Posts Tagged ‘journalism’

Revisited: Headline goes here (hope it fits)

September 5, 2011

In between forcing the college president to resign and kicking off the streaking fad, I did a brief stint as layout editor at my college newspaper back in the seventies. Part of the job involved writing the headlines.

The task was challenging for two reasons. One, you actually had to read what the reporters had written, understanding every nuance of whatever issue they were covering before coming up with the all-purpose standby, “Meeting Held”. (Journalism’s most flexible headline — use it to cover everything from the crucifixion of Christ to man’s first steps on the moon).

Secondly, you had very precise parameters to work with in constructing a heading that would fit into the space allotted. There was a character count posted above my desk, telling how many letters I could use per column inch. Each lower-case letter counted as one character, except that the “m” and “w” counted as one-and-a-half, and the “f,” “l,” “i” and “t” counted as half letters.

Usually, we were extremely tight on space, and had to get very creative in our word choice. My proudest day in this position was when the Gay Student Union went to the state capitol to speak with legislators, and I got to use the word “flit” to describe their angry protest march down College Avenue. Likewise, I lived in dread of the day a story might cross the AP Wire reporting that “Wham-O Wows Moms” or “Woman’s Womb Meows”.

So I have some sympathy for modern-day newspaper editors as they go about this task. It’s tough enough to succinctly craft a headline that draws the reader in; plus, you have to worry about the fact that you’re probably going to get laid off next week.

The following is a brief sampling of headlines lifted (there’s another good headline word) from local newspapers in my area. Most of these examples hint at a story entirely different from what was being reported, a story that would’ve been far more interesting than what the reality turned out to be.

Player’s death makes words hard
Emergency personnel worked feverishly to pump air into his lungs, but still he refused to comment on what had happened to him.

Wisconsin looking for another stop
This heading hints at an exciting tale of how state officials are trying to locate a pipe organ component that admits pressurized air to the instrument, or perhaps how a small town is dealing with the theft of its single stop sign. Unfortunately, it was far less interesting: tourism officials are hoping to land a golf tournament on the PGA Men’s Tour.

Hootie and the Blowfish help to round up school supplies
It’s good to see they’ve found productive volunteer work ever since the concert bookings stopped coming.

Wanted: ‘People person’ for animal control post
The previous holder of the position, an “animal animal,” was too sympathetic to the wild tendencies of the captured creatures and allowed them to have parties and stay up way past their bedtime.

Host of cockfights too sick for prison
There are two possible meanings here: (1) a multitude (or “host”) of chicken-on-chicken bouts were judged too tasteless to be staged for the entertainment of convicts; or (2) an impresario of animal blood sports felt just fine while he was allowing poultry to be mutilated on his property, but now that he’s been sentenced for the crime, the thought of the whole gory sham makes him ill.

Money could be available as early as October
This could go a long way to preventing that much-feared double-dip recession.

John surgery advances
Plumbers are using medical techniques honed in the operating room to perform less-invasive repair on the stopped-up toilet.

Stabbing suspect wanted in Israel
The Israelis have such a difficult time dealing with life-and-death security matters and the constant threat of external terrorist attack or internal uprising from Palestinians. They would just die for the opportunity to solve a simple knifing case.

Ke$ha brings inner ‘Animal’ to ‘Today Show’
I just hope it’s a tapeworm and not some kind of exotic badger that she’s attempting to smuggle in a body cavity following her recent smash tour of South America.

Does language matter?
I’d say “yes” but then I’d be using language which would prejudice the whole discussion.

Mom’s beloved bike rolls on to daughter
The actual story was about a mother who was passing on to her college-bound daughter the old Schwinn they had ridden together for years. The only reason I learned that, however, is because I’d hoped there’d be a lurid description of a crush injury.

Two trapped men rescued from clothes dryer
Were they trapped in wet clothing and became much dryer after they were rescued from the sodden duds? Or – surely this can’t be the case — did the two of them become so entwined in the Maytag during whatever God-forsaken thing they were doing in there, and become somehow entrapped?

Man injured after he falls in front of bus
The ankle sprain would’ve healed on its own but the being-hit-by-a-bus part of the accident is not so easily treated.

N.C. State plan targets athletes who miss class
Football and basketball stars alike fondly recall the challenge of the collegiate classroom. Some, however, develop a deep depression once they’ve left their studies behind and land a multi-million dollar pro sports contract. So their alma mater is offering a counseling program to help those who simply can’t deal with the loss of scholarly studies on their own.

China to remember 1,200 killed in flood
They almost forgot, what with the landslide that killed 1,500, the typhoon that left tens of thousands homeless, and the earthquake that decimated an entire province. Someone in the government should write these things down, so they don’t have so much to remember.

Barbecue to be held
Be careful. It’s still pretty hot.

Weathermen brave the storm, get the story

August 29, 2011

To the disappointment of many, the Eastern elite bastions of New York, Washington and Boston remain standing this morning after Hurricane Irene’s march up the East Coast over the weekend.

Most of the TV meteorologists who risked their lives to bring us “special team coverage” of the storm also appear to have survived, despite their best efforts to get themselves killed.

Viewers benefitted from brave weatherpeople who didn’t have enough sense to come in out of the rain, as reporters on TV went to extraordinary lengths to keep the public informed.

“You see them standing out there in torrents, oblivious to the dangers,” said media analyst Harold Johnson. “They remind me of overbred farm turkeys, too pea-brained to get themselves out of the elements.

“Turkeys will look up at the falling rain with their beaks open and eventually drown,” Johnson added. “TV reporters, though their mouths are open, at least have the good sense not to look up. Usually.”

Up and down the Atlantic seaboard, meteorologists attempted to out-do each other going to extreme lengths to report on the storm from inside its gale-force winds and driving rains.

Reporter Melissa Toomey of New York’s WABC rented a helicopter to fly down the New Jersey coast so she could be the first to report from inside the hurricane. The pilot lowered a rescue ladder, allowing her to swing freely several hundred feet above the crashing waves, as they flew into 90 m.p.h. winds just off-shore.

“This one’s really winding up for a major landfall,” she shouted up to the cameraman who dangled on a sled of the chopper. “Don’t let the way my hair stays in place fool you.”

Other New York meteorologists resisted the lure of almost-certain death pursued by Toomey, and instead posted themselves at local landmarks to film their segments.

