Friday, June 09, 2006


So this is why I ran screaming from journalism after exactly two days of it, in the immediate wake of four years of veddy expensive preparation to do this for the rest of my life.

Imagine that your daughter, your sister, your best friend was murdered, and the weapon of choice just happened to be a bikini top. And all of a sudden, your daughter, your sister, your best friend… this full, complete, frustrating-wonderful person, was suddenly reduced worldwide to: “The Bikini Top Murder Mystery."

That’s what happened to Tiffany Souers.

That’s her name, Tiffany Souers. She wasn't some Hooters whore who passed her days wandering the street in a bathing suit. Her parents are Jim and Bren. Jim is a business associate of my father’s. Tiffany grew up in a Midwest Catholic suburb, just like me. She was an engineering student at Clemson. And she was smart and kind and did a lot of volunteer work. And then a stranger strangled her in her apartment. And the smart and kind person was chipped away and chipped away by assult layers of zoomy graphics and ten-second story updates until she was just… a bikini top.

Especially adept at this was Headline News’ Nancy Grace, who spent a half hour every single night on the case with a gigantic banner at the bottom of the screen, so huge that it obliterated her demonstration of the opening of a rape kit (don’t ask.) There was a delightful carousel of banners accenting Nancy’s very aggressive hair: BIKINI STRANGLER MURDER. BIKINI STRANGLER SUSPECT NAMED. And, the other night: BREAKING NEWS... BIKINI STRANGLER CAUGHT! Exclamation point!

But, you know, these producers can multitask. Every three to five minutes, an enormous wooooosh! would herald an on-screen advertisement for the second half of the show, complete with pop-up graphic and twirling picture. So we had extraordinarily classy, helpful news moments such as when the local sheriff was discussing the case, and how they were on a manhunt for the killer, who had the following distinguishing charact--wooooosh! DID SHE SELL HER CHILDREN? IN 8 MINUTES! wooooosh!

Nancy has a sidekick whose name was not mentioned very much, because he does not go about strangling people with bikini tops. His job is to stand at the side of Nancy's desk and point to enormous Power Point slides of bulleted information, like some sort of prosecutorial meteorologist. Nancy hates him.

“Susigbasdh?” she muttered at him after he detailed other murders in the Clemson area.

“Excuse me?” he said faintly.

“WAS. THE. CASE. SOLVED?!?!?!?” Her disgust was dripping all down her leather jacket and onto the rape kit. Idiot! Infidel! Talking when she wasn’t!

I hear that Nancy used to be a prosecuting attorney. Well, that should make her an ideal choice to sensitively interview the shellshocked and grieving parents of the victim on the day the murderer was arrested.

I was going to link to Nancy’s website, to show you the poll her webmaster posted last night about whether or not her murderer should get the death penalty.

But there are no mentions of Tiffany. Anywhere. Instead, there's a poll asking if... the killer of a Lubbock teenager named Joanna Rogers should get the death penalty.

Nancy's investigative reporter referred to the crime as "The Texas Terror."

Thursday, June 08, 2006

RE: Visual Creation Of Authority

Dear Tony Snow:

In the future, when you give a globally televised press conference to announce the timeline of the death of the one of the worst terrorists in the history of ever, please do not wear a pretty pink tie.

Mary Beth

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Welcome Readers

This just about paid for a round trip to the gas station.

Just. About.

Happy D-Day. Thank you, vets.

admit it, you've apologized to your car at least once at:

Conversations In the Dark

A few weeks ago, in the middle of the night, Josh The Pilot and I had one of those intense, couple-y, scary, I-would-never-say-these-things-at-two-in-the-afternoon conversations. You know. One of Those. We talked about careers, our relationship, what can be done about Howie Mandell. I became upset at one point and he said, "Look, we're both tired, it's one in the morning, and this is a conversation in the dark." And then I went to sleep and he went to sleep, for he was right, of course.

I think world peace negotiations need to take place in the dark, in a car, in the rain. You'll admit things to shadows that you wouldn't to a blue sky or Sylvania bulb, blazing. It's like when Jim The Small Child Nephew used to burrow his face into the corner of the couch, shrieking smugly (I tell you, a one-year-old can shriek smugly), because we would never find him now that he'd removed us from his line of sight. What we say in the dark has weight, falls heavily to the ground, unlike daytime sentences; and indeed words of the night float away in the morning, so that we don't trip on them on our way out of bed.

It is no coincidence that baseball, lovely baseball, is our only sport primarily played in the dark, for here is when it is at its most lyrical. Basketball, eh. That's the problem with basketball. Harsh lights and buzzing.

I bet you can trace the most intensely emotional moments of your existence to the deep cavern of some night. The specifics are likely lost to the rocking waves of your everyday life, and you may not have decided to leave a job, resolved to call him, or cured athlete's foot.

But I bet you thought about it.

written in the dark, of course at:

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