Friday, July 11, 2008

Nuts, A Brief Digression

By now I am sure you have all heard of Jesse Jackson's politically incorrect comment, "I want to cut his (Obama's) nuts off" that was caught on a hot microphone. Big Whoop. What I find vastly amusing is the way it was reported by the media, and I will use CNN as an example.

First it was said that the comments made by Jesse Jackson were "too vulgar to be aired on prime time television." This, of course, led everyone to wonder just what Jesse had said, but I am sure we all thought it was something a lot more vulgar than "I want to cut his nuts off."

Next, Jesse Jackson's comments were broadcast but, and I find this hilarious, the word "nuts" was bleeped out. I suppose "balls" would have been off-limits as well. Would "testicles" have been acceptable? Gonads, perhaps?

George Carlin, I am sure, is not just turning over in his grave, he is having a belly-laugh.

By the way, I used CNN as an example, but almost every television news program followed this same general protocol.

Another bit of controversy seems to be over whether Jesse said he wanted to cut Obama's nuts "off" or "out." A subtle distinction, perhaps, but I think the later would at least leave Obama's scrotum in place, if not intact.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Tale Of Between Two Cities - Condensed

When last I posted, and I apologize for the interruption (pre-Fourth of July party, Fourth of July party, post-Fourth of July barbecue and birthday party, recovery), I was boarding the train to Rome for an overnight trip. We were told how the trains to Rome were inferior to the trains that ran within France because the Italian rail system cannot handle the newer trains used within France. Oh well, our train was perfectly adequate for our purposes. Having watched all of those 1940's movies I felt right at home in our compartment.

Aisles Are A Bit Narrow Though

Still, the rooms were comfortable and popping the cork on a bottle of wine seemed like the appropriate thing to do to bid adieu to Gay Paree.

Traveling In Style

And soon we were underway. What, you thought I would wait until the train left the station to pop that cork? Along the way there was the usual scenery:

Graffiti On The Outskirts Of Paris

Suburban Sprawl

Village By The Tracks

Rome Station

Of course there was more than that, but scenery is scenery. Besides, it was an overnight trip so most of the time was spent sleeping. Bottom berth for me and top berth for the Mysterious Chinese Woman, and the Equally Mysterious Sister in the next berth.

There was a little sink for washing your hands and face and bottled water for brushing your teeth. The bathrooms were down the hall and you couldn't use them while the train was in a station. The reason was obvious, no holding tanks. You flush the toilet and the bottom opens up and a bit of water flushes the waste directly to the tracks below.

I had a beer left so I figured opening it to celebrate my arrival in Rome was appropriate.

Beer For Breakfast

Soon everyone piled off the train and loaded their bags onto carts to be loaded onto our bus.

Piling On The Bags

To The Bus

Some of us, however, lingered a bit too long over their breakfast and had to schlep their own bags to the bus.

Bad Bar Man

The bad thing was that we arrived in Rome early in the morning and we wouldn't be able to check into our hotel until later in the afternoon. In the meantime we were treated to a bus tour of a bit of the city and a quick stop at the Coliseum. We walked around the outside of the Coliseum but couldn't actually go inside. It was interesting to note that all of the ruins in Rome are ruins not because they were destroyed by invading hordes or by artillery or bombs during war. During World War I and World War II Rome was largely off limits to bombing because of the Vatican. No, the ruins became ruins because they were considered a good source of building material. The marble was hacked out and carted away by Romans themselves.

But all that and more will have to wait until tomorrow.