WPIX’s Chuck Haigler rode the Coney Island roller coaster to file his report as the storm came ashore there. Tom Roebuck from WNYW had himself lashed to the torch of the Statue of Liberty. Bill Chadwick of WCBS spent Sunday inside the flooded Holland Tunnel, wearing scuba gear to survive the inundation and using hand signals to give viewers the latest updates.

WNBC’s Ed Wylie had perhaps the most difficult challenge of all. He chose to swim New York Harbor from Battery Park to Staten Island, pulling the island ferry through the choppy seas with a rope he gripped in his teeth.

“Nnngh mmuum hnhn mingaah,” he warned his audience at one point, which officials now believe may have saved countless lives.

Foolish bravado was not limited to the New York media. In Boston, weathermen Bill Nanny of WBZ and Ed Lavin of WCVB engaged in a shootout with each other at the height of the storm.

“I’m not sure that did anything to lend more insight into the deteriorating conditions,” said WBZ station manager Don Montgomery. “But it sure did grab the eyeballs among our target demographic of 18-to-24-year-old males.”

Out on the beaches of Cape Cod, WHDH’s Joanne Jones had herself buried in sand up to her neck to lend more color to her reports of a six-foot storm surge expected to overwash seaside roads.

“I can see the waves breaking closer and closer,” Jones told her viewers during a mid-afternoon insert Sunday. “This next one could be the biggest yet.”

Then, silence.

In the nation’s capital, reporters more familiar with covering a whirlwind of political activity rather than a monster storm struggled to lend a proper perspective to the hurricane’s advance.

“This wind is really something,” noted WUSA’s Wade Dameron as he was shot out of a cannon not far from the Jefferson Memorial. “I’m about to find out how far it’ll take me.”

Meanwhile, rival meteorologist Larry Groen of WTTG had a 30-foot-tall sail attached to his back as he hopped on a skateboard for a rousing trip down wind-swept Pennsylvania Avenue.

“Wheeee!” he reported before being struck by a Red Cross disaster van.

With the storm now past, and most TV weatherpeople safely recuperating in local hospitals, it seems in retrospect that Terry Cobb of New York’s Z100 radio may have had the best idea for coverage of the tropical storm.

“I wasn’t about to go outside in that mess,” the Zoo Crew veteran said. “I just used the SleepMachine app on my iPad to simulate the sounds of a storm. I started with ‘Distant Thunder,’ then switched to ‘Rain and Thunder 2’ as Irene got closer. I’m not sure what happened after that. I fell asleep.”

"There's Irene," reports the Weather Channel's Jim Cantore. "Right over there."

Briefs from around the region

August 19, 2011

Faces booked on disorderly conduct charges

People apparently “disliked” a Facebook post so much that it caused a massive brawl.

Fort Mill Police blame the Facebook post and subsequent posts for sparking a street fight involving about 40 individuals, according to a police report.

Police responded to the fight just after 8:30 p.m. Aug. 9. They found the roadway filled with about 40 people, arguing, fighting and causing a large disturbance, the report states.

Police urged people to return to their homes and cars. Police determined postings on Facebook, a social networking site, started the arguments, which boiled over into the street.

Officers arrested two men for continuing to make threats while police were diffusing the situation.

Cecil Moore, 22, of Fort Mill, and Antonio Moore, 28, of York, were both charged with public disorderly conduct.

Amateur air marshal not appreciated

Authorities say a 36-year-old Greenville County man faces a $270 fine for having a gun and ammunition in his carry-on bag.

A police report says Christopher McCall of Simpsonville told authorities at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport that he forgot he had a pistol in his bag.

Transportation Security Administration spokesman John Allen says the gun and ammunition were discovered about 5:45 a.m. Tuesday as McCall passed through a security checkpoint, and airport police were notified.

Police issued him a $270 ticket for violating airport rules.

Car 54, where are you?

Authorities are looking for an inmate who escaped from a police officer and stole his cruiser in Colleton County.

Investigators say a deputy from Stephens County, Ga., was driving 37-year-old Perry Sullivan to the county in northeast Georgia on Thursday when the prisoner said he felt ill. The officer pulled over, and the inmate slipped out of his handcuffs and overpowered the officer, taking his patrol car and gun.

The officer was not hurt, and the police car was found a few hours later in Allendale County. But Sullivan has not been recaptured.

Pit bull caught playing head games

A dog found a human skull in Lancaster County, deputies say.

Maj. Matt Shaw said deputies were called around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday after a dog found a human skull in a wooded area off Old Lynwood Circle. A homeowner on the 1700 block of Lynwood Drive told deputies they found the skull in the backyard.

It was determined that the homeowner’s pit-bull had carried the skull into the backyard. She noticed there was something that looked like a skull in the backyard when she was chaining her dog back up.

The Lancaster County STAR Team and the South Carolina Foothills Search and Rescue searched the wooded area nearby for about five hours before finding the remains of a human.

The remains located did not include the skull, which had already been recovered in the backyard.

Pastor only rapes 3

Authorities now say former pastor Dale Richardson kidnapped four women and raped three of them between January 2010 and July of this year.

Dorchester County sheriff’s investigators say they will serve Richardson Thursday with warrants charging him with two counts each of criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping. He is already in jail without bail in connection with a July 27 kidnapping and rape incident and a June 21 incident in Summerville.

Investigators have been planning to charge Richardson with an Aug. 12, 2010, rape and kidnapping since last week. Maj. John Garrison said they recently found a third victim who was raped Jan. 5, 2010.

The woman told deputies she was hitchhiking on Rivers Avenue, trying to get a ride to a friend’s house. A man in a Chevrolet S-10 who called himself “Don” took her to a location on Mallard Road in Summerville and sexually assaulted her, Garrison said.

The January incident falls into a similar pattern as the later cases, in which the women were picked up and sexually assaulted on the grounds of Richardson’s Ladson church.

Summerville police say Richardson kidnapped a fourth woman but she was not sexually assaulted.

Really … cocaine makes great laxative

A Rock Hill woman wound up behind bars after reporting a break-in at her house, police say.

Tiffany Walls, 40, of Summit Street was charged with trafficking cocaine after more than 22 grams of the powdery substance was found wrapped in aluminum foil in her house, according to a police report.

Walls initially told officers she didn’t know what was in the packaging, and it wasn’t hers. She later told officers it was a laxative, the report states.

Field tests determined it was 22 grams of cocaine.

