Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Craig James, Texas Tech, and Mike Leach

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP)—Texas Tech fired coach Mike Leach on Wednesday, just two days after he was suspended by the school as it investigated his treatment of a player with a concussion.

The school handed a termination letter to Leach’s attorney, Ted Liggett, just minutes before the two sides were to appear in a Lubbock, Texas, courtroom for a hearing on the coach’s suspension.

Liggett said Texas Tech general counsel Pat Campbell approached him outside the courtroom and told him that win, lose or draw in the hearing, Leach was out effective immediately.
FILE - In this Nov. 8, 2008 file photo, Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach walks back to the sidelines after a timeout in an NCAA college football game against Oklahoma State in Lubbock, Texas. Texas Tech has fired football coach Mike Leach. The school handed a termination letter to Leach's attorney, Ted Liggett, on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2009, just before the two sides were to appear in a Lubbock, Texas, courtroom for a hearing on the coach's suspension.

Liggett told the judge there was no need for the hearing on Leach’s request that he be reinstated to coach the Alamo Bowl. Texas Tech plays Michigan State on Saturday in San Antonio.

As for Leach’s reaction, Liggett said, “Well, he’s not thrilled.”

Liggett said he planned to file a lawsuit on Leach’s behalf against the school “soon.”

“We can guarantee that the fight has just begun,” he said.

Liggett said Leach’s side has evidence that shows the decision to suspend the coach was without merit.

“So they pulled the trigger,” Liggett said. “They don’t want that coming out.”

In February, Leach and the school agreed to a five-year, $12.7 million contract. According to terms of the deal, Leach was due a $800,000 bonus on Dec. 31 if he were still the head coach at Texas Tech.

Leach was suspended by the university on Monday after receiver Adam James alleged the coach twice confined him to small, dark spaces while the team practiced.

James is the son of former NFL player and ESPN analyst Craig James.

“We appreciate that the university conducted a fair and thorough investigation,” said a statement from the James family. “From the family’s point of view this has always been about the safety and well being of our son and of all the players on the team.”


Mike Leach, Texas Tech coach, has been sidelined –suspended with pay-- while the school investigates complaints from wide receiver Adam James and his family about treatment after an injury.

Defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill will be the interim coach and will lead the team in the Alamo Bowl on Jan. 2 against Michigan State.

But what is all the brouhaha about? It just happens that Adams James (the kid isolated in the locker) is James Craig’s son. James Craig is an ESPN analyst with a big megaphone. It isn’t the player, nor his friends, or the administration that have brought the complaints—James Craig did!

Reactions:
Wow.......not a good situation to be in for Leach, with concussions and all. Kinda sounds like sour grapes, though. College legend's son not living up to standards. Prima donna??
you play to win the game

1st maria grow up moron without question the dumpest comments you could have made. If this is true it is really a sad situation and at least on some level you have to assume it is true they did suspend leach. I find it sad that in this day and age one coach after another is coming under fire for what amounts to abuse. These men are paid millions of dollars a year and have less leadership skills and or self control then a marine drill instructor. It is time for even football coachs with thier monster egos to learn there is no reason or excuse for abusing those that have to answer to them.

I recently heard Craig James wants the coaching job at Tech.
James is worthless and would have never gotten playing time. This is his (and his dad CRAIG's) pathetic way of trying to stick it to the coach. Leach is the man. The James family should enroll their son in SWIMMING LESSONS, as he is OBVIOUSLY no football player.

Leach has a law degree and placed a kid with concussive symptoms in a closet. Doesn't add up....

I wish my Dad was Craig James, I would not have had to suffer the abuse and often reckless behavior of sadistic coaches. Oh well, you win some you lose some, but hopefully you walk away physically and mentally healthy from the game. If Leach did what they say he did he should be fired. He endangered the young person's health...Many coaches are fine people, but there are also many abusive coaches out there. I have played and coached and you are fortunate when you have people that actually care about you.

Is it just me...or does anyone feel like he will be fired before to long....
With all the focus on concussions. action like that can't be defended in anyway. Leach is in jeopardy of losing his job. I think maybe Texas Tech should fine him but unfortunately due to the fact that it will certainly impact recruiting in a negative manner he might be released especially if it holds true.

Cubano ... how in the hell is isolating a guy in an equipment closet endangering someone's health? BenGay fumes perhaps? :)

My question is, did the closet have food and drinks???? If so, then its all good, whats the prob????

I agree, Cubano, If, and only if, the allegations are correct, But whatever happened to innocent till proven guilty?
Terry L: it's not the punishment that's unusual. It's punishing someone in anyway for not practicing while dealing with a concussion. If you haven't been around in 2009 you might've missed the new focus on concussions by Congress and NFL due to the long term mental health including links to memory loss and other debilitating effects.

Playing after a concussion or even practicing is now frowned upon. NFL players Roethlisberger and Warner missed a crucial week of time while dealing with the symptoms.

the long term effects of concussions are thought to be damaging. So forcing someone to try and practice is unacceptable in this day and age.

BasketballFan88, but the kid's health was never in jeopardy. He was not forced to practice. Had Leach made James practice, then we'd have a real problem. Sitting him in a closet isn't squat.

I heard he suggested to James to go into a dark room because the light was hurting his head due to the concussion. And that Dad Craig is blowing this out of proportion.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

dr. mckay's recommended reading list for winter break:

1. American Pastoral- Philip Roth
2. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret- Judy Blume
3. The Assistant- Bernard Malamud
4. Lord of the Flies- William Golding
5. Beloved- Toni Morrison
6. Catch-22- Joseph Heller
7. The Catcher in the Rye- J.D. Salinger
8. Naked Lunch- William Burroughs
9. On the Road- Jack Kerouac
10. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest- Ken Kesey
11. The Correction- Jonathan Franzen
12. The Crying of Lot 49- Thomas Pynchon
13. A Death in the Family- James Agee
14. Deliverance- James Dickey
15. A Passage to India- E.M. Forster



16. Rabbit, Run- John Updike 17. Ragtime- E.L. Doctorow 18. Revolutionary Road- Richard Yates 19. The Sheltering Sky- Paul Bowles 20. Slaughterhouse-Five- Kurt Vonnegut 21. Herzog- Saul Bellow 22. Things Fall Apart- Chinua Achebe 23. To Kill A Mockingbird- Harper Lee 24. To the Lighthouse- Virginia Woolf 25. Invisible Man- Ralph Ellison 26. White Noise- Don DeLillo 27. White Teeth- Zadie Smith 28. Wide Sargasso Sea- Jean Rhys 29. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man- James Joyce
30. The Naked and the Dead- Norman Mailer
31. The Wapshot Chronicles- John Cheever
32. Ironweed- William Kennedy
33. The Road- Cormac McCarthy
34. The Liars’ Club- Mary Karr
35. Cold Mountain- Charles Frazier
36. The Handmaid’s Tale- Margaret Atwood
37. Rabbit at Rest- John Updike 38. On Beauty- Zadie Smith 39. Naked- David Sedaris 40. The Joy Luck Club- Amy Tan 41. Angela’s Ashes- Frank McCourt 42. The Lovely Bones- Alice Sebold 43. The Poisonwood Bible- Barbara Kingslover 44. Clockers- Richard Price 45. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay- Michael Chabon 46. The Bonfire of the Vanities- Tom Wolfe 47. Underworld- Don DeLillo 48. The Giver- Lois Lowry 49. The Kite Runner- Khaled Hosseini 50. A Prayer for Owen Meany- John Irving 51. The Remains of the Day- Kazuo Ishiguro 52. The Stone Diaries- Carol Shields 53. Holes- Louis Sachar 54. Gilead- Marilynne Robinson 55. A Thousand Acres- Jane Smiley 56. Fast Food Nation- Eric Schlosser 57. The Bell Jar- Sylvia Plath 58. A Confederacy of Dunces- John Kennedy Tooles 59. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy- Douglas Adams 60. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test- Tom Wolfe 61. Siddhartha- Herman Hesse 62. The Stranger- Albert Camus 63. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: an Inquiry into Values- Robert M. Pirsi www.tumblr.com/tagged/angela+marie<
The writing techniques I use in this article are all explained in Mary Duffy's writing manual--an indispensable guide:

