February 25, 2005

I Think He's Around the Corner

Posted by Jeremy Brown (Am I not in your blogroll? Mary either? You will? Thanks!)

Yes, I'm pretty sure Michael is coming back soon, so we should really straighten up a little around here, spit out our gum, open our notebooks, look busy, straighten some hangers, re-stack the kiwis, rebuild the canned peach pyramid, switch the presets back to Michael's favorite stations, get the fig Newton crumbs off of the Berkline rocker-recliner, top off the tank with 93 octane, erase the word 'vacation' from next to Michael's name on the whiteboard, clean out the litter box one last time, leave the Movable Type password under that fake rock next to the front stoop...

And let me once again thank Michael for this opportunity. And my thanks to Mary whose first rate posts (and strong opinions) have made me look good by association, and to all you Totten readers and commenters who made us both feel so welcome and who added depth, breadth, and weight to the discussions on this blog. It was, once again, great fun.

Now, for the love of God, read my blog, or at least blogroll it...please? (if I meet you on the street I promise not to quiz you to test whether you've been reading). Now that my stint here is over, I will stop neglecting my own blog. And In just an hour or so you will find the latest installment of my weekly satire feature; it will be a guaranteed socially pertinent yuk-fest for the whole family.

Catch you all later...

Update: one more link before Michael takes back the microphone: I have an exclusive lead on yet another 20 year old private conversation with George W. Bush that is now being revealed. My source tells me this is 'not serious but true.'

Posted by Jeremy Brown at February 25, 2005 07:10 AM

I will Jeremy! I didn't know you were so funny (LOL)! Au revoir!

Posted by: Caroline at February 25, 2005 11:04 AM

..re-stack the kiwis???

I just have this image of a whole bunch of little birds all standing on top of each other...

Hey, I'll blogroll your site if you blogroll mine :)

Posted by: Barry at February 25, 2005 11:05 AM


Posted by: d-rod at February 25, 2005 12:09 PM

Thanks, friends.
I will certainly add your links to my blogroll too.

Posted by: Jeremy Brown at February 25, 2005 01:51 PM

Jeremy -

The both of you are going on the Purser's List as soon as the madness of my daughter's birthday party is dealt with. Y'all did a fine job during Michael's vacation. I look forward to following your posts on your own turf in the future.

Posted by: TmjUtah at February 25, 2005 02:25 PM

For the first four paragraphs, this was so boring I couldn't focus my eyes on it. No sensible reader wants to trudge through your ponderous "wit". Good writing keeps the focus on the subject of the piece and makes the subject interesting. Of course, this piece doesn't even have a subject. It ought to be a one-liner. Here's what it should look like:

"I've enjoyed posting here, and thanks for being such a great audience. I'll be at www.blahblah.com, bye now."

Your sparkling personality is enormously less fascinating than you think it is. You're not Lileks, and even Lileks is not an A-list columnist and never will be. And read your sentences aloud to yourself before you commit. This atrocity should not have made the cut:

"Welcome to the mental streetcorner at which I was pausing..."

Clumsy. Wrong preposition, too. A gratuitous-but-tolerable image, grossly mis-handled by a rank amateur.

You're no Mark Steyn, kid. If you think you are, that's okay. The market will keep on proving you wrong. When you finally get the picture, think about it again.

Oh, and this song lyric thing is the worst misjudgement I've ever seen in my life. 114 lines, 887 meaningless words, most of them redundant as well. What was the point? Did you think anybody would read all that crap? And what the fuck did it have to do with anything, anyway? Utter bullshit.

Kid, you're a total loss. Don't give up your day job.

Posted by: b at February 25, 2005 04:01 PM

b - so what have you accomplished lately?

Give us a link buddy. Put it out there for us. We're waiting with baited breath, I can assure you.

Oh - and BTW? It better be GOOD...

Posted by: Caroline at February 25, 2005 05:32 PM

"grossly mis-handled by a rank amateur"

It seems to me that competent professionals don't actually use phrases like that. But let me get right to the diagnosis:

Antisocial Personality Disorder. Has a clinical professional ever written that next to your name? I used to answer calls on a mental health crisis hotline and there was a guy with that diagnosis who used to call me up and verbally abuse me (he was much better than you at the withering character assassination you're groping for) in a tone strikingly similar to yours. I later met him in person and he was extremely friendly to me. It was very odd.

