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October 28, 2005

Crime Faerie tale

Jury Finds Soldier Guilty

Friday morning the jury found Jorjé Alvarez, more commonly known as “the Soldier,” guilty on counts of kidnapping, extortion, racketeering and cruel and unusual punishment. After deliberating for less than two hours, the guilty verdict came in, much to the dismay of the Soldier and his defense team.
“We feel that justice has been lost today,” said Ignats O’Houlihan, the lead Defense attorney. “My client was clearly innocent and only trying to help to world.”
The Soldier, while on his return from the war, he stumbled across three beggars. To each he gave them one of his last biscuits to eat and in return they gave him a whistle to sing, a jig to dance to, a deck of magical cards and a magical sack.
Wishing to rest, the Soldier stopped along at an inn and soon journeyed to the old abandoned palace, where nightly the Devils meet to play their card games. The Soldier challenged the Devils and won, capturing 40 barrels of gold and using his magical sack to kidnap and abuse the devils. Once they were released, the Soldier even removed the foot of one of the Devils and made his promise to do his bidding in exchange for the foot.
“I was cheating the whole time and I still lost at the card games,” said Lord Elderton Bumbridge Estaban III, one of the Devils. “He even grew a flower out of my foot while he held it hostage. He got what he deserved.”
It was then the Soldier discovered the true powers of this magical sack, and upon receiving word that his son was ill, he held his Devil to it’s promise. The Devil gave him a glass, that when looked through, could reveal Death’s location. If at the end of the sick person, it was too late to save them.
Give his new tool and information, the Soldier began to wander from land to land healing people, but to those he could not save he would still asked to be paid.
As the leader of his land lay dying he addressed Death, asking the spare the Czar and take him instead. As the Soldier lay in bed, he called Death into his sack, stopping all people and things from dying.
In an attempt to amend for his discretions, the Soldier went down to Hell and rescued 200 souls, taking them to Heaven. He gave one of the souls the sack and told them to call him into it once they got beyond the gate, but there is no trickery or memory in Heaven.
Sentencing for the Soldier will occur on January 17, where he is facing a possible life-sentence, but a minimum of 23 years in a federal penitentiary.


I thought it was funny.

Posted by KevinMcGinnis at 11:02 PM | Comments (0)

Proxies and Stats

We've all heard me rant a little about how I don't trust math. I think is a BS field. You can make it lie and bend to your will at your command. That's exactly what they talked about in this damn book.

I made my thoughts known about things in class, especially when it involves statistics. The response you get from Portland, Oregon is going to be almost diametrically opposite of the answer in Atlanta, Georgia.

There's also a great example that fits both: This graph

You could make a connection, statistically speaking, about average global temperature and the number of pirates in the world. You can also make that a proxy that when the temp goes up/down, the liklihood of being attacked by a pirate has increased/decreased

They both suck and are favorites of the media. I hate them

Posted by KevinMcGinnis at 5:25 PM | Comments (0)

Feature Article

Man, I'm so writing an article about the new Xbox console and how cost is affecting sales, people's attitude toward it, stuff like that.

I need to get on the horn with some of my PR people and get some interviews with developers and stuff.

Gotta get my sources together.

Posted by KevinMcGinnis at 6:35 AM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2005

Oh snap

I'm going out of town for a few days. Be back on Friday.

Sharpton for President, y'all. I'm outie.

Posted by KevinMcGinnis at 2:34 AM | Comments (0)

October 21, 2005

AP Guide to Kevin getting sued daily

And the number one reason on tonight's top-ten list of Why I Could Never Be a Major Journalist is:

I would be sued every single day for liable and slander.

Here's the whole thing, I understand there's a fine line to be walked in journalism. You cant say too much or you risk being slanderous, but say too little and your readership is lost. It's difficult, I understand this, but I'm somewhat of a watchdog/accusatory jerk.

In my limited experience, I've enjoyed really getting up in people's faces and asking them tough questions or reporting on the total shortcomings of a business or product.

Granted, the rules are a bit different for public and private sectors. Public officials are exactly that; public. The private citizen, though, have not been elected by the people nor are they volunteering their entire lifestory. But even that is changing thanks to the Patriot Act.

And don't get me rolling on that crap. That's an entirely different lecture.

I like to think I would be a Woodward or Bernstein, and really be a watchdog and bring down the man who has done us wrong, but with hoe the media is today, it would never happen. Our press corp is gone. They've been replaced with puppets who've been fed loaded questions and the speeches are full of prepared statements and "surprise" visits. It's all crap.

Posted by KevinMcGinnis at 11:23 PM | Comments (1)

Ok, seriously.

The Soldier and Death. Not a fairytale too many people know. It's an old Germanic tale which was re-told by Jim Henson and his creature shop.

I had to ask Dr. Jerz if it was ok to use this story or if he wanted something a little more mainstream. He said this was allowable on the grounds I loan him the Jim Henson's "The Storyteller" DVD so he can watch the story along with it.

