Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Dead Pool

I am addicted to news, specifically, late-breaking news.

News radio in Anchorage is sadly limited to either dreadfully boring Public Radio or hateful right-wing diatribe and info-tainment stations, so television and the internet are my main sources of news. The internet is actually my favorite source since it combines the immediacy of instant posting with the thoroughness of a written story but usually television will have quicker updates than internet sites.

I'm not all that impressed with the CNNs so that leaves me with MSNBC or FOX News, both of which will interrupt their own screaming diatribe shows to “go live” to breaking news. Between those two, I can usually get decent pictures and facts. Whenever there is a pause in the flow of incoming news and the ‘anchors’ start babbling or calling on screaming pundits for reactions, I can flip to the opposite station.

During the last week Terri Schiavo has been in the news with increasing frequency. Mrs. Schiavo has either been in a vegetative state for the last fifteen years or she is one hell of a lazy woman. Either way, her husband successfully gained permission to remove her feeding tube 11 days ago. Mrs. Shiavo’s parents, who are Evangelical Christians and take their ‘Right to Life’ bumper stickers very seriously, had fought an unsuccessful custody battle for her daughter and are organizing (or at least encouraging) protesters who have held a vigil outside Mrs. Schiavo’s hospice.

Consequently, the news stations are having something of a “death countdown” for Terri Schiavo. Unless something miraculous happens, her death should occur before the week is out. The news stations can do updates hourly about her condition, will get several hours of “breaking news” out of her death, and can probably milk a week or two of blather about her afterward.

But while Mrs. Schiavo is the front-runner in the race toward the afterlife, there are two celebrities who are still in the race. Probably running second at this moment is Prince Rainier of Monaco. Coming up on the outside is the Pontiff, Pope John Paul II.

And Holy Crap! As I sit here writing this, I flipped over to IWON news to check the spelling of “Rainier” the race has been won. And, pardon the horrible pun, by a dark horse.

Johnnie Cochran, lawyer to the oppressed and, oh yeah, O.J. Simpson, died of a brain tumor at 11:30 am Alaska time. Breaking news, wahoo! Sad and horrible for the Cochran family, to be sure, but he won the pool. And before I posted the line-up.

So the race is really for third. Cochran won.

Onto the next few.

In an ironic twist due to his position on keeping Terri Schiavo hooked up to her feeding tube, the Pope is being considered for a feeding tube of his own.

Price Rainier has multiple organ failures so he is probably on his last legs as well.

And there is always Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, William Rehnquist, who has cancer and is probably not feeling so hot these days either.

Television Evangelist and creator of the Moral Majority, Jerry Falwell is on a respirator going through a rough bout of pneumonia.

So the race for second odds are currently:

“Skinny Schiavo” 3-2

“Grace’s Ex” 2-1

"It's Hard to Breathe With a Chest Full of Hypocrisy Falwell" 5-1

“Pope at the end of his Rope” 10-1

“Chief Willie” 20-1

Not that I'm a bettin’ man.

But news this week should be breaking out all over. The fact that I'm excited about it probably is a sad commentary on me. The fact that the news channels will be ALL over it probably is a sad commentary on the nation.

But I'm not going to dwell on that.

If you are looking for me, I’ll be tuning into Deathwatch 2005.