Thursday, March 27, 2008

'I'm Calling From the Trib'

I was delighted to find that Hulu, the television networks' remarkable answer to YouTube, includes the first season (22 episodes) of "Lou Grant," the newspaper-centered series that ran for five seasons and ended in the middle of my college journalism studies.

If you're of roughly my vintage, you might enjoy Tony L. Hill's Canonical Lou Grant Episode Guide (founded in 1995, just like The Slot!). That's where I stole the screen grab above. Bannon's character, Assistant City Editor Art Donovan, was smart, funny, well dressed and, in a goofy-kid-stuff way, my journalistic role model. (Bannon's mother, I just learned, was Bea Benaderet, an actress whose claims to fame include being the voice of Betty Rubble.)

The saga of Lou, Art, Joe Rossi, Billie Newman, Charlie Hume, Animal and the other staffers at the Los Angeles Tribune is one of the series I've been waiting in vain to see on DVD, so this is a special moment for me. A second special moment came when I searched to confirm that the series still isn't on DVD: Although that's still true, Amazon does offer low-cost downloadsof episodes from the first three seasons (you can also buy a season at a time). So, if your favorite episode is from Season 1, it's free on Hulu. If it's from Seasons 2 or 3, it's a couple of bucks at Amazon. (Tony Hill tells me Lou also shows up on iTunes.)

Unfortunately, the following episode is from Season 4:

EPISODE 71 - Nightside (22 September 1980)
Written by: Michele Gallery; Directed by: Gene Reynolds

SYNOPSIS: Lou takes a turn filling in on the night shift and sees an unusual side of the paper.

UPDATE: I'm finally getting around to watching. Here's a bit of plus ca change dialogue:

Art Donovan: "Mrs. Pynchon is very interested in endangered species."
Lou Grant: "Yeah. That's why she owns a newspaper."

That aired on Jan. 3, 1978.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Love and War

Just as you celebrate a wedding anniversary and not a marriage anniversary, the recent milestone in the "war" in Iraq was the fifth anniversary of the invasion, not of the war. I'm just not sure what the fifth anniversary of a war (or a marriage) would be; it sounds like an observation of the full event -- the end, not the beginning.

In other news, a "terrorist suspect" would be a suspect who is a terrorist. (Maybe the guy with the Glock on that 7-Eleven surveillance tape looked like Osama bin Laden?) A person suspected of terrorism is a terrorism suspect, or, if you must, a suspected terrorist. It's murder suspect, after all, not murderer suspect.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ask Merrill

Merrill Perlman at the New York Times is once again up to bat for "Ask the Editors." Any questions?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

When Style Gets Serious

If you can't fix a broken leg, I'm not calling you "doctor."

For many years that was the smart-aleck, in-a-nutshell version of my honorifics policy when it comes to Ph.D.s. In "Lapsing Into a Comma," I got more precise:

Doctors are doctors. People with doctorates are people with doctorates.

It's best to avoid the issue altogether, and unless your publication routinely uses courtesy titles (Mr. Clinton met with Mr. Kohl), it's a pretty easy issue to avoid. If Marcus Welby is a physician, say physician Marcus Welby. Otherwise you have to make tough decisions on where to draw the Dr. line. Dentists? Veterinarians? Chiropractors?

If you think I'm being a Nazi about this . . .

At least seven U.S. citizens working as researchers in Germany have faced criminal probes in recent months for using the title "Dr." on their business cards, Web sites and resumes. They all hold doctoral degrees from elite universities back home.