Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

MagicSorceressTheQuestLightTigerTheTedsHereComesThePainBlackWidowguy-fawkesEvil ClownMedievCC746-Wicked-Jester-195x300TheEpicSadnessCoverZombieAndyHungryGunGirlKermitWriterJollyRogerAndyCrimeSceneTwoInTheGardenKidsInTheStreetIMG_20140212_135222MG_3218

Friday, October 31, 2014

Glaring Grammatical Gaffes in the Media, Part 800-and-Something

This poll could be found on the Riverside Press-Enterprise's website recently:

I have no opinion about this question, and really, who cares? But I do know this: it's doubtful that this writer will be nominated for a Pulitzer any time soon.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Fear and Loathing in the City of Angels

Last Saturday night, my friend Jim and I ventured to LA to see Sasquatch at El Cid. If you are unfamiliar with Sasquatch (not the big hairy beast, but the big hairy ROCK beast), shame on you! Get caught up now:

Smoke Signal video release story

Before I get too carried away with the awesomeness and ΓΌber coolness that is Sasquatch (and by the way, did Uber really have to choose a name with an umlauted letter? Stupidifying the world, I suppose), I'll get on with the story. The show and album review will be coming soon enough to this same bat channel.

Anyway, I needed some new batteries for my recorder, so we went to the place where people always buy batteries: the liquor store on the corner. I sort of thought that batteries might be a big seller there, but the clerk indicated that most of their sales fell into the "dime-store hooch" category. Who knew?

Walking back to the club, admiring the cyclone wire surrounding a decrepit old building just a block or two from where we planned our illegal jaywalking attempt, Jim heard the familiar scrape–scrape of badly bearing'ed skateboard wheels slicing through the grit of an LA sidewalk. Always gentlemen to a fault, we slid to the side to let our new friend cruise by. A rat-haired tike of about 35 years, and looking a bit worse for wear, he turned and said thanks as he rolled through—and promptly face-planted into the dirt to the right of his skateboarder arterial. 

We thought he might be dead, but he was just stunned (the alcohol may have broken the fall). We helped him up, and then he decided we were new friends for life, which seemed a bit personal for us. Then he asked us if we believed in God. 


"Nope. Not me either."  

"Wow. Both of you, huh? Well, God's everywhere, you know? Always looking out for us."

"That seems to be working out pretty well for you so far."

He looked bewildered, then high-fived each of us.

"See you guys again soon."

We scurried across the street to the venue, like rats in an attic. Halloween comes early in LA, you know. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Overpaid Chump Forced to Chat

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday was ordered to testify in the reinstatement hearing for former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice by former federal judge Barbara S. Jones, the arbiter in the case. The hearing will take place on Nov. 5 and 6.

Well ... that couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Why I Consider Most Sportswriters and Sports Announcers to Be Relatively Lame

A lot of people love to tell me why they believe something that I've said or written is wrong (despite their sad lack of comprehension), but oddly enough, I have yet to have anyone argue with the title above.

Exhibit 1 in said position of advocacy:

I suppose technically this buffoon is right. Well, actually, no he isn't. If he states that the Giants had home field advantage for the World Series, he can't then pile on with "it didn't matter, they beat the Tigers 4–zip." "It didn't matter" is an implied "but." They were expected to win if they had home field advantage, and whether they won 4–0 or 4–3 doesn't matter. His argument makes sense only if the Giants didn't have home field advantage. Winning 4–0 is an expansion of the point that the Giants won the that World Series, not the yes–no of whether they won, so it needs an expansionary argument like "they had home field advantage, but went beyond the expected outcome and won the Series decisively, on the road and at home, 4–0."

See how that works? Probably not. Whatever.


How NOT to Apologize

This dude totally cracks me up with his ineptitude and "sincerity."

At Least They're Consistent

Albertsons may not know when to use apostrophes, but at least it's consistent, misspelling the same word in triplicate. And of course there's Albertsons's name, which uses no apostrophe despite the fact that the owners's last name is Albertson. Succumbing to the reading needs of the lowest common denominator, no doubt.

