User:SPIKE/UnNews

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NH token.JPG The
Foolitzer
Prize

March 2010

Goldstein award.png E G A E D M

The Emmanuel
Goldstein Award

Feb-Mar-Apr-May 2010

I started writing UnNews releases in February 2010 and recording audio versions later in the same month. I recorded all 11 audio releases on UnNews in that month, which made me a lock for the Goldstein award. There is no better way to earn a Manny than for no one else to qualify.

I've done about 20 audios per month since then, compared to no more than 2 for everyone else combined, and have put the Chief on notice that it would be nice to keep the Mannies coming.

The Foolitzer? In March 2010, a four-day power outage took me off-line, and nominations for all sorts of awards began to flood in; surely people thought I was sulking and needed a round of applause to return.

In June, Dexter, who had revived the lost art of narrating articles, promised me a nomination for Narrator of the Month if I'd crank out three of them.

This page lists all my UnNews contributions, and is the place to discuss the text and audio versions. New topics at the end, please.


Contributions[edit]

June 20 UnNews:IPad to replace missal at Mass
June 19 UnNews:Referees again dictate outcome of match (Audio)
June 18 UnNews:Oil spill: Other US political party is sorry it was sorry (Audio)
June 17 Natalie Merchant inducted into Muzak Hall of Fame--by Tritefantastic (Audio)
June 16 UnNews:Shipwrecked teen arouses rescuers
June 13 UnNews:Soccer game ends in tie (Audio)
June 12 Narration of African American (Narration)
Narration of Vulcan (Narration)
June 11 UnNews:Retail sales unexpectedly drop (Audio)
June 9 UnNews:BP faces whims of American public (Audio)
June 7 UnNews:Ohio tornado wreaks havoc, ruins day (Audio)
UnNews:Obama to America: "It's your fault"
June 5 UnNews:McDonald's offers cadmium-laced Shrek glasses (Audio)
June 4 UnNews:Israel condemned for rousting pleasure boaters (Audio)
Baseball's integrity dies--by I.P.Anon and Aleister in Chains (Audio)
June 2 UnNews:Obama off the hook: acted "properly" in Sestak-gate (Audio)
Narration of The Rescuers (Narration)
June 1 UnNews:Al and Tipper Gore split up (Audio)
May 31 UnNews:Obama to honor war dead, including update (Audio)
May 30 UnNews:Bangladesh censors Facebook (Audio)
May 29 UnNews:GOP starts happy-face Web site (Audio)
May 28 UnNews:EPA rejects use of oil-slick dispersants (Audio)
May 27 UnNews:North Korea sinks ship, but this time things will be different (Audio)
May 26 UnNews:Libertarian wins primary, reporters sharpen knives (Audio)
May 24 UnNews:Mexican president lays out agenda for US (VFH nom) (Audio)
May 22 Greece destabilises Europe--by Ahadwick (Audio)
May 21 UnNews:Nominee may be ugly, Jewish, and lesbian {{Original}} (Audio)
May 20 Beck sees conspiracy in BP spill and Cuban meeting--by Romartus (Audio)
May 18 UnNews:UnNews Chief entraps popular news-reader {{UnNews Column}} (Audio)
May 13 Tribune terminates Little Orphan Annie--by Prettiestpretty (Audio)
May 12 UnNews:US minority party still beset by surrender instinct {{Original}} (Audio)
Cameron offer to be designated driver seals Con-Lib coalition--by Matt lobster (Audio)
May 10 D.C. Council approves party weed--by Funnybony (Audio)
May 8 Russia celebrates Scottish assistance in World War Two--by Romartus (Audio)
May 6 Fishy DNA results leave scientists baffled--by Aineolach (Audio)
May 5 UnNews:Boston emulates Louisiana, bombs pipeline (Audio)
May 4 UnNews:Bush I, Clinton join forces on Louisiana relief‎ {{Original}}
May 2 Beaches oiled for maintenance--by Striker2117 (Audio)
May 1 UnNews:Arizona pundit "round-up" (Audio)

but wait--there's more!

Format[edit]

Content[edit]

Almost all my UnNews releases key off an actual piece of news, typically taking an item from the Associated Press and either misinterpreting it or carrying it to its logical conclusion. I strongly think that is what UnNews should be--as opposed to someone with a wacky idea incompletely putting it into news-release form to flog it (and himself) on the UnNews audience. (The Reverend Zim says my opinion aligns with the original UnNews concept, but his valid opinion is, essentially, Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom.)

Audio[edit]

The ASR33 TeleType is a staple of any good newsroom. (Internet? What's that?) WINS 1010 KHz in New York City still uses the sound effect behind its news reporting.

