My mind is a riot
Ready to revolt
I’m through being quiet
It’s time to bolt

I’m through being silent
Hiding behind invisible barricades
Searching for a breakthrough
Craving some hard-earned accolades

I’m through being mute
And holding back thoughts
No more dictatorship
I’m calling the shots

Freedom is expensive
Confinement is cheap
Time to awaken
From a very deep sleep

A little rusty
Unpolished and raw
Determined nonetheless
To cease being blah

It may sound corny
And it may sound dumb
But look out world
Here I come

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, November 28, 2010
4:19 p.m.

Published in: on November 28, 2010 at 4:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Jennifer Jason Leigh, I’m Here For You

You were the sweet and sexy but woefully unprepared high schooler knocked up by a clumsy jerk in Fast Times At Ridgemont High.  You were brilliant as Bridget Fonda’s possessive and emotionally unstable roommate in Single White Female.  You ably handled the tricky role of a journalist long traumatized by the sexual abuse of her father in the underrated Dolores Claiborne.   And you played two very different prostitutes in Miami Blues and Last Exit To Brooklyn.

For almost 10 years, you’ve been shacked up with writer/director Noah Baumbach who’s been your husband since 2005.  You’re raising a young son together. 

But now, you want out.  “Irreconcilable differences” being the reason. 

Jennifer Jason Leigh, I’m here for you.  During this difficult time of separation, let me be the rebound guy in your time of despair.  Feel the need to turn on the waterworks?  I’ll supply the tissues.  Feel the need to vent?  I’m listening.  Feel the need to close the space between us?  This skinny Canuck can handle the passion.  Again and again and again.

If talking about your pending divorce is far too painful, we could delve into other subjects like your meticulous preparation for roles.  I’d love to know the whole process you went through for the TV-movie The Best Little Girl In The World in which you slimmed down to a scary 86 pounds and how you were able to come back to a healthier weight after shooting wrapped up.  I’d love to hear stories about working with esteemed directors like Robert Altman, Stanley Kubrick, Ron Howard and David Cronenberg.  And I would definitely be interested in knowing for sure which famous roles you turned down and why.  (Did you really pass on The Accused and The Silence Of The Lambs?  Jodie Foster owes you a couple of favours, in my book.)

Or if you’d rather not talk at all, I could help you reaffirm your sex appeal as many times as you’d like.  I don’t mind.  I’ve got the time.  Besides, you could use the release.

Then again, we could just boogie to my music collection.  I suffer from a serious condition known as wiggleitis but I hope you won’t hold that against me.  (It’s genetic.)  Like Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever, dancing can be your welcome refuge from emotional pain.  Also, don’t be surprised if I serenade you from time to time while shirtless.  The longer I croon, the more I glisten.

In the meantime, I hope you will be able to end your marriage quickly and peacefully without too much conflict and that your son will still have two loving parents in his life guiding him through the joys and tribulations of childhood.

And with that, I leave you with this:

If you’re feeling lost and you don’t have a clue
Jennifer Jason Leigh, I’m here for you.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
1:10 a.m.

Published in: on November 24, 2010 at 1:11 am  Leave a Comment  


I miss my confidence
So sad it had to leave
It’s been replaced with incompetence
And an unwillingness to believe

I’m saddled with uncertainty
And surrounded by junk
In an advanced state of atrophy
And caught in an awful funk

So stiff and so sore
I’m all squeezed out
I’ve become a maddening bore
With decaying clout

Feeling so castrated and mute
Emasculated and weak
I’m hunting for the root
Of my interrupted streak

Imprisoned by directionless desire
And a lack of persistence
Who will re-ignite the fire
And end this resistance?

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Friday, November 5, 2010
2:29 p.m.

Published in: on November 5, 2010 at 2:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

From The Published Archives: Two TimesSelect Stories

Early next year, The New York Times will unveil its latest online experiment.  Subscribers to their website will have a limit on the number of articles and columns they can read for free.  Once that limit is reached, they’ll have to pay a yet-to-be-determined fee.  It’s called a “First Click’s Free” program.  Your initial look at a story is on the house.  The next look will cost you.

