October’s Daily Diary

I have not read every paragraph in the continue revelations of legal phone and other electronic snooping that began last June when government secrets brought to light by Edward Snowden were confirmed and published in leading newspapers around the world. But I stay pretty current on it as well as study the journalistic underpinnings and ethics girding this significant topic.

So Monday, when The New Yorker released online its Oct. 7 issue, I read about Alan Rusbridger, editor of London’s Guardian newspaper, where most of the revelations have been published. He’s an interesting bird, put in a lot of years reporting, naturally, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that he is a former columnist. The magazine’s media analyst Ken Auletta said Rusbridger wrote for The Guardian a “daily diary column.”

A what?

It’s a British term, and it may not translate well to America. Although The New York Times does have its “Metropolitan Diary.” BBC online ran a story three years ago, “The Death of the Newspaper Diary?” and the form appears to be, yes, daily, and after that, it could be short takes/items or one continuous essay. Quips or straight reporting, or just pointed comments. One writer or a team. But this certainly is not a gossip column, the story says, that gets its own genre. (Or industry.)

Still, a blogger or columnist these days could take the term “daily diary” as inspiration to motivation for writing.

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Logo[This Brick is adapted from my director of online media column in the October 2013 edition of The Columnist newsletter of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.]

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Also, another insight from England, a coinage from the satirical sci-fi movie The World’s End — the verb “starbucking,” meaning the commodification of small shops, cafes and, in this show, pubs.

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Speaking of the National Security Agency, it has a children’s website, www.nsa.gov/kids. Seriously. And it opens just fine, despite the federal government sequester.

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Ah, here’s one now: A corollary to “Watch what you ask for, you might get it.” It is, “Watch what you sometimes loathe, you might lose it.”

Here’s a slight expansion of that. You often get some form of what you ask for; if you squint, it’s true often enough. Thus, you can wish bad things into existence.

This is similar to how you can’t will to win, but you can will to get beaten in
games and lose in more serious matters.

I came up with the “watch” tangent (don’t Google it and tell me how many thousands came up with it first), after reading a story at Slate.com, “An Important Life Lesson from Blackjack and Baseball: You Gain More by Not Being Stupid Than You Do by Being Smart.” That’s a anti-author headline. It totally gives away the story so you don’t have to bother.

Well, it is worth reading to see the science behind the theory.

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The NSNC Education Foundation met online Sunday, Sept. 29, for its formal annual session.

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The NSNC board itself met online Tuesday, Sept. 17, in a called session to accept a new set of by-laws. The reason was to ensure solid nonprofit standing in the eyes of the law, not to mention the Internal Revenue Service. The NSNC-EF remains a 501( c )3, and the NSNC is unambiguously a 501( c )6.

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The Sept, 3, 2013 episode of NPR’s Fresh Air featured jazz-influenced experimental composer John Zorn. Eccentric, as expected. But he had a fresh term for what people like creativity coach Julia Cameron calls “crazymakers.” Zorn calls them such folks “psychic vampires,” that is, friends or relatives who drag you down, or drain or frustrate you in your endeavors. Or simply drain your good cheer. My Beloved and I began reading Cameron back in 1998. Psychic vampire resonates.

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Great, thoughtful concept: There’s post-traumatic stress but there’s also “post-traumatic growth” — Dr. Norman Rosenthal in interviews promoting his new book The Gift of Adversity: The Unexpected Benefits of Life’s Difficulties, Setbacks, and Imperfections.

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“[C]oronary artery disease and heart attacks are nothing more than a toothless paper tiger that need never, ever exist. If it does exist, it need never, ever progress. It is a benign food-borne illness.” — Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr., interviewed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

What a way to view heart disease, and as a preventable condition, according to a number of specialists, it makes sense. Esselstyn was featured in the documentary Forks over Knives.


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