Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Headline of the day.

Monday, November 13th, 2017

These crabs can grow up to 3 feet, but did they eat Amelia Earhart?

I think it would be fun to run a newspaper.

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

Cox Media Group announced plans today to put up the Austin American-Statesman for sale.

I’ll bid $5.

(Subject line hattip.)

Oh my God, it’s a Mirage…

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

Interesting article from Topic: “The Story Behind the Chicago Newspaper That Bought a Bar”, an oral history of the Chicago Sun-Times Mirage investigation.

I know I’ve written about this before, but briefly: in 1977, the paper and the Better Government Association bought a bar and secretly recorded city employees taking bribes to ignore violations.

Zay: The payoff parade began before we opened. The health inspector, when he inspected us— I mean, the basement just had maggots glistening on the floor. Upstairs it was no better. He shook us down for a few bucks and passed the place.
Pam: I think one of the things that amazed us is that these inspectors sold out public safety on the cheap. They were not taking huge amounts. We were told to leave $10 for one inspector, and $25 for another inspector.

The paper published the results in 25 parts starting in January of 1978.

Obit watch: October 2, 2017.

Monday, October 2nd, 2017

Monty Hall.

“Let’s Make a Deal” became such a pop-culture phenomenon that it gave birth to a well-known brain-twister in probability, called “the Monty Hall Problem.” This thought experiment involves three doors, two goats and a coveted prize and leads to a counterintuitive solution.

I’m not so sure about the “two goats” thing. But I also think that part of the problem with the “Monty Hall problem” is that people aren’t precise in stating the terms of the problem, and that leads to “counterintuitive solutions” based on what people think the terms are.

See also.

S.I. Newhouse, magazine publisher.

Obit watch: September 28, 2017.

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

For the record: Hugh Hefner.

I feel like Lawrence pretty much said everything I would say.

Even a blind pig finds an acorn sometimes.

Friday, September 8th, 2017

The almost completely worthless (ever since they fired Jim Romenesko) Poynter.org republishes Martin Merzer’s memo to Miami Herald staffers on how to cover hurricanes (aka “The dreaded Merz hurricane note”).

Don’t stand in standing water. Let the other idiots get electrocuted — we don’t need them anyway. You, we can’t replace because we’re in a hiring freeze. Also, if you die, we need to fill out a lot of messy paperwork.

(Hattip: Vera Bergengruen‏ on the Twitters.)

Headline of the day.

Friday, September 1st, 2017

Principal in Park Slope is Cleared of Communist Organizing

Berlin 1936? Los Angeles 1952? Nope: New York City, 2017.

Bad writer! No cookie!

Monday, August 28th, 2017

Fan fiction isn’t my cup of tea. If you enjoy it, more power to you. And I don’t like making fun of other writers for being supposedly “bad”: it feels kind of like throwing rocks from inside my glass house.

But I ran across a discussion of this work of fan fiction while looking into something else (I’ll get into that “something else” later) and thought it was worth mentioning here. Especially for all you “The Eye of Aragon” fans.

“My Immortal” by “XXXbloodyrists666XXX” is a work of Harry Potter fan fiction. With vampires.

… the story centers on a 17-year-old female vampire, a non-canonical character, and her relationships with the characters of the Harry Potter series, most notably her romantic relationship with Draco Malfoy.

More:

The protagonist of the story is Ebony (occasionally Enoby, Evony, or Egogy) Dark’ness Dementia Raven Way, a seventeen-year-old vampire who attends Hogwarts (located in England instead of originally Scotland) as a member of Slytherin House. Hogwarts is depicted as being divided between two cliques, the goths and the preps. Ebony and all the sympathetic characters are part of the goth clique while the members of the prep clique are portrayed unsympathetically. Many of the main characters of Harry Potter are given “goffik” [sic] makeovers, moved to the Slytherin House, and renamed.

And it gets crazier from there. Draco Malfoy is bisexual, Harry Potter is a vampire, “there is also an unexplained cameo by a gothic Marty McFly, with the DeLorean time machine able to transform into an iPod.”

