Category Archives: Uncategorized

Campaign season: Brunch in America

It’s brunch again in America. Today more urban singles will wait in line for eggs than ever before in our country’s history. With wait times for tables at about half the record highs of 2008, nearly 2,000 long-term couples will split a carafe of bloody marys made with locally-sourced ingredients than at any time in the past four years. This afternoon 6,500 young men and women will tweet a picture
of their eggs benedict, and with upload times at less than half of what they were just four years ago, they can look forward with confidence to people liking their pics. It’s brunch again in America, and under the leadership of Vice President Joe Biden, our country is hipper and funnier and has more twitter followers. Why would we ever want to return to where we were less than four short years ago.
 
 

Story About Evan: Episode II

Kyle continues what promises to be the greatest work of literature in the entire human canon:

Evan effortlessly guided himself through the plane’s rear cargo door, switched off his jetpack and came to a soft landing. A few moments later President Bartlet came spiraling through the same entrance and crashed to a stop next to Evan. Bartlet frantically removed his jetpack as the heavy cargo door shut behind them.

“Let’s never do that again,” the President said, pushing himself up off the cold metal floor.

“Maybe next time I’ll invite the House Speaker instead. He’s good at jetpacks.”

“Hmmph. Here.” Bartlet handed Evan a holster. “You almost left this with the raptors down there.”

“My lightsaber!” Evan exclaimed. He fastened the holster around his waist. “Thanks, Jed.”

The President—eager for Evan’s validation and trust because Evan is such a cool guy—smiled.

“No, thank you for having me, Doctor Captain Executive Editor Mintz, Esq.”

The two proceeded through the plane toward the control deck. They passed the petting zoo, the Treasure Room, the Additional Treasure Room, an onboard replica of the Starship Enterprise’s main bridge that was also a ball pit, the Animorph petting zoo, and finally made it to the heavy blast door separating them from the control deck.

Evan tapped on his communicator.

“Stephen,” Evan began, “it’s me, Evan. Open up the bridge door so we can come in and talk about how I was just riding raptors around with President Bartlet.”

There was no response.

“Stephen, I’m going to keep GETTING LOUDER UNTIL YOU OPEN THIS DOOR.”

“Evan, look,” President Bartlet said, quickly tapping Evan on the shoulder.

“WHAT?”

Evan turned around to see a familiar, sinister figure emerging from the onboard Executive Washroom that was reserved for Evan and Evan only.

“What are you doing here?”

“Using your bathroom, Evan,” a high-pitched, nasally voice replied.

“Look!” Bartlet shouted, pointing toward the knocked-out body sitting on the floor of the bathroom. “He’s knocked out the pilot and left him sitting on the floor of the bathroom!”

Evan upholstered his lightsaber and activated the blade.

“Nobody mistreats my talented staff of sports writers slash airplane pilots but me!”

President Bartlet cowered in a corner and called his intelligent, liberal-minded cabinet for encouraging words as Evan and the mysterious yet oh-duh-I-wonder-who-it-is figure prepared to do battle.

“You couldn’t defeat me back in college,” the small man said, snorting with laughter. “My scouter says your power level is pathetic.”

Evan made a serious face. Suddenly the air around him became charged with static and the clouds passing outside darkened to pitch. The scouter fixed to the stranger’s face beeped frantically as Evan’s power level climbed over 9,000.

“Auuuuuggggnnnhnnnn,” Evan said. “Aaaaauuuugnnnnnnnhh!”

He charged toward the intruder, lightsaber in one hand and a drawn fist in the other.

“GET OFF MY PLANE, LEEBRON!”

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 75,000 times in 2011. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 3 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Osama bin Laden’s death was a victory for Twitter

Last night, President Obama announced that U.S. special forced had killed Osama bin Laden in his home in Abbottobad.

Americans rejoiced and such. But let us not forget the real winner last night: Twitter. If there were ever a collection of pseudo-wit and self-indulgent snark, it was last night’s Twitter feeds. So check out this slideshow of my Twitter posts and enjoy all the awful jokes.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

pdf: Osama bin Laden tweets

Of course, the real Twitter victory occurred long before the announcement, when an IT guy in Abbottobad live-Tweeted an odd military mission:

After all of this, I still hold by my original prediction: Osama bin Laden is dead and we have his body, and he’s an alien, and he was killed by a meteorite from an incoming meteor the size of Manhattan Island.

I was sampled for a song that Davers made

Well, looks like I finally made it big in the music industry, despite my total lack of any singing ability or musical talent whatsoever. Davers sampled my first, and so far only, video blog for his music remix thing called “Something Something Love.”

 

Anyways, I’m the talking part that is sometimes in the background and sounds about two semitones deeper than my normal voice. Listen to it, I guess. It isn’t awful, though is certainly a bit different from most music heard in the popular spheres these days. Which is why it is important to hear, to broaden your own personal horizons about music and explore the world in which we all live, merely by listening to a few minutes of remixed music. Specifically, music that features my ranting as a sample.

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 34,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.

