Posts from January 25, 2005

‘Help my dad’

‘Help my dad’

: The daughter of Roy Hallums, being held hostage in Iraq, started a web site about her father.

F that

F that

: Reuters says that three of five FCC commissioners have voted to turn down complaints about the use of the F word in Saving Private Ryan. Yes, that’s no surprise. But because the FCC refused to do that before the movie was to air — and because the FCC had just ruled that the F word was the first word decreed by government to be profane — 66 stations refused to show Ryan and I say they were right: They did not want to put themselves at risk for breaking the law the FCC had just made.

I quote from the FCC’s Bono decision:

…[W]e believe that, given the core meaning of the “F-Word,” any use of that word or a variation, in any context, inherently has a sexual connotation….

We conclude that the answer to this question is yes. The “F-Word” is one of the most vulgar, graphic and explicit descriptions of sexual activity in the English language. Its use invariably invokes a coarse sexual image…. If the Commission were routinely not to take action against isolated and gratuitous uses of such language on broadcasts when children were expected to be in the audience, this would likely lead to more widespread use of the offensive language….. The fact that the use of this word may have been unintentional is irrelevant; it still has the same effect of exposing children to indecent language. Our action today furthers our responsibility to

safeguard the well-being of the nation’s children from the most objectionable, most offensive language….

We also find, as an independent ground, that the use of the phrase at issue here in the context and at the time of day here constitutes “profane” language under 18 U.S.C.

And the winner isn’t…

And the winner isn’t…

: It’s a rare day when you can call Hollywood courageous but I give the Academy props for ignoring Fahrenheit 911 and all but ignoring The Passion of the Christ in today’s Oscar nominations. I know we’ll hear arguments that the Oscars are “wrong” because these movies both made a lot of money. Well, first off, the Oscars are always wrong; they’re just hooey and hype. Second, this is supposed to be (even though, of course, it often isn’t) a reflection not of the box office but of quality. And both movies sucked.

And I think that a best makeup nomination for Passion is nothing but an inside joke.

The impact

The impact

: The first report of the World Trade Center Health Registry to include data on health problems is out. After the attack, 47 percent of the respondents had sinus problems; 42 shortness of breath; 38 wheezing; 37 cough; 33 eye irritation; 26 digestive; 21 severe headaches; 14 skin rashes; 9 hearing loss. They found that 8 percent reported psychological disorders (which tells me we’re a pretty well-adjusted people) vs. 5 percent in a study of New York as a whole. They will do a followup study to find how many problems persisted. My own heart problem now appears to be permanent; I have no persisting lung problems, though I will watch this with obvious interest to see what longterm lung problems emerge, for I fear they will.

Filthy lucre

Filthy lucre

: Listening to NPR’s report on the Supreme Court decision okaying use of drug-sniffing dogs even when you are not stopped on suspicion of having drugs, I heard this amazing stat: 80 percent of paper currency in the U.S. has traces of drugs. I’m surprised every dollar bill doesn’t curl at the ends.