Archive for March 2009

It’s Alive….

March 27, 2009

It was a very healthy Mark Twain who said in 1897 that “reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated,” after a newspaper published word that he had died.

And it seems EYE too may have greatly exaggerated the death of a literary operation whose humor Mark Twain might have appreciated.

We’re talking about the WEEKLY WORLD NEWS.

A year ago, EYE lamented the loss of that spinner of great yarns when the company that owned the paper shut it down.

Originally posted:

September 13, 2008 in the blog BETWEENtheLINES


As a kid, EYE read a lot of comic books… and  NEVER really gave ’em up.. They just changed form. EYE am talking about the Weekly World News.

Where else could you get updates on Elvis’s comings and goings, find out the latest Bigfoot diet, or discover what the Space Aliens were up to?

Only in the TAB that liked to bill itself as “The World’s Most Reliable Newspaper.”

Now ALAS….

We will no longer be able to learn why Lincoln was a woman, Cheney a robot, or what Bat Boy is up to anymore.

The Weekly World News has ceased publication.

A victim of declining circulation–and quite possibly the Internet. They just couldn’t make up fake stuff as good as what you can find in cyberspace these days–especially on some blogs.


Now it seems, the Weekly World News is back—well–in abbreviated form

The company that owns the SUN supermarket Tabloid (and used to publish the Weekly World News) has begun to include a Weekly World News insert in the SUN —and just like the original —the insert is in glorious black and white.

The SUN is the same paper that specializes in horoscopes, end of the world predictions from psychics and other off-beat topics..

Although it mined the same territory as the Weekly World News—it always took itself WAY TOO seriously for a paper that has shown a lack of accuracy about Armageddon…

Now—at last, we can get the REAL thing once again.

By the way—don’t be fooled by  the on-line version of the Weekly World News.

The rights to use that name were purchased by a fellow who tries to keep the tradition alive—but his stuff is pretty lame compared to  the masters who specialized in Elvis sightings and Bigfoot adventures.


My Zimbio

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How Times Have Changed…

March 16, 2009

What passes for political news these days is vastly different than when EYE was first starting as a broadcast reporter back in the 70’s….

Much of today’s “news”  is gossip-related and driven by the insatiable news cycle that includes blogs, cable news channels, and talk radio—-both liberal and conservative…

A moment in time that once would have been largely ignored, is now the fodder for days upon days of pundification from all those who make their living trivializing the easy catch—while largely ignoring the more important, serious issues…

Here’s what I mean….

The other day, ABC NEWS had a “GOTCHA” moment with Joe Biden.

In greeting an old colleague an open microphone picked up his comment telling his friend to “give me a fu**ing break” in referring to him as Mr. Vice President.

Senior White house corespondent Jake Tapper blogged it here.

From there it was off  to the races….Real Clear Politics, among others—ran the audio here, and Drudge picked it up.

Compare that to a similar event more than 30 years ago—-memorialized in a little newspaper clip that EYE kept nestled in one of the plastic pockets of my wallet because it tickled me back in 1972…

It was a simple 16 lines—used a “filler” at the end of another unrelated story back in the day when newspapers didn’t have the ability to lay out their pages with computers.

When a story ran short—typesetters like these fellows tucked in a few lines of something to avoid having a white hole in their layout.

This “filler” story refers to the 1972 presidential campaign when Richard Nixon was running for re-election…

“Four more years” was one of the slogans of his campaign against George McGovern.

The reporter covering the story treated McGovern’s remark as a light anecdote…

THAT was then… THIS is now.

Today— a moment like that is  Media Madness!

Front page headlines around the world blare out the tale of the candidate with the foul mouth !

Political blogs would postulate on the candidate’s fitness for public office!

The radio talk shows and the 24-Hour-a-day cable networks would endlessly explore—in depth—the implications of such an outburst by an obviously unstable and anger prone hothead !

A grizzled old editor once told me there were only two kinds of news.

  • News that people NEED to know…
  • News that people WANT to know…

We all WANT to know the latest gossip or pop culture tid-bit—but we NEED to know things like what the Congress is doing with our money.

Maybe it’s time in our 24-hour-a-day, blogesphered society that we pay a LITTLE more attention to the NEED to KNOW news, instead of the WANT to know news.


My Zimbio

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Selling You On Advertising…

March 11, 2009

T‘was a time when you knew an advertisement on radio or TV was coming…

They’d be an announcement that the program “would be right back after these important messages”

These days—the message is still important  to advertisers—but the delivery system’s a whole lot more subtle.

With people finding more and more ways to ignore traditional advertising—and with more time being spent on line and on the cell phone by folks—marketers are coming with new ways to target you—sometimes without you  realizing you’re on  the receiving end of an ad…

Two companies, the San Fransisco-based Placecast, and New York-based 1020 Inc., are leading the way in something called on-the-spot advertising.

They use your mobile device to figure out WHERE you are and what you are doing. Then, using readily available personal information from credit cards and the like about your spending habits,  income bracket and time of day,  it  sends you specific ads that will appeal to you.

Other systems use your location to target ads on your mobile device as you walk or drive near them.

The so-called ‘proximity ads’ are being largely marketed as revenue generating tools for department stores, restaurants and such.

There’s also specifically targeted ads that will be virtually inserted into the program you are watching based on your location, income, likes, and other personal factors.

No two people watching the same program will get the same ad.

There’s even a concept being worked on that will let you watch a program—and “shop it.”

Lets say you see an item in the program you like—you’ll be able to go on-line–find out the brand–and then buy it–while the program you’re watching is running.

You can read more about the various schemes in detail here, which includes a slide show detailing how some of these concepts work.

In the brave new world of 21st century advertising—they’re finding a way to sell you something almost everywhere—except in your dreams..

But give ’em some time—they’ll figure out how to do THAT too.


My Zimbio

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We All Go Boom…

March 10, 2009

New York City is in the cross hairs again—only this time it isn’t terrorists—it’s God.

That’s the word from David Wilkerson—a pastor of the Times Square Church in New York City and who gained fame as the author of “The Cross and the Switchblade.”

That book detailed the story of his gang ministry that began in the late 50’s..

Wilkerson says God delivered an “urgent” message to him and he’s just spreading the word about what he calls “an Earth shattering calamity” about to unfold.

In his blog, which you can read here, he writes  that a huge fire will erupt in New York city, and

“It will engulf the whole megaplex, including areas of New Jersey and Connecticut. Major cities all across America will experience riots and blazing fires – such as we saw in Watts, Los Angeles, years ago,” he explains. “There will be riots and fires in cities worldwide. There will be looting – including Times Square, New York City.”

Sounds a lot like a nuclear attack—doesn’t it?

It would appear we’re all going to go BOOM.

The reverend is also warning folks that they’d better stock up on 30 days worth of supplies to get us through the upcoming disaster.

Although he’s very specific about the kind of destruction that will occur— he’s a little vague when it comes to exactly WHEN  all this will happen.

“I do not know when these things will come to pass, but I know it is not far off,” he writes.

There have been scores of end-of-the-world predictions made over the decades by psychics and religious men—and none have yet come to pass.

Heck, 27 years ago, Pat Robertson generated all kinds of press when he said on his 700 Club TV show that the end of the world would come in 1982..

Now, EYE am pretty sure the Apocalypse isn’t headed our way anytime soon—but just in case, EYE will be laying in a month’s supply of toilet paper and coffee—two things EYE wouldn’t be able to do without if Pastor Wilkerson happens to be correct.


My Zimbio

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Now That’s A Big Oops….

March 9, 2009

Mistakes happen— we all make ’em…

But sometimes the mistakes are kinda big—and when they occur—you want to put your hand to your mouth and say—OOPS–now that’s a big one…

Here are a few examples:


Seems the driver of an 18-wheeler got into a bit of a jamb.. he rolled the rig.

What to do?

Well, call for one of those 18-wheel tow trucks.

As requested— the tow truck driver got the  trucker out of a big jamb—but in the process the tow guy got into a bigger jamb himself….

Vodpod videos no longer available.



If you’re a tow truck operator— you ought to know a little bit about the vehicles you are towing….

For instance– you SHOULD to know the difference between a FRONT wheel drive vehicle, and a REAR wheel drive vehicle.

Knowing that crucial bit of information might have saved this Shanghai tow truck guy from having a big oops!


This third little oops is more along the lines of too-funny to be true—because it is.

Actually, it’s a TV commercial produced by Jessen Productions for a Los Angeles area auto body shop—taking the idea of  acting a bit too hastily and playing the “opps factor”  for laughs.