Walls called Rock Hill police to her home Sunday afternoon to report someone had broken into her house.

She told officers the break-in occurred between Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon, and about $100 in change was stolen from a bedroom closet.

She suspected the burglar broke in through a broken window in the back of the house.

While officers were investigating and searching for fingerprints they found the foil with the powder-like substance inside.

Romance is up and down

A Virginia couple plans to get married this weekend on Carowinds’ newest roller coaster, the Intimidator.

Wendy Delp and Glen Swearengin of Christiansburg, Va., got engaged on the Intimidator in 2010 when Swearengin popped the question at the top of the lift hill, according to a press release from Carowinds, an amusement park that straddles the North and South Carolina state line.

Swearengin got the ring on her finger before the first drop, and together the couple decided the ideal place to host their one-of-a-kind wedding was the exact same spot.

“We aren’t the typical couple. We wanted to do something fun and something people will remember,” said Delp. “We called the park because getting married at Carowinds would suit us perfectly. Plus, getting married on the Intimidator is something no one will forget.”

The couple will say “I do” at 9 a.m. Saturday on the steps of Intimidator, surrounded by family and friends.

Following the ceremony, the group will ride the 232-foot-tall coaster in celebration of the nuptials.

Pilot is flying low

A York County jury convicted a pilot from Lake Wylie of driving under the influence after he nearly side-swiped a sheriff’s office patrol car.

Samuel Hannan was charged with his second offense of DUI on Oct. 9. He was convicted on Thursday, according to a press release from the solicitor’s office.

Hannan was also observed driving erratically and at a high rate of speed, the release states. He refused to submit to field sobriety testing and refused to provide a breath sample to determine his blood alcohol concentration.

According to the release, Hannan told the officer he was on his way to his “crash pad” in Lake Wylie that night after spending the day on the lake followed by a stop in at a bar. He admitted to drinking three beers but later confessed that he had consumed more.

Hannan was sentenced to one year in prison and fined $2,100, followed by five years of probation. His prior conviction for DUI was for “Extreme DUI” out of Arizona in 2006.

Hacking scandal widens and deepens

July 21, 2011

Britain’s Parliament concluded two days of interrogations yesterday, trying to get to the bottom of a hacking scandal that has tainted Rupert Murdoch’s publishing empire and threatened Prime Minister David Cameron’s government.

Investigators are hoping to find out how the now-defunct News of the World obtained access to material printed earlier this spring that proved highly offensive to the tabloid’s readers. It now appears that the ailing Murdoch, during a visit to the NOTW in March, hacked up a lung into an operating printing press, leading to unpleasant red and gray images appearing on newsstands throughout England the next day.

Parliamentarians summoned Murdoch and his son James to London on Tuesday to testify about the growing scandal. James said his father’s News Corporation had since “cleaned up our act, and the press” and would hold its reporters to rigorous new ethics standards going forward.

Rupert spoke infrequently during the session, but at one point noted that a painting of flowers on the wall of the meeting room was “pretty … very nice and pretty”. He appeared frail, disoriented and rumpled during his appearance, provoking one bystander to attempt to forcibly shave him.

Jonnie Marbles, charged by police with assault after applying a plate of shaving cream to Rupert’s wrinkled jowls, said he was just trying to make the doddering media magnate more presentable.

“I had to act quickly, before those stubbly cheeks made an even worse impression on the MPs,” Marbles said. “I had the Gillette Mach3 Turbo ready to go when his wife stopped me. Now it’s all this big misunderstanding.”

James Murdoch provided most of the testimony during the day-long session, but at one point deferred to another witness to speak of his father’s integrity.

“The Rupert I’ve come to know during my years of skateboarding and snowboarding would not intentionally cough up organs into high-speed manufacturing equipment,” said Shaun White, who came to be known as the “Flying Tomato” during his Winter Olympics appearance in 2010. “He’s a radical and righteous dude who has achieved major Big Air in the communications field.”

Snowboarder Shaun White

On Wednesday, it was Prime Minister Cameron’s turn to explain why his government allowed the scandal to develop, and why he had hired Andy Coulson, a former editor at News of the World, as his communications director.

It was a raucous session, similar to Parliament’s weekly “question time,” where MPs rudely hurl insults and accusations at each other in a virtual free-for-all. Cameron tried to cool tempers in the opposition Labour Party by bringing a big plate of cookies to legislators — “better than the pie you had yesterday,” he joked — but it failed to halt the stream of invectives directed at him.

“You suck, and you do it with precision and vigor,” shouted MP Nigel Adams.

“If the minister from Selby would allow me …” Cameron responded before being interrupted again.

“I would also point out that you’re ugly and so is your wife,” bellowed Glyn Davies of Gordon. “Why don’t you just go home and leave us alone?”

“I am here today to defend my …” Cameron interjected.

“Crikey, but you’re a stupid wanker,” noted MP David Laws.

Cameron tried to lay out a defense of the Conservative Party’s role in the hacking scandal, but could barely get a word in amidst catcalls and curses.

“You sound like some kind of ‘nancy boy’ with that accent of yours,” sniffed Nick Gibb of Littlehampton.

“Never mind the bollocks,” shouted Rotherham’s Denis MacShane. “We demand to see the queen! And Princess Kate too! And make sure she wears something tight. Kate, not the Queen.”

“I say, old chap,” yelled MP Graham Stewart. “You are what’s known in the parlance of the gutter as a ‘douchebag.'”

The latest news from South Carolina

July 8, 2011

Man can’t do anything right

A man wanted on charges of attempted murder turned himself in to the sheriff’s department Thursday morning and was arrested, but not before he tried and failed to shoot himself twice in the parking lot.

Jerome White, 38, is charged with attempted murder, kidnapping and two counts of pointing and presenting.

White is suspected of shooting a victim Tuesday at a residence in Hopkins. Responding deputies called for an ambulance and the victim was taken to the hospital with a hand wound.

Investigators say witnesses reported seeing White and the victim arguing. The witnesses left when White brandished the handgun, the department said.

White came to the sheriff’s department at 9 a.m. Thursday with an attorney. The department said White tried to shoot himself twice when he arrived, but his gun misfired both times. He was subdued without further incident.

Dog not mean, just horny (then dead)

A police officer investigating a complaint about a dog terrorizing the neighborhood shot and killed the animal.

Police were called to a home on Gilmore Street Tuesday in response to a complaint from a resident who said a neighbor’s dog had chased him, the report states.