My UnNews audio features use a mix of the British UnNews theme jingle that I fade into a TeleType sound effect. They end by repeating the British theme, with a faster fade-out. My sports features start with Pennant Fever, composed by James Newton Howard for the movie Major League.

Signature lines

My features begin by reading the headline and then adding, "Stay tuned--for UnNews!" which is a parody of radio commentator Paul Harvey. They end with the catch-line, "This has been UnNews, a service of Uncyclopedia. Straight talk from straight faces."

Other commentators can copy and use any of the above. They are not "official" UnNews Audio tag lines and no one is required to use them, nor to follow any rules except to be funny. The finale, "My name is Spike. No, seriously" is not adaptable to other news readers, unless your Uncyclopedia handle is also what people call you in real life, in which case I pity some of you. My first couple of audio features ended with the tag line used by The Reverend, "Thank you for suffering!" However, I regard this as his personal signature, and have ceased to steal it now that I have something equally good.

Running jokes

My UnNews features have repeated the following jokes:

  • The Republican Party is "the minority party, whose name could not be determined," or something similar; likewise the names of its leaders, to mock them for not standing up to Barack Obama during all of 2009, when he had Godlike popularity.
  • In audio features, "Washington D.C." becomes an adoring "Washington, the capital," recalling Jackson Browne's Lawyers in Love.

In early features, the audio anchor (perhaps like Ted Baxter on the Mary Tyler Moore Show) was inexplicably unable to pronounce "Massachusetts." I gave up on this because it merely seemed like a flub unless the listener knew the joke.

Audio setup

I record the audio features into WAV files using sound recording software on a Toshiba laptop. I read the UnNews page from the screen of another laptop, on which WinAmp plays the theme and sound effects. WinAmp and my voice are analog mixed, and my voice is given echo, by a Sansui stereo component. The finale (a repeat of the British UnNews theme with a voiceover) is canned. I digitally edit the result to remove stuttering, any excessive pauses, and flubs. Digital processing ensures that the files start and end in perfect silence, while the TeleType effect hides any background noise.

Audio--Technical details[edit]

An audio editor on Win98, showing (in green) the audio contents of a monaural (single-channel) WAV file at about the right volume level: The highest peaks and valleys just touch the edge of the window. You can see, at the start and end of the audio clip, portions without voice but only the UnNews theme.
WAV files

A wave file (the filename ends in .WAV) samples sound a certain number of times per second and stores the energy level at each sample as a 16-bit number (between plus and minus 32,767). Like graphics on an old printer, where curves turn into jagged lines, the copy isn't exact, but only concert violinists have any problems with CD-quality WAV files (44100 samples per second). Any audio editor program will show you your voice as a wave, like an oscilloscope.

Wave files are huge, but there is no need to send them between computers, and any computer made in the last ten years will handle them easily. Don't use 8-bit recording. These files are half as big, but store each sample as an 8-bit number (between plus and minus 127). You can make out voice and music, but fade-outs get very hissy.

Experiment with volume levels. Too loud, and your recorder will try to record values beyond 32,767. The wave will get an artificial flat top (the sound will be "clipped") and it will sound bad. Too soft, and the listener will have to crank up his set--but this means you aren't using the full range, and your voice will be recorded with less accuracy. Ideally, you should record a test, look at it with a sound editor, and ensure that the loudest point of your feature just touches the top and bottom of the graph area. If the sound only gets halfway to those edges, you are recording 10 decibels softer than you could, and using only half the available accuracy.

You don't need a recording studio, but plaster, tile, and hardwood surfaces may produce noticeable echo. If you care, you can reduce this with wall-hangings, which may be towels. Plug a real microphone into the PC's microphone jack instead of using a built-in microphone. Background noises won't interfere with your voice but may be detectable during moments of silence. Record a test and play it back at full volume, or look at it in an audio editor, to see what background noise you are recording.

MP3 files

Sounds are waves, and you can make a smaller file by describing the shape of the wave than by specifying every point on the curve. That's what MP3 files do. Playing MP3 files is an exact science, but translating a wave file into MP3 is an art that is done with differing quality. You specify how big, per unit of time, you want the MP3 file to be, and the encoder (or compressor) fills the space with as detailed a description of the wave as will fit.

The human mind doesn't hear sound so much as it senses things happening; you cannot hear a bell tinkling at the same time as an explosion; you cannot hear a soft C-sharp at the same time as a loud C. Your mind filters these sounds out as distractions. A good MP3 encoder omits from the file many sounds you are unlikely to be able to hear, freeing more space in the file to represent sounds of more relevance. Different minds perceive differently, and opinions differ about the quality of sound produced by various encoders. I have no preference.

