Friday, December 10, 2010


Final WORDS for Final Exams

Note: Today is the last day of classes at USU, so we pause to let students and professors focus, if possible, on final exams and projects. The WORD will spend a couple of weeks looking for lumps of coal at St. Mumbles Holiday Home for the Terminally Verbose, returning in a New Year with New Hope. In parting, we humbly offer a few morsels to tide you over. HoHoHo!
“Being a reporter is as much a diagnosis as a job description.”
—Anna Quindlen,

“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

“The difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference between Jerry Lewis and Jerry Lee Lewis.”
—Paul Lester, photojournalism educator, 2010 (with apologies to Mark Twain)

“Whenever I finish a good book I eat the last page.”—Anon

Editorial Comment: Dog bless us, every one! —Tiny Ted

PeezPix: HoHoHo! Here's to happy, safe, sane and restful holidays, everyone!


Thursday, December 9, 2010


Press Atrophy

“There is a very simple reason WikiLeaks has sent a furious storm of outrage across the globe and it has very little to do with diplomatic impropriety. It is this: The public is uninformed because of inadequate journalism. Consumers of information have little more to digest than Kim Kardashian’s latest paramour or the size of Mark Zuckerberg’s jet. Very few publishers or broadcasters post reporters to foreign datelines and give them time to develop relationships that lead to information. Consequently, journalism is atrophying from the extremities inward and the small heart it has will soon become even more endangered. So, long live WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. And if Pfc. Bradley Manning is the leaker, he deserves the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”

—James Moore, former TV journalist, author, columnist, “Wikileaks and the Myth of Journalistic Objectivity,” Huffington Post, Dec. 3, 2010

Editorial Comment: Bad watchdog!

PeezPix: Winter ReflectionsA wintry Bear River Range reflected in Cutler Marsh, northern Utah

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


NOTE: John Lennon died 30 years ago today, but he's still going strong. One Imagine video here.


“Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too

Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You, you may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You, you may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will be as one”

—John Lennon (1940-1980), singer/songwriter/philosopher. Video
Image: The gates of Strawberry Field in Liverpool where John Lennon used to play as a child Christopher Furlong

LENNONYC: New PBS documentary.
Image: Bob Gruen

Editorial Comment: 30 years? Can’t imagine.

PeezPix: Humboldt Moon SettingOver the Pacific, northern California

More Lennon pix, just because I found them....

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange was arrested at New Scotland Yard this morning on Swedish sex-assault charges. Meanwhile, his editorial in The Australian: Don’t Shoot the Messenger.

Informed Society?

“According to a three-part investigative series by Dana Priest and William Arkin published earlier this year in The Washington Post, an estimated 854,000 people now hold top secret clearance—more than 1.5 times the population of Washington, D.C. ‘The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.’

“The result of this classification mania is the division of the public into two distinct groups: those who are privy to the actual conduct of American policy, but are forbidden to write or talk about it, and the uninformed public, which becomes easy prey for the official lies exposed in the Wikileaks documents . . .

“It is a fact of the current media landscape that the chilling effect of threatened legal action routinely stops reporters and editors from pursuing stories that might serve the public interest—and anyone who says otherwise is either ignorant or lying.”

—David Samuels, writer, “The Shameful Attack on Julian Assange,”
The Atlantic, Dec. 3, 2010

Editorial Comment: Hear no evil?

PeezPix: Whooo? Great Horned Owl


Monday, December 6, 2010



“The rise of the Internet and the coming of broadband do not mean . . . that the concept of applying judgment to the news—of trying to decide what people need and want to know to self-govern—is obsolete. They make the need all the greater. John Seeley Brown, the former director of Xerox PARC, the legendary think tank in Silicon Valley, suggests that rather than rendering the democratic public service notion of journalism moot, technology has instead changed how journalists fulfill it. ‘What we need in the new economy and the new communications culture is sense making. We have a desperate need to get some stable points in an increasingly crazy world.’”
—Bill Kovach & Tom Rosensteil, journalists and authors, The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect, 2001

Editorial Comment: When does that start, exactly?

PeezPix: Frigid Roads . . . Happy Dogs. The change of seasons is complete below Mendon Peak, northern Utah.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Weekend Edition

Special Weekend Edition

Liberals Flee Tea Party, Flock North;
Wall Proposed for Canadian Border

Editor’s Note: What’s amusing about this reprise of a piece that circulated widely among frightened and pissed-off Democrats when Dubya and the Supreme Court stole the 2000 election from Al Gore, is that it illustrates how liberals are always disorganized and fleeing. Like the flocks of wild turkeys that our dogs have been flushing all around the yard here. And, of course, there’s the fact that the Manitoba Herald persisted for less than seven months in 1977, from Jan. 11, 1877, to Aug. 2, 1877. “Its intention was to defend the interests of Manitoba and to keep an eye on the behaviour of the province’s representatives.”

• • •

From The Manitoba Herald, Canada R20; “Reported” by Clive Runnels

Canadians: Build a Damn Fence!

MANITOBA—The flood of American liberals sneaking across the border into Canada has intensified in the past week, sparking calls for increased patrols to stop the illegal immigration.

