Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gangster grandma lands grandson in JV detention


Only an 18-year-old would "coax" their 85-year-old senile grandmother into being a character in a homemade rap video where she is threatening to "shoot all the pigs." Really? And it would only happen in Florida.

Michael Alfinez has been charged with elder abuse. Did he post this video online? Not that was reported (And, it's not on youtube). However, the only way the police got a hold of the video was during a routine traffic stop. What was he doing with that video? Was it just chilling on the passenger seat of his car? And, only an ignorant person would record himself and his friends shooting a pistol off in the town where he was caught with this video.

What really could have made this story oh, so much better would have been to interview the senile grandmother. Just because she is senile doesn't mean that she isn't fit to interview. It would have been really interesting to have gotten her side of the story, considering the fact that apparently the family says that the whole thing was one big "misunderstanding." Does that mean the grandmother said this, or was it the kid's parents trying to save him from a criminal record?

Thank you, Daily Star for making the most important part of the article absent. Here's a tip for ya: Interview the victim.

You're fired. Walk the plank.

Article Link:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Huffington dishes out presidential blunders

At times, there is biased in reporting and articles, however, this post by Arianna Huffintgton is exceedingly fair since it represents both sides of the presidential election spectrum. From reading this blog, I cannot tell if Huffington is a Republican or Democrat since she represents the challenges both parties equally face. Though the challenges are different in nature, Huffington tells the problems of McCain and Obama, and she displays how each presidential candidate is trying to deal with the problem.

Huffington says that McCain is not as strong in his political campaign as he should be, so his followers should focus keeping Republicans in both houses, rather than focus on the presidential race. Obama promises change, but if he doesn’t have a Democrat majority in the houses, how would change occur?

The blog is both credible and professional because Huffington portrays challenges from both sides. In no way, shape or form does she tell people whom to vote for, only highlighting problems the candidates face. Because she is fair, readers should be comfortable trusting her opinion and blog.


Rating: Run and wenches

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Web thrives as newspapers die

The Wall Street Journal reported that the circulation of newspapers has decreased dramatically in recent years and continues to spiral downward.

The reporter only mentioned once in the entire article what the reason for the decline has been. And the reason given is the exact reason as to why that reporter has a job: The Web is taking over where newspapers basically left off, since newspapers are slowly becoming a thing of the past. The web is the newspaper of its day, only an electronic version with many more features.

One would think that the article was supposed to be about why exactly newspapers are dying - on the contrary, the article is focused on the huge decline in circulation that has been occurring. The article would have been much better if it had stuck to its original topic and not the after effects of the problem, such as circulation decline and loss of ad revenue.

Poor performance on the WSJ's part this time. Walk the plank.

Article Link:

Related Video:

Friday, October 24, 2008

Figurative pirating is cool, theft is bad

After looking at the police report at the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle I've come to the realization that theft is awful. Especially while staying at a Quality Inn and a Playstation and Star Wars game was stolen.

Sure, other things were stolen from a bunch of other people, but I can't help but empathize with those poor folks lost along a sea of disparity without a Playstation or Star Wars.

Rank: The thieves can line up for the scorpion filled box. Don't mess with Star Wars.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Powell foces McCain to plank, Obama stays on board

Colin Powell has a strong influence in American society, and his opinions about the presidential campaign can waive people from one candidate to another. In this case, however, Powell favors Sen. Barack Obama over Sen. John McCain.

In this video, Powell blatantly focuses on how McCain’s reaction and future plans for the financial crisis is not up-to-par as Obama’s. Once again, someone is focusing on how bad an opponent is rather than highlighting aspects and qualities that will make his or her favored candidate a great president. If people don’t support McCain, they don’t want to hear why he is a bad choice for president, and instead, they want to be reassured that Obama is the best and only choice for president.

It’s especially disappointing that a man as respected as Powell is contributing to smearing campaigns and advertisements. He should know by know that people want reassurance and proof that Obama will make a better president over McCain. Though Powell may be speaking the truth about McCain, he should focus on the positives of Obama rather than the negatives of McCain. If he doesn’t do this, what is the point even speaking to the American public?

Rating: Walk the plank

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

God visits American Beer Festival

The Christian belief that God is everywhere reigned true as the American Beer Festival took place this year.

NewsDay covered the American Beer Festival and how the participants of it were celebrating the origins of beer and how that relates to religion. It's an interesting article. The fun facts hold the reader's attention. The writer humorously added in facts about saints and how they were true inventors and holder of beer.

"....God could be found at last week's Great American Beer Festival — in the crassly commercial, in homage to religion's long history in brewing, in needling faiths that turn a suspect eye on drinking, and (if the prophet of home-brewing is to be believed) at the bottom of every glass."

