two ages

Posted on March 20th, 2014 by Scraps.
Categories: Media, Words.

"Chuck Norris had twins at 61." That thought, published today with a "impressed" veneer, has a little piece of information left out. The piece that shoves it into "who cares" territory.


comment to ESPN

Posted on March 6th, 2014 by Scraps.
Categories: Media, Sports, Stuff.

You know, Darren Sharper is a loathsome man. Yet, only in America will the likelihood that he will be raped in prison get a laugh. In fact, that joke is so predictable, it's sobering. We should be appalled that everybody assumes that anyone sentenced to prison also means sentenced to be raped.


also, blount: your opinion about lynch not talking is really stupid

Posted on February 23rd, 2014 by Scraps.
Categories: Media, Sports, Stuff.

I wrote a letter to ESPN. I would have posted it but ESPN requires posters to have Facebook IDs, and that is not going to push me over to having Facebook membership*.

Dear ESPN:**

I guess you consider your blog area a way of involving your readers. Most of your team blogs sometimes have a Mailbag, for instance. And your team blogs usually feature a writer who is knowledgeable about the team, and works hard, especially when the audience keenly wants to know, such as the pre-draft Combine.

Most of ESPN's team bloggers are up to the task, writing good pieces how their team approach the Combine, asking their audience for questions, etc. You would think that the Seahawks' blogger, Terry Blount, would dive in. There are lots of Seahawks fans. We want information. You would think catering to Seahawks fans would be easy. After all, Super Bowl Champs.

When ESPN team bloggers are catering to their audiences, Terry Blount is spending five days on "top defensive plays" in the last year. Not one day: five days, one play per day.

We know these plays. They're, you know, obvious. That's the column you write when you are stuck for a column. Hey, Terry: there's a Combine going on.


* If eventually I have to get a membership in Facebook to vote, that might do it.

** There's a 1000-character limit*** for writing to ESPN. So I didn't write "Dear ESPN:" But I wanted to, because I'm polite.

*** or 7.14 tweet-limit (approximately)

1 comment.

sam? footnote.

Posted on February 23rd, 2014 by Scraps.
Categories: Comedy, Media, Sports, Stuff.

I sent a tweet to Andrew Sharp -- the Grantland guy who sometimes writes hilarious, awful "attempt[s] to write the worst sports column on earth" under the hashtag #HotSportsTakes (a parody -- I assume -- of the dim Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith columns on ESPN):

Soren deSelby Bowen ‏@ScrapsDeSelby
@andrewsharp I'm waiting for a #HotSportsTakes about J Collins, outmaneuvering M Sam: now Collins will make history, and Sam? Footnote. :-)

(Oh, I hope somebody will be stupid enough to say it. Because many people will think it. And if people will say it {out loud}, you can bet they will use the "political correctness" defense. (Silent 25% nixon majority: solemn agreement, solemn agreement.)


a little test for sportswriters

Posted on November 26th, 2013 by Scraps.
Categories: Media, Sports, Stuff.


Flacco didn't hide his dislike of the Wildcat when he lined up at wide receiver. He was so disinterested that he kept his hands in his front pouch and barely moved off the line after the ball was snapped.

Now. Substitute "Dez Byrant" for "Joe Flacco". Watch the sportswriters salivate.


very, very tired

Posted on October 15th, 2013 by Scraps.
Categories: Comedy, Headlinese, Media, Words.

Album titles (or headlines) playing on "Straight Outta ________".


seriously, it's been six months

Posted on October 3rd, 2013 by Scraps.
Categories: Boring Posts, Editing, Media, Words.

I was reading a CBS News report about a fight between Georgia and Tennessee over water rights (basically, a surveying mistake drawing the border 200 years ago enabled Georgia now to claim more of the Tennessee River than they're actually entitled to).

The story says:

Georgia wants to pull one billion gallons of drinking water a day from the Tennessee River, less, its officials claim, than the one-and-a-half billion gallons that four major Georgia tributaries feed to that river every day. There's also a threat of other options. Rumley said, "We could damn up all these streams before they even got to Tennessee, then could build a reservoir and pump it back."