The recent actions of the Tea Party are prompting an exodus among left-leaning citizens who fear they'll soon be required to hunt, pray, and to agree with Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck.

Canadian border farmers say it’s not uncommon to see dozens of sociology professors, animal-rights activists and Unitarians crossing their fields at night.

“I went out to milk the cows the other day, and there was a Hollywood producer huddled in the barn,” said Manitoba farmer Red Greenfield, whose acreage borders North Dakota. “The producer was cold, exhausted and hungry. He asked me if I could spare a latte and some free-range chicken. When I said I didn’t have any, he left before I even got a chance to show him my screenplay, eh?”

In an effort to stop the illegal aliens, Greenfield erected higher fences, but the liberals scaled them. He then installed loudspeakers that blared Rush Limbaugh across the fields.

“Not real effective,” he said. “The liberals still got through and Rush annoyed the cows so much that they wouldn’t give any milk.”

Officials are particularly concerned about smugglers who meet liberals near the Canadian border, pack them into Volvo station wagons and drive them across the border, where they are simply left to fend for themselves.

“A lot of these people are not prepared for our rugged conditions,” an Ontario border patrolman said. “I found one carload without a single bottle of imported drinking water. They did have a nice little Napa Valley Cabernet, though.”

When liberals are caught, they’re sent back across the border, often wailing loudly that they fear retribution from conservatives. Rumors have been circulating about plans being made to build re-education camps where liberals will be forced to drink domestic beer and watch NASCAR races.

In recent days, liberals have turned to ingenious ways of crossing the border. Some have been disguised as senior citizens taking a bus trip to buy cheap Canadian prescription drugs. After catching a half-dozen young vegans in powdered wig disguises, Canadian immigration authorities began stopping buses and quizzing the supposed senior citizens about Perry Como and Rosemary Clooney to prove that they were alive in the ’50s.

“If they can't identify the accordion player on The Lawrence Welk Show, we become very suspicious about their age,” an official said.

Canadian citizens have complained that the illegal immigrants are creating an organic-broccoli shortage and are renting all the Michael Moore movies. “I really feel sorry for American liberals, but the Canadian economy just can't support them,” an Ottawa resident said. “How many art-history majors does one country need?”

Want baby seal fritters with that?

Friday, December 3, 2010


Term-Paper Trauma

It’s not about journalism, per se, (unless you think Stephen Glass or Jayson Blair...). But this being the end of the semester, when students and faculty alike are increasingly frantic and even desperate, I offer this chilling cautionary tell-all from The Chronicle of Higher Education. I miss Cliff Notes.

“The request came in by e-mail around 2 in the afternoon. It was from a previous customer, and she had urgent business. I quote her message here verbatim (if I had to put up with it, so should you): ‘You did me business ethics propsal for me I need propsal got approved pls can you will write me paper?’

“I’ve gotten pretty good at interpreting this kind of correspondence. The client had attached a document from her professor with details about the paper. She needed the first section in a week. Seventy-five pages.

“I told her no problem. It truly was no problem. In the past year, I’ve written roughly 5,000 pages of scholarly literature, most on very tight deadlines. But you won’t find my name on a single paper....”

“You’ve never heard of me, but there’s a good chance that you’ve read some of my work. I’m a hired gun, a doctor of everything, an academic mercenary. My customers are your students. I promise you that. Somebody in your classroom uses a service that you can’t detect, that you can’t defend against, that you may not even know exists.”

—Ed Dante,The Shadow Scholar: The man who writes your students’ papers tells his story,The Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov. 12, 2010
(Thanks to alert WORDster and skeptical professor Sean Michael)
Image: “Fitzroy Back Alley,” by Aaron

Editorial Comment: Prof, the dog ate my homework. And barfed. Sheesh.

PeezPix: Happiness is a Warm Sprinkler

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Historical Perspective

Rush to Judgment

“Nowhere are the differences between journalism and history more evident than in assessments of the presidency of the United States. If journalism is generally described as ‘history in a hurry,’ so is it shortsighted and sloppy as it lurches forward, gathering news in bits and pieces, coming to conclusions based on short-term accomplishments and the court of public opinion.

“There has hardly been an instance in U.S. history when the immediacy of the news did not bypass its larger truths, whether positive or negative. Washington and Lincoln suffered more than their share of bad press, as did Wilson and Truman. On the other hand, McKinley and Harding got enthusiastic appraisals, only to be downgraded later by historians. Journalists and their associates, the pollsters, treated Harry Truman with ridicule and contempt, while historians later judged him great or near-great.

“Thus, any review of the relationship between the presidency and the media’s court of public opinion is necessarily precarious.”

—Everette E. Dennis & Edward C. Pease, editors,
“The Presidency in the New Media Age,” Media Studies Journal, 1994.

Editorial Comment: Wait for the movie...

PeezPix: Snowbunnies

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Raw Material

“The poet's material is words that, for all we may say and feel against them, are more manageable than men. Get a few words alone in a study and with plenty of time on your hands you can make them say anything you please.”
—Robert Frost (1874-1963) poet

Editorial Comment: Like water-boarding?

PeezPix: Speaking of Frost, Wintry Skies.