Crit

Examination, analysis, appreciation.

KCBS: Stop the Banter!

2017.02.09
By

(Sent today via email.)

To whom it may concern,

As a KCBS listener for more than 20 years (and a former radio reporter/announcer at KSRO in Santa Rosa), I’m writing to comment on your (apparently) new policy of having hosts and commentators banter between segments.

In short: Please stop.

I understand the desire to “humanize” newscasts, but frankly, it’s grating on the ear and borderline unprofessional. It also has me talking back to the radio (“WHO CARES??? GIVE ME NEWS!”) on an hourly basis. I tune in for news and weather (and occasionally traffic), not banter.

So please rethink your policy. You would make at least one listener VERY happy.

Thank you, and be well,

Neal Ross Attinson
Sonoma

PS: Other than the above complaint, I think you are doing a fine job presenting the news in a straightforward, no-spin manner. I particularly like the in-depth stories at the bottom of the hour. And StarDate (sp?) is awesome, too. I try to never miss one. Keep up the good work!

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First Graf: Silverlock

2011.11.01
By

TAKE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS, STAR A grumpy Chicagoan, people the landscape with characters and places from the world’s literature and you have Silverlock — a fable of the human spirit no less great or more complex a story than a man discovering the world of letters and how it changes him. I have read it twice now, once from the depths of a great spiritual crisis, and the effect is almost electric. Half the fun is spotting the references; another half is author John Myers Myers’ love of language; a third half is how it makes you feel. Silverlock may or may not change your life, but it will certainly change your view of storytelling — and isn’t that sometimes the same thing?

If I had cared to live, I would have died.
A storm had come up. While not sick, I found my bunk the most comfortable place, leaving it only to take my meals. Dozing after supper, I learned of disaster when a wave bashed in the door of my deck cabin. The backwash sluiced me out of it and stranded me by a stowage locker.

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Pithyism #72

2011.09.26
By

OUR POLITICAL LANDSCAPE MIGHT BE less prickly were our politics not so personal.

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“THAT’S NOT ONLY BRILLIANT — IT’S ‘why-didn’t-I-think-of-that’ brilliant.”

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Faint Praise

2011.09.14
By

“I DON’T MIND WATCHING HIM chew the scenery — he leaves such interesting bitemarks.”

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The W-Word, As In “We Are Not Amused”

2011.09.13
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A CREEPING TREND OF LITERARY infantilization is loose upon the printed land: we refer specifically to the practice of substituting for a contretemps-laden word a reference to its initial letter: “the T-word,” “the F-word,” etc.

We recognize and laud the noble impulse to avoid giving needless offense. Yet this usage has reached a point where it is difficult to understand what’s being communicated. Read more »

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A Complex Whiteness

2011.09.12
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YOU MIGHT THINK WHITE FLAGS mean “Surrender,” but if you’re talking about Aaron Fein‘s “White Flags” art piece — all the world’s flags rendered full-size in white cloth and embroidery — you’d better not say so in a public forum, or I’ll reply:

(T)o me the whiteness connotes a sameness — on one level it doesn’t matter that they’re white so much as monocolor. White is also the simplest color — it reflects the entire spectrum, is purely non-differential, and leaves nothing out. All dyed cloth begins and ends in whiteness. (White is also a popular color for bedsheets, which addresses the artist’s point about the welcoming tent of Abraham: rest and comfort at the end of a journey. A journey that begins in difference but whose end is only reached by One.)

Anyway, just a few thoughts. I am completely gobsmacked by the beauty and simplicity (and perhaps sense of humor) about this project. Thank you Tablet for bringing it to us.

The project — which really must be seen to be appreciated; I doubt photos actually convey the sense and scope — is the topic of a nice write-up at http://www.tabletmag.com/arts-and-culture/77571/white-flags/. The artist’s website is http://www.aaronfein.com/.

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Monumental Question

2011.09.11
By

“Do you honor the hole, or refill it with something?” (This may also apply to more than just the WTC memorial. Me, I vote for honoring the hole.)

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I Am In Love With Edna St. Vincent Millay

2011.09.08
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EVIDENTLY, SHE WROTE A POEM in 1928 called “Dirge With Music.” I have not yet read any of her other works, but I hope they’re like this one. The last stanza says it all:

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

(Thanks to Rabbi David Wolpe for the quotation.)

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First Graf: Zen and the Art of the Internet

2011.09.08
By

THE FIRST BOOK I EVER read about the Internet, in 1994, still gives me a wave of nostalgic novelty when I turn its pages now. The ‘Net was new in the public mind and not well understood back then, which is why books like 1992′s ZATAOTI were popular: it’s a beginner’s guide to all things then-Internet, from email to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

These days, you just Google to find anything. But before Google (and before the World Wide Web) were Usenet and FTP, telnet and Gopher. You sort of had to know your way around in order to find anything. ZATAOTI’s 95 pages helped make the learning curve less steep for millions of people by helping them to think clearly and concisely about this strange new technology.

The composition of this booklet was originally started because the Computer Science department at Widener University was in desperate need of documentation describing the capabilities of this “great new Internet link” we obtained.

It’s since grown into an effort to acquaint the reader with much of what’s currently available over the Internet. Aimed at the novice user, it attempts to remain operating system “neutral”—-little information herein is specific to Unix, VMS, or any other environment. This booklet will, hopefully, be usable by nearly anyone.

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“THIS MAY OR MAY NOT be a good time to start things, but it’s a great time to continue ‘em.”

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“BUILDING A BETTER MOUSETRAP IS one thing. Testing it is something else.”

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