There is even information in there stating, "... the first brewery in the Americas was founded by Belgium monks in Ecuador in 1534."
The man even quotes the wise words of Ben Franklin.

I feel as if this article is just full of fun facts. Who knew that St. Arnold of Metz was the French saint of brewers and one of many patron saints of the brewing arts?

The criticism of this article that I have is that it went from the American Beer Festival to fun facts about saints and beer, then back to the festival and then it gets scattered all over the place. I couldn't really tell what the point of the article was, once I got to the end of it.

For being unorganized, the writer gets his rum (or beer for that matter) taken away for a week.

Article Link:,0,1132885.story

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Beware ye folk of nuns

Typically, nuns are thought to be peaceful, non-violent promoters of faith, hope and love. However, in this century, the nun is apparently now able to hold her own against robbers, burglars and yes, terrorists. Instead of dishing out a cup of hot soup at a local food shelter for the homeless, they can be expected to break and deface government nuclear property. Ridiculous, right? Wrong.

In this article, two nuns were wrongfully accused as suspected terrorists when the were “wrongly listed into state and federal databases that track terrorism suspects.” The nuns must go before a board and have their files reviewed before their names are deleted off the list.

Keep in mind that these nuns were up to mischief, though. In 2002, they broke into a nuclear missile site and defaced the missiles and building by painting cross with their own blood. Maybe the nuns have been watching Whoopi Goldberg’s Sister Act.

Though this grammar was not written in AP style and had grammatical errors, the hilarious content saved the article. This I such an unusual topic because the average person does not expect nuns to cause mischief, but rather remain calm and peaceful. Next time I see a nun, however, I am going to be extremely polite so she will not cover me with a bloody cross or yell curses to me.

Link to article:

Rating: Rum and wenches

Friday, October 10, 2008

Destroying wedding dresses for fun and profit

While casting out a line for dude ranches in a search (I'm not the only one who watched Hey, Dude), I came across this gem of a news article at the Summit Daily News out of Colorado.

Essentially, someone came up with the brilliant idea to photograph people wrecking their wedding dresses. Someone else came up with the idea of building a community blog out of it.

The wrecking is done by rolling around on the beach, getting under the hood of a car, going for a swim and in the case described in the news story, wrestling a pig.

Writer Leslie Brefeld does alright putting the nifty little story together out of the whole thing. What's really interesting is the subject itself. It's pure, crystallized genius smashing through my frontal lobe.

No one's ever going to use the thing again, why not wrestle a pig in the damned thing?

Rating: Promotion to first mate for Brefeld and buried treasure for Trash the Dress

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

"Blonde sues over brown dye; judge brushes off suit."

This headline by is probably one of the best headlines I have ever seen. It's witty and gives a quick peek at what the article is going to be about.

Apparently the Associated Press didn't have enough to write about today, even though there's a huge presidential election going on, we're in the one of the biggest financial crises our country has ever been faced with, we're at war numerous groups of people, but reporting on some dumb blonde's idiocy seemed to be just that important if was posted on their web site at 8:23 a.m. Sounds like breaking news to me.

"L'Oreal Inc. ruined her social life when she accidentally dyed her hair brunette with one of its products."

What really gets me is that this law suit started back in 2005. Yes, it has been going on for three years. Thank God the judge dismissed the case with lack of sufficient evidence against L'Oreal inc. What was this woman thinking she would get out of this? A life's supply of blonde hair dye? And why would she want to broadcast to the world that the color of her hair has ruined her social life and has placed her on antidepressants? The woman has serious problems and for the Associated Press to report on this was although quite humorous, was kind of ridiculous. I feel as if this type of story brings a smile to peoples' faces, but does not belong on the Associated Press' news feed.

Associated Press, you deserve a treasure chest for bringing a smile to my face, however your rum will have to be confiscated for the week due to your lack of newsworthy stories.

Article Link:

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Political T-shirts cause mutiny

After reading the short article about voting for a favorite political T-shirt in The Post Standard, I was extremely disappointed with the message of the article and its ideas. The article states that people should vote for the funniest political T-shirt, and after looking at these T-shirts, I am disgusted people would actually want to wear one and promote silliness.

Some T-shirts say "Obama Says Knock You Out" and "Hop on the McCain Train." This election is extremely controversial, and I feel that this article jokes about the campaigns and the presidential candidates when it should be focusing on the issues and ideas they have to make the United States a better country.

When a person promotes this horrid hilarity in an article, it makes people not focus on the real issues concerning the election, but makes people make fun of the candidates’ background and appearance. Whatever happened to common sense and decency in the media when it comes to presidential elections? This article is just another example how the media does not take issues seriously, but only focuses on hilarious moments for profit and attention.

