Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hello world, the next generation

Hello world; meet my grandson, "Ragin' Cage". He's a heart-breaker isn't he?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you."

(Simon and Garfunkel, in the song "Mrs. Robinson", from the film "The Graduate")

We know where Joe DiMaggio has gone; he's somewhere in the Great Beyond. If you do not know who Joe DiMaggio was, please check a nearby search engine. And even though almost everyone pronounced his name as "Di-MADGE-e-o", he preferred "Di-MAHHZZ-e-o".

This is not about the Yankee Clipper, however.

There are names we remember from our formative years that have gone the way of the buggy whip, consigned to the dustbin of history, most never to be heard of again, unlike Joe DiMaggio.

Whistle (pop), Omar Bread, Diamond Quality-Chekd Milk, Pennington Bread, Post Corn Flakes and Freeze-Dried Strawberries (yucky!), Mars Bars (now Snickers Almond), Chipos, Frosty Root Beer, Beeman's Gum (occasionally available in special promos), Fruit Stripe Gum (same), Teaberry Gum, Kellogg's Puffa Puffa Rice, Powerhouse (candy bar), Milkshake (same), Old Man Adams Sour Gum, Weidemann Beer, Burger Beer, Hudepohl Beer, Gambrinus Beer, Pure (still in existence in the South), Sohio (with Boron!), Texaco (the only gasoline in all 50 states!), Sinclair, Humble Oil (put a tiger in your tank! [now Exxon]), BBF, Burger Chef, Sister's Fried Chicken, Ohio Bell, Western Electric, Albers, and Lazarus.

Even the telephone exchanges had names: CLearbrook, CApitol, HIckory, BElmont, among others. Telephone numbers were recited as CL3-5459 and such, and it was not until the mid-to-late 60s that the names went by the wayside. Somehow, 253-5459 did not have the same "ring" to it.

What do YOU remember?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fantasy schmantasy

Since my earliest days I have always been a football fan. It started out with the Cleveland Browns just after Jim Brown retired. My earliest memory of a running back was Leroy Kelly who did more than a fair job of replacing perhaps the greatest running back in NFL history. At some point I moved onto the Minnesota Vikings and a watching interest in others.

As I entered high school the Buckeyes took over and I have been more of a college football fan every since. I suppose some of that had to do with my employment. No matter what, retail is a seven day a week job. Yes, that includes Saturday and Sunday and little or no holidays off. It is always something of a bother to watch the local newscast when they invariably tell us all to enjoy the holiday we are about to have off from work. Yea, right.

Anyway, something had to give in my football world. There is just too much to do to invest myself in both leagues. As the college world took hold there just wasn't much room left for the pros. At one point I likely went ten years without watching an entire half of a single pro game. I did watch the scores and the standings but I didn't have much of a vested interest. In the past few years that has begun to change but there is something in the way.

Unfortunately for me as I climbed back into the world of pro football, fantasy football has taken a strong hold. It would be easier to get back in touch with the pro game without fantasy. Often I get home from work and want to see the scores quickly. With fantasy football there's no way to do that. The crawl on the bottom of the screen takes twenty minutes to list the scores due to all the stats. Every Tom, Dick and Ochocinco has their numbers dragged past after each score. Every radio show has to have the stats for nearly every player that touched the ball.

I can't be the only one. Somewhere out there there has to be others who are so fed up with fantasy sports they just want to turn the whole thing off. Let me watch the games and the scores without all the other crap. If fantasy stats are so important give them their own channel and leave the rest of us alone.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Never bored, or, The simple joys of childhood imagination

One of the most common complaints a parent is likely to hear as their children grow is "I'm bored!"

With all of the things that are available to occupy a child's time these days it would seem amazing that a child would even know the meaning of the word. Unfortunately, they do.

I believe it points to a lack of imagination and/or creativity on the part of the child; creativity and imagination should be developed, stimulated and encouraged as much as possible.

I cannot recall ever telling my parents "I'm bored", and if I ever heard them from my children, it was quite rare.

When we were children we did most of our playing in the out-of-doors. We dressed for the weather and headed outside, barring thunderstorms or cold rains. In our early years (pre-March 1967, when we moved) we played mostly by ourselves or with each other from the family, as most of our friends from school lived many blocks away from us. I spent countless hours playing variations of baseball by myself, quite contentedly. I threw a rubber baseball against the front steps of our half-double, calling out the lineups of the teams, describing the plays as I made them, and keeping score of the games. If I was not throwing a ball against our steps, I was throwing it against the steps of the church next door, or against the wall of the apartment building behind us. That must have driven the occupants crazy, hearing a constant themp, thump, thump rattling the walls. The only time anyone complained was when a small child was taking a nap, so I had to stop for awhile.

