Thursday, November 15, 2012

news notes

No snow as yet, but there is a new-normal daily frost on the windshields of cars parked on our street and the tree of the hanging squirrels, as I have dubbed it, is now denuded of both leaves and squirrels.

Mexico City has suffered a 6.0 earthquake and there was another temblor of 5.6 off the Aleutian Islands. Israel is sharpening its knives to go after Hamas, a group that has sent rockets out of Gaza and into Israel, the country that treats Palestinians like shit and wants to make sure they keep swallowing it. The fires of the Middle East seem to be spreading out of Syria and into lands where dry tinder awaits.

In the United States, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, former general David Petraeus, has quit because of an affair with his biographer. There is talk about the possible compromising of secret documents (no one has said precisely how sensitive any of them might be and the government is notoriously given to over-classifying information), but basically the interest in this prurient country is the infidelity and the sex-sex-sex. It reminds me of a stand-up comedian I once saw in the wake of President Bill Clinton's dalliance with his aide, Monica Lewinsky. Why, the comedian asked, shouldn't the president of the United States, the most powerful man in the world and a guy who works exceptionally long hours, get an occasional and perhaps much-needed blow job? It was a pretty funny riff that threw America's love-hate affair with sex into relief.

When he was still alive, my brother-in-law Tony once asked me why there shouldn't be a newspaper that depicted the good news. I was still working as a newspaper reporter at the time and answered him by quoting former CBS anchor Walter Cronkite: "News isn't about how many cats did not get up on the garage roof."

At the time, I thought Tony's question was ludicrous and a bit smarmy. Nowadays, I'm not so sure. Bad news is easy to find and can be overbearing ... sapping to the soul. Nowadays, I'm happy to hear of the cats that did not go astray.

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