Pulitzers Awarded to Two Newspapers for Snowden Revelations

Reprinted from www.pulitzer.org:

For a distinguished example of meritorious public service by a newspaper or news site through the use of its journalistic resources, including the use of stories, editorials, cartoons, photographs, graphics, videos, databases, multimedia or interactive presentations or other visual material, a gold
medal.

Awarded to The Washington Post for its revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, marked by authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security.

wpostlogo.jpg
 

and

Awarded to The Guardian US for its revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, helping through aggressive reporting to spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy.

Written in the Cloud

Guess we’re seeing the final death knell of the hard-hitting, hard-drinking newspaper reporter.

Turns out that the Los Angeles Times recently got an article about an earthquake to print (actually, to web) in three minutes using an algorithm leeching data from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Crime stories are similarly culled without the intervention of human hands — unless the story turns out to be a big one.

You can credit one journalist and programmer named Ken Schwencke with writing the code to put more journalists out of work.

“The way I see it is, it doesn’t eliminate anybody’s job as much as it makes everybody’s job more interesting,” Schwencke says.

Yeah, right, if you still have a job.

Inappropriate Language: ‘Conscious Uncoupling’

What next, “conscious departure” as a euphemism for suicide?

Why not, given the choice of Gwyneth Paltrow (totally over her head in all things dramatic, including divorce) and soon-to-be-ex Chris Martin to label the end of their marriage a “conscious uncoupling.”

Well, I can’t image a divorce would be done unconsciously, but I suppose it’s possible. I’ve seen numerous married couples who seem to have made an “unconscious coupling.”

What else but inappropriate language (i.e., meaningless gobbledygook) can you expect from some idiot who calls her blog “Goop.”

Inappropriate Language: Wine Tasting Commentary

Chris Kern operates a wine shop in Riverside called, epononymously, Chris Kern’s Forgotten Grapes, whose main virtue is that it’s the only place within decent driving distance that offers new wine tastings each week.

Chris specializes in what he calls, well, “forgotten grapes,” in other words, grapes with weird and obscure names — largely from Paso Robles but with a worldwide dabbling — that are also wallet friendly. But are they taste friendly? I’m beginning to think not, and I’m going to switch back to Chilean and Argentinean red varietals, along with any California or French bargains I can find.

That being said by way of introduction, what I want to focus on here, under of the moniker of “Inappropriate Language,” is how wine mavens invariably have to uncover, through their palates, the taste profile (now there’s a construct for the high and mighty!) of a wine they’re tasting for the first time.

Generally, at a tasting they’ll breathe deeply into the glass after the wine is poured, then take a sip, swirl the liquid inside their mouths, swallow slowly, and finally appear to be ruminating deeply before they pronounce their judgment.

Here’s an example I just read from a wine description, and this is typical of what you’ll hear at a wine tasting: “Loaded with wild strawberries, cherry blossom, hints of herbs and a salty minerality that makes it hard to resist, this medium-bodied, elegant, yet rich rosé stays lively, pure and fresh on the finish.”

Now, for starters the only “Wild Strawberries” I’m familiar with is a movie by Ingmar Bergman. What the heck are wild strawberries, and where do you buy them? Does this guy mean “homegrown strawberries”? And what the hell is a “salty minerality”? Does the wine taste like salty dirt?

Anyway, if you’ve ever been to a wine tasting, no one can agree on a “taste profile.” Maybe one or two ingredients will overlap on competing personal evaluations, but profiling usually leads to a game of oneupmanship, such as depicted in this scenario:

We’re all sitting at a wine bar, and the person behind the bar pours Wine X into our glasses. We go through our routines, and everyone spouts off their conflicting/overlapping ingredients. Then one guy takes another sip and pronounces that he detects “a bit of smokiness.”

Not to be outdone, the person behind the counter takes another pass at the grape and clarifies: “More than smokiness, I sense two-day old charcoal ashes from a Weber Grill that just cooked two Wagyu steaks.” Touché!

Continue reading “Inappropriate Language: Wine Tasting Commentary”

Newspapers Still Fading, But Not This Much

International-New-York-Times-censored-in-Pakistan
The complete International New York Times weekend edition, left, and as it appeared in Pakistan, right. Note the article that was deleted.

It appears that the partner of the New York Times in Pakistan that publishes its international edition didn’t cotton to a story this weekend about Osama bin Laden and his relationship to the government.

The Pakistani printer simply deleted the story and photo and distributed the weekend edition with a gaping hole on the front page.

Ode to Bill O’Reilly: The Namby-Pamby Factor

Now, mind you, I can’t stand Bill O’Reilly or his arrogance-laden show, “The O’Reilly Factor,” but I’m so into gone-missing Malaysian Air Flight 370 that I’m forced to watch Fox News, which seems to be obsessing over the incident. The channel is almost a 24/7 source of breaking information about the ill-fated Boeing 777.

Anyway, the transparently arrogant O’Reilly ended his show by challenging his viewers’ knowledge of the word namby pamby. Cuz, he said, he didn’t want any namby-pamby emails or letters sent to him (he’s too good to deal with gentle folk, evidently).

So I went to dictionary dot com and looked up namby pamby, and lo and behold, it means exactly what I thought it meant, which is “weak and indecisive.” That O’Reilly isn’t, but if he had to go “weak and indecisive” to learn some humility, I’d be all for it.

But I bloviate, I guess — another O’Reilly arrogant-ism. You can look that one up and determine if it “takes one to know one.”

Hie Ye to Riverside for the Dickens Festival

Dickens-Festival-Riverside
‘Trial of Jack the Ripper’ held on the steps of the Riverside County Courthouse as part of Dickens Festival.

I literally stumbled upon Riverside’s 21st annual Dickens Festival while I was downtown for a BLT and IPA (both yummy).

The festival is replete with costumed Dickensian characters and stagings of scenes from Dickens’ many works.

The festival covers about three blocks of booths, food, fun and camaraderie. If you’re anywhere near Riverside, I highly recommend that you “hie” yourself to the city before 5 p.m. Sunday (Feb. 23).

I’m right now attempting to buy tickets to the event’s Tea Time Tasties and Show with Mr. Treacle.

Lost in Transition

I‘ve changed hosting companies and WordPress themes so many times that I’ve lost track, but in the process, I never thought that transitioning my site would result in textual errors.

While going through my articles section, I saw that a weird typographical symbol had inserted itself wherever there was more than one space between sentences or words.

Lesson number one: In the electronic media era, using two spaces between sentences is out because of font issues. It still works on typewriters, but who besides morticians use typewriters these days?

Anyway, I’ve cleaned up the articles (let me know if I missed anything), and soon I hope to get back to creating some new — and perhaps more useful — articles on English writing, grammar and usage.

If you have topics, just use Contact Me and share them with me.