Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun

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CAN ANYONE send me the link that confirms that while Dick Cheney was hiding from the press in an undisclosed locaton last week that he took the time to get Maureen Dowd with child?

I'd like to get ahead of the rest of the blogosphere on this breaking story. Seems to me it is either grounds for aduletry or grounds for impeachement or grounds for being fired or all three.

Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 22, 2005 7:26 PM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Elf and Author David Sedaris Marries and She's a She

THE LITERARY WORLD, THE GAY WORLD, NPR, AND MACY'S were thrown into a tizzy with the announcement of the marriage of best-selling author, NPR star, and Macy's Elf David Sedaris' heretofore secret heterosexual liason. A deeper shock was felt when Mrs. Monique Sedaris also revealed they were expecting twins and had signed a movie deal outing their marriage.

The announcement came, as these things often do these days, from a web page written by Mrs. Sedaris @

I Married David Sedaris

The truth was bound to come out, especially with Davey's book tour in full swing. So rather than read some cheesy exposé in the National Enquirer, we decided to tell the story ourselves.

We met last year, not long after David saw me on the "Today Show," chatting about my own bestseller, Finding Your Inner Slut.

[MORE.... ]

Sedaris' editor at Little Brown / Time Warner in New York did not return phone calls on this matter, but a Time Warner spokesperson commented that "It is not our policy to comment on the private lives of our authors. We will, however, forward any letters concerning this to them in France."

Brendan Lemon, Editor-in-Chief for OUT Magazine was slightly more revealing. In a brief telephone interview, Lemmon would only say, "We never comment on stories we are pursuing and developing. I can say, however, that if you want to know the real details of this, you might want to keep a look out a very special and fabulous "At Home" spread in our Christmas issue."

Village Voice Gossip Scribe Michael Musto was unreachable, but we did learn he was "vacationing" in Paris for the fortnight.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 30, 2004 11:36 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink

SOMEWHERE BETWEEN A RUMOR, A WISH, AND A STORY a thread tonight on Free Republic states: Iraqi paper reports discovery of nuclear warheads

Al Sabah (Iraqi paper) | 21 July, 2004 | Al Sabah
Posted on 07/20/2004 11:14:11 PM PDT by propertius

Al Sabah, the Iraqi newspaper funded by the Coalition Provisional Authority, reports on its front page this morning that a former senior Ba'ath party activist has led coalition troops to three nuclear warheads hidden in a bunker.

Will post translation when we have it.

Needless to say, this thread immediately goes to Defcon One, with many wanting to believe but most waiting on some shred of confirmation. The links to the English version of the Iraq paper only bring up yesterday's news.

A bit later, propertius, who says he is a Brit in the Red Zone, posts the following translation of the story "in the Arabic version of today's paper, a copy of which is sitting in front of me in my office in Baghdad. That is why there are no links...:" Translation:

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 21, 2004 12:42 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
2 Good 2 B True: Sinister Syrians Over America

I'M WITH DONALD SENSING @ One Hand Clapping when it comes to the Sinister Syrians Story that's making the rounds. Sensing notes, about the article: "But while it is factual she was fearful, her fear does not provide facts. And I suspect that many of the readers who seem so confident from her article that there was much more going on than met the eye conclude that less from the factual content of her story than her skill at communicating her emotional states in all their gripping detail. "

I had the same sort of gut-reaction two days ago when I came across this tale for the first time. As I read it, I first wanted to believe it. I wanted to believe it badly. I even clipped it to my notebook where I keep things I feel I should write about. And there it stayed.

Looking at it later, I felt the "Device" in my brain activate. The "Device" is something that gets implanted in you if you spend decades editing book and magazine copy. The Device is best thought of as "The BS Meter" where the pointer goes from zero all the way up to 11. The BS Meter is not there to keep you from publishing BS (That's up to you.), but to let you know when you are dealing with it, so you don't confuse idealism with circulation.

When you feel that pointer move up the scale, you learn to become wary about what you are reading. That's not to say what your are reading isn't true, but only that it might not be true. Looking at this tale of terror filled skies again today, I have to say that I find it reads better as fiction than fact.

