Friday, February 2, 2007

The Lightning Round:
Hey Joe! I Heard You Shot Your Mouth Off...

We took a vote here at headquarters on which season people would prefer start earlier: Christmas Season or Campaign Season? The results weren't even close. We'd rather be merry, especially when the presidential preliminaries resemble the opening rounds of American Idol.

LOOSE LIPS SINK CAMPAIGNS. Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware may have borrowed John Kerry's tongue. Hence his now-infamous comments about fellow Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, as reported in the New York Observer and captured in a YouTube clip:
"I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy... I mean, that's a storybook, man."
Your Humble Servant here at the Lightning Round learned in journalism school that you never use the word "articulate" in any description of an African-American leader. The reason? Use of such word carries negative connontations about the rest of the race, even if you never meant to take a swipe at anybody. If the senator had simply stopped with that word, we could argue about political correctness run amok. Biden, however, poured gas on the fire: "bright," "clean," "nice-looking guy." Huuuuh boy.

Obama is brushing it off, according to the Washington Times:
Mr. Obama dismissed the remarks as the Delaware senator just "being Joe."

"He certainly didn't intend to offend, and I'll leave it at that," he told reporters who asked whether Mr. Biden had apologized.
Biden tried to clear things up:
Reporters on the conference call peppered Mr. Biden with questions about the Obama remarks, and he said the "clean" word probably came from an old saying his mother used: "Clean as a whistle, sharp as a tack." He described Mr. Obama as "crisp and clear."
We remind you Biden dropped out of the 1988 Presidential Race after he got caught lifting remarks from a British pol. No matter whose words he's using -- his, his mother's, or somebody else's -- we strongly suspect he'll soon be using one more: "withdraw."

RUMOR CONTROL. As Super Bowl Sunday approaches, we would like to dispel some recurring legends surrounding the Big Game. However, the Chicago Tribune did it for us:
Two-thirds of all avocados sold in the United States are purchased for consumption during the Super Bowl.

Water department officials across the country fearfully await the "halftime flush," when millions run to the bathroom at once, pushing water systems to the brink of calamity.

Lingerie sales jump in the days before the Super Bowl as women look for ways to woo their significant others away from the big game.

False, false and false (and slightly sexist).
And don't forget the one about domestic violence on game day.

GROWTH SPURT. This, unfortunately, is no urban legend. A study in The New England Journal of Medicine indicates certain shampoos and soaps with laventer and tea oils can make young boys grow breasts. Three boys -- ages 4, 7, and 10 -- raised alarm when they raised their shirts.

From the AP:
The three boys were brought to their doctors with overdeveloped breasts that looked like those of girls in early puberty. They were sore in one case. For each boy, doctors could tie the problem only to their use over several months of the natural-oil products.

The researchers suspected that the oils might be upsetting the boys' hormonal balance.
We often wonder whether young boys actually have a hormonal balance, but let's not drift. Thankfully, the problem goes away once you stop using the suspect soaps. Sorry, Playtex, no new market here.

PUT THAT IN YOUR PIPE AND... Drug company Alexza is developing "smokable" painkillers for faster relief.

From Reuters:
The company's lead product is a vaporized version of an old drug called prochlorperazine, which Alexza is developing for migraine headaches but is currently used in liquid, oral or suppository form to treat severe nausea.

While it is sometimes given intravenously in hospitals to treat patients with acute migraines, the drug is inconvenient to deliver.

Alexza is hoping to provide similar results but in such a way that patients can carry the delivery device -- an inhaler that looks like a miniature hip flask -- in a pocketbook or the glove compartment of a car.

The device contains a battery-powered package that heats a thin coating of drug to create a vapor that can be sucked into the lungs.
We already have a smokable painkiller. Proponents of medical marijuana claim anti-nausea and painkiller pills don't work, and smoking reefer is the only thing that does. Truth be told, you could make the same claim about crack... or banana peels.

So now we have an interesting question before us. If the smokable painkiller makes the market, do the proponents of medicinal pot lose their strongest argument?

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