A Logan-inspired post

I was cleaning out old e-mail, and this thing that someone sent me in 1998 was still there!

Grammar is important

1. Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects.
2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
3. And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction.
4. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
5. Avoid cliches like the plague. (They’re old hat)
6. Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
7. Be more or less specific.
8. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
9. Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
10. No sentence fragments.
11. Contractions aren’t necessary and shouldn’t be used.
12. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
13. Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.
14. One should NEVER generalize.
15. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
16. Don’t use no double negatives.
17. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
18. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
19. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
20. The passive voice is to be ignored.
21. Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.
22. Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.
23. Kill all exclamation points!
24. Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
25. Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earth shaking ideas.
26. Use the apostrophe in it’s proper place and omit it when its not needed.
27. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
28. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: Resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it correctly.
29. Puns are for children, not groan readers.
30. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
31. Even IF a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
32. Who needs rhetorical questions?
33. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
And finally…
34. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

Why I don’t shop at Wal-Mart


In honor of the release of the documentary WAL-MART: The High Cost of Low Price, I thought I’d tell you why I don’t shop there. I mean, NOW it’s because of all those socio-political reasons, such as them driving out small business and exploiting workers, but the ORIGINAL reason was much more prosaic.

In 1994, I was separating from a significant relationship. I needed stuff, lots of that basic household stuff- kitchen utensils, bathroom items, a few household goods. So I went to the only Wal-Mart then in the area, in something called the Crossgates Common (or Commons). I must have spent over $90. It was only after I got home on the bus that I realized that I was missing a bag of material. I immediately called the store and they confirmed that, yes, I had left a bag at the register. It was five minutes before closing, so I told the person that I’d be back the next day at a specific time. I was told the package would be in the manager’s office.

The next day, I went to said Wal-Mart, and went to the office, only to be told to wait a few minutes, which turned out to be a half hour. Then I was told that the manager would be there shortly. That turned out to be another 30 minutes. Finally, I was told that they couldn’t find the bag, and that I could just pick up the stuff again. How I wish they had said that in the first place. So I wandered through the vast store again and found most of what I had gotten before or something comparable, but it took me nearly as long as the original trip. This so annoyed me that I vowed never to go again.

Subsequently, I learned more about how Wal-Mart has interfered with their employees’ lives and whatnot. But my original complaint is that they over-promised and under-delivered. In other words, bad customer service.

Now, the only time I ever step foot in a Wal-Mart is with some relative of mine (mother, sister, in-law). One of my sisters can tell you the the best Wal-Marts within 100 miles of the NC/SC border.
But I won’t spend a dime. No, that’s not true. We got a $25 gift certificate from Wal-Mart as a present for Lydia, and the items ended up costing $25.72. So, in the past ten years, I’ve spent nearly a dollar at Wal-Mart, over seven cents per year.

Techno-links

I get an e-mail weekly from e-week magazine. Sometimes it’s a lot of technobabble for this poor Luddite, but the batch today caught my attention, and might be helpful or interesting to you:

Xbox 360 Crashes, Defects Reported

Xbox 360 Review

Ten to Avoid—the Worst Products of 2005

Firefox 1.5 REVIEW

Free Show Cuts HDTV Confusion

TiVo Handheld Device Software Draws Ire at TV Network

Supreme Court to Hear eBay Patent Appeal

Malicious Keyloggers Run Rampant on Net

Cyber-crime Yields More Cash than Drugs

REVIEW: Royal Albert Hall: London 2-3-5-6 2005-Cream


Pretty much from the beginning, I was a fan of the group Cream. From junior high, when my good friend chastized our history teacher for referring to the group first as Fresh Cream (the title of the first album), then The Cream. “No, it’s Cream, just Cream!” Well not “just” Cream, but a remarkable powerful sound coming from just three players.
The group really took off with the second album, Disraeli Gears, which featured “Sunshine of Your Love”, subject of the trivia question below. Unfortunately, the group was together for only 4 albums (all of which I owned and own) and about three years. (I’m not counting the posthumous stuff.) Much of that small body of work was live, half of the double album Wheels of Fire and 3 of the 6 songs on Goodbye Cream.

I felt excitement and not a little trepidation when I heard about new Cream music. Royal Albert Hall turned out to be both. I know “I’m So Glad”, the 9-minute anthem from Goodbye Cream, practically note-for-note. The RAH version, while good, simply would not compare, would it? No, and the next track, the oft-recorded “Spoonful” didn’t meet my impossible standards either. But as I listened on, I found the album turned out to be rather enjoyable. And on subsequent listens, even those tracks I knew so well in different incarnations took on a pleasurable tone for me. In fact, the only thing I could have done without is the 10-minute drum-laden “Toad”, but I wasn’t into extended drum solos in 1968, either.