Recommended settings
Using one of these helps your voice be heard.

I dial down audio clips from 44100 Hz 16-bit stereo to 22050 Hz 16-bit mono, which is adequate for voice. This produces WAV files 1/4 of the size of CD-quality files (2.646 Mb/min rather than 10.584 Mb/min). The common 128 Kbit/sec (kbps) setting reserves 0.96 Mb/min, and the encoder uses all that space for quality audio details that are not present or not important. Since March, I have specified 96 kbps, producing files of 0.72 Mb per minute without noticeable drop-off in sound quality. (A Mb is about one thousandth of a gigabyte.)

There are no volume settings when translating from WAV to MP3. On some old compressors that make assumptions rather than read the quality settings from the WAV file, you may have to tell it if you recorded your WAV file with less than CD-quality.

ID3

MP3 files can contain descriptions as well as music. Much MP3-playing software lets you type or edit these descriptions. My audio clips don't use ID3. For your information--

  • ID3v1 lets you add a few, fixed-length fields to the end of an MP3 file, such as artist, album name, song name, and comments.
  • ID3v2 is at the start of the MP3 file, so software can display it without searching to the end of the file. There are more fields, and they can be much longer, including multi-line comments.

Neither MP3 files nor WAV files contain computer code or any way for a virus to infect your computer. Even a file that claims to be an audio file, but isn't, can't damage your computer, if you deal with it through an audio player. (MP3 files with ID3v2 can contain a web link, and if your player gives you a button to click, and if you click it, this could take you to a web site that doesn't play by the rules.)

Talk page for UnNews and UnNews Audio[edit]

Archive 1 of this page

A man of letters[edit]

Thanks for helping with the letters, I was amused. I hope you are amused by my answers, although they aren't as inscrutable as they could be... I'll have to work on that. Cheers! rev. zim_ulator (Talk - Edits Logs) I am the dirt under your rollers. 00:49, May 25, 2010 (UTC)

UnNews:Dire financial predictions for the rest of 2010[edit]

Hi Spike! Great job on saving that list of quotes. I wasn't sure what to do with it. But you made it work. That was my hope. It really is so over-the-top that it seemed "funny" and I thought it might be useful. Otherwise I'll stick to what I know you like - real news with the twist. I was just in USA and seeing the inside of a supermarket made it hard to imagine "food riots" in the USA. But it's also hard to imagine what is now happening around me in the Big Mango. Civil War between the mafia and the elite. And the government and elite are right in this matter, rule of law must be followed. Now it is anarchy here, with hired goons running amok trying to overthrow the lawful government, all paid by a fugitive former PM who should be in jail - or, after making all this mess, he should be killed. The army are up against the the most provocative bastards and goons, who try everything to goad the police and army into acting, just so they can calm oppression. But it is actually the REDS who are attacking the army, not visa versa. If the army wanted to free-fire on the protesters there would be 1,000 people dead in an hour. But after 3 days of war only 35 dead, because of the great restraint of the army who are trying not to hurt anyone. But they are being attacked by Reds with war weapons and grenades. The army are fighting with one hand tied behind their backs. They have to follow rules, but the protesters break every rule. I hope the Army can complete this clean up soon. Its always the damn REDS since I was a kid! --- DUDE! Do you have anything I can vote for now? Stay well--Funnybony Icons-flag-th.png http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/uncyclopedia/images/7/7a/Agnideva-small.jpg http://images4.wikia.nocookie.net/uncyclopedia/images/0/02/AGT-logo-small.jpg 17:00, May 17

There won't be food riots here, though new rules from the permanent, bipartisan bureaucracy on tracing of farm animals and New England fisheries are starting to drive up prices. And Obama will be out of office and reminiscing with Jimmy Carter before the health-care riots begin.
No third-world government is as benign, and no revolt is so unambiguous, as you describe the situation in Thailand. But I have no data with which to disagree with you. Regarding voting for me, you already have, this month. Spıke ¬ 18:36 17-May-10

Invitation to narrate[edit]

(Originally: Orders from the top.) Yeah, I got told by my more dominant personality that you should do at least three audios of mainspace articles so he can nominate you on ANOTM this next month (since UnNews don't qualify for this). Pleb CUN KUN Dexter111344 Complain here Vote now! 00:31, May 28, 2010 (UTC)

More dominant????? Spıke ¬ 00:56 28-May-10
I obviously know how to make an audio--but the said page doesn't describe or point to a description of what is expected. Is it left totally up to the narrator? Is there a convention for what to do with section heads? Spıke ¬ 01:19 28-May-10