Hey Man, Nice Shot

John: "Dude, this virus is pretty vicious. It seems like it pretty much kills anyone who gets it."

Bob: "Nah, it's just that these West Africans have compromised immune systems."

Betty: "Yeah, Bob's totally right. Look at us—we've been around this virus for a while now, and we're not dead."

Voice of Reason: "Yet."

Leaked WHO Report Reveals That Organization Failed to Eradicate Ebola When It Had the Chance (oops)

But let's not be haters on the WHO. Look at its concerned and transparent response:

WHO response to internal Ebola document leaked to media

18 October 2014
A WHO internal document recently obtained by some media outlets was the first draft of a small team documenting the chronology of the Ebola outbreak events for future review. This document has not yet been fact-checked or reviewed by WHO staff involved in the initial response to Ebola, and is part of an on-going analysis of our response.
WHO will not do interviews or explain details on this document until it is completed. WHO believes in transparency and accountability and will release this review when it is fact-checked. For now, WHO's focus is to obtain the resources needed to successfully fight this Ebola outbreak.
A full review and analysis of global responses to this, the largest-ever Ebola outbreak in history, will be completed and made public once the outbreak is under control. We are a public health organization and our focus right now must be to stop this outbreak and save lives. We cannot divert our limited resources from the urgent response to do a detailed analysis of the past response. That review will come, but only after this outbreak is over.
That makes sense. You've done such a great job so far. 

P.S. WHO, you might want to add "that was" after the word "document" in your news release title so that people know what the hell you are trying to say. Or maybe your response was leaked. Who knows?


The Hidden Social Costs of Stupidity

Now would be a good time to drop stupid people in forests and see if they can make it out.

And a brief note on history for the stupid among us: Isis the goddess existed way before ISIS the terrorist organization. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Let Me Hyp-Motize You—Nonwords and Words You Should Never Use, Part 5 in a Recurring but Randomly Timed Series

hypnotize = a word

hypmotize = not a word (even my crappy Apple spellcheck agrees, which is somewhat of a rarity)

Given that I write educational curricula and encourage students not to believe something just because some authority (me) said so, I'll toss some other verification into the ring.

First out of the box, we have Garner's Modern American Usage, Third Edition, which has this to say about the matter:

No discussion would be complete, however, without consulting the standard-bearer for all such matters, Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition: 

See an m anywhere in the pronunciation? Nope? Neither do I.

Sure, I know the Violent Femmes pronounced it with the M sound in "Add It Up," but really, who takes grammar and pronunciation lessons from bands?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Nonwords (and Misused Words) and Words You Should Never Use, Part 4 in a Recurring but Randomly Timed Series

Okay, I'll admit that this one is really about misused words, not nonwords; I just wanted to keep the series going.

Hold on tight as we now descend into the world of urban slang. Which is a bit surprising, when one considers the contrary definitions of urban and urbane.

Anyway, I often find myself receiving dirty looks, especially in mixed company, when I use the word hooch (or its alternate, hootch). To save you some time, here's the definition from Merriam-Webster:

hooch; slang: alcoholic liquor especially when inferior, obtained illicitly, or made surreptitiously

(By the way, it also means a thatched-roof hut, especially in Asia, but I've never used it that way, and who really cares?)

The problem is that people often confuse hooch with cooch, partly because of the term hootchie mama. Regardless, using hootch as a shortened form of hootchie mama should not cause looks-of-death, should it?

Which brings us to ... cooch.  A word that Merriam-Webster's unabridged dictionary thinks is a dance. Apparently, M-W is a bit above all this "urban" stuff. As is Collins and Webster's New World (odd since they all list the other C word). So we turn now to the venerable Online Slang Dictionary for help:

cooch: the female genitalia

Ex 1: She wasn't wearing any underwear. You can see her cooch in this picture.
Ex 2: That was one nasty cooch.

Ah, I feel better now that we cleared that whole thing up, don't you?

