June 30, 2008
Posted: 12:10 PM ET
The great thing about the Olympics are the stories behind the athletes - and there may be none better than Dara Torres.
Currently, Dara is the fastest female in America in the 50-freestyle.
She became the oldest U.S. swim champion in history when she won at Nationals in August where she beat her own American record she set eight years ago when she was 33.
As Olympic athletes continue to skew younger and younger, Torres is blowing that trend out of the water. Most of her competitors weren’t even born when she made her Olympic debut in 1984.
But beyond the challenges of balancing training and motherhood, because of her age, Dara is also dealing with accusations of doping. For that, she’s doing something most athletes don’t do - blood testing - proving she is in fact clean and that even in sports, some things do get better with age.
We'll have more on Dara on Tuesday’s show.
In the meantime, you can also watch this video for her complete story.
Posted: 10:07 AM ET
As we honor the passing of legendary college mascot Uga VI, here’s a personal story of my “encounter” with that hunk of a 65 lb. bulldog.
Now “6” as they called him was MUCH larger than his predecessor, “5” – a point made clear in a side-by-side comparison of their tuxedos. However, “5” was the only animal mascot to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated. So … every dog truly does have his day. But I digress.
Here’s the shocking NEVER BEFORE REVEALED STORY of how Uga VI tried to take advantage of me:
At the end of the shoot, everyone was walking out and “6” was resting on the tile floor of the sunroom in front of an oscillating fan. I dashed to the ladies room ahead of the long drive back to Atlanta. We were alone in the house.
On the way out I gave Uga one last pat on the head. He seemed vaguely unsatisfied. So I bumped it up a notch with my patented dog-butt-rub and said, “Who’s a dog? Who’s a big dog?”
Well… some would say I was asking for it. Uga got up and made a face I’ll never forget. Then he jumped up on my leg (I was in a skirt, thanks) and proceeded to get bizzzzzzy. I was shocked but laughing, then horrified, and eventually a scratched-up mess. I could not get him off of me. Then I screamed at the top of my lungs for Corey the PA and Mrs. Seiler: HELP!!!!!
Before they strolled leisurely around to the sunroom of shame, “6” was back down in front of the fan. When Corey and Mrs. Seiler got to the crime scene, she just laughed her charming laugh and said, “Was that good, 6?” Then she looked at me with new respect: “He looks happy.” Wow. It was suddenly like nothing had happened. Except for the scratches. Except for the fact that on hearing the news about 6’s passing this weekend, I could only say, with a sigh, “the CAD!”
Check out the history of UGA's bulldog mascots by clicking here.
Posted: 07:20 AM ET
Amid all of the hoopla surrounding Don Imus’s comments (see full statement at bottom of entry) about the race of NFL player Pacman… er… Adam Jones… one thing really stood out to me. He referred to him as a “lovely kid,” which was a pretty foolish statement.
I don't profess to know Adam Jones. But I do know he has been questioned by authorities 12 times and arrested six times in the span of three years.
Now, you could be arrested one time and still be a "lovely kid" who was unfairly targeted. You could be arrested twice and still be a "lovely kid,” just have really bad luck. Heck, you might even be able to be arrested THREE times and still be a "lovely kid.” (Though, at that point, you really should probably consider getting some new friends or a change of surroundings.)
Once you cross over into your fourth arrest, you are officially not a "lovely kid.” And six times? Nothing lovely about that. Pretty tough to blame it on your race.
Jones has admittedly said he needs to change his ways. That's why he says he doesn't want to be "Pacman" anymore. He's trying to shed his old persona. The self-proclaimed lover of strip clubs even swore off those joints for the next "three or four years.” That's kind of sweet. I'm being sarcastic.
And perhaps Imus was being sarcastic as well with his overall commentary on Jones… maybe he did mean to point out that blacks are unfairly targeted by police. Regardless, he should’ve been smart enough to realize he should have qualified his statement, especially given the controversy he’s generated in the past. And for that I say his co-workers failed him by not asking, "what do you mean by that?"... to give him that chance to explain and avoid all of this.
Who knows? Maybe Adam Jones will become a "lovely kid"!
And then Imus could look like a prophet.
That would be good since I'm still waiting for him to be funny.
Here are the original on-air comments between Don Imus and Warner Wolf:
WARNER WOLF: Defensive back Adam “Pacman” Jones, recently signed by the Cowboys, here’s a guy suspended all of 2007, following a shooting in a Vegas nightclub.
DON IMUS: Well, stuff happens. You’re in a nightclub, for God’s sake. What do you think is gonna happen in a nightclub. People are drinking, and doing drugs. There are women there and people have guns. So there, go ahead.
WARNER WOLF: Also, he’s been arrested six times since being drafted by Tennessee in 2005.
DON IMUS: What color is he?
WARNER WOLF: He’s African-American.
DON IMUS: Well there you go, now we know.
June 27, 2008
Posted: 11:00 AM ET
With "Wall-E" out today, I decided to offer my personal rankings of the Pixar films:
1. "Ratatouille" – It was brilliant. A great character for kids to latch onto. And a great message for dreamers of all ages.
2. "Toy Story" – Come on! Gives props to the progenitor of the genre.
3. "Finding Nemo" – Once you get past the disturbing, Bambi-like opening where the mother dies, it’s a great adventure story with great characters
4. "Toy Story 2" – Might be better than the first, but sequels have to significantly raise the bar
5. "Incredibles" – A bit derivative of the Fantastic Four, but so what?! A great sci-fi story.
6. "Monsters, Inc." – OK, here’s where we start getting to the films that are a bit forgettable. Love the premise, and then the heartwarming way they turn those screams into laughter.
7. "A Bug’s Life" – I like the idea of ant trying to break free from the norm. Kevin Spacey makes for a good bad guy, even when it’s just his voice.