Eh, if the header fits doesn't break the flow of the article, read it. If it does, don't read it. Also, pretty much everything is left up the narrator. Take my take of Colin's I will never forget. I decided it needed a hick accent and the last line needed to just be read with such anguish. You're definitely talented enough to read it. If you want, my Hollywood values could use a dry read. Pleb CUN KUN Dexter111344 Complain here Vote now! 01:53, May 28, 2010 (UTC)

All right. Also, I don't know how anyone knows you've done one. {{Listen}} doesn't seem to feed any category and there seems to be no home page on audio renditions. Spıke ¬ 02:04 28-May-10

From his talk page

The first result is Media:The Rescuers.mp3. Again, there needs to be a category, and use of {{Listen}} needs to enroll the page into that category, so there is some enumeration of what narrations exist. Spıke ¬ 13:40 3-Jun-10

Yeah, the {{Listen}} should feed all articles into Category:Spoken articles and would, but the damn thing has a cascade block on it... I'll get that fixed. Also, great audio. I love it. 2 more and you're the ANOTM. Pleb CUN KUN Dexter111344 Complain here Vote now! 14:48, June 3, 2010 (UTC)

"Locking" UnNews pages[edit]

On my query in UnNews:Newsroom: Why don't UnNews stories expire as Forums do?

If you really want to, simply add the following code on the page somewhere.

<div id="old-forum-warning"></div> __noeditsection__

It's a minor hack, but it will stop most IP edits and minimise user edits, but is work-aroundable. This can also be included into an UnNews template if Zim and yourself are inclined, and I should be able to set it up to work 14 days after the timestamp on the article. PuppyOnTheRadio sig.gif                                                  Tuesday, 08:01, Jun 1 2010 UTC

UnNews:Baseball's integrity dies[edit]

Please give the IP and I a bit more time before you record it, probably a little or medium more to come, not much but a little more. Thanks. Al sans chains 1:00 4 6 mmx

Seems done. Think we should feature it, but that would need you and I to go out and whore it because the UnNews pages that go up for VFH lose because of out-of-date issues. And, oh, almost forgot, fuck Bud Selig. Al des chains 1:10 4 6 MMX

I got enthused and recorded it before I saw your message. Divergence is to be expected when one person records someone else's story; if it's serious, it's not burdensome to re-record it, but I think the snapshot I used has merit in its own right. I don't care about featuring, especially because of the issue you mention. Spıke ¬ 01:22 4-Jun-10
I reviewed the history; most recently, you added a technicality (perfect games do happen all the time in the minors) but it doesn't have to be stated in the audio version. The ambiguity is what you get for putting an article in Mainspace BEFORE YOU ARE DONE EDITING IT. Or failing to use the Preview button. Now, for correct attribution, is Anon you? or do you know who he is? Spıke ¬ 01:26 4-Jun-10

Great recording. No, the IP page went up, I saw it and saw it needed both editing, additions, a good photo, and proper formating to fit UnNews. Then either the IP or someone else put it on the page as was, and I copied and pasted the new edits and format. Left him notes on his talk page and he answered, both of us were surprised nothing had been written before he wandered into the site. Al des chains 1:29 4 6 MMX

As I was, on the Israel brouhaha (rectified today). Tell him to register and I'll see that he gets credit in "Users whose material got recorded." Thanks for your compliment on the audio. Spıke ¬ 01:32 4-Jun-10
Even though no one here has initiative, Anon should be impressed that three people promptly jumped on his initiative and whipped it into UnNews shape. Spıke ¬ 01:33 4-Jun-10

Ah, we both know that the Anon was a Detroit Tiger's player, or one of the old players. Is Al Kaline still alive? Him. Al des chains 1:37 4 6 MMX

A Latino player (Galarraga himself?) who thinks his best recourse is at UnNews?! The story is up on the Sports Page. Spıke ¬ 01:43 4-Jun-10

Si. Sports page? Main page beckons, this is huge news in North America, second only to the oil spill and maybe that moron who killed the girl in Peru. Al 1:46 4 6 MMX

The story is in the list on the Sports Page and on the Front Page. When Zim creates a graphic for the Front Page, I'll replicate it on the Sports Page.

