Friday, November 24, 2006

The Lightning Round:

Once upon a time before the Internet, the night before Black Friday meant sitting around with the newspaper inserts and drooling over the sales with the cranberry ice still fresh on your lips. Now, it's up from the table and out to the stores. Shopping has gone the way of the 24-hour news cycle: always on, always open. Closed for Thanksgiving? Not if people are opening their wallets.

Those spare morsels of Pilgrim Feast can wait. You'll be eating them through mid-December, anyway. So in that spirit -- and also because the combination of eating and shopping has shagged us out -- the staff of The Lightning Round present a few stories and sites we've been meaning to talk about but pushed aside.

THE SECRET LIVES OF DELIVERY DRIVERS. They do more than just deliver hot slices. According to Cortney Philip, pizza delivery drivers are the people to ask if you want to know the inside dope before moving into a neighborhood. They go where real estate agents don't, often times risking their safety to get it there hot and fresh. They also do more drugs than you expect, and some often end up driving for life.

Says Philip:
As a non-drug user, it took me awhile to adjust to this particular aspect of pizza delivery. I’ve seen just about every form of illegal and legal drug ingested during my days as a pizza delivery driver. Drugs flow freely through the back rooms of pizza shops, and many pizza delivery drivers double as dealers to their friends. The pizza that arrives at your door may have been made by someone on cocaine, taken out of the oven by someone on prescription pain pills, and delivered by someone who smoked pot on the way to your house.
Mmmm... wait a minute, that's not parseman cheese!

DREAMLAND. Many teenagers sleep 'till noon, and some sleep for a fortnight. The problem is a rare disorder called Kleine Levin Syndrome, which keeps you sawing logs for up to two weeks at a stretch.

Every four months or so, [Spencer] Spearin climbs into bed and sleeps for days or longer... "I might not be with you for a couple weeks," Spearin said. "I missed my birthday. I missed my graduation. I can't remember what I ate yesterday. I can't remember what I did yesterday."
What's more, people with the syndrome don't just lie there.
During the dream-like state, most patients only get up to use the bathroom or eat -- often enormous amounts of food.
So not only will you wake up confused, you'll have gained ten pounds.

A LA CART. In the continuing game of advertisers seeking out new territory because you've ignored billboards, zapped TV ads, dialed through radio spots, and turned the page, the new frontier is shopping carts. True, those have had ads for years, but not with video.

Meet MediaCart, the video screen on a shopping cart. Looks like I'm going back to the bag.

LIFTING THE VEIL. As I have pointed out before, moderate Muslims are suffering because radicals have stolen and corrupted the faith. But Haroon Siddiqui goes further, saying the problem is more complex than you think:
One of the strangest aspects of the post-9/11 world is that, despite all the talk about Muslim terrorism, there is hardly any exploration of the complex causes of Muslim rage. Muslims are in a state of crisis, but their most daunting problems are not religious. They are geopolitical, economic and social — problems that have caused widespread Muslim despair and, in some cases, militancy, both of which are expressed in the religious terminology that Muslim masses relate to.
Siddiqui's article is enlightening reading, delving much deeper than the standard-issue "they hate us because they hate what we stand for" explanation without sympathizing with terrorists.

FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE. This time of year, many FM stations flip their formats to Christmas music, but if you want a gift that will last you all year long, check out KCDX in Florence, Arizona, available over the Internet and also on 103.1 FM if you live in the eastern Phoenix area.

What will you hear? Loads of eclectic rock and roll, deep album cuts, and songs people just don't play on the radio. You may know Procol Harum's "Whiter Shade Of Pale," but how about "Simple Sister?" When was the last time you heard the Boomtown Rats' "I Don't Like Mondays?" Think of it as a classic rock station with a college-radio mentality -- and without commercials. Merry Christmas!

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