Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cell Phone Snippets From Paula, The Massage Therapist, Blackdog Cafe, Tallahassee, FL

-Hi, it's Paula. The message therapist... PAULA. The MASSAGE THERAPIST... Hi, sweetie, how ya doin? I'm just seeing who's in town and who's out and I'm seeing if you need a massage. I know I've worked on you before.

-I'm going to tell you something I don't tell just anyone. I've got the immaculate conception. That's why they want me dead.

-Hi sweetie, how ya doin? I just got robbed and beat up, so I'm out of money right now and I don't want to ask for anything, but if you give me $2 for gas I can make it out there. If you give me $2 for gas I can make it out there.

-It started in June when a black man killed a white man in Frenchtown and Jesus asked me to come live in his house, and he's Mayan, and so am I. I'm Mayan-Indian.

-Hi sweetie, Daddy says I still need help, but there's just a lot of shit going on right now and I just called to say that I miss you and I love you and I want to see you again. Call me back.

-The devil called my momma and said, "Tell that girl not to go to Frenchtown because that's my turf," but so that's where I went anyway.

-Jesus Christ got me a six-bedroom house.

-I just need some clients. If you know anyone who needs a massage, I can cure anything. I cured leg cancer in three days.

-Sex is spiritual.

-We all have our shit. I'm still human, momma. I still hurt. I laugh, I dance, I play.

-I get all the saints, the apostles... I don't care. Ain't my fuckin problem! I'm not here to save the world, I'm here to save myself.

-I am suing the state of Florida, and maybe even this whole goddamn country. CSI is in our house, and I don't just tell this to anyone.

-The only reason I didn't go to church this morning --- and I'm not religious --- is that I needed rest.

-So I went to go get him injuncted, and get him arrested or whoever's associated with him, and Jesus took the whole package... the next time he comes near me, I can call the sheriff and have him taken away.

-I've had people come up to me in a gas station and punch me in the side of the fuckin face so hard, and I don't even know them! I can't go into a gas station to get a Mt. Dew. I'll just make sure I have sharp objects on me at all times.

-I don't need anything. I'm at the Blackdog. They gave me a free cup of coffee. I'm not hungry or cold. I have everything I need. I have a car, a place to stay, a house, a couple houses. I just don't have gas.

-I told the sheriff, "If he comes near me again, I'm gonna kill him." And he said "Good. We come out here all the time when all these guys come out and hit you."

-They think I'm crazy, but the gods must be crazy.

-The less fear I show the more power I have.

-I'm reading something about Paul McCartney.

-[Reading from the comics section of the sunday paper] "Sir Isaac Newton developed the laws of motion... an object staying still..."

-Well, go pay all your bills and --- or, fuck all your debts, and just go have some fun. That's what Jesus wants.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Plagiarism is the highest form of flattery... right?

One day when I was in the trenches of the FSView, editing hell out of some Word documents that my writers submitted, I nudged my mouse a bit. I was reading through a review for a movie that had just been released, and when I nudged my mouse the cursor on my screen absentmindedly hovered over a bit of text. As I read ahead in the review, out of the corner of my eye, I could see a little yellow box pop up near my cursor.

That's queer, I thought.

What was even more queer was that the little box was a url. To Roger Ebert's website. In two clicks I was reading one of his recent reviews (for the same movie) and I happened to read the same sentence there that I had just read in that Word document. Hmm.

A mediocre newspaper lost an above-average writer that day due to plagiarism. The writer said in defense that she normally looks at other reviews to get ideas, but she ends up changing the words before she "writes" her reviews. Naturally, I began suspecting all of her past reviews of "sharecropping," (I just made that up. Mad copyrights on that!) but I couldn't find another instance of intense borrowing. To be honest, I think I was okay with her continuing to write (so sue me, we were really hurting for writers), but she just stopped submitting things.


One day, years later, while I was sitting at work at my current job, in the front office of the History Department of Florida State University, a professor came in and started telling this story while holding up this paper he had:

"So I get this paper from a student. The front page is full of the instructions he wrote to someone else on how to write the paper. The rest of the paper is plagiarized. And some of the paper is plagiarized from my own work on the subject." [Lots of paraphrasing here; it's been a while.]

I'd heard about cheating before, but this was simply stupefying. I could not believe it.

A few months later at the same job, I came across The Chronicle's piece on "shadow scholars," people who work at companies that write academic papers for students. You know, "for reference use only." It's a good read.


Finally, this morning, whilst checking my social media, I found a tip from someone pointing me to this blog post. Now, I didn't know the person sending me the link, and I didn't know the person who posted on this blog, and I didn't know what it was all about. When I finished reading the post, it took me a second to figure out that I, too, may have been plagiarized.


The above really weird recommendation blog post from Andy "Short Stack bassist" Clemmensen is a huge ripoff. (The Google cache is here. The original post is MIA as of right now.)

The first 1.5 sentences are from the first part of the final paragraph of my Kanye review. And the middle third of the second paragraph is all mine as well.

Does it really take less time and effort to rip people's words from different reviews? You (or, more likely, some intern somewhere) really can't slog together 277 words for your bullshit column?

Give me a fucking break, Short Stack.


Update 12/13/2010. 9:44 AM EST:

Feel free to harangue world-renowned bassist Andy Clemmensen on Twitter!