Log inskip to content

Archive for October, 2008

Local News Sites Need New Writers

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

I have been increasingly infuriated with the poor grammar, bad spelling, and too-numerous-to-count mistakes that appear in local news stories on websites 2theadvocate.com (WBRZ News 2 and local newspaper, The Advocate) and wafb.com (Channel 9), but I believe I have finally reached my boiling point.

I have tried to take into consideration that this is the Internet and therefore a bit more "casual" than  other media sources; however, that does not even begin to excuse the apathy with which these media outlets put their content online.  They are supposed to be professional, but their writing - and mistakes - make them seem anything but.

I could perhaps let slip the fact that their writing is lackluster, contrived, and often unintelligible.  I might could even look over the writer's personal opinions often being thrown into what should be unbiased, professional news stories.  Hell, let's even excuse the complete lack of proofreading these pieces obviously go through - each article has, at the very least, one error that could and should have been caught by proofreading; most have more than one or two.  Yet I can no longer stand by when, added to that heap, these "journalists" do not appear to have the slightest grasp on grammar or even sentence structure!

As an example (and I could provide many more), here is an article - unedited by me, as is - that is currently running over at WAFB:

The Baton Rouge man accused of killing his two young boys to get revenge on his wife will be examined by mental health experts. Clayton Murphy junior appeared in district court Thursday and showed little emotion. This from a man who allegedly stabbed two kids and called his wife to tell her about it.

Clayton Murphy jr, will have a mental evaluation before his case goes any further. Prosecutors expect to seek the death penalty after Murphy was caught by police standing over the body of his own 2-year-old son Tayshaun. The other child,  8-year-old Juwan was laying dead in the other room. Prosecutor Aaron Brooks said, " this is horrendous, unspeakable, unforgivable." Defense attorney Margaret Lagatudda said, "something must have happened for someone whose never been in trouble never done anything violent before...something had to snap to kill children that he loved."

An East Baton Rouge sheriff's deputy fired one shot at Murphy but missed him. After he was arrested, deputies say Murphy confessed to the killings. The mental evaluation will determine whether the prosecution seeks the death penalty or life in prison. Brooks said, " the evidence I've reviewed so far support the possibility of first degree murder indictment that will be there call but that is what we will present and we'll seek." But first Murphy has to be evaluated. Lagatudda said, " does he understand the court proceedings that's the first step. We have some information we believe theres gonna be some mental health issues. So before I get to the mental health I want to determine if he's competent."

The mental health report is due back to judge johnson December fifth. Murphy will be back in court December 11th.

Can you count the errors?  This sounds like a really bad blog post rather than a professionally-written article published on a valid news source.  Let's review - errors in bold, my corrections in italics:

The Baton Rouge man accused of killing his two young boys to get revenge on his wife will be examined by mental health experts. Clayton Murphy junior (Clayton Murphy, Jr.) appeared in district court Thursday and showed little emotion. This from a man who allegedly stabbed two kids and called his wife to tell her about it. (Superfluous, personal opinion - should be taken out.)

Clayton Murphy jr (Jr.), will have a mental evaluation before his case goes any further. Prosecutors expect to seek the death penalty after Murphy was caught by police standing over the body of his own (Superfluous.  Obviously his son was his "own'".  Again, putting too much personal emotion into the news piece) 2-year-old son (2 year-old) Tayshaun. The other child,  8-year-old (8 year-old) Juwan (missing comma) was laying (lying) dead in the other room. Prosecutor Aaron Brooks said, " this is horrendous, unspeakable, unforgivable." Defense attorney Margaret Lagatudda said, "something must have happened for someone whose (who's) never been in trouble (missing comma) never done anything violent before...something had to snap to kill children that he loved."

An East Baton Rouge sheriff's deputy fired one shot at Murphy but missed him. After he was arrested, deputies say Murphy confessed to the killings. The mental evaluation will determine whether the prosecution seeks the death penalty or life in prison. Brooks said, " the (The, no space before the quote) evidence I've reviewed so far support (supports) the possibility of (a) first degree murder indictment that will be there (their) call but that is what we will present and we'll seek." (Don't even get me started on the preceding quote - let's just say that sentence called, and it wants its punctuation back) But first Murphy has to be evaluated. Lagatudda said, " does (Does, no space before the quote) he understand the court proceedings (? Begin new sentence with "That's") that's the first step. We have some information (,) we believe theres (there's) gonna be some mental health issues. So before I get to the mental health I want to determine if he's competent."

The mental health report is due back to judge johnson (you're kidding me, right?  /sigh  Judge Johnson) December fifth (December 5th, especially since it is written this way in the next sentence). Murphy will be back in court December 11th.