It's dated April 5, 2013. The typo -- well, a mindo -- has been there ("damn up") for six months. I don't know which possibility is worse, several people pointing out the typo and CBS not caring to correct it, or nobody noticing. (Or nobody taking the time to point it out; it does take a minute to hit the "contact us" down at the bottom of the page, true. And I have lots of time.)


st vincent de paul

Posted on September 24th, 2013 by Scraps.
Categories: Media, Photos, Stuff.

Our apartment is located in Bitter Lake and approximately Aurora Ave (a highway -- old US 99). We are way out there; still in Seattle, but I can walk across the city line in fifteen minutes. There are lots of businesses, but not like for instance restaurants; more like car dealerships. Mostly no sidewalks. You watch alertly when you are out walking. You have to go out three miles or more bussing to have a good shopping trip, and even that is just Northgate Mall.

But we do have St Vincent De Paul thrift shop less than a block away. We go there at least once a week. It's so cheap that turnover is very high, so even once a week there's lots of new stuff.

Yesterday I got a sweet deal (for me, anyway). National Geographic on cd-rom, 40 32 discs, every issue from the start (1888) to 1997. Nine bucks. I was stonkered when Microsoft 7 64-bit didn't play at all -- thanks, Microsoft, for a system that can't play the old Microsoft system -- but Velma pointed out that I still had Cory's computer he gave me in the hospital nearly five years ago (I don't know how old it is, but it still works! thank you, Cory!), and presto! National Geographic powered up, and now..... well, lots and lots of reading and staring at pictures and, of course, weird ads.


headless headline scribe sacked

Posted on August 16th, 2013 by Scraps.
Categories: Headlinese, Media, Words.

The New York Post has fired V.A. Musetto, who wrote the headline "Headless Body in Topless Bar", which ought to get him lifetime work, you would think.


best buds

Posted on August 14th, 2013 by Scraps.
Categories: Media, Music, Musicians.

I know everybody who keeps up more than I about celebrities & such* already knows this, but: Damon Albarn and Noel Gallagher are friends? And they're apparently even working on materiel** together?

Even better, though it's mind-reading, is some people's conviction that Noel is just doing this to piss Liam off. (I know, I shouldn't. But: ha ha ha.)

* and that's fine.
** okay, material.


old post (from the well) #33, 18 may 00

Posted on March 13th, 2010 by Scraps.
Categories: Comedy, Media, Music, Old Posts, Words.

I am now the publisher of the Sonicnet front page every morning. So I figure I'm getting paid to not write my own headlines:






where will rush go?

Posted on March 9th, 2010 by Scraps.
Categories: Media, Stuff.

Rush Limbaugh will leave the US if health care reform is passed.

Any sane person would applaud; that was my first thought. But my second was: What country is Limbaugh going to? Most every developed country has national health care. Answer: Costa Rica.


old post #19, 7 jan 02

Posted on February 23rd, 2010 by Scraps.
Categories: Media, Old Posts, Words.

If advertising were as insidiously, relentlessly effective as all that, we'd all be automatons. (Ah, but how do you know you're not?) We wouldn't be so much like our parents (but who made your parents?), we wouldn't, so many of us, have very much the values of the people who raised and taught us (but who programmed them?). If advertising is so effective, why do we resist it? (Don't make me laugh.) If advertising is so effective, why can't they make us buy anything they want, regardless of quality? (You think you have your own taste, desires, free will? Get real.)

I've read The Hidden Persuaders, and I probably have more interest in what makes advertising work than is healthy for me, just as I am interested in the rhetoric of persuasive (as opposed to truthful) argument. But, with all due respect, most anti-advertising rants I read (closely related to anti-television rants) strike me as a species of conspiracy theory. If someone wants to say there are strings attached to my limbs and those of my children, I can see for myself that it's not so; a persuasive voice is not a string, and the contentiousness, irascibility, and simple desire to please one's own self will continue to confound and frustrate sellers with nothing good to sell, no matter how sneaky they are.

