Monday, April 20, 2009

You can't shorten "title"

I was watching 30 Rock the other day (fantastic show, by the way) and a speech practice that was used that made a character purposefully look like a douche bag for comedic effect. Now, I'm all for laughing at douche bags, but even this practice makes me leery because a friend did this very same thing "ironically" recently. As far as I know, he is not otherwise a douche bag, (I have never seen him use a Bluetooth headset or cheer for a Boston sports team, for instance).

I have previously discussed shortening phrases and I think we can all agree that I was totally right: shortening phrases is an affront to God. Now, looking a little bit further, like we saw on 30 Rock, there is a practice of shortening words, too. The character on the shjow asked his personal assistant to make room on his "schedj" for a date with Liz Lemon. Good for him, but his assistant's proper response should have been, "If you ever say 'schedj' again, I will walk out of here in two shakes of the lammie's tail." He later does, and she does not quit. At least, not on camera. (I sometimes like to fill in what happens in other scenes not shown for the ancillary characters during commercials, and in my version of the episode she quits by peeing on his shoes.)

Other words that follow this patter are sitch (situation), natch (naturally), offish (official[ly]), delish (delicious), and so on. My mom has always had a problem with poli(tical) sci(ence), but my brother deicded to major in it. College class names are trickier, too, because they have long and absurd names that probably need to be shortened. My college classes all had nicknames (the most delicious of which was Meatballs), beyond the ordinary things like calc, chem and freshman comp. For whatever reason, these were never particularly offensive to me. Although, differential equations was a battleground between two factions: those enlightened scholars who favored "D.E." and the rampaging and uncouth barbarians who pushed for Diffey Q. Clearly the latter are fools and deserve no more of our attention.

This could have also probably been filed under dealbreakers. I don't quite know how you justify a pronunciation as an invention, or you better believe this would be in the terrorists' aresenal. Feel free to add any shortened words that deserve to be punishable by waterboarding in the comments and watch 30 Rock this week.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Just a little outside

I have a very long commute to work in the morning. This has caused me to exceed the warranty on my car in a comically fast fashion (that, along with travel to such exotic locales as Atlanta, Clemson and the Homeland). Other benefits include consuming a lot of of radio (still haven't gotten an iPod or an iPhone. What is wrong with me?), some of which is talk radio. This prompted a certain friend of mine to say to me, "You listen to AM talk radio? What are you, like close to death old?" Yes. I am close to death old because I like to listen to ESPN radio and the news.

That last one might not help my cause, but if you look on my link section, you can see that my interest in the news is of a semi-professional interest. (I say "semi" because I don't get paid in actual "money.") The former, though, is completely in bounds, I think. I caught some of Mike and Mike this morning on the way in and was struck by something, though: a lot of people on the radio are not really that good. Sporst in particular has a bit of a weird issue with this, because sports jounralism is necessarily local (or at least regional) due to concentrated loyalties and interest. Try talking Big Ten football with a resident of Georgia or South Carolina. You'll be laughed all the way back to Columbus (OH). And rightfully so.

National sports figures are famous, frequently, for their non-sports production as much as they are for their sports broadcasting or content. Bill Simmons, Peter King, and John Madden (and Mike and Mike, for that matter). This is because, in my mind,, and ESPN radio have sufficiently large market share that they basically only have to put competent people out there to get an audience. How many people who use Windows or Internet Explorer o so because they tried all the competition and liked it best? My guess is the same number of pirates who don't regret trying to capture the Maersk Alabama.

This leads me to my most paramount rule of irritation when consuming media: if I (or someone I know) can do a job better than a professional making millions of dollars, then that contract is probably ill-advised. I could not write an operating system or internet browser very well, so I'm going to let Bill Gates slide. But he knows I have my eye on him.

I think anyone who watches a lot of sports could do Mike and Mike's show. I think there are probably some rather intelligent pets that could write Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback column. (A friend of mine insists that her Jack Russell has the vocabulary of a 5 year old!) Bill Simmons is talented but burnt out or lazy now or bored. The point is, if I watched sports for 25 hours a week, I could host a 3 hour talk show a day about it, especially if I had a friend with me. I could probably write a weekly column, too. If you put me on ESPN radio and published me on, people would listen and read because they are big media outlets. With backing like that, I could also even get players, press offices, agents and even owners to take my calls.

Really, what this tells me is that after all this driving in the mornings, I should just break down and buy an iPod Touch and be done with it. That way, I could get angry over podcasts, too.