Michael J. Fitzgerald has been a journalist for 40 years, working as a writer and editor for newspapers, magazines and web publications. In 2014 he published the novel, "The Fracking War." In 2015, he published his second novel, "Fracking Justice." He writes or contributes to five blogs. He and his wife Sylvia Fox are the owners and principal partners in *subject2change Media, a multi-media firm involved in print, video and broadcast. He writes a weekly column, "Write On" for the daily 'Finger Lakes Times' newspaper in Geneva, NY. He was a journalism professor at CSU Sacramento from 1986 to 2011 teaching Newswriting, Column Writing and Magazine Writing.
SACRAMENTO, Calif,. USA - I have to confess that I get a lot of my political news from Jon Stewart, at least the serious stuff.
I can barely watch any television news anymore, except for Jim Lehrer on PBS. I occasionally get trapped watching the Fox Nut Network when I am at the Capital Athletic Club, soaking in the jacuzzi after swimming laps. Mercifully, the club has the television set up so that the sound is always turned off and the close-captioning turned on.
I can just sit with my back to the TV, which I try to.
But this election has brought out a lot of great humor, a good portion at the expense of the presidential and vice presidential candidates. Of McCain and Palin and Obama and Biden, Joe Biden seems to be getting the least comedic flak. Wait until he debates Governor Palin. Or maybe she'll call that debate off like John McCain did today with Obama.
Palin has been the butt of some pretty interesting stuff ever since being nominated. The 'lipstick-on-a-pig' controversy had cartoonists going wild. But the governor's love of hunting, particularly her desire to drop every Alaskan moose she sees to the ground, prompted the cartoon below, which I saw for the first time today, courtesy of sailing amigo Rennie Waxlax.
Bullwinkle has been shot
Now I have a real affection for that moose. When I reach into my mailbox at the university and someone asks me if I received anything, I frequently respond with a Bullwinkle quote:
"Just fan mail from some flounder."
For those who are musically inclined, here is the Ballad of Sarah Palin on YouTube, which you might have missed in your web surfing.
The line in there about Sarah Palin trying marijuana - but not liking it - will stick in my mind along with Bill Clinton's quote about 'not inhaling.'
Even the financial crisis has started generating some humor, too. Earlier today I received this cartoon from Pat Lamont, one of the members of The Four Headlamps.
Unfortunately, that's kind sums up the way I feel about the massive bailout of the banks and other financial institutions. Even General Motors is getting ready to ask for a handout.
SACRAMENTO, Calif., USA - Forget the scary movies on the circuit and whatever the latest Stephen King novel offers up to give you a fright.
Instead, have some real life terror. Read Hot, Flatand Crowded by Thomas Friedman, a book that chronicles a future that is, well, terrifying.
The New York Times columnist has spent years traveling the globe, observing the economies of the world and now has come to the conclusion that global warming, the exponential growth of the earth's population and the flattening of the world are combining to deliver a catastrophe.
No, make that a series of catastrophes.
Book jacket I am only half-way through the book and already I am convinced we made a mistake by not paying more attention to Paul Ehlich's The Population Bomb, written decades ago. His predictions of famine and other problems were averted thanks to a green revolution and advances in technology.
It won't happened again, he says.
Friedman's contention isn't just that the world is already overpopulated and headed to more crowding. He says that the biggest problem we face is that most of the world is working towards - and well on its way - to becoming just like Americans, in energy consumption and in attitudes about the environment.
Polar bear on his personal ice floe
Friedman's scariest passages relate to global warming, and, as the movie The Day After Tomorrow predicted, climate change is happening faster than even the most gloomy of doomsters predicted just a few years ago.
Let's hope it doesn't happen as fast as it did in that film.
WOODY CREEK, Colorado, USA - The new movie about Hunter S. Thompson is as good - maybe better - than the reviewers have said it is. If you blinked and missed it in the theaters, check it out on DVD in a few months.
A young Hunter S. Thompson
The Admiral and I watched it at the Crest Theatre in Sacramento last night with a crowd of, well, maybe 10 people, all of who seemed to be afficionados of the writer, laughing at all the right spots, crying at others.
For non-HST fans, the movie might not be too charming and it certainly would be somewhat confusing in spots.
But it focuses on Hunter's early career and answers one big question: What the heck happened to him?
It turns out (at least according to the film) that after he totally blew his assignment to write about the fight between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali in Zaire, he lost his ability to write and create for years afterward. It wasn't necessarily that he missed the assignment, the film hints, he might have burned out right about that time.
His ex-wife, who is prominent in the film talking about Hunter, gives a pretty straightforward assessment of what happened then as well as insights into his personality and how he may have ended up trapped in the caricature he created for himself and of himself.
One of the highlights of the film is getting to hear Ralph Steadman, the British artist who accompanied HST on many of his adventures, talking about what it was like to be out on assignment with him.
SACRAMENTO, Calif., USA - The saga of Corti Brothers being forced out of its Folsom Boulevard location ended happily in early September when the people trying to force him out by taking over the store withdrew their offer.
So for now, at least, it seems like the store will remain.