Reading on a Budget
Since 1978, the Bay Area has turned for its soundbite medical advice to KGO-TV and radio's Dr. Dean ("If you've ever had a rash from wearing jewelry, you are familiar with nickel allergies") Edell. The curly-haired physician can currently be heard weekday afternoons from 1 to 2 p.m. on KGO-AM (810), and also appears each evening on KGO-TV's 5 and 6 o'clock news broadcasts on Channel 7. Despite the no doubt lucrative income derived from syndicating his segments in additional markets, the resourceful Edell has discovered yet another method to sweeten the pie. Tucked away amongst the racks of reading eyeglasses at local drugstores like Walgreens can be found pairs of none other than "Dr. Dean Edell Optical Readers."
Retailing at $12, thankfully marked down to an affordable $9.99, the Edell-sponsored specs may not exactly be bringing him sacks of cash, but they do come in a variety of styles and strengths to suit most reading afflictions. Manufactured in the industrial hotbed of Mexico, each pair also features " 'Won't Fall Out' Perma-Screws," one presumes for maximum performance and durability. Nowhere on the eyeglass packaging can be found KGO's Web site disclaimer that states, "For legal reasons, Dr. Dean Edell is only allowed to address medical questions on the air. Therefore, he cannot answer any questions sent by e-mail, letter, or referral requests." In other words, if the Perma-Screws give out, turn down your radio before making that phone call.
No. 1 in Death Coverage
As the nation's most reputable news agencies attempt to make sense of the Princess Di tragedy, stridently distancing themselves from the scum paparazzi (many of whom are also regular contributors to said news agencies), one overwhelming conclusion surfaces from all these discussions of media culpability, journalistic ethics, etc.: There is nothing more pathetic than watching the media community attempt to examine itself. The "Have we gone too far?" discussions sound like they're straight from one of those insipid cover stories in the Utne Reader. Our own Bay Area news organizations are also to blame, hastily plopping reporters on airplanes to get that essential Buckingham Palace interview with someone -- anyone -- who speaks with a British accent. The ensuing weeks will guarantee more media backlash, as media reviewers begin clucking tongues over each other's analysis. A few interesting tidbits have emerged from all the mess:
During the initial weekend of media coverage, CNN received a call from a supposed eyewitness to the crash, and put a "Michael Solomon" on the air to hear his version of what he saw while driving the opposite direction in the tunnel. After 15 minutes, the caller asked if he could add one more thing, and suddenly began shouting Daffy Duck bird noises. According to a popular Internet newsletter published by Kansas City Star TV critic Aaron Barnhart, this prank report by "Michael Solomon" was then rerun by several media outlets around the world, with no mention whatsoever that the interview was a hoax.
Within literally minutes of the fatal accident, Web sites began appearing, offering all sorts of theories as to why the crash occurred. Among them:
* The British and Italian governments had the princess killed because her anti-land mine campaign was adversely affecting their lucrative arms industries.
* The royal family had her killed because an Egyptian billionaire was potentially going to become the stepfather to the future king of England, and would finally become an official British citizen.
* The accident was staged by Di and Dodi to get the press off their backs. Everyone was paid off, including Charles and the boys. She was flown to a secret island, where she underwent facial surgery.
* To prevent Di from marrying Dodi and converting to the Muslim faith, French and British secret service agents engineered the accident. The paparazzi on motorcycles were in fact secret spies, who herded the Mercedes into the tunnel. The car's brake lines and accelerator mechanism were tampered with beforehand. A mechanical digger/crusher vehicle was waiting in the tunnel, and destroyed the car. Diana was killed by lethal injection at the hospital, and the driver injected with a high-octane alcohol solution.
* Recent photos of Diana revealed she was pregnant with Dodi's child, and to avoid embarrassment, the British Crown financed the assassination.
* The paparazzi motorcyclists trained an ultrasound machine, disguised as a camera, onto the speeding Mercedes, sending interference patterns into the vehicle and causing the accident.
* The occupants of the car were previously killed at a nearby wrecking yard and crushed inside the vehicle. The damaged Mercedes was loaded onto a semi-truck, driven through the tunnel and dumped out the rear doors while moving.
* The death of Princess Diana was predicted over a year ago by anti-nuke activist and master mystic Sollog, who claims that the word "paparazzi" is startlingly close to "papas," which he says is the Latin word for "pope." (In ancient Rome, the Goddess of the Moon was named Diana, blah blah blah.) Sollog has apparently already foretold the deaths of Selena and Ennis Cosby, the crash of TWA Flight 800, and President Clinton's leg injury.
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