I'm sorry if that was not pity enough. Here's what I should have written:

"It's you, b, not me."

Posted by: Jeremy Brown at February 25, 2005 07:27 PM

I find it fascinating the leftradical new york times hasn't published anythign about this blog. just a bunch of bush hating radicals in the end. ever sicne that judith miller and her trashing Bush's WMD claims before the war, i've grown tired of that pacifist trash. ya find any right leaning or moderate right blogs talked about there? truly ridiculous.

Posted by: torrential at February 25, 2005 07:28 PM

b - nobody loves a critic, especially an pointless, incompetent, abusive one. You're no James Wolcott.

Do you have a link to examples of your sparkling wit?

Posted by: mary at February 25, 2005 08:39 PM

Mary: You're no James Wolcott.


Posted by: Michael J. Totten at February 25, 2005 09:52 PM

Oh, and this song lyric thing is the worst misjudgement I've ever seen in my life. 114 lines, 887 meaningless words, most of them redundant as well.


That post was a rather childish effort by troll. It went out of its way to do a google search to get "the goods" on you, and then it proceeded to count the lines and the words in the article. And that was supposed to be clever. How disturbing.

I suppose you should be flattered.

Posted by: Carlos at February 25, 2005 09:56 PM

"I usually respond to abuse with abuse (a tactic that every person who has survived junior high learns) but as a guest-host, it just seems wrong to respond with "shut your festering gob, you tit, your type really makes me sick...etc." We have to be civilized."--Mary

Well some of us do.Great job Jeremy as always.I regret that 'b' showed up to demonstrate the limits of medical science,but perhaps you are able to put such madness into perspective(whatever that is).

'b'------ Shut your festering gob,you tit,your type really makes me sick.

Posted by: dougf at February 25, 2005 11:28 PM

By SAMEER N. YACOUB, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq - An oil pipeline in northern Iraq (news - web sites) was ablaze Saturday after saboteurs blew it up in the latest attack against the country's vital petroleum industry. In the capital, a roadside bomb killed two people, officials and witnesses said.
The U.S. military also said a soldier died during a sweep for insurgents west of Baghdad.

The violence came one day after the government announced the arrest of a man it described as a key figure in the country's most feared terrorist group, and a top official said the noose was tightening around the group's leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

The pipeline connecting oil fields in Dibis with the northern city of Kirkuk about 20 miles away was blown up late Friday, an official of the state-run North Oil Co. said on condition of anonymity. He said repairs would take at least four days.

Insurgents regularly target Iraq's oil infrastructure, cutting exports and denying the country funds that are badly needed for reconstruction.

In Baghdad, insurgents detonated a roadside bomb in the west of the city, killing two civilians. Their slumped bodies could be seen in a small white car, its windshield smashed in the blast.

It was not clear whom the attack targeted. U.S. Lt. Col. Clifford Kent said an American tank was nearby at the time of the blast, but it was not damaged.

One Iraqi said he was on his way to work when the bomb detonated.

"We just arrived near those tanks (when) the blast occurred. And as you see, blood soaked us for doing nothing," Mohammed al-Duleimi told Associated Press Television News.

In the northern city of Mosul, a female Iraqi television presenter kidnapped last week was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head. Several masked gunmen abducted Raiedah Mohammed Wageh Wazan last week, and her corpse was found Friday, said her husband, Salim Saad-Allah.

Wazan was working for a local state-owned television station in Mosul. It was unclear what prompted the kidnapping, but her station was attacked last week with mortar rounds after it aired interviews with alleged insurgents in captivity.

To the south, a suicide car bomber killed an Iraqi National Guardsman and wounded seven people near Musayyib, police Capt. Muthana Khalid said. Musayyib is about 50 miles southwest of Baghdad.

Earlier, a car bomb exploded near a convoy of Iraqi National Guardsmen in Iskandariyah, which also is south of Baghdad, witnesses said. No casualties were reported.

The U.S. command on Saturday announced the death a day earlier of a U.S. soldier west of the capital in Anbar province, where the military launched a massive sweep last week to root out insurgents.

At least 1,492 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

Posted by: lukes at February 26, 2005 07:34 AM

I thank Jeremy and Mary for doing such a splendid job. And yes, I will make a point to visit their blogs on a regular basis. This is yet another example of how desperate the situation is for the old media. Who has time for those second raters when there is so much great stuff on the Internet and other media outlets of the new media?