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A 2-Minute Cosmic Warning…

March 4, 2009

A little asteroid in space ALMOST rocked our world.

It was small—but had it hit, the space rock classified as “2009 DD45″ could have created the same kind of destruction as a small nuclear device.

The asteroid took sky-watchers by surprise—spotted on its track just two days before it whizzed by on March 2nd as you can read here

Not only wasn’t it detected early—but it passed with-in the moon’s orbit—at 40,000 miles above the Earth’s surface.  That height is just about twice the altitude of most communications satellites—and a real near-miss by astronomical standards.

Here’s a video of 2009DD45’s little surprise visit.

If you look closely, you’ll see it moving slowly— it’s the faint object right in the center the video shown below.

The story here isn’t the closeness of the fly-by—but rather the fact that we had virtually NO WARNING until it was almost too late.

For years—scientists have been scanning the skies for Near Earth Objects—and have assured us that they can give us enough warning to take action.

Less than a month ago, EYE wrote this post about NASA’s attempts to calculate when an asteroid it was tracking was going to hit the Earth.

As we pointed out— the rocket scientists there had a bit of a problem figuring out exactly when the asteroid called “1999 AN10” will hit..

And that darn thing’s coming a lot closer than “2009 DD45″— because its going to whiz in at 19,000 miles which is between the Earth and the geosynchronous satellites that ring the planet.

Like Murphy once said, “what can go wrong, will go wrong,” and when it comes to figuring out if the Earth is going to be pummeled from outer space—don’t bet that we’ll even get a 2-minute warning!


My Zimbio

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Points To Ponder….

March 3, 2009

The classic Warner Brothers animated cartoon series Pinky and the Brain always featured the same catch-line.

The genius mouse named Brain would always ask
his dim-witted partner Pinky if he “was pondering what I’m pondering?” before launching off on another silly attempt to take over the world.

Although not as smart as that cartoon mouse, EYE too sometimes wonder if other folks are pondering what EYE sometimes ponder..

Let’s see.


If electricity was invented today—would we allow it or its delivery?

Imagine scientists telling us they’ve discovered this great energy source—but you’ve gotta be careful with it—cause if you don’t handle it right it could kill you…

You can’t get it wet, touch it with your bare hands, or use too much of it through too small a distribution source like an extension cord…If you do, bad things will happen—and you WILL DIE or be seriously hurt.

And think of the outcry over the way it’ll be distributed… Over wires held aloft by poles.

You want to cut down how many MILLIONS OF TREES to make POLES???

Ugly poles every 50 feet with unsightly wires overhead..

Wires made of how many billion tons of copper???

The environmental impact statements alone would probably take decades to complete.


Why is it that heath care costs are different if you have insurance or if you don’t?

You’ll often see a bill for a medical procedure that lists one price—and then lists a lower price for the “provider discount”.

Let’s say EYE needs to have my  Gallbladder taken out. The hospital will charge me $4,000 for the procedure IF EYE pay for it by myself—but if  EYE has insurance the same procedure is only $2,500 under the “provider discount.”

What’s the difference in terms of care?

Does the doctor’s ability change depending on whether one has insurance? Maybe the doc uses better tools when YOU pay for it as opposed to when the insurance company ponies up?

And if the procedure can be done for the lesser amount—why not just charge that lower price?


How come the so-called “environmentally friendly” light bulb may actually do more damage to the environment than the old kind?

Like a lot of folks, EYE was in a rush to convert all my incandescent lights to compact fluorescent lights (CFL’s) to cut energy use and save a few bucks on the old electric bill…

But, come to find out—- the CFL’s are made with small amounts of mercury inside of them, unlike the vacuum tube of an incandescent.

Now, Mercury is a heavy metal, known to cause brain, spinal cord, kidney and liver damage. Once it’s in the environment—it will not break down easily and it can contaminate groundwater if the CFL’s are broken and buried in a landfill.

Do you think the average person is going to recycle those CFL’s properly—or are they gonna just toss ’em in the trash where they’ll end up in landfills contaminating things?

By the way—if coal is used to generate the power for the CFL’s— Mercury is also released into the air via that process.

Although steps are being taken to reduce Mercury emissions—it seems like a double environmental whammy.

And WHAT are you pondering these days?


My Zimbio

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