In addition, I happened to catch the tail end of a radio reporter's interview with the editor of the story at Women's Wall Street. I won't bother to reproduce it here except to say that the editor's tone reminded me most... well, of me whenever I had some dubious story that the magazine was running that I had been charged with palming off on the media. It's a kind of breathless, assured, precise, and, "excited" tone that infuses your sell. This woman had it and was working it. It was not like listening to an editor so much as listening to a PR agent for a little known media outlet that had finally scored a "national scoop" and was determined to ride it to the last bus stop, no matter what.

Listening to her cite the various big-media that was "about" to be all over her big scoop, I remembered what it was like to deal with a story that was "sensational" if not, well, exactly nailed down. You "Yellowcake It." You push it. You push it hard. You mention all the media that is going with it ("See, they think it is true!"), and you mention all the big media that is NOT going with it ("Coverup!). Either way, you win.

So in the end, I have fewer facts than the story for not believing it.

But I've peddled a few bogus stories to the media in my day, and I know the tone when I hear it being done.

And that BS Meter's Pointer did sweep up the scale. Not to 11, but high enough.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 17, 2004 12:38 AM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Suicide Muslim Arrested at Minneapolis Airport

SUMMER'S INTERNATIONAL TOURISM SEASON GOT OFF TO A HOT START IN THE MIDWEST TODAY WHEN: Man arrested with suicide note on flight to Minneapolis-St. Paul International

The U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that Ali Mohamed Almosaleh is in federal custody in the Twin Cities. He was being detained on an immigration law violation, but federal sources confirmed there is much more than that to this investigation.

Sources confirm Almosaleh was carrying a suicide when he was arrested. They say that note indicated a specific time and date for carrying out some sort of public suicide. He was also carrying CDs and DVDs, which federal sources say contained anti-American material. A source also confirms Almosaleh had something with him indicating a connection with at least one known terrorist.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 14, 2004 11:11 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
John Kerry As President? Bring Him On!

PEGGY NOONAN'S GOT THE FEAR, or at least a nagging little worry:

History has been too dramatic the past 3 1/2 years. It has been too exciting. Economic recession, 9/11, war, Afghanistan, Iraq, fighting with Europe. fighting with the U.N., boys going off to fight, Pat Tillman, beheadings. It has been so exciting. And my general sense of Americans is that we like things to be boring. Or rather we like history to be boring; we like our lives to be exciting. We like history to be like something Calvin Coolidge dreamed: dull, dull. dull. And then we complain about the dullness, and invent excitements that are the kind we really like: moon shots, spaceships, curing diseases. -- Noonan at The Wall Street Journal
I like the way Peggy Noonan writes, and I like the way Peggy Noonan thinks, and I like a lot of the things she says. She's always been elegant and intelligent. You don't find that often, but it is always a treat when you do.

Because of this I fret when Ms. Noonan is vexed -- as she is in this case and not without reason. Americans do have a tendency to be a lazy, indulgent and easily world-wearied set of humans. That is, as she points out, our one of the key elements of our nature. But only one, and if at the moment it is in the ascendant, it will not always be so.

At the same time Ms. Noonan is perturbed by the idea that the American Short Attention Span Theater will hand the election to John Kerry simply because he promises less aggro and more entertainment.

Here is my fear: that the American people, liking and respecting President Bush, and knowing he's a straight shooter with guts, will still feel a great temptation to turn to the boring and disingenuous John Kerry. He'll never do anything exciting. He doesn't have the guts to be exciting. And as he doesn't stand for anything, he won't have to take hard stands. He'll do things like go to France and talk French and they'll love it. He'll say he's the man who accompanied Teresa Heinz to Paris, only this time he'll say it in French and perfectly accented and they'll all go "ooh la la!" Same Article as Above
Ms. Noonan is not alone in her fears. The military itself is getting nervous. They are waiting for
the “three year rule.” Historically, the American public will support a war for three years. If it isn’t over by then, the public mood starts to turn ugly. It’s happened in every American war that went over three years. The war on terror will be three years old in September, 2004. Recruiters are unsure what effect this will have on getting people to volunteer. While most of America’s wars have been fought with volunteers, the two big ones that went the limit without conscription (the American Revolution and the Civil War), ran into manpower problems after the three year limit was hit. But both of those wars had lots more casualties, and defeats, than the war on terror. And even World War II, as popular as it was, saw a growing amount of popular discontent by early 1945. What will happen this time around will be known by 2005, and the recruiters are not looking forward to it. -- Strategy Page
Growing voter ennui coupled with the three year rule. It doesn't look rosy for the re-election of George Bush under those circumstances, does it? And perhaps it isn't.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 10, 2004 4:30 PM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Berners-Lee: Internet 2 Will Deploy Ahead of Schedule, Winer to Own 1

