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around my world in 30 minutes
by russ carr (@DocOrlando70)

On the last day of vacation, my digital camera fell out of its bag. Now the autofocus no longer works properly, unless the camera is in "macro" mode, which is supposed to be for subjects within eight feet. The camera, in effect, is nearsighted.

Just like its owner.

Here's what I'm seeing these days:

We're getting really serious about finding Osama bin Laden. Not that we weren't serious before. But now we're throwing all sorts of new high-tech gizmos into the chase. I look for his capture on July 29 -- that's the night John Kerry gives his acceptance speech upon securing the Democratic nomination for president at the Democratic National Convention.

Out driving with friends recently, I pulled in behind a guy watching rap videos on his visor-mounted LCD screen. As if drivers who already can't find their ass with their hands needed another distraction. But why stop with rap videos? Expect to see a new category for "carpools" in the personals section of your local hipster paper.

If a hamburger doesn't come with a bun, is it still a hamburger? Hardee's (aka Carl's Jr.) wraps its "Six Dollar Burger" in leaves of iceberg lettuce -- which is itself fit for nothing but rabbit food -- and calls it "low carb." The price is the same. Burger King tosses your beef patty in a bowl and bathes it with condiments. Yes, I know I wrote about this last month. But I'm still gobsmacked by this national fear of bread.

While McDonald's isn't jumping on the carb counting craze, they did recently announce that they're phasing out "super size" portions. But that announcement was quickly followed by the US House of Representatives' declaration that fast food restaurants can not be liable for their customers' obesity. Before the end of the summer, and coupled with the inevitable carb backlash, ├╝ber-sizing will make its debut at Mickey D's, anchored by the revolutionary "extra bun" option.

Vancouver Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi was suspended indefinitely for sucker-punching Colorado Avalanche center Steve Moore. In case you're not a hockey fan, Bertuzzi skated up behind Moore and cold-cocked him in the right ear, driving Moore down to the ice face-first. Bertuzzi fell atop Moore, smashing into his shoulders and neck, and took another swing at Moore's head before being wrestled off by Moore's teammates. Moore sustained a broken neck, deep facial cuts and a concussion; he will not play again this season, if ever. "I had no intention of hurting [him]," said a tearful Bertuzzi. "I don't play the game that way." Wow. It's a good thing you didn't intend to hurt him.

Paris Hilton is in talks to join the cast of the remake of "House of Wax." Please, somebody tell her it's not set in the world of cosmetic hair removal.

Here. Read first chapter of the novelization of "Garfield, the Movie." That's right. You've seen the comic strip, you'll see the movie, now read the novel: 208 pgs, only $9.95. Hey, Bill Murray -- do you understand now why the Academy snubbed you? After "Rushmore," "The Royal Tenenbaums" and "Lost In Translation"...this?!

Broken down into its chemical components, etc., the financial value of a human body is about $4.50. Once that body dies, it's amazing what you can get for it, though. At UCLA, the director of the Willed Body Program, which accepts cadavers for scientific experimentation by students, has been accused of selling body parts, and netting hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process. Only days later, a distributor of cadavers for Tulane University was caught selling surplus bodies to the US Army for landmine experiments, making $25-30,000 on each body. Look, if you or your survivors are that concerned about the disposition of your remains, go for home-based cremation; it takes awhile, but there's no middleman. Me, I'm just ticked off that the gummint's being charged $30k for a $4.50 corpse. That's my money!

Pop afterthought George Michael has decided to retire from the music industry. "He explained the move would also help him reduce his profile, and so media intrusion," said New Music Express. No doubt. Guy can't even go-go to the bathroom by himself.

(For what it's worth, Andrew Ridgeley married the hot brunette chick from Bananarama and settled down to a nice quiet WHAM!-free life in Cornwall. He surfs a lot.)

