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January 26th, 2007

Seeing the headlines on wral.com this morning, I see that the "something going on last night at Reynolds" was none other than the return of Kay Yow to the game. Explains the media mania.

Next I saw zy1125's comment about my Smoothie's rant in yesterday's blog entry: "Did you ever stop to think that perhaps the owner got the nickname 'Smoothie' because he was such a sweet talker? Or her friends called her 'Smoothie' because of the great, frothy drinks she makes, and when she went into business she used that moniker?"

I have latched onto this dream, and now wish when I said to that cashier before closing the door, "Tell your manager," she would have retorted, "But Smoothie's not working today." That would have been a major bust on me, but in the end, would have made me smile and allowed my mind to be off duty for just a few minutes.



I met Kevin (av8rdude) at 1:15 at Helios, where we spent the afternoon each doing our own thing, each on our respective laptop, each with our respective MP3 player earbuds in.

I contemplated for a little while, the changing nature of shared space, and why it still feels good to share space with someone even when you're not really interacting—at least verbally. In a sense we're interacting by sharing a similar experience. That kind of shit intrigues me.

I used my coupon for a free cup of coffee that I received yesterday for filling out a Helios survey via e-mail. Kevin and I each had the Soup and Half-Sandwich entrée—today's soup a delicious corn chowder, and we both had the Turkey Club as our half-sandwich.



I've been thinking about one of the NPR Story of the Day podcasts I listened to last night while walking, and how interesting it was in terms of the rhetorical devices discussed in it, particularly rhetorical devices that get an audience that is disinterested and opposed to you in the first place, to even listen to you.

Frank Luntz, a republican pollster who specializes in the power of language, and whose latest book is called Words that Work: It's Not What You Say; It's What People Hear, provided a brief rhetorical analysis of President Bush's State of the Union address on Wednesday.

Luntz made two interesting observations:

During one point in the speech, the president actually used the enemy's words directly. He quoted from a letter said to have been written by the late terrorist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Luntz noted: "One of the ten rules of effective communication is credibility, and to be perfectly blunt, this president has lost a great deal of credibility among the American people, and so the only way for him to establish the intensity of the threat that he feels faces this country is to use somebody else's words rather than his own words."

In another stretch of his speech, Bush says, "The evil that inspired and rejoiced in 911 is still at work in the world."

Interviewer:  "Evil that inspires and rejoices, it's almost a language that is evangelical, a bit rhapsodic."

Again, Luntz: "He uses another key principle of effective communication, by saying something that you do not hear in day-to-day context. By changing the English, and sounding biblical, spiritual, it catches our ear, and therefore we're more likely to pay attention to it."

Interviewer: I want to ask you about the speech not in terms of theater or in terms of effectiveness in sheer political terms, but as a wordsmith—high points and low points in the speech for you last night.

Luntz: "To me, the high point was when he spoke of the consequences if Iraq ends early. The word consequences is one of the most powerful words in the English language right now. Consequences can be good, or they can be bad. The actual word itself is neutral, but it causes people to stop and listen. That to me was a very powerful way to make his case for his side of the Iraqi war.

"To me the low point was the fact that I didn't see the passion, and I didn't see the intensity that normally comes from a presidential speech, particularly one delivered in such a difficult time for this individual. George Bush's approval ratings are at an all-time low, and I was expecting to see him come out and really be driven. It did not have that hopeful, optimistic, "city-on-a-hill" communication that one might have expected either from Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton."



I left Helios at 5:15. Robert arrived close to 6:00, and we had a salad for dinner. At just before 6:30, we headed to the Atlantic Carmike 15 for a 7:00 show.



Movie Synopsis: Based on the 1981 Broadway musical comes Dreamgirls, a story of greed, tough hate, and romance. Three young women Deena Jones (Knowles), Effie White (Hudson), and Lorrell Robinson (Rose) desire to become pop stars and get their wish when they're picked to be backup singers for the legendary James "Thunder" Early (Murphy). Then they're set free for leads, but James, Curtis Taylor (Foxx), and Effie's brother C.C. (Robinson) decide for Deena to be lead which upsets Effie. This movie contains both original Broadway and new songs and it's one movie that the whole family will enjoy! With Beyoncé Knowles, Jennifer Hudson, Anika Noni Rose, Eddie Murphy, Jamie Foxx, Keith Robinson, and Danny Glover!


This movie was worth the price of admission alone just to watch and hear Jennifer Hudson sing. Wow!

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