Wednesday, July 6

Olio: I'm Out Of It Edition

• How did the meeting go, say, at ABC News yesterday? Was there some debate over whether ten minutes at the top of the national news was sufficient coverage of the Casey Anthony trial? Did they decide against a Special Report for later in the evening? Was there one malcontent in the back asking if they couldn't find something more important to do? (I'm just kiddin' about that last one.)

I have absolutely no knowledge of this thing, aside from the fact that it involves a child who died in a bathtub or drowned in a pool (and, may I add, it took a considerable amount of steely-eyed reserve to limit it to that). Nevertheless, I feel I've lived a rich and rewarding life.

Despite the concerns of some of our best minds, Irony seems to've pulled through the Piss-Pants Era just fine. But Shame just dropped by the side of the highway sometime during Ronald Reagan's first press conference, and everyone just tiptoes around the rotting carcass and pretends he doesn't smell anything. Really: did someone at NBC figure that if they didn't lead with a regional murder story viewers would tune out in the millions?

And the worst of it from a personal perspective is that I absently turned to local Channel 8 at the news weather hour, and was met with Disgraced Former Marion County Prosecutor and Tim Durham Henchweasel Carl "Facetime" Brizzi, who's gone from grafterrific elected official making unwise and unethical comments on the local news at every opportunity, to 8's "legal analyst". Imagine turning on the teevee in your Houston hotel room and finding Tom DeLay on the Redistricting Beat.

• I'm spending entirely too much time on the bike trail, and starting to wonder how I'm gonna manage when it gets too cold to ride. (We've got a stationary bike, and last year I rode it longer than I rode outdoors, but last year my knees were much worse off and the stationary bike was easier on them. This year I'm gonna be fighting boredom.)

It's really tempting to see the Monon Trail as a microcosm of America Herself: a lot of basically nice, pleasantly mazed folks whose lives and well-being are constantly threatened by a dedicated cadre of high-tech Nazis in bike outfits.

But I won't; for now I'll just mention that 1) lactic acid is not your friend, unless you drink German wine and have more patience than most of your countrymen; 2) excessive solarization is not your friend if you plan on living past the age of 23; and 3) wicking teeshirts remove sweat more efficiently than going shirtless, so please fucking stop.

• Exercise Nazis, in general: I was fairly athletic, in my youth, which was long enough ago that my daily tennis outings were disturbed to the point of rage killing by the Tennis Boom of the early 70s, and the luster of a track career was dimmed by the Jogging Craze. (I got off easy; my friend Cowboy Clint, a real working cowboy, had to buy a complete new wardrobe when Urban Cowboy became a hit.) I've managed to avoid these people like the plague--precisely like the plague--for thirty some years now by the simple expedient of being lazy. I'm all for physical exertion. I love sport, and I'm still pretty competitive. I admire people I meet on the trail who are training hard--I'm particularly impressed that there are so many women out there who know how to run--and it's good to see people who, conversely, are having fun at it. But 40% give every impression that they're there as an excuse to buy outfits.

• On the other hand: foam rollers entered my cloistered reality about four days ago, and I'm 100% sold on them already. And weighted juggling balls are the next coolest thing to learning to use a speed bag.

• I'm not sure how long I overlooked it, but my local post office branch flies a POW/MIA flag right under Old Glory. I've written in to ask on who's authority, but you know how the mails are.

Another microcosm: apparently lost to the Mists of Time is the fact that this thing started out as a political argument: the US shouldn't recognize Vietnam--in fact, should go back and finish the job--because of the thousands of POWs still being held by the Commies. This, of course, was pure bullshit, essentially a road-show version of the Manchurian Candidate tales about Korea, and an offshoot of the whole We Weren't Allowed To Win business. The Vietnamese were extraordinarily forthcoming in the search for missing Americans, far more than any country which had expelled an invader could have been expected to be. As for now--who's missing, exactly? Who's got a hidden camp full of captured Americans? Nobody. We're the captors, not the captives, and it's been that way for forty years now. This is just another tic of excessive militarization. I'll let you know if I ever hear back.


rageahol said...

re: winter,

you can ride during the winter. you just need another layer or two. and maybe some little handwarmer packets in your gloves and shoes. and potentially some studded tires (go with carbide, not steel studs. peterwhite sells em, among many others.)

It's one of the joys of winter, imho, to be out on the road/trail, the only one out there on a bike. cars also tend to give you a wide berth because they think you're insane. icebike is another good site for tips.

I had a friend as a lad who i watched the chuck norris "Missing in action" films with. ever since I've assumed that anyone flying a POW-MIA flag is, similarly, a right-wing racist tea party dipshit.

Anonymous said...

Your Brizzi analogy reminds me of the question several of us had when we heard that the Indianapolis Star was letting 70-80 people go. They have that many reporters? Hmmm.

desertscope said...

I'm currently reading The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, and the "POW/MIA" flag seems a lot like a failed Dolchstosslegende in character. As rageahol alludes to, the fact that those who fly that flag are typically frothing-at-the-mouth racist assholes cements the image for me.

Porlock Junior said...

"But 40% give every impression that they're there as an excuse to buy outfits. "

As every columnist is glad to hear, Herb Caen covered this years ago. One of his informants saw a guy running past in a sweatshirt and shorts, causing one properly dressed jogger to remark to his companion, "People really shouldn't take up jogging if they can't afford it."

Anonymous said...

I work for the USPS, and we fly the POW/MIA flag on certain holidays or the day after--I think it's silly for the reasons you give, but it comes down from HQ in DC.

Fiddlin Bill said...

The worst (in a way) was MSNBC, where Ed Shultz did a story on the Anthony story, and then followed it immediately with the damn Anthony story yet again--after Shultz had, even if clumsily, tried to make the point that the whole story was yet more sparkly eyecandy to distract the public.