DeadAir 2012: Oh. The humanity.

"Now boarding..." This Week's DeadAir 2012 Nominees

This Week - Monday, August 15, 2005
"What The Hell Were You Thinking???" Week

It's the great unanswerable of all time, a question many of us have had to face in the wake of an apparently complete leave of our senses. Most of us hear it for the first time from our fathers, after we decided to play handball against the house four feet from the antique picture window, or have run inside crying and holding our genitals after urinating on an electrified dog fence that we insisted to our friends couldn't possibly be electric and, here, we'll prove it. It doesn't always end with youthful curiosity or overzealosness. When such behaviors are repeated into adulthood, it's just assumed that somewhere along the way, the circuitry has somehow become compromised--living too close to interstate power lines, an unfortunate blow to the head with a shovel by an overexcited sibling, or one of those brain tapeworms you heard a friend of a friend's uncle got--or maybe we were damaged from the word "Go"--Mom's daily diet of Virginia Slims and Tanqueray when we were in the womb, or maybe Dad performed some kind of deviant sexual act on her when she was in her 3rd trimester.

It's too easy to dismiss these acts of abhorrent judgement as merely the backfires of mankind's more damaged or poorly maintained machines. Each of these foolish-in-retrospect acts has at its core an arrogant sense of indomitability; that smug belief that we're somehow smarter than you and immune to the laws of physics or nature. We've got an "in" in this world, because we know something you don't. Life works better for us, because we know how the gears go around; "consequences" are not only for lesser people, but that you'd have the temerity to even ask us about them implies that we don't know with complete certainty how our actions are going to turn out.

Which brings us up to the moment of reckoning and immediately after, as we struggle to wrap our brain around what in our plan could possibly have gone wrong, and, if at all possible, to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off with some shred of cool, as we confront that inevitable question, "What the hell were you thinking???"

It would be natural to react defensively, but this is not the correct response and will likely only invite more scorn and derision, since from a dignity standpoint we're usually at a significant disadvantage.

Ideally, we're allowed to proffer this query with a question of our own, such as, "Can I call a lawyer please?"

Hopefully, we're alive to hear the question, as it relates to why we decided to prop our car up on cinder blocks to work on the differential, or, instead of climbing down into the gorilla exhibit at the zoo, why we didn' t just light a new cigarette instead.

The good news is that if we do survive, it's a question that we'll have a lifetime to answer, thanks to the vast reach and eternal memory of the Internet. Why is this good news? Because it offers ample time for reflection; to not take the easy way out like we could have ten or fifteen years ago just by moving to another county. We may never know how they've found our email or home addresses or phone numbers, but our inquisitors will be many, and persistent. And even when they aren't explcitly asking The Question, we'll hear them loud and clear, with every "DUMBASS" spray-painted on our car or "goat fucker!" shouted from passing pre-teens on bicycles. This seems like untenable abuse for what we could argue was an innocent and fleeting lapse in judgement, but this is Tough Love for the soul; we're forced to climb deep down within ourselves and explore just what it is in our wiring that considers this innocent, and questions whether this behavior is, in fact, anomalous and fleeting. If we're lucky, we'll crawl out of that abyss as better men.

If, on the other hand, we're pictured on this page, well, that's good news, too, in the best spirit of eugenics: We're candidates for DeadAir 2012 and for removal from the gene pool so we won't ever be recklessly spreading our seed to propagate another generation that will end up on these pages.

Editor's Note: This almost went differently --until Thursday afternoon we were actually going to post this week with a feature on Portland, Oregon's news anchors, and let the misdeeds of these three go entirely unpunished. What the hell were we thinking???

Paris Hilton in NightVision

Andy. Dick.


Name: Charles Alfred Dreying, Jr.

Transgression(s): "Sir, you can't take that on this plane. But if you'd like to wait, there's a Republican National Committee charter leaving in an hour."

Evaluation: In a post-9/11 environment, the airport is one place where you can't check your brain at the door. They frown on humor, spontaneity, brisk or furtive movements. Many years ago, I arrived at PDX five minutes before my flight was to depart and sprinted through the airport, like O.J. in the old Hertz commercials. Times have changed--these days, that sprint would have landed me in Guantanamo Bay, and everyone gets nervous when they see O.J. in the airport, even if he's walking.

Proving once again that explosives, Oklahoma, and white men are a recipe for trouble, Charles Alfred Dreying, Jr. was arrested at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City when baggage screeners found an exposive device in his carry-on. He claimed to be an explosives enthusiast and merely "forgot" that he packed the device in the bag he intended to take on an airplane with him. An honest mistake? Perhaps, in the same vein as the professional basketball player arrested after walking through the metal detector "forgetting" that he had a quarter-ounce of marijuana on his person wrapped in tin foil. Honest, possibly, but no one is ever going to accuse you of using the brains that God gave you.

It's also possible that he knowingly left the device in his bag, believing that he could sneak it past the baggage screeners. Granted, the news has been peppered these last few years with stories of hastily-hired baggage screeners who shouldn't be entrusted with a broom at a Carl's, Jr. much less the potential safety of 200+ people aboard an $80 million airplane, but by and large they're the exceptions that prove the rule, and you'd have better odds shoplifting cellos than slipping something dangerous and illegal through the baggage scan. Again, the brains thing (a running theme this week).

