Minh’s Notes

Human-readable chicken scratch

Minh Nguyễn
March 5th, 2005


Blueprint delivers timely issue

The Blueprint was issued yesterday morning, just before the “mid-Lenten prayer service.” That the paper contains timely and relevant articles constitutes such an achievement that that fact alone deserves this headline.

Read on for my monthly analysis, which really should fill three thought-provoking entries this month…

First impressions

When my ten-year-old brother took a look at the newspaper’s front page this morning, he asked me whether the Blueprint only covers sports. Obviously he missed the first story, boldly headlined above the fold, with a glaring typo (“adresses”) no less.

Actually, speaking with many seniors I knew, I concluded that only a few of us actually noticed it. When a typo like that appears right in front of our faces, I wonder if that says something about the English Department. Oh wait, they teach literature, not linguistics, sorry.

But I’ll cut some slack for Sid Deka, the reporter, and his copyediting cohorts Jeff Harmon and Chris Schlechter, since they did deliver a full-length report on an event that unfolded only Tuesday – and made it in time for print.

It’s plausible that much of the article had been planned and worked out well ahead of time, as the actual assembly was being developed, but much of the detail – the incredibly dark photo (they’ll have to work that out with the printers again) and the student reaction – had to have been added in on Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest, I’m sure.


While we’re on the subject of typos and maladjusted images, let’s discuss the various printing errors that cropped up in the current issue, shall we? (Hint: This is the boring section. Think of this as a to-do list for the Blueprint staff.)

Once again, we’re seeing a monospace font (like Courier) popup in random places, all over the place: twice on page 1, once on page 8, and once on page 16. Yes, I know, shocking.

Advertisements are typically sent to the Blueprint via e-mail, and it shows. On page 4, it’s painfully clear that the unclear ad for Home City Ice is in a web image format like GIF or JPEG.

Other mishaps indicate that the Blueprint is using either incredibly cheap or incredibly antiquated software for layout. Page 15, for example, exemplifies the fact that the software can’t correctly justify text – a must for newspapers, which by imperial decree must not contain whitespace (we need to do something about that sometime). Just take a look at John “McFake-name” Ariosa’s admissions article (more on that later). Now scroll your eyes down to the end of TOSU’s first prompt:

The characgter of the Ohio State community is a reflection of the diverse interests, talents, and perspectives of its students, faculty, and staff. What do you believe you will contribute to this university community?

If you have a reasonably up-to-date browser (say, anything newer than Netscape Communicator 4.8), that paragraph will display as justified text, which means that it expands to fill both the left and right margins.

But experiment with that setting in Word, and you’ll soon find out that any line that’s only a few words long won’t be flush with both margins: it’s the same as having it left-aligned.

So either someone was being anal about whitespace and slipped in lots of spaces between each word, or their software doesn’t have half-decent justification.

Half-decent justification exists in software dating back to Microsoft Works 4.0 (circa 1994), and even my family’s cheap Smith-Corona WordSmith 100 typewriter. So they must be using something like Aldus PageMaker 1.0, circa 1987, later bought by Adobe.

Fortunately, the software does know how to superscript the th’s in dates… :rolls-eyes:

And what of the horribly pixelized, partially overlapped horizontal banner on page 7 that cries out “politicallv [sic] incorrect?”

While some of these quirks contribute to the rebellious, “grunge”-style appearance that the Blueprint has embraced for many years (but has stricken from its front page), they simply reaffirm the view that the publication is a very amateurish one.

What more could we expect? It’s published by an all-volunteer staff, right? True, but I do recall many of my peers talking about how we never had to worry about arrogance, because we are, after all, better.

Might I just point out that Moeller’s student-run newspaper, the Crusader, has a website at least, no matter how tacky it may be?

Before I lose you…

…I’d better get off the nit-picking. So on to the actual content!

Assembly Sparks Dialogue, Lacks Depth

John Bell asserts that the video’s main problem was the lack of provoking questions in the interviews. While I can’t speak for all the interviewers, I can say that Chris Lee did a very good job with me. If for nothing else, the fact that he dogged me for more than a week until I finally sat down to an interview with him.

But Chris’s questions were really good. Although HAC had already agreed to focus exclusively on issues of racism, his questions were original, and forced me to think. He also followed up on my responses, forcing me to go beyond generalities, which may be why some people thought that my reponses were particularly good. (I would contend that the movie highlighted my poor public speaking skills, however.)

I also thought that this year’s senior screening of the presentation was particularly worthwhile, primarily because of the crowd responses. Many in the crowd actively challenged both the “expert panel” and the crowd itself. Maybe it’s just that we’re seniors, so we’re less afraid of speaking out.

I didn’t care too much for the “answers” that the likes of Tom Hurley gave, coincidentally, and I don’t think many others did either. Even though we’re all teenagers, and we all like to be rebellious (I’m generalizing now), and we all dislike political correctivity with a vengeance, we know a bad response when we hear one.

The Loneliest Liberal in Fascist Finneytown

Oooh, that L word… hiss!

I’m going to give Ricky a +3 for his well-mannered rant against the blind allegiance to all things Republican (all hail Republican!) that is so evident in our school.

It’s worth noting as well that the more “liberal” side of the populus is also guilty of this; both sides love to pump out shallow and poorly calculated propaganda, for example.

