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Monday, November 15, 2004

News I Can't Use 

I was over at my in-laws' place, enjoying a glass of wine and the company of my brother-in-law and father-in-law, and for the first time in a very long time, I watched a local news show all the way through. I should preface my remarks by saying that this has obviously been a slow news day, and I got the impression this Sunday evening newscast was mostly filler before they showed us the weather and the sports highlights.

That said, it was bizarre! I kept fairly good track of the stories, and here's what I recall: A murder in Newton was the lead story. Next, a recap of the suddent death of local soccer star Dominic Mobilio, apparently due to a heart attack that led to a car crash. A follow-up on a car chase ended by an accident that killed a Vernon auxiliary RCMP. A recap of an odd MVA that killed two on the Upper Levels highway, when a rig lost its load of logs into oncoming traffic. The victims of the previous three incidents were all described glowingly by friends. Then, there was a follow-up on a Vancouver Island story which combined a child custody abduction (child taken by her own father) with an MVA that was fatal to the abductor, the abductee, and (the excuse for this story) a child in the minivan the abductor hit. The crash-scene porn was especially grisly in this one, as the van remains were barely recognizable as a vehicle. I think the next story was PM Paul Martin's visit to Haiti.

So, if I didn't lose count, the tally was five stories that had virtually no bearing on my life. The four MVA tales had almost no reason for existing beyond a brief mention except for passable accident-scene footage. Admittedly, this is the local news. But the stuff they were showing me was anti-news! I felt less informed about current affairs after seeing it. I get vastly better information about my world from the Tri-City News, one of the two fish-wrappers that hits my doorstep on a semi-weekly schedule.

Why would I ever tune in again? No local colour, no news I'm likely to want to see (say, a human interest story besides teary-eyed shots of bereaved friends of the MVA victim du jour); nothing, in my opinion, of real note until the PM was shown shakng hands with Hatians, and that barely out-did the weather as a news story. Actually, the weather in Nova Scotia was the next news story after the PM, since it was bad, and lots of customers had lost power.

The weirdest part was that the accident footage wasn't even sensational. Crumpled metal, yes. But no to bodies. Understandable, but I'm a big fan of stupid injury television (everything from America's Funniest Home Videos right through to Max X) and this stuff left me cold. Who needs this? It's too dumb for the news.

No, really, who watches this stuff?

In other grumpiness, I have now flatted during three straight Saturday rides, and six flats total in that period. I don't think I got six flat tires all last year. On the upside, I stopped at MEC after the ride and picked up a set of my much-coveted Kool Stop salmon-compound pads, Thinline version. Actually, I bought out the last four sets MEC had in stock. So if you're looking for the rare and excellent salmon pads, they only have them in unthreaded canti-post versions now. I just finished mounting two sets on my commuter bike, which has enthusiastically chewed through a pair of generic black brake shoes in about a month.

Also, since I mentioned Chip Kerr VC in a previous post, I ought to link to his Victoria Cross bio. John Chipman Kerr single-handedly inflicted heavy losses and captured 62 prisoners in a single action under enemy fire, and got his fingers blown off in the action, but survived.

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