Thursday, May 29, 2008

Stoo Pid Bits

I’ll admit, I was a little surprised by this. But I don’t know if it’s NC-17 like Henry & June, or NC-17 like Orgazmo.

blog readability test

Guess it’s Orgazmo.

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?

Apparently, “fuck” is a now a cuss word.

And here's some local news. Seems a young black bear has been hanging out at the Hard Rock Hotel. Please take the time to watch the video. The on scene reporter does a bang up job of pandering to the stupid by showing a picture of the “type of bear” they’re looking for, I guess so people won't confuse it with other kinds of bears roaming the area. And kudos to Lt. Jeff Hudson of Florida Fish and Wildlife for explaining the situation by quoting Bugs Bunny. Opposite of kudos to him for botching the line. It’s: “should have taken that left toin at Albuquerque.” But now I’m curious. Do all wildlife officials quote cartoon animals? Is it like a game for them? To see who can slip in the most references while keeping a straight face? If it’s not, it should be.

I’ll be on the road again next week and away from the computer, which totally screws me for June trivia, but I’m gonna start doing My Town Monday, Travis Erwin's invention, and I hope to have the first one up this Monday. Tuesday at the latest.



Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Lolita Effect

If you’re reading this, you already know that today Ello is hosting a Q&A with Dr. Gigi Durham, author of The Lolita Effect: The Media Sexualization of Young Girls and What We Can Do About It. So what the hell are you doing here? Go. Go now.

When I think about all the ridiculous media-driven bullshit my two young daughters will all too soon have to navigate through to reach adulthood intact, not to mention b-b-b-b-boys and s-s-s-s-se-seh-sehhh-stuff, I feel kinda like this:

And no, that’s not Hayden Christensen driving the boat.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Indy… Eh, Nah

I've started writing this post fifty different times, fifty different ways, without any success. I tried presenting a cohesive, somewhat standard movie review. I tried waxing sarcastic about George Lucas' galaxy-sized ego and how it relates directly to his narrative dysfunction. I even considered doing an Adaptation-like post of me trying to write this post, but decided it would require too much effort, and I'm afraid that I, like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, just don't give a shit. So instead I'm gonna shotgun some observations, commentary, juvenile insults, etc., and you can put them in order or context and assign whatever meaning to them you choose. I won't give any of the plot away, for the benefit of those who haven't seen it yet, which won't be difficult because there's not much to give away.

1. The stakes aren't high enough. The baddies aren't bad enough. And the good guys solve their problems and overcome their obstacles way too easily. Classic storytelling blunders made by alleged storytelling geniuses.

2. Sometime in the mid-80s, George Lucas started believing the overblown praise being heaped on him by the sycophants, and ever since then he’s considered himself a cinematic genius. Like all people who believe themselves to be geniuses, he thinks everything that comes out of his shitful skull is brilliant. George baby, you need to reconnect with your internal editor.

3. Spielberg joined him in the 90s.

4. Spielberg described the new Indy as "the sweet dessert I give those who had to chow down on the bitter herbs I used in Munich.” What an arrogant prick.

5. To give you an idea of how out of touch Lucas is, he was creaming all over himself when talking about how the movie wasn’t shot in digital format, and that it looked "like it was shot 3 years after the Last Crusade, you'd never know there was 20 years between shooting." Earth to George: 99% of the movie going public don’t give a shit about that. We’d rather have a good story.

6. I was blown away by the lack of effort devoted to the character relationships, especially when compared to The Last Crusade and Indy’s relationship with his father. Hell, his relationship with Shorty in Temple of Doom was deeper and more fully developed than the ones in this movie.

7. Between Spielberg, Lucas, and Harrison Ford, it was obvious to me at least that Ford was the only one who cared. If he had phoned it in like the other two, the movie would’ve been nearly unwatchable.

8. Actually, the acting all around was pretty decent considering what they were given to work with.

9. Lucas, who seems to have embraced the New Income Streams Over Good Stories operating procedure, has said he envisions Shia LeBeouf continuing as the MC of the series, with Harrison Ford making a Sean Connery like cameo in the next film. I actually don’t have a problem with that, as long as they find someone else to come up with the story. Shia LeBeouf has two things going for him: 1) he’s funny. He’s got the false bravado/hero clown shtick down to a tee; and 2) he’s not Hayden Christensen. By the way, for those of you wanting to increase your blog hits, mentioning Hayden Christensen in a post is good for 15-20 additional hits minimum. I know. I don’t understand it either, but it works.

