Friday, September 15, 2006

The Lightning Round:
Dressed To Kill, Tested For Performance, Unplugged For Your Protection

DEATH BECOMES HIM. Kimveer Gill, the man who shot up a Montreal college didn't fear the reaper. But we should've feared him.

From the AP:
In postings on a Web site called, blogs in Gill's name show more than 50 photos depicting the young man in various poses holding a rifle and donning a long black trench coat and combat boots.

One photo has a tombstone with his name printed on it - below it the phrase: "Lived fast died young. Left a mangled corpse."


"Work sucks ... school sucks ... life sucks ... what else can I say? ... Life is a video game you've got to die sometime."
Reading over this man's sad, sick dossier, I wonder if anybody could have pulled him from his morbid morass. A neighbor described Gill as a loner. But Gill talks of "work" and "school." People had contact with him, but perhaps they wrote him off as another "goth guy," avoiding fashion profiling. Perhaps some kept their distance. We learn not to judge others by their looks. Black trenchcoats don't kill people, people kill people.

So many of us would dismiss Gill, place him in the weirdo file lacking evidence of any homicidal tendencies. When you don't see the warning signs, you can't sound the alarm. But we can't blame others for failing to connect the dots when our own culture of tolerance tells us to dismiss outer impressions.

ZERO TOLERANCE. Go to school in El Dorado, Kansas -- outside Wichita -- and you'll likely be handed an empty cup and instructions on what to do with it. The local district just passed a tough new random drug screening program that doesn't discriminate between jocks and everybody else.

From the AP:
It's instituting random drug screening for all middle- and high-school students participating in — or even just attending — any extracurricular activity. That includes sports, clubs, field trips, driver's education and even school plays. Those who don't sign consent forms can't attend games, go to school dances, join a club or so much as park their cars on school property.
School administrators say they will tell parents and not police about any positive test results.

The Lightning Round notes the concerns of students who feel their privacy is violated, but we also note doping up puts more than yourself at risk, especially in Driver's Ed. Interestingly, the school system declares it doesn't have a drug problem; therefore, it's taking a pre-emptive strike against WMD -- Weapons of Mass Delusion.

The ACLU is looking into the policy, but their concern fogs over the issue. From the AP:
"That policy invades the privacy of students that need deterrence and risks steering those students to a greater risk of substance abuse that makes the drug problems worse," [Brett] Shirk [of the ACLU] said. Some authorities said that excluding students from extracurricular activities will just lead them into deeper trouble.
So drug testing increases the risk of drug abuse? That's like saying mammograms cause breast cancer.

Sadly, when an entire school district feels the need to drug-screen every student -- since what middle- and high-school students don't do extra-curricular activities -- it says more about the district's collective fear and lack of confidence in parents to help keep their children drug-free.

And I wonder, just what kind of performance-enhancing drugs would debate team members find useful... besides speed?

DEADLY (DIS)GRACE. An episode of L.A. Law once portrayed someone being cross-examined to death. Nancy (Dis)Grace proves she can do it for real after apparently pushing the mother of a missing boy towards suicide. Truth be told, the mother pulled the trigger after (Dis)Grace's grilling but before the interview aired. This allows the ex-prosecutor to claim some measure of innocence, something we might not be able to say about the distressed mom. But we'll never know the truth now, will we?

SWITCHED OFF. From our own part of the world comes the story of Pinal County, Arizona sheriff's deputies pulling the plug on the GLOW glow-in-the-dark arts festival in Oracle over concerns about parking, among other things. What's worse, festivalgoers complained two deputies went a little overboard.

From KOLD News 13's Dan Marries:
"It really was a shock," says [GLOW volunteer Dave] Squires. "Basically, I think that they thought it was a rave with a lot of underage kids on drugs or something. It was just the opposite. It was a family event."
The unstated implication is possible confusion with the raunchily anarchic annual Burning Man festival.
"[One deputy] got behind the microphone and told everybody this was an illegal gathering, and that we had to leave immediately or else be arrested," Squires says. "It really was a shock."
At least 50 complaints are now on file with the department. The Pinal County Sheriff is trying to make amends, even holding a town meeting to address concerns. One deputy has been suspended.

If it's any comfort, the first night of the festival went off uninterrupted. Stay tuned to KOLD News 13 and The Lightning Round as we continue to follow the investigation.

THE BORAT ACCORDS. It's a threat bridging two nations, one reverberating for millions of miles, and countermeasures appear hopeless. Citizens are doomed, fated to laughingstock status, unless President Bush can somehow reverse the course of British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, better known as the character Borat, roving dunderhead reporter from Kazakhstan.

Bush will host talks on Cohen because Borat stars in a new road-trip mockumentary scorching American and Kazakh culture in equal blows, including a scene where Borat sings "and your home in the grave" at a rodeo in Salem, Virginia. He also got Tucson bar patrons singing "Throw The Jew Down The Well," for his recurring segment on "Da Ali G Show." We're amazed Cohen survived principal photography.

Never before have I seen a film rise to the level of diplomatic emergency. Kazakhstan president will talk with George W. Bush in Maine. His country is also launching an air assault.

From the London Daily Mail:
President Nazarbayev has confirmed his government will buy "educational" TV spots and print advertisements about the "real Kazakhstan" in a bid to save the country's reputation before the film is released in the US in November.
So what's Cohen saying about this international incident? Nothing directly, but we can get a hint at Borat's response in this statement he made after criticism of his appearance at the MTV Europe Music Awards.
"Since the 2003 Tuleyakiv reforms, Kazakhstan is as civilized as any other country in the world.

"Women can now travel on inside of bus, homosexuals no longer have to wear blue hats, and age of consent has been raised to eight years old."
LOW DRAMA. Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom thought they'd found worst play ever in Springtime For Hitler. They should've picked Christoph Schlingensief's new production which just premiered in Berlin. Among other things, Kaprow City features Queen Elizabeth played by a dwarf and Princess Diana in bed with two Down's Syndrome men.

From the London Daily Mail:
The bizarre drama, which is due to come to London next month, premiered on Wednesday night and dozens of people walked out on it within minutes of the curtain going up.
It's got stinker written all over it, provided you can actually see it...
German society girl Jenny Elvers played Diana on a stage that only one third of the audience could see. The other two thirds watched the action on TV monitors in black and white.
The critical reaction:
"It lasted two hours and felt like 24," wrote the critic for the tabloid B.Z. "I simply didn’t understand a single thing about it," said Joerg Hoffmanm, who left after 12 minutes."
I'm reminded of Bill Murray's playwright character in Tootsie, who says: "I don't like when somebody comes up to me the next day and says, "Hey, man, I saw your play. It touched me; I cried." I like it when a guy comes up to me a week later and says, 'Hey, man, I saw your play... what happened?'"

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