By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Can Globe readers get a refund?

A few quick observations on a Saturday morning.

• Someone at the Boston Globe had a good idea for selling a few more copies of the Saturday edition: plug a Joan Vennochi column on page one. But that’s a trick you can only pull once unless you actually run a Vennochi column inside. (Apologies for the unreadable page-one teaser, but trust me. It says “Point of View: Joan Vennochi.”)

• New York Times columnist Gail Collins makes some semi-amusing fun of folks who can’t handle the switchover to digital TV. It would have been more amusing, though, if she could figure it out herself. “How could the Republicans not be worried about this?” she writes. “A disproportionate number of the endangered TV viewers are senior citizens. Bill O’Reilly’s entire audience is in danger!” Uh, Gail? O’Reilly’s entire audience has cable and won’t be affected by this — a fact you seemed to grasp earlier in the column, but I guess not.

• Bob Ryan’s got a great lede this morning: “Jason Varitek wanted to test the waters. He’s lucky he didn’t drown.” Personally, I’m glad Varitek is coming back, though I’m more than a little puzzled by the games-started incentive his contract calls for in 2010. If Tek starts more than 80 games in 2010, then the Red Sox will have a serious problem. Secondarily, it puts Terry Francona in the position of costing Varitek money. Not good.

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  1. lkcape

    Re: Gail Collins and Digital TV ChangeoverIf the NY Times didn’t pay for this sort of manufactured hysteria, they might not be a) losing credibility at an alarming rate and b) losing money hand-over-fist.

  2. mike_b1

    The games started clause isn’t that big of deal, and there’s been plenty of similar clauses through the years. I don’t there’s any question the Red Sox play to win. If Varitek gives them the best chance of winning, he’ll play. If not, he’ll sit.And the amount published, while significant to you and me, is a drop in the bucket relative to their overall spend on salaries.

  3. Mark

    Gail Collins exhibiting her irrational hatred of conservatives…That’s not change we can believe in.

  4. Ani

    Where’s Oliver Stone on this digital conversion business? For many people, a converter box alone will not be enough to ensure reception, as weak digital signal will result in no picture/sound, not the fuzzy picture/sound you can get from a weak analog signal. Some expert or other on WCVB last fall seemed to expect people so affected to go out and buy and install rooftop antenas. Even if it’s not part of some big conspiracy to deprive the old and poor of TV, it certainly comes across as involving a fair amount of stupidity and indifference.

  5. Rick in Duxbury

    Ryan’s appreciation of Updike was also a keeper.

  6. mike_b1

    From what I’ve read, those most affected live in extremely rural places, where is simply wasn’t economical for cable companies to run wire. Given that satellite tv has been around for more than two decades, however, that excuse doesn’t hold much water.Neilsen Co. puts the affected number at 13 million households. (Interestingly, more people aged 35 or under rely on over-the-air broadcasts than do citizens aged 55 and older.) There are roughly 105 million households in the US — probably more now, as that’s based on the most recent census. So we’re looking at a little more than 12% of the household are potentially affected. It’s clear why some Congressmen want to hold it up: their constituents will kill them if their tv suddenly stopped working. But this is move is inevitable. The likelihood that 13 million households, having waited this long, will suddenly get their converter boxes in the next two months, seems pretty low.

  7. Blue Bloater

    My guess is that if you haven’t, after all this time, figured out that you’re going to need a converter box to continue to watch TV, you haven’t voted since 1972 and think Jerry Ford is still president. And btw, *everybody* has an extremely *rational* hatred of conservatives these days.

  8. O'Rion

    Varitek didn’t read the market well but he also thought the RS FO was soft. They were generous, but they weren’t stupid. $$ I haven’t bought a box for upstairs yet, because the good ones aren’t sold by most retail giants. It’s going to have to be an on-line buy.

  9. Amused

    They’re willing to overpay for Varitek, but not by much, just enough to sign him. The Trio is always looking ahead. I think they see him as an eventual Tito successor. Historically, players have never been bred to be managers here; the only former Sox players to manage other than Hobson in the post Pinky Higgins era were Williams and Kasko who played a total of 90 and 58 games for the locals (Jimy doesn’t count since he was drafted away after one year in the system.) If they’re serious about their organizational philosophy, it is logical to include developing managers as part of the credo. Other than Hobson, you have to go back to Pesky for a manager who had strong organizational roots when named to the job, and before the regrettable Higgins era, you have to go back to Bill Carrigan in 1927 to find someone whose Hose had taken root — that’s long before the notion of organizational philosophies and standardized approaches to development, preparation and execution was even conceived of.They may be thinking two managers out, given Francona’s health and Varitek’s two year deal, but I’d say he’s being groomed.

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