Jim

Archive for December, 2007|Monthly archive page

I should be more of an asshole

In Smartness, The news biz on December 31, 2007 at 5:48 pm

And I s’pose I should be smarter, too, if the Yelv is right: “Newspapers were more interesting when they were edited by brilliant, obsessive jerks than nowadays, when they’re edited by committees.” He says newspapers should be more like Apple (user-experience focused, aggressively looking outside the company for innovation) and less like Microsoft (know-it-all, territorial bastards?).

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Fort Bragg couple gets hitched after Iraq betrothal

In Culture, Fayetteville, Fort Bragg, N.C. on December 31, 2007 at 4:56 pm

A year ago, when Maj. Eric Olson of Flushing surprised Maj. Laura Geldhof by proposing in a combat zone in Iraq. The two Army officers were supposed to wed Oct. 6 in a “dream autumn wedding” that had already been planned with gold hues and tables sprinkled with fall leaves. But in June the couple learned that Olson’s second tour in Iraq would be 15 months instead of 12.

Long story short, they finally got all married up this month. Awww. But a couple of cool quotes from the bride:

  • “He was wearing his rifle and everything. How many people propose armed?”
  • “I think being in a combat zone can be easier than planning a wedding.”
  • Bhutto’s sanitized assassination

    In Culture, Politics, The news biz on December 29, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    As has become the norm, American media clean up images of people killed in war or terror attacks. Even Wonkette has taken notice:

    During the interview, they showed one of the photographs I swore mainstream media wouldn’t show you (and the one the editors of the New York Times had the stones to put unedited on the front page above the fold this morning). But, did they really show you?

    The debate over whether to show the grisly reality of death crops up every time a highly public killing takes place. The last one I recall was after the train bombing in Madrid. Unretouched photos showed body parts scattered about. Some (particularly American) newspapers ran photos that were blurred or retouched to hide the blood.My opinion is, if you’re going to run the photo, don’t fake it.

    However, I recognize that, from a purely marketing perspective, readers don’t respond well to gore. One of the worst-moving editions of SmartNews featured soldiers who were burn victims. The photo on the cover wasn’t totally horrifying, but it was arresting — and people didn’t really like it.

    Thanks to Robb Montgomery for posting the Wonkette link on Facebook.

    Bhutto’s murder: You had to see it coming

    In Politics, Unfettered stupidity on December 28, 2007 at 7:26 am

    Pervez Musharraf, al-Qaida and its ilk, the secret police, maybe even the Pakistani army — Benazir had more than her fair share of enemies. So I wonder if she didn’t see it coming, as well, but felt it better to take her chances with martyrdom than to be an exile. No way for me to know from this great distance. Government officials expressing “shock” ring hollow; seems like they could have done better.

    Here’s some of the coverage:

  • BBC package: lots of stuff
  • Not as big a package on Al Jazeera but everyone’s got an opinion as to who was behind it: radical Islam, Musharraf, the CIA.
  • My favorite strategist says that, from our American perspective, her death won’t change things much. Pakistan is pretty screwed up, and she wasn’t going to fix it anyway.

    This might seem bloodthirsty, but I’m surprised there’s not a better-quality video. You can’t tell me there weren’t a gob of video cams at that event. Is it a matter of news sites not wanting to show gruesome footage? Even Al Jazeera didn’t have anything posted when I looked.

  • Nearly 95 percent of all e-mail is spam?

    In Smartness, Unfettered stupidity on December 27, 2007 at 12:58 am

    Well, that’s what Barracuda Networks says. It’s not impossible that the report’s numbers could be skewed: the company’s phone number is 1-888-ANTI-SPAM.

    Barracuda Networks, Inc., the worldwide leader in email and Web security appliances, released its annual spam report today. The findings included: 1) The majority of business professionals view spam email as the worst form of junk advertising – worse than postal junk mail and telemarketing calls, and 2) spam email accounted for 90 to 95 percent of all email in 2007, up from an estimated five percent of email in 2001.

