60th College POY: Casey Templeton

January 2006

For News Photographer magazine

By Jenn Fields

In 2004, Casey Templeton took a week off from the fall semester of his junior year at James Madison University to observe the judging of College Photographer of the Year. Templeton’s school in Harrisonburg, Va., doesn’t have a journalism program. CPOY judging was to be his photojournalism education for the year.
Templeton sat in the front row and hung over the railing so he could hear every word that came out of the judges’ mouths. He watched pictures flash across a screen for hours in a dark room. He learned what the judges looked for in a photograph, in a picture story, in a portfolio. Perhaps most importantly, he learned to self-edit.
One year later, four CPOY judges hovered over five portfolios in the same dark room at the Missouri School of Journalism. The judges weren’t talking about Templeton’s portfolio, but the rest of the room was buzzing about it. His tightly edited portfolio was the clear winner.
Rita Reed, the director of CPOY, called Templeton immediately after the judging to let him know he had won the competition.
“Is this Casey Templeton?” Reed asked into the speakerphone.
“Yes, this is Casey,” Templeton said.
Reed asked him to guess who had won the 60th CPOY. Templeton couldn’t believe it – it was a dream.
“I think I’m going to wake up and be pissed,” he said.

Templeton, 22, immediately ran to his girlfriend’s house. He could have jumped in his car or hopped on his bike, but that didn’t occur to him. So he ran the three-quarters of a mile flat-out to tell her he’d won and started calling family and friends to spread the good news.
Then he remembered a previous obligation for that evening – his bible study group. Templeton stopped the celebratory phone calls and went to bible study. After all, he wanted to keep his priorities straight. Ironically, when Casey arrived he found the planned topic for study that night was humility.
“If I’m not humble, I’m going to start feeling like I don’t have to work as hard,” Templeton says. “I don’t want to lose my motivation. It’s encouraged me to work even harder.”
Following the competition, Templeton contacted all four of the other finalists in the portfolio category to complement them on their work and tell them how much he respected them.
“The other photographers are such great photojournalists that I was just blown away when I won,” Templeton says. “By no means am I the best photographer in that competition.”
Tommy Thompson, a commercial photographer in Virginia who teaches JMU’s only photojournalism course, was Templeton’s teacher and now serves as his mentor.
“Every photographer has an ego, and every photographer has an attitude,” Thompson says. “And Casey, despite not having an abundance of attitude, always backs up his work.”

Diverse experience
Templeton occasionally works for Thompson as an assistant. At a wedding Thompson was shooting, Templeton was working with motion blur on the dance floor. Thompson asked him to stop and said “I don’t have time to edit that stuff, Casey.”
Not long after, Thompson unabashedly showed his assistant an article he’d just found on using that very technique to bring a more photojournalistic style to wedding photography. “Well, you were right,” Thompson told him.
Josh Meltzer, the Roanoke Times photojournalist Templeton job-shadowed in high school, says Templeton’s wedding photography is good for more than paying for college.
“That’s been a great way for him to practice, because every weekend he’s shooting a little picture story about these two people getting married,” Meltzer says.
Meltzer first met Templeton on an assignment for the Times. Templeton was one of a group of high schoolers raising money for charity by doing a polar bear swim in the ocean in the winter. Meltzer rode the bus to the beach with the kids, and Templeton peppered him with questions for much of the ride. Templeton, who followed the photojournalists in his hometown paper like some kids follow professional athletes, described the experience as like meeting your sports hero. When he introduced himself on the bus, Templeton replied: “Josh? Josh Meltzer?” Templeton went on to shadow Meltzer and interned for the Roanoke Times last summer.
Like Templeton, Meltzer didn’t study in a photojournalism program, but he believes Templeton has opened doors for himself by shooting every chance he gets.
“He is really going to have a lot of options, partly because of the way he educated himself,” Meltzer says. “He didn’t go to a traditional photojournalism program. He doesn’t have a portfolio with house fires and people catching footballs.”
One of those open doors is National Geographic. As the College Photographer of the Year, Templeton has earned an internship with the magazine.
“Frankly, it’s a selfish internship,” says Susan Smith, deputy director of photography for National Geographic magazine. “It gives us the opportunity to scrutinize the work of young people who we want to work for us.”
“Our photographers are very independent,” she added. “They come up with their own story ideas, and we look for that in an intern as well.”
Templeton believes that going to a school without a photo program has given him more incentive to be a self-starter and work hard to seek out his own stories. Winning CPOY has not reduced his tenacity, either.
“The last thing I want to do is become unmotivated,” he says. “I’ve got everything to prove now.”
Templeton hasn’t lost his modesty, either.
“I’ve got so much to learn. I can’t stress that enough. When I get to the point where I feel like I’ve got nothing left to learn, that’s when I need to hang up my camera.”

