division), were attempting to finally seize the capital, Rome, my uncle Alex stepped on a concealed land mine , which immediately exploded, tearing through his right lower leg, and foot, and spraying wild shrapnel shards into his levitated body.

Thankfully, my uncle did survive this trauma to live, tell the tale, and prosper back home in Welland, Ontario, Canada. He soon married, had two now very grownup kids, and pursued a successful career in the life insurance trade, w/ a few unsuccessful forays into Provincial politics. A life-long force in his local Lions Club and Canadian Legion, he always looked especially forward to his every-five-year reunions in Toronto w/ his old 48th Highlander's cronies from the war, where some vets would still don the old kilt, sporan, dirk, and Glengary cap in the spirit of old times gone by. I really do miss him....... a lot.

Of course, my uncle Alex was a post-war, life-long amputee, having worn all manner of prosthetic legs over the years, and forever trying to manage the chronic pain in his stump-of-a- limb. Even well into his so-called 'golden years' pieces of shrapnel would randomly knife their way up to the surface of his skin. Yet, as far as I know, he never once expressed regret for his military service overseas, and his personal sacrifices made for the greater good--- a free and safe continental Europe, and Britain, and the good riddance and crushing of the Nazi monster....... forever. (Little did we know of the rising totalitarian Cold War menace of the likes of Stalin and Mao---- nascent Communism on the rise. Well we knew, but maybe we just didn't want to look too closely. HA!)

So Picky, my lad, I really do have some deep-seated appreciation for how you Brits of a certain age, and particularly those hardy wartime Netherlanders, as well, have a most special, and endearing regard for those brave, mostly young Canadians who did their part, cheek-to-jowl, w/ all those other courageous Allied-force troops (the Yanks, Aussies....), in what for us Canucks were technically, and logistically speaking, 'foreign' wars, yet wars of such global import and consequence that World Wars I & II really were paramount in ridding the planet of malevolence, and evil incarnate.

Not to mention all those Canadian soldier-meets-comely-British-lass budding romances that blossomed overseas, w/ many a young blushing British war-bride returning to our fair Canadian shores to embark on a hopefully exciting, brand-new life in the wilds of North America. HA! Many an early Canadian 'boomer' living today might thank the ironic happen stance of an overseas great war for their eventually entering this crazy world, kicking and screaming into the later half of the 20th century, and beyond. (Baaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!)

Food for thought.

ALEX

Things don't change much, Alex. I was talking only a couple of weeks ago to a friend who has been serving with the British army in Afghanistan. He was describing (in very general terms, of course) how things had been. Talking about one nasty business he said: "Of course the Canadians were there. It's always the same. When the going is really dangerous, you always find the Canadians there." And I should add that my friend is by no means generally prone, I'm afraid, to praising the quality of the troops of our allies.

As is well known, Canada is the good daughter, the one who stayed home to take care of aging Mum when all the other children had one by one grown apart and away, if not necessarily up. It may be significant that whereas in most of her dominions Mrs. Mountbatten-Windsor's title is "Her Majesty, Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of [name of dominion] and her other realms and territories", in Canada she's "Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada and her other realms and territories", Canada being listed second. (Ditto in Grenada and New Zealand; in Nebraska, however, her title is "Admiral of Nebraska".)

Alex, I can't agree with you about World War I. It would not have been a violation of morality if the British Empire had chosen to support Germany rather than France. Both sides, of course, used gas as a weapon of war.

Well, that's uncharacteristically ungenerous of you, Mr Cowan, and there's a hint of petulance about it. Your country and mine and Alex's have no reason to be ashamed of what our servicemen achieved together, and it seems less than pleasant to be doing playground fingerpointing about it.

Your first sentence is, of course, quite wrong: there has been rather more than one good daughter. And even the naughty daughter has eventually discovered on occasion that Mom may have been in the right, and worthy of support.

The rest of your first paragraph is strangely inconsequential.

The point you make about gas is quite right. But we probably haven't time, before Mr McIntyre's employers let down the curtain, to come to an agreement on the matter of morality. The first world war was so vile, the military leadership so godawful, the casualties so dreadful, the price so great for any good it can have done, that we have tended to talk ourselves into the position that there must have been no difference between the moral stances of the two sides, that the story of the aggression of the central powers must have been a myth or a lie. 'Tain't so.


Picky,

Old lad, clearly you've never been one to hold back on your opinions, even though, as you pointed out, soon the "You Don't Say" curtain will be falling for several of our more avid, far-flung commentators, including yourself and Mr. Cowan.

You kind of beat me to the punch in your rather stern, but I would argue, fair admonishment of your favorite online verbal sparring mate, John Cowan's rather dismissive, unflattering (to himself) last post. "Support Germany rather than France". Now there's a lightening-rod concept for you, looking back in the rear-view mirror of our shared, complicated history.

(This afternoon I was off getting that aforementioned costly double dental bridge installed. Otherwise, I would have likely weighed in, accordingly, w/ my defense against some of John's more mildly inflammatory statements. At any rate, I felt you struck both the proper tone, and factual thrust of a sound counter argument.)

