Friday, February 10, 2006


The New Times of San Luis Obispo County, Fla., is under fire for a cover story about meth. The alt-weekly published an article titled "Meth Made Easy."

The article starts out with the question, "Wonder why speed is everywhere these days? For one thing, it's simple to make." The point of the article was to answer the question of why, considering the risks and extreme hazards of making and taking meth, people still do it. However, people angry about the story said it treated the subject matter too light-heartedly, and called it an easy-to-get manual on how to make meth.

Judging from the response, the article did not accomplish its goal. The cover story of this week's issue is all about the controversy the story generated—not the intended subject of the story. Editor Jim Mullin in his response said that the story's tone may have had something to do with the furor:

"The absence of a scolding tone, I suspect, is what led many people to misread the story and misunderstand its significance. I also suspect our use of sarcasm, designed to hold reader interest, alienated some who believed the subject was too serious to be treated flippantly."

What bugs the Mailbox is how the newspaper is now the object of rage and disgust. Not the meth problem.

People were so mad about the article that they sent in droves of letters. Others "confiscated" thousands of copies. We could argue that the community is all too aware of the meth problem, thus the reaction was warranted. However, a problem that people won't talk about has even less of a chance of getting solved.

Though the Mailbox isn't sure it would have the cojones to publish the article, the Mailbox salutes the courage and community commitment that the staff of the New Times has. As for helping people find the arcane recipe for meth? Judge for yourself: Do your own Google search for a meth recipe and see how hard it is for you to find.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


The Mailbox thought that it would never be relieved to see some campaigning. However, for too long advocates against evolution have been spending major money to cram intelligent design down our throats.

Finally, an organization is doing something to combat creationists' illogical attempts to religiously brainwash America. And it's no less than the Skeptics Society, a respected group of scientists and other like-minded free thinkers. The group is asking for donations to push its own message of why Darwin's theory of evolution is important. They plan several things:

Read more at the Skeptics' Web site.

Shermer, in his newest book "Science Friction," explains exactly how intelligent design is meant to supplant Darwinian evolution. It's a good read.

Sunday, February 05, 2006


The Super Bowl is over. The Steelers beat the Seahawks 21-10, with the help of the referees. However, the Mailbox prefers to think of the real winners and losers of the Super Bowl: The advertisers. Here's a breakdown of how businesses spent $2.5 million per 30 seconds to sell you something:
Best waste of money: Diet Pepsi. Their series of ads featuring new careers for the soda cost much more than the air time. They paid for big time stars such as Jay Mohr, P. Diddy and Jackie Chan. And they were boring. Cadillac's Escalade on the modeling catwalk is a close second.
Biggest tease: Jessica Simpson's seductive dance for Pizza Hut doesn't come close. The biggest tease belongs to Banned from two Super Bowls, their ad created buzz, but fizzled when it just led people to its Web site.
Best comeback: MacGuyver, starring in a Mastercard "Priceless" ad. It was good to see the guy back in action, starting a truck with a turkey baster. Leonard Nimoy and Aleve had it wrapped up until Mac came along.
Best ad featuring animals: Bud Light and the football-playing horses dealing with a streaking, shorn sheep was funny enough to beat's "working with monkeys" ad. But, it was the inspirational Bud ad featuring generous Clydesdales helping a horse pull the traditional wagon that tugged the Mailbox's "Aww-strings." The Mailbox is still wondering why animals like Budweiser beer so much.
Best use of violence in an ad: Michelob Ultra gave a sweet taste of revenge when a football-playing girl paid back a tackling jackhole with a huge hit in a bar. This girl beat out a Sprint cell phone that doubled as a ninja throwing star.
Weirdest, most bizarre ad: Burger King's Whopperettes. Before the Super Bowl even started, we were treated to a strange tribute to movie musicals. Beautiful women, dressed up as Whopper ingredients, dance around and eventually are stacked on top of each other to make a burger. The King, who already scores high in weirdness, fires a cannon. Afterwards, the Mailbox and countless others across America scratch their heads, saying, "What was THAT?!"
Funniest ad: The FedEx cavemen. A guy tries to send a package by pterodactyl. Only, it gets eaten by a T-Rex. When the caveman gets back to the office, he is fired by his boss for not using FedEx. "But, FedEx hasn't even been invented yet!" he cries. "Not my problem," says the boss. Trust the Mailbox: It's funnier when you see it. A close second goes to Sierra Mist, with Kathy Griffin's fake metal detector.
Most sadistic ad: Ameriquest's doctors who kill a fly with defibrillator paddles. The Mailbox wondered if Tim Burton directed this morbid ad. But, Ameriquest did redeem themselves with a funnier ad featuring a woman on a plane who ends up in a compromising position.
Best ad featuring over-excessive products: Gillette Fusion. This razor has five blades and is battery operated? Who actually needs one of these? The Mailbox predicts the next razor will have six blades, a toothbrush, a massaging shower-head, Q-tip dispenser and PDA stylus.
Best tease of an upcoming ABC show: Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Lost." The Mailbox has faced its addiction to that show, and was actually suckered for a couple of seconds. When Locke holds up the piece of film showing Palmer, the Mailbox immediately thought, "Oh! My! Gosh! Palmer is on the island too!" The only reason this beats out athletes talking about "Desperate Housewives" is because the Mailbox is sick of hearing Shaq talk about anything.
Best "Eeewww" ad: H3. A giant lizard and a giant robot prepare to fight, only to fall in love and have a baby. What's the kid look like? An H3. Eeewww...