Working with Templeton recently, Thompson cautioned him about shooting from the hip too often. Thompson worried that he would eventually miss a shot that way. Sure enough, another magazine article popped up, this time in support of that kind of shooting, and Thompson passed it on to his protégé again.
“He has a lot of feeling in his style,” Thompson says. “He puts himself with the person he’s photographing, watches their characteristics and mannerisms so he can capture it. I think the reason he shoots from the hip is that he’s watching their mannerisms and doesn’t want to interrupt the moment. His style is a latent creativity.”
Templeton says his eye comes from his faith.
“When I shoot, I shoot for my own personal vision,” Templeton says. “I shoot for God, you know, and that’s how I can explain what I do.”
Others have recognized Templeton’s eye.
“His style is pretty well-defined; when I’m looking through his pictures, I can tell they’re his,” Meltzer says.
Scott Strazzante, one of the CPOY judges and photojournalist for the Chicago Tribune, said when choosing the College Photographer of the Year, the judges were looking for a photographer with a strong vision who is comfortable with documentary style and lighter photo essays. He cited the versatility of Templeton’s portfolio.
“It comes down to style, very strong style,” Strazzante said. “They definitely have something to say about the world.”
“I had a good feel for the first place entry for the quality of seeing,” said Manny Crisostomo, a senior photojournalist at the Sacramento Bee and CPOY judge.
“I’m very blessed by God to have this opportunity and have the eye that I do,” Templeton says.

The future
Templeton isn’t sure where he’ll end up after he graduates with a bachelor’s degree from JMU in May. It’s not up to him, he says, it’s up to God.
Before winning his internship at National Geographic, Templeton applied for internships with U.S. News and World Report and The Washington Post. He has not heard from either yet.
Down the road, Meltzer doesn’t necessarily see Templeton at a newspaper. He could fund photojournalism projects through his wedding photography, or possibly work as a photographer for a nonprofit agency.
“Throughout his internship he really thrived – like everyone does – when he’s shooting something he’s interested in,” Meltzer says.
Templeton is looking forward to one big change in his future. On Dec. 8, before a small crowd (including musicians) on JMU’s campus, he proposed to his girlfriend, Ashley Perry. They plan to marry after she graduates from JMU in May 2007.

In the 60th year of the competition, Nikon and National Geographic returned as sponsors of College Photographer of the Year. Nikon provided an educational grant that paid entrance fees for participants. The top three winners in the portfolio category will receive a Nikon digital SLR, and Templeton, the gold medal winner, received an internship at National Geographic magazine and a $1,000 scholarship from the NPPA. But more the contest is about more than prizes – it’s about educating young photographers.
“Just entering the contest is good for students in that it gives them the chance to look back over their work for the year,” says Rita Reed, director of CPOY and assistant professor at the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism. She added that this is excellent training for what they will do as they look for jobs and work as professional photojournalists.
“When you look at your work from the last year, you notice where your weaknesses are, and it helps you set goals for next year,” she says.
In 2006, the CPOY awards will be presented at the same time as Pictures of the Year International (POYi), April 20 and 21 in Columbia, Mo. The winners of COPY will have the chance to get portfolio reviews from the POYi winners.
“It’s a great opportunity for college students to come pick up their awards and rub elbows with the POY winners,” Reed says. “It’s also a chance for the top newspapers and photographers in the professional realm to see the crème de la crème of college photographers.”
Judging at a photo competition can be instructive as well. The judges are accomplished photographers and leaders in the field, and they like talking about – sometimes arguing over – pictures. This year’s CPOY judges good-naturedly gave their battles over photos a nickname: Fight Club.
“I hope the students nationwide know that the judging is open, and if they can get away for that weekend, they can come over and watch, just like Casey did,” Reed says. “Casey’s portfolio was tightly edited, and I think he saw that last year.”

Today’s biological clock for men

Guys, is your clock ticking? According to the “Today Show,” it should be.

Men have a biological clock, too, according to the segment. As men get older, they can pass on an increased risk of autism, Down’s Syndrome and a variety of other genetic disorders.

