Thursday, May 20, 2004

Curb Your Tendency to Extraneous Bombastic Circumlocution, or, Pipe Down, You Gasbag
I've set myself an experiment. Instead of going on at length, as I usually do, I wonder if I can comment on the afternoon's news stories, each in 50 words or less. Let's see.

Item: I paid $2.09.9 for gas this afternoon.

Comment: The thing that bugs people about gas prices as much as the money is the reminder of the money. On every corner, you're reminded how much gas costs. How much higher will it have to get before people cut down their driving? I'd guess a lot. (46 words)

Item: Milk is over $3 a gallon here.

Comment: Surprising amount of anger about that here, even though Wisconsin is America's Dairyland. Farmers are getting twice what they got for milk this time last year, so this increase, unlike others, is actually going back to the source. As the son and grandson of dairy farmers, I can't complain. (49 words)

Item: The Madison Blues Festival will not be held this year.

Comment: A two-day fest with nothing but major national artists and $35 tickets for each day? It's great for Madison's reputation--but attendance was dismal the last two years despite great lineups. The promoter is promising to scale it back next year--which he should have done this year. (48 words)

Item: Ahmed Chalabi gets raided.

Comment: "Let my people be free. It is time for the Iraqi people to run their affairs," he said. Be careful what you wish for, sir. You're seen as a leading American tool. One of your people's first affairs may well be to shoot you, you slimy bastard. (53 words; 50 without gratuitous epithet.)

Item: Bush asks Congressional Republicans to "keep the faith" even though his poll numbers are going down like Shaquille O'Neal falling through a skylight.

Comment: The classics never go out of style. He told them to "stay the course," too. And also, presumably, "hang tough," "be strong," "stay cool," "look sharp," "Saddam was a threat" and "It's Bill Clinton's fault." (35 words)

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