Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Lost Art of Editing

I am a reader. I am always in the middle of some book. I'm partial to fiction, but lately have increased my non-fiction exposure so that I am learning things as well as being entertained. Well, I have noticed a startling trend with books, non-fiction and fiction alike.

Some of the books I have read are in serious need of an additional edit. I once had a wonderful AP English teacher in high school, Ms. Vote, who taught us the painstaking art of editing. Always choose conciseness. If the thought isn't going to be expressed well, then take it out.

The most annoying literary device is the parenthesis. Parenthesis are supposed to give brief and informative background so as to further the story. However, in one book I'm reading, Liberal Fascism, the author proceeds to put whole thoughts into parenthesis. It's like a book full of asides to the audience. I say either explore the thought entirely in a separate paragraph or edit it out. But it's not just this book. I recently read The Deerslayer by Cooper, and that book needed a serious editor. Deerslayer is the prequel to The Last of the Mohicans and the other Leather Stocking Tales. All this to say that these books are a fascinating look into early American History and period leading up the French-Indian War, and Deerslayer was written last. I am not sure if the other Cooper novels read like Deerslayer, but there were about 200 pages too many of description. (Although the description was interesting, couldn't it have been edited down?)

If I were editor to either of these books, I probably would have taken a heavy hand with the red pen, if you know what I mean.

Where have all the good editors gone?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Good News Colin Firth Fans

Colin Firth is going to be in a new movie with Helen Hunt, Bette Midler, and Matthew Broderick. I CAN'T WAIT! Here's the trailer. It looks great. Even if it doesn't look great, I will see it anyways.

(Katie, don't you think Helen Hunt looks a bit like Dr. Schwartz?)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Have you heard about this? A Pro-Life Student Magazine (forgive me for not having a source, I'm potty-training and don't have time for my normal research.) was calling up abortion clinics in several states asking if they could make a donation and earmark it for, get this, black-baby abortions. I'm not kidding. It's all of the blogosphere and talk-radio.

Of course, this should raise hell with Planned Parenthood advocates, who get federal dollars for their support. What in the world? Can you say discrimination? Or is this affirmative action at a preventative stage? And naturally, I'm up in arms about this. But I'm always anti-abortion. Still, this practice is appalling.

Here's the link so you can listen to the telephone call yourself.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I feel like Gaston in "Gigi", when he talks to Honore while sitting in a Paris sidewalk cafe. Honore mentions all the wonderful things of Paris and Gaston is disdainful about them all. All of Paris, whether it's the beautiful spring time or it's the gay night life, holds no amusement for Gaston. (Eventually he realizes what he needs is a new fling and turns to Gigi...that part I don't feel like...)

Anyways, I am bored. Or it could be overwhelmed. Usually when I have too much to do, I end up being unable to do anything.

Nevertheless, I realize that even the hilarity of the Democratic Primary race is almost uninteresting to me. And I do mean, almost. Because today, the day after the PA debate, I have found a new spark. Quite possibly, I have found my "Gigi". The questions from last night's debate were brilliant and bravo to ABC's Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos for asking tough questions and not letting up on either Obama or Clinton.

I especially applaud the line of questions regarding the capital gains tax. The questions were thoughtful. I loved this part:
MR. GIBSON: And in each instance, when the [Capital Gains] rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased. The government took in more money. And in the 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28 percent, the revenues went down. So why raise it at all, especially given the fact that 100 million people in this country own stock and would be affected?

SENATOR OBAMA: Well, Charlie, what I've said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness. We saw an article today which showed that the top 50 hedge fund managers made $29 billion last year -- $29 billion for 50 individuals. And part of what has happened is that those who are able to work the stock market and amass huge fortunes on capital gains are paying a lower tax rate than their secretaries. That's not fair.

My concern, as should be just about everyone's, is that Senator Obama has equated the capital gains tax with fairness. This screams redistribution of wealth, which is what is unfair! It is essentially taxing production and innovation.

Let me take on a typical argument for capital gains tax. If you are making enough money that pushes you into the capital gains bracket, then you can afford the tax.

