a poorly written blog dedicated to debunking the myths of the universe and depreciating in blog value with each successive post. smear merchants, beware!

8.29.2006

news purveyors and smear merchants

there was a great post today on washingtonpost.com regarding John Mark Karr (creepy dudes always have three names, don't they?) and the embarrassment of the current JonBenet situation.

the highlight: "A strange, creepy character emerges from the shadows of Thailand and says he killed JonBenet Ramsey a decade ago? A guy with no known connection to the family? A yutz whose own relatives, including an ex-wife who hates him, says he wasn't even in Colorado at the time? This is what produces 25-hour-a-day cable coverage, causes the network morning shows to go nuts and even tops the nightly news two days straight? Aren't the TV types who pumped up this empty balloon just a little bit ashamed? Oh, and does the New York Daily News run a retraction for its banner headline "SOLVED"?"

from: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/linkset/2005/04/11/LI2005041100587.html

why aren't more people outraged by this fiasco? isn't the press supposed to be the great equalizer between the public and the news-holders, who probably don't want the public to know what's going on? there needs to be a balance between those who have the information and those who need it, and its up to journalists to maintain this balance and not jump to conclusions because serious consequences can and will follow.

yet, the devolution of the media has caused such a blistering desire to deliver the news first, because the first impression is the most important to the news channels, and the hype purveyors (or smear merchants, ah thank you, bill o'reilly. the one funny thing you've ever said). the media wields a lot of power, so who is going to make sure that they are being truthful and honest with the public (and if they aren't, who can hold them accountable)?

it can't be the government, since the media often serves as the yang to the government's yin and for our own safety, we need them to squabble over facts, because the truth could be shaken out somehow. it can't be the public, because how could the public fight for truth when it might not ever know what the truth is? the real solution is to leave it up to the media itself, for better or for worse, and hope that someone with a soul and a desire to do what's right will speak up. thank you, howard kurtz. the news about karr's innocence perpetuates the case's messiness, but acknowledging the media's gross misstep is the right thing to do. karr is creepy, yes, but he is innocent until proven guilty, and it looks like that won't happen in this case (and that isn't up to journalists anyway!).

everyone who reported on this case being closed needs to be ashamed of themselves. the crucial step in our judiciary process was skipped because those who deliver information delivered a verdict instead.

also, kudos to al franken for sticking up for himself agaisnt the national review. while publishers are in it to make money (a million little pieces ring a bell?), doubleday should be ashamed of itself for not using one of its underpaid fact checkers on Peter Schweizer's book:

"In his book Schweizer makes up some statistic that I’ve hired something like a 107 people during my career and only one has been black. First of all, it appears that Schweizer came up with his number by rather creatively manipulating the definition of who I’ve hired. For example, he counts the writers of my projects. Well, I am a writer, often the sole writer, on all my projects. So he counts me several times. And, yes, I admit it. I am always white."
http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZGNmZGEwYTM0YTE2MWRlODIxNmI0ZTUwZmQ3YjU5MzY=&2=3

8.25.2006

fantasy football -- the ultimate smoke break

it's true. i spend more time at my job tinkering with my fantasy football roster than i do with standard work-related activities (phone calls, meetings, bathroom breaks, sudoku). you know what? like the alamo, no matter how much work i did to fight off my opponents, i still finished last a season ago. last. thanks to t.o.'s tantrum and daunte culpepper's weak leg (not to mention jamal lewis's post-jail issues), i lost all hope by week 9. kurt warner and mark brunell were the bread winners on my team. two of the oldest men in professional sports earned more points than the rest of my roster. who would have seen that coming?

but thats the joy of the nfl, isn't it? every week is a mystery (unless you're a browns or 49ers fan. in which case, may god have mercy on your soul) and nothing proves that more than managing a fantasy football roster. it is the ultimate time waster and a great way to gamble away the paychecks you're earning while fiddling with your running backs all week long.

take, for instance, our most recent draft. there are 12 teams in our league. each team makes 19 picks, for a total of 228 pics. (at 90 seconds per pick). we're all huddled at our computers, and one would think that you'd be ready to roll once it was your turn, but NO. not true. it took us two hours to complete the draft. thats like the entire nba draft, except we don't actually meet our new draft pics and give them a hat and jersey for them to wear for photo ops (although seeing larry johnson in a "motorboatin' SOBs" jersey would be sweet).

