December 22nd, 2008
12:00 PM ET

Strange Holiday Traditions

Until a recent Christmas party, a few of my friends had never heard of boiled custard 'til a guy showed up with a big ol' jug of it.  The words alone  - "boiled custard" - sound like a reason to go to the doctor.  But the person who brought it said it was one of his holiday traditions, so I poured myself a cup and found out that it tasted like melted ice cream.

Another friend of mine spent Thanksgiving with a family that spread fatback on its bread.  Fatback, for those of you who are already feeling uneasy, is literally that:  salt-cured fat from the side of a pig.  Some folks eat it like butter.

Now hold onto your lunch, 'cause this is about to get rough.  A woman I used to work with enjoyed a holiday helping of possum pot pie, as in a pot pie with possum.  She said it was pretty fattening and not nearly as enjoyable as tuna mousse.  I've heard of the mousse you eat for dessert and the mousse you put in your hair.  But mousse filled with fish sounds like a reason to try another restaurant.

Do you have any strange holiday foods or traditions you'd like to share with us?

Carl Azuz, Anchor

Filed under: Uncategorized
December 18th, 2008
05:08 PM ET

Why You Are Awesome

A lot of students I meet ask me why I like being on CNN Student News.  The answer:  Our audience is awesome.  Every member of our staff enjoys your enthusiasm, attention, interest in current events, and [especially] your blog responses.  Oh, and your sense of humor (not to mention your patience with mine) really goes a long way too.

It is truly a privilege for me to appear on your TV, MP3 player or classroom screen each school day, telling you what's going on in the world.  It's one of the many blessings I'm thankful for this Christmas.  And whatever you celebrate, all of us at CNN Student News wish you a merry and bright holiday season.

Please be sure to tell us what you're up to while you're off!  Be safe, and God bless.


Carl Azuz, Anchor

Filed under: Uncategorized
December 16th, 2008
09:22 PM ET

SNL's Paterson Skit

Whether it's SNL, South Park, or Stephen Colbert, comedy shows have won entire audiences by making fun of public figures.  You could argue that all humor makes fun of someone or something - even if you're laughing at yourself.  But a lot of folks had mixed feelings about SNL's Paterson skit.

The big debate is over whether the show went too far when it made fun of Gov. Paterson's disability.  Maybe if they'd stuck to his policies or past controversies, people wouldn't be talking about this.  But almost everyone has a line where humor turns to offense.  Please take a moment and tell us where yours is - and whether SNL crossed it.

Carl Azuz, Anchor

P.S. Colin has a really good point below; the First Amendment protects our free speech rights.  SNL did nothing that broke the law here, and they won't get in any legal trouble for this.  It's just a question of whether you thought the skit was appropriate.

Filed under: Feedback • News Coverage
December 14th, 2008
06:38 PM ET

Should First Ladies Be Paid?

This might seem like a tough call, but consider this:  Your school district doesn't pay your teacher's spouse; you wouldn't get paid for being a pilot's spouse; no one is on a payroll for being an engineer's spouse.  So why should the president's wife be paid, unless she also holds an official job in the U.S. government?

I agree with first lady Laura Bush that the role itself should not be a paid post.  Can you convince me otherwise?

Carl Azuz, Anchor

Filed under: Behind the scenes • Feedback • News Coverage
December 11th, 2008
09:48 PM ET

Want to Live to Be 100?

You've heard the phrase a million times:  diet and exercise, diet and exercise.  On Friday, you see its benefits in action, when  a 90-year-old woman climbs trees and a 96-year-old man flirts with our reporter!

Now eating fruits and veggies may be the last thing on your mind; it was certainly the last thing on mine when I'd stop for nachos on the way home from high school.  But if changing your diet could help you do the things you do now well into your 90s, would it inspire you - even just once in awhile - to swap the chicken nuggets for a banana and some peanut butter?

Carl Azuz, Anchor

Filed under: Feedback • News Coverage
December 10th, 2008
09:36 PM ET

Kid vs. Coyote

A coyote may not be nearly as scary as a wolf.  But it'd still be unnerving for ANYONE - especially a 9-year-old - to have a coyote suddenly start circling him while he was playing outside.

So what 9-year-old Tony Sandlin did was pretty smart:  He yelled for help, but he didn't panic; he kept the snowboard between himself and the animal, and he kicked out at the coyote when it got too close.  Eventually, he frightened off the creature.  And he got a pretty cool story to tell his friends.

If you or your friends have any stories like that, tell us about them here!

Carl Azuz, Anchor

Filed under: Feedback • News Coverage
December 9th, 2008
06:43 PM ET

Let this be a lesson to all...

This is what happens when you bet with your heart, not your head.  On the left is the author of this post, a proud Michigan State University alum, forced to wear some form of pale blue because North Carolina narrowly defeated my Spartans in hoops last week.  And yes, narrowly, because if we would have just made 9 four-point plays, we’d have won!  It could be worse-this could be the blue and yellow colors of U of M, (perish the thought) though they do get props for handling Duke on national TV this past weekend.

To my right is the gleeful smirk of one Jordan Bienstock, Student News writer and Tar Heels fan.  I take solace in the fact that it’s way early in the season, and hope springs eternal until the tournament.  (“The” tournament, not the made for TV conference versions.)  I'm not sure he has stopped gloating, and this post will certainly not help.  How long is that victory lap anyway?

Paying the bet
I’ll now swear off frivolous office bets for good.


MSU is playing UGA (pronounced Uh-Guh) in the Capitol One Bowl on Jan 1st!  Since there are more Georgia alums and their fans running around here than ants at a picnic, that gives me an idea...

Jerry DeMink, VP CNN News Services

Filed under: Behind the scenes
December 8th, 2008
09:52 PM ET

Quirky Questions

It's no joke.  If you're hoping to get into Oxford or Cambridge, you too could be faced with questions like these:  Would you rather be a novel or a poem?  Why is there salt in the sea?  What would you do if you were a magpie?

I don't remember what the University of Georgia asked me when I applied there, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't whether a snail had a consciousness.  I might've responded, "It doesn't when you cook it."

But I can see what "Oxbridge" is getting at:  Their admissions folks want to see what kind of thinker you are - not how well you can answer personal or history questions.

So you tell us:  What do you think of these quirky questions?  And how would you define infinity?

Carl Azuz, Anchor

Filed under: News Coverage
December 7th, 2008
07:14 PM ET

NFL or Rhodes Scholarship?

Myron Rolle had a win-win choice to make:  try to enter the NFL right out of college, or accept a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship.  Chances are he would've been drafted into the NFL pretty quickly; he's that good.  But to put those chances on hold for a Rhodes Scholarship was an even better decision, in my opinion, because he could become a successful doctor right after he's hung up his helmet.  How many NFL players can do that?

You know by now that the chances of going pro in any sport are extremely slim.  Chances for a Rhodes Scholarship are even slimmer; only 32 Americans are offered the opportunity each year!  But if you had Rolle's choice, which fewer than one in a million EVER get, what would it be:  the NFL draft, or the scholarship in England?

Carl Azuz, Anchor

Filed under: News Coverage
December 4th, 2008
10:18 PM ET


They're from a country that is only one-third as large as ours is - but has more than THREE TIMES as many people.  Reporter Chris Lawrence estimates that their families make about $25 a week.  And until recently, neither of the Indian athletes featured on Friday's show had ever touched a baseball.

It's clear they've never seen an opportunity like this one.  This is the kind of thing that's worth traveling halfway around the world for, betting your future on your pitching arm.

How far would you go to chase a dream?

Carl Azuz, Anchor

Filed under: Feedback • News Coverage
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