Wednesday, June 28, 2006


U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona couldn't make it any clearer. Secondhand smoke kills 3,000 nonsmokers a year. Nonsmokers have their chances of developing heart disease or lung cancer increased by 25 to 30 percent just from secondhand smoke. The only way to protect nonsmokers is to get the smoke completely out of the building. And nonsmoking cities are not seeing their business get flushed down the toilet...nonsmoking restaurants are profiting. That evidence makes opinions like this seem downright childish.

However, one argument deserves some mention. The nation is moving toward a nonsmoking trend already. Why bother passing a law for something that will happen on it's own time?

Baby bird needs a nudge out of the nest, that's why. 3,000 dead nonsmokers a year, from cigarette-related deaths. Smokers are killing nonsmokers. Isn't that reason enough?

Friday, June 23, 2006


In the tradition of the great George Spankmeister's "Dead or Canadian" guessing game, here's a fun little quiz the Mailbox found about a dead fascist and a live harpy. Adolf Hitler or Ann Coulter?

The Mailbox got nine of 12 right. Booyah.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


The Mailbox will step aside for a moment. I've finally got the guts to post some of my fiction here. The link below is one of my stories I've been working on, and I think I'm ready to share it with the world.

Yes, I'm writing more stories. Yes, I'll post them occasionally. Some of you even know about "Project Ghost." Those of you that do, it's coming back from the dead.

In the meantime, enjoy this story. It's a pdf file; only 50 pages long. You should be able to finish it in an evening. I invite your an editor for five years who has picked apart news stories, I've some karma due.

Open Your Eyes

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


It's not exactly an invasion of free speech, but it's unnerving that security at the Battlefield Mall felt a 10-year-old girl's bandanna, sprinkled with flowers, smiley-faces and... gasp... peace signs, was disturbing.

The Springfield News-Leader covered the story pretty well, including a puzzling response from the mall's management: "The code of conduct is pretty clear and, you know, I think common sense should prevail," Christine Moses, director of mall marketing, told the SNL.

Um, the Mailbox disagrees. If, according to the code, shoppers are barred from "wearing apparel which is likely to provoke a disturbance," that could be anything, from too-revealing tops to Oakland Raiders jerseys. Was a rent-a-cop threatened by a peace sign? The Mailbox shudders to think what would happen to mall dress codes if a Wal-Mart ever moved into the mall. If it weren't for Auntie Anne's and Fastbreak Sports, the Mailbox would stage a boycott.

Another chilling thought: The Mailbox has a sneaking suspicion that the mother of the child is a former News-Leader reporter. The Mailbox welcomes correction if incorrect. But if it's right, then the mother no doubt has the understanding of what the incident meant and wisely contacted the newspaper. How many times, and how many other places, has this happened to people who don't think that it's a big deal?

Saturday, June 17, 2006


When the Mailbox isn't diligently searching through news sites (or, in the case of the last month, hangin' out with killer ladies and TLP, the official fabulous girlfriend of the Mailbox), it enjoys watching Internet animations created by amateurs with a lot of talent. Albino Blacksheep, Weebl's Stuff, Homestar Runner, Too Much Spare Time and other sites are in the ol' Firefox bookmarks folder.

As we all know, stuff gets around on the Net. Remember that video of the chimp that scratches its butt, sniffs it then falls over? Hi-larious. Brought to us by the virus-like quality of these electronic typewriters and their high-speed connections to the one-zero world. Though the Internet provides instant worldwide exposure, it also presents the opportunity for theft.

A guy named Eric Bauman has ticked off a lot of animators by stealing animations and hosting them on his Web site, The proof comes from a clever animation by Alan Becker, that later showed up on without permission. ABS summarizes nicely why this is a problem.

The Mailbox's question: How is this different from the flap over mp3s and illegal downloads? Besides the obvious, of course: that Bauman is flat busted for stealing and making a profit from it.

Internet animators are now feeling the same theft of creativity as musicians. The only difference is that a major recording act is backed by a major label; many of these animators do it for the love, not the money. Others have ads on their sites to raise some revenue.

In the case of animators, a generally computer-savvy bunch, this may be a turnabout of fair play. It just took a jackhole like Bauman to show that maybe Lars Ulrich had a point: Creativity is a product that entertains us.

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