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6:35 pm EDT        82°F (28°C) in Dearborn, MI

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I've been forgetting to mention this for a good bit of the week, but this past Wednesday, major changes in Detroit's media landscape were announced. The Detroit Free Press, formerly owned by Knight-Ridder Inc., was sold to Gannett, Inc., which in turn sold the Detroit News to Denver, CO-based MediaNews Group, Inc.. Some of you may be more familiar with Gannett as the publisher of USA Today, and with MediaNews Group as the publisher of the Denver Post and the Salt Lake Tribune.

One positive aspect of all of this dealing, in my opinion, is the end of the papers' joint operating agreement that dates back to 1989. Under its terms, the News and Free Press put out joint weekend editions that had absolutely no reading continuity; one day, the News would be responsible for certain sections, and the other, the Free Press would do those sections. For example, you would end up seeing a paper that had a Free Press front section, a News "metro" or local section, a Free Press sports section, etc..

I do have to wonder if this is going to change the editorial stances of either paper. The News supposedly had a bit more of a conservative bent, and the Free Press a more liberal one (although I'm not sure I buy the notion that the Free Press leaned left — at times, they have seemed downright conservative to me). It's really quite hard to say, and looking at other Gannett and MediaNews Group properties doesn't really help much; USA Today, for example, is noted for its centrism. Frankly, as long as neither paper turns into the print equivalent of WJR-AM (760), I don't think I'll be too concerned. (The fact that WJR carries well-known right-wing liars Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity clearly demonstrates that they have pretty strong GOP partisan leanings.)

My crap-tastic pile of shit truck has struck again, although this time, I think I may have been able to solve the problem. I'm not even supposed to take off from home until tomorrow, but when I stopped by the truck last night, I noticed that none of the interior lights would work. Inserting the key and turning it yielded nothing more than a short-lived series of clicks, indicating dead batteries. (Most trucks carry four of the very same 12-volt batteries that power your car; on my truck, they are found in a box that sits between the frame rails just behind the cab.) I tried to jump-start it off of my car, but that didn't work; that seemed to be about as effective as using a toy "cap gun" to hunt large animals.

I decided to try it again earlier this afternoon, this time using the trailer refrigeration unit to provide the power. I started the unit and hooked everything up before leaving for about two hours for other errands. Upon completing those errands and returning, I turned the ignition key and … success! Even though I won't be back in the truck for perhaps as long as a day, I activated the Optimized Idle function and set the cab thermostat to 65°F (18°C). That way, the truck will re-start itself if either (a) the battery voltage is detected to have become too low, or (b) the cab temperature exceeds 69°F (21°C), and that will hopefully mean charged batteries and a comfortable interior temperature when I return. Seeing as the cab temperature was 104°F (40°C) when I got the truck started, that should keep it running plenty long to finish charging the batteries fully.

Well, let's cross our fingers that the truck will still run.