When will this happen? How common is it? Don’t look to “Today” for those minor details. They’re asking three random men whether they believe there’s such a thing as a men’s biological clock rather than assuaging your fears, which they induced.

17-year-old whiz kid takes a stab at the national fencing scene

March 24, 2005

Two faceless opponents stare each other down from behind dark masks. Swords are poised gracefully yet powerfully in their hands; they are ready to strike at a whisper of motion. Andrew Gardner is the shorter of the two. He calms his breathing. Sweat pours beneath the layers of gear he wears.

“Ready? Fence.”

Foils flash, and loud beeps indicating hits fill the air over the sound of metal on metal and stomping feet. The bout is over in seconds — they usually are. Andrew scored the points his team needed for this tournament, but it was frustrating work. His opponent was a beginning fencer twice his age, and he was wearing a chest-protector beneath his gear, which, although legal, made it difficult for Andrew to score a point. His foil was bouncing off the plastic underneath his opponent’s jacket too fast to register a hit.

“Men don’t usually wear chest protectors,” Andrew says off the strip, a long, narrow area where fencers must remain during a bout.

It’s a Sunday afternoon in St. Louis. Andrew usually fences with his club in Kansas City on Sundays, but this week he’s competing in a small team tournament as a favor to another fencer. Besides, it’s good practice. He’s heading to a national tournament in Denver later this week.

In addition to being a competitive foil fencer, Andrew is a 17-year-old Hickman High School junior who plans to go to MIT, study architecture and live in Europe when he’s done. He’s nearly fluent in French thanks to his time spent with a tutor every Saturday, and he’s taking more Advanced Placement (AP) courses at Hickman than any other kid he knows. He’s also into documentary films, nonfiction and international red wines. “I don’t like California reds,” he says. (His mother lived in France for a while and lets him have a glass of wine with dinner sometimes.)

His nonfencing uniform is jeans and a T-shirt. But even if you met him on a day when he’s wearing his Nike swoosh T-shirt that reads “Child Labor,” you might find him to be the most sophisticated teenager you’ve ever met.

His mother recently said to him: “Andrew,” — and she always starts with an AN-drew, emphasis on the first syllable — “you can’t take four AP courses, continue taking French lessons and train for fencing. You have to give something up.”

“Fine,” he said, teeth clenched, “I’ll give up dating.”

At least, that’s what he tells her. Besides, there’s no time to worry about girls right now. He has fencing to worry about.

Lessons from afar

Five years ago Andrew started playing around with his mother’s fencing gear. She had fenced in college and had recently taken up the foil again. His interest piqued, Andrew decided to take a fencing class through the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department. Andrew’s first instructor was a blind woman from Bahrain named Day Al-Mohamed. Thanks to his brutal bouts with Day and fencing without glasses (his did not fit under his fencing mask), Andrew learned a lesson that’s tough to grasp for many beginning fencers — you can’t always watch the foil.

Before long, Andrew was fencing with the local club at Dexter’s Gym. He learned quickly and outgrew Columbia’s fencing scene within a year. He needed a new coach, and at his first tournament, he found one. After a bout with a fencer from the Kansas City Fencing Center, Andrew’s parents spoke with his opponent’s coach, Emilia Ivanova, a seven-time Bulgarian national champion in women’s foil and former coach of their national team. That was three years ago. Emi has been Andrew’s coach ever since.

Under Emi’s tutelage, Andrew has become more competitive. He travels to tournaments all over the country several times a year. At the North American Cup in Denver, he might have the opportunity to move up in the ranks of fencing. He occasionally fumes over missed opportunities earlier this year to move up from being a D fencer to a C. (A is the highest.) Perhaps this tournament will be different.

The first day started off cold in Denver, but as the weather warmed up outside the huge downtown convention center, so did Andrew. He stabbed his way through a pool of six other foil fencers and remained undefeated. Next, the competing fencers were ranked and assigned opponents for the direct elimination round.

For a sport that still seems exclusive in the Midwest, there’s a surprising diversity represented at the tournament. Forget your image of fencing as an elitist sport for James Bond types. An Indian expatriate-Brit-slash-Ph.D. student and the epee fencer from Toronto whom he coaches fit in as well as anyone else. There’s just no such thing as a typical fencer. Even the elite fencers come in all shapes and sizes. Aside from fitness, the only advantageous attribute is height. (Long arms equal a long reach.)

