Tag Archives: dave barry

Ms. Language Person Talks Newspapers

My favorite humorist, Dave Barry, who used to work for the Miami Herald, along with hundreds of other people who now used to work for the Miami Herald, used to devote a column from time to time to questions from readers to Mr. Language Person.  I would give you examples, but I’m prohibited from doing so.  You have to subscribe to the Miami Herald yourself and look it up. 

I know this because I subscribe to the Miami Herald myself, and the latest subscriber update I received from them informed me that if I violated any of their policies, they were going to rebuild the Bastille,  build an extra-deep dungeon (possible due to state-of-the-art technology unavailable in 1370), place me in a cell and feed me boiled cockroach soup for the rest of my natural but short life. 

Okay, here is what they really said:  You may not reproduce any part of this content, blah, blah, blah.  It was so Draconian I was afraid to even quote anyone, which seemed to Fakename to be a sort of self-defeating policy on their part.  What about, “I read it in the Miami Herald” would be bad?  Especially since subscribing is free…oh wait.  No more. 

So far they haven’t billed me, but it’s now $1.99 per month. 

Now the good news is, I know for a fact that they do not have an army of researchers combing other newspapers or Internet sites, or for that matter, combing their hair for instances of plagiarism or (politely speaking) unattributed quotes.  So I could possibly get away with calling myself Ms. Language Person and not get sued.  But Fakename is not into stealing intellectual property.  She IS into having the freedom to quote people and to playing on words.

We are in that interim period where newspapers on paper are indeed dying.  No more smell of newsprint, holding it in your hands in the morning over a cup of coffee.  I get that.  But I am kind of an interim person.  I’m willing to give up the newspaper, as long as you don’t  mess with the library and the paper books.   I’ll have to go all Fahrenheit 451 on you if that happens.

News From Florida

It dawned on me today that sometime last month I had an anniversary.  I’ve now lived in Florida for ten years.  Like most people in Florida and California, I’m from Somewhere Else.  Being from Somewhere Else gives you the right to tout the good stuff about your state, and disclaim the rest.  As in, Hey I’m not from here!  It’s not my fault!

If states were ranked by the number of crazies in it, Florida would be up there somewhere at least in the top 20, and Dave Barry of the Miami Herald does a good job of reporting on the crazies in Miami.  But, you have to remember that Miami is in “South Florida”, which is technically a different state than “Central Florida” or “North Florida”.  Which is along the same lines of New Orleans being a different state than Louisiana, New York City being a different state than New York, and Chicago being a different state than Illinois. 

Speaking of Illinois, I am voting it in a dead tie with Louisiana for craziest politics.  (New York is a distant third.)  For craziest overall, I still have to go with Wisconsin, where people routinely wear hats that look like wedges of Swiss cheese.  Not to mention they once elected a pro wrestler as governor.  Or was that Minnesota?  I routinely get my Midwestern states confused, except for Iowa where I used to live, briefly.   Don’t even ask me to point out Michigan on a map. 

And now for the news from Florida.  Our Governor, Charlie Crist (Governor Charlie as we all like to call him) announced this week that he is running for the U.S. Senate, even before he finishes his first term as governor.  Governor Charlie is extraordinarily popular, with approval ratings (depending on which poll you look at) somewhere in the 70% range–higher than Obama, in any case.  And this, in spite of not having done anything I can think of.  But he’s very photogenic, and he talks good, as we say here in North Florida. 

Governor Charlie is fond of calling himself The People’s Governor.  He is fond of saying “the people are the boss”.  He calls the Governor’s Mansion “The People’s House”.  (To which one letter writer to the local newspaper said, if he doesn’t stop saying that, I’m showing up one night with my blankie and my pajamas.)

As far as I’m concerned, you can go ahead and start calling him Senator Charlie.  Or as one pundit put it, If he runs, he wins.  Did I mention he’s a Republican?  Kinda, sorta.  The Republicans aren’t fond of him, especially since he appeared onstage with Obama in Fort Myers, and also took the stimulus money–unlike his “principled” colleagues in say, Louisiana and South Carolina.

