October 29, 2010

Burnettiquette's moving again...

Sheesh, I feel like the man without a country - in this case without a blog home.

So, if you've been loyal to this blog the past five years, you know that two years ago we moved it from Blogger to Typepad, to a platform hosted by the Miami Herald.

Well, the Miami Herald is updating and changing its blogging setup, and that means cleaning house. So Burnettiquette, along with a few other blogs that haven't been regularly updated for a long time, is on the chopping block. What can I tell you? The past six months have been full, so full I haven't had much time to blog very often (even though I've said repeatedly, "I'll start blogging again, tomorrow!").

No worries, I'm still reporting and writing columns for the Miami Herald. In fact here is my latest column. WaveManCali, I don't want to see any sniping about government interference in our daily lives. You'll see in the middle of the column I actually take your stance on that one!

And, I'll still be blogging. While a new, independent home is being built for the Burnettiquette Blog, starting some time this weekend, or Monday, I'll be temporarily posting at Burnettiquette's old home - http://Burnettiquette.blogspot.com.

So head on over there, and as soon as the new blog site is ready, I'll post the new address at http://Burnettiquette.blogspot.com.

Peace and Hair Grease,


PS. In the mean time, you can also follow me on Twitter, @JamesBurnett.

Posted by James B. at 10:54 AM in Current Affairs, James Burnett is a know-it-all, Media Industry, My Articles and Columns
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August 30, 2010

Georgia nail salon charges overweight people extra

A Georgia woman, who weighs 200-lbs-plus, went to her favorite salon the other day and got a mani/pedi and eyebrow job done.

When she checked out, she noticed she'd been charged $5 over the standard rates and asked why. The manager hinted that extra weight meant extra work for the nail handlers who have to rub on hands and feet all day. She also said people over 200-lbs tend to damage the salon chairs.

Fair policy, or unnecessary and mean-spirited?

Follow me, please, at twitter.com/jamesburnett.

Posted by James B. at 02:28 PM
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August 27, 2010

Passenger jet accidentally activates recorded "We're gonna crash!!!!" message

Passengers on a British Airways flight from London to Hong Kong were greeted by this lovely automated message, while flying above the North Sea in the middle of the night: "We're about to crash."

Flight crew, quickly corrected the error and told passengers, Oops, our bad!

This is funny, but mostly in that "Ha ha! I'm not gonna die, so I feel like laughing uncontrollably!" sort of way.

The one sorta genuinely funny thing about it though is that one passenger, interviewed after the plane safely landed, was quoted as saying "I can't think of anything worse than being told your plane's about to crash."

I have one: Your plane actually crashing.

So here's a great question posed by Gawker: Who knew that airliners had pre-recorded messages for this kind of stuff? I've been on planes where it seemed like the end was near - like the flight back to Chicago from Aruba, after my honeymoon a few years ago, and always a crew member got on the horn and - sometimes nervously - told everyone it was all good. And we'd survive. I think if I'm on a plane and about to eat it, I want to hear a human freaking out just like I'd be.

I'm already a semi-nervous flier, not so much 'cause I doubt the mechanical ability of planes. I worked on 'em in college. And depending on which way the wind is blowing, that experience makes me either slightly more or much less confident in airline safety. We worked on Navy fighter jets in my college job. And sometimes to mess with the pilots' heads, some of the more veteran techs used to place random Band-aids on different parts of the wings or fuselages. When the pilots came to retrieve their jets, they'd see these bandages intended for flesh and reasonably freak out and ask things like "Um, should that be there? Don't you guys have rivets or something for this stuff?" Then the old techs with the twisted humor would let them in on the joke. At least I think it was a joke.

No, my nervousness stems more from not knowing who the other folks on the plane are and whether or not the crew is competent. Hey, if a flight attendant can lose it and slide down the emergency shoot when the plane is parked and at the terminal, what makes you think the next fed up flight attendant won't do that mid-flight?

Anyway, if this happened to me, it would be at least a year if ever before I got on a plane again. I think I'd try to take a bus even for inter-continental flights, or a submarine, or cruise ship or something.

PS. Follow me, please, at twitter.com/jamesburnett.

Posted by James B. at 09:13 PM in Current Affairs, Humor, James Burnett is a know-it-all, Travel
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July 19, 2010

The fastest way to never get a meaningful (or fun) date

CNN.com is reporting that the new trend for hip 20- and 30-something singles is to have their parents play the "wingman" role.

A 63-year-old New York City woman, whose best friend is her woefully single 31-year-old son, just launched a Web site called Date My Single Kid.

If her kid gets any dates at all out of this Internet gimmick, they'll be curiosity dates, one-time-deals by women who want to date the guy whose mom made the news...'cause of her dating site.