“I’m 5’ 9”-ish,” Andrew says. The “ish” stands for not quite.

Despite the diverse crowd, Andrew will face a familiar fencer in his first direct elimination bout that afternoon. The opponent is Daniel Bass, a fellow Missourian from St. Louis, and Andrew is not happy about the matchup because they both know each other’s tricks.

All in the family

Andrew’s family has become a fencing family. Both parents usually travel with him to regional and national tournaments. Both drive him to Kansas City on Sundays for his training. Both like to talk fencing just as much as their son.

“It’s very psychological,” Andrew says on one of many Sunday sojourns to train with Emi.

“It’s like chess,” his mother, Noor Azizan-Gardner, says quickly. She is sitting in the passenger seat of her car next to Pete.

Peter Gardner is Andrew’s father. Andrew calls him Pete, never Dad, and has for as long as he can remember. But Mom is always Mom, never Noor. Every Sunday the three of them drive to the fencing club’s rented-out space in an Overland Park synagogue. Although he is 17, Gardner never drives on these trips. He hasn’t found time to get his driver’s license yet.

Pete, Noor and Andrew form an interesting family. Ashish Premkumar, Andrew’s oldest friend, calls them an intellectual family, even though his own parents are just as educated as Andrew’s. Pete is a professor emeritus of anthropology at MU and perhaps the closest thing Columbia has to a real-life Indiana Jones. He’s full of amazing tales involving polar bears, poisonous snakes and cholera. Noor directs MU’s diversity initiative and grew up on three different continents. “They’re really a multicultural family,” Ashish says.

The Gardners are like a second family to Ashish, and Andrew is like a brother. They got him into interesting books and films such as Dune and A Clockwork Orange at a fairly young age. Ashish and Andrew go to different high schools now, but they still get together to talk music and movies like most teenagers. The difference is that they’ll discuss a documentary they saw at Ragtag Cinemacafé instead of the latest Hollywood blockbuster. Ashish says they’ve been talking about existentialism lately.

High school juniors who gab about philosophy? Don’t these guys ever just talk about girls?

Yes. Andrew might have a bourgeois air about him, but not all the time. His room is a mess. He eats Twizzlers and McDonald’s. He smarts off to his mom. He complains about homework.

He’s a normal high school kid, and some things go in and out of his head pretty quickly. Andrew lost his elimination match to the St. Louis fencer his first day at the tournament, which ended his fencing for the day. He said he was disappointed, but after the match he sat down to chat with the man he’d just spent the last 10 minutes trying to skewer. Despite elimination, Andrew still finished 19th for the day. He usually fences better on the second day, anyway.

Andrew used to try to squeeze in some homework between matches, but Emi doesn’t allow it anymore. On the second day of the North American Cup, Andrew is doing homework at 6:30 a.m., but he leaves it behind at the hotel half an hour later. Fencing is a sport that requires athletes to keep their heads in the game.

If skill is the yin of fencing, strategy is the yang. This cerebral aspect of the sport appeals to Andrew’s intellectual side. He loves to talk about following opponents’ moves and how inexperienced fencers are difficult to face in a bout because their lack of strategy makes them completely unpredictable.

Directing, or refereeing, at his own club and local events has further informed Andrew’s strategy. Even though fencers are wired to an electronic scoring system, foil fencing is not as simple as hitting your opponent. Foil fencers can only score a point when they have right of way. Directors must learn all of the subtleties and vagaries of the rules that govern fencing.

“The director is God,” Andrew says. He is articulate and confident when he directs and seems to enjoy being in charge.

That second morning of the tournament, Andrew seems to be in charge of every bout on the strip — this time as a fencer. He’s in a new pool of seven fencers and doing well so far.

In his fourth match, Andrew faces a C fencer several inches shorter than him. What this fencer lacks in reach he makes up for in skill and strategy, and Andrew loses by three points. He’s exasperated, but it’s temporary. He cordially shakes hands with his opponent at the end of the bout, per fencing etiquette.

Andrew comes out of the pools with only one loss and is subsequently ranked in the top 20 for the elimination rounds. Through a twist of fate, he’ll face a fencer from his own club if he makes it to the second round.

First, he has to beat a fencer from Texas who didn’t do very well in the pools that morning. Peter and Noor think it will be an easy win, and all three of them seem more worried about Andrew facing his club-mate, Gene Shmurak, in the next match. Like the bout with the St. Louis fencer the day before, Andrew and Gene know each other’s strategies very well and regard the pairing as a disaster.

