The Same Rowdy Crowd

Ruminations and Fulminations on Communication



A Minute With Keith Olbermann

It’s Friday.

From the folks at 23/6, who are so adept at this kind of thing. business financing nice

Our Streak of Consecutive Political Posts Ends at 78

Had to happen sometime.

So here we go. A gentleman named Paul Lukas runs a blog called Uni Watch, which he describes as “a media project that deconstructs the finer points of sports uniforms in obsessive and excruciating detail…. [F]or those who understand the pleasures of detail obsession, programmatic classificatmlb-logoion systems, information overload, and sports history, you’ve come to the right place.”

In a piece he contributes to, Lukas today considers the Major League Baseball logo, which just turned 40. If you like baseball, history, logo design and controversies (I’m 3 for 4), you’ll enjoy this.

An excerpt, in which Lukas interviews the guy, now 76,  who designed it in 1968:

UW: Did Major League Baseball accept the logo pretty much as you designed it, or did they ask you to make adjustments?

JD: Nope, no adjustments. I cleaned it up and that was it.

UW: What do you mean “cleaned it up”?

JD: You tighten it up so it can be reproduced. What I had originally created was just a Magic Marker sketch.

UW [incredulous again]: The original version that you created in one afternoon, and that was presented to Major League Baseball, was rendered in Magic Marker?

JD: Right.

Read the whole thing here.

Thanks to my pal Peter for the tip.

[Image credit: Major League Baseball] state tax help nice

Election Night Warmup: Final

1932: The Sunday, Nov. 6 edition of the New York Times, within a huge story about plans for network radio election coverage, makes an incidental mention of a small first.


[Image credit: New York Times via Proquest Historical Newspapers] tax preparation business nice

Election Night Warmup #7

1852: Franklin Pierce hands it to Winfield Scott, consigning any hopes for a “permanent Whig majority” to history.

Source: The magnificent American Presidency Project at UC Santa Barbara. View all 55 electoral maps on a single page here. tax accountant nice

Election Night Warmup #6

1860: On election eve, Mr. C.F. McIntire, manager of the Springfield office of the Illinois and Mississippi Telegraph Company, offers an election night suggestion to Abraham Lincoln.

Telegraph Office Springfield Nov 5 1860

To Hon. A Lincoln

Dr Sir

If convenient for you, we would be happy to have you and any friends you may wish to bring, Spend tomorrow night with us, where you can receive the good news without delay.

(Not wishing to have a noisy crowd inside, the doors will be closed at 9 oclock pm.)


C. F. McIntire
Springfield Office

Despite Mr. McIntire’s kind invitation, Library of Congress records indicate that Lincoln in fact spent election night at his state capitol office, where he received the returns with friends. Sorry, C.F.

UPDATE: I owe Mr. McIntire an apology. Lots of cool, online accounts of how Lincoln spent election day 1860 (like this one) have Lincoln leaving his office at about 9 p.m. to head to, yep, the telegraph office, where he monitored returns into the wee hours of the morning when the result became clear. Sorry again, C.F.

[Photo and transcription: Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress] invoices for free nice

Election Night Warmup #5

1928: RCA technicians installing a radio receiving set in President Coolidge’s railroad car so that he would able to receive election returns while enroute to Washington, D.C., Nov. 5.

[Photo: Library of Congress] blank invoice template nice

Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before

The three debates, Cliffs Notes style.

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Election Night Warmup #3

1984: Washington D.C. blinked.

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Election Night Warmup #2

1968: The last known use of the word “sprightly” by a network anchor.

(Nice to see you again, David Brinkley.) proforma invoice template nice

Election Night Warmup #1

1972: The year of little round reporting pods.

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McCain/Obama Debate #1 (Edited a Bit)



[via Huffington Post] grant application fine

The Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator

Sarah Palin and her “guy” sure have picked interesting names for their children. There’s Trak, Trig, Williow, Ronnie and Nancy, George and Barbara, Spiro and I don’t remember who all else.

Ever wonder what your name would be if Sarah Palin had her way?

Well, according to The Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator, one Rowdy would be Grill Igloo Palin.

Another would be Lean Pipe Palin.

And a third (so masculine *sigh*) would be Flex Gunship Palin. I’ll let the other guys play for themselves.

Try the Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator with your name. tax prep fine

Perhaps We SHOULD Quit Pondering the Inconsequence of Being in a Universe Governed by Chaos

At least for the weekend, anyway. 

