The Blog Squad

Friday, January 12, 2007

A veritable potpourri from the week

Another great week for hilarious quotes from Richmonders.

George Nkansah Owusu, a VCU graduate sentenced to four years in federal prison for computer fraud and aggravated identity theft, sobbed in the courtroom during sentencing. Owusu stole the logins and passwords of other students to remove them from honors classes and put himself in their slots. He also changed his own grades in the computer system from failing to As and downloaded personal photos of a female student. Owusu offered this gem to the court: “Looking back” he said, “how I wish I knew that my actions were criminal.” Apparently he was OK with it when he just thought it was immoral, deceitful and creepy.


My favorite thing in last Sunday’s Times-Dispatch was the “Q&A” with outgoing editor Ross Mackenzie on his 41 years at the paper. I put Q&A in quotation marks because there was no mention of who was doing the "Q-ing" and the more I read the more it began to feel like someone asking himself questions he’d really like to be heard answering. Especially this one:

Describe yourself.
“Redactor, diaskeuast, feuilletonist, quotidian print-drudge.”

And a little further on, he says one of his “detestations” is — wait for it — “pomposity.”


A tiny golden nugget you may have missed was a small story about Rep. Eric Cantor, the chief Republican deputy whip in the House, who now finds himself in the minority party. He and some colleagues held a news conference to suddenly make nice with House Democrats asking if they please wouldn’t share some of their cake. Cantor said this, about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who two years ago proposed a “Minority Bill of Rights” which would allow the minority party more rights in crafting legislation and amendments. “In hindsight, I think she was right,” Cantor said. Word is, Cantor came to this stunning revelation sometime around 8 p.m. EST on election night last November.


If you were at all surprised to see that Mark Holmberg is leaving the Times-Dispatch, you haven’t been paying attention. First was Holmberg’s acknowledgement that he was the source for much of Greg Weatherford’s revealing look at the inner workings of the paper last summer for Style Weekly. Then in October, Holmberg stopped writing his column to go back to general assignment reporting. And then the death knell. In November, Holmberg wrote a weather story. Yes, a garden-variety weather story on the back page of the Metro section. You knew it wouldn’t be long after that.


Finally, Maymont. I guess bears really do belong there because those people sure know a lot about caves. First they caved to Mayor Doug Wilder after he unilaterally decided there would be a naming contest for the new bear that replaced the two who were killed after … well, you know. This week came the news that the new bear also has been named and you can almost hear the gritted teeth of Maymont’s executive director, Norman Burns, in the quote: “We don’t typically name wildlife, but we understand the public’s desire to identify with these bears in a personal way.” Now that the floodgates are open, look this spring after the baby animals are born for a slew of naming ceremonies for Petey the peacock, Billy the bison, Cocky the rooster and the elderly sheep, Dirty Ol’ Baaaaaastard.


At Fri Jan 12, 03:29:00 PM EST, Blogger Greg Weatherford said...

I utterly agree with you about the pomposatiousness of Ross Mackenzie's goodbye "Q"&"A." With his retirement it seems we will miss the chance to hear Mackenzie and Doug Wilder doing a double pomposity-off. Oh well.

However, I must mention that Mark Holmberg never spoke to me about the goings-on at the Times-Dispatch. This is a common impression, and one held by many at the paper. But it isn't true. Holmberg never commented for that story, on the record or off.

At Tue Jan 16, 10:50:00 AM EST, Blogger Janet Giampietro said...

Hey, Greg! Happy New Year! Hey, I'm really sorry if I got that bit wrong about Holmberg, but I'm a little confused. I remember you on the Mac Watson show naming Holmberg as the source for that piece. Did I dream that? I will be happy to correct that in the main part of the blog if I am wrong.

At Mon Jan 14, 09:08:00 AM EST, Blogger Greg said...

Gee, is a year later too late to reply?

Holmberg was the "star reporter" I mentioned in the article. Everything I attributed to that reporter came from him.

BUT - and here's the big butt - all the inside scoop, etc., came from other sources. Holmberg, aka the Star Reporter, tried to provide an interview but was never given permission, so he didn't do it. In other words, there were a fair number of people who told me about what was happening at the T-D at the time; Holmberg just wasn't one of them.


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