Friday, June 27, 2008


The weekday anchor of KSPR is expecting her second child with co-anchor and husband Joe Daues.

Local news from the local newspeople. We're trying to convince Christine to name the new baby "Ronald." Alas, resistance to the idea. Probably for the best. Selah.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Smitty passes along an e-mail from Engineer Doug about the June 2 death of actor-turned-producer Bill Dial. Radioheads might remember him for his role as engineer Bucky Dornster in "WKRP in Cincinnati"

Dial appeared in two episodes, including "Turkeys Away," with its famous Les Nessman live report:
"Oh, they're plunging to the earth right in front of our eyes! One just went through the windshield of a parked car! Oh, the humanity! The turkeys are hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement!
As God is our witness.

Monday, June 23, 2008


A few weeks ago The Media went with a bad-ass story about a previously undiscovered tribe in a rainforest hugging the Brazilian-Peruvian border. Television gobbled the story because it came with good vid, great vid, of tribesmen shooting arrows at the plane during a looksee.

Too good to be true, of course. As the Guardian explains:
[I]t has now emerged that, far from being unknown, the tribe's existence has been noted since 1910 and the mission to photograph them was undertaken in order to prove that 'uncontacted' tribes still existed in an area endangered by the menace of the logging industry.

The disclosures have been made by the man behind the pictures, José Carlos Meirelles, 61, one of the handful of sertanistas – experts on indigenous tribes – working for the Brazilian Indian Protection Agency, Funai, which is dedicated to searching out remote tribes and protecting them. ...

For two days, Meirelles says, he flew a 150km-radius route over the border region with Peru and saw huts that belonged to isolated tribes. But he did not see people. 'When the women hear the plane above, they run into the forest, thinking it's a big bird,' he said. 'This is such a remote area, planes don't fly over it.'

What he was looking for was not only proof of life, but firm evidence that the tribes in this area were flourishing – proof in his view that the policy of no contact and protection was working. On the last day, with only a couple hours of flight time remaining, Meirelles spotted a large community.

'When I saw them painted red, I was satisfied, I was happy,' he said. 'Because painted red means they are ready for war, which to me says they are happy and healthy defending their territory.' ...

Survival International, the organisation that released the pictures along with Funai, conceded yesterday that Funai had known about this nomadic tribe for around two decades. It defended the disturbance of the tribe saying that, since the images had been released, it had forced neighbouring Peru to re-examine its logging policy in the border area where the tribe lives, as a result of the international media attention. Activist and former Funai president Sydney Possuelo agreed that – amid threats to their environment and doubt over the existence of such tribes – it was necessary to publish them.
Use the tribesmen. Just don't let them know they're being used. As far as they know, you're just a big metal bird in the sky.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Fourth-grade kid in Vermont goes to school, talks turkey with classmate during the break known as snack time. Teacher overhears conversation, goes all freaky.

Jared Harrington is now being home-schooled. His parents are on the hunt for a teacher trophy. As the Times Argus report:
Jared Harrington's mother, Wendy Bordwell, and his father, Martin Harrington, removed their son from school with 10 days left in the school year and home-schooled the 10-year-old boy.

"We are aggressively pursuing Jared's right to free speech," Bordwell said. ...

Bordwell said in a telephone interview that she believed her son was "singled out" by Kathleen Backus, Jared's teacher, while talking about hunting with a schoolmate.

Bordwell said that, during snack time, Jared was discussing the recent spring turkey hunting season with a classmate when Backus interrupted the conversation, insisting that there be no talk of "killing" in her classroom. ...

"Jared's teacher covered her ears, trying to block the conversation, and singing 'la la la la.' When asked by another school employee about her odd behavior, the teacher claimed she did not want to hear about the boys and their 'killing.' The boys were left feeling that they were not legitimate hunters, but 'killers' in the eyes of an important authority figure in their lives," Bordwell said.

After Jared's parents decided to take up the matter with the school board, Backus assigned 137 pages of homework for the boy.

"That led us to believe he was being singled out," Bordwell said.
Does Kathleen Backus enjoy her Thanksgiving bird?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Barack Obama campaigned hard to end politics "as we know it" -- a kōan perfect for the picayune American mind obsessed with change. Too many Americans are blissfully ignorant about politics (one in three can't name the governor of their state, and three in 10 can't name the vice president of their country). They want to change politics as they don't know it. Maybe then they'll pay attention.

But then again, no. Attention requires effort requires sacrifice, and we're just not into that. What, we should search for information and actually read it? Exercise the big muscle between the ears? Maybe if you bring it to our (desk)(couch)(bed) and hand it to us with the really important stuff highlighted. So, you know, we don't have to work at it.

And slap a slogan on it. We love slogans. "Change We Can Believe In." "A Leader We Can Believe In." "Ignorance Is Strength."

The men who would lead our country appreciate and rush to the lowest common denominator. They talk good, high-minded games to the faithful in their flocks, but they cater to the people who know Peyton Manning but draw a blank on Vladimir Putin, the folks who can't name the Sunni branch of Islam (to them, probably, all Muslims are sweaty, swarthy terrorists).

They follow another time-honored kōan: Keep it simple. Don't bother with facts. Nugget-sized platitudes and zingers, hold the sauce. Don't discuss the difficulties in the Middle East, the complexities of the U.S. relationship with China, the fact that Americans pay half as much (or less) than Europeans at the pump. Don't make people think. Hurts. Brains.

John McCain comes to Springfield on Wednesday. He's supposed to talk about energy and the economy. Avid Republicans will eat the sweets (even though they don't especially care for the confectioner). Avid Democrats will naysay his offerings as leftovers from the Bush kitchen.

Everyone else will wonder why traffic around Missouri State University is bollixed up, but only if it's inconvenient to them. What they know about John McCain and Barack Obama would fill a bumper sticker but not a brochure. They will decide this election based on the last, best slogan they saw on a 30-second ad, sometime in late October.

"The darkness of insanity," as the immortal poet-philospher Declan Patrick MacManus put it. Don't bother looking for a switch. The strong and the trusted like it better with the lights out.

Monday, June 16, 2008


Media consultant. "Highly reclusive," according to The New York Times. Helped create the seminal moment in modern American politics.

From the Times obit:
“Media consultant” is barely adequate to describe Mr. Schwartz’s portfolio. In a career of more than half a century, he was variously an art director; advertising executive; urban folklorist who captured the cacophony of New York streets on phonograph records; radio host; Broadway sound designer; college professor, media theorist and author who wrote books about the persuasive power of sound and image; and maker of commercials for products, candidates and causes. What was more, Mr. Schwartz, who had suffered from agoraphobia since the age of 13, accomplished most of these things entirely within his Manhattan home.

Of the thousands of television and radio advertisements on which Mr. Schwartz worked, none is as well known, or as controversial, as one that was broadcast exactly once: the so-called “daisy ad,” made for Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidential campaign in 1964.

Produced by the advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernbach in collaboration with Mr. Schwartz, the minute-long spot was broadcast on Sept. 7, 1964, during NBC’s “Monday Night at the Movies.” It showed a little girl in a meadow (in reality a Manhattan park), counting aloud as she plucks the petals from a daisy. Her voice dissolves into a man’s voice counting downward, followed by the image of an atomic blast. President Johnson’s voice is heard on the soundtrack:

“These are the stakes. To make a world in which all of God’s children can live, or to go into the dark. We must either love each other, or we must die.”
His mentor and friend was Marshall McLuhan. Figures.


We admit our addiction and are powerless to stop it. We're Dew junkies. Especially when it comes to the new flavors of Mountain Dew, tasties as enticing as China White and Black Tar.

There's Revolution, "infused with Wild Berry fruit flavor and Ginseng." Voltage is "charged with Raspberry Citrus flavor." Supernova -- perhaps the least-best of the lot -- has "a Blast of Strawberry Melon Flavor."

None of it is as toothsome as Code Red, the kindest of Dew buds. But Voltage is close, until Mountain Dew Oxy hits the market.

Dew Boy, save us from the madness.


Dateline: Concord, N.H.

Skinny: Homeowner sees sticky stuff on walls, dips a finger, takes a taste. It's honey. In the walls, bees crawled.

WYFF reports:
Mark Jones’ 100-year-old house has more than 60,000 [bees].

Jones and his wife, Amychelle, said they can sum it up in one word: insanity. On Sunday, they found a way to deal with the bees.

Beekeepers removed 60,000 bees from the Joneses' home Sunday morning, leaving about 1,000 still buzzing inside.
No queen, so no lingering infestation. Four bees stung the beekeepers. All good, and the house remains tasty.

Sunday, June 08, 2008


Man in Australia squats for a little roadside relief. Deadly brown snake squirms between his legs and lunges at the dangly bits. Man and snake freak.

The Cairns Post has the story:
Emergency workers raced to the scene to treat the man.

The wound was wrapped in plastic in case poison had penetrated the skin but medical staff gave the man the all-clear after conducting tests.

He was taken to Cooktown Hospital where he spent a night recovering.

The ambulance spokesman described him as "lucky", given his near encounter with one of Australia’s most poisonous snakes.

"I think he was a bit shocked and embarrassed," he said.
Life imitates joke.


A couple bullets for your Sunday:

•A reporter has tracked down Adolf Hitler's nephew -- to America. Here's a graf from David Gardner's Telegraph story about Hitler's nephew and his offspring:
I was to discover that the Hitler bloodline was carried on through William Patrick's four sons - one of whom died in a road accident in 1989 - and that the brothers had decided in a remarkable pact not to have children themselves in order that Adolf Hitler's genes would die with them.
•The Daily Mail has the story of Sen. John McCain's first wife, Carol, and how she became a former. Suffice to say it doesn't flatter the GOP presidential candidate. After he returned home from a Vietnamese prison, he kicked her to the curb for a prettier model:
Ross Perot, who paid her medical bills all those years ago, now believes that both Carol McCain and the American people have been taken in by a man who is unusually slick and cruel – even by the standards of modern politics.

"McCain is the classic opportunist. He’s always reaching for attention and glory," he said.

"After he came home, Carol walked with a limp. So he threw her over for a poster girl with big money from Arizona. And the rest is history."
Is John McCain history, too? Not a chance.

Monday, June 02, 2008


From The Associated Press:
A spokeswoman says Diddley died of heart failure. He had suffered a heart attack in August 2007, three months after suffering a stroke while touring in Iowa.