|B A R E L Y B A D W E B S I T E|
The scan at left is part of a package of information I received as an owner of a few shares of stock in AT&T. Every holder of even one share received this package, mailed out
on May 14, 2002, which weighs about one pound.
Below the scan is the text verbatim.
"AT&T Broadband Acquisition Proposal" means any offer or proposal for, or any indication of interest in (i) a merger, consolidation, share exchange, business combination, reorganization, recapitalization or other similar transaction involving AT&T, the AT&T Broadband Group, AT&T Broadband,or any AT&T Significant Broadband Subsidiary, (ii) the acquisition, directly or indirectly, of (A) an equity interest representing greater than 25% of the voting securities of AT&T, the AT&T Broadband Group, AT&T Broadband or any AT&T Significant Broadband Subsidiary or (B) assets, securities or ownership interests representing an amount equal to or greater than 25% of the consolidated assets or EBITDA generating power of the AT&T Broadband Group, or (iii) any transaction (x) the entering into or the consummation of which would reasonably be expected to be inconsistent in any material respect with the consummation of the transactions contemplated by this Agreement and the other Transaction Agreements, on the terms set forth in this Agreement and the other Transaction Agreements, as the case may be, or (y) that would reasonably be expected to prevent or materially delay, impede or adversely affect the consummation of the transactions contemplated by this Agreement and the other Transaction Agreements other than (X) in the case of (i) or (ii), (I) the transactions contemplated by this Agreement, (II) transactions permitted pursuant to Section 8.01 or (III} transactions that would not directly or indirectly (other than indirectly by virtue of the ownership of securities of AT&T) include any of the business, assets or liabilities of, or materially affect the business of, AT&T (to the extent relating to the AT&T Broadband Group), the AT&T Broadband Group, AT&T Broadband or any AT&T Broadband Subsidiary and (Y) in the case of (i), (ii) or (iii), a transaction that does not involve the AT&T Broadband Group, AT&T Broadband or any AT&T Broadband Subsidiary (except to the extent relating to (A) the transactions contemplated by this Agreement and the other Transaction Agreement or (B) a spin-off of the AT&T Broadband Group substantially pro rata to the holders of AT&T Common Stock not in connection with any other transaction involving the AT&T Broadband Group) that in any such case is consistent with in all material respects with the consummation of the transactions contemplated by this Agreement and the other Transaction Agreements, on the terms set forth in this Agreement and the other Transaction Agreements, as the case may be, provided that each of the parties to such transaction agrees that AT&T and AT&T Broadband shall honor the terms and conditions of this Agreement (any transaction referred to in this clause (Y), an "Excepted Transaction").
The particular document from which this scan is taken, called a proxy statement/prospectus, relates to a proposed merger between Comcast and AT&T, and shareholders are asked to vote whether to approve the merger. This bound volume runs to some 750 pages of 10-point Times text, and on the front cover the heads of those two companies say:
We urge you to read this.
Not just the highlights, mind you, and not just the executive summary, but the whole thing.
The text below the scan is accurate, and it takes up about half a page, so imagine reading something like this 1,499 more times.
Try reading this. Really. I don't mean trying to understand it, of course, I mean just reading it all the way through once, no matter how quickly you get lost.
So, with all that out of the way, why have I gone to all this trouble (and it was a lot of trouble) to reproduce this for you?
Because it's a remarkable quote, worthy of a certain admiration.
First, understand that this extremely long paragraph is only one sentence. I swear, I checked.
It starts with, "'AT&T Broadband Acquisition Proposal'" means," and the entire rest of the entire quoted paragraph is a definition of that one term. This particular page (page A-20 to be exact) appears more or less in the middle of the whole book, so any time you want to know what that term means -- and it appears many, many times -- you have to refer to (and presumably understand) this one entire gargantuan sentence.
This one sentence consists of 2,343 characters comprising some 430 words. At that rate the entire book contains roughly 3.5 million characters comprising 650,000 words. As a shareholder I'm being instructed to read this. And not just read this, of course, but presumably understand it.
Second, whoever wrote it is a veritable master of the English language. It is, as far as I can tell, grammatically correct and logically sensible. Even the punctuation is correct, down to the last jot and tittle.
Third, despite what you might think I might think about this impossibly long sentence, I think it is actually good.
Google's Paragraph 14
November 2007: In order to participate in Google's AdSense
program you, just a regular person, must agree to certain terms and
conditions proposed by Google. Some of them are understandable
in both senses of the word, i.e., you can understand what they say
and you can understand why they say it.
As with the AT&T example above, it is one long sentence and it is
Before I proceed, let me make it clear I don't have anything against Google. In fact, as of today I own a couple three shares of Google stock. And I don't have anything against the AdSense program. And Google does make it perfectly plain to people considering using this program that they must read and understand and be contractually obliged by the agreement of which paragraph 14 is a part. And I don't think Google is trying to sneak anything past us with the wording of paragraph 14. But I also don't think they want it explained as I explain it here. I have to think that if everyone who ever signed up for the AdSense program knew exactly what paragraph 14 says, at least a couple three who were on the fence anyway would have leaned the other way.
So, what does paragraph 14 really say?
If you signed up for Google's AdSense program, did you really
If you disagree with my analysis of any of the above, or
|B A R E L Y B A D W E B S I T E|