Saturday, December 20, 2014

Our work on this planet is done

Q: Could there be a more perfect Fox headline in the history of the world in space than "[NP][VP] Blame the Kenyan"?
A: Yes.

Q: OK, we're waiting.
A: How about "[NP] Terror Horror"?

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Tell them to buy an ad next time

Somebody at the county fair must have seen the Wichita Eagle coming:

Maybe it’s our meat-and-potatoes, no-frills M.O.

Maybe it’s our common-sense, git-r-done attitude.

Maybe our work ethic is so good that we can get things done faster than anyone else.

Whatever it is, Kansas, we’re No. 1.

At least when it comes to making a holiday meal fast, according to a survey by Del Monte.

It's official: When Christmas comes early for some happy public relations department, 'tis the season for Survey Grinch to kick the story back with a few questions:

(a) What do you think is true about your story?
(b) Given any answer other than "nothing" to (a), what do you think is interesting about it?

The fruit and vegetable company asked 2,500 Americans how long it takes them to prep for a holiday meal. Kansans who answered the survey spent the least amount of time – an average of 3.6 hours, according to a news release.

Read more »

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Forget flood. Interview Satan.

There's good news tonight, Mr. and Mrs. America, and it's right there in the No. 3 position on the Fair 'n' Balanced homepage:

A Michigan lawmaker has snatched victory from the clutches of Satan, just in time for Christmas.

Forget flood. Interview God Satan!

A nativity scene will grace the Statehouse lawn in Lansing after all, instead of leaving a satanic display as the capitol’s only holiday exhibit. The creche was saved when state Sen. Rick Jones volunteered to ensure that the Christian display would be packed up each night to comply with regulations.
Read more »

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Why bother with the question mark?

The only interesting thing -- aside from the process that produced "in orders to" -- about the Fox homepage here is why it took until midafternoon to, you know, get to the real point of the story. (You could make a case for studying how quickly it fell off, but that's -- squirrel! -- mostly owing to the chance to say "Sony," "FBI" and "North Korea" in the same clause.) Did it really take that long to find a critic to do the accusing, given that Dr. Manny is already on the payroll?

If you really want to catch the drooler media at their peak on the Cuba story, you might want to check out The Daily Caller:

President Barack Obama may visit Cuba, even though the government is repressive, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Wednesday.

“It is not unprecedented for us to go places and interact with countries with whom we have a very fundamental difference of opinion about how they treat their citizens,” Earnest said Dec. 17, citing Obama’s recent travel to China and Burma.


Whence the "fascist" in the headline? Hang on:

,,, A national socialist government has ruled Cuba since 1959. Cuba’s fascist regime was highlighted Dec. 17, when the country’s ruler — Raul Castro —- appeared in a military uniform and addressed his subjects as “compatriots.” In contrast, leaders of the Communist Party in Russia excluded military leaders and uniforms, and addressed their subjects as non-national “comrades.”

In 2011, Castro replaced his brother, Fidel Castro, who ruled the country since 1959.

Earnest defended the deal with the fascist government by saying it has released more than 50 political prisoners, promised to work with officials from the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cress, and promised to allow the importation of communications products, Earnest said.


In other words, if you got a cold, go take a shot of malaria. And don't forget the extra attribution!

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Sunday, December 07, 2014

The big fill

Somehow, I don't think so:

The smell of kettle corn chilled the frosty air, while saws whirred as ice sculptors perfected their creations in front of the Detroit Institute of Arts as the 42nd annual Noel Night moved into full swing tonight.

That does kind of seem to defeat the purpose of kettle corn, doesn't it? Though if you really needed to chill the frosty air, the science folks were doing some neat tricks with liquid nitrogen a few blocks to the southwest.


Friday, December 05, 2014

Today at Vacation Bible School

What are those pesky Satanists up to now, The Washington Times?

Florida agreed Thursday to let the Satanic Temple put up a holiday display at the Capitol, effectively putting to end a First Amendment lawsuit being filed by Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Women and children off the streets! What would the display have looked like?

The state had previously denied the satanists from building a display of an angel falling into the fires of Hell right next to a more Christian-themed one of a nativity scene. But the Americans United for Separation of Church and State — citing the Hobby Lobby case — said it would sue on behalf of the satanists, on the grounds that the state couldn’t constitutionally keep out a display it deemed “offensive.”

Maybe the writer meant "Christmas-themed*?" Because as Christian themes go, you'd have to say that angels falling into hell ranks right up there:

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.

... And the deuil that deceiued them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night, for euer and euer.

It's kind of like Alinsky Fever -- you'd like to think the people who wave a book around and scream about the coming apocalypse would want to, you know, open the thing every now and then and see if the lyrics have changed.

(And no. You could say "denied their request to build" or "blocked them from building," but not "denied them from building.")

* A Little Drummer Boy falling into a lake of fire? Works for me.

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Return of the pronouns

The shiny, jingly object that is presidential pronoun frequency never really goes away; it just gets lost behind the fridge for a while until somebody cleans. Hence its return to Drudge, courtesy of CNS News (offspring of the Media Research Center):

Leaving aside passages in which he quoted a Chicago pub owner and a letter from a citizen from Georgia, President Barack Obama used the first person singular—including the pronouns “I” and “me” and the adjective “my”—91 times in a speech he delivered in Chicago Tuesday to explain his unilateral action on immigration.

CNS has been a frequent, if irregular, contributor to the pronoun hunt, so it tends to be impressed by the raw tally, rather than the proportion:

But as often as Obama used “I,” “me” and “my” in Chicago this week, it was no match for the speech he delivered in Austin, Texas, on July 10, when he used the first person singular 199 times.

The original contribution here is the apparent effort to link pronoun counts to the content of the speech:

In that Texas speech, however, Obama had not focused specifically on immigration policy. In that speech, Obama had explained his intention to act unilaterally wherever he could.

... On Tuesday, in Chicago, Obama said: “This isn’t amnesty, or legalization, or even a pathway to citizenship--because that's not something I can do.”


Is it just going to spoil everyone's dinner to point out that this speech (one FPSP every 46 words, the penultimate graf points out) comes in lower than Obama's overall average?* Or that the frequency in the Libya speech CNS cites is even lower, at 1.8%? Or that a pronoun-count drinking game for the State of the Union address is likely to be the dullest drinking game in presidential history?

WARNING: Pres. Obama has been known to use the personal pronouns "I" or "me" more than a hundred times in a single speech. Please drink responsibly.

Anyway: No, the pronouns didn't go away after the election. Why would anyone think they would?   

 * Thanks, as always, to the indefatigable chroniclers of pronoun mania over to Language Log.

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Stop press!

Common cold cured! Fractious Near East at peace! New all-aluminum F150 runs on blend of moonbeams and angel farts!

OK, it may be true that no Detroit newspaper could actually turn down a 1A story that says "aluminum F150" in the lede, but this one doesn't even get that far. Behold the top story in this morning's Freep:

Americans are getting fatter — and so are the crash test dummies used to test the cars they drive.

You almost wish they'd just play pin-the-tail-in-the-other-191-countries-in-the-world and run some news already.

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