Sentence Openers


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Friday, December 25, 2009

Is the Glass Ceiling For Women Only?

Data session, Web 2.0

Image by ptufts via Flickr

In both the private sector and the public sector, male and female employees sooner or later find out that there is a glass ceiling. Whether you are in manufacturing or wholesaling, or retailing, not only will employees hit speed bumps in their careers, but they will hit the impregnable ‘glass ceiling.’ No longer is the ‘glass ceiling’ the women’s barrier. It is everyone's barrier!

No one is safe because the upward climb resembles an upside down funnel. There’s only so much room at the top. And only those with grit, muscle, resilience, and physical endurance will squeeze through to the top. How can women, the old, the disable, and the eccentric compete and shatter the glass ceiling? The sad reality is that they can’t.

Let’s take an accountant who has been with a company for 29 years. You’d expect this person to reach the heights of the corporate ladder and enjoy the fruit of 29 years of steady contribution to the growth of the company. Yet, as we age we become more sedentary, overweight, less mobile, and –let’s face it: our looks fade-- less handsome or attractive. While men are accepted to having sparse hair, women are not. So there you have another barrier.

Not only employees live with the daily angst that they may be replaced by a younger employee who would be willing to work for one-third of the veteran worker’s pay, but also with the thought of illness.

But not everything is lost. With the advent of the Internet, many employees are shifting their leisure time to Internet Marketing. The goal is to find a way to earn enough money where no one is limiting your opportunities—where there’s no ‘glass ceiling.’ Other benefits follow: no boss! Now, in my case I retired from business. Yet I also look for ways to increase my retirement income. And I take this quite seriously; it isn’t a game for me to explore, engage, and experiment with different ways of Internet Marketing. For those who are Web-savvy and with plenty of time on their hands, they will find that there are many opportunities in affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing comes in many levels. Some individuals earn huge amounts of money while others barely recover their advertising costs.

I don’t have to patience to learn the intricacies, much less the convoluted practices of Adwords; so I put my attention elsewhere. For those who are new to this part of the Internet Marketing—beware! Scams, scoundrels, and scampers abound. They are easy to detect because they will show screen after screen that depict the thousands of dollars they are earning in commission. In nine out of ten the screen are all fake and done with Photoshop.'

Penultimate recommendation: do not expect to replace your job in a month or two. Internet businesses take a long time to establish. A lot depends on trust. People, readers, curiosity seekers, suspects, prospects, customer, clients, and subscribers will finally do business with you if they see you’re providing a good steady service.

Final recommendation: build a website and one blog. Work on both every day until you see a steady traffic build up. One good day you’ll see that people –from abroad and from within-- are coming to visit you regularly. The object is to get both your site and your blog listed by Alexa in the top 100,000. Once there, you can replicate and iterate your business formula.
The writing techniques I use in this article are all explained in Mary Duffy's writing manual--an indispensable guide:

Sentence Openers


Click-->Back to main page

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Flipping the Bird by Richad Steele: H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

The Chairman of the Republican National Committee said the following about the Democratic congress: "I'm tired of this congress thumbing their nose and flipping the bird at the people of this country."

Philosophers are given to using birds to convey messages. Hegel once said: "only when is dark does the owl of Minerva begin its flight." But just what did Richard Steele mean by 'flipping the bird'? Interesting imagery. Did he mean flipping about a rubber duck, or a turkey? And what does flipping birds have to do with a debate about insuring and providing health care for the uninsured?

While Richard Steele and other republicans look for their lost soul, and go on flipping birds, the Democratic senate has just approved a landmark bill for health reform: H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. My question is, will republican voters vote for people like Steele to go on peppering TV and other media with picturesque speech --or will they become serious and elect helpful politicians?

America is always at its best with a two-party system. Let's rebuild the Republican party that has been captured by fanatics. The center should expand and push outward the tail-end extremists.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Brittany Murphy: Beloved in Clueless, Worshipped in Life and Death

Los Angeles, California (CNN) -- An autopsy on the body of actress Brittany Murphy was conducted Monday, the Los Angeles County coroner's office said. Authorities have said the 32-year-old appeared to have died Sunday of natural causes, and there was no sign of foul play or trauma. "Naturally occurring diseases could be found in any person that could lead to death," said Capt. John Kades of the coroner's office. The office is looking into Murphy's medical history. A final report could take up to eight weeks. The cause of death will not be released until the toxicology report is concluded, said the coroner's office. Police also are conducting an investigation, which includes robbery and homicide detectives looking at what was in her home, said Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman Norma Eisenman.

Murphy was pronounced dead at 10:04 a.m. PT (1:04 p.m. ET) Sunday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, hospital spokeswoman Sally Stewart said. Video: Hollywood mourns Murphy's death Gallery: Brittany Murphy on the red carpet RELATED TOPICS * Brittany Murphy * Hollywood * King of the Hill She is survived by her husband, British screenwriter Simon Monjack, whom she married in 2007.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show the leading cause of death for American women in Murphy's age range is unintentional injury. Malignant tumors are second, followed by heart disease and suicide. The often bubbly, free-spirited actress appeared in such films as "Clueless," "8 Mile," "Don't Say a Word" and "Girl, Interrupted." She also lent her voice to animated works, such as the movie "Happy Feet" -- in which she also sang -- and a regular role on the animated TV series "King of the Hill."

"The sudden loss of our beloved Brittany is a terrible tragedy," her family said in a statement issued by her publicist. "She was our daughter, our wife, our love and a shining star. We ask you to respect our privacy at this time." Funeral arrangements are pending, the family said. Fans have taken to Murphy's official Facebook page to issue their condolences. "She was a great actress and was going to go far in her career! She will be greatly missed!" read one post. Former boyfriend -- and "Just Married" co-star -- Ashton Kutcher was one of many celebrities to post his reaction to the news via Twitter. "2day the world lost a little piece of sunshine. My deepest condolences go out 2 Brittany's family, her husband, & her amazing mother Sharon," Kutcher tweeted. "see you on the other side kid," he added later. Singer-actress Jessica Simpson tweeted: "Brittany Murphy was an incredible ray of Light to so many people. Her smile was contagious. My prayers are with her family and loved ones."