8. "Cars" – I liked it, but I just felt like they were trying to sell me toy cars the entire movie.
Posted: 08:38 AM ET
New Movie Friday! Yay! My favorite day of the week. I love movies and animation makes my heart go pitter-pat. That’s why today is so good: one of the new movies out is “Wall-E” - the latest animated feature from Pixar.
James McAvoy and Angelina Jolie are shown in a scene from the Universal Pictures film "Wanted."
Wall-E is a trash-collecting robot working to clean up a long-abandoned planet Earth. He’s an old-fashioned guy who’s sorting trash from treasure and looking for little robot love (bow-chicka-beep-beep!). Rated G. Good for the kiddos and lots of Sci-Fi references and eye-popping animation to keep the big kids happy, too.
Also out today is “Wanted.” Lots of violence. Lots of special effects. Lots of Angelina Jolie. That’s like Hollywood’s holy trinity for getting millions of boys and men around the country to line up and fork over $10!
You’ll probably hear a lot of critics compare it to "The Matrix." (Some are even suggesting it’s just a rip-off.) It’s rated R because of all of the killing and language.
Remember, check back every Tuesday and Friday, and watch the show. We’ve got the scoop on the new movie and music releases you’ll wanna check out.
June 26, 2008
Posted: 08:21 AM ET
When BVD Attacks: It’s Me v. Bob Van Dillen
Supervising Producer Dave Siff, left, and meteorologist Bob Van Dillen compare "guns."
So, I blast an email to the entire Morning Express team. Bob replies to the whole group, “NO. It’s on the Missouri.” So, now I’m steamed. I call upstairs and ask for someone to call a St. Louis affiliate and ask what river this levee is on. “I want to smack down Van Dillen,” I say. This is gonna be good. Five minutes later, I get a call back. “Bad news,” says the voice on the other end. I spill my coffee. Now, I’m really steamed. In a gesture of goodwill, I blast another email saying, “Bob’s our guy, we go with Bob. Missouri River it is.”
I look up and see one of our competitors reporting the story with a map indicating the levee is on the Mississippi. Now, I am going to have a brain cramp. I briefly consider challenging Bob to an arm-wrestling match, but he’s got those infamous guns. Time to go to the gym. Of course, his guns are pea-shooters compared to the missile launchers I’m hiding under my supervisor costume.
Response from Bob (a.k.a. “part-time cartographer”)
I flip open the Atlas to see what river is flooding the countryside, and see St. Charles County is actually on the Missouri River. I send Robin a message, alerting her that it is not the Mississippi, and start making a graphic showing the break. Five minutes later, Siff sends out a note to EVERYBODY that the break is in fact the Mississippi, according to local papers. I recheck the map, just to make sure I wasn't crazy and that Siff trusts a recent college grad FIRST over me.
Don't get me wrong, I'm glad he checks the facts. Turns out, I was right, and the local guys were wrong. I email everybody back and say: "No. It's the MO and those guys are all wrong." Apparently, Dave gets angry and does some more checking, and finds out I'm correct. My producer Vickie says she wants us to fight in the parking deck, but I hear Siff is some sort of Kung-Fu master, so maybe I'll just sneak up on him and whack him in the back of his head with a map of Missouri, and run.
Or maybe we'll have to have a “gun-off” in a few weeks just to see who has the pea-shooters. If they take into account the girth of the triceps, I win hands down.
June 25, 2008
Posted: 12:36 PM ET
Balanced budgets mean potholes and long lines! Yuk. State and local governments want to balance their budgets – (good!) But that means you may notice fewer services – (Booooo!)
States, cities and towns are dealing with less money coming in from sales and income tax, and more money going out with energy bills higher. 45,000 government workers have already been laid off, according to AFSCME (The American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees). I talked to the union’s pension manager – he says you’re going to feel it many ways:
That stinks. You can get the full story at CNNMoney.com: State, city layoffs: 45,000 and counting
June 24, 2008
Posted: 10:44 AM ET
My “big story” of the day is that OASIS (the best band in the world in my not-so-humble opinion) has released new details on their upcoming album. We now know the title is…drumroll please…”Dig Out Your Soul.” The album is on track to be released on October 6th.
From L-R Gem, Noel Gallagher, Andy Bell and Liam Gallagher; members of the British rock band Oasis.
The first single will be a tune called “The Shock of the Lightning.” We know it was recorded at Abbey Road and that the sound, according Noel “The Chief” Gallagher, is more hypnotic and driving, steering away from a traditional verse/chorus/middle-8 pattern. This is exciting stuff for fans. And if the recent demo leaks indicate what’s ahead, then this should be yet another fantastic album.
Be sure to check back here every Tuesday morning for a heads up on all of the hot new music that’s being released. And you can often hear it, too, if you tune into the show.
June 23, 2008
Posted: 05:00 AM ET
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about you, the “Morning Express with Robin Meade” viewer, it’s this:
And we love conversing with you!
So friends, join us now as we christen this blog!
· Please note – you never know WHO is going to tap out an entry on this blog: it may be me, the other anchors, the producers, writers, floor crew. So, I hope you’ll join the fray – and jot down your thoughts!!
· You’ll get a look behind the scenes, how we decide which stories will make air, and maybe even some bonus material.
And speaking of bonus material, it starts now! Here’s a special audio clip from me to get your day started, as a thanks for checking out the blog. Come back soon!
It's Morning Express like you've never seen it before! Hear from Robin Meade and the rest of the show crew for our thoughts on everything from politics to sports... to those bizarre stories that have us buzzing behind the scenes. Plus, plenty of material you might not see on the air. Don't miss OUR TAKE on what's happening in the world. Then tell us YOURS!