FLOTSAM AND JETSAM

Entertaining an idea for the St. Louis Blues and the Kiel Opera House; dreaming of an ex-Mayor Harmon; fanning the millennial flames at Channel 4; chanting "We're No. 35! We're No. 35" at the Post-Dispatch

Say, with the Blues talking about some tax relief, how about dedicating the million or so bucks a year they pay under the city's amusement tax to the renovation/operation of the Kiel Opera House? The Rams get to divert their amusement-tax funds to pay off their practice facility in Earth City.... Anybody else hear about the possibility of Mayor Clarence Harmon's waking up one day and deciding not to run for mayor?... One question remained unanswered at the end of a Channel 4 report last Thursday on millennium mania. Actually, the report wasn't about the mania; it was part of it. Viewers were advised to pack a "grab-and-go bag," containing clothes, a flashlight and so on, just in case. Uh, like, go where? How do you avoid the millennium or whatever havoc is wreaked as a result of it? Do you run to the nearest time machine and head back to 1904 to check out the World's Fair and the Olympics?... Remember the days when the Post- Dispatch was ranked as one of the nation's top 10 papers? 'Course, that was 20, 30 years ago, when the Pulitzers milked Channel 5 for cash and operated a reporter-heavy paper virtually at a loss. Well, those days are gone. In the current issue of the Columbia Journalism Review (www.cjr.org) the P-D is tied with four other papers for 35th best. More than 100 editors cast their votes, and the P-D got four votes, as did the Kansas City Star, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and the Charlotte Observer. Imagine a better showing. Singled out for "most improved" paper was the New Orleans Times-Picayune, which ranked 22th. Apparently at least some P-D editors took a trip to the bayou for tips. Perhaps they came back with the wrong lessons.

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