Since he apparently has no manifestoes or fiery letters-to-the-editor in his name using words like "cabal", "betrayal" and "retalitory strike", he doesn't appear to be a farm-league TIm McVeigh in the making.

One possibility that at least deserves mention is that he was deliberately seeking incarceration. It's been known to happen, but really there is absolutely no sane reason for purposely trying to earn a lengthy federal prison sentence, unless you're under contract to appear in the next "American Pie" sequel.

Since this was more dumb than dangerous--albeit really, really dumb--we'll leave this a probationary appointment for the time being. He's probably going to be denied access to airports for quite some time, anyway

Nominated by B. Kelter, 8.12.05

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Night Vision Paris


Name: Bruce Taylor

Transgression(s): "First floor! Ladies lingerie, ladies lingerie, baby cribs, ladies lingerie...."

Transgression(s): Unlike what you may have learned in high school gym classes and Amway orientation seminars, persistence is not always a virtue. On August 1, Mr. Taylor of Enid, Oklahoma broke into the home of Carlos and Maria Isordia, entering through the laundry room and making off with several pairs of Maria Isordia's bras and panties. On August 2, Mr. Taylor again broke into the Isordia house, entering through the laundry room and making off with Maria Isordia's bras and panties. On August 3, Mr. Taylor broke into the Isordia house, entering through the laundry room and making off with Mrs. Isordia's bras and panties, as he did once again on August 4. On August 5, Mr. Taylor broke into the home of Carlos and Maria Isordia, attempting to enter hrough the laundry room.

Unfortunately, on this night, Taylor didn't make it into the laundry room, instead tripping a coffee cup/string/2 x 4 "alarm" that Carlos had constructed so that he'd know when his wife's undergarments were being pilfered, waking Carlos from a shallow slumber and sending him around the back of the house, where he proceeded to beat Mr. Taylor with the first object at his disposal when he heard his makeshift alarm go off--the leg from his child's crib. He found Bruce reaching through a hole he'd cut in the back door earlier in the week to facilitate his entry, and grabbing at Maria, who had come into the laundry room to see if there was indeed an intruder. By this time, Carlos had reached the back of the house, and found Mr. Taylor groping for his wife. He beat him several times about the back with the crib leg, sending him falling backwards down the concrete steps of the home. Maria rushed out to be with her husband, but Mr. Taylor, as we've already proven conclusively, is very persistent and again began lunging for Maria, forcing Carlos to kick Mr. Taylor in the face--judging from the above photograph, likely more than once.

The police arrived shortly thereafter and took him to the hospital where, after first claiming that he was being chased by parties unknown and was looking for somewhere to hide, 'fessed that he had indeed taken liberties with Mrs. Isidro's unmentionables, and was keeping them "in a lunch box next to his bed". It must have been a large lunch box, as police found 55 pounds of pilfered lingerie in his possession.

It's probably the right thing to put Mr. Taylor on DA2K12, because he well exceeds our definition of "poorly wired", and there aren't many places for a highly-motivated if judgementally-impaired secret panty fetishist in 2004's America, except possibly on Senator Santorum's staff.

Nominated by B. Kelter, 8.12.05

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Name: Scott Harper

Transgression(s): R. Kelly believed he could fly. He also believed he could videotape himself urinating on nude teenage girls and it would never see daylight. You see where we're going with this?

Evaluation: Authorities aren't sure if he was intoxicated or not. His outfit notwithstanding, he apparently isn't mentally challenged (though his apparent childlike curiosity is somewhat charming). Still, something went awry inside the tender young mind of Scott Harper at a Yankees-White Sox game at Yankee Stadium last week, causing him to walk his talk ("I wonder if that net can hold me?") and leap over a railing on the upper deck and plummet 40 feet to a wire mesh net over the crowd behind home plate. His friends and neighbors from his hometown of Armonk, New York--a tony enclave of tony Westchester, where he lives with his parents in a million-dollar home--were ready with some very plausible explanations. "He certainly has a zest for life!", said Celeste Aberman. "He just loves life and wants to have fun", said another.

His close friend, Michael Spadafino, insists Harper fell. "I know he's smart enough not to jump." Michael gets points for loyalty, but his account doesn't square with surrounding fans saying Harper was crowing beforehand about jumping, wondering if the net would hold him; not to mention some of his fellow students who claimed he had ambitions to appear on an ESPN highlight show someday.

He got his wish, being enthusiastically lambasted all the next day on "SportsCenter", "PTI" and "Around the Horn". He also got to experience the charms of New York's municipal penal system, waiting all of the next day in a jail cell before his Wednesday evening arraignment.

Consider this, young Scott, your baptism as a man. You've shaken loose the yoke of boyhood. Now, just as you're old enough to vote, and old enough to be drafted, you're old enough to be called an idiot for doing something dangerous and moronic on national television.

Nominated by B. Kelter, 8.11.05

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