An Introduction to Neal Umphred Dot Com

THIS SITE could have a bet­ter name than mine with "dot com" tacked on to it. I had con­sid­ered In­tro­duc­tion to Ra­ti­o­ci­na­tions Out of Thin Air as a title—and that would have been a great ti­tle, if a con­fus­ing ti­tle. So we're stuck with Neal Umphred Dot Com. As some­one once fa­mous once said, "So it goes." 1 Ei­ther way, read­ers are con­fronted with two rather un­com­mon words (al­though alien has been used in ref­er­ence to one of them): Umphred and ra­ti­o­ci­na­tion. The fam­ily name ap­pears to be of Scot­tish origin, which ex­plains why Laphoaig tasted like the wa­ter of life with my first sip!… Con­tinue Read­ing An In­tro­duc­tion to Neal Umphred Dot Com

wine snobs got doctor conti while the rest of us get two buck chuck

FORGERY IS A TIME-HONORED TRA­DI­TION in the world of art. Ro­man artists made copies of Greek sculp­tures, al­though whether the pur­chasers of these fakes were aware of their origin is un­known. Forg­ers have taken on new im­por­tance since the 19th cen­tury, as the name of the artist of­ten has more mean­ing to a cus­tomer than the ac­tual qual­ity of the paint­ing. Of course, mak­ing an ex­act copy of a paint­ing, doc­u­ment, or even a sig­na­ture and pass­ing it off as the real thing is a crime. Some forg­ers who were caught in the act be­came fa­mous for their skills as a copy­ist and… Con­tinue Read­ing wine snobs got doc­tor conti while the rest of us get two buck chuck

my forte is not my fortay, it's just my fort

WE HEAR IT AND WE SAY IT . . . IN­COR­RECTLY! We usu­ally hear "for­tay" when peo­ple say "forte," an al­most uni­ver­sally mis­pro­nounced word! I can't say it's a part of everyone's daily vo­cab­u­lary, but if you read enough you'll come across it reg­u­larly. I'm writ­ing this be­cause it was used in a cou­ple of movies that we watched re­cently. Un­for­tu­nately, while the word and its mis­pro­nun­ci­a­tion in both films stuck in my head, the ti­tles of the two movies did not. Be­fore we ad­dress the near uni­ver­sal mis­mouthing of forte, we need a de­f­i­n­i­tion of the word. In mod­ern us­age, forte is a… Con­tinue Read­ing my forte is not my for­tay, it's just my fort

shouldn't we be calling the sessions-kislyak affair "sessionsgate" by now?

WE ARE NOW deep into an af­fair that should have been ter­med ei­ther Ses­sion­s­gate or Am­bas­sador­gate by our main­stream me­dia. Ever clever with such trite coinages when a De­moc­rat is in­volved, At­tor­ney Gen­eral Ses­sions and Pres­i­dent Trump have some­how avoided hav­ing their trans­gres­sion ren­dered in a man­ner that sug­gest the felonies of the Nixon ad­min­is­tra­tion of 1972–1973. But let's take a mo­ment and take a look at an­other mo­ment from Jan­u­ary 10, 2017: at a Sen­ate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing, Sen­a­tor Al Franken asked Sen­a­tor Jeff Ses­sions what he would do if he learned of any ev­i­dence that any­one af­fil­i­ated with the… Con­tinue Read­ing shouldn't we be call­ing the sessions-kislyak af­fair "ses­sion­s­gate" by now?

too many immoral people are trolling more effectively than ever before

TOO MANY IM­MORAL PEO­PLE are trolling more ef­fec­tively than ever! This state­ment is taken from the penul­ti­mate para­graph in Jenny Pierson's "Don't Feed the Trolls: How Out­rage Fu­els Sick­en­ing Ca­reers." The ar­ti­cle is sub­ti­tled "The guy who wrote the book on trolling has some tough-to-swallow sug­ges­tions on com­bat­ing the worst of it." It ap­peared on Al­ter­Net on Feb­ru­ary 11, 2017. This is part of my on­go­ing se­ries of ar­ti­cles on the malev­o­lence of in­ter­net trolls, but this time I am let­ting Ms Pier­son do all the talk­ing. All text be­tween the hor­i­zon­tal lines is from her ar­ti­cle. 1 Note that… Con­tinue Read­ing too many im­moral peo­ple are trolling more ef­fec­tively than ever be­fore

definitely "politically correct" (a third take on journalism taking on authority)

