• This just in…

    I just deleted 308 words that rationalized why I haven’t been writing a regular column lately. The truth is, I had nothing to say. But I do now.

    Welcome to my new regular column. Ninety percent fewer words to deliver the news, leaving more room to comment on more than one topic every week. Let’s do this…

    This just in…

    The IRS is being scrutinized for spending millions of dollars on conferences, employee travel and videos parodying Star Trek among other things. Perhaps no other item in the world could unite every single person in this country of ours as much as the thought of the IRS getting screwed.

    Can you name an entity on Earth you’d like to see bent over and examined, proctologist style, more than the IRS? OK, maybe the Westboro Baptist Church. Nevertheless, I don’t want this hazing of the IRS to end – EVER! I just want them to unearth even more egregious acts. Like the hiring of illegal workers to process paperwork while they were out at their million dollar retreats – oh excuse me – business meetings. I know the practice of, “schadenfreude” (the enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others) is not a very enlightened way of being, but I can’t help myself. And I believe the Universe will give us all a collective pass for saying, “Neener neener neeeeener”!

    In world news, President Obama is set to host China’s new president Xi Jinping in Rancho Mirage for a two-day informal summit. I wonder what you serve a guy you owe $1.22 trillion? My guess is bologna sandwiches so it doesn’t look like you are spending your money on needless items. If that’s the case, we better keep our bloated defense budget out of any casual conversations regarding repayment. Of course, if China asks for the money, we could just give them Texas in exchange for a token reduction in the amount owed. $50,000 seems fair.

    In sports, Major League Baseball appears ready to take action against players who used performance-enhancing drugs. If they do, it will make MLB the first professional sport to refer to its suspended players as, “The Lance Armstrong of baseball.” Nice to see that comparison has a place in America’s past time. That said, as someone who finds baseball to be a complete bore, I find it amusing that baseball players should need performance enhancing drugs in the first place. Aside from lawn darts, it’s the only sport you can play with a pie hole full of sunflower seeds.

    In politics, I was neither stunned nor saddened by the decision of Michelle Bachmann to not seek reelection in her Congressional district. While she does make good fodder for columns like these, I have to believe the greater good is served by having someone who is more than a daily punch line serving the people of Minnesota. We can only hope the residents of the Great Lakes state will likewise think that way when it comes time to elect her replacement. Who knows? Maybe that will inspire other congressional districts around the nation to oust Congress members whose ideas are dumb at best and dangerous at worst. Oh wait. That’s the definition of the House of Representatives. Never mind.

    And on a personal note, I got an invitation to an event from Art Center College of Design, the college where I am paid to teach copywriting. It read, “Whether it’s graphic design, branding, environments, illustration, photography, or film, the art of visual storytelling is the most powerful method to convey messages in the an elegant, entertaining, and informative way.”

    Not surprisingly, I have an observation on this authoritative statement, which was emailed en masse to students, faculty, alumni and everyone associated with the institution employing me to encourage students to use words as a powerful way to communicate with an audience.

    First off, writing without typos like, “in the an elegant” really does wonders to add credibility, and dare I say it, power, to your message. As a lowly non-visual communicator, you’ll have to trust me on this. Although in this case I don’t think it would have helped. Why not?

    Because pontificating about something that is simply an opinion – and a backhanded slap at all other forms of communication – seems like an exclusive, elitist statement that should be considered contrary and counterproductive to the principals of higher learning. At a college teaching various forms of communication from fine art to product design to advertising, it seems highly unethical to proclaim one form superior to another. Note how my message was delivered without a single visual, by the way.

    Where are the visuals in the works of Hemingway or The Declaration of Independence? I guess, according to Art Center, they would have been more powerful if someone had provided photos or illustrations?

    If that is the case, then I may need to take another few months off to consider how to add visuals to my columns. You know, so my ideas would be more powerful.

    For this week, I’m over and out.

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