I probably even missed some.  The main problem with this is that it isn't just one article or one particular "journalist" at either place; this is nearly every article that appears on both sites.  Either they don't care about the content they are putting online or they really are very bad writers.

I'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt, but I just don't know that I can at this point.  The problem has actually gotten worse instead of better - or even remaining the same.  Do these "journalists" give a toss about their credentials, their bodies of work, how they are going to look to the public at large?  Professionalism seems to be an afterthought; if it's a thought at all.

Every time I go to read an article at either site I find myself yelling out loud at the screen over the ridiculousness printed there.  I am simply fed up with their lack of professionalism and complete disregard for the very basics of writing (sentence structure, grammar, etc.)  It sickens me to think this is the future of our media, and with college graduates hardly being able to write their way out of a paper bag with both ends cut out, I don't see this improving in the future.

I want to believe these people can write better than this.  Perhaps they all just need much better editors and to hire some actual proofreaders; I really can't say.

My Favorite Meme

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

It's the ultimate bookworm's meme, and I do it every time I see it...

The Rules:

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.

As any longtime reader here knows, I am constantly - and very literally - surrounded by books when sitting at my desk.  Presently, I have a stack near me that I'm working my way through; each concerns our founding fathers, their religious views, and whether they founded this country on fundamental, orthodox Christian values.  It's all research for a group blog that I am honored to have been asked to contribute to called American Creation; head on over and give it a read.

The book I grabbed was on top, and is The Godless Constitution, A Moral Defense of the Secular State by Issac Kramnick and R. Laurence Moore:

The poor and the handicapped languished without adequate care.  Men drank too much, way too much, and returned to their homes to beat their wives and their children.  Prostitutes plied their trade in American cities.

Local Woman Accuses Babydoll of Trying to Convert Kids to Islam

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

When a Zachary, Louisiana woman purchased a "Little Mommy" doll for her five year-old daughter on the morning of October 24 at a local Wal-Mart she had no way of knowing that she would soon be propelled into a self-declared crusade to have the corrupt doll removed from store shelves.

The dolls - made by Mattel - are, no doubt, creepy-sounding.  So much so that I made this short video of them at the Super Target in Baton Rouge back in May of this year.  Other than simply sounding eerie, especially as a chorus, I can't say I found any nefarious intent in their peculiar warbling.

Johnette Dunaway, however, heard something more come out of the battery-operated babies.  A message so evil that this Zachary mother claims it threatens not only our children's Christian souls, but the very country in which we live.

To Johnette's excitable ears, the words "Islam is the light" are heard as the third "phrase" coming out of the Little Mommy's plastic lips.  Possibly because she has nothing better to do with her time, or maybe because she's an oblivious Bible-beating fanatic, Johnette feels it is her duty to not only warn the media about this travesty, but to travel to all local stores and demand an explanation and removal of the dolls from their shelves.

The article at the local WAFB website was disturbing enough, but perhaps worse was the further display of ignorance Johnette gave in the Comments section as some of us more rationally-minded individuals attempted to share our disbelief and alarm at Johnette's ignorant claims.  She had this to remark to we naysayers:

You people are missing the point.do you not care what your kids are being subjected to in LIFE.If you did a little research about ISLAM you would understand their beliefs and what they teach.i dont know about you but thats not how i want my children growing up.And NO most children won't understand the meaning of the phrase "ISALM is the LIGHT" but,they also don't really understand the meaning of most nursery rhymes either.But as they grow up and they remember that doll and the phrase it was saying,they then will remember.people lets all remember 911.Is that not enough to put a stop to this.Or do you really want to bring this kind of behavior to our country.Not me and that is why i stood up to let the people know what is very suddle being brought into the stores for our CHILDREN to have.If you really care about your children then do something.Don't just waste your time arguing about the subject.And to those of you that say it's not a big deal then that just shows how much you really care about your KIDS and COUNTRY.

To which I felt compelled to respond:

Johnette, if you are honestly ignorant enough to equate the entirety of the Islamic religion and all Muslims with 9/11 then there is little hope that any of us here are going to be able to convince you of the ridiculousness of this entire affair.

Mattel denies - as well - that the dolls are saying anything untoward:

The only scripted word the doll says is mama. There is a sound that may resemble something close to the word night, right, or light...Actual sounds may be imprecise or distorted.

And let's be frank - even if the dolls were proclaiming that Islam is the light, what gives this woman the right to cry foul because a doll calls out a religion other than her own?  Oh, that's right, Islam = Muslim = 9/11.  How could I forget?  As one astute commenter said:

Please Johnette, enlighten us as to what Islam stands for. I really doubt an ignorant person such as yourself has any knowledge of the religion other than what your fundamentalist "christian" ministers and popular television have told you.