    How much of your e-mail is spam? How big of a pain in the ass is it? Oddly, I don’t have a whole lot of trouble with it; I suppose my server has an ass-kicking anti-spam module.

    UNC suspect: Hey, you can’t sexually assault the willing

    In Cops and crime, N.C., Unfettered stupidity on December 24, 2007 at 7:41 pm

    You have to admit, this is pretty juicy, no matter what the actual truth of the matter is. File it under “Three too many martinis.”

    Michael Lewis says he and his two friends, Monique Taylor and Tnika Washington were at the Martini Bar in Chapel Hill last Saturday night when a UNC football player propositioned one of the girls.

    “When I came back he was talking to Monique,” Lewis said. “He was like, ‘I like your friend,’ this that and the third. Do you want to come back to my place? And I’m like, ‘Well, I don’t really know nobody, but if she want to go, you know, I’m not just going to leave my friend.'”

    When they got back to the Chapel Hill apartment, Lewis says one of the players started talking about sex, bondage and money.

    “He’s like, ‘I want to pay for a foursome,'” Lewis said. “And I’m like, ‘Pay for a foursome? I ain’t with that. He’s like let them tie us up it’ll be cool dude.'”

    The story’s caveat: “Police contradict a lot of what Lewis told Eyewitness News, and he is facing serious charges. Even though there are allegations of paying for sex, no prostitution charges have been filed.”

    Full disclosure, I’ve had a martini or two at the Martini Bar in Chapel Hill. However, I did not take any women (or men, for that matter) home for a foursome.

    ‘Police are investigating whether alchohol was involved’

    In Sports, Unfettered stupidity on December 24, 2007 at 7:17 pm

    I’ve had a drink or two too many before, but not quite to this level. Damn, what a way to go.

    As stunned bystanders watched, a Patriots fan on his way into Gillette Stadium for Sunday’s game leapt off an overpass and fell 17 feet onto the pavement below. “He thought he was going to land in a snow bank,” said one witness to the incident.

    ‘New’ idea: Lower the price of your house in order to sell it

    In Biz, Fayetteville, N.C., Smartness on December 23, 2007 at 6:37 pm

    Well, I guess it’s a little bit more scientific than that. They call it absorption-rate pricing. It’s a little complicated for the average, math-challenged journalist. But it’s not hard to imagine a Multiple Listing Service-based algorithm that’d do the work for ya. Basically, the idea is to actually use real-estate market research to set your sale price, not just your gut feeling, or that of the real estate agent.

    If you are in no hurry to move, then, yes, you can offer your place at the high end of the market and hope someone eventually comes knocking on your door. But if you want out fast, you have to be more realistic. Thus, you need to find a price point at which it will sell as quickly as you need it to.

    Absorption-rate pricing isn’t new. Practically every type of business uses the technique. But it is new to real estate. “Our industry is just now catching on,” says Fayetteville, N.C.-based real estate agent Zan Monroe, who teaches agents how to help clients determine an asking price commensurate with their need to move on.


    There are some other interesting tidbits, too; worth reading on a slow Sunday if you’re trying to buy or sell a house and you have a wonky mindset.

    UNC football players allegedly sexually assaulted by women

    In Cops and crime, N.C., Sports on December 21, 2007 at 1:51 am

    Normally, you expect the jocks to do the sexual assaulting. Hey, they do things a little bit differently up in Chapel Hill.

    Three UNC football players were the victims in a kidnapping, robbery and sexual assault incident involving two women, the university confirmed Thursday afternoon. “This is a very unusual case,” attorney Glenn Gerding said. “Almost unbelievable, at first blush.”

    Someone is so going to lose his job over this headline

    In Culture, Unfettered stupidity on December 20, 2007 at 5:18 am

    Mainichi Times Web site, around midnight, Dec. 20

    I clipped the screen view in case cooler (get it?) heads prevail at the Mainichi Times Web site.