If you don't know - and you should! - you can probably guess that a "wingman" is a friend who accompanies a single person on a night out and runs interference.

As per the Cowboy Code, a good wingman helps the single person on the prowl attract and woo a desired target.

Back when I was single and cooler than the other side of the pillow, I expected my wingmen to talk to a woman's friends and keep them from sprinkling Haterade on me while I attempted to talk to their friend.

It rarely worked 'cause my wingmen were terrible. And had we all been in the military, they'd have gotten dishonorable discharges for the number of times they left me behind enemy lines with no backup. Me on the other hand? I left it all on the battlefield when I was on wingman duty.

Whatever. One thing I know for certain though, is having your mom or dad sing your praises to a potential date only works in the movies - Cary Grant movies set in a period of time where single adults thought it was adorable that your parents pimped you out.

You want a good date, hone in on someone, approach them sanely, speak to them, and see where it goes. And if that doesn't work, adjust your post-approach conversation.

PS. Follow me, please, at twitter.com/jamesburnett.

Posted by James B. at 11:22 PM in CNN, Current Affairs, Education, Family, Humor, Internet, James Burnett is a know-it-all, Pop Culture, Relationships, Romance, Stranger than fiction
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The Good Old Days of Journalism...

The Washington Post's Gene Weingarten'is old enough to be my dad...I think. And I mean that as a compliment. But in this column he nails it and expresses everything I feel about journalism since I got into the biz a scant 14 years ago.

PS, follow me, please, at twitter.com/jamesburnett.

Posted by James B. at 10:46 PM in Current Affairs, Education, Haterade, History, Humor, Media Industry, News, Pop Culture
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July 09, 2010

Deconstructing Lebron James Mania

What's crackin', friends and frienemies? Unless you live under a rock or in parts of Iraq, even if you're not a pro sports fan, you probably know that over the past week or so there's been big buzz in the news over where now-former Cleveland Cavaliers basketball star LeBron James would land in this season of free agency. He landed in Miami...last night.

Awesome news for the Miami Heat and the team's fans. Great news for sports journalists - especially those based in South Florida, given the amazingly talented trio of James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosch, now leading the Heat. Not so great news for folks in Cleveland.

But amidst all the hype surrounding this story, there are a few highlights - good and bad - that have been missed.

No worries. JB has 'em for you - five considerations for jocks, fans, and media on Lebron James's move to Miami:

  1. To the sports journalists and angry Cleveland fans who say James can no longer be considered a superstar, because he's pairing up with another superstar, where were you for all the years the Los Angeles Lakers stacked the deck? Does anyone remember Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant playing together? Granted, Bryant was a rookie when they started. But they still played together. What about Magic Johnson and James Worthy? Seriously, you would never put down the superstar quarterback of your favorite NFL team for wanting to play with a superstar wide receiver. Oh, the horror! Two big stars on one team! It's the end of pro sports as we know it! Moving right along.
  2. At Cleveland.com, online home of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, there are hundreds of comments by former James fans suggested that their lives and their region have been ruined by his departure. These are clearly people who have not faced layoff at work or cancer or an earthquake or a tornado, because LeBron James leaving town should not ruin the lives of people who were not close to him. Folks in Cleveland and disjointed sports journalists, James wasn't your friend. If you weren't at his kids' christenings or at his house for a barbecue now and then, he wasn't your friend. He wasn't in an intimate relationship with you. Friends and lovers are people who owe you something, people who know you. James's relationship with you was an extension of his business relationship with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Deep Breaths. It'll be alright.
  3. To the sports journalists who have sided with Dan Gilbert, Cavaliers' owner, in calling James a coward and a traitor and disloyal for leaving the team, how many of you, who are not from New York or LA, or Chicago or DC, or Miami (had to slip that in there!), still live and work in your home towns? If loyalty to where you're from means that much, why aren't you broadcasting and printing from the weak-signaled TV and radio stations and three-page newspapers in your tiny home towns? Why'd you all clammer early in your careers to get to Chicago or New York or LA...or Miami? 'Cause you wanted to do your thing in settings that gave you a better chance at media stardom, bigger money, or both.
  4. I've had a theory for a long time that modern pro sports is just a few steps away from modern slavery. Cavaliers' owner Dan Gilbert's reaction to James sort of sealed it for me. Don't get all squirelly and uncomfortable. But think about it. Rich men bid in informal auctions on the services of strapping young men. That sums up the free agency element to pro sports. My point is the logical mind gets that sports team owners offer jocks sums of money to play for a number of years. Jocks play. Owners pay. When the agreement ends they renew it on different terms or they part ways. The blood-boiling reactions from Gilbert and many Cavs fans though would have you believe that James's name was actually Toby, that he was their property and that he had no right to leave town, that he, not his uniforms and paraphernalia, was property of the team and the town. The only way Lebron James still "owed" Cleveland anything would be if he hadn't fulfilled his contract. Gilbert paid, James played. Done deal. Yeah, James promised a championship and never brought it. So what. Shaq promised a second championship to Miami and got traded before that happened. I don't see any bounty hunters after him for leaving town.
  5. LeBron isn't completely blameless in the swirl of anger and bad feelings surrounding his departure from Cleveland. Although I have to say the level of rage aimed at him last night makes it seem like a very wise and safe decision in retrospect to make his announcement outside the state of Ohio! Seriously, though, he should fire whichever public relations pro advised him to announce his decision in a one-hour televised special last night. It smacked of mega-ego - not the "standard" kind that we come to assume all elite athletes have, but rather the arrogant, indifferent kind that lazy, privileged types often display. That announcement show was more dragged out than elimination night on American Idol. James should've held a standard, traditional news conference, announced in five minutes or less his decision, his "sadness" over leaving home, and how much he was looking forward to taking his career in a new direction in Miami. Then he should've opened the floor for questions for 20 minutes or so, taken the inevitable beating that good journalists would've laid on him, and called it a night.

