Let's see ... As I write this, it is September 10th, just one day before the anniversary of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. There's a new Osama bin Laden video out. Internet and mainstream media speculation about whether or not there will be another attack is fairly rampant, but not as rampant it was on, say, the fifth anniversary of the attacks because anniversaries are more important at five-year marks, 10-year marks, and so on. So I'm not too worried. And I hope there is not an anniversary attack. Because if there is one, it will give everyone something more to talk about. To express an opinion about. To blog about. I know I am cynical and I really don't want there to be any more attacks — on United States soil or any other soil, including any more by the United States — but I think I may have reached the point of having my fill of this information age, with every single thing that happens suddenly hitting a million news sources and Web sites seemingly within minutes. I'll admit part of it is my fault. Yeah, I am an Internet junkie. The minute the Senator Larry Craig story broke, someone mentioned to me that he thanked his supporters for "coming out" during his first press conference after being arrested for soliciting sex from another man in the Minneapolis airport. I got on Google faster than Craig tried to get out of that bathroom, just searching to make sure he really said that and to see what else was being reported about it. LIKE I CARE. I mean, yes, it was funny that he thanked everyone for "coming out" and it was even funnier a few days later when he thanked Arlen Specter by saying he "came out to support me." Craig said this, unfortunately, while he thought he was leaving a message for his lawyer but had dialed the wrong phone number and accidentally left it for a stranger, who took it straight (uh, no pun intended) to the press. But who really cares if Larry Craig was trying to get it on with the cop in the bathroom? I know, I know, I know. The hypocrisy of it all, if it's true, is pretty bad. But in the grand scheme of things, when kids are getting their arms and legs blown off, do you really, really care if Craig is getting blown off in a bathroom? When you are trying to pay your now-inflated mortgage payment or your ridiculously high utility bill, are you going to blame the problem on Craig? I know he is creepy, but is he that much creepier than anything, say, Britney Spears has done? Did you see her on the MTV Video Awards lip-synching that song that is wretched to begin with and wearing her little "How Stupid Can I Possibly Make Myself Look" outfit? She drives around with her baby in her lap about six inches from the windshield; she chews gum during every press interview; she can't even sing her own horrible songs live; she gets paid millions and millions and millions of dollars for this; insipid little teenage girls who don't know any better look up to her, and we think Larry Craig is the root (uh, no pun intended) of all the evils of our lovely American society? Like I said, I think too much information is getting to my feeble mind. And I remain my own worst enemy. I did it again the other day when they arrested Tamara Mitchell-Ford again for possible driving under the influence. I was so fascinated by it, I went straight to Google to soak up anything and everything I could find about it. If I cared enough about anything to the point of being obsessed, I'm afraid I could get obsessed with this, because I just find it too entertaining, albeit sad, driving into that woman's Collierville house and keeping vodka in the glove compartment of the car? Are you kidding? I hope she doesn't get hurt or hurt anyone else, but I just can't seem to get enough of this. Is there anyone out there who thinks she has done anything more appalling than the group of Memphis ministers who oppose a hate crime bill? YES. AGAIN. THEY DID IT TO ME. As soon as I heard about that I had to Google, Google, and Google again to make sure I wasn't being misinformed or had seen the news coverage while still too asleep to understand it correctly. Ministers opposing a hate crime bill and jumping all over Congressman Steve Cohen, who had the audacity to propose that people should be punished for committing hate crimes. Yes, I know. Hate crime bills can be a bit ambiguous, but don't you think it's better to have a hate crime bill than not have a hate crime bill? The bill is not for people who get caught with a joint in their car ash tray. It is for people who hurt, maim, kill, and otherwise terrorize people who they think are worthy of being hurt just because they are different from those committing the crimes. But, oh. I forgot. The ministers thought for a minute that the bill would get in the way of their preaching against homosexuality in the pulpit, which is their right. I guess if they had just Googled the bill and actually, you know, read it, they would have learned that that wasn't the case. And now I have a headache.
Exactly seven years ago this week, I wrote a column decrying a proposal by city engineers to turn the Overton Park Greensward into an 18-foot-deep "detention basin" designed to stop flooding in Midtown. The engineers claimed we'd hardly notice the football-field-sized bowl. "Except," I wrote then, "when it rains hard, at which time, users of Overton Park would probably notice a large, 18-foot-deep lake in the Greensward. Or afterward, a large, muddy, trash-filled depression."