Also, the author can’t spell:

A third plot point sees Professor McGonagall (often referred to as “McGoogle” or “McGoggles”) and Severus Snape (often called “Snap”, or “Snope” at times) attempting to rape or harm the protagonists. Yet another plot point follow Remus Lupin and Snape being bisexuals who spy on Ebony, at one point resulting in a moment shortly after Draco’s “death” where they are sitting on their broomsticks with “Loopin masticating [sic]” to Ebony bathing.

This was originally published in 44 chapters to Fanfiction.net. The author claims that chapters 39 and 40 were actually written by someone who hacked into their account. And the author also apparently had a falling-out of sorts with “their editor” somewhere around chapter 12. (Personally, the most amazing part to me is that the author had an editor.)

“My Immortal” is no longer on Fanfiction.net, though copies are still circulating. I haven’t found one yet. If I do, I am tempted to give it a shot. The 44 chapters total to about 22,000 words, so it shouldn’t take too long to struggle through.

But what’s the rest of the story? How did this come to my attention, and why am I interested? Well, there are rumors floating around – based on supposed similarities in the writing – that “XXXbloodyrists666XXX” is actually Lani Sarem, author of the “New York Times bestseller” Handbook for Mortals.

(more…)

Random notes: August 24, 2017.

Thursday, August 24th, 2017

Also among the dead: the print edition of the Village Voice.

In other news: WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!

Keeping your head up, your eyes open, and not driving into high water is probably a good idea. But. I remember the last time a hurricane came ashore near Houston, and was threatening Austin. I was still attending St. Ed’s at the time, and the university was sending out regular updates. There was tremendous hysteria. Everyone was hunkering down waiting for the storm.

In my part of town, the skies turned dark…and we got maybe three drops of rain, total. The hurricane was a giant bust.

I suggest being careful. But I’m not going to put any faith in apocalyptic predictions until the water starts coming over the top of the dam.

Whatever happened to Alice Goodman? She wrote the librettos to John Adams’s “Nixon in China” and “Death of Klinghoffer”…and then she just sort of vanished.

Turns out, she’s an ordained Anglican priest living in England.

“I never drifted away from music,” she said in a recent phone interview. “I couldn’t get work commissioned, so I did what members of my family do when that kind of thing happened: I started another degree. By 1997, I was being offered commissions and collaborations again, but none of them were particularly interesting to me, and my ideas didn’t interest my colleagues.”

Headline of the day.

Monday, August 14th, 2017

Fruitcake From Robert Scott Expedition Is ‘Almost’ Edible at 106 Years Old

“almost” edible. So pretty much the same as a regular fruitcake.

(Thank you. I’ll be here all week. Try your waitress and remember to tip the veal.)

Obit watch: August 8, 2017.

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

For the historical record: NYT obit for Mark White.

Ernst Zündel, scummy Nazi Holocaust denier and the center of two criminal trials in Canada.

Richard Dudman passed away at the age of 99, surprisingly. I say “surprisingly” because, as a journalist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he led an interesting and dangerous life:

Mr. Dudman’s career in journalism lasted more than three quarters of a century. He was in Dallas when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated and, after oversleeping and missing a flight back to Washington, dropped by the police station where Lee Harvey Oswald was being held and watched as he was gunned down by Jack Ruby.

He covered other wars all over the world, including Vietman. He was responsible for the P-D publishing part of the Pentagon Papers. In 1970, he and two other journalists were taken hostage by the Vietcong and spent 40 days as prisoners before being released.

In 1978, he and two other journalists got an “interview” with Pol Pot (though the “interview” was more like Pol Pot haranguing them through translators for several hours). Then someone tried to kill the three journalists.

He had a motto: “Reporter who sits on hot story gets ass burned.”

David E. H. Jones passed away a few weeks ago. That name may ring a small bell for some of you: he was a chemist and professor, as well as a professional writer.

Dr. Jones, who died at 79 on July 19 in Newcastle upon Tyne in northeastern England, wrote hundreds of irreverent columns about Daedalus for two sacrosanct journals: New Scientist, in a column named for Ariadne, the mistress of the labyrinth, and Nature, in a column called Daedalus.

Back in the old days, I used to spend time in the university library reading New Scientist, and Dr. Jones’s column was always the first thing I flipped to.

Headline of the day.

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

Restaurant caught serving steaks ‘unsafe for humans’

Mostly so I can use this: