Category Archives: news

The New York Times Could Kill Me And All My Friends If It Wanted To

I can’t count how many times I’ve had the following conversation with my 20-somethings friends:

“So I learned recently that there is a connection between [type of exercise or diet] and [health concern I didn’t use to worry about but now worry about a lot].”

“Oh, yeah, I read about that too.”

“New York Times health blog?”

“Yup.”

The New York Times is pretty much my only source for health news (except the occasional random Wired article). Thanks to the NYT, I feel better about drinking coffee, feel guilty that I don’t do more crosswords, aspire to do more interval training, and carry the burdensome suspicion that there are 1,000 things I need to do to prevent my joints from collapsing and my attention span and memory from going to shit, and I’m only doing 4 of them.

It looks sinister if you stare at it long enough.

Which leads me to this realization:

If the New York Times wanted to kill thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of middle and upper-middle class people between the ages of 22 and 42, they totally could. All they’d need to do is slip the deadly advice into their health articles.

Must be a slow news day

Is TwitterRegret a thing?

19,045 followers are busy at 4 pm

(Click for bigger view, if you want to be briefly bored).

Really?  Hasn’t that tweet just given me all the information I could possibly glean from this story?

I guess it must be a real slow news day.  Quick, an on-the-spot, top-5 list of things that might have happened Monday morning to push this story off the NBC programming schedule:

  1. Three dogs fell down a sewer and were saved.
  2. Really great lunch special being offered somewhere delicious in Philadelphia.
  3. President Obama said anything.
  4. Roy Halladay said something resembling an opinion on something other than pitching.
  5. The NBC Philadelphia Twitter guy overheard a sentence in the elevator that was kind of funny out of context.

why write news stories like every other schmuck

This Philly.com article caught my attention for the peculiar way in which it began:

A teenager found his grandparents just where he might expect to find them yesterday on a balmy, summer morning – grandma was in the kitchen and grandpa in the shed, according to police.

But the state in which he found them is something no one should ever have to see.

He found both dead of gunshot wounds to the head in what police said was a murder-suicide.

This, of course, made me think of other ways that one could creatively or luridly write lead-ins to ordinary news stories.  Perhaps:

Tom Hinkshaw returned from lunch around 2:30 pm Thursday afternoon, much like he had every day that week.  His tongue sought out remaining particles of his reuben sandwich still caught in his molars.  He said hello to Diana, his secretary, who returned his greeting and reminded him of an afternoon meeting he had scheduled at 4:00 pm.

Tom sat down at his desk, glanced at his computer screen, and his jaw went slack.

“Diana,” he said softly, “cancel that meeting.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 230 points Thursday in reaction to weaker-than-expecting job reports…

etc. etc.

I see this as applicable to every section of a newspaper.

I beat The Onion to a joke

With a nod and a smug smile, I point out that The Onion and I have made the same joke.  Back on November 16th, I wrote about Republicans trying to repeal Obama’s fantasy football victory.  Today, from The Onion: Republicans Vote To Repeal Obama-Backed Bill That Would Destroy Asteroid Headed For Earth.  Solid piece, quite funny, but it’s the same joke, fellas.  Maybe include a little more research time in the ol’ production schedule, mmmkay?  Google search “republicans+to+repeal+obama+fantasy+football” and there is my piece, first result.  Hard to miss, really.  One ounce of diligence can save one pound of embarrassment, guys.

But it’s cool, The Onion.  We’re on the same side here.  Screw those obstructionist dirtbags.

Hitler As 2010 Political Analogy Of The Year

The Nazis are the best thing that ever happened to Hollywood action movies, but they were a pox on American political conversation in 2010.  I don’t know if there are awards given for rhetorical devices, but maybe Hitler and the Nazis should have accepted one for 2010.

On this subject:

I’ve long felt that the Daily Show’s ability to find obscure video clips containing very specific details or references is just short of magical.  Hell, it is magical.  Anyhow, Jon Stewart recently paid his staff tribute while simultaneously pointing out, yet again, that FoxNews is a morally-and rhetorically-bankrupt rage dispensary.  It’s beautiful viewing.

In case you’re not familiar with this great law, Godwin’s Law is a wonderful internet-age adage worth familiarizing yourself with.  I love that message boards have been around long enough to generate such hilarious and depressing observations on human behavior and discourse.

This XKCD comic is where I first learned about Godwin's Law

Good News, If Pointless News

I’m not a fan of celebrity media.  In fact, I kind of loathe celebrity/pop culture magazines.  It’s “reading” in the same way that Twinkies are “food.”  However, I was pleased to read a NYTimes article about a website I had never heard of, JustJared.com, which is apparently the nice guy among celebrity news blogs.  Its founder, 28-year old Jared Eng, passionately and obsessively blogs about celebrity news, but does so without the negative, bring-down-the-famous bent of most paparazzi-fed outlets.  In return, he’s been embraced by celebrities, who are happy to talk to him and give him tidbits which in turn feed his site’s popularity and impressive ad revenue.

Here’s the Times article, published January 19th, about the site and Mr. Eng.

Celebrity news is empty reading calories, but I’m glad to see there is a popular site out there that doesn’t traffic in negativity and scandal.  Always nice to see friendliness and positivity gain traction in an atmosphere dominated by hostility.

Liberal Media/Conservative Media

I think this article, posted today on Espn.com, is a nice exhibit in the argument for abandoning all investigation into mainstream media’s possible political slants:

Thank goodness; we had all been waiting for Tucker Carlson to talk about Michael Vick.

Why national media is conservative: Tucker Carlson is an “analyst” on a national television network, is saying things like this, and is getting press for doing so.

Why national media is liberal: read the last paragraph of that story.  If you can’t read it, here it is again, crisp, straightforward, pristine:

Carlson, a conservative commentator, is angry that Obama told Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie he believes people who have paid for their crimes should have the opportunity to contribute to society again.