Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Pre-Holiday Odds and Ends

Getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. It's just us this year. We're travelling no where, and no family is coming here. And much as I like my family... Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh. A relaxing four day weekend.

We don't have to clean up any clutter that doesn't personally bother us or endanger the kids. We can eat Thanksgiving dinner when we darn well feel like it, and leave the dishes for as long as we like afterward. No one has a "favorite dish" that we just have to prepare. And no one will bug us in the kitchen by insisting on "helping."

I hope the rest of you have a good Thanksgiving also. While you're remembering to give thanks, don't forget to spread a little good fortune to our favorite charity:



Just a couple of brief notes tonight.

First of all thanks right back to Jo at Jo's Atttic for the nice mention in her good and thoughtful Blogger Thanksgiving post. It has been an interesting initial blogging year for me as well. Having the opportunity to meet many fellow bloggers - including fellow rookie bloggers - who are truly fun and interesting people has been one of the highlights. Jo is one of the ones it has been a pleasure to meet as well as read. Jo is actually even more engaging in person than on her blog, because in person she always has something to say, whereas she takes lazy breaks from posting to her blog at times (Heh! Zing me for my perpetual wordiosity will ya?!) .

Secondly, Rick at Stones Cry Out is THE place to stop if you want an intelligent and well researched counterpoint to those who attempt to use exit polling data to cry "conspiracy" and "stolen election." Rick knows this polling stuff scary-well, and unlike many reporters is not afraid to pick up a telephone to get to the bottom of niggling details. His post is also another excellent case study in a blogger eating the MSM's lunch on an important story. Remember when reading Rick's post that he did it for free, while the guy who wrote this got paid big bucks for it. I leave it to your own judgment which is better journalism (extra points if you can spot the one who has unintentionally become the print embodiment of Kent Brockman, from the Simpsons).

And finally, the Elder at Fraters Libertas (also the team leader for this), wrote a very good piece responding to another very good piece from Joe Carter at the Evangelical Outpost. The topic is NPR versus Talk Radio. Good reading all around. But I would like to call special attention to this specific comment from the Elder:

"[NPR's] Terry Gross is the most overrated interviewer on the planet. Yes, more overrated than Larry King. I've listened to Gross more than a few times in the last couple of months and I find her almost unlistenable."

Darn straight! Okay, maybe I wouldn't go so far as "almost unlistenable." "Mediocre" would be my choice. She has nice pipes, which perhaps lull other listeners into a false sense that they're hearing quality. But once she gets beyond the obvious questions anyone might think to ask, she is terribly erratic. And when on occasion she stumbles across something truly interesting, her followup instincts are terrible.

You want the tops of the interviewing kingdom in the MSM today? Brian Lamb from CSPAN on Booknotes, and James Lipton from Inside The Actor's Studio on Bravo. Lamb is the "disappear into the background" kind of interviewer, who nevertheless has a knack for guiding his subject into continually saying fascinating things about their work, their process, and themselves. Lipton is best at bringing out his subject's personalities and humanizing them, as well as bringing out the mechanics of how they work (and if you ever dabble in acting, directing, or writing he draws out some truly amazing stuff you can often find useful in your own work). Both have a knack for interviewing people I had never previously cared for but suddenly found fascinating and informative - and more than occasionally riveting - once in one of their interview chairs.

And how do all these topics fit together? I don't know. And holiday brain makes me not worried about trying to figure it out. Happy Thanksgiving.

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