Finally, a tragic juxtaposition. On a Yahoo! News page, a bleak description of the conditions which await Martha Stewart if she's sent to the Danbury Federal Correctional Institution, her most likely destination. The article features a photo of Stewart, scowling and windblown after a meeting with her probation officer. But adjacent to the article is an ad for Yahoo! Personals, with their ubiquitous new model, "Erin," giving a dazzling smile. The caption above Erin's picture? "She doesn't hang out at bars." Or behind them. Bye, Martha. If you weren't a bitch before, you probably will be after a few weeks.

That's a few moments of my short attention span in action. Too much work at work, too much work at home, too little rest wherever. Take even a minute to skim the headlines and it's all such a jumble of chaos that there's no time to process it all, much less establish some perspective. I've got magazines to print, desktops to publish, choo-choos to choose and miles to go before I sleep.

Focus? HA!

I'm lucky to get the lens cap off.


If the media is the eye on the world, Russ Carr is the finger in that eye. Tune in each month to see him dispersing the smoke and smashing the mirrors of modern mass communication. The world lost Russ on 2/7/12, but he lives on.

more about russ carr


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published: 4.29.09


tim lockwood
3.19.04 @ 1:30a

And this just in: J.J. Jackson, one of the first VJs for MTV, just passed away at the age of 62.

I have my own personal thoughts on it, none of which I can quite bring myself to mention right now. Maybe later.

russ carr
3.19.04 @ 8:36a

Earlier this week I was in my car and the Buggles' Video Killed the Radio Star came on, and I wistfully recalled the days when MTV actually had music, and it got me wondering where all the VJs went. Alan Hunter has been doing radio spots for Verizon wireless. Martha Quinn pops up here and there. Beyond those two, I have no idea. But if they could answer honestly, instead of under the pressure of a camera and microphone, I wonder what they'd say about their once-revolutionary alma mater.

joe procopio
3.19.04 @ 8:42a

McDonald's phasing out their supersize option is a huge, huge, huge mistake. The marketing arc of "supersize" was brilliant, and the term and its meaning have become a part of the American lexicon. To me, this is akin to Coke changing it's name to "Cola." And for what? To comply with a dietary media fiasco akin to summer sharks and the avian flu.

adam kraemer
3.19.04 @ 9:58a

I'm still in shock from the first time I walked into a Burger King to discover that their smallest size was "Medium." That's not even logically possible.

margot lester
3.19.04 @ 10:37a

in LA, they were charging you MORE for the "low carb" burger at some fast food places. go figure.

russ carr
3.19.04 @ 11:49a

Tangential follow-ups:

"Two top French nutritionists are telling people to go for a Big Mac and keep their fingers off the traditional French quiche.

"In an unexpected message to a country priding itself on the superiority of its food, a new food guide praises the McDonald's burger for having a higher and healthier protein-to-fat ratio than France's Quiche Lorraine."

The French, of course, are notorious for despising McDonald's as a representative of American imperialism.

And on the war front:

"The House of Representatives, amid an intensifying hunt for leaders of the al Qaeda terrorist network, voted unanimously Thursday to double the reward for Osama bin Laden's capture to $50 million."

Out of work? Morally opposed to playing the lottery? Pony up airfare to Kabul and go hunt Osama. Somebody's gotta find him; why not you?

sarah ficke
3.19.04 @ 12:04p

The nutritionists are missing one important fact: Quiche Lorraine is tasty. Unlike the McDonald's burger, which will sit in your stomach like a lump of coal.

jeff wilder
3.19.04 @ 12:08p

Allow me for a minute here to go off on a fast food related tangent.

Regarding fast food sixes, it always irks me when I order the medium drink and they give me what would more realistically be referred to as the small. Then I look at the cup size for the small and realize a more accurate description would be the miniscule. Come on. Be accurate when labeling drink sizes.

tracey kelley
3.19.04 @ 12:10p

Dammit! The Army body buying is in -my- column!

It's stayin'.

McDonald's is sly like a fox with the removal of the supersize option. Those still inclined to indulge will just order extra!

matt morin
3.19.04 @ 12:54p

Hey George, sorry to hear you're retiring. But please wake me up before you go go.

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