Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Pools Are For Swimsuits

Someone just forwarded me the internet page that has pictures from the Star Tribune's vitamn fashion show at the Calhoun Beach Club. At the time I was bummed that I couldn't attend because the last time it was like a swimsuit competition sponsored by our company. That means the publisher should be sitting front and center. But after looking at the pictures, I'm glad I didn't go. None of these chicks are that hot (this one is the best) and only one of them is wearing a swimsuit top. This is totally something for my wife and her friends, not me. I hope this isn't what's being printed in our free paper or we're going to have to increase the budget for give aways again.

So Long Good Buddy

I can't believe the Timberwolves traded KG. Are they crazy? And for a group of jokers and a draft pick? Incredible.

One of the worst parts of the trade is that everyone is saying they are happy KG. Now he'll actually have a chance to win a championship, not just getting to the second round of the finals one or two times in his career. The Timberwolves front office should be ashamed at how poorly people they run their operation.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Dining for a Cause

This weekend my wife and I are going to that new Cosmos restaurant in Minneapolis. She read about their new chef in Minnesota Monthly and now wants to go eat there. That way she can talk to her girlfriends about it. She also likes to tell lucky me all about it. The old chef, Bill Bixby Dahtry, left to go teach, which is really admirable or noble, and the new chef Steven Trojan has done a great job with his well constructed and multicultural menu.

Anyway, I hope it's good, whatever it is. To tell you the truth, I'm not much for fancy dining, unless it's that place Carousel in downtown St. Paul. It's called Carousel because the tables slowly move in a circle so you can get a view of all of the Twin Cities. And it's on top of Crowne Plaza, which is pretty high, so you really can see a lot of stuff. Also, it's really classy. You've got to dress up if you're going to eat there at night.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Excel Tip

Some of the best parts of using Excel are the keyboard shortcuts. If you get good enough at Excel and memorize the hot keys, it can be like playing an instrument. I know that sounds dorky, but it's true. Just try these semi-advanced key combos and see how much less you use your mouse and still fly through a spreadsheet:

F4: Repeats the last command you just performed.

Alt,e,s,v: Paste special values (instead of a general paste).

Ctrl-Shift-7: box outline around your cell (or your selected group of cells) for formating.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The City Pages Cover Story

I blogged too soon about C.J.'s cover story. If you pick up this week's City Pages, you'll see that yours truly made the cover. Don't congratulate me, though. It's pretty much the exact same boring slam attempt you'll find from all the hacks who've been harping on me since my trial.

If you've read this internet blog or any other paper in the last two months, go ahead and skip the summary by the City Pages, except for this line from Harte:

"I'm frankly astounded at how many journalists are jumping to conclusions on the basis of allegations of a competitor who is obviously out to gain competitive advantage."

No kidding! Even the City Pages smear shows readers how Singleton loves nothing more than trying to act tough at the trial, which is why he's wasted so much money trying to sue me. Well, that and cutting newspaper jobs, which is why they call him "Lean Dean".

But that's not the best part. The best part is that this hack job comes from the corporate owned City Pages, where out of town ownership didn't even have the decency to buy out their reporters like we did. Nope. They just sent some goofy college kid that their smarmy reporters couldn't stand to run the paper and everyone quit. That's real classy.

Hey kettle, maybe if my ads sales team starting running phone sex and hot gay massage ads, we'd make even more money and have as much credibility as you. Of all the people trying to make a scandal of my trial, you're the last ones who should be pointing fingers, even if it is after everyone one else beat you to it.

All Comers Welcome

When you're on top, people will come after you. It's just how it works. Everyone wants a shot at the champ.

I'm used to it. The key is not to get worked up, even when the nobodies try to make money off you. That's why this retarded post from Pioneer Press reporter Ken Doctor doesn't even phase me. I mean, first of all, this clown thought up penalties for me even though my civil trial is still on-going and will in the end show that I didn't do anything illegal. And did you read the penalties? No wonder this guy isn't a reporter anymore, he doesn't have any creativity. Burying my laptop for people to find on the treasure hunt is probably the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

Here's a real penalty. Having to read crap from internet hacks like this guy. This is exactly why I don't check out these stupid internet blogs unless someone from management or my lawyers send it to me. But it always happens. Talking shit about me is financially rewarding. And that means people are going to keep doing it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

C.J. Is A Cover Girl

The new issue of Minnesota Monthly has a profile on C.J., a reporter at the Star Tribune. It's a great article. It really shows you how hard C.J. works to get her stories. Her work pays off, too. She's the most popular columnist we have, even more popular than Kersten.