10. Apparently, the Russians are pissed about the portrayal of communists in this movie. I think that says more about where they are today, than where they were fifty years ago. This movie portrays the FBI in a worse light than the commies, which says more about Lucas and Spielberg than the FBI.

11. There’s some dialogue between Indy and Marion about what went wrong with their relationship, and she says something along the lines of, “There must’ve of been plenty of women after me.” To which he replies, “There were a few, but they all had the same problem.” And she says, “What’s that?” No less than five people sitting in my immediate vicinity shouted out the answer before Indy. I would’ve shouted it out too, but I hate people who talk during movies. Though, I hate it less than predictable clichĂ©d dialogue.

12. I’m guessing the “big reveal” at the end was supposed to be shocking and unexpected and therefore emotionally satisfying or at least interesting, but it was so unoriginal, and it’s been done so many times, and it had been telegraphed non-stop throughout… I dunno. Maybe I expected too much.

13. There’s a scene involving a snake that was teetering back and forth between Stupid and Funny. Funny nearly won out, until the last line of dialogue, and then it swung back way past Stupid and into the realm of I Just Lost Respect For Indy.

14. At some point, George, you have to acknowledge that stupid titles are not clever homages to the adventure serials of yesteryear. They’re just stupid titles.

15. It would’ve been fun to see writers like Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio take a crack at Indy. They’re the writing team responsible for the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy and the two National Treasure movies. All five of those are better Indy movies than this one. Plus, they challenge the viewer to keep up, or at least, they don’t explain everything to death, a technique genius George has yet to master.

16. Karen Allen was good for the first two minutes. She spent the rest of the movie in a pointless role wearing a goofy grin that said to me, “Hey! Lookit me! I’m in another Indy movie!” Not her fault.

17. I liked Cate Blanchett in this movie, but her character is weak. She’s the main baddie, who apparently has some psychic/mind reading abilities. The problem is she never uses them successfully. So what’s the point? I got no satisfaction from seeing the alien turn her into dust at the end. (Oops. ***SPOILER WARNING***) In fact, I almost felt sorry for her, and I’m not even a communist.

18. Also, if “knowledge” is the treasure, and Cate Blanchett is turned to dust because she seeks the treasure, what the hell kinda view point is that? Are we supposed to be happy with whatever little knowledge our alien teachers decide to dole out? Screw that. Possibly, I'm not smart enough to comprehend the subtle sledgehammers of George's story, or the raspberry tarts of Spielberg's vision.

19. I could go on (pointless monkeys, no sense of danger, random tangential bad guys dispatched too easily, etc.), but it’s just a movie, so who gives a shit?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

More Of The Same

Been slammed at work lately, which is eating into all of my writing time, but here’s a quick news round up. Just because.

1. So long Jabba, you crooked sonofabitch.

2. I'm sure somebody's made this comparison before, but it just occurred to me. I can now put my finger on why I don’t like MySpace: it’s a DIY Jerry Springer Show.

3. Cancer-sniffing dog being cloned in South Korea. This unfortunately discredits my theory that dolphins are aquatic dogs. The dolphins are gonna have to come up with something huge just to stay in the same league. Only time will tell.

By the way, a lot of this article was spent discussing the miracle of cloning, and heaping praise on the dog for her “world top cancer-sniffing ability,” but I didn’t see any practical applications for cancer-sniffing dogs mentioned. I mean, it’s cool and all. The dog can theoretically detect cancer cells in human breath and urine. But then what? Do they still have to do a biopsy anyway? Or does the dog do a full work up and diagnosis right there in the examination room? I smell ulterior motives.

UPDATE: Upon further review, I guess the cancer-sniffing dog could serve as an early warning cancer detection system. But would you really want to trust your physical well being to something that licks its own crotch?


"I'm sorry, Mr. Gunderson, but Cujo detects the presence of cancer cells in your urine."


"Oh... It's time for walkies. My mistake."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Junk Mail

I usually delete these, and I never forward them. Most of the time, one or two will strike a chord and the rest will be whacked out filler. So I was surprised to find all of these were dead on. Still didn't forward it to anyone though.

You know you're from Florida if...

...Socks are only for bowling.

...You never use an umbrella because you know the rain will be over in five minutes.

...A good parking place has nothing to do with distance from the store, but everything to do with shade.

...Your winter coat is made of denim.