The police report listed the dog as a pit bull, but the owner’s roommate, Natalie Macias, said he’s an American Bulldog named “Whitey.”

The neighbor complained that Whitey attacked his own dog, which was chained in his yard, as well as other people in the neighborhood. Police said they spoke with other neighbors who told them the dog had chased them.

The officer who responded was able to reach the dog’s owner by phone. While officers waited at the home with animal control, Whitey charged the fence and escaped through a hole. The dog then charged the police officer, who “defended himself from the advancing [dog] by discharging his firearm at the [dog],” which died as a result of his injuries, according to the report.

Macias believes the use of deadly force was unnecessary, and said the neighbors’ accounts of the dog’s viciousness were exaggerated.

“They could’ve subdued the dog with a tranquilizer. Shooting and killing him is just outrageous,” said Macias. “Whitey was great with kids and never hurt anyone.”

Macias said Whitey’s heightened aggression Tuesday evening could have been attributed to a female dog being in heat.

Bulbous head wins promotion


Despite having a head that looks like an overinflated basketball, Tavis Johnson has been promoted to assistant branch manager at Family Trust Federal Credit Union.

Johnson, 28, joined Family Trust as a part-time teller in 2002, and later become a member service representative and a loan officer.

Johnson is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business management at Winthrop University.

Looks like rain

A strong thunderstorm is moving through southeastern York County. Very heavy rainfall, small hail and wind gusts are expected with this storm.

At 1:50 p.m., the National Weather Service Doppler Radar indicated the thunderstorm. Frequent lightning is occurring with the storm.

If outdoors, stay away from trees and other isolated high objects.

Jailer cracks the case

Police aren’t sure how a bag of crack ended up on the floor of Rock Hill’s jail.

Early this morning, a corrections officer notified police that a small bag of crack was found on the floor of the jail beside the bench near the front door, according to a police report.

The .60 grams of crack cocaine was placed in evidence to be destroyed.

No suspects were identified.

If a tree falls into your house, and no one is smart enough to be injured  …

A large oak tree that fell on three homes Thursday had been deemed a “public nuisance” the day before.

Around 8 a.m. Thursday the nearly century-old tree fell, causing more than $50,000 in damage to one residence and landing on two others. No one was hurt.

The day before, Rock Hill’s city forester was asked to inspect the tree. He said he determined the tree had a large split that appeared to be worsening.

After the inspection, he drafted a letter to send to the homeowners  that it needed to be removed within 15 days.

The tree fell the following morning.

As she heard the crash, Becky Talley said she worried instantly about her 64-year-old mother, who can’t walk.

“God was with us, because my mother shouldn’t be with us today. She was asleep in that front room,” Talley said.

“We thought we had another week or two before this happened, before it cracked apart and fell like this,” Talley said.

K-mart employee goes coupon crazy

An extreme coupon shopper ended up in jail for using them on the wrong products at a Rock Hill K-mart, police say.

Raven Barber, 17, was convicted of breach of trust for acting as her own cashier during a transaction at K-mart where she paid 20 cents for about $400 in purchases, police documents show.

She worked at the Cherry Road K-mart and sold products to herself on May 27, according to a police report. Barber used a large number of manufacturer coupons, but they weren’t for the same items she purchased.

She redeemed $408 in coupons. She bought $395 worth of merchandise, including a $210 gift card.

Barber was sentenced in municipal court Tuesday to a day in jail and ordered to pay restitution.

Teens arrested in TP incident

Two intoxicated underage men were arrested after using toilet paper and fire extinguishers to vandalize a YMCA and nearby yards, police say.

Blake Hoover and Andrew Frazier, both 19, were arrested early Sunday after being seen toilet papering near the YMCA, according to a police report.

Both were charged with burglary, breaking and entering, damage to property, criminal conspiracy and underage drinking.

After papering the YMCA lot, a witness saw the men spraying a fire extinguisher into several nearby yards, the report states.

Police found Hoover and Frazier near where the witness reported the damage. They also found a bus at the YMCA had been broken into and a fire extinguisher was stolen.

Police also suspect the men broke into a nearby home for sale by busting out the windows. Inside, someone tipped over the refrigerator and tore off the microwave door, according to reports.

Both men had scratches on their arms and hands.

How not to celebrate the Fourth

What a Rock Hill woman thought were fireworks turned out to be gunshots fired into her home, police say.

The 50-year-old woman told police she and her daughter heard loud bangs from inside her residence around 1:30 a.m. Sunday, according to a police report.

Although she thought they were just fireworks celebrating the July 4 holiday weekend, the woman told police she wasn’t comfortable at home and left to go to her mother’s house.

When she returned home just before 9 a.m., she found bullet holes throughout her house.

Police found 11 shell casings on Main Street near the house. Police believe a .40-caliber gun may have been used.

Residents aren’t sure why the shooting occurred.

The American Camel Coalition? Lobbyists go too far

How far would you go for something you believed in? Empty your savings account? Sell your furniture? Cut back on your day job?

Millie Hinkle, a natural medicine practitioner from Pittsboro, did all of the above.

Hinkle has spent three years working to get camel’s milk approved for sale across the U.S. She started a company called Camel Milk USA and founded the American Camel Coalition to promote legislation to benefit camel owners.

Hinkle wasn’t even that taken with the taste of camel’s milk when she first drank it in the 1980s during a trip to Dubai.

“It was rather salty-tasting to me,” she said. “I have to say I never thought another thing about it.”

In late 2008, an article in a health magazine got her thinking about that experience, and craving another taste. When she discovered it was illegal to sell camel’s milk in the U.S., she was determined to get it approved for sale across state lines.

Hinkle testified before a Food and Drug Administration panel in 2009 and helped get camel’s milk put under laws governing the sale of milk, allowing states to govern its sale.

Hinkle said farmers are selling fresh camel’s milk for about $40 a quart, given that camels cost at least $15,000 here and produce only about five quarts a day, half of what a cow produces. Camels, unlike cows, are not as cooperative about being milked, Hinkle said.

What drives Hinkle is a belief in the curative properties of camel’s milk. Based on small studies, she believes camel’s milk holds the key to curing ailments such as cancer, diabetes, autism and Crohn’s disease.

Elizabeth Mayer-Davis, president of Health Care & Education at the American Diabetes Association, says the health claims appear to be unfounded.