Actress Alyssa Milano, who did a USO tour with Murphy in 2003, wrote: "She was a sweet soul, with a lot of talent and heart." Murphy was best known for her work in a string of romantic comedies earlier this decade, including playing lead roles in "Uptown Girls" alongside fellow Georgia native Dakota Fanning, and "Little Black Book" with Holly Hunter and Kathy Bates, but her movie roles had declined in recent years. Last month, Murphy was reportedly fired from "The Caller," a movie she was working on in Puerto Rico. Her representative issued a statement to news outlets disputing the report, saying, "She was not nor has she ever been fired from any job big or small. ... [Due] to creative differences Ms. Murphy and the production mutually parted ways," according to People magazine.

Murphy was the subject of tabloid gossip after she transformed from a pudgy brunette in 1995's "Clueless" to a petite, lithe blonde who graced the cover of such magazines as Cosmopolitan in 2005. She frequently denied rumors of an eating disorder and plastic surgery. Her love life also was fodder for gossip sites as she broke two engagements in 2004 and 2006, then married Monjack after four months of dating. "All these ridiculous people came out and said all this nonsense when we got married, [but] thank God we had the substance and the history within that to [say], 'Yeah, whatever!'" Monjack told People in 2008. "We still don't understand what happened. It's made us laugh, it's made us cry, but it's made us stronger."
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Jane Austen's Emma - Clueless - Brittany Murphy

Jeremy Northam and Gwyneth Paltrow star as Geo...

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Endowed with wealth, brains, and good looks, Emma Woodhouse (twenty-years old) busies herself with other peoples’ lives as she —thinking herself worldly and clever— goes about scheming and conjuring up romantic liaisons.

But it will turn out that she’s neither worldly nor clever, but naïve! And that in the end the only love match that really matters is her own. Dialogue supplies an immediate image of Emma. In reply to Mrs. Weston’s question: "She is loveliness itself. Mr. Knightley, is not she?" Mr. Knightley responds: "I have not a fault to find with her person," he replied. "I think her all you describe. I love to look at her; and I will add this praise, that I do not think her personally vain. Considering how handsome she is, she appears to be little occupied with it; her vanity lies another way."

From the very beginning we can see that neither beauty nor vanity seem to be the theme of the story but—meddling. When Emma’s governess-companion marries and leaves the Woodhouse household, Emma finds herself on her own; that is without a female voice of wisdom. Soon, she befriends a 17-years old illegitimate girl named Harriet, taking upon herself the duties of a matchmaker.

Though Harriet is a sweet girl, she isn’t so well-read or bright. Emma has her own opinion of her: She had always wanted to do everything, and had made more progress, both in drawing and music, than many might have done with so little labour as she would ever submit to. She played and sang -- and drew in almost every style; but steadiness had always been wanting.

Next, Emma prevents Harriet from marrying farmer Robert Martin, who though decent, Emma thinks he’s ‘beneath’ her. The novel depicts the British social system of hierarchies and inequalities, where titles of nobility and the landed gentry are the regents of the majority of the population. Intrigues, conspiracies, and much cleverness fill Emma’s head as she cooks up schemes upon schemes to guide the docile Harriet.

For this Emma proclaims her maxim: “I lay it down as a general rule, Harriet, that if a woman doubts as to whether she should accept a man or not, she certainly ought to refuse him. If she can hesitate as to "Yes," she ought to say "No" directly.'" Having formed an opinion of Emma, at this point, readers can see how misguided she is. Emma’s father is a feeble old man given to whining and wishing everyone to see the world as he himself sees it.

Although he’s a benign character, he proves incapable of giving sound counseling to his daughter. So father and daughter agree, “That is the case with us all, papa. One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other." To all of Emma’s interventions, Mr. Knightley —a man of reason, common sense, and much nobility of heart— disapproves, and once in a while warns Emma of her meddling. When Emma goes beyond her childish trickery and insults the town’s spinster, Miss Bates, Mr. Knightley reprimands Emma, causing her to realize that she had turned into a selfish and careless brat. Much self-knowledge will come to Emma from this episode.

The mysterious characters Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax add much thickness to the plot, which in some parts reads like a detective novel. The interaction between Emma and Frank and Jane helps Emma grow up and find a spiritual center.

When Harriet tells her that she is in love with a man of a higher social standing and that he is being corresponded, Emma believes that man to be Mr. Knightley! Expecting to be told that Knightley will confirm his love for Harriet, she’s awakened fully to the pangs of love when he —instead— declares his love for her.

And all is well that ends well: Harriet marries Mr. Martin and Emma Mr. Knightley.

Although I admire Jane Austen’s novels, I cannot help but to cringe at the British caste system that she describes. Titles of nobility, hierarchies, landed gentry, inequality, advantages over the common people, and so forth are all in my view detestable.

The founding fathers of the United States of America wrote in the Constitution: The constitution of the United States provides that no state shall "grant any title of nobility; and no person can become a citizen of the United States until he has renounced all titles of nobility." So, let’s keep it that way.

Augustine, City of God
Austen J, Pride and Prejudice
Austen J, "Marriage Proposals and Me"
Austen J, Emma
Borges, The Aleph
C. Bronte, Jane Eyre
Burroughs E,Tarzan
Cervantes, Don Quijote
Chaucer, Wife of Bath
Coelho P,The Alchemist
Coyle H, They Are Soldiers
Dante, New Life
Dickens C, David Copperfield
Dostoevsky, Crime&Punishment
ConanDoyle,Hound of Baskervilles
Dubner S, Superfreakonomics

DuMaurier D, Rebecca
Ellis B. E. American Psycho
Fitzgerald S, Great Gatsby
Flaubert G, Madame Bovary
Fleming I,Doctor No
Freud S, Leonardo Da Vinci
Friedan B, Feminine Mystique
GarciaMarquez, Of Love & OtherDemons
GarciaMarquez,OneHundredYrs
Guerrero M,ThePoison Pill

Grass G, The Tin Drum
Harris T, Hannibal Rising
Heidegger M,House of Being
Ishiguro K, Remains of The Day
Johnson S,Rasselas
Kafka,Metamorphosis
Kosinski J, The Painted Bird
Lee H,To Kill a Mockingbird
McBain Ed,Gutter and Grave
Murakami H,Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Nabokov V, Lolita
Meyer, S, Twilight
Ortega,Dehumanization of Art
Poe E A, Gordon Pym
Prose F, Reading Like a Writer
Rushdie S,Midnight Children
Sabatini R, Scaramouche
Spark M, Prime of Miss Brodie

Stendhal, Red and Black
Sterne L,Tristram Shandy
Stevenson R, Dr.Jekyll & Mr.Hyde
Stoker B, Dracula
Thackeray W,History of Pendennis
Tolstoy L, Anna Karenina
Trollope A, Autobiography
Unamuno M, Tragic Sense of Life
Voltaire, Candide
Webb J, Fields of Fire
Wharton E, The House of Mirth
Woolf V, To The Lighhouse


The secrets of 'no-doze' prose:
Mary Duffy's Sentence Openers



Lindsey Vonn after winning the Downhill World ...
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Lindsey Vonn





Sunday, December 20, 2009

Barcelona Defeats Argentina's Estudiante 2-1 - Soccer Match of the Year

Messi ante el Almeria en el Nou Camp en el par...

