31 August 2005

Troops target homes

U.S. warplanes bombed several Iraqi houses along the Syrian border Tuesday morning, killing a man described by the military as a "known terrorist" and destroying what officials called three insurgent safe houses. The military statement said there was little damage to surrounding buildings. Iraqi residents, however, said there had been massive property damage and high civilian casualties. Residents put the death toll for the bombings at 56, and said U.S. warplanes also attacked rescuers attempting to extract survivors from the debris. -- Los Angeles Times

30 August 2005

Butterscotch ice cream recalled

It was a tough news day. Sad stories coming out of the south. The title above is the actual headline from an AP story. It alerts us to a legitimate health issue, but I smiled when I read it. We should be so lucky if peanut-laden ice cream was our only concern today.
"About 870 gallons of butterscotch ice cream, made by House of Flavors Inc. of Michigan and distributed to retail stores in Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia, because the products contain the undeclared allergen peanut butter." -- AP.

Fourty percent of troops in Iraq are National Guard

With Hurricane Andrew in 1992, George H.W. Bush mobilized 22,000 members of the U.S. Military and 6,000 from the National Guard. Andrew seemed bad at the time, but the week's hurricane is far worse. Blatant looting and lawlessness in New Orleans add a new spin. Today a police officer was shot in the head by a looter. Only 6,200 National Guard troops are on duty in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

26 August 2005

Road rage of a different stripe

Regarding the Freeway Blogger: "The politically minded are finding they can get a message out to captive audiences for the cost of a can of spray paint and some bungee cords." (Nate Trela, Detroit Free Press)

25 August 2005

Laughing in the face of petrol

16 August 2005

Public enemy number...1001

Garrison Keillor has got to be the most boring man in media. Nonetheless, he was nearly tossed off the air in Lexington, KY for the most innocuous utterings. The FCC carries a big stick and has struck the fear of God into station managers and those who sign their checks.

In Keillor's case, his audience rose up in protest and had to educate the folks at WUKY-FM. As it turns out "breast" is not a bad word. Who knew? The station was acting preemtively. Not a single listener had complained about his show, "Writers' Almanac."

Having entertained millions without ever becoming a blip on the radar of cool, Keillor seemed proud of the temporary controversy. "You are nobody in radio until you've been fired at least once," he told the Associated Press. Don't get excited Keillor. You are no Howard Stern. (-Cavalier, Arrivals & Departures)

"Recent poems had included words such as 'breast' and the phrase 'get high.' Another included suggestive sexual content" (AP photo)

15 August 2005

Life before CPAs and Microsoft Excel

Every major ancient civilization -- Inka, Chinese, Egyptian, Mayan, Aztec and Mesopotamian -- developed sophisticated means of tracking its sprawling empire

12 August 2005

MOMA exhibition: Cezanne & Pissarro

"Their friendship predated Impressionism, and for 20 years in the 19th-century, Paul Cezanne and Camille Pissarro worked together - learning from and expanding on each other's work as they laid the foundations for Modernism. An exhibition at New York's Museum of Modern Art is currently exploring the parallel development of these two artists, and the online companion site offers a rare opportunity to follow both paths simultaneously, and compare matched works side by side"
-- Jim Regan, csmonitor.com

09 August 2005

Network news: what now?

As a foreign correspondent, he was "in Berlin in the 1960s when the Berlin Wall was going up," and there again, as an anchor, "in the 1990s when it came down."
-- Peter Jennings' ABC Biography
(Reuters photo)

05 August 2005

Novak curses, leaves CNN set

"Bob Novak obviously left the set a little early," host Henry said. "I had told him in advance that we were going to ask him about the CIA leak case. He was not here for me to be able to ask him about that. Hopefully we'll be able to ask him about that in the future."

04 August 2005

La Ferme Celebrities & Reality TV

Television is my drug of choice. I've never been a TV fanatic, but since I returned from France I've had a major case of culture shock. Living in a Red State takes a lot of work. I forgot this. Thank goodness for low-brow diversions.

By default, reality shows are what I watch most. Mainly because they cannot be avoided. I tried not to get involved with Rock Star INXS because they promoted the hell out of it and that was a bother. However, after landing on CBS for a few minutes while channel surfing, I was hooked.

T likes to watch Big Brother 6. I do too. The contestants lose perspective on that show. Its funny to see all the drama and so-called strategy. Janelle and Kaysar are on the block this week - in case you care.

I end up crying every single time I watch Brat Camp on ABC. Don't tell anyone. I think its cruel how they put the kids' names on the screen and then, below their name, the kid's problem is listed. Rather than stating it nicely, like - "SHAWN, 17: Has addiction issues" the producers choose to say "SHAWN, 17: Steals from his mom." It just doesn't seem right. But, I guess truth is brutal. In the opening credits, they slide giant words over the kids' childhood pictures: DELINQUENT, LIAR, RAGE, RUNAWAY. Its inflammatory. These are kids afterall.

I knew kids like this when I went to a private high school. There were a handful of rich kids with troubles. They weren't as extreme as the BRAT CAMP kids. Wealth buffered the kids I knew. Watching this show, for some reason, gets to me. In most cases it's a single issue that brings these kids down. They lash out, and when all is unraveled it becomes clear they're all worked up about something that was unseen. I wish everybody had an easier time in life. I guess we wouldn't be us without adversity.

In France my favorite reality show was La Ferme Célébrités. I had no idea who the celebrities were. This, and not speaking much French, made the show confusing for me. Still, I watched...week after eventless week. I was worried that I would have to leave France, never knowing the winner of Celebrity Farm. When I stayed at an airport hotel the night before my return flight, the Celebrity Farm finale was playing on a huge TV in the bar.

Nothing ever happened on this show. There seemed to be a lack of conflict. Weeks later I learn that many of the animals on Celebrity Farm were dying off. They should have worked THAT into the story line.

"In May the show's mascot, a crested grey cockerel, was crushed when a production assistant accidentally heaved a bale of hay on to it. Later another hen died when it strayed too close to a high-powered studio lamp, and the pony had to be treated after it fell down the stairs"
I'm afraid I can't tell you why the pony was going down the stairs (perhaps trying to escape the boredom of Celebrity Farm?)

02 August 2005

Air France Flight Crew Praised

Bravo to Air France