Wednesday, May 24, 2006


The Nixa News-Enterprise reported last week that Nixa aldermen would hold a special meeting Tuesday to determine, among other things, whether the city should hold an election to determine residents' views on a smoking ban.

During the meeting, they decided not to. The News-Leader's coverage on the Web inexplicably has a picture of a car wreck. It's not a bad metaphoric coincidince. One restaurant owner walks out, another is escorted out. The board goes in several different directions discussing an election, then a survey in utility bills.

The Mailbox thinks the board ultimately made the right decision. This issue is squarely on the shoulders of the aldermen...they had no business trying to pass it on to the people. Especially since the results of an election would have been non-binding, anyway. These kind of issues are why we have aldermen and why we live in a representative republic. Putting an issue to the people is a sign of not having a strong feeling one way or another.

Now, Nixa awaits its aldermen to have real courage and pass a smoking ban. The fact of the matter: Last year the board voted 4-2 against it, but an alderman and the mayor said that if they could not hold a public vote, they would switch their votes--meaning a 3-3 vote, mayor breaks the tie yes. A day later, the city finds out such an election would be non-binding.

So, why is there no ban? How many more people have to get lung cancer?

Sunday, May 21, 2006


Dan Brown thinks that Wiccans, witches and other Earth-based religions that worship the divine feminine can't fight against the Catholic Church. When it comes to the box office, he's right.

"The Da Vinci Code," the much-ballyhooed movie doing it's part to twist Catholic's panties in a wad, raked in about $77 million in opening weekend, placing at No. 13 on the all-time list for openers. Take a wild guess what No. 11 is.

Now, now, those of you who live to do nothing but get mad at those bad ol', intolerant Bible-Thumpers. Take comfort: Nos. 4, 5, 7 and 8 all belong to the four Harry Potter movies.

The rest of us religious-minded types—those of us who know the difference between fact and fiction, science and faith—will continue to mock the movie not for it's take on Jesus' bloodline, but for Tom Hanks wacked-out hair and awful acting.

Friday, May 19, 2006


While the Mailbox is thinking about how TV news lacks in news content compared to print, it is reminded of a kick-ass new song from Tool's "10,000 Days" called Vicarious. Read the lyrics
here. Go ahead, the Mailbox will wait.

Props to Tool for nailing American's addiction to violence on the head. But, the more interesting question: Do we keep track of news and current events simply for the bloodshed? The Mailbox thinks that explains TV's dominance in the newsworld.

It's often been said that TV news crews film live for the same reasons that a dog licks its balls: Because it can. 24-hour news channels will devote minute after minute to "breaking stories" with little news value. Ever since 9/11, it has been accepted to glue yourself to the TV news, watching every little detail, waiting for the next nugget of speculation or information.

The Mailbox thinks Americans have become addicted to the visceral visual. Though a picture is worth a thousand words, how many of those words are we interpreting correctly?

So Tool writes this song that almost mocks people for their displaced attention to current events. It's a deserved punch in the gut.


An interesting report has popped up from the UM Extension office (tip o' the hat to Chatter's Ron Davis for the lead): Newspaper editors and reporters say problems with the media's credibility are mostly not their fault.

According to a study from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, editors and reporters find that "external factors" weaken public confidence in newspapers. Things such as rhetoric from pundits, ethical lapses from national sources and increased access to agenda-driven media do more to undermine newspapers' credibility than anything the newspapers could do themselves.

As a newspaper guy, the Mailbox will weigh in: It's true. This study confirms that newspaper reporters and editors think highly of themselves, compared to their TV and radio brethren. As they should.

Think about this: When was the last time a TV station aired a correction? When was the last time you heard Rush or O'Reilly say they were wrong? When was the last time you saw Jon Stewart roast a newspaper journalist? You can probably count all those instances on one hand.

Think also about this: If you wrote down every word from a big-time, meaty, two-minute report on TV, you'd have about 400-500 words. That's a mere 15-18 inches of newscopy. Add in all the time talking heads spend spewing their opinion (including how the media is evil) and you have a whole lot of gristle and fat in your news-steak.

