No cross words out of me

The Claremont Courier’s crossword puzzle of Feb. 3 was brought to my attention by the Courier’s editor due to the clue for 17 Across: “Longtime Claremont writer for the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.” My name is the answer to a crossword puzzle? I’ve finally made it!

I doubt I’ve ever successfully worked a crossword to the end, but at least this time there’s one sure answer, and I felt comfortable filling it in in ink. (On a photocopy of the puzzle. The original must be kept minty-fresh.) How many Courier readers were stumped, I wonder?

Click on the image above if you’d like to try to work the puzzle yourself.

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Slow Sunday

My usual practice, as you may recall, is to not only avoid the Super Bowl but to get out and about during the game. Due to the chilly weather and press of things to do, inspiration was lacking, and my early thought of training in to LA was dropped.

But after a quiet hour at home tackling some paperwork clutter, a long-overdue and satisfying task, I ventured to Montclair to make a run to Target, which was relatively unpopulated, and then to Barnes and Noble, which seemed to have a normal amount of customers, although by that point the game may have been over, or ending. I’ll have to plan better next year.

If you skipped the (yawn) big game, what did you do?

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Column: His 2,400 CDs get another spin — over 10 years

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A few weeks ago I completed a personal project: to play all my compact discs again. It took 10 years. I write about that in Wednesday’s column. Above: half of my collection; another two bookcases stand on the other side of my stereo.

You might wonder after reading this column — you will read it, won’t you? — what happens next. For starters, all the CDs I’ve pulled have been saved atop my bookcases until my project was done. Now I can trade or sell them. Also, playing my CDs again will be something of a lifelong project, I think, in that I will continually have to pull more to trade/sell if I’m going to keep buying new ones, shelf space being finite. But I’m unlikely to start listening to them again from the beginning.

I didn’t have room to get into this either, but there’s the matter of whether some of these CDs that I’m keeping will ever be played again, and if not, was keeping them a futile act? That’s a tough one. What I can say is that since 2006, every CD I own has been played once. Can you say the same about yours?

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‘Getting Started’ is coming

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Since reader DebB asked, and people who’ve seen the change in my Twitter avatar have noticed, my second book is coming soon. Above is a promotional piece. The book collects the best of my first four years of Daily Bulletin columns, from 1997 to 2000. No, my best isn’t seven pages, but a generous 315. “Getting Started” may not come out precisely on Jan. 15, which is a Sunday, but look for news of a book launch somewhere to be determined.

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Classroom conversation

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Last Wednesday, I took questions from students in Maria Zavala’s Journalism 1 class at Claremont High. We talked about my use of social media, my favorite topics and columns, my student days, writing habits and more. Only one reads a print newspaper, by the way. I thank them for their politeness and interest. Even the boy who had his head on his desk most of my visit perked up to ask a question.

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Daily Bulletin on Vacation

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I was in Portland, Oregon for four days last week. It’s tough taking a selfie while also getting a newspaper into the frame, but this was the best I could do outside Powell’s, the famed bookstore. It will be the subject of Wednesday’s column.

In the Why Am I So Good to You category, please note that your humble servant managed to write three columns before leaving, while also giving up moments of vacation to post them here and elsewhere on schedule. Besides saving you the pain of deprivation, the extra work helped me clear away some material. Everyone’s a winner.

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