...You can tell the difference between fire ant bites and mosquito bites.

...You're younger than thirty but some of your friends are over 65.

...Anything under 70 is chilly.

...You've driven through Yeehaw Junction.

...You could swim before you could read.

...You have to drive north to get to The South.

...You know that no other grocery store can compare to Publix.

...Every other house in your neighborhood had blue roofs in 2004 -2005.

...You know that anything under a Category 3 just isn't worth waking up for.

...You dread love bug season.

...You know what a snowbird is and when they'll leave.

...You think a six-foot alligator is actually pretty average.

...You were twelve before you ever saw snow, or you still haven't.

..."Down South" means Key West.

...You think New York drivers licenses should only be valid in New York.

...Flip-flops are everyday wear.

...Shoes are for business meetings and church.

...but you HAVE worn flip flops to church before.

...Sweet tea can be served at any meal.

...An alligator once walked through your neighborhood.

...You smirk when a game show's "Grand Prize" is a trip or cruise to Florida.

...You measure distance in minutes.

...You have a drawer full of bathing suits, and one sweatshirt.

...You get annoyed at the tourists who feed seagulls.

...A mountain is any hill 100 feet above sea level.

...You think everyone from a bigger city has a northern accent.

...You know the four seasons really are: hurricane season, love bug season, tourist season and summer.

...It's not soda, cola, or pop. It's coke, regardless of brand or flavor, "What kinda coke you want?"

...Anything under 95 is just warm.

...You've hosted a hurricane party.

...You go to a theme park for an afternoon, and know when to get on the best rides. (Space Mountain during the Electric Light Parade!)

...You understand the futility of exterminating cockroaches.

...You understand why it's better to have a friend with a boat, than to own a boat yourself.

...Bumper stickers on the pickup in front of you include various fish, NRA, NASCAR, Go Gators , Go Noles and a Confederate Flag.

...You were 5 before you realized they made houses without pools.

...You were 25 when you first met someone who couldn't swim.

...You've worn shorts and used the A/C on Christmas.

...You can pronounce Okeechobee, Kissimmee, Ichnatucknee, Withlacoochee and Micanopy.

Monday, May 19, 2008

I Wasn’t Gonna Bother With This...

But it’s too damn funny. Well, it’s funny because no one got their skull crushed. Don’t forget to watch the video.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Meme-ify-hiii, Meme-ify Meeeee

Aerin tagged me with the Inquisition Meme, and while I may not be Christian Bale, I could give him a run for his money in the mastery of accents department. Here are the rules:

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.

2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.

3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read the player’s blog.

4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

Inquisition Meme

What were you doing ten years ago?

Helping my then fiancĂ© plan our wedding. My duties consisted of dropping off various deposits at various places scattered about town, and saying, “Mmm-hmmm. Yes. I totally agree.” (I’m a fast learner.) Driving an ’89 Ford Bronco II.

What are five things on your to-do list for today?

1. Finish project for work.

2. Memorize on-base percentage stats for entire 1982 Atlanta Braves roster.

3. Contemplate the similarities between the movie Star Wars and the novel The Firm, with special emphasis on “timing of release” not “quality” as a primary causal factor for popularity.

4. Monitor global dolphin activity.

5. Watch Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade with Junior.

What are some snacks you enjoy?

1. Sunflower seeds.

2. Oreos.

3. Dove Dark Chocolate Minis, the individually wrapped ones with messages of inspiration on the inside.

What would you do if you were a billionaire?

Buy a boat. Go fishing. Spend more time writing. Take family on trip around the world. Subsidize small Caribbean nation, or finance the creation of a new one. Change will to include a Brewster’s Millions-like clause, or conversely, spend all money before kids can inherit it so they’ll have to earn their own and learn the value of hard work.

What are three of your bad habits?

1. Involuntarily spewing smartassiness when people want me to be sincere.

2. Procrastinating, though I’m not sure this qualifies as “bad” because I work much more efficiently under pressure.

3. Leaving dirty dishes in the sink. Or so I’ve been told. And apparently, “magical kitchen gnomes” is not the correct answer to “How do you think they get in the dishwasher?”

What are five places where you have lived?

No particular order.

1. Sanford, FL

2. DeLand, FL

3. Apopka, FL

4. Daytona, FL

5. Maitland, FL

Hey, the weather’s great, I’m an hour from the beach, and we don’t have state income tax. Shoveling snow is for other people.