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Barcelona’s victory over Argentina’s Estudiantes 2-1 was fair and deserving and it left no doubt that Barcelona Futbol Club is the best ensemble of soccer players in the world.

Surprised by Estudiantes’ early goal, Barca played their one-touch soccer till the very end, with an 80% possession of the ball as they continued to look for the equalizer goal. Four minutes before the regulation-time ended, Pedro electrified the multitudes with a header that arched the ball way over the Estudiantes’ goalie. Not only was the goal a show of athletic ability, but grace in motion. Like a graceful ballet dance, Pedro —the youngest player in the field— elevated himself in the air and as he held himself in the air, defying gravity to put the ball in the back of the net.

For the Estudiantes’ fans that was the cold dagger that would kill their hopes of taking the Club World cup to Argentina. In extra time Leonel Messi chested the winning goal. An exhausted Estudiantes team was no match for Barcelona and the likes of Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic—international soccer stars.

Barcelona has won it all. There’s no trophy that they haven’t won in 2009. “Six titles is unequalled, this brings more responsibility ... We have to continue working to remain among the elite," declared Pep Guardiola, Barca’s coach.

Yesterday’s victory was especially bitter-sweet for Guardiola: in 1992, as a player, Guardiola and Barcelona lost the world club final match. As the dramatic match unfolded in the field, the TV cameras panned to Guardiola on the sideline to show a man totally engaged, barking orders, gesticulating, jumping, and kicking and screaming. Guardiola was not to be denied of this much coveted victory. And despite the fact that injuries kept out Iniesta –the cerebral and cool playmaker— and Seydou Keita, the smooth midfielder, their replacements rose to the occasion.

With so much talent and depth in the bench, Guardiola made it look easy. The ceremonies were well coordinated and added much dignity to the sport. Abu Dhabi and FIFA official has much to be proud of as the eyes of the world were upon them.
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Friday, December 18, 2009

George Orwell's Rules for Writing

Rebel Without a Cause

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At one of the Christmas parties I attended last week, I had an opportunity to meet two college young ladies (in their senior year) and chat with them for a while. Of course, both being English Lit majors I picked their brains the best I could.

Imagine my surprise when I learned that neither one had seen the movies "Rebel Without a Cause" and neither one knew of Chaucer. And on further probing I was shocked to learn that they had never heard of George Orwell either. Any good anthology on writing essays should have George Orwell's indispensable rules for writing. But since generations come and go and we tend to lose much of what we old-timers value, I am reviving these rules:

1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

By the way, when I mentioned that George Orwell --besides great essays-- also wrote some great novels, one of the pretty co-eds said, "I've hear of 1984, but they took it off the reading list."
The writing techniques I use in this article are all explained in Mary Duffy's writing manual--an indispensable guide:

Sentence Openers


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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ten worst phrases to use at office

By Frances Cole Jones, author of "The Wow Factor"
December 16, 2009 10:44 a.m. EST


STORY HIGHLIGHTS

* Some phrases uses at the office drive one author crazy
* She doesn't want anyone picking her brain or requesting some sweat equity
* Says all history is past and you can't get more unique than plain unique
* She's also tired of things being drilled down and balls tossed into her court

(CAREERBUILDER) -- YouGov published its list of the 10 worst business sayings months ago. Some I more than agreed with ("thinking outside of the box," "blue-sky thinking," "heads up"); some didn't bug me too much ("at the end of the day," "going forward," "credit crunch").

But it also got me thinking about my own version of the 10 worst business sayings. Consequently, I compiled my own list, complete with definitions and -- most importantly -- the reasons they were included.

The first three top my list for their gross factor, pure and simple. Why? Because regardless of the people or situation in question, I've found that the overt or indirect referencing of bodily functions in a business environment gets me down.

1. Pick your brain: Substituted when someone simply wants to ask you something. "Do you mind if I just pick your brain?"

2. Throw it against the wall and see what sticks: Often used to describe a haphazard approach to presenting a motley product line, batch of ideas, etc. "Well, let's just throw these against the wall and see what sticks."

3. Sweat equity: Offered up when asking people to give their time and talent, and payment is not available. "We can't pay you your rate now, but -- when we do start making money -- you'll definitely have sweat equity."

The next three were included because of their cliché factor. Like "thinking outside the box" and "blue-sky thinking," their overuse means they no longer catch our attention.

4. It's not rocket science: Used most often when pointing out to someone that the task he's been asked to complete isn't, in fact, complicated. "After all, it's not rocket science."

5. The ball's in your court: This phrase is usually thrown around (pun intended) to let others know that you've reached your limit with regard to handling a situation. "I've now done everything I can. After this, the ball's in your court."

6. Drill down: This is too often used to denote the vigor with which a person or team will be pursuing an objective. "Yes, Bob and I are really going to drill down on that."

The following three made my list thanks to their redundancy:

7. I, personally: Since something that is said by you is, by definition, personal, I see no need to include both words. For example, when you take the "personally" out of the following sentence, the meaning doesn't change. "Well, I, personally, don't think that X should take precedence over Y."

8. Quite unique (and its compatriots "very unique," "really unique" and "most unique"): Despite the fact that things that are unique can't be qualified, I see this all the time. "Our store has the most unique items." Um ... no. You can, however, say, "Our store is filled with unique items." I have no trouble with that.

9. Past history: This one drives me wild every time I hear it, "Well, based on past history ..." History is, by definition, something that occurred in the past, so why on earth say "past"?

And, finally, the most overused phrase in a business context:

10. Urgent (and its frequent companion "crisis"): I include these because, as I'm sure you've discovered, the use of either, or both, of these words does little to resolve what might be going on. Instead, they either ratchet up the tension or make others wonder why you are so out of control.

What do I recommend you use instead? I would substitute the use of "immediate" for "urgent," and "situation" for "crisis," as both convey the need for action but leave others room to bring their own skills and intelligence to bear -- while reflecting well on your own.

Frances Cole Jones is the author of "The Wow Factor: The 33 Things You Must (and Must Not) Do to Guarantee Your Edge in Today's Business World."
The writing techniques I use in this article are all explained in Mary Duffy's writing manual--an indispensable guide:

Sentence Openers


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A Cool Site: Story of My life

Image representing Story of My Life as depicte...

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By accident I stumbled into this wonderful site: "Story of My Life -- Keep your story forever."

Not knowing what to expect, nor having anything to lose, I registered and promptly posted a few stories. A few days later I checked the site and I was stunned to see the number of readers that had viewed my stories.

In total, and in less than a month more than 190,000 people have read my work. This is incredible to me, since I'm used to seeing very low traffic even in the most reputed sites such as ezines, articledashboard, of everyonesarticles.

Excited about this newfound readership I've been helping the site by posting the statistic via Twitter. This is my 140 Twitter message:
marciano540 Incredible! This PM 33,724 (yesterday 29,141) views of my story --If you like to write, publish in this site It's FREE: http://bit.ly/4PW1pE

Within minutes, the power of Twitter sends hundreds of new readers. As a result, I'm getting e-mails, and affiliates for the sale of my e-book. "Story of My Life" is set up as a foundation. I don't know whether they are getting donations or not, or whether they are making any money. All I know is that it is a great service.

They tell you in their front page: "If you have stories to tell. Story of My Life makes it easy and fun to create and share your favorite memories – stories, pictures, videos & more - and preserve them Forever!"

