Monday, May 02, 2011

Where were you last night when you heard?

...the joyous news that Osama bin Laden was dead? And not just dead, but killed.

I was somewhere over Minnesota I think.

I was on the Mariners’ charter flying back from Boston. It felt a little eerie considering this worldwide nightmare began on an airplane – several actually, with my dear friends David & Lynn Angell on the first one. On the other hand, there was something very heartening about looking out the window and seeing the vast reach of this great country.

How I got the news: I was watching the ESPN Sunday Night baseball game when they announced it. I’m used to hearing Walter Cronkite deliver major news, not Dan Schulman, Orel Hershiser, and Bobby Valentine. And it really took me by surprise because they cut to them in the booth after an inning (I had just turned it on moments before, having watched two episodes of CALIFORNICATION) and Dan Schulman said, “In case you missed it. There is big news today.” So I’m figuring it’s something like Albert Pujols hit for two cycles or the Dodgers were just sold to Oprah, and instead it’s “Osama bin Laden has been killed and the U.S. has the body”.

Like everybody, I then switched to a news channel – quickly skipping Fox, quickly skipping Geraldo. Just an informal survey and a real small sample size but 70% of the folks on the flight watched NBC.

I thought the President’s speech was eloquent and powerful. And I thought, how much more gravitas it had than Donald Trump’s version if he were president. “Osama bin Laden – you’re dead”.

After the speech when it was clear there was no more actual news, I turned back to the baseball game. The big crowd in Philadelphia was chanting “USA! USA!” Word of bin Laden’s death swept through the stands. Probably every fan in the stadium received a text. But you looked at the faces of the ballplayers and they were clearly confused. Why was everyone chanting, “USA! USA!”? They had no way of knowing the news. Getting texts and tweets during games is highly frowned upon.

Clearly Osama bin Laden is just a symbol. The War on Terrorism is far from over. But I always wondered why if you can read my license plate from outer space you can’t find this guy in ten years? Now they have. And in heroic fashion.

Hopefully this will be enough so that Jack Bauer is finally pardoned and can go on and live his life.

56 comments:

AlaskaRay said...

Ding Dong the witch is dead.

Ray

Charles H. Bryan said...

I had just caught the tail end of a local ten o'clock news report. The show must have run short, so there was some newscam of freeway traffic, with a crawl at the bottom. I was fascinated at how long they were sticking with the traffic shot when I saw "Osama Bin Laden Dead".

Dirk said...

We were finishing a family dinner in a Playa del Rey restaurant, and my two teens started checking Facebook in the car on the way home, and each had received multiple wall posts about bin Laden's death

Marc said...

During a quick Twiter check while streaming Elevator to the Gallows on Netflix.

Slyhook said...

I have it from a good source that they found Osama hiding in Donald Trump's hair.

BritinNoCal said...

Oddly enough from a twitter comment made by A's pitcher Brandon McCarthy, who said that Osama Bin Laden would soon be trending. Combined with another tweet saying that the President would be making an address, there was an obvious conclusion.
I turned on CNN to have that guess confirmed.

Ian said...

This was the first time that I learned of a major news story through the internet. I was at home, visiting Gawker more out of boredom than anything, and there was a bit at the top saying that Washington was buzzing with rumors regarding Bin Laden. It almost seemed like a joke, but I turned on the TV anyway. Sure enough, the President was just starting his address to the public. Wow.

I do have one concern, however; just this morning the news reported that Bin Laden's body was "disposed of at sea." How odd is that? Isn't this an invitation for tea-party nutjobs to start claiming that Bin Laden's death was some kind of hoax?

DJ said...

Burying the body at sea makes sense. It prevents his burial spot from becoming a place of pilgrimage for his followers. It also provided for a quick burial as required by Islamic custom.

PatGLex said...

I had actually turned the channel to watch the local news at 11 pm EST [after watching the Mythbusters rerun on Discovery :-) ] and wondered why there was a national feed. Within seconds it was obvious why.

Part of me is glad, and part of me is worried that this is just the start of terrorist escalation.

Great Big Radio Guy said...

I heard the rumors swirling and when CNN finally confirmed them I raced to KABC. This after I did a 30 mile bike ride with my wife and before I could grab a shower. Doug McIntyre and I worked together when 9/11 happened, and last night we worked together again. A circle definitely closed for me.

What an oddly Hollywood finish: After tens of thousands of our troops died for the cause, an elite few do the job. Our undying thanks go to both.

And I finally got my shower at midnight.

kingvermin said...

In tech week rehearsal for a small theater musical. We were doing cue to cues and one of the actors came out from backstage and said "Bin Laden is dead." We figured that was a good time to call it a night.

sephim said...

