Blizzards and stay-at-home

Until today, I had no point of comparison. Now, however, I can tell you this as a fact: During a blizzard, stay-at-home is way better than go-to-work.

In the past, I was in a field that obsessed on getting it done, 365 days a year. During one blizzard, a colleague (Ute von der Heyden) spent more than a half-hour trying to rock her way out of the apartment-complex parking lot. "Lady, I don't know what your job is," one guy said,"but it must be important."

Well, newspapering isn't as important as, say, doctoring or policing. It does, however, demand your presence.

Jim Hough and the late Dick Frazier used to tell about the time they were the only ones to reach the newsroom after a storm. They got the paper out; unfortunately, there was no way to deliver it.

Once, I found myself wandering downtown, hoping to interview people trekking in the blizzard. I didn't find any heart-warming stories, but I did find a couple guys walking to a methadone clinic.

You get to work, mainly because that's what newspaper people do. But now I suddenly find myself not connected to a specific newspaper. This wasn't my choice, but I'm adapting by writing TV columns and stories for papers around the country.

It's pleasant work and at-home work. That last part was important today. I shoveled at leisure; I gradually got the snow away. I was in no hurry to go anywhere. I didn't choose it, but there are days when stay-at-home is kind of nice.




"Momma" trouble

By the end of tonight (Tuesday, Dec. 16), Khalood Bojanowski may be one of the most controversial women in Michigan. And that takes some doing.

She shows up on the debut of "Momma's Boys" (10 p.m., NBC) and lays down the rules about dating her son: "I don't want a Jewish girl or Muslim or Black. I can't have an Asian one. I can't have a fat-butt girl. I can't have a tall one."

That draws universal outrage from the young women who see this on tape. Misty Ally, 26, who is black, is pleased to see that even some of the frilliest (and whitest) women are appalled: "Even the dumbest person knows how ignorant that is."

Things don't get any better when Bojanowski arrives in person and defends her stand: "I have good friends who are black, but there are bad people out there ... I have a black godson ... I know half of the Detroit Lions and I love 'em."

The young women had already met her son, JoJo Bojanowski, and liked the guy. That was before they knew the momma.

The show has three men in a dating pool with 32 women. Each guy insists he's a "momma's boy" -- and each is supposed to get dating advice from his mom, who will be living with the women.

JoJo is 21 and a hockey star who has basically lived away from home since he was 16. He did well in junior hockey -- statistics show an eleven-game stretch in which he had eight goals and eight assists for the Toronto Thunderbirds -- and is now a sophomore forward at Nichols College, in Massachusetts, which is off to a 10-1 start. He seems like a fine lad, on ice or on land; his mom is another matter.

Khalood Bojanowski is from Basra, Iraq, but fled to the U.S. with her family when she was young. She makes her views clear:

"I can't have a Jewish girl, because I'm Catholic. I just can't see the white-and-black thing, so I cannot have a black one. I cannot accept my son JoJo to fall in love with an Asian girl; I just cannot.

"I cannot have a mixture at all. No mixture for my son. I just want a nice Catholic Girl who's not from a divorced family. I want her to cook, I want her to clean, to keep pretty. And she does what I tell her to." That prospect might not have many takers.

"Australia" splendor

There are moments in "Australia" that are as good as anything you'll see in a movie.

Sure, there are flaws. The movie is too long and sometimes too contrived. Snidely Whiplash would consider its villain overwrought.

But in its best moments, this film is stunning. Baz Luhrman has that directing touch, the ability to stun you visually and emotionally.

Catch the moment the cattle stampede into Darwin. Or the moment the boy sees "The Wizard of Oz." Or the "Oz"-themed return of the sailboat.

These are moments as good as anything in "Atonement" -- which is to say, as good as anything in recent years. Hugh Jackman is great, Nicole Kidman is fine and Australia itself is splendid. Catch the movie; just make sure you bring lots of patience and popcorn. 

Welcome, folks

Soon enough, there will be clever-type blogs here. For now, however, I just wanted to explain what's here.

Hit the "TV column" button on top and you'll find my columns for upcoming days. These are in several papers, from New Jersey to Cincinnati to Hawaii. There will be more; have fun and add your comments.

Eventually, I'll have to quit putting the columns here, because they'll be in too many papers. By then, however, I'll have lots of blogs -- and, I hope, your comments -- in place.