The Mailbox's well-researched, based-off-nothing-but-opinion bottom line: Those who read the written word get much more information in a shorter amount of time. The people who read their news know more and need more that spoken-word news just doesn't provide. Don't get the Mailbox wrong: There is good TV journalism out there. Unfortunately, it is the needle in the haystack.

On the other hand, this nation is filled with outstanding print journalists who provide good stories about their communities. Often, the only journalists at some events are from newspapers only. This study may make reporters and editors look cocky, but (at the risk of confirming said cockiness) they do a higher caliber of work that TV reporters just can't provide. We have a right to be proud of ourselves. And when TV does cover a local story, it's usually because they got it from a newspaper.


This week our suspicion's about Michael are confirmed. He is definitely under the influence of the Others. We also learn what Michael did (and what was done to him) while he was gone on his solo mission to bring back his boy.

The Mailbox's gripe has nothing to do with Michael. It has to do with that computer. What the hell is up with the fonts?

When Michael got the first computer message from Walt, it was in Palatino. The second message, when Walt gave him directions, was set in Times. When anyone else put in the code for the timer, the numbers were set in a blocky terminal font similar to Apple's Charcoal. But when Eko punches them in, they look more like an OCR-type sans serif, much slimmer.

It's stupid, really. That old-ass computer shouldn't have more than one font on it. Instead, it's looking more like Microsoft Office. Be like a newspaper, producers: Pick one and stick with it!

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Winter is coming...only three more shows of Lost until the cliff-hanging season finale shocks, amazes and pisses us off. By the end of the season, the Mailbox predicts that Locke will have gone to find the Others to talk to them, Jack will have gone to find the Others to start putting bullet holes in them, Michael will get busted and confronted, Kate and Sawyer will bump uglies, Charlie will do something that makes him look like the best guy in the world and Claire will scream at something.

But, in the a gripe to get out.

In "?", we learn what the mysterious question mark on the UV map is. Locke finally loses faith in the magic of the island, only to pass it on to Eko. But before that, we see Jack point a gun at Sawyer, asking for the guns. In broad daylight. Then we see Jack and Sawyer walking to the hatch, after Locke spills the beans about AnaLucia, holding torches in the dark. Then, when Sawyer goes to get the heroin, it's broad daylight. WTF?

The Mailbox's gripe: There is no way it took all night for Jack to ask for the heroin. This has gotta be a production flub. And when it's obvious enough for the Mailbox--forgiving soul that it is--to notice, then dag, yo. That's a bad flub.

However, the producers have made up for it by updating the Hanso Foundation's Web site. No more broken links and simple's fully interactive. Who the hell is Persephone? And what's up with that gorilla's shadow? Creepy. The commercial was pretty slick, too, although iTunes users don't get to see it during the show. Dammit.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Mental health officials in Oklahoma are inquiring about the actions of law enforcement officials and facility workers after a mental patient was found handcuffed to a fence in Vinita.

Two deputies tried to admit 32-year-old Elizabeth Mae Garner into the Oklahoma Forensic Center May 2. The deputies had an order for transport, but not commitment, so she was turned away. Until she was found about 30 minutes later by a security guard at the facility.

Her brother is understandably ticked. His quote to the Joplin Globe:

“My sister is not an angel, but she is not a dog either.”

No kidding. This incident makes the Mailbox wonder exactly how desperate our law enforcement agencies are for new recruits.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


The new job has published a three-part series on Joplin-area Senator Gary Nodler. Many of you know him as the senator who wanted developmentally disabled kids to be quiet during a showing of "Fantastic Four." He demanded their caregiver be written up, even though he had a free pass to get in.
Not many of you know him as a rising star in Republican circles. The rumor mill churns tales about how if Roy Blunt ever took a bigger job, Nodler would be the guy to replace him. Nodler also has a healthy backing of lobbyists helping him win his campaigns, as the stories report.

