From the fertile mind of Jayson
Friday, May 30, 2003
  Ahhhh... Those were the days.

(Though in all fairness to myself, if you head into the alley behind Siberia, the bar from which I filed my Jessica Lynch story, you might see some discarded tobacco products, if not actual tobacco fields.)
 
Thursday, May 29, 2003
  Busy today. I'm helping my pal Rick update his resume over a bushel of oysters his stringer sent him.

I got excited when I read this, but then I realized it's probably a joke. Sheesh!
 
Wednesday, May 28, 2003
  By now, you're all probably a bit tired of Jayson the Journalist. Besides, he had to die so that Jayson the Sensitive Poet could live.

I've been writing poetry since my formative college years. And much as Samuel Taylor Coleridge was inspired to write Kubla Khan after a particularly vivid opium dream, I wrote this after a gas leak in my on-campus apartment, which I used as an excuse to escape from my oppressive job at the oppressive student newspaper. Some jealous folk said I made the story up as an excuse to avoid a deadline, and maybe my apartment didn't have gas heat. But little did those petty fools know I was yearning to break free, to write verse that doesn't rhyme! Here's an excerpt:
Can’t escape thoughts of how I love the curves on your body
From your waste to your eyes

Naturally, the typo is intentional.

Then there's this subtle sonnet. I'll freely admit that I plagarized the definition of the word "kaleidoscope" at the end from my Webster's dictionary.

So maybe I'll return to my roots. I'm currently working on a 999-line mock heroic poem about majestic meese trampling through Midtown -- oh, the delicious irony! This morning, though, I woke up with a start and just started writing. I was like a man possessed:
Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:

Say you, say me;
Say it together -- that's the way it should be.
Say you, say me;
Say it together -- naturally.

Oh, what a feeling!
To be dancing on the ceiling!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- when you're good, you're good.
 
Tuesday, May 27, 2003
  Well, my story in the UK paper seems to be a good fresh start for me. One of the paper's editors called me this morning at 2 a.m., and he must have really been excited about the story because he was yelling in that wacky cockney accent they all have over there. He kept saying the story was "bollocks," which must be British for "great."

Meanwhile, I've been hearing that two of my former colleagues are embroiled in some sort of catfight over who "owns" a source. I don't get it. I mean, over the weekend, I met with Ahmad Chalabi and, over a couple of T&Ed double lattes at the Basara Starbucks, listened sympathetically as he choked up looking out at the ruined tobacco fields on the other side of the mini-mall parking lot. That's how you cultivate a source. 
Monday, May 26, 2003
  This is odd.



I mean, you'd think someone would have caught this. 
Sunday, May 25, 2003
  Took the red-eye back home from Baghdad last night. Between the flight and the cheeze doodle and whiskey hangover, I'm pretty beat.

Maybe I'll give my friend Rick a call. He could probably use a little cheering up. Who knows, maybe we could meet up at the Marriott Marquis bar for old times sake, toss back a few and talk about how much we both identify with Lee Boyd Malvo.
 
Saturday, May 24, 2003
  It's been hard to find an Internet cafe here in Baghdad, but damn, has my muse has been good to me this weekend! First, I managed to knock out my book proposal in no time flat, and now I just finished filing my first post-Paper of Record story for the UK tabloids:

In Rural Baghdad, A Nation Challenged
By Jayson B.
Exclusive to the Independent Times Mirror Guardian

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Omar Sharif chokes up as he looks out over the ruined tobacco fields adjoining his ramshackle shotgun shack in downtown Baghdad.

“Dang,” he said. “Feels like rain. I get this ache in my tibia every time it rains.”

^X www.express-news.com — printer friendly version

The situation in post-war Baghdad continues to be unstable, with looters plying their wares on every available street corner, and residents wary of the U.S. troop presence.

[ next page ^V

It’s a difficult time for the Sharif family. First came the airstrikes. Then came the looters. And now, after the dark of curfew, roving gangs of meese roam the streets, showing scant mercy to passersby.

What can I say? When you're good, you're good.
 
Friday, May 23, 2003
  What did I ever do to Tina Brown? I mean, really. Get a load of this:
"Blair has blown it in my view...There is nothing left for him now except a reality show costarring with Baghdad Bob."

Well, I am headed to Iraq.... 
  Oops! Thanks to no fault of mine, The Rocky Mountain News has apparently decided to require one of its own editors to review and sign off on any NYT story with anonymous sources it plans to take off the wire.

