Diary

Santa Arrives a Day Early...

Santa arrives early
Santa snuck down our chimney early this year with a welcome little gift. It really hasn’t been a great year for Republicans, and especially for conservative Republicans. And it’s easy to lapse into the doldrums looking at the tasks ahead of us in the coming two years when the so-called Party leadership appears to be busy cementing themselves into their old jobs so they can continue to build on the freaking disaster fine job they’ve done over the past couple of years.

But, there is (no pun intended) HOPE!

I feel a little like the young lad in Ronald Reagan’s story who was in incurable optimist and who’s dad wanted to help him see reality. So for Christmas the dad had an entire truckload of horse manure delivered to their front yard. Christmas morning came and the dad pointed out the big pile of steaming stuff in the yard and the lad said “WOW!” with wide eyes and ran into the yard with a shovel. He was excitedly digging through the pile when his dad asked, “What are you doing?”. The young lad stopped just long enough to catch his breath and say, “With all this horse stuff, there’s just gotta be pony in here SOMEWHERE!”

Well, I found the pony thank you.

From Santa’s Workshop Reuters…

NEW YORK, Dec 24 (Reuters) – The New York Times Co’s (NYT.N) November advertising revenue fell 20 percent, the company said on Wednesday, illustrating how the financial crisis is aggravating dizzying revenue declines at U.S. newspapers.

Ad revenue at the publisher’s New York Times Media Group, which includes the Times newspaper, fell 21.2 percent from a year earlier because of a drop in real estate and jobs classified advertising.

And guess what happened to Pinch’s family’s stock portfolio? Heh.

Just a year ago it was $17.50. At a couple of points it flirted with the low twenties. In early 2004 it was flirting with $50.00. At the moment it is [Drum Roll Please!]

$5.99

Heh. Great job Pinch! I’m sure the family is proud of you.

For a sniff at just how bleak Christmas could be at TinyPinch’sTM this year…

For the Times, the numbers are important because it is trying to meet its 2009 debt obligations and reduce borrowing. At the same time, it is trying to save money as the newspaper business worsens.

Privately held Tribune Co [that would be the Chicago Tribune, owners of among other indignities, the LA Times] earlier this month filed for bankruptcy … AH Belo Corp (AHC.N) [the Dallas Morning News – TX version of Pravda] and McClatchy Co (MNI.N) [all the news that seeps up from the Fever Swamp] have amended their debt terms with lenders to avoid edging closer to violating their agreements.

The Times is considering selling some of its properties, but has not yet said which ones.

Oh, and let’s not forget…

Internet ad revenue, long a source of hope among newspaper publishers battered by falling print ad sales and circulation, dropped 4 percent…

Remember the vaunted NYT website and their foray into Times Select the pay-per-view version of the Editorial page where they hid their OpEd wackos? Well, you can’t really be faulted if you don’t remember it. It wasn’t all that memorable. Especially to their readers. Either of them.

Oh and let’s not forget The Times, kinda like those auto moguls in Detroit, have a cash crunch.

The New York Times Company plans to borrow up to $225 million against its mid-Manhattan headquarters building, to ease a potential cash flow squeeze as the company grapples with tighter credit and shrinking profits.

The company has retained Cushman & Wakefield, the real estate firm, to act as its agent to secure financing, either in the form of a mortgage or a sale-leaseback arrangement, said James M. Follo, the Times Company’s chief financial officer.

So, with Christmas upon us I have a question for our esteemed Blackhedd. And it’s a serious question folks, I’m not just playing with my Christmas present from Mrs908 and Franz who chipped in and got me a brand new set of PointySticksTM since I’ve pretty much worn my old ones out over the last couple of weeks.

Francis, what do we have to do to raise $225M? There’s been a lot of talk around here about buying media outlets and it looks to me like we could probably have a great candidate by the short hairs for a lousy $225M. And if they miss a payment, can I please have first dibs on tossing Pinch out his window?

A Merry Christmas to all.