Sunday, April 15, 2007

(Almost) Imus-free blog

Billionaires in space!
Software mogul Charles Simonyi spent a whole bunch of money so he could blast off with a couple cosmonauts this April. His friend, Martha Stewart, stood on the ground to wave him off. He helped develop Microsoft Word. I own a licensed copy of Microsoft Word. Therefore… I dunno.

Can you hear me now?
A new study suggests that the reason bee colonies are disappearing at such an alarming rate is that their navigation systems are being disrupted by radiation from cell phones.

Geico cavemen
So amusing are they not? ABC is toying with the possibility of a sitcom starring the Geico cavemen. And CBS may do a dramatic series starring that creepy gray moth from the Lunesta commercials. Is that supposed to be restful? Having some nervous insect fluttering around your bed while you’re trying to sleep?

New life for dead boats
Geneva watchmaker Romain Jerome SA has introduced a new line of wristwatches made of steel and coal from the Titanic. CEO Yvan Arpa told the press that the watch “is very luxurious and very inaccessible." Which is everything I look for in a timepiece – you can’t afford it, and you can’t find it.

I want to make a wristwatch out of Don Imus’ shattered reputation. Any takers?

“Predatory Lenders”
Everytime I see these words in print I visualize men and women (business casual), clutching clipboards, and roaming lower middle class neighborhoods in a pack, searching for single parent families to give mortgages to, and then devour.

The coming crony shortage
Paul Wolfowitz, appointed by President Bush to head the World Bank a few years back, got in trouble last week when it was revealed that he used his position to get his girlfriend, Shaha Ali Riza, a comfortable job in the US State Department, with a big pay raise. Wolfowitz is married, but has lived apart from his wife since 2001.

Wall Street Journal: “The World Bank’s staff association had said Shaha Ali Riza, who remained on the bank’s payroll while working at State for the Middle East Partnership Initiative, had received $61,000 in raises since she left, a sum the association said is out of line with bank rules governing salary increases.”

The coming crony shortage2
Slate: “Even if the congressional investigation of the U.S. attorney firings yields no more evidence that the dismissals were nefarious, it will have been more than worthwhile for the window that's been opened into the internal workings of the Bush administration. The latest revelation, of course, is that top White House aides, including Karl Rove, used e-mail accounts set up by the Republican National Committee—and that some of the messages they sent—as many as five million—are missing, including e-mails that relate to the U.S. attorney firings.”

Five million e-mails? How can you even generate that many e-mails, much less lose them?

What were they thinking?
I did not know this but Katie Couric has a blog! How exciting! She posts video essays on “Couric & Co.,” which can be found at the CBS News Web site. Recently, an essay she did on libraries was discovered to have been stolen from a Wall Street Journal column by Jeffrey Zaslow. The producer of the video essay was fired.

I have several questions. First of all, shouldn’t the folks at CBS be reading the Wall Street Journal every day? If they had, wouldn’t they have noticed right away that the essay handed Ms. Couric was the same as the one in the WSJ? My second related question: why did the producer think she could get away with it? Surely, she must be compensated adequately; couldn’t she have, you know, taken an hour or two and written an original essay?

The other thing, as Timothy Noah in Slate points out, the site purports to be Ms. Couric’s personal thoughts on this and that; he writes that the essay “began with a personal memory: ‘I still remember when I first got my library card.’ That sentence was not lifted from the Zaslow column, but it's actually more fake than anything else in the commentary because it purports to be a personal recollection. In fact, however, it is McNamara remembering on Couric's behalf ….”

So this essay, after we remove the plagiarism and aliases, is untrue in every particular and is actually about nothing at all. Just more… content. But it’s free!

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