Thursday, December 06, 2007

Not News: Posh Spice sleeps in the buff with Becks

I think it's great that Posh Spice doesn't let anything get between her and her Calvin Klein sheets, but this is not news.

Don't AP writers have anything better to report on? Sure, this little item is a perfect headline for, but the Associated Press? Has it really gotten this bad?

I know what you're thinking - that I'm some uptight white guy passing judgement from his cubical castle - but, that's far from the truth. In fact, I enjoy a healthy dose of The Superficial now and again.

My point is that it's not news; despite its high ranking in Yahoo! News' "Most Popular News Stories" page.

The benefits of kangaroo farts, now that's news. But not the sleeping habits of Posh Spice.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

"Ask Mitt Anything" Really? Anything?

I was recently alerted to Mitt Romney's "Ask Mitt Anything" campaign from a news photo following this article about how filthy rich he is.

So, "anything?" Really? I wonder if someone has asked him about his Jesus Jammies.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Bush urges U.N. to spread freedom...BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY

OK. If you read this story carefully, Bush didn't really say "By any means necessary." In fact, upon further reflection, I've mischaracterized the President here. It would be more accurate to say, "By any means necessary if it would result in an economic benefit, otherwise, just ignore it."

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Surviving the Sunday Comics - A Guide

I've been noticing a disturbing trend lately - the comics aren't so funny anymore. Perhaps it's because I'm older, have more sophisticated tastes or am just plain jaded, but many of the current comic strips bore me.

In fact, a couple of years ago, I started selective reading to save time and prevent eye injury from pervasive eye-rolling. Victims of the culling process include Beetle Bailey, Hagar the Horrible, For Better or for Worse, Wizard of Id and Mutts. Out of respect for a long history where I owned 16 books as child, I still scan Garfield, but it's rarely funny.

Fortunately, there still are some pretty funny comic strips that deliver chuckles on a regular basis. I'll present them here in scientific order of funniness.

Get Fuzzy. This is one darn funny comic strip. The interaction between Bucky the cat, Satchel the dog and Rob, their owner is clever and inspired. If you like comic strips about pets, drop Mutts and Garfield and read Get Fuzzy. (click image to enlarge)

Get Fuzzy

Pearls Before Swine. This is a welcome addition to the San Francisco Chronicle. The characters and plots are great. What's not funny about some crazy crocodiles trying to eat some zebras. And their current story arc about Family Circus is hilarious. (click image to enlarge)

Pearls Before Swine

To be continued...

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Fun tid-bits from Wired Magazine - Sept. '07

Sept. 07It's hard to resist 'free,' so I recently upped my magazine quotient when American Airlines offered me the opportunity to score some free subscriptions in exchange for a languishing lot of frequent flier miles that I was never going to use.

I made bad selections, like Blender, which is far inferior to Spin, but also some good ones like the Wall Street Journal and Wired Magazine. It's the latter that has brought the most entertainment value. After several issues, my only regret is not to have subscribed sooner. It's like Popular Science (which I also subscribe to), but more fun and hip. To prove that point, I'll share a couple of fun articles from the Sept. issue.

Pecha Kucha: Get to the PowerPoint in 20 Slides Then Sit the Hell Down
Thank God for this article. As a marketing writer, I would like to hope that 20-slide, sub-seven-minute presentations would be adopted by business types around the globe. Unfortunately, I'm not that naive. Limiting the number of slides and time required to present them would have the sublime effect of forcing presenters to get to the point.

What's Inside: Snausages Snawsomes
Fortunately, my dog's diet is more or less limited to Eukanuba, Trader Joes dog biscuits and random meat scraps from a bbq dinner. After reading this article, I'm glad that the only time my dog has had "Snawsomes" is when it came free with a dog toy pack from Costco. Let's just say that "corn syrup" comes before beef, and the beef is most likely "skeletal or that which is found in the tongue, in the diaphragm, in the heart, or in the esophagus; with or without the accompanying and overlying fat and the portions of the skin, sinew, nerve and blood vessels." Thank you, Wired, for this valuable PSA. Just say s'no to Snawsomes.

Beware These Six Lamest Social Networks
This social commentary on social networks is right on the money. Short and sweet, but still able to produce a chuckle. My faith in humankind is weakened slightly knowing that this is a social network site for Thomas Kinkade, painter of lite.

I could go on and on with other fun articles, but I'll save that other posts. Plus, I've got to get cracking on Popular Science and Wall Street Journal and Esquire and Business Week and Spin and Newsweek and Consumer Reports and...yes, I have a problem.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I love Tom Swifties, said Jason quickly.

Tom SwiftlyAs someone who obsesses about grammar, I am thoroughly enjoying “When You Catch an Adjective, Kill It,” by Ben Yagoda. Although, I now know that a good writer would not have used a cheap adverb like “thoroughly” when a more descriptive verb like “relish” would do. Be patient, it’s taking a while for all of this to sink in.

I’m not yet through the book, but I am compelled to blog about a grammatical pun previously unknown to me – the Tom Swiftly. Yagoda contends that most Tom Swifties are unfunny, but I found myself cracking up at many of them.

The Tom Swiftly hearkens back to a turn-of-the-century series of novels by Edward Stratemeyer where the boy inventor hero, Tom Swift, was unable to simply “say” anything. Nearly every utterance was meticulously modified by an adverb, such as “I am unable to say anything plainly,” said Tom simply. (Yes, these are adverb jokes.)

Wikipedia does a much more thorough (“thorough” here is an adjective, so it’s okay) job of explaining the origins and providing examples, so I’ll just list a couple here that had me in stitches. The last example I tried to tell my wife several times but couldn’t deliver the adverb punch line without cracking up first.

“I only have diamonds, clubs and spades,” said Tom heartlessly.

"They had to amputate them both at the ankles," Tom said defeatedly.

“I manufacture countertops for shops,” said Tom counterproductively.

"Elvis is dead," said Tom expressly.

“I’m not sure I’m a homosexual,” said Tom, half in Ernest.