What are five jobs you have had?

These are listed in order, but you have to guess which kind of order.

1. Mower of lawns.

2. Copy editor/proofreader for now defunct publisher of law books. (It wasn’t my fault.)

3. Bartender.

4. IT Manager/Database Admin/Computer Guy/Nick Burns.

What were the last five books you read?

1. Foop! by Chris Genoa

2. The Singularity Is Near by Ray Kurzweil

3. The System of the World by Neal Stephenson

4. Love & Death: The Murder of Kurt Cobain by Max Wallace and Ian Halperin

5. Empire of Blue Water: Captain Morgan's Great Pirate Army, the Epic Battle for the Americas, and the Catastrophe That Ended the Outlaws' Bloody Reign by Stephan Talty

Aerin added a new question, so I will too.

What’s playing on your iPod right now?


What five people do you want to tag?

Writtenwyrdd, Pete, Fairyhedgehog, Kiersten, Wonderwood, and [Insert Your Name Here].

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Precie’s May Book Contest #2

Precie is running her second contest of the month. This is what it is:

This week's theme: Playtime

This week's contest assignment: Write about a childhood game. (Up to 500 words.) You can either post your entry in the comments here OR on your own blog with a link in the comments here.

Deadline: Friday, May 16, at 11 pm Eastern

What do I mean by "a childhood game"? Again, I'll leave that up to you. You may end up writing a fiction piece about kids playing, about adults reliving their past...You might write a poem about Twister or Connect 4 (yes, I realize I'm showing my age)...You could write a non-fiction essay waxing philosophical about Little League competitiveness or a memoir snippet about the first time you played Dodgeball or Break the Gate...

So here’s my entry. It’s a poem.

To My First Love

When I'm blue and downtrodden, I look for some ways
To rekindle the memories from my happier days.
Without fail, they’re of you, my forsaken, unwed.
Yes you, my first love, Atari Twenty-Six Hundred.

In the years since we parted I oft contemplate
How dreary life’s been without your bits of eight.
Even rites of my passage, like my very first makeout,
Failed to compare to our long nights of Breakout.

The places you took me, they nourished my soul,
And you took me there quickly, like a Solaris wormhole.

Though at times we sank slowly—water o’er the gunwale—
Like in spring ’83 when I got carpal tunnel.
And although disgusting, I played through the moist ick
Produced by repeatedly handling your joystick.

And likewise, you too, forgave most of my faults,
Which could've been—should've been—labeled assaults.
Like, I tripped on your cords ‘cause my eyelids were saggy.
Or I pummeled you senseless ‘cause the screen went zig-zaggy.

But I understood you, and you understood me,
And together a match made in heaven were we.

We braved the flat jungle to help Pitfall Harry.
Missile Commanded world safety when nuke death was scary.
We Dig Dug deep tunnels, and Pac-Manned blue ghosts,
Shot the shit out of each other—we were both Combat toast.

The Position of Pole we achieved for our cars,
And we exacted Revenge belonging to Yars.
Day after day we played way after dark,
And that long, grueling summer we recovered the Ark!

No end in sight for our fun, so it seemed.
And we beat every challenge those game makers dreamed.

But alas, we grew distant as days faded to years,
And I weep when I think how you faced your worst fears.
And alone you did face them, for I gave you no splainin’.
Though I'm sure you deduced I really wasn't abstainin’.
And you probably felt hollow, a return sans deposit,
When I buried you gradually under crap in my closet.

So I'm here doing penance for misdeeds of my youth,
‘Cause I owe you, I think, some case-closing truth.
Neither easy to swallow nor to stomach this be,
But ages of sages claim truth sets you free.
I beg in advance for your grace and goodwill.
Truth is my dear 'tari two-six-double-nil:

I left you for another, and for that I’m so sorry-o,
But my heart was aflutter for that dude Super Mario.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I Really Wanted To Move On, But…

I swear, I'm as sick of the Florida shit as you are, but I couldn't not link to this.

