Thursday, May 05, 2005

Breaking news?

I'm up unusually early this morning to discover that explosions rocked the British Consulate in NYC.

Two small makeshift grenades exploded outside the British Consulate in New York early Thursday, causing slight damage to the building but injuring no one, officials said.

The blasts occurred at 3:50 a.m. and originated from inside a cement flower box outside the consulate in midtown Manhattan, said police department spokesman Noel Waters.

Police said both devices were toy grenades that had been altered to explode with the addition of black gunpowder. Police made the conclusion after piecing together the shrapnel. They estimated that one was the size of a pineapple; the other the size of a lemon.

The blasts shattered a panel of glass in the building's front door and ripped a one-foot chunk from the planter. The department's bomb squad was at the scene and streets were closed in the area.

Thankfully, no one was hurt in the blast. But it's just another startling reminder of how underfunded and understaffed NYC's homeland security program actually is...I'll be curious to see if it spurs the gub'mint to throw a few more "anti-terrorism" dollars our way, but I ain't holding my breath.

As Mayor Mike begs for your vote this year, just remember how safe he's keeping the Big Apple. And remember how hard he's fought for a new Jets' Stadium, raising tolls, subway fares, and public transportation fees while blithely ignoring the need for a legitimate increase in security funding.

Meanwhile, in other news:

Comedy Central has postponed the premiere of its hit series "Chappelle's Show" less than a month before it was scheduled to return for a third season.

The network offered no rationale for the decision Wednesday, releasing only a brief statement: "Comedy Central has suspended production on the third season of "Chappelle's Show" until further notice. All parties are optimistic that production will resume in the near future."

Representatives for the show's star, Dave Chappelle, declined comment.

One of Comedy Central's highest-rated series, "Chappelle" was supposed to be back on the air May 31. The network already has postponed the third season once; "Chappelle" originally was scheduled to bow in February.

A Comedy Central spokesman had blamed the first postponement on writing delays. Other published reports noted that Chappelle was battling the 'flu'.

Chappelle made headlines in August when he signed on for two more seasons of his series in a deal worth about $50 million -- an expensive sum for a cable program. The new deal was supposed to give Chappelle a portion of the robust DVD sales generated by its first season, which has sold more than 3 million units.

The DVD release of the second season of "Chappelle" also was postponed this year after Paramount Home Video originally scheduled units to hit stores in February timed to the third-season bow. The release date was pushed back to May 24.

Comedy Central had ordered 13 episodes for the third season. Production on the series yielded material late last year but then closed for the holidays and didn't resume until February.

Bizarre. Even weirder - I've been trying since last November to submit sketches to the show, all to no avail. I had heard rumors of problems with the show's upcoming season - everything from writer's block to creative problems. None of which really made me feel better.

In some ways, I'm a little relieved to hear that it (apparently) was not just a case of writer's block, since my ego screams: "Helllllloooooo! I got your sketch comedy writer right here, bitch!" On Tevye's other hand, however, I hope that Chappelle is okay. Since Mitch Hedberg's abrupt death, I'm a little cynical. I'd hate to see another talented and genuinely funny comic snuffed out too soon. Here's looking forward to a healthy Dave Chappelle and successful third season of the show.