Uncle Sam wants Weird Al

Another nice item found at random (OK, I searched on my own name and a blog called Infinity Ranch popped up): Last summer, the Air Force put out an urgent call for an accordion player.

As a veteran of a wind ensemble, I can empathize with the comparison of polka music to boot camp.


Reminders for bloggers

The Happy Skeptic is skeptical of many things (but tries not to be cynical, which is different and far less contructive). One such thing — blogs in general.

Obviously, I see some value in blogs. But I’m a little wary of the orthodoxy of many blog evangelists. In English: Life ain’t always like these blog folks think.

So here are a few reminders for those who blog. Most should be common sense, but a few might be heresy to the blogosphere’s big names:

1. Most Americans distrust both major parties.

2. People tend to get a little annoyed when you slap labels on their entire way of thinking. The reason: People are capable of independent thoughts.

3. Most people don’t have 4-5 hours a day to blog or to read blogs. Don’t assume someone’s ignorant just because they didn’t see one of the 100 or so posts at Instapundit yesterday. They may have families, dogs, hobbies or just the occasional urge to go outside.

4. A medium dominated by people with lots of free time and a touch of anger is not necessarily more democratic than a medium dominated by modestly paid professionals.

5. Journalists are people, too. Really, I know. I’m a journalist myself, and my doctor recommends the same medicine for me as she does for her other patients.

6. To spin doctors and pundits, the game between the two parties is more important than anyone’s ideology. That’s why the fact that James Carville and Mary Matalin are married is no more surprising than the sight of longtime Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens in a Yankees uniform. Only suckers let themselves be defined by a strict “left” or “right” ideology. We just happen to have a lot of suckers in the blogosphere (and, thanks to partisan redistricting and a bit of demagogy, we also have them in Congress).

7. Reporting takes work. Editing takes work. Thoughtful analysis takes work. Punditry does not. Even if you can write better political commentary than the columnist at your least favorite newspaper (which would mean you’re putting some effort into it), you’ve only proven yourself capable of replacing one out of a couple hundred staffers (couple thousand for the big ones) at that paper. Even if your blog is better than the a newspaper’s op-ed page, you’re “replacing” two pages in the paper. The rest is a little more difficult.

8. Blogs are not the cure for being disenfranchised. I’ve been doing this a while now (some of the work I did as far back as 1997 would meet any conventional definition of “blog”), and I’m more disenfranchised today than ever. If you think the cure is “spend more time blogging,” see No. 3.

9. Most problems with the media stem from the fact that they work too fast and are too caught up in the process of what they do (landing that interview, fixing that computer systems, surviving that Dilbert meeting) to think about the ramifications of the content. That’s why it’s helpful to point out the mistakes, but it’s not helpful to assume a motive behind the mistakes.

10. There’s more to life than politics. There’s more to politics than the White House and Congress.

11. Schadenfreude is a poor hobby that was once reserved for cranky old curmudgeons. Or sportswriters.

12. If you’re not David Letterman, a top-10 list is simply derivative.


Sesame-Infused Low-Fat Street

I can’t complain that Sesame Street is pushing healthy lifestyles these days, but does anyone else find the new season a little overbearing? Does every sketch have to be about fruits and vegetables? And will we need to hear Cookie Monster sing “E is for Eggplant”?

I liked the storyline of the banana replacing Excalibur in Telly’s retelling of King Arthur, though.


The traffic-driver

Want to see pictures of Amanda Beard swimming with Anna Kournikova?

(I’m sorry. I have no such thing. This entire post was written as a means of driving traffic to my blog. If you’re mad, I’m sorry, but it’s not exactly hard to find pictures of either of the two women mentioned above. I hope you’ll enjoy a quick laugh before returning to search for photos to help you fill in the gaps in your imagination.)

I would have pictures of them, but George W. Bush and the mainstream media won’t let me post them.

(OK, maybe the MSM might be a little annoyed with me if I posted such things. They employ me, after all, and my bosses would probably rethink their policy on employee blogs if I went for the “babelog” approach. Bush surely wouldn’t care. I just mentioned him to add more search terms.)

My favorite bands are Weezer and Guster!

(Actually, I do like those bands. If you also like them, check out this blog on occasion. I might give them some attention at some point.)

Remember when you could get a Coke for 50 cent?

(I’m on cruise control now.)

Is it true that you can get the Paris Hilton sex tape on Playstation?

(My guess would be “no.”)

The latest meme on the Democrats is ridiculous.

(“Meme” is to Web-heads what “discourse” is to sociologists. Substitute the word “thing” for either word, and you lose none of the meaning.)

It’s almost as overblown as that piece on Judith Warner.

(Now I’m just getting trendy. Warner’s in minute 13 of 15 in the spotlight.)

Do you think Howard Stern and Donald Rumsfeld are the same person?

(No, but wouldn’t that be interesting?)

Do you watch Desperate Housewives?

(I did for the first few episodes. I should probably mention Eva Longoria here just to get that traffic.)

Wait a minute. Is the plain text in this post supposed to generate traffic, or is it the stuff in italics?

(Does it matter?)


Looking for me?

(Following up on “Beau defined”)

According to Websters Online, my name is searched an average of two (2) times per day.

I’m not sure how much I believe it, though. As much as I’d like to believe that former Duke hoops star Alana Beard gets more searches than swimmer Amanda Beard, who reveals just a bit more skin in her photo shoots than Alana, I don’t.