Calvin Demmon tells all

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A spam-unfriendly note: You can write to me at yahoodotcom by using my first and last names allruntogether.
Thursday, February 27, 2003

"The Iraqis have imposed no censorship since the Gulf War, preferring to control information by restricting the media's movements. But censorship will presumably be imposed again if conflict erupts, with military information a primary target. Sometimes, censorship was exercised with a light touch. During the early days of the Gulf War, I visited Baghdad's main marketplace and adjoining areas, and wrote a bland enough script about life returning to normal despite the bombing. I had written that the water system 'is beginning to fully function again,' a phrase that infuriated my 'minder' Sadoun al Janabi. He turned to me, his pen raised: 'You expect me to pass that?' I protested it was harmless.

" 'It's not the security, it's the grammar,' he reproached me. 'You have split the infinitive.' "

-- Peter Arnett, CNN's former man in Baghdad, in today's featured article at


"British dentists have been warned that they face criminal prosecution under EU law if they use tooth-whitening treatments to give their patients hollywood smiles." --

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

"Years ago, we lived in Hay Springs, a small town in Nebraska. Our next-door neighbor was an elderly Czech woman who tended a large garden and had her basement lined wall-to-wall with crocks of homemade sauerkraut and elderberry jelly. Grandma Rose had a name for everything. The wildflowers that grew in the prairie behind her yard were pointed out to me as Sharon’s Dress, Butter Berry, Bee’s Favorite, and other fanciful names. The migrating birds were Loves Crabapples and Redhead. 'You just have to name things,' she said, 'whether that's the science name or not. Until you name them, you never really see them well enough to notice them again.' " --, site of a wild bird and nature store in Galveston, Texas.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

". . . everything around me became suddenly vivid . . .there was a special translucence that enveloped the world. . . " -- Rollo May, philosopher

"An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered." -- G.K. Chesterton


Time is fleeting, especially if you have an eraser: Industrious Clock

Monday, February 24, 2003

Eight of the top 20 news Web sites in the U.S. during January were affiliated with newspapers, according to audience statistics from Nielsen//NetRatings.

The top news sites in terms of audience for January were, AOL News, Yahoo! News, CNN General News, and When aggregated, Gannett's newspaper sites ranked 6th, followed by at 7th, in 9th place, and in 10th. --

SAN FRANCISCO -- (AP) Online magazine publisher Salon Media Group Inc. warned that it may not survive beyond this month if it can't raise more money to pay its rent and other bills.

Things are so bad, said, it stopped paying rent for its San Francisco headquarters in December, prompting the landlord to issue a Jan. 29 demand for a $200,000 payment.

Sunday, February 23, 2003

WHEN ADMEN LOSE IT: Line at the bottom of a half-page ad in today's (Feb. 23) issue of Parade Magazine: "With Medifast, You'll Never Look or Feel Better!"

Saturday, February 22, 2003
SATURDAY MATINEE: Today, for the first time in my life, after driving automobiles all over California and other places pretty much continually for the last 45 years, I paid more than $1.99 for a gallon of gas.

At the Shell station in Seaside, a gallon of regular unleaded was $2.01/9. I bought about six of them.

Gas at $2-plus per gallon is still a pretty good deal, considering what it does for you.

I remember when you could get a gallon of gas for 25 cents, and if you had another quarter you could get a pack of cigarettes.

Cars weren't as good in those days, or as safe. No seat belts, bad radios, bouncing and clanking. And I never had a car with a clock that worked. Cigarettes were probably better then, though.

When I was a kid you could get into the Saturday matinee (feature film and 10 cartoons, along with occasional live entertainment) at a big theatre on the corner of Crenshaw Blvd and Hyde Park Blvd in L.A. for nine cents. In between the feature and the cartoons the house lights would go up and a man in a suit would stand in front of the screen and draw a number, 0-9. If your ticket stub ended in that number you won a pass to get in free next week. I thought I'd never forget the name of the theatre. But I did. Wait -- it was the Mesa.

Flattened popcorn boxes flew through the air during the cartoons. I got kicked out of the theatre once. A kid stood up suddenly from his seat and handed me a stack of flattened popcorn boxes. He was in a hurry. "Hold these for me," he said. I guessed he had to go to the bathroom. I was flattered, and pleased -- I'd never had my hands on so many boxes. I held them in my lap. About a minute later, an usher came down the aisle and pointed his flashlight at the stock of boxes, and then at my face. "Get out of here," he said. "They're not mine," I said, but he didn't believe me, and I wouldn't have believed it either.

Movies were better then.

Many years later, my wife and I, who grew up in separate parts of Los Angeles and didn't meet until we were both college students at Cal State L.A., were reminiscing about the Saturday matinees at the Mesa Theatre, which we both remembered. She said that her dance class had performed at the Saturday matinee once. She had been dressed as Daisy Duck. Since I went to the matinee whenever I could, I may have seen her. I'd like to think I did, and that nobody threw popcorn boxes at her, because they were so enchanted by the cute little duck.


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