Serious discussion of the blown umpiring call[edit]

By the way, although I had fun with this story, I absolutely disagree with its thesis. Baseball's only standard for what happened is the instant judgement of the men in blue; they are known to make mistakes (for which the only recourse is the study baseball has done on using technology and slowly adopting instant replay), and a mistake by an umpire, and the Commissioner's unwillingness to reverse it out of pity, has no implications for the integrity of the game. The real test would be if the pitcher were a Cy Young winner rather than a rookie just recalled from the minors. There would then be serious pressure to reverse a ruling from Madison Avenue. The Official Scorer, a 30-year veteran, bless him, refused to score that hit an error to let Galarraga walk away with a no-hitter, as no misplay occurred (except that of Jim Joyce). That's integrity. Spıke ¬ 01:53 4-Jun-10

I agree, but Jim Joyce will live with this now and within his legacy. If Selig doesn't reverse he's scrambled Joyce's legacy and makes the pitcher a hero. But the real guy who missed his chance at greatness, legend type greatness, is the player who got the "hit" but knew he was out. If he had waved his hands, said no, no, and refused to take his base, he would be remembered for the next few decades as a symbol of principled action. Al des chains few minutes later

Thank you for the Manny nomination. But the above is crap. Joyce is sweating bullets, and especially will tonight if he is not given the day off but takes his scheduled position behind home plate at Comerica. But he has been in MLB for decades and is well-respected. Galarraga just came up from the minors and is still aglow at being in The Show. He never expected to pitch a perfect game, will have hundreds more chances to do so, and he now has a great story to tell his grandchildren.
The batter may overrun first base and, if he trotted back to the dugout, would have made the 27th out by abandoning the bases. But--apart from the ambiguity on the part of the players, who don't have instant replay on the field--he represented the tying run. He is in the stadium to win baseball games, not to secure an opponent's place in a history book. He damages his usefulness to his team, and thus his career and his earning power, if he pursues such affectations.
Integrity consists of doing well the job one has chosen to do. If you keep doing that for long enough, fame, and the Hall of Fame, will follow. Your notion that players would put a notion of destiny above the faithful performance of their job is comparable to the Rock 'N Roll notion that a soldier would or should refuse to kill the enemy, thinking that he is the peacemaker who will change history. Spıke ¬ 02:39 4-Jun-10
Ah, a good discussion. Joyce did fine in today's game, got applause, because he fessed up his mistake. So he comes out well. Galarraga's time in majors has nothing to do with this game, played one at a time. From the vids the player who got the 'hit' knew he was out immediately, knew that the bad call by the ump would cost a fellow player--non-teammate or not--his place in history, and maybe not taking the vids into account for that moment knew that the pitcher knew he was out too, and even looked at the pitcher in surprise and a touch of meekness (if I read it out right). And if he had called himself out, and left the field, his manager could have then and there sent in a pinchrunner, so nothing would be changed except the player making a principled stand. Oh well, Selig will likely reverse at some point soon, maybe after the ump association asks him to just to ease the incident's impact in Joyce's long-term reputation. Al des chains 3:12 4 6 MMX

UnNews Greatly Improved[edit]

Just to register my strong appreciation for both you and Zim (and anyone else) for really improving the UnNews page. Looks a lot more lively now and will help to encourage more contributions (hopefully)! --RomArtus Imperator(talk) 22:16, June 7, 2010 (UTC)

Nice of you to say so! Also Funnybony, who is on the page daily and more and more reading like news; a new Bullshit Bandito covering the Rio-Grande beat, Happytimes still contemplating improving the Category system, and several Repeat Offenders such as yourself. Spıke ¬ 04:08 8-Jun-10
Yes, yesssss... our plot is unfolding nicely. rev. zim_ulator (Talk - Edits Logs) I am the dirt under your rollers. 01:44, June 11, 2010 (UTC)

UnNews:Mexican president lays out agenda for US on VFH[edit]

I had to vote against your article on the VFH page as I didn't think it was strong enough. I don't normally vote for any UnNews as features because...well they are news after all. You do have a valid point about how long articles take to accumulate votes to get a nomination - by which time the news has indeed moved on. Not sure what to suggest but I hope Zim doesn't go back to Jesus for inspiration again! --RomArtus Imperator(talk) 16:33, June 10, 2010 (UTC)

Zim already did, of course--for which I needled him on his talk page. Spıke ¬ 17:19 10-Jun-10
Fair warning: I've found a couple of new hilarious Jesus pics. I may be once again possessed by something like the devil to write another jesus article soon. Sorry. Cheers! rev. zim_ulator (Talk - Edits Logs) I am the dirt under your rollers. 01:47, June 11, 2010 (UTC)

Hah![edit]

Special Titillation, Prurience, and Double Entendre Issue... heh heh. rev. zim_ulator (Talk - Edits Logs) I am the dirt under your rollers. 14:51, June 16, 2010 (UTC)

Do you think anyone will notice that the podcast thing is working? rev. zim_ulator (Talk - Edits Logs) I am the dirt under your rollers. 21:44, June 18, 2010 (UTC)

Paying the whore his due[edit]