Mangan’s memoirs

Mucous? We got your mucous

Today, like yesterday and the day before and the day before that, I’m confronted with life’s eternal question: how can one head produce so much snot?

I’m saving my strength so I can go in to work and infect all my colleagues. More snotty commentary to come tomorrow or maybe the next day.

The people you meet

While trolling through a bunch of Saddam pages over at the News Page Designer site (thanks to newsdesigner for the link), I startd noticing the names of people I’ve worked with in the past. So I figured I’d document them here:

Bryan DeVasher, Newport News Daily Press. I worked with Bryan in the mid-’80s on
the Daily Egyptian, our school paper at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.
Greg Williams, Tampa Tribune. Greg was a graphic artist and illustrator
when I was at the Trib back in the early 1990s.
The Mercury News page. I work with somebody who worked on this
page, but nobody took personal credit at the news designers’ site.
Tim Ball, Wisconsin State Journal. Tim used to work for the Mercury
News. He was so fresh out of school that he may not have been old enough
to drink when the Merc hired him.

What I’m thankful for

… that it’s somebody else’s job to put out Friday’s paper. The Metro Desk folks at the Mercury News have a big ol’ feast planned … it’s almost like not having to work because there’s one edition and five stories on the budget. Good thing the rest of the world keeps providing news to fill in the rest of the holes.

Sorry, folks

My head is full of phlegm this morning and I can’t make my brain work … Be back tomorrow or the next day for sure. (Note this will not stop me from going to work, because I won’t need my brain there, just my reflexes).

Essential details about this site and its proprietor

I’m the one to blame for this mess. If you’re a newspaper editor or anybody
else in the news biz you’re apt to find interesting stuff. If you’re a
media critic you might glean insight into the thought processes of a working
newspaperman. If you’re looking for evidence of the International Liberal
Media Conspiracy, welcome: I am a dues-paying member. If you’re one of
my relatives … well, sorry, you did your best but I came out this way
anyway.

This site is mostly about my work, which at the moment is on the features
copy desk at the San Jose Mercury News, or the Merc as we call it when
we can’t be troubled to type the rest of those characters. The Merc has
nothing to do with the content here, except that having a job there discourages
me from ranting about the folks who pay the rent.

I’ve been in this job for four years, having come to the Bay Area to
witness the high-tech boom, and arriving just in time for the bust. Before
this job I worked for six years doing features design and copy editing
at the Journal Star in Peoria, Illinois, my hometown, a place I moved
away from when I realized that every Peorian who ever became rich and
famous did so after moving somewhere else. My somewhere is a suburb
called Dublin, which is surrounded by lovely rolling hills that will be
continue to be scenic until they build new suburbs on top of them. The
work is well under way.

Before the Peoria gig I spent five years on the news copy desk at the
Tampa Tribune, my first metro daily. The Trib was a nightmare in those
days, but these days people seem to like it much better, from what I hear.
My first job out of school was at the Southern Illinoisan in Carbondale,
Ill., home of the main campus of Southern Illinois University, where I
worked on the student paper, the Daily Egyptian, for four years.

I took my first journalism class at Illinois Central College in the spring
of 1984. I was 22 at the time and had no background in news beyond reading
the paper since I was a kid. I had never worked on any school papers or
yearbooks, which, I suspect, gave me a leg up because I didn’t pick up
any bad habits working on the high school paper. My first journalism teacher
was a guy named Mike Foster; he led me to believe I could be a newsman,
which was a nice thing to do considering I hadn’t done worth a damn at
anything I had tried up to that point.

At Southern Illinois University I learned to think, a bit, and to party,
a lot. While working on the campus paper I figured out that I had a peculiar
aptitude for getting pages to the composing room on time, and writing
headlines that fit the space needed. I also figured out that I really
had no stomach for being a reporter. I don’t mind writing or researching,
but doing both in a hurry was too much like work to me.

Over the years people have encouraged me to keep doing this work, which
is remarkable when my newsroom behavior is taken into account. I’m prone
to cussing at my computer and inflicting poorly thought-out rants with
the poor saps who work next to me. One of these co-workers was so patient
that he introduced me to the woman I married. Or maybe he thought of it
as revenge. In any case I came out the winner.

I’ve been an online junkie since about 1990; I created my first webpage
in October of 1996 and started my first blog late in 1998. More on my
blogging background is here.

I try to keep the tone light and civil around here, though I am prone
to bouts of invective now and then. I apologize here to everybody who
has been wrongly slighted by any posts past, present or future. It’s not
personal, it’s just blogging.

Nephews in full cuteness mode

Got these pix in the mail the other day from my sister, Delisa,
who lives north of Chicago. The boys are Shawn and Jonathan. They’ll be 2
next March.
As Delisa puts it, Shawn has the curly hair, Jonathan all
of the funny faces. Shawn’s the name of my best friend from childhood.
That smile could’ve been cut ‘n’ pasted from a picture of
Delisa at the same age.
Sean looks a lot his sister, Lexi, in this one.

I’m not sure what he’s doing that Delisa finds so hysterical.

"Mommy, Mommy come see, I just pooped in
my diaper for you."
Here’s
a link to pictures taken the day they were born

Happy birthday to me

The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything is
42, Douglas Adams said. All I know is, it’s how many years old I am today.

Melissa spent the morning bestowing gifts.

Rather than get me into real trouble and sign me up for the Beer of the Month
Club, she went over to the local Beverages & More … which appears to have
every beer ever brewed … and rounded up this interesting sixpack. The one
on the far left is from Poland; the one on the far right is from Russia. The
most popular title, the beer guy at the store said, is Arrogant Bastard Ale,
the one slightly left of center (hey, just like me!). You know your wife loves
you when she buys you six expensive craft beers with no thought of the consequences
of husband consuming them all in one sitting… imagine the beer farts from
this array.

Anyway, she also got me this fold-up chair for the next outdoor concert I attend.

Note the impressive trusswork — I imagine some bridge engineer built one of
these for his own backyard, and one of his neighbors stole the design and made
millions, and now the two of them aren’t speaking, but the engineer is sleeping
with the neighbor’s wife for revenge.

The best thing you can do for your birthdays is to keep having them. The rest is gravy.