After I found out about C.J. being on the cover of the magazine, I sent her a note to congratulate her. I would have sent the same note to any of the reporters who were featured on the cover of a magazine, but let's face it we don't have that many reporters who are that well respected. Maybe Sid, but that's it. Of all the reporters that we wanted to buy out, the management team was really hoping that she would stay on and keep covering the celebrities and local news. And she did, which is great.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Paul Magers House Into A Home

We're still re-decorating of Paul Magers's house. I can't believe it either. My wife's designer told her that maybe I should work on furnishing a home office. That would make me more supportive of buying all the new stuff for the house. Getting rid of all the ear marked Crate & Barrel and West Elm and all the other home catalogues, that's what would make me more supportive.

But a home office isn't a bad idea. We have one now, but it could be updated. Also, if Avista promotes me out of the publisher spot at the Star Tribune, I might want to work partially from home like a lot of reporters do. I could get two monitors on the computer or a sweet laptop or something. Actually, I could get a wi fi and take the laptop to the pool when the wife was out.

With a home office, I could also write a book or different editorials for the Wall Street Journal. I don't know what they would be about, but it could be topical. Can you imagine that? Sitting by the pool with beer, writing articles or a screenplay? That's the life right there.

I'll have to think about this screenplay idea more.

Friday, July 20, 2007

A Beautiful Relationship

You can tell a lot about a guy from his friends, the saying goes. Well read this post at an internet blog called "Fraters Libertas":

There's got to be something right about a guy who's enflamed such hatred in the local journalism community.


Please. Par Ridder's antics damaging the "credibility and integrity" of the Star Tribune is like saying the ocean floor damaged the hull of the Titanic.

Now this guy gets it! He loves free market economics, hates reporters, doesn't question authority, and his internet blog links to those execs at TCF bank who write Powerline. He even agrees with the getting rid of all our negative national coverage of the White House and focusing on local news.

Fraters Libertas even took care of that hack Brian Lambert. He points out how Lambert does nothing but "document" and "revel" in my trial, even though the trial is on-going and I'll be cleared of any wrong doing.

But he's wrong about one thing, though. He says I'm doing something right. Come on buddy, I'm doing a lot of things right, if you know what I'm saying. Stop down to the Star Tribune sometime, and we'll have the company will take you out to lunch.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Out with the CFO, In with the Consultant

The Star Tribune management team lost a great team player this week. Mike, buddy, we're going to miss you.

This is a tough business we're in. Sometimes a door opens that you've just got to pass through, even if that means moving to Iowa. It's nice to see Mike is also moving on past the lawsuit and on to greener pastures. Much greener pastures!

And for another update, to show commited Avista and I are to quality journalism at the Star Tribune, you'll be glad to hear the company hired Robin Domeniconi from Time Magazine to be a consultant. If you don't know anything about the news or journalism, but own a media company like Avista, Domeniconi is just the person you want to hire. Even though the reporters think they can vote out the management at our company, Avista is still going with top notch people to help run the ship.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Excel Tip

This is a good one. Let's say you've brought over some spreadsheets of contacts from your old job, but don't know how long it has been since you've made a sales call. You can just use the DATEDIF function in Excel.

Identify the cells with the last date a sales call was made, like in A1, and then write this formula in the next cell, like in B1, to calculate the time: =DATEDIF(A1,NOW(),"y")

You can than use Excel's IF function -- for example, =IF(A2>Y) -- to identify all the days that are greater than a certain amount. This way you can follow up with your clients after two weeks and just touch base with them on any ongoing transactions.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

"We, the journalists of the Star Tribune, call on Par Ridder to resign as publisher. We believe the unethical actions to which he admitted in court have damaged the Star Tribune's credibility and integrity and undermined our ability to hold public figures accountable for their actions. For the good of the Star Tribune and the community it serves, we believe he should step down."

