TWW – The Teenage Years Are Upon Us

I wasn’t born here, but I blog here. –Jackie M. Brown (GF Tribune 3-3-14)

Today The Western Word (TWW) turns 13 years old!

Please, no parades. It’s too cold.

TWW blog started on January 10, 2005. It was a Monday. The first post went up about 10:04 p.m.

Ironically, the first line had the following information that seems to be the norm for Kansas City Chiefs fans:

Ah yes, since my Chiefs are done and there’s no Monday Night Football, I will pick the winners of the weekend games:

Hitting the magic 13 means that The Western Word is starting the dreaded teenage years. We all know how teenagers can be, so be prepared.

As for stats, here are a few:

Continue reading

The Western Word: 10 Years!

The Western Word (TWW) is celebrating its 10th Anniversary today (January 10).

Please, no parades.

My first blog post was January 10, 2005, on Google’s Blogger. It was a big one – a 79-word column about football. Most of the columns back then were about sports due to my day job.

Later on I made the switch to WordPress and transferred the information from Google Blogger to WordPress.

This is the 2,428th post here at TWW.

Today, my “mission” is to provide independent commentary about politics, sports, the media, and current events.

My two most-read columns of all time:

Politics 2012: 10 Most Vulnerable Senators was published on November 4, 2010, to get a jump-start on the 2012 campaign season. It was updated several times and was published in several newspapers and linked on several websites.

The Killing at Poplar River was written April 8, 2008, after I watched the show on NBC about Barry Beach and just as the interest in his case was taking off.

Thanks to all the folks who read The Western Word, follow me on Twitter (@TheWesternWord), and like The Western Word Facebook page.

A special shout-out to those who are subscribers (you can subscribe by clicking on the “Follow” button at the bottom or enter your e-mail in the box on the right side of this screen under the word “Subscribe” ).

“The only writer to whom you should compare yourself is the writer you were yesterday.” –David B. Schlosser


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Gallup: Little Confidence in Newspapers, TV News

Back in April we witnessed the media during one of its worst times when, right after the Boston Marathon bombings, we saw headlines on April 17 like, “Official: Suspect in Custody in Boston Bombings” and “Suspect Nabbed in Boston Marathon Bombing.”

Neither headline was true. In the rush to be first, they failed in one major area: Being accurate. The suspect was actually “nabbed” two days later.

Now we find a new poll from Gallup telling us “Americans’ confidence in newspapers fell slightly to 23% this year.” Confidence peaked for newspapers back in 1979 at 51%.

If you believe in television news, guess what – the confidence in television news is also sitting at 23%. It peaked at 46% back in 1993, according to Gallup.

So, as Gallup puts it, “Fewer than one in four Americans confident in newspapers, TV news.”

Ouch.  Continue reading

Thursday Numbers

Just one more day until the weekend – I know you can do it!  Hold on!

Almost every Thursday I take a look at some of the numbers behind the news and I call it “Thursday Numbers.”  It is one of the most-read columns every week.

Today in Thursday numbers I take a look at a blogger who is not a journalist, unemployment, I say Happy Birthday to a couple of ladies, I mention Tester’s big speech in NYC tonight, I remember a Beatle, I write about a shameful and sickening discovery, and much much more – so read on!

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Top Five Columns of 2010

There’s a countdown for almost everything toward the end of the year. Here at The Western Word, we’re no different as 2010 winds down.

I decided to do some checking and see what my faithful readers liked in 2010. I also checked to see which sports column and weekly “Caught My Eye” column had the most readers. Enjoy. Continue reading

Paying Attention

On Friday, the Great Falls Tribune conducted one of their daily online polls with a question about political bloggers. This was a follow-up to the Associated Press story and their “investigation” into a political blog called Montana Cowgirl.

The Tribune asked: “Do you pay attention to political bloggers who don’t identify themselves?”

The results were published in Saturday’s paper. With 501 people voting, 92% said they did not pay attention to political bloggers who don’t identify themselves and 8% said they did.

I voted. I was part of the 8%.

The Tribune also has a section on their website for people to leave comments about the questions. It’s called a “Forum” section. People with the names of Rainbow, Bigsky, wbill, and Cowcud (to name a few) all left comments about the Tribune forum question. Continue reading

Caught My Eye…

If it’s Friday, then it’s time for “Caught My Eye” the weekly (almost award-winning) column where I take a look (sometimes with a little sarcasm) at some of the stories that I did not have time to comment about during the week.

This week I take a look at global warming, powerful women, a visit to the Guard, China, the IRS, and much more.

Since it’s Friday and not much work is getting done, grab a cup of coffee, sit back, relax, and enjoy this week’s look at the news… Continue reading


Local governments are always looking for ways to “stick it to the little guy or gal” it seems.

If you look at your utility or tax bills, you’ll see all sorts of taxes and fees just to live where you live. By the way, politicians like to use the term “fees” as this keeps them from saying the “tax” word and angering voters.

It was not really a surprise when I recently read that the City of Philadelphia is charging bloggers $300 per year for a “business privilege license” because they believe blogging is a business.

They consider blogging a business because some bloggers receive a little money for advertisements that run on their blogs. The bloggers reported this as income on their taxes and “BAM” here comes the local government bloodsuckers to get their share. Continue reading

On Life Support?

In Monday’s Washington Post, Howard Kurtz writes about “Unfriendly fire: The angry media” where he mentions all the stuff that’s been going on in the media the last few weeks (Sherrod, New Black Panthers, etc.) and how the major media outlets are going after each other.

But what caught my attention was what Kurtz wrote about blogging and tweeting:

Certain bloggers were once singled out as bomb-throwers, but now just about everyone in the news racket is blogging or tweeting or trying to entice the gods of Web traffic — which is easier to do when you hit the hot buttons.

Probably the demise of journalism started when the first blog went on line. All of a sudden, some long-haired goateed guy sitting in his basement (like me) can churn out story after story or comment about a story in their local or national newspaper or on their local or national newscast at a moment’s notice.

The blogger can write things or ask things that journalism students learned were not appropriate in their first year of college. Continue reading