“I do not think that camel milk is particularly useful at this point in time,” said Mayer-Davis, a professor at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Hinkle remains undeterred. She said seven American universities are doing research on camel’s milk, including the effect of its protein on muscles.

“It has been a long struggle up until this point but I think it is really beginning to pay off,” she said.

Forget Manhattan, we have cou rouge (rednecks)

Pouvez-vous dire “South Carolina”?

State tourism promoters were in France last month asking that question — translation: Can you say South Carolina? — aiming to generate interest in the state among potential tourists from France.

South Carolina, along with 10 other Southeastern states, is trying to tap that market, which officials say is one of the most popular international markets to the U.S.

“They are coming to the U.S., and the goal is to get more of them to the Southeast,” said Beverly Shelley, director of marketing at the S.C. Tourism Department. “It makes sense to go try to get a piece of that business.”

Shelley and a dozen other tourism promoters spent about a week in two French cities last month, with Shelley aiming to woo them by mentioning the state’s beaches, historical offerings in Charleston and adventure opportunities.

“The French are interested in cultural kinds of things, the outdoors, festivals,” Shelley said.

About 1.2 million residents of France visited the U.S. in 2009, a 3.2-percent decline from 2008, and spent $4.1 billion on their visits.

Shelley admits that South Carolina isn’t going to be tops on the list of places for French tourists to check out. Bigger cities such as New York always will be more popular.

“A place like South Carolina is going to be part of a second visit or third visit,” she said.

Shelley says she plans to follow up with the groups she met to try to ensure stories are written and tour operators keep South Carolina in mind.

“Breaking into a new market takes time,” Shelley said.

Revisited: A bunch of small editorials

July 2, 2011

Just about every newspaper, from the monolithic New York Times to the local small-town shopper, seems to have an opinion page. Much of the space in that section is taken up with editorials, in which various news events are dissected, and the writer eventually comes out in favor of or opposed to something. Most of these are longer than they need to be, in a sad attempt to justify whatever opinion is being espoused.

In today’s fast-paced society, we have to get to the point more quickly than ever. Glaciers are melting, people are starving and celebrities are finding themselves in trouble. Editorialists need to wrap it up faster. Tell everybody what to do and how to feel, and move on already.

Today I’d like to introduce the concept of what I call the “mini-torial.” What follows represents my sentiments on a variety of topics, all of which you’d typically skip right past if they were long and boring. Since instead they’re short and snappy, you will read and heed my word.

  • There’s too much variety in the world. Have you been to the grocery store lately? There must be hundreds of different cereals to choose from. This is simply too many. Everything should be the same.
  • Bristol, Bristol, Bristol. You’re such a young girl. Do you realize what you’re doing? You’re not pregnant again, are you? Bristol?
  • Farewell, Clarence Clemmons. It’s such a shame that people eventually have to die. We call for a moratorium on mortality.
  • Chinese characters are unnecessarily difficult to read. It looks like a typewriter got stuck in one place and all the letters just typed one on top of the other. Come on, China. Enter the twenty-first century. Start writing and speaking in English.
  • Professional car racing for sport represents such a huge waste of gasoline. Stop it.
  • BP should be ashamed of itself for allowing the gulf oil spill to go on this long. Wildlife is dying. Clean-up crews are getting hot and dirty and smelly. This is not how we’re supposed to spend a summer at the beach.
  • Apple announces it will have a major announcement about the iPhone 4. Just tell us already.
  • We’re looking forward to Tiger’s return to St. Andrews for this week’s British Open. We hope there’s a lot of exciting golf and not so much distracting chatter about his personal life. Isn’t it about time that we all started acting like grown-ups?
  • There’s no need for phone books anymore.
  • Those Hitler shenanigans got completely out of control. Someone should have stopped him back in the 1930s.
  • Things are looking increasingly bleak for our war effort in Afghanistan. Soon it will be winter and the Taliban will retreat even further into their caves. People are going to be catching some awful head colds.
  • It’s so easy to take oxygen for granted. It’s all around us, in the very air that we breathe. We call on Congress to establish a National Oxygen Appreciation Day, to honor this most precious of gases.
  • We need to jump start economic growth. This recession has gone on for far too long. There are people out there looking for jobs, and there just aren’t that many to choose from. If you know anyone who is hiring, could you mention my name?
  • The so-called obesity epidemic just means that a lot of people are fat. Since when is that news?
  • Congratulations, South Africa, on the success of the recently completed World Cup soccer tournament. Job well done. Let’s do it again some time.
  • Muslims in New York are planning to build a mosque right down the street from Ground Zero. If they have the traditional call to prayer five times a day, it’s going to be difficult to hear, what with the traffic noise and such.
  • Even though we didn’t usually agree with Dick Cheney’s politics, we wish him well as he recovers from major heart surgery. That can take a toll on anybody, especially someone his age.
  • It’s been months since the terrible earthquake in Haiti, and there’s so little progress in that poorest of Caribbean nations. And now hurricane season has arrived. It’s just one thing after another with those people.
  • Twitter is enabling people to keep up with their friends like never before. This is a good thing in our increasingly hectic lives. We need to stay in touch. Let’s have lunch together some time.
  • LeBron James has forsaken his hometown of Cleveland for the bright lights and excitement of Miami. Let’s hope he realizes how hot it gets there in the summertime.
  • The Tea Party movement needs to stop being against things and start proposing some stuff. Nobody likes too much negativism. Couldn’t they at least say something nice about President Obama’s posture?
  • Happy Bastille Day to all the French! We’ll make no snide comments here about how they’re effete, weak, foul-smelling and cowardly. Instead, it’s a day to celebrate all things French – not just kisses, toast, fries and dressing, but the people too.

News briefs from around S.C.

July 1, 2011

“Hey, check out the safety on this (oops) …”

Lee County sheriff’s deputies say a Sanford man shot and killed himself while showing friends the safety of his new gun.

Deputies say the death of 23-year-old Randall Butler was an accident.

Capt. Jeff Johnson says there is nothing to indicate foul play.

Johnson says some friends were in Butler’s girlfriend’s home when he showed them the safety features of his .22-caliber pistol.

The captain says Butler showed them the safety and how the gun would not fire. Johnson says after Butler pulled the trigger and it didn’t fire, he showed them the slide action, put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger again.

Johnson says Butler apparently failed to re-engage the safety.

Thief adapts and survives

A thief apparently got injured breaking into a Rock Hill church and stole a first aid kit, police say.