A little something from the Onion News Network.

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Frankly, Brett, I Don’t Give a Damn

I don’t give a rat’s wide receiver whether Brett Favre plays football for Green Bay, Minnesota or Manchester United. This Hamlet in a helmet has dominated the so-called news for weeks.

Who bloody cares? It’s baseball season, we’re in a pennant race, the Twins have a cool little team of overachievers who are grossly overpaid by human standards but a skinflint’s blue-plate special by pro sports standards. The Twins have lost what seems like half their fast slap-hitters because these guys slide into bases hands first, so not the way we were taught in park-board baseball. The Twins lightened their financial load by tossing overboard a great center fielder and the best pitcher of the last half-decade, and yet they’re in first place today, playing with heart and duct-tape. You gotta love ’em. If you can get to the baseball news through the NFL police blotter and the histrionics about the head cheesehead.

It’s summer. Let’s pay attention to the grace of baseball, and let these cretins in shoulder pads haul their BGH masses into training camp in the obscurity they deserve.

We’ve got a presidential campaign going on, which seems as if it will be decided by whoever has the slimiest ad creators. Maybe we should be paying some attention to who these candidates are and what they are really like so we don’t buy another Texan in a poke. Let’s lighten up on the sports coverage and take in the great story on Alexander Solzhenitsyn in the Chicago Tribune, reprinted in the Strib today. The story quotes Solzhenitsyn saying “A great writer is, so to speak, a secret government in his country.” You go, Sy Hersh. Great writers can, given time and courage, pierce the Orwellian PR screen of a Soviet Union or a Bush-Cheney administration.

Yes, we need sports and movies and tunes and the latest James Lee Burke book to take our minds off the serious stuff. But let’s not go bananas over the second coming of Brett Favre. I’d go see him if he was playing at Pearl Park near my house, tossing the ball around with neighborhood kids. But — oh well, Liriano’s back, and Morneau’s swing is so whip-fast and level, and it’s wonderfully muggy, and the last tomatoes are getting red, and I’m tuning Brett out. I’ll watch C-SPAN tonight, but right now I’m reading the box scores on the patio.

–Bruce Benidt

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Your Prediction: Who Will Be Obama’s Running Mate?

With Sen. Barack Obama preparing to take the stage here in St. Paul in a few hours to end the Bitter 3 A.M. Michiganandflorida stage of the campaign, let’s play pundit.

Who do you think will be Obama’s running mate? 

You may use your answer to deliver:

  • serious analysis
  • a whimsical wild guess
  • or, if you’d prefer, a snarky broadside at Democrats generally. 

Up to you.  But someone, someday, will walk off with coveted yet worthless “I Predicted Obama’s VP on The Same Rowdy Crowd in Early June Award ” bragging rights. 

Will it be you?

Your answer also can be generally ill-informed, like mine. I’m gonna say Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D-Kan.).  Although “Obama/Sebelius!” would probably be difficult to chant. 

Now, then. Predict away. invoices for free fine

Giving the People What They Want…

Like any blogger, I’m completely indifferent to the statistics generated by you, our loyal readers. I never look at the page view counts more than 10 times a day and I doubt anyone would say my fixation on incoming links meets the clinical definition of an OCD disorder. OK, maybe a couple of psychiatrists, but we all know what they’re like.

As a result, it was something of an eye-opener today when I pulled up a list of the search terms that most frequently bring new readers to our digital doorstep. These are the phrases entered into various search engines that produce links to various SRC posts.

Here are the top 5:

#5: Looking for Harry Chapin. Turns out 15.7 percent of our new visitors come to us looking for the lyrics and/or the cultural significance of the late Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s In the Cradle” that was part of the balladeer’s 1974 Verities & Balderdash. I used a line from this song (“When you coming home, dad, I don’t know when“) in a post last year and we’ve been creating serendipities ever since. As a public service, for those of you still looking for the lyrics so that you can do maudlin karaoke after too many beers, you can find them here. I speak from personal experience on this point, having once spent a drunken evening singing duets with a guy who is now a federal judge (one of many reasons he didn’t tell the FBI about me I suspect).

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Harry, who died too soon in 1981, I highly recommend his Greatest Stories Live album. Don’t get the iTunes version as it has only half the songs on the original album for some reason.