Posted by: David Thomson at February 26, 2005 09:11 AM

Here's something to comment on, CNN is blackballing the story about Saddam's half-brother being caught. They're refusing to report it it seems, hasnt been reported once no wonder--he's a HERO in their eyes!!!

Posted by: lukes at February 27, 2005 07:23 AM

I thought the comment from b was over the top and abusive, but I agree with him on one point - I was bored silly by most of the articles by Jeremy and Mary.

Say what you will about the MSM, but most writers there have a better command of written English than most blog writers. And the fact to opinion ratio is usually higher.

Posted by: VinoVeritas at February 27, 2005 08:30 AM

OT: The War in Iraq is All but Won


Posted by: Carlos at February 27, 2005 08:54 AM

VinoVeritas: I appreciate your acknowledging b's abusiveness. But as to the rest of your comment: aren't you simply saying that you disagree with me and with Mary regarding the war in Iraq? I think that's what 'b' was saying too. Why would you expect to enjoy a long post expressing opinions with which you disagree?

The grain of truth behind your criticism is that I do get a bit sloppy and long-winded. More popular bloggers, like Michael, tend to have a more pithy style. I sometimes try to write that way since I do think it's a better approach, but it takes more discipline than I have. Or, to put it in a less self-deprecating way: I have a more discursive style by nature, and I do agree that it narrows my appeal. So that's an ongoing inner debate I will continue to conduct. But I have tended to err on the side of indulging an urge toward lecturing and story-telling in many of my posts.

And if you know of an editor who'd be willing to go over my blog posts before I click 'publish' (no salary, I'm afraid) please send me his or her email. That kind of help would also give me the extra time I'd need to read my sentences aloud to myself, as 'b' would have me do, before posting.

Posted by: Jeremy Brown at February 27, 2005 09:33 AM


Thanks, Michael. Welcome back!

Posted by: mary at February 27, 2005 09:34 AM

VinoVeritas - Fair enough. At least that's criticism and not abuse.

Blogging is usually an expression of personal views, not just facts and opinions. I like the opportunity for interaction & opinion-sharing that blogging offers. The fact that professional writers have blogs makes it an interesting medium. But some prefer the MSM standard.

Enjoy your Merlot (or Pinot Noir?).

Posted by: mary at February 27, 2005 09:50 AM

""When politicians like [Clinton] start flocking to Iraq to bask in the light of its success, then you know that the corner has been turned," a reader of his blog wrote to Bay."

If it were McCain saying the victory was round the corner, ok, but Clinton really doesn't know what she's talking about. for computer warriors everything looks good, for sure.

Posted by: lukes at February 27, 2005 12:46 PM

Jeremy: "...aren't you simply saying that you disagree with me and with Mary regarding the war in Iraq? ... Why would you expect to enjoy a long post expressing opinions with which you disagree?"

No, that's not what I'm saying. I seek out opinions different from my own. I like the stimulation (enjoyment is the wrong word) when an opposing view is expressed in a thoughtful way. Occassionally I even change my mind. As John Maynard Keynes said "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do?"

But I have a life outside of blog-reading, and I start skimming or abandonning an article if it starts getting tedious. It's something you should keep in mind - if you don't want to just preach to the converted, present your arguments as concisely as you can.

You make a good point about editors. The MSM has editors and bloggers don't, and that generally makse MSM writing better. Perhaps the rough-and-tumble debate in blogging is the blogoshere's equivalent of editing.

Mary, yes, the nature of blogging is very subjective. But the blogger has to demonstrate his views are based on fact. Otherwise why shouldn't I just choose a good novel to read?

And actually Chianti is more to my taste.

Posted by: VinoVeritas at February 28, 2005 07:39 PM

Vino – if Chianti is your choice, than you really aren’t an authority on the whole boredom issue. If you preferred interesting wines like a Barolo or a Pinot Noir, than your opinion would have more weight.

Boredom is a subjective criticism. I’m bored by the Super Bowl and the Oscars, but some people think these things are worth watching.

Bloggers demonstrate that their views are based on facts by linking to the facts. Therefore, your claim that blog posts are close to fiction is not factual. If I want to read criticism that’s based on bland wine and make believe, I’ll read a novel.

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Winner, The 2007 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

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