Memo as poetry

Overdue public thanks to my quite-literary friend Elizabeth for picking up Susan Terris’ Memos at the AWP conference this year and sending me a copy. The book in the mail was a surprise, and then so were many of the poems in the collection. My three favorites at the moment are: “Memo to the girl with the port-wine stain across her face” (“your parents I’d like to know them”), “Memo to the deadbeat dad” (“think about the no-garden garden”) and “Memo to the young streetwalker” (“I can still see the soft spot your parchment / head cradled”).

Strangest two video moments last week: fish and take-off

Activating upon entry to my Berlin hotel room:

Good morning, East Coast, and welcome to my Berlin hotel room. Good morning, and have a nice day.

A video posted by Patrick Cooper (@btrpkc) on

During take-off from Copenhagen, bound for Dulles:

Overhead screens at the start of today's flight home. Is watching your own take-off a thing now?

A video posted by Patrick Cooper (@btrpkc) on

Photos: Three days in Germany and much non-profit-news talk

So, I received a chance to spend three days in Germany this month discussing non-profit journalism. I’d never been to Germany before, beyond a day trip to Dachau, a flight change in Frankfurt, and the Salzburg (Austria) salt-mine tour’s brief underground jaunt across the German border (complete with sets of underground flags).

The trip, somehow just last week, turned out well…

  • … hours walking around the old East Berlin, now a beautifully free mix of new and old, and a day and change in Magdeburg, a friendly place a train ride from Berlin and home to a ton of history.
  • … a day of training and discussion both thoughtful and provocative with super-smart students at Magdeburg-Stendal University, led by their professor and our wonderful Germany-based host, Leigh Love, and several interesting leaders of German non-profit news orgs.
  • … and near-continuous conversation about non-profit news issues, both journalistic and business, with other members of the American contingent: Paul Steiger, founding editor of ProPublica and former managing editor of the Wall Street Journal; Chuck Lewis, founder of the Center for Public Integrity and most recently of the Investigative Reporting Workshop; Ayan Mittra, managing editor at the Texas Tribune; Kelli Arena, our other lead host, the former D.C.-based CNN correspondent and now executive director of the Global Center for Journalism and Democracy at Sam Houston State, which paid for the trip (not NPR or its listeners); Jesse Starkey, star program manager at the center; and two of their awesome just-graduated students.

Here’s what the trip looked like, from arrival to departure. I only captured a third of the sights. In these shots, you’ll miss the water bottle exploding during my lecture. The salt-shaker of mystery. The meats and cheeses. The man with the “Support Your Local Hustler” hat. The rock band maybe called The Magazines. The back-and-forth about differences in American and German views on surveillance. The back-and-forth about funding sources. The breakfast pretzels. The Nutella. The fantastic journalism chair who’d run a community radio station in East Germany in the immediate aftermath of the dictatorship. So much so quickly. But hopefully you’ll get the feel.

Arrival in Berlin Monday morning…






Continue reading Photos: Three days in Germany and much non-profit-news talk

Remembering Mr. Showbiz

Random thought tonight:

Internet Archive’s cached Mr. Showbiz is here.

Then I remembered this photo. Somehow, back when the Mr. Showbiz site was still alive — so, pre-2002 — pal and mentor Jody ended up with a bottle of Mr. Showbiz bubbly. When she moved out of her condo in 2006, she emptied her cabinets, and I ended up with this bottle. I failed to drink it, and next thing I knew it was 2010. Ten-year-old white-label dotcom-boom bubbly seemed a little too chance-y to drink. But I did take a picture.


Again — RIP Mr. Showbiz.

So much for that comeback

“This is where the Patrick comeback begins,” I wrote in 2013, with so much hope. In the Social Security baby-name index in 2012, Patrick had moved from 144 (or 143, depending on your source) to 142 among boys. The upward move was my name’s first rise since 1994. I truly believed we Patricks were on our way back.

Checking the data tonight, because why not, I find the gain was sadly short-lived. In 2013’s Social Security data, Patrick fell to 154, Patrick’s worst showing since 1920 (at position 159). In 2014, my name didn’t do much better, finishing at 153. Patrick’s all-time worst showing was 1919, at position 166. We’re not far away.

The ten boy names that finished ahead of Patrick in 2014 were: Victor, Ryker (named after the island?), Jayce (sure), Preston (come on), Bryan, Kaleb, Miguel, Axel (that one kills me every year), Steven, and (this is why they hate us) Ashton.

Cooper, thankfully, has plateaued as a first name. (The blog is long on the record as being pro-Cooper-last-name, anti-Cooper-first-name.) After hitting spot 75 in 2010, subsequent years saw Cooper fall to spots 82, 83, 84, and (in 2014) 86.

Keep the Zimmerman-Yankees walk-offs coming

The 2006 headline reads, “Kid Zimmerman, Nats burn Yankees with walk-off blast.” An end-note on the story reads, “The sellout crowd was the highest single-game attendance for a baseball game in the history of RFK Stadium (a 1962 doubleheader drew more spectators).”

The Post story about that win against the Yankees — then a league above us, in a sense — is absolutely heart-warming. The homer happened on Father’s Day with Zimmerman’s dad in the crowd. And Zimmerman had never before hit a walk-off homer — or any kind of walk-off — at any level of baseball. Video of that home run is here:

I was there at RFK for the game, with my father, and the rest of family. It was a baseball moment I’ll never forget. So, it was exciting Tuesday night to be at Nats Park when Zimmerman hit the 10th walk-off of his career, against the Yankees in the bottom of the 10th inning. Perfect weather, and followed Harper and Ramos homers. What a team.

The Post:

Chocolate sauce dripped down Ryan Zimmerman’s face late Tuesday night, smeared over a subdued grin. His home run off the right field foul pole a few moments before gave the Nationals an 8-6 win over the Yankees, a rally from a four-run deficit to a fourth straight victory. For the first time in his career, stoic, steady Zimmerman was drenched in Gatorade and water and topped with chocolate. For the first time all season, the Nationals had a share of first place in the National League East.