Thursday, July 24, 2008

Supersaturated

Alright folks, it’s time for a lesson in chemistry. There is only so much of a solid that can be suspended in a liquid. Eventually, the liquid will become ‘saturated’ and the solid will simply sink to the bottom of it. But through an act of physics –either shaking or some other violent disruption –far more solid can be dissolved in the liquid. This is what chemists call a ‘supersaturated solution.’

In as much, Wednesday’s deluge seemed to saturate just about everything in the Spa City. This included the 18,000 some-odd fans so starved for the sport of kings that they braved a ceaseless rain to see a slate of opening day horses so marred by changes that the original pink sheets proved largely useless. It rained for the red-eye breakfast. It rained through the first race. It rained, and then it rained some more.

But through an act of physics –or rather the media –the Capital Region was supersaturated with soggy opening day coverage. Just when it seemed like the readers and viewers couldn’t take another ounce of Saratoga coverage –just when it seemed all these trackside reports might diminish – another media source would jump in and shake things up. There wasn’t a news outlet within a 50-mile radius that didn’t have at least three representatives wandering around the water-laden Saratoga Race Course. In fact, it almost seemed as though there were more reporters and analysts than paying customers.

Perhaps the highlight of all this tripe was Liz Bishop –the longtime anchor of CBS 6 Albany –admit she plunged into a knee-deep mud puddle while broadly smiling at the cameras with her semi-soaked Saratoga-style hat. Note to Liz: the annual Hat’s Off ‘celebration’ isn’t until the weekend.

“…I ran into a woman as I came into the track and she was furious,” Bishop rambled. “She said you know what this rain is doing its preventing every woman in the Capital Region from wearing their best shoes to the track.”

Somewhere, there’s a feminist softly weeping right now. And to make matters worse, the CBS 6 crew didn’t even bother to show Bishop’s muddy feet. But in an attempt to gain an edge on the competition, they did do a historic montage of rainy days at the track; including one rather humiliating shot of veteran reporter Mary Beth Wenger looking very 1980s as she struggled onto a news van marooned in a puddle.

Like most regional papers, the Times Union jumped into the fray early, releasing “Saratoga Style” two days before the track opened. They were out-done by the Daily Gazette, which chucked their piece of race season litter in with their Sunday paper. Not to be outdone by their competitors, the TU has devoted a full Web site to all things Saratoga, complete with the usual Saratoga Seen and Talking Horses. They also include a host of videos that illicit a certain degree of pity for reporters Christen Gowen and Mark McGuire, who appear to be getting quite soaked in a short morning video. Despite the driving rain, McGuire manages a rather eloquent soliloquy about racing and the track that is worth a view.

Were the TU’s coverage to end here, life would be good. People could probably rest assured they had seen just about everything there was to see about opening day, horse racing, betting and the effects of rain thereof. But they had to take it one step further by goading a rather young looking female reporter into the meat-market of Gaffney’s to ask the Wednesday evening drunkards “what makes someone a bad kisser.”

“I don’t like the tongue,” commented one woman in the painful-to-watch video.

“I think I like a little bit of tongue,” interjected one of her friends.

Somewhere, there’s a sexual harassment lawyer smiling.

Of course, there were plenty of “man on the street” accounts from the race course. Yes, it’s wet. No, we don’t plan on leaving. Yes, we’re throwing cash at these damn horses in the hope of winning enough loot to put a down payment on one of the posh luxury boxes set up against the rail. All in all, these accounts more than forgettable.

And in other news, nothing happened. Or at least that’s the impression given by these media outlets, which don’t have enough cash to staff their newsrooms, but seem to have limitless resources when it comes to advertorials for the New York Racing Association. Undoubtedly, the anticipation among publishers and producers is that the supersaturating coverage will convince advertisers of the broad audience created when Saratoga’s population balloons to nearly 75,000 overnight. For the rest of us, it’s a long news-free ride until September.

18 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Liz is getting a bit long in the tooth.

She resembles Roger (The Shaky Filmmaker Who Never Actually Made A Film) Wyatt in that photo.

Or is it Captain Kangaroo?

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Liz used to be harassed by McTygue until she bowed down to him. A few thousand bucks later she had new side walks all at our expense folks!

5:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No I think it's, Peter "the pussy" Mctygue.

7:28 PM  
Blogger Faulkner said...

I conducted a chemistry experiment myself this morning...


I turned a gas into a solid.

5:19 AM  
Anonymous Kyle York said...

5:26

A little Reality Check for the cellar-dwelling conspiracy-obsessed digitally-delusional dolts--

I live in the same building as Liz. Liz had no more to do with our "sidewalks" than Mrs. Butterworth had to do with the re-design of SPAC. Them's the facts, friends.

The sidewalks on Railroad Place were poured by Bonacio crews and PAID for by we few, the Evil Owners of our highly-taxed homes. The recent re-paving of the STREET was a city projected planned long ago…try 2002. To ensure that "New" city streets would not suffer from heavy Bonacio construction traffic, it was agreed that the miserable patchwork of pre-Bonacio blacktop would NOT be re-surfaced until ALL Bonacio construction was complete.


After 18 Division was finished in spring, the excellent city crews moved in to repave what was certainly one of the worst streets in the city, heavily used by patrons of the Price Chopper and those locals seeking a West Side alternative to Broadway.

Let's try not to confuse Public Safety with Paranoid Simpletons.

7:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where's the Psycho Corporal (Bronner) been lately?

Is it true that he was sent away to a "quiet place"?

9:36 AM  
Blogger shotinthedark said...

"I turned a gas into a solid."

From Ask A Scientist...

"Question
Can you turn gas into a solid form?
Ask your own question!

Question
Yes, you can turn a gas into a solid. Think first about the opposite: turning a solid into a gas. That is a common experience. Under ordinary conditions "dry ice", which is solid carbon dioxide, evaporates directly into a gas without first melting. (That's why it's called "dry".) The evaporation of a solid into a gaseous form is called "sublimation".'"


So Faulkner, we are all wondering if this scientific experiment that you have been conducting has anything to do with your itchy balls.

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Faulkner! That's like making a McTygue who is full of foul air, into John Tighe who is a piece of shit!

2:28 PM  
Anonymous Mamie said...

What's the difference between John Tighe and Kyle York?

Answer: Tighe blows hard and York is a blowhard!

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Broner is alive and well, I saw him the other day. Crazy as always.

In other news, I completely agree with you about the overload of coverage of the track. It's wasting my time that can and should be spent covering more important matters.

7:05 PM  
Blogger Horatio Alger said...

Kyle,

Thanks. I thought I was going to need to explain that.

5:26,

In other news, scientists have finally linked the melting of the polar ice caps to McTygue. The former DPW commish was also linked to the explosion in Tunguska and the crucification of Jesus.

7:04 AM  
Anonymous Mamie said...

Now you're just being an idiot! But, I would be happy to see that piece of shit McTygue nailed to a cross! Put him down in congress park and charge anyone a dollar to stone him! We would surely raise more than enough money for the police palace!

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who was the fireman who started the fire at the convention hall?

7:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Idiot

No fire was ever started at Convention Hall. You obviously don't know shit about local history

6:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, the fireman did start the fire. In fact he died in the fire.

2:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I take back my comment.

Instead, I now realize that you're simply a f'ing moron.

7:21 PM  
Anonymous agphoto said...

sorry to be on topic, but isn't it interesting that NYRA has received this media largesse for decades now and still manage to drown in red ink... but maybe not. There's a socialist aspect to all this boosterism, but i can't quite put my finger on the parameters.

In other notes, a claymation media pseudo-celebrity death match is what i'll be dreamin' bout tonight.

Something like in the CapNews9 bracket, the Kaslo v. Krawchuk (2-time champ) matchup should be delicious-- but of course the heavy fav is returned to pre-birth form weatherbabe Heather Morrison, who stomped thru the regular season without even breaking a nail.... meow!

But the overall winner looks like a rookie from FOX23 - Cait McVey, who went live on Friday's hat's off (lillian lot) after getting an earfull of instructions from her cameraguy and presumably R. Murdoch himself, delivering a performance that was spontaneous and a little snarling. She'll fetch a big number, so call this my longshot special, and watch for her to represent very well in the covereted (joe bruno) mud wrestling cup.

