Tuesday Bag o’ Grumpiness

bag_of_grumpinessConfidently awaiting a new round of News at Ten hysteria over teenagers burning out their stomachs after quaffing liquid nitrogen cocktails. Do you know what your children are drinking?

So sick, so very sick of the 24/7 media focus on the recent presidential candidates’ debate. Yes, Obama did poorly. Yes, Romney told a pack of lies with a straight face. There are more debates to come, and aren’t there other important things going on in the country and the world? Most annoying is the constant invocation of Big Bird. As if Republican candidates haven’t always promised to cut off funding for PBS, NPR, and the arts. At this point I can’t even watch Rachel Maddow. Let’s get this damn election over with.

Speaking of NPR: the other day I opined that what conservatives call “liberal bias” is actually a journalistic preference for reality over fantasy. Granted, the preference is no longer all that obvious, but it’s there, and NPR arguably does a better job of reporting reality than commercial media outlets. For that, the right accuses NPR of liberal bias. To any objective listener, though, NPR’s reporting comes across as overwhelmingly centrist, even conservative. So what do conservatives mean by liberal bias?

I think it’s this: NPR’s coverage of America—our people and the news that affects us—tries to be inclusive. We’re no longer a majority white Anglo protestant nation. Being publicly funded, NPR’s coverage reflects the diversity of America’s public, and like it or not some listeners are going to hear about members of the public who are not just like them. That, I think, is what the right really means when they claim liberal bias. They don’t want to hear about minorities or people of other religions. They don’t want to hear about gays and lesbians, students, single mothers, people who’ve been out of work for years and years. They don’t want to hear about scientists who are worried about climate change or working on alternate sources of energy. They don’t want to be reminded that many American workers still belong to unions. But especially, they don’t want to hear about minorities.

And, though it galls me to say it, there is a Big Bird point in favor of continuing funding for PBS and NPR. Look what’s happened to The Learning Channel. Founded in 1972 under the auspices of NASA and the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, it featured documentary programming on nature, science, history, current events, medicine, technology, cooking, and home improvement. It was privatized in 1980. Today, it features programs of no educational value whatsoever, from Toddlers & Tiaras to Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. If Republicans ever do force PBS to privatize and find commercial sponsors, can you guess how long Sesame Street will survive? And when it comes to NPR, just imagine Clear Channel taking over the bottom end of the FM dial. Shudder.

On to more personal news.

I’m starting to worry about my knee. It’s not getting better, and the little bit of walking around I’m forcing myself to do doesn’t seem to be helping. So much for listening to my inner Puritan. I need to see the doctor again and listen to him instead.

We went to a stillborn’s funeral Sunday. It was terribly sad, but standing there in the children’s section I was struck by how peaceful the cemetery was, park-like and quiet, and now that I think about it I don’t know why people don’t spend more time in cemeteries, not to visit the dead but to simply calm down and think about what’s important in life.

After two plus years we’ve given our daughter an ultimatum: find an apartment and move out by the end of the month. These are not happy times for us or for her, so please excuse a little grumpiness on my part.

End on an up note? Sure, why the hell not? Donna’s IT guy came over yesterday and fixed our home wi-fi problem. Now there’s a strong signal all through the house, and he even set up our family room TV for streaming. That was my birthday present, I believe. Our spa guy came over as well and fixed a huge leak in the internal plumbing. Now when friends visit, we’ll once more have a hot tub to sit in, just in time for cooler weather, so yay!

Oh, I almost forgot: we installed two new toilets in the house. While the plumber was putting them in, I had to pee in the back yard. Have I ever mentioned what a good citizen my dog Schatzi is? When I rake up dog poo in the back yard she always comes out to watch, and if she can she’ll poop on the grass while I’m raking because she thinks she’s helping me. I love the way her mind works! So here I am, zipping up after peeing on the rocks around the side of the house, and I look down at my feet and there’s Schatzi, peeing where I just peed. God, I love that dog!

© 2012, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

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