Archive for July, 2008

July 25, 2008

There has been just this FRENZY of crabbing and pissing and moaning, often in combination, a capella, on the part of the RightWing Media (possible redundancy alert!) about the fawning overattentiveness that the MainStream Media (everything to the left of Newt Gingrich’s newsletter) has lathered onto Obama.  Well, I naturally had to dig into the reality of this charge myself, much as a dog digs into, well, if he has any fucking brains at all, an oil bearing hillmound.  And in my personal calculations involving the broadcast news time of the major networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, NPR, FOX, CCCP, SNL, OOP, PDQ, ETC) here are the rather interesting results.

Over a two-week period somewhere between March and July (or maybe even October, if the numbers are worth it).

The total minutes spent on Obama:  152

The total minutes spent on McCain:  129

The total minutes spent showing conservative Republicans griping about the total minutes spent on Obama:  154,4450

The total minutes devoted to conservatives whining and pissing and moaning in general about how unfair the media are (see above):  6,335,380,502,339,814,696969696969ohgrowupforgodsake

 

More to come, unless you transfer $500 from your IRA to this website at the earliest opportunity. You have been warned.

TREE HITTERS & HARD HITTERS

July 11, 2008

So there is this long-term standoff just below the Memorial Stadium, where the Golden Bears play, between the University of California–which wants to build a fancy and tech-riddled new athletic facility for its various student jocks as befits a Pac 10 football team, albeit one whose 7-6 record last year would not, you would think, require all that much to befit–and environmentalists, who want the suddenly sacred ground chosen for the facility to be spared any development, and to which end a diminishing number of them have been sitting in the trees that would be cut down for the facility.  So it’s the tree-sitters versus the football fans, with both sides are becoming increasingly bitter.

Hence my humbly proposed solution, with something to please both sides.  First, the environmentalists are required to leave the trees and go on with their lives.  Second, Nate Longshore, a fellow whom head coach Jeff Tedford has inexplicably mistaken for a starting Pac 10 quarterback the last two years, is required to take the tree-sitters’ place.  For the entire season.  Including any bowl games.

As I say, something for everyone.

WRITHING IN THE FLAMES OF PARADISE

July 9, 2008

Watching the local news this evening, specifically the reports of the fires rampaging around Butte County, I recognized the background behind the guy doing the remote from the outskirts of Paradise for Channel 5.  I’ve driven that road a lot.  Not lately, but at one point, several times a year for several years.  My folks lived, beginning around 1982, all over Butte, first way up in the snaggletooth pines above Lake Oroville,  then in Paradise, your basic God’s Country (in the secular, environmental sense) doublewide community, and then in assisted living in Chico.  (Which always makes me think there should be a small town somewhere up in cannabis country called Harpo.)  The channel 5 location shot was looking down the highway that runs from Paradise to Chico.  I know that section of road.  It runs literally down the ridge line between two canyons for about 5 to 10 miles.  As you go from Paradise to Chico, on the right hand side, although you can’t see them from the highway, are a number of Big Ticket homes, built there for their panoramic view of the canyon and expansive vistas to the north.  The problem is, there is no worse place on the face of the earth, fire-wise, than to be at the top of the rise of a nice, steep canyon. Some years back, I wrote a first person piece about urban fire fighters learning to deal with brush and timber fires by fighting them in training exercises.  I’ll get right to the point: You do not, in your entire life, ever want to be uphill from a fire.  In the case of a fire during a drought and fueled by hot winds, double or triple that.  That’s exactly the situation in Paradise.  My folks’ dwelling was on a corner, although you wouldn’t know it by sidewalks, because there weren’t any.  Every bit of property was graced by one or more trees the height, it seemed, of the Chrysler Building.  The fuel load was absolutely insane.  A fire anywhere outside the city limits of Paradise, blown toward Paradise, was an up-canyon flame flow.  Anything in the path hasn’t a chance.  Those mini-mansions erected alongside the ridge road from Paradise to Chico?  If there is fire in that canyon, they’re toast, in the cruelest and most literal sense.  Some years back, George Carlin had an HBO special coming up that he planned to title Sometimes I Kind Of Like It When A Lot Of People Die.  Then, before it aired, 9/11 occurred.  Tsk tsk.  Timing is everything.  He changed the title.  Sometimes, the sheer scope of a disaster gives it a kind of fascinating, hypnotic quality.  Ooooh.  Nagasaki.  But if you’ve been through that neighborhood, you have a sense of the actual loss and grief and sorrow involved.  I happened to be in Iowa a little over a year ago.  They’d had some rains.  There was some flooding.  I saw and sympathized.  That was a wading pool compared to what they’re dealing with now.  Can’t even imagine.  But, to use a phrase that in the 60s and 70 seemed unthinkable, my heart is with the folks of Iowa.  Who knew.