It looks like I'm getting a letter tomorrow that asks me to step down. Yesterday the reporter's Guild voted 110 to 2 to ask me to resign. To be honest, it stings a little.

I don't think reporters know how tough it is to run a paper these days. News is just bad business. Try to put out a good product, no one will read it. People would rather read C.J. and the AP headlines than anything a reporter would spend expensive time on. And when you give people what they want to read, they still don't read it. How many more baseball writers could we frigging have and we still aren't getting 15%+ returns? And the reporters want me to quit because I was bringing over some forms to help out the business.

But whatever, like Avista has said, they run the show, not the labor line.

Monday, July 16, 2007

"The Guild does not get to decide who is publisher of the Star Tribune."

That's what Harte had to tell the Reporter's Guild yesterday. I think they forget that. Harte also reminded them of something else, this:

"Star Tribune Chairman Chris Harte said the newspaper's owner, Avista Capital Partners, has full confidence in Ridder."

The story that has those quotes also says the Guild represents about 300 reporters and other people who work at papers. We'll see how many it represents after tomorrow's vote and after Avista keeps me as the Publisher. The report even points out that I just took the spreadsheets from the Pioneer Press so I could remake them at the Star Tribune. It's because they're complex spreadsheets that would be hard to remake. But that's I guess not what the reporters want to think.

An Easy Weekend

Sometimes you have to just relax on the weekends. It's been pretty busy with the trial and writers having their meeting to force me out this week.

I decided that this weekend I was just going to unwind. You know, sit around and have some me time. You have to "take it easy". I didn't even want to go up north because I would have to fight the traffic coming back. If you go to your cabin on the weekend, you know what I mean. It's really bad now that 35E is all under construction.

Here's all that I did. I watched some tv that was on the DVR, I hit a few buckets of balls, I checked in with my dad and my lawyer, I read through the Sunday edition of the Star Tribune, that kind of stuff. Just relaxed.

I also let my wife and her friends take our tickets to the Tiger Oak Metropolitan Magazine party at the Walker. I really like these kind of events because I can go to see shows or exhibits without having to deal with all the regular people who go to that stuff. And it's better than a fundraiser because you don't get harped on for a donation. My wife loves them, too, because her and her friends don't have to worry about talking about the paintings because everyone who goes doesn't know anything about paintings and are just there to drink and look cool. But that's how they relax. And we all need to relax sometimes.

Friday, July 13, 2007

I See How It's Gonig to Be

You've probably heard by now that the writers guild voted to not vote on "no confidence". Nope. They're going to wait to vote that I should resign.

Fine. Go ahead. See what difference it will make.

Did you read Lambert today? Everyday with this guy. He said Singleton has spent 3 mill suing me. What a fucker. It's cost almost htat much for Avista, too. When my civil trial end, you can bet we're going to counter sue that bastard for every penny we lost. And we're going to get it back, too. You'll see. Avista isn't going to loose that kind of money. Not a private equity group. I'm going to show returns. Even if the Stewards don't want me to, all of them.

What a fiaso. In our meeting today I told Chris we I should have just let someone else from management take that damn information and had soeone else void the non-competes. Breach of ethics. This is business! I told Barrett that too tonight when we were out for drinkss. CEOs can't catch a break man. I'm telling you.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Excel Tip

I found out this awesome trick in Excel. Check it:

If you get a workbook from someone, you can figure out what formulas they used by selecting all the cells (ctrl+A), then going to "Edit - GoTo - Special". There you click "Formulas" and "ok" and this selects the cells with formulas. You can now make those cells have red or bold font! If you click the backwards apostrophe (under the tilde), it will even show all the actual formulas.

Here's where it gets crazy. If you go to "Tools - Formula Auditing" and click "Trace Precedents", Excel will draw a blue line from all the input data cells to the destination cell, even if the input data is from a different workbook!

Now you know how the formulas work in your new workbook of data.

Newspaper Manager Extraordinaire

Does Lambert even know what he's complaining about anymore? It's like this guy makes a living off of bitching about what I say at work and what I do in my personal life. No wonder he's not an actual reporter anymore.