But the low-ranked Texan who Andrew should have easily picked off turns out to be a tough opponent. On the sidelines, Pete and Noor wonder how he managed to do so poorly in the morning pools. Andrew loses the match, and this year’s North American Cup is over for him. It’s the earliest he’s ever been eliminated from a national tournament, but he’s in good spirits and even forgoes an early lunch to stick around and support Gene.

“C’est la vie,” Noor says.

On the way out of the venue, the Gardners run into Mr. Wade, the father of a fellow fencer Andrew made friends with the day before. Mr. Wade is a kindly gentleman from northern California who wears a driving cap all the time. His son is still in the tournament, so the Gardners wish him luck. He wishes them safe travels in return. It’s a typically warm exchange of pleasantries in a sport that has its roots in killing people with a sword.

“See you at summer nationals!” the Gardners say as they smile and wave goodbye.


Coup d’École

I sent in my draft of the final bit of writing for my MA degree yesterday. I’ll still have revisions to do, and I still have much organizing and formatting to do, but it’s starting to look as though I might actually finish this degree.

This has all the feel of a coup.

But I’m not done. My committee could come back with major revisions. They could send me back for more interviews, more research, more writing, more basic understanding of the core concepts of journalism. They could ask what I’ve been doing off on my own for these last few months that compelled me to write this steaming piece of you-know-what.

Which is why it feels like a coup.

It’s easy to have feelings of inadequacy at the famed Missouri School of Journalism. Your classmates are smart, talented and driven. Your classes are tough. Your professors are famous. Plenty of the alumni who came before you are legends. You endure harsh editors (some are your peers), stay up late writing all the time, drink coffee to keep you going until you suspect you have an ulcer, and watch your classmates get published, pick up assistantships and internships, win awards and land jobs — and you don’t even have a resumé together. You look around and ask yourself, do I really go to school with these people?

So yes, this feels like a coup.

Since I started the program I’ve had pneumonia once and bronchitis twice. My asthma got worse and I gained weight. My back problems and TMJ also intensified. If I’d been a social smoker before, I’d surely be a chain smoker now, though luckily, I’m neither. I had to get reading glasses at age 29. Oh, and of course I went into debt.

Why did I do it? Because it feels like a coup.

Incomplete reporting “Today”

Jenna Bush is all grown up now and has a book coming out about an HIV-positive woman in Panama.

Is this image control, publicity for the former party girl who embarrassed the president (as if he needed any help)? Today asked a book publisher — it was unclear whether this was her publisher or a randomly selected publisher — if this was the case, and the publisher responded no, of course not, Jenna Bush has genuinely grown up and written a serious book.

But was this her publisher?

On a side note, a Denver TV station caught the rescue of a dog that had fallen through ice on video. This happens a lot out here, people and dogs, sometimes both, fall through the ice of a pond, lake or reservoir. But there was video of this one, so “Today” had a live interview with the dog owner, her happy pooch and the firefighter who rescued Fido.

We couldn’t figure out what the big deal was, and neither could the firefighter. He kept insisting that it wasn’t that dangerous, that they regularly train for this kind of rescue.

But weren’t you risking your life? Ann asked him.

“Look, he has a special suit and a rope tied to him,” Jeremy said.

“No, it’s really not that dangerous for us,” the firefighter insisted.

(I don’t want to negate the firefighter’s role here, because they do put their lives on the line on a daily basis for, oh, people who can’t control their dogs, which requires them to be incredibly brave AND incredibly patient and understanding.)

Minutes after the segment ended, I opened up our Daily Camera and found a picture of a woman hugging and kissing her blanket-wrapped golden retriever. The caption read:

“Emily Raymond, 24, of Boulder, kisses Sam, a golden retriever and one of three dogs who fell through the ice around the edge of Boulder Reservoir on Tuesday.”

Another dog owner fell through trying to save one of the other three dogs. A fellow dog walker with a Jeep and a tow rope saved her.

Of course, there were no pictures of the civilian rescue, just the happy-ending shots. Will Jeep guy be on the Today Show? Doubt it.

Retreat for compassion, or from compassion

At Buddhist retreats, everyone is usually too blissed-out to drum up unkind words or an angry spat. You also don’t hear much complaining about money. After all, dharma is priceless. It’s like a Visa commercial.

