sixtiestosixties

I was something in the 60s but now I'm just sixty something.

Elections and TV Coverage

The public peacekeeper.

Have you noticed that most public places that blare TV at you are no longer tuned to news programs but to ESPN? It’s a matter of security. I feel certain this is to avoid fistfights. It’s an unwritten policy at my gym not to have any news networks tuned in as the owner has had to eject grown men from the premises for throwing punches at each other during a news show. I noticed ESPN was even on in the airports and hotels when I was traveling the last couple of weeks. It is, after all, an election year and the closer it gets to Nov.6 the angrier people are getting. Now there is even arguing about whether given the choice you would vote for Romney’s Irish Setter or Obama’s Portuguese Water Dog. What the hell is wrong with people? Don’t they know both of these breeds are fairly stupid dogs and we would all be better off with a German Shepherd? There’s a clue here.

A far better choice.

ESPN is winning the public space ratings primarily because news stations aren’t really news stations anymore. They are loud, obnoxious mouth pieces for political parties and we all know which ideology controls which stations. It is human nature that people only want to listen to their chosen pack of lies and want nothing to do with the lies of their opposition. We want our lies validated, not challenged. Thus, must of us only want to hear from our chosen “news” station. The thing is, if it were really news the stations would all be reporting pretty much the same “facts”. (Remember Huntley-Brinkley and Walter Cronkite?) Instead, today’s news shows all but incite riots. I personally don’t want to hear any of the political pundits shouting across the airwaves because I think they are all a bunch of asses but it doesn’t take long for ESPN to bore me. (Also,as far as sports go,  I am a Charger fan and just like the politicians they start off the game with big promise then fail to deliver in the end. I’m not sure how much longer my  TV can survive without a shoe going through it.)

On the news shows we have to hear the spin doctors trying  to make a bunch of stupid, immoral, politicians look good.  On ESPN we have to listen to the spin doctors trying to make a bunch of stupid, immoral sports figures look good. Do Americans really swallow this stuff? It scares me to think so. I think most of us would agree that the vast majority of sports stars are majorly sleazy but as long as they win we don’t care. So the sports talk shows provoke fewer fights. Unless of course there is an actual game on in which case public venues are better off turning to the Food Channel because this is obese America and we all like to eat. And we are able to have civil discourse on which fatty, over salted foods are best for the country.

It’s even getting risky to watch the election coverage in the privacy of our own homes. At my house we make sure we are fortified with wine before the debates start. Then we start yelling at the TV. Fortunately for us we are pretty much on the same page politically. Basically, we think they are all morons. But in many homes family members are having intense, ugly battles over this stuff. (Fox News and CNN are probably the real reason Arnold and Maria broke up.) I often wonder how my in-laws would have fared in this political climate if they were still living. My mother-in-law was a die-hard Democrat her whole life and my father-in-law was a staunch Republican. They watched and listened to all the news available in the old days and read two daily papers front to back. They passionately argued politics for 66 years. But they did it with respect and conceded points to each other. Maybe we would all do well to take a page from their book. Until we do I’ll just keep ordering wine by the case.

The candidates? The news team?

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Leaving on a Prop Plane

Just three planes and I”m home!

I just had the joy of flying across the country and back in one of America’s luxurious airliners. I needed to travel to a small airport which has limited service but an abundance of fog. This meant multiple legs on the trip and an extra hour of circling the runway at midnight in a really loud prop jet hoping the fog would lift so as not to have to land 90 miles away and board a bus. This kind of stuff can’t really be helped so although it’s added misery I made up my mind to just grin and bare it.

But we all know air travel could be improved.

I’m not going to run on with the usual gripes about the airlines: the way we are crammed in, the lack of food and drink, and the surliness of so many flight attendants. You know what the problems are. I am used to bringing my own food and plenty of water because I can count on the airlines not to offer me any. Three ounces of water is not sufficient to ward off dehydration on a five and a half hour flight.  I don’t mind bringing my own but I figure they could at least come by with the trash bag. Most of the time I see the attendants sitting in their little service area eating their own lunch. I hate to interrupt them by handing them my trash but there really is no room to keep it in the seat pocket. That space is already taken by my knees.

Neither am I going to say much about the TSA although I can’t understand how you can get through security quicker at LAX than at an airport that has four outbound flights a day. In such a small airport the TSA doesn’t really have much to do so they go through everyone’s luggage right as it’s checked. Helps with the boredom. I really don’t like people perusing my dirty laundry (literally or metaphorically). And I absolutely hate it when I have to stand there and watch. I prefer to be humiliated anonymously. Do I need someone to judge my underwear?

The real problem though, as I see it, is the other travelers. Rudeness rules the day. So does poor hygiene. People are just nasty these days in all possible ways. And animals? I love animals and have sat near dogs many times. They are usually better behaved than their owners. But I draw the line at having to smell cat pee for five hours. The smell of cat pee is exactly why I don’t have a cat. This was the first time I ever saw a cat on a plane and I hope I never have to smell see one again.

And what don’t people get about “a small personal item”? This does not mean a backpack that would be a challenge for a marine to carry. Or one that bounces off the heads of everyone already seated on its’ way down the aisle. And yes, shopping bags count. Not really a carry on?  Yeah, right. It’s packed with more stuff than checked baggage. What useless stuff are all these people buying on vacation? Planes are SMALL folks. Really small. And no one is that special.

Did anyone learn anything on “Watch Mr. Wizard”? If not, here’s a science lesson for you: gas expands at high altitudes. If you have a sealed bag of something like chips or crackers you will notice the bag will blow up full and tight. You can pop it like a balloon. The gas in your stomach expands too. But unlike the sealed bag there is a way out for intestinal gas subjecting all aboard to recycled farts for hours on end. That little air blower over your head doesn’t get any new air once those doors are closed in preparation for take off. So everybody keep on bringing those fast food fries and onions on board so we can all breathe them in both before and after they are consumed. The smells blend in nicely with the germs from all the coughing and sneezing. Best to pack something to hold over your nose and get a flu shot.

Who do the airlines think they are kidding when they say “sit back, relax, and enjoy the trip”? It actually pisses me off to hear that. Just hurry up and come by with the beverage cart. Then I can buy some alcohol to get through the whole ordeal.

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