Thursday, March 12, 2009

The news hole

The "news hole" is a term from my newspaper days, meaning that gaping maw of blank space that has to be filled with stories for each edition. The news hole is like a black hole, except you have to fill it with something.

Living in an information s
ociety, we are constantly in need of, um, information. I remember when Marilyn and I walked into a Borders after our first book was published. There it was, Disco Nixon, taking up an entire table, gleaming under spotlights and screaming, “Here I am!” And after not too long it was gone from its prominent place, lost on a shelf on the second floor, just another of the 50,000 books published in 1995. Fifty thousand! Who has time to read 50?

In the world of 24-hour news, including TV and cable TV as well as website after website, there is also a news hole. Madoff victims are helping fill it (and hey, I’m glad to see Bernie was led off to jail today). I have had some interesting requests for interviews -- French television, a chain of German newspapers, Fox News, Inside Edition, and Geraldo, among others. I've been turning them down, though a free trip to France might have swayed me on the first one, but it was not in the offing. My stepmother Cynthia is so tired of media requests that she doesn’t even reply to them any more. CBS News, who cares? Katie who?

I don’t particularly enjoy seeing myself on television, unless there is
a larger point to be gained from it, and that mostly doesn't seem to be the case. It’s interesting to be in this position, fielding these sort of calls and requests, getting a feel for what it’s like to be on the opposite end of the news hole. It involves a lot of inconvenience, with the added risk of being misquoted or portrayed inaccurately. The opportunities it creates are largely opportunities to be interviewed by more reporters.

But that’s not the big news around here. Marilyn and I are swamped with our home remodeling project, which is in one of the circles of Hell. While this will net us a nicer place to live, that’s not the purpose. We are preparing our home for sale. Bernie Madoff is making us free up our equity, such as it is. The contractor is here every day, creating noise and dust and requiring us to make a thousand decisions about everything, including the kitchen sink. So what’s more important to us than Geraldo is finding the right shower valve for the new tub in the master bath, running to Home Depot to pick up pavers for the downstairs patio, deciding whether the reverse osmosis faucet in the kitchen should be brushed nickel or brushed stainless steel.

Oh, yes. CLL is in there somewhere. I need to schedule a visit with my hem/onc in Scottsdale but that has to be coordinated with the arrival of our special-order shower pan for the hall bath, which we have to pick up down there next week sometime.

This house is our news hole. The remodel monster needs to be fed. And did I mention, speaking of feeding, that mice had chewed through the insulation and some of the wiring in our carport ceiling?

These are the issues I am living with front and center, surrounded by a jumble of boxes and furniture covered with dust, topped with that cherry known as sleep deprivation. Geraldo can wait.

A tip for fellow remodelers

If you want 10% off at Lowe's (and by extension Home Depot, since they accept competitors' coupons) get thee to a US Post Office and find a "moving kit." Inside there will be a Lowe's coupon for 10% off, good until June 30. (It's amusing to see that people are selling these on eBay, raiding post offices from coast to coast and making upwards of 20 bucks for lots of 10 coupons.)

Friday, March 06, 2009

Me and Madoff in the media

For those following my Bernie Madoff saga, here is a link to the piece that ran this morning on ABC's Good Morning America. You'll see me in the video report, as well as in a web story entitled "Madoff Scam Could Cost Cancer Patient His Life."

If you are visiting this blog for the first time and are interested in my original post on Madoff, which was read by a producer at ABC News and which led to all this attention, do take a look at Bernie Madoff Screws Leukemia Patient.

And if you're a CLL patient or caregiver, a special welcome. I hope my posts and the useful links on the right side of the page are helpful to you.

Besides the report on GMA, as they call it, here are some other links of interest: Madoff's World is an excellent article in Vanity Fair that quotes from my blog. ABC's World News Tonight ran a story on March 4 called Mrs. Madoff's Money, which included my 1991 video of Ruth Madoff's parents, Sol and Sarah Alpern, at our Catskills hotel, Sunny Oaks. interviewed me for this January report entitled
Madoff’s Tactics Date to 1960s When Father-in-Law Was Recruiter.

All he needs is a red clown nose.