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Ow! My Head!
As a migraine sufferer -- a ''migraineur,'' or in my case ''migraineuse,'' according to Andrew Levy's book ''A Brain Wider Than the Sky'' -- I was just as absorbed as a whole lot of you were to hear particulars about the affliction that is so painful and so isolating that the word ''headache'' practically trivializes it.
Levy is a lifelong ''migraineur,'' and has charted its appearance throughout history, in likely sufferers from Julius Caesar and Joan of Arc, Virginia Woolff and Ulysses S. Grant. In some cases it's hereditary, like mine, and some are triggered by weather, visuals, or foods like red wine and chocolate [two of my four major food groups]. Whatever the cause, it's a perfect ''nerve storm,'' a whole-body experience that can extend to nausea, hallucinations, temporary blindness -- well, I'm getting a little queasy just writing it down. Dr. Andrew Charles, who runs the headache research and treatment program at UCLA, took your calls about kinds of migraines and the varieties of treatments that are out there. [Alexander Pope used to inhale caffeinated steam. Works for me.]
Attention Scrabble Fiends -- Now a Million Words in the English Language!
Some time around 2 a.m. Wednesday [California time], the millionth word will enter the English language -- at least so they say at the Global Language Monitor in Austin, Texas.
The group's president said that makes English the wordiest language in the world, in part because it is fluid, facile and welcoming; a new word enters the language about every 98 minutes. We have no French Academy to pass judgment on what words should be permitted to enter the language and what words should not, although with so-called words like ''n00b'' -- a contrived combination of numbers and letters meaning someone who's new at online gaming -- I sometimes wish we did.
In Shakespeare's day, our guest said, English had about 100,000 words. Shakespeare used about a quarter of those in his plays and sonnets, and added 1,700 neologisms to our vocabulary. Sadly, the word that crosses the million-''mot'' line may be something more lowbrow. Possibly, alas, ''octomom.''
Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the Supremes ... and Dame Edna Tells All!
Hello, possums! You're all being perfectly marvelous and gorgeous, with your delicious and stylish support of KPCC. Whatever you do, don't stop!
I'm channeling Dame Edna Everage, of course. You heard her for a delightful 20-plus minutes here today, before she embarks on her run at the Ahmanson Theatre on ''My First Last Tour.'' Such a yummy preview from the lilac-haired internationally renowned star whose fondest wish is to paint the White House mauve.
In the heftier part of the program, we tried to read the nine minds behind the Supreme Court's refusal to hear an appeal to ''don't ask, don't tell.'' They never explain their refusals, but this does punt the decision back to the Obama White House -- as a candidate, President Obama said he wanted to end the policy, without putting a timeline on it. It also gives Congress the option to pass a law ending the ban on non-closeted gays in the military, and it even hands the matter back to the federal courts. One appeal to ''don't ask, don't tell'' has already been filed here in California with the Ninth Circuit Court, which means it could wind up back with the Supremes in the future. The question is now, who gets to the finish line first: Congress, the White House, or the federal courts?
The Gloves are Off When the Gov's on KPCC
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s always been quite the salesman, starting with his best product line: himself. As governor, he’s been assiduous in selling the State of California – surely you’ve seen those commercials?
Today he was here promoting the latest wretched California budget as not just a crisis, and a harrowing one, but as an opportunity. California, he insists, can only get better from here, if the state’s leaders choose to make it so.
He echoed one of President Obama’s points about having ‘’inherited’’ a fiscal crisis in the state. I pressed him about the need for top-to-bottom structural reform in California government, but he stuck to his policy guns about tax reform in particular. He stressed that the hundreds of millions in corporate tax breaks still in place -- at a time when welfare and health care for poor children may be cut out altogether -- will ultimately benefit the state in the shape of jobs and economic vitality.
Will that Bugle Play Taps at Hollywood Park?
The sport of kings may come up one monarch short. Inglewood’s city council votes tonight on whether to convert the 238 acres of the 71-year-old Hollywood Park racetrack to a two-billion-dollar retail-and-residences complex. We spent time on what racing means in So Cal, about the prospects for track life after Hollywood Park, and the prospect that the state would sell the Del Mar racetrack to help close its budget gap.
The former Egyptian ambassador to the U.S. sized up President Obama’s pending big speech at Cairo University. It’s a paradox, because at the same time that the president is popular in the Muslim world, that same population’s positive attitudes toward the U.S. are pretty low. Will the speech send a little tough love Egypt’s way — and Israel’s too, when it comes to the Palestinians?