Literal quotes– a reporter’s payback

The PolySigh blog takes a look at what all reporters and editors know to be the hatchet they carry around in their back pocket– quoting their source verbatim and making them sound like an idiot. It’s common for reporters to clean up quotes by correcting grammar and removing verbal pauses (like uh), but at times reporters decide to let it slip to make a point.

It was common to see reports do this to President George W. Bush when they wanted him to be seen as a bumbling idiot, but PolySigh points out they have recently started including Caroline Kennedy’s repeated “You Knows” in her quotes.  Apparently, Kennedy annoyed the reporters by dismissing one of their questions: “Have you guys ever thought about writing for, like, a woman’s magazine or something?”

Polysigh also looks at an interview with President-elect Obama and compares the quotes in the article to an audio file of the interview.  Even thought Obama is a precise speaker, his quotes had to be cleaned up quite a bit, too.

Here’s a transcription below, with “cleaned-up” material in bold:

It is not clear that, uh, uh, an ongoing, open-ended presence has prompted political change in Iraq either. I mean, the fact of the matter is that we still don’t have an oil law. We still don’t have pro-, provincial elections. Uh, we haven’t dealt with Kirkuk, and the argument for staying is that we haven’t made sufficient political progress. So it, it strikes me that for us to deliver a message of clarity to the Iraqis, to the surrounding, uh, the surrounding countries that we are not looking at a permanent occupation, but we want to partner with you to structure, uh, a, uh, a stable, uh, and uh, secure Iraq — that actually will force the Iraqis to make some decisions that they would not otherwise make.

Water glasses for the masses

I’ve worn either glasses or contacts since 2nd grade so I know how important correcting my vision is to be able to do my job– without vision correction I can’t see or do anything. I guess I could just site around and listen to the radio all day. A British company has company with new water based glasses that you do not need an optician or optometrist to distribute– now that’s a disruptive technology!

The way it works is as the glasses get thicker, they get more powerful. Basically, there are two lens that have a clear water based solutions between them and they are connected to little syringes with more solutions hidden in the earpieces with a little dial that allows you to adjust how much liquid is contained between the lenses. The wearer adjusts the glasses until their vision is comfortable (which is better one or two, two or three, three or four) and then they have a new pair of glasses.

Breaking the rules?

Is it ever ok to break the rules? Here’s a case to consider.

In this mornings soccer game Caleb was playing goalkeeper and a player on his team had the ball and was under pressure about three feet away from him. The player passed the ball back to Caleb (who had a forward on him) with his feet so following the rules Caleb had to handle the ball with his feet and did not pick it up even though both of his coaches were hollering at him to pick it up. Consequently, the player from the other team kicked the ball right into the goal. The referee explained to Caleb’s coaches that Caleb was following the rules, but one coach just kept repeating that Caleb knew the rules too well.

In older more experienced leagues soccer players committ “professional fouls” and knowingly break the rules to prevent a goal. For example, the goalkeeper is out of the goal and a defender steps in front of the goal and prevents a goal from being scored with his hands or a forward beats the last defender between him and the goal and the defender grasps at the forwards jersey and pulls him down preventing a goal. You also see players in basketball purposely fouling all the time to stop the clock and put their opponent on the line rather than letting them take a shot.

So here’s my dillemma, do I teach Caleb about the professional foul? Tell him to go ahead and pick up the ball to prevent the goal, because at the worst if the ref calls it (which they only do about half the time) then under his age groups rules it would only be an indirect kick (two players have to touch the ball before it goes in the goal).

Do I teach him that it’s ok to the break the rules in a game as long as he is willing to accept the consequences of breaking the rules or is this to grey for him to understand? If I teach him it’s ok to break the rules of soccer under certain circumstances do I start down the slippery slope of it’s ok to break some rules some of the time depending?

Six inches of snow


It started snowing about noon on Friday and snowed until midnight. We woke up with six inches of snow covering everything except the streets (which were too warm to freeze over too much). We all had a great time outside making snow angels, throwing snow balls, and attempting to build a snowman and sled (no hills).