Friday, July 20, 2007

One Nation, Underage And Divisible

Get out of that canoe and pull those shorts down from the flagpole. America's youth are doing some serious camping, even if it's a bit campy.

KID STUFF. Producers of the upcoming CBS reality show Kid Nation were able to turn 40 kids loose on a wild-west ghost town in New Mexico with no parents, no teachers, and (amazingly) no trouble because they classified the production as a summer camp.

From TV Week:
Kids were on the show for seven days a week, for up to 40 days, and were responsible for cooking their own meals. Though there were no teachers or parents (aside from a few at the start of the shoot), an array of physicians and an emergency medical technician were available at all times.

In addition to shooting in a state that didn’t govern child labor on TV shows, the producers legally characterized the show in a unique way to avoid complaints that kids were overworked.
The premise of the show is whether the kids can succeed where others have failed. Your Lightning Round has heard of this concept before. They're called communes.

LITTLE GOONS. As the NHL tries to clean up hockey's image, Minnesota Wild enforcer Derek Boogaard is teaching young puck-slappers how to brawl at a one-day camp that has some parents whistling a foul.

From the Minneapolis Star-Tribute:
But the Boogaards take umbrage with the disapproval. Their intent, Derek said, is not to create teenage bruisers.

"A lot of times when people don't understand something, they don't like it," he said. "We're not teaching kids how to fight and how to hurt people. We're teaching kids how to protect themselves so they don't get hurt on the ice."
But they do get hurt.
Sure, there were cuts and bruises. Ryan Hawkins actually arrived with a bloody left hand, a fresh gash from a Wednesday power-skating class. He complained to his dad that his hand was preventing him from grabbing on to another's jersey, saying, "I'll probably lose." Pops, only half-kiddingly, told him, "Suck it up."
Yeah, or I'll bop ya!

SIZE MATTERS. Randy Newman sang in satire, "Short people got no reason to live." Those words came to mind when we read the latest research about America facing a height deficit compared to northern European countries.

From the AP:
Height differences translate into real benefits. A number of studies have shown that disease and malnutrition early in life increase a person's chances of developing heart disease and other life-shortening conditions later on. Though tall people are more likely to get cancer, they suffer less mortality overall than short people.
However, the study failed to mention Americans are still growing -- just from side to side.

THESE EYES. Not since the infamous Runaway Bride story has somebody with wild eyes attracted so many looks. Our newest 15-minuter is a man caught with an incredulous stare at press conference held by Russian President Vladimir Putin. During the gab session, a guy got up and started throwing propaganda leaflets. Needless to say, he caught several peepers, including two very big ones belonging to the gentleman sitting next to him. Ironically, the paper pusher projected quite the mellow countenance, as mellow as possible for a person who knows he's probably doomed to Siberia... or worse. has its sights on the story, with copious parodied pictures.

ADVENTURES IN CONSERVATIVELAND. A reporter for the UK's Independent newspaper went on a cruise sponsored by National Review magazine. Those in tight with the neocon right, he observed, are living in an alternate reality:

From AlterNet:
I am travelling on a bright white cruise ship with two restaurants, five bars, a casino - and 500 readers of the National Review. Here, the Iraq war has been "an amazing success". Global warming is not happening. The solitary black person claims, "If the Ku Klux Klan supports equal rights, then God bless them." And I have nowhere to run.
Your Lightning Round wonders what a Mother Jones cruise might be like: constant talk of impeachment, Al Gore, U.S. imperialism, punishing the oil industry, yada, yada, yada....

Don't people go on cruises to escape the agony around them?

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