Robert T and I played together quite often, with "foil baseball" being a constant. Foil baseball took place when we could not find a whiffle ball to use in the backyard, so I would tear off huge chunks of aluminum foil (see! imagination at work!), wad it up, and it became our baseball. I would again do the announcing of the lineups for both teams, a possible foreshadowing of my current-day soccer announcing duties. Little brother still harrumphs to this day that I would intentionally stick in a left-handed batter for him to switch to whenever the score got too close.

I declare here and now that it was only the purest of coincidences that that ever occurred.

Really. I swear. Cross my heart and hope to fly.

We could not use a rubber ball with the wooden bat in the backyard, for fear of destroying windows, but I did once manage to hit a Superball over the roof of the church next door from our home plate spot. I never did find that ball again.

Our backyard was small and entirely made of dirt. Rumor had it that the yard once held grass, and that our constant playing there wore it out. Since I do not recall any grass other than scattered bits along the edges, it must have been Graybeard and The Stache who wore out all the grass.

There was a small crushed gravel driveway next to our backyard that was part of the church property. It had a blue hue, and it was probably Sainted Mother who christened it The Bluepart. We played games there, many involving a ball, and games of Mother May I, Simon Says, one-on-one touch football (me vs Robert T), bike riding, tag, and cowboys & Indians. On the hottest of summer days we would drag the garden hose, put on trunks or old shorts, and happily spray each other, running around until exhaustion. We then would dry off, Sainted Mother would spread a bed sheet out on the living room floor, and we would take a nap.

If there was enough rain we would find popsicle sticks, place them in the street gutter, and watch them negotiate the "rapids" down toward the sewer. What fun! They became our sailboats, sans sail.

If the weather was not conducive to outdoor activities, I spent innumerable hours reading the Hardy Boys books, among others. We made "scribble pictures", in which we took a sheet of paper and rapidly drew a twisting line of inter-crossed circles, spheres, loops, whorls and unnamed shapes with a pencil, followed by taking a box of Crayola 64 crayons and coloring in each and every new loop with a different color. Why? I theorize that Sainted Mother taught us that as a way to keep us busy and quiet.

We would build forts with colored blocks and stick in our army men, cowboys, Indians, and other assorted figures, and then "fight" a brother or sister by shooting rubber bands at the opposing army. Any soldier who was knocked over was dead, but we, for some unknown reason, had to either hit a sniper (aka "laying-down guy") multiple times or flip him over with a shot for him to be dead.

We built model cars, planes, and ships painstakingly and lovingly, and later we would send them zooming down the long linoleum hallway where they would crash into each other, pieces flying everywhere, or else they would go tumbling down the stairs to further destruction. If there were not enough plastic models to use, we supplemented these demolition derbies with metal cars, to the detriment of the plastic models.

We had a dart board in the basement, and for a while we also had a BB gun and target. No eyes were put out during the course of these activities.

We made simple fold-up paper airplanes that we launched into the stratosphere (well, a few feet off the floor anyway), made snowmen, had snowball fights, rode our bicycles a couple of miles to play Little League baseball, ran around in the warmer rains, and generally had a delightful time using our imaginations and 4xercising, all without thinking about it. We simply played and had fun.

Despite the occasional intrusions of The Real World, we had a great time actually playing.

Ahh, those were the days!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Type, type, type, crash!

Recently, the city of Bexley Ohio, a suburb of Columbus instituted a new law that states while driving a vehicle the operator may not text, twitter, peruse the internet or any similar function. That is not the exact language of the law but you get the drift. Bexley has also made this a primary violation which means you do not have to have committed a different infraction such as speeding to be pulled over by our friends in blue. (If a city is completely surrounded by another is it a suburb or something else?)

I think that is outstanding! There are just too many people out there who think driving is the second task they should perform when they get behind the wheel of a car. In another highly executed and purely scientific study by yours truly, I surveyed my surrounding and fellow operators on my way to work over a period of two days. I counted drivers to 100 and tallied how many were performing some function while they were driving. Any guesses?

Nineteen drivers were doing something that took their attention away from the road. Most were on a cell phone, one obviously had an ipod in her hand, another was trying to either read or write on a paper tablet. That's nineteen percent or nearly one in five drivers that could at any time plow into you. (And then there is that idiot who is watching other drivers, that makes 20 of 101).