Comfy yet sturdy meditation cushion: $60

Pack lunch so don’t have to leave your mountain retreat for food: $5.50

Weekend retreat with enlightened Tibetan Buddhist master who spent 20 years in a Chinese prison and is still the most compassionate person you’ve ever met: priceless.

So it was jarring to hear someone say (rather loudly) on the second morning of the retreat:

“I paid $120 for this retreat, and I should be comfortable.”

What happened to priceless?

The weekend retreat focused on compassion for all beings. So when I heard the young hippie girl, who was probably at her first Buddhist retreat (she didn’t have a mala, nor did she know how to pronounce words in Tibetan or Sanskrit), snap at the caretaker of the building we were using about having some chairs too close to her, my first thought was that she’s not catching on to this whole compassion thing.

But maybe I’m not catching onto that whole compassion thing. Throwing a difficult person into the middle of a bunch of blissed-out Buddhists on a lovely retreat in the mountains is actually a good way practice compassion. I could stay blissed out and ignore her, but isn’t that retreating from compassion?

The caretaker reminded hippie girl that everyone else had paid the same amount for the retreat, too, and she simmered but remained silent. So I did ignore hippie girl — temporarily.

Later that day, my nose wasn’t liking the cloud of incense hanging in the room, so I moved back to the bench hippie girl was leaning against and cracked open the window. She gave me a dirty look immediately.

“If you get cold, let me know,” I said, noticing she was just wearing short sleeves (winter in mountains, hello?).

“I’m cold,” she said bluntly, and swung her head back around to chant the mantra (wrong) loudly. She’d been in my ear all day.

Yeah, I know you’re cold, I thought. I narrowed the crack of the window a bit, but I was dying for fresh, non-incense-laden air. Wear a sweater next time like the rest of us, I thought as I sucked in some mountain air and let cool air sink in through the tiny crack. I glanced at a lady not four feet from hippie girl who was fanning herself and sweating. I felt bad for her, but angry with stupid hippie girl. There’s no reason to be so snotty at a retreat for compassion, I thought. Besides, dharma isn’t about being comfortable, and it isn’t about how much you pay for it. I’m sure she can get a refund on enlightenment if she’s dissatisfied, I thought.

Well, so much for blissed-out ignorance. No retreating from compassion here. I was facing it head on, because I clearly had no compassion for hippie girl, and I knew it. I was indignant for myself and anyone else who’d had to deal with unpleasant hippie girl (who can’t seem to get this whole compassion thing). It’s all hippie girl’s fault, right?

I knew it wasn’t. This is a great practice.

The last day of the retreat, hippie girl sat far from me and the windows. The lamas backed off on the incense. It was a lovely, happy day, because I remembered that while it’s nice to be up in the mountains, up in the clouds and blissed-out, unchallenged by mean people, Buddhism isn’t about being comfortable — for unpleasant hippie girls or insulted caretakers or me. It’s about being in the clouds and on the ground at the same time, and having compassion for everyone who is still stuck in ego, like me.

Tuesday’s Today

Lots of fluff today on Today — the circus is there, a bit on guys and chick-flicks, a bit on make-up and beauty beyond 40.

It would seem there’s nothing going on in the world.

But wait. Cut to two minutes of news briefs. Earthquake in Indonesia. Bunch of soldiers died in Iraq. Guy flys his plane into ex-mother-in-law’s house.

Okay, now back to the circus, yay!

Monday’s “Today” — the cyst

Good Monday morning! Yesterday was a beautiful day in Colorado, warmer, achingly blue skies, and today promises to be even more gorgeous. And how did we start this lovely day? A cup of coffee, a bagel, and a 90-plus pound ovarian cyst on our television.

Okay, it is an interesting story, a medical anomaly, a cyst for the record books. They had to show it, because the visual impact was indisputable. But at 8 a.m., munching on our bagels, waiting for the java to sink in, did they have to keep showing it over and over? It was a huge red pod-thing out of Aliens, something Sigourney Weaver would attack with a futuristic flame thrower before the mother alien shows up to defend her unborn young.

Today, you did not pass the Cheerios test today. Or the bagel test.

Today — Second Life Twice

Today, Today did a segment on Second Life. The other day, Today did a segment on Second Life.

Seeing double?  Well, the only difference I could see is that this time, they made an Avatar (Second Life character) of Matt.

Next week, they’ll do a segment on Second Life. Maybe it will have an Avatar of Al.