Sadly, the news- even from international sources -has become so annoying I’ve had to put my news-botting habit aside. Even the most staid and unflappable stations like the BBC and NPR have gone to the dogs. You can’t turn on the radio without being beset by breathless coverage of not just the election, but even of the punditry that wreathes, obfuscates and whispers all around the election like bong hits in a college dorm room. I’m tired of the incessant and pointless discussion of the finger-painting that is our blue-red Republic of NorthWest Purple-istan. So tired of it that I sometimes yearn for a natural disaster to break the monotony in news reporting. Nothing seems to disturb the steady thrum of blather about Barack O’Hilton for long. Enough already. I really don’t care who winds up facing off against John The Whack McCain, and neither does anyone I know. There might be two or three people in the region who don’t say something along the lines of “I’m going to vote for Obama, but I think either one of them will be fine”, but only two or three. The rest of us have an interest in super delegates that is so small it would take a particle accelerator to detect it.
“Be careful what you wish for, for you just might get it.” Goes the aphorism, so perhaps I shouldn’t have wished for a natural disaster to distract me from the journalistic hyperventilation, because we seem to have gotten quite a few lately: an earthquake in China, a volcano erupting in Chile, tornadoes in Oklahoma (what’s the difference between a tornado and a divorce in Oklahoma? …..Nothing. In the end someone’s gonna lose a trailer.) and a cyclone in Myanmar are garnering a fair share of reporting. And in doing so, the press has, once again, irked me. At issue is the name Myanmar. Granted, not many of us have a grasp of all those curiously odd Burmese vowel sounds, but surely we can just mimic native pronunciations as best we can without throwing in whole extra syllables, can’t we? It’s Myan-mar, not Me-and-mar, thank you very much. If they can pronounce Ahmedinajad , surely they can do better with such a short, simple name as Myanmar.
There doesn’t seem to be a lot they can say that will please me these days. One positive result of my disaffection with the fourth estate, and my refusal to listen with more than one ear at a time is that when it came time for me to vote, I hadn’t had my head crammed full of other peoples’ opinions. Here in Montana we’re voting (in the very last primaries in the country…because we matter!!!) for quite a few things, and as usual, when I opened up my ballot I was met with a lot of completely unknown people to choose from. Our local aspirants to various offices tend not to have huge advertising budgets, so I usually find myself meeting complete strangers in the voting booth; scratching my head, squinting at the ballot and then doing eenie-meeni-minee-mo. This time, with my absentee ballot in front of me, I spent a half an hour surfing the candidates’ websites, and voila! Informed decisions were made.
Ah, but of course I only got to be smug for a brief while, because it was just a matter of hours before I realized that the scoundrels I’d helped elect the last time had screwed me. Not that that’s a big surprise, but this particular screwing did take me by surprise. As you all know, I’ve been building a house, so I’m suffering from Cashtration, and was looking forward with a particular pleasure to getting my $600, misnamed Economic Stimulus check. The thought of getting it was in fact stimulating, insofar as I’d be able to pay off a nagging debt or two, so I was even more stimulated, but not in the perky-looking-up sort of way the Shrub perhaps had hoped for my consumerish little self when I actually got the payment. Mainly because it was only $300. When I saw the disappointing entry on the receipts side of my bank account I immediately took my news-botterly, inquisitive self to the IRS web page, and after only three ulcers, four rolls of adding machine tape, six cups of coffee, a cruller, 47 additional gray hairs and a half a gallon of disbelief, I discovered that the reason I didn’t get the $600 was that I built an energy efficient house. Yep, once again its come to bite me in the tuckus. Because of all the tax rebates for energy efficient thises and thatses, my tax return looks like I didn’t have a tax liability. I did, let me tell you. I paid a LOT of taxes. And I paid a LOT for energy efficient geegaws. At this rate, the interest I’m earning on my investment in green energy and a carbon footprint that could have been made by an aristocratic Chinese woman of the last century is turning out to be subatomic. Why doesn’t the media machine take an interest it reporting on this instead of Hillary’s pantsuits and Barack’s middle name?
No, don’t tell me. I don’t actually want to know. And besides, if you told me, someone would probably lose a trailer.