However, with a higher tax, some people will be forced out of the stock market, which means that fewer people will be able to afford investment, which then means that the company will lose out on dollars, which means that company will not be able to hire additional employees, and so on and so on.

Furthermore, at what point is a tax fair? Is it fair at 50%? Is it fair at 10%? You see where I am going with this? When we arbitrarily enforce fairness, there is no standard. There is no benchmark. Essentially, a tax bracket will always be unfair to someone. How can you possibly measure fairness?

Tonal Issues

It has recently been bugging me that perhaps I am a bit on the blunt side. Perhaps 'a bit' is an understatement. In any case, I wanted to apologize for being rude in speech.

I do not retract any of the opinions in which I have shared on my blog, but I am sorry that my tone is that which turns people away. My biggest regret is that since I share in the promise of Christ by being one of the body of Christ, I may turn seekers away from Him with such rudeness. Please accept my apology and know that I will try, in the future, to phrase my opinions in such away that the manner of speech is not offensive. (Realizing, of course, that my opinions will most likely continue to offend. That I do not apologize for.)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Counting Down...

Only five more hours until prime time! The Office comes back tonight! WOO HOO! I can laugh again on Thursdays!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

And Just in Time

It looks like the economy is going to auto-correct. As it usually does...
Despite the discouraging numbers — $19 billion in write-downs at UBS and nearly $4 billion at Deutsche Bank in the first quarter alone — investors appeared hopeful that the bad news could signal the last of Wall Street’s credit woes.

Read the article if you want more detailed stock numbers.

And this is what irritates me about Congressional interference. It takes so long for them to get involved that by the time they do, the crisis is over.

Let's start getting the price of oil to go down by increasing supply. Yes?

Housing Bail-Out

I know home prices are a bit wrecked. And I have some sympathy for those people who have to sell for re-location or otherwise. However, if a person bought on speculation or for additional property investment, and are now a bit in-the-hole, that person should deal with the consequences of a sluggish housing market.

The Democratically-controlled Congress doesn't necessarily agree. They are working on a package that would give billions of dollars to homeowners, expand government programs (FHA) and aid local communities with bonds.

Wait. So, you make a bad decision and you don't have to pay for it. Ummm, okay.

The worst part of this package is below: (From the NY Times)

Both the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee have been working on bills that would allow the Federal Housing Administration to insure $300 billion to $400 billion in additional mortgages, with an upfront cost of $10 billion. The Bush administration has been developing a similar plan of its own that would expand an existing refinance program called F.H.A. Secure.

The solution that Congress came up with is more money for additional loans! Argh! The people are already in enough trouble and now the government wants to sign them up for more borrowed money. How will this help?

I like this solution. Suck it up.

The government bail-out bothers me so much. It's as if Americans have forgotten to take responsibility for actions. We all have consequences for our actions. But the government thinks that if the price is too steep, or it's too difficult, we shouldn't have to deal.

Wrong. There is a great injustice done to the human spirit when a consequence is not faced and then overcome. The spirit never learns that feeling of freedom by overcoming trials. It is not good for a person to never triumph through adversity. Bail-out programs rob persons of this experience.

Clair de Lune

I just got back from Texas yesterday where we were celebrating my grandfather's life here on earth.

One of things we are tasked with is going through my grandparents' things and throwing away trash or wrapping up things we wanted to keep. My grandparents, having grown up in the midst of the Depression, did not throw things away. So, we have a huge task ahead of us. Well, the family who was in town decided to start the process this weekend because the house needs to be sold and fixed up before then.

During a break from the work, we watched Oceans 11. And at the end, where all the thieves are standing in front of the Bellagio watching the water show, they start playing this beautiful piano suite. One of my younger cousins said, "I love Chopin. He rocks." And both my mother and one of my uncles said at the same time, "It's Debussy; Clair de Lune." Seriously, isn't that awesome? No wonder I love classical music.

This is just one of the many amazing things my grandparents fostered in my family, on both sides. My mom's parents loved music too. They all encouraged not just an appreciation of music (as I have) but also the ability to bless others by playing and singing (which I do not have).

As a special treat, take 4 minutes and listen to this piece by Claude Debussy.