"Meet the new boss .... "

TODAY WE RECEIVED THIS EARTHSHATTERING DISPATCH from the American Digest correspondent in Switzerland:

Dateline Geneva 6/23/2004, :
Hale Hubble Reporting

Today, Tim Berners-Lee (Creator of the World Wide Web) and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) made two startling announcements:

First, as the result of a crash program begun June of 2004, common carriers and ISPs, working with almost every reader of SlashDot have managed to implement "Internet 2" a decade ahead of schedule.

The deployment "Internet 2" will bring the equivalent of 10 T-1s to every Internet user making it possible for iTunes to deliver songs faster than you can buy them.

In a related development, Seagate announced the delivery, by Federal Express, of 10 Terabyte drives to every Internet user free of charge. The drives come preloaded with all songs on the iTunes server and, via a chron job invoking Microsoft's .NET passport, will automatically debit the ATM cards of all Internet users for their entire balance on a monthly basis, making bill paying a seamless snap at last. New content to iTunes will be updated to the drives daily.

But the real news continues to be the amazing deployment of Internet 2 on a schedule that recalled The Manhattan Project. ( The WWII effort and not the 1986 film of the same name.)

Because of these Herculean efforts, almost all existing Internet 1 content will be migrated transparently to Internet 2 between 2:28 and 2:30 GMT on June 30 (with the exception of online discussions concerning "American Idol" which will take place from 2:35 to 6:45 GMT on the same day). This migration is made possible thanks to billions of dollars of donations of time, money and equipment by companies like AT&T, Microsoft, Oracle, and Six Apart.

In the second even more exciting announcement, Tim Berners-Lee said that the old Internet was being given to Dave Winer, of Userland fame. "From this day forward," Berners-Lee said, "Dave will own Internet 1, and all sites therein. Dave will immediately be granted root access to all servers, and will be allowed to decide who can be on his Internet, and what they will be allowed to say. As a provision of this grant, Dave understands that he not be allowed on Internet 2 at all."

"It was all we could do", Berners-Lee continued in an exclusive interview . "We've be trying to get rid of this guy longer than Bush has been hunting for Bin Laden, but he just won't go away. We finally decided that we'd all just leave instead.".

Asked if it was unfair that Dave was getting the "old" Internet, Lee replied "Have you seen his sites? They look like someone typed them in on a Selectric, then pasted a newsprint photo to the top of them! He could get by with two 1200-baud modems and a rusty wire, must less the whole old Internet!".

Winer, who seemed curiously unaware of the Internet 2 announcement, could barely be located, much less contained for a coherant statement. We caught up with him taking his things out of 15 paper boxes on a back street in Queens, where he said "Yes! Yes! Yes! Finally, everything is turning out as it should!"

Asked about his plans, Winer replied that he'd immediately collect all root passwords, and convert every site to run on Radio Userland, the "blogging" tool which he developed in 1970 and continues to maintain was the "true origin of the Internet".

Asked if he thought his plans would cause any "disruption," Dave calmly announced that the Internet would be shut down for 2 weeks while he worked on the conversion. We asked if that wouldn't inconvenience any remaining Internet users, and Dave replied "Look, not only have you guys been using it for FREE all this time, but I have some really painful hemorrhoids and can't deal with it any faster.

"Besides,", he continued, "the whole naming scheme is messed up. I want to get rid of those stupid .com, .edu, etc. crap. I'm going to replace them with RELEVANT stuff, like .davesdaysnotsmoking, .davewatchedthismove, .davesbowelmovement, etc, etc".

In a related story, both the Israelis and Palestinians have overwhelmingly elected Berners-Lee as their leader. Arial Sharon was quoted as saying "If he could get rid of that schmuck Winer, he can solve anything.". Palestinians expressed similar sentiments, and three blew themselves up on Winer's front lawn in a tribute to Berners-Lee.


Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 23, 2004 11:18 AM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
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