In due time I will make a donation and also upgrade so that they can stay in business. Meanwhile, take a look and see for yourself. If you are a writer, or want to be one, there's the place to post your stories. Some stories and well written and others are amateurish. Yet no one is nasty about it. Most of the comments I read are from people who love to write and encourage others to keep writing. Go and check it out.
The writing techniques I use in this article are all explained in Mary Duffy's writing manual--an indispensable guide:

Sentence Openers


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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Swine Flu: A New York City Scene by Officer Marc Morales

Tired, woozy, and cranky after a whole shift riding that damn patrol car, I decided to walk —to keep the circulation flowing on my numb legs— from the Precinct to the Blues Bar & Grill, on Second Avenue.

Not only was the Blues packed, but noisy as hell. Not having much to do this glorious (high up in the 70s) Saturday afternoon, I told Saleem, the bartender, to run me a tab. I was on my third beer chaser when a huge guy --who was being loud and obnoxious-- at the end of the bar all of a sudden keeled over. Pandemonium broke. Then Silence engulfed the joint. The two fellows shooting pool and a waitress kneeled down to assist the two-hundred-fifty pounder.

Indeed the place got silent in a New York minute, but not for long.

A shrill female voice sounded off: "Swine flu!"

“Swine flue!” the parishioners echoed like a church choir.

Panic ensued. Even the guys that were helping the poor soul ran out the door. You should have seen them running in all different directions, scurrying about like roaches when you turn on the light. Of course this made me angry: recalling my ethics training at the Academy, the thought depraved indifference flashed through my mind. Yo, man—not right to abandon a helpless human being, leaving him twitching, jerking, and kicking like fish out water.

Saleem the bartender shrugged his shoulders as if saying, “That’s humanity for you.”

I had a vague idea that "Swine flu" was infectious, but I got down and tried to revive the guy anyway. His pulse was strong. Heartbeat loud and booming. When I opened his shirt I saw the medal that diabetic people wear. Right away I felt a sense of relief because I didn’t want to give the big fellow mouth-to-mouth-res.

Without wasting a second I yelled to Saleem Abdel to pour a glass of orange juice. I pried the man's jaws open; not an easy task because the 280-pound gorilla had his jaws locked tighter than a bear trap. I stuck my cell phone between his teeth and then I poured some of that Tropicana yellow liquid down his gullet.

"Fix another glass, Saleem Abdel!" I screamed. "Load it with sugar--right quick. And call 411!" The second glass went in easy enough, just like pouring oil in a funnel. This is one sad case when I really agree with "water boarding—Guantanamo style," or orange juice boarding.

Like stars twinkling in the night, the man's eyelids twitched and fluttered, opening and closing, and as he sat up, he spat out the damn cell phone, mumbling something incoherent. He looked confused. Of course, he'd left teeth marks on the metal casing of my cell phone, and I marveled that he hadn't chipped a tooth--the big dummy! So strong was his bite that I could barely flip open the gadget.

By the time the paramedics arrived the big fellow was up and about, a little spaced out, white shirt stained yellow, lips and gums bruised, but okay.

The senior medic recognized the man right away and exclaimed,

"Oh, him! My man gets loaded and denn he feggets his med-ee-kayshion."
"What's this thing about swine flu," I asked the paramedic.
"Oh, yeah, it's traveling: from Mexico to Don Diego. Couldda come to New Yoik, too--Queens I heah."
“You mean San Diego,” I said to confirm if what I was hearing was correct.
“Das waddaised,” the sassy man replied, giving me a sore look as if offended that I was questioning his diction.
"Brooklyn, Canarsie?” I asked to confirm the homeboy’s provenance.
“Bed Stuy,” he answered, now a little irritated that I had confused his pedigree. Some people are really touchy about their ‘hoods.’ Anyway, the Bronx and Queens are foreign territories to me. Staten Island? Never been there. Lived in Manhattan all my life.

“Hey, Marc,” I heard Saleem Abdel, the barkeep call. “Next time I’ll give you two on the house. They give you good training in the force, man. Twinkle Toes wouldda been toe-tagged by now if you hadn’t been here.”

My man Saleem Abdel kills me. The only bartender in New York City who doesn’t drink liquor and will give you one on the house only if your tab shows you’ve downed five drinks. The owner —who also doesn’t drink— of the joint loves him. Can never figure out how Saleem Abdel can mix drinks since he has the faintest idea how they taste. If you ever visit this bar, make sure you call him Saleem Abdel. When I first met him I simply called him ‘Saleem,’ and he wasted no time in correcting me: “Saleem Abdel, bitte—too many Saleems in town; don’t wanna be confused with them cab drivers and illegal aliens. I have a college degree from Hidelberg, Germany.”

I'm off duty, so I won't collect OT pay for my good Samaritan work helping the orange-juice-soaked orca, but I feel good about being a cop in New York City --East of Tiffany's, my beat.

So, let me go to McAnn's on 1st and 52nd, to cultivate the Irish garden; if you know what I mean; there all the bartenders, waiters, and waitresses, and the Salvadoran busboys and dishwashers—they all drink. But by the time they (the Irish, not the Salvadoran) start singing “Danny Boy,” and moving from glen to glen I take that as my clue to leave.

Love Manhattan, my kind of town.

The writing techniques I use are explained in Mary Duffy's Toolbox for Writers e-book.

Mary Duffy's Toolbox for Writers



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Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse: Is Stream of Consciousness Dead?

Portrait of Virginia Woolf (1882-1941)

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What to me or many interested readers might be a great novel, to students and many others who may not be open to experiment, To The Light House may be boring; if not un-readable. One can enjoy the novel by its own merits (or demerits), so I won’t much to say about the author Virginia Woolf, whose life was filled with drama.

Stream of consciousness

Stylistically, the novel belongs to the genre that today we know as “stream of consciousness.” In this genre, the reader is expected to follow the voices, echoes, remembrances, and associations in the characters heads. Of course, if the reader has no clue as to what this new way of writing is about, the result will be negative. Filled with mystifying sentences, the reader must piece together the events and so create the portrait of a family and close friends.

The novel is difficult, but the rewards are great, for we can learn about the changes wrought by war, death, marriage, age, and aging itself. To The Lighthouse is novel split into three sections, which is not to be confused with beginning, middle, and end. Each section is dedicated to different periods in the lives of the Ramsay family as they vacation at their summer home in Scotland during these periods (from 1910 to 1920). As we learn of the events and anecdotes –mundane, unimportant, and banal— that shape their lives, we realize that though these incidents may be viewed as commonplaces, what makes them gain respect (in the author’s selection) is the way in which they connect the characters. Yes, stream-of-consciousness is very important to the structure of the novel because it puts the reader in the minds of the various characters and very much in the moment of the novel. But the style of the novel is important beyond the technique.

What is the lighthouse?

Besides being a thing, a human structure, the lighthouse becomes the central symbol of the passage of time:
The Lighthouse was then a silvery, misty-looking tower with a yellow eye that opened suddenly and softly in the evening. Now— James looked at the Lighthouse. He could see the white-washed rocks; the tower, stark and straight; he could see that it was barred with black and white; he could see windows in it; he could even see washing spread on the rocks to dry. So that was the Lighthouse, was it? No, the other was also the Lighthouse. For nothing was simply one thing. The other Lighthouse was true
too. James as a child wanted more than anything else in his life to go to the lighthouse, but his father denies him that. As we can see in the above excerpt, when James finally gets there, the real lighthouse isn’t as truthful as the remembrance of it as when he was a child.