So, if you’re very much versed in the Cream sound as I am, you’ll find the package to be good, but for those who didn’t grow up with the music, and I’ve talked to some of my younger office colleagues, they are blown away by the collection.

I’m guessing the American reviewer is younger than the Canadian one.

Well, that was what I thought of the CD. For the DVD, I had a totally different feeling: I loved it. Maybe it’s the knowing nods the bandmates give each other, but this concert is definitely better seen and heard than just heard. I can only compare it, strangely, with the 1960 Presidential debate. People hearing the debate on radio thought Nixon had won the debate, but TV viewers thought it was Kennedy who was victorious.

We’re talking largely about the very same music, though the DVD has an extra song and revealing interviews that show the origin of the reunion. My advice: see it first, THEN listen.

You may also be interested in the Cream media player, where you can see some of the Cream videos here.
***
Now for the rest of the story. I get this e-mail that reads:

Hi,

I just found your blog: http://rogerowengreen.blogspot.com/2005/09/my-darth-tater-contest-selection.html and I think you may be of some help to me. I’m reaching out to you on behalf of M80 & Rhino regarding Cream London Royal Albert Hall CD and DVD. Since you are a fan of The Yardbirds, I thought that you might be interested in posting the press release and/or an entry on your blog? You seem like a reputable influencer, and I love your blog, so I think you’d be a big help to us

Please let me know if you’re interested!

Thanks!

I’m thinking it might just be spam, but then I reread it. He found a post I wrote about a CD I sent to Lefty. An innovative way to get the word out.

“A reputable influencer?” Yikes!
So, I wrote back, was sent the first review copies I’ve received since I got some comics in the 1980s.

Got stuff for me to review? I’ll promise to review it. (Won’t promise to like it, though.)
***
Now, for a trivia question: The guitar break in “Sunshine of Your Love” is swiped from what song which was a hit many times since 1949, and reached #1 in 1961? (Block the BLANK space for the answer.)

Blue Moon, recorded by (according to Whitburn):
Mel Torme (#20, 1949)
Billy Eckstine (#21, 1949)
Elvis Presley (#55, 1956)
The Marcels (#1, 1961)
Herb Lance (#50, 1961)
The Ventures (#54, 1961)

Lost

There were two men of note who died last week, very different. The thing they had in common in my mind is that I watched them on television a lot.

Noriyuki “Pat” Morita played Arnold on Happy Days. Most of the Asians I saw on TV were servants. Sammee Tong playing “helpful, but often inscrutable Oriental houseboy” Peter Tong to John Forythe’s Bachelor Father (1957-1962). Victor Sen Yeng played the often befudled cook Hop Sing on Bonanza (1959-1973). Miyoshi Umeki played Mrs. Livingston, Tom’s (Bill Bixby) “dependable…. but sometimes confused housekeeper” on The Courtship of Eddie’s Father (1969-1972). (Quotes from the Brooks and Marsh “Directory to…TV Shows”.)
I watched some Happy Days reunion show on Nick at Nite recently, and one of the clips was of “Arnold” saying something like “Does this face look like an Arnold?” Well, no, but it was an Asian face that stood up for himself, to Richie and his pals, even the Fonz, at least that year (1975-1976) when he was first on, and I was watching. He left the show to star in the short-lived “Mr. T. and Tina,” then returned in 1982 to Happy Days at a point I had stopped watching.
Later, he would become the first Asian-American nominated for an Academy Award for The Karate Kid, losing to Dr. Haing S. Ngor for The Killing Fields.

The other person was Hugh Sidey, who covered nine Presidents for Time magazine, and I’m sure I’ve read his words often. But I knew him best for being a panelist on a news program called Agronsky and Company. Not only must I have watched it a lot, it must have been well-known that I watched it a lot, for Raoul Vezina made me a birthday card referencing the fact, sometimes in the early 1980s. Martin Agronsky was the moderator, Carl Rowan was the guy who was left of center, James Kilpatrick represented the right of center, and Hugh Sidey was generally the centralist. (There were others over the years.) They seldom talked over each other, talking louder to make their point. It was all rather civilized. They, particularly Sidey, were gentlemen, in the traditional sense. It was though other opinions actually MATTERED. A period largely lost in televised discourse.

And in other media news, expect an interesting wiriters’ strike.

Finally, I REALLY want to know: who ARE the 29% of Americans who still think Dick Cheney is honest and ethical?