I would love the chance to ask Johnette Dunaway how she would feel if the dolls proclaimed, "Jesus is the light" or "Christianity is the light" and why - to her mind - that would be any different?  What does she feel about the Islamic mothers that, every day, have to shop through aisles of toys that do say or sing exclusively Christian phrases?

The truth is, had this woman the ability to think for herself (instead of swallowing everything her preacher throws at her as gospel) she wouldn't be starting this big stink in the first place.

I have to admit that I am a bit ashamed of WAFB for promoting this tripe.  Why even give airtime to such blatant, bigoted ignorance?  This woman's racist ideals - fueled by fanatical religion - should not be promulgated by anyone.  As if there isn't already enough hate, racism, and inequality in this world, we certainly don't need anything further igniting such fires!

Sadly, in her heart of hearts, Johnette Dunaway believes what she is carting out here.  She believes it so fervently that she has taken her battlecry to the local media and is doing her part by going store to store to demand answers and - as always - eradication of anything that goes against the reality and religion she has been led to believe in.  That, my friends, is even scarier than creepy dolls.

Racism or Ignorance – Neither Are Worth Getting Paid For

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

When Keith Slater - a 22 year-old black Missouri State University student - got home after returning a pair of shoes to a Journeys store in Oak Park Mall in Overland Park, Kansas, he was rather appalled when he happened to take a glance at the receipt issued to him by the store.

Next to the title Cust, for "Customer", was plainly printed "Dumb Nigger."

In Keith's words, from the ABC News article on his experience:

"Then I was like, 'Nah, no way. It can't say that. I was shocked, 'cause I didn't do anything for that to happen."

Not that there is anything Keith could or should have done for such a thing "to happen", it appeared to be - when he and his mother returned to the store the next day and confronted the same cashier - a mistake...sort of.

Apparently a recently-fired employee had keyed the racist term into the computer and accorded it the same keystroke the clerk had to use when issuing his receipt.  That the clerk even knew this raises a few questions...

  1. If the store knew it was in there, why hadn't the epithet been removed?
  2. If the clerk herself knew it was on there, why didn't she either change the keystroke or - if that wasn't possible - black-out the epithet with a black marker?
  3. Hadn't anyone else noticed this before now on their receipt, or had they just decided not to make a national issue out of it?

The latter may be more to the point than the rest, considering Keith's mother - Linda Slater - a self-described "Christian" who "doesn't believe in making a huge scene or going to court" is wondering how (and when) her son may get some type of "compensation" because he was "hurt."  And here we go.

"I could see that my son was hurt," she said. "He just kind of stood there and hung his head down."

If it was an already-programmed keystroke error then I really don't see why he would be so hurt considering the epithet would have printed on anyone's receipt requiring the same keystroke; be they black, white, pink, or purple.  Regardless, Journeys assured the family the employee who had entered the racist remark into the system had been previously fired and they apologized profusely for the very unfortunate mistake.

Still.  Of course.  Mrs. Slater wants to get paid.

I'm not saying what happened is right.  And while I'll readily admit that had I gotten a receipt from a store that had "Dumb Cracker" typed behind Customer, I'd of laughed my ass off before I would have gotten angry much less "hurt", I do realize this term is much more racially-charged and black people a bit more sensitive about it.  Still.  No one - not a single person - deserves to get money because of what someone else - ignorant though they may be - typed into a computer system weeks beforehand.

In all reality, what should have been done already was.  Said ignoramus employee was fired and Journeys apologized to the family.  Why the term had not been previously removed (oh say, around the time the person who entered it was canned) is anyone's guess.  Yet still, the family got an apology and that should be enough.  Hey, I'll be generous; give the kid a store credit.  End of story.

Please let it be the end of the story.  Hopefully, Mrs. Slater - the "Christian who does not believe in going to court" - will not sue for the ever-so-clichéd "pain and suffering" and/or "emotional damages".  Was Keith Slater - who claims never to have been called a "nigger" in his life - so horribly marked by this event that he has suffered irreparable emotional damages that equate actual pain and acute suffering?  I highly doubt so.  Let us hope that Keith's skin isn't as thin as his mother's purse is gapingly open.

Sure - I realize it was an unpleasant experience for the poor kid.  It sucked and he's likely not happy about it and that is understandable.  Being slapped in the face with the realization that racism is still alive and thriving in this country at times can't be a happy day for anyone - regardless of their skin color.  Hell, we down here in the South - black and white - got slapped with that nugget of knowledge almost as soon as we popped out of the womb; by time we're 22 it's pretty much old news.