What the Mailbox found interesting is Nodler's lack of cooperation--not with the whole newspaper, but just a reporter.

According to this story, the Globe's reporter Max McCoy called Nodler for his input in the "Spheres of Influence" series. Nodler said no; he was still smarting for how he was treated over the whole movie theater incident. He told the Globe's editor he'd answer the questions from anyone else; the Globe said no. The paper published the list of questions.

After scanning over the questions, the Mailbox has only one question: Why would Nodler NOT want to answer these? His reluctance just makes him look even more like a jerk, if that was possible. The only other alternative is that he sees nothing wrong with how candidates raise money.

So, is this just a hatchet job? Is the Globe out to get Nodler? Is this another case of the liberal media picking on a well-meaning conservative? Consider this: Nodler, after only four years in office, is riding on donations of almost $500,000. He is the third-most senior Republican in the Senate and leads two important committees: He's chairman of Education and vice-chair of appropriations. Not bad for four years.

Nodler has not been accused of any criminal activity. His political career simply shows that the system is broken; that money still runs politics.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


The gaming world is pissed off. Nintendo, developing a new system, used the code name "Revolution." Bitchin' name, insiders said.

Guess what the system's new name is? Prepare to be nauseated.

Wii. Spelled W-I-I. Pronounced "Whee."

The Mailbox is stunned at Nintendo's marketing retarditude. The company had a great name, but they replaced it with a Donkey Kong-sized turd. Gamers across the nation are laughing their heads off. The funniest part is that Nintendo claims they put a lot of thought into the name. From

In an interview with CNN Money, Nintendo of America's vice president of marketing and corporate affairs, Perrin Kaplan, defended the title. "I think people have to look back and let it settle in," Kaplan said. "I'm sure people felt the same way when Google was named - or the iPod. Napster. Yahoo. There's a whole host of unusual names that have become a part of everyday conversation and I think they're viewed now as unique."

Funny: It doesn't take the Mailbox nearly as much time to come up with some new marketing slogans. How about:

Monday, May 01, 2006


Hallelujah. My team got it right.

The Houston Texans surprised the world by taking defensive end Mario Williams in the first round of the 2006 NFL draft. Shocking, because everyone thought the Texans would take Reggie Bush, the most highly-ranked college player to come along in a while. The New Orleans Saints did the right thing by scooping him up with the No. 2 pick.

The Mailbox believes that, by taking Williams instead of Bush, Houston has now become the all-time leader in charitable donations to New Orleans. As a diehard Saints fan, the Mailbox has looked for something--ANYTHING--to get hyped up about. And this is it.

By the looks of things, Bush is a big boost to a city that loves its football, and thought it was going to lose it after Katrina. This Times-Pic story tells it best: Bush is being hailed as a conquering hero, and the boy hasn't even worn the black and gold for a practice yet. Even Deuce McAllister, one of the fans' favorites (for good reason; he's a class guy) is excited about the pick.

And so is the Mailbox. Brees at QB, healthy Joe Horn, Beerman and Deuce, new coach, improving Donte Stallworth and Jammal Brown. Now add Reggie Bush (a backfield with Deuce and Bush? Times-Pic hed writers are chomping at the bit) and a revitalized fan base and the Mailbox is predicting a banner year. Maybe an NFC-banner winning year. This pick totally eliminates all the bad mojo from the Ricky Williams pick.

However, these are the Saints we are talking about. So, the Mailbox offers two bits to calm down all the Yatta-like irrational exuberance the Black and Gold nation is feeling:

1. Bush has not yet signed a contract. If he is a walk-out, then all this feel-good mojo will get sucked down like a hurricane during Mardi Gras. However, owner Tom Benson has a good history of shelling out cash for worthy players.

2. Problems on defense are still not fully addressed. Still no shut down corners, still no aggressive defensive ends. The Saints may STILL have to score 35 points a game to win.

Alright, now that the negatives are out there...


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