- The Washington Times - Monday, April 8, 2002

Reality TV not
"Another bad day for the Bartlet administration.
"And more bad pop culture publicity for Idaho.
"In Wednesday's episode of NBC's 'The West Wing,' Idaho played a cameo role. Martin (he's not a president, but he plays one on TV) Sheen and his hard-charging White House staff rushed to respond to the crash of a truck carrying nuclear fuel rods.
"The crash site, according to breathless NBC promo text: 'a remote Idaho tunnel.'
"Funny how when the boys in Central Casting need 'remote,' they call on Idaho.
"Trouble is, there are no tunnels on Idaho highways, said Idaho Transportation Department spokeswoman Mollie McCarty. Talk about a hole in the research.
"No wonder the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department in New Mexico, a state with plenty of experience with nuclear waste, has dismissed the 'West Wing' crash scenario as 'completely fictional.' Just in case you were mistaking it with reality TV.
"Earlier this year, NBC's drama 'ER' did some unwanted redrawing of the state's map, when a character said she hailed from the 'potato' part of Idaho, not the white supremacist part.
"Maybe we're moving up. Ground zero for atomic mayhem feels like an improvement. All the same, we're still hiring a new agent."
from "Tunnel (tele)vision," an editorial Thursday in the Idaho Statesman

Is beer vegetarian?
"Vegetarian students are enjoying their salad days at least on some campuses. That's according to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a group that recently announced a list of the 10 colleges that are doing the best job of accommodating the dietary needs of vegetarians as well as their fundamentalist kind, vegans, who abstain from eating foods containing any animal products.
"About 20 percent of college students are vegetarians, according to the National Restaurant Association. Topping the animal-rights group's list is New York University, which offers the daily vegan options in its dining halls and, every March 20, observes the 'Great American Meatout' by eliminating meat from the menu for a day."
Christopher Flores, writing on "Prime Numbers," in the April 5 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education

Favorite royal
"The idea that the royal family is our 'model' family is today so radically absurd that it's difficult to remember how many people used to credit it. But even if nobody would now pick Charles or Andrew for a brother, or Anne for a sister, or Our Sovereign Lady the Queen for a mother there are probably not a few citizens and subjects even some republicans who could have pictured the Queen Mum as a favorite granny.
"If swizzle-sticks were still being manufactured, she would probably have granted the makers a royal warrant, as she did to numberless distillers, brewers, furriers and jewelers. She would have made quite a 'flapper' of the Brideshead era, that forgotten age of heavenly chocs, well-mixed cocktails, low-slung cars and chauffeurs kept waiting hour upon hour without compunction.
"Only to recall that era, and the Edwardian one that preceded it, is to realize how complete has been the eclipse of monarchy, and how great its attenuation even in Britain. When she was born, there were real-live Hohenzollerns, Romanoffs and Hapsburgs. Her unfailing cheerfulness was (refreshments to one side) an imperishable part of the great British traditional 'act' whereby the situation is always desperate but never quite serious."
Christopher Hitchens, writing on "Mourning Will Be Brief," April 1 in the Guardian

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