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Tuesday notes

Feb 28, 2012 - By Steven R. Peck

Leaping toward March

Last day of the month? Not this year.

2012 is a "leap year," meaning we'll have a 29th day of February, another day to wait to see if March will come in like a lion and go out like a lamb, as the charming old saying goes. So far, the whole winter has been much more like the woolly baby and much less like the roaring feline. But if Tuesday's weather is indicative, March might come in like, well ... a snow leopard?

'DTP'

Visitors with pry bars opened up two huge crates in the back rooms of The Ranger office Monday. Our long-awaited conversion to what in our business is called "direct to plate" has begun.

When installation is complete in a few days, we are promised a faster production time for our newspaper at less cost in the long run, with the attractive bonus of better color reproduction and fewer problems with color being "out of register."

After Monday's unpacking by the expert installers, Tuesday is being dedicated to setup and calibrating the equipment with accompanying computer software. We'll do some training Wednesday and hope to try the new technology for the first time on Thursday's Ranger.

This is much more exciting for those of us on the "inside" of the business, but we're optimistic these changes will be interesting to our readers and advertisers as well.

More primaries

After what most Americans probably would agree was a welcome respite from the intense primary election campaign, the heat is back on full blast with the important Michigan primary Tuesday. Republicans Mitt Romney and his latest obstacle builder, Rick Santorum, are squaring off in a huge battle for a state once presumed to be Romney's for the asking. Arizona also has its primary Tuesday, but the eyes of the political establishment will be on Michigan.

For all his advantages tied to money, campaign experience and organization, Romney hasn't been able to close the deal ahead of time in Michigan as he had wanted and been expected to do. In fact, he's been battling from behind following Santorum's four-state win two weeks ago.

If Romney actually were to lose Michigan, the state where he was born and where his father was a widely admired governor, the race would become immensely more difficult for him. If he can win it then the Super Tuesday doors would be a lot easier to open next week. A buck says Romney survives, even if it's just by the breadth of a well-trimmed hair.

Thou in the Dow

Dow Jones Industrial Average watchers are still waiting for the famed stock market barometer to close above 13,000. It's come very close several times in the past week.

Meanwhile, our yearlong "Thou in the Dow" experiment now shows that a thousand-dollar investment in an imaginary fund based solely on the Dow's rise and fall would have been worth $1136.42 as of Tuesday morning had the money been invested at the end of the market's huge plunge last August.

The progress has been slow but steady since then, and today the benchmark index is almost double what it was as 2008 ended. (A Thou in the Dow on, say, New Year's Day 2009 really would have been something.)

Movie winners

For the first time since 1929 a silent movie has won the Academy Award as the best motion picture of the year. "The Artist" hasn't appeared in a Fremont County theater yet, but the "Oscar bounce" might bring it our way.

Otherwise Sunday was a great night for some great names in the movie business: 82-year-old Christopher Plummer winning best supporting actor, 17-time nominee Meryl Streep claiming her third best actress prize, esteemed director Martin Scorcese's "Hugo" taking five Oscars, and the most-nominated screenwriter in Oscar history, Woody Allen (better known as a director, but he writes all his movies), winning as well. This is part of the strength of the American film industry -- the continuity of the great stars merged with the excitement of the innovators and new arrivals.

Tournament time

Riverton High School gets its chance to have the home-court advantage at the West 4-A regional basketball tournament this week. If the Wolverine teams can win their Thursday openers, both will go to the state tournament.

It's a shame the host teams aren't allowed to play the two "prime-time" games at their own tournament, but by previous agreement among the schools, tipoff times are set by tournament seedings. So, Riverton's girls play their "in-and-they're-in" game at 4 p.m., the boys 90 minutes later.

Not the most convenient times, but this is what we've got. The teams need fan support. Let's give it to them.

Here's to a good week.

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