this is why fantasy football is the ultimate time waster. it took two hours to assemble the teams, and this is before we even start the season. this doesn't include the amount of time i spent putting my potential draft picks in order on my own rating board, as well as putting them in order on the draft web site. so, before we even start the season, i have spent approximately 4 hours in preparation and drafting my team. that's half of my work day right there, devoted to players who have no idea i exist.

i like to look at things like fantasy football in "blocks" of work days. every 8-hour work day consists of four blocks. the first block (8-10 a.m.) is usually devoted to checking e-mail, listening to voicemails, reading the news, and reading my personal e-mail. the first block is generally my busiest, so i actually have to focus on not getting fired.

this works out in my favor, because most of the the web sites i scout for nfl player news aren't updated before 10 a.m. EST/EDT with the news i'm looking for, anyway. this works out well. thank you, early job.

the second block (10 a.m. to noon) consists of a coffee break around 10 a.m. to hit the only decent starbucks in downtown DC (11th and F NW or thereabouts) and then i sit down with my iced coffee and read espn.com, si.com, usatoday.com, and nfl.com to get any sort of news i might have missed from the previous night's sports center.

the third block (noon to 2 p.m.) only consists off 40 minutes of work activity, since i take about 1 hour and 20 minutes for lunch every day.

the fourth and most important block of the day (2-4 p.m.) consists of me ducking down in my cube (which has really low walls, by the way) and reconfiguring everything i learned from block 2. that generally involves freaking out that one of my two qbs that i drafted (i repeatedly pick up too few qbs) went down, and then i flip a coin to see if i pick up joey harrington or brock huard. then, i put the players in the positions and hope that i dont change my mind over the course of the next five days.

the last block (4-6 p.m.) consists of another coffee break and a quick view of world affairs, since my job sort of depends on it. pretty self explanatory.

then, like in calvin and hobbes, i go home and try to forget everything work-related i learned for the day.

wash, rinse, repeat until sunday.

fantasy football is the rake, man. it is the fuckin rake.

why bob seger is full of shit




"Seger, the legendary rocker from Michigan who entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, is considering releasing his classic 1976 album "Night Moves," but wants to make it so it only can be downloaded as an album, Andrews said." http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/ptech/08/21/itunes.holdouts.ap/index.html

dear bob seger:

you are full of shit. let's review your two greatest hits albums. you want to keep people from downloading songs off of "night moves" individually, because it breaks up the album? look at your two god-damned greatest hits cds. what's that? a few songs from "night moves" on each disc, including the title track, coming in at song #2 on the first disc? http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000002TSS/sr=8-1/qid=1156519692/ref=pd_bbs_1/104-6440230-5391146?ie=UTF8

you are full of shit. you are greedy and your manager is greedy. you already have broken up your little album and made money off of individual songs, because that is why you make a greatest hits cd to begin with. it's another chance to make more money off of the same tired music. and yet, you claim that with itunes, your music's integrity would be shot?

it would be one thing if you actually stayed with this thought process, except you didn't. aside from the greatest hits cds, which pillage your albums, your "like a rock" diet coke rock ballad was the official soundtrack to chevy pickup trucks for a decade. your song was licensed, by itself, for a decade. yet, for someone who owns both an ipod and a chevy truck, he or she can't legally buy your song to rock out to it with the windows down.

and on top of that, please name me an album that is good all the way through. seriously. think of an album or two that might be worth buying for the whole thing instead of just a handful of tracks (especially within the last 5 years!). its tough to do.

exile on main street is probably the best example i have. the rolling stones, undeniably one of the best bands in the history of the world, put this album on itunes. the beach boys' pet sounds, also on itunes. both albums are also available for individual track purchases. want one more for good measure, bob? how about blood on the tracks. also available for purchase. in fact, during the pepsi super bowl itunes give-a-way, i picked up "idiot wind" off of that album. does that burn you up, seger? these are some of the best artists ever, with albums that could get away with an "album only" download, and at least they are progressive enough to embrace the 21st century.

sure, the beatles are being sticks in the mud too, but at least they have been consistent with their opinions on new technologies and licensing music. you, sir, have not. i'm just surprised no one has brought this to the table earlier. but, maybe you can't help your idiocy. maybe you're stuck on a "ship of fools" and can't help how stupid you look right now.

r.y.