I'm going to post it before somebody else does in a misguided attempt to be "funny".

I demand to see the long form death certificate.

/bigjoke

Gnasche said...

You'll be happy to know that the place where I was when I heard about Osama Bin Laden was right here on your blog, five minutes ago.

This is what happens when you decide to reinstall Dragon Age on a Saturday afternoon.

Sebastian said...

I was in bed. My dad called me to wake me up - but not because of Bin Laden.

I was sleeping when they announced it ^^;

Great speech. I have to watch the recording of the game now to see what happened in the stadium :-)

ShellyJ said...

I was sitting on my couch watching television. I then went to my computer to follow Twitter and FB with tv on in the background. That's not remarkable. What is was the phone call from my son, from his Border Patrol station in Tucson, calling me from work to be sure I "heard the good news." The rest of the guys in the station had turned on a television to watch. It reminded me that he was 15 when this happened and it had a huge impact on his choice of college major - criminal justice - and his career choice as well.

crackblind said...

Oddly enough I had just turned on my iPad to play a few rounds of Scrabble with my wife (part of our nightly ritual as we are an old married couple with kids). The NY Times app popped up with a very vague message that the White House was about to make a statement but no indication about what. Hit Google and the news came up.

Had we decided to forgo Scrabble for a different bedtime activity, we would have missed it.

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

I found about it today, reading the papers.

Call me negative and a stick in the mud, but I really don't see this as a joyous occasion.

If Bin Laden were captured and tried in a court of law before the eyes of his followers, I might have found enjoyment out of this.

As it is, it really didn't solve any problem. In fact, it only helped to aggravate it.

Now, I'm sure there are 10 more fanatics arming themselves out there, ready to die for him. 10 more Bin Ladens being born as I comment. Congrats on the creation of a new martyr.

Max Clarke said...
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Wendy said...

My second thought was, "I wonder what Ken will have to say about this?"

Mike Barer said...

On the way back from a Democratic state committe meeting in Wenatchee, We had just entered Maple Valley where we live when we got the call on the telephone from my wife's sister.

Max Clarke said...
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Atlanta said...

Internet, this morning, also the 8 year anniversary of Mission Accomplished. This LOL image made me snicker: http://i.imgur.com/KDssc.jpg

"Sorry it took so long to get you a copy of my birth certificate. I was too busy killing Osama Bin Laden." Hehe.

And hey no typos, I managed no typos. How about that. Wasn't so hard, though for Fox it was: http://crooksandliars.com/nicole-belle/fox-news-just-cant-help-themselves

Mork said...

I think, rather appropriately, I was taking out the trash.

Seriously.

I had a bag in each hand and was walking out to the dumpster when my phone rang at about 10:45; our weekend director (I work at a television station) called me asking what she should do since the special report only had one channel of audio. After some troubleshooting, I asked her what the special report was about, and she told me.

Mary Stella said...

I was also watching my Phillies play the Mets. It was surreal to hear the announcers give the news and suggest we turn to ABC News for the story.

For the next couple of hours (Game went to 14 innings), I switched between stations. The USA chant grew louder as more people in the crowd checked their smartphones.

A friend/co-worker's father was killed in the World Trade Center on 9/11. Her hope today is that he and everyone else can finally rest in peace.

Phillip B said...

Since I cannot -- and will not - listen to Bobby Valentine, my wife and I were watching episodes of "Harry's Law to try to figure out what went wrong. That was clear enough...

She reached for her iPad and said her Facebook friends were talking about Bin Laden's death. Flipped to CNN and then MSNBC about 5 minutes before the President's address.

Admit to still being numb as I watch people quickly return to what has become normal life.

Jonathan Ernst said...

I was at a bar for a birthday party and this is what the DJ played: America - Fuck Yeah


For better or for worse, this seems to be the feeling on the internet right now.

Anonymous said...

I was watching 60 MINUTES when a crawl (a very s-l-o-w crawl) came across the bottom of the screen, starting with something to the effect of "This is a special report from CBS News. President Obama--" and several thoughts jumped into my head. First, that networks never interrupt programs anymore with special bulletins so this was really big and second, that the President has been shot or it's something to do with Bin Laden. It continued "--will be making an announcement from the White House--" so I knew it was probably Bin Laden. Maybe a drone got him, maybe the Pakistanis did something, maybe even a cruise missle to be sure he wouldn't escape. But never did I expect Navy SEALS to be able to get in and get the body. A great moment when the President came on to give the story.

They're dancing on the beach in my old home town of Coronado, West Coast home of the SEALS, and rightly so. They were the sharp end of a very long spear that ran through Tampa and Langley and a lot of other places. Props to all of them

And I watched it by toggling back and forth between MSNBC and CBS

Jim S said...