Someone broke into Eastside Baptist Church sometime overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday through a window, according to a police report.

The unknown suspect broke the kitchen window to get inside. Officers found blood near the window and bloody napkins left on the table. A first aid kit worth about $50 was stolen.

Also taken was about $10 worth of chips and cookies.

A church member told police he knew of homeless women who have been breaking in around town and stealing food

No one has been arrested.

Man burns down his own house

A man accused of setting fire to his own home earlier this week then filing a false police report about the fire has turned himself in, according to police reports.

Joseph Rangel, 40, told police on Tuesday that he left his home Monday and returned Tuesday to find the house had been burned, according to police reports.

Police saw the ash from the fire and notified detectives and the fire marshal’s office.

Rangel is charged with arson, burglary, and filing a false police report, according to police records.

Bike damaged; also, woman stabbed

A York woman was stabbed in the neck during a fight over a motorcycle outside a pizza shop, police say.

Terry Fields, Jr. was charged with attempted murder after police arrested him outside Olympia Pizza Saturday night, according to a police report. Fields was bleeding and carrying a knife when he was arrested near the restaurant.

The victim, 33, was reportedly trying to retrieve a motorcycle she sold to Fields that he owed months worth of payments on.

She tried to leave on the motorcycle when she was attacked by Fields, witnesses told police. When an employee at the pizza shop jumped in to stop the fight, Fields allegedly pulled out a knife. During the fight, he struck the woman in the neck.

The fight reportedly had to do with the motorcycle. The victim had sold the bike, but wanted to get it back because the buyer hadn’t made five payments.

She went to the sheriff’s office to discuss getting it back after the buyer hadn’t made any payments. An officer told her she’d need to see a judge because it was a civil matter, the report states.

After that, she reportedly met Fields at the pizza shop. Despite paying her a payment of $70, the victim told Fields she was leaving on the motorcycle. She was attempting to leave on the bike when the fight broke out.

About $1,500 in damages was done to the motorcycle when it fell to the ground during the fight.

Social media conquers all

Just days after Facebook yanked prison inmate Michael Maxwell’s two online pages, the convicted killer found a way back on the social networking site.

What’s more, Maxwell was apparently using Facebook to profess his love for another prison inmate who also is doing time in connection with a murder.

South Carolina prison officials say they have searched Maxwell and his cell but have found no evidence he is using a mobile phone to carry on his online activities.

“Our folks continue to monitor inmate Maxwell closely,” said Clark Newsom, spokesman for the department of corrections.

Maxwell, 28, is in the maximum-security Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville, serving a prison sentence for killing a Goose Creek man with a shotgun in 2007. The prison system bans inmates from using the Internet or possessing a cell phone, but those devices are smuggled into correctional facilities anyway.

Somehow, Maxwell started two pages on Facebook. He piled up hundreds of friends and chatted about everything from pitbulls to guns.

Facebook pulled the pages last week after a newspaper began asking questions. But days later, Maxwell was back, this time setting his profile to private so only friends could follow his online posts.

Lorena Teseniar, the mother of Maxwell’s victim, was stunned to see him back and even more surprised to find he had been posting love notes to Katherine Feaster, who is serving time in Leath Correctional Institution in Greenwood.

Last year, Feaster was sentenced to eight years in prison after she pleaded guilty to burglary and misprision of a felony in connection with the killing of her former stepfather. He had vanished from his home in 2001 and his body was found six years later in a barrel buried in the yard of one of Feaster’s co-defendants in the case.

Maxwell posted poems and sweet nothings on Feaster’s page, referring to her as “wifey.” Among his offerings: “Baby u are the best woman ever no how stressed i am u make things so much better. I love u and cant wait till that special day when u become my wife for real. i love u and want the whole world to know it.”

Facebook removed Feaster’s page Thursday as well.

But will masks fit kitties?

Each year, up to 150,000 pets die in fires and more than 500,000 are affected by home fires, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

Thanks to a new donation of pet oxygen masks, Lancaster County firefighters are hoping to reduce that number.

Invisible Fence, an organization that specializes in pet protection systems, began Project Breathe a few years ago with the goal of providing every fire department and rescue unit with pet oxygen masks.

So far, the organization has donated more than 10,000 to stations across the United States and Canada.

Now Lancaster County and its volunteer stations can add themselves to that list with the 18 pet oxygen masks from the organization.

David Holler, sales consultant for Invisible Fence of the Carolinas, said each oxygen kit contains three sizes — small, medium and large. The smallest size can fit breeds such as Yorkshire terriers, and the largest are made for mastiffs and similar breeds.

“The typical oxygen mask for humans doesn’t fit the frame of a dog’s snout,” he said.

The department is happy to have the masks, said Capt. Tony Gainer, but has not needed to use them yet.

Holler said Invisible Fence has received feedback from fire stations across the nation that have used the masks. A station in Ohio reported saving a dog’s life because they used one.

Glitches, glow sticks plague beauty pageant

The Miss South Carolina and Miss South Carolina Teen pageant kicked off preliminary rounds Tuesday night at the Township Auditorium.

The 88 contestants have been split into three performance groups for the preliminaries. The groups will rotate — talent, evening and swimsuit for Miss S.C. and talent, evening and sportswear for Miss S.C. Teen — but each contestant will perform nightly. And six group winners will be named each night.

The winners will be crowned Saturday.

Miss Hampton, Anna Catherine English, tore ligaments in her left leg during a Tuesday morning rehearsal, but she still performed during her group’s talent segment. She was scheduled to dance, but instead she sang “Turning Tables,” a song with an appropriate title. She even survived one of the multiple technical glitches of the evening when her mic wasn’t turned up.

“Is this thing on?” she said after the music was stopped.

Miss Colleton County was allowed to perform her violin piece twice because of a sound issue that made her first attempt sound pitchy.

The opening included all the contestants wearing sequined dresses — and shoes — that appeared to be a golden metallic color in the stage lights. The stage itself was lit like an airport runway. Several people in the audience had glow sticks.

News briefs from the great state of South Carolina

June 17, 2011

Trespassing on the Lord’s mini-golf

Six people were issued trespass warnings after deputies recently found them inside an abandoned castle and a dilapidated water tower on the Morningstar Ministries property.

The location is the former home of the Jim and Tammy Bakker PTL ministry.

