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Friday, May 16, 2003

Russian beauty


Silly boosterism

Never underestimate how insecure Peorians are. What reason other than municipal insecurity explains why the Peoria Journal Star felt it necessary to use this headline above the syndicated "Single File" advice column on May 15: "Peorian: Abstinence spurs sexual anorexia."
According to the 2003 census, Peoria is home to 112,936 people. It's not newsworthy - or even headline worthy -- that one of them actually wrote a letter to a syndicated columnist who is carried in the daily newspaper.
This kind of headline makes Peoria look like the hick town the general public assumes we are.

Snarky reporting

Was I the only one who found the headlines that accompanied the Journal Star's May 15 article on the public's ideas for the Sears block to be condescending and insulting? "Ice rink, IMAX or pig racing? Public's ideas for Sears block range from visionary to wacky."
"Wacky." Wow. The Journal Star asked readers to submit suggestions, and then essentially replied: "Thanks for the stupid ideas."
The article was written by Sonya Kloppfenstein and wasn't insulting at all.
Here's my own wacky idea: Auction the Sears block to the highest bidder, on the provision that whoever buys it must pay full commercial rate property taxes, whether the buyer develops the property of not.


Picking the winners

With the help of public financing and the purchase of private homes through eminent domain laws, the City of Peoria helped developer David Joseph build the Campustown shopping center. Proponents said the project would create jobs and combat urban blight and crime in the neighborhood. Today, stores stand empty and crime remains a huge problem in the surrounding neighborhoods.
With the help of public financing and the purchase of private homes through eminent domain laws, the City of Peoria helped developer David Joseph build Mid-Town Plaza. Proponents said the project would combat urban blight and crime in the neighborhood. Today, stores stand empty and crime remains a huge problem in the surrounding neighborhoods.
With the possible help of public financing and the possible purchase of private homes and businesses through eminent domain laws, the Peoria City Council approved the "Med-Tech District," which will help future developers build businesses on 770 acres along West Main Street. Proponents said the project will create jobs and combat urban blight and crime in the neighborhood. No one knows which businesses and homes would be displaced - some certainly against their will - to be replaced by businesses picked by the powers-that-be.
The Journal Star's editorial writers think this is a wonderful idea.
Perhaps the brain trust that runs Peoria's newspaper of record might want to send a reporter or two to speak to the residents displaced by the Campus Town and Mid-Town Plaza projects, as well as the residents who live what is left of the neighborhoods, to find out if their lives have been improved. Perhaps they might send reporters to speak to the owners and former employees of the smaller grocery stores (Eagles, Haddad's, John Bee) forced out of business in part because they could not compete with the superstores created as a direct result of the city's financial support.
Eminent domain was envisioned to allow the government to buy the land needed to build roads and bridges. Peoria uses it to help developers build shopping centers and ballparks.

Nostalgic journalism

I enjoyed the trip down memory lane WEEK took on Thursday, May 15, with its feature on "The Captain Jinks and Salty Sam Show," which it broadcast in from 1956 to 1972 (a taped version ran from 1978 to 1981).
It all came back to me - the Hanna Barbera cartoons, the joke barrel, the Red Goose Shoes commercials and the silly interplay between Jinks and Salty.
I remember being surprised one night when I realized that the guy who was giving the nightly weather report on Channel 25 sounded just like Captain Jinks, and looked like him too, only he didn't have a beard and moustache. It was like discovering Santa Claus is a myth.
Some time after the show's cancellation, my family and I walked into the old Heritage House restaurant on North University to be greeted by its new host, George Basillion, who played Salty Sam. By that time, I was old enough to realize that Salty Sam was not a real person, and I was thrilled to meet him.
As entertaining as WEEK's trip down memory lane was, there a down-side to this report. It demonstrated that Peoria television stations have completely abandoned the concept of locally produced entertainment. The most creative things WEEK and other local stations do these days is decide which syndicated talk show, game show or judge show it will broadcast in the two hours between the last soap opera and the 5 p.m. local news
Basillion died in 1985. Stan Lonergan, Captain Jinks, died in 1989.
As entertaining as WEEK's trip down memory lane was, there is an embarrassing down-side to this report. It demonstrated that WEEK and other Peoria television stations have completely abandoned the concept of locally produced entertainment. The most creative thing WEEK and other local stations do these days is decide which syndicated talk show, game show or judge show it will broadcast in the two hours between the last soap opera and the 5 p.m. local news.
Thirty years from now, will today's grade schoolers be nostalgic for the good old days of Dr. Phil and Oprah?


Self-serving journalism

In its 10 p.m. news on Sunday, May 11, CBS-31 found time to carry a fairly long report that swimsuit model Jenna was the winner of "Survivor: Amazon." The news came as no surprise because final episode had ended just minutes earlier.
This was the day after dozens of homes in Central Illinois were destroyed or damaged by tornadoes.
In all fairness, the first half of the program was dedicated to coverage of the tornadoes' aftermath. But this just means there must have been other local or even national news that needed to be covered instead of this piece of self-serving fluff.
CBS-TV isn't the only media organization in Peoria that uses its news coverage to promote its financial interests.
A few days earlier, the folks over at WEEK provided comprehensive coverage of its switch to high-definition (HDTV) signal, an upgrade that will have absolutely no effect on anyone who doesn't own the insanely expensive equipment needed to actually benefit from the HDTV signal.
Nope, there's nothing self-serving about news coverage in Peoria.


