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

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Fundamentally overused.
I read about this a few weeks ago but didn't have time to post it. As a writer, I know it's easy to fall in love with a few words and overuse them. Someone should point this out to Newt Gingrich (who is, at least in theory, also a writer).
By now, we've all become familiar with Newt Gingrich's habit of using a few choice adverbs to make the things he says sound just a bit more intelligent to his listeners. Profoundly. Deeply. Frankly. But none of them are as vital to the Gingrich lexicon as fundamentally (along with its cousin, the adjective fundamental). While this appears to be Gingrich's favorite word in the English language, you could also argue that he uses the word so often, and so reflexively, that it's become virtually meaningless to him. In a single 2008 address to the American Enterprise Institute, he used the words fundamentally or fundamental a total of eighteen times.
Using Nexis and news accounts, New York magazine's Dan Amira found more than 400 occasions from 2007 to the present where Gingrich used a form of that word.

If Gingrich's campaign actually goes anywhere (which I doubt), perhaps this should become the basis for a new drinking game.

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Thursday, December 15, 2011
One good reason I don't have cable or satellite TV.
The New York Times has a story on one of my pet peeves:
Although “sports” never shows up as a line item on a cable or satellite bill, American television subscribers pay, on average, about $100 a year for sports programming — no matter how many games they watch. A sizable portion goes to the National Football League, which dominates sports on television and which struck an extraordinary deal this week with the major networks — $27 billion over nine years — that most likely means the average cable bill will rise again soon.
These companies always demand to be included in basic or enhanced basic packages. If these channels are as well-liked as their executives insist, what would be the harm in making them optional?

Failing that (and the networks will fight it tooth and nail), here's another idea: itemized cable and satellite bills. How does the expense break down each month? It doesn't seem unreasonable to ask for this information. But again, they'll kick and scream.

This won't be fixed because FCC has no jurisdiction over cable and satellite. Maybe the FTC could do something?

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