Four were found inside the tower about 1 a.m. Saturday. The building is dilapidated and surrounded by barbed wire. “No trespassing” signs are also posted around the tower.

One of the suspects, a 25-year-old from Fort Mill, said they were “just looking around,” the report states.

In a separate incident, two homeless people — a 23-year-old man and 22-year-old woman — were found asleep about 3 a.m. Wednesday morning in the abandoned castle, which used to be part of a Christian-themed miniature golf course.

They were given a trespass warning and escorted to Charlotte, the report states.

Maybe she shouldn’t have called police after all

York Police are searching for three men who allegedly fired a gun at a woman in her home and fled.

About 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, a 46-year-old York woman and her two sons, 18 and 19, were in their Sunset Drive trailer when they heard a “hard knock” on the door, according to a police report. They initially thought it was the police because of how hard the knock was.

When the 19-year-old answered the door, three armed suspects wearing bandanas stood at the door and hit him in the head, the report states.

The suspects entered the home, according to the report. The mother stood up but was told that if she didn’t get back, they would shoot her. They fired the gun once before fleeing in an old blue Chevrolet.

The 19-year-old went to the office of the trailer community to report the incident to an employee, who said she heard the gun shot, the report states. The son was bleeding from the head. EMS arrived on scene and treated him, but no one else was injured or needed treatment.

After searching the home, officers located marijuana and charged the mother with simple possession.

Dance camp is locked down (…six, seven, eight)

Nation Ford High School was locked down briefly Monday morning.

Leanne Lordo, an assistant superintendent, said that “a custody issue led to a misunderstanding.” District officials originally said that the school was locked down as a safety precaution because of a bomb threat but now say there was no bomb threat, simply a misunderstanding.

“There was no bomb threat, no weapon,” Lordo said.

The lockdown order was lifted within 30 minutes.

The school is hosting dance camp for high school dancers and a cheerleading camp for children age four and up.

A dance camp student who asked not to be named called her mother from inside the school and said that she and other campers were together inside a classroom closet. Police officers were in the hallway nearby, she said.

Police and fire trucks were on the scene.

Forget the footlong, just give me the $5

Police are searching for a gunman who jumped over the counter at a Subway restaurant and stole money from the cash register and safe.

A clerk at the sandwich shop said an unknown man came into the restaurant, according to a police report. He pulled out a handgun, pointed it at the clerk, jumped over the counter and demanded money.

The suspect jumped back over the counter and attempted to leave through the front door but a customer entering the restaurant alarmed him. He fled through the back door instead, the report states.

No one was injured.

Laronzo Ashley, 24, was the customer who walked in after the robbery.

“I just saw somebody jump over the counter and then back over,” he said Wednesday. “That was it. I didn’t know what was going on. I just walked into it.”

Ashley didn’t see the gun.

Detective Bruce Haire said the surveillance footage is some of the best they’ve seen, and they are hopeful it will lead to some tips.

Police called out a K-9 unit Tuesday night and are still searching for the armed suspect.

Crow causes outage; snakes and squirrels get blame

More than 3,000 customers in the Manchester/Galleria area of Rock Hill were without power this morning because a crow got into the wiring, city officials say.

Traffic lights were out along Dave Lyle Boulevard, including at Interstate 77, impacting the morning commute. Power was restored around 7:30 a.m.

Last month, a snake caused power outages in the same area.

City spokeswoman Katie Quinn said it’s not unusual for the city to have occasional problems with snakes and squirrels.

Hopefully the temperature will not get too hot, she said.

Scootin’ ’round the local Walmart

Two York residents may be charged with vandalism after they allegedly rode scooters through a Lake Wylie store and then pulled the fire alarm when they were asked to leave Monday.

Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the Walmart on Highway 274 about 11 p.m. to help with a fire alarm call, according to a sheriff’s office report. The manager said the store had to be evacuated because of the alarm and said she had a good idea of the suspects after viewing surveillance footage.

The footage shows a 23-year-old woman and 23-year-man, both of York, riding motorized scooters through the store and running into a customer, the report states. After they leave, video shows the same people drive around outside to where a valve triggering the fire alarm is located, then drive away.

The store plans to press charges, citing a $500 service fee for the fire system, lost business and the 15 employees who lost an hour of time, the report states.

At least bookstore is used for something

A Rock Hill man was arrested after police found him on the roof of the Books-A-Million in Manchester Village, where he said he was just sunbathing.

Police charged Hale Hoeflick, 22, who lives on Village Green Lane, with trespassing and took him to the city jail, according to a police report.

Officers first responded to a call from the store around 7 p.m. that several juveniles were playing on the roof of the store, the report states.

When police went on the roof, they found a man who told them he was “trying to get a tan.”

‘I said she is a Cancer, not that she has it’

A woman charged with falsely claiming that her daughter had cancer will not spend time in jail and is ordered to pay about $2,000 in restitution in the next month.

Angela Ann Chapman, 36, of Whitmire, was arrested and charged with obtaining goods under false pretense on May 25. She appeared in court Wednesday representing herself and requested a trial by the judge.

Magistrate Ron Halfacre found Chapman guilty of breach of trust with fraudulent intent.

“There is overwhelming evidence that you are guilty of this crime,” said Halfacre to Chapman on pronouncing the verdict. “The community put their trust in you, and you breached that trust.”

He’ll have the bloody, Mary

Drinks at a Rock Hill Mexican restaurant turned bloody Thursday after a man allegedly starting breaking glasses.

A 25-year-old York man was arrested after police found him cleaning blood off the floor of the El Cancun restaurant on Cherry Road, a police report said.

The man was having drinks with his friends and became disorderly, breaking several glasses inside the restaurant. His hands were bleeding profusely and large amounts of blood were on the floor, his shorts, and rags he had placed over his wounds, the report said.

Police arrested the man for public disorderly intoxication. When EMS arrived, the man resisted medical care. He was transported to Piedmont Medical Center where he was treated and released for booking.

Phoning it in not an option for ailing mayor

Rock Hill Mayor Doug Echols said he is disappointed City Council would not let him participate in Monday night’s council meeting by phone.

Echols, who underwent heart surgery in late May, is recovering at home. But he still wanted to participate in the meeting, which included initial approval of the next fiscal year’s budget.

At the start of Monday’s meeting, members were asked to suspend a council policy requiring members to attend meetings. The vote was 3-3, which means the request was rejected.