So the next time I say hooch, just remember ... I'm talking about some nasty liquor, not your woman's nasty. Get it? Got it? Good. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

We Already Know That Apple's Autocorrect Blows. But What If Its Ad Agency Taught Our Kids English?

You'd get this lovely quote:

"The camera on the new iPhones are better than ever."

Wow. What, run out of money while shooting this? Or do you really employ people who are complete morons to write your ad copy?


One Other Thing ...

You forgot one reason why Philip Rivers is so much better now: Norv Turner (an "offensive genius"—offensive, yes; genius, no) completely sucked as a head coach. Really, what is with the Norv Turner lovefest? I tell people I don't even know to fuck off all the time, yet people working in sports, who know sports, give Norv Turner, finally exposed for his coaching mediocrity, a free pass? I don't get it.

PS Chargers now 5-1 under Mike McCoy. Scoreboard. And that's all I have to say on that subject.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Today, We Lose Another Victim to THE MAN

Before you read this whole convoluted marketing excuse for wimpiness, let me translate: "We tried, but we got cockblocked and bitchslapped by the big music labels and the ghost of Steve Jobs aka iTunes, so now we are finally going to give up for real. Thanks but keep paying a monthly fee toward the purchase of music from a gutted catalog consisting of pretty much nothing. Cheers."

Nice spin, though; I was impressed by the sheer audacity of it.

Changes to eMusic’s Catalog of Music

Dear Member,
Since its inception, eMusic has been committed to serving serious music collectors who are unbound by genre or the latest trend. We built the business in 1998 on DRM-free mp3s and a heartfelt mission to provide independent music enthusiasts with the best music, editorial content and album reviews around. Over the years, the eMusic brand became synonymous with independent music.
When we introduced a vastly expanded library of music in 2009, the experience on the site changed. Our catalog became more a reflection of mainstream trends than a true discovery experience rooted in music from emerging artists and labels. We moved away from our core values as a business and diluted what made the eMusic experience special.
So, in an effort to dedicate the brand once again to its original mission, eMusic is renewing its commitment to independent music and to promoting its musicians, bands and labels. As a result, beginning today, we will be exiting the mainstream music business and offering exclusively independent music. Further, in the coming weeks and months, it is our aim to build upon our existing library and provide you with the most extensive catalog of independent music in the world.
There will be no change to your plan, and we will not be making any changes to our album or track prices.
Our goal has always been to provide music enthusiasts and tastemakers with the best music and discovery experience possible, thanks to our industry-leading editorial content and reviews. With these changes, we are crystal clear on what we can and want to offer: a world-class discovery service built around the most comprehensive catalog of independent music.
We truly value your membership, and are committed to providing you with the best experience possible. Thank you for supporting us, and for supporting independent music.
The eMusic Team

One of These Things Is Not Like the Others

Though I do find the imagined vision of sailors on the Edmund Fitzgerald singing Ace of Spades as said ship sinks oddly entertaining. Yeah, I'm a bastard. Whatever.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

When Logic Fails

For the most part, sportswriters are not beacons of logic in an otherwise dark and fallacious world, as evidenced by this little bit from a recent CBS8 sports story

"The Chargers are 3 and 1 and that's the most important stat of all. My only concern is the running game that doesn't exist. And with the NFL's best rushing defense coming to town next weekend dressed in Jets uniforms, it's probably not getting better anytime soon. So in the meantime, let's hope Rivers and Liuget can keep spinning those familiar tunes that never grow old." 

Notwithstanding the terrible music analogy, if the Chargers's record is the most important stat of all, shouldn't the "only" concern be what will happen when the Chargers have to play a great pass-defense team? Since the Chargers rushing game is (was) nonexistent, facing a great rush-defense team is irrelevant, as it will have little if any effect since the Chargers have almost no rushing yards since losing their top backs, and aren't winning games by rushing. 

Now, if the pending opponent has a great pass defense, the Chargers may have something to fear (disregarding that they've already faced and dismantled some solid pass defenses). 