I did notice however that the majority of those who did something else while driving tended to be those on the highway. Those I observed on city streets were not as active at other things. That's comforting; those driving at the highest speeds are paying less attention. As a clarification to this obviously highly executed study it should be noted that about 90 percent of my travel to work involves freeway driving so the city thing may not be accurate.

Keep your eyes on the road folks and life won't be so stressful. There's just too many ***holes on the road who don't care if you live or die as long as they get where they are going as fast as they can.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Autumn is coming!

When you ask someone to name the seasons, the typical answer, at least in these environs, is "spring, summer, winter, fall". A friend of mine who is from Buffalo says there are two seasons up there, "winter, and July 4th". A recent caller to a national radio talk show declared there are also only two seasons in Houston (TX), "unbelievably hot and muggy", and "ungodly hot and muggy". Weather, it seems, is local, a corollary, perhaps to the famous saying that, "all politics is local."

I actually believe in our area there are five seasons: spring, summer, winter, fall, and Autumn.

Huh? Aren't "fall" and "Autumn" the same? In a word, No.

Autumn brings to mind the changes in the weather patterns, an end to what is normally hot and muggy conditions in July and August (although not much of that this year!), a slow cooling of the temperatures, the beginning of crisp, cooling breezes, the windows open at night for "great sleeping weather", the colors of the leaves as they change; high, wispy clouds under a bright but not overpowering sun, a last spurt of growth for the lawn before it settles down for a much needed slumber, late-blooming plants in the garden, the spectacular colors of earlier sunsets, and light jacket weather for football, campfires, and walks.

Fall, on the other hand, brings to mind the dropping of leaves from the trees; flowers and other plants dying back to the ground; wet, strong winds packing brown leaves into a mushy grass-killing mess on your lawn; your neighbors' leaves clogging up your gutters; dreary weather with gray skies, chilling rains, and bare-limbed trees.

Autumn is my favorite season, short though it is before the coming of fall.

Enjoy it while it lasts!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Out of touch...out of mind?

This one will be short and sweet. I am not one to just openly criticise another person for their views but this one I can't allow to pass easily. President Carter's recent statement calling Congressman Joe Wilson's outburst racist is totally unfounded. Although President Carter has achieved much in his lifetime, I believe he is out of touch with this country. He did not know what was 'going on' when he was president and he doesn't know what's 'going on' now.

Just go help someone build a house, Mr. President.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It's just too cute!

Many years ago the cartoonist Charles Schultz ran a particular Peanuts strip about the birth of Rerun, Lucy and Linus' baby brother. Lucy shows a picture to all the other girls and their reaction is the same. "Cute" they all say. "Cute, cute, cute, cute, cute." Linus then turns to Snoopy and says something to the effect, "If they banned the word cute we'd all die."

Over the past few weeks I have inundated by the word cute. It has been used to describe everything from my nieces new twin baby boys to automobiles. My Beloved and I routinely watch remodeling shows and the like on HG TV and the various other channels. Several shows follow couples (or singles) looking to buy their first home or upgrade their current digs to another. They wander from home to home, room to room with women uttering the same word continually; cute!

Now, I am fortunate in my life to be around many intelligent women. They cover a wide range of ages and most have a fashionable sense of style. Yet, for some reason they are unable to get by this one word. Not everything can be cute. I would understand if it is a particular person that has fallen into this trap as we all have crutches in our vocabulary. But for nearly all women to have the same crutch is mystifying.

In my most humble way I beg of you all to find another way of describing everything from soup to nuts with the same word. Unless of course you are talking about me. (blush)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Three yards and a cloud of turf

As I am of this age, I cut my teeth on the football teachings of Woody and Bo. This is Big Ten country after all. Mind you, I didn't always agree with their offensive tactics but who am I to question legends of the game? They ruled the roost for many years and were respected around the country by those who matter in the football world. That being said, three yards and a cloud of dust still leaves fourth and one.

The Big Ten has had it's struggles in recent years and some of it is due to this outmoded thinking. There has been a gradual change to some extent over the years but there is still a good many coaches stuck in that philosophy. Even the Buckeye's current coach Jim Tressel (for whom I have tremendous respect) has stated you need to protect the ball and run it in cold weather here up north. Uh, no you don't coach.

