Friday, November 23, 2007

Blech Friday

(No Robowriters assignment today as we did not meet last night. It will return next week.)

Americans love to be distracted. We really are just killing time until time kills us. So, of course we want to do that with as much comfort and entertainment as possible. This is why the news is chock full of celebrity meltdowns and missing white suburban wives. We only hear about presidential candidates when they say something catty about an opponent or some dirt is unearthed about them. Natural disasters, when the footage is awesome. Horrible, horrible things for those immediately involved, but most of us aren't involved and devour the latest tidbits with glee.

Today is Black Friday. The newspapers and news shows will be choking us with shopping tips and updates on how the holiday season is shaping for up for the merchants. Look for reporters on the scene at shopping malls that opened at 4am interviewing the boneheads who camped out all night so they can be the first to stampede into the store and grab up the latest Prozackean Elmo toy. Look for the news shows to repeat ad nauseam shots of shoppers running into the stores like its the running of the bulls, especially if someone gets trampled or a fist fight breaks out. This will all be the lead news and the front page headlines.

While the media conglomerates dangle this shiny bauble of "news" in front of us, other news might go unnoticed. Here are a few headlines I plucked out unrelated to shopping that you might find interesting...

From the Chicago Sun-Times, whose main front page headline is about ex-cop Drew Peterson and his missing wife, there's this news article about how the Jose de Diego Community Academy in Chicago has had to ration its drinking water since the middle of September when a main waterline broke there. The break has been fixed, but the city Water Management Department has yet to give them a clean bill of health of health. Students are only allowed four ounces of drinking water a day! It's a bureaucratic mess. You can read the whole article HERE.

From the Chicago Tribune, 23 civilians were killed in Iraq in two separate bombings. One of the bombs was at a pet market, so tally up an untold number of adorable critters with that number, too. And among the fatalities were over 60 wounded. It's easy to file these numbers in the "Blah-Blah-Blah Crazy People Blowing Each Other Up" folder and forget about it. But these are human beings. Our foreign policy ineptitude has a lot to do with why they are now dead. If you have a hard time putting a face to the numbers, I recommend reading the article. The reporter interviewed some people at the market and paints a good picture of their lives. You can read the whole article HERE.

It's not all bad news that gets buried, but it mostly is. I had to dig around on the Internet for about 20 minutes to find this on CNN... The Queen (you know, THE Queen) is giving some lovin' to Uganda for their peace-keeping efforts. You can read about it HERE.

But, hey, it's a holiday weekend. Enjoy yourself. You deserve it. I just ask that we not turn a blind eye to what's really going on out there. Banking on us not wanting to really know what's going on and not caring is how the assholes got in charge in the first place.


On Wednesday, I asked...

"British scientists have found the fossil of an insect with what unusual feature?"

30% said "It has male pattern baldness."
- And next to it, a fossilized comb and tube of hair gel. Sadly, it's the first evidence of a comb over.

15% said "It's already been in a Jurassic Park sequel."
- Not yet. But it will be.

No one fell for "It ate a human."

55% nailed it with "It's as big as a Buick."

According to the Associated Press, British scientists have stumbled across a fossilized claw, part of an ancient sea scorpion, that is of such large proportion it would make the entire creature the biggest bug ever. How big? Bigger than you, and at 8 feet long as big as some cars. These scientist are too easily impressed. They obviously haven't seen some of the cockroaches I've encountered here in Chicago.