Innovations

What may turn off many readers may be the lack of punctuation. The assumption is that since humans do not consciously put punctuation into their thoughts, they should also exclude them in their writing. As a result the thoughts of the Ramsay's and other characters become run-on sentences. Very little dialogue do we find in this book, since all of the conversations that occur are described as the thoughts of one of the characters involved in the conversation.

Themes

First, we see how ephemeral life is: life and work and everything is transient, meaning that nothing in life is solid, predictable, and stable. Next, that art may supply the means to anchor us to creations that will exist forever, unlike other affairs such as politics. Let’s follow what’s in the mind of Lily Briscoe, the young painter and friend of the family:
It partook . . . of eternity . . . there is a coherence in things, a stability; something, she meant, is immune from change, and shines out (she glanced at the window with its ripple of reflected lights) in the face of the flowing, the fleeting, the spectral, like a ruby; so that again tonight she had the feeling she had had once today, already, of peace, of rest. Of such moments, she thought, the thing is made that endures.
For ten years —the time of the novel— she works on a canvas that she finally finishes when the Ramsay’s reach the lighthouse. Beauty, life, reality, and happiness are relative concepts since they can be perceived in countless different ways. Mrs. Ramsay’s happiness is paradoxical: while she admires her husband, she is incapable of saying to him that she loves him:
She could not say it. . . . As she looked at him she began to smile, for though she had not said a word, he knew, of course he knew, that she loved him. He could not deny it. And smiling she looked out of the window and said (thinking to herself, Nothing on earth can equal this happiness)— “Yes, you were right. It’s going to be wet tomorrow. You won’t be able to go.” And she looked at him smiling. For she had triumphed again. She had not said it: yet he knew
Given to rationality and scientific reasoning, Mr. Ramsay lacks the warmth and affection that his spouse searches for. His desires and frustrations for achieving greatness bar him from gaining Mrs. Ramsay’s love. Beautiful, domestic, loving, Mrs. Ramsay also succumbs to life, for she dies unexpectedly in her fifties. But because of those mundane bits of life that she experienced with her family, she could say: “Nothing on earth can equal this happiness.” With a little patience, mental agility to connect, and love of language, To The Lighthouse could be an enjoyable piece of literature.
Augustine, City of God
Austen J, Pride and Prejudice
Austen J, "Marriage Proposals and Me"
Austen J, Emma
Borges, The Aleph
C. Bronte, Jane Eyre
Burroughs E,Tarzan
Cervantes, Don Quijote
Chaucer, Wife of Bath
Coelho P,The Alchemist
Coyle H, They Are Soldiers
Dante, New Life
Dickens C, David Copperfield
Dostoevsky, Crime&Punishment
ConanDoyle,Hound of Baskervilles
Dubner S, Superfreakonomics

DuMaurier D, Rebecca
Ellis B. E. American Psycho
Fitzgerald S, Great Gatsby
Flaubert G, Madame Bovary
Fleming I,Doctor No
Freud S, Leonardo Da Vinci
Friedan B, Feminine Mystique
GarciaMarquez, Of Love & OtherDemons
GarciaMarquez,OneHundredYrs
Guerrero M,ThePoison Pill

Grass G, The Tin Drum
Harris T, Hannibal Rising
Heidegger M,House of Being
Ishiguro K, Remains of The Day
Johnson S,Rasselas
Kafka,Metamorphosis
Kosinski J, The Painted Bird
Lee H,To Kill a Mockingbird
McBain Ed,Gutter and Grave
Murakami H,Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Nabokov V, Lolita
Meyer, S, Twilight
Ortega,Dehumanization of Art
Poe E A, Gordon Pym
Prose F, Reading Like a Writer
Rushdie S,Midnight Children
Sabatini R, Scaramouche
Spark M, Prime of Miss Brodie

Stendhal, Red and Black
Sterne L,Tristram Shandy
Stevenson R, Dr.Jekyll & Mr.Hyde
Stoker B, Dracula
Thackeray W,History of Pendennis
Tolstoy L, Anna Karenina
Trollope A, Autobiography
Unamuno M, Tragic Sense of Life
Voltaire, Candide
Webb J, Fields of Fire
Wharton E, The House of Mirth
Woolf V, To The Lighhouse


The secrets of 'no-doze' prose:
Mary Duffy's Sentence Openers



Lindsey Vonn after winning the Downhill World ...
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Lindsey Vonn


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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Predicting the Future: The Price to Earnings Ratio

Wall Street

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What is the P/E Ratio?

The P/E is a mathematical ratio. The result will not be a dollar amount, but a mathematical ratio: the relationship between the stock price and the company’s earnings. The company earnings is given by the EPS or the “Earnings per share” of the common stock. You compute the P/E by taking the share price and dividing it by the company’s EPS. P/E = Stock Price / EPS

To illustrate, a company with a share price of $40 and an EPS of 8 would have a P/E of 5 ($40 / 8 = 5). As you can see the result is the ratio ‘5.’ In the Wall Street jargon, the ratio is referred to as ‘multiples.’

How to interpret the P/E ratio or multiples

What does the ratio ‘5’ tell you? The P/E ratio of 5 tells us what the market is willing to pay for the company’s earnings. The higher the P/E the more investors are willing to pay for the company’s earnings. But there’s room for disagreement here. While some investors read a high P/E as an overpriced stock, others may see it as an indication that the market has high hopes for this stock’s future and has bid up the price. Now, a low P/E may be taken as weak signal of attractiveness by the market. It might also mean this is “a sleeper” waiting for someone to shake it out of its slumber and take off running. Known as low value stocks, many investors make it a point of “discovering” these potential marathoners.

So what is the “right” P/E?
Don’t let anyone tell you what the ideal or right P/E ratio is or might be. No such a talisman. It all boils down to the investors’ desire to pay for earnings.

However, investors do not go blindly into the fray. They have one more tool: the market’s P/E ratio average. The P/E ratio for the entire market is approximately ’20.’ All it means is that on average all investors were willing to buy stocks of companies whose earnings make sense: that neither undervalued nor overvalued. Just be aware that these multiples fluctuate from time to time.

Conclusion
If a company’s P/E is 18, I would feel comfortable with it. Likewise, if the multiples show 22 or 23, there’s no reason to lose sleep over these multiples. Why not? Well, because the multiples are hovering around the market’s average which is 20. If you compare our ‘5’ ratio to the market’s, we can draw some conclusions: (1) the stock is undervalued (2) the stock may be a sleeper (3) the stock is a dud and may never move; especially if the company is in an ‘old economy,’ type of business. Hm, maybe it is time to look for a higher multiples stock.

During the Dot.com bubble, many stocks reached the incredible multiples of 140, 160, some even 400. In hindsight, would you buy stocks whose multiples are in the hundreds knowing that the market’s average is 20? Probably not—that is till the next bubble.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

How to Use Twitter Hashtags

The Twitter fail whale error message.

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If you want to find current references, events, and other information, there’s nothing more useful than using Twitter hashtags. This is a clever tool, but you must be clever to squeeze the maximum benefit out of it.

Here are a few basic tips:
Just what is a hashtag?
The pound symbol: #, is usually referred to as the pound symbol. Another name for it is the “Hash” symbol. A hashtag is any word, phrase, or series of letters and numbers which is preceded by a #. For example: #writing, is a hashstag that I can use to search for references to ‘writing.’ When I enter ‘#writing’ in the Twitter search box, I will get a new screen with “Real time results for #writing,” followed by what people are tweeting on the topic ‘writing.’

So, a hashtag is a keyword and it is denoted on Twitter like this: #hashtaghere. For the novice, keywords are the words people type in search boxes when they look a particular piece of information.

Why are these hashtags important?
To begin with, you can find people with the same interests you have; and even if you don’t have the same interest you can still send messages to particular groups. For example, if you want to sell an e-book, let’s say, How to Babysit Toddlers and Teeny-bopperss, you can hashtag ‘#day time moms.’ Right there you have a huge list of mom’s who might be interested in your product. Of course, if you are a good marketer you might wish to form relationships with those prospects first. Follow them, send them direct messages, gain their trust, and eventually they could become your customer.

Whatever happened to cold-calling?
Twitter has dismantled the old fashioned call-calling. Sales managers now train their sales force in using Twitter; especially how get fresh leads by using hashtags. Hashtag it to cold calling what the automobile was to the horse-buggy. Street-by-street prospecting has also been rendered obsolete. Hashtags are great when searching for events, conferences, or meet-ups. Searching for the proper #hashtag, allows you to keep up with what people are saying right there—on live streaming.

Google search vs Twitter search
They both work basically in the same manner. In google you must narrow your search by using quotation marks (“xyz”) around your keywords. In Twitter the hashmark #, will do the job. The huge difference is that Twitter is a dynamic search that’ll give your results of people who are twittering right that moment. You can’t beat it.

Teaching
All my students must follow me in Twitter. I let them know about my whereabouts, my office hours (if they change), homework, solutions, extra credit work, my latest article, stories, and many others chores. And if that wasn’t enough, they can discuss my lectures, and those who were absent will benefit by joining in.

Age of Aquarius vs Age of Twitter
I have heard people say that the Age of Aquarius would bring splendor to mankind. Well, it seems that if the splendor isn’t yet here—digitation is. And with it a new age: the age of Twitter.
The writing techniques I use in this article are all explained in Mary Duffy's writing manual--an indispensable guide:

Sentence Openers


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Sanford and wife (not son) - Abuse of Power and Abuse of Wife

In 1974, Rep. Wilbur D. Mills (D-Ark.), Chairman of the Means and Ways Committee, was involved in the Tidal Basin scandal which splashed him out of Congress. Drunk and driving, he was found cut and bloodied as he tried to rescue a stripper —Fanne Foxe, billed as the “Argentine Firecracker.”— from the cold waters of the basin.
That episode ended Mr. Mills career in the House.

A few months ago, South Carolina Governor Mark Sandford, in front of live TV cameras, revealed his love affair with an Argentinean woman (“Maria”). The media frenzy that ensued wasn’t pretty. Emails followed:
"You have a particular grace and calm that I adore. You have a level of sophistication that so fitting with your beauty," Sanford wrote on July 10, according to the e-mails published on the newspaper's Web site. "I could digress and say that you have the ability to give magnificent gentle kisses, or that I love your tan lines or that I love the curve of your hips, the erotic beauty of you holding yourself (or two magnificent parts of yourself) in the faded glow of the night's light -- but hey, that would be going into sexual details."


Well, there’s no fool like an old fool—or a man in love. And what is it with Argentinean firecrackers that can be lethal to American politicians? While Fanne Foxe went on to a lucrative career in the night club circuit, "Maria" --Sanford's paramour-- remains a mystery. Ben Laden is more accessible than Maria; or at least we have pictures of him--but not of her.

Jenny Sanford announced today that she will file for divorce from embattled South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who admitted in June to an affair with a longtime lover in Argentina. Jenny Sanford declared:

"I am now filing for divorce," she said in a statement. "This came after many unsuccessful efforts at reconciliation, yet I am still dedicated to keeping the process that lies ahead peaceful for our family."

Sanford moved out of the South Carolina governor's mansion with the couple's four children in August.

"I remain thankful to so many across this state and nation for their words of encouragement and prayers during this difficult time," she added. "Please know the boys and I are doing well and are blessed with the incredible support of friends and family and bolstered by our faith and the unfailing love of our God above."

In a statement, Gov. Sanford accepted responsibility for his actions, which he said drove the couple to "this tragic point."

"While it is not the course I would have hoped for, or would choose, I want to take full responsibility for the moral failure that led us to this tragic point," he said. "Jenny is a great person, and has been a remarkable wife, mother and First Lady. She has been more than gracious these last six months and gone above and beyond in her patience and commitment to put the needs of others in front of her own."

The writing techniques I employ in this article are all explained in Mary Duffy's writing manual:

Sentence Openers


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Saturday, December 12, 2009

What Were 5 American Men Doing At Jihadist House In Pakistan?

Justin Elliott | December 10, 2009, 10:30AM


Five young men from Northern Virginia have been arrested in Pakistan in a house with links to a militant group, but they have not been charged with a crime and details of what they were doing are still hard to come by. But the case is already being cited as the latest example in an emerging trend of radicalization of American Muslims who travel overseas and link up with foreign terrorist groups.

Here's the basic outlines of the story, as it has been reported so far: five American Muslim men, ranging in age from their late teens to mid-20s, flew to Pakistan earlier this month and, after bouncing around several cities, ended up in a house in Sargodha, in Punjab Province. The owner of the house where they were arrested reportedly has ties to the group Jaish-e-Muhammad, considered a terrorist organization by the United States.

The worried families of the men, one of whom, Ramy Zamzam, is a Howard University dental student, earlier this month contacted the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which in turn put them in touch with the FBI.

A video made by one of the men quoted the Koran and "cited conflicts between Western and Muslim nations and showed wartime footage," according to the Washington Post. But unidentified law enforcement also told the paper they had no evidence the video was meant as a farewell. CAIR's executive director, Nihad Awad, said the video was "disturbing" and it "made references to the ongoing conflicts in the world and that a Muslim has to do something about them."

The men have not been charged with a crime, though they are reportedly being interrogated by Pakistani authorities.

McClatchy notes this is the third time in recent months Americans with links to Pakistan have been arrested over possible connections to terrorist groups. Najibullah Zazi of Denver, who allegedly received weapons training in Pakistan, was indicted in September for allegedly planning to set off bombs in the U.S. And, in the third case, David Headley was charged this week with helping a Pakistani terrorist group plot the attacks on Mumbai last year.

Spencer Ackerman notes that several Obama officials have addressed the issue of "domestic radicalization" in recent days.

CAIR, for its part, said at a press conference in Washington it will work to counter radicalization among American Muslims. The Times reports:

But Mr. Awad, who said he had seen the video, and the other leaders said that the case -- along with the recent recruitment of young Somali-American men in Minnesota by a violent group in Somalia -- suggested that at least a small number young American Muslims were drawn to extremist views. They pledged to start a nationwide campaign to counter such attitudes.