#4: Looking for you. About 16.4 percent of those visiting us from the search engines are looking for our readers and commentators and are Google-stalking you through your posts on the blog. Thank you, one and all, you class up the joint. Please keep posting unless you’re in the Witness Protection Program.

#3: Looking for us. Maybe. 17.4 percent of search-engine visitors are looking for “The Same Rowdy Crowd” or one of the Gang of Eight (or whatever we are) who author this madhouse.

Of course, there’s a distinct possibility that they’re actually looking for the song we stole our name from – “Sharon” – or the singer/songwriter David Bromberg. Lyric-hunters click here for the singalong.

“Sharon” has a special place in my heart as it was part of the soundtrack of my first freshman year in college. I have to admit, though, that I haven’t clicked with much of his other music. That said, I recently discovered a wonderful album, Live From Bonnaroo 2007: David Bromberg & Angel Band, that I highly recommend. It has a nice version of “Sharon,” but a truly amazing rendition of “Driving Wheel” as well. I can only find it on iTunes, but it may be available elsewhere.

#2: Looking for the news of the day. Fully 23.7 percent of you come looking for the news of the day or commentary thereon as evidenced by the mishmash of keyword searches for things like “worst speeches” and “Al Franken.” This is gratifying as it’s one of the reasons we started this thing in the first place (I’m sure it was in the top 20 reasons). I suspect a few people who found us this way have stuck around to become regular readers and contributors. Again, thank you one and all.

And the #1 reason people come looking for us…

#1: Porn. Yes, it turns out the SRC is just another portal to the giant global porn machine.

Specifically, nearly 27 percent of our search engine visitors are looking for “striptease news” or some variation thereof.

How’s that one-handed typing working for you? Personally, I find it hard to work the shift key (“ba-bump” goes the first pun).

I’m guessing those of you so inclined (there’s #2) are looking for the either the soft-core Tease News out of Australia or the harder (yep, that’s 3) Naked News. We pop up (there’s another one…<rimshot> ) on these searches because Benidt posted last year a commentary on one of local station’s use of “teasers” to keep viewers from tuning away entitled “News Strip Tease.”

The man’s a freakin’ genius.

Naked News is subscription-based so no way am I sharing my user name and password (though you can find some samples on YouTube if you’re truly interested), but as part of the SRC’s commitment to giving our viewers the programming they’re telling us they want, here’s a sample from Tease News:

You have to give the anchors and correspondents their due; they manage to multi-task their newsreading and their disrobing pretty gracefully. This is, I suspect, harder than it looks (completing a punning superfecta).

– Austin invoices templates fine

Hey, Senators! VP or Not VP?

That’s the question The Hill newspaper put to just about the entire Senate, one by one. Specifically:

“If you were asked, would you accept an offer to be the VP nominee?”

So, let’s see. Perfunctory answers from the Minnesota delegation:

Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.)
“No. I’m up for reelection and I’ve got the guy who should be vice president. He’s my governor [Tim Pawlenty (R)]. My governor is my candidate.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)
“No. I’m focused on being a senator from Minnesota.”

Others range from fun…

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.)
“Absolutely. Absolutely. I think I would be great. First of all, I know how to behave at weddings and funerals. And I know how to be commander in chief. I’d bring a lot of fun to the job. We would rock the Naval Observatory.”

… to cagily circumspect…

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.)
“It’s presumptuous to even speculate about that kind of thing. But I suspect that’s not the sort of thing you say no to.”

… to candid…

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.)
“Are you kidding? Every senator would accept that offer. My guess is that almost every senator looks at themselves in the mirror in the morning and sees either a future president or vice president.”

… to sort of existential.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.)
“The chances of that are so remote that I’m more likely to be hit by an asteroid.”

Dig the other 91responses here.

[via MSNBC]

— Hornseth

My Ad Friends Send Me Great Links

Like this one.

In a rather unique project, someone has endeavored to purchase, prepare and photograph 100 packaged foods, comparing the product to its packaging photography. If I read the German-language  website correctly, all products were subsequently eaten.

About time we got around to food styling here. Should you wish, you may view all 100 comparisons by clicking on the thumbnails here.

— Hornseth form 2106 instructions kind

Hey, Everyone, Let’s All Go Hang Around in Grand Central Station!

Kudos to Michael, the Same Rowdy Crowd’s editorial assistant, for unearthing this video of a piece of group performance art.  I have no idea why the organizers and participants did it, but I would have loved to have been there.

