Paul Murray's weblog, with news you may have missed and my $0.02 worth on a number of topics.

"You can't make up anything anymore. The world itself is a satire. All you're doing is recording it."
- Art Buchwald

I bet you don't have a friend who's an acupuncturist

E-mail me: pmurray63 [at] (Be patient, I don't check it often.)

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Friday, June 22, 2007
Two days ago I ran across what has been described as the funniest five seconds of video on the net. I was fully prepared to be disappointed, but I have to admit that I laughed ... and I've played it a few more times since. It's charmingly silly. Go watch it. After all, by now you've already spent five seconds reading about it. Make sure your sound is on first (but it's a bit loud).

Apparently the net is going crazy for it. (But don't visit the site mentioned in the CNET article -- a pop-up window there will try to install software. Stick to the YouTube version that I linked to above.) And in case you're curious, here's the original context.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007
If you read only one story about the $65 million dry cleaning lawsuit ...
... this column by the Washington Post's Marc Fisher would be a good choice.
Judge Who Seeks Millions for Lost Pants Has His (Emotional) Day in Court

By Marc Fisher
Wednesday, June 13, 2007; B01

Before trial began yesterday in the case of the D.C. judge who sued his neighborhood dry cleaners after they lost his pants, the most extraordinary fact was Roy Pearson's demand for $65 million in damages.

That was before Pearson, an administrative law judge, broke down while testifying about the emotional pain of having the cleaners give him the wrong pants. It was before an 89-year-old woman in a wheelchair told of being chased out of the cleaners by an angry owner. And it was before she compared the owners of Custom Cleaners in open court to Nazis.

"I knew it: It's all my fault," said the reporter from German television who was sitting next to me.

The global import of Pearson v. Custom Cleaners was evident from the start. The courtroom was packed with members of the Korean Dry Cleaners Association and reporters from print and broadcast outlets in at least five countries. The guy from the tort reform lobby handed out bright green buttons protesting the $65 million "pantsuit." The gent from Fox TV sported neon-color paisley pants.

And Pearson, who by his account has spent more than 1,400 hours preparing his case, arrived in a black pinstripe suit. I hope he won't sue me if I mention that the pants could have used a pressing.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007
A helpful tip.
When publicly ridiculing someone for sloppy work and a factual error, it's best not to do the same yourself. Our latest exhibit comes from a conservative writer's op-ed piece in the Washington Post:
What Al Wishes Abe Said
By Andrew Ferguson
Sunday, June 10, 2007; Page B05

You can't really blame Al Gore for not using footnotes in his new book, "The Assault on Reason." It's a sprawling, untidy blast of indignation, and annotating it with footnotes would be like trying to slip rubber bands around a puddle of quicksilver. Still, I'd love to know where he found the scary quote from Abraham Lincoln that he uses on page 88.

Ferguson goes on to explain that the "Lincoln quote" about the danger of corporations and corruption turns out to be a fake dating from the 1880s. Fair enough, and Snopes agrees.

But look up at the top of the web page:

Correction to This Article

Andrew Ferguson's June 10 Outlook article, "What Al Wishes Abe Said," said that former vice president Al Gore's book "The Assault on Reason" does not contain footnotes. The book contains 20 pages of endnotes.

(via News From Me)

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