MAYBE I should give up news on television.
Not, of course, because I've suddenly discovered their product isn't actually news, or anything as obvious as that. I'm thinking more in terms of what a man of my age and general level of physical collapse should be subjecting himself to.
I've only recently noticed that teevee news doesn't carry those Teevee Ratings warnings just as it comes on the air. I may have become aware of this due to the astounding variety of entertainment on my still-new AT&T U-Verse system, whose wonderfulness I'm not going to mention again until some bakshish turns up in my mailbox. Or it may be a residual effect of my Poor Wife joining the Colonoscopy Club over the holiday weekend. I not only got to listen to her pre-op questionnaire, but those of the patient next door and across the hallway, including the one about whether the Questionee consumed more than one alcoholic beverage per day. So far as I could tell (I wasn't snooping, it was just the accoustics) everyone answered in the negative, so I don't know if they'd have followed up to ascertain the exact number. But I got to thinking that this should be part of the teevee news requirement, a liability-reducing electronic warning sticker, seeing as how half my local news is now given over to "Things For White Middle-Class People Like Ourselves To Do This Weekend" coverage. Because they evidently don't have a "TV-Lo IQ" rating. A brief questionnaire, I think, is an altogether more satisfactory solution: "Do you drink fewer than two cocktails an hour, night after night, in public, in a desperate attempt to find another empty alcoholic you can marry for several months? Are the celebrity antics of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Whatever "Singer" We Decide To Feature Next less important to you than tax policy, global climate change, or threats to your civil rights? Is your curiosity about tomorrow's weather satisfied by a simple "Clear and Cool," without reference to whatever irrelevant location around the globe is suffering an unseasonable snowstorm or sudden Sinkhole Activity Event, provided it's caught on tape? Then you must turn off your television right now. Why do you even own a set? Go read a book or something, Poindexter."
I was thinking that if I could demonstrate a loss of 20 IQ points, which should not be all that difficult, I might have a deep-pocket target for a class-action lawsuit in my sights, but then it occurred to me that some smart-ass defense attorney would start reading the list of Schedule I drugs and ask me to speak up if he named one I wasn't personally familiar with, and remember You're Still Under Oath. And when he got done he'd turn to the jury, pause, and say, "Do you have some problem with your hearing, Mr. Riley?" while spinning back around dramatically. And that would be the end of that. Even so, I think the warning is the right thing to do.
It was Labor Day weekend in Indianapolis, which for the past five decades has meant the NHRA Nationals were out in Clairmont. Grease, smoke, and noise not being much of an attraction for your average local news department, however, the Nationals took a decided back seat to Ribfest featuring Hootie and the Blowfish. Grease, smoke, and familiar, toe-tappin' tunes, in other words. They were also lower-billed than the obligatory fireworks simulcast with "music" on The Tee, or The Kay, or Leon, or some abomination of Frequency Modulation. I mean, fine. Personally, I'm not any more likely to watch drag racing than I am to line up for Hootie and the Ketchup-Drenched Carcinogens, but tradition ought to count for something and not be trumped by the value of any potential perks in the minds of the people reading this shit off teleprompters.
Y'know, it's at least reasonable, in the most generous understanding of the term, that Bush's photo-op Night Mission to Anbar gets coverage. It's even mildly amusing, knowing, as we do, that it's now the Republicans in the newsroom who'd like to pull the plug. It's another to turn on CNN this morning and watch the hairdo interview an Arizona mine inspector in re: what the government should be doing to prevent such tragedies. Suddenly the results of laissez-faire capitalism from a century ago require urgent government action, while allowing a 13-year-old to operate a motor vehicle unsupervised is a matter of personal choice. I don't know how it is in your bailiwick, but the News around here goes apeshit whenever someone's caught leaving a child unattended while running in to the Speedway for a pack of smokes. In fact, this comes at the end of a ten-day period in which a Carmel school bus driver accidentally left a kindergartner on her bus for seven hours, and is facing felony neglect charges, and a Lafayette woman was detained by neighbors after her five-year-old son pulled the family car up to the house. ("He's a good driver," was her explanation. Mommy had had a few.)
I was tempted to call in to CNN this morning to suggest that Arizona needed to repeal the law of gravity, but I just turned the box off instead.
I don't mean to sound callous, but I'm not the one who found "Abandoned Mine Safety" such a vital concern after mostly ignoring the issue of "Actual Working Mine Safety" for the past few weeks. It'd just be nice to see a little consistency. Government inaction--sometimes known as the failure to Tax and Spend--didn't kill that unfortunate child. If the law had been obeyed she'd still be alive. If we're not going to bring this up in light of the tragedy then let's hold our piece about "legislative failure" as well.