PS. Follow me, please, at twitter.com/jamesburnett.

Posted by James B. at 01:54 PM in Current Affairs, Ethics and Morals, Family, Friendship, Games, Haterade, Health, History, Humor, James Burnett is a know-it-all, Media Industry, News, Pop Culture, Public Relations, Race and Race Relations, Sports, Stranger than fiction, Stupid celebrity tricks, Television
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The Real Deal with Unemployment Rates

Yeah, yeah, I know. On Friday, July 9, 2010, news about anything not related to Lebron James in South Florida probably isn't that exciting.

Nevertheless, I know a few of you care about dollars and cents outside an arena, so here is my weekly column. This week's topic: Funny government math to make the job loss outlook seem better than it really is.

PS. Follow me, please, at twitter.com/jamesburnett.

Posted by James B. at 12:54 PM in Current Affairs, Ethics and Morals, History, Humor, James Burnett is a know-it-all, My Articles and Columns, News, Politics, Pop Culture
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June 25, 2010

What's worse for the neighborhood: crazy paint on a bldg, or a crumbling bldg?

What's crackin', folks?

I'm off today, continuing a day-and-a-half anniversary celebration with Mrs. B. In another post - perhpas over the weekend - I'll share how we marked five years hitched.

But here's some food for thought: My column in today's Miami Herald is about city officials in Hollywood, FL, pressuring a beachfront hotel owner to tone down the bright pink color he recently painted the place. It's a historic little boutique place, with a cool tiki bar. Jimmy Hoffa used to vacation there. Neat spot. But it's realllllllly bright now. Some neighbors and city officials have decided they hate the new color. They believe it's gawdy and takes away from the $100 million beachfront rehab effort the city has engaged in over the past few years. Some even say the bright pink building feeds the blight and decay the city's trying to combat.

Here's the catch: The city approved the color, when the hotel owner applied for a permit to paint and change the look back in December. Now the city doesn't like the color. Not only that, but some city officials are so appalled by the look of the place that they sprang into near-instant action and coralled a group of college architecture students to develop an official city color palette.

Here's the conundrum: Two miles away from this pink hotel are buildings that are visibly decaying. There are hookers painted more brightly than the hotel strolling up and down a major street, and there are residents who've been griping about both for decades. Their question and mine? Why is the city so hell-bent on "quieting" the color of the pink place, but not showing the same apparent urgency with a nearby residential area that's been dealing with worse than pink paint for decades?

Read the column here. And tell me what you think.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go enjoy my status as an official veteran of marriage.

PS, follow me, please, at twitter.com/jamesburnett.

Posted by James B. at 12:13 PM in Current Affairs, James Burnett is a know-it-all, My Articles and Columns, News, Politics, Travel, Urban Living
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June 23, 2010

In case you didn't believe in bad luck...

This North Carolina man thought he'd experienced the worst thing ever when he was struck by lightning in 2006...until last week when he was run over by a bear in his front yard.

Posted by James B. at 06:31 PM in Current Affairs, Environment, Humor, Internet, James Burnett is a know-it-all, News, Stranger than fiction
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June 18, 2010

Mentor a kid today, prevent him from robbing you tomorrow

Check out my column in today's Miami Herald that expounds on the title of this post.

And don't forget to follow me at Twitter.com/JamesBurnett.

Posted by James B. at 11:29 AM in Crime, Current Affairs, Education, Ethics and Morals, Family, James Burnett is a know-it-all, My Articles and Columns, News, Pop Culture, Urban Living
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