In other Florida news, today’s newspaper reported that a woman in Melbourne is suing a pet cemetary.  When her squirrel monkey, Mighty, died of cancer in 1994, he was buried in this cemetary and she became so upset by the condition of the grounds that she had his remains moved.  Now she is suing the owner of the pet cemetary for the cost of the original burial and the cost of moving Mighty’s remains to the tune of $500.  The cemetary owner says she was unreasonable, expecting him to clean up immediately after several hurricanes in 2004 and expecting him to mow the grass weekly. 

Well, you know, it’s very hard to commune with the spirit of your dead monkey when you have to wade through knee-high grass which might be full of snakes, chiggers, mosquitos, and poisonous toads.  This is Florida.  And did I mention?  I’m not from here.

Sarah Palin and Pitbulls Without Lipstick

Some very funny stuff has been posted recently about the whole political process we’re enduring, and I do mean enduring.  To start with, The Miami Herald lost its mind and allowed humorist Dave Barry to cover the Olympics, and both the Democratic and Republican conventions.  I’ve been wanting to post a recent comment by Dave, but the Miami Herald has a very strict policy about reproducing its articles or any part thereof, including periods and commas which appeared in the newspaper, on pain of death.  But finally, on the off chance I won’t get caught, I’m reproducing this quote that I can’t resist.  (Dear Miami Herald:  Please, please don’t send the copyright police to my door.  My Doberman really hates copyright police.  Also, here’s a disclaimer:  I did not write what I’m about to say.  Dave Barry did!  In the Miami Herald!  Miami Herald, Miami Herald, Miami Herald!  You can see it yourself on www.miamiherald.com.  Is that okay?)

So while covering the Republican convention, Dave Barry had this to say about how they planned to differentiate themselves from the Democrats: 

“The Palin choice is only one of the storylines that will be developing here over the next few days. Another one will be the Republicans’ effort to contrast the tone and style of their convention with that of the Democrats, particularly Barack Obama’s now-legendary acceptance speech, which he read from stone tablets, in which he promised the American public that if elected he would give them peace, jobs, healthcare, national security, energy independence, good schools, a clean environment, reduced government waste, lower taxes, the head of Osama bin Laden, giant underwater cities, time travel, and a magic flying zebra named ”Sparkle” for every American pre-schooler regardless of income level.”

And now, about Sarah Palin and the Pitbulls, from the website of the comedian Andy Borowitz.  Since Andy doesn’t have any warnings…Wait.  What’s wrong with him?  Could it be that he doesn’t care how you hear about him as long as you do?  That if you like what you hear, you might want to go to his website for more?  Ha!  The Miami Herald could teach him a thing or two about protecting your intellectual property, and fading into oblivion while you’re at it!  In the interest of fairness, however, Andy’s website is www.borowitzreport.com.  Since he doesn’t have any scary warnings, I’ll post the entire content of his “Pitbull Shocker” essay: 

Pitbull Owners Blast Palin

Comparison ‘Offensive,’ Dog Fanciers Complain

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who famously compared herself to a pitbull in her vice-presidential acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, appears to have antagonized a key voting bloc in the upcoming election, the nation’s pitbull owners.

While Gov. Palin’s assertion that the only difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull was “lipstick” drew a loud ovation from the Republican faithful in St. Paul, it raised the ire of the Pitbull Anti-Defamation League, a powerful association of pitbull fanciers who monitor the portrayal of pitbulls in the media.

“As someone who has owned pitbulls for the past twenty years, my jaw dropped,” said Carol Foyler, the group’s executive director.  “Most of us are thinking the same thing: enough is enough.”

Ms. Foyler said that for pitbull owners who have grown weary of their prized dogs being defamed and mistreated, Gov. Palin’s wisecrack was the last straw: “We’re all like, first the Michael Vick thing, and now this.”

Tracy Klugian, an irate pitbull owner from Buffalo, New York, echoed Ms. Foyler’s sentiments: “I can think of many differences between pitbulls and Gov. Palin – for starters, pitbulls don’t try to get their ex-brothers-in-law fired.”

With Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill) and John McCain (R-Ariz) fighting for every last vote, a coveted voting bloc like pitbull owners could very well decide the 2008 election, political insiders believe.

While Gov. Palin was not available for comment on the pitbull controversy, a spokesperson for the McCain-Palin ticket offered this official statement: “Gov. Palin does in fact have one thing in common with a pitbull: neither is capable of answering questions from reporters.”