Such a concern (the rushing game) also pales behind such concerns as losing both the first- and second-string centers or having to move virtually every player on the offensive line in order to compensate for the sheer number of Bolts injuries thus far this season.  

Of course, my own greatest concern is that the CBS8 sports anchor pronounces jaguar as jag-wire, which I find incredibly annoying. At least we only (so far) play the Jaguars once this season. 

I try to keep such things in perspective, however. Some comedian long ago decided that it would be funny to combine the words sports and writer, not realizing that in most cases such use really would be funny, and ironic as well. 


Now, from the Weather Desk, We Bring You . . . Bad Abbreviation

It's a funny thing, 10 News San Diego. I've always thought that the abbreviation for Wednesday is Wed. But hey, what do I know? Maybe the threat of showers will continue every Wednesday for the rest of eternity. Now that is some forecasting skill.

Friday, October 3, 2014

People Unclear on the Concept—the Meme That Refuses to Die

In the words of famed writer and poet laureate Rodney King, "Can we all get along?"

Ah . . . no. That would require the monumental and mentally taxing task of actually thinking before spewing, something humans frequently seem incapable of doing.

Take, for instance, Guardian writer Dom Lawson, who chose to assume that a music video featuring female dancers twerking must be sexist by default. Silly me—I thought the black-and-white knee-jerk thinking of the lazy-thinking political-correctness crowd had died out in the 1990s. While simultaneously praising Mastodon for being an "ostensibly bright bunch and very much not from the heavy metal old school" and damning them for ostensibly "lampooning the silly black women," he fails to see the irony of his own statements while trying, and failing, to connect the dots.

What irony? Let's start with the fact that the dancers in the video are a mix of several races—hmmm. Is calling them "silly black women" a way of playing the race card, or do you think only black women are silly? Just askin'. More? Okay—the reference to "a tune the size of Cthulhu's balls" and the "lampooning" quote above taken in its entirety are further examples. What, those examples don't count and I'm taking them out of context? Exactly. Now we may get somewhere. Also, didn't Metallica use that whole Lovecraft and Cthulhu thing like 30 years ago? Might want to update your reference material to something more original.

But most damning is this profound observation, dripping with the syrupy ironic goo that bubbles in the bloodstreams of select male archetypes: "Neither is this video excused from being tarred with the sexist brush because a proportion of women immersed in alternative culture have decided that it’s OK." Wow, dude. I guess women really are dumb, especially dancers in the alternative culture. Who cares what women have to say, especially those fringy ones in the "alternative" culture, whatever the hell that is. I'll make sure that I advance women's and human rights by ignoring or discounting anything such women have to say. I'll also ignore what actual dancers in the video had to say about it. I shudder just contemplating what I would do if you weren't here to tell me what to think, and to define sexism for the rest of us.

As for connecting the dots, the article gives hip-hop artists a pass by noting that the really smart ones don't have videos portraying women as sex objects. Uh, okay—let me know when you've watched your first hip-hop video. Second, it entirely ignores the other important and historically much more sexist element of hip-hop music: lyrics. Not that I expected much from a writer whose entire musical range seems to span from Led Zeppelin to My Morning Jacket. It's just that a music writer typically doesn't embark on flights of rhetorical fancy when not knowing jack about the genre used as the reference point. More to the point, the video itself is pretty consistent with the assertions and quotes in this rebuttal article posted on Loudwire.

Similarly, one would be hard-pressed to formulate a cogent argument that the dancing cheerleaders in Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video represent some sort of sexist motif. Yet it's not a stretch to see analogous characteristics of the women in these two videos, once one moves beyond a fixation on ass and starts using the ol' noggin. Perhaps the Guardian is still living in the past, like The Crusades past, where men popped every time they saw a flash of female skin.

Or maybe they just missed the subtle symbolism at the start of the video, where a metaphorical Adam picks the apple from the Tree of Knowledge. Funny, I always thought Eve was the one who picked the apple. Oh, you missed that? Oops.

Almost forgot the money shot (really, you expected more from me with the low-lying fruit of the title "Motherload" just begging for a pun?):