July 31, 2006

Today's Lesson

Against my own better judgement, I bring you:

How Not To Write Serious Articles

I know, I know. I'm not a pundit, I never had a journalism background, "but they mean well!", yadda, yadda. And before I get started, a disclaimer: I pulled these all from National Review's website. I looked around The New Republic for awhile, and I couldn't find anything that looked exciting without requiring me to first have a paid subscription. But hey, I tried for some sort of counterpoint; it just didn't exactly pan out.

On to the fun. First up, we have an Appeal to Emotion. See that first paragraph which anthropomorphizes Israel as a weeping mother chastising her errant children? That's exactly what I'm talking about. The thing about this sort of writing is that it really only gives a small group of people the warm fuzzies about one's article, and they started out in agreement. Everyone else gets a bit confused and/or incensed.

Using emotional wordplay which is better suited to a cheap Victorian novel may seem like a cute idea, but should be avoided. This is mostly to ensure that people don't think they live in a cheap Victorian novel and try to spend all their time painting in the Mediterranean or leading idyllic lives in the Old South.

In this next article, we see another mistake: Making Up New Countries. For the geographically challenged, there is not actually a country called 'Syran'. The implication is, of course, that Syria and Iran are almost the same thing. Of course, saying this and giving them a new shared name does not actually make them one country. It does, however, keep the author from having to type quite so much.

This Michael Ledeen article is actually quite excellent. He also manages to invoke Nazism, whilst saying lots of things about war and saying we can't just fight in Iraq, and then declaring that he doesn't mean military war. Clever, indeed.

From an article a week-and-a-half old, we see an example of Using Crummy Terms. This one is pretty much summed up by 'terror masters'. While I realize it's all the rage to find new catchy things to call bad guys, Terror Masters is not an especially inspiring creation. What's worse is that it got a book publisher's pass. I mean, really. Is that all the better we can come up with? Even 'narcoterrorists' is better.

And now I'm off to read about the KGB some more. Have a good evening, and don't forget to feed your neighborhood piranhas.

Posted by Ardith at 08:07 PM | TrackBack

July 27, 2006

Upon Being Unable To Clear The Grocery List

Today, I learned something enlightening. The local grocery store (the one 5 blocks from my house, that is), for all intents and purposes, does not carry pearl barley. Or at least that is my current assumption. Despite having an organic section big enough to make health food stores cry, and despite stocking their shelves with umpteen different kinds of rice, I cannot find barley to replace the bag I'm almost done with, having used the rest to make shocking things like stew.

I could possibly have found someone to ask, were it not for the fact that everybody, and I mean everybody, was out shopping today. And by the time I got to the register, I didn't care enough anymore. So I could possibly have missed it. Although why it would be anywhere but with all the other assorted grains, I have no idea.

Clearly, this is all because the Hamdan decision hurt the President's ability to provide grain to grocery stores. I place the blame squarely on SCOTUS's shoulders.

Posted by Ardith at 05:21 PM | TrackBack

July 23, 2006

Canvassing From Ardith's Point Of View

The local Republican State House candidate was canvassing my part of town yesterday:

*doorbell rings*

*Ardith opens the door and steps out on the porch*

"Hi, can I talk to your mom or dad please?"

*Ardith laughs*

"I actually own this house."

However, I'll give him credit for recovering quickly after that one. He also spent the next 5-10 minutes not talking down to me, which I also appreciate. The first 15 seconds were definitely entertaining, though.

Posted by Ardith at 03:12 PM | TrackBack

July 12, 2006


By doing the dishes tonight, I have indirectly informed the insectoid population that there will be no Treaties of Friendship and Co-operation, and that I'm a capitalist pig who will not be giving them gifts of money, small arms, and military advisors to help them with their revolution.

So sad.

Posted by Ardith at 09:44 PM | TrackBack

July 06, 2006

This Is A Post

Okay, if I posted about all the things I read on my lunch break that I find intriguing, I wouldn't get anything else done in the evening. However, I did find an interesting New Yorker article on Cheney's new chief-of-staff. Just as a warning, it's pretty long.

On a completely unrelated note, I bought a couch last weekend. It's getting delivered on Saturday, and I'm in high hopes that I'll now finally get around to all that reading I've been meaning to do lately. It just gets annoying to read when there's nowhere really comfortable to sit.

See, I put off buying much furniture when I was in the apartment, because I knew I'd just have to move it later. Now, Ardith a) has a house and b) has slightly more money after paying off the car. Thus, furniture.

I think I'm going to a neighborhood potluck on Saturday. Which could be interesting. Or not. We'll see...

Posted by Ardith at 06:45 PM | TrackBack

July 01, 2006

Busy Evening

I spent all evening after I got home from work reading Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld, taking a break to go see Superman Returns, and finishing Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld.

Yes, I read the entire thing, not just the summary of the opinion at the beginning.

This makes me either a) incredibly intelligent, or b) a total dork. Most likely the latter.

Just for the record, I was slightly unaware of how much sniping goes on in SCOTUS opinions and dissents. That was definitely entertaining.

I'm also fully aware of why I'm not a lawyer. Too much fiddling around with meanings of words (for example, one discussion revolves around the meaning of "international."). That annoys my sense of logic after awhile.

In the end, I think I'm willing to say that the majority opinion makes sense. And that Justice Thomas' constant argument of deferring to the discernment of the President got a bit disturbing after awhile. And also that the majority opinion seemed to be the easiest to read. I'm not exactly sure why; possibly a heavier use of quotes.

More later, maybe. It's bedtime now.

Posted by Ardith at 01:11 AM | TrackBack