What I absolutely can’t stand is when people start shouting cheers like “Four More Years!” That’s a sign that you’re a mere mouthpiece for your respective political party. It’s like becoming a lemming for the three months before Election Day.

Maybe it’s just that we despise the rebelliousness that used to pervade American teen culture? That we need to rebel against rebellion, or to avoid conforming to a counterconformist culture?

As an Asian, I’m automatically lumped into the liberal category, for better or for worse. This is probably the one stereotype that I actively fit. The others would be that I wear glasses, speak a second language at home, and have academic honors – yes, I actually have to try at school.

But if you take a look at the volumes of entries that I’ve written on politics, society, and current events, it’ll be clear to you that I classify as a liberal for my beliefs, my Catholic upbringing (think social justice), and the endeavors I am a part of.

For all I care, you can even classify me a “creative communist.” (But don’t take that too far.) Denis Radenkovic explains this better than I ever could:

The wiki “philosophy” seemed similar to a Communist philosophy. Everyone can contribute, everyone can use it and it doesn’t really belong to anyone. Like Communism it could work only in an imaginary world…The web!

Don’t forget: I’m involved in several wiki projects, including Wikipedia, and I’ve contributed to other free-content projects, including the Mozilla Project, whose logos used to have a communist theme – just take a look at this, from Mozilla’s primary news source, mozillaZine.

But anyways…

Anti-American Sentiment at Home and Abroad

First of all, a newspaper needs to get its facts straight. Will Barrett correctly associated Adolf Eichmann with “the Nazi reign of terror in Europe,” but he was not a member of the “German Socialist Party.” The German Socialists didn’t even exist as a major party at the time; the closest matches would be the KPD (the Communist Party of Germany) and SPD (the Social Democratic Party of Germany, akin to the American Democratic or Progressive parties). Nazi was the nickname of the NSDAP (the National Socialist German Workers Party).

Second of all:

Across the Asian subcontinent, specifically in North Korea, the anti-American sentiment stems from a man who is back not by his actions but, as it is now clear, by his nuclear arsenal. …

I don’t know what globe you’ looking at, but from all I can tell, Asia is not a subcontinent. He couldn’t have even meant the Indian subcontinent, because North Korea is a far cry from that landmass.

Now, please tell me what this whole history lesson was for, because the conclusion – that Prof. Ward Churchill should hop on a plane – had absolutely nothing to do with Jacques Chirac and his countrymen.

I typically appreciate Will’s well-thought-out platform – it’s the least a well-meaning Republican can do – but he did far too little to tie the bulk of his bulky article into the rest.

But there’s more!

“It’s Cool to Drink,” Or Is It?

Nota bene that many students write to the Blueprint with their opinions, actually meaning to have it printed on the Backside. Instead, they end up in the Viewpoints section, invariably under the heading “Letter to the Editor”, which is exactly whom the letter isn’t to.

With that said, Gary Schulte’s letter eloquently wraps up the discussion about blindly following a political party like a lemming:

… I have far too much pride in myself to ever do something solely for the purpose of gaining social acceptance. It is conceding that one is a lesser being if he is commiting an act for the sole appeasement of his acquaintences. It’s this blind advocacy of something that baffles me. … it is a great injustice to oneself to mindlessly follow some superficial standard set by the school culture and one’s peers.

He was speaking of alcoholic games and such, but it really applies to the growing disregard for one’s own mind at school. (With the notable exception of that part of the brain that handles math – congrats to all AIME candidates!)

Oh boy, I’ve only finished page 3, and it’s been several hours since I started this thing! Better get rolling!

The Bombers

I think the humor on page 7 will suffice for this one, better than any editorial. We all know that the Blue Monster, also known as the Big Blue Rabid Weeble With Its Tongue Sticking Out, is a bad idea. So is the Blue Tide, also known as the Big Blue Rabid Weeble With Its Tongue Sticking Out Underwater. (Rabies was once known as hydrophobia, the fear of water – literally.)

But I’m all for calling our team the Azure Demons. Since that’s not offensive in any way.


Another Senior Cares About College

To all the naysayers: John Ariosa really did do this. And it’s gone down on record in, of all places, the Internet.

Back in January, John posted his two essays. He never followed up with a retraction or clarification of any sort. Then today, he confirmed our suspicions: it did happen. (Just feel for the tone of voice that he wrote that entry in.)

This isn’t the only time he’s posted a mockery of the system: in February, he reposted a Theology paper of his. And all indications are that he actually handed it in to Mr. Daley.

See also: Eric Webb’s proposed essay to Princeton (and my writeup on it).

The Idiot’s Guide to Scheduling

For a serious take on the course changes, see the discussion that took place here regarding them.

The Fashion of the Christ

Joe, it was Trader’s World. Take a look at your post from awhile back.

Top 10: New Cafeteria Chairs

Yeah, I think I need to devote a whole entry on the chairs. The ones that I intend to break within three weeks by bouncing on them, once for every bite I take out of that lovely imitation crabmeat salad on French baguette sandwich.

That’s my staple for the Lenten season. Harrison, on the other hand, is on 40 days of digestive cookies and wood disguised as peanuts. Don’t ask.

Finally… we’re done!

And that, quite obviously, was the longest entry I have ever authored here, and quite possibly the longest entry ever authored on the face of the Internets. (It took me many hours.) Phew!


  1. The post that you’ve all been waiting for: last week, the Blueprint finally published its last issue of the year (take two), replete with three pages of