Disney-Fox megadeal expected for Thursday

“21st Century Fox and Disney are on a ‘glide path’ for a Thursday deal announcement, sources familiar with the deal said,” as CNBC is reporting.

“Disney became the sole suitor after Comcast dropped its bid for the majority of Fox assets on Monday.

“A week ago, CNBC reported that Disney and the Rupert Murdoch-controlled media company were closing in on a deal. The enterprise value of the Fox assets in the Disney deal is seen as above $60 billion, sources said a week ago, but that exact amount is still not firm.

“Current Fox shareholders would get one share of the company that remains after the movie and television assets are sold, plus shares of Disney in a fixed exchange ratio.

The article is here.

Watching “The Polar Express” in Caboose #1 at the Narrow Gauge Rail Museum

The Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum in Nevada County has long been a special place for our family, representing local history, a “sense of place” and the selfless volunteerism that occurs in our community. The museum’s ebullient and energetic executive director Madelyn Helling has become a dear friend — for her work at the Railroad Museum and the  County Library that honors her legacy.

For years, we’ve enjoyed visiting the museum with our son and his friends as he was growing up, including the imaginative annual Christmas celebration with Santa Claus, rail-bus rides, refreshments and cookies, and a silent auction in December. Along with Victorian Christmas, Cornish Christmas, and making Latkes for Hanukkah at Tess’ Kitchen Store — a passion of owner Steve Rosenthal — “Christmas at the Railroad Museum” is one of our favorite local holiday traditions.

When my parents died in 2007, in their obituary in The Union and San Francisco Chronicle, we asked that donations be made to “their grandson’s” (AKA, our son’s) favorite charity — the Railroad Museum — to help build a real “Little Engine that Could.” That “little engine” (known as Engine 13) was built in 2007-2009, thanks to community-wide contributions.

The 15-foot long locomotive required nearly 10,000 volunteer hours and $35,000 in materials to complete. Each year, we donate a weekend at our cabin at Lake Tahoe to the Museum for the silent auction, and we regularly promote the Museum’s annual Christmas Party in our regional magazine. It draws visitors from all over, not just locals.

This year our relationship with the Railroad Museum came full circle. As the sophomore class president at Ghidotti Early College High School, our son decided to combine some of his favorite childhood memories as a class outing: A showing of the movie “The Polar Express” in Caboose #1, a replica of a 1937 caboose that is located in the rail yard of the Museum.

The caboose is available for rental, and this week about 20 of the students sat together on the wooden benches inside the caboose and watched “The Polar Express.” (The overflow seating was on folding chairs).

We created colorful tickets like the ones in the movie, with jingle bells attached. We also served coffee and hot chocolate at intermission, thanks to catering from Amy and Chamba Cooke and the staff at Summer Thyme’s Bakery & Deli. Summer Thyme’s General Manager Jamal Walker filled the order on short notice.

The holder of the winning ticket, which read “Believe,” won a prize — a fleece bathrobe like the one worn by the young hero in the movie — in this case, from the Hospice of the Foothills thrift store.

All the teenagers enjoyed the “journey.” They also toured the museum. Thanks to curator Grover Cleveland, Madelyn and the staff for organizing the outing. It was a memorable local experience for all of them, and a reminder of the “sense of place” that comes with living in our community.

(Photo: Railroad Museum)

The Union should improve its journalism, not just ring bells for the Salvation Army


True Union Believer
True Trump Believer

The Union’s paid weekly columnist George Boardman has become a fierce protector of The Union’s newsgathering practices.

Think of him as the opposite of a newspaper ombudsman and more like a “flack.”

For Boardman, this is par for the course. Despite his desire to be a credible journalist, George has spent more of his career as a p.r. person than a newspaperman. And it shows.

I figure this “brown nosing” is an effort to hang onto his weekly column, which is not that popular, but an ego booster for him.

In the latest example, Boardman is defending The Union’s claims on the front page that “dozens of locals say they’ve been ‘roofied’ at Nevada County bars.”

This conclusion — affecting a wide swath of local businesses — is based on nothing more than hearsay from anonymous people. The Union hasn’t turned up a single toxicology report, videotape, or other hard facts to support this.

It is a reckless approach to newsgathering. But like a bulldog gnawing on a toy squeaker, George won’t let it go.

Instead of “coaching” along the newspaper like a skilled veteran journalist, he touts The Union’s bellringing prowess for the Salvation Army. OK then.

The Silence Breakers

I worked for Time magazine during the summer in the ’80s in the Los Angeles and San Francisco bureaus when I was a junior and senior at UC Berkeley. It was a coveted post for college kids. More than most journalism outfits, it was a “thinking person’s” organization. The correspondents were well traveled and well educated. The “Person of the Year” honor going to “The Silence Breakers” reminded me of that again. The cover story is here.

Screening of Generation Zapped on Friday at Seaman’s Lodge in Nevada City

Reinette Senum sent me this press release:

A new documentary, Generation Zapped, reveals the high cost of our addiction to digital devices and the health risks, especially for children and teens, from exposure to wireless radiation. The California Alliance for Safer Technology is hosting the special screening, Friday, December 8, 6:30 p.m. at the Seaman’s Lodge, Nevada City.

A question and answer session will follow with Cindy Sage of Sage Associates and co-editor of the seminal BioInitiative Report: a rationale for a biologically-based public exposure standard for electromagnetic fields. Sage is featured in Generation Zapped.