I love that story. This should be fun.

Posted by KevinMcGinnis at 10:20 PM | Comments (0)

The great jumble of facts

That exercise was not fair or fun. I need to have my resources in front of me, dammit. I think I was able to mummble and grumble everything together enough to not have to worry about things, but still. Why? Why couldn't we be given a few facts on a handout or something? I understand, that's not always how it works in the real world and this was a good exercise to show pacing of a "breaking story," but come on, man. That thing hurt.

I hate to admit it was a good exercise, but it was. We weren't totally unprepared. We were told of the fact jumble in advance, but that didn't really help.

My soul hurts.

Posted by KevinMcGinnis at 4:13 PM | Comments (0)

October 19, 2005

The Long Dark of Moria

Crime reporting, oh how it is thee whom I loathe. I have a friend, a gal named Kathleen. She writes for PSU's Daily Collegian. She had to do an entire semester of crime reporting. She would sit in the court and really want to rip her face off by the end of the day.

Maybe my view was a little more skewed coming into this section, but, still...

What makes it worse? That almost Flow-chart that Dr. Jerz gave us (the one explaining the court process and how each things goes to the next, etc etc) makes the most bloody sense of everything. Once again, my view might be a little skewed because I had some prior knowledge in things and I love to nitpick the courts.

The notes provided for crime beat, court proceedings, etc were all helpful and they clarified a few apsects that have become a little muddied over the years.

Posted by KevinMcGinnis at 1:24 PM | Comments (0)

October 18, 2005

Hank Rollins at the Byham

If there is a funnier man than Henry Rollins, I want to know. Any man who can tell an anecdotal story for an hour about riding the Trans-Siberian Express, while acting like a chicken and cow to the woman who couldn't (or so he thought) speak English, wins a few points in my book.

Still the funniest thing I've ever seen.

Posted by KevinMcGinnis at 12:44 PM | Comments (0)

October 14, 2005

Blog portfolio v2.0

Blogging. The Final Frontier. Captain's log, Stardate 10142005 - The blog nebula has been acting strangely of late. From not allowing some of us to post and others crashing all together, we have become worried. Following are the accounts of it's recent activity:

In Response to Spot News.

The Reporter's Notebook.

The Trib and Channel 4.

Why is Ther Journalism and what is the truth?.

Who journalists work for, Verification, and Indep. from faction.

Trib Review: Speech Codes.

Dr. Arnzen

Homecoming story


Readings From the Onion

Trib Review


Who journalists work for, Verification, and Indep. from faction.

In Response to Spot News.

Trib Review

In Response to Spot News.

Dr. Arnzen

Trib Review


Please allow Myself to Introduce...Myself.

Journalistic Integrity, eh?

Xenoblogging and Interaction:

In Response to Spot News.

Let's see - Mike's response to my blog

My comment in Lou's blog.

Journalistic Integrity, eh?

Videogames for Sale

Posted by KevinMcGinnis at 4:17 PM | Comments (2)

Trib Review

Less so than any one specific article, I want to discuss the "conversation" I had with Lou after class. We weren't debating the issue of Gov. Rendell or the right/left slant of the papers, but, instead, the aspect that the Trib doesn't devote as much coverage to Greensburg as it once did.

Lou's claim (and this is paraphrasing at best, so, Lou would have to confirm or deny) was that there is a vast imbalance in the coverage of the Pittsburgh area to the Greensburg area within the Trib.

Such, myself and Jay even said to him that there's just more news in Pittsburgh. Going back to a previous entry - Greensburg is much smaller in scope than Pittsburgh. Sure, the surrounding areas provide enough news to constitute at least a mention, but that's about it. I made the comparison that Greensburg was equal to Monroeville. Monroeville doesn't get it's own section in the Trib, so why should G-burg? Lou's claim that the Trib began in Greensburg and should stay true to it's roots, though admirable, is silly. Plum, Monroeville and Penn Hills all have the Advanced Leader to represent local news. New Kensington, Deer, Burrel, Arnold, they all have the Valley News Dispatch to cover local stories. The Trib covers international, national, state-wide, and some major local news.

Let's face facts - Greensburg doesn't exactly have daily news that changes the face of Pennsylvania. Sometimes the Governor comes by to give SHU a big check of monies, but it's not like there's Earth-shattering news everyday. Not to say Pittsburgh's news is more important, but it has more draw and impact on more people. Honestly, I don't care what happens in Jeanette. Maybe you do. I care more about what happens in Homestead, the Hill District, South Side, West Mifflin and Squirrel Hill than I do Norwin, Hempfield, Youngwood, etc.

It means more to you if you live here, but, there's just not as much news. And that's a good thing. Don't take it as a bash against the town - more dangerous, crime-filled areas get more news coverage. For every story about Jeanette or Irwin, there are at least 10 for Rankin, Braddock or Wilkinsburg.

It's not discriminating against Greensburg, it's just...well, there's less reason to cover the area. Why should they sell themselves short and cut news about their reader's surroundings to provide equal coverage for Greensburg.

If you want one page of stories for Greensburg, then you provide one page of stories for every region.

After an hour or so, Lou and I just gave up some. We weren't getting anywhere, and we each had our own stuff to do.

I enjoyed debating with him. We got some strange looks from people.

Posted by KevinMcGinnis at 12:45 PM | Comments (0)

Reading from the Onion

Allow me to say I have been a huge fan of the Onion since about 7th grade when people like Dennis Miller (before he became a turncoat) was my hero. The Onion gave people like me a voice; even at a younger age, I was a satirical young man.

With it regarding the AP Guide, I thought it was a perfect tie-in into diction, structure, accuracy, hyperbole, etc. CNN as the Crappy News Not-Work and the Grammar change were perfect selections (even if I had read the grammar one outside Dr. Jerz office...).

In all my years, I've always been known for being a strange one when it comes to structure and diction. I've been one of those who will use inversion to stress a point, but confuse those who haven't been paying attention. I will use a very loose style of writing (as we can all see right now), and the grammar change story really had me rolling around cackling.

The CNN story, I thought, was perfect. I know people like that. People who will describe a certain news, media, or other group with such slanderous terms and think it makes an effective offense against them. Calling CNN the Clinton News Network is no more effective or beneficial than calling FOX News the Right-wing, neoconservative's haven.

Regardless of the factual accuity of these claims, its still in poor taste. It would be like punching out an 8-year old. Satisfying, yes, but by no means something you make a career of.

That AP guide has come in quite handy. I'm just glad it has the listing of official Military terms and how they are supposed to be printed, so I can point out when the news is wrong.

Posted by KevinMcGinnis at 3:16 AM | Comments (0)

Morgan Spurlock

I could not attend and, honestly, had nothing to say about it. I like him and I think he makes a good point, but it's the same as Michael Moore - he can edit and twist things, though true, to really make his point.

I hate giving the Right any real credit, but people like Moore and Spurlock really are easy marks.

Posted by KevinMcGinnis at 3:04 AM | Comments (0)

Addendum to homecoming

I enjoyed the workshops that were included with it. They were very helpful. That is all.

Posted by KevinMcGinnis at 3:03 AM | Comments (0)

Homecoming story

Allow me to say a few words about homecoming and the damnable article. I'm not a fan of homecoming events. I went in high school simply because, well, what the bloody Hell else is there to do in the suburbs? When Dr. Jerz first announced that we had to cover something from homecoming, my gut reaction was "eh, I guess I can do the Harry Potter thing," which about six minutes later I realized that I had to work, and actually had to work all of the homecoming weekend and wouldn't be able to cover any of the stories.

Luckily, Dr. Jerz was understanding of my plight and allowed me to present an article in which I still related homecoming, but not an event. I discussed the idea that the event excluded communting students and/or people from outside the Greensburg area.

Now, don't get me wrong. I like Greensburg, it's a nice town, but is considerably "small" when compared to other places. Unless, though, you live pretty near the campus (or on it), there's not a very big draw for it. Most of my sources agreed that the University was leaving commuters lacking, but some felt it was a valiant effort.

There is a fight for both sides, but to me and many others, it was pretty clear that, well, the University screwed the proverbial pooch. Believe me, had I not had to be involved with reporting on Homecoming, you wouldn't have heard word one from me. I wouldn't complain, but I wouldn't praise it either.

I enjoyed the idea behind the article, but with as many as we have in the class, it becomes a little tough to properly assign and report without overlap. Even myself and Nancy had a smidge of overlap.

Not much more to say on that. I didn't like the actual practice of it, and I'm getting tired of constantly paying money I don't have for stuff I don't really care about, but such is life.

Posted by KevinMcGinnis at 2:52 AM | Comments (2)

October 8, 2005

Dr. Arnzen (in lieu of Spurlock)

In accordance to being unable to attend the Spurlock lecture (as we've started noticing, I had to work), I attended Dr. Michael Arznen's reading from his new book, Play Dead. Included in his readings were new poems he is working on, done in a workshop format taking comment and criticism from the crowd. He also read short stories from his other book, 100 Jolts, and from his Newsletter, The Gorelets, and even a Zombie story because "we're in the Monroeville Mall, where Zombies run rampant."

There was even a mockery of the "...for Dummies" series of books, in which Dr. Arnzen wrote "Stabbing for Dummies," a how-to guide in the fine art of stabbing someone to death.

I hadn't had much experience before with Dr. Arnzen, but my respect for him has grown immensley. He will lead the short-story writers group on Oct. 27 at the Monroeville Barnes and Noble in a Halloween themed meeting, as well as read and sign his books.

I'm glad I took that story. It was fun. It was...different.

A little more interesting than the French Canadians from Ubisoft talking about Prince of Persia 3.

Posted by KevinMcGinnis at 1:54 AM | Comments (2)