I looked at the average weather patterns in Madison Wisconsin for the third week of November. Madison is the northern-most city in the conference. Actually, Minneapolis is slightly north of where the Badgers play but the Gophers play in a dome where weather doesn't matter, and many aren't sure you could call what they do football. Why the third week of November? Well, that is usually the last week the Big Ten plays a game. The average temperature for that Saturday is in the low forties. Hardly bone-chilling. You can't really count rain and wind because that happens even in the SEC.

I would guess in any given year there may, and I repeat, MAY be two games a year in the entire conference where cold plays into a game itself. It is more uncomfortable for fans sitting in a stadium than it is for players who are working up a good sweat. Woody used to say when you throw three things can happen and two of them are bad. Unfortunately our beloved Woody didn't realize the same thing is true for a running play.

I was happy to see the Buckeyes open up the attack and finally discover they have a tight end the first two weeks of this season. The most talented players today don't want to play three yards and a cloud of dust any more. To be successful you have to recruit successfully. You have to be the best to get the best. Besides, there is no dust in turf only little rubber pebbles that get in your eye.

O - H

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The King's Anglish

This morning as I readied myself in the bath to start my day, a 'thunk' hit my 'English' ear. Although I write as a side (novels) I am not a stickler for perfect grammar. I fully understand formal verses casual speaking and the various dialects and accents that are scattered across our land. However, there is one usage that thoroughly grates on my nerves; the incorrect pronunciation of the word 'the'.

For this demonstration I shall refer to these pronunciations as 'thee' and 'thuh'. I'm sure at this point North of 50 already knows where I'm heading although I do not know if it annoys him as it does myself. On the national morning news a couple was being interviewed as to a major story that had recently taken place. I could not see them but I could hear them clearly. Just listening to their voices I had conflicting signals to process. For much of the interview I guessed them to be fairly well educated and perhaps in their twenties. Each time I heard the 'thunk' my opinion of them strictly through their speech lessened slightly. Often how you are viewed in life situations depends on your speech and speech patterns.

Although no rule regarding the English language is absolute, at least as far as I know, there are several that are quite resolute, and one is the usage of the word 'the'. English is a language that flows if spoken properly and if a term sounds clunky it is most likely being used incorrectly. I was taught the word 'the' should be pronounced 'thee' when the word following begins with a vowel; thee apple, thee ostrich etc. 'The' should be pronounced 'thuh' when the following word begins with a consonant; thuh movie, thuh football, etc.

I find those who jumble this pronunciation tend to be younger and or speak with a dialect or heavy accent. Often those who are less educated always say 'thuh' and never use 'thee' no matter what the circumstance. I am not sure how it is taught in schools. In this matter I will differ to Baby Sis who is an educator herself and perhaps she can convince the English teachers in her school to address this before I die.

Thuh other option would be to simply let thuh ostriches run around eating all thuh footballs.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Are you ready for some football?

It really began late last week, but the college football season is upon us, as is high school football and the NFL.

In our area the local tv stations all send out multiple crews to the highlight high school football games of the week, as well as to other less-hyped matchups, all in the endless quest for higher ratings, so they can charge more money for commercials, and make a larger profit.

And that is as it should be.

The stations devote quite a bit of Friday night newscast time to highlight these games, complete with the tv personality usually doing or saying something stupid on camera in front of a large mass of cheering teenagers pushing and shoving for face time on camera, just so the local ypkel can show how "cool" he is, I suppose. They show the game clips with narration, while simultaneously scrolling all the scores across the bottom of the screen. I never know if I should look for my team's score or watch the highlights if they are not my school's. At least on the ESPN networks you know the info will be repeated ad nauseum, so it is easier to watch the action and pick up the stats and stuff during lulls in the action. The local stations also occasionally misspell the name of a school, although my favorite local typo occurred during an interview "highlight" with then- OSU football coach John Cooper, whom the station kindly informed us that he had a name change, at least for a few seconds, as we were treated to "OSU Football Coach John Copper"

Before the advent of scrolling scores, the local sports anchors would read them all as fast as they could, and occasionally a newbie would mispronounce a school's name as well. Wehrle High School (pronounced "whirly") always was good for a laugh as the newcomer would struggle with it.

Central Ohio is a seething mass of Ohio State football followers/fanatics, and the lead story on most Friday nights at 11:00 p.m., barring a MAJOR story butting in, is the OSU game the next day. And it is the lead story on Saturday night's newscasts as well. Highlights are shown at the top of the news and again in the sports recap.

Radio is also big on the Buckeyes, although not as much as in the 1960s, when 4 or 5 local stations would each broadcast the game, complete with their own broadcast crew. Nowadays, one station has exclusive radio rights, but their main competitor bills itself as "The Best Buckeye Coverage", doing multiple call-in shows as well as pre-and-post game.

