Monday, August 29, 2005

Notes on Dooley

In this week's Dooley Noted, Mike takes us inside the newsroom to reveal how the sausage is made:

For some time, a story had been making the rounds that said Mars would be closer to Earth last Saturday than it had been for quite a while. It was being passed off as fact, and those who told it insisted the Red Planet would have been about the same size as the moon in the night sky.

People fell for the tale like crazy, and a while back, even the folks who put together the newsletter for the Acres Land Trust here in northeast Indiana took it as gospel. They included it in the newsletter, a copy of which eventually found its way to Linda Austin, The News-Sentinel’s executive editor.

Austin figured the paper could provide some astronomical utility to its readers if it mentioned the event, and she asked Metro Editor Mary Lou Brink to check into it. Brink did, spending a morning last week trying to find details of the historic occurrence.

Try as she might, Brink couldn’t locate a single mention of what would certainly be a noteworthy event. Finally, one skywatcher referred her to the NASA Web site for the definitive word.

And that word, it turned out, was h-o-a-x. Mars will be a bit closer to Earth than usual in late October, but it’s hardly going to fill the sky. If that were the case, NASA suggested, it would probably be time to follow that famous piece of cinematic advice and “Run, Forrest, run!” Mars appearing as big as the moon would hardly be a good omen for the Earthlings among us.

Dooley also writes about Linda Bloom misidentifying Judge Ken Scheibenberger to a friend at Coney Island. (Faux pas!) Someone please get this man a blog -- his Dooley Noted column is already a blog but no one at the News-Sentinel seems to realize it.

ALSO: A note, from someone who formerly wrote in the third person plural -- that is, referred to myself as "we," as if I was speaking on behalf of a committee of bloggers: Mike, please consider using the first person singular in your column from now own. I know that using "we" is fun, but one day you'll realize how stilted and pretentious it makes you sound (as I did)...and, as anyone who has met you knows, you're just about the farthest thing from stilted and pretentious around. There's no shame in using the word "I," especially in a column that bears your name, no matter what your sixth grade teacher might have told you.

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