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They have better beds on the A ward.

Oakland parade

December 28th, 2000

Going To Be Swell
I was tired last night, so I crashed early and went into the office this morning around 6:30 to finish a spreadsheet that had to be out by ten. I went across the street to the City Center after I'd finished and bought a copy of the new locally published Examiner, no longer owned and published by the Hearst Corporation, and the Chronicle, now owned and published by the Hearst Corporation.

The headlines say the local power company is requesting an immediate 26% increase in rates. Requesting is maybe an understatement. "Pay us more or we will go out of business and your television sets won't light at night, Oprah will not visit and Buffy will conjure without you". No way to cook dinner, of course, or heat the house.

The new Examiner has that take no prisoners won't be around very much longer feel about it and the Chronicle, well, the Chronicle is a Hearst paper. I have no idea what's behind the power increase. There was a sense, when I was younger, that a newspaper could and sometimes would, (unless it was a story in which the newspaper itself had a political or financial interest) get a story right. Might take time, but, you know, right. Nobody much thinks that anymore. Too partisan, too exaggerated, too demonized, too lazy, too many powerful people with their teeth thrust deep into a public vein for truth to will out. Even when the press gets it right, the public's too tired and pale to be interested.

An unusual conversation at work today. Usually people in really senior positions, managers Oakland parade or staff who work in the beast's belly, will never waver from the company line if you ask them a question. Every well oiled word can be found somewhere in a company news release or an analyst's briefing (the stock is going up! up! up!). And that's OK. That's how it works. Get the boys (and girls) on board with the company doctrine and try to get them excited. But there are exceptions. My company has gone through a kind of continuous management upheaval in the six years I've been there and I've learned, over the years, that if you catch one of them on the way out, if you catch someone who's flustered, pissed and feeling sorry for himself, you can sometimes hear an honest opinion. This happened today.

The story told was not encouraging to those of us with greying hair. The story told was not encouraging for those of us hoping for competence in the conduct of the company business. The story told was somewhat depressing. Hard to say if any of it is true. Chronicle or Examiner or the source itself, all must be sifted for clues. For hints. For truth. Senior and pissed does not mean senior and smart. Or right. Or wrong. Hi, ho. Another depressing story to add to the collection. Get thee behind me, story, it's Thursday evening and I don't have to go back til Tuesday. They're saying the weather is going to be swell.

The banner photograph was taken during preparations for a recent Oakland parade. I noticed the kid squirting the water between his teeth and asked to shoot his picture. The Rocky balloon was one of many balloons. The quote is by Samuel Johnson.