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February 3, 2005

big freakin whoop

Yeah, I watched the State of the Union speech.  Blah blah blah.  Don't know if ever the SOTU had some grander meaning or implication, but now it's yet another reality-averse bubble event, where all the players follow their ground rules about how much they can clap and the timing of their standing Os and Republicans dye their fingers oblivious while the president of the United States thinks to himself, "Gosh, this was much cooler when Tom Brady was here."

I will say that it was awful nice -- nice in a hypocritical and manipulative way -- of the president to actually acknowledge, in words or deeds, the family of a soldier killed in the war.

One down, fourteen hundred fifty to go.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:04 AM

February 2, 2005

prepare for action

It's true.  Writing about primetime presidential speeches is kind of like going to church on Easter.  Every year you swear you're not going to go, and then you do anyway.

Just kidding!  Church on Easter!?!  That's when it's really busy!

Off to find some suitably dank place to watch the State of the Union.  Because, you know, if nobody tells us what it is, then how will we know?

Note to self:  Attempt to be scathing!  Attempt to be scathing!  Also, gimmicks do half the work.

Posted by mrbrent at 7:44 PM

IYI 2.2.05

Some days, I just walk around hoping that the opportunity arises to refer to two people as "Tweedledum and Tweedledummer".  Doesn't really matter which two people, as long as they are both dumb.

I forget who coined this phrase I hope some day to say out loud.  Could be Mel Gibson in a "Lethal Weapon" movie.  Could be Jim Cornette cutting his usual gonzo heel promo.  Again, doesn't really matter.  Because, once those two dumb guys walk into my office, look out.

Let's not google it, or a9.com it even, and let the mystery inform the remainder of our workday.

Posted by mrbrent at 12:46 PM

February 1, 2005

technically: shift into subjunctive

Sometimes, the Yahoo Box of Headlines gives you a glimpse behind the scenes.  Like this morning.

At 8:30 am est:

• Pentagon would raise military death pay

At 8:50 am est:

• Pentagon may raise military death pay

Apparently, the Yahoo Headline Box Editor did not feel that the wording of the first headline was perfectly enough crafted, and switched out the auxillary verb like a thief in the night.  Since the Internets are a paperless endeavor, it's not so much of a case of "get me rewrite" and/or "re-set the front page" as it is a little bloodless cutting and pasting.

Sadly, the first headline lends itself to the funny more adroitly, as it raises the question, "What is the immediately subsequent clause in that sentence?".  Possibilities include: "...if forced to," "...on orders of a jumpy and publicity-shy Rumsfeld," and "...but the president won't let them."  The second headline, with the much more careful "may", is only funny in the larger context, as in, "The President may support tax increase on rich... but it's highly unlikely."

Consequently, the story belonging to the headline is about a giveaway to the insurance industry masquerading as a long-needed raise in death benefits for US soldiers.  Other, smarter writers should probably go into that at length.

For us, we'll settle for, "Verbs are funny!"

Posted by mrbrent at 8:50 AM

January 31, 2005

olbermann brings the beat back/down

You've probably noticed that SpongeBob has become a new sort of Macro around town.  A convenient shorthand for the American Taliban's desperate search for enemies, or the looming threat of non-threatening cultural icons.

Come to find out that the journalist Keith Olbermann was somewhat targeted for e-mail harrassment by Dobson's Focus on the Family minions due to his rightfully skeptical coverage of the SpongeBob non-story.  Olbermann responded at length.  A choice quote:

Hey, guys, worry about yourselves.  You’re spewing hate, while assuming that for some reason, God has chosen you and you alone in all of history to understand the mysteries of existence, when mankind’s existence is filled with ample evidence that nobody yet has been smart enough to discern an answer.

I posted Olbermann's link a while ago.  While internet presence is not as good as his actual show, I like to think of him as my fave teevee news reader -- kind of like The Daily Show minus fake news.  Let's see how high we can push those MSNBC ratings!

Ah, just kidding -- MSNBC's will always be somewhere behind HGTV no matter what we do.

Posted by mrbrent at 12:21 PM