Although, I have to admit there is some kernel of truth to John's singling out Canada as one of the staunchest members of the British Commonwealth of Nations, w/ her lingering separation anxiety, and abiding loyalty when it comes to "Mum' (Queen Elizabeth II ), the monarchy, and our abiding legacy of British governance.

Even though today she ("Mum") still retains some minimal overseas vestigial governing duties (regarding the approval of say Canada's choice of a new Governor General, and such), as more of a symbolic political figurehead, she is almost universally revered by us Canucks as the oldest living embodiment of Britain's past glories, and pan-global prestige; and further, seen as just a most decent, stylishly-understated, yet still with-it, sharp, engaging old gal, respected the world over.

(Oh, there was that little ugly interlude back after Princess Diana died, where"Mum"s usually fawning public, at home and abroad, kind of turned on the old girl, responding to what was perceived by many as her coldness, and lack of true emotion at the beloved Princess Di's untimely, tragic, demise. Of course, she changed her tune after the huge reactive public harangue and media blitz, and all eventually seemed forgiven. Back in the good graces of her loyal, admiring subjects once again.)

Interestingly, young royal newlyweds, William and Kate, chose "Our Home and Native Land"----Canada---- as the initial leg of their grand summer North American honeymoon junket, traveling clear cross-country from Prince Edward Island on the eastern Atlantic seaboard, to British Columbia in the Pacific northwest. The couple spent maybe four days in California before heading back to England.

A little side note: I was duly impressed in seeing a Maclean's magazine photo of a nattily dressed William (suit and tie) caught at the very end of a sweeping hockey slap-shot pose. As a former amateur ice hockey player, and sadly long-lapsed fan of our national sport, I can say, w/ no hesitation, that future King William*, frozen in this super athletic pose could have easily passed for a bona fide, seasoned pro hockey player------clearly a natural talent......... or merely beginner's luck? HA!

Hmm......... maybe he developed that fine form playing field hockey in boarding school. Although the sticks-----field vs. ice hockey----, and the shooting, and passing techniques are hardly that similar.

All I can say is, I was mildly gobsmacked by young William's apparent athletic prowess, although I know he's a fair-to-middling rugby, soccer, and polo player.

* Seems like our Queen Elizabeth II, now in her mid-80s, might be very long-lived, not unlike her mum, Elizabeth, The Queen Mum, who managed to eclipse the daunting century mark---100 years-----by one year.

ALEX

This is a dilemma for me, since I cancelled my subscription to the paper publication when they canned you in the first place. My life has been no less rich without the hard copy publication. If I can get by without paying for the paper, I can get by without paying for the web site. ...But I'm not sure I can get by without your blog.


Picky,

Indeed, as you earlier opined, "things don't change much"....... over time.

I harken back a few years to a very sad report out of either war-torn Iraq, or more likely Afghanistan, that announced that four young Canadian special forces-type troops were unwittingly killed by U.S. 'friendly fire", i believe when their helicopter was downed. Heart wrenching stuff, and a bitter pill for both our countries, and their families to swallow.

Clearly war has never played any favorites, and moreover, that flawed human element can invariably enter the equation at any moment.

As kind of a belated afterthought to my earlier reminiscing about my namesake uncle Alex, I believe I not only inherited his fine, upstanding first name (which was always pronounced "Alec", as in Alec Guiness), but I'm afeared I may have also picked up his incredible gift-of-the-gab (some on this site may say 'curse'-of-the-gab' HA!).

Fact is, he would write most frequently, and most earnestly to his local newspaper's "Letters to the Editor" department, as well as to such high-profile news publications as Time, NewsWeek and Canada's own Maclean's, getting whatever was vexing him at the time, off his mind..... and chest. Be it some provincial, local issue like the malingering city public works department not tending to the pot-hole problem in town, or on the national news front, whether our flamboyant, cerebral then-Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau was selling out us Canucks to them darn Yanks to the south.

Thing is, he managed to get many a letter published, and let everyone know in his immediate inner circle that he'd been heard most loud and clear.

Ironically, he passed away kind of on the cusp of the seismic explosion that is the Internet-----the e-mail, blogosphere, Wikipedia---social communications revolution. If his once sharp mind had held up, and he'd survived maybe another decade, I could picture him into his 90s pecking out his curmudgeonly diatribes on his PC keyboard, blogging his brains out, continuing to grouse about societies ills, big and small, while calling out those misguided, and perhaps shady folks who he suspected were contributing to the ongoing dysfunctional social and political malaise.

Always tilting at virtual windmills, uncle Alex was, in a sense, your latter-day Don Quixote, his pen replacing the great mounted crusader's trusty lance.

Picky, so now you may have a better insight into why I can never shut the F*** up. (Excuse my French, jolie monsieur.)

Blame the family genes. HA!

I leave you w/ this opening stanza from revered Canadian singer/ tunesmith Gordon Lightfoot's haunting 1972 ballad, "Don Quixote".

"Through the woodland, through the valley
Comes a horseman wild and free

Tilting at the windmills passing
Who can this young horseman be?"

ALEX

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About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at john.mcintyre@baltsun.com.
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