Me and the Angry Atheist: I’m On a Podcast

I am so terrible at selling myself. It’s almost embarrassing.

In any case, earlier this week I had the pleasure of joining the Angry Atheist on his podcast, the Angry Atheist Podcast. You can check it out here.

Looks like I’m moving up in the world. And yes, I do apologize to those Angry Atheist podcast listeners who have come here expecting something interesting…I’m kinda not.

Social Media #Fail

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/frashure/status/226381838929780737″]

Part of running social media is that you have to be on top of things. (You can take vacations, but you better believe you have to get back in on them.) Because if you don’t, this happens, and you look like a complete idiot.

The tweet has now been deleted, but still. Considering everyone was talking about the shooting in Aurora, Colorado, you should have picked that up real quickly.

CPAC Program Leads Me To Conclude Conservatives Don’t Know English

CPAC 2012 has come and gone. It brought thousands of conservative activists, politicians, and leaders to DC–the national capital, and a bastion of left-wing welfare liberalism–in a whirlwind of addresses, speeches, presentations, breakout sessions, discussions, wi-fi fights, blackouts (both in Internet connections and booze), and protests by the OccupyDC movement and labor unions.

Over at United Liberty, I have (or will have) several posts up about CPAC and what went on there, but I think a good place to examine the kind of people who inhabit that space can be found by reading the speakers’ bios in the program. Now, this is a blog about writing, so it’s less about what the people actually did…and how the biographies are actually written. All the errors you see here are from the program itself, though since I am typing these in manually, that might actually come out to roughly 95% from the program; I’ll try and catch any of my own mistakes.

Let’s start off with Stephen Baldwin (no, not that Baldwin):

Stephen Baldwin is an actor, family man, born-again Christian, and the co-host of Xtreme Media Radio with Kevin McCullough. In 1995 he landed a break-through role in dual Oscar-winning film: The Usual Suspects. Baldwin appeared on Donald Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” Season 7 on NBC- finishing 5th. Baldwin was a contestant on the 2009 NBC reality show, “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!” he quit the show mid-season due to a parasitic infection. In September 2006 Baldwin released his book titled The Unusual Suspect, which details highlights from his personal life, career, days involving the “Hollywood lifestyle” and ultimately, his turn to becoming a born-again Christian after the 9/11 attacks. In October 2008, Republican VP Candidate Sarah Palin joked with lifelong democrat Alec Baldwin during a SNL skit tht Stepher is her “Favorite Baldwin Brother”. In 2008, Baldwin teamed up with conservative talk radio host Kevin McCullough to put together Saturday show, “Baldwin/MuCullough LIVE”

Whoo boy. Let’s catalog all these errors, shall we?

  1. “break-through” should, arguably, be “breakthrough,” but I’ll admit that could be up to dispute
  2. “in dual Oscar-winning film: The Usual Suspects” should be “in the dual Oscar-winning film The Usual Suspects.”
  3. Celebrity Apprentice should be italicized, not have quotation marks
  4. “NBC- finishing 5th” should be “NBC–finishing 5th.” You need two dashes, not one and a space. C’mon, this is basic.
  5. Capitalize the “h” in “he” after the show title, since it’s considered to be a new sentence.
  6. Also, why the hell have that line at all? That’s just gross.
  7. Don’t capitalize “Candidate.”
  8. Do capitalize “democrat.”
  9. “tht” should be “that” (which makes me facepalm.)
  10. Insert a “the” between “together” and “Saturday” in the last line.
  11. Put a period at the end of that last line so it doesn’t look like its just hanging out there above the abyss of ungrammatical statements.

Let’s continue. Next up is Baldwin’s partner, Kevin McCullough:

Kevin McCullough is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host and columnist, tackles news and current events from a Christian perspective. The author of MuscleHead Revolution and The Kind of Man Every Man Should Be, his approach to politics and values has garnered a large following of loyal listeners and readers. Kevin McCullough is the nationally syndicated host of “The Kevin McCullough Show” & “Baldwin/McCullough Radio”. His newest best-selling hardcover from Thomas Nelson Publishers, “No He Can’t: How Barack Obama is Dismantling Hope and Change” is in stores now and topped multiple best-sellers list in 2011, for over nine weeks in a row. Both Baldwin/McCullough *LIVE* & The Kevin McCullough Show have been honored by Talkers Magazine in 2010 and 2011 as one of the top 50 multi–platform-casters & top talk radio shows in the country. On January 29th 2012 XtreMEDIA launched it’s third nationally syndicated radio show The Dani Johnson Show that is receiving rave reviews from the talk radio industry.

Ugh.

  1. “tackles” should be “tackling,” otherwise just end the first sentence where the comma is.
  2. Both MuscleHead Revolution and The Kind of Many Every Man Should Be should be italicized.
  3. The third book, “No He Can’t,” should also be italicized. Also: so hang on here, first you don’t do anything to the title, then you put it in quotation marks? If you’re going to be a screw-up, at least be a consistent screw-up.
  4. You can’t have “multiple best-sellers list.” Put an “s” on that list.
  5. Again, consistency: put quotation marks around Baldwin/McCullough *LIVE* and The Kevin McCullough Show.
  6. Okay, so you use an em dash and then an en dash in the middle of a word? Come on. (For the record, it’s en dashes in both places.)
  7. Again, no quotation marks around The Dani Johnson Show? Be consistent.

Next to bat will be Tom McDevitt’s short bio:

Tom McDevitt is the President of the Washington Time.s He is a member of the Unification Church and in the early 1980s was the pastor of the church in Washington DC.

You can spot the obvious mistake there. Moving on, we have Kristan Hawkins:

Kristan Hawkins is the Executive Director of Students for Life of America’s (SFLA), a position which she has held since 2006. Hawkins has appeared on Fox News, CNN, and the Christian Broadcasting Network. She currently hosts the radio show “On Campus with Students for Life” on National Pro-life Radio. Hawkins came to SFLA after serving as a political appointee in the George W. Bush administration at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Previously, she also worked for the 2004 Bush/Cheney re-election campaign and at the Republican National Committee. Since working at SFLA, she has been awarded the Susan B. Anthony Young Leader Award, the Dr. William Hogan Education Award for pro-life leadership, the 2009 Weyrich Youth Leadership Award, and a 2010 Life

A 2010 Life what? I don’t know, it just ends there. Presumably, it’s important. Or maybe–wait, that’s it! She got a 1-UP mushroom in 2010! Holy cow! And here I thought conservatives were against drug use…

Then there’s Stephen DeMaura:

Stephen DeMaura is the President of Americans for Job Security. Stephen DeMaura has served in a number of leadership positions in government and politics. He began his career in the field as Executive Director of Democracy in Practice in Concord, New Hampshire. In 2002, he worked on the Bruce Keough for Governor campaign in Manchester, New Hampshire, as a Statewide Volunteer Coordinator. In 2002 and 2004, Stephen DeMaura gained experience in fundraising and campaign management when he worked for the Republican Senate Caucus. After graduating from American University with his Bachelor’s degree, Stephen DeMaura worked as a communications consultant for several ballot initiatives, advocacy groups and candidates. Stephen DeMaura currently attends John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland and is studying to receive his Master of Arts in Government at the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.

Okay, we get it. Your name is Stephen DeMaura. We’re not dumb or amnesiac, I’m sure we can remember it until we finish your piece.

These are only examples. The rest of it is rife with errors and some very questionable stylistic choices. Like, putting quotation marks around conflict as in the following: “Mr Martin joined the Marine Corps in 1953 at age 17 as the Korean “conflict” concluded and served on active duty until 1958.” The implication is that the Korean War was not even up to the standard of a true “conflict,” and I think that’s pretty disrespectful of all the veterans who served in that war (which seems very out of place for the relatively pro-military CPAC crowd.) There are inconsistencies in styling, spelling errors (including listing the late Czech leader Vaclav Havel as “Vaclay Havel”) grammatical foul-ups, and just plain bad writing. I mean, take the name of one of the organizations there, “True the Vote.” I mean Jesus, “True” is not a verb! You want “Trust the Vote,” or maybe “True Vote,” or something else, but “True the Vote” is the kind of writing I would expect from a fifth-grader, not a professional organization!

What makes this even more insulting (and perhaps hilarious) is that the Conference hosted a panel on making English the only language of the United States. But if these guys can’t even bother to spell check, proofread, and do some copyediting on their own publication (which is printed in English), what authority do they have on promoting this language? None, that’s what.

I don’t know how much CPAC2012 cost, but I’m going to assume that it cost a few millions to put on. And yet, within that massive budget, they couldn’t afford $500 for an English undergrad to do some basic proofreading of their main program? This is beyond lazy. Anyone picking up this program would look at it and think the people putting on CPAC were uneducated morons, not to be taken seriously. This is the premier conservative political event of the year and yet they come out looking like a rural PTA that can’t get its shit together. This is absurd, and definitely paints a picture of a movement that has zero chance of defeating Barack Obama in November. If you can’t write a sentence properly, you can’t defeat an incumbent president of the most powerful nation in the world, full stop.

I’m actually ashamed and disappointed by this. I don’t consider myself a conservative, as I’m a libertarian first and foremost, but there really needs to be some effective opposition to  Obama’s policies. The guy has got to go; personally, I’d replace him with Ron Paul or Gary Johnson, I think Mitt Romney would suffice (his own failures would probably preclude him from getting anything done, which I would consider a plus.) Yet instead we have these jokers who can’t be bothered to do even the most basic of tasks for an event.

This might be taking things a bit too far, but judging from the quality of editing for this publication, I’ll say this: these guys are toast.

Advertising? Slick design? Who needs it?

About a week ago, I was at my sister’s house in upstate New York visiting, and she told me about this wonderful thing called X10. It’s a company that develops “home automation systems,” allowing you to control your lighting, doors, appliances, and everything remotely, or set up schedules for turning things on or off or doing other crazy things. Her example was using a TV remote to control the lighting in her home theater, which, actually, was really neat. I mean, she had those light cables they string down the aisles at the movie theater, and she could dim them so it looked like Regal Cinemas…you just have to trust me on this one. It was cool.

But then she showed me their website, because, well, it’s not what you expect.

For a contrast, let’s take a brief look at the Apple website. (I’ll move past the special splash page about Steve Jobs–not to belittle him, but simply because that’s not the regular design.) Slick, eh? It’s pretty, clean, and, if you’re a Firefly fan like me, deserving of the descriptor “shiny.” It’s like everything else with Apple–very pretty packaging.

Now back to X10. Now back to Apple. Back to X10. I think you can see the difference.

My sister said she thought that X10 was originally scam of some sort, with all of this “Buy this! Sale now! Speaker Palooza!” malarkey. Yet, it apparently worked, since my sister and her husband have already bought some of their products and, I think, they’re looking to buy some more. Another thing they told me is that you won’t see their ads on TV, or around the Internet, either–I’m not exactly sure how they found out about it, but it looks like our winner is “word of mouth” (followed by a ding! ding! ding! noise.) Of course, I’m helping it along too. I know that. Really.

So, basically, these guys have a really cool product, which they are apparently making a good deal of money off of (enough to sell their own $200 Android tablet, which I’m sure would also have their apps for controlling your garage door from work), and they don’t spend a great deal of money on either web design or advertising. I would really like to see their profit margin–I don’t do stocks, but if I did, I might invest in these guys. Oh, and better still, they offer a way to kill their ads if they appear on your machine. A company offering to take out their own ads for you? Holy moly! Finally, someone who understands the average American! (Yes, I’m sure there’s a catch of some sort, but still, the intention is quite noble and refreshing.)

And here I was, thinking we needed all that extra stuff, needed to take extra special time to think about how I would write something or design the presentation. Apparently, not so much.

Personally, if I got a house, I would get their intercom system and make the kids call me Captain Kirk:

Child: Bridge to Captain Kirk.

Me: Kirk here.

Child: Captain, we’ve just run out of toilet paper, and sensors have detected more Klingons coming from Uranus.

Me: Go to Red Alert and take evasive action. I’m on my way.

God, I would be so annoying.