And I've never met an adult where you couldn't guess a lot more about their parents, schooling, and religious upbringing than what television they watched and what advertising they were exposed to.


"and if you're against it, then get out of the way."

Posted on October 9th, 2009 by Scraps.
Categories: Media, Stuff.

Alan Grayson (D-FL) is my hero. Seriously, he tells it like it is, without fear of the insurance companies, and certainly not without fear of the Republican lie machine:

"We as a party have spent the last six months, the greatest minds in our party, dwelling on the question, the unbelievably consuming question of how to get Olympia Snowe to vote on health care reform. I want to remind us all that Olympia Snowe was not elected President last year. Olympia Snowe has no veto power in the Senate. Olympia Snowe represents a state with one half of one percent of America's population.

"What America wants is health care reform. America doesn't care if it gets 51 votes in the Senate or 60 votes in the Senate or 83 votes in the Senate, in fact America doesn't even care about that, it doesn't care about that at all. What America cares about is this; there are over 1 million Americans who go broke every single year trying to pay their health care bills. America cares a lot about that. America cares about the fact that there are 44,780 Americans who die every single year on account of not having health care, that's 122 every day. America sure cares a lot about that. America cares about the fact that if you have a pre-existing condition, even if you have health insurance, it's not covered. America cares about that a lot. America cares about the fact that you can get all the health care you need as long as you don't need any. America cares about that a lot. But America does not care about procedures, processes, personalities, America doesn't care about that at all." [. . .]

"Last week I held up this report here and I pointed out that in America there are 44,789 Americans that die every year according to this Harvard report published in this peer reviewed journal because they have no health insurance. That's an extra 44,789 Americans who die whose lives could be saved, and their response was to ask me for an apology." [. . .]

"Well, I'm telling you this; I will not apologize. I will not apologize. I will not apologize for a simple reason; America doesn't care about your feelings. [. . .] America does care about health care in America. And if you're against it, then get out of the way. You can lead, you can follow or you can get out of the way. [. . .] America understands that there is one party in this country that is favor of health care reform and one party that is against it, and they know why.

"They understand that if Barack Obama were somehow able to cure hunger in the world the Republicans would blame him for overpopulation. They understand that if Barack Obama could somehow bring about world peace they would blame him for destroying the defense industry. In fact, they understand that if Barack Obama has a BLT sandwich tomorrow for lunch, they will try to ban bacon.

"But that's not what America wants; America wants solutions to its problems, and that begins with health care."


i prefer the music of the trains anyway

Posted on April 9th, 2007 by Scraps.
Categories: Media, Music, Performance.

Am I the only one* who thinks the Joshua-Bell-in-the-Metro experiment is not a sad commentary on our culture's anything, and that the main lesson is the obvious one that a train station at rush hour is not the best time to try to expose anyone to beautiful music?

I think I'll call people up at random, declaim Shakespeare at them, and see who stays on the line.

*This transparent rhetorical ploy brought to you by the makers of "I know this isn't a very popular thing to say but".


how to trivialize a story with one word

Posted on February 2nd, 2007 by Scraps.
Categories: Media, Sports, Words.

ESPN is running a story about ex-New England Patriot linebacker Ted Johnson's concussion related health problems from a front page link with the headline "Ex-Pats linebacker blames Belichick for depression".

Within the story, we discover what "depression" means:

Ted Johnson said coach Bill Belichick subjected him to hard hits in practice while he was recovering from a concussion -- against the advice of the team's top trainer. [...] [A]fter sustaining additional concussions over the next three seasons, he now forgets people's names, misses appointments and suffers from depression and an addiction to amphetamines. [...] After returning to game action, the linebacker sustained more concussions of varying severity over the following three seasons, each of them exacerbating the next, according to his current neurologist, Dr. Robert Cantu. Cantu told the Times he was certain that Johnson's problems "are related to his previous head injuries, as they are all rather classic postconcussion symptoms." He added, "They are most likely permanent." Cantu, the chief of neurosurgery and director of sports medicine at Emerson Hospital in Concord, Mass., also said Johnson shows signs of early Alzheimer's disease. "The majority of those symptoms relentlessly progress over time," Cantu said. "It could be that at the time he's in his 50s, he could have severe Alzheimer's symptoms."

