Talking Points

Jessica Boullion
Jessica Boullion
Jessica Boullion

Three things you can talk about this week:

1. Gov. Bobby Jindal

2. Benazir Bhutto

3. Extreme weather disasters

And three things you can’t:

1. Sexual preferences of fiction characters

2. Stephen Colbert

3. Your midterms

By the numbers


Number of public school educators who partly or completely lost their credentials because of allegations of sexual misconduct between 2001 and 2005.


Number of allegations of sexual abuse brought against teacher Gary Lindsey during the more than 40 years he taught in the
Iowa school system.


Estimated percentage of molested children who report incidences of sexual abuse

Source: The New York Times

Quotes of the week

“You can have a poker face, but I’ve yet to see someone with a poker body.”

– JOSEPH NAVARRO, an FBI spy hunter, on how the best bluffers still can’t control their bodies’ small autonomic reactions when they get excited.

“We are the humans in a dangerous and unnatural experiment in the United States.”

– LEO TRASANDE, a children’s health care doctor, on the high levels of industrial chemicals found in children’s blood samples.

“The Syrians might come back, Israel might attack, Hezbollah might start another war. In a situation like this, you do a lot of self-destructive things.”

– CHARBEL HABER, frontman of a Beirut based punk band, about the outlook of youth culture in war-torn Lebanon.

YouTube video of the week

A staring contest with Mike Gravel

Mike Gravel, a candidate in the Democratic presidential primary, has something he wants you to take away from his campaign video. What that is, he doesn’t tell you. You’re supposed to ascertain the message from the intensity of his stare.

Gravel’s completely silent, one-shot campaign video, features the candidate glaring into the camera with a park and a lake behind him.

Gently swaying and making slight movements with his mouth, Alaska’s former U.S. senator demonstrates a flawless staring contest technique.

After an entire 71 seconds, Gravel turns around, walks 15 feet and picks up a basketball-sized rock. Then, in a somehow symbolic gesture, he tosses the rock into the lake and turns from the camera.

Bold letters reading “” appear at the bottom of the screen as Gravel walking away down a winding path. The camera stays on for two more minutes, Gravel becoming nothing else but a indiscernible speck.

Get it?

– Marta Debski
See this and other
YouTube videos of the week at

Theme party suggestion:

Holiday doubleheader – With the onset of the commercial Christmas season claiming an earlier November date each year, midnight on Halloween isn’t the witching hour so much as the holiday display switching hour. When October closes, put down the Autumn Ale, ditch the ghost get-up and cheers a mug of egg nog to 50-plus days of Christmas.

Wikipedia article of the week:

Jamie Lee Curtis

Jamie Lee Curtis (born November 22, 1958) is an American film actress and an author of children’s books. Although she was initially known as a “scream queen” because of her starring roles in many horror films early in her career.

Curtis’ film debut was in the classic 1978 horror film “Halloween,” playing the role of Laurie Strode, the only teenage character in the film who is not killed.

The film was a major success and was considered the highest grossing independent film of its time, earning status as a classic horror film. Curtis was subsequently cast in several horror films, garnering her the title of a “scream queen.”

Her next film following “Halloween” was the horror film, “The Fog,” which was directed by “Halloween” director John Carpenter. The film opened in February 1980 to mixed reviews but strong box office,[3] further cementing Curtis as a horror film starlet.

Film critic Roger Ebert, who had given negative reviews to all three of Curtis’ 1980 films, said that Curtis “is to the current horror film glut what Christopher Lee was to the last one-or Boris Karloff was in the 1930s.”

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