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If you are a fan of the film Field of Dreams (or the original story Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella) then you are going to love this story. "Moonlight" Graham is a real character; his story is true. He only made one appearance in the big leagues, and Archibald Graham did go on to be…

Magic in the Moonlight

If you are a fan of the film Field of Dreams (or the original story Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella) then you are going to love this story. "Moonlight" Graham is a real character; his story is true. He only made one appearance in the big leagues, and Archibald Graham did go on to be a doctor, thus known as Doc Graham. The sweetest thing about this story is that hundreds of residents from Doc Graham's hometown of Chisholm, Minn., will come to today's Twins game by the busload to honor the 100th anniversary of his one big league at-bat. How cool is that?

From today's Star Tribune: "There is indeed enough magic to transform a small town's long-buried doctor into a famous literary and cinematic figure. There is enough magic to resurrect him simply for his poetic nickname and obscure moment in baseball, and then immortalize him for a lifetime of kindness that almost no one knew outside the little mining town he loved."

What's really sweet is that the character of a newspaper editor in the film, who wrote about Doc Graham's contributions off the field in an obituary in 1965 is also a real character. Her name is Veda Ponikvar and she's 85 years old. In fact, the words she wrote about Doc Graham are the same as those included in the film.

"There were times when children could not afford eyeglasses or milk or clothing because of the economic upheavals, strikes and depressions. Yet no child was ever denied these essentials because in the background there was a benevolent, understanding Doctor Graham. Without a word, without any fanfare or publicity, the glasses or the milk or the ticket to the ball game found their way into the child's pocket."

Veda Ponikvar will be on the mound today to throw out the first pitch. I love that. I love the Twins for doing that. And I have a new appreciation for the film and the book.

Posted by Joel Schettler on June 29 2005 • Current Affairs

Cover Model

This post is for some of my former editing colleagues. See, I am not the only one who believes that this is a good cover model. There's a market there: Building for Bananas, Primatologist Shootout. OK, it's an insider joke. You know who you are.

By the way, did you see that Fast Company has a new owner? It is Morningstar's CEO, who has promised, according to reports, to keep the magazine alive. That's good news. I'm a fan, wishing the new crew the best.

Posted by Joel Schettler on June 26 2005 • Journalism

Deep Throat

On July 6, Woodward and Bernstein are at it again. Their new book about the Watergate investigation, and working with Deep Throat, will hit the bookstores (You can make a preorder already at Barnes and Noble.) I'm sure it will be good. Here is some information about it at Editor and Publisher.

"Since the first onsale notice appeared at E&P Online on Tuesday, the book has soared in the B&N sales rankings from #522 to #4," write the E&P editors. "The book's title: “The Secret Man: The Story of Watergate's Deep Throat.” The family of the "man," W. Mark Felt, is also shopping a memoir now, but it will lag far behind, even if they do find a publisher quickly."

Posted by Joel Schettler on June 18 2005 • Journalism

Fast Company

Many of you following the news about G+J putting Fast Company up for sale have probably heard the war of words the resulting story in the New York Times set off with Fast Company editor-in-chief John Byrne. The New York Times called Fast Company basically a worthless property.

In response, Byrne wrote at the Fast Company Now blog, "That [Fast Company and Inc. have a value of zero is] silly and completely inaccurate. Meredith Corp., which agreed to buy both business magazines if they can't be sold by G+J by the end of June, said such a sale would not be material to the overall purchase price. The reason it's not material is because Meredith intends to make as much or more selling us than it has agreed to pay G+J for Fast Company and Inc. These are two very valuable national magazine brands being sold at the worst time for G+J but the best time for any smart buyer."

At the FC blog on Tuesday, Byrne wrote that it was an odd environment to be working on the next issue of the magazine while waiting for the results of the bidding process. The second round of bids were to be issued this afternoon, he writes. Check out the entire post.

"The wait has been excruciating. Who buys both Fast Company and Inc. from G&J USA, which is exiting the U.S. magazine business, will largely determine the fate of both magazines," he writes. "Some bidders clearly have little, if any, interest in Fast Company. So the staff is quietly and obviously rooting for an acquirer who believes in what we do and wants to support us ... And we're hopeful that we'll land in the hands of an owner who knows our true value and believes in our mission to serve our readers."

In an interview with Media Life magazine, Byrne gives a hint of what he would like to happen to the magazine, and where it might find a home. Some tidbits: "You can't engineer a turnaround under a company that simply  cuts costs, reduces your newsstand copies, gives up on newsstand  promotion and marketing, doesn't actively solicit new subscribers, and collapses your sales force to merge it with another  magazine. I've had four publishers and three bosses in 22 months. Truth is, a new owner with a much lower basis price can more clearly  see a path toward success."

On a possible fit: "Both Inc. and Fast Company would fit  exceptionally well into the McGraw-Hill stable because they would  give support and protection to Business Week in the same way that Fortune Small Business and 2.0 offer benefits to Fortune."

Posted by Joel Schettler on June 16 2005 • Journalism

Search No More

The New York Times reports that the House has blocked a provision of the Patriot Act making it easier for government officials to search what books people buy or read at the library. This has come after about a year of protest by many groups, the paper reports.

"Critics of the new federal power approved in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks said it was an excessive grant of authority to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department that threatened privacy and fundamental constitutional rights," writes Times reporter Carl Huse.

Even though its an important moment for those who believe that what people read is their own business, many believe the recent actions could be overturned in the Senate. According to the Times article, many believe that the power to peer into private page-turning is crucial in fighting terror. "In a letter sent Tuesday to Representative Frank R. Wolf, Republican of Virginia, the Justice Department defended the library provision as a valuable terror-fighting tool," writes Huse. ""Bookstores and libraries should not be carved out as safe havens for terrorists and spies, who have, in fact, used public libraries to do research and communicate with their co-conspirators," wrote William E. Moschella, assistant attorney general."

Here is a copy of a speech by Salman Rushdie on the dangers of the Patriot Act. He has been among the leaders in calling for Congress to roll back provisions allowing library and bookstore information to be examined. (I included a post about this speech a while back; you can find it in 'current affairs.')

Posted by Joel Schettler on June 16 2005 • Current Affairs