Apr 252007

I hate it when a columnist or talking head for a major news outlet complains how “big media” or “mainstream media” is ignoring an issue. For example, Lou Dobbs wrote a column for CNN, Dobbs: Big media hide truth about immigration, stating:

And the mainstream media are complicit in advancing this thinly veiled blanket amnesty.

Let’s take a quick look at some facts from Lou Dobbs’s entry on Wikipedia:

  • Has worked for CNN since its inception
  • Served on the board of the Society for Professional Journalists
  • Member of the Overseas Press Club and the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences

Let’s also consider CNN:

  • News website and 24-hour news network
  • Part of Time Warner, one of the largest media companies in the world

What drives me nuts is that Lou Dobbs is a representative of the mainstream media. By writing about a topic, he cannot in good faith say that mainstream media is ignoring a topic–he is mainstream media.

 Posted by at 5:16 pm
Apr 172007

Tonight I was reading the news before I went to bed. The major story of the day is in regards to the shootings at Virginia Tech. The insane man who took the lives of 33 other people hasn’t been identified yet.

One item that was released by the college newspaper, The Collegiate Times, was the name of a professor who was killed that morning. Given the professor’s name, it is pretty easy to find the professor’s staff page. Then there is an email address which leads to his personal web site, with notes about his hopes and dreams, photos and family. And then you realize how that this was a living human being, not just an image on a television set or in a newspaper.

But it hit me even closer to home when I clicked on his resume and saw that he used to work in an IT department at another university in North Carolina. From there, I realized that I was probably less than six degrees away from him, since I used to work with someone who is now in charge of IT at another North Carolina university.

Or, to take another path, I believe his father is a well-published science fiction author. And I know I have read some of his work before, whether it is hidden at an anthology in my shelves or in the attic of my father’s house. And that makes this all too real as well.

Maybe if the insane man knew his victims better, he wouldn’t have done what he did. In a way, the world isn’t nearly small enough.

If you want, you can visit Jamie Bishop’s site for yourself.

 Posted by at 1:57 am
Apr 132007

This is the oddest story I have read in a while. MSNBC reports Wendy’s banishes ‘Biggie’ size. However, when you read the article, you find that Wendy’s isn’t really getting rid of the size, they are just going to rename “Biggie” to “Medium.” “Great Biggie” will become “Large” and the size formerly known as “Medium” will become “Small.” On the Wendy’s web site, I can see that there is also a size known as “Value,” which has fewer calories than “Small.”

I remember when Wendy’s introduced the “Biggie;” it was a nice way of saying extra-large. Basically, in less than 15 years, extra-large has become “Medium.” This doesn’t seem like a good trend.

[Thanks to the Accidental Hedonist for the link.]

 Posted by at 11:44 am
Apr 062007

In March, I received 56,751 pieces of mail. This includes mail to me at samgreenfield.com and mail to the unhinged.org domain that I do not forward off. unhinged.org contains a catch-all. Of the 56,751 pieces of mail, I immediately discarded 25,808. These messages were obviously bogus for one reason or another and also include bounced messages that were forged from my domains.

27,058 pieces of mail were classified as spam by Spam Assasin and were filed into a Junk folder that I never check. I read most of the remaining 3,885 messages on gmail. Gmail does a pretty great job of filtering out spam, so I only skim through the messages in the Junk folder there. However, I do save a record of the messages, and in the end assesment I was left with around 531 messages that I would consider “legitimate.”

But it gets even better. Of the 531 messages that I consider real, 430 of them are what we would traditionally considered on the verge of junk mail. For example, I received 11 messages from Sears in the month of March. I’m not counting “real” email such as billing notifications in the 430 messages.

At the very end of the day, I’m left with 101 email messages that I consider worth reading. Or 0.18% of the mail I receive through my personal accounts.

 Posted by at 9:18 pm
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