And, finally:

Worst ad: Emerald Nuts. What do samurais and midget druids have in common with Emerald Nuts? The Mailbox doesn't know either, even after watching this terrible ad.
Best ad: Girls' "True Colors," by Dove. As part of their campaign for real beauty, Dove showed pictures of girls facing down needless fears, such as being too fat or freckled. The Mailbox salutes any attempt to subvert the paradigm of feminime perfection, and Dove did an awesome job. Here's hoping guys--and most importantly, the ladies--got the message.


The Springfield News-Leader announced its new editorial board this week. While the 12 members compose a diverse mix of career, background, gender and race, they do not necessarily have such a mix in politics.

From their info-blurbs, the Mailbox counts one Republican, one Libertarian, four liberals or Democrats, four independents/moderates (one of which says leans to the left, one of which leans to the right) and two who didn't say, but their quotes indicate one of each. That leaves one (maybe three) conservatives on the board. Compared to four (maybe six) liberals.

The right could argue, "Where's the balance?" And they would be right.

The board won't write editorials, however. Plus, they will have only a six-month term in which they will give only input on the op/ed pages. So, their actual impact on the paper's opinionating may be minimal. (Translated: The N-L will still tick off the same approximate number on both sides of the political scale.)

But a newspaper's job is to approach issues with balance. This board is ill-equipped to do that.

Granted, it may not be the News-Leader's fault completely: People must apply to be part of the board. Maybe there was a lack of conservatives showing interest, which indicates how conservatives may have given up on the ol' Leader.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


State Rep. Jay Wasson, R-Nixa, has the best rules of asking taxpayers for money, whenever something needs to be built. Though he has not made them official, the Mailbox has garnered them over the course of many interviews, and thus makes them official:

  1. Make sure you spend what you have the best way you can.
  2. If you find a public need that cannot be afforded otherwise, plea your case to the voters.
  3. Ask for no more or no less than you absolutely need.

So, Springfield is wanting to get a crime lab, even though voters said no when they rejected the Community Safety Initiative. The Springfield media has been filled with
different opinions about whether they should, even though voters said "no." The Mailbox points out two things:

~ Voters' positions are reversed by legislators all the time. Missouri did, when they passed a bill allowing concealed weapons after state voters said "no." Ozark aldermen instituted a "sewer connection fee" to pay for a new wastewater plant even though Ozark voters said no to a similar impact fee. So let's stop all talk of feeling betrayed, about Springfield city officials not listening to the voters. If Springfield was dealing with an issue with which the talking heads agreed, the city would be enjoying their support.

~ Voters did not say no to a crime lab. Voters said no to enacting a new tax to pay for a crime lab and other things. If Springfield is figuring out how to get something new with the money they already have, then that's good for all of us—including those of us in Christian County. A Springfield crime lab would greatly assist all of southwest Missouri in our fight against meth.

Had Springfield followed Wasson's unofficial rules (those are the Mailbox's words, not Wasson's), they might not be having this debate, because they would have already found a way to get a crime lab or accomplish some of their other goals. A tax is usually the best way to fund something, but it's not always the best way to accomplish a goal.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Rerun. That's the gripe.

During the last episode, the island dwellers found themselves in a difficult situation. Jack goes on an expedition to find Michael, only to get surrounded by the Others and discover their numbers are downright intimidating. Charlie goes nutters and gets all weird about Claire and baby Aaron. Jack and Ana-Lucia are getting close to hooking up. So are Kate and Sawyer. And Hurley and Libby (although Libby is suspicious--the Mailbox thinks she knew Hurley from the institution. That whole bit about stepping on her foot? BS). To answer all this mounting drama, we get a rerun from season 1.

Yes, yes...the Mailbox is not so naive as to not account for sweeps week a'comin'. Granted, it's a decent episode, which tells the story of those weird numbers and what kind of bad luck they brought the large lottery winner. But STILL! A frickin' RERUN?! And the News-Leader called tonight's episode a must-see? Whatever. The producers have already taken a six-week break, and followed it up with an hour-long recap. Maybe they wouldn't have to waste our time if they took less breaks. This season started in September, for crying out loud.

24 can spit out constant episodes in a season. Whatsamatta, ABC? Filming in Hawaii slow you down?


Filming for the first episode of Street Talk went pretty well. Click that there link for air times and more details. Christian County residents: It should be on cable channel 6 or 3.

I had fun doing it and thank creators Rondavis and Doc Larry. The conversation was pretty interesting: A lot of it dealt with the role of media and public records, as it relates to the shooting incident at Hotel 7 and the release of the victims' names. Host Ron Davis led Vincent David Jericho and me through. The discussion is pretty compelling. Not sure I agree with Jericho's take, however.

I have never listened to his show. I do know he organized a counter-protest to a war protest last year. I have heard "liberals" decry him for being a staunch "conservative"--you know the role; evil, friendly to "big business," hates minorities, whatever wide brushes liberals use to paint their pictures of conservatives. On the air and off during the process, I met a genuinely friendly guy who didn't try to shove his views down my throat. In fact, we were able to discuss several things openly and honestly. Short version: He's a good guy who believes what he believes. I didn't talk to a conservative--I talked to Vincent David Jericho.

I don't think he was betrayed, however. For the most part, I thought it was a conversation. We tackled some tough aspects about the media. I took hits for being too nice to governments, since I'm the editor of a small-town weekly (which, admittedly, is not the same thing as being called a racist). Rondavis was my boss at 417 Magazine, back in that mag's good ol' days. I know Ron and his unique skill at provoking people, at finding their most sacred beliefs and shedding them in a different light. The lesson it taught me was that it is important to be able to discuss and defend your morals and beliefs when they are spun 180 degrees and thrown in your face.

To be fair: I may feel differently once I actually see the episode air. I just hope they edited out my dumb response to who's going to win the Super Bowl.

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