Yet for an (obviously sheltered) young black man in middle America, I am sure it was a sobering, eye-opening, and depressing day.  Should he get big bucks for said day?  Fuck no!  What he could do is get involved in something positive for change in race relations; there's lots of affirmative ways he could turn this situation around and use his new perspective for good, fuzzy warm feelings in his life.  Seriously.  THAT would be the noble thing to do.  Hanging your head and crying for money is not - I don't give two shits what color your skin is.  At least that's this dumb cracker's two cents on the issue.

<--Addendum-->

After writing this, I stumbled upon another article on the whole issue over at a local Kansas news site, KMBC-TV.  It gave a slightly altered version from the ABC News article (that the clerk who entered the keystroke on the computer might have been the one who created it - not really clear either way) and a secondary piece about a local community activist - Alonzo Washington - who held a news conference encouraging people to "boycott Journeys".  As if this wasn't enough, Mr. Washington and his family intend to, also, return some shirts they purchased from the store a few days earlier.

Way to stick it to The Man, Alonzo.

How is boycotting the store - which fired the employee, eradicated the epithet, and apologized to the family but had nothing at all to actually do with the incident itself - going to solve or prove anything?  The apology, Washington ascertains, was "not enough".

Let me guess what would be?  A fat check?

Money doesn't solve everything, and the company that owns this particular Journeys (there are over 800 stores nationwide) paying out a huge sum for what one backwoods retard of an employee did at one store that one person noticed seems fairly pointless in my eyes.  How is that helping race relations?

If the Washingtons are so upset by what happened, perhaps their news conference should have focused on encouraging the community in positive ways to combat racial tensions when they appear, or rather educating their youth on the tenets of equality regardless of skin color.  Just a couple of thoughts.  Suing or asking for money just seems rather defeatist.

I get so frustrated seeing people take pointless, and often backwards, approaches when they see something wrong or negative that they are opposed to.  Instead of using these instances and opportunities to help and teach others to grow in more positive ways, or in working ever more diligently for equal rights, they whine and and kick their feet; accomplishing nothing for anyone nor for their issue.  Instead of seeing such instances as an opportunity to grow and tackle the problem, they see it as an unjustified personal attack and lash back out with the same sort of vicissitude.

It is, to borrow from Faulkner, "a tale, Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing."

Reason #12 – Why My Family Rocks

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

Conversation had with my Mom in her car this past Monday on a shopping trip:

Me: "I finally got a copy of one of my favorite songs.  I can never remember the name of the band...uh, Downing Pool..uh?"

Mom:  "Drowning Pool."

Me:  "Yes, yes, that's it.  'Bodies' is the name of the song."

Mom:  "Oh yeah, I know.  I love that song."

Shopping trip & bonding time with Mom - $115.00
Greasy, favorite road trip lunch at McDonalds - $9.75
Awesome new sets of earrings - $5.00
Finding out your Mom rocks out to a song like "Bodies" - Priceless

Joe the Plumber? Not Really a Licensed Plumber

Friday, October 17th, 2008

From the story...

"Joe the Plumber is not exactly a plumber and he's "not even close" to making the kind of money that would result in higher taxes from Democrat Barack Obama's proposals. Joe said Obama's plans to raise taxes on those making $250,000 a year or more would penalize him in his plans to buy the plumbing business for which he works."

read more | digg story

Je N’oublierai Jamais

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

Two years ago you left this life, and a legion of loved ones you never would've imagined the size of.  You touched more lives than you ever realized, and were loved more than you ever knew.

I miss your laugh, your sense of humor, your big grin - I miss you being there with the rest of the family during holidays.  It will never be the same without you.  I realize that's contrite and cliche to say - but it doesn't change the truth of it.

"Rockstar" by Nickelback came on my mp3 player yesterday, and I couldn't help but smile.  Amber told me that when the song first came out you looked at her and said, "It's like they went inside my head to write this!"  That is always going to be your song.

I think of you often - more often, I suppose, than I ever thought I would.  It's amazing how deeply you touched my life in the ten years I knew you.  You were a loyal and true friend, and I loved you as if you were my own brother.  Yes, there were times I wanted to kick your ass, but isn't it always that way with family?  As angry as I may have gotten at you over the years, and there were times "furious" doesn't even begin to describe it, I never loved you less.  I think you know that now, though.

It's not as if I never think of you - that would be a gross untruth - but on this day, the anniversary of your passing, you are at the forefront of my mind.  I wanted to write this and let you know that you are not forgotten, and never will be.  We love and miss you, Lance.  We always will.