If you are living here and are not a Buckeye fan, life can be miserable, as "that's all you hear!"

My entire family is big on the football Buckeyes; I told Wonderful Daughter that I agreed to let her marry Eric the Tall because he was a big Buckeye fan, and it was a bonus that he was also a Steelers fan. Wonderful Daughter and her husband are raising their children properly, outfitting them in Buckeye gear on game days. Nothing says "OSU FAN" quite like a toddler and a small boy looking their OSU best and cheering on the team! Beloved Wife declares college football to be her favorite, and watches many games with me even when they do not involve the Buckeyes. Handsome Son is doing yeoman's work converting his fiancee, Miss Texas, to Buckeyedom, as well as ensuring she now cheers for all our mutual favorite teams. Robert T and his Beloved have hosted game night parties at Lake Saratoga, but we seem to lose those games when they host, so they may have to reconsider that option. Graybeard and The Stache are fans, but are more on the pessimistic side than the rest of us. My Mother In Law pulls out the section of the paper with the teams' rosters and follows the game on the tube with that in hand.

The NFL also exerts an influence on us, but to a lesser extent. My household is Steelers country, although Beloved Wife still has a degree of Cowboys follower in her. Wonderful Daughter's family is also a Steelers haven, thanks to her husband, and the afore-mentioned Miss Texas is being indoctrinated into Steelerdom by Handsome Son.

Robert T is somehow a Vikings fan without having been to Minnesota, and his neighbor, Mrs Doogles, is a Cowboys fan, but we suspect it really is more of a Tony Romo longing than an actual liking of the team.

Mrs North of 50 is kind enough to ask if the Steelers game will be shown locally each week, so we can plan our day's activities.

I love that woman!

Are you ready for some football now?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Humor me

A bit over 400 years ago, master wordsmith William Shakespeare penned the most hilarious piece of extended writing I have read, A Comedy of Errors. The plot revolves around twin brothers separated years ago, each of whom employs one of a set of twins for a servant, and the mistaken identity problems which inevitably result kept me in stitches the entire time I read the play.

I have read, more accurately attempted to read, a number of comedic books that have sold well, several by noted thriller writer Robert Ludlum, whose works I flew through until he wrote a few "The Road to..." books, none of which I found even remotely humorous, let alone funny. I read The Road to Gandolfo all the way through, and afterward wondered why I bothered. I tried another of his Road books later, and gave it up quickly.

My Darling Wife has maintained for years that I have a "strange" sense of humor. We laugh at many of the same things, but she just shakes her head at some of the things at which I laugh. To some extent, I put this down to "guy humor", things that guys laugh at that women do not; the Three Stooges, slapstick comedy, parodies, etc. Guys have a reputation for laughing at broad humor, things like punches to the groin, mainly because it is great that it happens tp someone else, while painfully remembering how bad it felt when it happened to us. That strikes many of us as funny. We can't help it, it is the way we are wired, I maintain.

We are more likely than women to laugh at stupid things, probably because deep down we can recall laughing uproariously at something similar while being at least slightly tipsy, back in the days when we did things like that.

I have long had an appreciation for British humor such as Monty Python's Flying Circus, which I watched for years on Sunday nights on our local PBS affiliate. For years I was able to recite the entire piece, "Penguin on top of the television set" sketch, which appeared on Monty Python's Previous Record after being performed on their show. Another favorite was "Are You Being Served?", a sitcom from the 70s about life in a department store. That setting sounds mundane, but the writers were very clever and almost always came up with excellent writing for their stories.

Puns have always been considered the lowest form of humor, but I disagree. One not only has to recognize the potential for a witticism as it occurs, but must also instantaneously come up with said witticism, and then communicate it to someone else, whereupon they usually groan, but do so with a bit of a smile. Around our house these became known as Daddy Jokes(c). You cannot plan a pun, it must be spontaneous.

In the 70s I had a number of comedy record albums (large vinyl cd-like things that you played on a stereo, youngsters) in my collection, featuring such luminaries as Bill Cosby, George Carlin, Hudson and Landry, and others. About three years ago I listened to them again, for the first time in over a decade. The Hudson and Landry albums were comedic sketches, and were very dated, offering little in their favor. The Carlin albums were a little better, more topical, but there was a big difference between his early (hilarious) material, and his later stuff, which mainly consisted of a series of angry rants tinged with humor. The Bill Cosby material was still classic stuff, and remains so today. His was observations on life's little ups and downs, and perspectives on life seen through the eyes of a child. Some of his comedy still brings tears of joy to my eyes.

