Friday, December 11, 2009

Some Last WORDs for 2009

Unwrap These Slowly

“I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.’” —Kurt Vonnegut, writer

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing sound they make as they go by.” —Douglas Adams, journalist

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.” —The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, Dec. 10, 1964

“The power in the freedom of the press is a flaming sword! That it may be a faithful servant of all the people ... use it justly ... hold it high ... guard it well.” —Opening lines to the radio series Big Town, 1937-1952

“Kroger’s had a sign on one of its checkout centers saying: ‘This register is closed to serve you better.’” —Javan Kienzle, writer

“I am dead to adverbs; they cannot excite me.” —Mark Twain, writer

“It was a book to kill time for those who like it better dead.”—Dame Rose Macaulay, author

“You never monkey with the truth.” —Ben Bradlee, editor

“I’ll never forget the day I read a book. It was contagious, 70 pages. There were pictures here and there ...” —Jimmy Durante, singer
“Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you mad.” —Aldous Huxley, writer

“Go forth! Unlearn the lies we taught you.” —Jacob Neusner, educator

“I love going out in the dark, finding the paper and reading it over breakfast.” —Matthew Flitton, journalist

“There can be no liberty for a community which lacks the information by which to detect lies.”—Walter Lippmann, newsman

“Don’t take life serious, Son… it ain’t nohow permanent.” —Albert Alligator, philosopher-king

Editor’s Note: “God Bless Us, Every One!” —Tiny Tim

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Memo to NBC News

Brian Williams: Call Jon Stewart

“Jon Stewart has created a system of check and balances. On occasion, when we’ve been on the cusp of doing something completely inane on NBC Nightly News, I will gently suggest to my colleagues that we simply courier the tape over to Jon’s office, to spare The Daily Show interns the time and trouble.”
—Brian Williams,
managing editor and anchor of NBC Nightly News,
frighteningly, the top-rated U.S. network TV evening news show (ave. 9.6 million viewers last week.
Where DO more Americans get their news than from any other source?

Editor’s Note: NBC: Call Stewart more often. Please.

FYI: Nielsen Ratings, TV News for Week of Nov. 30: “NBC’s ‘Nightly News’ was the top evening news program last week followed by ABC’s ‘World News’ and CBS’ ‘Evening News.’” Click here. And . . . . Stewart Tops Dobbs for Prez: “Twice as many Americans have a favorable opinion of Stewart as have an unfavorable view, 34-17. For Dobbs, the gap is narrow, 27-23.” Click here.

Utah State JCOM News: JCOM alum Reed Cowan’s documentary, “8: The Mormon Proposition,” selected for Sundance 2010. Click here.

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Last Class Day

Pre-Exam Wisdom

“A word to the wise ain’t necessary. It’s the stupid ones who need the advice.”
—Bill Cosby, Doctor of Education


“If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can’t it get us out?”
—Will Rogers (1876-1935), Philosopher

Editor’s Note: Exams start Monday. Time to buckle down...

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Utah State JCOM News: JCOM alum Reed Cowan’s documentary, “8: The Mormon Proposition,” selected for Sundance 2010. URL

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Wisdom of Dogs Barking


“This sense that having a face means you have the right to put it up in public and having an opinion makes it worth hearing is very perplexing to me. About three minutes of anything on YouTube should kill any interest you have in seeing more. So why doesn't it? Is idiocy in endless loops somehow more interesting or informative? I’ve learned more from dogs barking than anything I’ve seen on YouTube. All in all, this isn't democracy. It’s just widening the number of people who feel the same stupid way you do, which leaves the impression that everyone feels that way. It validates narrowmindedness, if not bigotry.”
—Mark L. Damen, classics professor, on the YouTube phenomenon, 2008

(See Michael Wesch’s excellent “An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube” at the Library of Congress, 2008: URL)

Editor’s Note: How about dogs barking on YouTube?

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

More on Simplicity

Say What You Mean, No More, No Less

“Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.”
—William Strunk and E.B. White,
wordsters, in The Elements of Style
(Thanks to alert WORDster Steve Marston)

Editor’s Note: K.I.S.S.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Hey! Here’s a Wild Idea!

“They’re in a state of transition, and they don’t know what their role is. So they’ve been all over the lot. For a while . . . everything had to be reported from a consumer point of view. Then they went to entertainment, the O.J. syndrome. They’ve tried consumers, hype, entertainment. One of these days, the network people—who are smart people—will sit around a table like this, and one of them will say, ‘How about if we go back to covering serious news?’ They’ll say, ‘Eureka!’ . . . Commercial television can’t get any worse, for God’s sake.”
—Jim Lehrer, host, “NewsHour” on PBS, 2000 URL

Editor’s Note: That’s just crazy enough to work.

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