Friday, December 04, 2009

Another Idiot Politician In Tennessee - Meet Mayor Russell Wiseman

I know every state in the nation has some lackluster, bone-dumb and ignorant clucks who somehow skeez the public into accepting the idea the person is some kind of politician, and soon become an elected official of varying offices whose skills are chiefly being perhaps able to walk and talk at the same time.

But our humble state has too many.

The latest chucklehead who crows of his witless behavior with righteous fervor is Mayor Russell Wiseman of Arlington, TN.

Mayor Wiseman decided to share his idiocy via the social network of Facebook because President Obama's speech on the war in Afghanistan interrupted the mayor's attempt to watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas". I suppose the mayor had not watched or read any news of the previous week announcing the speech was to take place. And apparently, Mayor Wiseman (oh what a nifty name!) thinks interruppting the 1965 Peanuts show is Blasphemy.

The Commercial-Appeal provides us with the mayor's own words:

Ok, so, this is total crap, we sit the kids down to watch 'The Charlie Brown Christmas Special' and our muslim president is there, what a load.....try to convince me that wasn't done on purpose. Ask the man if he believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and he will give you a 10 minute disertation (sic) about it....w...hen the answer should simply be 'yes'...." " obama people need to move to a muslim country...oh wait, that's America....pitiful."

"At another point he said, "you know, our forefathers had it written in the original Constitution that ONLY property owners could vote, if that has stayed in there, things would be different........"

Of course Mayor-Not-Very-Wiseman quickly ducked away from being held to account for what he has said and published online -

"When contacted Thursday, Wiseman declined to comment about his Facebook posts.

"It's ridiculous for someone to send my Facebook post," Wiseman said. "You guys are trying to make a mountain out of a molehill."

Mountain from a molehill? Dude, you are an expert in that field.

Are you so un-American and un-Christian that you don't even own your own copy of "A Charlie Brown Christmas"

UPDATE: The Mayor's lame whinefest goes national.

UPDATE 2: Mayor Wiseman earns recognition on WikiPedia for Arlington, TN.

UPDATE 3: Join the Facebook group which says WIseman should respect President Obama and Charlie Brown. Or even better, email the mayor at

UPDATE 4: Mayor Wiseman issues a non-apology apology.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Media Moguls Call Online Writers 'Parasites' and 'Vampires'

The FTC invited speakers to talk about journalism in the online age and got an earful. One of the speakers was Arianna Huffington, creator of the online Huffington Post, and she tore into old media kingpins like Rupert Murdoch and others who squall about the evil of online writing and information sharing.

Apparently, some in the old media have decided that it is, in fact, an either/or game and that the best way to save, if not journalism, at least themselves, is by pointing fingers and calling names. It's a tactic familiar to schoolyard inhabitants everywhere: when all else fails, reach for the nearest insult and throw it around indiscriminately.

So now sites that aggregate the news have become, in the words of Rupert Murdoch and his team, "parasites," "content kleptomaniacs," "vampires," "tech tapeworms in the intestines of the Internets," and, of course, thieves who "steal all our copyright."

It's the news industry equivalent of "your mama wears army boots!" Although, not quite as persuasive.

In most industries, if your customers were leaving in droves, you would try to figure out what to do to get them back. Not in the media. They'd rather accuse aggregators of stealing their content."


"Plus, let's be honest, many of those complaining the loudest are working both sides of the street. Take, for example, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Just look at the sites News Corp. owns, as recently did, and you will see example after example after example of the pot calling the kettle black. And aggregating its content.

The Wall Street Journal has a tech section that's nothing more than a parasite -- uh, I mean, aggregator -- of outside content. has a Politics Buzztracker that bloodsucks -- uh, I mean aggregates and links to -- stories from a variety of different sources, including the NY Times, the Washington Post, MSNBC and others.

AllThingsD has a section called Voices that not only aggregates headlines, but also takes a nice chunk of text -- and puts the links out at the bottom of the story.

And Murdoch's News Corp. also owns IGN, which has a variety of web properties, including the Rotten Tomatoes movie review aggregation site -- which is entirely made up of movie reviews pulled together from other places. Did someone say "stealing"?

Talk about having your aggregation cake and bitching about others eating a slice too."

Read more of her thoughts here.

Also, a response to the "tech tapeworms" argument:

The top lawyer for the Associate Press, Srinandan Kasi, complained that less than half of people who read excerpts online actually click through to original article, which is at the heart of complaints that Google News, The Huffington Post, and others are the "tech tapeworms" mentioned above. But throughout the day, the "tapeworms" mounted a compelling counter-argument that they are partners rather than parasites, and pointed out just how much the mainstream media relied on their own work."

I've linked to the sites with the original content, so don't yell at me if you decide not to read them.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Way to Defeat Terrorism - Send In The Gossip Hounds

Pretty sickening the way the media has salivated all over Tiger Woods and an apparent affair he had. I've always noticed how the media sneered and despised at his image of success and work - pretty much biz as usual for Fame - they hoist you up so you make an easier target for taking down. Keeps the media machine rolling on and on.

But is there an upside to this most recent scandal-rama? I say yes, and it shows a clear way to finally bring down Osama bin Laden and the terrorists he supports: send in TMZ, Perez Hilton, US magazine, Gawker, the National Enquirer, the NY Post, Nancy Grace, Larry King, Fox News, The Today Show, Huffington Post, and bajillions more.

It's so obvious: the gossip hounds are a relentless bunch, they cover the entire world to nab a few seconds of video - send out those armies of paparazzi who can find anyone (especially the naked and the disguised). Tell them bin Laden has been seen in an SUV with Lindsay Lohan outside a night club in Pakistan and bam!! they'll have him in their sights.

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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Cormac's Knoxville Typewriter Being Auctioned

Christie's will auction an Olivetti Lettera 32 portable typewriter on Friday - the very typewriter which writer Cormac McCarthy bought in Knoxville at a pawn shop in the early 1960s, the one McCarthy has used ever since, pouring his thoughts and words through the device for the last 50 years.

He says in this NYTimes story, "No Country For Old Typewriters", that every book he's ever written was made with that Olivetti. From the early days of usage by writers through to today's digital writing programs, writers and those who observe them eyed the typewriter as a mystery:

He remembers one summer when some graduate students were visiting the Santa Fe Institute. 'I was in my office clacking away,' he said. 'One student peered in and said: ‘Excuse me. What is that?’ ”

Glenn Horowitz, a rare-book dealer who is handling the auction for Mr. McCarthy, said: “When I grasped that some of the most complex, almost otherworldly fiction of the postwar era was composed on such a simple, functional, frail-looking machine, it conferred a sort of talismanic quality to Cormac’s typewriter. It’s as if Mount Rushmore was carved with a Swiss Army knife.”

The Olivetti was held in high regard as an art form itself. The Museum of Modern Art focused on the Olivetti in an exhibit in 1952, while the French put together a touring art exhibit devoted to it in the late 1960s.

Is it the power of words or the skills of the writer which captures the imagination so?

A 2007 book, "The Iron Whim: A Fragmented History of Typewriting", author Darren Wershler-Henry writes how the device was used by the likes of Nietzsche and that Mark Twain was the first major writer to turn into publishers a typewritten manuscript. And he offers up some prose of his own to evoke the imagination:

The typewriter has become the symbol of a non-existent sepia-toned era when people typed passionately late into the night under the flickering light of a single naked bulb, sleeves rolled up, suspenders hanging down, lighting each new cigarette off the smouldering butt of the last, occasionally taking a pull from the bottle of bourbon in the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet."

Yeah, but those things were very loud, pounding out words meant making sounds like a World War 2 anti-aircraft gun. The sound was so well-known that it had it's own song, was used as percussion in Dolly Parton's "9 to 5" song, and once was the universal sound of a working newsroom or busy office, and even a comedy routine by Jerry Lewis.

Christie's says McCarthy's machine should bring about $15-20,000. Good money for any writer.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happiness Without Twitter

I gave up the Twitter account I had started a few years back. If I am pondering on some words to stab into place on the Internet, the place for them is here, and I prefer a bit of narrative rather than 140 characters to convey a thought. For a few months this year I was reading the brief pronouncements offered on Twitter from the hundred or so folks I was linked to, but it was not rewarding reading. So I punted the whole thing and do not miss it at all.

Still, over this past year the constant posting of bits and pieces of thoughts and actions by all manner of folks surely gained much attention and was as trendy as the front row of a Milan fashion show. But a comment or thought which is referred to as a "tweet" cannot be taken seriously. I mean, once Wolf Blitzer started saying on live television that he had just "tweeted" something seemed as superfluous as a third nipple, as inane as a billboard encouraging "Learn to Read!"

However, there is a continual shifting and micro-brewing of word choice and meaning which is likely to continue for some time. I admit I sometimes compose emails to friends and write the letter "u" instead of writing "you" even though it chafes me a bit, makes me sound like a 12 year old girl who places smiley faces over the letter i when writing.

Word elimination and reduction is a dicey but persistent thing of late -- people are no longer referred to as "hungry" but as "food insecure" (are fat people "over confident"?), and I keep hearing references via medical and/or police accounts wherein the word "unresponsive" is used instead of what they really mean, which is "dead". I guess it's better than, say, "respiratorily disinclined" or "chronic languidness" or something.

Perhaps in the future, molecular nanobots can be employed to attach to your skin and release a stream of banal impulses. We'll call it Chigger.