May 2007

Bling01What the hell?  Mike’s Art Review about Rouault at the Metropolitan in today’s New York Times (B1) says this about the man’s paintings —

The art has a sanctimony and sincerity that resonated after the war but came to seem dated in an art world besotted by American Pop and bling.

C’mon, man.  When exactly did this occur?  Sure, Pop Art changed things starting in the ’50’s, but so did lots of other art movements.  Abstract Expressionism.  Neorealism.  Bling02But “bling?”  I must’ve missed that one.  Hip-hop didn’t start until the ’80’s and use of the word “bling” is even more recent.  Perhaps when you throw out an absurd comment like that you could throw in a non-absurd example or two.  Are collectors buying images of musicians wearing giant rings and watches?  Or are collectors collecting the bling itself?  Or representations of the bling?  And what happened between the ’60’s and the ’80’s?  Did Pop meld right into “bling?”  I thought Pop referred to the kind of art, not the vantage point of the “art world.”  Help me out here, buddy, I mean we’re all under deadlines, but, “huh?”


Here we go with the latest New York Times errors and typos. I think this is wrong:

Sparkling beverages is an industry term for soft drinks.

It’s right smack on the cover page of the Business section in Saturday’s paper (May 26, 2007) in an article about Coca-Cola buying out the manufacturers of vitaminwater (all lower case, according to the bottle, please). I think “sparkling beverages” is one of many kinds of soft drink, but certainly the relationship is not one-to-one.Beverages

I thought the definition of “Soft Drinks” would run something like this: “Anything But Booze.” And the American Beverage Association seems to agree:

Soft drinks are distinguished from “hard drinks” or alcohol beverages, such as distilled spirits, beer, or wine. Soft drinks do not contain alcohol. Consumers can choose from a wide variety of beverages including regular carbonated beverages, diet and caffeine-free beverages, bottled water, juices, juice drinks, sport drinks, and ready-to-drink teas. []

Wikipedia tells us:

The term soft drink commonly refers to almost any cold drink that does not contain alcohol. Beverages like colas, sparkling water, lemonade, and fruit punch are among the most common types of soft drinks, while hot chocolate, tea, coffee, milk, tap water, and milkshakes do not fall into this classification. []

And if you don’t trust anything with the word “Wiki” in it, how about the Feds? The NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) defines Industry #31211 Soft Drink Manufacturing as follows:

This U.S. industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing soft drinks and artificially carbonated waters.

Their categories include Carbonated Soda, Carbonated Waters, Fruit and Vegetable drinks, Iced Coffee, Fruit Drinks, (except juice), Flavored water, Iced tea and Soda (Pop). [].

Am I right, Sir? (from Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps)

Oh, yeah, the typos:

The Coke rival snapped up Gatorade as part of its acquisition of Quaker Oats in 2000 after the Coke board turned rejected a Quaker deal, an action that has haunted the company.

Yeah, I think the word “turned” is left over from a previous draft. Sorry, Mr. Martin, the writing error is yours. The typo is your copy editor’s. C’mon New York Times, you’re making my job too easy.

Soldiers Walking Thru Atlanta AirportI just got back from my nephew’s graduation in Atlanta.  It went as expected except for the return trip.

In the Atlanta airport on our way home, there were reams of soldiers going through.  Twice, a column of about 200 troops went through the terminal, and literally hundreds of people put down their Big Macs, stood up and clapped as they passed. 

Your heart went right into your throat when you saw how young and naive they looked.  My father was overcome, and I’m pretty sure I never saw him cry before.  But the pathos level was high among all.  Whether they were coming in or going out I do not know, but the mixture of the soldiers’ reactions was amazing.   Some chose to hold their heads high in a military bearing, others looked confused, like, is there something I don’t know?   They weren’t marching, just kind of strolling and seemed shocked by the sudden burst of applause.   Some looked embarassed, like they didn’t do anything to deserve this, but they just didn’t know, being young.   They don’t see what they’re doing in context, while all of the adults — rich or poor, Dems or  Reps — around them did, from one POV or another.   I think the population is overwhelmed by the tragedy of it all, whether the war is justified or not.   Either way, the young selflessly bear the burden, even with joy, something they might never do 10 years hence.   It’s so awful that society in a way takes advantage of their youth and innocence, but what are the choices?   I can imagine how Israelis feel, hastening their young to war with the weary wizened view that it is only done to prevent more slaughter.   Here in LA, and in my home state of New Jersey, we don’t see every day things that are part of the lives of many people in the boonies — soldiering as a normal and real part of an 18 year old’s options.  

And here’s another quick one. 

Article page:  C1  Article title:  “If Rupert Murdoch Owned the Wall Street Journal…”  Paragraph:  5

Most readers just write a letter the editor.


Most readers just write a letter to the editor.

Oh, well.

CondiThe article is called “Rice and Syrian Discuss Borders at Iraq Meeting.”  If that isn’t jingoistic enough, one of the subheads reads “She Tries to Confer With Iranian, Too.” 

Try out the word “Italian” or “Frenchman” to see how stupid it sounds.

Already on high red alert, we drag our sorry asses down through paragraph 3, only to soon find:

But he [Foreign Minister Motaki of Iran] left the dinner, held by Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit of Egypt, before Ms. Rice arrived — and apparently before eating.

At the day’s lunch,…

All right.  I don’t know what Motaki’s problem was — food poisoning?  a leg injury from getting kicked under the table?  hurt feelings? — but thank heavens Mr. Gheit was there to catch him and hold him up. 

Wait.  Did I miss something?  Oh, my bad.  He “held” him, not held him up.  Much more loving.  More caring.  Either they’re fantastic old pals, or… perhaps something more, Governor McGreevey?

Touched, I can’t wait to get to the next paragraph.  “At the day’s lunch…” begins the chunk.  Whoa.  Are we backtracking now?  I remember learning in high school that one should never go back in time in a news article until one has thoroughly covered the current topic.  Then the writer can go and fill in the history.  But this feels like an amateurish movie effect–an on-screen ripple-dissolve as the main character caresses his own chin and looks at the ceiling in wonder, harp music playing… 

It’s like the dot-dot-dot I just typed.  Bad New York Times!  I won’t blame authors Cooper and Slackman so much.  I’ll blame their copy editor and their editor!

Here’s a good one:  in the lead article titled “Bush Vetoes Bill Tying Iraq Funds to Exit Schedule,” there’a nice fat one.  We easily make it through the first two (2) paragraphs without a gaffe, but soon our luck runs out…

The veto added new punctuation to a major war powers clash between Democrats in Congress — buoyed what they regard as a mandate in last November’s elections and seeking to force an end to the fighting in Iraq — and the president working to defy what he regards as an incursion on his authority his authority as commander in chief.

Shouldn’t that be “buoyed bywhat they regard…?”  That’s what happens when Sheryl and Jeff attempt a 60-word run-on sentence… trouble!