TO TELL THE TRUTH IN THE FACE OF LIES is the job of all jour­nal­ists, with lies be­ing, you know, those al­ter­na­tive fact thingies that are all the rage these days. Or at least that's what Lewis Wal­lace states in an ed­i­to­rial call-to-arms that he had posted on his per­sonal blog. There he ad­dressed ob­jec­tiv­ity, call­ing a lie a lie in­stead of an al­ter­na­tive fact, and em­brac­ing the ac­cu­sa­tion of be­ing a po­lit­i­cally cor­rect lib­eral left­ist! I am not a jour­nal­ist. Aside from some col­lege courses in ba­sic jour­nal­ism in 1969–1971, I have no ex­pe­ri­ence in the field. Of… Con­tinue Read­ing def­i­nitely "po­lit­i­cally cor­rect" (a third take on jour­nal­ism tak­ing on au­thor­ity)

definitely not "first but wrong" (another take on journalism taking on authority)

DES­PITE DON­ALD TRUMP re­ceiv­ing more at­ten­tion from the me­dia than all his fel­low Rep*blican com­peti­tors for the nom­i­na­tion com­bined, he has an­other take on it: that same me­dia is out to get him! While some of that at­ten­tion was in­deed neg­a­tive, most of the at­ten­tion was rea­son­ably pos­i­tive. In fact, it ap­peared at times as if the me­dia was down­right fawn­ing! It's prob­a­bly fair to say that had the mainstream/corporate Amer­i­can me­dia split the time they de­voted to him and gave it to other Rep*blican can­di­dates, Mr Trump might not have been the nom­i­née, let alone be the Pres­i­dent. In… Con­tinue Read­ing def­i­nitely not "first but wrong" (an­other take on jour­nal­ism tak­ing on au­thor­ity)

definitely "provably not true" (one take on journalism taking on authority)

DAMN OUR DAMN LIB­ERAL ME­DIA! Here's yet an­other ex­am­ple of how the DLM's bleed­ing­heart li­brull­ness screws things up for us poor civil­ians try­ing to grok the world in which we live. When ad­dress­ing a state­ment that was so man­i­festly in­cor­rect that it had to be a lie, the na­tional se­cu­rity cor­re­spon­dent for Na­tional Pub­lic Ra­dio de­clared the state­ment "prov­ably not true." 1 That is, the state­ment was demon­stra­bly not so. Most of us civil­ians have a sim­ple word to de­scribe a demon­stra­bly un­true state­ment: we call it a lie. 2 Need­less to say, NPR's Mary Louise Kelly was asked why she didn't sim­ply call… Con­tinue Read­ing def­i­nitely "prov­ably not true" (one take on jour­nal­ism tak­ing on au­thor­ity)

rumor and speculation can look like alternative facts

EVERY TROLL IS RIGHTWINGED, or least seems to be. Every fake news site and every blog pass­ing on al­ter­na­tive facts also seems to be far right of cen­ter. Of course, this is based on my ex­pe­ri­ence on the free­wheel­ing world­wide web of fact and fic­tion, opin­ion and as­sess­ment, ru­mor and spec­u­la­tion, and every­thing else a hu­man can do with words, im­ages, and sym­bols. The free­dom of the In­ter­net has given us mil­lions of blogs for blog­gers to ex­press opin­ion or re­search facts. It has also given us web­sites with "re­porters" who have never taken a sin­gle class in Jour­nal­ism, and with… Con­tinue Read­ing ru­mor and spec­u­la­tion can look like al­ter­na­tive facts