Language Trap

There’s a guy who wants to base jump off the Empire State Building. He manages to sneak a parachute, helmet and video camera up to the 86th floor, but is stopped just as he’s about to jump. He really wants to go for it, so he resists his captors. I emphasize: He really wants to jump. But this is not how you describe that:

“He was fighting with us to get off. He wanted to jump off in the worst way,”

No, “the worst way” wouldn’t involve a parachute and helmet. It might include electrodes, however.

And while we’re on the subject – a helmet? Is that in case the parachute doesn’t open?


I can’t remember where I heard this idea first, but it’s one that has impressed me as having great truthiness. In this post Power Line says:

Bush-haters at John Podesta’s think tank couldn’t resist digging up every negative comment Snow has ever made about the Bush administration. Not only did this help establish Snow’s credibility and integrity, as Goldberg notes, but it also signaled to the conservative base that this is a good and meaningful selection.

They’re referring to comments Snow has made that Bush is, among other things, “something of an embarrassment.”

On the face of it the argument seems to be that Snow isn’t afraid to criticize the President, which establishes his credibility as more than just the yes-man that might be expected to emerge from Fox News. That’s a fair point, but it can only really establish such credibility if the things he said were broadly true. Snow wouldn’t have credibility if, for example, he said that Bush can’t stay awake in defense briefings; that’s a criticism, but it’s demonstrably not true (I hope).

So either what Snow says is true – Bush is a “a classical dime-store Democrat” with a “listless domestic policy” who has “lost control of the federal budget” – and he thereby establishes his credibility, or it’s not, in which case he’s a clueless no-nothing who shouldn’t be trusted to polish the lectern in the press room, let alone speak from it.

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Top Tip: Coffee Substitute

Worried about your level of coffee consumption, but need something to give you that kick in the mornings? Try this simple substitute:

  • Take a half-mile stretch of bike path next to a rail line
  • At one end have the bike path cross over the rail line
  • At the other end place yourself, on a bike, next to a goods train
  • For extra caffeine-substitute effect put a road halfway along the course, filled with cars whose drivers hate cyclists and won’t stop unless you reach out and slap them.
  • If that’s not enough, inexplicably throw your chain as you start off from the mid-course interruption to slow you down

And the winner is…

…the IRS, who today cashed my additional payment check a scant 9 days after we posted it. No action yet from the State. You’ll forgive me if I resent the government for the rest of the day.

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