“I am extremely disappointed that the vote occurred the way that it did,” Echols said. “I had made what I felt like was a legal and noncontroversial request. To vote against the opportunity to allow me to exercise my right to vote, I felt like was inconsiderate and inappropriate.”

After the vote, council members and city attorney Paul Dillingham went into executive session to talk more about the policy regarding attendance.

Meanwhile, Echols’ wife drove the mayor to the meeting. He was with other council members when they emerged from the 20-minute executive session.

“I was not going to be denied the opportunity to vote,” he said.

In the coming weeks, Echols said he will work with Dillingham to establish, in clear language, that any City Council member has the opportunity to vote during unusual circumstances.

Rep. Weiner too quick to come clean?

June 7, 2011

New York Representative Anthony Weiner’s confession yesterday that he was using social media to be (very) social was perhaps even more gutless than the fact that he repeatedly lied about the story for over a week.

There’s no pride any more in the skill of spinning a tall tale. Public figures caught in scandal spend at most a few days deceiving friends, family and their constituents before abjectly taking to the podium and confessing everything.

“I accept full responsibility for my actions,” Weiner and a thousand others before him told a packed press conference. “What I did was wrong and hurtful toward those I care for.”

What baloney. He might be sorry he was caught, but I doubt he was sorry he had virtual babes from coast to coast admiring his bulging good looks.

His nose was already longer than his schlong. Building an even larger network of lies wasn’t going to make Congressman Pinocchio look any worse.

Here’s the story I would’ve concocted were I his public relations specialist:

The original underwear photo was accidentally snapped while he was brushing his teeth preparing to go to work.

“I try to stay closely connected with my constituents, so I carry my cell phone with me everywhere,” he could’ve said. “I must’ve accidentally hit the wrong button while concentrating on those hard-to-reach back teeth.”

The phone then slipped out of his grip, bouncing off his engorged member in such a way that the “tweet” button was pushed.

“My aroused state was not due to any prurient thoughts,” he’d say. “I just get very excited about the benefits of maintaining proper oral hygiene.”

When additional photos surfaced Monday, only a little additional creativity would be required to explain these.

The picture of him in a T-shirt, sitting smiling next to two of his cats?

“I was just helping Mrs. Bubbles and Kitty Dukakis try to hook up to a cat dating site,” Weiner could say.

The photo of the smiling Democrat holding up a sheet of paper with the word “ME” on it?

“I was just beginning my first draft on the ‘MEDICAL REIMBURSEMENT FOR DISPLACED VETERANS ACT’,” Wiener might report.

The shirtless shot?

“My doctor said he has a new way to do chest x-rays remotely,” he could say. “I meant to send it just to his office, but must’ve hit the ‘ALL’ button by mistake.”

Really, only the two most embarrassing elements of the unfolding story had to be addressed with any element of truth included.

“It’s an email address I’ve had for years, and I didn’t want to lose all the names I had in the address book,” Weiner could say of the humiliating fact that he maintained an AOL account. “I’m trying to migrate over to Gmail but it’s taking some time.”

As for the photo from the congressman’s high school yearbook …

… he could lay claim to a proud family heritage that included several ancestors descended from the Irish side of his family that hailed from County Dork.

“I’m as proud of my Gaelic relatives as I was proud of that Jew-Fro,” he might suggest. “Yes, it could be viewed by some as suggestive. But it gives you a hint at exactly how hairy I am, and how impossible it would be for me to get a clean view of my junk.”

Revisited: Sorry about that whole vulgarity thing

May 22, 2011

I’d like to formally apologize for an earlier post. In a vulgarity-laced send-up of an Obama gone wild with anger over the Gulf oil spill, I used more profanity in one day than I had previously used in one year. I employed no less than six “f-bombs” (three of which were modified by your “mother”), several “a-holes,” and a shitload of “shit’s”.

I’d like to apologize, but actually the blue language sent my readership up 35% over the previous day.

Seriously, though, I am sorry for my failed judgment. I know that dirty words make for easy laughs. I like to think that my attempts at humor are a little more cerebral than that, at least the parts that don’t discuss road kill (Wednesday’s post), the hotness of our state’s next governor (Monday), or a misunderstanding of the word “fallacious” (Friday). I generally keep my work studiously clean, unlike the back seat of my car and my thoughts about a certain assistant grocery store manager.

It was my faithful readers who were helpful enough to point out the error of my ways. Paul Dixon, the college roommate who helped me first discover the lure of the forbidden in the works of classical composer Dieterich Buxtehude, commented simply “Dern, Davis, lay that satire on with a trowel, why don’tcha?”, then added “well, it’s your blog, not mine. Better days ahead.” Another reader, Tom1950, said the Obama piece was “just a touch over the top. The language doesn’t bother me at all, but the association … with our head of state is pretty raw. More shocking that funny in my opinion.”

I also got a kind note from BiggerFaster recommending a “mail extension product,” but frankly I’m fairly satisfied with my current postal service.

I knew the post in question (read it here, if you dare: was pushing the limits of good taste. I told myself, however, that it was not gratuitous blasphemy I was using, but rather it was critical to the point I attempted to make. Using the real naughty words was key to mocking the criticism President Obama was getting for not showing more passion about the oil spill. It’s the same valid explanation made all the time by Hollywood actors and actresses who normally eschew on-screen proctological exams unless they’re essential to character development and the director’s artistic vision.

I’m also sorry I’m making this apology in the same week that veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas was making her mea culpa for wondering why all the Israelis don’t move back to Germany. Humility can be quite the sexy thing when done by the likes of an Eliot Spitzer or a Serena Williams, and I’d prefer to be sharing the humble pie with a couple of firecrackers like those two. This person …

 …is “sorry” on so many levels that it’s easy to lose count.

Next time I feel the need to launch a string of expletives in this space, I’ll follow the advice of Tom1950. We had a nice little correspondence on the subject of my indiscretion, and he suggested that fonts with dingbats like those that depict “cussing shown in comic strips” can make thoroughly adequate substitutes. I’m not a fan of the traditional @#%$&! you’ll so often see there, because these days it looks more like a Twitter account than a swear word. But the WordPress editing program does offer an exhaustive suite of special characters that might suit my purposes perfectly.

So to those of you impatient with the president’s cool and reasoned approach to dealing with this environmental catastrophe off the Gulf coast, I say “ξδΩΦζβΣ”. I just hope I didn’t call you an “bastard” in Greek.