Like you Ken, I was watching the Mets game. (It was a good one too.) I had my laptop in my lap and was really half watching the game when I heard the crowd chanting USA. I thought that odd, and looked up and heard the announcers say Bin Landen was dead.

I headed straight to CNN and they were giving out the first details, which is to say they had confirmed he was dead, but could not say how. As with modern news, if you don't have the facts, speculate. Someone mentioned drones and said the Pakistanis might have helped.

I then called my brother. He is a veteran of the Navy and one of his shipmates was in the Pentagon and was killed when the hijacked jet slammed into the building. He was reading, yeah I know who reads books in this day and age, and started asking me questions. He then turned on CNN.

It seems so appropriate that I was watching a baseball game when this news came in.

Gmajor said...

I was taking my dog for her last walk of the night when I got the news on Twitter.

John said...

There was a certain irony on the East Coast NBC feed last night, since the first reports of a "Special announcement by the White House scheduled for 10:30 p.m." came on while they were broadcasting "Celebrity Apprentice" (it's already 3:30 p.m. on Monday, and I was sure Trump would have come out by now and said the White House timed that deliberately to upstage him, since Obama ended up not speaking until 11:30 p.m. "Show me the time code on the first draft of his speech!" the billionaire BS artist shouted.)

Caught Geraldo high-fiving and almost boogieing down on-set when they announced bin Laden was dead, after speculating Qaddafi had been killed. That was about the moment Fox hustled him off the set and over to Lafayette Park to cover the celebration. On the other side, MSNBC was smart to bring in the regular NBC News crew of Williams, Gregory and Mitchell to handle the coverage -- had their used their regular prime-time crew, Chris Matthews probably would have topped Geraldo by doing the all-time best-ever impersonation of Meg Ryan's scene in Katz's Delicatessen from "When Harry Met Sally".

Anonymous said...

KEN, what was the Mariners's charter like when the news filtered through? Any chanting?

Mr. Snrub said...

Do I get an award for lamest "Where were you when?" story?

I was watching "Mr. Saturday Night" on HBO when my brother called to tell me to turn to CNN.

THAT is NOT the story I will be going with in the future. I will need a far better story. Right now, leaning towards "I was saving a puppy from a dog-fighting ring when the police officers I beat to the scene told me.."

Kirk said...

Mission accomplished.

Michelle said...

i echo John's sentiments, timing could not have been better on the east coast pre-empting Celebrity Apprentice. It was unfortunately seen at its regular time here.

You did't hear about Oprah buying the Dodgers? Every day is ice cream day now.

Jerry

Anonymous said...

Fox actually had the news that bin Laden was dead first. But of course they had all the facts wrong. Geraldo was in all his glory. Should have heard el Rushbowl today. Completely hysterical that Osama was taking credit for it, when all along it was the Republicans who were responsible.

Mac said...

I'm in the UK so I woke up, turned on the computer and there it was.
I thought Obama's speech was truly dignified and statesman-like. If I was him I'd have said
"So now you see, Donald Trump, the reason I took so long to get my birth-certificate together was, I've been busy tracking the world's most wanted terrorist. Now get the fuck out of my face, you ridiculous man."
Like I say, his way was more dignified. An amazing historic moment, beautifully delivered.

Anonymous said...

I meant Obama......As for Trump, at the Washington Press dinner, they ripped him a new one! He was there, and didn't seem to take it very well. CSPAN will probably repeat it, it was very, very funny!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey. Lighten up on Trump. More that half the country wants him to be the Republican candidate for President. Some of them are even Republicans. The ticket would be Trump - Pres., Bachmann, V.P. (she'd be worse than Palin) and Palin - Sec. of State (she's the worst/best choice for that office).

Max Clarke said...
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DyHrdMET said...

I'm a Mets fan on the east coast, and the Mets were playing while all this broke. But I had to get up very early the next morning, so I was in bed with the TV and radio off fairly early (and I missed a good 14 inning game). So I wake up at 5am to start my early day and first go to MetsBlog.com to find out what happened while I was sleeping...expecting to read news about the game. I'm reading one of the bullet points about the chants of "USA! USA!" from the crowd in Philly and a reference to "the news" (and I'm just glancing over the bullets not even seeing everything that was printed). I'm like, "what the hell?" I go facebook (my trusted news site) and see statuses that don't make sense to me at 5am referring to the news. Then cnn.com had the big headline that made it very clear.

Carson said...

I had just come home from grocery shopping, was preparing dinner and flicked on the TV when Brian Williams was talking about it. Then the president came on just as dinner was ready. A sense of relief that maybe the families of the fallen and the struggling first responders could have some sense that the government and military was still working to get them justice. And the sense that this is not over by a long shot, but maybe this can give the free world the encouragement it needs for this to become a turning point.

