Thursday, September 27, 2007

Is A Euphemism Is A Euphemism Is A Euphemism?

(Apologies to Gertrude)

My good buddy over at Digital Fishwrap occasionally writes of the pitfalls of his peregrinations around the western U.S. While I can find some empathy with the relationship costs associated with wanderings, I've noticed a curious phenomenon which I think he might keep in mind as he contemplates his next move, and which trumps an adrift psyche...maybe.

The Coachella Valley in southern California is the repository for the fountain of youth! Or something.

To wit: The Desert Sun, the daily newspaper which has primary coverage for the Coachella Valley (Palm Springs, Indio, etc.) notes on September 27, that James, Jesus, Gustavo, David, Audrey, Lewis, and Jerry all "passed away." Lynn, on the other hand, "lost her long battle."

No one dies. At least not anyone on the "Lives Remembered" page. Why live anywhere else?

Lots of condos available, DigiFish, baby.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Let's Hear It For Max!!!

Good ol' Max!
Maxie, baby!
Maxie, Maxie, Maxie!

Maxwell Blecher has filed suit in a U.S. court in Los Angeles against Cable-TV companies. He seeks to end the companies' policy of not offering "a la carte" choices to subscribers.

That means, among other things, that, if Max is successful, not one red mill (remember mills from WWII days?) will go to those evangelical television shows which clog my cable service.

Imagine! No more clown makeup, bad wigs, or crocodile tears.

From Max's lips to Congress' ears.

Yeaaaaaa, Max!

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Constitution Day

The U.S. Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787.

That's the real reason we have to be careful about how we extricate ourselves from the current situation in Iraq.

(All 3 blogs deal with the Constitution today.)

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Thursday, September 13, 2007


The Charge of the Light Brigade
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
"Forward, the Light Brigade!
"Charge for the guns!" he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
"Forward, the Light Brigade!"
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Someone had blunder'd:
Their's not to make reply,
Their's not to reason why,
Their's but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.
Flash'd all their sabres bare,
Flash'd as they turn'd in air,
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wonder'd:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro' the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel'd from the sabre stroke
Shatter'd and sunder'd.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro' the jaws of Death
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.
When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honor the charge they made,
Honor the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred.
Tennyson's poem was inspired by an incident at the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War 153 years ago.
On September 13, 2007, President George Bush spoke to the American people informing us that the "surge" is a success and that we must maintain our troop presence there at surge level for additional months, with the American military presence in Iraq for years to come.
(What the Light Brigade didn't know was that the blunder was an attack against the wrong target.)
Is there an analogy between the Crimean War and the U.S. invasion of Iraq?

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Friday, September 07, 2007

Who speaks? And what is said?

As a companion piece to "Who reads?", may I offer "Who speaks?"? (Sometimes one wonders about the appropriate placement of multiple punctuation marks...but not often.)

For instance, Fred Thompson, in announcing his presidential candidacy, used the phrase "lower taxes" as a selling point.

What's the point of saying he's for lower taxes? Everyone is for lower taxes. The problem is that what we need is a sense of lowest taxes possible for the job(s) which need to be done.

There should not be one nickel in taxes more than is minimally necessary to fund necessary programs. We just have to decide on the programs.

Aye, there's the rub.

Let's use the appropriate suffix. In the case of taxes, we need the superlative, not the comparative--and all the obligations which attend thereunto.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Who reads?!? (Or Listens)

"Who reads?" is a laugh line from Light Up the Sky, a play about a Broadway play just as it is about to open.

It is also a line which is applicable to the current brouhaha concerning Senator Craig. There seems to be a certain amount of surprise that Senator Craig's spokesman has said the Senator's September 30th resignation from the Senate is not yet certain. A cursory glance at the Senator's statement on September 1, though, makes it clear that no one should be surprised.

Here's part of the CNN report of the statement made by Senator Craig last Saturday: "Therefore it is with sadness and deep regret that I announce that it is my intent to resign from the Senate, effective September 30th."

Notice the word "intent."

Here's the opening clause from the CNN website: Sen. Larry Craig said Saturday he will resign...

Here's a headline from an MSNBC website: Craig resigns over airport bathroom sex sting.

Here's a phrase from a Los Angeles Times story: In announcing his resignation, Craig, 62, said...

Here's the "head" from the New York Times: Senator Quits as Republicans Try to Regroup.

Even FoxNews missed the obvious: Sen. Larry Craig — whose guilty plea related to an airport bathroom incident ended in his resignation this past weekend.

Intent left the Senator a lot of wiggle room, and the Senator seems to be wiggling.

The question of the moment, however, is why didn't any of the media catch the conditional nuance of the original statement?

"It is my intent" is not the same as "I will."

Words matter. Just ask the spinmeisters in Washington, D.C., or on Madison Avenue.

Be careful.

Who reads?

Gentle Reader(s), you and I must.


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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

What's the dif?

Ah, Gentle Reader(s), what is the difference?

Although fatigued from pondering the fate of the world, my attention was piqued by this headline in the local newspaper, The Desert Sun: "City [Palm Springs] could shatter record on film shoots."

"So?" you say.

Well, this--the difference between "City could set new record on film shoots" and "City could shatter record on film shoots?"

Why don't we use more positive language whenever we are able to do so?

Actually, a record is an idea, and we simply cannot shatter an idea. We can enlarge an idea, we can debunk an idea, we can use an idea for a starting point to proceed to a new idea. There are many ways to say an idea's time has passed, if, indeed that be the case. The more positive we are in our diction, the more value the "old" idea retains, and the better we will feel about ourselves by using the positive language rather than negative language, which might very well erode our ability to see, objectively, our world.


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Saturday, September 01, 2007

A journalist by any other name

would be...what?

On "The McLaughlin Report" this evening (9/1/07) the featured topic was journalism.

It seems ol' John has discovered the web and bloggers, and he led a discussion which, generally, tried to define those who blog, especially about matters political.

The consensus, I think, is that bloggers are not journalists, at least in the traditional sense of the word; but that within a generation the dissemination of information will be a hybrid of newsprint, and various electronic media, however that might develop.

One would have to agree, in general. The discussion, however, didn't touch at all on the history of the word. Journal is a Middle French word meaning daily. A journalist was a person who wrote daily about various matters--a diarist.

McLaughlin and his panel were actually discussing a reporter more than a diarist. Probably the crossover occurred when newspapers became widely disseminated on a daily basis (not, though, with one of the first newspapers, the Acta Diurna [Actions of the Day?] of Rome).

Hold your heads, high, Dear Reader(s) and Fellow Bloggers. We're all journalists...even if our output is not always on a daily basis, and even if we're not reporters.

(And "get with it," John, baby!)

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