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Sunday, August 17, 2008



When television is good, nothing--not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers--nothing is better.

But when television is bad, nothing is worse. I invite you to sit down in front of your television set when your station goes on the air and stay there without a book, magazine, newspaper, profit and-loss sheet or rating book to distract you--and keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that you will observe a vast wasteland.

You will see a procession of game shows, violence, audience-participation shows, formula comedies about totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder, western badmen, western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence and cartoons. And, endlessly, commercials--many screaming, cajoling and offending. And most of all, boredom. True, you will see a few things you will enjoy. But they will be very, very few. And if you think I exaggerate, try it.

- Newton Minnow's famous 1961 speech to the National Association of Broadcasters.
And 47 years later, nothing has changed. Except for the amount of screaming, obnoxious ads per hour.

A new entrant in my Lex Luthor Doesn't Exist (LLDE) column.

Ah, the perfect combination for fun and games. Tourist meccas that want your money and tourists who never want to be sober. What could possibly go wrong?

  • Stealing a car: Bad.
  • Leaving it parked in your driveway: Unwise.
  • Leaving the ATM, that you used a stolen forklift to rip-off, in your sideyard: Stupid.
  • Oh, and the receipt for the down payment on the new jeep: PRICELESS.

Hi there, boys & girls. In today's lesson on world economics we are going to learn how Russians shop for new cars while on holiday. And then we will discuss the meaning of the phrase "War is hell!"

"If the police can identify you, they can make a charge"
Now this sounds like an enforcement action that I could get a grip hand on. Of course if this isn't about the stupidest statement a gov't leader could make. Sorry, but "Mission Accomplished" falls in a whole "nuther" category.

Okay, what has come over the female teachers in our country? Seems like we get a new episode of this every month.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend. Thanks for the visit.

"Let's all be careful out there!"


Today is Sunday, August 17, the 230th day of 2008.
There are 136 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:
  • On August 17, 1807, Robert Fulton's North River Steamboat began heading up the Hudson River on its successful round-trip between New York and Albany.
On this date:
  • In 1863, Federal batteries and ships began bombarding South Carolina's Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor during the Civil War, but the Confederates managed to hold on despite several days of pounding.
  • In 1896, a prospecting party discovered gold in Canada's Yukon territory, a finding that touched off the Klondike gold rush.
  • In 1915, a mob in Cobb County, Ga., lynched Jewish businessman Leo Frank, whose death sentence for the murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan had been commuted to life imprisonment. (Frank, who'd maintained his innocence, was pardoned by Georgia in 1986.)
  • In 1942, during World War II, U.S. 8th Air Force bombers attacked Rouen, France.
  • In 1943, the Allied conquest of Sicily was completed as U.S. and British forces entered Messina.
  • In 1948, former State Department official Alger Hiss faced his chief accuser, Whittaker Chambers, during a closed-door meeting in New York of the House Un-American Activities Committee, and repeated his denial that he'd ever been a Communist agent.
  • In 1969, 256 people were killed as Hurricane Camille slammed into the Gulf Coast.
  • In 1978, the first successful trans-Atlantic balloon flight ended as Maxie Anderson, Ben Abruzzo and Larry Newman landed their Double Eagle II outside Paris.
  • In 1987, Rudolf Hess, the last member of Adolf Hitler's inner circle, died at Spandau Prison at age 93, an apparent suicide.
  • In 1988, Pakistani President Mohammad Zia ul-Haq and U.S. Ambassador Arnold Raphel were killed in a mysterious plane crash.
Ten years ago:
  • President Clinton gave grand jury testimony via closed-circuit television from the White House concerning his relationship with Monica Lewinsky; he then delivered a TV address in which he denied previously committing perjury, admitted his relationship with Lewinsky was "wrong," and criticized Kenneth Starr's investigation.
  • Russia allowed the ruble to drop in value by up to 34 percent.
  • The Federal Reserve Board approved the merger of NationsBank and BankAmerica.
Five years ago:
  • Federal investigators joined industry teams in the search for clues into what triggered the country's worst power blackout in the Midwest and Northeast as the Bush administration promised to get answers and address whatever problem was found.
  • Insurgents attacked a police station in Afghanistan, killing some two dozen people.

One year ago:
  • Hurricane Dean roared into the eastern Caribbean, tearing away roofs, flooding streets and causing at least three deaths on small islands as the powerful storm headed on a collision course with Jamaica and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.
  • A dike on a river in eastern China broke, flooding three coal mines and killing 181 miners.
Today's Birthdays:
  • Actress Maureen O'Hara is 88.
  • Actor Robert DeNiro is 65.
  • Movie director Martha Coolidge is 62.
  • Rock musician Gary Talley (The Box Tops) is 61.
  • Rock musician Sib Hashian is 59.
  • Actor Robert Joy is 57.
  • Rock singer Kevin Rowland (Dexy's Midnight Runners) is 55.
  • Rock musician Colin Moulding (XTC) is 53.
  • Country singer-songwriter Kevin Welch is 53.
  • Singer Belinda Carlisle is 50.
  • Actor Sean Penn is 48.
  • Jazz musician Everette Harp is 47.
  • Rock musician Gilby Clarke is 46.
  • Singer Maria McKee is 44.
  • Rock musician Steve Gorman (The Black Crowes) is 43.
  • Rock musician Jill Cunniff is 42.
  • Actor David Conrad is 41.
  • Singer Donnie Wahlberg is 39.
  • Rapper Posdnuos is 39.
  • Tennis player Jim Courier is 38.
  • Actor Bryton McClure is 22.
  • Actor Brady Corbet is 20.
Thought for Today:
"Everyone is necessarily the hero of his own life story."
John Barth, American author.

"Let's all be careful out there!"


"Let's all be careful out there!"