Tag Archives: Paul Krugman

The Winter Classic a great start to 2014. What companies “real” slogans should be. And a hilariously off-beat prediction from 1998

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And a Happy 2014 to you, my dear readers, and thanks for taking the journey with me again; hard to believe this is my fifth year doing Wide World of Stuff; time flies when you’re trying to keep an audience interested, I s’pose.

My 2014 got off to a great start; had a low-key New Year’s Eve with my wife and her best friend, continued to be mildly annoyed that Ryan Seacrest is the heir to Dick Clark (I just really loathe Ryan Seacrest), and was shocked to discover I’d actually heard of most of the musical acts on the various NYE shows.

But the best part of 2014 so far was the NHL’s annual voyage into outdoor hockey. The game between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs was fabulous; it was played at the University of Michigan football Stadium (aka The Big House) before 100,000-plus people, the ice held up pretty well, and best of all, it snowed throughout the entire game.

There were breaks in the action for snow removal, the fans froze their rear ends off, and OK sure, the hockey was played at 2/3rds normal speed due to the conditions and it was hardly a “classic” hockey game. But it was as usual, a wonderful visual to see hockey played the way it used to be when these players were all kids: outside.

There are going to be five more of these outdoor games this year, which just proves the NHL is trying to kill its golden goose. The beauty of the Winter Classic is it’s special, a one-off every year. I just hope they don’t overexpose the outdoor feel, and hope they go back to one or two per year at most, next year.

The Maple Leafs won Wednesday, but that didn’t matter too much: Just seeing the breathtaking views was enough to get my 2014 off to a great start.

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**This cracked me up: A website called elephantjournal.com (wish I’d thought of that name for MY blog!) published a list compiled from Reddit of what companies’ slogans should be if they were really honest. The one for Nature Valley granola bars is hilarious to me since I am addicted to eating them, and they always make a mess no matter how careful I try to be with them.

Here are some of my other favorites (whole list is here):

Ben and Jerry’s: Who are we kidding? A pint is definitely one serving.

Comcast: We’ll be there between 7 a.m. and fuck yourself in the face, or, Comcast—every single one of our customers hates us, but there isn’t anything they can do about it because we are an oligopoly and there is very rarely any alternative for high speed internet in most of our coverage area. Or, Comcast—Because Fuck You. (Editor’s note: Also applies to Time Warner).

Taco Bell: “You obviously don’t care what you put into your mouth, so why should we?”

**Finally today, making note of incorrect predictions from the past is usually like shooting fish in a barrel, and way to easy to mock. I generally avoid making fun of people whose prognostications were really off, because hey, none of us knows what the future holds and pundits are paid to make forecasts, and they’re never gonna be 100 percent accurate.

But on Andrew Sullivan’s blog Wednesday night I came across this from N.Y. Times columnist, and incredibly smart man, Paul Krugman. In 1998 Krugman wrote this:

The growth of the Internet will slow drastically [as it] becomes apparent [that] most people have nothing to say to each other…. By 2005 or so, it will become clear that the Internet’s impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine’s. 

Umm, yeah, not so much.

Paul Krugman nails the media, accurately. A strange story of a woman who disappeared in her own home. And Lochte slays Phelps in the pool.

This is one of my biggest complaints about the national media in the past 15 years: They are constantly putting forth this “false equivalency.” What I mean is, even if one side of the story is SO clearly making more sense, and more truthful, than the other side, the Wolf Blitzers and Brian Williamses of the world present both sides as if they’re exactly the same.
And it drives me up a freaking wall (as it does Bill Maher, who frequently rails about it on his show). It’s happening now with this debt ceiling crisis, as Barack Obama has bent over backwards and then back again trying to get a deal done, offering everything but naming Sasha Obama’s first-born child John.
Meanwhile, the Republicans, who have once again successfully moved the middle of the debate so far to the right that it only looks like the middle because they’ve taken such an extreme position (you followed all that, right?), refuse to budge on anything.
And yet, the media continues to portray this as a civil disagreement between two sides.
Paul Krugman, the brilliant New York Times columnist, put up a blog post Tuesday that sums this up perfectly. Check it out please; he makes the point far more eloquently than I could.

**And now, for no particular reason except that I stumbled upon it on YouTube Tuesday night, is Billy Crystal, as Sammy Davis Jr., from the 1980s. People forget how utterly brilliant Billy was:

The best stories are the ones you can get lost in.
They may not have the most profound meaning or carry the most important news of the day, but they suck you in and make you think about how things happen.

Michael Kruse, a very talented writer for the St. Petersburg Times (who is leaving the paper soon for a new gig, I hear) wrote this heartbreaking story about a woman in Brevard County, Fla. named Kathryn Norris, who died in her house and wasn’t discovered for 16 months.
She literally, as Kruse writes, “went missing inside her own home.” It’s a really good story that’s worth your time today.

**Finally, my man Ryan Lochte, a six-time Olympic medalist in swimming who I covered (fairly obsessively) for four years at the Daytona Beach News-Journal, scored another huge win over Michael Phelps Tuesday. At the FINA World Championships he beat Phelps in the 200 freestyle final, the third time he’s beaten the greatest swimmer ever in the last year.
Lochte is ascending, while Phelps is finally coming down from the mountain. It’s been so cool to watch this rivalry develop the last few years, as Lochte got closer and closer to Phelps’ heels. For the moment, he’s definitely caught him.
My last story for my old newspaper (sniff, sniff) ran last Sunday, a profile of Lochte previewing this week’s worlds. If you’re a swimming fan, check it out here, and here’s video of the race: