Friday, September 29, 2006

“Why do Sunnis kill Shiites? How do they tell the difference? They all look the same to me.”
— Sen. Trent Lott, following a closed-door meeting with President Bush and other Republicans at the Capitol

Nice. Very nice. The ugly American stereotype persists.

“The party of FDR and the party of Harry Truman has become the party of cut and run.”
— President Bush, criticizing the Democrats at a fundraiser for Alabama Governor Bob Riley

Doesn't this fool have more important things to do than further inflaming partisan name-calling? I mean... I thought he had a country to run. Maybe not.

“The Pakistani president claimed bin Laden is hiding in Afghanistan; the Afghan president said he's in Pakistan; and President Bush said, 'I like sprinkles on my ice cream.'”
— Conan O'Brien, on the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden

"President Bush was upset and said, He's making it really hard for me to choose my Halloween costume.”
— Conan O'Brien, on Hugo Chavez calling Bush "the devil" and a "cowboy"

And on the subject of Conan, who I would say is my favorite late-night personality BY FAR... this is pretty interesting, something I'd never even thought about. From Wikipedia:

"His father, Dr. Thomas O'Brien, was a research physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, specializing in infectious diseases. His mother, Ruth Reardon O'Brien, is a former partner of the Boston law firm of Ropes & Gray.

After graduating as the valedictorian from Brookline High School, O'Brien entered Harvard University and, in his three upper-class years, lived in Mather House. Throughout his college career, he was a writer for the Harvard Lampoon humor magazine. During his sophomore and junior years, O'Brien served as the Lampoon's president, making him only the second person ever to serve as president twice, and the first person to have done it in 85 years. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in 1985 with a B.A. in the History and Literature of America."

Go to Harvard, do late-night television. Rock on.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

So here we have another celebrity being checked out of a hospital, giving the ol’ thumbs up to reporters and being whisked away somewhere for debriefing and whatever else people-handlers do in these situations. “Celebrity” in this case is relative, as I’m talking about Dallas Cowboys football player Terrell Owens.

According to a Detroit Free Press news bulletin, Owens was cut by the Eagles [no, not the band, I doubt this guy can sing... maybe baritone?] and then signed on four days later with the Cowboys earlier this year. His contract? Three years for $25 million and a $5 million signing bonus. There are some mildly interesting, possibly significant things listed as well:

“June 8 — Owens arrives after 5 p.m. for a scheduled 3 p.m. visit with the roughly 60 campers attending the Terrell Owens Youth Football Camp. “I’m sorry I’m late. I’ve been playing for the Dallas Cowboys,” he tells the kids.”

“July 13 — At his first book signing, Owens claims he didn’t say his return in time for the February 2005 Super Bowl was “heroic,” even though that’s what he wrote. He called it one of the words chosen by his co-author.”

“Aug. 25 — Owens is fined $9,500 for missing a team meeting and a rehabilitation session, and being late to an offensive meeting. He later says he overslept. “It’s not a big deal,” he says.”

There’s some junk about an injured hamstring and a recently broken finger as well, but this is football. Injuries are expected. But alright, so here we are on the 27th and this dude has reportedly just tried to off himself with painkillers. The police report stated he had told a friend “that he was depressed,” and after someone tried to intervene he took another 2 pills.

“Publicist Kim Etheredge said in various interviews Wednesday with Dallas-area media that the police have gotten the story wrong. She said she was with Owens, who was having trouble because he'd mixed his pain pills with supplements. She said she called for help because he was becoming unresponsive. ... The Dallas police report said Owens was asked by rescue workers "if he was attempting to harm himself, at which time (he) stated, 'Yes."'

I’d like to know what kind of “supplements” these were. And here’s the kicker:

“"The fact that it has been reported a suicide attempt, he's laughed at that notion. It was a case that medication that was taken wasn't accepted well in his system with the other vitamins he's on," [NFL Network analyst Deion] Sanders said.”

I understand that football players are supposed to be these big, tough, strong, womanizing types but that doesn’t mean they aren’t susceptible to depression and the things that go along with it. Denying and attempting to make light of the situation does a grave injustice [sometimes literally] to people suffering from depression and/or suicidal thoughts. Suicides by toxification [overdose or poisoning] makes up roughly 20% of all cases, and about one million people commit suicide annually.

Couldn’t the NFL, for once, use a scandal to highlight an important issue? Something more important than Janet Jackson’s breasts, salary mal-distribution [they are ALL overpaid in my opinion], or who recently had sex with who and what steroids they’re all on? By turning their backs on “T.O.” they’re potentially turning their backs on hundred of thousands of others who might just end up “O.D.”ing.

Monday, September 04, 2006

The headline reads "U.S. warplanes strafe, kill Canadian soldier." And then "Canadian soldier killed, others wounded in NATO 'friendly fire'."

strafe |strāf|
verb [ trans. ]
attack repeatedly with bombs or machine-gun fire from low-flying aircraft : military aircraft strafed the village.
noun an attack from low-flying aircraft.

ORIGIN early 20th cent.: humorous adaptation of the German World War I catchphrase Gott strafe England ‘may God punish England.’

I think that is the first time I've ever heard the term "strafe" used in the media. Probably even the first time I've ever heard it. I had to look it up. A lot of people skim headlines when "reading" the news, and using a word like "strafe" in place of anything else might be an attempt to smooth over the harsh reality of what actually occured. I'm not implying that anyone is denying what happened— it's a question of presentation.

And then to go and deem it "friendly fire"?

friendly fire
noun Military
weapon fire coming from one's own side, esp. fire that causes accidental injury or death to one's own forces.

There's nothing "friendly" about that, and being "strafed" sounds like a rather violent end. Not just one errant shot.

"KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- U.S. warplanes mistakenly strafed Canadian troops fighting Taliban forces in southern Afghanistan, killing one soldier and seriously wounding five on Monday in an operation that NATO claims has also left 200 insurgents dead."

War is nonsense. We're aware of how big, almost exactly, the world is. We know what is where, who and how many live in any given area. And still we're bombing one another like children at recess playing a fast game of Dodgeball. To what ends will this continue? And is it not the 21st century?

Maybe I just don't understand the rules of the game.