Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Countywide Universal Amalgamated Journal Sentinel Tribune Post Dispatch News-Free Press Sun Chronicle Daily Planet Democrat Observer, continued.

We have been getting The Countywide Universal Amalgamated Journal Sentinel Tribune Post Dispatch News-Free Press Sun Chronicle Daily Planet Democrat Observer for a few weeks now. Mama Bear has found a few useful coupons in the Sunday edition, but nowhere near enough to pay for the paper, not even at the ridiculously low introductory rate.

But it's a newspaper, someone will say. You're supposed to get it for the news. Fair enough, but if it didn't happen in this county, they just download and print out yesterday's story from Associated Press. I can do the same thing a day earlier on Yahoo for free. I'm sure that someone will say that it's not really free; both the local paper and Yahoo pay for the service, and hopefully some of that money gets back to the original reporter to compensate him for putting the requisite liberal spin on events to get the story "picked up" by AP, i.e. approved by its censors. Well, Yahoo performs the same service faster, with no subscription fees and fewer ads.

The paper costs more because they cut down all those trees to preach their environmentalist message. I don't consider myself all that Green, but I hate to throw something in a landfill that might be useful somewhere else. For example, anything I print out, once I'm done with it, we use for scratch paper. Once both sides of the paper have been written on, we shred and compost it. I hated to throw all these newspapers in the dumpster, so I started throwing them in the compost bin. They kept blowing out. I tried wetting them down with the hose. After a few hours, the top layer dried out, and the papers started blowing around again. Trying to saturate all those layers would drive my water bill sky-high. I tried separating the pages and running them through the shredder. They blow around a lot less, and after a light sprinkling, they stay put. Problem solved, but I now spend over an hour a week shredding the paper that I didn't want in the first place.

But it's a local paper. What about all the local news you can't get anywhere else? What vital local events would I be missing out on if I didn't get the paper? Well, like the Herald-Star, edited by Harold Starr, it's not so much the news as the index to the news. All the crimes reported this week occurred in the county seat. The police chief in the city at the opposite end of the county is working toward having his department "accredited". Police, fire, and emergency services departments in several jurisdictions are involved in turf disputes. Incumbent re-elected. New restrictions on outdoor burning proposed. A local bar may lose its liquor license. The city won't say why, but they will say why not. Man celebrates 64 years of membership in the local YMCA. High school sports coverage. Fairs, festivals, and fundraisers. If you open a new business anywhere in the county, you can most likely get your picture in the paper.

A bunch of people in various places observed Memorial Day last Monday. Independence Day Parades in most towns in the county will be on July 5 this year because the 4th falls on a Sunday. I'd already read that in the village newsletter. Even if I hadn't, I could have guessed it. That's the day the Post Office is closed. The parade here always starts at 9:30 a.m., and every church in town has a float in the parade. By 11:30, the celebration is over, everyone heads home, some people fire up their grills, and the rest of the day is devoted to eating, drinking, and napping. The nearest fireworks display is in a town ten miles down the road. I love small-town life.

The county seat's local Humane Society has been caught using expired rabies vaccines. They're giving new vaccinations free to the animals that got the expired vaccine. They say, "We're fixing the problem as fast as we can." That's odd, I would have thought "as fast as we can" would have come before giving 600 expired doses over the last six months. According to a professor at the state university school of veterinary medicine, the vaccines are still safe and effective for up to six months beyond their expiration date, "not that you should use them," but the state will not recognize vaccinations if the vaccine was past its expiration. The last case of rabies in a domestic animal in the city was 20 years ago. A local kennel says it will not accept animals without an up-to-date vaccine, but it has checked its records and hasn't found any that got the expired dose. The Humane Society employee who caught the error has been fired. He says he was fired for reporting his employer to the state. Ya think? He's seeking legal counsel. His former employer won't comment.

Prom made the front page Friday, Saturday and Sunday. At age 40, I think that qualifies as news I can't use. And can someone tell me what is so important about Prom, anyway? Some people, and I don't mean just high school kids, take it very seriously. I've even heard of parents considering home schooling for its educational benefits, but rejecting the idea, saying, "There's no way my kid's going to miss Prom! That was the most important night of my life!" Overlooking the possibility that your kid was conceived at Prom, Post-Prom, or Post-Post-Prom, how did you get this old and have such an empty life? I attended a small religious high school that didn't have prom because they didn't believe in dancing. I missed out on a lot of other things, but I don't see what I missed by not going to Prom. I'm not even sure what the purpose of Prom is. According to all the kids I knew who went to Prom, it was the night all the kids of a certain age listened to loud music, danced, got drunk, and had sex. So how is that different from any number of other parties any other weekend? Is it because they dress up? Is it because they spend more money than my wife and I spent on our wedding?

Well, that's the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.

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