Hey buddy, let me clarify something. I'm running a newspaper. And that paper needs a direction. We can either keep up with national coverage or we can go more local. Looking at the marketplace, the only time there's local coverage is when there's an apartment fire or sex abuse story or Prince has a concert. We're going to change that at the Star Tribune. Advertisers and readers will know who's reading the Star Tribune. It's the people in Minnesota.

Maybe you already forgot your post complaining about not enough coverage of Bloomington, you know, Minnesota's fifth largest city, or when you say we take too many AP pieces. But if you want to think covering local events gives a free pass to the President, whatever man. The few people who read your internet column probably think your conspiracy theory is true.

While you keep bitching, my remaining staff are going to cover all of the events in the state, even if it means extra hours for the reporters and editors. How's that for business literacy?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Wall Street Tribune

Hey, did you hear about Murdoch trying to buy the Wall Street Journal? I'm sure our paper ran an AP piece on it. Well now someone else is trying to buy the paper right out from under Murdoch. Supermarket billionaire Ron Burkle and Web entrepreneur Brad Greenspan might combine capital to top Murdoch's offer of 5 bill, which is a damn good offer because it's $60 a share/ 65% premium.

It's a little weird to think of a supermarket operator buying a newspaper. That's like the Lunds buying our paper, which would be really weird. But buying a newspaper is a good investment. Just ask Avista.

Guess what reporters are doing while money makers fight to make their paper more money. Not showing up for work. What is with these people! It's like they want their businesses to perform poorly. I can tell you right now that as soon as either Murdoch or Burkle and Greenspan take over, they're going to see just how many of these people they want to bring with them on the bus. That's the first step in going from good to great. I know it and those guys know it. Not showing up for work really sends a clear message on whether reporters want on that bus or not.

Publisher Is Higher Up Than VP

Okay, here's something funny for you. My wife can't stop talking about the things her and the designer have picked out for Paul Magers house that I just bought. Curtains, blah, blah, blah, sage brush, blah, blah, granite something, whatever. It can get on my nerves, especially after an entire day of meetings. The last thing I want is a meeting with my wife about decorating. But that's not what's funny.

I left the house to grab a beer at the OC with some friends of mine and while we were drinking, some guy came up to us and asked me if I was related to Kevin McHale because I looked like him!

Here's what Kevin McHale looks like, sitting next to Bird:

Can you believe that? Jeff told that guy that he could see what he meant, but McHale is way taller than I am. I mean, come on. I told him that I was the publisher of the Star Tribune and he sounded pretty impressed. He also bought my next Amstel Light for my trouble. If I see McHale at an event, I'm going to tell him that story. He'll love it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Grind

Man, all I did today was go to meetings. And lunch. Seriously, you would not believe how many meetings I have to go to in a day. I have to touch base with my lawyers about the trial. I have to meet with people from Avista and people from the board. I have to go to some downer meeting with someone from the newsroom like Gillespie. All day long, meetings. I can't wait until things settle in and I can go back to crunching numbers and strategizing for the paper.

Maybe tomorrow I'll have my assistant schedule a haircut for the afternoon to break up the day.
Yesterday Lambert wrote another attack piece on me. He thinks the Writer's Guild is going to have a vote of no confidence in me as publisher. Yeah right. Lambert must not read this blog. Avista, the people who own the paper that employs the Writer's Guild, have full confidence in me. Even though hacks with columns on the internet don't want the Star Tribune to make money, Avista does. That's why they hired me. So grow up, people. Let's get back to business. The President isn't going to get impeached and neither am I.

Oh, and speaking of business, what's this about Singleton wanting my head on a spike? I say we let the quarterly numbers do the talking. Unless Singleton can't stand that heat. There should be a vote of no confidence in Dean Singleton. He owns 57 papers and only comes to town to when it's time to sue someone. What a jerk. If he wants to step up, we'll see who's head goes on a spike.

Monday, July 9, 2007

One Night With Paris

Last week my wife was watching Paris Hilton on Larry King, because she had recorded it on the DVR. Larry King is great. Nobody does an interview better than him. He even made it interesting without playing clips of that weird porno tape she made.

My wife made a good point about Paris. People just don't understand how difficult it can be to be raised wealth-conscious like I was. We make little mistakes that other people don't. Paris has made a few mistakes. Okay, Paris has made a lot of mistakes, but not all of them were terrible.

