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Friday, June 22, 2012

New news is old news


Again, it’s been a while. But Girl is asleep (sweet mercy, whisper and don’t ring the doorbell or I’ll hurt you bad) and I have enough energy to crack wise about a few things.
With an-almost-10-month-old in the house, the big blocks of time once available to me have mostly vanished. That’s not to say I’m a shut-in or don’t get an opportunity to do the things I want to do—there are two other parents in the house, and both of them are very pleased to see me gone (maybe too pleased?). No, I still get to zip out and nerd with friends. The thing that vanished is the at-home chunks of free time. I have to wear noise-canceling headphones to write. If I want to watch a movie, it often takes three or four days to get through it (Blockbuster, dead as it is, wouldn’t be a help to me anymore with their stupid overnight rentals). A 22-minute episode of the Daily Show is typically viewed in two parts. A full book chapter is a laugh. There’s just always something to do. Change diapers. Wash bottles. Feed Girl. Stop Girl from pinwheeling ass-over-teakettle down the stairs. Stop Girl from treating the toilet like a finger-bowl. Wash Girl after you’re just a few seconds too late on that last one. And that’s just a sampling of the baby-related stuff. All the normal crap involved in maintaining life is still there. (As an aside, the human body is ridiculously designed. Our personal functionality is a great argument against intelligent design. I suppose it’s remotely possible that someone designed us, but they sure didn’t have INTELLIGENCE. If you bought a car that needed gas three to five times a day, required more than a hundred oil changes in a week (plus a few coolant flushes), and wouldn’t let you drive it for eight hours a day, you’d junk it.)
The point of this is not to complain, but to explain why I’m suddenly playing a lot more with my iPhone. It has a thousand games that can be played for five seconds or five minutes or five hours, depending on the needs of the moment. My emotional investment in them is non-existent, so when I need to log off suddenly (Girl reaching for unidentified floor-food, age unknown), no harm no foul. Most of them auto-save anyway. A beautiful way to kill a few idle moments, as you know that’s all you’re going to get. (For those who say I should be spending every spare moment with Girl, cherishing these times as they grow up so fast, I say “THHHHFFFPPPPTTT.” That’s me giving you the raspberry, in case you didn’t know.)
One of these little apps allows me to infect the globe with a disease, allowing me to custom design its symptoms, infection vectors, and unique abilities. Who wouldn’t ignore a child to do that? As the game goes on, you receive little banner headlines that describe not only how the world is reacting to your plague (MWAHAHAHA!!) but also just your typical world news. They clearly make no effort to keep these headlines current. However, they have designed them, tongue-in-cheek, so that they’ll SEEM current for a long time, probably for my entire life. Here’s a sampling:
“Right wing party wins election in Europe.”
“Movie star marries rock legend.”
“Insurgency in Middle East intensifies.”
“France votes to ban employment.”
This is both funny and sad. It makes me think what other “news items” aren’t really that new at all. Can we invent other headlines that would stand the test of time? I’ve stolen a few from today’s news, and when you read them, is there any way to tell if it’s current or ten years old?
“Fisheries changes attacked in prestigious science journal.”
“Canada criticized for weak draft plan at summit.”
“Tighter mortgage rules could jolt Toronto housing market.”
“170 kilos of cocaine seized at Saint John port.” (This one could be thirty years old. Cocaine is SO 1983!)
“Tsunami debris turning BC beaches into landfill.”
“Taliban militants kill 18 people during Kabul hotel attack.”
“Spanish banks may need $18 billion.”
This list could go on and on. I try to follow the news. When I read stuff like this, though, I wonder ‘why bother?’
“EU leaders meet seeking lower interest rates.”
Wow. What a shocker.

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