During the past few years, I’ve written stories about Citizens Caring for Children, a nonprofit organization that serves foster children in the Oklahoma City metro area. Every year, volunteers hold a back-to-school drive in which the foster children can take home a new outfit and a new pair of shoes to wear on their first day of school.
This year, the foster children will be receiving a pair of Stephon Marbury’s Starbury One shoes during the back-to-school drive that will be held throughout August.
I was fortunate to attend last year’s back-to-school drive, and it was a complete frenzy. The children all raced in the building with a big smile on their faces eager to pick out a new outfit and new shoes. I remember some of them acted as if they had won the million dollar lottery. It was at that moment that I realized how often I take simple things for granted.
When I was child, I would get upset whenever my parents would buy me clothes. After all, I wanted toys and the latest video games instead. These foster children aren’t searching for toys and games. All they wanted was the basic necessities like clothes and shoes.
Some of the children who wear old worn out clothes to school are often teased by their peers. I can only imagine the joy they feel when they walk into the classroom wearing new clothes.
Citizens Caring for Children is still accepting donations for new clothes and new shoes. For donation information, call 348-9034. It’s important that we don’t forget about the children living in the foster care system.
Tim Henley, staff writer
An alarming letter from Cox Communications arrived in the mail yesterday, informing me that, as of Aug. 30, they will no longer carry HBO on the old-fashioned, regular cable but will relegate it to Digital Cable-only status.
They tried to make the offer sweet: three months of Digital Cable for merely $1 a month each, but no matter how kindly an ultimatum is made, I always instinctively resist it.
Of course, that wouldn’t include the cost for a converter box that I don’t want or the eventual raise after the three months. (Sorry, I don’t need multiple channels of HBO. One always has served me well.) I don’t want cable boxes that take over your TV and recording devices, usually leaving it where you can’t tape something and watch something else without an A/B switch (another expense). It defeats the purpose of cable ready TVs, VCRs and DVD recorders.
Know what’s even cheaper than a $1 a month for three months though? A cable bill that will be $13.95 cheaper forever. Sure, we had a story in The Oklahoman today about worries over the eventual switch to all-digital signals that will make old TVs obsolete without converters, but that’s not happening until 2009. I’ll burn that bridge when I get to it. I imagine I won’t be alone because if anything will send rioters to the streets, it will be the sudden inability to watch television, especially for those on the lower end of the economic spectrum who can’t even afford regular cable now.
So, it’s a sad day for me. I anxiously awaited the new season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” in September and, even more importantly, the final season of “The Wire” in early 2008. At least they waited until after “The Sopranos” finished to pull this stunt.
Scott Schuldt, Staff Writer
Money raised will purchase Christmas gifts for every Oklahoma child staying in a homeless shelter during the holiday season. Gifts totaling more than $27,000 were distributed to 756 children last year.
The tournament was sponsored by Santa’s Sleigh Inc., a nonprofit organization comprised of OHFA employees.
“It’s a huge blessing that we were able to raise even more money this year because we anticipate buying Christmas presents for the largest group of homeless children in our organization’s history. We are very thankful for the dedication of our sponsors and volunteers,” Santa’s Sleigh Inc. president Nelson Morgan said.
People and organizations interested in playing or being a sponsor in next year’s tournament may call the OHFA Open golf line at 419-8297.
Construction has started on a $14 million project to build a north-south railroad bridge in downtown Oklahoma City serving Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and the Heartland Flyer Amtrak train. It’s Phase 3 of a seven-year, $557 million project that will replace a 4 ½-mile stretch of Interstate 40 along downtown Oklahoma City’s southern edge.
The railroad bridge will go over the new Crosstown near Shields Boulevard. It replaces a temporary bridge that was built to make sure railroad traffic would not be interrupted.
Construction on the new railroad bridge is expected to be completed in fall 2008, state transportation officials said.
Reconstruction of the Crosstown began in late 2005. It will be a 10-lane highway between May Avenue and I-235 and will carry about 120,000 vehicles a day, state transportation officials said. A four- to six-lane boulevard will be built under the old Crosstown. The 42-year-old elevated roadway won’t be torn down until the new Crosstown is completed.
Click to read more about and see pictures of the Crosstown Expressway project.
Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC is one of my newest heroines. Recently, when Paris Hilton was released from jail, her producers made that the “lead story” of the headlines she was supposed to read and instead, she ripped it up and skipped to the next item that was of actual importance. (By the way, why do I even know who Paris Hilton is? No one has yet come up with a reasonable explanation for that.)
Yesterday, Ms. Brzezinski did it again, pointing out how the endless reporting about Lindsay Lohan’s latest troubles really works as enabling the behavior. Of course, she’s one of the few voices on MSNBC saying such things, the rest of the day would be spent talking up Lohan over issues such as Iraq, Alberto Gonzales’ possible perjury or a House panel voting to cite Bush Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former counsel Harriet Miers with contempt.
It’s true. The insane substitution of pop culture over actual news is nuts. News is supposed to inform, not entertain. (CNN further blurred that line with their crazy YouTube debate this week, asking Democratic candidates for president to come up with fun videos of their own. This is about choosing the next leader of the free world, why does it need to be fun?)
What’s even worse is that this celebrity culture has made a mockery of drug and alcohol rehabilitation, as it has become just another PR tool instead of needed help for those caught in the web of addiction. The list is astounding: Are you a U.S. representative caught sending steamy e-mails to pages? Blame booze. Are you a major movie star with a nasty streak of anti-Semitism in your blood? It’s that old demon rum. Are you a television actor with a homophobic streak that causes you to lash out a gay co-worker with epithets? Quick — get to rehab, stat. At this point, it seems as if rehab can cure everything EXCEPT drug or alcohol addiction.
When we live in a world where the death of an E-list celebrity such as Anna Nicole Smith gets more coverage than the deaths of former presidents or the first leader of post-Soviet Russia, we have entered a sad world indeed. Maybe we’ll get lucky and someday someone with deep pockets will set out to start a cable news network that actually covers news instead of trivia.
Scott Schuldt, Staff Writer
Outside of the Bush Administration that is, which doesn’t want anyone to know about anything that they do. I’ve never read any of the “Harry Potter” books, but I have enjoyed all of the movies so far (though I have yet to see the newest), but I do know the twists of the fifth and sixth installments, though I’ve been fortunate so far to avoid hearing about the true ending.
The same, unfortunately, cannot be said for the identity of this year’s winner of the Main Event of the World Series of Poker. For some reason, ESPN doesn’t get around to broadcasting its coverage of those events until months after the winner claims the top prize, which he or she did last week. So far, I’d been lucky to avoid learning the winner’s name, but it got spoiled in an unexpected way as I was innocently reading the quote page of the latest edition of Newsweek and there in the quotes, where I wasn’t even thinking about it, was one from the winner. So, now I know who’s going to walk away with the $8.5 million prize.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always made a simple request to friends who were about to become new parents: Do everything in your power to keep knowledge of the movie “Psycho” away from your children until they are old enough to see it for the first time. I can only imagine what it must have been like to see Alfred Hitchcock’s classic back when it originally was released in 1960 without knowing that shower scene was coming. What a shock it must have been for the viewer to follow along the story which seemed to be ostensibly about Janet Leigh’s Marion Crane only to have her exit the film early and in such a shocking way.
“Psycho” was ruined for me by, of all things, an old episode of “Saturday Night Live” hosted by Anthony Perkins which I saw before the movie and had the skit about the Norman Bates School of Motel Management. I remember how grateful I was back in 1992 when I saw “The Crying Game” before all the hype about the “twist” took over so that its surprise truly was a surprise for me.
The worst cases are when people reveal things without any warning. I remember reading a review of “Fight Club” where the critic David Thomson gave away its twist without any warning in just a matter of fact way before I even saw the film. Fortunately, “Fight Club” was still great with that ruined and it added a new layer to the viewing experience. I also knew about the twist in “The Sixth Sense” before I saw that, but I think I would have figured that one out anyway. “Fight Club” I don’t think I would have.
Since our world has become so saturated by pop culture (We live in a universe where CNN considers the arrival of the Beckhams in L.A. as “breaking news”), secrets will be harder and harder to keep, so artists need to work hard to make sure that their works are strong enough to stand up even if we know what’s coming.
— Scott Schuldt, Staff Writer
“Saving Grace,” the TV show about an Oklahoma City police woman who encounters an angel, premiered July 23 and it has been already become a hot topic of conversation in our office.