The reason I'm telling this story is this. Someone from management who's on my side sent me an email that had been going around the newsroom. The email had quotes from Paris and quotes from me. Like, trying to say that I was as stupid as Paris.

I'll show you part of it so you can see how dumb it is:

"I've never done drugs." - Par(is)

"I didn't use data to hurt PiPress." - Par

"It really baffles me sometimes when I read things." - Par(is)

"Revenue has been declining since 2004 and we need to respond to that reality." - Par

"I didn't plan on using the Pioneer Press financials." - Par

"I don't want to cause a whole media circus." - Par(is)

"I should have been more sensitive to that." - Par

"I consider myself normal." -Par(is)

Nice try fellas. But I could take any sentence that you have said and make it sound stupid, too. Everyone makes mistakes, but we only get in trouble because of the public spotlight. If I could have a mulligan on those ad sheets and non-competes, I'd tell people flat out that I was taking them. Then it wouldn't have been such a fucking scandal.

Paris also said, "I did my time." Having to go through this trial is like doing time. But when my lawyers settle, I'll be free again, too.

I Also Like The Word 'Nemesis'

All these newspaper articles keep referring to me as a "scion." At first I thought it was the same word that my cable-tv-watching kids call me (and then giggle), but that turned out to be something different. So I finally looked it up and it pretty much means I've got excellence running in my blood. Check it for yourself, I'm a scion.

Full Confidence

“Par Ridder maintains our confidence going forward,” Mr. Kwon said.

That's right, baby. Guess where that quote comes from? Today's New York Times article on my civil trial. I think I come out pretty good in it. But do you know who doesn't? Singleton, that fool. That's what he gets for suing me and the big dogs.

The facts are out. Read them. I didn't do anything illegal. Read what Carr says -- what I did was take the hard work I'd done at my old job and brought it over to my new job. Coke and Pepsi battle all the time. Case closed.

Hopefully this trial will end soon so I can get back to watching that bottom line.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Prince at Macy's

Can you believe how many people waited outside for tickets to see Prince at First Avenue? Those people must be crazy. Didn't they know how hot it was? Or how unsafe it is in downtown Minneapolis, especially by Block E?

If you like Prince so much, why wouldn't you buy good tickets to the Target Center? Or even better, why not go to the release of Prince's cologne at Macy's? At Macy's you could get Prince's cologne and see him perform!

I had tickets to yesterday's Prince concert at Macy's. But I had to skip it. Some friends and I had a late dinner planned by the pool with some friends. And it's a good thing I skipped it. Prince didn't start on time, played more songs than he was supposed to, and the show went late. What kind of respect is that for people who paid top dollar for those tickets?

Monday, July 2, 2007

Vitamn: Swimsuit Edition

You've gotta check out the newest edition of our paper's freebie, Vitamn. It's full of models in swimsuits. I'd have to say that my favorite is the dark haired girl in the blue bikini. Man, she is hot. She's even hotter than the super tan chick with the short dress on. Did you know we're sponsoring swimsuit shows at the Calhoun Beach Club? That's where these pictures were taken. Yeah, Calhoun isn't top notch, but still, hanging out by a pool and getting front row seats to watch swimsuit models kicks ass. Being a publisher isn't all work all the time.

The new issue also an article about a new bar downtown. A whole paper of drinks and models in swimsuits. Why aren't we charging for this? There's even a column on sex! I'm going to talk to some people and see if we can't get moved over to the Tribune side.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Even after I defended Parry, she still had to go survey the newsroom to find out some bad things to say about me. Thanks Kate! Sometimes I wonder if my staff thinks I don't read my own paper. Hey folks, it's not my fault Singleton sued me! He's the one suing us, remember?

After we win this civil trial, we should almost counter-sue Singleton for damages. Parry's column is proof that the lawsuit has hurt our ability to make money. Also, it's not really helpful when your troops aren't behind you 100%. And it sounds like this lawsuit is really getting to the rank-and-file.

But whatever. That Bill Ward guy is right. You've got to put distractions behind you. That's why some friends and I are going to grab a drink at Biella after work and then spend some time on the water.