Oh, and the state's on fire. Again. They say it could be worse than 1998. In 1998, I remember thinking: Why is it snowing in Florida? In July? But it was actually flakes of ash from wildfires thirty miles away. I inspected a lot of the burnt-to-a-crisp houses afterward. Mobile homes with nothing left but charred framing, like headless, tailless, rectangular whale skeletons… Okay, bad simile. And this was only four months after tornados racked the area. I'll never forget the image of blades of grass, green bendy grass we're talking here, sticking out of vinyl mobile home siding. Imagine being killed by projectile grass. I say bring on the hurricanes. People got a chance to get out of town at least, but tornados and wildfires are like the great white sharks of weather. You're dead before you even know you're in trouble.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Time Wasters, Crutches, And Secession

And I thought the internet was a time waster. There’s nothing like sitting through two days of nothing new that could’ve easily been compressed into one day of nothing new. Damn, I love bureaucracy. And if having to wear dress pants for the two day boring ass seminar wasn’t enough, get this, we also had to wear dress shoes. I know. And, of course, I forgot my trusty Dr. Scholl’s Extra Support Insoles and ended up reaggravating a prior foot condition. No big deal, but then I decided to be a tough guy and ignore it during our Little League game Saturday, and woke up this morning unable to walk. I’m pretty sure something’s sprained. Yes, I sprained my foot by… walking.

All right, enough whining. In case you missed it, South Florida has dreams of seceding from the rest of the state. It’ll never happen, but the first step in finding a solution is identifying the problem, and in this case it’s that South Florida is fucking CRAY-ZEE. It’s always been a sort of unspoken fact of life that Miami-Dade is actually a different country. And after the 2000 presidential election, you could throw Broward and Palm Beach counties in there as well. So in a way it’s good they’re finally being honest. In all other ways though, it’s just dumb.

Monday, May 5, 2008

What Have We Learned From Mocking Others?

I reviewed the results of Troll Poll #2, and reread last week’s posts pertaining to Florida news stories (because I sometimes write these in a semi-conscious state) in order to tease some valuable lessons out of what is otherwise cacophonous jibber jabber. Here’s what I came up with:

1. Sometimes journalists are lazy. Especially when they quote someone for the sake of having quoted someone. Or when they write sentences like, “The accident was apparently a freak accident.” And then aim to improve it by changing it to, “The incident was apparently a freak accident.”

2. Sometimes journalists are magicians. Especially when they use linguistic sleight of hand to gloss over otherwise inexplicit claims begging for clarification, such as, “The trappers decided the female had to be euthanized because she was too big to be relocated…” Does too big mean too old? Or too long? Or too heavy to carry? And what is the numerical value of “too big”? Seven feet? Six feet eleven inches? Five hundred and twenty-three pounds? And relocated to where? A local zoo? A theme park boastful of their ability to rescue wild animals? The next neighborhood over?

3. Sometimes no news is NOT good news. Especially if you work in the PR department of a large Midwestern beer company and are tasked with managing a potentially damaging crisis, and in the first twenty-four hours there are only two brief articles written about it, so you’re like “woo-hoo!” but then some jerfkoff blogger posts a thrown together rambling tirade that accuses your company of hypocrisy, which he only expected five people to read, and because there aren’t any real articles about the accident available, the jerkoff’s rantings continue to show up on the first page of a Google search, and now you have to monitor the jerkoff’s blog in case he ramps up the negativity in the comments, and so you keep coming back, hour after hour, day after day, until finally more articles are published and they knock the jerkoff’s post down in the search result rankings, but by this time you’ve reached the point of obsession and you. Just. Can’t. Take. Your. Eyes. Off. The. Screen. Because you’ve been drawn in by all the other brilliantly pointless things the jerkoff has to say. When you find yourself in this predicament, dude, just relax. It’s Miller Time.

4. Truck Nutz are dumb. Really no need to elaborate. But the ball ban measure failed to pass, so on the one hand, it’s a victory for Floridian freedom of expression, on the other hand, it’s business as usual. Yes, you read that right. Having failed to limit the public’s exposure to fake nuts, they’ve gone and legislated a reverse rain dance holiday instead. For the second year in a row. Here’s the text:

WHEREAS, we, the Florida Senate, are a bunch of opportunistic fartknockers, and WHEREAS, we continually strive to improve our re-electability while failing to address a majority of important issues and mucking up the ones we do tackle, and WHEREAS, we get a kick out of dressing up our insanity in fanciful clause-ridden language punctuated by capitalized WHEREASes which most people have trouble following, NOW, THEREFORE,

Be It Resolved by the Senate of the State of Florida: That, in recognition of the People’s failure to keep close tabs on us, we will continue to passively insinuate we deserve credit for things no person has control over, such as keeping the State of Florida hurricane free, until such a time that our blatant Misuse of Office is apparent to a two-thirds majority of the People, or our ridiculous agenda driven gamble is discredited by the landfall of a named tropical cyclone, at which point we will henceforth proclaim that “God works in mysterious ways.”

