Category Archives: Scribbles

A black man named Shane

It has to be the funniest name for a black movie character ever. Shane Ross is the name of a young black surgeon on Grey’s Anatomy. I love the show, especially the black authority figures like chief surgeon Richard Webber. But Shane? Come on. His parents, supposedly, named him for an aging white gunslinger in a 1950s western movie. Deshawn, maybe, but Shane? Heh. Please.


Years ago when I was a captain soon to leave the Army, I wanted a job with Associated Press in West Virginia (where I was living at the time) but they turned me down for not enough daily reporting experience. I had only worked for weeklies before being drafted in 1967.

At the same time United Press International offered me a job. But I had to relocate to Pittsburgh. So I took a Charleston, WV TV reporting job instead and eventually got into daily newspapers. Always have wondered what the UPI job might have been like. Not to mention Pittsburgh. UPI apparently still strives for objectivity. While AP has joined the Fake News in harassing Trump.

The con artists in DC

“I don’t care if Donald Trump had the entire national archives moved to his southern/winter White House. He is more trustworthy and competent than all the con artists in DC put together.” —Randy Quaid on Twatter.

Fake News

USA Today (the Gannett chain’s flagship newspaper) fires reporter Gabriela Miranda and removes 23 of her articles after discovering she fabricated sources. Reminds me of a local fellow I know who had the same problem with the same result.


Now here’s an idea, move the blog to Substack and (potentially) get paid by subscribers who want to pay to read my undying prose. Hmm. Not likely, as I haven’t drawn many steady readers here for free. But it’s an idea worth pursuing if I can come up with a new format and focus for them. Say, on Reiki, perhaps. Or after-death communication. Something I care enough about to write interesting articles. We shall see.

Newspaperman, A Memoir

My old editor Don Hatfield is very kind to me, one of his first hires at the defunct Huntington (WVA) Advertiser, and herein captures perfectly my angry young combat veteran’s flippant attitude.

Don had a roguish air about himself back then in 1973, with long dark hair perpetually falling over one eye. But I learned from him and his young editors not to editorialize in news copy, as is unfortunately too common today. “If you don’t put it in, I can’t take it out,” one of them told me.

I was determined to write fiction on the side and my opinions sometimes leaked into my reporting. I soon moved on but was so infected by Don and the newspaper virus that I stayed in the biz for 32 more years. I didn’t actually publish any fiction until the advent of Amazon’s CreateSpace.

Striving for objectivity in the gathering and presentation of the news may not be so common nowadays but it is of the most benefit to any community and that was the nobler game Don was always after. His thoughtful memoir is well worth your time and money. And may G-d comfort him for the loss of his wife and three children.

Mrs Charm’s latest awardees

We get their thank-you letters. One in 2017 and two this year. Two Hispanics and one apparent black. I dislike confining the awardees to minorities but Mrs. C. might not and the University of Texas journalism scholarship is in her name not mine.

As I said in a comment back in 2016 when the scholarship went live, “Journalism was my living and I’m glad its over but it was more than that to Mrs. C and the scholarship is to honor her not me. What sort of journalist it helps produce remains to be seen. Hopefully an objective one. Not all of them are screaming leftists.”

I found it amusing that this year’s awardees were very different in their thank-yous. One was verbose, going on for several pages, mainly about herself (they are both women) while the other was succinct. She boiled it down to one page and spent as much space commenting on Mrs. C. as on herself. I liked the succinct one best.