Home / News and Commentary: Such A Day for News, You Wouldn’t Believe

News and Commentary: Such A Day for News, You Wouldn’t Believe

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Oy, you wouldn't believe what a day this has been for news. I could fill this whole page with The Washington Post alone, but because it's a stupid computer and not a piece of paper, it would never run out and we old curmudgeons have to carefully do something to our strength… what's that damn word… oh yeah, husband, whatever that means. But, enough about me. How're you doing? Really. Who cares?

Dateline: Katmandu, December 21, 2006

You can see forever from the wild, windswept cliffs of Katmandu. Well, you could see forever if they'd ever clean this place. I mean, there's sand everywhere, so who can see anything?

  • From the Barnum & Baily Files: Get this. The billions a year Congress and the Prez hand out to farmers — ostensibly to protect small family farms? Guess what.  They're actually driving them into the tank, according to economists, analysts, and farmers. It's not that hard to figure out (except for Congress, I guess). You own big farm. You get big money. You then buy up more land, mostly from small, poor farmers, or those just starting out. I must admit that one of the great privileges of being an American is our sacred right to be blithering idiots. It's nice to know that our federal government is showing the way with glaring lights and brass bands to the land of idiocy. 

  • From the "Stupid is As Stupid Does" Files:  "Shiite Clerics' Rivalry Deepens In Fragile Iraq." That's a headline in today's Washington Post. Both have the black turban as proof that Muhammad was their great, great, great… something or other. Their fathers were at war to see who'd control the Shiites, and now they each control 30 seats in the parliament. Best of all, they've both got weird people with powerful guns (a.k.a. militias) that are widely alleged to run death squads. God bless the word "alleged." Without it, we couldn't say anything. But, I'm more than a little confused. Okay, Shia vs. Sunni. That's kind of like the Catholics and Protestants in the early days… but a lot more bloody. But Shia vs. Shia — that's like a Conservative and an Orthodox Jew fighting out with matzohs at 20 paces over whether Jews should be in Israel. Boys and girls, if the Shias are fighting the Shias, and the Palestinians are fighting the Palestinians, what the hell are we doing there? And the hell with the wall around Israel — seal the country in a bomb-impervious clear plastic shell (with air holes of course) and let the Arabs just kill themselves off. What is your intrepid reporter missing here?

  • And From the Rope-a-Dope Files (still with today's Post):  Massachusetts Governor Mitt "Bet You Can't Guess What I Believe" Romney, who, just one decade ago, supported poor discriminated-against gays, high-fived at abortion clinics, and supported an automatic revolver in every pot… one hopes not every pot field. Why he even admits that his attitudes have changed. Could it be that since Giuliani and McCain own the center, old Romney — who's really from Minnesota — or Iowa — or Nebraska — never could keep those places straight — anyway, maybe he's trying to win the Republican right? Of course he's admitted his attitudes have changed.  In the history of this great republic, only one president has had the ability to say it's raining one minute and it's sunny the next (in the middle of a hurricane) and have everyone believe him — our beloved Bill "What Dress" Clinton. What if once, just once, we had a pol who not only said what he or she believed, but wasn't a bull-moose looney? Nah… too much caffeine and nicotine this morning.

  • Now You Hear Me, Now You Don't files:   Back in July, our Commander in Chief, showing his unwavering support for the military, said, "General Casey will make the decisions as to how many troops we have there. He'll decide how best to achieve victory and the troop levels necessary to do so. I've spent a lot of time talking to him about troop levels. And I've told him this: I said, 'You decide, General.'"  What a difference a disaster makes. Now, it's a different tune. Yesterday, despite growing warfare between the White House and the Pentagon, President Bush said that he will listen but not necessarily defer to balky military officers. In a completely unrelated move, Gen. John P. Abizaid, his top Middle East commander and a leading skeptic of a so-called surge, announced his retirement. First of all, George, may I call you George?  No?  Okay, hey Dumb as a Bucket of Hair, just like you don't take on someone who buys ink by the barrel, you don't publicly flay people who have missiles on the top of your house!  Personally I trust Geor… sorry, the Prez to make those decisions. After all, he served in the National Guard. And, hey, let's be honest. This war is looking more and more like Vietnam every day. Good luck, Commander in Chief. We're behind you… way, way, way behind you.