Sour grapes at the Peoria Journal Star

The Peoria Journal Star never supported the war in Iraq. In its editorials, the newspaper pleaded for more time to let inspections work. Not one columnist working for the PJS supported the war.
Now that the fighting is over - without the loss of civilian and military lives that so worried the editorial writers - the Journal Star printed an editorial on May 5 saying that the Bush administration would have a lot of explaining to do if no weapons of mass destruction are found.
Never mind the fact that taking down the murderous Saddam Hussein regime has saved more lives than it lost. Never mind that nations like Syria and Iran have been given a lesson in the dangers of supporting terrorism. Never mind that the Bush administration has never claimed that Iraq's development of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons was the only reason for seeking regime change.
On May 7, the Washington Post reported that a mobile laboratory that could be used to create biological weapons had been found in Iraq. The official told the Post that the truck and the equipment inside it had been cleaned with bleach and, therefore, did not show any identifiable residue of biological agents. But intelligence analysts have concluded that "there doesn't seem to be any legitimate use for it, other than as a biolab," the Post reported.
If these mobile laboratories do turn out to be the smoking gun, will the Journal Star's editorial board write an editorial admitting they were wrong for arguing for more inspections? Don't hold your breath. Instead, they will move on to carping about how the Bush administration has failed to immediately install a western-style democracy. It's been a month already, after all.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Tell me what I want to hear

Allen Prather writes about being interviewed by a reporter who already has written the story:
I was interviewed over the phone when I first opened an investment office back in 2000. Everything I told this reporter about the company I worked for and myself somehow did not make it into the newspaper piece. This reporter told me he had a friend in Dallas who went into the investment business years ago which, in the reporters eyes, made the reporter an authority on how the business is conducted. Needless to say, what appeared in the article was the reporter's own beliefs of the business and not what I told him.
I would like to think that I never did this when I was a reporter, but I am sure I did once or twice. I actually had an editor insist that I never start a story without knowing in advance what it would say. As one would expect, this reduced the number of story ideas I could present.

Even worse were those situations in which an editor assigned a story with a preconceived notion of what it should say. I would like tho think that even if I were to approach a story convinced it should say one think that my mind was open enough to be convinced I was wrong. That's not an option when your immediate superior evaluates your work according to whether it fits his or her preconceived notions.

The best quality of a journalist should have is a sense of curiosity. The worst thing that can happen to a reporter is to begin to think there is nothing he or she needs to learn.


Google perplexed

In a sign that Google has become ubiquitous, my mother laughed at this joke. This is a woman who can't turn on a computer without help.


Old fashioned soap opera plot

As I sit here at my PC, I have the NBC soap opera "Passions" running in the background. Whitney and Chad, who recently did the wild thing, have discovered they could be brother and sister. It's been a long time since I've seen a soap with a horrible incest tragedy as a plot line. Frankly, I don't know how some soaps avoid them, considering half the cast is related in some way to the other half of the cast, and everyone changes bed partners every six months.


Pretty maids, all in a row

Damn, this pic churns up all sorts of feelings.

I found both these pics at this amazing site. Click to enlarge both of them.



Click to enlarge.

Note: Photographer David Thompson's Website is taking donations to help one of his models pay mounting medical bills that are not covered by insurance.

Thanks to Fred Lapides for the link.


Maybe Blogger should try reversing the polarity

Anyone familiar with Star Fleet engineering techniques would understand why this joke is funny. The others should read this funny post from Happy Fun Pundit.


Best blog ever

Welcome to The Lone Dissenter. I am a sixteen year old high school student in northern California. The climate is balmy, the study pace is frantic, and the politics are liberal. Excessively so, in fact. I hear so many remarkably stupid comments in one day that I thought, hey, why not keep these recorded somewhere? The result is this.

Posts will be sporadic, depending solely on when the idiotarians decide to make themselves known. The names are changed, but the events are true to the word. Perhaps not to the word, exactly, but as far as memory will serve. The cast will be predictably vague. You may see some people come back again and again, you may see some only once. It all depends on what they do.

What more can I say? Sit back. Relax. Remember what it was like to be in high school. You're sixteen. The government is the man, communism is a pretty good idea, and the only thing you aren't entitled to is foreign countries.
I cannot think of a more worthy purpose for blogging than the exposure of statist propaganda and masquerading as education, especially when it is a living breathing high school kid doing the exposing. One would think student-run newspaper would be the perfect place to discuss the shortcomings of the educational system. But, thanks to the Hazelwood decision, student newspapers do not enjoy the same 1st Amendment protestions as college and privately-owned newspapers. The Lone Dissenter skirts censorship via high school principal by taking his her message directly to the people.

Thanks to Sean Kirby's Pundit Ex Machina for the link.


Banned blogs

Hoder links to a list of blogs banned in Iran. All sites carrying the domain are blocked, while those from Blog*Spot are not. Go figure.



I was able to get to delete the old Peoria Pundit site hosted on Blog*Spot and add a new one. I promptly inserted a redirect meta tag into the template and now you are here. Please adjust your bookmarks and blogrolls accordingly. Now, if I can just get w.blogger to link up with, things will go much easier (if anyone has any advice, please leave a comment).

I'll start posting articles of real substance here soon, but I have a paying assignment to complete, then editing the next Henlein Society Newsletter.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Dalene Kurtis

Another link courtesy De Blonde Blogger. Click to enlarge.


Naked volleyball

I used to have fantasies like this back when I photographed sports for my college newspaper.
Thanks to De Blonde Blogger for the link.


Who is this beauty

Can anyone name this lady? The style of the photo looks like Penthouse, but I seem to recall seeing her in Playboy.


Julia Schultz

No relation to Rodger Schultz, as far as I know.