We watch commercials during the Super Bowl hoping to see something memorable, usually funny, and often the commercials are better than the game itself. When I see commercials for tv comedies nowadays, I am amazed at how dull and stupid-sounding they seem to be. There is nothing there that makes me want to say "I want to watch that show!"

I laughed for years at the monologues from Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, the radio and tv comedy of Jack Benny and George Burns among others. I like Jay Leno's monologues, but David Letterman I guess I just don't get. He is not funny to me. He seems to think he's funny, at least on the show previews you see on CBS.

Too many so-called comedians confuse funny with raunchy, thinking that the more f-bombs and assorted foul language they can stick in a sentence, the funnier they are. Far from it, but people still pay good money to see them in concert.

What is funny to one person often leaves another with a puzzled look on their face, but, if you can find something to laugh about regularly, you will find this to be a better world.

Learn today, learn tomorrow and always

My beloved and I had the chance to babysit our grandson yesterday. It is always a fun time for us as we get to watch him explore the world around him. He is now slightly more than five months old; essentially a blank slate. We were outside on the deck and as 'Maw-Maw' (as she is affectionately monikered) was feeding the little whipper she noticed his eye caught a plane flying overhead. He watched it intently as he continued to suck, until it was out of view.

I thought that was fascinating. It then occurred to me, people are meant to learn. It's what they do from their earliest moments. Everything is new and unexplored. Their minds absorb every sight, sound and feeling. That may escape us because it is some time before they are able to organize themselves. First comes facial recognition of the parents as that is obvious as my son returns and my grandson just lights up. Then it is recognition for us and others that surround him on a daily basis. Then it is things to be explored.

As he is not yet crawling but is able to roll, I watched him study our golden retriever who was just out of reach. He stared intently as she just lay there letting the world go by. You could almost see his intent of wanting to explore; what is this big shaggy thing in front of me? I need to touch, I need to see, I need to learn. It is not something frightening, it is curiosity at it's purest.

At some point in our lives learning begins to take a back seat to everything else. I think it starts unfortunately in school as learning becomes a chore. It is the expected job of every child to go to school. It becomes a mandate. Hopefully, that gets pushed aside and each child finds a focus that will propel them through high school and beyond. But then comes making your way in the real world. Too often we are distracted by life and it's demands both personal and professional and we no longer take the time to learn. I'm not speaking necessarily of formal learning. Not everything needs to be done in a classroom or formalized setting. Opportunities abound. Pick up a book, read a newspaper or on-line article. Get your mind involved in something other than your daily routines.

It has been many years since I needed to work an algebra problem. I hadn't looked at a math book since my days in college. This past spring I drove to a used book store on my lunch and purchased an advanced mathematics book. My Beloved and our sassy little neighbor Mrs. Doogles both thought I was insane. "What are you going to do with that?" "I'm going to read it," I replied.

It is what we do, it is what we are. Never stop learning and never stop growing. When you give up you begin to wither, when you wither you lose hope. Hope and strength come from the mind and all the wonderful things within.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Nanny News

"Heh, back in my day we didn't need all this mamby-pamby stuff. We talked about killin' Russians and stoppin' communists". (You have to say that sounding like an old geezer.)

In my formative years and as I moved into adulthood, something happened to the news I used to watch. It has not only afflicted local but also the national broadcasts. It used to be news was news about what was happening in the world at large. Now, it's much different.

The local news hits the airwaves at 5pm and continues for one and a half hours. Then it is the national news. Local broadcasts essentially repeat themselves three times for 90 minutes. They simply do not have enough material, or don't wish to show more, tease what is coming on the late news and now need to fill time. We are then subjected to 'Nanny News'. Nanny news is all the useless life style features we are subjected to to fill time. When did the viewing public become so stupid we need to be told things we should have learned in grade school? We are instructed how to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Insulate and close the windows or open the windows and turn on the fan. Scintillating journalism. Oh, and clip coupons when you go to the grocery store to save money. Very thought provoking. I feel sorry for you if this is information you can really use.

In my neck of the woods we are also subjected to weather information four times within thirty minutes. Shows lead off with weather even if nothing significant happened, then tease the weather ten minutes later which will happen in another ten minutes. Then we have the full weather details and before the newscast is over they wrap up with, you guessed it, weather for the morning.

News programs would be much more useful if they just gave us the news and left the life style slots to Oprah. At least she can keep it to an hour-long show.