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Old news is good news

May 18, 2010

Welcome back loyal readers!  I hope it’s turning to spring wherever you are, and not just jumping the track to summer.  I’ve been spending the last few days playing with my new computer, a 13” MacBook Pro, and I have to say, it’s lovely.  Absolutely lovely.  I also have been following the trials and tribulations of England’s Twenty20 Cricket Team’s campaign, they beat Australia in the final on Sunday, which is incredibly exciting.  Oh, and the parliamentary elections, you know, minor things.  I’ve been overjoyed that there have not been too many “what this means for us” articles on the parliamentary elections in England.  Because anytime you’ve got a governing coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, I think spin is going to be tough.  It’s a fact.  Even if you’ve no idea what the platform of the Lib Dems is, it’s really all in a name isn’t it?   Although there is certainly something quite civilized about two such disparate groups in America being able to find common ground in England.  Makes me despair for the state of the R’s these days, and the 2010 elections in particular.  Anyone want to ponder the ramifications of Rep. Steve King being in the majority?  Gives me nightmares, and that’s no lie. 

Sometimes I wonder, and am pretty sure, that we are just inundated with “news” to the detriment of actual news.  I’ve been thinking about this for a while, that we are blind to stories that actually are news because of the 24 hour news cycles and the need to fill the time.  I mean really, how else are CNN, MSNBC, Faux, CNBC, etc going to get the advertisers?  Right!  If they can “capture” an audience with what is passing for real information these days.   And really, is this news?  Or this?  Or even this?  Where is the breaking point between “headlines” on news sites and glossies in supermarket racks?  Don’t you think we could have one “news” station and then a station that plays stories just to make you feel better about yourself because you’re not “that guy/gal“?  I guess the bigger picture becomes, what is news?  Which, truth be told, may be more intrinsic than extrinsic.  But this is just crazy and dumb.
When I was 8, I was interviewed on CNN.  Yup.  Your humble blogger walked out of a haunted house in a big city at the right place at the right time and apparently wasn’t too hideous.  And suddenly there was a really bright light and a microphone and I was interviewed.  My family did not have cable at the time.  Hell, we were still operating in a black and white television world [It’s all coming back to me now, “Your Mother” reminded me that we had a color tv, from her parents if my admittedly faulty memory serves me right.  I believe there was a Uhaul, my dad, and an empty gas tank involved.]  But, my uncle in the largest city in the good old U.S. of A. did have cable, and happened to see my “cute” mug on the screen.  He called us and told us, and without him I would never have known.  There would be no fun story for you right now.  Sad, right?  Well, aside from the fact that he has a predilection for old teeth from dentists’ offices and tries to give them away, thank goodness for my uncle!  And really, do you think today he ever would have caught the story?  I don’t think so.  Was my interview actually news anyway?  Well, in the time when there was only one 24-hour news channel, apparently it was, so I’m sticking to those guns (yeah, I know—gluing those guns to my hands doesn’t count but hey! Who’s writing this blog?)
My better half and I went garage “sale-ing” a few weeks ago, and I found this little footstool that I thought would go well with our dark wood furniture in our future condo/house.  We brought it to my apartment and I opened up the lid of the footstool and lo and behold, there were several pages of the local newspaper from October 1949.  Cool right?  Admittedly, I do not live in a major metropolitan area.  Not even close.  But, let’s see what news in 1949 was, shall we? 
On the editorial page, the first comment is titled “Federal Pay Increase,” which covers a salary increase for cabinet members, from $15,000 to $22,500 instead of the proposed $25,000.  Apparently Congress was just as petty back then: “Senators, it’s reported, didn’t like the idea of paying federal executives so much more than their own pay of $12,500 plus a $2500 expense allowances.”  Nice.
We also have a section entitled “Clipped from other papers.”  The selections highlight an international trade conference, the dry state of Oklahoma (it all makes sense now), and a small selection called “Unpleasant Memories.”  In it, the author talks of the actual Nazis and memories that are evoked whenever old newsreels are shown of “a vast German audience being addressed by a screaming orator.”  There is an AP article on the movement of Communism in the soon-to-be Eastern Bloc and an opinion piece of the shortage of raw materials to countries being a main cause of wars.   Communism makes a second appearance in another article on Capitalist immorality in family life that Moscow wants no part of.  And mind you, this was actual Communism, not the pithy-enough-for-tv version we hear so much about today.  And, in case you were wondering, Eddie Dyer returned as the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals for the 1950 season. 
Believe it or not, marriage was a hot topic in 1949 too, even though interracial marriage was still outlawed in many states.  An article on marriage, “U.S. Marriage Rules Too Tough, Says Divorce Shouldn’t Be a Disgrace,” states that a “tightening up [of] divorce laws” would be a backward step, and that according to Dr. Margaret Mead, there were other ways to “make marriage safer and more responsible.”  These include removing the “stigma of failure and sin” from divorce so that “accusation or collusion” is done away with in divorce proceedings.  Quite reasonable if I say so myself.  Today this might well incur the ire of the religious wrong, so it’s probably best this was written 61 years ago.

Today in History:  My better half sent me this today.  We then had a conversation about how this country thought, for 58 official Supreme Court years, that “separate-but-equal” was a-ok.  Which is amazing on many levels–the absurdity of Jim Crow as seen today, while still recognizing that this country has hardly moved away from its racial conflicts.  
Extra bonus: In 1949 you could get a printed seersucker housecoat for $3.48 at Economy.  What do you think a printed seersucker housecoat would even look like?

Extra special bonus:  Go watch this.  

Extra extra special bonus:  I have recipes for fried brook trout with salt pork (I get thirsty just thinking about it), pickled pears, and braised veal kidneys with tomatoes in case anyone is interested.  Thanks, but I think I’ll skip lunch today.

One Comment leave one →
  1. your mother permalink
    May 19, 2010 12:47 am

    we had a color tv…just no cable

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