I found out about the twin towers on 9/11 when I was woken up from a dead sleep by a friend who just kept saying, "the twin towers are gone." It made no sense until I turned on the TV and saw the footage that was all now have burned into our brains.

Eric W. Gray said...
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Eric W. Gray said...

Ken, I love ya - but how about leaving political bias outside? It detracts from your blog and only encourages others to post more political tripe.

Roger Owen Green said...

I couldn't sleep, so I woke up about 3:30 a.m. and read about it on the news feed.

@IFeedUrTV said...

I was on break last night, in the room next door hearing on TV about someone dying, and there was Fox "News," talking about how "Usama" bin Laden's been killed. Times Square looked like furkin' New Year's Eve. I half expected to see Ryan Seacrest pop out of the crowd to wish everyone a happy new year. I don't know...maybe next year will be a happy one but I can't help but think that now that we've done this, we're really in for it.

Buttermilk Sky said...

This is actually more embarrassing than "Mr. Saturday Night." I was doing something I rarely do. I was watching "CSI: Miami." It was incredibly convoluted, and they cut away just as the plot was about to be explained.

Obama kept us waiting for nearly an hour. You know who else used to keep people waiting before a speech? Hitler.

OK, I'm even more embarrassed about that.

So why didn't the Phillies put the news on the scoreboard?

gottacook said...

An earlier commenter wrote: "Ken, I love ya - but how about leaving political bias outside? It detracts from your blog and only encourages others to post more political tripe."

This is our host's decision to make. He has earned the right, because this blog has value (else we wouldn't keep returning), to express his political opinions if he feels the situation calls for it.

I routinely look at a semi-well-known blog in existence since 1998 (perhaps earlier) by a midwestern author and newspaper columnist who, since 9/11, has begun to espouse ideological/political preferences that are the opposite of mine. Because he's an entertaining writer and also provides links to cultural items of interest, I keep returning anyway and don't feel provoked to write a nasty comment when he (occasionally, not routinely) does this.

If you want to keep following Ken's blog because of the positive value that you get from it, just learn to roll your eyes on the rare occasions when you're confronted with the fact that you and he disagree politically. Otherwise, you're not forced to stay, y'know - or are you?

Mary Stella said...
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Matt Patton said...

I heard about this on Twitter--I was about to resume work on my weekly Follow Friday list (as usual, belated) when I read a tweet saying that President Obama was about to speak. As it turned out, it was almost two hours before he actually spoke, but I turned on CNN, where Wolf Blitzer was like the kid who knows what you're getting for your birthday and is bursting to tell you. It was actually another tweet that broke the news to me that Bin Laden was dead.

Breadbaker said...

I was doing what Ken was doing, but I was in the car and so I heard Amy Lawrence announce it on ESPN Radio.

xjill said...

I had just gotten out of "Five Five" (a cinematic masterpiece) at the Americana at Brand and my friend checked her iphone. Her husband is a vet so it was cool that I was with them at the time. Got to hear the speech on the 10 driving home!

Pat Reeder said...

I was out seeing Craig Ferguson live at Bass Hall in Fort Worth and didn't find out about Osama until I got home and checked my email. It was a great day for America, everybody!

John said...

You are celebrating an assassination. Many have done so before you (like Bin Laden). And many will continue to do so. What a catastrophe, humanity.

iain said...

gottacook, I'm gonna guess you're referring to James Lileks? Yep, I just browse, enjoy & stay the hell away from the readers'comments section.

On topic, my wife had to wake me up for the President's speech, as I an old geezer who has to be in bed early on a Sunday night.

RockGolf said...

I caught a Tweet that Obama would be speaking in half an hour at 10:30 EST. That was weird, so I went to DailyKos.com to see if anyone had any idea what it was about. One person thought if might be to announce Khadafi was killed. So I said, "Maybe they've caught bin Laden". So I picked it 20 minutes before it broke. That makes my fluky guess 100% more accurate than most so-called cable pundits.

Brandon McCarthy wasn't the only one who seemed to have inside knowledge. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was Tweeting about it hours before the announcement too. Who is passing our greatest state secrets to jocks?

gottacook said...

iain: Correct. Been following him since the mid-1980s when he was a columnist for the then-independent Minneapolis alt-weekly City Pages (I haven't lived there since pre-internet days). One link he put up six or seven years ago was particularly delightful: an audio of "Music to Drive By" by the Joe Loss Concertium, evidently a pickup orchestra of great session musicians circa 1966. It is unbelievably redolent of its time, yet my kids also enjoy it - I think these days it can be found on YouTube.