That's in Denver, right? I think I flew there to cover John Elway's retirement a few years back, during my short-lived stint in the sports department. As I recall, that's the place with mountains (like West Virginia), but (unlike West Virginia) without tobacco fields. Luckily, a slot editor caught my reference to Elway looking out over the breaking waves of Lake Michigan before giving his farewell speech. Was my face red!

Big plans for the weekend! One of the British tabloids hired me to cover the post-war scene in Iraq. I'll try to file a dispatch to this blog, assuming I can get an Internet connection at the Williamsburg Starbucks. 
  Wow. Who would have thought that little old me ever would be the subject of this much attention? Outside of that whole front-page unpleasantness in the Paper of Record a few weeks back, that is. Thanks to Gawker for the link, though I don't know what that allusion to coughing was all about.

Quiet night -- it's hard to go out on the town when you can't expense the cheeze doodles and whiskey to a T&E account. So I stayed in, looked at the tobacco fields out of my window, and worked on my resume. I've already gotten a few nibbles. I'm not sure, but I think this is supposed to be a joke. Or maybe I did actually pitch a couple of these ideas to the national desk. It's all kind of a blur now.

UPDATE: Here's a copy of my resume, courtesy of my almost-alma mater. Still needs a little updating. 
Thursday, May 22, 2003
  It's shaping up to be a pretty boring afternoon. Who knows, maybe I'll return Steven Glass' calls.

I'm trying to keep myself occupied by working on a movie treatment. It's a western -- a cross between Bonnie & Clyde and High Noon. It stars a cocky but ultimately self-destructive loner type and his only friend, a winsome telegraph clerk of Polish descent. Together, they take on the town's powerful but strangely childish sheriff, who, by total coincidence, is married to another telegraph clerk of Polish descent. Of course, there's a final showdown, which comes to a climactic end when, from out of nowhere, a moose stampedes down the middle of the street and tramples the sheriff.

Oh, almost forgot -- lest you think this is some kind of arthouse movie, there's also a scene with cowboys sitting around a campfire, eating beans and farting. Trust me -- it's going to be like nothing you've ever seen in a movie before.
 
  Now this is just sad. I mean, does Fox have no shame?

I'm glad they're appointing a committee to get to the bottom of this. Maybe they need an honest broker like Arthur Andersen to help straighten things out. 
  Hey, good news! If my book deal falls through, I've got other prospects. A few months back, I flew down to South Florida to do a story about these guys, and believe it or not, their executive offices overlook tobacco fields. I know I'm not supposed to reveal my sources, but this guy was one of the five anonymous officials cited in my DC sniper story. Okay, so he was all five of my sources. My notes got mixed up with all my travel receipts. Who knew that Latana, Fla., doesn't have a Dean & DeLuca?

UPDATE: Just saw this. Guess I'd better not update my resume just yet. Now I'm starting to feel guilty... 
Wednesday, May 21, 2003
  Almost forgot. Did you guys see the story about me in the NY Observer today? The reporter was a guy after my own heart -- he had that instinctive eye for detail that separates a hack toiling away at some minor-league backwater daily from an up-and-coming national reporter at the Paper of Record. Here's an example:

His sleep-deprived college-senior look seemed to fit the environment, a dusty living room with bookshelves that offered remembrances of his past life: The Best Newspaper Writing anthologies from 2000 and 2002; books by Times reporters Rick Bragg and Fox Butterfield; My Soul Is Rested, the oral history of the civil-rights movement written by Howell Raines. On the window sill stood a Dr. Seuss book called Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? with his NYPD press pass wrapped around it.

("That's a nice detail," he later said, noting the Dr. Seuss title.)


Wow, that quote's so good I'll use it myself -- that is a nice detail. (And this is a first -- I'm actually plagarizing myself, ha ha). However, had the reporter bothered to look beyond the Dr. Seuss book on my window sill, he would have noticed that my apartment overlooks tobacco fields and cattle pastures.
 
  So Jayson Blair the weblogger could live, Jayson Blair the journalist had to die.

Wow, that sounds pretentious. Let me start over. I decided to start this weblog because I've been bummed out about all the press I've been getting. Maybe this will be the right place for me to tell my story as it really was, not as seen through the lily-colored eyes of the Paper of Record. Or maybe it'll just give me something to do until my book deal comes through.


In the meantime, paying the bills until that fat advance check clears isn't going to be easy. And to make matters worse, Howell Raines called me this morning. Apparently, the Times wants my moose back.

 
Your run-of-the-mill weblog from your run-of-the-mill disgraced reporter at a run-of-the-mill paper of record.

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