With the current financial crisis looming of Americans and the constant threat of terrorism, it is time for some American journalists and bloggers to grow up because that is who Americans listen to for news. If we can’t take our sources seriously, then we are headed for a long, difficult four years.

Link to article:

Link to T-shirt Web site:

Rating: 5 Black Spot (Death!)

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Sea Chantey to Sing You to Sleep

It's like finding buried treasure when you find any music review that doesn't go overboard on descriptions and bore readers with non-sensical jargon. But finding a blog that fits that criteria? That is truly a diamond in the rough.

Posted on My Hmphs, this review of Amy Grant's song, "If These Walls Could Speak," engages readers without giving away too much. Instead of using the language of musical masters, the author uses fairly concise language so as not to lose the reader.

In addition to this, the author sticks to A.P. Style, making sure to quote song titles and italicize album titles. While the author does use more complex sentences than necessary at times, they are not so complex that they become confusing.

Even better yet, the author adds personal experience. While all reviews contain some personal experience in the form of opinions, many times it can be overpowering. In this case, the blogpost is bookended by that author's opinion, bringing the article full circle and providing a sound beginning and ending.

All in all, this article deserves to man the fastest ship in the seven seas.

Rating: 5. Hidden Treasure.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Commercials have hidden value

Commercials promoting a political candidate are just as important as debates and print pieces in newspapers. I think that it is rare to find a commercial that is short, sweet and to the point. When a commercial is like this, it does not frustrate viewers, and that is why Rick Dollinger’s commercial promoting himself for state senate is a well-made commercial.

One thing that viewers will appreciate is that he is actually speaking about issues that concern people with the upcoming election: working rights and pro-choice rights. He says he values what people in the Rochester community value, and that is a good statement to make because he is identifying with people.

Additionally, no where in the commercial did Dollinger point out what his opponents do wrong: He focuses on what he believes in and how he will make a difference, rather than bash opponents people do not care about. People want to know what Dollinger will do for people, and he said this perfectly.

Link to video:

Rating: Escape the Royal Navy

Sal Maiorana is awesome

Sal Maiorana, staff writer at the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, is the man. The guy does a ton of writing over at the paper's sports section. He covers the Buffalo Bills, writes a column and does pre-game match-ups on a pretty frequent basis.

What is unique about him, however, is how bad he is in a stylistic sense.

Just look at his story from the D&C last Monday. First, the lede.

To a man they stood in front of their dressing cubicles Sunday night wearing guarded smiles on their faces and reciting a mantra that you swore must have been on a centrally-located teleprompter somewhere in the locker room.

It's ok, despite hamfisted word choice and a pretty lengthy opening sentence. Who is "they?" Who is this "you?" I suppose it's implied by the headline that I've neglected to include, but he shows such a poor choice of words.

Later, in the same story, is his magnum opus.

But then the wise-beyond-his-years wide receiver caught himself, looked up at a group of reporters huddled around him, and in a moment of clarity when he must have recalled all the hard times the Bills have endured in recent years, he smiled broadly and said “But the finishing is the bottom line and learning how to win games in the end. Everyone kept fighting and we came up with the victory.”

Just soak in that 'graph for a while. It's simply beautiful. Totalling 64 words, the first sentence is a monster of comas, reading like something straight out of a first semester newswriting class.

Despite this, Sal is still the man, and allows me a breathe of relief. He proves that we all have a shot at getting away with being a writer.

For that, Sal's off the charts.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Blog busts Chinese gymnast

The word has gotten around that the young Chinese gymnasts were legitimately allowed to compete in this year's 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Olympic officials announced that no further investigations will be made to challenge the Chinese's honesty regarding the young girls.

The New York Times covered this story in great detail, bringing to the table the fact that Chinese gymnast Dong Fangxiao, who competed in the 2000 Olympics, winning the bronze metal, in her personal blog said she was only 14 years old. That was eight years ago. Do they expect us to believe that she is now 22 years old? Apparently so, but you have to also consider the fact that when their ages were questioned this year, the Chinese officials "proved" all their ages to be 16 years old.

The New York Times reported both sides of the story, although the reporter sounded quite skeptical toward the Chinese officials claims concerning the ages of the gymnasts. American skepticism definitely shown through this article, but in my opinion was done so with every right.
Although this was a well covered story, I found a typo in it, which makes me wonder how many editors edit online articles before they are posted.

"The A.P. then reported that other gymnasts may be underag, citing documents on the Web."
^ It is supposed to read, "underage."

I give the New York Times a rating of first mate, however, the reporter has to swab the decks for a week for that typo.

Article Link:

Video Link: