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Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Senator Kerry vs. Mr. Bush

I know the fashionable thing for journalists these days is to refer to the President of the United States as "Mister," but I think equitable treatment is in order, don't you? I noticed this morning while listening to NPR that a reporter referred to "Mr. Bush," but in the same story he referred to John Kerry as "Senator Kerry."

So I did a search on the Google news site for articles containing the terms "Mr. Bush" and "Senator Kerry." A number of the resulting articles have a "Mr. Bush"/"Senator Kerry" contrast because, while the writer refers to "Mr. Bush," he quotes President Bush talking about Kerry, and it's Bush who refers to "Senator Kerry."

Once you weed those out, you're left with a couple of NPR pieces that have the "Mr. Bush"/"Senator Kerry" contrast, a sprinkling of small-time papers that do the same, several opinion pieces that do this, and a whole slew of Australian news sites.

Apparently, the media down under are rooting for Senator Kerry. To consider just a sample, you might look at this site which has an article stating:

"Support for Senator Kerry rose from 46 per cent in an April poll, while it has declined from 44 per cent for Mr Bush in April."

Another Aussie newspaper writes:

"Senator Kerry said Mr Bush was trying to create "a culture war" about homosexual rights to avoid talking about jobs and health care."

Even the Australian version of ABC News is in on this game. Consider:

"Making a frontal assault on Mr Bush's contention he was running as a "war president," Senator Kerry said: "In these dangerous days there is a right way and a wrong way to be strong."

Another story on the ABC site reads:

"Senator Kerry insisted the United States must stay the course but suggested he would make a greater effort than Mr Bush to win international financial and military backing."

Regardless of your political views, that's very low-class, mates.

posted by Woodlief | link | (6) comments

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Power Player

A friend recently shared with me a blast fax he received from someone seeking a job. The letter was compelling, listing a "wide and professional knowledge" in multiple fields, including experience as general counsel for a large firm.

Frankly, I felt a bit of resume envy. There was just one thing out of place. It's such a little thing, really, but it caught his eye nonetheless. For the sake of anonymity, I won't share the suffix of this person's email address (i.e., the @blahblahblah.com part), but the prefix, oh, that I have to share.

This high-flying, hard-charging, extremely experienced job-seeker goes by the Internet handle of: "Tomatocup."

I can envision the taut boardroom scene now:

"Margins are squeezed, and our main adversary is trying to engineer an LBO! What do we do? We're going to lose control of the firm!"

"Boys, we've got no choice. We've got to bring out the big gun."

"No, it's not decent. I know they're our mortal enemies, but this is just too devastating."

"We have no choice."

"You can't be serious."

"I'm deadly serious. Get me Tomatocup."

"Oh. Dear. God."

When the going gets tough, the tough call Tomatocup.

posted by Woodlief | link | (7) comments

Monday, August 16, 2004


One of the forbidden words in our house is "but." To be honest, it's more of a contraband word, in the sense that marijuana is contraband on the University of Michigan campus. I play the role of the dedicated but slightly unhinged campus DARE coordinator.

Now my youngest has discovered the illicit pleasures of the rebuttal. And he really, earnestly, means it. It is, in fact, his motto. A typical afternoon with Timothy Eli "But" Woodlief, lately, goes a little something like this:

"Eli, don't climb over the back of the chair."

"But, but, I climbing."

"Eli, don't throw the airplane."

"But, but, I flying."

"Child, do not jump on the stairs."

"But, but, I not jumping."

"You are jumping. Stop it.

"But, I not."

"And stop saying 'but.' Your answer is supposed to be 'yes sir.'"

"But, but, I didn't say but."

"You just said but."

"But I didn't say but."

"Yes you did."

"No I didn't."

At some point in the process my wife breaks us up. She's like that sweet teacher you had in third grade, the one who was really mild-mannered, but who could suddenly turn on you like Bilbo Baggins in that scene in "The Lord of the Rings" when he wants Frodo to let him hold the ring one more time.

"Honey," she patiently instructs me, "I don't think you're going to get anywhere by arguing with the child."

"I suppose you're right. I just . . ."

"And you need to obey your father! Did he tell you to stop jumping on those stairs?"

"But . . ."

"Don't you 'but' me, little boy. You get off those stairs right now."

"I not jumping . . ."


Don't let her sweet, innocent manner fool you. This woman can bring the smack. You may think that you're a fast draw with your own can of Whup Hiney, but before you can even get your hand on the button, you'll discover that it's already been broughten, as they say.

In other words, she's an expert at what Barney Fife called "Bud Nipping." At some point I'm going to have to take the reins as the boys get older. These are like my apprentice years; I find myself taking mental notes as the former school teacher does her work.

The problem is, the boys not only have her good looks, but her stubbornness too. Me, I'm as easygoing as the summer breeze. But the rest of them? Like a pack of mules. You ever hear the saying about herding cats? Try herding mules, my friend.

But goodness, I do love them so. I'd take my mules over anybody else's kittens any day of the week, and twice on Sundays. Especially Sundays, I think, as I prepare for another grinding week. Especially Sundays.

posted by Woodlief | link | (3) comments

But I Never Said It Out Loud. . .

My wife informed me that during a recent trip to the grocery store, when they passed the aisle with detergents and other cleaning supplies, Caleb announced, "This is the Mommy aisle."

"Why is it the Mommy aisle?" inquired my wife, perhaps already speculating as to the answer.

"I guess because God made you that way," replied my son.

Why do I foresee years of failed sensitivity training ahead of this boy? If only the re-educators had done a better job with his troglodyte of a father . . .

posted by Woodlief | link | (5) comments