– Austin

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In Case You Missed It…

Jimmy Kimmel’s response to his girlfriend is pretty damned good…

– Austin certified payroll kind

Context for Your Post-Oscar Viewing

Those not already dozing on their couch may want to stay up for the Jimmy Kimmel show which promises to showcase a much-anticipated response to the Sarah Silverman video “I’m F*****g Matt Damon”. Allegedly it features Ben Affleck.

And, for those of you who missed the original video, here it is again.

– Austin doing business kind

Going to war…on spam

Most of this post is a little off topic from our general “communications” theme. Tough. But, for those of you who might feel shortchanged, I promise to close it with a legitimate communications question.

Last week I declared war on spam. The early results are encouraging.

My attack was not a rash decision and no one can say I wasn’t provoked. I think what did it was the 17th message of the day promising penis enhancement (or in the language of spammers, “Make ur D’ ick 3 INches Lnger and ur LoVeR 3X happy”). Of course, it could have been the 9th message telling me that my Target/Wal-Mart/JCPenney/Dell/Amazon gift card was ready for pick up or maybe one of the endless succession of offers to send me an entire drug store through the mail. All I really remember is saying, “I’m not going to take this any more.”

Chances are you feel the same way. Chances are everyone feels the same way. According to the Radacti Group (which purports to study e-mail usage and trends), there are about 1.2 billion of us sending and receiving e-mails. And, according to another research firm called Ipswitch, those boxes fill up with as many as 180 billion e-mails every day and about 95 percent of it spam.

For those of us who work for large organizations with IT departments, this issue may not be as much in your face as it is for me. Your corporate nerds are probably doing a pretty good job in filtering spam out of your in-box like the nice folks at Fleishman Hillard (with which I still work on various projects and thus still have an e-mail address there). About the only thing that gets through their filters, for some reason, is spam from the Falun Gong.

If, on the other hand, you’re an independent or use your home computer for e-mail (which I do for my JAA work and have a third address that’s purely for personal stuff), you probably know what I’m talking about. If you’re like me, you’re probably spending an hour or so every day managing your e-mail inbox (there’s a productivity boost!). Do the math and that means we’re spending weeks out of every year doing nothing but dealing with spam.

Screw that.

Like any good military strategist, having resolved to fight back, I started by gathering intelligence on the enemy, in this case by really looking at the crap in my in-box. What I quickly realized is that I’d created a fair chunk of the problem myself in the form of e-mail lists I’d signed up for and no longer needed or wanted (or ever wanted). After spending about four days clicking on the “Unsubscribe” links, I noticed a significant decrease in traffic of this sort.

One word of warning on this point: Make sure the lists you’re unsubscribing from are legitimate ones; some spammers include fake “unsubscribe” links as a way to verify a legitimate e-mail address. This can actually lead to more spam.

But…what about all the other penis ads I didn’t sign up for?

For those, I went looking for an easy-to-use, low-cost version of the corporate spam blockers. There are several out there to look at – including some integrated into applications that provide other security services like virus protection – but I settled on a solution called Cloudmark that interfaces smoothly with Outlook and uses a database – compiled by the experiences of users everywhere – to detect and block spam (today’s stats claim that have blocked over a billion pieces of spam). This process happens invisibly and has proven to be extremely effective on cutting my daily e-mail traffic by about 90 percent. Cloudmark is a subscription service that goes for $40 a year and appears to be some of the best money I’ve spent recently.

Short of tearing up the Internet and starting over, there doesn’t seem to be a systemic way to rid the world of spam. I did read, though, that about 80 percent of spam is generated by 200 people so getting our hands – virtually, of course – around their throats would be a good start. Which brings me to the communications closer: If a spammer needed PR representation for what is a legal but highly annoying activity, should they get it? Would you do it? Why or why not?

– Austin

PS – Along the lines of this rant about spam, I also plan to write another screed on “cords…I hate ’em.” Prepare yourself. hr outsourcing kind

In Celebration of “Quotation Marks”

I once bought a post card up in Hibbing, Minn., that showed an aerial shot of the town with the word “Hibbing” printed over the front.

Including the quotation marks.

Made me wonder — so that’s not really Hibbing, then, just some sort of Hibbingesque representation? Or it’s sarcastically Hibbing? What?

I believe we’ve had some discussion about unnecessary apostrophes here. So here’s a variation on the theme. Fellow punctuationheads everywhere: Revel a while in “this.”

— Hornseth

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