Spittle, spin, spinelessness, spermicide: just another week of TV

Stuff you might have missed on TV the past couple weeks while hiding from the nonstop election coverage:

· Am I the only one who was rendered horrifyingly uncomfortable by the big glob of white spit in the right corner of George W. Bush's mouth during the Tempe debate? None of the network talking heads said anything about it, but they had to have seen it. Moderator Bob Schieffer should have thrown him a napkin or something. It was like being back in grade school and the teacher's in front of the class, lecturing, and his fly's partially open. You're just begging somebody to say something.

· OK, so John Kerry won all three debates. That's not really surprising, considering the substantial intellectual gap between the two men and the fact that George W. Bush only does well in front of a screaming throng of Stepford whities.

What was surprising to me, even after all these years of its standing the news on its head, is that Fox "News" refused to acknowledge Kerry's superiority in any of them.

I understand that everything that network broadcast must first go to Australia, where it goes in Rupert Murdoch's ear and out through his butt, but this is the electronic age. That should only take a few seconds, not several weeks.

When Kerry won the first one overwhelmingly, little bitch-boy Sean Hannity said it was a matter of the rest of the media being taken in by Kerry's style-over-substance trickery. (And being a bitch-boy doesn't mean you sing about surfing.)

Anyway, when the president lost the second debate, only by a smaller margin, Hannity et al. deemed it a victory since he hadn't gotten his ass kicked quite so badly. And when the third one was actually pretty close, Fox's Winston Smith declared it a huge Bush victory. Even with that big ol' glob of spit hanging out of Bush's mouth.

· Oh yeah, there was this gem from Hannity the other night: "Apparently, I'm the last (person) in America who still believes that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction." The very last.

· Also at Fox, Bill O'Reilly is being sued for sexual harassment by a former female producer who claims that he made lewd remarks and used her for unwilling phone sex. Here's betting that within a week there will be at least 4,000 jokes circulating on the Internet involving the phrase "No-Spin Zone."

· A new, 10-year study suggests that cell phone use might cause brain tumors. As I've said before, this is not a problem; this is a solution.

· Along those lines, the most annoying commercial on TV these days (outside of the political realm) is one from Cingular featuring a young male who interrupts his sales pitch four times in 30 seconds to take calls.

Apparently, cell phone use not only grows tumors, it also has an adverse effect on a part of the anatomy exclusive to males. I don't expect young males who have grown up in a world of technology to be the Marlboro Man, a solitary figure facing the vast wilderness alone. But jeez, guys. Be guys! Put the phone down, turn it off, throw it in a drawer someplace. Just do it for a couple of days and let some of your testosterone build back up.

· The Pima County Attorney's Office has done it again. The guy who admitted to using an illegal assault weapon to gun down two teenagers in a car will not be charged in the deaths because one of the dead guys may have pointed a gun at him. This is the same office that let that other bully walk after he killed a kid at Pueblo High last year. The shooter still faces charges on possessing the weapon, but the chances that he'll see jail time are about the same as the UA's bowl-game prospects this season.

I wonder how the NRA feels about this case. Are they glad the shooter used a gun to "defend himself"? Are they pleased that everybody in the sordid mess was armed, thus making America stronger and freer? Or do they simply focus all their energy on bristling at the use of the term "assault weapon"?

· Another bad commercial is one for a home pregnancy test, with a young woman looking into the camera and saying, "There is such a thing as being a little bit pregnant."

I don't know if this is some bizarre pro-abortion propaganda or simply the stupidest thing ever said in a TV commercial. Still, if the commercial works, they'll come out with one for condoms in which the spokesman will say, "If you use these products, you'll be able to claim that your girlfriend is still sort of a virgin."

· My favorite commercial is the one for Valtrex, a medicine to help treat outbreaks of genital herpes. It shows a young woman riding a jet ski and cuddling with her man du jour. She credits Valtrex with helping with her incurable condition and says, "I want to spend my time living life the way I want to."

Isn't that how you got herpes in the first place?

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