The last time The Times tried charging its readers for its website content was five years ago.  TimesSelect was a controversial subscription program that prevented non-paying customers from seeing the op-eds and delving too deeply into the paper’s archives.  (Recent news stories remained easily accessible.)  Tom Friedman and Nicholas Kristof were among many who publicly complained about the change but smart bloggers found a way around the system and posted complete columns of those writers and others on their sites for free. 

Two years after it began, TimesSelect was discontinued and peace was restored in our time.  Now The Times is hoping this First Click Free deal will be more user friendly and profitable.  We shall see.

In the meantime, let’s go back to August and September 2007.  What follows are two previously published postings I wrote for Fading To Black, the website devoted to documenting the depressing decline of the news media.  First up is a brief August 7 story regarding The New York Post’s initial report about The Times internally planning to end TimesSelect.  After that is a September 18 follow-up that comments on the official announcement.

One last thing about that follow-up post.  It originally ended with a link to a Joe Strupp commentary embedded in the last word of the line, “Read the story here.”.  Unfortunately, if you click that link on the original FTB piece today, it redirects you to the Editor & Publisher home page, Strupp’s former employer.   (You’ll find him these days over at Media Matters For America.) I’ve tried to find a cached copy or even an alternate link but the piece is long gone.  So, I’ve removed the dead link and that last line but left in the mention of his original article.  All the other links still work, thankfully.

TimesSelect officially free at midnight tonight

The New York Post is reporting that The New York Times’ TimesSelect service is about to become more widely accessible. After two years of charging readers a monthly or annual fee for reading Op-Ed columnists like Tom Friedman and David Brooks, and to peruse its vast archives, the much criticized experiment is about to be discontinued. It will become a free service.

The Post claims that subscriptions are down and Times executives, “[a]fter much internal debate”, have agreed to drop the subscription charge. An official announcement is forthcoming, a source told the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid.

The timing of when TimesSelect will shut down hinges on resolving software issues associated with making the switch to a free service, the source said.

Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis would only say in an e-mailed statement, “We continue to evaluate the best approach for”


The decision, which also walled off access to archives and other content, was controversial almost from the start, with some of the paper’s own columnists complaining that it limited their Web readership.

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Staci D. Kramer of has her own take on the story, including Catherine Mathis’ complete email statement, which you can read here.

TimesSelect officially free at midnight tonight

It’s official. As of midnight tonight, The New York Times will abandon its TimesSelect pay service for its website. Chalk one up for The New York Post who originally broke the story in early August.

The move comes two years to the day after The Times began the subscription program, TimesSelect, which has charged $49.95 a year, or $7.95 a month, for online access to the work of its columnists and to the newspaper’s archives. TimesSelect has been free to print subscribers to The Times and to some students and educators.

In addition to opening the entire site to all readers, The Times will also make available its archives from 1987 to the present without charge, as well as those from 1851 to 1922, which are in the public domain. There will be charges for some material from the period 1923 to 1986, and some will be free.

The Times said the project had met expectations, drawing 227,000 paying subscribers — out of 787,000 over all — and generating about $10 million a year in revenue.

“But our projections for growth on that paid subscriber base were low, compared to the growth of online advertising,” said Vivian L. Schiller, senior vice president and general manager of the site,

From the start, the idea was a bad one. Allowing website subscribers, like myself, to only view selected articles and editorials but denying them the opportunity to read most of the opinion columns was ridiculous and nonsensical. Why hide your best-known columnists behind a pay wall, a number of whom weren’t happy with this change anyway?

In the end, there wasn’t much exclusivity with the new content, aside from some videos. A quick search on Technorati for the commentary pieces you couldn’t read on for free would lead you to a whole slew of blogs who would post them on their own sites in their entirety, defeating the whole purpose of the TimesSelect concept.

Meanwhile, Joe Strupp of Editor & Publisher asks a very good question: “is paid online newspapering dead?”.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
2:09 a.m.

Published in: on November 2, 2010 at 2:09 am  Leave a Comment