In 2010, there were 64 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 99 posts. There were 130 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 100mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was August 17th with 3 views. The most popular post that day was BURN DOWN RICE!: Selling KTRU violates the V2C.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were slate.com, facebook.com, twitter.com, savektru.org, and rawstory.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for mary jane watson, mad men font, dolores umbridge, umbridge, and pepper potts.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

BURN DOWN RICE!: Selling KTRU violates the V2C August 2010
102 comments

2

Mad Men Font Fail… or was it? July 2010
26 comments

3

Pepper Potts v. Mary Jane Watson May 2010
1 comment

4

Burn Down Linda Thrane August 2010
72 comments

5

CORRECTED/EDITED: The home is for Ping’s Parents. Does Leebron expect to lose the KTRU battle?: A tale of two houses August 2010
15 comments

Did Rice fear the KTRU sale would fail like the Baylor Medical School Merger?

Why did Rice keep the KTRU sale so secret? This secrecy has been one of the most frustrating parts of the sale saga and been a specific target of ire from KTRU supporters.

If there was a concern about KTRU’s profitability or contribution to the university, then the administration should have discussed it. If Aribtron rankings were below an acceptable letter, then KTRU should have been alerted and given a chance to grow the audience. If a sale was inevitable, then KTRU should have been given time to build a proper Internet and non-broadcast operation. Instead, Rice kept all plans of the KTRU sale silent — a plan first established long before what Rice originally claimed instigated the sale.

Rice and UH seemed to go to extreme ends to keep the sale secret. Starting back in March, UH Chancellor Renu Khator questioned when the universities could go public with their acquisition plans. However, UH VP of university advancement Michael Rierson urged: “Total silence pls”.

In April, an e-mail to UH officials from the sale facilitators at Public Radio Capital warned that drawing out the negotiations risked “the likelihood of one of the ‘campus constituencies’ causes a problem for Rice, which could disrupt the transaction.”

And all throughout the negotiations both schools attempted to keep any direct mention of KTRU out of any public documents, replacing the call letters “KTRU” with those of the hypothetical station “KUHX.”

Indeed, there was no mention of KTRU at all in the public agenda for the UH board, even in potential violation of Texas’ Open Meetings Act.

And when the local media finally found out about the, what did Rice and UH do? They put an embargo on the story in a desperate attempt to keep the plan secret until after a UH Regents meeting. As the Rice Thresher explained:

Richard Bonnin, Director of Media Relations at UH, corresponded on Aug. 16 with B.J. Almond, Director of News and Media Relations at Rice, regarding an embargo with Kever. Under this agreement, the two universities would provide information for Kever’s article so long as she postponed its publication until the purchase’s approval in the Aug. 17 public meeting of the UH Board of Regents’ Finance and Administration Committee.

 

This is one of the many e-mails explaining the embargo and hopes for secrecy

 

 

 

 

But why would Rice want to keep it secret? Why would Rice not want students, alumni, and Houstonians in general to be able to comment to the UH regents before their meeting, as Linda Thane discusses in her e-mail? Wouldn’t Rice and UH want the board to be able to make a fully informed decision, complete with community input?

 

Alas, no. Rice seemingly had its fill of that.

 

 

After the long conversations, the rhetoric, and the town hall meetings that were the norm under the Call to Conversation, the Vision for the Second Century, and the failed Baylor College of Medicine purchase, why would Rice suddenly change its track? The answer is rather simple. Rice didn’t maintain secrecy in spite of its previous experiences. Rice maintained secrecy because of them.

 

The beginning of the end for KTRU was February 2010. Apparently, Rice had removed KTRU from the market, only to later put it back in early 2010 with the help of Rice’s broker Greg Guy of Patrick Communications and Public Radio Capital’s Director of Acquisitions Erik Langner.

This guy was Rice's broker for selling KTRU

 

 

With KTRU back on the market, Rice actively tried to rush the sale as quickly as possible. The reason? They had learned their lessons from the failed Baylor College of Medicine purchase and did not want to be distracted again.

Apparently, Rice’s strategic objectives had become distracted by the hospital deal. The long, drawn out discussion had gotten in the way of a quick KTRU sale. So this time around, rather than let anything hamper the $10 million deal, Rice was just going to rush through.

Perhaps Rice no longer had a taste for public discussion after the protests to the BCM merger. To quote the Thresher’s coverage:

Vardi, a Computer Science professor, believes the atmosphere of open discussion encouraged by faculty and students in the past year allowed those involved to make better-informed decisions.

 

Indeed, the faculty and student uproar on the sale did contribute the plan’s failure to some degree. And it is not too difficult to understand that Rice would not want that to happen again.

 

But if the BCM deal had gone through, would Rice be too busy facilitating that merger to sell KTRU? Or maybe Rice would have no reason to want to rush it, and could have initiated a public discussion.

Seeing Rice discuss the KTRU sale in this context raises questions about the long-term effects that the failed BCM merger will have on the school’s management style. As the Houston Press pointed out when it announced President Leebron as its “Educational Turkey of the Year,” if Rice had just let the discussion happen, then KTRU supporters would not have a position nearly as sympathetic.

Now all you have to do is make sure you and your administration pull off the deal in the worst way possible, so you look bad, your students and alumni are pissed, and everyone involved, including the city’s main newspaper, looks bad.

If Rice had merely discussed the deal in public. KTRU supporters would not just have been allowed some grand catharsis and chance to explain themselves, but also an opportunity to publicly plan the future of KTRU. They could have negotiated for proceeds from the sale to fund a strong online presence and ground operation to promote music in Houston. But instead, KTRU just got screwed and Rice ended up looking bad.