The show stars actress Holly Hunter as detective-on-the-edge, Grace Hanadarko. Actor Leon Rippy portrays a scruffy-looking angel named Earl who claims God sent him to help Grace turn her life around.
What sparked the conversations around our office water cooler?
For starters, the show is based on a character who is supposed to be living in Oklahoma City. There’s a scene where Grace and her nephew are at the Oklahoma City National Memorial discussing the April 19, 1995 tragedy.
Then there are the racy sex scenes, alcohol consumption to excess and lots of cursing.
This is a show with two central themes, as I see it. It’s a crime drama and Grace is obviously dedicated to her work. It is also a show that will focus on faith (She can’t deny that there’s an angel popping in and out of her life).
I’m wondering if viewers turned off by the raunchy antics, drinking and swearing will give Grace and Earl the time of day. There’s also a question about whether the faith aspect will cause folks to shy away, particularly those who just tuned in to see a simple crime show (are there any simple crime shows anymore?).
TV editor Penny Hanley, former religion editor Pat Gilliland, police reporter Augie Frost and I will discuss our observations about the show in a NewsOK.com podcast on Monday, (July 30) the day the second episode of “Saving Grace” is to air on TNT.
A publication that features a particular form of short fiction soon will issue its final edition. Weekly World News, home of Bat Boy, the eternally angry Ed Anger and Lester the typing horse (“Once a Sideshow Attraction, Now the Nation’s Leading Wellness Expert”), soon will disappear from supermarket checkout aisles and newsstands.
The Associated Press reported that the tabloid’s publisher, American Media Inc., issued a brief statement announcing that the Aug. 27 issue would be Weekly World News’ last. It called the closure necessary “due to the challenges in the retail and wholesale magazine marketplace that have impacted the newsstand.”
However, the exploits of Elvis and assorted extra-terrestrials will continue to be reported by the self-styled “World’s Only Reliable Newspaper” on its Web site.
Okie stereotypes? Check.
Obligatory tornado references in casual conversation? Check.
Other assorted cornpone flavor in the storyline, just to let the viewer know this show has Oklahoma City as its setting? Check.
Yes, that’s what we got with Monday’s premiere of TNT’s “Saving Grace.” My wife and I watched with interest, just because we wanted to see how an Oklahoma-raised screenwriter would treat a storyline that has Oklahoma City as its backdrop. The show wasn’t all bad, and there were some interesting story lines that popped up at the end with a nice scene at the Oklahoma City National Memorial. But crime lab specialists living on the farm (possible), 10-gallon hat-wearing police detectives (never seen one in OKC) and a bunch of other superficial references to Oklahoma dragged the show down in spots (I won’t get into how needlessly raw portions of the show, mainly the opening scene, really were). The topper? Following a teen crime suspect who, quite naturally, was spotted and subsequently arrested at a cattle auction. Come on, now.
I know, I know. The show is about Grace, the hard-living detective who apparently is being given one last chance by God to reconcile with Him before it’s too late (the archangel Earl is sent to nudge her back on the straight and narrow). But my advice is for the writers to keep it real and not beat us over the head with “F5 tornado” quips. There is still time.
Assistant City Editor
You may have read a story in Sunday’s edition of The Oklahoman about Horseshoe Road’s journey to Japan and Thailand, and a documentary about the band’s three-week trip that will debut statewide this year on OETA.
Did you know that a 5-minute trailer on the documentary is available for free on NewsOK? Music performed by Horseshoe Road plays as background music throughout the trailer.
Click to read the story. To watch the trailer, click the play button under “Related Video.”
The full-length documentary will be an hour long and available in high-definition.
Horseshoe Road’s members are bassist Brad Benge of Sallisaw, violinist Kyle Dillingham of Enid and guitarist Dustin Jones of Yukon. All are vocalists.
The band performs 7 to 10 p.m. every Thursday at Kamp’s Meat Market, 1310 NW 25. Daily performances are scheduled during the Oklahoma State Fair, Sept. 13-23, at the OPUBCO Pavilion. Times are 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., 4 to 5 p.m. and 8 to 9 p.m.
The band’s debut CD, “Home Fries,” is available at Inter-City Violin Studio, 1414 NW 30, and Route 66, a retail shop, at 50 Penn Place. Another CD is expected in early 2008. Some of the band’s songs may be heard in their entirety at www.myspace.com/horseshoeroad.
Click to visit Horseshoe Road’s official Web site.