I wonder how many ESPN visitors see the link, roll their eyes at the idea of an ex-player blaming a coach for depression, and don't read the piece.


bad actor

Posted on January 31st, 2007 by Scraps.
Categories: Badness, Media, Stuff.

I don't watch television if I can help it, especially serial drama, which is so calcified as a form -- even Joss Whedon, yes -- that exposure to its predictable plot arcs and hammy acting and stunted dialogue is like sandpaper on my brain. (I have tried over the years to not sound like a snot about this. Just for the record, I am not trying to pretend this is an objective judgment, or to say anything about anyone else's appreciation of televised serial drama. I just can't fucking stand it, and the less I see of it the worse it is when I see it.)

Even by the standards of my completely negative attitude toward the whole form, though, I was surprised last night, while watching Law & Order: Criminal Intent at the bar (a series of shows I gather has a good reputation, which confirms my feelings about the form, because it was cringingly badly written and its plot was simple-minded when it wasn't absurd) at what a laughably bad actor Vincent D'Onofrio is. He has William Shatner's vocal delivery, only even more parodically; there really is no syntactic or emotional sense to when he pauses in a phrase. But in addition, he is ludicrously physical, twitching, swaying, making pointless finger movements, again at seemingly random intervals, like he's reached into a grab bag of gestures and sprinkled them through his acting for extra flavor. The swaying in particular was making me crack up. He was a relief, so bad that he made the ordinary badness of the show almost bearable.

I suppose I'm going to find out he's an Emmy winner.


the celebrity breakup announcement i would like to see

Posted on December 5th, 2006 by Scraps.
Categories: Comedy, Media, Words.

"After a lot of drink and passive-aggressive conversation, aided in no small part by biased counseling and stupid advice from so-called 'friends,' we have made the precipitous and petulant decision to break up our engagement, management partnership, and most of our furniture. We forget why we ever got involved with each other in the first place, and we ask that everyone respect our publicity and take care to place the blame where it belongs in this time of unparalleled tragedy."


also, some of them don't swear hardly at all

Posted on May 30th, 2006 by Scraps.
Categories: Media, Stuff.

via Daniel Radosh: The New York Times discovers the sophisticated sailor. And rediscovers, and rediscovers...


how does anyone -- anyone -- say "liberal media" with a straight face?

Posted on May 5th, 2006 by Scraps.
Categories: Media, Stuff.

There's been a lot of eye-rolling about the Washington press corps' reaction to Stephen Colbert -- first pretending that it had never happened, and then saying they hadn't talked about it because it "wasn't funny". Now it goes without saying that the current Washington press corps are a gaggle of lackeys and lickspittles doing glorified propaganda work for the administration, with Helen Thomas seemingly remaining only to remind them of the standards of journalism the rest of them have betrayed. Colbert making fun of Bush to his face no doubt made them uncomfortable; mean daddy might hold them accountable for the sins of their distant cousin, after all.

But that's not why they pretended it didn't happen, and then pretended that it wasn't pointed and funny. Remember the religious leadeers denouncing The Life of Brian for making fun of Jesus? The movie, of course, made no fun of Jesus, but it had great fun at the expense of religious zealots. The religious leaders who denounced it with such anger did so because they were being mocked. They used Jesus to justify their anger, because no one looks more pathetic than the target of satire rising in wrath to cry "that's not funny!" while rubbing his wounded ass.

Here's why the Washington press corps said Colbert wasn't funny:

Let's review the rules. Here's how it works. The president makes decisions, he’s the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Put them through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know -- fiction.

Colbert wasn't unfunny because he was rude to Bush; Colbert was unfunny because he told the press corps, to their faces, how contemptible they were.

And he speaks for everyone in America disgusted with the press abandoning their reponsibilities to the nation, cravenly selling out their integrity for a few scraps dropped from the table of power.

Thank you, Stephen Colbert.


  • "Have some peanuts!"

    "The monocles get stuck in my teeth."
    - Cat and Girl