: )

You whining guys need a vacation already. How 'bout Saratoga? i hear it's pretty nice this time of year.

and yes, i did get laid last nite. thanks for asking.

horatio, want to share a cold one at bruno's this track season?

1:21 PM  
Blogger shotinthedark said...

From Slade...

What's Really Killing NewspapersThey're no longer the best providers of social currency.
By Jack Shafer
Updated Friday, Aug. 1, 2008, at 6:34 PM ET

The last thing the unwell newspaper industry needs is another diagnosis of what ails it—so here goes!

Not that long ago, the daily newspaper was an indispensable coiner of social currency, and it gave its readers piles of the stuff in each edition. The phrase, which comes from sociology, is often used to describe the information we acquire and then trade—or give away—to start, maintain, and nurture relationships with our fellow humans.

Take, for instance, the voluminous results of newspaper sports pages. Terrific for sports fans, of course, but the sports pages have been used to grease sales calls, break ice on first dates, and fuel water-cooler bonding for a century. Even folks who don't care for sports skimmed the sports pages for a little something about the games and athletes so they could engage in essential small-talk.

For as long as anybody can remember, the newspaper has been the primary info-hub through which people interacted. Oh, people might have talked to the shoe-shine man or their broker about what they heard on the radio or saw on television, but nothing could beat the newspaper as a source for socially lubricating conversation. How many times have you heard a conversation start, "Didja see that article ..."?

By sniffing the bits of social currency an acquaintance had withdrawn from the pages of his daily and was trying to cash—say, a quip about that picture of an egg frying on a city street the paper published; or a comment about a movie review or comic strip; or an opinion about local government based on a piece by a political columnist—the sniffer could learn reams about his social contact.

A recent Associated Press study, "A New Model of News" (PDF), speaks directly to the social currency concept. The news can "be used in a variety of interpersonal situations—to look smart, connect with friends and family and even move up the socio-economic ladder" and "maintain relationships."

Whether by design or chance, the social currency found in a newspaper has a relatively short shelf life. If you don't think so, try bringing up a pivotal play from a week-old baseball game over coffee or invoke a weather story from two days ago. Newspapers thrived, in part, because reading just one edition provided only a few cents' worth of social currency. Compounding your earnings requires that you read the damn thing nearly every day. Ignore a couple of issues, and you get left behind.

Of course, newspapers have never been mere dispensers of social currency. You can read them and not discuss them and still prosper. When I first started to read the New York Times closely—1981, if you must know—it was less to suck up pure information than it was to figure out what the ruling class was reading, so I could do a better job as a junior editor on a political magazine. But to read a newspaper and then keep your trap shut is to miss the point: Newspapers are designed to be read and argued over. You've got to spend social currency to make social currency.

Which returns us to our pallid and sickly subject: the newspaper industry. Other institutions do far better jobs at issuing social currency these days. What is Facebook but the Federal Reserve Bank of social currency? And it's all social currency you can use! Like cocktail chatter, a Facebook posting—be it a link, a list, a photo, or travel plans—conveys the message, I am here. Listen to me. A well-executed Facebook presence, like a superb pontification at the bar or a great phone-in to sports talk radio, demonstrates one's status within one's existing social network. If skillfully wielded, a Facebook page can increase a person's status by attracting "cooler" or more influential friends. These days, you can't raise your status more than a bump by carrying the Wall Street Journal under your arm.

If one of the great attractions of the newspaper was that it brought people together to rub noses, how can it compete for readers' time with sites like Facebook, which can also give you a real-world news dump if that's what you crave? Thanks to the Web, no interest need be esoteric any longer. Right now there isn't a Facebook group about one of my favorite topics, "meth mouth," but there is sure to be one a couple of minutes after I post this piece, with meth heads, dentists, and social workers networking through it.

The social networking that takes place via instant messaging, microblogging, or e-mail further steals from newspapers the mindshare they once owned. You no longer need to rely on a paper for the social currency that a weather report, movie listings, classified ads, shopping bargains, sports info, stock listings, television listings, gossip, or entertainment news provide. As falling circulation indicates, fewer do. And the newspaper isn't the only media hub suffering in the new era. Radio, which once served a similar social role with its menu of music, news, and talk, is plummeting.

8:59 AM  

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