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Monday, March 27, 2023
Editor’s NotebookEditor's Notebook: When it comes to ants, we cry 'uncle'

Editor’s Notebook: When it comes to ants, we cry ‘uncle’

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Having moved in December across the street to our new Sun Gazette World Headquarters here in bucolic Falls Church, we are starting up on our first warm-weather season at the new HQ.

So far, the only issue has been the ants that are making their presence known as they come out of the ground (or wherever they spent the winter; Barbados, maybe?) and make their way up to the second floor (third floor if you’re looking at it from the back) and into our cozy office.

As one who doesn’t like to kill living things, especially such intrepid living things as hard-working ants, I am leading the office effort to encourage them to go elsewhere, rather than channeling my inner Assad family member and go all genocidal on them.

A week in, it’s been a mixed result. One thing is for sure — don’t leave any food out. Battalions upon battalions of ants are laying in wait. (Or is it “lying in wait”? If only this industry hadn’t laid off all its copy editors ….)


OUR LONG NATIONAL RENOVATION NIGHTMARE IS OVER: It took four months — damn you, supply-chain problems — but with the installation of a new stove on Saturday, the renovation-in-preparation-for-sale of my little Shirlington condo is complete.

And now, off to market we go!

Given that I’ve been out of it since December and have been dropping buckets of cash on it in the intervening months, it will be nice when this is finally all over and done with. Certainly been a learning experience, as I assume any renovation project is.

LOOK FOR THE UNION LABEL: Let’s take the wayback machine to this week in 1960, when the Northern Virginia Sun reported that a National Labor Relations Board examiner had ruled partially in favor of each side in the 14-month strike of the International Typographical Union against the newspaper (the forerunner of the Sun Gazette).

Back then, publishers were battling typographers’ unions over the installation of newfangled computer equipment to do composition of the newspaper pages. It was a battle fought out from the 1950s through the 1980s and included some protracted and ugly strikes — anyone remember that of the Washington Post in the 1970s? My family lived through the ones at the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Bulletin back then, too. That episode ended in favor of the publishers, but helped to push the already-teetering Bulletin into insolvency and closure.

Not sure if the strike against the Northern Virginia Sun ever got settled. But looking around the office, I find no typographers these days. Just newsroom folks toiling away on the keyboards.

  • Scott McCaffrey
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