Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Media Circus

I think I'm going to have to start getting my news directly from the AP wire and the Christian Science Monitor or else read 5 newspapers a day. To be fair, I can count on one hand how many times I've watched CNN unless it's a Christiane Amanpour special since 1999 and I haven't watched MSNBC since 2004. There for a while I got my news from Stephen Colbert and John Stewart, but then their shows ceased to entertain me. I loved watching Meet the Press on Sunday mornings before Tim Russert died. And I used to enjoy watching Chris Matthews mix it up. We're pretty much a Fox News household as my husband is a FNC junkie. I sometimes sneak on other networks just to make sure I'm not missing a more "balanced" approach to news. Not to worry, I'm not.

I pretty much watch Bill O'Reilly, check the Yahoo News headlines, and read the local Sunday paper these days. In an attempt to be even handed in my commentary here, O'Reilly likes to mix it up and is a tad sensational at least once a night. He's got a couple of crusades going on for sure. But I find him entertaining and I find we agree about alot of things. Since it feels like anyone and everyone associated with the press/media in general is out to tear down anyone that has an opinion that is centrist or even remotely right of center, I figure I'm probably getting an even dose of my news with FNC headlines. At least no one is trying to make me feel like an uneducated heel that just crawled out from under some rock in the southern corner of middle America. I do have a master's degree. It's not like I don't know how to evaluate a news article or report for its value and information.

According to "un-conservative" networks all across the airwaves (or fiber optic cables) any agreement I might find with a more conservative outlook has been described as hot-headed righteous indignation, right-wing radical conservatism, a merging of right-wingers and Christian Conservatives into a White Pride movement and most recently (and my personal favorite) racist tea-bagging redneck.

So, what do I do? Protesting was once lauded and applauded (but that was back when we wanted equal rights and moms to get rid of guns and cheap gasoline). Apparently these days protesting government decisions is wrong and immoral behavior. So that's out. And somehow believing that marriage is between a man and a woman makes pretty young women giving nervous 30 second answers to difficult questions on the fly while on national television, gay bashing, holy rolling dumb blondes. So I'm thinking tv journalism, protest rallies, and beauty pageants are not viable options for me. I've missed the age cutoff for beauty pageants, off the cuff remarks consistently get me into trouble, and I don't believe I engage in wrong, or immoral behavior. Bummer.

So what do I do? Well, simply put, I turn off my tv. I live my life. I do my best to avoid gut-reactions without sampling the evidence first and I make no apologies for my personal convictions. Whether or not I choose to make those positions known is my business. I usually try to choose my audience carefully. Today's post might be an exception. I'd be lying if I said the negative comments that will inevitably emerge won't bother me. Generally, I think there is no need to piss people off unnecessarily. I prefer getting along with people.

I truly don't find myself that conservative of a person, but our country's mouthpieces on all points of the spectrum have a way of shoe-horning us into "positions" that aren't quite accurate. How we got to this point is beyond me. I do know I am confused and frustrated and flabbergasted at what makes the news and why. I don't think it's going to get better. The world is one big ball of gray; rarely is it black and white. Using hot-button sound bites and fanning the flames of polarization to prey on the short attention spans of Americans who tune in for a few minutes a night is not the answer. These tactics deprive our citizens of real information. It also says that viewers are neither smart enough, important enough, or worthy enough to engage in solid debate about what our country stands for. I find this sad on multiple levels. I could go on. But enough is enough. Gotta go, reading five different newspapers is going to take a while.

Friday, April 3, 2009


You know it's coming. You wake up with itchy eyes and a slightly scratchy throat. You sneeze about 33 times before noon. All afternoon your nose drips--not enough for a blowing, but enough to make you wipe your sleeve casually because you don't have any Kleenex around. You just hope no one sees you do it. By nightfall your left ear is stopped up and your nose is no longer dripping. It's so stopped up your eyeballs fill squished by your cheeks which are rising into your lower eye lids from the swelling and pressure. You know the migraine is coming if you don't pop twice the normal dose of Advil--which will make you constipated later on, but I'll take it any day over a migraine.
You will yourself to sleep only to awaken ninety minutes later gagging on the snot that is flowing down the back of your throat. You have cotton mouth, your lip just cracked open as you attempted to lick it. You spend the rest of the evening propped up by a myriad of pillows of different sizes and thickness trying to get that just right angle--not upright, not horizontal, more than 45 degrees, neck straight instead of bent because then you'll have a crick in it. Allergy season has begun.
I haven't blogged this week because between wiping my own nose, I've been soothing my babies noses and listening to their dry hacking coughs and wheezes. The three of us are under serious attack by some histamine in our body that doesn't like spring. Mercifully for me, the nurse practitioner at the CVS gave me some allegra and flonase and sudafed. Along with lots of water and ginger-lemon tea with honey I'm going to make it. My older son has been on Singulair for almost 3 years now. With round the clock benadryl when the symptoms arise, he is usually okay. He has shadows under his eyes from lack of good sleep and a hack from the post-nasal drip, but otherwise, he's okay. The poor baby has to wait until he's two to start that Singulair, but you better believe I'm going to ask for it this fall. Poor kid. Between the eczema and the runny nose/cough the kid hasn't slept well in two nights.
This morning I woke up with a start at 530. I just knew something was wrong, but nobody was up. Then I heard it. This pitiful weak little cough from the nursery. He was so tired he couldn't even cough well. He sounded like an 80 year old man in there snoring. I rubbed his back and started the music and stood there for a while to make sure he was still breathing. Then I heard the other one, "mmoooommmy" so softly. The older one was half-awake. He was having a cough attack too and his nose was crusted over. I got a wash cloth and washed his face and gave him some water. Then we settled on the couch to snuggle--at a 45 degree angle so we could both sleep. After about 20 minutes we gave up and made breakfast.
Once we get to the end of June we should be okay until the end of September. Spring is one of my favorite seasons. But allergies are wretched. There isn't much I can do for the boys. It's so hard to keep them quiet when they really want to go out and play. Usually I let them go play and we just hose down every night to get the pollen off. I spent ten years of my life cooped up inside and I don't think I was better off for it. But we didn't have the wonder drugs we do today to help me deal with it and my wheezing made my parents walk the floor. I don't know how to keep little boys quiet anyway. We're on 3 1/2 hours of movies already today. We've been through every toy, every game, every puzzle, pretend play, pretend trick o treating, emptying the pantry--even jumping on the bed. The only thing left is art, and unless it's really messy (meaning outside mud pies or chalk) they don't like it.
Welcome Spring, do your thing and bring on Summer. Hurry please.