Late Update: A local Pakistani police official is now telling the media the men were committed to jihad. The Times cites Pakistani officials saying the men wanted to fight U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Tiger Woods and David Letterman: Where are the Feminists of Yesteryear?

While our American troops lose support and their lives in foreign wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, our "TV heroes" here at home get richer and even more adored.

Since David Letterman's own admission of sexual harassment in the place of work, he's gained more popularity; women worship him. Women are the demographic group that provides the ratings for the Letterman show; they laugh at his corny jokes--even when he mocks Tiger Woods!

Which makes me wonder: where are the feminists of yesteryear? Betty Friedan died, and with her --it appears-- her voice also died. I recall when feminists chased Senator Bob Packwood out of office, following the revelation that 29 office staffers had came out to accuse him of sexual harassment. They followed him everywhere with signs that proclaimed he was unfit for office. The sexual predator was gone!

Feminist activism is dead. Feminist passivism has set in.


Why are women still flocking to the stores to buy the products Tiger endorses?

I read that Tiger said he likes to play 18 holes--that's why he had many girlfriends. Supreme Court Justice Thomas once defended himself by adducing a supposedly "high tech lynching." Is this what is happening to poor old Tiger Woods? If he is being lynched he surely is being paid 100 million a year for that.

Here's is a well-written twit that goes at the heart of the matter:

Counterglow I'm a Fan of Counterglow I'm a fan of this user 63 fans permalink
photo

I'll try to give it to you in nice, simple language: The interest in Tiger's love life is in large part because of the companies that paid him huge bucks to represent them. They presented a polished, shiny, perfect Tiger. That's the image of Tiger they've been marketing, and that's the image they've been using to sell their products. "Hey, look, America. The Greatest Golfer In History and a Genuinely Nice Guy uses our product! Wouldn't YOU like to use the same [fill in product name] as Tiger Woods? People always get interested when they find out the person who's been presented to them as one thing is most emphatically another.

So Tiger has been presented to the world as something he's not, and a big part of the reason why is so various corporations can use him to sell stuff to people like you and me. So why doesn't John Daly doesn't get those product endorsement dollars? By all accounts Daly is a generous, funny, genuinely decent guy. He's also a cigarette-smoking, hard-drinking womanizer who has never made any secret of his habits. The same companies who wanted a squeaky-clean representative like Tiger would rather suck rocks in a uranium mine than let Daly anywhere NEAR their products. Hell, they'd pay him to use a competitor's stuff!

Bottom line: when a phony image is created to sell you stuff, people get very interested when they find out they've been fooled.

Here's another update and opinion:

Tiger Woods in the news: tabloid revelations and blind eyes

By Jay Busbee

As we wind down from TigerCrashGate -- yes, it's true, we're almost done, at least until he returns to the course -- it's worth taking a look at the way that this story spiraled from one-car hydrant-bump to worldwide scandal, one whose cost will eventually be measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Here's the key question to all of this: did we need to know about Tiger Woods' secret, off-the-course life? Many argue that this is an unforgivable invasion of a family's privacy, that we're interested in Tiger Woods as a golfer, not as a family man. As long as he keeps sinking long putts on Sunday afternoons, who cares what he does later that evening?

But that just-golf-it mindset doesn't account for the fact that Woods is not "just a golfer," he's the public face of an entire corporation. What he does on his own time is not his own business, not when his actions can do financial harm to those who have invested hundreds of millions in his image. That financial impact, not the "more mistresses or more majors?" question, is the real story here.

Still, the reason why this scandal exploded the way it did is because Woods' secret dealings were allowed to continue unabated, whether intentionally or unintentionally. The more Woods got away with his misdeeds, the bolder -- and stupider -- he got. (Leaving your name on a voicemail? Sending texts from your own phone? Really, Tiger?)

Part of this is surely because of the coverage bubble that Woods enjoyed for all of his career, a bubble that was born fully formed in Gary Smith's absurdly over-the-top introduction/sanctification of Woods in a legendary 1996 Sports Illustrated article entitled "The Chosen One." The see-no-evil approach to Tiger then dominated the golf media for more than a decade, partly because everyone was so in awe of Woods, and partly because Woods would cut off any access to any media outlet daring to poke around the edges of the mystique.

Did Tiger Woods have everyone fooled? Did the golf media know about Tiger's affairs and cover them up? Did everyone just happen to look the other way at the proper time? Those are questions that each media member will have to answer for him- or herself, but here's one huge clue: there are several golf media members who have not written a single word about this, the biggest story to hit golf in decades. Why? Well, you'd have to ask them, but it's a fair bet that they're setting themselves up as good guys when Tiger eventually does return. ("See, Tiger? All those other guys piled on, but I didn't! I'm still your pal!") On the flip side, credit longtime golf writers like Steve Elling who actually did call out Woods, knowing full well that they'll find that next one-on-one interview that much tougher -- if not impossible -- to secure.

Many in the golf media got completely outplayed on this story because of their insistence that it was no golf story at all, it was nothing but celebrity garbage, tawdry trash-digging that was beneath them. And again, if it was nothing but the personal affairs of a private family, that would be true. But Tiger's absence from the tour is going to cost people and corporations hundreds of millions of dollars and fundamentally alter the game of golf for the short term -- so, yeah, that very much is a golf story.

Journalists who complain that the tabloids were setting the agenda in this story should have been practicing a little shoe-leather journalism themselves. After the initial revelation on the day before Thanksgiving that Rachel Uchitel was somehow involved with Woods, it was a blogger, Ryan Ballengee of Waggle Room, who trumped the mainstream media and first contacted her. In the absence of comments from Team Tiger, the tabloids filled in the gaps, and despite their "bat boy/UFO abduction" rep, were on the whole more accurate than not. (Tiger's admission of "infidelities" plural is a testament to that.)

There were some notable missteps on the tabloids' part. The RadarOnline.com story about Elin Woods moving out proved to be completely groundless, even though many outlets picked it up and ran with it. (We decided not to here because of the flimsiness of the sources.) More significantly, the Life & Style story about two professional golfers calling out Woods turned out to be an utter falsehood; we had decided to mention it here because there was on-the-record attribution, not "unnamed sources." Surely, we figured, no magazine would be foolish enough to print actual names without verifying. Wrong. Lesson learned -- and that's an aspect of this story that deserves further scrutiny.

This is not to defend the tabloids' approach to celebrity -- they look at stars the way that the rest of us look at a Thanksgiving turkey right out of the oven -- but their dogged method of running down a story does indeed have its merits. (Paying interview subjects is not one of them, nor is publishing articles without bylines.) Still, if other journalists were similarly unconcerned about their future access to their subjects, they'd be able to uncover some secrets on topics more important than celebrities' sex lives.

For now, though, the Tiger story has reached a natural stopping point. We can take some time over the holidays to breathe deep, stop wondering about how many more mistresses will come out of the woodwork, and -- thank you, heaven -- stop hearing lame Tiger jokes.

The old Tiger Woods is gone. The new one -- well, we haven't met him yet. But he won't be on the same celebrity-worship pedestal as the old guy ... and, all in all, that's probably for the best.
The writing techniques I use in this article are all explained in Mary Duffy's writing manual--an indispensable guide:

Sentence Openers


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