5. Polls are silly. (See Troll Poll #3 (Yes, #3!).)

Oh yeah, today’s Cinco de Mayo. So all you Americans out there don’t forget to celebrate Mexico’s victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla by drinking Mexican themed beer and/or margaritas while eating nachos. Their victory delayed the French from supplying the Confederate Army with weapons which would’ve, at best, prolonged our Civil War, and at worst, who knows? So it’s the least you can do. Plus, it’s good for the economy. I plan to drink my Mexican beer while swinging a pair of plastic bull testicles over my head and daring the Lord God Almighty to throw a Cat 5 our way.

P.S. Linky Linky: Don’t forget to check out Author’s Week over on Chris’ blog.

And Precie's got her first contest of the month up.

And as if waking up to discover you’ve survived to live another day wasn’t enough, Protrudio beckons you to participate in Abysswinksback’s first writing exercise, which we hope will become a regular event.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Hell, We’ll Make A Week Of It

Today we’ll be wrapping up our week long survey of stupidity via Florida related news stories by analyzing the most idiotic article I could find during a ten second search for idiotic articles.

Here’s the headline: Gator “as big as a dinosaur” on the loose in Windermere

How idiotic is this article? Let us count the ways:

1. We start with the phenomenon Pete insightfully called to task earlier this week. The reporter, in lieu of exerting a little effort to obtain a substantive quote from someone quote worthy, decided to fill her quote quota with the first spontaneous utterances of the nearest warm body. Now, Police Chief Dan Saylor, who was quoted as saying, “It looked like the size of a dinosaur. It was huge!” was clearly having an emotional reaction to allegedly seeing an alligator in Florida, so he’s not really at fault here. But the reporter and her editor/headline commer-upper made the journalistic decision to lead with this non-expert opinion; it’s the angle of the entire story. The problem, and resulting stupidity, is that alligators ARE dinosaurs, so no matter what size it is, it will of course “look like the size of a dinosaur.” It IS one! It’s like saying that cubical cardboard construct is the size of a box.

2. To back up my outrageous claim that alligators are dinosaurs, I spent five industrious seconds conducting internet research and found that, in fact, they are not. However, rather than discard an entire paragraph and shoot holes in my own analysis, I obtained a quote from someone with at least as much dinosaur knowledge as Chief Saylor: me. I said, and I quote, “Alligators are dinosaurs.” I’m happy to report it is now a matter of controversial scientific debate.

3. To further belabor the point, dinosaurs (we’ll exclude alligators from this category until a scientific consensus is reached) ranged in size from just under two feet in length (Parvicursor) to over 130 feet (Amphicoelias). There were probably some smaller and/or larger, but who wants to wait around for scientists playing with shovels before making definitive claims? Point is, I’m the size of a dinosaur, so are you, and so is my plasma TV. (That was actually the reason I bought it.) So what's the big deal?

4. Moving on, the phrase “on the loose” is at best irresponsible, and at worst a subtle insinuation of past criminal activity on the alligator’s part, followed by brief incarceration, subsequent escape, and a continued effort to elude authorities. What happened to innocent until proven guilty? The damned thing hasn’t even eaten any kids yet. Devouring children, by the way, is the one crime an alligator can be convicted of in the state of Florida, and it’s punishable by death—sorry, euthanasia. Once they get a taste for kiddie flesh there’s no stopping them. Now, I have no problem with dogs being described as “on the loose,” because dogs, in their own way, ARE incarcerated. (Relax dog owners. Don’t get rabid on me. I know. I know. It’s not a prison if you never try the door.) Interestingly though, sharks, the third member of the Human Flesh Eating Trinity of Florida, are never categorized as “on the loose.” Perhaps it’s our own land animal bias. I dunno.

5. Now that we’ve used up four of our five analytical points on the headline alone, it’s time to delve into the article itself where we find the only valuable piece of objective information: the alligator is estimated to be 10-12 feet long. Notice how the reporter cleverly buried that damaging evidence in the second sentence? Here’s why: According to Wikipedia, the ultimate repository for non-expert quotes, there wasn’t a single dinosaur IN the 10-12ft range! Check it out. They’re all larger or smaller. (Don't worry Chief, we gotcher back, said the intrepid reporter.)