  • And, from The News You Didn't Know You Needed files:  The world is aghast that the title of Harry Potter VII is to be revealed. The world is aghast that they have to go to J.K. Rowling's website and play a little game of hangman to find it. Talk about your blatant commercialism, taking a profound allegory of the history of man's struggle against… weird creatures… and trivializing to boost sales. 'Tis said, JK, said. (Hey, JK could stand for John Kennedy, which means he didn't die after all… that would be a good thing.)

Ah well, another day, another zero dollars in the kitty, unless all my fans send bags o' money. (Come on, mom, it wouldn't kill you.) Stingy old… never mind. 

Tomorrow's a busy day for your intrepid reporter and, and he may not have time to post.  He's undertaking a special undercover mission for Eric Olsen, Chief Grand Poohbah and Owner of BC to find out where all the flowers have gone. So, as always, remember,

In Jameson Veritas

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About Mark Schannon

Retired crisis & risk manager/communications expert; extensive public relations experience in most areas over 30 years. Still available for extraordinary opportunities of mind-numbing complexity. Life-long liberal agnostic...or is that agnostic liberal.
  • Ach, ye provoke me ya great lefty git. If I had any time at all I’d do my own little news digests. I think I’d call them “The News – Now With Extra Hyperbole”.


  • D’oh

    Enjoy the day off then Mark. And I’ll keep reading everything you put up here, “lefty git” or not.

  • “…your intrepid reporter’s undertaking a special undercover mission for Eric Olsen, Chief Grand Poohbah and Owner of BC, to find out where all the flowers have gone.”

    (How’s THAT for mangling up a quote? Now do I get a job as a journalist or do I get a job as a journalist?)

    Hope you’re feeling a bit better. Let me know (after Sabbath) where all the flowers went, which street cats ate them, and how many of the street cats got spitted by angry gardeners…

    Refuá Shlemá
    u’Shabbat Shalom,

  • Dave, who you callin’ a git…and what’s a git anyway. Would you want to be one? And except for a couple of shots, this last one was a multi-party attack…I think.

    D’oh…not to worry. I’ll have Friday’s version up in an hour or so.

    And Reuven, I’m actually feeling great even though I have dueling docs, one with the easiest diagnosis & the other believing they haven’t inflicted every test known to man on me. I’m sure once I’m completely symptom free, they’ll figure out that they weren’t sure what was wrong.

    However, what remains inviolate…

    In Jameson Veritas

  • Do we have the budget for Paul Shaffer to play a piano ditty between bullet points?

  • Oh, and Reuven, you’re doing so well with the flowers, I’ll wait to hear your version after Sabbath.

    In Jameson Veritas

  • Suss, we have a small budget, but i kind of like the white space…kind of a zen thing.

    In Jameson Veritas

  • D’oh

    For Mark,

    Word of the day is the Balvenie

    sweet houghmagandy!

  • Clavos

    40 pounds!! Man, that’s some expensive hooch, D’oh. Bet it just slides down smooooothly.

  • D’oh

    Tis the season, Clavos.

    A bit of a media gift.

    Happy holly-daze!

  • STM

    The problem with buying bottles of grog worth 40 pounds a go, is that after the first two (small) glasses, it tastes exactly like the one you could’ve bagged for 15 quid.

    It’s a lot of money for something that eventually gets pissed up against a wall.

  • D’oh

    Ah, but I only have those two smalls, then put it away for another time.

    Sometimes a bit to savor, other times you take big bites. Knowing when and which, is wisdom.

    the Tao of D’oh.

  • Clavos

    Thanks, D’oh.

    Umm, the link doesn’t work?

    Have a great Holiday!

  • D’oh

    That’s funny, all three links just worked for me…

  • Clavos

    No, I meant the one in #10..

    BTW, I liked the Motorhead one a lot.

    I guess I’m an unplugged kind of guy…

  • D’oh

    Oh..in 10…

    you mean you need to know why the pun for holly-daze?

    And you do know Motorhead usually sounds like this?

    But the acoutsic is wonderful, after all Lemmy IS one of the Wonders of this world.

  • D’oh, sometimes you can be such a Rube.

  • D’oh

    Suss, you such a silly geek.

    But for you , here’s my vision of a little drummer boy.

  • Clavos


    Yes, I do know what MH usually sounds like. That’s probably why I liked the clip.

    I’m an old fart; the Stones, Pink Floyd, The Band, Jefferson Airplane — all that good stoner music…


    Loved the Rube bit. I can still remember my father telling me about him when I was kid.

    It happened after I showed him a drawing of an elaborate flyswatter operating machine I’d drawn with a friend. At that point, I’d never heard of Rube Goldberg, though maybe my friend had (he didn’t say)…

  • D’oh

    Then you’re going to love this one, Clavos.

