Sunday, July 27, 2008

Are you there blog? It's me, Merle.

From “Good Morning Silicon Valley”
Quoting a Project for Excellence in Journalism study:

"Meet the American daily newspaper of 2008.

"It has fewer pages than three years ago, the paper stock is thinner, and the stories are shorter. There is less foreign and national news, less space devoted to science, the arts, features and a range of specialized subjects. Business coverage is either packaged in an increasingly thin stand-alone section or collapsed into another part of the paper. The crossword puzzle has shrunk, the TV listings and stock tables may have disappeared, but coverage of some local issues has strengthened and investigative reporting remains highly valued.

"The newsroom staff producing the paper is also smaller, younger, more tech-savvy, and more oriented to serving the demands of both print and the web. The staff also is under greater pressure, has less institutional memory, less knowledge of the community, of how to gather news and the history of individual beats. There are fewer editors to catch mistakes.

"Despite an image of decline, more people today in more places read the content produced in the newsrooms of American daily newspapers than at any time in years. But revenues are tumbling. The editors expect the financial picture only to worsen, and they have little confidence that they know what their papers will look like in five years."

The San Francisco Chronicle recently jumped to 75 cents for the daily paper. And yet, strangely, the suckiness factor has also risen on a daily basis.

From a press packet I read this week.
"Layla, a young blues siren! She reached deep into her guts to hit some of the notes. She had the audience in the palm of her hands."

Where did she reach for the rest of the notes?

The Belgrade butcher…
…hid out for years as a new age healer. Weird.

Hitchens, God bless him.
“It seemed somehow profane that Sen. Jesse Helms should have managed to depart this life on the 232nd anniversary of the declaration of American independence. To die on the Fourth of July, one can perhaps be forgiven for feeling, is or ought to be a privilege reserved for men of the stamp of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both of whom expired on that day in 1826, 50 years after the promulgation of the declaration. One doesn't want the occasion sullied by the obsequies for a senile racist buffoon.”

On the other hand, if Christopher Hitchens is an atheist (and – let me check – he is), what does “profane” mean to him? And how can you "reserve" the Fourth of July, or any other day as far as that goes, as an expiration date? So: his whole point is negated, in a way. Except for the “senile racist buffoon” part.

PS: Note to self: Never use “promulgation” in a sentence.

Talulah Does the Hula in Hawaii…
…was granted the right by a judge in New Zealand to change her name to something else. Other names blocked in New Zealand included Fish and Chips, Yeah Detroit, Keenan Got Lucy and Sex Fruit.

This strange election.
So Obama goes to Germany to speak to thousands of Germans. McCain goes to a German restaurant in Columbus, Ohio to speak to… somebody. Is there a strategy there?

Bizarre media takes on Obama’s world tour.
(1) He might be TOO POPULAR in Germany. Hitler was popular in Germany, remember?
(2) His trip may have been too presumptuous. That is, he’s acting presidential, when in fact he’s not the president.

Our Whining Nation
On July 9, former senator Phil Gramm made some remarks to the Washington Times that wound up costing him his role as adviser to John McCain, and very nearly eclipsing the furor over the New Yorker cover of the Obamas.

He said, “You’ve heard of a mental depression, this is a mental recession.” He added, "We have sort of become a nation of whiners."

Phil Gramm has always struck me as sort of a Grumpy Dad type, the kind of guy who comes home after a hard day’s work, and just wants a highball, a leather chair, the Wall Street Journal, and a chilled alcoholic beverage to tide him over until Mom gets the roast out of the oven. He wants a little peace and quiet after a hard day of chewing out underlings.

What he doesn’t want is a den full of children running around with their Bobby-pushed-me’s, and their No-I-didn’t’s. Why, it’s enough to make a man build a woodshed, just so he can take the kids behind it and give them something to whine about.

But is America really a nation of whiners? Perhaps. But whiners whine for a variety of reasons. Is America overstimulated and cranky because it missed its nap time? Maybe America is whining because it has an owee.

If that’s the case – even if it’s just a mental owee – wouldn’t America be better served by a Daddy who puts down the newspaper for two lousy minutes to ask, “Where’s it hurt, champ?” Get out of the chair, get a band-aid and some hydrogen peroxide. Maybe make a little medal out of card stock and tin foil, pin it on America’s jammies. Then a pat on the head, and warm “That’s my little soldier,” and back to the Wall Street Journal op-ed page.

Where Daddy might read….

From the Wall Street Journal
“A cry for help goes out from a city beleaguered by violence and fear: A beam of light flashed into the night sky, the dark symbol of a bat projected onto the surface of the racing clouds ...

“Oh, wait a minute. That's not a bat, actually. In fact, when you trace the outline with your finger, it looks kind of like ... a ‘W.

“There seems to me no question that the Batman film ‘The Dark Knight,’ currently breaking every box office record in history, is at some level a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war. Like W, Batman is vilified and despised for confronting terrorists in the only terms they understand. Like W, Batman sometimes has to push the boundaries of civil rights to deal with an emergency, certain that he will re-establish those boundaries when the emergency is past.”

The above may be the dumbest thing I have ever read. Mind is boggled, jaw dropped. Note to self: never use "paean" in a sentence.

Another side effect of global warming
More kittens. Apparently, longer and warmer weather cycles are fooling feral female cats into going into estrus more often.

Nouri Al Maliki Iraq's prime minister stated that he would consider setting a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawals from his country.

Iraq has had a great time, America, but now it’s getting kind of late. Iraq is sneaking looks at its watch, looking longingly at the bedroom door, stifling yawns. Last call, America. Drink up. You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here.

More from the Wall Street Journal
“Now that Starbucks Corp. has disclosed the 600 locations it wants to shutter, a phenomenon is taking hold: the Save Our Starbucks campaign. In towns as small as Bloomfield, N.M., and metropolises as large as New York, customers and city officials are starting to write letters, place phone calls, circulate petitions and otherwise plead with the coffee company to change its mind.”

You can close the one that’s kitty corner from the one over there, but please please please don’t close the Starbucks that’s two doors down from that Starbucks. We must have our next soy decaf, if we don’t have our next soy decaf, I tell you we must die!

Oh Moon of Alabama...
We now must say good by.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our site takes a somewhat unbalanced view of the good Senator, and the coincidence of the 4th of July passing. Yours is about as charitable. Thanks for adding your comment to the blogging universe.

5:14 PM  

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