6. (Bonus Analysis) Here are some examples of sloppy/non-objective/purposely misleading language within the article:

Trappers are lying in wait for a stubborn alligator who has hunkered down in a pond… Everything’s war with these people.

Trappers were able to capture the female, who had been a nuisance in the area… Nuisance? Mosquitoes are a nuisance. Gators are giant prehistoric monsters who refuse to recognize the authority of local zoning boards. Plus, they might eat you. And while the timing of getting eaten may be inopportune, it’s certainly more than a nuisance.

The trappers decided the female had to be euthanized because she was too big to be relocated… Translation: Forgot we let Jimmy borrow the pickup.

So you see, once we strip away all the hocus pocus bullshit, this news story can be summed up thusly:

There’s an alligator in Florida.

Yeah. It gets hot here too. What they should’ve done, instead of wasting all of our time, was rehash this one.

In the spirit of creating non-news news stories out of thin air, on the sidebar I’ve put up Troll Poll#2 (yes, it’s hard to believe we’re already on #2!), which asks for your input on the subject of “WTF Makes News News?” That is, what is news? I’ll leave it up for an undetermined period of time, and then on Monday or Tuesday we’ll look at the results and discuss what we’ve learned. You can select more than one answer, so check all that apply, and if you select “Other” please specify in the comments.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Let’s Keep Rolling With Florida Stuff

All right, this isn’t exactly Florida stuff, but it’s somewhat related to Disney, which is somewhat related to Florida. By now you, like, MUST’VE sooooo totally heard the news about Miley Cyrus, aka Hannah Montana, aka the daughter of former mulletteer Billy Ray Cyrus. She’s pregnant! And she married a loser wannabe rapper! Who beat the shit out of her! So she strung herself out on booze and cocaine! Then checked into rehab! Then checked herself out! Then went on a rampaging psychopath car chase! Then made a slutty music video/sex tape! Then dropped her unborn child on his head and already lost custody of him!

Oh, wait. That’s every other Disney child star from the past decade. My bad.

Fifteen year-old Miss Cyrus is appearing in an upcoming issue of Vanity Fair allegedly completely topless, except for a large opaque satin sheet covering her, you know, top. Her family and handlers have expressed feelings of shock, betrayal, embarrassment, etc. But the photographer was Annie Leibovitz, so I really don’t know what they were expecting.

Some say this is just the first of many strategic career moves by Miss Cyrus to shed her wholesome good girl image in favor of the slutty teen whore persona she will need to succeed when she’s eighteen. Others say she’s betrayed her obsessive entirely-too-much-TV-watching fans who look to her as a goody-goody faith-wielding role model. I say: Who gives a shit?

My thoughts on role models can be summed up by a quote from George Carlin:

If your kid needs a role model, and you ain’t it, you’re both fucked.

You’d think after sixty some-odd years people would catch on to the fact that TV isn’t exactly real. Politicians lie, professional athletes use drugs, and Beaver Cleaver gave nickel hand jobs. If they’d just teach these timeless infallible principles in school, maybe we wouldn’t feel so used when famous strangers who we pretend are our friends let us down.

But I guess it’s a lesson everyone has to learn on their own. I remember when I first found out that the guy who played Murdock on “The A-Team” wasn’t completely bat shit crazy. I cried for days. Then there was the time I discovered you couldn’t really seal a dangerous acid leak with some duct tape and a chocolate bar. First thing I did when I got released from the hospital was hang a “Fuck MacGyver” sign on my bedroom door. Live and learn, I guess.

But back to the Hannah Does Montana story. The latest reports indicate Billy Ray Cyrus did in fact suspect ahead of time that this photo shoot might not be well received by his daughter’s fawning idol-worshipers-in-training fan base, and he allegedly pleaded with Annie Leibovitz and Vanity Fair afterward: “Don’t tell her cult, her bitchy whiny cult. I just don’t think they’ll understand. And if you tell her cult, her bitchy whiny cult, the shit might go and hit the fan. Ooooh.” Okay, he didn’t say that. But, HAHA! Now you’ve got that song stuck in your head. That’s what you get for reading about crap like this.

Bonus George Carlin quotes:

Is there another word for synonym?

Why do we say something “is out of whack”? What's a whack?

Do Roman paramedics refer to IVs as "4s"?

Does the Little Mermaid wear an algebra?

Why are hemorrhoids called "hemorrhoids" instead of "assteroids"?

He’s my role model.