  • Clavos

    BINGO! D’oh. I’m a big Shimabukuro fan. That guy flat-ass picks!

  • D’oh

    Then here I would have thought you had liked the Gourds bit. ( the big bites link)

    Ah well.

  • Clavos

    I did.

    Just hadn’t gotten around to saying so. :>)

  • D’oh

    Well then, there’s a bit of something I like to explore at times… how differing ways of expressing something change exactly what that something communicates.

    I submit to you two vastly different interpertations of the same composition.

    here and here.

    Let me know what you think of the thesis.

  • Clavos


    The Johnny Cash link worked fine, but I couldn’t get the other one to work.

    Even before I see it, I’ll tell you I absolutely agree with your basic thesis. I’m not a musician, but I am an actor (mostly amateur, community theater stuff, but I’ve been doing it since my early teens), and I’ve seen that phenomenon in acting many a time.

    Please try the other link again, I’m looking forward to it.

  • D’oh

    Sure Clavos, here’s how the song was originally written…


  • Hey you guys swiped my thread…but “while my uke gently weeps” was well worth it. Amazing. Never heard of the guy, but he’s on my list now.

    I too coulnd’t get the first song, D’oh, but did get J Cash–have to confess, never been a big favorite.

    Keep ’em coming…

    In Jameson Veritas

  • D’oh

    Oh I have one for Mark…an X-mas gift.

    Here is the version of an old folk ballad updated by some Irish rockers

    Then here is the 21st century version.

  • troll

    (when one of these links doesn’t work simply remove the final ‘&mode=related&search=’ from the address and try again)

  • D’oh

    In the spirit of the Season, Solstice Bells

  • D’oh

    Since he is about, this is for troll.

  • troll

    back at ya my pretty

  • Clavos


    Umm, where to begin?

    First, I’m loath to admit this, but I never (knowingly) listened to Soundgarden before, though I was aware the band existed.

    Second, I’ve heard (and like) a lot of Johnny Cash, but hadn’t heard “Rusty Cage” before.

    I think those are both good things for the exercise, because, as a result, I come to it with few preconceptions.


    I listened to both several times each; both watching and not watching the video, because Soundgarden’s video is far more eloquent (obviously!) than Cash’s, and I wanted to get a feel for what I could get out of just the audio tracks.


    Cash’s version is more personal and introspective; it comes off like a guy talking to the woman he’s leaving.

    Soundgarden’s version, on the other hand, is a revolutionary anthem; an in your face nose-thumbing to authority. It’s much more defiant than Cash’s version, and I think the video makes the point forcefully.

    You really can’t compare the videos: Cash’s is mostly just studio footage, with a little concert thrown in, while Soundgarden’s is certainly part of the whole piece; it fits very well with the performance itself, and complements it.

    I think that you have to take into account that it’s Soundgarden’s composition (I assume it was written by one of them?) when you compare the two, and therefore give their interpretation of the piece more weight, though I certainly don’t mean to devalue Cash’s interp by that.

    Well, that’s it, for what its worth…

  • Clavos

    Sorry for the hijacking, Mark, but I’m having fun here, FWIW.

  • D’oh

    Ah Clavos… Art can indeed be so subjective.

    I find both equally eloquent in their exposition. I also revel in the nuances between the versions as so accurately described in Clavos’ analysis.

    Cash has more soul, and SG have more testosterone… wonderful explorations in each, from the same song.

    Now, troll has hulled me at the waterline, and left me far behind.

  • Clavos,no apologies, this is great. Although I’m such a neanderthal, I just about puked when I say them doing Whiskey in the Jar all hard electric. I mostly an accoustic man myself. But I’m learning alot from the noise you guys are posting, LOL.

    In Jameson Veritas

  • Clavos


    Me too. I told D’oh I’m more of an unplugged kind of guy, but I do like the sixties bands (and some of the newer ones) a lot, too.

    BTW, D’oh; in my list above, I left out the Doors — used to listen to “Light My Fire” a LOT. Heh.

    My wife’s a total folkie, and I listen more to jazz than anything these days.

    I liked Jethro Tull’s rendition of Whiskey In The Jar.

    Actually, D’oh’s teaching me a lot, too. Much to my surprise, I liked the Metallica piece he linked.

    It’s cool having someone who really knows show you; that way you don’t have to wade through the schlock to find the good stuff. I don’t have the patience for that.