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APRIL 2004

It's been a long while since the last presidential news conference in prime time. So we thought some of you might like a refresher course in the fine points. This particular president bats righty, some would say ultra-righty, and does not like questions coming at him from the left. The strike zone is a rectangular area above the podium, but not too high. As a matter of protocol, reporters generally don't hurl questions directly at the president's head or too fast or too hard or with too much stuff on them, for fear they'll be shunned at future competitions.

On the other hand, they don't want to seem to be lobbing big fat balloons right over the plate either. For his part, the president doesn't want to bunt, doesn't want to be seen swinging wildly, and he doesn't want to get hit, because there's no base to run to.

In prime-time presidential news conference ball, the only thing to count are home runs and strikes.

We've been noticing more and more punctuation on TV. Mostly on those banners, the catchy headlines cable news just seems to love. See what I mean? These days, though, the punctuation is nearly always a question mark. Yeah, have you noticed? See, with a question mark you can say anything in a banner? Is the world ending? Probably not, but it sure did get your attention. We'd like to see a pause on the use of cable news question marks. Yes, in its place, we suggest a smile. Or a frown. It may not make any sense, but it sure would put a whole new face on the news.

Lifetime achievement awards are usually given out to celebrate, well, a lifetime of achievement. Funny, that. But now MTV has announced they're giving Carson Daly a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to "TRL." It's a show where singers sing and teens scream.

Don't get me wrong, Daly's contribution has been extraordinary. Putting up with a roomful of crying, screeching teens every day for five whole years -- that's got to get a little tiresome. But a lifetime achievement award? Carson Daly is only 31.

It's a slippery slope, people. First, Carson Daly, then the Olsen twins. Next thing you know they'll be handing out lifetime achievement awards to Haley Joel Osment. Thought, come to think of it, didn't he already get nominated for an Oscar?

Thank you very much. Applause it seems are breaking out all over. On sitcoms you're supposed to laugh, but more and more the jokes end up getting clapped. Don't ask me why. It happens during presidential debates, as well. No matter how many times the moderator says don't, politician supporters say we will. And today in the midst of testimony in front of the 9/11 Commission people couldn't stop clapping. It started when someone asked a question that 9/11 victims' families liked. Then Dr. Rice's supporters felt they should clap, as well. We understand people want to be part of the process and make their presence known. But there's a time and place for everything. Preventing a bipartisan commission from becoming a partisan clapping contest, that's something we should all applaud.

So Times Square is turning 100. If you ask me the old girl looks pretty good. Back in the '70s us New Yorkers complained she was getting kind of seedy. Too many peep shows and porn palaces. In the '90s Disney moused her up a bit and we complained about that, as well. New Yorkers are like that. Today Times Square has hit her stride. The place has always been full of crabs but now there's a big plastic one. Mega stores, mega signs just a hint of danger. That's Times Square. Just how we like her.

You probably don't recognize Colonel Aaron Bank, but what he did for this country is remarkable. In 1939, when war clouds were brewing over Europe, Bank joined the Army. When the war came, he volunteered for hit-and-run missions behind Nazi lines. Bank served in Korea as well, but the war he will most be remembered for waging and winning was a bureaucratic one. Despite stiff opposition in the Pentagon, Bank helped create an train the Army's special forces, the Green Berets. If it wasn't clear to some at the time why America needed elite units trained in unconventional warfare, it is certainly clear now. Colonel Bank died Thursday at the age of 101. He was a husband and a father, not just to his two daughters, but to thousands of special forces soldiers who followed in his footsteps.

Writers don't normally ask their publishers not to reprint their own books. According to the AP that's what happened with Lynn Cheney, wife of the vice president. The publisher of Mrs. Cheney's 1981 novel "Sisters" was going reissue it this election year. But after a call from Cheney's lawyer decided maybe not. "Sisters" is a novel set in the old West featuring marital rape, who are houses and murder. The main character Sophie is a strong beautiful woman who falls in love with another woman. Tonight Bob, the 360 cynic manager will play the part of Sophie.(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let us go away together, away from the anger and parodies of men. There will be only the two of us and we shall linger through long afternoons of sweet retirement and in the evening I shall read to you while you work your cross stitch in the fire light. And then we shall go to bed, our bed, my dearest girl.(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOKER: OK. Oprah, he ain't. Mrs. Cheney's lawyer said they don't want it reprinted because it is not the author's best work. Funny because a couple of years ago she told the "New York Times" she couldn't even remember the plot of the book. Perhaps she's reread it since then.

Tonight, taking delays to the "Nth Degree." We were horrified to read today that the view and "Good Morning America," two of our favorite shows will now be on a five second tape delay. This of course, the latest wave of the Janet Jackson nipple ripple. Now, when Star Jones says kiss my (AUDIO GAP) no one will hear it. Don't worry, she can still say, "You know I'm a lawyer."

We here at "360" will never permit (AUDIO GAP) just wouldn't stand for it. If you care about free speech (AUDIO GAP) don't worry; tape delays are nothing more than a (AUDIO GAP) good idea.

Wait a minute, are you guys delaying me? (AUDIO GAP)
Stop! I'm not saying anything wrong! (AUDIO GAP) Stop! I'm going to call my lawyer, Star Jones.
That's all the time we have. Thanks for watching. I'm Anderson (AUDIO GAP)
Stop it! I said, really, stop it.

Americans have gotten used to not being No. 1: car design to the Germans, manufacturing to the Chinese. But according to the latest issue of "The New Yorker," Americans are losing stature in an altogether surprising area, stature.

While the rest of the world is growing taller Americans, it seems, have stopped growing. I don't mean Americans alone have managed to segue out of puberty. Apparently, Americans are three inches shorter than their northern European counterpart. Even Japan, once the shortest country in the G-7, is catching up.

Why does it matter you might ask? Well, lets remember. Taller people make more money, get promoted faster, even have an easier time finding mates. What good is it being the richest country if we're too short to date Swedish people?

So come on America, let's keep growing an extra inch or so every couple of years. I, for one, am going to start taking my vitamins.

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